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December 23, 2006

Pop Psycology for the new year

There is an e-mail going around called "getting to know you" for the new year. Many of you may have gotten it. The idea is to answer a bunch of questions that may be revelatory to your person. My mother sent it to me and I have answered and re-posted on my blog. Write up yours in comments....

Martin Tobias

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:10 a.m. Oahu Hawaii time.
2. Diamonds or pearls? Neither. Not very manly.
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? The Nativity Story.
4. What is your favorite tv show? TV? What's that?
5. What did you have for breakfast? Kashi instant oatmeal with raisins and Kona coffee.
6. What is your middle name? Gabriel (as in the Angel)
7. What is your favorite cuisine? Mexican fish tacos
8. What foods do you dislike? Sushi
9. Favorite chips? Corn tortilla
10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Screaming Trees
11. What kind of car do you drive? VW Beetle diesel on biodiesel
12. What is your favorite sandwich? Turkey club with avacado
13. What characteristics do you despise? Laziness, people without obvious passions or interests in life.
14. What are your favorite clothes? Shorts and teesirts
15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation? Sayulita Mexico
16. Favorite brand of clothing? Prada
17. Where would you want to retire? Did that twice already, it is boring.
18. Favorite time of day? Sunset in Hawaii
19. Where were you born? Seattle, WA
20. What is your favorite sport to watch? Tour de France
23. Pepis or Coke? Diet Coke with lime and Spenda.
24. Beavers or ducks? Beavers, go OSU!
25. Are you a morning person person or a night owl? Night owl
26. Pedicure or manicure? Manicure, clear.
27. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? It is never too late to start surfing.
28. What did you want to be when you were little? Rich.
29. What is your best childhood memory? Hiking with the family in the Pacific Northwest.
30. Piercings? Nope
31. Ever been to Africa? Nope
32. Ever been toilet papering? Of course
33. Been in a car accident? Yes, won them all.
34. Favorite day of the week? Thursday
35. Favorite restaurant? Wahoo's fish taco (or in Seattle Taco Del Mar)
36. Favorite Flower? tulip
37. Favorite ice cream? Cookie dough
38. Favorite fast food restaurant? Taco Time
39. How many times did you fail your driver's test? Twice
40. From whom did you get your last email? Jerry
41. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Barney's New York.
42. Bedtime? 11 or later
43. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? Finn
44. Last person you went to dinner with? Ray Iwamoto
45. What are you listening to right now? SOMA FM Groove Salad
46. What is your favorite color? Black
47. How many tattoos do you have? One
48. How many are you sending this email to? A few.
49. What time did you finish this email? 9:05am Hawaii.
50. Favorite magazine? Dwell and Men's Fitness


Posted by Martin at 11:12 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A biodiesel Primer

the best one I have found with a complete overview of technology, regulatory, market and drivers for biodiesel.
thanks Methanol Institute.A Biodiesel Primer.pdf

Posted by Martin at 10:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 22, 2006

addictive blackberry games

Just bought Texas Hold'em no Limit from Concrete Software: Concrete Software Mobile. I had the demo and kept playing five hands, restart, five hands, restart. It costs only $14.99 so it is actually cheaper than most of the books that I buy to pass the time on airplanes etc. I have tried to buy the game three or four times and the MobiHand server has not been on-line and I have not been able to complete the transaction. There purchase interface is also confusing in that they offer blackberry users an over the air download but in fact you can't and have to download it to your PC then use Blackberry Application Launcher to install it. VERY confusing and way too hard for the average user. This has to get easier. Other platforms (Windows mobile, Palm) are easier to install apps on. Major downside for Blackberry.

Posted by Martin at 10:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A story about "Nature Girl"

by Carl Hiaasen

I buy everything from Karl Haissan. Made the mistake of buying one of his “teen” books which totally missed me. Don’t do that. If you like Haissan, you should buy this book, but don’t think you will get one of his best. His form is getting tired and as I read it I felt like I could tell he was getting bored with himself. Nature Girl just didn’t have life or conviction of his earlier work. Good for a plane ride, but not a mandatory library piece. I rate 2 of 5 stars.

Posted by Martin at 1:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A story about "Blood Diamond"

by Edward Zwick

I am not normally a fan of Leo. I mean come on, Lord of the Flys? Gimmie a break. But this year he has put on two master performances that I have got to respect. The latest is in Blood Diamond. All the action you could want, a love story and a message as well. Don’t buy diamonds. Didn’t put me off diamonds as much as SuperSize Me put me off of MacDonalds, but this was made by Hollywood who likes to hide their messages as bes they can. And a GREAT performance by all the cast. I rate as 4 of 5. There may even be some Oscars in there somewhere. Best supporting?

Posted by Martin at 1:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A story about "The Nativity Story"

by Catherine Hardwicke

The Nativity Story. Can’t get more Christmas than that. Most of the movies of this are afternoon TV sugary sweet. This is not. No, it is not Passion of the Christ gory, but the real human challenges of the situation come through. Mary got pregnant during her engagement to Joseph while in a different town. In their time that was a stonable offense. It took true courage to accept her after that. The three kings are funny and a bit hollywoodized. They also come the same night Jesus is born which is not how most scholars have it (they have them coming a week or so later). Something good to do with the relatives. I rate 3 of 5 stars.

Posted by Martin at 1:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A story about "Casino Royale"

by Martin Campbell

At first I was in Hawaii with a free night. so I saw it. Then I was back in Seattle two days later and my mother was visiting for thanksgiving and she wanted to see it. Then three days later a girl wanted to see it. So I saw it three times. And I have already ordered the DVD from Amazon. This is the best Bond ever and I can’t wait for the other two in his three picture deal

Posted by Martin at 1:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A story about "Casino Royale"

by Ian Fleming

I read this book about 15 years ago. During a time when I was really into Bond and I read all the original Ian Flemming books. It was great then. Great now. And even better after the movie. The movie “hollywooded” up the story, but Flemming is still fresh and enjoyable. It has a certain sort of 60’s innocense that the movie lacks. I love it and rate it 3 of 5 stars.

Posted by Martin at 1:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 21, 2006

A story about "The Surfer Spirit (Volume 1)"

by Cynthia Y.H. Derosier

so i am on Oahu surfing and doing a little business. Stop by Borders for something to read. There is a whole wall of surf books. I have most of them. but not this one. It is a great coffee table book. Super pictures from Surfer and Surfer’s Journal with little inspriational quotes. Nice feature is a built in ribbon bookmark like the bible. I have it set on a double page photo from under the water of a barrel with a surfer in it saying “live in the moment”. Good advice for anyone.

Posted by Martin at 11:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How much would Gas be if the Iraq war cost were included?

This from AG Edwards today:
"Let’s suppose that every day Americans consume roughly 9.5 mbpd of gasoline. Using a gasoline tax to pay for the $170 b yearly budget would add roughly $1.17 to the pump price. Then, we’d be looking at roughly $4.00 gas right now."

That is only this year $170B. Not the $350B that has already been spent. Now there are democratic and social reasons to be in Iraq that don't have to do with oil, so lets just tax oil with half the costs. Still $3.50/gallon. I am a capitalist. It is appropriate for the government to subsidize things in the national interest. They just need to be discriminating on what is REALLY in the public interest. Is that $1.17/gal for only THIS YEAR's cost more in the public interest than say taking that same money and spending it on a longer term domestic solution (say biodiesel?)

Posted by Martin at 11:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Biodiesel hummer conversion

From this year's SEMA show by Jeff Goodwin at HLineConversions. An H2 converted to the Duramax diesel with lift and lots of extras. Running 100% biodiesel. I gotta have it!

Posted by Martin at 11:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Neander motors christmas card

The crazy Germans at Neander Motorcycles sent a cute Christmas card (or Weihnacht in German). I would have preferred Santa sent one of their bikes. I am getting VERY itchy for their big bad diesel bike....

Posted by Martin at 10:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 20, 2006

Canada jumps on the RFS bandwagon

From OPIS today. It is a bit further out than the US, but it will definitely drive more demand. Note the specific mandate for biodiesel vs ethanol. America needs to get on that stick. Good good good.

UNVEILS NATIONAL RFS; SEPARATE BIODIESEL STANDARD
As expected, Canada will require 5% of its gasoline contain renewable fuels by 2010, but the government is also mandating a separate carve out for biodiesel, requiring 2% penetration of the diesel pool by 2012, according to an announcement earlier today by the federal government.
In its election platform, the Conservative government said it would have a 5% renewable fuels standard (RFS) by 2010, but a general framework wasn't outlined, nor was the break-out for biodiesel, until today.
"Our government understands Canadians' concerns around the quality of the air we breathe. We know that cleaner fuel means less pollution," said Canadian Environment Minister Rona Ambrose. "Requiring the use of renewable fuels fulfills a commitment by our government. Through these regulations, we are keeping with our approach toward meaningful action, and we will ensure that our objectives are met," she said.
According to a backgrounder on the announcement, while gasoline in Canada is used almost entirely on-road, a large share of the diesel fuel pool is not used for transportation. Therefore, the 2% requirement for biodiesel is equivalent to a 5% mandate for on-road diesel fuel.
The biodiesel carve-out is similar to what has been discussed in the U.S.
The U.S.' RFS requires 7.5 billion gallons of biofuels by 2012. The lion's share of the requirement is expected to come from ethanol, leading some U.S.
lawmakers to push for a separate biodiesel standard, although nothing has been enacted.
Canada currently produces approximately 615 million liters/yr (162.4 million
gal/yr) of ethanol and the RFS will require about 2.1 billion liters/yr by 2010. Meanwhile, the country produces approximately 52 million liters/yr of biodiesel. The federal requirement will call for almost another 600 million liters/yr by 2012.
The government will now focus on developing and implementing the RFS, as part of the Canadian Environmental Protect Act of 1999. "The regulations are expected to be complex and take at least two years to develop. Design and implementation of a regulation will require consultation with provinces, territories, affected sectors and other stakeholders. A Notice of Intent will be issued in early 2007, with discussions, consultations and studies undertaken throughout 2007," the government said.
It's unclear whether a credit trading provision, also seen under the U.S.
RFS, will be included or whether U.S. ethanol or biodiesel imports would be barred from being used to meet the Canadian standard.
In addition to today's announcement, the Canadian government also announced two capital grant programs worth C$345 million. The first, a C$200 million, four-year capital formation assistance program, is designed to encourage agricultural producers' participation in the biofuels industry. The program will provide repayable capital funding arrangements to biofuel projects, starting April 1, 2007. The second, a C$145 million, five-year program, is designed to promote R&D and the commercialization of agricultural bioproducts, including biofuels, in Canada. Each project may receive a total of up to C$25 million from 2007-2011. Eligible participants include universities, the private sector, federal government departments and agencies and other public sector research organizations.
This is the second time the federal government has offered biofuel producer grants. In 2004 and 2005, the government offered C$118 million in funding through its Ethanol Expansion Program. Eleven ethanol projects received funding and the government estimates that through the program, approximately 1.2 billion liters/yr of new ethanol capacity will be online by the end of 2007.
While the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute did not respond to requests for comment, the association previously said it supported a national RFS to avoid the patchwork of boutique fuels that may occur as several Canadian provinces moved forward with biofuel mandates. That was the same rationale given by the U.S. American Petroleum Institute for support of the RFS.
The Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA) was pleased with today's announcement. "This is the best type of Christmas announcement. It sets solid targets and gives farmers a chance to benefit from the growing renewable fuels industry year-after-year," said CRFA spokesman Robin Speer.
In the next year, CRFA plans to work with the government to reduce the tax rates on renewable fuels "to a level competitive with those found in other countries," he said.
Similar comments came from the Canola Council of Canada (CCC). "The two percent standard and access to funds for farmers to invest in biodiesel production are key steps in getting this industry off the ground," said CCC President Barb Isman. "But without government investments that put Canada on par with the U.S., there is no biodiesel industry in Canada. We need to ensure this piece of the puzzle is in place as soon as possible or the opportunity for Canadian farmers and the economy will be lost," he said.
The CCC is working with the petroleum industry to ensure biodiesel meets performance standards. Once that program is complete, CCC said the government could move the biodiesel requirement up by two years, to match the ethanol timeframe.
Meanwhile, at least one company may have been influenced by today's announcement. Rumor has it that Greenfield Ethanol (formerly Commercial Alcohols), Canada's largest ethanol producer, is set to announce a joint venture agreement with a cellulosic ethanol pretreatment company for plans to build a 40 million liter/yr cellulosic ethanol plant in the country.
Rachel Gantz, rgantz@opisnet.com

Posted by Martin at 5:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

what Finn got for christmas

Every good Girl needs a playhouse jumpy. If you are coming to my new years party, you can use it too!

Posted by Martin at 11:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

opec production cuts chart

Opec wants $60+ oil and has put in place two rounds of production cuts to get it. Here is the chart. There are also reports that OPEC is not meeting their cut targets. Basically the members need the money so less than half the cuts have made it to the market. Look for disciplinary actions soon.

Posted by Martin at 10:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 19, 2006

China chooses sides in the food/fuel debate

Not surprisingly siding with food. Those peasants get unhappy when hungry. Bejing knows which side of the bread is buttered.
That is why you see all the biodiesel in China focusing on recycled cooking oils. This is going to be interesting.

Environment
December 19, 2006
China to limit use of grain for producing biofuels
By ELAINE KURTENBACHAP Business Writer
SHANGHAI, China China will restrict the use of corn and other edible grains for producing biofuel, state media reports said Monday, noting concerns over surging prices despite expectations for yet another bumper harvest.
We have a principle with regard to biofuel: it should neither impact the people's grain consumption, nor should it compete with grain crops for cultivated land, the state-run newspaper People's Daily quoted Yang Jian, director of the development planning department under the Agriculture Ministry, as saying.
It said Yang emphasized that his ministry opposes using edible grains as raw material for biofuel.
He noted the government was, however, encouraging farmers to grow sorghum, cassava and other non-grain crops on marginal land to supply biofuel processors.
Agriculture Ministry officials had no immediate comment on the reports.
Competition between food and fuel processors for grains needed to make biofuels is not limited to China. Worldwide, surging demand for grain crops has been a godsend for many farmers, but is pinching consumers as higher prices hit the industrial food chain, particularly the livestock sector.
China's economic planners have made increasing production of ethanol, a key biofuel, a goal in the country's five-year economic plan, to help curb pollution and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
But protecting arable land and ensuring adequate food supplies is the top priority, the reports said.
In China, the first thing is to provide food for its 1.3 billion people, and after that, we will support biofuel production, the People's Daily quoted Wang Xiaobing, an official at the Agriculture Ministry's crops cultivation department, as saying.
China has begun auctioning some of its wheat reserves to help control a surge in prices in local markets, despite reports that the grain crop is expected to hit a record 490 million tons this year, the third straight year of bumper harvests.
Wheat prices are at their highest level in a decade, due to severe droughts in the U.S. and Australia, and corn prices have also surged by up to 20 percent in local markets.
Prices for edible oils, meat and other products have also jumped, drawing complaints from consumers.
China can supply nearly 100 percent of grain demand locally, and despite the country's relatively scarce land and water government policy supports maintaining basic self-sufficiency for the sake of national security.

Posted by Martin at 3:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

here is an interesting graph

What does it mean? Well I am not an economist, but it looks like real oil prices are pretty well inversly correlated to real interest rates. Low interest rates equal high oil prices and visa versa. this is a bit counter intuitive eh? Or maybe not. Low interest = high growth = high oil demand. There is another (conspiracy) theory. Since the real price of oil has nothing to do with demand and everything to do with the balance sheet and P&L of the oil states, try this one on. Low interest = low cash flow on dollar deposits = high oil prices to keep the cash flow equal. The Oil states are becomming acustomed, no dependent, on a certain (now much higher) cash flow and are managing for cash flow.

Posted by Martin at 10:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 18, 2006

More on Petro dollars/Iran

This from AG Edwards today:

Quick news.... "
Irans Oil Ministry has decided to calculate all oil and foreign revenue in euros rather than dollars. Meanwhile Bloomberg reports Venezuelan president Chavez is buying more euros as one way to protect the nation from any weakness in the dollar.

A Saudi government commissioned report suggests that Iran provides both logistical support and funds social programs for the Shiites in Iraq. The report claims that, Where the Americans have failed, the Iranians have stepped in and set up an Iranian state in Iraq.

Meanwhile World Tribune reports that the Mahdi Army has grown from 10 k to more than 300 k over a two-year period. Intelligence sources suggest that the Tehran-funded recruitment effort was very successful for the Mahdi Army in 2006. Iran also provided the Shiite militia with shipments of weapons. The ISG suggested the Mahdi Army was only 60 k strong. The training of the forces is generally taking place in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon.

If the Mahdi Army is over 300 k, it is significantly stronger than the Iraqi security force. In such a case, a short-tem buildup of the U.S. military presence is probably the only way the U.S. can give itself a chance to stop the insurgency. The question that remains is how do you actively engage the Mahdi Army? They dont have to come out and fight the U.S., and they probably wont want to.

Additionally, if the U.S. leaves and the Iranians are supporting the Shiite militias, any near-term successes may be negated in due time. Thus, one of the best ways to secure Iraq may be to figure out how to hurt Iran, cutting their revenue and expendable income."

The last report I saw on Iran selling oil in Euros was 60%. Not it is 100%. And Hugo Chavez is doing something probably even worse. Selling in US Dollars then immediately selling those Dollars and buying Euros. What would happen if Russia or another oil major started doing the same thing? I bet they are thinking about it. It is an evil downard spiral which will accellerate the more scared people get about the dollar or the worse we do internationally wiht our policies.

I am on Oahu this week working on our Hawaiin refinery. Here is an interesting way to play the falling dollar. Buy Hawaii realestate. As the dollar falls, these properties get cheaper to international buyers and the prices rise. Three bedroom condos are over $1M now and selling out in a couple months. Hawaii is still cheap compared to Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc.

Posted by Martin at 1:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 15, 2006

The future of biodiesel: algae

I was on a panel at the Think Equity conference last week. InsideGreenTech reports: Biofuel from algae on horizon, say experts | Inside Greentech. I may have been a bit of a wet blanket on the optimizm there. We are building a 100M gallon per year refinery. We need oil now. We won't get it from Algae any time soon.


Posted by Martin at 11:50 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 14, 2006

The Malaysian's are vertically integrating

Taking a page from the Cargill/ADM playbook, there is a move afoot in Malasia to create vertically integrated palm company to produce food and fuel. Now things are getting interesting....
The deal is complex, and I'm still scrutinizing aspects of it, but some companies linked to the Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok have announced an all-stock merger valued at approximately $4.3 billion. The merger makes the combined companies one of the world's most mammoth integrated palm oil plantations and oleochemical companies.
In an attempt to vertically integrate palm oil activities, the deal combines PPB Oil's sizable plantations with Wilmar's portfolio of refiners and biodiesel plants across the geography of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
The merger consolidates assets and activities in the palm oil industry in a way that will provide the company with close access to China, which is the world's biggest palm oil consumer.
The company will control 434,426 hectares of palm oil plantations and 25 refineries across Malaysia and Indonesia. They become an even more potent player in the emerging biodiesel market than was the case separately.
At some point next year the Singapore-based company will start operations at three biodiesel plants in the Riau island of Indonesia. Projected annual capacity for those plants is 1.05 million metric tons.

Posted by Martin at 9:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 11, 2006

What I want for Christmas

Being a surfer, I am at the whim of the ocean. This week it should be 30Ft waves on the Washington coast so I will be watching not riding! But what if you could surf anytime? Check this toy out: Banshee Riverboards and Riverboarding Products - "Surf the River!". Hey Santa, I have been good!

Posted by Martin at 12:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mercedes adds S 420 CDI

Check out the faster faster: Green Car Congress: Mercedes Introduces New High-End V8 Diesel for S Class

Posted by Martin at 9:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 7, 2006

Quick oil news from AG Edwards

Quick news....
- Year-on-year global oil demand grew modestly in November. EI reports that demand grew 1.5% and equated to 85.9 mbpd. Over the same period, supply was up 1.12 mbpd.
- Nigerian militants in seven speedboats attacked the Agip export terminal in the Niger Delta this morning. Three Italians were kidnapped and one local was killed. Oil production was not affected. Nigerias Pengassan oil union has called on the government to investigate the involvement of high-ranking officials in the Niger Delta abductions.
- As conventional reserves become increasingly difficult to develop, Algeria revised down its production target for 2010 to about 1.5 mbpd from 2.0 mbpd. Currently the nations output is about 1.4 mbpd. The revision comes on rising costs of increasingly complex projects that typically result in delays.
-In recent weeks, weve mentioned plans for new refineries to be built in the U.S. For example, Kuwait and Louisiana are looking into a project. No new refineries have been built in the U.S. since the 70s, but since 1996 refinery capacity has increased from 15.3 mbpd to 17.4 mbpd. The expansion comes from debottlenecking, modernizing, and adding capacity at existing refineries. CERA reports that this expansion is equivalent to building 17 average- sized new refineries.

Bottom line: look for more unrest in Nigera delta, a critical producer. And new Refineries won't be coming soon. We are at 85MBPD, most analyst belive that is the peak. I doubt we will see supply/demand go to 90mbpd.

Posted by Martin at 5:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 6, 2006

Buy SBD gear!

Buy cool jackets, hats, shirts, etc: Seattle Biodiesel

Posted by Martin at 4:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bill still hasn't solved spam

Frequent readers know I am on the board of directors of Cloudmark, the leading anti-spam company. Today this story: You've got spam -- more of it than ever reminded me that the problem hasn't gone away. In fact as the article points out in the last couple of weeks it has gotten much worse. Thankfully Cloudmark has kept up and only a couple sneak through. I run both the Exchange Edition and the Desktop to filter both my Exchange and POP3 mail. If you have seen your filter falter under the most recent crush, upgrade to Cloudmark!

Posted by Martin at 1:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 5, 2006

New Biofuel Study confirms Biodiesel far superior life cycle economics to Ethanol

From the Cover: Environmental, economic, and energetic costs and benefits of biodiesel and ethanol biofuels -- Hill et al. 103 (30): 11206 -- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Ethanol yields 25% more energy than the energy invested in its production, whereas biodiesel yields 93% more. Compared with ethanol, biodiesel releases just 1.0%, 8.3%, and 13% of the agricultural nitrogen, phosphorus, and pesticide pollutants, respectively, per net energy gain. Relative to the fossil fuels they displace, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced 12% by the production and combustion of ethanol and 41% by biodiesel. Biodiesel also releases less air pollutants per net energy gain than ethanol. These advantages of biodiesel over ethanol come from lower agricultural inputs and more efficient conversion of feedstocks to fuel.

Posted by Martin at 10:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Portland construction companies go Bio

Seems like Imperium's pioneering work in Gray's Harbor is spilling over: HeraldNet: Portland's big on biodiesel. We are running B20 in all the construction equipment on the job site at Gray's Harbor.

Posted by Martin at 10:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What if the the world didn't want our dollars?

Here at DeepGreenCrystals I have spent alot of time on the possibilty and impact of oil shortages. Especially focusing on the fact the the vast majority of the world's reserves are held by people who basically would rather see America sink into the swamp. The most immediate threat to the American way of life is a repeat of the OPEC imposed oil shortages. While we don't have lines, there is ample evidence that OPEC is back at it having successfully driven prices well over $60/barrel without any demand destruction. Remember the right price for oil is the highest possible price that does not trigger significant demand destruction or development of alternatives. Saudi Arabia has witheld over 50M barrels from the market in recent months to keep the price over $60. That is the kind of manipulation that is expected. But there is another much more dangerous potential change in the oil markets that I was reminded of by this AG Edwards note this morning:

"The petrodollar issue
The most significant threat to the dollar's reserve currency status likely rests with the OPEC nations. World oil is priced primarily in dollars. Saddam Hussein's Iraq accepted only euros for payment in the waning years of his government. Europe and Russia have discussed using euros in their bilateral trade. However, this trade has not led to the widespread use of nondollar currencies for trading oil.

Iran has proposed an oil exchange that would require transactions in euros. Although this proposal has raised concerns about a shift in oil pricing, thus far the exchange hasn't opened and little other than talk has occurred. However, if Iran is able to expand its influence in the Middle East and can enforce its will over the Sunni Persian Gulf Sheikdoms, it is possible that a change in oil pricing policy could occur. This is why the United States must be careful about the situation in Iraq. Creating a power vacuum in the Middle East could not only affect oil supplies, it could also have a serious impact on the exchange rate markets."

OK, pop quiz. How much of the US dollar reserves in the world are used to buy and sell petroleum? I would argue ALL of the foreign reserves. What do you think happens to the dollars we send to China for beanie babies? They get sent to Saudi Arabia for oil. Ok, now what if all that trade were to happen in another currency? Say Rubles (Putin is no dummy). Or Euro. Iran is already hip to this having announced the formation of a Euro denominated oil trading market. This threat I believe is even more real and more dangerous to America than any short term disruption in supply. As much as Iran hates us they still have to sell their oil. But they don't have to sell it in dollars.

Posted by Martin at 9:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 4, 2006

Control of Oil - history repeats itself

thanks BigGav for the pointer to: Peak Energy: The Control Of Oil. I have added it to my reading list. I love this part:

"Unfortunately the author discounted the main oil peak (at that time predicted for around 2000) on the basis that, at the time, this was a full generation away, and that therefore the world will have moved onto a more sustainable and efficient energy model (he uses hydrogen as an example) and will have given up gas guzzling cars etc."

You probably noticed last week that GM announced that it is trying to "green up" the Hummer line by adding a diesel that could/would run biodiesel. GM also made big announcements about bring us the electric car. Whoops, didnt you already to that? And kill it the same month you brought us the Hummer? Big Car is not our friend. If you want to see the future of alternative autos, go to Santa Monica this weekend for the AltCar Expo. I will see you there.

Posted by Martin at 6:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 2, 2006

OIL and refined products on its way back up after election

Just like I predicted, the bottom of crude and refined products was basically Nov. 7. check these charts from the EIA: Frameset 10. While I am not a conspiracy theorist, the data speaks for itself. There is probably as much an emotional reaction to the Democrat win leading to tighter oil policy as there may have been market manipulation by Bush's friends to win an election.

It seems the most outrageous claim of the refiners slashing their crack spread to fund the election may have had some weight as you see the price of refined products started to move up immediately as crude has continued to drop a bit or stay flat. That means the refiners raised their prices on election day and keep raising them. Go capitalism.

Posted by Martin at 11:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Whiskey and Gunpowder and LATOC debunk CERA report

If you believed any of the media hype pushed by big oil over the last couple of weeks around the CERA report claiming "Abundant hydrocarbons for the forseeable future", read this: Peak Oil: Life After the Oil Crash. Not only is CERA wrong, they are fundamentally bad scientist with a poor track record. Exposed are their previous way off 4 year natural gas forecast (and we are to believe their 20 year?) and the fact that CERA's estimates of oil reserves are based on the "data" published by the producing countries which has been obviously inflated. check out the chart showing stated reserves each year for the past 15 years. Note that the year OPEC decided to start indexing production quotas to reserves, all the producing countries magically found 2-4X more reserves in a single year! "Science" based on inflated numbers is not science.


Posted by Martin at 11:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack