Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday -- October 16, 2014

Active rigs:

Active Rigs190184187195153

RBN Energy: excellent article on why Saudi Arabian oil imports into the US will "never" go away. This is another great article, highly recommended.
Crude oil prices are in free fall – the prompt U.S. benchmark WTI CME NYMEX futures contract was down 24 percent to $81.78/Bbl yesterday (October 15, 2014) from its recent high in June. International benchmark IPE Brent futures were down 27 % over the same period to $83.78/Bbl.
Most analysts point to an excess of crude supply over faltering demand as the main driver behind the price collapse. The apparent willingness of OPEC leader Saudi Arabia to protect its market share at the expense of higher prices is also a bearish factor. Today we explain why Saudi Arabia is bucking the trend that has pushed out other light crude imports with a robust and unwavering flow of 330 Mb/d of Arab Light.
Rampant increases in U.S. domestic production of light sweet crude oil over the past three years have all but pushed out imports of similar grades from the Gulf Coast. The first imports replaced were light sweet crudes from West Africa and the North Sea.
And the next import casualties are expected to be light sour crude grades that could perhaps be most easily displaced by domestic shale barrels.
Of the five top Gulf Coast light sour crude importers in 2010, only three remain active: Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Iraq. The light sour crudes from these regions in 2014 averaged 466 Mb/d composed of 74% Arab Light, 9% Isthmus (Mexico), 7% Olmeca (Mexico), and 6% Basrah Light (Iraq). These light sour imports have not been displaced by domestic production at the same pace as their light sweet counterparts.
Light sour imports to the Gulf Coast from these three countries accelerated from 2009 to 2012, when they peaked at an average of 836 Mb/d. A gradual decline subsequently set in, with the displacement averaging 185 Mb/d per year in 2013 and 2014. If the current trend continues, light sour imports would disappear by the second quarter of 2017.
However, two factors in particular may prevent some of these light sour imports from going to zero in the foreseeable future: joint ventures/contractual commitments; and crude quality requirements.
That's the introduction but the linked article provides the details. Most of these articles disappear over time, requiring a subscription to access past articles.

Where Is The US Surgeon General?

It's a long, long story, but the US currently has no "permanent" US Surgeon General. We, do, however have an "acting" US Surgeon General but to the best of my knowledge the "acting" surgeon general has been little involved in the Ebola issue, at least publicly.

The Senate, controlled by the President Obama's party, has failed to confirm President Obama's US Surgeon General nominee because of the latter's stance on gun control.

Katrina / Fall of Saigon / 9-11 / Bay of Pigs / Cuban Missile Crisis  -- All Rolled Into One?

There was one difference: in each of the former "disasters" we had a leader in Washington. One can argue whether the second Bush lacked intellectual curiosity or missed the initial events, but he did not check out; he was never accused of being AWOL; he might have been inept in some folks' eyes, but I don't recall anyone saying he was AWOL. He may have made huge mistakes political and otherwise, but he never checked out.

Starting about October, 2012, there was talk that President Obama had checked out. He was bored with the presidency and frustrated with gridlock. He himself has said he was lazy.

Fall of Saigon: missteps, but I don't recall hearing anyone suggesting that LBJ was AWOL. Maybe a lot of other things, but not AWOL.

Bay of Pigs? The president was definitely not AWOL. He was in the middle of it.

It's interesting that folks started noticing in October, 2012, that the president seemed to be detached. There are reports that sometime in 2012 military intelligence was bringing him reports of ISIS. There are reports, pretty much confirmed, that the White House ignored those reports. Remember, they were bringing him the reports (there is no record that he read them) because it is well known that he started skipping intelligence briefings about that time.It is confirmed that the president considered ISIS the "JV" team -- that Al-Qaeda was varsity.

Ebola is purely a political issue: look at the headline links at the moment:
  • NYT: Ebola anxiety grows ...
  • Washington Post: Threat of virus might interfere with commerce, daily routines
  • OH and TX close some schools
  • Dallas may declare state of disaster
  • White House ignored CDC's Ebola advice
  • The Senate (controlled by President Obama's party) never confirmed the president's nomination for US Surgeon General
  • Political hack running the CDC
  • Political hack running Health And Human Services (prior job was with OMB)
  • Cruz: Congress should be called back for travel ban; President and CDC don't see need for travel ban
That's only my opinion and I assume I'm in the minority.


  1. Why are people obsessing on this Ebola thing? I bet way more people die from the flu every year. Bunch of media hype. Did they ever find the Jonbenet Ramsey killer?

    1. Agree. I love to blog about it because of the political angle. As mentioned earlier, Ebola is a POLITICAL issue.

      ISIS is the real issue, whether or not the US is involved; whether or not the US military is asked to do more; regardless of one's politics. ISIS is the real deal.

      Iran - Israel is also the real deal.

      Putin - Ukraine - EU - US: another political issue, but having outsize ramifications.

      The winners: China and the US.