Oil prices slip after Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announces that his country would free 15 British naval personnel it had captured in the Persian Gulf more than a week before, pardoning and releasing them as a pre- Easter gift to Britain. By mid-afternoon on the day of the announcement, West Texas Intermediate for May delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was down 43¢ at $64.21/bbl.
Based on a managed pressure drilling project conducted in the Sichuan basin of China, Sinopec concludes that the advantages of using air as a circulating fluid are substantial. In comparison with mud rates, the ROPs are significantly higher, which reduces drilling time. Wellbore problems, such as lost circulation and sloughing shales, are virtually eliminated, and air drilling allows the use of air percussion hammers, which also contributes to drilling a true vertical hole.
After the devastation to the US Gulf Coast area in 2005 caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, BP PLC puts into operation a new hurricane and major storm management system. BP says the life-saving system, jointly developed with IDV Solutions and Microsoft, has provided real-time information to quickly make decisions, improve security for the energy supply, as well as manage and protect facilities, and especially people.
Light sweet crude: $64.21/bbl Natural gas: $7.53/MMbtu US active rig count: 1,748
Argentina’s government’s decision to take control of energy company YPF SA, controlled by Repsol YPF SA, prompted Repsol on April 17 to issue a statement from Madrid saying it will take all legal measures to preserve the value of its assets and interests of its shareholders. Repsol said YPF is worth
$18 billion, and it would be seeking compensation on that basis. Repsol said it owns a 57.43% stake in YPF. “This battle is not over,” Repsol chairman Antonio Brufau said.
Iran raised the stakes of an important meeting about its nuclear plans by insulting Arabs and picking a new fight over islands in the Strait of Hormuz, which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened to close in retaliation for international resistance to his country’s nuclear program. Iran says its nuclear plans are wholly peaceful, but neighbors, especially Israel but including most nearby Arab states, are worried.
A UK government review of studies into earthquakes induced by hydraulic fracturing of a shale thought to contain large amounts of natural gas in Northwest England estimated last year that the Cretaceous Bowland shale, under acreage held by Cuadrilla Resources Ltd, contains 200 tcf of gas in place. However, it has now suspended development after earthquakes were detected around its Preese Hall-1 well during hydraulic fracturing.
Light sweet crude: $102.53/bbl
Natural gas: $2.02/MMbtu
US active rig count: 1,950
Refined products theft occurs in industrialized nations as well as developing countries, according to a report by the Atlantic Council. When crude oil prices were at their peak, tapping a Mexican products pipeline could earn a criminal cartel $90,000 in seven minutes. Morocco receives about $2 billion/year of Algerian-subsidized fuel smuggled across its borders by mule-back. Countermeasures are available, such as fuel dyes, molecular marking, and tracking of tanker trucks and oceangoing vessels, but these measures won’t be effective if they aren’t accompanied by government reforms.
In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, the US Energy Information Administration forecasts US crude oil production to average 9.9 million b/d in 2018, which is 200,000 b/d higher than in the previous forecast. The higher forecast reflects improvements to the rig methodology that captures increased cash flow as production increases, with the largest effect on production in the Permian and Niobrara regions.
In Europe and the breakaway UK, political fondness for diesel, manifest in tax incentives, has faded. Concern about emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide has given way to worry about oxides of nitrogen. Officials say health problems related to NOx are greater than earlier thought. Exacerbating scorn for diesel is the Volkswagen scandal. The automaker was found to have designed engines to pollute less during emissions tests than on the road.
Light sweet crude: $51.27/bbl Natural gas: $3.26/MMbtu US active rig count: 839
THE REST OF THE YARN
This month, an interesting cause and a new theme song are discussed at The Barbecue.
One of the causes that most of the guests at The Barbecue could agree upon was the proposal to divert the Mississippi River to Texas. Without first asking the permission of Louisiana, Governor Smith had three years before formed a Committee of 500, with Connally serving as co-chairman, and lined up the support of Texas congressmen. The scheme was truly Texan: 12 million acre-feet of water transported through concrete ditches 300 feet wide and 40 feet deep, equipped with eighteen dams. A quarter of a million acres in east Texas was to be flooded, and the water piped to other parts of the state. The cost was estimated at slightly less than $14 billion, six times the cost of TVA during the first thirty years of its existence. The federal government would be asked to pay two-thirds of the cost. The desert would bloom, and a few contractors, developers and speculators would make new fortunes. To everyone’s surprise, the voters failed to approve floating the necessary bonds, but the issue was still far from dead among those gathered at The Barbecue.
It was not incidental that the host’s favorite film was Giant. So impressed was he by spectacle that he overlooked Hollywood’s misrepresentations. He was himself an actor, and a romantic. That the theme song of Giant should become an integral part of his 1961 campaign for governor had been preordained, the music swelling and filling hundreds of high-school auditoriums across Texas as Connally entered the stage.
Next month, Connally overshadows Nixon at The Barbecue.
Where was the first Texas offshore well located?
If you would like to participate in this month’s quiz, e-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon, April 15. The winner, who will be chosen randomly from all correct answers, will receive a $50 gift card to a nice restaurant (courtesy of the ProTechnics Division of Core Laboratories).
ANSWER TO MARCH’S QUIZ
The first “technological learning institution” west of the Mississippi River was Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy.
FEBRUARY'S QUIZ RESULTS
There was no history quiz winner in February.