While BP and the government say that permanently capping the oil well is no problem, they act like they have no idea what they’re doing.
Indeed, Admiral Thad Allen is now saying "We’re concerned about the vital signs of this well":
He’s also saying that completion of relief well will be delayed until mid-September, at the earliest, and that the government is looking for problematic “material” in the well:
What’s really going on?
Well, initially, if the well had structural integrity, there wouldn’t be concern about the "vital signs" of the well, there wouldn’t have been delay after delay in completing the relief wells, there wouldn’t be never-ending rounds of new tests, there wouldn’t have been an attempt to seal it (or perhaps more accurately, patch it) from the top using cement, there wouldn’t be an attempt to remove "material" from the well.
Indeed, what does "removing material" even mean? Does that mean removing crumpled casing or drill pipe, or does it mean clearing out caved-in portions of the well and trying to rebuild those portions from scratch?
Moreover, one of the world’s top experts in oil drilling disasters – Dr. Robert Bea – told me yesterday that the geology underneath the seafloor at the leak site is fractured, and includes very loose salt formations. This geology may make it very hard to kill the well, even using relief wells, and he says that we may never be able to kill it. He also said that there are uncorroborated reports of additional leaks other than the main well, but that BP isn’t sharing enough information to be able to assess whether or not that there are additional leaks. (Dr. Bea told me that BP is using a "cloak of silence", and is refusing to even show the government videos of what the seafloor looked like before the April explosion).
So instead of simply trying to cap an existing well, it may be more accurate to think of this as trying to build a new well – or at least trying to duck tape the old one – so that it has enough integrity to be permanently stopped.
The questions on my mind are: How many trillions of dollars do we have to spend, how many lives need to be wasted, and how much longer are we going to be involved in the boondoggle known as Afghanistan?
President Barack Obama faces renewed concern about his Afghanistan war strategy after leaked military documents suggested Pakistan’s main intelligence agency secretly aided the Taliban and others the U.S is trying to defeat.
Disclosure of the documents, as Congress this week considers funding for the U.S. troop buildup in Afghanistan, underscored questions about the war while many lawmakers prepare to go home to campaign in August.
Some of the 92,000 classified reports, disclosed July 25 by the website Wikileaks, say that members of Pakistan’s Inter- Services Intelligence Directorate helped the Taliban and other Islamic rebels. The documents, covering 2004 through 2009, were reported by the New York Times, the London-based Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel, which said Wikileaks provided them the reports three weeks ago.
The leaked documents “raise serious questions about the reality of America’s policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat. “Those policies are at a critical stage,” and the documents “make the calibrations needed to get the policy right more urgent.”
“I’ve been to a number of briefings and I’ve always been provided a more upbeat picture than the one” depicted by the documents, said Representative James McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat who opposes Obama’s Afghan policy. “The picture that is painted here is not pretty.”
Obama announced in December plans to send another 30,000 combat troops to Afghanistan, and Congress is under pressure to pass legislation paying for the buildup before taking its monthlong summer recess. Obama has said he will start to draw down U.S. forces in July 2011 and give more security responsibility to the Afghans, depending on conditions.
Polls show support for the war waning. Almost 6 in 10 respondents in a Bloomberg National Poll conducted July 9-12 said Afghanistan is a lost cause.
Also, 60 percent of Americans surveyed thought the withdrawal of forces should start in July 2011 even if the situation in
Matt Simmons was an energy adviser to George W. Bush, is an adviser to the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, and is a member of the National Petroleum Council and the Council on Foreign Relations. Simmon is chairman and CEO of Simmons & Company International, an investment bank catering to oil companies.
Simmons told Dylan Ratigan that"there’s another leak, much bigger, 5 to 6 miles away" from the leaking riser and blowout preventer shown on the underwater cameras:
I have no idea whether or not Simmons is right. The government should immediately either debunk or admit his claim.
If accurate, the bigger leak could have been caused by the destruction of the well casing when the oil rig exploded. That is Simmons’ theory.
Or it could be caused by a natural oil seep, although the odds of a seep of that size occurring right around the time of the Deep Horizon disaster is nearly zero.
There is another possibility.
It is well-known that there were previous accidents at the Deepwater Horizon rig. For example, as AP notes:
From 2000 to 2010, the Coast Guard issued six enforcement warnings and handed down one civil penalty and a notice of violation to Deepwater Horizon, agency records show.
On 18 different occasions during that period the Coast Guard cited the vessel for an "acknowledged pollution source."
It is therefore possible that there has been another ongoing leak which BP has tried to cover up.
There are things going on with the financial markets currently that seem just a bit "out of balance." For example, asset prices are rising against a backdrop of global weakness, deflationary pressures and rising valuations. More importantly, there is a rising divergence between sentiment and hard data.
For example, on Thursday the Philadelphia Federal Reserve released their regional survey which showed that manufacturers are the most optimistic in the region in, well, ever. The surge in the "manufacturing" index from 20.7 ...
Uh oh, I was just driving in the car the other day explaining the three points about why one of the only worthwhile country songs, The Gambler, actually applies to everything in life from 1) the stock market (obviously) to 2) relationships to 3) career moves. My favorite observations are in bold.
Note from dshort: With yesterday's release of the Consumer Price Index for October, I've updated Real Retail Sales for October.
Official recession calls are the responsibility of the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee, which is understandably vague about the specific indicators on which they base their decisions. This committee statement is about as close as they get to identifying their method.
There is, however, a general belief that there are four big indicators that the committee weighs heavily in their cycle identification process. They are:
Real Personal Income (excluding Transfer Payments)
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Investors in U.S. equities seem to have embraced a new market paradigm in which upside spikes come more swiftly than the downside selloffs. Remember when it used to be the other way around? When fear was stronger than greed? The market is consolidating its gains off the early-October V-bottom reversal, and no one seems to be in any hurry to unload shares this time around, with the holidays rapidly approaching and all. After all, there are bright blue skies directly overhead giving hope and respite from the early freeze blanketing the country.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer...
If you would have supposed that Ukraine had enough problems to make banning bitcoins a backburner issue, you'd have been wrong. The rationale, "to protect consumers' rights" makes little to no sense... The other one, "to keep money in the country" makes more sense.
A four-year low for the spot price of gold has had a devastating impact on Yamana Gold (Ticker: AUY), with shares in the name down at the lowest price in six years. Some option traders were especially keen to sell premium and appear to see few signs of a lasting rebound within the next five months. The price of gold suffered again Wednesday as the dollar strengthened and stock prices advanced. The post price of gold fell to $1145 adding further pain to share prices of gold miners. Shares in Yamana Gold tumbled to $3.62 and the lowest price since 2008 as call option sellers used the April expiration contract to write premium at the $5.00 strike. That strike is now 38% above the price of the stock. Premium writers took in around 16-cents per contract o...
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Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely. From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.
First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices. Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment. Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer. For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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