Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Miscellaneous -- July 8, 2015

Today's EIA "energy cookie":
Over the past decade, domestic refinery output of petroleum products has grown significantly while consumption has declined, resulting in a major increase in product exports.
Petroleum product exports averaged 4.1 million barrels per day (b/d) in the first four months of the year, an increase of 0.5 million b/d over exports the same time last year.
Product imports are also higher than last year, but to a lesser extent, leading to an increase in net petroleum product exports. --- EIA
Port Economy

[I apologize for the quality of this note. I was interrupted while writing it to play Yahtzee with the granddaughters.]

We've been back in southern California for about a week now. Out "base" is San Pedro, just west of San Pedro Harbor, home of the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach.

Today was the first time, since arriving about a week ago, that we drove across the two bridges, across Terminal Island, to get to the city of Long Beach to visit the Aquarium of the Pacific.

I have driven that route at least once every year since 1976 (with some very minor exceptions when we were stationed overseas), and some years we drove that route numerous times each year.

Years ago, the US naval station at Terminal Island was decommissioned and the land turned over to the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

I've seen the ports in good times and in bad times, but I was absolutely amazed by what I saw this time: I don't remember so many cranes, and such huge cranes. It seems that the ports have really expanded, the Los Angeles port perhaps more than the Long Beach port based on the cranes seen.

There certainly seems to be much more activity than I ever remember. There must have been at least 15 BNSF engines at the ports. I only saw BNSF engines; if UNP engines were there I missed them, but the orange and black scheme really stands out.

I couldn't find any recent press reports on expansion at the ports (though I didn't look very hard), but it really looks like they've added a lot more cranes, and dock area for shipping containers has increased. In addition, I have never seen so many containers. By March, 2015, the most recent slow down / work stoppage had ended but pundits thought it would take three months to clear the backlog. In addition, there is much more to the story, as reported at this link in the Los Angeles Times.

In addition, construction for the new bridge connecting Long Beach with Terminal Island is coming along.

So, again, the theme continues: while the Mideast implodes, and Europe is preoccupied with holding the union together, the US keeps moving along.  

By the way, with the Panama Canal widening project nearing completion, my hunch is that west coast ports are going to have to become more competitive and more reliable or they are going to lose business to US ports in the Gulf and/or along the East Coast, especially Charleston.

Greece: "It's All Bad Luck" -- The Coyote Blog

I normally don't do this, copy someone else's blog, but this is so good, I couldn't resist, knowing that most readers probably don't pay much attention to the links at the sidebar.

One of my favorite blogs is The Coyote Blog. Today's post was particularly good; it was simply a quote, to explain Greece. The quote is from Robert Heinlein:
“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people.
Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as "bad luck.” ― Robert A. Heinlein
Baltimore News

Wow, did I see what I just thought I saw on the evening news? Baltimore mayor fires her chief of police. The fired chief of police was African-American; the new chief of police appears to be Caucasian, although the latter may self-identify as African-American.

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