Showing posts from January 17, 2015

Money Dries Up for Oil and Gas, Layoffs Spread, Write-Offs Start

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[One has to believe that someone cuts all these stories out of Stephen Harper's and Christy Clark's newspapers before they read them. *RON*]

By Wolf Richter, Wolf Street, re-posted by Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, January 17, 2015

When money was growing on trees even for junk-rated companies, and when Wall Street still performed miracles for a fee, thanks to the greatest credit bubble in US history, oil and gas drillers grabbed this money channeled to them from investors and refilled the ever deeper holes fracking was drilling into their balance sheets.

But the prices for crude oil, US natural gas, and natural gas liquids have all plunged. Revenues from unhedged production are down 40% or 50%, or more from just seven months ago. And when the hedges expire, the problem will get worse. The industry has been through this before. It knows what to do.

Layoffs are cascading through the oil and gas sector. On Tuesday, the Dallas Fed projected that …

Why coverage of the Paris shooting has overshadowed a massacre in Nigeria

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[Charlie Hebdo: 12 dead, 6.3 million Twitter mentions; Nigerian massacre: 2,000 dead, Twitter peaks at just over 9,000 mentions. White lives, black lives; first world, third world. *RON*]
 By Peter Kim, Global News, 15 January 2015

TORONTO – The scale of the carnage and massacre is unprecedented according to Amnesty International which today released detailed satellite images painting a grim picture of suffering and loss after Boko Haram militants stormed at least two towns in Nigeria.

These depict the stark contrast before and after the seige in early January which left around 150 people dead according to Nigerian government officials.

“Essentially these two towns have been almost completely wiped off the map,” said Amnesty International Secretary General Alex Neve.

More than 3,700 structures have been damaged or completely destroyed.

But outrage and mourning for this massacre seems muted in comparison to the attacks in Paris, where ten journalists …

Harper government reacts to NASA's "hottest year on record" statement

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[This ongoing slapstick about the Liberals' and NDP's "job killing carbon tax" would be funny if it wasn't so enraging. They truly believe in Goebbels' Big Lie Theory of politics. *RON*]
Mychaylo Prystupa, Vancouver Observer, 16 January 2015

The Harper government boasted about its much criticized efforts at fighting climate change, when asked to respond to the news from NASA on Friday that 2014 was the hottest global temperature year on modern record.

The office for Canada's Minister of the Environment Leona Aglukkaq said that national emissions have actually dipped five per cent below 2005 levels, while the economy grew 11 per cent.

"We will continue to take action to reduce emissions without damaging the economy like the Liberals and the NDP would do with their job-killing carbon tax," wrote Minister Aglukkaq's spokesperson Shane Buckingham on Friday.

The Harper government, seeking to extend its 10-year …

Kinder Morgan won't disclose oil pipeline emergency plan

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[In a follow-up: Kinder Morgan not required to provide full oil spill response documents: NEB. This is about provincial government sovereignty: "the company's 'vague and perfunctory justifications' for withholding details are based on unverified assumptions and are 'utterly unpersuasive.'... It's totally unacceptable. If you're not going to provide something as fundamental as an emergency response plan for the most critical aspect of your whole proposal then this is clearly not working in the interests of British Columbians." Who runs the province - the people and their elected government or a Texas oil company? *RON*]
by Jeff Nagel - BC Local News, Surrey Leader / Tri-City News, 16 January 2015
The B.C. government remains stymied in its efforts to force Kinder Morgan to reveal what the province believes are crucial details of oil spill and emergency response plans for the firm's Trans Mountain pipeline …

Burnaby man loses bid to have Kinder Morgan SLAPP suit dismissed

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[This is about the corporatocracy versus democracy, public discourse and civil society. The corporate gloves are off now; Kinder-Morgan is attacking the public with bare knuckles. "What it shows is that people can be intimidated and deterred from actively being involved in protests," said Kinder Morgan lawsuit defendant Alan Dutton. BC desperately needs anti-SLAPP legislation such as is being pushed for in Ontario. See Ontario’s Proposed Anti-SLAPP Legislation Moves Forward (Again); also see BC Court of Appeal Rejects Anti-SLAPP Defence. *RON*]
Mychaylo Prystupa, Vancouver Observer, 14 January 2015
In a heartbreaking decision for a Burnaby retiree, a B.C. Supreme Court refused to throw out a Kinder Morgan lawsuit against Alan Dutton, on the basis it was a so-called SLAPP suit, designed merely to stifle pipeline opponents.

Justice Randall S.K. Wong said he was not convinced that a trial over the issue would have no chance of success, and …

Tanking Asia Gas Prices Makes BC LNG 'Not Viable,' Expert Says

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[A total albatross: "Not one proposed LNG project in B.C. has made a final investment decision yet." Natural gas already sold at 'bargain basement prices,' says former Alberta royalty advisor. *RON*]

By Andrew Nikiforuk,, 15 Jan 2015

A liquified natural gas industry, as currently promoted by British Columbia's Liberal government, is not viable at current natural gas prices, and the proposed industry tax regime actually "gives a subsidy to the LNG industry," according to a royalty expert.

Jim Roy, a former royalty advisor to the Alberta government of Peter Lougheed and now a private Edmonton-based consultant, said the profitability of any liquefied natural gas industry in the province in truth depends on artificially high natural gas prices in China.

The natural gas price in B.C. needs to be less than half the price of natural gas in China for the nearly 24 proposed LNG projects in the province to be econom…

Majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty

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[This is astounding to me. It also makes me think that there must be a lot more American children in private schools than I had imagined. *RON*]
By Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post, 16 January 2015 

For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families, according to a new analysis of 2013 federal data, a statistic that has profound implications for the nation.

The Southern Education Foundation reports that 51 percent of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in the 2012-2013 school year were eligible for the federal program that provides free and reduced-price lunches. The lunch program is a rough proxy for poverty, but the explosion in the number of needy children in the nation’s public classrooms is a recent phenomenon that has been gaining attention among educators, public officials and researchers.

“We’ve all known this was the trend, that we would get to a majority, but it’s h…