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By Robert Rapier on Oct 20, 2011 with 12 responses

The 2011 ASPO-USA Conference

Tags: ASPO, peak oil

The 2011 ASPO-USA Conference will take place in two weeks. The dates are November 2nd-5th, and the venue is the Capitol Hill Hyatt in Washington, D.C. The only other ASPO conference I have attended was the 2008 conference in Sacramento, so I am looking forward to catching up with and hearing presentations from people I haven’t seen in three years. At the 2008 ASPO conference I gave a talk on where to find credible energy data, one on biofuels (here is the outline of that talk), and then I participated in an evening panel session.

At this year’s conference I will also deliver two talks and participate in a roundtable. The first talk will be on how to conduct technical due diligence on energy companies, and the second will be on coping with resource depletion. The roundtable will cover investing and will include Charles Maxwell and Jim Hansen.

The rest of the conference features an impressive list of speakers, including authors of several of the energy-themed books I have read over the years. Some of the speakers include Bob Hirsch, Richard Heinberg, Gail Tverberg, Jeff Rubin, Chris Skrebowski, and Chris Martenson, but there are many more names that will be familiar to readers (full list of speakers here).

So if you happen to be attending the conference or are just in the area, be sure to say hello.

For next Monday’s column, I will be writing about a visit I paid to Solazyme while I was in San Francisco last week. I learned a few new things about the company that I will share with readers.

  1. By garsky on October 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Please, Robert, just ban him. Not only does he not add anything to the discussions, but I’ve noticed lately you seem to be spending a lot of time responding to his garbage, and, selfishly, I’d rather you were spending your time writing new posts.

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  2. By rrapier on October 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    garsky said:

    Please, Robert, just ban him. Not only does he not add anything to the discussions, but I’ve noticed lately you seem to be spending a lot of time responding to his garbage, and, selfishly, I’d rather you were spending your time writing new posts.


     

    Yep, I have deleted those two posts that added zero to the discussion and were just meant to provoke a reaction. I have had quite enough of him, and I know readers have. For those who are wondering, it was just more insults and rants from Kit P.

    RR

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  3. By Walt on October 21, 2011 at 2:30 am

    Robert Rapier said:

     

    At this year’s conference I will also deliver two talks and participate in a roundtable. The first talk will be on how to conduct technical due diligence on energy companies, and the second will be on coping with resource depletion. The roundtable will cover investing and will include Charles Maxwell and Jim Hansen.


     

    I do hope you will make your presentations available online, especially regarding the technical due diligence on energy companies.  The roundtable discussion hopefully will include discussion on the protests in Wall Street.  I realize most conservatives, like myself, have mostly rejected them as a left wing agenda and of no consequence to mainstream America, but in my view that is highly foolish and blindly ignorant.  Without these movements, I fear political and financial policy would grow further behind closed doors and that is not healthy for anyone except those with access.  We can see that once things blow up in the financial community, the aftermatch reveals the sweatheart deals and cozy pressure put in place to the agenda.  I bet if more ethanol deals came unraveled one would see emails that clearly show winners from loosers.  As my lawyers have always told me, as long as everyone is making money few will complain.  The minute people loose money the lawsuits start and all the secrets will surface.  Best policy?  Do everything with the highest possible ethical standard you can.

     

    Largely this eliminates the ability to utilize lobbies and closed door deals.  The more one is open and transparent the better in business and politics, but I fear just the opposite is happening.  Like when Yeltsen cut the sweatheart deals with what today are considered the “Oligarchs”.

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R….._oligarchs

     

    ————————-

    During Yeltsin’s presidency, oligarchs became increasingly
    influential in politics and played a significant role in financing the
    re-election of Yeltsin in 1996. With the insider information about
    financial decisions of the government, oligarchs could easily increase
    their wealth even further. The 1998 Russian financial crisis hit some of the oligarchs hard, however, and those whose holdings were based on banking lost much of their fortunes.

    The most influential and exposed oligarchs from the Yeltsin era are Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Alex Konanykhin, Mikhail Fridman, Vladimir Gusinsky, Vitaly Malkin or Vladimir Potanin.[3]

    ————————-

     

    Today we see similar deals surfacing out of Washington and Wall Street after the 2008 financial crisis and Europe is following suit.  The derivatives market has revealed that the whole world is at risk of financial crisis…it is no longer just Wall Street firms ready to collapse.  The exposure to risk is not just with Peak Oil…or Climate Change…caused by human activity.  Rather, it is some financial game changers that with writing legislation to exempt their activities they literally can cause financial damage to entire nations and governments worldwide.  Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc. are the latest examples of financial decisions effecting the entire EU and anyone who shifts the blame to peak oil, climate change or a long list of other excuses designed to protect the “untouchables” on Wall Street the more the world needs to turn off their TV and start reading more.  Although many in finance argue things just happen by mistake and it was a mistake this or that happens (effecting certain nations in Europe), the reality is that the emails and open disclosures reveal an entirely different story few will discuss without body guards and protection payments.

     

    The collapse of the Soviet Union and rise of the Oligarchs should be a good example for everyone to see how business is done when things are secret.  I hope we all see how NO bankers are being prosecuted in this administration…they are the untouchables.  This is really unprecedented compared to the heads that rolled in the savings and loan crisis.  Those behind (and the architects of) the mortgage crisis and the coming financial derivatives crisis seem to be given a pass to stay out of jail card for free.  History shows Wall Street loves elections and presidential politics.

     

    In 2008 we see from Reuters reporting:

    ———————

    Wall Street puts its money behind Obama

    (Reuters) – Wall Street is putting its money behind Democrat Barack
    Obama for president, despite worries that his administration would raise
    taxes and take a tougher line on trade and regulation.

    The signs Wall Street reads point to Democrats prevailing in the
    November presidential and general election as voters punish the
    incumbent Republican Party for a flagging economy and lengthy Iraq war.

    And the fact that Obama began raking in a bigger share of the cash as
    his campaign picked up steam suggests that investors simply want to back
    the eventual winner.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/…..5520080605

    ———————-

     

    In 2011 we see this shifting from Obama to Romney:

     

    ———————-

    Obama’s Wall Street donors shift support to Romney

    President Obama’s rhetorical war against Wall Street “fat cats” and his
    efforts to enact sweeping reforms of the financial sector haven’t
    exactly endeared him to top financial industry executives.

    Now it appears the Wall Street donors who helped fund Obama’s successful 2008 bid are shifting their campaign cash elsewhere.

    Per Bloomberg’s Jonathan Salant,
    at least 100 donors who previously supported Obama in 2008 haven’t
    written a check to his re-election campaign and are instead supporting
    Mitt Romney’s 2012 bid. The shift has helped Romney raise more than
    twice as much from Wall Street as Obama has so far this election cycle.

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ti…..57957.html

    ———————

     

    Of course your administration does not prosecute those who get you elected as we see from history.  Many who followed Russian politics know that Putin made an unwritten law that the Oligarchs would stay out of politics or else they would be dealt with by the growing power of the government.  We know what happened to those who challenged Putin and his adminstration politically and in business.  Wall Street is certainly not facing a Putin here in America, and politics/finance/Wall Street are the key to these elections.  Money buys elections and influence.  The bankers have the money and the power to influence.

     

    When you see the conservatives jump up and down complaining that all the protests are out of touch with reality, and need to be tossed into jail for shifting blame away from Obama to the bankers on Wall Street (our darling untouchables), don’t by the propoganda.  The Obama Administration and US Treasury have given everyone a pass, and desperately need the support of Wall Street money.  Fortunately, Wall Street can play both sides of the fence and take government/tax payer money and architected legislation to help both sides:

     

    ——————-

    Obama still flush with cash from financial sector despite frosty relations

    Despite frosty relations with the titans of Wall Street, President Obama has still managed to raise far more money this year from the financial and banking sector than Mitt Romney or any other Republican presidential candidate, according to new fundraising data.

    Obama’s key advantage over the GOP field is the ability to
    collect bigger checks because he raises money for both his own campaign
    committee and for the Democratic National Committee, which will aid in
    his reelection effort.

    As a result, Obama has brought in more money from employees of banks,
    hedge funds and other financial service companies than all of the GOP
    candidates combined, according to a Washington Post analysis of
    contribution data. The numbers show that Obama
    retains a persistent reservoir of support among Democratic financiers
    who have backed him since he was an underdog presidential candidate four
    years ago.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..story.html

    ——————-

     

    As a small business who could not even dream of getting a bank loan to build my plant, unless I got some sort of political pressure put on our bankers (which is not possible for our small company), we MUST try to leverage the merits of the technology and the revenue potential.  Let me be clear that I am not opposed to bankers nor sound money principles (including use of a fiat money system), but am opposed to legislation that pick winners and loosers in financing of companies and technologies that have management with influence and money to buy influence.

     

    I do hope the problem can be fixed and reformed to help small businesses again…at least level the playing field for those of us out here who are fighting day and night to bring technologies to market that have merit and deserve a shot.  Some of us refuse to pay bribes, refuse to buy influence and refuse to just fold up and go away.  I recognize these blogs can cause more harm than good for those posting by jabbing those who have the money, but what happened to traditional banking and finance for small business?  Is it dead, or limited to lobby money only?  Again, don’t discount the protests on Wall Street as only a left wing conspiracy as some claim wrong, but fix some of the problems with Wall Street influencing Washington and giving themselves a pass to create entire national bankruptcies and walking away untouched.

     

    Let’s follow Iceland and get to the bottom of the culprits:

    ———————–

    Bankers jailed, sued as Iceland seeks culprits for crisis

    More than a year and a half after Iceland’s
    major banks failed, all but sinking the country’s economy, police have
    begun rounding up a number of top bankers while other former executives
    and owners face a two-billion-dollar lawsuit.

    Since Iceland’s three largest banks — Kaupthing, Landsbanki and Glitnir
    — collapsed in late 2008, their former executives and owners have
    largely been living untroubled lives abroad.

    But the publication last month of a parliamentary inquiry into the
    island nation’s profound financial and economic crisis signaled a
    turning of the tide, laying much of the blame for the downfall on the
    former bank heads who had taken “inappropriate loans from the banks”
    they worked for.

    On Wednesday, the administrators of Glitnir’s liquidation announced they
    had filed a two-billion-dollar (1.6-billion-euro) lawsuit in a New York
    court against former large shareholders and executives for alleged
    fraud.

    http://www.breitbart.com/artic…..cbc792.3a1

    ———————–

    Iceland’s special prosecutor into the banking crisis has confirmed
    that raids have taken place today and that arrests have been made. The
    Central Bank of Iceland is among the institutions under investigation.
    Special Prosecutor, Olafur Thor Hauksson told Visir.is that house
    searches are taking place in at least three places today as part of
    investigations into the central bank, MP Bank and Straumur Bank.

    Stefan Johann Stefansson at the central bank confirmed that agents
    were in the building conducting searches; and it has also been confirmed
    that searches are underway at MP Bank and ALMC (formerly Straumur).

    An ALMC spokesman said that the premises are indeed being searched
    and that the bank’s staff members are doing their best to help.

    In other news, four people have so far been arrested today in
    connection with the special prosecutor’s investigation into Landsbanki.

    One of the arrested parties is Jon Thorsteinn Oddleifsson, former
    Landsbanki treasury boss; and it is not yet known who the other three
    are.

    According to Visir.is sources, the arrests concern a brand new
    section of the wider case against the bank and are not directly
    connected to searches and arrests made last week.
    http://www.icenews.is/index.ph…..-arrested/

    ——————————

     

    You get the point….but remember…Washington fears the bankers more than the bankers fear Washington prosecutors.  It sounds like neither Washington nor Wall Street fear the protestors as long as they can be rounded up and jailed to silence them or cause them fear of being arrested.  I don’t know if it will work…so we will just have to wait and see.

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  4. By perry1961 on October 21, 2011 at 4:31 am

    Bankers have always been out for #1 Walt. What flag-waving American isn’t? The only way to keep them honest is extensive regulations and stiff penalties. Those protesters are no better, or worse, than the rest of us. Half will cheat on their spouses. More than half will cheat on their taxes. Some will even become bankers someday.

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  5. By Walt on October 21, 2011 at 7:12 am

    perry1961 said:

    Bankers have always been out for #1 Walt. What flag-waving American isn’t? The only way to keep them honest is extensive regulations and stiff penalties. Those protesters are no better, or worse, than the rest of us. Half will cheat on their spouses. More than half will cheat on their taxes. Some will even become bankers someday.


     

     

    Perry,

    If someone takes an oath to defend the constitution AND represent the people as a civil servant, they assume a greater responsibility than the average guy in the street protesting, cheating on their wives or taxes.  I know this is old school thinking, but in my work overseas when meeting with political figures who seek power and influence over people I try to stress their ethical responsibility to rise above the average citizen…not just financially.  I realize that politics and business is blurred around the world, and becoming one in the same, as we see overseas those holding office often get some really sweet secret deals to insure projects get approved by their governments, and here in America a lot of promises are made to political figures for large financial rewards before, during and after office.  With this power comes responsibility as well…it is not just a one way street where the political and business leaders are equal to the average joe in the street screaming for justice.  Distinctions need to be made for those who swear to uphold certain obligations when they enter public life, and if you don’t want to uphold those obligations they get out of office.  If one does not see the global uprising against the political and business figures, nor see any problems coming, I don’t know what to say.

     

    Bankers are walking totally free no matter how much damage they cause, and some are causing some serious global problems.  They are getting away with this as you correctly imply as there is lack regulations on their actions, and there are no stiff penalties they face.  They are fearless and getting more so day by day as they control power over Washington regulators and politicians.

     

    If someone has the ability to influence financing of clean technologies, I realize it is limited unless they too have money and power to influence legislation.  I would say to those with limited power and influence don’t rule out possible major reforms in the next election cycle if the Wall Street bankers can feel some heat from the people.  They are not going to feel it from Washington regulators or political figures.  If someone can figure out how to get more money into small business to grow and create jobs I think things can improve for the middle and lower classes.  If it stays within a certain circle of influence, I am not confident things will get much better on the political unrest worldwide.  Some of these bankers need to start going to jail and not just in Iceland.  My concern is that any threats to bankers can cause them to create even more damage, as we see sometimes just one trader can be accused of almost bringing down an entire institution.  Walk on egg shells around bankers with power to disrupt.

     

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  6. By KJMClark on October 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Any thoughts on this:
    http://www.newsdaily.com/stori…..ulose-oil/

    Sounds too easy to me, and the 450C bath would take some energy, but it’s certainly a method I haven’t heard of before.

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  7. By rrapier on October 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    KJMClark said:

    Any thoughts on this:

    http://www.newsdaily.com/stori…..ulose-oil/

    Sounds too easy to me, and the 450C bath would take some energy, but it’s certainly a method I haven’t heard of before.


     

    From the description of the process, I don’t believe they can get all of the oxygen out. Hence, what they have will be more akin to pyrolysis oil, which has to be refined (at low yield) if it is to be used as transportation fuel.

    If they took the wood and put it in a 500C bath, they have pyrolysis oil. I am guessing the first step removes some of the difficult to break down components, hence they really have a modified pyrolysis oil process.

    RR

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  8. By KJMClark on October 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks!

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  9. By deoppressed on October 21, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

     
    Yep, I have deleted those two posts that added zero to the discussion and were just meant to provoke a reaction. I have had quite enough of him, and I know readers have. For those who are wondering, it was just more insults and rants from Kit P.

    RR


     

    Thank you.

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  10. By rrapier on October 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    deoppressed said:

    Robert Rapier said:

     

    Yep, I have deleted those two posts that added zero to the discussion and were just meant to provoke a reaction. I have had quite enough of him, and I know readers have. For those who are wondering, it was just more insults and rants from Kit P.

    RR


     

    Thank you.


     

    That has been a common reaction by e-mail as well. Hopefully more people will feel free to comment now that Kit won’t be putting them down and telling everyone how stupid they are.

    RR

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  11. By Wendell Mercantile on October 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I have had quite enough of him, and I know readers have.

    It feels as though we have walked out of a dank, dark forest and are now back in the sunshine.

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  12. By Walt on October 22, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    “In the August issue of Scientific American, David Beillo published an article called The False Promise Of Biofuels.
    I have a paper copy, but not an electronic copy ($ubscription), so I
    won’t be quoting it extensively. Here’s the summary, which is good
    enough for our purposes.

    Despite extensive research, biofuels are still not commercially competitive. The breakthroughs needed, revealed by recent science, may be tougher to realize than previously thought.”

     

    http://oilprice.com/Alternativ…..ought.html

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