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.
As the twin blasts that ripped through Ankara on Saturday underscore, being around large gatherings of people who are protesting (peacefully or otherwise) in public places can be dangerous if you’re in a Mid-East war zone. Large crowds make for easy targets and as we’ve seen in Turkey, at least some governments seem to believe that inflicting casualties on civilians is a legitimate tool for shaping public opinion.
With that in mind, consider that on Tuesday, “insurgents” hit the Russian embassy in Damascus as more than 300 people gathered to express their support for Moscow’s intervention in Syria. As ...
Yesterday might have seemed like a boring day, but a little known event took place that is very worthwhile. Turns out, the CBOE SKEW Index hit an all-time high. Here’s from the CBOE’s website says the SKEW is. The CBOE SKEW Index (“SKEW”) is an index derived from the price of S&P 500 tail risk. Similar to VIX®, the price of S&P 500 tail risk is calculated from the prices of S&P 500 out-of-the-money options. SKEW typically ranges from 100 to 150. In essence, the SKEW compares how much option traders are willing to pay for out-of-the money put versus call options. When the SKEW is high (like we just saw), it says traders are willing to pay anything for the protection that ...
Banks have become convinced the Fed simply isn't going to hike. So instead of waiting any longer, large banks like Wells Fargo are plowing billions of dollars into longer dated treasuries and agencies.
Simply put, Big US Banks Lose Patience With the Fed In the years since the crisis the banks have grown used to grappling with higher costs and subdued demand for credit, while keeping plenty of cash and cash-like instruments on hand in the hope of benefiting from an uptick in short-term rates.
But, after the decision from the US Federal Reserve to keep its target overnight rate on hold this month, more lenders are taking their cue from Wells Fargo, the biggest bank in the world by market capitalisation, said analysts. ...
Asian equities looked set to snap the longest rally for global stocks since February, with Chinese trade figures expected to provide a catalyst for investors. The dollar was weaker following a rally in commodity-linked currencies as traders continue to bet U.S. interest-rate increases will be pushed out until 2016.
Last week, the S&P 500 put up its best week of the year, closing above key psychological levels and breaking through bearish technical resistance, with bulls largely inspired by the dovish FOMC meeting minutes. But this year’s market has been news-driven and quite difficult for traders to read. Even our fundamentals-based and quality-oriented quant models have struggled to perform. With corporate earnings season now underway, equities might take a breather at this point of the oversold rally until some clarity from key corporate bellwethers begins to take shape, particularly with respect to forward guidance. But despite severe global headwinds, there remain strong rea...
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1) The shares of one of my largest short positions (~3%), Exact Sciences, crashed by more than 46% yesterday. Below is the article I published this morning on SeekingAlpha, explaining why I think it’s still a great short and thus shorted more yesterday. Here’s a summary:
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Draft Recommendation issued yesterday is devastating for Exact Sciences’ only product, Cologuard.
I think this is the beginning of the end for the company.
My price target for the stock a year from now is $3, so I shorted more yes...
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Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).
Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself.
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
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 email@example.com 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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