Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Links, News, and Commentary

Results of wells coming off the confidential list have been posted.


Later, 3:34 pm: Judge "slaps down" Mayor Bloomberg's "Big Gulp" ban; this is not a bit surprising. I would think there would be many ways to get around the law. That store owner who threw out $1,000 worth of 2-liter soft drink bottles and changed her menus acted a bit prematurely.

Original Post

Miscellaneous Links

WSJ Links

Section R (Big Data):

Section C (Money & Investing):
If Exxon could have a do-over, it might have redirected more of that cash spent on buybacks toward capital expenditure and acquisitions. Instead, it seems Exxon didn't really buy into the notion of rising energy prices. Today, spending huge amounts, it is of necessity a believer. But it is paying the price for its earlier lack of faith. 
It also bet big on natural gas, as did COP. But they weren't the only ones. Just a few years ago, there were many, many stories of new natural gas import terminals along the Gulf Coast; now they are being converted to export terminals.
Section B (Marketplace):
The sharp rise in ethanol-credit prices reflects broader problems with the 2007 law, which sought to drive increased use of renewable fuels. Another piece of the mandate, requiring industry to buy fuels made from nonedible plants, has run into trouble because there isn't enough supply to meet federal requirements.
The ethanol provisions require that the oil industry blend more of the corn-derived fuel with petroleum-based gasoline each year. The government required the use of about 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol last year. When an ethanol maker produces a gallon, the company receives a credit representing roughly that much ethanol. Such credits are subsequently bought by refineries to establish how much ethanol they have blended into fuel. If a refinery doesn't have enough credits, it can be fined.
Until now, refiners have been able to hit their quotas because about 10% of U.S. gasoline is ethanol. The U.S. consumed about 133 billion gallons of gasoline last year, according to the Energy Information Administration. That meant that about 13.3 billion gallons of ethanol was blended into gasoline, just above the requirement of roughly 13.2 billion gallons.
Section A:
  • Telltale finding of heart disease: I wasn't going to post this story; I first saw it on Drudge yesterday; it was an old story (at least in my mind); a "dog-bites-man" story, but in the WSJ, so must be of interest to some:
Researchers who examined 137 mummies from four cultures spanning 4,000 years said Sunday they found robust evidence of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, challenging widely held assumptions that cardiovascular disease is largely a malady of current times.
  • "King Coal" has a huge one-page ad sponsored by Peabody Energy, the World Coal Association,, and "On the contrary, Mayor Bloomberg: coal is the world's fastest growing major fuel. 
For proponents such as the actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio, the main argument is that their electric cars—whether it's a $100,000 Fisker Karma (Mr. DiCaprio's ride) or a $28,000 Nissan Leaf—don't contribute to global warming. And, sure, electric cars don't emit carbon-dioxide on the road. But the energy used for their manufacture and continual battery charges certainly does—far more than most people realize.
A 2012 comprehensive life-cycle analysis in Journal of Industrial Ecology shows that almost half the lifetime carbon-dioxide emissions from an electric car come from the energy used to produce the car, especially the battery. The mining of lithium, for instance, is a less than green activity. By contrast, the manufacture of a gas-powered car accounts for 17% of its lifetime carbon-dioxide emissions. When an electric car rolls off the production line, it has already been responsible for 30,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide emission. The amount for making a conventional car: 14,000 pounds.
Leonardo DiCaprio has never impressed me as the sharpest knife in the drawer. Cue up Connie Francis.

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