Gulf oil well disaster could mean explosive profits for Halliburton – The oil well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico could be a well-timed and profitable accident for Halliburton, the global oil company with the famous connection to former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. Just eight days before the uber-Valdez accident, Houston-based Halliburton acquired Boots & Coots Services, also based in Houston, in a $240 million cash and stock deal. Boots & Coots, which uses the graphic of a burning oil well to represent the ampersand in its name, specializes in "pressure control and well intervention services." In other words, when an oil well explodes, Boots & Coots can step in and help remedy the problem. In a release, Jerry Winchester, Boots & Coots president and CEO, says "Combining the resources of both companies creates the premier intervention company across the globe.”
Heads up people. Something very big is happening in the global credit markets — something you darn well better pay attention to. The very same “Credit Crisis” indicators that were flashing red before the stock market meltdown of 2007-2008 are flashing red again.What the heck is happening? Why is the market in so much peril? Because governments worldwide did exactly what we warned them not to do! By bailing out, backstopping, and propping up countless lousy institutions and assets during the private credit crisis … rather than allowing a quicker, more painful, but ultimately cleansing collapse … they turned a Wall Street debt crisis into a sovereign debt crisis. They temporarily postponed the day of reckoning, while failing to solve the underlying problems.
10 million face famine in West Africa – At this time of year, the Gadabeji Reserve should be a refuge for the nomadic tribes who travel across a moonscape on the edge of the Sahara to graze their cattle. But the grass is meagre after a drought killed off last year’s crops. Now the cattle are too weak to stand and too skinny to sell, leaving the poor without any way to buy grain to feed their families. The threat of famine is again stalking the Sahel, a band of semi-arid land stretching across Africa south of the Sahara. Its countries constitute a virtual list of the worst famines in recent decades: Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia. The UN World Food Programme is warning that some 10 million people face hunger over the next three months before the harvest in September – if it comes.
Oil spill creates huge undersea ‘dead zones’ – The world’s most damaging oil spill – now in its 41st continuously gushing day – is creating huge unseen "dead zones" in the Gulf of Mexico, according to oceanologists and toxicologists. They say that if their fears are correct, then the sea’s entire food chain could suffer years of devastation, with almost no marine life in the region escaping its effects.While the sight of tar balls and oil-covered birds on Louisiana’s shoreline has been the most visible sign of the spill’s environmental destruction, many scientists now believe it is underwater contamination that will have the deadliest impact. At least two submerged clouds of noxious oil and chemical dispersants have been confirmed by research vessels, and scientists are seeing initial signs of several more. The largest is some 22 miles long, six miles wide and 3,300 feet deep – a volume that would take up half of Lake Erie. Another spans an area of 20 square miles.
New home deals may fall 70% — Shanghai Daily – NEW home transactions in Shanghai may plunge 70 percent in May from a month earlier as several real estate developers are reluctant to slash prices amid uncertainties in the local market.There were just 258,000 square meters of new homes, excluding those designated for relocated residents under urban redevelopment plans, sold in the first 27 days of this month, Shanghai Uwin Real Estate Information Services Co said yesterday."For the whole month, the figure should be around 300,000 square meters, and that could be a plunge from a month earlier when 1.02 million square meters of new houses were sold across the city,"
Dems Kill COBRA For Older Unemployed – Health Care Reform Subsidies Next? – House Dems killed COBRA subsidies for the long-term unemployed — generally older people — last week, which means they won’t be able to get health insurance. This group — comprising generally older workers — has pulled up the average length of time that a current worker has been unemployed to a record high of 33 weeks as of April. The percentage of unemployed people who have been looking for jobs for more than six months is at 45.9 percent, the highest in at least six decades.Think ahead to what this means for the recently-passed health care "reform." If you think there are "subsidies" to help people afford the insurance they are ordered to purchase from the giant insurance corporations, just remember how Democrats treated workers who can’t find jobs.
Could U.S. Lose 200 Rigs by the End of Summer? – Philadelphia Oil Service Sector index, commonly known by its ticker OSX, is based on the stock market movements of 15 oil service company components. By overlaying the OSX with the Baker Hughes US Rig Count; one can make the argument that some correlation between the two may exist.We would expect US rig market to continue tracking OSX, albeit with a slight lag. If the recent fall of the OSX and commodities foreshadows a similar move in the US rig count, then a pullback to 1300 rigs or a 15% decline from current level of 1518 rigs would not be a huge surprise. Of the 200 rigs that would be sidelined, a split of 45% oil and 55% gas rigs removed from the count seems plausible. From a timing stand-point this assumes that approximately 445 oil rigs and 855 gas rigs will remain active as we roll from summer into fall
Documents Show Early Worries About Safety of Rig – Internal documents from BP show that there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those the company described to Congress last week. The problems involved the well casing and the blowout preventer, which are considered critical pieces in the chain of events that led to the disaster on the rig. The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of “well control.” And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer. On June 22, for example, BP engineers expressed concerns that the metal casing the company wanted to use might collapse under high pressure.
Gulf Oil Spill: Media Access ‘Slowly Being Strangled Off’ Media organizations say they are being allowed only limited access to areas impacted by the Gulf oil spill through restrictions on plane and boat traffic that are making it difficult to document the worst spill in U.S. history. The Associated Press, CBS and others have reported coverage problems because of the restrictions, which officials say are needed to protect wildlife and ensure safe air traffic.Ted Jackson, a photographer for The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans, said Saturday that access to the spill "is slowly being strangled off." A CBS news story said one of its reporting teams was threatened with arrest by the Coast Guard and turned back from an oiled beach at the mouth of the Mississippi River. The story said the reporters were told the denial was under "BP’s rules."