Thursday, April 30, 2015

Merger underway for leading remote communications firms

Merger underway for leading remote communications firms: "Emerging Markets Communications (EMC) has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire MTN Communications (MTN), a leading provider of communications and content for remote locations around the world.  The combined entities bring together the most talented and experienced professionals in the remote communications industry, servicing land and maritime-based customers, with a transformative suite of network products and services for businesses and people, connecting in hard to reach places or on the move. The acquisition will benefit the organizations’ combined 1,600 vessels and more than 8,000 land-based customer sites in the most hard to reach places on all continents and in every ocean.  Customers will represent multiple verticals, including maritime, energy, cruise lines and ferries, yachts, non-governmental organizations, telecommunications providers, global enterprises and governments. The combined entity will be one of the largest independent providers of satellite connectivity services for both land-based sites and maritime vessels, worldwide. The company will also be the largest provider of connectivity services, in some of the most strategic verticals within the satellite industry, backed by ABRY Partners, a private equity firm specializing in funding some of the most successful communications companies in North America, with more than $42 billion of completed transactions."

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Levee tax heads to voters Saturday |

Levee tax heads to voters Saturday | "Voters will have the final say Saturday on a quarter-cent sales tax increase for levee and drainage improvements in north Lafourche. Money from the North Lafourche Levee District's proposed sales tax will be used to expedite drainage and flood protection projects for about 65,000 parish residents north of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Cory Kief, president of the district's board, said at stake is the district's ability to provide sufficient flood protection within a reasonable time frame. "The sales tax is important to us because we're here as stewards of the people," he said. "The choice is theirs.""

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Monday, April 27, 2015

RIGZONE - Cybersecurity A Growing Safety Issue for Oil, Gas Industrial Plants

RIGZONE - Cybersecurity A Growing Safety Issue for Oil, Gas Industrial Plants: "The oil and gas industry is increasingly thinking about cybersecurity as a safety issue for industrial plants, officials with Honeywell told Rigzone on the sidelines of the IHS CERAWeek Conference this week in Houston. Just a few years ago, cybersecurity was viewed as an expense and an intangible problem; that thinking is changing. Growing interest by the hacker community in industrial control systems has made them a target for cyberthreats. "What you're seeing in the public corporate sector is a rising number of and severity of attacks; we're seeing the same type of things in the industrial environment," said Jeff Zindel, global business leader Cyber Security at Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), in an interview with Rigzone. Last year was a noisy year for cyberattacks against industry, with cyber-risks for a host of industries, including oil and gas, expected to keep growing."

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SMBC: Eugenics is a GREAT Idea!

Zach Weiner nails it again...

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Comcast admits defeat, terminates Time Warner Cable merger agreement | Ars Technica

Comcast admits defeat, terminates Time Warner Cable merger agreement | Ars Technica: "Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced the termination of their merger agreement this morning, ending the proposed combination of the nation's two largest cable companies. Comcast had lobbied on behalf of the merger for more than a year but faced opposition from the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission. FURTHER READING HOW THE US COULD BLOCK THE COMCAST/TIME WARNER CABLE MERGER Comcast/TWC merger may require extensive consumer protection provisions. “Today, we move on. Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn’t agree, we could walk away," Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in the company's statement. "Comcast NBCUniversal is a unique company with strong momentum. Throughout this entire process, our employees have kept their eye on the ball and we have had fantastic operating results. I want to thank them and the employees of Time Warner Cable for their tireless efforts. I couldn’t be more proud of this company and I am truly excited for what’s next.”"

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Freeport considers energy spinoff two years after diversifying

Freeport considers energy spinoff two years after diversifying: "Arizona (Bloomberg) -- Freeport McMoRan Inc. is considering spinning off energy assets two years after agreeing to acquire them for $9 billion as it tries to finance development plans amid lower commodity prices. The assets were picked up when Phoenix-based Freeport bought McMoRan Exploration Co. and Plains Exploration & Production Co., re-entering the energy business after more than a decade. At the time of the deals, crude was trading at over $80/bbl. Oil fell to less than $44 this year, while the price of copper, which Freeport mines, has also dropped. “The markets have a funny way of turning on you,” Jim Bob Moffett, Freeport’s 76-year-old cofounder and chairman, said Thursday on the company’s earnings conference call. Freeport said it may hold an initial public offering for a minority stake in the oil and gas business. Doing so would go some way to undoing a diversification into energy that, at the time, was criticized by shareholder BlackRock Inc. for being unnecessary. Freeport shares are down 48% since it announced in December 2012 it was buying Plains and McMoRan Exploration. “If this is the path that Freeport ultimately chooses, it clearly indicates that management’s quest to find a strategic investor in its energy business has not worked,” Christopher LaFemina, an analyst at Jefferies Group LLC in New York, said in a note. Freeport is seeking to optimize its funding of the oil and gas projects it’s developing, which include wells in the Gulf of Mexico, Chief Executive Officer Richard Adkerson said on Thursday’s call."

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Vessels to restore coast get upgrades |

Vessels to restore coast get upgrades | "The Caminada Headland Beach and Dune Restoration Project aims to add barrier island shoreline just south of Port Fourchon, where about 45 feet of land is being washed away per year, to protect the parish from storm surge. After completing the $70 million phase one of the project in December, both vessels were taken back to Weeks' Houma facility where they were refurbished at a cost of $15 million, according to the company. The work created at least 90 jobs."

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Magma beneath the Cascade volcanoes might be special blend | Ars Technica

Magma beneath the Cascade volcanoes might be special blend | Ars Technica:

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ConocoPhillips deepwater wells disappoint offshore Angola, Gulf of Mexico

ConocoPhillips deepwater wells disappoint offshore Angola, Gulf of Mexico: "ConocoPhillips has struck out with two exploration wells, one offshore Angola and the other in the Gulf of Mexico, the company announced Wednesday. The company’s Omosi-1 deepwater exploration well in Block 37, offshore Angola in the Kwanza basin, has been drilled to a total depth of 20,666 ft. A gas column of approximately 525 ft was encountered in the primary objective reservoir. No further activity is planned. The well has been plugged and abandoned. In the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, the Harrier prospect in Mississippi Canyon Block 118 has been drilled to a total depth of 19,400 ft. No commercial hydrocarbons were encountered. The well will be plugged and abandoned. Stone Energy Offshore, L.L.C. was a non-operating co-owner in the Harrier prospect."

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Half of U.S. fracing companies will be dead or sold this year

Half of U.S. fracing companies will be dead or sold this year: "Half of the 41 fracing companies operating in the U.S. will be dead or sold by year-end because of slashed spending by oil companies, an executive with Weatherford International said. There could be about 20 companies left that provide hydraulic fracturing services, Rob Fulks, pressure pumping marketing director at Weatherford, said in an interview Wednesday at the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston. Demand for fracing, a production method that along with horizontal drilling spurred a boom in U.S. oil and natural gas output, has declined as customers leave wells uncompleted because of low prices. There were 61 fracing service providers in the U.S., the world’s largest market, at the start of last year. Consolidation among bigger players began with Halliburton announcing plans to buy Baker Hughes in November for $34.6 billion and C&J Energy Services buying the pressure-pumping business of Nabors Industries Ltd. Weatherford, which operates the fifth-largest fracing operation in the U.S., has been forced to cut costs “dramatically” in response to customer demand, Fulks said. The company has been able to negotiate price cuts from the mines that supply sand, which is used to prop open cracks in the rocks that allow hydrocarbons to flow. Oil companies are cutting more than $100 billion in spending globally after prices fell. Frac pricing is expected to fall as much as 35% this year, according to PacWest, a unit of IHS Inc. While many large private-equity firms are looking at fracing companies to buy, the spread between buyer and seller pricing is still too wide for now, Alex Robart, a principal at PacWest, said in an interview at CERAWeek."

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Daredevil, Catholicism, and the Marvel Moral Universe |

Daredevil, Catholicism, and the Marvel Moral Universe | "One of the things reviewers have commented on is Daredevil’s unexpected grittiness. The violence is real, and the consequences of that violence are also real. When Matt Murdock snaps a man’s arm, the femur (ulna?) bone breaks through the skin. When Karen Page is choked with a sheet, the welt shows on her neck for several episodes afterwards. People make their choices, and then they face the consequences. This realism quickly made Daredevil one of my favorite elements of the MCU. The other thing that I love is how the show’s brutal world is informed by the particularly Catholic morality of its hero. There have been a few conversations online about whether this show gives us an accurate portrayal of Matt’s religion, and I would argue not only that it does, but that by taking his religious beliefs seriously, and weaving Catholicism into the fabric of the show, Netflix has given us the deepest, most emotionally resonant version of Daredevil we’ve ever had. Warning: this post comes with SPOILERS for the ENTIRE SEASON." Click the link above to read on...

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wall Street Journal publishes three lost pages of A Wrinkle in Time | Ars Technica

Wall Street Journal publishes three lost pages of A Wrinkle in Time | Ars Technica: "As Meg’s father massages her limbs, which are frozen from a jarring trip through space and time, she asks: “But Father, how did the Black Thing—how did it capture Camazotz?” Her father proceeds to lay out the political philosophy behind the book in much starker terms than are apparent in the final version. He says that yes, totalitarianism can lead to this kind of evil. (The author calls out examples by name, including Hitler, Mussolini, and Khrushchev.) But it can also happen in a democracy that places too much value on security, Mr. Murry says. “Security is a most seductive thing,” he tells his daughter. “I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the greatest evil there is.”"

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U.S. Secretary Of Homeland Security Warns About The Dangers Of Pervasive Encryption | TechCrunch

Label this guy a douchebag! Read this article, then read these two to put it in perspective:
Schneier on Security: Perceived Risk vs. Actual Risk "Safe Spaces" And The Mote In America's Eye

The former gives the reasoning why crap like this article works on the public and the latter details what is wrong with going along with it...

U.S. Secretary Of Homeland Security Warns About The Dangers Of Pervasive Encryption | TechCrunch: "In a speech at cybersecurity conference RSA, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson outlined the government’s discomfort with increasing implementation of encryption by technology companies, and what impact the shift might have on national security. While tech firms like Apple are advancing encryption to an increasingly broad set of consumer activities, the government is concerned that it could increasingly be locked out from the communications, and the intentions, of threats to national security. The issue of encryption, who should hold the controlling keys, and if American technology companies should be compelled to provide special access to consumer data to the United States government are issues as old as they are controversial. The common argument against any weakening of encryption is that there are no unexploitable weaknesses — if Google were to craft a back or front door for the U.S. government, it’s impossible to keep that same entryway free from other parties. After asking for “indulgence” and “understanding,” the secretary said during his remarks that the “current course [the technology industry is on], toward deeper and deeper encryption in response to the demands of the marketplace, is one that presents real challenges for those in law enforcement and national security.” In the secretary’s view, the nation’s “inability to access encrypted information poses public safety challenges.” Ignoring the mild irony behind that comment — why else would you choose to encrypt data? — the government employee continued: “In fact, encryption is making it harder for your government to find criminal activity and potential terrorist activity.” Johnson concluded with a colorful description of privacy and freedom, calling them “the things that constitute our greatest homeland security.”"

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Report: Google Wireless cellular announcement is imminent | Ars Technica

Report: Google Wireless cellular announcement is imminent | Ars Technica: "Surprise! Did you think Google's Wireless service was going to take a while to get here? According to The Wall Street Journal, the service could launch as early as tomorrow, Wednesday, April 22. Google has publicly talked about plans to launch an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) wireless service in March and said the service would see the light of day in "the next few months." "Google Wireless" (not necessarily the official name) will resell network access to Sprint and T-Mobile, but with a few twists. The Journal says the system will seamlessly switch between T-Mobile, Sprint, and Wi-Fi (including for calls), depending on what is available, and that—get this—customers will only have to pay for the data they actually use, rather than purchase a set amount of data every month. The service will, of course, be US only and at first will only work on the Nexus 6. Google isn't aiming for world domination here, just a small-scale, "Google Fiber"-style approach, where a disruptive new service puts pressure on existing services to lower prices and speed up service."

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Baker Hughes reports 20% lower revenue, expects continued rig count drop

Baker Hughes reports 20% lower revenue, expects continued rig count drop: "The downdraft in the rig count looks set to continue as “unfavorable market conditions” persist throughout the second quarter, Baker Hughes said Tuesday as the company unveiled its first quarter results. First quarter 2015 revenue was $4.6 billion, down 20% from the like period last year. The collapse in crude oil prices—which are currently about half of their 2014 peak—prompted cutbacks across the upstream industry, with Baker Hughes reporting major cuts to both facilities and manpower in the first quarter. And while commentators speculated in recent weeks that the downdraft in the rig count—seen by many as a barometer of the industry’s health—was nearing an end, Baker Hughes projects the North American count will drop 30% in the second quarter. According to the latest data from Baker Hughes, the U.S. rig count has now fallen for 19 straight weeks. On Dec. 5, Baker reported 1,920 rigs turning to the right, but last Friday the company reported just 954 operational rigs. Meanwhile, Canada, which normally sees peak activity in the first quarter, also experienced a pronounced drop in activity as operators brought their activities to an early halt, Baker Hughes said. The company reported 80 operational rigs on Friday. According to Baker Hughes’ projections, the second quarter North American rig count—in aggregate—is expected to shed 350 rigs from the number reported at the close of the first quarter. On March 27, the last full week of the first quarter, the company reported 1,048 operational rigs in the U.S. and 120 in Canada, representing a total of 1,168. If the company’s projections are correct, the North American rig count still has more than 200 rigs to shed from Friday’s combined rig count of 1,034. The decline in activity has forced service companies to cut costs with Schlumberger, Halliburton and Weatherford all reporting cost cutting measures. According to Baker Hughes’ Chairman and CEO Martin Craighead, the Houston-based company “took necessary actions to reduce” its cost base and resize its footprint during the first quarter to mitigate the downturn in the market. “These actions include the closure and consolidation of approximately 140 facilities worldwide along with the idling or impairment of excess assets and inventory. Correspondingly, we made the decision to increase our headcount reductions to a total of approximately 10,500 positions, or 17% of our workforce, which is 3,500 positions higher than what we previously announced,” Craighead said."

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RIGZONE - Big Oil's Latest Fear: A Price Shock After $114 Billion of Cuts

RIGZONE - Big Oil's Latest Fear: A Price Shock After $114 Billion of Cuts: "As the oil patch grows accustomed to a new world of $50 to $60 crude, it’s now looking ahead to a different but equally daunting sort of cliff. Oil companies are warning there will be a price to pay -- a much higher price -- for all the cost cutting being done today to cope with the collapse in the crude market. Big projects intended to start pumping oil and natural gas 5 to 10 years from now are being canceled or put on hold as the price crash forced $114 billion in spending cuts on the industry."

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Fracking boom only creates jobs for women as prostitutes, maids: N.Y. activist - Washington Times

What this douche is really saying is that the title of this article is all she believes women can do, if they re not part of the academia elite...No offense to those of you in academia. I have been in the oil industry for over 20 years and I personally know or observed a total of ZERO (0) women employed as prostitutes or maids because of the expansion of oil & gas activities.

Fracking boom only creates jobs for women as prostitutes, maids: N.Y. activist - Washington Times: "A key figure behind New York’s statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing says that losing out on oil and gas jobs is no big deal because the industry only creates work for women as prostitutes and hotel maids. In an April 6 lecture at the University of Pittsburgh, biologist Sandra Steingraber of New Yorkers Against Fracking described the fight over oil and natural gas development as a feminist issue. “Fracking as an industry serves men. Ninety-five percent of the people employed in the gas fields are men. When we talk about jobs, we’re talking about jobs for men, and we need to say that,” said Ms. Steingraber in a video posted on YouTube by the industry-backed group Energy in Depth. “The jobs for women are ‘hotel maid’ and ‘prostitute,’” she says. “So when fracking comes into a community, what we see is that women take a big hit, especially single women who have children who depend on rental housing.” Supporters of the industry swung back by citing a 2014 report from the American Petroleum Institute, which found that women filled 226,000 oil, gas and petrochemical industry jobs, or 19 percent. The report predicts job opportunities will grow for female and male petroleum engineers, managers and others by 70,000 from 2010 to 2030."

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Halliburton beats estimates, boosts job cuts after oil crash

Halliburton beats estimates, boosts job cuts after oil crash: "Halliburton Co. beat analysts’ estimates and accelerated the pace of job cuts ahead of a planned $34.6-billion takeover of Baker Hughes Inc. Excluding certain items, the world’s second-biggest provider of oilfield services earned 49 cents a share in the first quarter, topping the 36-cent average of 32 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Shares rose 4% to $48.78 at 11:13 a.m. in New York. Halliburton has now cut over the past two quarters a total of 9,000 workers, or more than 10% of its global workforce as the crash in oil prices forced drillers to cut back, according to Christian Garcia, interim CFO. The company, which is selling assets to win approval for the merger, previously expected to cut as much as 8% of its workers. It employed about 80,000 at the end of last year."

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Schlumberger profit falls, announces 11,000 additional job cuts

Schlumberger profit falls, announces 11,000 additional job cuts: "Schlumberger Ltd. reported its lowest first-quarter profit in four years and announced further 11,000 job cuts after customers slashed spending in response to tumbling crude prices. The company is cutting another 11,000 jobs, after announcing plans to eliminate 9,000 positions earlier. Cowen & Co. estimates that energy companies will cut spending on exploration and production services by $114 billion this year after Brent crude prices fell by half from a June high. Schlumberger has the largest staff reductions from a single company of approximately 100,000 cuts that have been announced in the industry globally. Net income fell to $975 million, or 76 cents a share, from $1.59 billion, or $1.21, a year earlier, the Houston- and Paris- based company said in a statement. That’s the lowest for the period since 2011. Excluding one-time items, per-share results beat the 89-cent average of 35 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg."

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Marshall goes digital with its first official software amplifier | Ars Technica

Marshall goes digital with its first official software amplifier | Ars Technica: "There's nothing quite like the sight or sound of a wall of cranked Marshall guitar amplifiers, as evidenced by their continued popularity on-stage since the first units were handmade in a British garden shed way back in 1963. But as fans of any vintage amplifier will tell you, getting that sweet, natural tube distortion usually means cranking the volume up way past socially acceptable levels. That's fine if you're playing to an audience of thousands, but if you're just jamming at home, or even if you're trying to capture the best tone in the studio, high volumes simply aren't practical. One of the solutions to this problem has been digital modeling, i.e. the recreation of classic analogue amplifiers and effects with software or a standalone device. Modeling has come a long way the past few years, with the likes of Native Instrument's Guitar Rig software and in particular Fractal's range of Axe-FX hardware coming incredibly close to replicating the real thing. But all the Marshall simulations on these modelers (as great as they are) haven't borne the official Marshall stamp of approval yet, hence why these models are often called something like "Brit 800" rather than "Marshall JCM 800.""

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

RIGZONE - Industry Not Expected To Fight Live Offshore Viewing

I'm not sure what world they are living in, but "live monitoring" of offshore jobs has been going on for a long time...Granted, it is not a standard/requirement, but most jobs have it.

RIGZONE - Industry Not Expected To Fight Live Offshore Viewing:

"Access to images perhaps similar to those that captivated viewers in real time around the world during the Deepwater Horizon disaster would be standard procedure under a new set of proposed federal offshore guidelines. 

 These include the live monitoring of deepwater and high-temperature/high pressure drilling activities, similar to what is currently used onshore. 

 “The real-time monitoring requirement ensures that the operator has access to onshore technical expertise if needed and that there is ‘another set of eyes’ available during critical operations,” according to the statement.

Houston personal injury lawyer Charles Herd, a partner at The Lanier Law Firm, which represented commercial plaintiffs during the Deepwater Horizon litigation, said he doesn’t expect much pushback from the agency on this particular requirement. 

 “Not only has it been an advantage in onshore applications, it is certainly reasonable,” he told Rigzone. “It should’ve been done (offshore) before now.”"

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Statoil finds oil at new Gulf of Mexico discovery |

Statoil finds oil at new Gulf of Mexico discovery | "Statoil has hit oil at a well in the Gulf of Mexico about 220 miles south of New Orleans. The Norwegian company has not yet determined the size of the find. Statoil's discovery, known as Miocene Yeti, targets oil in the well-explored Walker Ridge area of the Gulf of Mexico. Statoil operates the Yeti prospect and owns a 50 percent interest. Partners Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Samson Offshore own 37.5 percent and 12.5 percent interests, respectively. In a statement, Jez Averty, Statoil senior vice president for exploration in North America, said the company is now "analyzing data to determine the size of the discovery in order to consider future appraisal options.""

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Baker Hughes suspends well count reports amid cost cuts, Wall Street Journal reports |

Baker Hughes suspends well count reports amid cost cuts, Wall Street Journal reports | "Baker Hughes has suspended publishing its quarterly report of U.S. onshore well counts in an effort to cut costs amid low oil prices, The Wall Street Journal reports. The report says Baker Hughes will continue to publish its more closely-watched weekly reports of North American and international rig counts. Baker Hughes agreed in November to be acquired by competitor Halliburton for $35 billion, a deal intended to help both companies better weather the oil downturn, the report says. Baker Hughes told investors earlier this year it would cut 7,000 jobs from its worldwide workforce, the report says."

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Amazon Instant Video Finally Comes To Android Tablets | TechCrunch

Amazon Instant Video Finally Comes To Android Tablets | TechCrunch: "Amazon Instant Video is a surprisingly solid Netflix-competitor — particularly if you’re already an Amazon Prime member, which makes much of the content free. Until today, though, the service had one glaring fault: If you wanted to watch it on an Android tablet that wasn’t Amazon’s Fire HD, you were pretty much out of luck. That fault is finally fixed."

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HBO Now is live: Finally, HBO without cable! - TechBlog

HBO Now is live: Finally, HBO without cable! - TechBlog: "This is an historic day in television history: HBO Now has gone live, and you no longer need a cable subscription to see the premium network’s series and movies. You do, however, need some kind of Apple hardware, for the moment. For 90 days, Apple’s got exclusivity on HBO Now, and you’ll need a Mac, an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV to get the $14.99-a-month service. But if you don’t have any of these devices, all is not lost: The same content will soon appear on Sling TV without the HBO Now name."

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Halliburton to divest business units in anticipation of Baker Hughes acquisition

Halliburton to divest business units in anticipation of Baker Hughes acquisition: "Halliburton announced that it will separately market for sale the company's Fixed Cutter and Roller Cone Drill Bits, Directional Drilling and Logging-While-Drilling (LWD)/Measurement-While-Drilling (MWD) businesses. The final sale of these businesses will not be completed until we have reached acceptable terms and conditions negotiated by Halliburton, the approval of Halliburton's Board of Directors and final approvals of the Baker Hughes acquisition by competition authorities. "Thanks to employees' hard work, these businesses represent strong products and services in the oilfield services industry, and we believe the value inherent in these businesses will be recognized by prospective buyers," said Dave Lesar, chairman and chief executive officer of Halliburton. "Although we would prefer to retain these assets, we will be required to divest some of our overlapping businesses to obtain competition authorities' approvals as anticipated when we announced the Halliburton-Baker Hughes transaction. We are excited about the many benefits of our pending acquisition of Baker Hughes, which was recently approved by the stockholders of both companies, and look forward to creating a bellwether global oilfield services company for the benefit of our stockholders, customers, employees and other stakeholders." Halliburton will operate as one company, including the businesses held for sale, until the sale of the identified businesses is complete, and the company remains focused on providing the same safe, reliable, cost-effective service to its customers. Halliburton expects to complete the sale of the businesses in the same timeframe as the closing of the pending Baker Hughes acquisition late in the second half of 2015."

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RIGZONE - Colombia's Ecopetrol To Focus On Offshore Exploration, Key Fields

RIGZONE - Colombia's Ecopetrol To Focus On Offshore Exploration, Key Fields: "Colombian state-owned oil company Ecopetrol will cope with falling oil prices by bolstering exploration offshore, as well as focusing on production of high-yield wells, the company's new president said on Tuesday. Ecopetrol will focus on about 20 oilfields that produce 80 percent of its onshore crude and have output costs of between $7 and $17 per barrel, leaving wells with higher extraction expenses to other companies, Juan Carlos Echeverry said in an interview with local Caracol radio. The company, which is 88 percent owned by the government, also will focus its efforts in areas like the Gulf of Mexico. "Obviously the marginal fields will be left to other companies and we'll concentrate on our key fields," Echeverry said, one day after taking the helm of the $55 billion company. "We have to be very selective about where we invest - Colombia's coast, the Gulf of Mexico and key production in the country to keep cash flow - are the three priority focuses at this moment," said Echeverry, a former finance minister. Ecopetrol's net profits dropped 42.7 percent last year because of the global fall in crude prices, lower sales and guerrilla attacks against pipelines. The company cut its 2015 investment plan by 26 percent, to $7.86 billion. Ecopetrol is prepared to take over operating duties at Colombia's largest oilfield, Campo Rubiales, after deciding not to renew the contract Canadian company Pacific Rubiales had to run it. That contract expires in mid-2016. "We are completely capable of operating the field but the board, based on objective analysis and an evaluation of alternatives, will decide who will be the operator," Echeverry said."

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

You Can Now Use Your Cellphone As A 3D Modeling Tool | TechCrunch

You Can Now Use Your Cellphone As A 3D Modeling Tool | TechCrunch: "Researchers have created a new technology that uses the camera and accelerometers in an average cellphone to measure real objects in 3D space. Created at Carnegie Mellon University, you can use the system to build “3D models of the world” just by waving your phone around an object or scene. The accelerometers, called inertial measurement units, roughly tell the phone’s software the position of the phone in space. IMU’s are very noisy and rarely usable to truly assess a phone’s actual orientation with any degree of real accuracy but coupled with the camera you can get far more useful results. “We’ve been able to get accuracies with cheap sensors that we hadn’t imagined,” said Simon Lucey, associate research professor in the CMU Robotics Institute in a release. “With a face tracker program, we are able to measure the distance between a person’s pupils within half a millimeter.” Such measurements would be useful for applications such as virtual shopping for eyeglass frames.” The tool allows for better computer vision and could mean that you could create a 3D model of almost anything with your smartphone alone. The researchers expect to use this in self-driving cars, bypassing expensive and “power-hungry” radar. The team used the technology to create something called Smart Fit that finds the perfect glasses frames for your face. “The trajectory we create with these cheap IMUs will ‘drift’ over time, but the vision element we create is very accurate,” said Lucey. “So we can use the 3-D model to correct for the errors caused by the IMU, even as we use the IMU to estimate the dimensions of the model.”"

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Comcast doubles Google Fiber with 2Gbps symmetrical fiber service | Ars Technica

Comcast doubles Google Fiber with 2Gbps symmetrical fiber service | Ars Technica: "Comcast will begin selling a 2Gbps fiber-to-the-home service in Atlanta next month, boasting that it "will be the fastest residential Internet speed in the country." Gigabit Pro, announced today, will be a symmetrical service, delivering 2 gigabits both upstream and downstream. Google and AT&T both plan to bring gigabit service in Atlanta as well, but Comcast will likely get there first by launching next month."

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CONSOL, Halliburton deliver first complete frac spread powered by EPA Tier 4F compliant engines

CONSOL, Halliburton deliver first complete frac spread powered by EPA Tier 4F compliant engines: "CONSOL Energy and Halliburton have announced the planned deployment of the first hydraulic fracturing spread that is fully compliant with the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 Tier 4F emissions standard for non-road, high-horsepower engines. Tier 4F equipment will be used to complete fracturing jobs on all six pads on Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) property.  Completions on Pad 2 at PIT commenced Wednesday with an expected 36% overall reduction in emissions as a result of this new equipment. Tim Dugan, CONSOL Energy COO – Exploration and Production, commented, “Given the importance of this project to the entire Pittsburgh region, we are firmly committed to conducting our operations in accordance with the highest safety and environmental standards. So, we issued a challenge to deliver the lowest-emitting fracturing fleet possible, using the latest technology and Halliburton stepped up to the plate.” “We are pleased to team with Halliburton to introduce this industry-first on the PIT project, which is a prime example of the innovation that continues to occur across the Marcellus play, as well as CONSOL’s commitment to going above and beyond the regulatory baseline that governs our operations,” Dugan continued, Halliburton teamed up with Cummins to maximize the use of the Tier 4F engines. In addition to building a spread that is fully Tier 4F-compliant, Halliburton is also utilizing its existing emissions-reducing technologies on site, including the solar panel-powered SandCastle PS-2500 Vertical Proppant Storage System. Richard Gonzalez, V.P. of Halliburton’s Production Enhancement business line, said, “We hold ourselves to high standards in achieving compliance with environmental regulations. Building a fully Tier 4-compliant fracturing fleet that would meet emissions requirements for the Pittsburgh airport took extensive testing of prototype engines over the past few years. Halliburton, Cummins and CONSOL Energy all share the same values in developing advanced technology and protecting the environment, and we were proud to partner with them.” According to Cummins, compared to engines produced in 2000, the Tier 4F-compliant engines reduce particulate matter by 93% and oxides of nitrogen and hydrocarbon by 63%. Halliburton’s fracturing fleets have had 2015 Tier 4F-compliant engines in some of its blending equipment since 2010, and the new engines will power its fracturing pumps to complete the full Tier 4F fleet. Ed Pence, V.P. of Cummins’ High Horsepower Engine Business, said, “We are pleased to partner with Halliburton and CONSOL, pioneering Tier 4 Final very low emissions products into the market. We are confident the Cummins QSK50 will deliver the reliability and dependability Halliburton and CONSOL expect, while reaching these very low emissions through the use of proven, latest-generation Selective Catalytic Reduction after treatment.”"

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RIGZONE - Frank's International Plans to Cut 400-600 Jobs

RIGZONE - Frank's International Plans to Cut 400-600 Jobs: "ouston-based Frank’s International, LLC is the latest to announce cuts in its workforce due to the decline in oil prices. Frank’s, a global oil services company that provides tubular services to exploration and production companies in offshore and onshore environments, plans to reduce its workforce by 400 to 600 employees, citing the “sudden and dramatic drop in energy prices and rig count that we have seen over the last seven to eight months,” Josh Grodin, company spokesperson, said in an emailed statement to Rigzone. He also said the reductions will be in areas and functions in which the company is experiencing the sharpest decline in activity levels. The company plans to discuss specifics during its upcoming 1Q 2015 earnings conference call. “Frank’s Intl. remains committed to safely providing our customers with the equipment and services required to allow them to access their most challenging oil and gas reserves,” said Grodin.   Frank’s entered into a definitive purchase agreement March 11 to acquire Louisiana-based Timco Services, Inc. The acquisition is scheduled to close the second quarter of 2015.  "

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Transocean to scrap two more floaters

Transocean to scrap two more floaters: "Transocean announced Wednesday that it intends to scrap, in an environmentally responsible manner, two more rigs: GSF Aleutian Key and Sedco 707. These rigs are classified as held for sale. As a result of this decision, the company expects its first-quarter 2015 results to include an estimated non-cash charge of $90 million to $110 million, net of taxes. Including these two rigs, Transocean has announced plans to scrap a total of 18 floaters. As the company continues to evaluate the long-term competitiveness of its fleet, additional rigs may be identified as candidates for scrapping."

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RIGZONE - Hess is Mirroring Toyota Manufacturing Process to Slash Well Costs

RIGZONE - Hess is Mirroring Toyota Manufacturing Process to Slash Well Costs: ""This stuff really does work when you have a culture that is behind it," Hess President Greg Hill said in an interview on the sidelines of the DUG Conference in Denver. "We haven't even scratched the surface." Hill, who joined Hess from Shell in 2009, has data to back up his use of Lean manufacturing. Since the first quarter of 2012, the company's well costs have dropped 47 percent in the Bakken to about $7.1 million. For 2015, Hess hopes to cut that to $6.8 million."

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