Active rigs: 181
RBN Energy: Part 2, the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale.
The potential for the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (TMS) tight-oil play to become the next big thing in U.S. oil production is attracting exploration and production companies willing to put some money at risk in the hope of big payoffs. The TMS seems to have a lot going for it. The play in central Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi is said to have seven billion barrels of oil in place deep below ground but only a stone’s throw from the pipeline networks, terminals and refineries of the Gulf Coast. But succeeding in TMS requires overcoming the play’s challenging characteristics through nuanced drilling techniques and completion formulas. Today in the second part of our series on TMS we examine what the E&P pioneers have accomplished so far in drilling and production, what they’re learning from their experience, and what it would take to turn TMS’s potential into reality.
The Wall Street Journal
Previously posted in a shorter note last night:
The Canadian subsidiary of Chinese state-owned energy giant Cnooc Ltd.has been awarded exclusive rights to proceed with a proposed terminal to export liquefied natural gas from Canada's Pacific coast, local government and company officials said Tuesday.
Known as Aurora LNG, the project is one of nearly a dozen proposals for plants to export surplus natural gas from British Columbia, none of which have been formally approved yet by their corporate sponsors. In addition to Calgary-based Nexen Inc., a wholly owned unit of Cnooc, the project is also backed by two Japanese companies: oil explorer Inpex Corp. and construction engineering firm JGC Corp.
It comes as part of a move by Canada to transform its underdeveloped northern Pacific coast into a major hub for LNG by using a glut of natural gas from untapped reserves inland. The Canadian government has also been trying to shift gas exports away from the saturated U.S. market and into LNG-hungry Asian markets.
Heard on the street -- Apple's Retina Mini available this week.
Living up to past glory is no easy task, especially if you are Apple. AAPL +0.19% Illustrating this was Tuesday's uncharacteristically quiet launch of the new iPad Mini with a Retina display.
Last year, Apple launched the first version of its smaller tablet to now-customary long lines of waiting fans, who snapped up more than three million units of the then-new, seven-inch iPads over the launch weekend. That was double the launch sales for the previous iPad release. Last year's figures also encompassed the launch of the iPad 4, although analysts believe the bulk of the sales were for the Mini.
It will be a challenge for Apple to make the same sorts of claims this year. The company has effectively staggered the launch of its new iPads, with the iPad Air hitting stores earlier this month and the Retina Mini delayed until now. That was reportedly due to production issues that have limited manufacturing capacity. Reflecting this, Apple confirmed Tuesday that the Retina Mini needs to be ordered online for customers who want to pick it up in stores.I will be getting a new Apple iPad; can't decide between "full-size" and mini; most likely a mini.
Now comes the hard part. Reuters is reporting:
The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant will as early as this week begin removing 400 tonnes of highly irradiated spent fuel in a hugely delicate and unprecedented operation fraught with risk.
Carefully plucking more than 1,500 brittle and potentially damaged fuel assemblies from the plant's unstable Reactor No. 4 is expected to take about a year, and will be seen as a test of Tokyo Electric Power Co's ability to move ahead with decommissioning the whole facility - a task likely to take decades and cost tens of billions of dollars.
If the rods - there are 50-70 in each of the assemblies, which weigh around 300 kg (660 pounds) and are 4.5 meters (15 feet) long - are exposed to air or if they break, huge amounts of radioactive gases could be released into the atmosphere.
The hazardous removal operation has been likened by Arnie Gundersen, a veteran U.S. nuclear engineer and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, to trying to pull cigarettes from a crushed pack. [Somehow this doesn't seem like such a big deal.]
When the time comes, extracting spent fuel from the plant's other reactors, where radiation levels are much higher because of core meltdowns, will be even more challenging. Reactors No. 1 and No. 3 sustained heavier damage than No. 4 as a result of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that knocked out power and cooling at the Fukushima station, triggering three meltdowns that sent a plume of radiation into the air and nearby Pacific Ocean.