Thursday, March 31, 2016
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
I am one who would never vote for her, no matter what.
The author of this article has it all wrong, and is asking the wrong
question in order to prop up the machine candidate (Clinton) even further.
The democrats rely on a heavy turnout for the general election.
It will not happen this year if she is the nominee for the system representing the status quo.
Many lefties will not come out at all. PERIOD!
The Republican party is already having their own revolution.
It is high time true progressives within the Democrat Party have theirs.
This can only start by rejecting the coronation of the Clinton dynasty machine.
She does not stand for the working class on Main St.
Rather she bows to her masters on Wall St. and the Military Industrial Complex.
Look in the mirror, and for once tell yourself.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
If Trump or some other Republican wins, then so be it.
We will get through it, we alway have.
Even if it means total failure.
It is time for a viable third and fourth party system in America.
Let the right have theirs, and the left have ours.
This means the left can finally find freedom without being coopted by a gang of Neoliberal junkies.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
Let it begin.
Tao Dao Man
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Monday, March 28, 2016
Sunday, March 27, 2016
a 33 month high for oil imports, another all time high for oil supplies, & another all time low for drilling
This Week's EIA data, and a look at our oil production
this week’s big oil inventory increase was largely due to a jump in our imports of crude, which surged to a 33 month high, while while our refining was undergoing a modest slowdown....this week's Energy Information Administration data indicated that our imports of crude oil rose to an average of 8,384,000 barrels per day during the week ending March 18th, the most oil we've imported in any week since the second week of July in 2013...those imports were 691,000 barrels per day higher than the average of 7,693,000 barrels per day we imported during the week ending March 11th and 13.4% more than the average of 7,392,000 barrels per day we were importing during the 3rd week of March last year...over the last 4 weeks, our oil imports have now averaged 8.1 million barrels per day, 11.6% more than we were importing during the same four-week period of last year...
at the same time, our field production of crude oil was averaging 9,038,000 barrels per day during the week ending March 18th, 30,000 barrels per day less than the 9,068,000 barrels per day we were producing domestically during the week ending March 11th...that's now 4.1% lower than the 9,422,000 barrels per day we were producing during the week ending March 20th last year, and the lowest our oil production has been since the 2nd week of November in 2014, before the Thanksgiving OPEC meeting that set the oil price collapse in motion....still, our current production of over 9 million barrels per day is still almost double the 4.6 million barrel per day average that we saw during the last 4 months of 2008, before fracking production really kicked in...a couple graphs from the recent EIA blog posts published daily under the heading of "Today in Energy" helps put our current production of oil in perspective...the first one, below, comes from the EIA blog post titled "Wells drilled since start of 2014 provided nearly half of Lower 48 oil production in 2015", which was published on Tuesday of this week..
the bar graph above shows our average total crude oil production annually in millions of barrels per day since 2003, with the size of each bar graphically indicating that production...then, within each year-bar, the amount of each year's production that came from new wells, under two years old, is indicated by the beige coloration, the amount of that year's production that came from 2 to 4 year old wells is indicated by the light brown coloration, and the amount of the given year's production that came from wells older than four years is indicated by the dark brown...here we can see that an increasing percentage of our production has been coming from those newer wells each year, even as the production from older wells held steady...also note that the 2014 and 2015 production from wells two to four years old is considerably less than what those wells yielded when they were newer, ie, when those wells were in the beige portion of 2012 and 2013...the next graph we'll look at, which comes from the EIA blog post titled "Hydraulic fracturing accounts for about half of current U.S. crude oil production", published on March 15th, goes a long way to explain that...
like the first graph, this graph shows our average total crude oil production annually in millions of barrels per day since 2000, with the size of each bar graphically indicating that production; however, instead of by age, each bar is divided into production from fracked wells, in light blue, and production from conventional wells, in dark blue...i'm sure no one is surprised that fracked wells accounted for very little of our production before 2008, and that such fracked wells accounted for more than half of our production in the year just ended...but reflect on that fact when remembering what we saw in the first graph, that recent production from wells two to four years old has been considerably less than what those wells were yielding when they were new...this aggregate data is clear evidence of the rapid depletion of oil wells drilled into shale and fracked, wherein they get that large burst of production during the first few months, but that fracked well production typically falls by 80% after two years have passed, and continues to fall annually from there..for a picture of that, we'll include an old graphic from a report from the North.Dakota Dept of Resources (pdf), which shows the production over time from a typical well in the Bakken shale, which is still the most productive oil field in the US...it should be pretty obvious what the graph below says about the light blue portions of the graph above, and the future output of the new 2015 wells on the first graph when they're two to four years old...
returning to our synopsis of EIA data, even with this week's large jump in crude oil imports, refining of that crude slowed for the 1st time in 5 weeks, as U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15,820,000 barrels per day during the week ending March 18th, down by 176,000 barrels per day from the prior week, as the US refinery utilization rate slipped to 88.4%, down from 89.0% during the week of March 11th, a slowdown not unexpected at this time of year, when some refineries are still switching over to summer blends...nonetheless, we still refined 1.9% more crude than the 15,530,000 barrels per day we refined during the week ending March 20th last year, even though we were using less than the 89.0% of refinery capacity that was in use a year ago..
with less oil being refined, our refinery production of gasoline fell by 332,000 barrels per day to 9,683,000 barrels per day during week ending March 18th, down from the seven month high of 10,015,000 barrels per day of gasoline output we saw during week ending the 11th...still, this week's gasoline output was 7.3% higher than the 9,024,000 barrels per day of gasoline we were producing during week ending March 20th last year, which itself was already above the average range for gasoline production at this time of year...meanwhile, our refinery output of distillate fuels (ie, diesel fuel and heat oil) also fell slightly, decreasing by 39,000 barrels per day to 4,781,000 barrels per day during week ending the 11th, which was still 10,000 barrels per day higher than our distillates production during the same week of 2015...
with the decrease in gasoline production, combined with a 301,000 barrel per day drop to 415,000 barrels per day in our gasoline imports, gasoline needed to be withdrawn from storage to meet the demand, even though that demand fell from 9,458,000 barrels per day during the week ending March 11th to 9,411,000 barrels per day in this reporting week, and thus we saw another drop of our gasoline stores, as our gasoline inventories fell by 4,642,000 barrels, from 249,716,000 barrels last week to 245,074,000 barrels as of March 18th...but this weeks stores were still 5.0% higher than the 233,386,000 barrels of gasoline that we had stored at the end of the same week last year, which were at the time the highest for that week since 1990, and thus our gasoline stores are still well above the average range of for the third week of March…however, our distillate fuel inventories rose despite lower production, increasing by 1,119,000 barrels to a total of 162,260,000 barrels as of March 18th, as the week saw an unseasonable 497,000 barrel per day drop in demand for distillates...with the ongoing warm winter, our stocks of distillates thus remained well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year, measuring 28.9% greater than the 125,849,000 barrels of distillates we had stored during the same week last year..
finally, after combining the large jump in imports with the downturn in refining, we once again ended the week with even more excess crude in the country than the record level that we had last week, as our total inventories of crude oil in storage, not counting what's in the government's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, rose by 9,357,000 barrels, increasing from 523,178,000 barrels on March 11th to 532,535,000 barrels on March 18th...thus our glut of crude remained 14.1% higher than the then record glut of 466,678,000 barrels in the same week last year, and roughly 39.2% above the 382,471,000 barrels of oil we had stored at the end of the 3rd week of March two years ago, in what could be considered a more normal level of oil supplies for this time of year...we've now increased our inventories of crude oil by nearly 50.0 million barrels over the last 10 weeks, setting new records for the amount oil we had in storage in the US in each of the last six of them....below, we'll include the most recent 20 years of the long term graph that accompanies the EIA data page for the Weekly U.S. Ending Stocks of Crude Oil, so you can see how this glut oil oil in storage has built up over the past year and a half...notice how our supplies started running up at the same time oil prices collapsed at the end of 2014, paused seasonally last summer as refineries were running at a record pace, and have since resumed their surge since the autumn of this past year:
This Week's Rig Count
in addition to the record high in crude oil inventory, this week again saw another all time record low in drilling activity in the US, beating the record that we saw last week by better than two and a half percent.....Baker Hughes reported that their total count of active rigs drilling in the US fell by 12 to 464 as of March 25th, as rigs targeting oil fell by 15 to 372, while the natural gas rig count rose by 3 to 92, even though natural gas prices have been stuck below $2 per mmBTU for the past month and a half, due to the gas glut buildup after a mild winter....those net rig totals were down from the 813 oil rigs, 233 natural gas rigs, and 2 miscellaneous rigs that were in use a year earlier, and well off the records of 1609 working oil rigs set on October 10, 2014 and the recent gas rig record of 1,606 that was set on August 29th, 2008...
nonetheless, there was still an oil platform that started drilling offshore from California this week, which brought the total number of rigs deployed offshore up to 28, with the other 27 of those in the Gulf of Mexico...meanwhile, a net of 10 horizontal rigs were removed nationally, leaving the count of horizontal rigs at 359, which was down from the 812 horizontal rigs that were in use on March 27th of 2015, and down from the recent record of 1372 horizontal rigs that were drilling on November 21st of 2014...at the same time, 5 vertical rigs were also stacked, leaving 53 still running, which was down from the 144 vertical rigs that were in use at the end of the same week a year earlier...on the other hand, a net of 3 directional rigs were added, bringing the directional rig count back up to 52, which was still down from the 92 directional rigs that were in use the same week last year...
of the major shale basins, the large Permian basin of west Texas and eastern New Mexico was down 5 rigs to 147, which was down from the 290 rigs working the Permian basin on March 27th last year...the Eagle Ford of southern Texas also got rid of four rigs, which left the Eagle Ford with 41 rigs, down from 137 a year earlier....in addition, the Cana Woodford of Oklahoma saw 3 rigs stacked, leaving 31, which was down from 40 last year at this time...then both the Ardmore Woodford, also in Oklahoma, and the Marcellus of the northern Appalachians, were both down by a single rig; that left the Ardmore Woodford with one rig remaining, down from 4 a year earlier, and left the Marcellus with 30 rigs, down from the 70 that were deployed there a year earlier...meanwhile, 2 rigs were added in the Barnett shale of the Dallas-Ft Worth area, where there are now 6 rigs working, the same as were working there a year earlier...
the state count tables showed that Texas had the largest net drilling decrease, as they saw 8 fewer rigs working this week than last and now have 209 rigs deployed, which is down from the 462 rigs that were working in Texas on March 27th last year…at the same time, 3 rigs were pulled out of Oklahoma, where 63 rigs remain, down from 133 a year earlier...2 rigs were also stacked in Alaska, where they now have 10, down from 12 last year at this time...meanwhile, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky each saw one rig pulled out....that left Kansas with 7 rigs, down from 13 a year earlier, left Pennsylvania with 18 rigs, down from 51 a year earlier, and left Kentucky peaceful and quiet with no rigs drilling, down from the 2 rigs that were working in the Bluegrass state last year at this time...states adding rigs this week included Louisiana, where the addition of two rigs brought their count back up to 51, which was still down from 72 a year earlier, New Mexico, where 1 rig was added, which brought their count back up to 14, still down from 51 last March 27th, and Illinois, where the single rig they added is a lone driller, just like there was just 1 rig working in Illinois at the same time last year...
NB: there is much more in the links following this post here
Saturday, March 26, 2016
Let me tell you something that no other candidate for president will tell you. And that is no matter who is elected to be president, that person will not be able to address the enormous problems facing the working families of our country. They will not be able to succeed because the power of Corporate America, the power of Wall Street, the power of campaign donors is so great that no president alone can stand up to them.That is the truth. People may be uncomfortable about hearing it, but that is the reality. And that is why what this campaign is about is saying loudly and clearly: It is not just about elected Bernie Sanders for president, it is about creating a grassroots political movement in this country.
Friday, March 25, 2016
The annual Israeli-lobby love fest is in full swing, the highlight of which may be the sight of most of the candidates for the highest office in the land groveling before their financial masters. The annual AIPAC (Apartheid Israel Political Affairs Committee; oops! That is, officially, the American Israel Political Affairs Committee) orgy always draws the United States president and every member of Congress worthy to be called a lackey for Israel, and their name is legion.
Thursday, March 24, 2016
As part of its intention to kill nearly 4,000 whales in the Antarctic over the next 12 years as “scientific research,” Japan’s whaling fleet returned to port Thursday with 333 dead minke whales, including pregnant females.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Socialism is often conflated with authoritarianism. But historically, socialists have been among democracy’s staunchest advocates.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Monday, March 21, 2016
“Took pandering to a new level”: Progressives, Palestinians criticize Hillary Clinton for “Israeli PR” AIPAC speech
Sunday, March 20, 2016
oil prices now 50% higher on OPEC / Russian freeze talk, record low rigs and record high oil stores again
this week's news is the same as last week's news was, since we beat the two records that we headlined last week's news with, albeit in a somewhat less spectacular fashion...US oil and gas drilling activity, which last week fell to a 150 year low through a reduction of the number of active rigs by 9, was even slower this week, as an additional 4 drilling rigs were idled...and we also added to our record levels of crude oil in storage, thus setting a new record for our oil inventories for the 5th week in a row, as we added another 1.3 million barrels to storage, again a bit less impressive than when we added a near record 10.4 million barrels to storage to set a new record two weeks ago...
otherwise, it was a rather slow week for news from the fracking patch, with little of the news meriting digging for any further details than are included in the links below (see here)...oil prices rose once again this week, with international prices topping $42 a barrel on Thursday, a high for 2016, on continuing reports that OPEC and Russia will be meeting in April in an attempt to freeze crude oil output at current levels...prices for US crude, which had closed last week at $38.50 a barrel, initially fell around 2 percent to close at $37.18 a barrel on Monday after Iran refused to join OPEC discussions until its own output reached the pre-embargo levels of 4 million barrels per day...oil prices then fell again to close at $36.34 a barrel on Tuesday, as traders focused on the expected increase in record oil inventories...global oil prices then rose on the Wednesday announcement that OPEC and other major oil producers would meet in Qatar on April 17 to discuss an oil production freeze, with US crude closing at $38.46 a barrel...prices then added to their gains on Thursday, as the Wall Street Journal reported that the Saudis were open to a freeze without Iran's participation, after which US prices approached $41 a barrel before falling back to close at $40.20, the first US close above $40 since December 4th....crude prices then fell from those highs to close at $39.44 a barrel on Friday after the release of the U.S oil rig count, which showed that despite prices that had been in the $30s, some drillers had even restarted idled oil rigs...to put that all in perspective, we'll include the weekend graph of oil prices over the last 3 months below..
to explain once again, the above graph shows the daily closing contract price per barrel for April delivery of the US benchmark oil, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), as traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange over the last 3 months...since this graph references the current contract price for April, it doesn't show that when the March contract was the current contract, oil for March delivery had traded as low as $26.02 a barrel on February 11th, which was then the widely cited 13 year low price for oil....hence, at $39.44 a barrel, this weekend's oil price is up more than 50% from that low, partially on speculation that OPEC and Russia will make a deal, not even considering whether they will hold to what terms they might set....although i didn't see the press conference in question, a CNBC oil analyst characterized Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi as smirking when talking about such a deal...so whether it will come to pass is still seriously questionable, but the market participants still believe it enough to move the price, and al-Naimi is an old fox who knows how to play the media, so it's quite possible that between him and Russian oil minister Alexander Novak, who has also been speaking positively to the media about a possible deal, the two of them could talk the price of oil up to $50 a barrel without touching a drop of their oil output...
The Latest Oil Stats from the EIA
as we mentioned in opening, US supplies of crude oil in storage rose to another new record this week, but less oil was added to storage than in previous weeks, because our imports fell back from the two year highs of recent weeks, while our own production of crude continued to slow slowly....this week's Energy Information Administration data showed that our field production of crude oil fell by 10,000 barrels per day to 9,067,000 barrels per day during the week ending March 11th, from 9,077,000 barrels per day during the week ending March 4th...that's now 3.7% below the 9,419 ,000 barrels per day we produced during the week ending March 13th last year, and the lowest our oil production has been since the 2nd week of November in 2014...
meanwhile, our imports of crude oil, the other major source of our domestic crude supply, fell to an average of 7,693,000 barrels per day during the week ending March 11th, dropping by 355,000 barrels per day from the average of 8,048,000 barrels per day we imported during the week ending March 4th and down by more than 7.2% from the 2 year high of 8,292,000 barrels per day that we imported during the week ending February 26th... however, that was still 2.6% more than the 7,496,000 barrels per day we were importing during the same week of last year, and our 4 week moving average of imports reported by the weekly Petroleum Status Report (62 pp pdf) is still nearly at the 8.0 million barrel per day level, 10.0% above the same four-week period last year...
while our supply of crude was thus lower this week, refineries increased the amount they used again, as they processed 15,996,000 barrels per day during the week ending March 11th, 85,000 barrels per day more than the 15,911,000 barrels per day the were processing during the week ending ending March 4th, even though the US refinery utilization rate slipped to 89.0%, down from 89.1% during the week of the 4th..still, that was still the highest refinery capacity utilization rate for the 2nd week of March since 2005, so refineries are ahead of schedule on changing over to their summer blends...so we're thus using 3.6% more crude than the 15,436,000 barrels per day we were using during the week ending March 13th last year, when refineries were operating at 88.1% of capacity...
with more oil being refined, our refinery production of gasoline rose by 435,000 barrels per day to 10,015,000 barrels per day during week ending March 11th, up from the 9,580,000 barrels per day of gasoline we produced during week ending March 4th, and up 2.7% from the 9,754,000 barrel per day gasoline production we saw last year during the week ending March 13th, which had been, until this week, a record for March gasoline output....at the same time, our output of distillate fuels (ie, diesel fuel and heat oil) also rose, increasing by 37,000 barrels per day to 4,781,000 barrels per day during week ending the 11th, which was still a bit lower than our distillates production of 4,807,000 barrels per day during the same week of 2015...
however, even with record levels of gasoline production production for any time in March, and a 151,000 barrel per day increase in gasoline imports to 716,000 barrels per day, we apparently still needed to draw gasoline our of storage to meet this week's demand, as our gasoline inventories fell by 747,000 barrels from last week's report to 249,716,000 barrels as of March 11th...now, that was still 6.1% higher than the 235,400,000 barrels of gasoline that we had stored at the same time last year, which was then the highest in years, and still what the EIA characterizes as "well above the upper limit of the average range" in the weekly Petroleum Status Report...but it's been a puzzle that we'd be drawing down our supplies now, that our gasoline production is hitting records, whereas as recently as 3 weeks ago we were still adding to those supplies with considerably less production; in fact, we had added to our gasoline supplies 14 weeks in a row until then, setting records for gasoline supplies each of the last 4 of those weeks...the next graph from the EIA goes a long way in explaining why that happened:
the above graph comes from “This Week in Petroleum – Gasoline Section” published by the EIA on March 16th and it shows the 4 week average of US demand for gasoline in millions of barrels per day each week over the past year in blue, and over the preceding year in brown…what you'll notice there is that our demand for gasoline, which had generally been running several hundred thousand barrels per day ahead of last year's, slipped below last year's demand in November, and then fell well below January 2015's demand in January 2016, at which time i endeavored to attempt to explain "why our consumption of gasoline is falling"...no sooner than the pixels were dry on that post than our demand for gasoline started rising again, and is now approaching 500 thousand barrels per day more than it was a year ago at this time...i have no special insight as to why this happened, but just thought pointing it out was necessary for anyone who had been puzzled by the shift in the gasoline storage metrics as i was...
at any rate, our inventories of distillate fuels also fell, decreasing by 1,135,000 barrels end the week of March 11th with 161,343,000 barrels in storage.....but because of the unseasonably mild winter, the drawdown of heating oil has been much less than normal, and our stocks of distillates remained above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year, measuring 28.2% greater than the 125,883,000 barrels of distillates we had stored during the same week last year.. similarly, our inventories of other major petroleum products are also running above well their normal range; residual fuel inventories are at 45,274,000 barrels, 20.7% higher than the 37,495,000 barrels we had stored at the end of the 2nd week of March last year; jet fuel inventories, at 44,390,000 barrels, are 16.0% higher than the 38,240,000 barrels we had stored a year ago; and inventories of propane and propylene feedstocks are at 62,500,000 barrels, 15.1% higher than the 54,284,000 barrels we had stored at the end of the same week a year earlier...
finally, even with the lower imports and the pickup in refining, we still had 1,317,000 barrels of unused crude oil left over at the end of the week, and hence our stocks of crude oil in storage, not counting what's in the government's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, rose once again to a new record of 523,178,000 barrels as of March 11th, up from the record 521,861,000 barrels of oil we had stored on March 4th..that was 14.1% higher than the then record of 458,508,000 barrels of oil we had stored as of March 13th, 2015, and 39.2% higher than the 375,852,000 barrels of oil we had stored on March 14th 2014...so we've now increased our inventories of crude oil by 40.6 million barrels over the last 9 weeks, setting new records for the amount oil we had in storage in the US in 7 of them...
This Week's Rig Count
as we mentioned, the past week also saw another net decrease in the number of rotary rigs actively drilling for oil and gas in the US, and that meant we had another record low for the rig count in the history of such records, and likely for the history of the oil and gas industry in the US...Baker Hughes reported that the total count of active rigs fell by 4 to 476 as of March 18th, as rigs targeting natural gas fell by 5 to 89, while the oil rig count rose by 1 to 387 in the first increase in oil rigs since December...those net totals were down from the 242 natural gas rigs, 825 oil rigs, and 2 miscellaneous rigs that were in use a year earlier, and well off the records of 1609 working oil rigs set on October 10, 2014 and the recent gas rig record of 1,606 that was set on August 29th, 2008...
breaking down the changes by type of rig, the week ending March 18th saw a net of 6 horizontal rigs stacked, leaving the count of horizontal rigs at 369, which was down from the 826 horizontal rigs that were in use the same week last year, and down from the recent record of 1372 horizontal rigs that were drilling on November 21st of 2014...at the same time, a single directional rig was also removed, dropping the directional rig count down to 49, which was down from the 92 directional rigs that were in use on March 20th of last year...meanwhile, a net of 3 vertical rigs were added, bringing the vertical rig count back up to 58, which was still down from the 148 vertical rigs that were in use the same week a year earlier...
of the major shale basins, the Cana Woodford of Oklahoma was down 3 rigs to 34, which was down from the 40 rigs working that basin on March 20th last year...meanwhile, the Arkoma Woodford of Oklahoma, the Haynesville of Louisiana, the Mississippian of southwest Kansas and bordering states, the Utica of eastern Ohio and the Williston of North Dakota all saw single rig reductions; that left the Arkoma Woodford with 3 rigs running, down from 6 a year earlier, left the Haynesville with 14 rigs, down from 34 a year earlier, left the Mississippian with 7 rigs, down from the 44 rig drilling there last year at this time, left the Utica with 10 rigs, down from 30 a year ago, and left the Williston with 31 rigs, down from 99 a year earlier...at the same time, a net of two rigs were added in the Eagle Ford of southern Texas, where the rig count stood at 45 at the weekend, down from 138 a year earlier...
hence, the state count tables also showed that Texas had added two rigs over the past week, and they now have 217 rigs deployed, which is still down from the 465 rigs that were working the state on March 20th last year…at the same time, 2 rigs were pulled out of New Mexico, where 13 rigs remain, down from 53 a year earlier...the 4 states losing one rig each line up pretty well with the basin counts; the Kansas rig count was down 1 to 8, and down from 12 a year earlier; North Dakota was down 1 rig to 31, and down from 98 rigs a year earlier; the Ohio count was down 1 to 10 rigs and down from 28 rigs a year earlier, and the Oklahoma rig count was also down 1 rig to 66 and down from 136 rigs working a year earlier...
as noted above, there is more here...