Tuesday, August 17, 2010(2 comments)
They Died Before the Oil Ran Out
There is an open secret in the oil industry that dare not speak its name: peak oil. Well, two did speak its name and gained no acclaim for it. One, M. King Hubbert, died years ago. The other and the most controversial, Matthew Simmons, died at his Maine summer home Aug. 8.
The peak oil idea is simple: Oil is a finite commodity, and one day we are going to use up all of it.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 The Informational Advantage- What do you Know that Other People Don't
Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Kiyohiko Nishimura discusses "informational advantage" this week at the Lujiazui Forum on economics and finance in Shanghai:
"In my understanding, the Volcker Rule [proposed legislation restricting banks from making certain speculative investments] is designed to deter banks from taking excessive risk in capital markets, where volatility is inherently high and in which bankers do not
Friday, June 25, 2010 A Bankrupt BP - Worse For The Financial World Than Lehman Brothers?
The BP crisis in the Gulf of Mexico has rightfully been analysed (mostly) from the ecological perspective. People's lives and livelihoods are in grave danger. But that focus has equally masked something very serious from a financial perspective, in my opinion, that could lead to an acceleration of the crisis brought about by the Lehman implosion.
Friday, June 25, 2010(4 comments)
Government Insiders: Get Ready for the Gulf Dead Zone
Bad news concerning the Gulf oil disaster continues to come from WMR's federal government sources in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers. Emergency planners are dealing with a prospective "dead zone" within a 200 mile radius from the Deepwater Horizon disaster datum in the Gulf
Sunday, June 20, 2010 Crude Oil Holds on to Week's Gains After High Inventories Threaten Rally
Crude oil futures held on to strong gains for the week in lackluster Friday trading, after higher-than-expected inventories earlier in the week threatened to cut short the rally. At the same time, with the front-month July contract set to expire on Tuesday, analysts didn't see much incentive for prices to move above current levels next week.
Monday, June 14, 2010(1 comments)
Geothermal Elbowing its Way into the Mainstream
The U.S. Department of Energy announced it will provide developer U.S. Geothermal with a $102 million loan to help construct a 22 MW power plancompany's Neal Hot Springs project in Oregon.
Saturday, June 12, 2010 Oil price rally stumbles Friday on negative economic news
After clawing its way back above $75 a barrel on Thursday for the first time in four weeks, the benchmark oil futures contract fell back again on Friday on news of an unexpected decline in retail sales in the U.S.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010(1 comments)
BP's Continued Existence Seen Coming Under Threat as Gulf Oil Spill Continues
The continued failure of BP's efforts to stop the Gulf oil spill and mounting political pressure are putting the very future of the British-based oil giant in question.
BP shares plunged again on Tuesday, wiping $17 billion off the market capitalization of the company. Premiums on credit default swaps to insure the company's debt soared 75% to $178,000 for $10 million as analysts began to question whether the company
Saturday, May 22, 2010 BP Gets Pass From Obama Administration To Potentially Pollute Lake Michigan
The Obama administration, already charged with providing political cover for BP in the Gulf of Mexico mega-oil disaster, is also charged with allowing BP to renege on agreements between the firm, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the state of Indiana to prevent pollution of Lake Michigan from the firm's Whiting, Indiana refinery near Hammond.
Thursday, May 20, 2010(1 comments)
Psychological Plunge in Oil Prices Makes OPEC Nervous, Official Says
The plunge in oil prices in the wake of the euro crisis has OPEC worried.
Qatar oil minister Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah emerged as an unofficial spokesman for the oil cartel over the weekend in a series of news agency reports from the Gulf that signaled the group's concern.
Sunday, May 16, 2010 Oil Prices Drop Further in Week as Euro's Travails Continue
Crude oil prices plunged nearly 4% on Friday and were off almost 20% from their 18-month high less than two weeks ago, as the euro continued to lose ground against the dollar and U.S. oil inventories continued to build.
Thursday, May 13, 2010(2 comments)
Exotic investment Vehicles: An Unproductive Abuse of Capital
Michael Lewitt has an interesting new book out, called "The Death of Capital".
In it, Lewitt attacks speculative investment activities such as private equity buyouts. He notes that such speculation "has been a prime abuser of capital as it has diverted an inordinate amount of capital into unproductive uses while producing (at best) mediocre returns and charging unjustifiably exorbitant fees."
Thursday, May 13, 2010 Chesapeake Energy investment signals sovereign wealth fund appetite for global resources
One of Asia's most active sovereign wealth funds is investing up to $1 billion in the U.S. company that helped pioneer production of shale gas, Chesapeake Energy.
Temasek Holding, a $172-billion fund owned by the government of Singapore, will buy $500 million in preferred shares in Chesapeake, and has an option with Hopu Investment Management, a private equity firm in Beijing, to place another $500 million in Chesapeake
Monday, May 10, 2010(2 comments)
Crude Oil Plunges as Turbulence Rocks Financial Markets
In a week of market turmoil resulting from Greece's fiscal crisis, oil went from an intraday high above $87 on Monday -" its highest point in more than a year and a half -" to plunge briefly below $75 on Friday.
Monday, May 10, 2010 Vanishing Uranium Resources
There was a mysterious disappearance of uranium in South Australia last week.
Uranium mining hopeful PepinNini Minerals reported a new resource estimate on its Crocker Well project. And something was missing.
Saturday, May 8, 2010 The Cover-up: BP's Crude Politics and the Looming Environmental Mega-Disaster
WMR has been informed by sources in the US Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Florida Department of Environmental Protection that the Obama White House and British Petroleum (BP), which pumped $71,000 into Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign -- more than John McCain or Hillary Clinton, are covering up the magnitude of the volcanic-level oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico
Friday, May 7, 2010 ADB Launches $9 Billion Plan for Solar Energy in Asia
The Asian Development Bank launched a $9 billion solar power initiative to develop projects generating 3,000 megawatts by 2012. The announcement, which came at the regional lending agency's annual meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, said that Central Asian countries would be prime candidates for siting the projects.
Thursday, May 6, 2010 Bank Lending and Other Key Stats Take a Turn for the worse
I wrote last month that several economic indicators seemed to be turning positive.
I may have spoken too soon. The last two weeks a number of key stats have taken a notable turn for the worse.
U.S. commercial paper yields, for one. I know I've been talking about this a lot lately, but the action in this market is getting very unsettling.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010(2 comments)
Australia's Super Profits Tax on Resource Companies Leads to Immediate Fall-Out
Australia sent the major miners into a tailspin overnight. The Rudd government announced Sunday night that it will impose a new "resource super profits" tax on mining, oil and gas, geothermal and other resource extraction in the nation. Under the scheme, resource companies will pay a 40% tax on profits. Implementation is scheduled for July 1, 2012.
The fall-out was immediate.
Monday, May 3, 2010 U.S. Approval of Cape Cod Offshore Wind Project Will Not End Controversy
The Obama administration approved the controversial Cape Wind project, which calls for a wind farm of 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound and will be the first offshore wind project in the country.
The announcement Wednesday was not a complete surprise after President Barack Obama on Tuesday toured the factory in Iowa that will supply the blades for the Cape Wind turbines.
Sunday, May 2, 2010 Economic Data, Oil Spill Push Crude Prices Higher at End of Week
Stubbornly high crude oil inventories continued to stymie bulls through the middle of the week, but the market seized on positive economic data to push prices higher toward the end of the week.
The oil spill from a collapsed rig off the Gulf coast may also have played a role in firming prices. Analysts said that the spill could have a short-term impact on supply if it interfered with oil deliveries to Gulf coast refineries
Sunday, April 25, 2010 U.S. Housing Data Spurs Late Gains in Oil Prices after Mixed Week
After languishing most of the week, crude oil prices galloped to the finish line on Friday, tacking on 1.7% and recouping most of last week's losses as positive new-housing sale data spurred most markets forward. The decision by the Greek government on Friday to activate a bailout plan from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund eased pressure on the euro, contributing to oil price gains as the dollar slipped a
Sunday, April 25, 2010 Chinese Profits: Bad for Metal prices?
Metals investors globally were cheered this week by good news from Aluminum Corp. of China (A.K.A. Chalco). The aluminum giant swung back into profitability for the first time in a year during the first quarter. Chalco enjoyed net income of 627 million yuan ($92 million) for the past quarter, as compared with a loss of 1.9 billion yuan ($280 million) in Q1 2009.
Sunday, April 25, 2010 UK Wind Turbine Deals Could Help Power Labour Party in Vote
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who faces a tough re-election battle in next month's parliamentary vote, hopes his devotion to clean energy will put the wind at his back.
Brown has reaped the benefits of his long courtship of wind turbine manufacturers in recent weeks as one after the other the large international companies have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in new investments that will create thousands of jobs
Sunday, April 25, 2010 Nazarbayev's Successful Diplomacy in Kyrgyzstan Signals Deeper Strategic Shifts
The recent crisis & instability in Kyrgyzstan, highlighted the fragility of security & the potential weakness of the political systems throughout the region & exposed new dimensions in the conduct of Kazakhstan's foreign policy that may well prove pivotal for US energy interests in the Caspian Sea region. These complexities often disguised by the national governments in the region reveal deep, conflicted political goals.
Thursday, April 22, 2010 Revolution in Central Asia: Who's Next?
On April 7, 2010 the President of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled the capital city of Bishkek that was under a state of emergency after antigovernment protesters started clashing with security forces following incidents that started in the Northern city of Talas, close to the Kazakhstan border. By the end of April 7, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty was reporting 40 dead and 400 wounded, numbers that have over doubled
Tuesday, April 20, 2010 Kyrgyzstan: Business, Corruption and the Manas Airbase
Kyrgyzstan's mass anti-government protests last week were essentially the culmination of more than a decade of disillusionment and dissatisfaction that accumulated in the nation's political, economic and social spheres from the period of Akayev to his successor Kurmanbek Bakiyev, with virtually every Kyrgyz concerned about rising prices and falling standards of living, both issues of little concern and dimly understood in
Tuesday, April 20, 2010(1 comments)
SEC Charge Against Goldman has Volcanic Impact on Energy Markets
Oil prices plunged on Friday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Goldman Sachs with fraud in its marketing of certain subprime mortgage securities, amid a general sell-off in financial and commodity markets.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010(7 comments)
The Search for a Reserve Currency
Currency, like all forms of abstract value, is based on trust. And trust itself is based - except among the most naïve - on experience, and the repetitive demonstration of fidelity, whether positive or negative. At present, the US dollar, which had experienced a gradual rise during the 20th Century to the position gained well into the Cold War of being the trading world's reserve currency. It had the mass, in terms
Sunday, April 18, 2010 Obama's Energy Policy: A Labyrinth of Contradictions
When it comes to energy, there is an incoherence to President Barack Obama's policies.
This incoherence is embedded in his administration in the person of Carol Browner. She is largely regarded as the agent of a kind of reactionary environmentalism that once haunted the Democratic Party.
Sunday, April 18, 2010 U.S. Coal Industry Fights Climate Legislation at Congressional Hearing
Under the shadow of the West Virginia coal mine disaster earlier this month, a congressional hearing Wednesday on the future of coal in a "new energy age" seemed at times like a dialogue of the deaf.
Four representatives of the coal industry appeared Wednesday before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming in an atmosphere frosty enough to lower global temperatures itself.
Sunday, April 4, 2010 The Hydropower Solution in Central Asia: yes but"
Surfing the wave of the hype for renewable energy such as hydropower and the invitation by the United States to many regional countries to get involved in the efforts to stabilize Afghanistan, Tajikistan is bringing back to the table the Rogun hydropower dam project. Rogun, conceived in Soviet days, was planned to generate 3,600 megawatts but the collapse of the Soviet Union halted the completion of this project.
Monday, March 29, 2010 Crude Oil still Stuck at $80; Natural Gas Falls Below $4
Crude oil prices still found stubborn resistance above the $80-a-barrel level amid concerns about demand while natural gas continued its decline, to below $4 per million British thermal units, as burgeoning supply from unconventional sources depressed prices.
Thursday, March 25, 2010 Acting Nigerian President Moves Quickly, Decisively to Get Country Back on Track
Acting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has moved decisively and rapidly to unify the Government under him, dismissing -- on March 17, 2010 -- the entire Cabinet which had been appointed by the now-incapacitated Pres. Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. This followed his move, the week before, to appoint Lt.-Gen. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau as the new National Security Advisor, a post which oversees all the intelligence and security services
Friday, March 19, 2010 Google's Decision Highlights the Dangers of Doing Business in China
The ramifications of Google's decision to leave China are deep: China's leadership, be careful what you wish for. I have been a student of China for 40 years. Alas, no, I did not learn Mandarin. When I started reading about China in 1969, and taking university courses on its culture and history in 1972, the Cultural Revolution was in full swing. The People's Republic was locked down; other than a trickle of black-market trad
Saturday, March 13, 2010(1 comments)
A Bull Market Requires a Healthy Consumer Underneath
A year ago this week the stock market hit its nefarious 666 level on the S&P 500. Since that historic day, we have enjoyed a 68% appreciation in equities from their depressionary low. Not only has the bounce caused a chorus of perma-bulls to claim the worst of the recession is behind us, but also to declare that the bull market is here to stay.
Saturday, March 13, 2010 There Will be No Economic Recovery as the Era of Cheap Oil Comes to an End
When oil crossed $120 a barrel for the first time in May 2008, oil cornucopians knew they were in trouble. Prices had quadrupled in just five years, yet had failed to bring new production online. Regular crude had flatlined around 74 million barrels per day (mbpd). The case for peak oil was looking stronger with every new uptick in crude futures.
Saturday, March 6, 2010 U.S. Jobs Data Propels Crude Oil Above $80 a Barrel
Jobs data indicating that U.S. economic recovery might be picking up steam finally pushed crude oil futures decisively over the stubborn $80 a barrel threshold. Nymex's benchmark West Texas Intermediate settled Friday at $81.50 a barrel, a seven-week high, after topping $82 in intraday trading.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010 The Great Divide of Natural Gas
South Korea is coming to northeast British Columbia.
It was reported this week that state-run Korea Gas has signed a deal with Canadian gas major EnCana covering three fields in the province of British Columbia. Korea Gas will take a 50% interest, for a price tag of $1.1 billion.
Saturday, February 27, 2010 Tide Turns As Kurds Push For Oil Law Amid South's Sudden Bright Future
While the Iraqi government has made overtures to its Kurdish counterpart in the north to end an oil standoff, much remains in doubt without an actual law keeping the industry in check - rules which this time the Kurds are pressing for rather than Baghdad.
Sunday, February 21, 2010 Libya Faces Tough Energy Sell Following Scant Oil & Gas Claims and Government Fiascos
The Libyan government has been sounding off lately about boosting the profile of its oil and gas market, but it's questionable whether international companies will ignore the government's missteps in the industry - not to mention the recent lackluster energy finds - and keep injecting money into the North African country.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010 Gazprom: Angel or Demon?
Gazprom is a behemoth: it is Russia's largest company, state-controlled and the world's largest gas producer. Gazprom faces regular opprobrium for its bullying ways of using energy as a pressure and political tool. Seen by some, mostly Russians, as the symbol of a successful and strong Russia
Tuesday, January 12, 2010 Regulators Seek to Throw Light on Hedge Fund Impact in Energy Trading
for most of us, including lawmakers on Capitol Hill, it seems obvious that when hedge funds buy and sell billions of dollars worth of oil and gas futures, it must be having an impact on energy prices. While hedge funds and other speculative traders would never dream of taking delivery of a barrel of oil, their trading activity affects the prices for actual consumers of oil and gas and their
Tuesday, January 5, 2010 The Myth Of Nabucco: Greed, Delusion and $11.4 Billion
Construction of the 56-inch, 2,050-mile pipeline, first proposed in 2002, is tentatively slated to begin next year and scheduled for completion by 2014. At a cost initially estimated at $11.4 billion and rising, Nabucco will be the most expensive pipeline ever built, more than three times the cost of the 1,092-mile Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline. Raising such a significant sum in a time of global recession would be an
Thursday, December 31, 2009 Re-Thinking the Art of Military Planning
It is often assumed that what preoccupies military planners is their attempts to define the shape of future warfare so that they can adequately prepare equipment and doctrine ideal to meet the threat. Evidence, however, shows that what most occupies their attention is how to adapt existing force structures and systems to react to emerging conditions.