Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sunday, July 26, 2015

the Houston barge fire; unusual increases in oil imports, oil inventories, and active drilling rigs, et al

it was an interesting week in the fracking patch, at least for us numbers nerds....among other anomalies, we saw the largest increase in oil rigs in 15 months, a 2.5 million barrel build in crude oil inventory, the largest such increase since early April, and the largest one week summertime buildup of crude stores since August 23, 2013, and finally the largest jump in imports in 11 weeks, which pushed the monthly oil imports stats higher than a year ago....so as usual, we'll look at how that all shook out, and take a guess at what might be happening here...

otherwise, it was apparently a quiet week in the fracking patch, which saw only one major explosive oil related accident cross my news-feeds...early Monday morning, a barge carrying roughly a million gallons of petroleum naphtha burst into flames after a collision with another barge near the entrance to the Houston Ship Channel, that actually involved six vessels maneuvering thru the area...two tugboats, one hauling two barges of naphtha and the other hauling two barges of isopropylbenzene, were passing each other moving in opposite directions near the harbor entrance when the tug pushing the isopropylbenzene lost power, sending its barges drifting without power, and as one of it's barges careened into a naphtha barge, the fire broke out...as naphtha is a very flammable gasoline additive, the fire raged for four hours, lighting Galveston Bay, before Houston firefighters and Coast Guard fire crews were able to extinguish it...some of the naphtha and possibly other chemicals leaked into the ship channel, exposing sensitive conservation areas, leaving officials still assessing the environmental impact...by Monday night, the three damaged vessels were moved out of the way, allowing one side of the ship channel to reopen... as a major oil and petrochemical port, the Houston ship channel is a frequent site of spills; in March, we reported that a collision between a tanker and a bulk carrier spilled thousands of barrels of MTBE, a flammable toxic chemical, at almost the same spot as this barge mishap...

while there were major changes in most other oil metrics, US crude oil production was nearly unchanged in this week's report, slipping to 9,558,000 barrels per day in the week ending July 17th, from 9,562,000 barrels per day the prior week...that output rate was up 11.6% from our oil output of 8,565,000 barrels per day in the third week of July last year, and less than a half percent below the modern crude oil production record of 9,610,000 barrels per day in first week of June this year...but even with near record oil production, oil companies and speculators still managed to import 7,941,000 barrels per day during the week, up from 7,354,000 barrels per day last week and the third highest imports in any week over the past year...so this week's imports were up 7.2% from the same week a year ago, and the weekly Petroleum Status Report (62 pp pdf) shows our 4 week average of crude oil imports was over 7.5 million barrels per day, which was 2.5% above the same four-week period last year...

part of the reason for the jump in imports was that our refineries were running just about flat out, with refinery input of 16,870,000 barrels per day in this week's report, up from 16,825,000 barrels per day last week, as refineries were running at a post recession high of 95.5% of operable capacity over the week ending July 17th...still, that 45,000 barrels per day in additional refinery throughput doesn't account for the 587,000 barrels per day in additional imports we were bringing in, so we find that that excess that we've imported this week has been added to our already record high stockpiles of crude oil we have in storage, as U.S. commercial crude inventories rose by nearly 2.5 million barrels, from 461,417,000 barrels last week to 463,885,000 barrels as of July 17th...that works out to more than 25.0% more oil in storage than 371,071,000 barrels we had stored at the end of the third week of July last year, and nearly 20% more than had ever been stored in mid July in the 80 years of EIA record keeping, which had never seen the 400 million barrel level breached before this year... 

what appears to be happening here is probably the same thing we saw when oil prices were collapsing in early March, wherein contracts for oil to be delivered in the future are at a price somewhat higher than the cost of buying oil now, such that it theoretically pays for speculators to buy oil and pay for its storage, in the expectation that it will be able to be sold back at a higher price in the future; as we noted then, much of this is done on paper, but some of this so-called contango trade is obviously being done with the physical commodity, and that demand to put oil in storage for speculative reasons at the same time our refineries are running flat out is creating a demand for more imports, even though our field production of crude oil is near a record high...but as i warned in March, for every buyer of a speculative contract, there has to be a seller, so for every one who's buying oil contracts like this, betting on higher prices, there is someone on the other side of those trades, be it a bank, commodities house, or an oil company, selling that contract and effectively betting on lower prices...they both can't be winners, someone is going to lose, and possibly do us some economic damage in the process, just as we saw when the market for housing derivatives went belly up during the GFC...

however, there was no obvious reason for the rather large jump in the oil rig count this week...US oil prices fell another 4% this week, after falling 4% the prior week and 12% the week before that, and in closing this week at $48.14 a barrel, they're back to the level where 97% of the shale plays in the US are unprofitable...despite that, Baker Hughes reported that the count of active drilling rigs in the US rose by 19 rigs from last week to 876, with oil rigs up 21 to 659, gas rigs down 2 to 216, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at 1...that's still 1007 less than the same week a year ago, as 903 oil rigs, 102 gas rigs, and 2 miscellaneous rigs have been shut down over that period...

unlike the past couple months, there was also an increase in unconventional drilling rigs, as horizontal rigs in use rose by 12 to 662, while active vertical rigs rose by 8 to 131 and directional rigs fell by 1 to 83...those numbers are down from 1293 horizontal, 361 vertical, and 229 directional that were in use a year ago....of the 19 rigs added this week, 17 were land based and 2 were added on inland waters, bringing the land rig total to 841 and the lake rig total to 4, while the total offshore rig count remained unchanged at 31 for the 3rd week in a row...a year ago, we had 1805 land based rigs operating, 18 drilling inland waters, and 59 drillships working offshore...

in yet another oddity, there were no net losses of rigs in any major oil basin, nor in any state over the past week...of the major basins, frackers added 3 rigs in the Permian, 3 rigs in the Haynesville, 2 in the Eagle Ford, 2 in the Cana Woodford, and one each in the Williston, the Utica, and the Granite Wash...that leaves 245 rigs active in the Permian, which is down from 555 a year ago, 29 rigs working in the Haynesville, down from 43 last July 18th, 100 in the Eagle Ford, down from 211, 33 in the Cana Woodford, up from 31, 70 in the Williston, down from 184, 23 in the Utica, down from 45, and 16 in the Granite Wash, which is down from 76 a year earlier...in addition, the Marcellus rig count, which was unchanged at 59 rigs this week, is down from 78 a year ago, while the Niobrara chalk of the Rockies front range was unchanged at 31 but down from 60 a year earlier...

within state boundaries, Texas added 8 rigs, bringing the state up to 374 this week , but down from the 886 rigs that were running in Texas last year; Louisiana added 7 rigs by adding 2 in the Haynesville, 2 on inland lakes, 4 in the southern part of the state, while one Louisiana offshore rig was shut down (Texas had added a rig offshore)...Louisiana now has 76 rigs operating, down from 119 a year ago...in other states that added rigs, Oklahoma was up 2 rigs to 107, but down from 204 a year ago, New Mexico was up 1 to 51 but down from 94 a year ago, North Dakota was up 1 to 69 but down from 178 a year ago, Pennsylvania was up  1 to 44 but down from 53 a year ago, and Ohio was up 1 to 20 but down from 43 a year ago...the rig count in all other states was unchanged this week..


(Note: from Focus on Fracking, where you can other fracking patch news from last week)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

oil spills in Alberta; Montana and Illinois, the Utica supersized, a gas pipeline to Europe, rig counts, et al

there was a major spill in Alberta this week that got a lot less news coverage than we would have expected, given that it now appears to have been one of the largest environmental spills on land in North American history...on Wednesday, a contractor for the pipeline operator Nexen, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Chinese oil giant CNOOC, discovered a spill of tar sands emulsion covering 16,000 square meters, mostly along the route of their feeder pipeline from area wells to the Long Lake oilsands processing facility south of Fort McMurray in Northeast Alberta, about 200 miles north of Edmonton....after the flow was shut off, the company determined that 5 million liters of emulsion, or a solution of tar, produced water and sand, had leaked out, but their automatic detection system hadn't detect the rupture in their double walled "fail-safe" pipeline over the period of the spill, the cause of which they are still investigating...the emulsion that spilled is the product of tar sands mining, whereby superheated steam is injected deep into the tarsands, which forces the emulsion of tar, sand and produced water to flow out to the surface and into the pipeline...although the spill contaminated more than three hectares of beaver ponds and boreal muskeg bog in a densely forested area, it did not affect water supplies, as a nearby lake was protected by a berm which had been previously constructed for that purpose...access to the area, which is frozen much of the year, was restricted by the now soft ground, so a road had to be built and special mats had to be laid on the surface nearby to facilitate moving cleanup crews and equipment into the area...as of Friday, Nexen said its crews were working “around the clock” to clean up the spilled emulsion, which at 5,000 cubic meters of emulsion over a 16,000 square meter area must have largely sunk far into the peat like muskeg by now...

meanwhile, a spill of roughly 35,000 gallons of oil from a derailed train in eastern Montana garnered nearly as much press coverage...on Thursday evening, a Burlington Northern oil unit train pulling 106 loaded crude oil cars saw 21 of its tankers leave the rails near Culbertson, Montana, near the North Dakota border, of which only 2 remained upright...subsequently it was determined that 3 of the cars were leaking their loads, resulting in evacuations of nearby residents and closure of US Route 2, the region’s main artery...even with a downed power line near the leaking crude, County Sheriff Jason Frederick said that there was no immediate threat to public safety, but nonetheless he and other first responders kept their distance until a Burlington Northern haz-mat team could be brought in from Texas...and even though it's unlikely it could have been anything else, rail officials refused to say if the train was hauling explosive crude from North Dakota’s Bakken oil patch, the crude involved in the fiery derailments earlier this year...

prior to those two spills, a pump station pipeline owned by Plains All-American, the company responsible for the Santa Barbara beachfront spill at the end of May, ruptured and dumped more than 4,200 gallons of crude oil into a creek in southwest Illinois, about 40 miles east of St. Louis near Highland, Illinois...the company was on site fairly quickly and said they had deployed 2,700 feet of booms keep the oil from reaching Highland Silver Lake, which supplies drinking water to Highland...apparently this pipeline also did not have automated leak detection and shutoff technology either, because the rupture occurred overnight and was not noticed until a citizen reported the spill sometime between 7 and 8 a.m on Friday morning...

in other widely covered news of interest to us here in Ohio, a two-year study of the Utica shale by federal, state and university researchers estimated the Utica formation holds 782 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas and nearly 2 billion barrels of oil, which would be 20 times more recoverable gas and twice as much recoverable oil as previously estimated...that would make the Utica bigger than the Marcellus, which had been considered the largest shale gas deposit in the US and the second largest in the world until this study...while the Utica is 4,000 to 6,000 feet below the Marcellus and hence more expensive to drill to, it generally makes up for that by being thicker, with the added fracking bonus of the Point Pleasant shale formation, an even more organic rock, immediately below it in Ohio...

now, you must be asking why, with the glut of gas and oil already driving prices below the cost of recovery, would the industry be so anxious to exploit these other formations for gas?  the reason is that they already have a waiting customer; this week saw the christening of the first two “Dragon Class” Chinese LNG tankers, each nearly 800 feet long and able to carry over 27,500 cubic meters of liquefied gas....built by Sinopacific Offshore and Engineering, they are owned by Swiss petrochemical manufacturer Ineos Group Ltd, and will make their first transatlantic delivery of US gas to Europe later this month...Ineos has 6 more of these large tankers being built, and plans a “virtue pipeline” to transport over 800,000 tons of gas a year at minus 90 degrees centigrade across the Atlantic to their plants in Norway and Scotland.....once this gets up and running, we’d expect Americans to soon be paying European prices for their natural gas..

for now, though, US natural gas prices remain depressed and US oil prices are falling again, shedding another 4% this week to close at $50.89 a barrel, down about $10 / barrel from a month ago...that's finally starting to impact oilfield activity, as the number of drilling rigs running this week fell for the first time in 4 weeks, dropping by 6 rigs to 857, with oil rigs down 7 to 638, gas rigs up 1 to 218, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at 1...that's down from the 1871 rigs that were in use the same week a year ago, with oil rigs down 916, gas rigs down 97, and miscellaneous rigs down 1 from that time...of the net rigs idled, 3 had been land based and 3 had been on inland waters; the count of the later is now down to 2 from 18 last year, while offshore rigs in the gulf of mexico were unchanged from last week at 31 but down from the year ago 57....and speaking of offshore, shutting down a rig is not a cost free operation, either, especially since many of those drilling rigs are leased...just this week, ConocoPhillips decided to terminate their contract with Ensco to use their DS-9 drillship in the Gulf of Mexico; as a result, ConocoPhillips must pay Ensco termination fees equal to about two years’ worth of daily renting of the rig, or around $550,000 per day for two years, plus other fees that Ensco might incur from the contract cancellation...

in keeping with the trend we've seen over the past several weeks, unconventional drillers idled rigs, while conventional drillers added them…two additional vertical drilling rigs were added to bring that total to 123, while.there were 650 horizontal rigs in use at week end, down 4 from a week ago and down 693 from the same week last year, and 84 directional rigs remaining, also down 4 from a week ago and down 133 from the 217 directional rigs running on the 3rd Friday of July last year...

within the major shale basins, the Eagle Ford saw a net reduction of 4 rigs, leaving 98; the Marcellus saw 3 idled, leaving 59, while the Williston count dropped by 2 to 69...there were also rig reductions in all the Woodford shales, which hadn't seen many prior cuts; the Ardmore Woodford was down 2 to 5, the Cana Woodford was down 2 to 31, and the Arkoma Woodford was down 1 to 5....the Haynesville shale also saw a rig idled, while Permian basin drillers added 3 rigs, 2 were added in the Granite Wash, and the Utica shale and Niobrara chalk both saw the addition of 1 rig each...by state, Louisiana, where three inland water rigs were shut down, saw the greatest reduction, while 2 rigs were pulled Texas, Pennsylvania and North Dakota, and California and Oklahoma each saw one rig idled...meanwhile, drillers in Alaska, Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico each added a rig, while the rig count in Ohio and other states not herein mentioned was unchanged

meanwhile, US crude oil production fell to 9,562,000 barrels per day in the week ending July 3rd, down from the near record 9,604,000 barrels per day the prior week, but still up 11.3% from our oil output of 8,592,000 barrels per day in the second week of July last year...however, with US refineries operating at 95.3% of their operable capacity and refinery inputs of crude averaging 16.825 million barrels per day during the week ending July 10th, 229,000 barrels per day more than the the prior week, our imports of crude oil rose to 7,354,000 barrels per day, from 7,316,000 in the previous week, 1% more than the 7,427,000 we imported in the same week last year...that's a volatile figure, however, as weekly oil imports are often dependent on how many super tankers arrive and are offloaded during any given week, so we check the weekly Petroleum Status Report (62 pp pdf) for the 4 week average, which at an average of over 7.2 million barrels per day, leaves our 4 week import total 1.3% below the same 4 week period last year...but also note that U.S. commercial crude inventories fell for the first time in three weeks, from 465,763,000 barrels last week to 461,417,000 as of July t0th, which was still 23.0% more oil than 375,040,000 barrels we had stored at the end of the second week of July last year, and in fact much higher than had ever been stored in mid July in the 80 years of EIA record keeping, which had never seen the 400 million barrel level breached before this year...

(NB: the rest of the week’s fracking patch news is here)

Friday, July 17, 2015

The end of capitalism has begun


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Jade Helm 15 watchdog writes off liberals as ‘useless': ‘I can’t wait to kill thousands of these f*cks’

Jade Helm 15 watchdog writes off liberals as ‘useless': ‘I can’t wait to kill thousands of these f*cks’ -- The leader of a volunteer group formed as a “watchdog” over Jade Helm 15 military exercises dismissed 90 percent of Americans as useless and said “he can’t wait to kill thousands of these f*cks.” Pete Lanteri, who organized a New York chapter of the controversial Minutemen border militia, set up a Facebook page that attracted thousands of followers to monitor the eight-week training exercise in several southwest states. The exercise, which started Wednesday, has sparked widespread fears of martial law, gun confiscation, and possible foreign invasion — and the Texas governor asked the State Guard to oversee operations in that state after paranoid residents grilled an Army spokesman at a public meeting in Bastrop County. Lanteri shut down the group’s Facebook page last week, and set up private groups for individual states, after he complained it was “attacked by libs, conspiracy nuts and 90% of these useless f*cking Americans.” He said his watchdog group, which includes 250 volunteers in Texas, was criticized as right-wing conspiracy theorists by the left and as possible government agents by conspiracy theorists on the right. Another group member, who appended his name with the Roman numeral three marks an association with the 3 Percenters patriot group, agreed that “a second REVOLUTION IS NEEDED VERY BADLY.” “I can’t wait to kill thousands of these f*cks, man,” said Lanteri, who now lives in Arizona.



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Thursday, July 16, 2015

4 Marines Killed in Chattanooga

Chattanooga shooting: 'Four dead' at Tennessee US Navy centres - BBC News
Shots were fired at a US Navy reserve centre and at a recruitment office about six miles (10 km) away.
Chattanooga city police said it was the same gunman at both locations and confirmed that the "active shooter" had been killed.
City Mayor Andy Berke tweeted: "Horrific incident in our community... Prayers to all those affected."
Local media reports said Amnicola Highway - where the reserve centre is located - was cordoned off by police. The nearby Chattanooga State University's campus was also in a precautionary lockdown.

Satanyahu