Monday, January 21, 2019

Got Lithium? Warren Buffett Does -- But Does He Have Cobalt? January 21, 2019

Link at The Financial Times.

Bottom line: Warren Buffett now "guarantees" the US car industry will have enough lithium for EVs. This is really quite amazing.

From the linked story:
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has made a move into lithium, holding talks over an agreement to allow extraction of the battery mineral from its geothermal wells in California. 
The venture hopes to produce up to 90,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate a year from Berkshire’s Salton Sea geothermal plants, worth $1.5 billion at current prices. It has been in discussions to supply Tesla with lithium, a component for batteries to power electric cars, said people familiar with the company. If successful, the project could offer US carmakers and battery producers a secure supply of the metal, reducing reliance on the handful of large producers in Chile and Australia
The only current US supply comes from the Silver Peak mine in Nevada, run by Albemarle.
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, job, travel, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or what you think you may have read here.

From a google search:
Open book exams allow you to take notes, texts or resource materials into an exam situation. They test your ability to find and apply information and knowledge, so are often used in subjects requiring direct reference to written materials, like law statutes, statistics or acts of parliament.
Read disclaimer again.

Now cobalt. See this over at Bloomberg.
The man strolled over to unlock the doors, revealing hundreds of orange and blue drums piled four-high on pallets. Each container was full of chunks of cobalt, a formerly obscure, unwanted metal that got its name from the German kobold, or “goblin,” because it vexed medieval miners who, trying to extract more valuable substances from its ore, were instead rewarded with worthless powder or toxic gas.
It’s lately become highly valuable because it prevents the lithium-ion batteries found in mobile phones and electric cars from overheating and bursting into flames. Cobalt’s value surged more than 300 percent from 2016 to its 2018 high, reaching a record of almost $100,000 a ton.

Was The Nation's Largest MLK "Parade" A Bust? January 21, 2019

When we lived in San Antonio ten year years ago, the annual MLK parade/march was always one of the highlights of the year. It was the nation's largest MLK parades/marches in the US.

Today, doing a google search, not one news report of how the parade in San Antonio went showed up on the first page -- well, maybe one. But when I went to the link it said the parade started off a half-hour late but the "DJs kept the crowd entertained." The google search suggested that the big MLK parade in Texas this year was in Houston.

The San Antonio Express News/mySA appeared to have hardly covered the event at all. Here's the screenshot. Note that all there is on the "front page" is a link to photos elsewhere.

And "hundreds gather"? When were there a decade ago, it was tens of thousands.

One Thing Leads To Another

How about that Buc-ee's story. From this link:
The store in Baldwin County, Alabama, opened at 6 a.m. this morning, giving Alabama residents their first taste of unique amenities that became a staple in Texas since it opened in 1982.

The 50,000-square-foot store offers 124 fueling stations and "the biggest, most pristine bathrooms the state of Alabama has ever seen," according to a press release.

Judging by the turnout at the opening, it's clear the legend of the store's highly addictive snacks have spread well beyond Texas. Beaver Nuggets, a wildly popular product made of sugar, caramel and butter-coated corn puffs, may have had something to do with that. The store also offers barbecue, beef jerky and homemade fudge.

According to Forbes, Buc-ee's has "taken advantage of years of low interest rates to finance an expansion that is designed to make them a power across the southeast."

A second location outside Texas is projected to open this summer in Daytona Beach, Florida, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

The Newfield Berg Federal Wells

The wells:
  • 34879, 1,066, Newfield, Berg Federal 149-97-30-31-4H, Haystack Butte, t11/18; cum 108K 5/19;
  • 34878, 734, Newfield, Berg Federal 149-97-30-31-5H, Haystack Butte, t11/18; cum 67K 5/19; 
  • 34877, 1,544, Newfield, Berg Federal 149-97-30-31-6H, Haystack Butte, t11/18; cum 98K 5/19; 
  • 34876, 1,962, Newfield, Berg Federal 149-97-30-31-7H,  Haystack Butte, t11/18; cum 125K 5/19;

  • 22582, 571, Newfield, Berg Federal 149-97-30-31-2H,  Haystack Butte, t4/13; cum 208K 5/19; off-line as of 9/18; back on line as of 12/18; EUR extended;
  • 22581, 1,482, Newfield, Berg Federal 149-97-30-31-1H,  Haystack Butte, t4/13; cum 176K 5/19; off-line as of 9/18; back on line as of 12/18; EUR extended;
  • 22583, 1,010, Newfield, Berg Federal 149-97-30-31-3H,  Haystack Butte, t4/13; cum 200K 5/19; off-line as of 9/18; on line as of 12;18; nice jump in production;
The graphic:

  • 20803, 533, CLR, Palmer 1-25H, Haystack Butte, t11/11; cum 194K 11/18; off-line as of 10/18; 
For newbies: good, bad, or indifferent -- who cares whether #20803 was economic or not (it will be, if not already); it held the lease by production for eight years -- no small accomplishment. Ninety percent of non-Bakken wells were dry, non-economic, or unremarkable. Virtually 100% of Bakken wells are economical or serve their purpose. In this case, #20803 held a drilling unit until eleven more wells could be drilled (and more than that will ultimately be drilled).

Has "The Wall" Become All About "Right-Sizing?" -- January 21, 2019, T+19

Day 31 of the "partial government shutdown." 
The "partial government shutdown" is moving into new territory.

At first "the partial government shutdown" was only about "the wall." But I think the Trump supporters are gradually moving to a bigger discussion: "right-sizing the federal government."

It's now been 31 days and the average American has not been affected by the shutdown. Even the anti-Trumpers and Shelosi know that. It's very possible that Trump's last offer was his last and best offer. He might even take it back if there are no counter-proposals or no negotiating.

It should go without saying that a lot of Trumpers were upset with Trump's offer of "amnesty."

A lot of Trumpers don't want that trade-off: amnesty for the wall. There are murmurs that Trumpers are moving on. Trumpers want to right-size the government and the partial government shutdown is a step in that direction.

Trumpers are moving from "the wall issue" to the "right-sizing issue."

Over time, solutions will be found for those few instances where the partial government shutdown is actually being felt -- but the partial government shutdown will remain in place, and that moves the discussion to "right-sizing."

Some folks are already starting to ask: exactly what do those 800,000 employees do that allows them to be away from work for this long? On top of that, these federal employees are all (or most all) are going to get one huge paycheck when they return to work. [There are only 2 million civilian employees in the federal government; certainly 800,000 are not staying at home. It would be interesting to know exactly how many of the 800,000 are actually not going into work. I bet it's not many in the big scheme of things. Park employees? Secretarial support across the civilian agencies? Kitchen staff in the White House? Who else?] [Is it time to militarize the TSA?]

I doubt those 800,000 furloughed are writing letters to Trump or to Mitch McConnell. After all, it's Pelosi's House that controls the purse strings. My hunch is Pelosi is the one getting the mail. She has said that she is "equal to the president" according to the constitution.

The furloughed folks have been concerned about their paychecks. At least until now.

Now, I'm sure many are concerned about their jobs. Will they in fact be "invited" back? Or will there be reductions in force (RIFs)? RIFs were the biggest fear federal employees had when I was on active duty in the military. That was about the only way they could lose their jobs. RIFs affected both uniformed and non-uniformed personnel.

I wouldn't be surprised if some agencies aren't reclassifying positions from non-critical to critical so that they can be brought back to work. Generally speaking, the secretarial pools are not mission-essential; engineers are. I think a lot of the 800,000 folks are in "support" (secretarial pools) and are starting to talk about RIFs.

Meanwhile, Shelosi et al are still being paid. [Trump donates his entire pay to charity.]

If the partial government shutdown goes past two months, it's no longer about the wall, it's about "right-sizing the government." Some think we are already at that discussion. At one point does "furloughed" mean "fired"?

If the partial government shutdown goes past two months, right-sizing and impeachment become the entire story. There will be no time to do anything else and the media won't care about anything else.

So, I'm waiting to see the headline, "Right-Sizing The Government."  Ann Coulter will start that discussion next week. Rush Limbaugh will handle the impeachment issue.

Risk-Based Data Management System -- North Dakota -- Second State To Implement -- January 21, 2019

It's getting pretty cold when New England is burning more oil than coal, and electricity is surging to $150/MWh. Link here. At 8%, oil is now accounting for almost as much electricity as renewable energy (9%). Winter Storm Harper coming to an end; 4:31 p.m. January 21, 2019. In the big scheme of things it appears Harper was hyped based on media coverage (or should we say lack of media coverage) on Martin Luther King's day. Later: on ABC Nightly News earlier this evening, the on-scene reporter was interviewing people on the street in NYC where "they" said it was freezing. The woman said she had never been so cold. She had a winter coat and scarf on, but no gloves. Are you kidding? Coldest she has ever seen ... and ... and gloves, no mittens. And her hands looked perfectly fine; not red, nothing to suggest she was "freezing." Also, interestingly enough, one saw no "breath" (i.e., water vapor) from any of the people interviewing or being interviewed). It did not look all that cold, at least to someone who grew up in North Dakota. The background showed no significant snow drifts and the traffic was moving fine.

Now, Back To The Bakken

To come back to these later: risk-based data management system. 
What We Will Be Talking About In February

Thinking out loud:
  • does it make sense that the US Coast Guard is being paid, but not TSA?
  • is "the Wall" issue really a "right-sizing Federal government" issue?
"The Wall":
  • Trump talks about a physical wall
  • failure to negotiate has resulted in a more impenetrable "real" wall for all immigrants

20 - 70 Years Of Drilling Left In The Bakken -- January 21, 2019

From NDIC's annual update to the North Dakota state legislature, slide #13 of 42.

From same source, slide #21 of 42:

Oh-Oh! -- January 21, 2019 -- "Quebec, We Have A Problem"


Later, 9:27 p.m. Central Time: natural gas at 42%; nuclear at 26%; renewables at 11%; oil at 9%; and, coal at 6%. Hydroelectricity at 6%. If it weren't for coal and oil .... and, oh, by the way, ISO New England is still on track to decommission another nuclear plant (or two). 

Later, 4:22 p.m. Central Time: it's now almost dinner-time in New England, 5:22 p.m. And at 8%, oil accounts for almost as much electricity as renewable energy (9%). Most interesting is the small amount provided by hydroelectricity from Canada. Electricity is approaching $200/MWh. Link here:

Later, 1:14 p.m. Central Time: it has to be bad when ISO New England is burning more oil than coal:

Original Post 

If this were not a holiday, New England would be experiencing rolling blackouts or brownouts -- it would not be a pretty picture.

I don't recall how long it's been since I've seen prices in ISO New England go from green to yellow.

Not only are they burning coal (5%) but they are now burning oil (5%).

On top of this, hydro from Quebec may become a huge issue. See story below the ISO New England graphs.

Winter Storm Indra is right behind Winter Storm Harper.

Tuesday could be very, very interesting.

And yes, the grid spiked to nearly $200/MWh.  Burning coal, oil, and wood chips, I suppose. The big story is that renewables continue to flatline.

From iceagenow: it's even too cold in Quebec --

When does "weather" become "climate." Ever since 1994, it seems, there have been more reports of "mini-ice-age" than "global warming." Let's see .... almost 25 years. Whatever.

From iceacenow:

Without question, the scientific articles and the reporting by skeptics certainly do a much better job of persuasion than the AGW folks.

On another note: wow, I'm glad the US did not attend Davos this year. A bunch of elites telling us how to live within a smaller carbon footprint. President Trump seems to be one of the few who has seen through the hypocrisy.

By the way, it's well proven that hypocrisy is of no use in "persuasion" or debates. I think Scott Adams noted that.


A huge collectible in the US military were "unit" coins. For the USAF, the units were squadrons, groups, and wings. They each had their own coin. One always carried your unit's coin. You show up at the bar and someone throws down a coin. If you don't throw down your own unit coin, you buy drinks for the house.

I really had not paid attention to such coins in a long, long time.

While visiting Los Alamos earlier this month, these coins popped up again.

These are the Hans Bethe coins, fairly rare. I got one (free). Our middle granddaughter also got a free Hans Bethe coin but she did one better. She got an ever rarer Los Alamos coin. I need to get a photo of her coin.

This is the Hans Bethe coin:

Gasoline To Other Forms Of Transportation Energy -- A Converstion Table

Monday, Martin Luther King Day, Much Closed -- January 21, 2019, T+19

Hot in Australia: $10,000/ MWh for air conditioning in Australia later today. Australia has taken the lead in renewable energy.

Link here for the graphs.

This link will take you to similar graphs last summer.

The folks over at Jo Nova love to talk about this.

This was a big, big issue last year for the Australians but it looks like nothing has happened. Australia has lots and lots of coal, natural gas, and sunshine.

In Victoria: $10,000/MWh to air condition one's house later today.

In South Australia, $10,500/MWh to air condition one's house later today.


Day 31 of the partial government shutdown, which is beginning to look more and more like an airport issue. I haven't heard much about the national parks being closed since the early days of the shutdown. 

On another note, even Chris thinks Shelosi has thrown the Dreamers under the bus.

A Note for the Granddaughters

Our middle granddaughter is playing in a national soccer tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada, over the three-day weekend.

Yesterday morning, Olivia scored the winning goal for her team. In fact, Olivia's goal was the only goal of the game. The teams were very evenly matched. With about four minutes left to play, Olivia took shot on goal. The ball was deflected, but Olivia followed it in and scored. Olivia is a mid-fielder, not a striker or a forward making her goal all that more impressive.

I got word overnight that her team won their evening game, 1 - 0, and will now advance to semi-finals this morning.

Pretty exciting.