- likely: 65%
- unlikely: 35%
From a long, long time ago ....
In recent years, the shale revolution has allowed the United States to achieve a level of energy security that would have been thought impossible only a few years ago, while also boosting the labor force through the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs. In an effort to push the envelope on operating in shale formations, as well as to ensure that the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students of today are prepared for the energy careers of tomorrow, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SD School of Mines) in Rapid City, South Dakota is using its experience with natural resources and its proximity to major shale formations surrounding the school to full advantage in its new Energy Resources Initiative, one of academia's first shale programs.
A charter aircraft flying from the U.S. airbase at Bagram in Afghanistan to Dubai was re-routed to Bandar Abbas, Iran, on Friday due to "a bureaucratic issue," a U.S. State Department official said.
"A Fly Dubai charter plane flying from Bagram Air Field to Dubai was re-routed to Bandar Abbas, Iran because of a bureaucratic issue today," the official said.
"Contrary to press reports, this plane was not forced down by the Iranian military," the official added. "The issue appears to have been resolved and hopefully the plane will be able to take off soon."I guess the short answer to the question why SecDef Hagel would allow this: "Because he can."
Wall Street analysts at Fitch Ratings today downgraded New Jersey's bond rating for the second time this year, citing the state's poor economic performance, Gov. Chris Christie's rosy revenue forecasts — which failed to materialize — and his decision to plug the resulting budget gap by cutting $2.4 billion in funding for the state's strained pension system.
Fitch said Christie's decision to cut the pension payments this year marked a "repudiation" of a bipartisan plan he signed to fix the beleaguered retirement system for public workers, which is underfunded by nearly $40 billion, according to state estimates.
CHS tried to get permits to use water from aquifers around Jamestown. The State Water Commission, which evaluates the availability of water and issues permits, said many of the water rights for the area already had been allocated.Something seems a bit fishy; shouldn't this have been worked out by now?
If a new project in the Bakken is not followed by "-est" -- the biggest, the largest, -- it hardly makes news.Then, this morning, Kent wrote:
"$3 billion here, $3 billion there."Remember, a single Bakken well costs upwards of $10 million. A 14-well pad, $150 million.
CHS Inc. to build fertilizer plant at Spiritwood, N.D.; plant to cost ~$3 bln and employ ~160-180 people: Co announced it will proceed with construction of a fertilizer manufacturing plant at Spiritwood, N.D.2018. I will be only three or four years older. Awesome.
- The CHS Board of Directors approved final plans for the ~$3 bln project at its September meeting. Groundbreaking will take place following completion of additional details, with the plant intended to be fully operational in the first half of calendar 2018. When complete, the plant will employ 160-180 people.
- The CHS fertilizer plant will produce more than 2,400 tons of ammonia daily which will be further converted to urea, UAN and Diesel Exhaust Fuel.
On Sept. 23 the United Nations will host a party for world leaders in New York to pledge urgent action against climate change. Yet leaders from China, India and Germany have already announced that they won't attend the summit and others are likely to follow, leaving President Obama looking a bit lonely.
Could it be that they no longer regard it as an urgent threat that some time later in this century the air may get a bit warmer?
In effect, this is all that's left of the global-warming emergency the U.N. declared in its first report on the subject in 1990.
The U.N. no longer claims that there will be dangerous or rapid climate change in the next two decades.
Last September, between the second and final draft of its fifth assessment report, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change quietly downgraded the warming it expected in the 30 years following 1995, to about 0.5 degrees Celsius from 0.7 (or, in Fahrenheit, to about 0.9 degrees, from 1.3).
Even that is likely to be too high.
The climate-research establishment has finally admitted openly what skeptic scientists have been saying for nearly a decade: Global warming has stopped since shortly before this century began.Baraq O'Bama is going to be a bit lonely -- but mainstream media is going to use a lot of ink on this conference.
Two years before Mr. Whitehouse's article, climate scientists were already admitting in emails among themselves that there had been no warming since the late 1990s.
"The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998," wrote Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia in Britain in 2005.
He went on: "Okay it has but it is only seven years of data and it isn't statistically significant."
If the pause lasted 15 years, they conceded, then it would be so significant that it would invalidate the climate-change models upon which policy was being built.
A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) written in 2008 made this clear: "The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more." [Read that again.]
Well, the pause has now lasted for 16, 19 or 26 years—depending on whether you choose the surface temperature record or one of two satellite records of the lower atmosphere. That's according to a new statistical calculation by Ross McKitrick, a professor of economics at the University of Guelph in Canada.
After years of keeping the price of crude sold to the U.S. low enough to maintain market share, Saudi Arabia is losing ground as the shale boom leaves U.S. refiners with ample supplies of inexpensive domestic oil.
Arab Light crude for sale in the U.S. averaged 48 cents a barrel less than Light Louisiana Sweet, a Gulf Coast benchmark, in August, the narrowest discount in data compiled by Bloomberg back to 1991.
The U.S. imported 878,000 barrels of Saudi crude a day in the first four weeks of August, the least since 2009.
Shale drilling has boosted U.S. oil output to the highest level since 1986. As refineries turn to lower-priced domestic oil to make fuel at a record pace, the Saudis and other foreign suppliers are left with dwindling slices of the market.
In June, imports from Saudi Arabia accounted for the smallest share of crude processed at U.S. refineries since February 2010.
"The Saudis are not going to sell crude at a disadvantage to themselves -- they're not about buying market share anymore," Mike Wittner, Societe Generale (GLE)'s head of oil market research in New York, said by telephone Aug. 28.
"Those days are long gone. They'll price crude to be competitive with the competing sour grades in every market, and if that means their flows to the U.S. are down, so be it."
Saudi Arabia has inaugurated a multilayered fence along its northern borders, as part of efforts to secure the kingdom's vast desert frontiers against infiltrators and smugglers, state media said.
King Abdullah announced late Friday the launch of the first stage of a border security programme, covering 900 kilometres (560 miles) of the northern frontier, SPA state news agency reported.
SPA did not name Iraq, Saudi Arabia's neighbour to the north, referring only to the northern frontier, but the two countries' common border stretches over 800 kilometres (500 miles).
CHICAGO – Hummus is too fatty, pretzels are too salty. Even hard-boiled eggs and yogurt don’t make the cut.
Those restrictions and others imposed on schools through the revamped “healthier” National School Lunch Program convinced officials in Illinois’ second largest school district to forfeit nearly $1 million in federal lunch aid to serve students food they want to eat, rather than what the government tells them to, CBS reports.
The federal “healthier” school lunch overhaul, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, has been a boondoggle for public schools across the country. The tightened restrictions, intended to combat childhood obesity, have driven more than 1 million students away from school lunches and created over $1 billion per year in food waste since they were implemented in 2012.
The drastic drop-off in lunch sales is prompting an increasing number of school districts to ditch the regulations and attached federal funding to save their floundering cafeteria programs. Just this week, two other New York school districts dropped out.Wow.
The president of the Northern Gateway pipeline says it's unlikely the project will start up in 2018 as the company seeks to win over B.C. First Nations groups, many of which remain adamantly opposed to the $7.9-billion project.
"We have stated that the earliest in-service date was 2018. That's quickly evaporating because we need to have this time to meet with people," John Carruthers told a Calgary business audience on Thursday.
"I'm not as fussed on what that date is. I'm more fussed on can we have the support we need to go ahead, so it's positive for all people of Canada, including Aboriginal people?"
"That's going to take time and it's going to take the time it takes."
So far, 26 First Nations groups along the route have signed agreements with Enbridge to take a share of a 10 per cent equity stake in the pipeline that the company had offered. Enbridge is now in talks with other groups about other ways to participate in the project, such as employment and procurement contracts.I think everyone knows what is meant "by talking to everyone."
The shift from diesel to LNG (and sometimes CNG or field gas) as a fuel for drilling rigs and hydrofracturing pump engines is underway, and there is interest in having ships, locomotives and long-haul trucks run on natural gas from LNG too.
But before investing in new or converted engines that can run on natural gas or on a diesel-natural gas blend, diesel and shipping fuel users need answers to three questions: What will it cost? How much will we save? And—this is important, too--is the LNG infrastructure sufficiently robust to support the switch?Today we explore the economic ins and outs of converting from diesel to gas, and describe the current state of domestic LNG supply infrastructure.
With US natural gas selling at roughly one-quarter the price of crude oil on a per-BTU basis, it is not surprising that major consumers of diesel (an oil-based fuel whose pricing is closely linked to crude) are exploring the possibility of switching to natural gas from LNG. As we said in our Series Opener on the domestic use of LNG, diesel engines that power drilling rigs, fracking pumps, locomotives and long-haul trucks can be converted to dual-fuel operation or replaced with natural gas-only engines, as can ship engines now fueled by marine distillate or bunker fuel.
LNG, produced mostly with modest-size (less than 200 Mgal/d) plants sited near major customers, is seen as a logical, cost-effective and consistent quality source of gas. LNG also stores several times as much gas per gallon volume as CNG (helping with weight and storage space).
But there are significant costs involved in making a switch, and even some risk—the biggest of which is whether, after making the investment to change to dual-fuel or all-gas engines, you can count on LNG to be available when and where you need it. To help sort out the economics and the risk, let us first look at what is involved in switching engines from diesel (or shipping fuel) to dual-fuel or all-gas.
This weekend I’m moving 100 loads of 30/50 frac sand out of Marshfield, WI, to Denver, CO, $174.00 per ton, about $4.25 per mile.
We are also moving sand out of Woodbury, MN, to Sidney, MT, @ $100.00 per ton, Next week Alama Center, WI, to Genoa, NE, $64.00. Plant-to-plant move.More on this later, perhaps.
Incredible. Last year the average well took 20 train cars of sand. This year on average 75 train cars. Lots of concern about deliverability of sand due to transport bottlenecks on the rails, but trucking has done OK making up any shortfalls, just more expensive. Big pump replacement program also, and upgrade, I expect the more sand you use the harder it is on equipment.And more: Sand comments from HAL. HAL spoke at an investor conference yesterday and expounded on a number of points related to sand logistics.
CHS Inc., the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global agriculture and energy business, announced today it will proceed with construction of a fertilizer manufacturing plant at Spiritwood, N.D.
"I don't believe it."
"This is anomalous."
"There's going to be an upward revision."
That's how three top economists reacted on CNBC to the much-lower-than-expected August jobs report, shortly after it was released Friday.
The U.S. economy added only 142,000 nonfarm payrolls last month, the Labor Department said, while the unemployment rate fell slightly to 6.1 percent.
"I don't believe this data. It's not consistent with anything," Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi said in a "Squawk Box" interview.
He puts together the monthly ADP private sector jobs report, which on Thursday said jobs grew in August by 204,000.And they say I have rose-colored glasses:
U.S. employers hired the fewest number of workers in eight months in August and more Americans gave up the hunt for jobs, providing a cautious Federal Reserve with more reasons to wait longer before raising interest rates.
Nonfarm payrolls increased 142,000 last month after expanding by 212,000 in July, the Labor Department said on Friday. The jobless rate fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.1 percent, but that was partly because people dropped out of the labour force.
Data for June and July were revised to show 28,000 fewer jobs created than previously reported. In addition, manufacturing saw no job growth and retail payrolls declined for the first time since February.
The number of jobs added to the U.S. economy in August came in lighter than expected at 142,000 (analysts were looking for 230,000), according to the Labor Department.
Other data reveals plenty of help is wanted, but employers aren't hurrying to hire.
Even though there were 4.7 million jobs openings in June, the most since 2001, employers are waiting longer to fill them than they have in more than a decade, according to an index created by University of Chicago economist Steven Davis.
It's taking 25 working days on average to fill vacancies, a 13-year high, according to the Dice-DFH Vacancy Duration Measure. And for companies with 5,000 employees or more, it's taking more than twice that long -- an average of 58.1 working days.
August's nonfarm payrolls are expected to show a seven month of 200,000 plus hiring, a sign that the labor market is finally on the mend.Not "200,000 plus" but almost barely half of that at 142,000. So, I take that as "a sign" that the labor market is finally NOT on the mend. LOL.
As we noted, McDonald's was dealt a serious blow in late July after the National Labor Relations Board ruled that both the McDonald's Corporation and its franchisees were jointly responsible for the treatment of its workers. This precedent set workers at McDonald's and other fast-food restaurants on a course toward unionization, a long elusive goal and means by which employees could more effectively file unfair practice complaints.3. Fascinating story regarding McDonald's and minimum wage. Yahoo!Finance is reporting:
As fast-food workers and their champions protest in 150 cities today in pursuit of a $15 minimum wage (with some arrests reported already), a wide gulf remains between the company line and the aspirations of the protestors. You'll no doubt be hearing about the demonstrations, which unions have encouraged two million home-care workers to participate in, as well as the calls for civil disobedience by organizers.
What you probably won't be hearing is the case against the minimum wage campaign. Enter Ron Piazza. The Wire caught up with him last month to talk about the business of fast food as well as his take on the ongoing efforts by fast-food workers and activists to push for a large minimum wage increase.
Piazza says his managers make roughly $55,000 per year, which he notes is more than a teacher ("a noble profession"), and that his employees can flourish no matter "what schooling you have."
"People think we're a dead-end job. Well, I'm not a dead-ender. I've got 585 employees and 55 managers, they're not dead-enders."
I've mentioned several times that a minimum wage of $15/hour for fast-food restaurants will hasten the day of automation -- I guess I missed this. They've been using automation in fast-food restaurants (McDonald's) since 2011. SelfServiceWorld is reporting:As for the minimum wage, Piazza sees it as a disincentive for hard work. For an example, he went through the hypothetical hiring of someone who makes an $8 an hour minimum wage and, at the end of two years, makes $10 an hour after learning more of the job and moving up.
I like to imagine a world where I could get my standard fast-food order – a grilled chicken sandwich with only mustard and cheese –sans the eye roll and sigh from the teenager behind the counter or drive-thru. If only I lived in Europe, where McDonald's already has self-ordering kiosks deployed in more than 800 restaurants, I could be as picky as I want without feeling guilty. I could even pay with my debit card without help from employees, freeing them up to do more important tasks like make food –which would reduce customer wait times.