Bubbles are a funny thing. Participants don’t see them. Outsiders shake their heads, then get sucked in themselves. Central banks create them but deny their existence. Money piles in on top of money. Risks no longer exist. Result: mayhem, capital destruction, devastation of the industry…. and a new beginning for the lucky ones. Take natural gas.
Engineers have done a great job developing nuclear technologies to serve mankind’s many endeavors: medical devices, power generators, or formidable weapons to wipe out mankind and its many endeavors. Yet they haven’t figured out what to do with the radioactive, toxic materials these technologies leave behind. And we’re shuffling them to the next generation.
Some Mile Stones: Working gas in underground storage, the primary measure of whether gas is in over- or undersupply, has now dropped 2.1% below the five-year average for this week, and a dizzying 31.6% below the same week last year. But the price of natural gas – it doubled over the last 12 months – is still below the cost of production.
Catastrophic nuclear accidents, like Chernobyl or Fukushima, are very rare, we’re told incessantly. But when they occur, they’re costly. So costly that the French government, when it came up with estimates, kept them secret. But the report was leaked: an accident at a single reactor in a thinly populated part of France could cost over three times France’s GDP.
The California Division of Occupational Safety & Health just slammed Chevron with massive, record-breaking penalties related to the refinery in Richmond—the one that ended up in a fireball last August and caused 15,000 people to seek medical treatment. Purpose: to teach the mega-company an excruciatingly painful lesson. Alas….
Contributed by Jen Alic of Oilprice.com. Libya—awash with roving militias and undergoing a near-total evacuation of Westerners from oil-producing Benghazi—is doing its best to make cosmetic security changes in an atmosphere of growing uncertainty. But much of the country’s south and half of its border regions are not even under government control.
China has tried over the years to come to grips with its pandemic pollution, yet in Beijing, through a combination of factors, it reached catastrophic levels in mid-January and set another record. Result of the white-hot pace of economic growth. And of coal consumption: this year, China is set to burn more coal than the rest of the world combined!
Much digital ink has been spilled about the US oil & gas boom, and whether or not it will lead to energy independence, or even turn the US into an oil exporter. Now a “confidential” report by the German version of the CIA, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, seeped to the surface. It sketched out the boom’s geopolitical consequences. Biggest loser? China.
On Friday, the mayor of Futaba, a ghost town of once upon a time 7,000 souls near Fukushima No. 1, told his staff that evacuees might not be able to return for 30 years. Or never, for the older generation. He spoke in Kazo, Saitama Prefecture, where the town’s government has settled. It was the first estimate of a timeframe. But it all depends on successful decontamination. And that has turned into a vicious corruption scandal.
Corporate subsidies, in an era of fiscal-cliff attacks on Social Security and Medicare, have dodged attention despite their magnitude and absurdity. Take the renewable-fuels subsidy ecosystem—and a train of tankers filled with biodiesel that shuttled back and forth across the US-Canadian border, twelve times, without unloading its cargo. It generated millions of dollars in profits.