Showing posts from December 5, 2014

Oil Prices Are Headed For $60 A Barrel: 'There's Nothing To Stop It'

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[See also $50 oil is already here, and Gas Has Dropped Below $2 A Gallon At This Station In Oklahoma City. *RON*]

Florence Tan, Reuters, 5 December 2014

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Brent crude slipped below $70 a barrel on Friday and was set for a second weekly fall, with Saudi Arabia cutting prices in another indication it would maintain output in an oversupplied market.

Saudi Arabia cut monthly prices for crude it sells to the United States and Asia, while Iraq is set to export more oil, preventing Brent from staging a recovery after a near 13-percent plunge last week.

"We're heading for $60 for Brent. (There is) nothing to stop it," said Tony Nunan, a risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo.

Brent crude had dropped 43 cents to $69.21 a barrel by 0223 GMT (09:23 p.m. EST). U.S. crude was down 35 cents at $66.46, on track for a 1-percent gain this week.

Just a week after Saudi Arabia refused to support OPEC output cuts, the world's…

Benzene and worker cancers: 'An American tragedy'

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[Long, but thoroughly enlightening. This is the kind of employment created by the oil and gas industry. Benzene is a common and major component in fracking fluids. Documents lay bare the petrochemical industry’s $36 million 'research strategy' on carcinogen. “If oil companies are willing to spend $36 million to fund research, how much are they afraid of losing?” *RON*]

Kristen Lombardi, The Center for Public Inquiry, 4 December 4, 2014
Key findings:
For decades, the petrochemical industry spent millions on science seeking to minimize the dangers of benzene, a carcinogen tied to leukemia and other cancers.Benzene, a sweet-smelling component of crude oil, is used to make plastics, lubricants, dyes, adhesives and pesticides. It's also a key ingredient in gasoline and cigarettes, and it's the 17th most produced chemical in the U.S.A 2004 National Cancer Institute study suggested there’s no safe threshold for people working with the che…

Liability insurance increase "just not on top of mind" for Enbridge, company president says

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[World class... something-or-other. What was that again, Christy? There is obviously a reason that $1 billion+ insurance is so expensive - the insurance companies clearly believe that this is a likely event. "Enbridge was contacted for comment on Northern Gateway, but did not respond before publication." *RON*]
Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer, 1 December 2014

In a recent phone call for its Q3 earnings, Enbridge president Mark Maki said the company doesn't have plans to significantly increase its current liability insurance, despite the $1.2 billion cleanup cost of its oil spill near Marshall, Michigan in 2010. The rupture along its Line 6B pipeline, which poured around 843,000 gallons of bitumen from Alberta's oil sands into the Kalamazoo River over 17 hours, is the largest onland oil spill in U.S. history.

In a response to a question from Credit Suisse's John Edwards, Maki explains that the company had "modest" in…

GMO Capital's James Montier Destroys The Idea That Maximizing Shareholder Value Is Good

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[ When incentives for maximizing shareholder value become large, those being incentivized become obsessed with the incentives themselves and lose sight of what the incentives are meant to achieve. Montier believes that rather than focusing on the long-term prosperity of their businesses, CEOs are focusing on how much more money they can make if they can game the system.  See also The Myth of Maximizing Shareholder Value. *RON*]
Myles Udland, Business Insider, 2 December 2014

In a new white paper titled "The World's Dumbest Idea," GMO Capital's James Montier explores the flaws in one the biggest shifts in the goals of modern business management: shareholder value maximization.

This paper comes from a presentation that Montier gave at the CFA Institute earlier this year.

"When it comes to bad ideas, finance certainly offers up an embarrassment of riches," Montier writes, though perhaps none of these is as bad as the idea th…

Alberta 'ground zero' for abuse of Temporary Foreign Worker program

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[This is the kind of "employment" the oil and gas industry brings to Canada. "...what the employers are saying is 'our business model requires having a vulnerable workforce." *RON*]
By E.K. Hudson,, 2 December 2014

For the first time, the federal government has come down on an Alberta employer for misusing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Noralta Lodge is a hotel chain in northern Alberta that specializes in providing accommodations for oilfield workers. After a six month audit, the government found that Noralta provided "false, misleading or inaccurate information" in its request for a Labour Market Opinion, which permits an employer to hire staff through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

The resulting punishment landed Noralta on the blacklist and barred the lodge from using temporary foreign workers for two years.

Over time the sectors and types of jobs eligible for the Temporary Foreign Worke…

Canada loses 10,700 jobs in November

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[Yet the stock market is at new highs. This is what is means, politically, to say that "the economy" is your first priority. And I'm glad to see that those corporate tax breaks and government spending cuts are trickling down to the general public right on cue. <SARCASM ALERT> *RON*]
Andy Blatchford, Canadian Press / CTV News, 5 December 2014

OTTAWA -- The Canadian economy shed 10,700 net jobs last month and nudged the unemployment rate up slightly to 6.6 per cent, the latest labour-market survey said Friday.

However, the overall employment change recorded by Statistics Canada for November was so narrow it fell within the study's margin of error, making it statistically insignificant.

The monthly data for November followed healthy back-to-back employment increases of 43,100 jobs in October and 74,100 in September. The October rise had dropped the unemployment rate to 6.5 per cent, it's lowest level since November 2008.


Guess who’s opposed to corporate tax reform: Corporations

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[They both lobby to complain that the system is labyrinthine and too much work to comply with, and to make it more labyrinthine so it will meet their special interests. *RON*]
By Rick Newman, Yahoo Finance, 3 December 2014

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents many of the nation’s largest companies, is a big backer of corporate tax reform, preaching the virtues of a “smarter, streamlined tax system” that will supposedly invigorate American businesses and create badly needed jobs.

The U.S. Chamber also opposes tax reform. It’s one of dozens of groups fighting to protect a popular tax break known as “last-in, first-out” accounting, or LIFO, which lets many firms value their inventories in a way that minimizes their tax bill. That provision is one of dozens of tax breaks that would probably have to go if the tax code were to be reformed. Yet it saves U.S. firms about $8 billion per year, which is why the U.S. Chamber and other heavyweight bus…