Saturday, May 13, 2017

Hyperdrive: Dow Chemical To Spend $4 Billion In Texas, Michigan, European Expansions -- May 13, 2017

From FuelFix, data points:
  • Dow Chemical will keep its largest industrial campus south of Houston in Freeport and Lake Jackson
  • the expansion will give Freeport the largest ethylene plant in the world
  • Dow is completing a separate $6 billion expansion along the Gulf Coast, but primarily in Freeport
    • the $6 billion expansion includes
    • a "crown jewel" ethane cracker plant; 
    • 1.5 million metric tons a year of ethylene
    • added 500 permanent jobs in Freeport (more than Obama's stimulus did over eight years; fact-checked with Snopes)
  • upcoming Freeport expansion
    • will add two heating furnaces to the cracker's existing eight furnaces
    • updates its total ethylene capacity to 2 million metric tons
    • makes it the world's largest ethylene facility
  • Dow will also build a new 600,000 metric ton plastics plant but hasn't announced if it will also be built in Freeport or Louisiana 
  • Dow will expand some of its existing polyethylene facilities
Much, much more at the link.

Remember when Dow lobbied Congress to half natural gas exports? It looks like there is more than enough to go around.

Toyota: The Dallas Morning News devotes two full pages to Toyota moving into Plano, TX, north of DFW, starting this week, moving in 250 employees per week for the next few months. The story begins at the top of the fold on the front page, and then goes on for two complete pages later in the first section. Even with everything else going on north of DFW, the Toyota story seems to be bigger than life, and mostly off everyone's radar -- until they take time to take a look. When a real estate broker called the Plano's mayor some years ago, the agent said he was representing a company:
that needed 100 acres;
  • that needed a million square feet;
  • that would employ 4,000 employees locally;
  • that was a global 25 company;
  • that would base its US headquarters there; and,
  • provide a median salary of $100,000-plus
The new facility, in fact, is now 2 million square feet, called Legacy West, mos recent cost estimate: $3 billion.

How much did Toyota like Texas. North Carolina offered the company $100 million for the complex; Texas offered $40 million. The company said it was looking for quality-of-life, not cheaper office space.

Things may have reached a peak, but Liberty Mutual and JP Morgan Chase have announced moves to Plano in Toyota's wake. Plano has been a corporate magnate since Frito-Lay's half-million-square-foot HQ set up shop in 1985.

Oldies But Goodies

Hyperdrive -- Toyota's US Operations Headquarters Set To Start Moving In Next Week -- May 13, 2017

Some time ago, Toyota announced it was moving its North American operations from Torrance, CA, to Plano, Texas. The amount of construction / activity in Plano this past year has been incredible even to the casual drive going down the George Bush Turnpike.

My wife told me earlier this evening that folks working at the new operations center will start moving in this week. I don't know. I might not have the story exactly right, but that's what my wife says she read.

So, let's see hat a google search will do: "Alexa, when do Toyota employees start to move into Plano operations center."

From communityimpact: Toyota employees to start moving in May 15, 2017, at North American headquarters in Plano. Data points:
  • the company will begin moving  about 250 team members and corporate partners per week
  • Legacy Wet, Plano
  Maybe President Trump should schedule a photo-op.

Saudi Plans To Help Make America Great Again -- May 13, 2017

Quick: the US DOE secretary is from which state? Yup. Texas. 

From ZeroHedge: Saudis plan $40 billion US investment to "cement ties with Trump." The lede:
Having gone all-in on a Hillary Clinton victory ahead of the elections, Saudi Arabia has quickly pivoted in its "appreciation" of the Trump administration, and having realized that the fastest way to Trump's heart is through the US Treasury's bank account, it is preparing to invest an "unprecedented" amount of money in the US.
According to Bloomberg, the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund will announce plans to "deploy as much as $40 billion into U.S. infrastructure." The investment will likely be unveiled as early as next week when Trump is scheduled to visit the kingdom.
While it is clear why Saudi Arabia is eager to appease Trump - after all the all important Aramco IPO is coming up, and the Saudis will be eager to open the world's biggest public offering in history to as many US accounts as possible while doing everything in their power to stay on America's good side  - Bloomberg's explanation that Riyadh felt "shunned by President Barack Obama, who crafted the 2015 nuclear deal with their Shiite rival Iran" leaves a bit to be desired: after all Saudi Arabia has consistently been the best customer of the US military-industrial complex for the past decade, and to claim that it had troubled relations with the previous administration is naive at best.
What is certain, however, is that Saudi Arabia would have been delighted had Hillary Clinton become president, considering the millions in "donations" the Clinton Foundation received from Saudi Arabia and its peer Gulf states over the years.
Be that as it may.

The bottom line: now that President Obama is out of office, the Saudis will be eager to open the world's biggest public offering in history to as many US accounts as possible while doing everything in their power to stay on America's good side.

Several readers sent me this story: it is found at various links. Easy to find.

When I saw the article, this was my reply to the reader who sent me the lnk:
All I can say is "wow."

I get tired of everyone complaining about Trump (we all do, of course). Most of his problems come from his communications team (Spicer, Huckabee, Conway, etc) pandering to the press. Fire them all, and let Trump tell his own story. If anyone seriously follows what Trump is doing and seriously follows his tweets, they would be quite surprised by how much he is accomplishing in making America great again.
Hyperdrive: what US state is likely to get the bulk of that $40 billion?

Idle Chatter -- The Good Life In North Texas -- May 13, 2017

Current weather: absolutely calm, clear; 83 degrees and feels like 84 degrees.

Patio: We've lived in our new apartment now for one year. It's about as perfect as it can get. Except for one thing. No man-cave. The "man-cave-that-would-have-been" was appropriated by my wife for her crafts room.

We recently moved some beautiful patio furniture that we had used inside to the small patio outside our little patio. The inside furniture was replaced by some incredibly wonderful Stickley furniture (photo previously posted).

So, now we have some great patio furniture on the patio. I've spent the last couple of evenings on the porch; nice, but not yet perfect. Something was missing. Tonight, I figured it out. No bar-be-cue. We're not allowed to have a fire of any sort on the porch for obvious reasons -- then it dawned on me -- our electric grill. I use it occasionally in the kitchen, but on the porch, on the patio, nearly-chest high patio table, the grill will be perfect. So, now tonight, the grill is out of the kitchen and on the patio. It looks great; it will work great.

At the same time, while typing this, I listen to YouTube music but from the computer speakers the music is a bit tinny. Solution: I brought the bluetooth UE Boom and placed it on the patio table, and now we're on our way to a man-cave. We'll never have a wide-screen television monitor out here, but that's fine. I think. We'll see.

But the man-cave patio is coming along.

The Wine Page

I can't remember if I've commented about this on the blog before now: I don't drink wine any more -- there are exceptions of course, but as a rule I no longer care for wine. With regard to wine, about the only thing I care for less than drinking wine is reading reviews of wine. I lost my interest in wine after we left Germany (some years ago now) and when it seemed every hollywoodtomdickandharry was marketing his/her own wine, and placing Hollywood prices on the bottles.

Every week in the "Off Duty"section of The Wall Street Journal, Ms Lettie Teague reviews wine; she has a fairly long column. It appears she is allowed a full page to herself if she wants. I always glance at the subject of her weekly column and am occasionally surprised.

Today was one of those "occasionally-surprised" days. Her column was on vermouth. I knew absolutely nothing about vermouth until I started studying martinis. Reading her column this week, it appears I am not the only one who did not understand vermouth.

Behind a paywall: The best vermouths for sipping. Fortified with added alcohol and infused with all manner of spices and herbs, vermouth—actually a wine—is good for more than mixing in a Martini. Here are 5 fit for savoring sans mixers.

The five vermouths she suggests for sipping:
  • Imbue Bittersweet Vermouth, $27
  • Contratto Blanco Vermoth, $14 (half bottle)
  • Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambery $10 (half bottle)
  • Hammer & Tongs Sac'Resine Fine Vermouth $30 
  • Carpano Antica Formula 1786, $14 (half bottle)
Interestingly enough, I'm happy with $11 extra dry Noilly Prat vermouth, but as a mixer (martini). Maybe I'll try one of the others she mentions. 

With Completion Of DAPL, North Dakota Experiencing A New Boom -- May 13, 2017

This is pretty cool -- new link near the top of the Drudge Report as seen in this screenshot:

The link takes you to this AP article: signs of oil bomlet in North Dakota after pipeline finished. Data points, following completion of DAPL:
  • 100s of more jobs than takers in North Dakota once again
  • finding a hotel room, parking space, or restaurant at a table is no longer easy
  • North Dakota: still the nation's #2 oil producer (behind Texas)
  • "pushed daily production back over 1 million bbls daily" (not quite accurate; North Dakota production was back over one million bbls well before the DAPL was completed, and most recent data suggests monthly production was down slightly month-over-month, though still over one million bbls daily)
  • DAPL still faces opposition from Native Americans who claim water rights across the universe
  • shippers can save about $3/bbl using the DAPL pipeline vs CBR
  • at capacity, DAPL has capacity to carry one-half of North Dakota's current production into the national pipeline system
Much, much more at the link, but nothing that hasn't been already said at the blog.

If India Succeeds, "King Coal" Will Be Back -- May 13, 2017

By the end of the next decade -- that would be by 2029 -- India has plans to require that all cars sold in that country will be coal-fired -- Bloomberg. This does not qualify the country for Einstein's definition of insanity because this is something "new" for India -- and something no other country has tried. But still, intuitively, it seems it should make the list.

There are two fallacies, of course: one, there won't possibly be enough EVs manufactured to meet India's need, unless Elon Musk ramps up to a gazillion cars/week:
India’s potential plan to sell only electric cars by the end of next decade would require nearly eight times the global stock of such vehicles, according to the International Energy Agency.
The country would need to sell more than 10 million electric cars in 2030, compared with the almost 1.3 million on the road worldwide in 2015, the agency said in an emailed response to questions. The goal also equals 10 percent of the 2030 target for electric vehicles on the road globally agreed to in the Paris climate talks.
Second, it appears the politicians who have thought up this bizarre plan have no idea how inefficient the whole process is, and will require huge amounts of coal:
While the details are yet to be worked out, “it is an ambitious plan nonetheless,” the IEA said. “Regardless, the exact formulation of the target and the extent of its long-term achievement, it is a good step that will help India to be among the global leaders in deploying a technology that is crucial to temper increasing oil import needs, local air pollution in cities, and limit CO2 emissions.”
EVs may solve their urban problems with regard to smog, but it will simply shift CO2 emissions (for what it's worth) to another location -- namely the power plants that use coal.

Of course, the Indian government will eventually put a huge CO2 tax on coal-fired plants that the country has effectively mandated in the first place.

The Bakken -- A Random Note On Reunion Bay -- May 13, 2017

Reunion Bay oil field is tracked here. Reunion Bay is one of the oil fields in the Bakken that has really been active the past few months. The other one is Sand Creek.

At the link, the production numbers and IPs have been updated. Note the number of DUCs that have been completed. In addition, note the huge number of new permits.

Most impressive, in the March, 2017, production data, it was noted that production in Reunion Bay increased over 23% despite adding no new wells. That's because all those DUCs were completed.

In addition, a lot of "inactive wells" -- wells taken off-line for some reason or other -- were placed back on status after neighboring wells were completed. Older wells near newer wells that are being fracked are generally taken off-line during the fracking process so that the older wells are not damaged.

In some fields, more than others, it is also noted that there is a significant increase in production in a Bakken well that has been taken off-line and then placed back on line after neighboring wells have been fracked.

In addition, some operators are re-fracking older wells around the same time they are fracking new wells in the same area. I haven't noticed this in Reunion Bay but I have not looked.

The Political Page, T+113 -- May 13, 2017

This is quite extraordinary, if one a) puts this in context; and, b) reads between the lines. A huge "thank you" to a reader for the link.

Earlier this week there CNBC talked about this a bit longer than usual when earnings came out and Time, Inc, got slammed:

Time, Inc: earnings worse than forecast
  • 1Q17: 18-cent loss vs 15-cent loss forecast 
  • shares down 6% in pre-market trading; down 10% when market opens

The earnings report must have gotten someone's attention over at Time, Inc. According to Politico, The New York Times publisher sent a "personal appeal to those canceled over Bret Stephens." 
Stephens, who left The Wall Street Journal to join the Times, is also well known as a Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative writer who has written strongly against President Donald Trump, often engaging in public battles during the campaign with the likes of Fox News anchor Sean Hannity. His first column for the Times last month argued that climate data create the misleading impression that we know what global warming’s impact will be, leading to reader complaints, some canceled subscriptions and a public editor column.
In the letter to former subscribers, Sulzberger says it’s important to underscore that the newsroom functions separately from the opinion department, and that New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet “has sharply expanded the team of reporters and editors who cover climate change.”
Earnings are directly related to ad pages and ad pages are directly related subscription numbers in the newspaper publishing business. Unless there were "issues" developing between Stephens and The WSJ, one wonders why he would leave a thriving newspaper to one that is sinking. And one that is well know to post a lot of "fake news" on the front page.

By the way, on a completely different note, the fact that the Times has changed its editorial policy and reporting policy on climate change is not trivial.

My hunch is that Barbra Streisand canceled her subscription, and that's what really got the publisher's attention.

On still another note, it should be noted that Vanity Fair has become much slimmer over the past year or so. I posted that on the blog some time ago, but I noted it again yesterday when at the library. It's kind of too bad. The current issue has some great stories but because of its editorial policy I just can't find myself spending time with it. But it, too, must be feeling effects of canceled subscriptions. 

Snopes -- Not So Much

Perhaps Snopes can fact-check the Political article above.

With regard to Snopes, consider me one of the duped. Fortunately, I quit reading Snopes years ago.

A huge "thank you" to a reader for alerting me to the story. Again, the British tabloids come through.