Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Energy Investment Picture

We say oil prices will be lower for longer,said Fadel Gheit,senior energy analyst at Oppenheimer&Co.Fundamentally,supply is still ample and exceeds the demand.The demand picture is weak.I actually say,sell oil stocks on a spike;buy them on dips.*
On the good side,you've got the industry bellwether Schlumberger,adds Ken Sill,managing director and senior oilfield services analyst of Global Hunter Securities.Halliburton is doing well.Superior Energy has good balance sheets and is growing internationally.*
Chevron,the second largest US oil company,is laying off 1500 workers,or 2% of its workforce,as part of an effort to cut costs by a billion dollars to offset the decline in the price of oil.Prices have sunk about 55% in the past year on oversupply.Most of the layoffs will be in Texas,where Chevron has holdings in the Permian Basin shale formation,and California,where its headquarters are located.
In light of the current market environment,Chevron is taking action to reduce internal costs in multiple operating units and the corporate centre,Chevron spokeswoman Melissa Ritchie stated.These initiatives,which are currently underway,are focused on increasing efficiency,reducing costs and focusing on work that directly supports business priorities.*
The Chevron layoffs include 50 international staff;600 contractor positions;500 positions from the San Ramon,California headquarters;and 270 open positions that won't be filled.
The consensus seems to be that now is a good time to buy the stocks of these basically sound companies that are going at bargain rates.
Chevron (CVX);Halliburton (HAL);Schlumberger (SCHL);Superior Energy (SPN)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

ISIL Threat To Afghanistan Grows

General John F. Campbell,US Army,commander of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan,is beginning to consider what his best military advice to the US Government will be with regard to US troop levels in Afghanistan.The current fighting season is halfway over,and the American military contingent of about 9800 personnel will be maintained through its remainder.US forces serve in both the NATO Operation Resolute Support train,advise and assist mission and the Operation Freedom's Sentinel counter-terrorism mission.*
Speaking to reporters during Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey's recent visit to Afghanistan and Iraq,General Campbell said we're taking a look at the state of the Afghan National Unity Government and the state of the Afghan Security Forces;also considering the set and basing of US forces and the state of the insurgency.
General Campbell voiced concern about the presence of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Afghanistan,describing it as a wrinkle in his deliberations.Late last year,he said,we first starting hearing about ISIL,and in the last six or seven months,there is a drumbeat that started to grow-particularly in Nangahar,Farah and Northern Helmand Provinces.ISIL and Taliban militants are contesting control of Nangahar.
We said the ISIL threat was nascent,the general reflected,but now I would say it is probably emergent.Afghan President Ashraf Ghani knows ISIL has the ability to move very quickly,and he wants to make sure he's putting systems and processes in place to build his capability.
Thirty to forty percent of the Taliban are not reconcilable,including the Haqqani Network.So what happens if the Taliban starts reconciling?Do these other guys go over to ISIL?That's an issue.Neither the Taliban nor ISIL are an existential threat to Afghanistan at this point.Could they become that down the road?I don't know,General John Campbell admitted to the journalists.*
President Ghani has expressed his wish that Afghanistan become the hub of a regional counter-terrorist network to Generals Dempsey and Campbell.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

New Horizons Calls Home,Sends More Data

Some foreigners may have become little green envious men over NASA's brilliant New Horizons achievement,but British physicist Stephen Hawking was not among them.Dr.Hawking immediately relayed his warm congratulations to his American colleagues as the sturdy spacecraft entered the Pluto system on 14 July.*
We have telemetry lock,said Dr.Alice Bowman,NASA Mission Operations Manager at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel,Maryland,as she received word that New Horizons phoned home at 8:52 pm ET at the end of the exhilarating yet tiring day.The spacecraft had survived its rendezvous with the dwarf planet Pluto.Immediately it went back to work gathering data from the rest of its flyby.
New Horizons will go on to explore more deep space bodies in the Kuiper Belt,a ring of icy objects ranging from boulders to dwarf planets at the edge of the solar system.The plutonium-powered spacecraft can operate and return data for at least 20 years,exploring the outer heliosphere,or area of the Sun's influence,and possibly even beyond into interstellar space,as has its predecessor Voyager I,according to Principal Investigator Dr.Alan Stern.The difference is,New Horizons has much better instruments than the two Voyager spacecraft have.
The New Horizons team has been working 24/7 for the last 6 months at APL in preparation for the flyby.One of the latest photos from the probe shows a young mountain range on Pluto near the equator.Pluto's mountains are up to 11,000 feet in height.An abundance of methane has been detected across Pluto's frosty surface,but with striking differences from place to place.
Another new photo shows surprising,young and varied terrain on Pluto's largest moon,Charon.Charon has a 4-6 mile canyon,as well as troughs and cliffs.This blog also noted a smooth area near Charon's north pole that resembles Mare Crisium on our own Moon.Pluto's moon Hydra is potato-shaped and is made mostly of water ice.
Pluto has a thin nitrogen atmosphere and colour variation across its surface.
Data from the Pluto flyby alone will pour in from New Horizons over the next 16 months and may take upwards of a decade to interpret.

Pluto is Dominated by the Feature Informally Named the “Heart”

Pluto is Dominated by the Feature Informally Named the “Heart”

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Walt Disney's New Segment-a good idea or not?

The Walt Disney Company has launched a new combined segment,Consumer Products and Interactive Media.It will be led jointly by the two current presidents of the constituent divisions,Leslie Ferraro and Timmy Pituro.There is also a new laboratory in the segment to develop high tech toys.DCPI Labs will focus on using cutting edge technologies to create new immersive products.
As technology and digital entertainment continue to evolve,a shared innovation strategy will enable the new segment to create unique and engaging products and experiences that exceed consumer's expectations,said Disney chief operations officer Thomas Staggs.
The former Interactive division had developed the Infinity video game,combining onscreen play with collectible Disney character toys.The Consumer Products division had introduced a line of wearable toys that interact with one another by radio waves and other technologies,Playmation,which will be promoted during the Christmas shopping season.
In response to changing consumer preferences in a marketplace increasingly influenced by technology,and as technology and digital entertainment continue to evolve,a shared innovation strategy will enable this new segment.The new structure is designed to share technological expertise and maximise opportunities and efficiencies across two divisions that have increasingly focused on similar objectives of delivering cutting edge consumer experiences and products,Disney said.
Functional areas of the divisions such as Finance,Strategy and Business Development,Technology,Human Resources and Communications,will be combined into joint teams.*
The Walt Disney Company (DIS)