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

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Whistleblowers' Tale

‘Killing Jews is Worship’ in New York City

‘Killing Jews is Worship’ posters will soon appear on NYC subways and buses - The Washington Post:

New Yorkers are used to aggressive advertising. Banners for breast implants. Billboards for condoms. But a federal judge’s ruling has opened the door for far more controversial posters on buses and subways across the city.

“Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah,” reads one such ad next to the image of a young man in a checkered headscarf. “That’s His Jihad. What’s yours?”

The poster is at the center of heated legal debate over public safety and free speech. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John Koeltl ruled that New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) cannot stop the controversial ad from running on scores of subway cars and buses.

The MTA has argued that the ad could incite violence against Jews, but Koeltl rejected that idea.

MTA officials “underestimate the tolerant quality of New Yorkers and overestimate the potential impact of these fleeting advertisements,” he ruled. “Moreover, there is no evidence that seeing one of these advertisements on the back of a bus would be sufficient to trigger a violent reaction. Therefore, these ads — offensive as they may be — are still entitled to First Amendment protection.”

Making the case all the stranger is that the posters are not the work of an Islamist group, but rather a pro-Israel organization.


Hubble Marks 25th Anniversary in Orbit

UK Election Deadlock - Summary

US Vietnam War Vets Revisit Their 'Mistake'

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

One more endless summer in South Korea

I will be leaving for Korea in the morning. Will be spending the summer there as we have the previous years.

Flying into Incheon, then taking the bus to the countryside where we stay.

We stay in Beolcheonpo Beach which is close to Daesan near Seosan.

Will also be visiting friends in Yeongdong which is near Daejeon.

If you are in Korea send me an email.

I will be posting pictures here and also on my other blog.

What Gets You Censored On Chinese Internet

Sunday, April 19, 2015

frack Texas anywhere, US & global rig counts, and more busted pipelines

the fracking related story that received the most media coverage this week was out of Texas, where their House passed HB 40, the so-called "frack anywhere" bill, by an overwhelming vote of 122-18, which would give the state the exclusive right to promote the oil and gas industry and ban any local ordinances or zoning laws that would encumber it ...the Senate still has to take up the measure before it goes to the governor, who has stayed out of the debate...assuming a veto proof bill emerges, it will leave Texas the second state in the nation, after Ohio, where local laws on fracking are trumped by the state, while New York and Maryland have banned fracking completely...however, note that key Senators and House leaders have agreed this week on fast track legislation for the international trade deals we've often mentioned, which will make all those state and local regulations moot...these deals will change everything we know about all environmental regulations, so you might want to review what i wrote about ‘fracking and the TPP’ three weeks ago...

since we missed covering the rig count last week, we'll catch up with that next, as it provides us the clearest and most timely evidence that the frackers are folding up their steel tents and going home, in the face of low oil prices and the oil glut they've brought on themselves....for the week ending April 17th, Baker Hughes reported that we saw a reduction by 34 of the rigs operating in the US; in the prior week, the rig count fell by 40; that left us with 954 rigs operation in the US and offshore as of this weekend, down from 1831 a year earlier and down from 1931 that were in use during the last week of September...of the rigs shut down this week, 26 had been drilling for oil and 8 had been drilling for gas; the prior week saw 42 oil rigs and one miscellaneous rig shut down and 3 gas rigs restarted; this left 734 oil rigs, 217 gas rigs, and 3 miscellaneous rigs still operating at the end of the week....those totals are down from the recent peak of 1609 oil rigs that were operating during the week ending October 10th, and the recent peak of 356 gas rigs that were being run the week of November 11th....of those operating this past week, 917 were based on land, which was down by 34 this week, and down from 993 in the week ending April 3rd; another 4 were on inland waters, which was unchanged over the past two weeks, and 33 were drilling offshore, unchanged this week but up from 31 two weeks ago...of those still operating, 741 were horizontal rigs, 122 were vertical, and 91 were directional; that's down from 799 horizontal, 136 vertical and 93 directional two weeks ago, with the horizontal rig count down from the record 1372 set during the week of November 21st...

the greatest reduction of rigs over the past two weeks was in the Permian basin of west Texas and New Mexico, where 21 rigs were shut down last week and an additional 6 were stacked this week..that left the area with 258 rigs at week end, down 282 from the 540 rigs running there a year ago...other major reductions by field include the Eagle Ford of southeast Texas, where 12 rigs were shut down in the week of April 10th and another two were idled this past week, leaving them with 123 rigs running, down 94 from the year earlier 217, and the Williston, which includes the Bakken shale, where 5 rigs were stacked last week and another 2 were idled this week, leaving them with 84, 101 less than the 185 rigs running there a year addition, the Mississippian lime of west Kansas and Oklahoma saw 9 rigs shut down this week after being unchanged last week, leaving them with 31, 43 less than the 71 running there a year ago...the major natural gas play, the Marcellus, saw its major rig reductions when gas prices crashed in 2012, and has seen additional drilling cuts in the low price environment this year, as they finished the week with 69 rigs running, down 1 from two weeks ago and down from 81 in the same week last year...and below that shale layer, there are still 26 rigs drilling into the Utica shale, 11 less than the year ago 37, where 2 rigs were idled this week after 1 was shut down last week...

of the states, Texas, with most active rigs by far, saw the greatest reduction of rigs over the past two weeks, as drillers in that state shut down 29 rigs last week and 15 this week, leaving Texas with 412 rigs still working, down from 884 a year ago...Oklahoma saw 5 rigs shut down in the week ending April 10th and another 6 this week, leaving them with 118 at week end, down 69 from the 187 being run there a year ago...North Dakota saw a reduction of 2 rigs last week and another 5 this week, leaving them with 83 still operating, down 95 from the 178 that were active a year ago..meanwhile, drillers added 5 rigs in Louisiana last week, bringing their total back up to 72, down just 38 from a year ago...Ohio drillers shut down 1 rig each of the last two weeks, leaving us with 25 still drilling, 11 less than a year ago...other states with drilling activity and their current rig counts include New Mexico, with 49 rigs operating, down 2 over the last two weeks and down 40 from 89 a year ago, Pennsylvania, with 48 rigs, down 2 from April 3rd and down 11 from 59 a year ago, Colorado, with 36 rigs this week, down 1 over the past two weeks and down 26 from 62 a year ago, Wyoming, with 23 rigs, down 5 from the 3rd of April and down 26 from 49 a year ago, West Virginia, with 22, unchanged in recent weeks and down 1 from 23 a year ago, Kansas, with 13 rigs, one less than two weeks ago and down from 27 a year ago, California, with 13 rigs, down from two weeks ago and down from 40 a year ago, Alaska, with 12 rigs, down 1 this week but up from 9 a year ago, Arkansas, with 8 rigs, unchanged over two weeks but down from 12 a year ago, and Utah, with 7 rigs, down 1 this week and down 20 from 27 a year ago...

understand that the year ago count on the basins or for the states don't indicate the peak count for each; for instance, the recent California rig count peaked at 48 during the week of May 30th, 2014, while the Utica shale saw as many as 50 rigs actively drilling into it during the week of December 12th last year...for such complete details, Baker Hughes provides the North America Rotary Rig Count (Jan 2000 - Current), an Excel file which includes rig counts for each basin under tab 2, and weekly rig counts for each state under tab 3...most of the material Baker Hughes provides is fairly dense, which is why the media usually relies on the press releases..

that file also provides the Canadian rig count by province, weekly since March 2003...while we'll spare you the details, suffice it to say that the aggregate Canadian rig count fell by 20 over the last two weeks, and they now have just 80 rigs in operation, 77 of which are in the western provinces and 3 of which are offshore Newfoundland..that's down from the 199 rigs that were operating in Canada in the same week a year ago, with Canadian oil rigs down 65 to 20 and gas rigs down 54 to the week ending February 21st of last year, Canadian operators were running 632 rigs, and as recently as December 12th they still had 431 the collapse of the Canadian oil & gas industry is the largely untold story of this year, a sequence we could have predicted Thanksgiving week, when we noted that Canadian oil was some of the most expensive on the planet...

in addition to it's regular weekly North American rig count data release, last week Baker Hughes also reported on International rig counts for March, which indicated that the average international rig count for March was at 1,251, down 24 from the 1,275 they counted in February, and down 94 from the 1,345 they counted in March a year ago...including North America, the worldwide active rig count for March averaged 2,557, down 429 from the average of 2,986 counted in February, and down 1,040 from the 3,597 counted in March 2014....for March, they counted 351 active rigs in Latin America, down 4 from February and down 55 from a year ago, with 284 of those land based, an increase of 1 from last month but a reduction of 53 land based rigs from a year ago, while 67 rigs were operating offshore in Central and South America, down from 72 in February but just two fewer than the year ago count of 69...they also show 407 rigs operating in the Middle East, down 8 from February but up 6 from the year ago count of 401; of those, 355 were land based, down from 367 last month, but up from 350 a year ago, and 52 were offshore, up from 48 in February and from 51 a year ago....other areas reported on included the Asia-Pacific region, where the active rig count of 233 was down 7 for the month and down 25 for the year, with 102 of those operating offshore, Europe, where the rig count of 135 was an increase of 2 from February but down from 148 a year ago, and Africa, where the 125 rigs being operated was down 7 from February and also down 7 from the year ago count...

despite the fact that our oil rig count is down nearly 55% over the last 6 months, our production of oil fell during the week ending April 10th for only the 3rd time this year, slipping to 9,384,000 barrels a day from 9,404,000 barrels a day the prior week...while that's down 0.4% from the near term record of 9,422,000 barrels of day output set in the 3rd week in March, it's still 13% higher than the 8,301,000 barrels a day that were being produced in the 2nd week of April a year ago...even with our lower oil production and a ramp up of refinery activity, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased during the same week, as they were up by 1.3 million barrels to a new record of 483.7 million barrels...and although our imports of crude oil were down this week by 1.07 million barrels a day to 7.15 million barrels a day, the weekly Petroleum Status Report (62 pp pdf) reports our crude oil imports have still averaged over 7.5 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, 0.2% above the same four-week period last year...

finally, there's one graph we want to include here, which comes from a pdf booklet of graphs published this week by Reuters energy analysis John Kemp...on several occasions, when citing oil prices, we've made an attempt to explain that the oil price we quote, the same oil price that you often see quoted in the news, is for WTI, or "West Texas Intermediate", which is the benchmark for US light sweet oil at or to be delivered to the oil storage depot in Cushing Oklahoma, and that wellhead prices might differ, depending on transportation costs, specific gravity and sulfur content (ie, "sour" crude)…the graph below shows exactly how that has played out over the past 6 months for two important fracking crude oil grades, and for the two benchmark prices that are most often quoted…in the graph below, the quoted WTI price, which is actually a price quote in dollars per barrel for a contract to deliver oil the next month, is shown in brown, and the price for a similar contract to deliver North Sea Brent oil, the global benchmark price, is shown in addition, the same graph has six months of wellhead price quotes for oil produced in the Eagle Ford of southeast Texas shown by the dashed brown line, and wellhead prices for sweet Williston crude, typically from the Bakken shale in North Dakota, shown by a dotted line graph...what we can note here is that while oil from the field has been priced lower than the benchmark, it fairly much moves along the same track, with the difference, or the discount from the benchmark, remaining pretty tight over time, with Eagle Ford crude roughly $4 a barrel less than WTI, and Bakken crude, with its high transportation costs, discounted by around $17...meanwhile, the relationship between US prices (WTI) and the international benchmark Brent is more volatile, with Brent even dropping below the WTI price for a time in January...we should also make note that a benchmark oil price is not always the highest price for oil; for instance, higher quality Nigerian and Algerian crude grades have often sold for a premium over the Brent price...

April 2015 quoted and wellhead oil prices

after we 'went to press', so to speak, with our main link aggregation on Saturday, we learned of two pipeline spills that occurred on Friday that we missed in our last scan of our newsfeeds that day, and hence were not included in our accompanying links...the first was of a rupture of a pipeline belonging to Phillips 66 that allowed roughly 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel to flow into the Mississippi river about 20 miles north of St Louis before the source of the leak was of this writing, the Mississippi river has been closed from mile marker 160 to 195, with no timeline on when it would be reopened....the second pipeline rupture was more explosive, as a 12 inch gas pipeline transversing a California sheriff’s gun range exploded, sending a fireball over 100 feet into the air, injuring 11 inmates who were doing forced labor nearby, two of them this case California Highway 99 was closed until the situation was brought under control, while rail traffic had to be re-routed as the heat from the flames warped 400 feet of track...speaking of track, as far as we know, there were no oil bomb train derailments of note this past week, although two trains carrying ammonia, one in Colorado, and one in South Carolina, did jump their tracks and spill their loads, resulting in evacuations of nearby residents...

(from Focus on Fracking, where there is more)