April 30, 2014
by Simon Black via Sovereign Man blog,
Steve Jobs used to tell a very inspiring story about an article he read in Scientific American when he was a boy:
He said that the article measured the ‘efficiency of locomotion’ of various species– essentially how many calories different animals spend getting from Point A to Point B.
The most efficient of all? Not human beings. Not by a long shot. It was the condor. The condor expended the least amount of energy per meter or kilometer traveled. Human beings were pretty far down the list.
But as Jobs recounts, the authors had the foresight to also test the efficiency of a human being on a bicycle. And this absolutely blew all the other species away.
Jobs later said that this was incredibly influential on his thinking because he realized that human beings were fundamentally tool creators. We take our situation, however grim or rudimentary, and we make it better.
There’s undoubtedly a lot of bad news in the world these days. Some people realize it. Others refuse to believe it and stick their heads in the sand.
Our century-old monetary system is unraveling before our very eyes.
This absurd structure in which we award a tiny central banking elite with the dictatorial power to control the money supply in their sole discretion is now drowning the world in paper currency.
ALL financial markets are manipulated by central banks, predominantly the Federal Reserve. One woman– Janet Yellen– has the power to affect the prices of nearly everything on the planet, from the wholesale price of coffee in Colombia to the cost of a luxury flat in Hong Kong.
Moreover, politicians in some of the most ‘advanced’ economies in the world (Japan, the US, France, the UK, etc.) have accumulated so much debt that they have to borrow money just to pay interest on the money they have already borrowed.
They have indebted generations who will not even be born for decades.
They wage endless, costly wars. They spy on their citizens. They tell people what they can and cannot put in their bodies. They confiscate private property and wages at the point of a gun.
They abuse the population with legions of heavily armed government agents. They conjure so many codes, rules, regulations, laws, and executive orders that it becomes nearly impossible for an individual to exist without being guilty of some innocuous, victimless crime.
And they arrogantly masquerade the entire ruse as a free society.
This system is on the way out. It will reset.
Like feudalism before, our system will go the way of the historical dust bin. And future historians will look back (just as we view feudalism) and say “why did they put up with that nonsense…?
This reset is nothing to fear. Human beings are incredible creatures who have a long-term track record of growth. We rise. We progress.
BAMAKO: Hundreds of jihadist fighters poured into Mali over the weekend to support the Islamists who have controlled the north for seven months, ahead of a threatened regional intervention to seize back power.
Residents of the cities of Timbuktu and Gao, Malian security officials and Islamist commanders all confirmed on Sunday that there had been a huge influx of foreign fighters over the past two days.
It comes as the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), a regional bloc of 15 countries including Mali, prepares for military action in the north.
“In the Timbuktu region and around Gao, hundreds of jihadists, mostly Sudanese and Sahrawis, have arrived as reinforcements to face an offensive by Malian forces and their allies,” a Malian security official said on condition of anonymity.
One resident of Timbuktu said “more than 150 Sudanese Islamists arrived in 48 hours”.
“They are armed and explained that they had come to help their Muslim brothers against the infidels,” he said.
A source close to a local aid group also said that many Sudanese had arrived but added there were also fighters from other countries.
Timbuktu is one of the main cities in northern Mali, which Islamist groups have controlled since overpowering a secular Tuareg rebellion that seized the area in March.
The desert city is now under the control of Ansar Dine, a group led by a former Tuareg rebel leader, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim).
‘They want war, we’ll give them war’
In Gao, further east, a similar influx of foreign fighters was reported by residents.
Since Friday, Islamists have been arriving and reporting to the Islamic police of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao), the Aqim offshoot that controls the city, said one resident.
He said he had seen around 10 pick-up trucks packed with armed fighters driving up to Mujao’s main office in Gao.
The Islamist group itself confirmed it was receiving the support of foreigners as Ecowas was finalising its plans for a military intervention.
“They want war, we’ll give them war. This is why our brothers are joining us from all over,” Habib Ould Issouf, one of Mujao’s top leaders in Gao, told AFP.
“They are coming from the camps of Tindouf in Algeria, from Senegal, from Ivory Coast, from everywhere,” he said.
Led by former colonial power France, the international community has urged Mali and its regional allies to speed up preparations for a military offensive.
Ecowas has a 3,000-strong force ready to deploy but its funding and exact make-up remain unclear.
Malian troops could start training immediately for their operation, France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told French television on Sunday.
France has offered logistical support but no troops on the ground.
On March 22, army officers toppled the government in protest at what they said was its failure to equip them to counter a burgeoning rebellion by Tuareg separatists and Islamists in the north.
But that only accelerated the uprising. The ensuing power vacuum in the capital Bamako allowed the rebel forces to quickly seize the north, virtually unopposed.
The Islamist forces quickly sidelined their former Tuareg allies and now control a territory in the north which is larger than France. In the south, the officers who led the coup handed over to an interim administration, but retain considerable influence.
Ansar Dine and Mujao have since implemented an extreme form of Islamic law in the north, amputating the hands and feet of thieves, stoning unwed couples and ordering women to wear full veils.
Western powers have expressed fears that al Qaeda and its affiliates could turn northern Mali into the same type of haven that Afghanistan was a decade ago.
Mali’s interim president Dioncounda Traore flew to Qatar on Sunday for a three-day visit. Some Malian media outlets have accused the oil-rich emirate of supporting the Islamists, but Doha has denied the allegations.
- Analysis: Towards intervention in Mali (EndtheLie.com)
Huisman, the worldwide specialist in lifting, drilling and subsea solutions, has secured new contracts with Technip, a world leader in project management, engineering and construction for the energy industry, for a 500mt Yard Crane and a 150mt Flexlay System.
Both the crane and the pipelay system will be designed and constructed by the Huisman facilities in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Previously, Huisman delivered the installation equipment onboard Technip’s flagship deepwater pipelay and subsea construction vessel, “Deep Blue”.
The 500mt Yard Crane is the third crane of this type built by Huisman, however the first to be used for onshore purposes. This state-of-the-art crane derives from Huisman’s many years of experience in the design, fabrication and service of heavy lifting equipment. The full revolving crane combines unique technical features, such as a full electric variable frequency drive system, a low overall construction weight and a small minimum operating radius. Furthermore all the major equipment, such as the hoist winches, is installed inside the enclosed crane house. These technical features result in a low power consumption, lower operational costs and maximum operability. The crane will be installed, commissioned and tested at Technip’s Flexi France facility in Le Trait, France, mid-2013.
The 150mt Flexlay System will be designed and built for the installation of flexible pipelines. The system can be separated into two modules, allowing for easy installation onboard. A definite first for a Flexlay System of this size is the two openable and retractable 75mt tensioners which allow for safe and efficient installation of large subsea infrastructure components such as umbilicals, risers and flowlines. The system’s deepwater lowering function allows for installation in up to 3,000m water depth. Delivery of the 150mt Flexlay system is scheduled for the end of 2013.
Huisman currently has a number of cranes in production, varying from 300mt to 4,000mt, and a 5,000mt Offshore Mast Crane is currently being finalized. Pipelay systems currently under construction include Multi-lay Systems for the Aegir and a new build vessel for Ezra, a Flexlay System for the newest Subsea 7 vessel and the S-lay System for the Seven Borealis.
- Technip Wins Lucius Field Contract from Anadarko (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Norway: Technip to Install Subsea Compression System on Asgard (mb50.wordpress.com)
- USA: Technip Rings Tubular Bells (mb50.wordpress.com)
- ExxonMobil Awards Technip GoM Subsea Contract (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Norway: North Sea Giant Stays with Technip (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Norway: Technip Participates in Statoil’s Vilje and Visund Developments (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Deep-Water Lifting: A Challenge for the Industry (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Australia: Technip Wins Wheatstone Platform Design Contract from DSME (mb50.wordpress.com)
The company said the gas was originating thousands of meters below the sea bed, which engineers said might mean that a relief well – one possible option to stop the leak – could take months to drill.
“The leak is from a (gas) well that was plugged one year ago and from a rock formation in about 4,000 meters depth,” a company spokeswoman in Aberdeen said on Thursday.
A flare needed to relieve pressure in the platform by purging excess gas has continued to burn less than 100 meters from the leak, and engineers said changes in wind and weather could lead to an explosion.
“The wind is pushing the gas cloud in the opposite direction (from the platform). At this time, the circumstances are rather favorable,” Jacques-Emmanuel Saulnier, head of communication at Total said in an interview published on Total’s website.
“A gas cloud is always a fire hazard,” he added.
Total kept two fire-fighting ships in a state of readiness outside a two-mile exclusion zone, which was set up to protect marine traffic, a Total spokeswoman said.
The company has also brought in a robot vessel, not yet deployed, to scan the sea bed for signs of spillage, she said.
Total has not yet found a way to stop the gas leak. A team of international engineers assembled by the embattled French oil company are drawing up plans to tackle the leak and prevent the flare from coming into contact with the gas cloud, the spokeswoman said.
The platform is currently off limits to the engineers, however, given the toxic and explosive plumes pumping out of the wellhead.
The leak started on Sunday and forced the evacuation of all 238 workers from the platform, which sits in waters less than 100 metres deep and 240 km (150 miles) off the east coast of Scotland.
PRESSSURE SEEN FOR RELIEF WELL
Total warned on Tuesday it could take six months to halt the flow of gas. The company previously stated it hoped the leak would die down from natural causes as reservoir pressure drops.
“What we know is that the leak is not coming from a well dug by Total but from a naturally occurring pocket of gas located just above one of our wells,” said Total’s Saulnier.
The depth of the non-producing reservoir that is feeding gas to the Elgin platform via compromised layers of piping suggests, however, there is more gas present rather than less, piling pressure on Total to drill a relief well, an engineer with knowledge of the matter said.
Relief drilling would require boring through 4 kilometers of rock with painstaking mathematical precision, because it must intercept the gas pocket at exactly the right point, requiring constant alterations in course, the engineer said.
The leak, one of the biggest in the North Sea for decades, could well inspire tougher safety regulation in due course, according to experts. Britain’s health and safety watchdog said it was considering launching an investigation into the incident, while union officials said the frequency of offshore safety lapses had become intolerable.
Memories are still raw in the North Sea industry of the Piper Alpha platform fire 24 years ago, which killed 167 people in the world’s deadliest offshore oil disaster and led to a major regulatory overhaul.
Total as well as UK authorities have described the expected environmental impact from the plume of gas and a spreading sheen of light oil on the water as “minimal”, although environmental experts said much of the gas “cocktail” would be either flammable or poisonous at close quarters.
Total’s shares have lost about 9 percent in the wake of the incident. They were trading at 37.63 euros at 1305 GMT.
Analysts said the French oil major could face costs of up to $10 billion if its North Sea gas leak leads to an explosion and nearly $3 billion if it takes months to fix.
However, Jefferies securities and investment bank said in a research note that data that had emerged on the spill, which “has further convinced us that the spill consequences should be less than the most pessimistic market estimates and hence that the US$9.7 billion sell-off in the stock since Monday is overdone”.
- Fitch: Total Gas Leak ‘Not Another Deepwater Horizon’ (mb50.wordpress.com)
Tehran has fulfilled its threat to retaliate for the EU’s oil embargo, agreed by the bloc on January 26. The sanctions gave the EU members time till July to find new suppliers.
Officials within Iran immediately called to cork the black gold stream to Europe, targeting economies weakened by the ongoing financial crisis. On Wednesday, these calls became reality.
- Iran could ban EU oil exports next week (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Iran ‘definitely’ closing Strait of Hormuz over EU oil embargo (mb50.wordpress.com)
- EU firms renew Iran oil deals to win sanction reprieve (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Sanction Show Signs Of Taking Toll On Iran | Fox News (foxnews.com)
- Iran Gave Syria $1 Billion To Aid Regime Against Sanctions, Documents Reveal | Fox News (foxnews.com)
- U.S. naval carrier group positioned closer to Iran (theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com)
- Turkey Pledges to Stick with Iranian Oil (ibtimes.com)
French oil major Total said today it intended to continue to actively manage its asset portfolio with, in particular, a program of non-strategic asset sales.
The 2012 budget for organic investments is $24 billion , of which more than 80% will be dedicated to the Upstream.
In the Upstream, Total expects in 2012 to implement its strategy to accelerate production growth and increase the profitability of its asset portfolio.
The ramp-up of Pazflor in Angola and the start-up of several major projects, including Usan in Nigeria, Angola LNG, and Bongkot South in Thailand, will contribute to production growth in 2012 and to achieving the objective of growing production by 2.5% per year on average between 2010 and 2015.
“The successful start-up of the Pazflor field in Angola was the crowning achievement of an important year for Total. This start-up and the ones to follow will ensure a return to production growth in 2012 and the years to come”, Chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie said.
After launching Ichthys in Australia, announced at the start of this year, Total said it intends to continue work on the drivers for post-2015 growth by preparing to launch, notably, projects in West Africa, Russia and Canada.
The Group today announced 2011 adjusted net income of $15.9 billion which is an increase of 17 per cent when compared to full year results from 2010.
Commenting on the results de Margerie said:
“In a period of economic slowdown, ongoing tensions on the global oil supply supported the Brent price above 110 S/b in 2011. This environment has been favorable for the Upstream, but it was difficult for the Downstream activities, notably in Europe. In this context, the Group posted a 17% increase in earnings, expressed in dollars, compared to 2010. With its track record of operational excellence, the Group also confirms its constant improvement in safety performance.”
- France: Total Announces 72% Profit Increase Compared to 2nd Q 2009
- Angola: Total Inaugurates Pazflor
- USA: KBR President Pleased with 1Q Business Results
- Total Starts Production at Pazflor, Offshore Angola
- Norway: Statoil 3Q Net Income Rises 39 pct
- A West African Giant – Total’s Pazflor FPSO is Inaugurated (gcaptain.com)
- Oceaneering Bags Angola Gig from BP (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Offshore Lists Top 5 Offshore Field Development Projects (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Angola: Oil Ministry Says US Will be Main Market for LNG Export (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Angola LNG Looks to Sell Liquefied Natural Gas to Non-U.S. Buyers (mb50.wordpress.com)
(Reuters) – EU nations agreed on Thursday to examine sanctions on Iran’s energy sector over its nuclear program which could include an oil embargo championed by France and Britain.
China, the biggest buyer of Iranian crude, also stepped in on Thursday to warn against “emotionally charged actions” that might aggravate the row between London and Tehran over the storming of Britain’s embassy in the Iranian capital.
In Iran, diplomats said protesters had devastated parts of the embassy complex in Tehran. A commander in an Iranian militia which joined Tuesday’s ransacking said he was tired of decades of British “plotting” against Iran.
European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels said Iran’s energy, financial and transport sectors might be targeted in response to a report from the U.N. nuclear watchdog which suggested Iran has worked on designing an atom bomb.
They added 180 Iranian people and entities to a blacklist that imposes asset freezes and travel bans on those involved in the nuclear work which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes.
However, they appeared to postpone decisions on a ban on oil imports.
“The Council (of ministers) agreed to broaden existing sanctions by examining, in close coordination with international partners, additional measures including measures aimed at severely affecting the Iranian financial system, in the transport sector, in the energy sector,” they said.
Ministers said a decision would be taken no later than their next meeting in January. EU member states take 450,000 barrels per day of Iranian oil, about 18 percent of the Islamic Republic’s exports, much of which go to China and India.
But European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said all 27 EU countries would need to back any embargo. “We need a common position of all European Union member states,” he told Reuters on a visit to Moscow.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed the embargo and won backing from Britain, but resistance persists. An import ban might boost global oil prices during hard economic times while debt-strapped Greece has been relying on Iranian oil, which comes with an attractive financing offer.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the EU could aim to offset any crude oil shortfall if a ban were imposed.
“Greece has voiced some concerns. We have to take them into account and work with the different partners so that the interruption of deliveries from Iran could be compensated by a rise in production in other countries,” he told reporters.
Britain shut down Iran’s embassy in London and expelled all its staff on Wednesday after pulling out its own diplomats. It said the storming could not have taken place without the consent of Iranian Islamic authorities.
However, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the push for tougher economic action against Iran had nothing to do with the embassy incident.
“I stress that the measures I hope we will agree today are related to the Iranian nuclear program. These are not measures in reaction to what has happened to our embassy,” he told BBC radio before the Brussels meeting.
Britain’s uneasy relations with Iran date from long before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi of the Basij militia, which participated along with hardline students in the embassy incident, said Iranians “were tired of decades of London’s plots against Tehran,” the official IRNA news agency reported.
EU diplomats who visited the embassy in central Tehran told Reuters of severe damage. “I saw two rooms where you couldn’t see what they were. There was just ashes … It was devastating to see,” one said.
“You could tell the action was coordinated,” he added. A building that had not been used for years was untouched while the most important offices were gutted.
STAY RATIONAL, CALM AND RESTRAINED
With the diplomatic temperature rising, Beijing issued an appeal for cool heads. “China hopes that the relevant parties can remain rational, calm and restrained, to avoid emotionally charged actions that could intensify the dispute,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in Beijing.
“Countries should … focus on the long term and the big picture. When encountering issues and conflicts, they should resolve problems through dialogue and consultations.”
Russia said the increasing tension and Western pressure were undermining the chances Iran will cooperate with efforts to ensure it is not seeking nuclear weapons.
“We speak out categorically against cranking up a spiral of tension and confrontation on issues linked with Iran. We believe that this … is fraught with severe consequences,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told a news briefing.
Russia and China approved four rounds of U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, after working together to blunt tougher Western proposals.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog, citing intelligence reports, said last month that Iran appeared to have conducted research and experiments relevant to developing an atom bomb and may still be pursuing work to that end.
The nuclear program has raised the question of whether Israel might take military action against arch-foe Iran.
In Jerusalem, Defence Minister Ehud Barak said an Israeli attack was not imminent but all options remained open to stop what Israel sees as an Iranian bid to develop nuclear weapons.
“We have no intention, at the moment, of taking action, but the State of Israel is far from being paralyzed by fear,” Barak told Israel Radio. “It must act calmly and quietly — we don’t need big wars.”