Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

More research please. Faster too. – solar #23

I see a major downside to the current approach to renewable energy.

Our society is pouring huge amounts of money into projects using current technology. These are inefficient, damaging to the environment in so many dimensions, are viable only because government agencies demand utilities buy their output, and produce very expensive electricity even after massive subsidies. Worse yet, these are locking today’s technology in to many multi-billion dollar megaprojects.

Here is a hint, just a hint, of what could happen if we were to put those billions into research.

8/2 – The Economist – Picking up steam – carbon-based material gives solar steam-power a boost.

Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 8/4

Here’s a few of the articles that stretched my understanding of this amazing world we live in. The open frontiers of space and technology. Just brief comments from me.


7/14 – Daily Bulletin – SpaceX makes another successful launch, putting 6 communication satellites into space.

Read more…

Arriving soon at an e-retailer near you: Tragedy of Fraud, Insider Trading Edition – The fall from Big 4 audit partner to prison inmate.

Debut appearance of the cover, hot off the digital press:




My newest book is in the last stages of editing. Hope to move into conversion to e-book format soon. Will be released in the next couple of weeks.

As you may know if you browse my other blogs, I’ve been following the story of Scott London closely on Attestation Update. Mr. London was the partner at international accounting firm KPMG in charge of the audit practice for the southwest region of the U.S.

He was caught passing inside information to his golf buddy. When confronted, he quickly confessed and plead guilty. He received a fourteen month jail sentence and is now a prison inmate at the Taft Correctional Institution.

You can now read of his journey from the lofty world of senior leadership to prison inmate in this book. The dozens of blog posts covering the story have been combined in chronological order instead of being spread all over the blog in reverse chronology. The posts have been edited slightly and the sequence changed a bit.

Available soon

The story of Mr. London’s fall will soon be available on your phone, e-reader, tablet, or other reading platform of choice. Will be available at the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes stores.

Print copy will be available at Amazon soon after the electronic version is published.

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

That comment is from Winston Churchill. I touched on it a year ago – On having enemies.

While looking for a somewhat related story, I looked again at a discussion by Philosiblog on the Churchill quote.

His article expands on the idea that if you take a principled stand for something, there is a chance you will cause severe offense and perhaps create an enemy.

Read more…

More good stuff on the downside of the open frontiers – 7/30

The wide open frontiers of publishing, technology, energy and space do have a down side. Not everything is rosy. Here’s a few of the articles on the unpleasant side of this amazing world we live in.

The closed energy frontier and a great quote on the role of faith in environmental issues

7/8 – The Feed – Germany Bows to Green Folly, Backs Off Fracking (link broken) – Germany closed down its nuclear reactions and increased coal-burning to offset. It relies on Russia for most of its natural gas. To those two dangerous issues, a proposal on the table will ban fracking for 7 years, locking in their hostage status with Russia as they increase their carbon output.

7/8 – Wall Street Journal – Germany’s Fracking RetreatRead more…

Eighty year prediction of North Dakota oil production

Eleven more years with more than 1 million barrels every day. Production at 100,000 bopd in 2100.

That’s the prediction from Lynn Helms, director of North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, speaking at the Bakken Rocks CookFest on July 17, 2014.

Two things could cause a breakout on the upside, according to Mr. Helms.

Read more…

What Peak Natural Gas? – #1

While researching for my post, Encore question: What Peak Oil – #36, I browsed a bit more of Dr. M. King Hubbert’s 1956 paper, Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels, which you can find here.

In addition to a precise calculation of the total crude oil that will be extracted through 2050 from Texas, the U.S. in total, and from the entire planet, he also made some calculations for natural gas.

In Figure 22 on page 32, he calculated the production curve of natural gas in the U.S. through 2075, at which point production is indistinguishable from zero. The calculations are to three significant digits.

The graph is based on the same logic and analysis as Peak Oil. Namely that the total amount of a resource that will ever be extracted can be calculated and the production curve graphed with reasonable accuracy. There will be a peak followed by a slow, inevitable, unavoidable decline to near zero. When the production turns a corner at what appears to be the peak, 50% of the total that will ever be extracted has been pulled, which means roughly the same amount will be extracted in the future.

That concept applied to natural gas is a complete failure for the same reasons as Peak Oil is a failure.

The conceptual reasons are discussed in the series of posts addressing What Peak Oil?

A graph showing the failure of Peak Natural Gas is more dramatic that the graph of Peak Oil.

Graph of actual production and Dr. Hubbert’s prediction.

I pulled the natural gas (dry) and NGPL data from EIA for 1930 through 2011.

I don’t have the raw data for the curve Dr. Hubbert drew and don’t have the software to calculate the curve. 

So I pulled approximations from the graph in Figure 22. Made estimates for 1925, 1934, 1950, 1956, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 2000, and 2025. Then I interpolated the years between those data points.

The resulting graph I drew is visually comparable to Dr. Hubbert’s graph in Figure 22. Specifically, the 1956 data matches, the peak is around 14T in the mid-‘70s, and the 2000 data point is below 8T.

If you have more accurate data, let me know and I’ll redraw the graph. As a rough comparison, I’ll bring in another graph in a moment.

So, here is the comparison of actual production to my rough redrawing of Dr. Hubbert’s prediction:

gas prod actual and hubbert

Please, please don’t take my word for it. Please check Figure 22 for yourself.

Can you say busted?

Read more…

Encore question: What Peak Oil? – #36

Some commenters on the ‘net did not agree with my previous post which combined the U.S. production of crude oil with natural gas (dry) and NGPL.

Fair point.

I redrew the graph showing crude oil only.

Will draw Dr. Hubbert’s peak natural gas curve and actual production another time.

Update: The time is the next day. See the graph of actual versus predicted for natural gas:  What Peak Natural Gas? #1. Can you say busted?

Peak Oil

Peak Oil theory is outlined by Dr. M. King Hubbert, starting in his 1949 article, discussed here.

For anyone tuning into the discussion, here is the theory in very brief, key terms: Peak oil production will be reached at a determinable date, after which production will enter an inevitable, permanent decline. The rate of decline is calculable. The graph of production is calculable. Dr. Hubbert calculated the total amount of crude oil under the surface of the earth and within the U.S. remaining to be extracted. He made the same calculations for natural gas. He also calculated the total amount of crude to be extracted from within the state of Texas. Update: When the production appears to hit a peak, that is the point at which 50% of the resource has been extracted. Future production will be about equal to the sum of actual production and proven reserves at that point.

Graphs of Peak Oil production resemble a bell curve with a peak in 1970. His landmark 1956 paper (available here) calculated the amount of total U.S. crude oil production through 2050. The peak of the 200 billion barrel curve is about 1970 with a gradual decline. In about 2010 or 2011, the production level is one-third the peak level.

Don’t take my word for it – see Figure 21.

With that in mind, consider the following graph:


barrels by year 1949-2013

Just a few questions:

If you are new to this discussion, here are a few questions for you to consider:

Read more…

What Peak Oil? – #35

Update:  Some commenters on the ‘net did not agree with a graph that combines gas and oil. Fair point. I’ll redraw the graph to include only crude oil.

The new graph does not change any comment made in this post. It stands as is.

Peak oil is still a failed concept.

Here is the new graph:

barrels by year 1949-2013


Again, here is the main question: Where is the inverted V drop after the peak that mirrors the runup to the high point?

Answer: It isn’t there.

2nd Update:  I appreciate folks pointing out the error of my ways. Further research produced the above graph which makes the point yet again. I also looked at natural gas production.

The fail of Dr. Hubbert’s theories is even more extremely illustrated by graphing natural gas production. Comparing actual to his predictions is staggering. Another post on Monday.

Two busted Hubbert theories from one post. Peak Gas is even more of a fail than Peak Oil.

3rd update:  Further discussion of the Peak Oil graph on the following post.

Original post:

Saw a graph containing production of oil and gas in the U.S. since 1950. Since that one is copyrighted, decided to make my own.

Check out this graph of the amount of crude oil, natural gas (dry), and NGPL from 1949 through 2013:

 oil and gas by year 1949 2013

Now, please look for the permanent, inevitable decline trending to zero after the never-to-be-achieved-again peak oil point of 1970. Also look for the inverted-V shaped drop after the peak that mirrors the runup.

Read more…

Update on solar power – 7/25 – solar #22

A few articles on the danger to flying birds, flying planes, and barely-flying economies.

flying birds

Intentional, willful undercounts of toasted wings – 6/25 – ReWire – Panel Discards Scientists’ Recommendation on Wildlife Kills at Solar Plant.

Read more…

Regulation of marijuana sales in Washington State – 3

Readers of this blog know I’m watching the impact of regulation on a brand new industry. The industry in recreational marijuana. The natural experiment of the impact of regulation is taking place in Washington and Colorado.

This is the third in a series of posts describing the regulatory structure for sales of recreational marijuana in Washington state. My hypothesis is the regulation will weigh heavily on the industry.

The Economist has more background on the issue:  The great pot experiment.

I’ll summarize some info on the regulatory regimen, then touch on couple of trend issues and overall background.

Both states allowed so-called medical use of marijuana before legalization. The reason Washington state has taken longer than Colorado is the medical use in Washington was very lightly regulated, if at all.

Read more…

More good stuff on the Bakken – 7/24

Here’s a few quick notes on interesting news that I won’t cover in a separate post: production levels, a forecast for slowing acceleration of output, employement, infrastructure, and  few other things.

Production level

7/16 – North Dakota oil production passes 1,039,000 BOPD in 5/14

5/30 – Million Dollar Way – That She Is! A Million-Bbl Bakken Well In This Boom – One well has finally crossed the point of producing 1,000,000 barrels of oil. It has been on-line for about 3.5 years. Let’s assume $90/barrel. That would be $90,000,000 gross, or about $26M per year. Still producing 24,000 bbl a month, which at $86 is about $2,000,000 each month. Not even on a pump yet. Initial production was an okay 803 barrels a day. Not great. Not bad. By 12/14, it will have produced $100M of oil.

5/30 – Bakken Shale – Is the Bakken America’s Last Boom?Read more…

Fire at Williston oilfield supply company

A large fire broke out at Red River Supply, an oilfield supply company in Williston in the early morning hours on Tuesday July 22. First reports of explosions were at about 12:15 in the morning.

Fire officials decided to let the fire burn itself out because of the nearness to the Little Muddy River. Water runoff from fighting the fire would be contaminated with oil and other chemicals which would then drain into the river.

Read more…

Update on wind power, 7/22

A few more articles on the damage from wind power. Seems that wind power isn’t good for birds, nearby little mammals, humans, or for reducing net emissions.

Official permission to slice-and-dice golden eagles - 6/26 – ReWire -Feds Set To Issue First Eagle Kill Permit to California Wind Facility- Read more…

Short-term and long-term predictions for North Dakota oil production

Production will likely increase 5% or 6% a month for June, July, and August of 2014.

That is the expectation of Lynn Helms, director of N.D. Department of Mineral Resources, in a conference call reported by Bloomberg: North Dakota Expects “Big Surge” in Summer Crude Output.

I’ll turn that into a specific number by combining that with 2% or 2.5% growth through November. Will use that cutoff instead of December, since weather could get bad in either January or December.

Starting point is 1,039,635 bopd in May.

Here’s a range of guesses for November 2014: Read more…

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