Sunday, August 2, 2015

Another Painful Week Of Earnings Reports Due Out -- August 2, 2015

It was painful, but I think I'm pretty much caught up with posting snippets of earnings reports over at the "Earnings" post.

This will be another tough week for investors in the oil and gas sector. Scroll through the post at the link and note all the companies reporting earnings on August 3 and August 4.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. I follow earnings reports to help me better understand the Bakken, get a feel for where it is headed, and put it in perspective with other oil plays around the US, Canada, and the world.

Quick: What Was The Last Name Of The Captain Of The Exxon Valdez In 1989

This is a pretty good story, the link sent to me by a reader. It's a long article / long story, and it does not directly pertain to the Bakken but it's worth posting.

My hunch is that 95% of folks who follow the oil and gas sector closely can name the captain of the Exxon Valdez when it spilled its cargo of oil off the Alaskan coast back in 1989.

Hold that thought.

Two articles, both from same source. First article:
A drum full of radioactive waste exploded at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico last February, sparking serious safety concerns about the U.S.'s only longterm nuclear storage site. A yearlong government investigation has officially fingered the long-suspected culprit: kitty litter.
Kitty litter? Yes, inorganic kitty litter is commonly used to pack nuclear waste. But the contractor switched to wheat-based organic kitty litter, which reacted with existing chemicals in the waste.
"The nitrate salt residues, organic sorbent (Swheat Scoop® ), and neutralization agent (triethanolamine) known to be present represent a potentially reactive chemical mixture of fuels and oxidizers," concludes the report's summary.
The cost of the clean-up is apparently at $500 million and rising.

The report does not say exactly how the "wrong" kitty litter was acquired, but it may have been due to a simple typographical error. Second article:
Since September 2012, in fact, the LANL packed up to 5,565 barrels of radioactive waste with organic kitty litter but mislabeled it as inorganic kitty litter—16 of these barrels are also highly acidic and contain nitrate salts like the one that burst. It took an explosion before anyone noticed the mistake.
In addition to being horrifying on its own, the February explosion raises serious question about the safety of nuclear waste storage, especially when you consider how "comically simplistic," to use the New Mexican's words, the explosion's origins seems to be. There are many more worrying details in the New Mexican story, including how LANL took other shortcuts in packing the drum and failed to inform WIPP. It certainly doesn't inspire confidence in our nation's handling of radioactive waste. 
The reader points out that almost 30 years later, we can still remember the name of the captain of the Exxon Valdez back in 1989 but the government won't even name the individual (or individuals) responsible for ordering the wrong "kitty litter" and the apparent cover-up of same.

While Greenpeace activists are trying to stop Shell from drilling in the Arctic, they ignore the nuclear waste program being mismanaged by our own government. 

The reader who sent me the Carlsbad story put it in words that I understand:
Very briefly, New Mexico has some salt caverns near Carlsbad. That area was deemed ideal to store supposed "low-level" radioactive waste, and for over 20 years, the stuff has been trucked in there.
A couple years ago someone (who I imagine was infected with "SantaFe-itis") bought organic kitty litter (think Trader Joe's or Whole Foods) instead of inorganic kitty litter (think clay pellets). When the wheat-based kitty litter was mixed in the nuclear waste, it fed a reaction (think barley fermenting into beer - duh). Barrels couldn't withstand that pressure, and burst.
I doubt more than 50 people (outside the nuclear industry) have even heard about this story. But we can all name the captain of the Exxon Valdez.

Summer Wine, Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra

Yes, the spelling of the last names vary.

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