Monday, July 4, 2016

Mideast On Edge -- Multiple Suicide Blasts Hit Saudi Arabia -- July 4, 2016

Link here.
Three suicide bombers struck in Saudi Arabia on Monday in a rare incidence of multiple attacks in the kingdom where the Islamic State group has previously staged deadly attacks.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

The latest explosion occurred at one of Islam's three holiest sites, the Prophet's Mosque in Medina in the kingdom's west where Mohammed is buried, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel reported.

Other blasts occurred in the Red Sea city of Jeddah near the US consulate and in Shiite-dominated Qatif on the other side of the country.
Wait until they hit the oilfields.

Happy 4th Of July, 2016

Beer can chicken, they say, is a myth. I'm a believer.

Sophia appears to be a bit skeptical of the whole thing.

At the big table. To get to the big table, one needs to answer "Harry Potter Trivia." Sophia does just fine.

Tonight, Sophia learned how to "snap" asparagus:'

WOW! Kevin Durant To Join The Warriors! -- July 4, 2016

Two-year, $54 million contract.

The Gay 20's are coming.

Poor Shots?


July 5, 2016: 60+ people shot in Chicago over the weekend. Twelve shot in 15 hours. Apparently only four were fatally shot. 

Original Post
Hey, Chicago: at least 32 reportedly shot so far this July 4, 2016 weekend. And it's barely even noon, Monday. Must have been quite a weekend. The good news: most of these were flesh wounds; only one man was actually killed.
Dozens of people have been shot in Chicago since the start of the Fourth of July weekend despite increased police attention in the areas known for the most violence.
Between Sunday afternoon and early Monday alone, 12 people were shot in a 14-hour span. The paper reported 32 were shot over the entire weekend so far. One man was killed.
After a month in which nearly 15 people were shot every day, Chicago Police announced a July 4 weekend show of force that included thousands more officers on the streets, officers toting high-powered weapons at airports and teams of officers patrolling the city's most dangerous neighborhoods, tourist attractions, train stations and parks.
Teslas: The Home Battery

I actually hope this works. It's a very clever concept.

Charge your Tesla at work -- for free or for pennies.

Then drive home and use the Tesla batteries to power one's solar-powered home at night.

Connect the dots here.

Whether it's cost effective or not, whether it cuts emissions or not, whether it makes anyone millions or not, it's a clever concept: using Tesla batteries as the storage battery for home solar.

Brazilian "Super-Giant" Oil Discovery Now Delayed To "At Least 2022" -- July 4, 2016


July 6, 2016: Petrobras to sell "junk" oil fields off the coast of Sergipe and Ceara states; minimal production. the huge field is the deep water Sergipe. This is an unimportant article but it discusses again the Indian discontent that Petrobras has delayed Sergipe from 2018 to 2022 (see below).

Original Post
From Reuters:
Petrobras has warned its Indian partners in a huge offshore project to not expect oil from the site until 2022, a fresh sign of how low oil prices and the state-owned company's corruption scandal and mountain of debt are dragging on Brazil's energy industry.

The previously unreported, four-year delay in the "super-giant" discovery off the northeastern coast of the Brazilian state of Sergipe is forcing India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp and IBV Brasil Petroleo Ltd to seek ways to speed up the Petrobras-led project which has cost them $2.1 billion with no return in sight.

The delay and pressure from the Indian partners is just one of many challenges for new Petrobras Chief Executive Pedro Parente, named by Brazil's interim-President Michel Temer in late May amid an ongoing financial crisis.

In the face of a massive bribery and kickback scandal and Petrobras' $126 billion of debt, Parente has pledged to run the company in a more market-friendly way but has declined to comment on individual projects. He has also promised a revamped investment plan by the end of October - though it is unclear whether it will address the Sergipe offshore standoff.

In April, Petrobras told IBV, a 50-50 joint venture between state-owned Bharat Petroleum Corp and privately held Videocon Industries Inc, that there will be no oil output from Sergipe "until at least 2022," an IBV executive told Reuters. A year ago, Petrobras' promised first oil by 2018. 
From an earlier Reuters story:
Petrobras is the operator and has a 75 percent stake in the prospect, in partnership with India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp , which holds 25 percent.

Deepwater exploration in the Sergipe-Alagoas Basin by Petrobras, ONGC and India's Videocon Industries Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corp. has resulted in some of Brazil's largest oil discoveries outside the giant finds in the Santos Basin.

Not Quite Ready For Prime Time -- For The Archives -- Global Cooling Arguments Gaining Traction? -- WUWT -- July 4, 2016

Link here. Are scientists preparing for a flipflop back to global cooling predictions.

Don spotted an earlier article on same subject some time suggesting that scientists may be looking for "way out of their dilemma" and will blame it on decreased solar activity.

In the link above, the writer notes a number of articles now being posted that suggest scientists are starting to look at the very real possibility of global cooling. My hunch is that if this gains traction, the "warmists" will say nothing has changed in the long run. This simply "buys us a bit more time" to continue working on lowering CO2 emissions.

By the way, we should be getting the latest atmospheric CO2 levels any day now. It takes awhile for the "warmists" to massage the data before releasing the press release.

Summertime, Billy Preston (plays J. S. Bach and Ray Charles)

Cheeses: A-to-Z -- WSJ
And, How To Build A Cheese Board 

Link here

A bit of trivia: traditionally, mountain cheeses are produced in sturdy medium-to-large wheels, increasing the odds they’ll make it intact to lower elevation, where they’re sold in towns and cities.

War On Nukes; Update On Exelon In Illinois -- July 4, 2016

See the post on June 22, 2014, for some of the background to this story and a list of earlier links leading up to this. This is how that post started:
A reader has sent a very, very good article on future of US utilities and the national power grid, using Exelon as a contemporary case study.
It's an article that should be read by anyone interested in the Bakken, and now, perhaps, the "Sleeping Giant." If one does not have the time to read it today, bookmark it for future reference.
It's been my experience that many of these stories are eventually archived for subscribers only or removed completely from the net at some point in the future.
Today, an update on the Exelon experience in Illinois.

To save two nuclear plants in Illinois that provide about 12% of the state's electricity needs, the company requested  25 cents -- a quarter -- to be added to everyone's utility bill every month. Twenty-five cents.

The "people" said no. So Exelon says it will shutter their nuclear plants.

Here's the story from Motley Fool's perspective. It begins:
The state of Illinois accounts for just 4% of the country's population but 12% of its nuclear power generation. Eleven nuclear reactors generated 48% of the state's electricity, created thousands of jobs, and provided hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue in 2015. So, naturally, the state decided it would be a good idea to let Exelon close its nuclear power plants at Quad Cities and Clinton in the coming years.
How did we get here?
Exelon had been working with environmental groups and state regulators to pass a rather reasonable proposal that would have provided modest subsidies -- $0.25 per monthly electric bill -- to keep nuclear reactors operating. When politicians dragged their feet on the legislation, the company reminded all stakeholders that it would be forced to close several reactors. Politicians called Exelon's bluff, the company announced formal plans to close two of its facilities, and now the state is poised to lose 12% of its electricity generation by 2018.
Ironically, Illinois is hoping to replace the lost carbon-free power generation with natural gas -- working against its Renewable Portfolio Standard -- and subsidized renewable energy. If that doesn't make sense, it shouldn't.
Taking Quad Cities and Clinton offline will remove more carbon-free energy from the grid than the total renewable energy generation from Illinois, Colorado, and Washington combined -- all because Illinois didn't think it was a good idea to approve a fee of $0.25 per monthly electric bill to keep its nuclear power plants operational. 
While you could counter that nuclear isn't competitive with cheap renewables anymore, that neglects to consider the fact that wind energy is highly subsidized. In 2015, over 96% of wind power generated in the electric transmission system that Illinois participates in was sold at a cost of zero or less.
There is much more at the link. The whole story is insane.

My hunch is that someone will find a way to keep the nuclear reactors running.

A couple of data points:
  • these two nuclear reactors provide 12% of all electricity generated in Illinois
  • all of the wind/solar energy in Illinois provides that state 5.6% of its electricity (and it's completely unreliable and non-dispatchable)
  • these nuclear power plants avoid enough carbon dioxide emissions to take the equivalent of 15 million cars off Illinois roads (for the record: Illinois has only 7 million registered passenger vehicles
By the way, this "percent electricity provided" is becoming more and more irrelevant in these discussions. Talking about wind/solar energy is a lot like taking about the stock market: past performance is no indication of future performance.

Analysts can pretty much forecast down to the hundredth percent how much electricity will be provided by a given nuclear power plant running 24/7 next year on any given grid.

There is no way possible to predict how much energy wind/solar will provide next year on any given grid. So, when someone says wind/solar provided 6% of the state's electricity, it doesn't mean it will do the same next year. Worse, unreliable energy is unreliable because it cannot be predicted, and it is not dispatchable.

I don't know if Motley Fool mentions it in their article, but the unreliable energy sources have to be backed up with conventional energy. At one time, I would have argued that nuclear energy could be that back-up but it turns out nuclear energy is too expensive and too slow to bring back on line if wind/sun go off-line.

Anyway, preaching to the choir. For the archives only, to follow this debacle.

By the way, Motley Fool is focused on investing. It seems like when it comes to investing in energy, it's an open-book test.

Silver Surges -- July 4, 2016

Silver --  Reuters:
Silver XAG= spiked 3 percent higher to $20.30 an ounce, breaking the $20-dollar level for the first time in nearly two years.
A big whoop. Except it means my monthly purchases of silver dollars are going to cost me more. 

Oil -- Bloomberg: for a day or so it looked like Nigeria and the rebels had come to terms. There were reports that Nigerian oil production was increasing, or perhaps even returning to normal. Not so fast. Bloomberg now reports that "Nigeria militants renew attacks."
September futures rose as much as 0.8 percent in London after advancing 1.3 percent Friday. The Niger Delta Avengers said they attacked five crude-pumping facilities overnight Sunday, after two people were killed on June 29 when gunmen opened fire on a boat of Eni SpA workers in the Niger River delta. Shale drillers in the U.S. brought back the most oil rigs of any week this year as confidence in a stabilized market prompts talk of expansion.
I suppose the Niger Delta Avengers could become an ISIS expansion team, opening up the African Conference.

Putin To Send Country's Largest Warship To Syria To Take Out ISIS Once And For All -- July 4, 2016

At the sidebar there is a link to the "Big Stories." One of the "big stories" is Putin's goal to "re-establish" the old Soviet Union."

These are the most recent updates at that post:
  • May 28, 2016: Russia's long road to the Middle East, WSJ
  • October 9, 2015: how Putin "took" Syria, CNN
  • October 9, 2025: Obama to end Pentagon effort to train Syrian rebels
I say all that because it appears Putin is one step closer to a warm water port. I saw the story, but missed the significance. A huge "thank you" to a reader for pointing it out.

The story:

Putin is sending Russia's largest warship to destroy ISIS one and for all.
Putin authorizes navy ship to transport 30 fighter jets and attack helicopters to the Med in bid to rid the world's death cult. 
The Kremlin strongman's decision came in the wake of ISIS atrocities in Bangladesh -- where it murdered 20 hostages in a restaurant int he capital Dhaka -- and Baghdad, Iraq, where a car bomb killed [at least] 125 shoppers.
After seeing that story, the reader wrote me: 
A while back I said to some dinner guests that "Putin and I both like $100 a barrel oil.  He's just in better position to do something about it."
Who knows, he may succeed in fulfilling Russia's longstanding quest to annex a warm-water port.
Regardless, at one time the Mediterranean was considered a "US lake." It is noteworthy that Putin is not sending just any warship, but the country's largest warship.

So, we'll see.