Foreign Oil Producers Bemoan Rapid US Shale Activity Increase

While U.S. oil imports have been on a multi-year downward track, suffering from a combination of lessening domestic demand, and accelerating domestic production, the country suffering the most is Canada, and its surging oil sands extraction production.

Although Canada is anticipating future export market development for its 3.2 million barrels per day from China and other Southeast Asian buyers, our northern neighbor is currently overwhelmingly dependent on the steadily reducing orders from the U.S. A good part of this is currently due to the hang-up over the Trans-Canada XL oil pipeline direct to Houston and Gulf Coast refineries. This situation is getting worse as shipment to refiners from inside America’s increased production is being bottlenecked by outdated U.S. pipeline access, and an ambivalent Obama Administration.

This is causing Canada’s tar sands converted oil production to offer heavy discounts to meet competition to U.S. refinery access, which brought the refiners’ purchase price to as low as $80 per barrel last October, before bouncing back.

Currently, Canada is supplying America’s 19 million barrels per day demand with 2.41 million BPD. Saudi Arabia follows with 1.36 million BPD, while Mexico, Venezuela, Iraq and Nigeria are shipping at varying degrees below one million BPD.

While the U.S. pipeline deficiency has prevented domestic refiners from utilizing the amounts available from Canada’s Alberta Province is expanding tar sands fields, the refineries have compensated by extracting sharp discounts from the Canadian producers. This has proved to be a profit bonanza for most of America’s major refiners. However, it has also curbed their ability to convert the combination of domestic shale crude, as well as imports, into gasoline and other derivatives that would prove highly profitable to them. It would also allow them to increase exports, along with a generous supplement in tax revenues to help alleviate America’s debt/deficit problems.

In the meantime, the inability for our main export/import partner, Canada, to utilize America’s massive demand capability effectively is creating gross domestic product growth problems in Ottawa. The Canadians had not projected as much as a quarter percent loss from its 2013 2.5% growth resulting from the sharp cuts in oil sales profitability.

The Obama Administration’s unwillingness to embrace the economic benefits that would accrue to both the U.S. and Canada by approving not only the Trans Canada project, plus expanding internal U.S. structural pipeline diversity, reflects the blind eye that the President is turning to tax revenue generation, additional employment, and bi-national good will. A reversal from this catering to the “climatological purists” would prove a major plus to the U.S., as well as Canadian economies.For future easy access to my blogs, please use the link below, and bookmark it to your desktop. The old link you may be using is still available. However, an alternate link is:

http://mydesert.com/beschloss

Foreign Oil Producers Bemoan Rapid US Shale Activity Increase

While U.S. oil imports have been on a multi-year downward track, suffering from a combination of lessening domestic demand, and accelerating domestic production, the country suffering the most is Canada, and its surging oil sands extraction production.

Although Canada is anticipating future export market development for its 3.2 million barrels per day from China and other Southeast Asian buyers, our northern neighbor is currently overwhelmingly dependent on the steadily reducing orders from the U.S. A good part of this is currently due to the hang-up over the Trans-Canada XL oil pipeline direct to Houston and Gulf Coast refineries. This situation is getting worse as shipment to refiners from inside America’s increased production is being bottlenecked by outdated U.S. pipeline access, and an ambivalent Obama Administration.

This is causing Canada’s tar sands converted oil production to offer heavy discounts to meet competition to U.S. refinery access, which brought the refiners’ purchase price to as low as $80 per barrel last October, before bouncing back.

Currently, Canada is supplying America’s 19 million barrels per day demand with 2.41 million BPD. Saudi Arabia follows with 1.36 million BPD, while Mexico, Venezuela, Iraq and Nigeria are shipping at varying degrees below one million BPD.

While the U.S. pipeline deficiency has prevented domestic refiners from utilizing the amounts available from Canada’s Alberta Province is expanding tar sands fields, the refineries have compensated by extracting sharp discounts from the Canadian producers. This has proved to be a profit bonanza for most of America’s major refiners. However, it has also curbed their ability to convert the combination of domestic shale crude, as well as imports, into gasoline and other derivatives that would prove highly profitable to them. It would also allow them to increase exports, along with a generous supplement in tax revenues to help alleviate America’s debt/deficit problems.

In the meantime, the inability for our main export/import partner, Canada, to utilize America’s massive demand capability effectively is creating gross domestic product growth problems in Ottawa. The Canadians had not projected as much as a quarter percent loss from its 2013 2.5% growth resulting from the sharp cuts in oil sales profitability.

The Obama Administration’s unwillingness to embrace the economic benefits that would accrue to both the U.S. and Canada by approving not only the Trans Canada project, plus expanding internal U.S. structural pipeline diversity, reflects the blind eye that the President is turning to tax revenue generation, additional employment, and bi-national good will. A reversal from this catering to the “climatological purists” would prove a major plus to the U.S., as well as Canadian economies.
For future easy access to my blogs, please use the link below, and bookmark it to your desktop. The old link you may be using is still available. However, an alternate link is:

http://mydesert.com/beschloss

March Madness Record TV Advertising Revenues Emphasize Amateur Sports’ Amazing Popularity

When taking a personal poll as to which post-season sport generated the most TV basketball advertising revenue (pro football, basketball, baseball, hockey), the March NCAA tournament wasn’t even mentioned. That’s why the billion dollar plus revenue generation by the increasingly popular NCAA tournament caught those polled by such surprise. Even more unusual is that this “pot of gold” was double the TV ad expenditures for “March Madness” in 2007, the last pre-“Great Financial Recession” year. The 2012 total fetched $1.34 million for a 30 second ad spot for the Louisville-Michigan finale.

In analyzing the popularity of this amateur sport’s legendary rise to fame, I looked for aspects in America’s popular entertainment mood for this unexpected surge of excitement for an amateur sport, much less basketball, which always seemed to lag football in college sports preference, and baseball in professional observation focus.

Some might cite President Obama’s fascination with the game, or even pro-cager Dennis Rodman’s personal diplomacy with North Korea’s Kim-Jong-Un, the latest global crisis progenitor. The sheer extent of college basketball’s popularity and revenue generator is, most likely, a reflection of several factors reflecting the U.S. public’s embrace of sports in general, and basketball in particular, at times of increasing stress from both economic and geopolitical angst:

1) Whereas baseball and professional boxing and wrestling provided the great escape during the Great Depression of the 1930′s with radio the sole means of communication, along with newsreels, professional football, baseball, and basketball, even hockey, were pumped up by the subsequent advent of televison.

2) Although professional basketball and baseball, as well as college and professional football have increased immensely in the TV viewership category, the mercenary aspects of both team ownership and player wage demands have cooled the ardor of many fans, who themselves have experienced job losses or stagnant wage earnings.

3) Since college football seems to have lately been marred by scandal, the combination of college basketball’s amateur standing and the changing, more exciting nature of the game has captured the fancy of the viewing public. As the NCAA March elimination of the nation’s top 64 college teams affect most areas of this nation, the high level of interest encompasses a greater geographic involvement than any other sport.

4) While basketball was more a game of personal skills in the past, the intense physical nature of today’s approach makes it more of a contact sport that rabid TV viewers enjoy watching. In fact, the athletic expertise of college competitors has achieved such levels of skills that the margin of capability between pros and amateurs has closed to the narrowest levels ever.

This combination of exciting viewing of college kids, near the level of professional athletes, has brought forth the appreciation that these “college kids” are not only unpaid, but play for the love of the game, and the enhancement of the university they represent.

Skeptics may question this last point, since the cream of the college crop winds up in the National Basketball Association. This does not matter to the bulk of basketball enthusiasts who view basketball as likely the only untainted sport left, where amateurs can deliver the excitement usually reserved for the pros.

For future easy access to my blogs, please use the link below, and bookmark it to your desktop. The old link you may be using is still available. However, an alternate link is:

http://mydesert.com/beschloss

Oil/Natural Gas Bonanza Looking Unstoppable Despite Continued Environmental Opposition

Based on reliable reports from knowledgeable observers, the oil/natural gas boom has continued to expand and will not be severely inhibited in the indeterminate future. This conclusion is based on the Obama Administration’s realization that expanding energy development now holds the key to rationally confronting the runaway debt ceiling in the upcoming 2014 fiscal year. On Monday, President Obama stunned the nation by announcing that America’s liquid natural gas will be exported worldwide. Can approval of the XL oil pipeline be far behind?

With continued defacto double digit unemployment hanging over the Administration’s head; and consumer demand, needed to encourage production, beset by tax increases and stifling regulations, the success of fracking and its resultant revenues are critical to preventing a 2014 financial breakdown. With the mid-term elections at stake, the Obama Administration needs reasonable economic tranquility. Additional economic deterioration, which could prove politically disastrous, is not an option the Administration is willing to face.

A renewal of current fracking progress discloses a spreading of successful growth. While the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and Ohio is getting the highest marks, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has banned the process, is also feeling the heat of irate taxpayers and may be forced to back down.

The successful spread of America’s most successful economic breakthrough in decades (fossil fuel energy development) puts President Obama on the verge of turning his back on his “climatological purity” base. This successful fracking surge is already making itself felt in states other than the much heralded breakthroughs in North Dakota and Texas. Kansas and Oklahoma, hardly known for oil production booms, are experiencing decades-high production gains as previously mature fields are responding to the new technology.

Utah, which is reaching nearly 100,000 barrels a day, is checking in with a 150% increase over the last decade. New Mexico has exceeded its previous record set in 1978 for the first time. And neighboring Colorado has seen oil production triple since 2001, coming close to North Dakota’s Bakken play, with its own version- Niobrara shale.

The revenues and construction employment generated by these fossil fuel successes will become increasingly hard for President Barack Obama to slow down by backing his environment-obsessed extremists. In addition, the Obama Administration is turning skeptical over new Environmental Protection Agency regulations that will add to the cost of gasoline, not a winner with a public increasingly grumbling over the Obamacare tax increases.

At this point, there’s a 50/50 chance that domestic oil production, including the XL oil pipeline will not be the sector thrown under the bus by the politically sensitive President Obama. Events transpiring in the next few weeks will prove decisive as to which alternative the President and his legislative allies choose.

For future easy access to my blogs, please use the link below, and bookmark it to your desktop. The old link you may be using is still available. However, an alternate link is:

http://mydesert.com/beschloss

Will America’s Lost Generation Face an Unpromising Economy?

When sifting through the March unemployment rate, it quickly became apparent that the drop to 7.6% was totally misleading. Although that rate has been the traditional measuring stick which the U.S. Labor Department has always touted, it has almost become irrelevant in light of the deteriorating labor picture it was cloaking.

With both labor force participation rate (63.3%) and workers as a percentage of the total population bouncing just near all-time lows, the full employment situation is in dire straits. It has also led to a new hike for social security disability payments as a percentage of the annual gross domestic product .

But the most disturbing aspect of the components comprising the complex employment scenario is the “youth” subsector (18-29 year olds), generating an 11.7% unemployment factor that is probably double that when including those working part-time, or less hours than required to receive company benefits. This declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.7 million young adults, not counted as “unemployed” by the U.S. Department of Labor. This agency does not include them in the potential labor force, because they have given up looking for work.

To assuage this problem, the Administration has gone full tilt in expanding the food stamp and debit card programs, which have nearly doubled since the Obama Administration took office on January 20, 2009. Also added has been the Social Security disability largesse, unlimited unemployment compensation, and the ability to participate in parental insurance coverage up to the age of 26.

Although these programs were originally designed as a tide-over for the needy, they have also acted as a disincentive for many, who will not accept low paying jobs that hardly match what is available through federal assistance.

What is most disconcerting about this broadening of entitlements is that it makes the outlook for the “millennials” increasingly depressing. It’s not only the immediate jobs picture that’s discouraging. Even more concerning are the forthcoming healthcare cost increases and availability, plus the inevitable additional taxes that burden the shoulders of the maturing generation. This is due to the horrendous debt expense that will eventually have to be paid off in principal and interest yield.

Although the overall current 2013 U.S. economic outlook looks to be “acceptable,” it has turned into a “repair, maintenance, and instant-demand oriented,” rather than a bullishly expansive long-term strategy. Only a more amenable, business-friendly “expansion climate” could upgrade the outlook for the second half of this year.

For future easy access to my blogs, please use the link below, and bookmark it to your desktop. The old link you may be using is still available. However, an alternate link is:

http://mydesert.com/beschloss

Is Current US Cash Flow “Armistice” the Calm Before the Fiscal Year End Storm?

Have you noticed the headline shift away from economic issues? The hue and cry in the months leading up to the November 6, 2012 general elections filled the air, ether, and print waves with warnings of gloom and doom if one side or the other got their hands on the till of the ship of state.

This tension was heightened during the “Lame Duck interval,” topped by the fiscal cliff, followed by the sequestration showdown. In each case, the political antagonists in Congress and the White House backed away from “Armageddon” and came up with a patchwork quilt of compromise to avoid a political firestorm that could have been suicidal for either party. This temporary armistice was engendered by nominal expenditure cuts by government agencies, topped by an ostentatious display of minimal self-imposed salary cuts by President Obama and several cabinet members.

With this postponement of inevitable deb/deficit decisions to the start of fiscal 2014 on October 1, both adversarial political establishments have achieved a temporary armistice, hoping to allow the ponderous U.S. economy to maintain its equilibrium.

Since no “grand bargain” resolution on entitlement cutbacks or further raising top bracket taxes is in sight, only the fear of the upcoming mid-term elections in November 2014 has any chance to force anything resembling a reasonable solution between the House of Representatives on one hand and the Senate/White House on the other during the intervening period. In the meantime, social issues, and the North Korea plus Syria foreign policy travails, seems to have surfaced with a vengeance.

With the assault on the second amendment regarding gun ownership, a newly-minted immigration policy, a rewrite of the marriage institution, and a resurfacing of the Roe vs Wade abortion issue seem to have taken the national spotlight, along with the never-ending murder trial of Jodi Arrias, which seems to have caught the fancy of millions of TV-watching American escapists.

In the meantime, the U.S. economy, beset with an unresolved unemployment burden, is holding its own in the better than expected plus side. What has propped up the American economy monetarily are the hundreds of billions of dollars flowing into the U.S. to buy up fixed and liquid assets of all types, along with continued “safe haven” support of U.S. debt paper. This is accomplished by auction bids, keeping the yield curve at record lows with adequate coverage.

It’s a lucky break for the U.S. that, compared to every other country in the world, America still looks to be the best investment bet — not only under currently existing government mismanagement, but for many years to come.

For future easy access to my blogs, please use the link below, and bookmark it to your desktop. The old link you may be using is still available. However, an alternate link is:

http://mydesert.com/beschloss

Does “Billionaire Content” Reflect Regional-National Wealth Factor?

A fascinating study by Forbes Business Magazine breaks down the world’s all-time high 1,426 billionaires by regions, nations, and business/industrial categories, from which such riches were accumulated.

Although this personal wealth accumulation geographically reflects the physical locality of these super-rich individuals or families, it provides a remarkable statement as to the extent to which regional/national wealth has been manifested in the world’s productive arena. This in itself makes a powerful statement as to the success which has been engendered by free enterprise capitalism, even if hampered by totalitarian governments. The best example of this premise is China, and to a certain extent, Russia, which are among the world’s leaders in generating capitalistic billionaire wealth.

It should come as no surprise that the American-dominated Western Hemisphere has a lopsided lead with a current $2.44 trillion of cumulative billionaire wealth. With the U.S. the world leader with $1872.5 trillion, NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada, are in that region’s third and fourth place. Only Brazil’s $190 billion in second place challenge from the Southern Hemisphere, as number two to the U.S., with Chile the only other significant billionaire wealth producer in South America with $61.35 billion.

As could be expected, the developed European sub-continent, despite its current socio-economic problems, generates $1.55 trillion, with Russia’s $427 billion and Germany’s $296 billion providing the bulk of the region’s billionaire wealth generation. However, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain are all in the $100 billion plus category. But that region’s wealth category is more multi-generational, lacking the dynamism of “late-comers,” apparent in the other world areas.

Not far behind the European results is the Asia-Pacific global region, dominated by China, Hong Kong ($487 billion) and India ($193.6 billion). These two world-leading developing titans are also the fastest growing in the aggregation of billionaire capital wealth.

Trailing the three previous trillion dollar regions are the Middle East and Africa ($279 billion). Although the Mideast is the hotbed of OPEC oil activity, the dominant nation, surprisingly, is Turkey at $74.2 billion. Only second place Saudi Arabia, with a $55.55 billionaire wealth aggregation is significant among the oil-rich nations, trailing Ankara. In third place ($46.25 billion) is tiny Israel, easily outdistancing energy producers Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.

The only conclusion to be gained by the vast accumulation of trillions by the world’s leading billionaires, is that in a world riven by totalitarianism, the capitalist free enterprise system is still the main driver for global, regional, national and, ultimately, personal wealth.

For future easy access to my blogs, please use the link below, and bookmark it to your desktop. The old link you may be using is still available. However, an alternate link is:

http://mydesert.com/beschloss

Rising Unemployment, Deflation Threaten Deeper Eurozone Instability

Although many Eurozone observers could not conceive ever deeper economic deterioration in the Eurozone this year, their worst fears may be realized as 2013 wears on. This is based on statistics emanating from that bedeviled area in the first quarter of the current year.

Although most of the previous negative publicity seems to have focused on Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and lately Cyprus, only France and Germany seem to be keeping their heads above water. Simultaneously, the Southern European nations, especially, feel continuously squeezed between the need to pay off long-term debt, initiate austerity, while suffering further production and consumption shrinkage.

With unemployment in the southern sector of the 17 member Eurozone as high as 25%, Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal are hard-pressed to stabilize their debts. This is especially so since their combined manufacturing sectors are shrinking, while early attempts at austerity were reversed due to a public outcry that bordered on political upheaval. The only tangible assistance from the European Community Bank so far is the reduction of membership-wide interest rates to a record low of 0.75%. Even that artificial low point will do little to keep the group’s annual gross domestic product on the positive side of the ledger.

With the exception of Germany experiencing a respectable unemployment rate of 5.4%, while tiny Austria is even lower at 4.8%, the highest Eurozone’s unemployment rate is Spain with 26.3%, and Portugal and Italy not far behind. The currency block’s 17 nations were indicating an abysmal 12% rate in February, up from a mediocre 10.9% just a year before

The deteriorating overall business levels in most subsectors of the Eurozone particularly affects the weak economies of Southern Europe. These have never reached a substantial level of exports in the developing world of China, India, and the rest of Southeast Asia. Even with the current reduced worldwide growth level, Germany, especially, continues to excel as a global export leader. They are destined to do even better as the world’s developing nations are expected to bounce back by the second half of the current year.

Meanwhile, worsening jobless rates in Southern Europe bring into question the various fiscal attempts to crutch the fiscal stability of nations that could otherwise be on the verge of financial collapse. Up to this point, however, the government bonds issued by the sinking Eurozone’s lower half are only protected by the creditors’ acceptance that the European Community Bank stands behind the various issued bonds, keeping them from total failure and eventual bankruptcy. Otherwise, almost half of the Eurozone membership would be paying unsustainable interest rates that would prove to be disastrous, on top of all the other shortfalls

In the long term, there is little, if any, hope that this one-time cradle of Western Civilization will ever return to the status it enjoyed in the late 1900′s, when Europe as a whole represented 20% of the world’s gross domestic product.

For future easy access to my blogs, please use the link below, and bookmark it to your desktop. The old link you may be using is still available. However, an alternate link is:

http://mydesert.com/beschloss

Skilled Job Shortages, Accelerated Technology Heighten Foreign Demand

With high-tech jobs requiring the greatest demand ever in the rapidly-changing U.S. economy, while sophisticated computer technology evolves into the even more complex cyber-science, it’s no wonder that scores of U.S. companies are competing for the 65,000 foreign student job openings available through the immigration and naturalization services.

Each year on April 1, domestic corporations can sponsor this number of prospects, as long as they have graduated with a collegiate bachelor’s degree. In addition, this so-called H-1B visa program allocates an additional 20,000 visas each year to foreign nationals with advanced degrees from U.S. universities. The effective hiring date would be October 1, the start of the next U.S. fiscal year. With the shortage of such advanced education, especially in the areas of all types of engineering, these openings were quickly filled this year shortly after the availability door was opened in April.

The speed with which these jobs were quickly filled is further proof that the fast-growing need for those with such levels of expertise is becoming more severe. It’s common knowledge that both China and India graduate far more engineers than the U.S. But even so, in past years, students from the fast-developing Southeast Asian developing nations had previously chosen to return to their homelands, which, until recently, experienced urgent needs for such levels of collegiate expertise.

However, this year, the U.S. is rebounding from a two-year skilled job demand drought, while most of the rest of the developed world is suffering from a slowdown. This has allowed their indigenous domestic graduating classes to be sufficient for now. The last time this relative shortage of U.S.-based foreign college graduates occurred was in 2008, just before the panic button hit the world economy. But with the global industry deflating in the wake of the two-year global financial crash, there was little need for foreign graduates in their home markets.

But now, absorption of foreign grad students may turn out to be inadequate, as the previously described top of the line skilled jobs are in far greater demand. It’s a reflection of most companies upgrading their manufacturing facilities, technology, and back offices to restructure their systems to match the evolution of an internal infrastructure to optimize productivity and stay in step with systems evolution.

This sets up the paradox of less hands-on employees being required, while top of the line skills openings are going begging. It will further require a much more intensive job-training programs, through a combination of colleges, businesses, and government working together to close the contemporary gap, which is currently widening.

A further paradox may also be in a state of evolution, as a new jolt of “Buy American” by American users, as well as some foreign buyers, manifests itself. This budding opportunity could be lost if domestic U.S. capability is not prepared to absorb this timely set of circumstances.

For future easy access to my blogs, please use the link below, and bookmark it to your desktop. The old link you may be using is still available. However, an alternate link is:

http://mydesert.com/beschloss

Sequestration— An Unworkable Boondoggle?

Sequestration— an unworkable attempt at austerity hatched in the White House, and approved by Congress in late 2011, to keep from making hard fiscal decisions, could have instigated an aerial disaster, if left in place for the 2013 fiscal year and beyond.

In late April when the furloughing of air traffic control employees became operational, as part of the sequestration program, supposedly cutting chunks out of government spending, the Administration used air traffic control operations as a means of focusing the public’s attention on how Congress was squeezing the public’s interests for the sake of cut-backs–$55 million a year out of $3.5 trillion of annual government expenditures. With both Houses of Congress voting unanimously to revoke the ATC furloughs, and signed by the President, it was obvious that this farcical blame game between the two parties, was a hot potato, which none of the politicians wanted any part of.

Obviously, business fliers and tens of thousands of tourists, etal, were becoming increasingly annoyed by the aggravation of delays, and blaming all Washington, D.C. decision makers for this inconvenience.

My Washington contacts indicated that the greatest expressed fears by legislators and Administration officials alike were the extreme anger arising from the U.S. public in case of an air disaster taking place during the sequestration period.

During the following six months, while sequestration attempts could not be reached with Congress, the ad hoc steps being taken by the Administration to instigate cutbacks in both military and civilian sectors seemed more for show than for dough.

It’s painfully clear that the ATC cutbacks were meant by the Administration to irritate the public with Congress’s ineptitude, not taking into account that such politically motivated steps could easily backfire against the White House in times of crises.

Since the out-of-control debt-deficit crisis has been sidelined under the haze of immigration gun control, gay marriage and “right to life” debates, what seems to have conveniently been forgotten is that a redo of the out-of-date current U.S. tax system, and a frontal attack on the annual bloated entitlement balloon, is not in the cards during the current Administration.

With record tax collections of an annual $2.3 trillion lopsidedly from the top two percent, the American nation is stuck with a combination of Obamacare, Medicare, food stamps, debit cards, Social Security disability payments, etc. These comprise $1.3 trillion of the federal government’s annual outlay of $3.5 trillion. With the Defense Department’s $750 billion in second place, and a potentially explosive yield of a national debt eventually doubling in yield, and surpassing the military agencies in ongoing monetary outlays, a “crowding out” of federal expenditures by all other government agencies could occur sooner or later.

Those who have chosen to blind themselves to such federal neglect may wind up joining those that already acknowledged such government incompetence. That is identically the price that most European countries are paying now.

For future easy access to my blogs, please use the link below, and bookmark it to your desktop. The old link you may be using is still available. However, an alternate link is:

http://mydesert.com/beschloss