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重創 July 15, 2018

Posted by hslu in China, Cold War, 石油, 美國, Economics, Oil, Trump, U.S. dollar, U.S. Foreign Policy, 川普, 中國.
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Departing ZTE executive describes ‘deep humiliation’ in farewell letter – Channel NewsAsia

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/technology/departing-zte-executive-describes–deep-humiliation–in-farewell-letter-10508584

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沒有話講,ZTE 這一戰,中國輸的很慘,輸的抬不起頭來,輸的很沒有面子,輸的很苦。跟啞巴吃黃連一樣,苦到心裏面去了,還不能說。

美國願意放寬對 ZTE 七年的制裁不是因為美國擔心 ZTE 七萬多名員工沒有事做,或者是不願意傷害到中國人的自尊心和感受,也不是要给中國的半導體工業開放一條生路,而是因為 ZTE 的上游廠商,像 Qualcomm,Google,Acacia 和其他公司等等,沒有零件用。Acacia 的股票在這個禁令發佈以後大跌40%。ZTE 無法開工,Acacia 也要關門。當然,它也赤裸裸的跟中國和世界宣佈誰是半導體工業的老大。美國覺得,它已經給中國一個嚴重的警告,那暫時不要把事情做的太絕,見好即收,放 ZTE 一條生路吧。

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雖然 ZTE 的塵埃尚未真正的落定,美國國會也還有一些議員反對讓 ZTE 死灰復燃,ZTE 已經開始依照美國開出來很嚴厲的條件,慢慢的往復原的路上走了。雖然這條路還很漫長,美國會不會中途反悔也是未定的變數,不過這個 417 制裁毫無疑問的是 “中國夢” 的一個警鐘,有是 “中國製造2025” 的一個當頭棒喝,它也代表美國正式的對中國的崛起和壯大宣戰。美國要抵制中國的科技化,要阻止中國想要改變美國花了七十年的時間建立的以美國爲中心的世界秩序的野心。這是美國很狠的一步棋。而悲哀的是,中國只有捱打的份,沒有一點還手的餘地。

如今,許多跡象顯示 ZTE 有可能可以苟延殘喘的活下去,ZTE 的一部分工程師和工作人員也能夠準備再開始付他們的房屋貸款, ZTE 的供應鏈廠商也可以開工生產,許多跟 ZTE 有關的政府官員和相關的工業主管也可以偷偷的摸一把冷汗。中國的中央單位默默的,深深的嘆了一口氣,曉得事態的嚴重性,更知道他們還有好多事在等著他們去做。

同時,他們也知道這個 417 事件對中國影響之深遠和對中國崛起的重創實在是無法用筆墨來形容。

毫無疑問的,所有中國的半導體工程師都知道當今中國核心半導體工業的處境有多麽的尷尬。所有高科技公司的中,高級主管都瞭解中國許多高端科技離世界上的先進國家還有一段距離。所有先進科學的執行主管都應該知道中國的下一步應該怎麽走。而所有中國的最高決策者都明瞭中國的弱點在那裏,他們也都知道控制中國的緊箍兒還在白宮的抽屜裏,而緊箍咒的錄音帶已經被美國複製了好多份,沒事就拿出來放一放,練習一下。

事實上,中國在成爲世界大國的道路上還有許多荊棘和阻礙,一路上還有許多地痞流氓躲在黑巷子裏,伺機就會倒砍中國一刀,阻止中國向前,防止中國佔領高科技產品的商機。這就是美國發動 417 事件真正的目的。

其實,美國如果真的要跟中國幹起來,中國一定會跟美國搞下去的。雖然中國賣給美國的東西遠比美國賣給中國的東西要多得多,不過中國還是有辦法讓 Trump 和美國人民的日子難過,進而影響美國期中選舉的結果。如果共和黨失去眾議院或參議院多數的領導地位,那 Trump 的苦日子就來了。如果 Trump 在 2019 被民主黨罷免,在 2020 就鞠躬下台,那他對美國,中國和世界的破壞也就能夠減少一點。

不過,我覺的這並不是當今最重要的議題。不管Trump 的關稅兵怎麼來,中國總會有關稅將去擋。不管 Trump 的貿易戰的禍水怎麼沖過來,中國有的是大力金剛土可以把它掩起來。這只是中美角力過程中的一個戰役。兩邊損兵折將在所難免,誰傷的重,誰傷的輕,誰死的多,誰死的少,最後誰輸誰贏,在兩國的競技中也不會有非常久遠的影響。

其實,對中國來說,現在最重要的議題是中國在這個尷尬的節骨眼上應該做的是什麼。

我覺得中國應該做的是:

1。全力抵制 Trump 的貿易戰。絕不低頭,絕不退縮,寧為玉碎,不為瓦全。對付 Trump 這種沒有原則的人,只有硬碰硬,不能給他任何好處。把孫子兵法三十六計全部搬上檯面,跟 Trump 拖到底,打到底,打到美國失業率增加,打到美國經濟開始蕭條,打到美國赤字飇漲,打到美國債臺高築付不起利息,打到美國無法招架,打到 Trump 被民主黨罷免,打到 Trump 下台鞠躬為止。中國特有的資本主義和經濟體系比美國自由市場模式的資本主義要來的容易控制。就是因為如此,中國應該比較能夠減少貿易戰對中國經濟的破壞。美國的貿易戰只不過是一台戲,骨子裏,美國要對付的是中國科技的崛起,減少中國對美國的威脅。不過,如果 Trump 今年期中選舉大獲全勝,那美國對中國和全世界的關稅和貿易戰就失去了它的意義,這個美國一定輸的貿易戰就會無疾而終。如果 Trump 在期中選舉一敗塗地,那這個貿易戰就不重要了。Trump 馬上要做的是想辦法應付 Maxine Watters 和即將來臨的 impleachment。他的白宮寶位都不保,他怎麽會去管關稅和貿易戰呢?

2。表面上,中國應該韜光養晦,謙虛,謹慎。私底下中國應該重整旗鼓,精益求精。檢討中國高科技的現況,找出中國精密科學的弱點,訂下一步一步,有系統的改進方案,按時檢討改進的成果。中國製造 2025 一定要繼續做下去,只有將中國的經濟有效的轉型,才能突破中產階級的瓶頸。2025 達不到目的沒有什麼關系。2026 達到目的地也可以。一時的挫折,用不著失望,也不用懊惱,更不要放棄。歷史的教訓還歷歷在目,清朝的軟弱無能,絕對不能重複。日本被美國和其它幾個國家無情的圍剿,也是中國抵抗美國的借鏡。

3。繼續從臺灣,新加坡和美國矽谷吸取有經驗,有抱負,有能力的半導體工作者來協助中國發展半導體基礎工業的研究與發展。鼓勵中國的大學生和大學畢業生進入半導體基本工業的領域,再配合國家的政策,預算和決心來突破半導體研究的瓶頸。定下協助美國學成的半導體工程師回國就業。中國有的是創業機會,有的是伸展抱負的空間。不需要留在美國爲美國出力還要面對沒完沒了的歧視。

4。直接或間接的告訴中國一千三百億的同胞,美國並不可怕,美國只不過是一個外強中乾的紙老虎。告訴中國人民,美國的弱點在那裏,美國的強項在那裏,美國的媒體有多大的影響力。告訴大家,只要中國人民聯合在一起,打擊美國的弱點,沒多久美國就會吃不消了。要知道民富則國富,民強則國強。美國人除了幾個住在東西兩岸的億萬富翁以外,其他的一般老百姓都是月光族的長期忠貞基本會員。這些人都是口袋裏有好幾張信用卡卻沒有幾個銅板的可憐人。別以為美國到處都是黃金,而且美國的人均 GDP 高的不得了。其實美國人均 GDP 是一個幻象,是美國的億萬富翁把它拉起來的,沒什麽大不了。美國人窮,入不敷出,根本沒有存款,還欠了一屁股債。美國人普遍的窮,請問,美國這個國家怎麼富的了。中國人只要每個人,每個月少買幾樣美國貨,持續幾個月下來,美國的問題就來了:失業率增加,經濟下滑,過沒多久,許多人就要靠政府的飯票吃飯了。

5。全力打開中國對美國以外國家和地區的雙邊貿易市場,平衡中國與美國和全世界的貿易關係。進一步,有條件的開放中國的工業讓外資加入。中國重要的精密工業,AI,航天工業,生物化工工業,自動化汽車,其他先進工業和銀行業不能完全開放給外資。股票市場,投资,一般民生工業,醫藥和保險業倒是可以考慮讓外資參加。

6。在此同時,加強管制中國的企業,確信 ZTE 417 事件不能再發生。所有大大小小公司的公信度必須提高。假賬必須停止,國家的監察機構必須加強管制,如有違規者,必將嚴懲。所有國有企業和私人跨國公司必須依照世界公認的標準來經營,用世界先進的管理制度來管理。

中國如果能夠痛定思痛的覺醒,進而日積月累的改進,不要氣餒,不能驕傲,虛心的接受這個打擊,一步步用心的去做,一點點努力的去發展,再加上國家提供正確的領導,儘可能在最短的時間內打破這個緊箍兒,躋身世界大國的領域,血洗 417 事件的恥辱。

短短的三十年前,日本的經濟在1980年代可以說如日中天,不可一世,對美國的出超已經達到危險的境界。許多美國的工業和工作機會逐漸成為 globalization 的犧牲品。幾個美國有名的 MBA 學府爭先恐後的來研究日本的管理模式,學習日本的經營方法,想要把”日本製造”搬到美國去。美國一方面感受到東亞小日本席捲全球的威脅,也害怕美國日漸式微的勞工市場。美國的智庫知道事態的嚴重性,想起 1942 年的珍珠港事件,他們知道美國必須要做點什麼來遏制這個囂張的日本。

1985年9月份的 Plaza Accord;廣場協議,就是美國送給日本的緊箍兒。美國就拿著這把尚方寶劍死勁的往日本的頭上砍下去。它也像美國從 Home Depot 買了一根六尺長的 2×4 ,先狠狠地打在日本左邊的太陽穴上,再回馬一槍打在日本右邊的太陽穴上。這兩棒打的日本頭冒金星,血冒三丈。當時日本還莫名其妙,免不了要問:區區這一張紙有什麽了不起,堂堂的日本大帝國什麼陣仗沒看過,怕什麽,簽就簽。

接下來,日幣大幅升值,日本瘋狂的漲了四年,然後就是 1989 年日本股市和房市崩盤,正式開始日本失落的三十年。到如今,日本年年入不敷出,債臺高築,日本國債已經達到日本 GDP 聞所未聞的 2.52 倍,離閻羅王的寶殿已經不遠了。

你看,現在的日本是不是啞巴吃黃蓮,有苦说不出呢?美國有沒有跟日本說聲一聲對不起嗎?當然沒有。這就是美國殺人不眨眼,厲害的地方。

2018年的 ZTE “417 事件” 就是美國爲中國定下來的”廣場協議”。雖然中國跟日本不一樣,417 事件也只限於中國一家公司,可是它瞄準的是中國的半導體工業。如果中國決策當局不好好的對付,它一樣會有很大的殺傷力。中國必須內省,必須警覺,必須突破,必須在美國的抵制之下給中國的半導體工業一個脫胎換骨,從浴火中重生的機會。

除了核心半導體的技術受美國控制以外,中國還有一些弱點,例如:不健全的中央,地方和公司債券市場;中央和地方債太高;人民幣國際化過程艱辛;股票市場動盪不安,難以控制;居高不下的房地產;南海問題和臺灣問題等等都是美國可以見縫插針的地方。此外,美國對伊朗和蘇俄的制裁很可能會連累到中國。中國以人民幣來計價石油的行為也是美國非常敏感的議題。美國在外交關係的領域裏有無數個智庫,有許多終生研究中美關係的研究員。他們言辭犀利,見解獨到,因為他們不是政府官員,講話也可以不負責任。這些人激進和敵對的觀點很可能會被 Trump 拿來做文章。中國的決策者不能不防。

中國必須加緊對美國國會參,眾議員的游説,讓他們對中國有好感,在政策上做對中國有利的決定。在美國的媒體上,中國也應該積極的參加政治議論節目,提出中國的觀點,增加這些節目觀眾對中國的瞭解,進而改變美國一般民眾對中國的看法和態度,減低美國人對中國的歧視和誤解。

總之,中國走向世界大國的路還很長,要把美國從世界霸權的地位擠下來並不容易,想要替代美國過去七十年建立的遊戲規則更不簡單。不但一路上都是荆棘,美國還在邊上虎視眈眈,伺機打擊中國。中國必須謹慎小心的應付美國的攻擊,循序漸進的把中國轉變成一個安康,謙虛,穩定,繁榮,開放和富強的大國。

我相信我可以看到這一天的到來的。

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America is doing the nation-building thing again May 21, 2018

Posted by hslu in 特朗普, 石油, 美國, Oil, Trump, U.S. Foreign Policy, 川普.
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https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/21/us-likely-to-slap-oil-sanctions-on-venezuela-after-maduro-election.html

Source: CNBC

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This time, it’s on Venezuela because Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has just won re-election on Sunday. He’ll be in power until 2024.

Trump doesn’t like Maduro’s leftist administration so that he’ll punish Maduro and impose sanctions against Venezuela’s oil exports.

In time, Trump hopes that sanctions will cripple Maduro’s government, devastate Venezuela’s economy and make Venezuelans suffer. With this kind of economic backdrop, Trump hopes that Maduro will not stay in the office too much longer and a new candidate will eventually emerge to form a pro-U.S. government.

America did the same thing to Iran with heavy sanctions for many years. The anti-U.S. Iranian government is still in power but ordinary Iranian people have suffered the most.

Depends on the severity of the sanction on Venezuelan oil, crude oil price will react, possibly very violently. Stocks of oil companies will move and the most likely direction is up.

Buy oil company stocks before they get too expensive to buy.

I worked on Venezuelan heavy oil projects with a Mobil engineer from Venezuelan for more than a year. It was a tough project to work on because, even though Venezuela has the largest oil resources in the world, the quality of Orinoco Belt heavy oil was very low and it required significant up front capital investment to produce and upgrade the oil. For years, only oil refineries in Houston were equipped to handle Venezuelan’s heavy crude. With shale oil production booming in Texas’s Permian Basin, the U.S. no longer needs Venezuelan heavy oil.

Several years after I left the project, Venezuela nationalized the Venezuelan oil industry (for the second time) and the Venezuelan engineer decided to leave Mobil and joined the Venezuelan national oil company, PDVSA. Unfortunately, the state of PDVSA has been going downhill ever since for the lack of technology and necessary capital for upfront investment. Instability of the political system didn’t help either.

A severe sanction against Venezuela oil will kill PDVSA, sink Venezuela into years of depression and take out hundreds of thousands barrels of oil from an already tight world oil market.

What a mess.

很親切 May 21, 2018

Posted by hslu in 石油, Life in Taiwan, Oil, Taipei, Taiwan, 台灣, 林口.
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沒想到林口也有 Mobil 的 logo。它很顯眼,很新,很乾淨,看起來倍感親切。畢竟我們家的孩子都是吃 Mobil 的奶長大的,你說是不是?

臺灣沒有 Mobil 的汽油加油站,只有賣 Mobil 潤滑油產品的私人汽車服務中心。

Mobil 在中國已經有百年以上的歷史了。其實,Mobil 的前身是美國的標準石油公司。標準石油在 1890 年就用”美孚”這個商標進入了中國。美孚是美麗,誠信,可靠的意思。標準石油後來分成 Exxon 和 Mobil,後來又合併為一。俗云:合久必分,分久必合了,就是這個道理。不過這是後話,容後再禀。

剛開始,美孚在中國賣煤油燈和煤油。很快的,煤油燈就取代了中國用了千百年的油燈,而中國就成為標準石油在亞洲最大的市場。美孚在中國各地修建儲油槽、倉庫與辦事處,用油罐車、火車與船隻運送石油到中國內陸各地。美孚以上海為中心基地,前後擁有上百艘各式各樣的大,小拖輪及油輪。隨後,汽車開始普遍,美孚研發出了首屈一指的機用潤滑油,於是,美孚也順理成章的在中國賣汽車用的潤滑油了。

二次世界大戰結束,日本戰敗,無條件投降。中國從日本手中接收了臺灣,美孚也開始在臺灣做潤滑油的生意,一直到現在,在臺灣各地還有賣 Mobil 潤滑油的商店。由此可見,美孚與中國的合作維持了一百多年,可謂歷史悠久,合作無間。

我離開 Mobil 已經很久了。在那之前,公司傳出一個謠言說 Mobil 要買 ARCO。幾年來,從 VA 總部那邊傳來的謠言通常都很準。好幾次公司要裁員,我們聽到的謠言說我們這個部門要裁員 20% , 25% 或 33% 都非常準確。我們覺得這一次的謠言應該一樣可靠,不過大家都不怎麽在意,因為如果 Mobil 賣了 ARCO,被裁的也應該是 Arco 的員工,不是 Mobil 的員工。ARCO 在那幾年油價上漲的時候擴張的比 Mobil 還要厲害。油價大跌以後,公司大賠,特賠,好幾年以來,都一蹶不振,股價低迷。他們會被別的公司買去,我們一點都不覺得意外。ARCO在阿拉斯加有油田。Mobil 沒有。ARCO 在加州也許多資產和加油站,跟 Mobil 相當匹配。ARCO 在南中國海有許多海底油田的開產權。Mobil 沒有。看來 Mobil 要買 ARCO 聽起來合理。

要知道,在那十幾年艱苦漫長的日子裏,WTI 油價慘跌。從一九八零年年初的四十塊錢一桶跌到一九八六年的十塊錢一桶。再往下的十幾年,油價都在 十幾塊到二十塊錢之間徘徊。石油公司一再虧損,每個石油公司的員工都度日如年,如坐針毯。我們這個部門,每隔幾年就裁員一次:每次少則 15%,最多的一次居然到 33%,真是悽悽,慘慘,戚戚,人心惶惶,慘不忍睹呀。

在 Mobil 要買 Arco 的謠言滿天飛的時候,WTI 只賣十三,四塊錢一桶。我研究的重油因為它的質量不佳,油裏面的雜質太多,提煉不出來太多的汽油,每一桶重油只能賣到九,十塊塊錢一桶,而我們的生產成本就要七,八塊。扣掉 overhead,根本不能錢賺。我們公司的外海油田更是虧本的厲害。可是,當油價低的時候,煉油廠的成本降低,加油站的生意就賺錢了。其實 Mobil 有很賺錢的 downstream operation,可是 upstream 就虧多了。這是其一。還有,Mobil 在中東的 Qatar 和印尼的 Arun 油田有非常成功而又賺錢的 LNG 計劃,還有十幾艄世界最大的 LNG 油船。這是 Mobil 在石油工業中首屈一指的技術。這些 LNG 有長期的合約賣到日本,韓國,臺灣和新加坡,是讓人家眼紅的資產。還有,Mobil 在非洲也有很多資源,也已經投入大量的資金和人力。只可惜,油價就是上不了,大家只有乾等著,熬一天是一天。

沒多久謠言沒了,看來 Mobil 是不會買 ARCO 了。再過幾個禮拜,一個晴天霹靂的消息公佈了:Exxon 要買 Mobil。新公司叫 Exxon Mobil。這真叫每個人嚇一大跳。很顯然,又要裁員了。不過像我們這種跟生產石油也直接關係的正牌工程師和其他有關的技術人員是不會讓我們走的。畢竟, Mobil 的油田和資產還需要我們經營管理,你說是嗎?許多部門要合併,精簡,我們在 Dallas 的幾個部門所有的員工都要整個搬去 Houston。

這就是我在 2000 年離開 Mobil 的時候。

如今十幾年過去了。時過境遷,人去樓空。當初,我們那個部門去 Houston 的只有 40% 左右。許多人退休,許多人厭煩了常常裁員的日子,離開了石油的行業,去別的工業找工作了。如今,以前的 Mobil 早已成為歷史,除了美國的 Mobil 加油站以外,就只有零零星星的小商店賣 Mobil 的潤滑油了。我們也一家從 Dallas 附近的 Plano 搬到 Northern Virginia,好幾年以後再搬到臺灣的林口。在林口看到 Mobil 的商標還有點懷舊的感傷也帶著一絲絲的親切感。

不知道 Dallas 城中心一個大樓上代表 Mobil 的 Pegasus 還在不在?

What’s going on in Saudi? April 21, 2018

Posted by hslu in 特朗普, 石油, 美國, Economics, Middle East, Muslim, Oil, Trump, U.S. dollar, U.S. Foreign Policy, 川普.
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There is no doubt that the new Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has managed to angere many of his rich and prominent step brothers and relatives.

The blessing from Trump for him to put some of his brothers and relatives under house arrests, his close relationship with Trump’s son-in-law Kushner, his willingness to counter Iranian aggression in the Middle East, his new plans for the oil-depedent country, his not-very-successful military actions against Yemen, his attempt to open the door of the Islamic country to western culture and his grab of power inside the royal family are things which could create havoc to the country in the hands of the royal family.

Source: The Drive

I of course do not know what’s taken place near the royal palace. But, any news which rattles the power structure of the Saudi royal family could send crude oil price to level we haven’t seen in years.

We’ll see.

Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia, Iran and oil December 15, 2017

Posted by hslu in China, 石油, 美國, Energy, Global Affair, Islam, Middle East, Military, Oil, Putin, Trump, U.S. Foreign Policy, 川普, 中國.
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Mohammed bin Salman’s ill-advised ventures have weakened Saudi Arabia’s position in the world

http://flip.it/93wubN

The failed policies of Mohammed bin Salman, the growing influence of Iran and the formation of Shia cresent are the primary reason that WTI is trading above $55 a barrel and Brent crude at $63 a barrel. A 20% war premium has been added to the price of crude oil contracts since November. It has gained more than 30% since the low achieved in late June of this year.

Saudi Arabia has been fighting a proxy war with Iran via Yemen for 2 years with little but many dead Yemenis to show for. Saudi’s oil infrastructure is now under external threat from Yemen which will keep the price of Brent crude at an elevated level. 

US shale oil production is expected to rise because WTI is trading at a few dollars below $60/barrel. However, since US exports very little of its oil, the spread between WTI and Brent crude will widen.

Source: CNBC

Source: CNBC

With WTI comfortably trading above $45 a barrel, roughly the average price of WTI for the past three years, oil company stocks should see a nice rebound in 2018. If the tension between Saudi and Iran flares up further, oil companies should see more upside too. 

With an young and inexperienced prince in Rydah colluding with a dotard and impulsive Trump in the WH, giant mistakes will continue to happen.

It is bad for the world.

It is good for China and it will be great for the US oil companies.

Putin is smiling too.

LOL: Canada, UK and USA December 12, 2017

Posted by hslu in 石油, 美國, Oil.
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Are the UK and Canada bad versions of the USA? 

by Richard Black https://www.quora.com/Are-the-UK-and-Canada-bad-versions-of-the-USA/answer/Richard-Black-31?share=7ee96cc7&srid=eBtU

Canada has a special place in my heart because I was assigned to work for MOCAN, that’s Mobil Canada, for a year and half. My condition to my manager for working up north was to send my family with me to the cold country.

He agreed and my family went with me to live in a city with 6 months of winter and 3 weeks of summer.

The oil field I worked on was called ‘Cold Lake.’ It was 3+ hours away from Edmonton. I sometimes took company’s small (seat 6) twin propeller plane to the field directly but most of the time I had to fly to Edmonton from Calgary and drove 3 hours to the field. To call it “in the middle of no where” or “鳥不生蛋的地方” is actually an understatement. 

Calgary could be very cold in the winter. Temperature dipped to -25 degrees F in the city and the coldest night that I had to out about and work around a drilling rig was -43 degrees F. That was cold indeed. Almost all cars were equipped with electric engine block heaters to keep the engine blocks warm. Without it, the engine block could be too cold and engine oil too viscous to to get car engines started in the morning or after work.  

The Canada I remembered was a slow-paced, easy going, lay back and friendly country. Tax was very high. Almost everything was more expensive than what we could buy in Dallas. Prices for things made out of cotton: socks, underwears, etc., were outrageous. Very few fancy cars on the road and houses for professionals were modest at best.

When I was there, WTI was less than $20 a barrel and oil coming out of ground of Cold Lake could only fetch $8 a barrel. It wss tough back then. MOCAN had to lay off 25% of its staff while I was up there. It was miserable. In the end, the SW SAGD project our team of engineers and geologists was working on was terminated because it cost more to produce each barrel than we could sell the oil for. Now, the SW SAGD process we pioneered has been successfully  applied in the field since late 1990’s all over Alberta. 

Well, we could have made a lot of money for Mobil and converted hundreds of millions barrels of heavy oil resources into reserves. Well, so be it because Mobil management wasn’t like Exxon’s management team. They has a long tern vision for what an oil company should be run. Mobil’s top management only cared for next quarterly results.

Exxon bought Mobil in 2000. 

It was ironic to note that Exxon’s Cold Lake operation was probably 100 times bigger than Mobil’s. They started to develop their Cold Lake field in the 1960’s and kept at it through thin and thick. Mobil shut our successful operation down because oil price was low.

I used to work on South Belridge December 3, 2017

Posted by hslu in 石油, Oil.
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One of the biggest US oil fields turns to an unexpected power source: solar

http://flip.it/X1Plyw

It is nice to hear these familiar names mentioned in the article seventeen years after I left Mobil.

Before bought by Exxon in 2000, Mobil owned a big chunck of South Belridge heavy oil field and sold part of the lease to Aera. I have traveled to Bakersfield so many times that I lost count long time ago.

The Bakersfield that I remembered was hot, dry, brown, dirty, hilly, sunny, noisy, sweaty, steaming and very boring. Air in the entire area smelled like the warm and smelly fume flying directly into your face from an hot asphalt truck you’ve been following for the last two and half miles. 

South Belridge oil field. Stock image.

Their Chinese restaurants sucked and one half-decent steak house served choice beef only. There was nothing to do after dinner at all. I sometimes drove to northern LA from Bakersfield after work so that I could have something good to eat. 

Massive amount of high pressure steam injection will continue for years to come and it will be hard to replace it with solar energy completely. What Aera plans to do is just the beginning. Other oil companies will look into this project a few years down the road and assess its viability for applications in other field. Without government subsidies, it is questionable whether solar energy can stand on its own feet. Not when natural gas is abundant and at such a low price. 

I’ll pay some attention on how it goes.

A bank of steam generators.

Petro renminbi? November 14, 2017

Posted by hslu in China, 石油, 美國, Economics, Global Affair, Middle East, Oil, Russia, U.S. dollar, 中國.
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Economist Jim O’Neill explains how the dollar will lose its ‘kingpin’ status – https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/14/economist-jim-oneill-explains-how-the-dollar-will-lose-its-kingpin-status.html

It will happen and it will take less than ten years as speculated by O’neill.

One country at a time. Iran. Russia. Chinese are patient and methodical. They can wait. It is a decadeclong project for China and it started the effort a few years back already.

Saudi Arabia is the big fish but America will fight hard to keep the dollar as the trading currency for crude oil.

It will be futile for the U.S. as China is already the largest oil importer in the world. The culpit is none other than the shale oil American private companies are producing now for their short term gains. Without the growing domestic shale oil production, U.S. will still be the largest oil importer in the world. As such, there is no way that petro-dollar’s kingpin position can be challenged any time soon. 

這就是因,這就是果。有因,就有果。真有意思。

What’s the benefit to U.S? October 6, 2017

Posted by hslu in Cold War, 美國, Global Affair, Oil, Trump, U.S. Foreign Policy.
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Other than tearing apart yet another work done by Obama, “de-certify” Iran nuclear deal, known as JCPOA, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, will not bring any discernible benefit to the U.S. 

It will make Trump the odd man out on the world stage. Again. It will make American economic sanctions less effective this time around without the backing of other five countries which signed the JCPOA. It will not bring Iran any closer to comply with the regulations of the JCPOA either. And it will further isolate America from the rest of the world.

It will, however, fulfill one of Trump’s campaign promises though. 

But, what can Trump or Congress do to prevent Iran from eventually becoming a nation with nuclear weapons?

Not much.

Inspections slowed down the progress of Iran’s nuclearization. American sanctions choked off Iran’s economic development, made Iranians suffer over the years but didn’t stop Iran from gaining necessary hardware and know-how to develop nuclear weapons since Iran’s Islamic revoluion in 1979.

So, what drives Trump do it and push the hot potato to the arms of the Congress? There are several possible reasons:

  1. Trump can wash his hands clean and check it off from the list of things he had promised to do before taking the WH? 
  2. Trump believes Iran will fall in line and negotiate a new deal with the U.S. when threatened by Trump.
  3. America wants to punish Iran because Iran has been accepting Renminbi, instead of U.S. dollar, for millions of barrels of Iranian crudes it has exported to China. This is a “big no-no” because it threatens one of the pillars of American hegemony in the world.
  4. Trump intends to take on China indirectly using Iran as a promixy. By imposing new sanctions on Iran, America can impose restrictions on Chinese banks and Chinese companies if they continue to do business with Iran thus slowing down the transformation from petro-dollar to petro-renminbi.
  5. Trump is the kind of person who “唯恐天下不亂”。He wants all the attentions in the world so that he medses up things in the world as much as he can.

What a “怪胎”!

Can you think of a better term to describe Trump the person?

Tilletson to get fired soon? August 31, 2017

Posted by hslu in 美國, Global Affair, Middle East, Oil, Politics, Russia, Trump, U.S. Foreign Policy.
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The primary reason Tillerson was selected by Trump to be the Secretary of State is Tillerson’s personal tie with Putin. His dealing with oil producing countries in the Middle East is certainly a big plus too.

However, with potential Trump/Putin collusion investigated by multiple parties in the U.S., Tillerson’s usefulness to Trump diminishes by the day.

Tillerson has now openly distanced himself from Trump on Charlottesville tradegy. Is Tillerson looking for a way out? Is Tillerson a few tweets away from being fired by Trump soon?

I think it will be wise for Tillerson to step away from the Trump administration because Trump is a boss who knows very little about how government works and how foreign policy should be conducted. 

Trump wants to cut the State Department by 25% and it is up to its new boss, Tillerson, to do the chopping. It puts Tillerson in such an impossible position to conduct his business. Tillerson should have told Trump that this level of cutting can’t be done in one fell swoop. 

It is Trump who doesn’t get it. It’s not Tillerson.

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