Thursday, January 24, 2013

$20 trillion shale oil find surrounding Coober Pedy 'can fuel Australia'

Looks like there are more fossil fuels than reported years ago, as oil prices are constantly being manipulated. Aivars Lode

SOUTH Australia is sitting on oil potentially worth more than $20 trillion, independent reports claim - enough to turn Australia into a self-sufficient fuel producer.

Brisbane company Linc Energy yesterday released two reports, based on drilling and seismic exploration, estimating the amount of oil in the as yet untapped Arckaringa Basin surrounding Coober Pedy ranging from 3.5 billion to 233 billion barrels of oil.
At the higher end, this would be "several times bigger than all of the oil in Australia", Linc managing director Peter Bond said.
This has the potential to turn Australia from an oil importer to an oil exporter.
"If it comes in the way the reports are suggesting, it could well and truly bring Australia back to (oil) self-sufficiency," Mr Bond said.
State Mineral Resources Development Minister Tom Koutsantonis said there were exciting times ahead for SA's resources industry.

Australian oil strike

A Linc Energy drilling rig in the Arckaringa Basin surrounding Coober Pedy
The need to build another oil and gas hub, like the Santos production facility at Moomba, depends on the size of the discovery.
"If it really takes off, that's when you start to look at Moomba-type pipelines."
Mr Bond said there was the potential for a US-style "shale oil" boom in SA.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week the US could pass Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer this year, thanks to the shale oil explosion.
Shale oil extraction involves using new technologies to drill vertically and then horizontally for distances of more than one kilometre through shale rocks that contain oil.
The process was once prohibitively expensive but advances have created a new oil boom in the US.
Mr Koutsantonis said: "We have seen the hugely positive impact shale projects like Bakken and Eagle Ford have had on the US economy.
"There is still a long way to go, but investment in unconventional liquid projects in South Australia will accelerate as more and more companies such as Linc Energy and Altona prove up their resources."
Mr Bond said the potential in SA was "massive", but even at the lower end of estimates - about 3.5 billion barrels - it was still very large.
"If you look at the upper target, which is 103-233 billion barrels of oil, that's massive," he said.
"The opportunity of turning this into the next shale boom is very real.
"If the Arckaringa plays out the way we hope it will, and the way our independent reports have shown, it's one of the key prospective territories in the world at the moment." Mr Bond said each well could flow at 1000-2000 barrels per day.
"You put in 50 of them and that's a lot of oil," he said. "We have a very good idea that this will be an oil-producing asset."
Mr Bond said Linc had so far spent about $130 million in the Arckaringa Basin, drilling four deep wells and "a couple of dozen" shallower wells.
British company Altona Energy was scheduled to start drilling this month to discover more resources for a proposed coal to liquids and power project also in the Arckaringa Basin.
That project, which could cost up to $3 billion, would involve an open-cut coal mine and possibly a 560 megawatt power plant.
The Linc Energy reports, from consultants DeGolyer and McNaughton and Gustavson Associates, are available on the Australian Securities Exchange website.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Deficits loom for next two years

We have predicted a slowing in commodity process over a year ago. Aivars Lode

Federal government modelling ­suggests that the bigger than expected fall in commodity export prices will produce a multibillion-dollar budget hole that could keep it in deficit over the next two years.
The Business Council of Australia yesterday called on Labor to spell out a medium-term strategy to get the budget firmly back into the black amid signals that the government is prepared to dump its promise to deliver a small surplus this year.
The federal Treasury modelling suggests this year’s projected $1.1 billion surplus could turn into a $4.5 billion deficit, while next year’s projected $2.8 billion surplus could end up $11 billion in the red if the latest unexpected slowdown in nominal gross domestic product growth persists.
The Australian Financial Review reported on Friday that the government would dump its long-held commitment to a budget surplus this financial year if economic growth slipped below the trend rate of growth, considered to be about 3 per cent growth in real GDP.
Business Council of Australia chairman Tony Shepherd called on the government to “have a clear plan on how to return to surplus, not based on the optimistic forecast but based on a realistic forecast”.
The recent weakness in the terms of trade was putting company profits and taxation revenues under pressure. “We all wish the economy to grow at trend. But you have to prepare for the contingency that it will be below trend, and one would have to be ­concerned at the moment that it won’t.”
Mr Shepherd said the business ­community would forgive the government if it failed to achieve its long-anticipated first surplus since coming to power next May, provided it had a well articulated medium-term strategy.
“If we can see the discipline and a strategy that is workable then [a def­icit] would be acceptable to business. A goal of a surplus is a worthy one, but you have got to have a plan on how to get there,” he said.
The government would need to look at restoring its revenue base and adopting a disciplined set of rules on spending through the cycle, such as headcount targets on government and limiting government as a percentage of the economy to 23.7 per cent, he said.
It would also need to lay out a plan over the medium-term cycle of 10 to 12 years to return the economy to surplus on a sustainable basis, and pay down debt and build reserves.
Mr Shepherd also called on the opposition to commit to a set of rules. But shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey ­yesterday said the Coalition would ­outline its rules once it was elected because he did not believe the current fiscal position being presented by Treasurer Wayne Swan.
“The fact is they are engaged in deceit and we don’t know what the starting position is,” Mr Hockey said.
The government was “crab walking away from the surplus so they can do what they do best”, he said.
“Once the shackles of any surplus are off, Labor will engage in reckless spending, especially given their $120 billion of unfunded promises,” Mr Hockey said.
The government is relying on nominal growth of 4 per cent in order to raise enough taxation revenues to meet its $1.1 billion surplus in 2012-13 contained in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.
But last week Mr Swan blamed a “savage reduction” in commodity prices leading to nominal income running growing at 0.5 per cent in the quarter or an annual pace of just 1.9 per cent in the September quarter, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics national accounts.
A commodity price index calculated by the Reserve Bank of Australia points to further falls in prices this quarter, down between 3.5 and 4.8 per cent in the first two months of current quarter.
A scenario produced by Treasury in the MYEFO statement predicted a one percentage point fall from the ­government’s forecast of 4 per cent nominal growth this year would weaken the budget bottom line by $2.8 billion this year and about $6.7 billion in 2013-14.
Mr Swan has wound back his rhetoric on the surplus as commodity prices have fallen making it conditional on jobs.
“While weaker revenues will make it more difficult, we’re committed to returning the budget to surplus in 2012-13,” Mr Swan said last week.
“As I’ve said before, we’ll always ensure our budget is appropriate for the economy and jobs and these figures don’t change our consistent approach.”
But in the May budget, the Treasurer said the surplus was vital for the strength of the economy.
“Returning to surplus also locks in confidence, and is Australia’s best defence at a time when the global economy is changing dramatically,” he said in May.
“It creates a buffer in uncertain times and is a very clear sign of our strong economy.”
Minister for Regional Development Simon Crean said the budget surplus was still achievable.
“We are committed to the budget surplus and I still believe we can get there,” he said from the Southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.
“What we put out in the mid year economic forecasts shows the surplus is still achievable.”

Monday, January 21, 2013

Physicists At CERN Get Help To Process Experimental Data

A Russian search engine ends up partnering with CERN and not google. Aivars Lode

Yandex, Russia‘s largest online search engine, has collaborated with the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, to help physicists and engineers process experimental data more accurately with their machine learning system, MatrixNet.
MatrixNet is already being tested with CERN’s data of B-meson decay analysis. MatrixNet allows physicists to filter huge datasets in order to find extremely rare events. Increasing the precision of these events, gives physicists the ability to confirm or refute physical models and theories. Yandex is the only Russian company working with CERN.
Forbes caught up with Dr. Andrey Ustyuzhanin, Head of the MatrixNet project with CERN, to find out why a search engine can help some of the smartest physicists in the world. Ustyuzhanin says working with CERN, gives Yandex a chance to help answer some of the most interesting questions about physics and what our universe is made of.
Forbes: Why is it important to help scientists process experimental data more accurately?
Andrey Ustuzhanin: One of primary goals of scientists at CERN is the confirmation of various theories and models that were created by theoretical physicists. If have more precise tools to do that, they can increase their confidence level of their findings using the same amount of data. Given that CERN is going to close for an upgrade soon, it’s essential to have such tools at their disposal.
What does a search engine company have to offer some of the best scientists in the world?
AU: One person can very rarely be ‘the best’ in different areas, even if he/she is a respected as genius. So scientists at CERN are really good at physics, but computer science is totally different area. And, algorithms usually belongs to domain of computer science which is the domain of a search engine company. We hope that data analysis, which is about algorithms and crucial for CERN, can be improved by our technology and techniques.
Why did CERN choose Yandex and say, not Google?
AU: Russia has a very specific cultural background and attitude towards technology. Sometimes when a question is too fascinating, like a question about ‘universe, life and everything’ we can start working on it without any specific budget and revenue expectations, we just want to be a part of that process.
What type of results can the scientists at CERN expect?
AU: If our tools turn out to be helpful, then physicists can expect to speed up discoveries or improve the confidence level of their findings (say, rejection of the next candidatie for ‘theory of everything’).
How about some examples for non-physicists? 
AU: In November 2012, CERN announced a discovery of a rare decay of B-meson to muon-antimuon pair. The confidence level of this decay was ’3.5 sigma’ and rate of this decay was in line with the prediction in the Standard Model of particle physics. This effectively closed some marginal supersymmetry theories. So increasing the confidence level from 3.5 sigma to say five sigma, would make it a discovery, instead of just evidence.
How much experimental data are we talking?
AU: One of CERN big experiments (LHCb) encompasses tens of billion of events per year (which is what they have after pre-filtering), which makes it around a petabyte per year, and that’s not even the biggest CERN experiment. All of CERN’s experiments are reported to register around 15PB per year.
Note: Let’s put that into perspective:  The data flow from all of the experiments will be about 700 MBs, that’s around 15,000 000 GB (=15 PB) per year and that’s about the same as a stack of CDs about 20 km tall piled up each year.
What’s the long-term benefit to Yandex? 
AU: Currently we are thinking in terms of helping find answers to some of the most difficult questions about understanding our universe. Besides working on these questions alongside the best physicists in the world, it will help us improve our methodology of machine learning.
What do you want to achieve with the MatrixNet at CERN?
AU: Our mission is to give answers to users’ questions, so helping answering tough physics questions is just another part of our mission at Yandex.
Yandex says its machine learning system, MatrixNet, will make search smarter because they will be able to train/teach the system based on the massive amount of data collected by CERN and of course apply that to it’s business – internet search.

Canada Goes to Davos with a Little Less Swagger

As discussed numerous times in the past. Australia and Canada will have financial difficulties because of the hedge fund money that came into thise economies because of perceived demand from China that did not taken into account Chinas slow down. Aivars Lode

At the exclusive World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a year ago, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper signaled that significant policy changes were ahead for Canada, from making energy imports to Asia a key priority to revamping old-age benefits. While touting Canada’s relative economic health, he also used the platform to criticize Europe and the U.S. for failing to address their fiscal woes.
That was last year.

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) logo is displayed on a window inside the Congress Centre ahead of the WEF meeting in Davos this week.
Though some prominent Canadians are making the trip to Davos this week, Mr. Harper won’t be one of them. Some of the changes he signaled were indeed implemented in a federal budget introduced months after his Davos speech. But the economy and government finances aren’t on the same solid footing as last year, when the prime minister spoke confidently about the country’s prospects.
“All the big economic engines that helped pull Canada quickly out of the recession—consumer spending, housing, and government spending—are either tapped out, or in flat-out retrenchment,” said Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.
Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, who is months away from taking over the Bank of England, is the only Canadian policy maker scheduled to speak at Davos, at a panel discussion on the global economic outlook. His presentation will come just days after the Bank of Canada releases its quarterly Monetary Policy Report. That snapshot of the economy is likely to include reduced growth projections. Canada’s gross domestic product grew at a tepid 0.6% annualized rate in the third quarter, compared with the 1% predicted by the Bank of Canada in October, and isn’t expected to have expanded more than 1.5% in the fourth quarter, according to private-sector economists. That would be well below the 2.5% the central bank projected.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will be one of four of Mr. Harper’s cabinet ministers travelling to Davos. Under Mr. Flaherty, the Canadian government’s books have looked better than most in the developed world since the financial crisis. But weaker commodity prices and global growth have cast some doubt over whether the Canadian government will reach its goal of a balanced budget in time for the next federal election, tentatively scheduled for late 2015. The government still says it’s do-able.
Some Canadian provincial premiers—Alberta’s Alison Redford and Quebec’s Pauline Marois–are also expected to attend Davos, according to local media reports. Representatives for Ms. Redford and Ms. Marois weren’t immediately available to comment. Both provinces are under fiscal pressure as growth in tax revenue slows. That’s especially true in oil-producing Alberta, where western Canadian crude trades at a steep discount to global benchmarks due to a lack of pipeline capacity.