Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Jindal defends his low popularity rating in Louisiana - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

He is a true politician! Telling bald-faced lies!

Jindal defends his low popularity rating in Louisiana - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social: "Gov. Bobby Jindal took his run for the White House to mainstream media Wednesday morning. Jindal stopped by CBS This Morning, where Gayle King pressed him about how he plans to win votes on a national level, when his approval rating at home is at an all-time low of 32 percent. "If folks are looking for a popular politician, you can govern by the polls," Jindal said. "You kiss babies, cut ribbons, don't do anything. That's not what our country needs. We're in serious trouble right now. We've got to shrink our federal government, grow our private sector economy. I've done that in Louisiana. I can do that in DC.""

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Technology Is Magic, Just Ask The Washington Post | TechCrunch

Plus points to Jon Evans for using the word "Stentorian" in a sentence!

Technology Is Magic, Just Ask The Washington Post | TechCrunch: "Most people don’t understand how technology works. When they flip a light switch, or tap their phone, what happens next is essentially magic to them. Oh, they may be able to handwave a bit about electrons and volts and microprocessors and radio waves and packet-switched networks, but they’re just mouthing the words. They don’t actually understand any of those things. They’ve never done the math. Which is fine! Not everyone can or should be an engineer. And as Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Our collective network of pocket supercomputers, communicating almost instantaneously across the globe, comes pretty close to “sufficiently advanced” on its good days. But “technology is magic” is a dangerous meme. It makes non-engineers begin to believe that technology really can do anything its wizard-engineers desire. It causes them to not understand that they don’t understand. And so it leads to Very Serious People making risibly embarrassing–and potentially dangerous–mistakes. Last week the editorial board of the Washington Post reiterated their demand that Apple, Google, etc., compromise the security of their users’ communications by building in back doors for law enforcement. This is a terrible, terrible idea, as I’ve mentioned before. But hey, don’t listen to me: listen to Whitfield Diffie, Ron Rivest, Bruce Schneier, and a whole Justice League of infosec legends, who write: We have found that the damage that could be caused by law enforcement exceptional access requirements would be even greater today than it would have been 20 years ago […] Exceptional access would force Internet system developers to reverse forward secrecy design practices that seek to minimize the impact on user privacy when systems are breached […] new law enforcement requirements are likely to introduce unanticipated, hard to detect security flaws [and] raises difficult problems about how such an environment would be governed and how to ensure that such systems would respect human rights and the rule of law. As Elissa Shevinsky writes in the Christian Science Monitor: “Law enforcement’s argument today is just as flawed now as it was in the 1990s. We cannot bend software or cryptography to our will. Technology is science, not magic.” Worst of all, any attempt to enforce this kind of magical thinking will still not prevent genuine bad guys from using strong encryption without back doors. That genie is long out of the bottle, widely available, and open-source. We’d get all of the multitudinous problems associated with built-in back doors, and few-to-none of the alleged benefits. So how did the Very Serious People of the Washington Post editorial board respond to this chorus of “no, bad, terrible, stupid, stop it!” from people who actually know what they’re talking about? Why, by doubling down on their ignorance— There are legitimate and valid counter arguments from software engineers, privacy advocates and companies that make the smartphones and software […] They say that a compromise isn’t possible, since one crack in encryption — even if for a good actor, like the police — is still a crack that could be exploited by a bad actor […] We urged Apple and Google, paragons of innovation, to create a kind of secure golden key that could unlock encrypted devices, under a court order, when needed. The tech sector does not seem so inclined. With all due respect to the WaPo’s editorial board–which is to say, very little–that is breathtakingly dumb. They acknowledge that engineers say that it is not possible to do the thing that they want, and that their arguments are “legitimate and valid” — and then, in the very next breath, they try to reframe that as ‘the engineers refuse to do it.’ It does not even seem to cross their collective mind that they simply cannot have what they want, that no “secure golden key” can or will exist. Engineering is all about tradeoffs. Security, or “golden key” back door: pick one. You can’t have both. That bird won’t fly. It is mythical nonsense."

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VIDEO: Anderson Cooper Gets Trumped, And What Scott Walker Could Learn From It | The Hayride

VIDEO: Anderson Cooper Gets Trumped, And What Scott Walker Could Learn From It | The Hayride: "Over the weekend Walker, whose stance on immigration has evolved quite a bit but now seems to have settled on a relatively hard line not just on illegals and controlling the border but on looking at placing tighter limits on legal immigration until the massive backlog of Americans who can’t find work gets cleared, was accosted in Iowa by the open-borders crowd in the person of an illegal immigrant from Wisconsin who accused him of trying to break up his family… Walker didn’t do a bad job handling a hostile situation from a bunch of obnoxious peope attempting to ambush him. In fact, he was fairly presidential in how he handled the interview – he was firm but polite and he stayed on message throughout the encounter. He also shut down the activists who had sponsored the illegals to accost him by refusing to discuss anything with them; as it turns out they actually drove the family to Iowa in a bus from Waukesha, which tells you all you need to know about how organic this confrontation was. But outside of the political junkies and news media, you didn’t see more than a blip out of this affair – because while Walker handled it exactly as a professional politician would be expected to, there was no news in it. He could have turned that into a perfect, defining moment and solidified his street cred with the conservative base – something he’ll need to do, because unlike Trump Walker has a real shot at being president in January 2017. What Walker could have done is to – before allowing his harasser to say a word in response to his position statement – demand to know how it is the man has his job. “Did they hire you off the books? Or do you have a Social Security number?” And when the expected answer came, next up would be “So you’re using somebody else’s Social Security number. That’s identity theft, you know, and it’s a crime.” Walker could then say “Look, I don’t bear you any ill will, and in your situation I can’t say I would have done much different from what you’ve done. All right? And I’m not somebody you should have any special fear of. But you’re here illegally, and you’re using somebody else’s Social Security number so you can take a job from one of the 93 million American citizens who aren’t in the work force, which as far as I’m concerned is the biggest problem this country has and you’re not part of the solution to it. “So I don’t know what it is you think I’m going to do for you. You want amnesty? OK, great. It’s pretty clear Congress isn’t interested in giving you that. You want Obama to do something he can’t legally do and give you amnesty? Well, that’s piling illegality on top of illegality, and at some point everybody decides they want to play. They’ll decide that not paying taxes works better for them, or moving into some vacant house and not paying for it. Or dumping industrial waste in the river. And then we have chaos. “If we’re going to do anything for you – give you a permit to live and work here, or a path to citizenship or something – then we’re going to need to have an economy that booms to such an extent that we come to you and say ‘what can we do for you?’ because we have a labor shortage and we need more Americans. Until then? Frankly, you really can’t complain about your situation and you definitely can’t make demands to be given better treatment than the citizens of this country who aren’t getting served all that well.” Most people haven’t really thought about the illegal immigration question in quite the terms Walker had it presented to him in Iowa over the weekend – namely, that he’s being accosted by illegal aliens who are making demands of him and making him out to be a bad guy because he’s not willing to change the law to give them something they didn’t earn. The ingratitude and, frankly, greed of that really ought to rankle."

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Halliburton said facing antitrust hurdles over Baker Hughes acquisition

Halliburton said facing antitrust hurdles over Baker Hughes acquisition: "Halliburton Co.’s takeover of Baker Hughes Inc. is facing resistance from U.S. enforcement officials who are concerned the tie-up could hurt competition, according to a person familiar with the matter. Justice Department lawyers reviewing the proposed $34.6-billion transaction are worried that the oilfield services industry would become too concentrated after a combination of its No. 2 and No. 3 firms, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the review is confidential. Though Halliburton has proposed selling some assets to other companies, government officials aren’t convinced its plan would restore sufficient competition, the person said. Although a final decision hasn’t been made yet, the department’s antitrust division is positioned to carry out a legal challenge if it decides to try to halt the deal, which the companies aim to complete by December. The unit has assigned John Read, a seasoned litigator, to oversee the Halliburton review, according to two people familiar with the staffing decision. Among his successes, Read helped win the division’s antitrust lawsuit against American Express Co. over its merchant rules for credit cards. Antitrust lawyers describe him as a formidable opponent who could bring a merger case to trial."

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NEWS  |  Offshore Driller Hercules Says Weeks From Bankruptcy  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Offshore Driller Hercules Says Weeks From Bankruptcy  |  Rigzone: "Hercules Offshore Inc, stung by slumping demand for drilling services in older Gulf of Mexico oilfields, said on Thursday it plans to file for creditor protection in about three weeks and emerge several months later with a restructured balance sheet. The small company, which rents out jackup rigs to drill shallow water wells that tend to yield less than giant deepwater ones, has been struggling for months because of an oversupplied rig market and slumping oil prices that have forced producers to slash spending. In November it cut 15 percent of its workforce, or 324 jobs, and last month started talks with creditors for an orderly bankruptcy filing. Hercules said on Thursday it has support for the filing from holders of over two thirds of its collective outstanding debt. It added that the prepackaged process will reduce the time it spends in bankruptcy protection, which it hopes to leave early in the fourth quarter."

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NEWS  |  Trials Underway for Wireless Mesh Communications Device  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Trials Underway for Wireless Mesh Communications Device  |  Rigzone: "Trials are underway for a new communications device just released for use with scalable, kinetic wireless mesh technology. Rajant Corporation – which Rigzone reported on earlier this year – this week launched the CacheCrumb node, a wireless transceiver with built-in processing power that allows applications to be pushed to a edge of a network for quicker access, the company said in a July 22 press statement. The new CacheCrumb is similar to Rajant’s ME4 line, but has an applications processor tuned for distributed video, sensors, algorithms and up to a terabyte of storage. CacheCrumb’s extra processing power and solid state memory means it can perform edge-processing, allowing video and other data to be stored, ‘groomed’ and consumed directly from the device. Rather than adding multiple separate boxes and creating a much bigger footprint, CacheCrumb provides capabilities for that can support different applications through an integrated device, said Paul Hellhake, Rajant’s chief technology officer, in an interview with Rigzone. CacheCrumb meets the demand for video that is growing not only in oil and gas, but other industries as well as companies want security and the ability to monitor equipment if case of failure. The device can store up to 30 days of video, meaning video can be accessed without having to send it across network resources until it’s needed. Video can be streamed immediately, meaning they don’t have to be collected and reviewed later, Hellhake noted. Sensor data also can be stored on CacheCrumb, meaning bandwidth isn’t chewed up by data being sent to a central database. Rajant is working with one oil and gas client to help them address their needs, which include the ability to gather, storage and analyze data locally, Hellhake said. Third party devices can be hooked with other breadcrumbs to provide the benefits of CacheCrumb, but would require additional power sources, such as a laptop hooked up on location to add processing capability. But hard drives tend to fail in outdoor environments, Hellhake noted."

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After deadly blast, 2.7 MMbbl of Pemex oil go missing

After deadly blast, 2.7 MMbbl of Pemex oil go missing: "Petroleos Mexicanos seems to have misplaced 2.7 MMbbl of oil. Since a deadly blast on April 1 tore through one of its offshore platforms, the state oil giant has baffled industry analysts with its assessment of the damage. Pemex has said the disaster, its deadliest this year, affected about 1.5 MMbbl of production. But Energy Ministry reports show the actual figure is nearly three times higher: 4.2 MMbbl in lost output since April 1. The disparity raises questions about how Mexico’s lone oil operator does -- or doesn’t -- keep investors in the loop about its sprawling business. It comes as Pemex tries to lure $33 billion in joint-venture investments to bolster sagging output -- all the more important after Mexico recently failed to attract enough buyers for offshore fields it wants to develop. Pemex is “failing to understand that in this world of transparency, you have to be careful what you say,” said Luis Maizel at LM Capital Group, who manages $5.5 billion of fixed- income assets, including Pemex bonds. “People don’t forget.” Conflicting Statements Pemex has given conflicting statements about how much output was cut. In an emailed response to questions on July 8, Pemex reiterated its 1.5 MMbbl estimate. In a follow-up email on July 10, the company said Bloomberg’s 4.2 MMbbl calculation was also “in the order of Pemex’s estimates” and didn’t provide details to explain the difference when asked in additional messages. At the heart of the confusion appears to be what, exactly, Pemex means by lost output. The production isn’t “lost,” Pemex says, just “deferred.” “It seems like Pemex is using a word game to avoid calling production lost,” said George Baker, an oil analyst and publisher of Mexico Energy Intelligence. “If production is being deferred after an accident, then that means the infrastructure isn’t in place or in good enough condition to pump the oil, so wouldn’t that be the same thing as lost production?” It’s not the first time Pemex’s output figures raise such questions. In addition to missing its own annual targets in each of the past seven years, Bloomberg News in August reported Pemex was including water in its barrel count. A week later, the company acknowledged the mistake and cut production estimates for 2014’s first half by a total of 23.5 MMbbl."

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Leeville commission's first meeting includes member's resignation |

Leeville commission's first meeting includes member's resignation | "A commission created to support Leeville got off to a rocky start Tuesday with the resignation of one of its founding members. The Leeville Fishing Village and Cultural Preservation Commission met for the first time since being approved by the Legislature in 2013. The commission was created to give local residents a direct hand in promoting tourism and overseeing historic conservation efforts while being able to apply for money directly from the state. After electing Don Griffin as chairman of the commission, Bob Gourgues as vice chairman and Janet Rhodus as secretary, the meeting took a personal turn. After Gourgues and members of the public criticized Rhodus and questioned her motives in Leeville, she resigned from the commission and suggested Harris Cheramie take her place."

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Belle Chasse Hires Mexican Drug Cartel To Build New Tunnel | THE PUSH POLE

Belle Chasse Hires Mexican Drug Cartel To Build New Tunnel | THE PUSH POLE: "The tunnel is located on a state highway, so you can imagine the bureaucratic red tape involved. The amount of people whose palms need greasing to make this happen is unreal. By the time everyone takes their cut, there’s not much money left for actual construction, so we’d be left with a shoddy, crumbling tunnel…kind of like the one we have now. The corruption and danger involved in local politics is terrifying; we figured we’d be better off dealing with a Mexican drug cartel. They’ve shown they can build a safer, stronger tunnel in half the time for a fraction of the price."

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Scott Walker IS Keyser Söze in 2016 US Presidential Election!

I am not necessarily a Scott Walker fan, but this is some funny stuff!

Who is Scott Walker? He is supposed to be from Wauwatosa. Some say his father was a Baptist. Nobody believed he was for real. That was his power.

One story the guys told me, the story I believe, was from his days in Madison. There was a gang of labor thugs that wanted their own union. They realized that to be in power, you didn’t need guns or money or even numbers. You just needed the will to do what the other guy wouldn’t. After a while, they come into power and then they come after Walker. He was small-time then, just running numbers, they say.

The union thugs knew Walker was tough, not to be trifled with, so they let him know they meant business. Then he showed these men of will what will really was. After dissolving the union, he lets the last member go. He waits until the recall is over and then he goes after the rest of the mob.

He fires their kids, he fires their wives, he fires their parents and their parents’ friends. He forecloses the houses they live in and the offices they work in, he fires people that owe them money. And like that he was gone. Underground. Nobody has ever seen him since. He becomes a myth, a spook story that Democrats tell their kids at night. “Rat on your shop steward, and Scott Walker will get you.”

Scott Walker: The Left's Keyser Söze

Thursday, July 9, 2015

BP’s spill deal is ‘catalyst’ for acquirers as uncertainty ends

BP’s spill deal is ‘catalyst’ for acquirers as uncertainty ends: "BP’s $18.7 billion U.S. legal settlement is being cheered by investors and analysts as it ends five years of financial uncertainty. It also makes the British oil producer a more attractive takeover target. Potential buyers, held back by unquantifiable liabilities related to the company’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill, may find a slimmed-down BP more appealing and digestible. “The market is looking at that,” said Ahmed Ben Salem, a Paris-based analyst with Oddo & Cie., who has a neutral recommendation on BP. “This could act as the catalyst because there’s more clarity now.” The five years of battling the consequences of the worst oil spill in U.S. history has seen BP shed a third of its market value and assets, cutting production by about 1 MMbopd. It could take CEO Bob Dudley years to restore the company’s pre-spill financial performance, giving potential acquirers a window of opportunity. BP climbed as much as 1.8% in London trading after advancing 4.4% on Thursday, when the company reached an agreement to pay a record amount to settle all federal and state claims from the oil spill that spewed thousands of barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico and along the coasts of five states. The settlement forced BP to raise it’s total payout budget to $53.8 billion. Even that may not be enough. Defenses Strengthened The settlement didn’t cover some businesses and residents in large swaths of Texas and Florida, who still demand billions. It also didn’t include shareholders or investors blaming BP for the U.S. administration’s moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf after the spill. Still, BP’s biggest threats are now gone. The company stepped up its defenses against an opportunistic takeover earlier this year, and war-gamed strategies with advisers from firms including Morgan Stanley, according to people familiar with the situation. A buyer will also have to convince the U.K. government, which told BP in the wake of Shell’s acquisition of BG Group that it would oppose the acquisition of the oil producer by a foreign company. A BP spokesman declined to comment on the company being a likely acquisition target after the U.S, legal settlement. A slimmed down BP is also an attraction for potential buyers because it has the lowest enterprise value relative to its daily oil and gas production of any of the six largest U.S. and European energy producers. Based on the current share price, the ratio is less than half that of Exxon Mobil Corp."

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NEWS  |  Kemp: Data Availability Bias in the Oil Market  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Kemp: Data Availability Bias in the Oil Market  |  Rigzone: "Why is there such good data about oil in the United States but such poor data about everywhere else? Accurate information is essential for good decision-making, so it is remarkable how little reliable and timely data exists about the production and consumption of crude oil and refined fuels outside the United States. The situation in the other advanced economies, not to mention emerging markets, is mostly guesswork. The result is that oil analysts cannot even agree on production and consumption yesterday and today, let alone predict what will happen tomorrow. And because the best and most readily accessible data is for the United States, the market puts excessive emphasis on what happens there and neglects developments elsewhere. The obsession with weekly rig counts, production estimates and crude inventories in the United States as a sign of wider supply-demand trends in the oil market has been a case in point. But as long as U.S. data is more accurate, detailed and timely than the numbers for other countries, this example of "availability bias" is set to continue. Energy Crisis Some U.S. data comes from private companies such as Baker Hughes, which inherited the decades-old rig count from the Hughes Tool Company, but most is produced by the federal government. The U.S. Energy Information Administration, the independent statistical and analysis arm of the Department of Energy, provides by far the best data on oil and other energy markets anywhere in the world."

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NEWS  |  Shell's Ice Management Vessel Damaged In Alaska  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Shell's Ice Management Vessel Damaged In Alaska  |  Rigzone: "Royal Dutch Shell Plc's icebreaker vessel Fennica returned to the Dutch Harbor in Alaska with a small breech in the hull, raising concerns about the company's plan to resume drilling in the Arctic later this month. Shell said in June it plans to restart drilling for oil in the Arctic off Alaska as early as the third week of July after a conditional approval by the United States. "Any impact to our season will ultimately depend on the extent of the repair," spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh said in an e-mail to Reuters. Fennica, owned by Arctia Offshore, is one of the primary ice management vessels in the Port of Helsinki during European winter."

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Precision sees room for rig rebound as producers weather slump

Precision sees room for rig rebound as producers weather slump: "Even with the oil market in a funk again, producers are adjusting and Precision Drilling Corp. sees the potential for more spending by customers in the second half. Canada’s largest drilling services company sees some room for the North American rig count to rebound as customers restart wells and upgrade equipment after cutting costs, CEO Kevin Neveu said in an interview. The current price slump poses no threat to Precision’s dividend, he said. “I think the rig count actually might have dropped a little lower than necessary,” Neveu said by phone from Calgary. “I think our customers have saved more money than they intended to save.” The oil and gas industry has cut spending by tens of billions of dollars and eliminated more than 100,000 jobs to weather the crude slump. Prices that had rebounded somewhat recently have tumbled 12% this month on concern the Greek crisis will hurt the global economy, while an end to Iran sanctions could boost supplies. Still, the number of active oil rigs in the U.S. increased to 640 in the week ended July 3 from 628 in late June, paring a 60% decline from October levels, according to Baker Hughes Inc., the Houston-based oil-services company that has kept rig counts since 1944. A strong rig-count recovery, though, would require U.S. oil prices at $60/bbl to $70/bbl, Neveu said. The West Texas Intermediate benchmark fell 0.4% to $52.33/bbl at the close in New York on Tuesday, after slumping 7.7% on Monday. Precision Drilling is the ninth-best performer on the Standard & Poor’s/TSX Energy Index this year, up 6.9%, compared with a 7.8% decline in the 63-member indicator. It has a market value of C$2.2 billion ($1.7 billion)."

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NEWS  |  Succession Planning Critical for Longevity of Oil, Gas Companies  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Succession Planning Critical for Longevity of Oil, Gas Companies  |  Rigzone: "In recent months, restructuring has become almost an industry buzzword as oil and gas companies across the globe have adjusted their organizations’ operations in response to the dramatic decline in oil prices that began in late 2014. In mid-June, Qatar Petroleum, the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), completed an 8-month restructuring plan which included laying off foreign staff and taking over its foreign investment arm, Qatar Petroleum International. The company is focusing on future international expansion. And with the current market climate, there are many other companies following suit: restructuring, implementing organizational planning and identifying the necessary changes that will help propel their company through the downturn. Part of that includes preparing for the sudden or voluntary change of a CEO or senior level executive. By taking a strategic approach to succession planning, oil and gas companies will be better equipped to handle the cycles common to the industry.   Who Should Be Involved in Succession Planning Tobias ReadCEO, Swift Worldwide Resources As a company’s succession planning involves developing internal employees to fill key leadership positions, it seems almost detrimental for a company not to have this process in place. And according to Swift Worldwide Resources CEO Tobias Read, it can be.  “Companies that don’t look at succession planning are likely to end up failing,” Read told Rigzone. “Many CEOs won’t put succession plans in place very deliberately because they’re paranoid” of losing their job. The truth is, with the downturn, we’ve seen quite a few CEOs of oil and gas companies come and go. Those who are prepared for the transition stand to fare better than those who aren’t. "

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NEWS  |  Brazil Clears Shell's $70B Purchase Of BG  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Brazil Clears Shell's $70B Purchase Of BG  |  Rigzone: "Brazil gave the green light to oil major Royal Dutch Shell to buy smaller rival BG, advancing the $70 billion merger - the largest of the past decade - closer to completion in early 2016. Shell is set to become the largest foreign operator offshore Brazil after it buys BG, so the clearance from the country was a crucial step to complete the merger on time. Brazil's competition authority CADE said on Wednesday it had given preliminary approval to the transaction "without restrictions." BG said that if no appeals were lodged or referrals made in the next 15 days, CADE's clearance would become final. A spokesman for Shell confirmed the approval and the 15-day appeals period. The proposed acquisition had previously obtained a green light from United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and now only needs pre-conditional approvals from the European Union, Australia and China for the merger to go ahead. "The filing process for each of these is under way, and the transaction is on track to complete in early 2016," it said. Shell and BG produced a combined 212,252 barrels of oil equivalent per day in Brazil in May, or 7.1 percent of the country's total. Analysts expect this figure to double to nearly 500,000 boepd by 2020. The two companies have stakes in Brazil's most exciting oil plays, with BG owning 25 percent of the massive Lula field and Shell owning 20 percent of the Libra prospect."

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Pemex pulls out of Mexico licensing auction as oil slides

Pemex pulls out of Mexico licensing auction as oil slides: "Mexico’s national oil company withdrew from the country’s first license auction to conserve cash and focus on bringing in partners for its existing operations. The company known as Pemex, which has battled accidents and faced years of falling production and shrinking revenues, won’t bid in the auction of 14 oil blocks, Energy Minister Pedro Joaquin Coldwell said Wednesday. It’s focusing on the upcoming farm outs and was dissuaded from bidding after falling oil prices crimped earnings, he said at an event in Mexico City. “Pemex has seen its income reduced by more than 50% due to the fall in the price of oil,” he told reporters in Mexico City, adding that the company would participate in later auctions planned for this year. The unexpected withdrawal leaves 17 companies and seven groups planning to participate in the auction. Glencore Plc and Noble Energy Inc. together with PTT Exploration & Production PCL and Ecopetrol SA also pulled out of the event this week. Mexico will auction 169 oil blocks in onshore and offshore fields in the so-called “round one,” after last year passing legislation to end Pemex’s monopoly and open the country’s energy industry to private competition. Withdrawals Several companies pre-approved to bid on Mexico’s oil blocks have resisted the requirements for each bidding group to have one partner to act as guarantor, and for that company to maintain shareholder equity, or total assets minus liabilities, of at least $6 billion. The stipulation of a single guarantor, rather than sharing the burden among partners, is proving prohibitive for some companies, according to Alfredo Alvarez, Mexico’s energy sector leader at Ernst & Young LLP. “For the larger companies and the majors, a parent guarantee isn’t something a lot of them are going to tolerate,” Alvarez said in a phone interview. Mexico “will likely lose a few bidders and that is unfortunate because they would have had a few more bids had they been more open-minded.”"

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NEWS  |  Azerbaijan President Open to Snam Taking Stake in TAP project  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Azerbaijan President Open to Snam Taking Stake in TAP project  |  Rigzone: "Azerbaijan is open to Italian gas infrastructure group Snam taking a stake in the project to build the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) that will carry gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, President Ilham Aliyev said on Thursday. "Why not? If someone would allocate its shares to other companies I don't see any problems," Aliyev said when asked about Snam's possible investment in TAP. He spoke in English to reporters during a visit to Milan's EXPO international trade fair. Snam CEO told Reuters in an interview in June the company was ready to evaluate buying 20 percent of TAP."

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NEWS  |  Russia's Rosneft Signs Deal to Buy into India's Essar Oil  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Russia's Rosneft Signs Deal to Buy into India's Essar Oil  |  Rigzone: "Russia's top oil producer Rosneft has taken a significant step towards expanding its global reach by signing a preliminary deal to acquire up to 49 percent in Essar Oil Ltd, India's second biggest private refiner. Rosneft had initially said it would buy into Essar's Vadinar refinery. But a company spokesman clarified on Thursday the deal included Rosneft entering into Essar Oil's charter capital, echoing a statement from the Indian firm. The companies have signed a non-binding term sheet for Rosneft to buy an equity stake of up to 49 percent in Essar Oil, the Indian company said in a statement on Thursday. Rosneft, the world's top listed oil producer, has long sought to increase its exposure to the global markets but its efforts have been hampered by Western sanctions over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis. The deal with Essar from India, a country Russia has close ties with since the Soviet era, was announced as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met President Vladimir Putin on the fringes of a summit of emerging nations."

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Statoil awards production chemicals contract to Baker Hughes

Statoil awards production chemicals contract to Baker Hughes: "Statoil Petroleum has awarded Baker Hughes an eight-year contract to design and supply production chemicals to the offshore Norne field and the deepwater Aasta Hansteen field in the Norwegian Sea. Work is anticipated to begin in July 2015, and the contract also includes an extension option of four years."

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

This Is How "Sugarless" Sweeteners Trick Your Tongue

This Is How "Sugarless" Sweeteners Trick Your Tongue: "Take a sip of licorice tea and you’ll notice a strange lingering sweetness, as if someone secretly added sugar to your cup. This is due to glycyrrhizin, a sweetener which was used well before stevia entered the commercial market, but which works a similar way. People crave sweetness. Supposedly this is because we crave calories, but sweetness is an indication, not a guarantee. There are molecules that give us the sweetness of sugar, but without the calories. Lately, a lack of calories is considered more valuable than a surplus, and “sugarless” sweeteners have come on to the market. The most popular of them, stevia, come from the plant Stevia rebaudiana. It’s not, technically, sugarless. Stevia is a glycoside. A glycoside contains a sugar molecule, but it’s bound to another molecular structure, usually a hydroxy compound. Glycosides are often incredibly sweet when compared to plain old sucrose. A little glycoside goes a long way."

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

NEWS  |  Shell Goes Ahead with Giant Gulf of Mexico Field After Cost Cuts  |  Rigzone

NEWS  |  Shell Goes Ahead with Giant Gulf of Mexico Field After Cost Cuts  |  Rigzone: "Royal Dutch Shell has given the green light for the development of its largest platform in the Gulf of Mexico after making steep cost cuts which made the deep water project economical despite low oil prices. The decision to pour billions of dollars into the Appomattox project comes as companies have scrapped around $200 billion of mega-projects in the wake of the sharp decline in oil prices over the past year. Shell has operated in the Gulf of Mexico for over 60 years. The region contributes about 17 percent of total U.S. crude oil production according to the Energy Information Administration and was the location in 2010 of the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, involving BP's Deepwater Horizon well. Shell's investment decision shows the energy giant's bet on deep water as it seeks to finalise by early 2016 the $70 billion acquisition of Britain's BG Group, which holds large stakes in Brazil's offshore oil production. The project, some 80 miles (130 km) off the coast of Louisiana, is expected to start production by the end of this decade and reach peak output of around 175,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day, Shell said on Wednesday. Shell, which operates 7 platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, said it had reduced the project's cost by 20 percent through design improvement and lower contractor and supplies costs, bringing its breakeven price to around $55 per barrel of oil equivalent."

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Summit ESP launches Sentry Well Surveillance and Optimization Service

Summit ESP launches Sentry Well Surveillance and Optimization Service: "Summit ESP has launched its Sentry Well Surveillance service, a real time electrical submersible pump and optimization service. Summit ESP Sentry is a holistic approach to well surveillance backed with 24/7/365 monitoring services designed to increase production, improve ESP run life and reduce downtime and labor expenses. Sentry collects data from artificial lift operations and then provides clients critical information necessary to optimize production and minimize field down time. Summit ESP's Sentry surveillance team of petroleum engineers continuously monitor clients production on a 24-hours-per-day, 365-days-per year basis from the company's monitoring center. Surveillance engineers have access to a complete 360° view of every well's operational information, downhole equipment, application design and field service history. This allows the engineers to analyze and understand each well's operational conditions and identify when there is an issue. Some popular service features of Sentry include: Full remote control ESP set point capabilities, reducing nonproductive time and significantly minimizing the need to call out service technicians to the well location. Custom and recalibrated alarms for all operating parameters, allowing clients to be notified of parameters that are the most important to their production operation. Intensive monitoring for startup and all wells <90 days runtime, during the critical initial new well production time frame. Wells >90 days runtime assessed multiple times per day, assuring production rates are maintained and optimized. Surveillance engineers performing performance analyses with flow rate modeling to ensure optimal production. Summit's Sentry platform is designed to support multiple SCADA systems that store key operating parameters in a centralized database for remote monitoring, analysis and control."

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BP pays record $18.7 billion to settle Macondo claims

BP pays record $18.7 billion to settle Macondo claims: "BP Plc will pay a record $18.7 billion to resolve claims by the U.S. and five states along the Gulf of Mexico related to the 2010 oil spill. The payments will be spaced out over as long as 18 years. A record $5.5 billion will cover federal penalties under the Clean Water Act, topping the previous high of $1 billion. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas will also receive payouts for harm done in the worst offshore spill in U.S. history."

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SMBC Funny: Chem-Trails!

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:

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