Cal on March 27th, 2015

        Rhythm Future Quartet plays “Made For Wesley”


 

Cal on March 26th, 2015

Baseball season starts in another week, so it is time to turn our attention to strikes and balls, stolen bases, perfect games, double plays and the cheers of the crowd!!

 

 

Former New York Yankee Bernie Williams playing

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Cal on March 26th, 2015

Earth's Energy

Cal on March 25th, 2015

“….we have built an economic system overwhelmingly reliant on a nonrenewable, depleting resource. This is not a sustainable situation. Unless our dependency on oil somehow magically disappears, we are in for a wild ride on an unmapped road.”

Richard Heinberg, Goldilocks is Dead, March 24, 2015

Cal on March 24th, 2015

Something Different

Cal on March 23rd, 2015

Oil analysts seem pretty confident that a move towards higher crude oil prices will take place sometime in the second half of this year but they disagree as to whether this rebound will reach $100 a barrel or will stop short of that level, ie. below the price necessary to support the high cost of producing oil from most US shale formations, Canada’s tar sands, and deep-water wells in the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic and the Arctic.

Currently two benchmarks are used worldwide to price crude oil futures:  One is the West Texas Intermediate price in the US and the other is the UK’s Brent benchmark, based on North Sea oil prices. However, the days for Brent are now numbered. In a few years, the North Sea will contain no actual Brent at all. With aging North Sea fields running out of crude oil faster than predicted, changes to how the global price of oil is calculated are being accelerated.

With the collapse of oil prices, Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC are ending their search for shale oil in Europe, Russia, and China. In most cases it is because crude oil prices have fallen below what it costs to produce a barrel of shale oil.

Producers in Canada’s oil sands are under pressure as the world price of crude oil languishes below production cost levels. Canadian heavy oil prices fell below $30 for the first time in more than six years. Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., among the largest five producers, needs a price of about $50 a barrel to break even. Smaller companies working in Alberta are facing financial troubles. Southern Pacific Resource has defaulted on its debt and Connacher Oil and Gas says it may not being be able to pay its creditors. Meanwhile, other Alberta oil companies announced some 650 job cuts last week involving workers in both head offices and in the field.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., UBS AG and other large international banks face tens of millions of dollars in losses on loans they made to energy companies last year who are now hurting from the collapse of oil prices. The banks losses on the loans could have a chilling effect on some oil companies’ ability to fund their operations in future as investors take a more cautious view of the energy sector.

Saudi Arabia appears to be gearing up to increase the supply of both crude oil and refined petroleum products for export according to some analysts.  This will only add to the existing global supply of oil.  Evidence indicates the Saudis are increasing the number of drilling rigs in the field for both conventional crude oil and shale oil as well as expanding the size of local petroleum refineries and hiring more oil field workers.

OPEC’s control over world crude oil prices is clearing waning in light of the US shale revolution.  Officials at OPEC acknowledge they are unable to get other countries to join in efforts to cut back oil production (eg. Russia) as well as some of its own members (Iran, Saudi Arabia).

Citigroup forecasts the annual growth in China’s oil consumption slowing from 4% last year to 2.7% over the next five years. After 2020, China’s annual oil demand growth could average only 2.3% as the Asian country’s economy continues to slow.

Egypt signed a 5 year-agreement last week to import 35 shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia’s Gazprom.  Gazprom currently accounts for 18% of the world’s natural gas reserves. These and other LNG import agreements are part of Egypt’s plan to import natural gas in order to operate its electric power plants.

Egypt and Italian energy company Eni have signed an agreement for the company to develop crude oil and natural gas reserves. Some $5 billion in investments by ENI would be used for the development of 200 million barrels of crude oil and 1.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

A new report points to the decline of coal use globally. The report found that for every coal plant that came online in the past five years, plans to build two other plants were either put on hold or scrapped altogether.

German anthracite coal imports (used for electric power generation) reached an all-time record high of 56.2 million metric tons in 2014, up 6.2% from the year earlier, according to statistics released by the German Coal Importers Association. Germany has been forced to increase the amount of coal to make electricity following its 2011 decision to close its nuclear plants in light of the Fukushima incident.

Last week a Chinese airline completed the country’s first commercial flight using biofuel, made from waste cooking oil collected from restaurants in China. A Hainan Airlines flight from commercial hub Shanghai to Beijing used biofuel supplied by China National Aviation Fuel company and energy giant Sinopec. The Boeing 737 plane used a 50-50 mix of conventional jet fuel and biofuel.

The US government has ordered all of its federal departments and agencies to switch to electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

 

with h/t Fred and Tom Whipple

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Cal on March 23rd, 2015

Earth's Energy

Cal on March 22nd, 2015

Romane – Stochelo Rosenberg, Romane, Richard Galliano

and Christophe Cravéro play Minor Swing