The New American Oil Empire Built on Sand. The “Fracking Revolution”

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By F. William Engdahl

Over the course of the past decade the United States, following decades of relative stagnation in oil production, has surprised many to become the largest oil producer in the world, exceeding Russia as well as Saudi Arabia. 

Latest daily production is just above 12.1 million barrels a day. In November 2018 for the first time in decades the US became a net oil exporter. 

The geopolitical implications to this energy boom in a world where oil determines the growth of entire economies, would appear to be great. Almost all the increase owes to the exploitation of what is called shale oil, unconventional oil found in shale rock formations. The US Department of Energy projects a rise to 8.8 million barrels daily from US shale oil alone, a new record. Now though, we are seeing the first clear signs that the “shale boom” could implode even faster than it rose. The implications for American foreign policy and global geopolitics and economics are significant.

The ‘Fracking’ Revolution

The idea of extracting oil or natural gas embedded in shale rocks has been known for years. However shale oil, or tight oil as it is known, first became economical with introduction of new horizontal drilling techniques combined with oil prices of $100 a barrel or more. This was about two decades ago. 

In hydraulic fracturing or fracking, oil embedded in shale rock thousands of feet down is injected with a high pressure mix of water, lots of it, mixed with chemicals and sand. The de facto sand blasting creates fissures where oil can flow into the oil pipeline. The actual drilling of a shale well is only about 30-40% of the total cost. Up to 55-70% are from completion which includes actual fracking. The independent oil consultancy, Wood Mackenzie, recently estimated that the USA held an impressive 60% of all world shale reserves that are economically viable at oil prices of $60 per barrel or less.

Now it begins to get interesting. The current price for the West Texas Intermediate marker grade of oil is around $58 a barrel, where it has been for months. The price has not shot up as many expected despite the disruptions in Venezuela, in Iran and around the Persian Gulf. This puts shale well production, much of which today is in the Permian basin in West Texas or Bakken in North Dakota, at a delicate point. 

When Saudi Arabia and the Arab OPEC producers decided to flood the market in 2014 with cheap oil in order to force the US shale producers into bankruptcy, the results were disastrous for the OPEC countries financially, but new technology advances allowed the major part of US shale oil production to survive at far lower prices. That, combined with a Federal Reserve Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP), made borrowing to produce oil attractive for shale companies. Now, with two years of gradual Fed rate increase policies, shale companies are beginning to show signs of major stress.

Economic Troubles

Little known is the fact that despite all technological advances and economies of scale, the USA shale oil industry as a whole has yet to turn a net profit. At a juncture when world GDP growth begins to look very bleak, whether in China or in the EU or Emerging Markets like Brazil or Argentina or Turkey, US shale companies face a critical juncture. 

The year 2018, according to projections of the International Energy Agency was supposed to be the year that the shale industry finally turned a profit. The IEA wrote in early 2018 that “higher prices and operational improvements are putting the US shale sector on track to achieve positive free cash flow in 2018 for the first time ever.” Since it began, until the Saudi price crash, that is from 2000-2014, US shale companies as a whole according to IEA estimates, already generated a cumulative negative free cash flow of more than $200 billion. With glowing predictions for a “new Saudi Arabia, and banks willing to lend to after the 2008 financial crisis, money poured into shale. Companies claimed once infrastructure was in place the profits would soon flow. It didn’t. Despite over two years of rising world oil prices, some 33 US publicly traded shale companies had a combined negative cash flow of $3.9 billion in the first half of 2018.

Continue Reading at globalresearch.ca

Desperation mounts in Bahamas as shelters turn evacuees away

Image: Ramon Espinosa

Image: Ramon Espinosa

By Dánica Coto

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Desperation mounted in the Bahamas on Tuesday as hurricane survivors arriving in the capital by boat and plane were turned away from overflowing shelters.

As government officials gave assurances at a news conference that more shelters would be opened as needed, Julie Green and her family gathered outside the headquarters of the island’s emergency management agency, seeking help.

“We need a shelter desperately,” the 35-year-old former waitress from Great Abaco said as she cradled one of her 7-month-old twins on her hip, his little face furrowed. Nearby, her husband held the other twin boy as their four other children wandered listlessly nearby. One kept crying despite receiving comforting hugs.

Hurricane Dorian devastated the Abaco and Grand Bahama islands in the northern part of the archipelago a week ago, leaving at least 50 dead, with the toll certain to rise as the search for bodies goes on.

Nearly 5,000 people have arrived in Nassau by plane and by boat, and many were struggling to start new lives, unclear of how or where to begin. More than 2,000 of them were staying in shelters, according to government figures.

Green said that shelter officials told her they couldn’t accept such young children, and that the family has slept in the home of a different person every night since arriving Friday in New Providence, the island where Nassau is situated.

“We’re just exhausted,” she said. “We’re just walking up and down, asking people if they know where we can stay.”

Erick Noel, a 37-year-old landscaper from Abaco with a wife and four children, found himself in the same situation. They will have to leave a friend’s house by Wednesday and had not yet found a shelter where they could stay.

“They are full, full, full,” he said. “I keep looking for a place to go.”

He said he found one small home for his family in Nassau but could not afford the $900 monthly rent. Undeterred, Noel said he would keep searching.

Meanwhile, government officials said they were helping all evacuees and considering building temporary housing, perhaps tent or container cities.

“We are dealing with a disaster,” said Carl Smith, spokesman for the Bahamas’ National Emergency Management Agency. “It takes time to move through the chaos. We are responding to the needs.”

The government has estimated that up to 10,000 people from the Abacos alone will need food, water and temporary housing.

Getting back to Abaco is the dream of Betty Edmond, a 43-year-old cook who picked at some fries with her son and husband in a restaurant at a Nassau hotel, where her nephew is paying for their stay.

Continue Reading at apnews.com

Opinion: “Climate Change” Is A Hoax

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By Kurt Schlichter

I hate science, evidently, because I’m woke to the manifest truth about what the leftist elite currently calls “climate change." It is the second most staggering fraud ever perpetrated upon the American people after the media’s promotion of the unstoppable candidacy of Beto (who is a furry). Like some suckers still do, I once believed that “science” was a rigorous process where you tested theories and revised those theories in response to objective evidence. But in today’s shabby practice, “science” is just a package of self-serving lies buttressing the transnational liberal elite’s preferred narrative. Our alleged betters hope that labeling their propaganda “science” will science-shame you into silence about what everyone knows is a scam.

Nah. “Climate change” is a hoax. Come arrest me for felony denial.

Understand that the term “climate change” does not refer to actual meteorological phenomena but, rather, to the sordid rat-king of lies, scams and power grabs that we are commanded to accept as pagan gospel lest we burn to a crisp or drown or suffer...whatever the Armageddon du jour is. When you say “climate change is a grift,” and you should as often as possible, you are pointing out that this green-on-the-outside/red-on-the-inside fake frenzy is really just a set of intertwined grifts transparently designed to separate you from your freedom and your property in the name of somehow adjusting the weather.

Observing that “climate change” is steaming garbage served in a dirty ashtray is not disputing that the climate changes. That the climate is not static, and never could be static, is one of the myriad reasons that this whole idea is ridiculous. The planet gets hotter, it gets colder, sometimes quickly, sometimes over eons, and there are a bunch of reasons why, like the sun and volcanos. Human-produced carbon might be one of the factors, but there’s simply no evidence that it is a significant one. Of course, if they really cared about carbon, they would be up in arms about China and India, which are upping their output while we are slashing ours. Yet the object of their ire is your New York strip. Gosh, does that seem consistent with 1) someone truly concerned about atmospheric carbon, or 2) someone who trembles with joy at the notion of bossing around you rubes out in gun/Jesusland?

The underlying premise of their claims seems to be that there is a “right” temperature for the earth; watch them sputter when you enquire about that perfect setting for Earth’s thermostat. Remember, if you ask questions you hate “science.” If they did stop telling you how you hate “science” long enough to respond, they might explain that of course there’s no perfect temperature – it’s not like LA, where it’s always 72 degrees. 

But then, what are they comparing the present climate to in order to declare that our climate is “getting worse?” If you establish a climate baseline, then you can compare what’s actually happening to the baseline and that might demonstrate that the whole thing is baloney. That would be awkward. It happened after Katrina. Oh, Katrina’s proof positive that Gaia is really ticked off and…and…and…then we had a bunch of years without much hurricane action at all. You might think that this would be evidence that maybe the climate wasn’t in chaos, and that they would be happy to be proven wrong, but no, it doesn’t work that way. Every time the weather fits the narrative, you see, it’s proof that the climate kooks are right, and every time the weather fails to fit the narrative, well, weather’s not climate. At least until the next heat wave or storm; then weather will totally be climate again.

Heads, you must give us all your freedom and money, and also tails, you must give us all your freedom and money.

Now, we’re being told that we’re all going to die in…I guess we’re down to what? About 11.5 years this go ‘round? Of course, we’ve been told many times that we’re doomed and the deadlines have come and gone with the doomsdayers not missing a beat. They’re like old timey Elmer Gantrys promising the apocalypse over and over again, with their hardcore true believers regularly showing up for the rapture over and over again no matter how many times the Four Horseman fail to turn up.

We haven’t even seen one horseman.

Back in the 70s, I remember we were promised an ice age if we didn’t give liberals our money and freedom. Then in the 80s, we were promised death by ozone hole if we didn’t give liberals our money and freedom, and then doom by acid rain if we didn’t give liberals our money and freedom. By the time they started promising that we were all gonna die from global warming if we didn’t give liberals our money and freedom, I was still wanting my ice age. It would be nice to have a white Christmas in LA.

Continue Reading at townhall.com

Dorian Makes Landfall In Carolinas As "Pillaging, Looting" Begins In The Bahamas

Image: zerohedge.com

Image: zerohedge.com

By Tyler Durden

Despite being downgraded to Category 1, winds still reached up to 90mph as Hurricane Dorian blew ashore at Cape Hatteras, making its first landfall on the U.S. mainland, flooding homes in the low-lying ribbon of islands and throwing a scare into year-round residents who tried to tough it out.

“It’s bad,” Ann Warner, who owns Howard’s Pub on Ocracoke Island, said by telephone. “The water came up to the inside of our bottom floor, which has never had water.” She said a skylight blew out and whitecaps coursed through her front yard and underneath her elevated house.

“We’re safe,” Warner added. “But it’s certainly a mess.”

As of this morning, Dorian was moving northeast at 14 mph (22 kph). It is expected to remain a hurricane as it sweeps up the Eastern Seaboard on Friday and Saturday, far enough offshore that its hurricane-force winds are unlikely to reach land.

While the damage was far less than feared in many parts of the Carolinas, the 'warzone' left behind in the Bahamas is getting worse by the day.

"There's just no way everyone's going to get out," says a woman fleeing Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, adding that people are trying to shoot each other for supplies.

"It's just total devastation... there's nothing left," exclaims one woman as she tries to flee the islands. "People are starting to panic... pillaging, looting, trying to shoot people for food..."

Continue Reading: zerohedge.com

Japan 'set to dump contaminated Fukushima water into ocean as storage runs out'

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By Tom Towers

Countries are gathering to prevent Japan dumping nuclear waste from the Fukushima power plant disaster into the ocean. 

The plant suffered a catastrophic meltdown when a 6.6-magnitude earthquake shook the region in 2011. A tsunami then swamped the nuclear reactors and triggered a massive radiation leak. 

Tokyo Electric is currently running out of tank space at the plant used to store the water waste. 

It expects storage will be taken up by mid-2022 and is actively seeking alternatives – one of which is reportedly the ocean. 

The South Korean government has now sent a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in opposition to the move. 

The Ministry of Science and ICT in a press conference in Seoul on Thursday said it plans to "take joint measures with the international community to search for a safe way to handle radioactive water from the Fukushima plant".

Seoul also plans to raise the issue at the IAEA General Conference in Vienna, Austria from Sept. 16 to 20.

Despite the calls for action, industry insiders assert that these organisations have no authority to regulate Japan. 

The Japanese government has invited foreign diplomats from 22 countries to Tokyo and made its plans public. 

It says it “has not yet made a final decision” on how to handle the contaminated water. 

Continue reading: dailystar.co.uk

‘Like zombies’: Hurricane’s victims face heartbreak and loss

Image: Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP

Image: Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP

By Michael Weissenstein

ABACO, Bahamas (AP) — Lugging empty suitcases, plastic buckets and backpacks, dazed survivors of Hurricane Dorian made their way back to the shantytown where they used to live, hoping to gather up some of their soggy belongings.

The community was known as The Mudd, and it was built by thousands of Haitian migrants over decades. It was razed in a matter of hours by Dorian, which ripped apart the shelters and scattered splintered plywood and two-by-fours for miles.

A helicopter buzzed overhead Thursday as people picked through the debris, avoiding a body that lay tangled underneath a tree branch next to twisted sheets of corrugated metal, its hands stretched toward the sky. It was one of at least nine bodies that people said they had seen in the area.

“Ain’t nobody come to get them,” said Cardot Ked, a 43-year-old carpenter from Haiti who has lived 25 years in Abaco. “If we could get to the next island, that’s the best thing we can do.”

Ked was one of thousands of desperate people seeking help in Dorian’s aftermath. With winds of 185 mph (295 kph), the hurricane obliterated houses on the Bahamas’ Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, home to some 70,000 people. The official death toll from the government stood at 20 and was certain to climb.

Search-and-rescue operations and an international humanitarian effort to help the victims picked up speed, with emergency officials fanning out across the stricken areas and tracking down people who were missing or in distress. Crews began clearing streets and setting up distribution centers for food and water.

Continue reading and view images at apnews.com

Bahamas Blockchain Company Raises Crypto for Hurricane Dorian Relief

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By Joeri Cant

PO8, a blockchain company headquartered in the Bahamas, is asking the crypto and blockchain communities to help them bring relief to the victims of Hurricane Dorian. The firm made its appeal in a blog post on Sept. 2.

Devastation in the Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian brought devastation to Bahamas islands on Monday and Tuesday. Satellite images show the region has suffered heavy flooding, with more than 60% of Grand Bahama Island submerged. 

Call to help Dorian victims

PO8 has witnessed the devastation firsthand and is asking the crypto and blockchain communities to help rebuild and restore the islands most affected. A recent post on the PO8 website said:

“PO8 has pledged 1 billion PO8 tokens to hurricane relief efforts. For every dollar worth of crypto donation, PO8 will match it 100%.”

Crypto donations can be made with Bitcoin or Ethereum (ETH). Cash donations can also be made on the PO8 GoFundMe page.

PO8’s blockchain platform aims to democratize access to marine archeological artifacts by establishing their provenance and preventing their sale.

Charity and crypto

Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are increasingly being applied for charitable efforts. Following the Notre Dame cathedral fire earlier this year, France’s Minister of State for the Digital Sector Cédric O said he was open to cooperating with cryptocurrency platforms for donations to reconstruct the cathedral.

In an August report, independent public charity Fidelity Charitable said that it has received $100 million in cryptocurrency donations since it began accepting cryptocurrency in 2015.

Via: Cointelegraph.com

Hurricane Dorian strengthens as Florida prepares for impact

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By Zachary Fagenson

MIAMI (Reuters) - Residents of Florida on Friday were boarding up windows and stocking up on food, water and gas as Hurricane Dorian gained strength and slowly churned toward the U.S. mainland.

The storm has alarmed forecasters who worry parts of Florida will be walloped by strong winds, a storm surge and heavy rain for an extended period when it makes landfall early next week. 

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said Dorian was expected to continue strengthening and remain an “extremely dangerous major hurricane” as it moves northwest near the Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urged residents to have at least a week’s worth of food, water and medicine, saying at a news conference in Tallahassee that they should be prepared for a “multiday event.” Florida is under a declaration of emergency. 

“They’re buying everything, everything and anything that applies to a hurricane, flashlights, batteries, generators,” said Amber Hunter, 30, assistant manager at the ACE Handiman hardware store in Cape Canaveral on Florida’s east coast. 

Hunter said generators were the most popular item. 

NHC Director Ken Graham urged Florida residents to have their preparations wrapped up on Sunday before tropical storm-force winds hit the coast that night. 

Employees at Conchy Joe’s Seafood in Jensen Beach on Florida’s east coast were boarding up windows and stripping bare the restaurant’s waterfront tiki bar on Friday before heading to their homes to make similar preparations.

“I’m planning on boarding up my house this evening,” said Jamison Weeks, the restaurant’s 38-year-old general manager. “The mood is a little tense, everybody’s a little nervous and just trying to prepare as best as possible.” 

Dorian is expected to bring a life-threatening storm surge that raises water levels by as much as 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) above normal levels in parts of the northwestern Bahamas, the NHC said in an advisory at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT). Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. 

“Almost everyone has left, or is leaving today,” said Pauline Powell, 26, who was on a family vacation at the Island Seas Resort in Grand Bahama when the storm started barreling toward the area’s pristine beaches. 

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation said hotels and resorts throughout that part of the island nation have activated hurricane response programs. The Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport will close Friday night and will not open until Sept. 3, the ministry said in a statement.

‘REALLY WORRIED’ 

Dorian began on Friday over the Atlantic as a Category 2 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale but strengthened to a Category 3 later in the day. It had maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour (185 km per hour), according to the latest NHC advisory. 

If, as expected, Dorian reaches Category 4 strength over the weekend, its winds will blow at more than 130 mph (210 kph). It is currently moving at a pace of 10 miles per hour (16 km/h), giving it more time to intensify before making landfall. 

Forecasters predicted it will be over the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday and near the Florida peninsula late on Monday. It is projected to make landfall in South Florida and then head up through the central part of the state. 

Rainfall of about 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm), with up to 18 inches (46 cm) in some areas of the northwestern Bahamas and Florida, is expected. 

“What’s concerning is it’s slowed down. We’re looking at a multiple-day event. We were hoping it would just barrel through and leave,” said Ben Malik, the mayor of Cocoa Beach, about 85 miles (136 km) north of Port St. Lucie.

“I’m really worried about the amount of rain we’ll be getting.” 

Some gas stations in Florida have run dry and others have long lines of cars, DeSantis said, adding that the state had eased regulations to allow higher-capacity trucks to transport fuel and to make it easier to bring in fuel from other states. 

Gasoline prices at the pump are not expected to spike because of the storm, said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.com. 

“There are no refiners in Florida, there’s only a pipeline, and I can’t imagine that would be affected significantly. Fuel is flowing, and that’s the most important factor,” DeHaan said. 

Chevron Corp (CVX.N), the second-largest U.S.-based oil and natural gas producer, said it has begun evacuating non-essential personnel from two oil platforms in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and has begun supplying “as much fuel as possible in advance of the storm” to its retail fuel outlets in the U.S. Southeast. 

Two thousand National Guard troops will have been mobilized for the hurricane by the end of Friday, with another 2,000 joining them on Saturday, Florida National Guard Major General James Eifert said. 

Florida officials also were making sure all nursing homes and assisted living facilities had generators, and were checking with more than 100 facilities where information about generators was uncertain. 

Only one in five Florida nursing homes plans to rely on deliveries of temporary generators to keep their air conditioners running if Dorian knocks out power, a state agency said on Friday, short of the standard set by a law passed after a dozen people died in a sweltering nursing home after 2017’s Hurricane Irma. 

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was harshly criticized in 2005 for its slow response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, briefed Congress on Friday on the steps they are taking to prepare for Dorian. 

FEMA has begun moving personnel and equipment into Georgia, including trucks and line crews who would help get electricity back up and running if there is a serious service interruption in Florida, according to a Democratic aide in the U.S. House of Representatives familiar with the briefings. 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has declared a state of emergency in 12 counties in the state. 

President Donald Trump on Thursday canceled a planned weekend trip to Poland so he can make sure resources are properly directed for the storm. 

Dorian could churn across dozens of launchpads owned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Air Force and companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.

Via Reuters.com