Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bob Hazen Interview

Dr. Hazen is a research scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Geophysical Laboratory and Clarence Robinson Professor of Earth Science at George Mason University: Bob Hazen: The Trumpeter Of Astrobiology.

Suzan Mazur: Are you looking at abiotic oil at all?

Robert Hazen: That is a very different subject, and there are many resources. There is a new book on oil by Eric Roston. I just chaired a conference at the Carnegie Institution, called the deep carbon cycle. It's on the Carnegie web site. We had experts from all over the world. You can see most of the lectures, including lectures by Russian scientists who believe that petroleum is virtually all abiotic. And hear lectures by American petroleum geologists who think oil is virtually all biological. It’s still an unresolved issue.
Unresolved issue? Um, not really: Dismissal of the Claims of a Biological Connection for Natural Petroleum.

Summary here.

Session four on deep abiotic synthesis of organic molecules (Thomas McCollom of the University of Colorado served as discussion leader) considered what is perhaps the most controversial aspect of the deep carbon story. Barbara Sherwood-Lollar (University of Toronto) provided an overview of the topic, and examined recent experiments that inform the ongoing abiotic-controversy. Andrew Steele (Carnegie Institution) described recent observations of abiogenic organic matter in Martian meteorites and Archean sediments, and presented new experimental data on a possible mantle synthesis mechanism. Vladimir Kutcherov (Stockholm University, Sweden) and Vitaly Flid (Moscow State Academy, Russia) presented experimental and field evidence for a significant abiotic contribution to petroleum and natural gas deposits, in the tradition of the Russian-Ukrainian school of petroleum formation.

Interview With A Cultist

Suzan Mazur interviews fossil fuel cultist Roger Buick: Buick: Follow The H2O Or Energy, Not Selection

Suzan Mazur: I was wondering also, since you discovered the oldest oil, if you could comment on the possible existence of abiotic oil that’s now being talked about a lot.

Roger Buick: It’s an argument that’s been around for a long time. Thomas Gold wrote about it.
Hilarious response demonstrating total ignorance. Any idea how long the argument has been around? It's been around since 1804 but of course Buick has no clue. Another dead give away is that he mentions Thomas Gold but adds nothing else of content. Buick is blatantly ignorant on the subject and therefore throws her the Thomas Gold bone so as to appear knowledgeable. Whenever you hear a biogenic theorist mention Thomas Gold and then stop, as though that's all they need to know or say on the subject, you know they are clueless about deep abiotic petroleum origin.

Suzan Mazur: I know Bob Hazen hosted a conference on it earlier this year at Carnegie. He mentioned that the Russians were very much behind the existence of abiotic oil. Is the idea of abiotic oil simply a way of prolonging the life of the oil industry? Or is abiotic oil a reality?

Roger Buick: We know that there are several different geochemical processes that can synthesize complex hydrocarbons out of very simple molecules and we also know that some of those processes may have been more active on an early Earth that had greater rates of volcanic activity, hydrothermal alteration and things like that.

So it’s at least plausible that the 3.2 billion year old oil we found did in fact have an abiotic origin.
So here we have Buick saying that all natural petroleum COULD "in fact have an abiotic origin".
Roger Buick: We can’t prove it one way or the other.
So here we have Buick saying that petroleum's origin CANNOT be proven. But you only need to wait for the next answer for him to contradict himself.

Suzan Mazur: Why not?

Roger Buick: We can’t chemically analyze the oil because it’s in such minute quantities. But we can go to slightly younger rocks and we can tease apart oil in those and find out what molecules it’s composed of. And when we go to rocks 2.4 billion years ago (something we published last year and the beginning of this year), you can analyze that oil in detail and you find molecules that could only have been produced by living organisms. Really complex multi-ring hydrocarbon molecules.

And if you go to every oil deposit we know of on the Earth today, and you analyze that oil – it also has these biological indicator molecules. Abiotic oil might be produced now. It might have been more significant in the past. But it’s not a significant component of any oil reservoir that we know of on Earth. And geochemistry shows that quite conclusively.
LOL. Hilarious. Now he contradicts himself and adds a bunch of unsubstantiated nonsense that is simply wrong. The only biological molecules in crude oil are contaminants. What biological indicator molecules is Buick referring to? Geochemistry shows precisely the opposite of what Mr. Buick claims: ICP-MS analysis shows conclusively that all oil has inorganic geochemistry.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

An Introduction To Geology

I just stumbled upon An Introduction To Geology by British geologist Robert Bakewell (1768-1843). Originally published in 1813, it is the first textbook on geology in the English language, and was described by Davis Young (author of Mind Over Magma: the Story of Igneous Petrology) as "The first modern textbook on geology". On page 276, titled Volcanic Products, I discovered the following passage:

The substances ejected through fissures in the earth, or volcanoes, belong to the four grand divisions of the mineral kingdom,--the inflammable, saline, metallic, and earthy.

The inflammable substances are sulphur, carbon, and hydrogen. The inflammable quality of sulphur prevents its being found in lava in a solid form; during volcanic eruptions it is evolved in a gaseous state combined with hydrogen. It is also sublimed from the fissures of extinct or dormant volcanoes, and forms thick incrustations on the sides of craters. Almost all the sulphur of commerce in Europe is procured from the craters of dormant volcanoes in the south of Italy, Sicily, and the Lipari Islands. When the combustion of sulphur in volcanoes takes place where there is access to atmospheric air, it forms sulphurous acid gas, and sulphuric acid.

Carbon combined with hydrogen, forming bitumen, is found in volcanic rocks, and also in some basaltic or trap rocks. The volcanic tufa in the vicinity of Clermont, in France, contains so much bitumen, that in warm days it oozes out, and forms streams of bitumen resembling pitch, which is more remarkable, as this tufa must have been erupted some thousand years. Bitumen has been observed oozing out of the lava of Etna. The moya ejected from the volcanoes in the Andes, in aqueous or muddy eruptions, contains so much bitumen or carbon, as to be inflammable. As bitumen exists in many volcanic rocks, the black smoke which issues during an eruption may proceed from its combustion, though it has been generally supposed to consist of minute volcanic sand, called ashes. Carbon also combines with hydrogen in a gaseous state, and forms carburreted hydrogen gas.

The hydrogen gas evolved from volcanoes, or from chasms in the earth during earthquakes, is generally combined with sulphur or carbon; it is probably formed by the decompostion of water, when it finds access to subterranean fire.
Abiotic petroleum origin 1; fossil fuel cult 0.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

NOV Q2 Results

National Oilwell Varco Announces Second Quarter 2008 Earnings and Backlog

HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 29, 2008--National Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NYSE:NOV) today reported that for its second quarter ended June 30, 2008 it earned net income of $421.7 million, or $1.04 per fully diluted share, which includes $62.5 million of pre-tax charges ($0.10 per share after tax) related to its merger with Grant Prideco, Inc., $29.0 million ($0.07 per share) in additional tax provisions related to the Company's decision to repatriate earnings from certain foreign subsidiaries during the quarter and $7.2 million in pre-tax income ($0.01 per share after tax) from a Grant Prideco business that was sold during the quarter. Net income for the period excluding these charges and income was $486.5 million, or $1.20 per fully diluted share. Reported revenues for the second quarter were $3,324.2 million. Operating profit for the quarter, excluding the $62.5 million of transaction costs and income from the disposed Grant Prideco business, was $746.8 million.

The Company completed its merger with Grant Prideco, Inc. on April 21, 2008, and, as a result, its financial statements reflect Grant Prideco's results for all but the first 21 days of the quarter. The purchase price allocated to Grant Prideco for the merger was reduced by $127.0 million reflecting the Company's settlement of certain patent litigation.

In addition to reported results, the Company is also providing supplemental results, which include the combined financial results for the Company and Grant Prideco as if the acquisition occurred at the beginning of the period. The Company's as adjusted revenues and operating profit for the second quarter of 2008 were $3,444.7 million and $778.2 million, respectively, including the estimated effects of purchase accounting for the full quarter but excluding certain transaction costs. Revenues increased 9 percent from the first quarter of 2008, and increased 21 percent from the second quarter of 2007, on this combined basis. Operating profit flow-through, or the increase in operating profit divided by the increase in revenue, was 40 percent from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2008, and was 30 percent from the second quarter of 2007 to the second quarter of 2008, on a combined basis.

Backlog for capital equipment orders for the Company's Rig Technology segment at June 30, 2008 increased to $10.8 billion, compared to $9.9 billion at March 31, 2008, with record new orders during the quarter of $2.2 billion. The increase in the Company's backlog for capital equipment reflected the strong demand for its drilling equipment products, particularly for international offshore rigs. Backlog for drill pipe orders in the Company's Petroleum Services & Supplies segment increased 19 percent during the second quarter.

Pete Miller, Chairman, President and CEO of National Oilwell Varco, remarked, "We are pleased with the strong results we achieved this quarter. Demand for our capital equipment products remained strong, as reflected in our record backlog. The merger helped position our Company to better benefit from the strong demand in the oilfield by providing us with oilfield products and services that complement our existing offering of products and services. We remain optimistic about market conditions for the remainder of the year."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Rethinking Mantle Plumes

New Scientist: Volcanoes may not be fed by magma 'mushrooms'

THE plumes of hot magma that fuel the volcanism of "hotspots" like Hawaii and Iceland have long been thought to be efficient conduits of Earth's fiery contents. Yet it seems they can be rather lacklustre on their way to the surface.

We traditionally picture the plumes of hot magma that rise through the mantle as mushroom-shaped with a thin stalk feeding a bulbous head, or hotspot, beneath the crust. However, seismic imaging in Iceland reveals a patchy structure without a stalk, leading some researchers to suggest there are no plumes at all.

Ichiro Kumagai and colleagues at the Paris Institute of Earth Physics in France reckon they can explain these patchy structures. They created plumes by heating the base of a tank containing sugar syrups of varying densities, to simulate the composition of the mantle. The densest material was heated just enough to rise and create the core of the plumes, but as it rose it also cooled, so its density increased once more to match or slightly exceed that of the surrounding material. This caused the core to either stall or sink, while the less dense material [aka oil] separated and continued rising (Geophysical Research Letters, in press).

John Brodholt of University College London says the model "seems to explain some of the observations used to argue that plumes do not exist".
If true, this illuminates and adds color to petroleum formation.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Arctic Has Over 90 Billion Barrels

Arctic holds 90 billion barrels of oil: U.S. survey

WASHINGTON -- The Arctic Circle holds an estimated 90 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Wednesday.

The Arctic accounts for about 13% of the world's undiscovered oil, 30% of the undiscovered natural gas, and 20% of the undiscovered natural gas liquids, the agency said in the first publicly available petroleum resource estimate of the entire area north of the Arctic Circle.
Of course all those numbers are totally meaningless as noone knows how much oil is there. It's almost certainly infinite as far as human beings and quantification are concerned. Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and carbon is the fourth most common element in the universe. "It is obvious that the total amount of petroleum in the rocks underlying the surface ... is large beyond computation." -- Edward Orton, 1888

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

HAL Q2 Results

Halliburton Company Q2 2008 Earnings Call Transcript

Dave Lesar

Thanks, Christian, and good morning to everyone. The company posted another excellent quarter with year-over-year revenue growth of 20%. Our international revenue grew 26%, which was in excess of our 20% goal with Latin America continuing its growth momentum with a 33% year-over-year growth. We expect robust activity in this region to continue for the remainder of the year, as we execute our strategy in this market. Overall, our revenues grew 11% sequentially despite the pricing pressures in frac in the US. We had record revenue this quarter in every product line except landmark, which typically records its highest revenue in the fourth quarter.

Let me now turn to the results of North America and discuss our prospects for the second half of 2008 and onward. Despite a very negative impact of the spring break-up in our spring Canadian operations and of course pricing pressure in the frac market, North America revenue for the market grew a strong 7% sequentially due to higher activity in both US land and the Gulf of Mexico.

In the US, our revenues increased 12% sequentially as Halliburton continues to benefit from the increase in horizontal drilling activities toward, which we have focused our US service portfolio. Our well construction businesses in general and Sperry in particular have continued to show strong growth in US land market this quarter. Furthermore, Canada has now recovered from a seasonal drop and we expect strong activity in this market in the second half of 2008.

More service-intensive plays such as the Montney in northeastern British Columbia also are giving us additional opportunities to apply our cross product line and solutions. Our focus on efficiency and high utilization helped us deliver strong second quarter margins in North America. The pressure-pumping pricing environment continued to be competitive. Overall, we experienced the 1% to 2% average pricing decline for fracturing consistent with our guidance.

However, we saw clear signs of prices stabilizing towards the end of the quarter. In fact, the pricing decline was at the lower end of the range as we expected. We, however, did see continuation of inflationary pressures and increases in fuel and materials that we discussed in the first quarter call. Mark will provide an update on this and how we are trying to mitigate that.

For our product lines outside of fracturing, pricing has stabilized with the exception of some minor weakness in our cementing business this quarter. We do not expect continued pricing declines going forward. In fact, currently Wireline logging, directional drilling/LWD, and drill bits have the most pricing leverage upside in this market.

Our customers have announced revisions to their capital programs for the remainder of 2008 and 2009 for the development of their conventional and unconventional resources. We expect unconventional drilling activity to increase over the second half of the year and be geared more towards service-intensive emerging shale plays like the Haynesville and Marcellus, which will drive demand across all of our service offerings.

The formations of these plays are not yet well understood and require a much more reservoir-focused approach. Tim will provide more color on the technologies that our customers are beginning to employ, to unlock the value of these reservoirs. This increased activity along with the tightening and balancing out of capacity provides us with an improved outlook for all of our businesses. It enhances our ability to increase prices modestly and cover cost inflation. Our fracturing equipment utilization remains high and we have worked to optimize fleet placement. We'll continue to realign our equipment with our customers' assets, where we received better long-term margins and returns.

Now, let me turn to our international business. Revenue continued its strong upward momentum with a 26% year-over-year growth. All of our international regions showed growth over 20% with Latin America alone growing above 30%. Sequentially, international revenues increased 15% as operations in Norway, Saudi Arabia, Angola, Mexico, and Brazil continued to expand.

International margins for the quarter were 21% even with our continued heavy investments in people, facilities, and equipment to support the next phase of our growth in the Eastern Hemisphere. Margins were additionally impacted this quarter by the ramp-up costs for our Manifa offshore award where drilling is expected to start in Q4 or early next year and reach a total of ten rigs.

We continue to expect expansion of international margins, which will be driven by value created from the introduction of new technology, the liability of execution, and the fixed cost leverage offsetting the price competition we are seeing on larger tenders. Project visibility continues to be very good giving us confidence that we'll continue to see healthy growth rates throughout the second half of 2008 into 2009 barring a significant global recession due to high commodity prices. We are making good progress in growing profitability in several undeserved markets and are improving our exposure to the highest growth segments of the market.

Let me turn the call over to Mark to give you more financial details.

Mark McCollum

Thanks Dave, and good morning. I'll be comparing our second quarter results sequentially to the first quarter. Halliburton's revenue in the second quarter was $4.5 billion, up $458 million or 11% from the first quarter. Landmark, Baroid, Wireline, and production enhancement product lines registered growth of over 10% sequentially. On a geographic basis all regions showed double-digit increases except for North America, which grew 7% but was impacted by spring break-up in Canada. As Dave pointed out, we are expecting a resurgence of activity in Canada in the second half of 2008, at a much higher level than what we had originally anticipated.

Operating income increased $102 million or 12% from the first quarter of 2008, representing incremental margins of 22%. Our second quarter results included a $25 million gain on the sale of two investments, which was recognized in North America in the drilling and evaluation segment and a charge of $30 million for the settlement of the ReedHycalog patent dispute, which is included in corporate and other.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Majors Not Exploring Or Producing

Big oil companies using little of record profits to find new oil: AP IMPACT: Big Oil profits steered to investors

The five biggest international oil companies plowed about 55 percent of the cash they made from their businesses into stock buybacks and dividends last year, up from 30 percent in 2000 and just 1 percent in 1993, according to Rice University's James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.

The percentage they spend to find new deposits of fossil [LOL] fuels has remained flat for years, in the mid-single digits.

The issue has become more sensitive as lawmakers and Americans frustrated by high gas prices have balked at gaudy reports of oil industry profits. ConocoPhillips is scheduled to kick off the latest round of Big Oil earnings reports Wednesday.

Oil prices are set on the open market, not by the oil industry. But that hasn't stopped public protests, a series of congressional grillings for top oil executives, and a failed attempt by lawmakers to slap Big Oil with a windfall profits tax.

In the first three months of this year, Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's biggest publicly traded oil company, shelled out $8.8 billion on stock buybacks alone, compared with $5.5 billion on exploration and other capital projects.

ConocoPhillips has already told investors that its stock buybacks for April to June of this year will come to about $2.5 billion — nine times what it spent on exploration.

Gazprom Neft Profits Double

Russia's Gazprom Neft Q1 profit, sales soar.

MOSCOW, July 21 (Reuters) - Russian oil firm Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of gas export monopoly Gazprom, said on Monday its first quarter net profit more than doubled on higher oil prices and higher sales of oil due to an acquisition.

The firm said in a statement its net profit under U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) rose by 110 percent to $1.41 billion in the first three months of 2008 compared to the same period a year ago.

Gazprom Neft, Russia's fifth-largest oil producer, said the results were supported by higher oil prices, increased sales of oil and refined products and high refining margins.

Revenues increased by 90 percent to $7.87 billion. Last year's acquisition of half of Tomskneft, a former production subsidiary of bankrupt former rival YUKOS, has allowed Gazprom Neft to boost sales despite flat production, analysts said.

The net profit figure came above some of the analysts' forecasts. Analysts at Renaissance Capital and Citi expected the firm to report net profit of about $1.2 billion.

In the fourth quarter of 2007, Gazprom Neft's net profit was $1.32 billion and revenues amounted to $6.42 billion.

The firm said its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 83.9 percent to $1.92 billion.

"We hope to maintain positive dynamics and boost our financial means to fulfil the company's strategic goals," Gazprom Neft's president Alexander Dyukov said in the statement.

Gazprom Neft also said its capital expenditures rose by 85 percent to $781.2 million in the first quarter of this year. It plans to increase capex by 36 percent to $3.7 billion in the whole year to increase stagnating output.

The firm has been fighting falling production since it was purchased by Gazprom in 2005 from former owner, billionaire Roman Abramovich. Last year's production of around 43 million tonnes was flat on 2006.

The firm said its operating expenses slightly decreased to $510.8 million in the first quarter from $519.8 million in the first three months of last year.
Gazprom Neft Aims to Become Russia’s Leading Oil Producer

Gazprom Neft (GZPFY.PK), the oil production subsidiary of Gazprom (OGZPY.PK), has stated in its 2007 Annual Report that it expects to more than double oil output to 2.0 million barrels per day by 2020 from a production average of 864,000 bpd in 2007. A production figure of 2.0 million bpd would be higher than all other individual Russian oil producers

Abiotic FSB Petrostate

Marshall Goldman's new book Petrostate: How Russia strives to dominate oil.

For anyone with knowledge of economic warfare, the opening scene in Marshall I. Goldman's new book evokes a shudder. Russian hosts take him into a darkened room that is the "brain center" of Gazprom, the world's largest producer of natural gas, in an office building high above Moscow.

"In front of me," Mr. Goldman writes, "covering the whole 100-foot wall of the room, was a map with a spiderweblike maze of natural gas pipelines reaching from East Siberia west to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Arctic Ocean south to the Caspian and Black seas. Manipulating this display were Gazprom dispatchers, three men controlling the flow of Gazprom's gas to East and West European consumers of this Russian natural gas monopoly . . . . "

With a flick of switch, these dispatchers sitting in this Moscow room could freeze - and have frozen - entire countries. At the very least, they could send their citizens off in a panic in search of sweaters, scarves and gloves. What an empowering feeling. Should they choose to, these Gazprom functionaries could not only cut off natural gas from the furnaces and stoves of Germany's houses but also the natural gas that many German factories need for manufacturing a range of products from ammonia fertilizer to plastics.

Now, to be sure, as Gazprom officers told Mr. Goldman for his book, "Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia," "politics never, ever affect their calculations." Sure, and your check is in the mail. The first week in July, Russia sharply curtailed oil exports to the Czech Republic in apparent retaliation for that country's agreement to host a radar facility associated with a U.S. anti-missile system.

Mr. Goldman, professor emeritus at Wellesley College, and long associated with the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard, speaks with authority. He has advised U.S. presidents and the CIA on Soviet and Russian affairs. "Petrostate" documents how President Vladimir Putin used petroleum riches to bring Russia back from near-bankruptcy in 1998 to its current strength in world economic affairs.

As he summarizes, the book "is a tale of discovery, intrigue, corruption, wealth, misguidance, greed, patronage, nepotism, and power . . . a little something for everyone." As I read of how Mr. Putin's cronies muscled aside competitors to take control of formerly state-owned oil companies, the thought flickered through my mind, "John D. Rockefeller meet Tony Soprano." ...

One ominous sign is that many of the jokes formerly told about Soviet leaders now target Mr. Putin. In one, Stalin comes to Mr. Putin in a dream and says, "Vladimir, I have two bits of advice for you: kill your opponents, and paint the Kremlin blue."

Mr. Putin ponders a moment, then asks, "Why blue?"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Robert Mabro Interview

Pamela Ann Smith interviews Robert Mabro: The Oil Price How Long Can It Go on Rising?
Robert Mabro: On the supply side, there Is a huge controversy about what Saudi Arabia's reserves really are. There is talk of a peak, very soon, In oil supplies worldwide and that after that, we will have to learn to live with much less oil. It's all irrelevant. It's nonsense. When we talk about reserves, we are talking about oil in the ground. The concepts about reserves are metaphysical concepts. They have never been accurate, and they never will be.

Pamela Ann Smith: So, the distinction between proven and probable reserves is meaningless?

Mabro: No, it's not meaningless. But it is one phony number compared to another phony number. I'll give you an example. I tell my students, do the following exercise. 'Go to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy and see what the reserves of the non-Opec countries were 20 years ago. Then, compare them with the reserves of the same countries in the latest issue. Then, they have to make a longer calculation: 'see how much these non-Opec countries have produced in these past 20 years.' Now, if the first estimate is correct, they, the non-Opec countries, would not have a drop of oil left. That's the first point. The second point is, 'Why should I care? Why should anybody on earth care whether Saudi Arabia has 260bn barrels of crude oil reserves, or 100bn?' It doesn't matter, not at all. Because what you can produce today, whether it's 260bn or 100bn, the answer is the same. You cannot produce on the basis of 300bn, or 260bn in reserves. But if you produce at the same rate vis-a-vis reserves that the North Sea has, Saudi Arabia would be now be producing more than the whole world's consumption. Of course, its oil would then run out quickly. So, it's irrelevant unless you are thinking 40 or 50 years ahead. But I will certainly be dead by then...

Smith: And all sorts of things could happen by then?

Mabro: Yes. There is a hysteria about what the reserves are. But there is an even worse hysteria produced by a guy called Simmons. I have met him, he is a fun guy, but he is dangerous.

Smith: You mean Matthew Simmons, the author of Twilight In the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy? The book that is a bestseller In the States?

Mabro: He has said that the Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia, which is something like 110 miles long and 17 miles wide....

Smith: It's huge. It's the biggest one in Saudi Arabia, isn't it?

Mabro: Yes, and it is well behaved, too. Simmons has said, "It cannot produce anymore. It is declining, and there is water in it." Well, every field has water. If there isn't water in it, the oil doesn't come out! oil is not like a swimming pool, it is in rock, in porous rock. There is water and gas, so when you make the hole, you bring the pressure down, and the water pushes up, so all oil has water in it, and you have to take it out. He claims it's a lot more, and makes a comparison with a field in Oman which is declining. But this is like comparing a calf with an elephant. A small thing with something big. He has written nonsense on Ghawar. Then he said Saudi Arabia has no surplus capacity. In other words, that they don't have the capacity to produce more than they are producing today. Why? I was in Saudi Arabia, and I haven't seen this. Whose leg is he pulling? You can't see any evidence for this. We have lists of the fields that Saudi Arabia has shut down. This is public knowledge. 'Surplus capacity' means that you can produce more, but you keep it in the ground, you shut down certain fields so that you can re-open them when you need it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

SLB Q2 Results

Schlumberger numbers and color positive for sector: Schlumberger Announces Second-Quarter 2008 Results

HOUSTON, Jul 18, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Schlumberger Limited (NYSE:SLB) today reported second-quarter revenue of $6.75 billion versus $6.29 billion in the first quarter of 2008, and $5.64 billion in the second quarter of 2007.

Income from continuing operations was $1.42 billion -- an increase of 9% sequentially and 13% year-on-year. Diluted earnings-per-share from continuing operations was $1.16 versus $1.06 in the previous quarter, and $1.02 in the second quarter of 2007.

Oilfield Services revenue of $6.07 billion increased 8% sequentially and 22% year-on-year. Pretax segment operating income of $1.70 billion increased 13% sequentially and 13% year-on-year.

WesternGeco revenue of $671 million decreased 1% compared to the prior quarter but increased 1% year-on-year. Pretax segment operating income of $196 million was flat sequentially but decreased 9% year-on-year.

Schlumberger Chairman and CEO Andrew Gould commented, "Strong sequential growth throughout the Eastern Hemisphere led to improved margin performance in all Areas except North America, where the effects of strong growth in the lower forty-eight states and the US Gulf of Mexico were more than offset by a prolonged spring break-up in Canada.

Growth was helped by increased drilling efficiency in the North Sea, improved performance and lower start-up costs on IPM projects in Mexico and Russia, and a favorable exploration mix, particularly in the North Sea, eastern Siberia and South East Asia. The quarter also saw increased demand for well-placement technologies and rigless work as operators strive to increase production from existing fields.

At WesternGeco, sequential revenue growth was essentially flat as increases in Multiclient sales and Data Processing activity were offset by the seasonal drop in Marine activity. Significant increases were recorded in the backlog for land operations and marine bidding activity remained robust.

Bidding activity during the quarter at Oilfield Services was also strong, particularly for Drilling & Measurements, Wireline, and Testing Services. This led to a number of significant contract awards, particularly in the area of drilling services where advances in rotary-steerable systems and well- placement technologies, coupled with increased reliability, are critical to operators in today's environment of very high spread costs for offshore rigs.

At the beginning of the year we predicted a more complex growth pattern for 2008. Notably, we were uncertain of the evolution of North American natural gas activity and the extent to which delays in the completion of new build offshore rigs would affect growth. We anticipated solid increases in the Eastern Hemisphere land rig count.

At the half year, the uncertainty around the direction of natural gas drilling in North America has been removed and extremely high commodity prices have led operators to increase their budgets overseas. We anticipate that approximately 35 new offshore rigs will enter the fleet in the remaining half of the year. The overseas land rig count has evolved much as we predicted. It appears that customers are responding vigorously to current commodity price levels.

In the longer term, we remain convinced that absent a deep worldwide recession leading to a steep drop in demand, higher levels of investment will have to be sustained to bring some equilibrium to the market. We therefore re-iterate our 'stronger for longer' view of the current cycle of exploration and production spending. It is significant that during the quarter the industry estimated an additional 28 new offshore rigs were ordered from shipyards with delivery dates out to 2012 -- increasing the total on order to more than 180."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Schlumberger Q2 Preview

SLB reports Q2 tomorrow at 9am: SLB Preview: Good for the Long Haul

Schlumberger, the premier oilfield services company, is scheduled to report its second-quarter results and conduct its quarterly conference call before the market opens on Friday. The company is expected to earn $1.12 per share on revenue of $6.48 billion. In the year-ago quarter, Schlumberger earned $1.02 on revenue of $5.64 billion. Just yesterday, Morgan Stanley raised its 2010 price target on Schlumberger to $155 from $145. The analyst report started by saying, "Structurally positive fundamentals in the global oil services space, at a time of broad based stock market turmoil, has provided a series of attractive entry points." I fully agree with this assessment on the space. Here are a few points I want to highlight in making the bullish case for Schlumberger: Rig counts are on the rise, and my research indicates that 2008 will be back-end loaded. This is going to provide huge bottom-line benefits.
Additionally, Jefferies believes Schlumberger's entire sector is oversold going into Q2 results.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Oil Down $10 In 2 Days

Oil tumbles again; prices fall over $10 in 2 days

NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil prices settled sharply lower for the second time in a row Wednesday, leaving crude more than $10 cheaper in just two days of frenzied trading and prompting speculation that the hard-charging market may be running out of steam.

Light, sweet crude for August delivery fell $4.14 to settle at $134.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier sinking as low as $132. The drop follows a $6.44 sell-off Tuesday, crude's biggest since the Gulf War.

The two-day slide of $10.58 a barrel marks a dramatic turnaround in crude prices, which as recently as Friday traded at record highs above $147 a barrel. But even with this week's sell-off, prices remain about 80 percent above where they were a year ago and up about 40 percent from the start of the year.

Analysts are unsure whether the drop represents a long-term shift in sentiment or simply a brief correction to crude's monthslong bull run. But the dizzying decline is prompting market veterans to ask how much support remains for such high prices.

"It's a sign that maybe the bull market is losing strength," said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research Inc.

Perhaps just as significant as the declines was the sudden increase in volatility. Prices whipsawed by more than $10 Tuesday and $7 Wednesday ahead of the expiration of options contracts this week.

"I think anyone you talk to would have to be surprised by the magnitude of these huge price swings. This is extreme price volatility that no one can predict," said Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates. Such large up-and-down swings, he added, can indicate the market is nearing its top.

Oil Is Not A Fossil Fuel

Peter J. Morgan via Canada Free Press: Oil is NOT a fossil fuel and AGW is non-science

We all grew up believing that oil is a fossil fuel, and just about every day this ‘fact’ is mentioned in newspapers and on TV. However, let us not forget what Lenin said – “A lie told often enough becomes truth.” It was in 1757 that the great Russian scholar Mikhailo V. Lomonosov enunciated the hypothesis that oil might originate from biological detritus. The scientists who first rejected Lomonsov’s hypothesis, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, were the famous German naturalist and geologist Alexander von Humboldt and the French chemist and thermodynamicist Louis Joseph Gay-Lussac, who together enunciated the proposition that oil is a primordial material erupted from great depth, and is unconnected with any biological matter near the surface of the Earth.

With the development of chemistry during the nineteenth century, and following particularly the enunciation of the second law of thermodynamics by Clausius in 1850, Lomonosov’s biological hypothesis came inevitably under attack. In science, a hypothesis is merely somebody’s attempt to explain something. It is merely that – an attempt. In the scientific method, a hypothesis is also an open invitation for somebody else to discredit it by using physical evidence to demonstrate that the hypothesis is flawed, or incorrect – that is how scientific knowledge is advanced. Einstein is reputed to have remarked that just one fact was all that was needed to invalidate his theory of relativity.

The great French chemist Marcellin Berthelot particularly scorned the hypothesis of a biological origin for petroleum. Berthelot first carried out experiments involving, among others, a series of what are now referred to as Kolbe reactions and demonstrated the generation of petroleum by dissolving steel in strong acid. He produced the suite of n-alkanes and made it plain that such were generated in total absence of any “biological” molecule or process. Berthelot’s investigations were later extended and refined by other scientists, including Biasson and Sokolov, all of whom observed similar phenomena and likewise concluded that petroleum was unconnected to biological matter.

During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the great Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev also examined and rejected Lomonosov’s hypothesis of a biological origin for petroleum. In contrast to Berthelot who had made no suggestion as to where or how petroleum might have come, Mendeleev stated clearly that petroleum is a primordial material which has erupted from great depth. With extraordinary perception, Mendeleev hypothesised the existence of geological structures which he called “deep faults,” and correctly identified such as the locus of weakness in the crust of the Earth via which petroleum would travel from the depths. After he made that hypothesis, Mendeleev was abusively criticised by the geologists of his time, for the notion of deep faults was then unknown. Today, of course, an understanding of plate tectonics would be unimaginable without recognition of deep faults.

Soon after the end of World War II, the Soviet dictator, Stalin, realized that the then Soviet Union needed its own substantial oil reserves and production system if it was ever again called upon to defend itself against an attacker such as Hitler’s Germany. In 1947, the Soviet Union had, as its petroleum ‘experts’ then estimated, very limited petroleum reserves, of which the largest were the oil fields in the region of the Abseron Peninsula, near the Caspian city of Baku in what is now the independent country of Azerbaijan. At that time, the oil fields near Baku were considered to be “depleting” and “nearing exhaustion.” During World War II, the Soviets had occupied the two northern provinces of Iran, but in 1946, they were forced out by the British. By 1947, the Soviets realised that the American, British, and French were not going to allow them to operate in the Middle East, nor in the petroleum producing areas of Africa, nor Indonesia, nor Burma, nor Malaysia, nor anywhere in the Far East, nor in Latin America. The government of the Soviet Union recognised then that new petroleum reserves would have to be discovered and developed within the U.S.S.R.

Stalin’s response was to set up a task force of top scientists and engineers in a project similar to the Manhattan Project – the top-secret US program to develop the atom bomb during WWII – and initially under the same secrecy, and charged them with the task of finding out what oil was, where it came from and how to find, recover and efficiently refine it.

In 1951, the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins was first enunciated by Nikolai A. Kudryavtsev at the All-Union petroleum geology congress. Kudryavtsev analyzed the hypothesis of a biological origin of petroleum, and pointed out the failures of the claims then commonly put forth to support that hypothesis. Kudryavtsev was soon joined by numerous other Russian and Ukrainian geologists, among the first of whom were P. N. Kropotkin, K. A. Shakhvarstova, G. N. Dolenko, V. F. Linetskii, V. B. Porfir’yev, and K. A. Anikiev.

During the first decade of its existence, the modern theory of petroleum origins was the subject of great contention and controversy. Between the years 1951 and 1965, with the leadership of Kudryavtsev and Porfir’yev, increasing numbers of geologists published articles demonstrating the failures and inconsistencies inherent in the old “biogenic origin” hypothesis. With the passing of the first decade of the modern theory, the failure of Lomonosov’s eighteenth century hypothesis of an origin of petroleum from biological detritus in the near-surface sediments had been thoroughly demonstrated, the hypothesis discredited, and the modern theory firmly established.

An important point to be recognised is that the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abiotic petroleum origins was, initially, a geologists’ theory. Kudryavtsev, Kropotkin, Dolenko, Porfir’yev and the developers of the modern theory of petroleum were all geologists.

Their arguments were necessarily those of geologists, developed from many observations, and much data, organized into a pattern, and argued by persuasion.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


New Scientist: To put up an oil rig, follow that clam (Hat tip: Seth)

Razor clams retreat rapidly into the sand when threatened, making them elusive prey. The clams move with ease into muddy silt and gravelly sand, despite being able to exert a force only one-tenth that required for a person to push a clam shell into the sand. Winter dug up some clams to observe their uncanny burrowing ability, and then built a "roboclam" that is able to burrow into the sand by mimicking their action.

"That's what got the oil industry interested," says Hosoi. If the clam's technique can be replicated mechanically, it could prove ideal for anchoring offshore rigs in the soft seabed of the Gulf of Mexico and other oil-rich waters around the world.

So how do the clams do it? A slowed-down video of a clam digging offers some clues. The clam first braces itself by opening its long shell, then extends its muscular foot forward. Then it partly closes its shell and backs off, which temporarily loosens the sediment in front. The clam then darts forward, gaining ground in the process.

The roboclam is one of several ongoing MIT projects being sponsored by energy multinational Chevron to the tune of $6.5 million over the next five years – it is also partially funded by Bluefin Robotics of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Chevron's motivation grows more obvious with every hike in oil prices. The industry is hoping that sooner or later that the ban on offshore drilling will be lifted. Last month, both US president George Bush and presidential candidate John McCain advocated lifting the ban, as did Florida governor Charlie Crist, whose state has large offshore oil reserves. ...

"As we move to deeper water everything becomes harder and vastly more expensive," says Owen Oakley, a consultant with the research arm of Chevron. The high pressures and low temperatures at depths greater than 2500 metres will require more robust equipment and better communications. So the order-of-magnitude leap in digging efficiency demonstrated by the razor clam would be of great benefit to anchoring systems, which are heavy and costly to deploy.

The roboclam will be tested in the field this autumn. Hosoi admits the roboclam may not scale up to oil-rig proportions, but even so it could be used to anchor and move smaller pieces of equipment on the seabed. The industry is interested enough to keep funding the work. "These are not people worried about the end of oil," she says.
Also here.

Transocean Wins $3 Bln In Drilling Contracts From Petrobras

Transocean Inc. Announces Petrobras Approval of Contracts for Four Brazil-based Rigs

HOUSTON, July 15, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Transocean Inc. (NYSE:RIG - News) today announced that the board of directors of Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.(Petrobras) has approved contract awards for four of the company's rigs totaling 22 rig years and approximately $3.0 billion in combined estimated contract revenues. Estimated contract revenues for each rig represent the maximum amount of revenues that may be earned in the applicable contract period, including revenues from a 15% additional rate, payable unless rig downtime exceeds 5 percent, and excluding revenues from cost escalation and demobilization. The approved contracts are expected to be executed by subsidiaries of Petrobras and Transocean in the next 30 to 60 days.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bush Lifts Presidential Ban On Offshore Drilling

Bush to Lift Ban on Oil, Gas Drilling off U.S. Coasts

July 14 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush will lift a presidential moratorium on drilling for oil and natural gas on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, setting up a showdown with Congress over a separate ban it put in place in the 1980s.

Bush ``has decided to lift the executive ban on oil exploration in America's Outer Continental Shelf,'' White House spokesman Dana Perino told reporters. ``Congress has not moved forward despite calls from constituents and the continued pressure of record high energy prices.''

Pressure to permit drilling off the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean coastlines and in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico has been building as oil and gasoline prices have surged to records.

Congress has barred drilling since 1983 through an annual Interior Department spending bill. That ban could be lifted if Bush refused to sign the department's fiscal 2009 appropriations measure that is now being debated in both the House and Senate.

Bank of America Upgrades NOV

Banc of America upgrades National Oilwell Varco

July 14 (Reuters) - Banc of America Securities upgraded National Oilwell Varco Inc (NOV) to "buy" from "neutral," citing a rise in orders for new rigs and the acquisition of Grant Prideco Inc (GRP).

"With an estimated 28 new offshore rigs ordered in the second quarter (a new record) and more planned, our concerns about a peak in backlog are off the table," analyst Douglas Becker wrote in a note to clients.

He estimates these rigs to result in $4.2 billion of orders for the maker of equipment and components used in oil and gas drilling and production in the next few quarters.

Becker raised his price target on the stock to $107 from $78.

Shares of National Oilwell were trading up more than 4 percent at $86.89 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Becker said the purchase of Grant Prideco was well-timed and expects it to add 50 cents to the company's 2009 earnings, based on an improving market outlook.

In April, National Oilwell bought peer Grant Prideco for about $7 billion.

(Reporting by Mary Meyase in Bangalore; Editing by Bernard Orr)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Drilling Deep And Flying High

Last week's Barron's article: Drilling Deep and Flying High

Brazil's Petrobras could become one of the world's top oil companies if its three new deepwater wells are as plentiful as some expect.

THERE ARE GUSHERS and then there are gushers.

At a time when the oil industry is struggling mightily to find new wells, Brazil's Petrobras is sitting atop what appears to be the Western Hemisphere's biggest find in 30 years. The Tupi oil field, discovered off Rio de Janeiro two years ago and 65% owned by Petrobras, may contain as much as eight billion barrels of oil, an amount that would boost Brazil's reserves by more than 50%.

As if that weren't enough, the company has since found three other potentially lucrative, deepwater wells in the same area. And, with sophisticated operations in the Gulf of Mexico, it could be a big winner in President Bush's new drive to lift U.S. moratoriums on offshore drilling.

All this and high oil prices, too. Can it get any better?

In fact, Petrobras is a singularly tantalizing investment. "Buying Petrobras today is like having the opportunity to invest in Saudi Aramco 40 years ago," says Shawn Reynolds, portfolio manager of Van Eck Global's $1.03 billion Hard Assets Fund. Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil company, today is the world's largest oil corporation in terms of proven reserves and production.

Investors already have struck it rich with Petrobras' stock (ticker: PBR for the American depositary receipts). Recently trading around $70, it has more than doubled over the past 12 months, far outpacing such rivals as ConocoPhillips (COP), Chevron (CVX) and ExxonMobil (XOM). Yet, bulls say the stock could climb another 25% or so within a year, perhaps hitting $90.

"If you're in oil, you have to own this stock," says Robert Levitt, asset manager of $500 million Levitt Capital Management, in Boca Raton, Fla. "They are sitting on the biggest oil find in years, that's why. You don't look at resource companies based on earnings; you look at their oil reserves. Exxon and Conoco aren't making any new discoveries. Petrobras just made the biggest one in years."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

JP Morgan Upgrades Transocean

JP Morgan upgrades Transocean

July 9 (Reuters) - J.P. Morgan Securities upgraded Transocean Inc (RIG) to "overweight" from "neutral" on Wednesday, a day after the world's biggest offshore drilling contractor said it received a lucrative five-year contract.

Transocean said on Tuesday one of its deepwater drill ships was given a contract worth a record $650,000 per day. The contract is expected to start in March 2010 and generate revenue of $1.19 billion over the five years.

JP Morgan said recent contracts including the Transocean one indicated the deepwater market is strong.

"(Transocean's) valuation does not reflect visibility and strength of deepwater market," the brokerage said in a note to clients.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Transocean Signs Record $650,000 Day Rate

Transocean rig gets record $650,000 dayrate

HOUSTON, July 8 (Reuters) - Transocean Inc (RIG), the world's largest offshore drilling contractor, said on Tuesday one of its deepwater drill ships has been awarded a five-year contract worth a record $650,000 per day.

Shares of Transocean, whose operations are based in Houston, climbed as much as 2.5 percent on the news before retreating to trade slightly lower along with other energy stocks.

Record crude oil prices have stirred booming demand for offshore drilling rigs, which are currently in tight supply worldwide.

The contract for the Deepwater Pathfinder is set to start in March 2010. The agreement with a subsidiary of Eni (ENI) is for drilling primarily in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

"The new Eni contract represents a new record day rate for the industry and a meaningfully positive datapoint for Transocean and deepwater peers ... ," Bill Herbert, oilfield services analyst with Simmons & Co Int'l, wrote to clients.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Volcanism Confirmed On Mercury

Volcanoes on Mercury Solve 30-year Mystery (Via Volcano World)

A NASA spacecraft's first flyby of Mercury has yielded a wealth of information about the inner-most planet, some of which confirms volcanism occurred there, settling a longstanding debate.

Information about such planetary mysteries as Mercury's magnetic field and geological history also has flooded in.

"We're really pleased," said Sean C. Solomon of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, principal investigator for the MESSENGER probe. "[The data] gives us a lot to chew on."

MESSENGER (short for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) made its debut flyby of Mercury on Jan. 14, passing about 124 miles (200 kilometers) over the planet's surface. The spacecraft's instruments took a closer look at the areas seen by the Mariner 10 mission in 1974 and 1975, which imaged about 45 percent of the planet's surface, as well as an additional 21 percent of the surface never before seen by a spacecraft.

In a collection of 11 papers detailed in the July 4 issue of the journal Science, mission scientists presented the preliminary findings of the initial flyby.

Drilling Begins Off Florida Coast

Happy Independence Day. Now Americans can compete with Cuba and China: Companies begin quest for oil, gas off Fla. coast

As petroleum prices soar, 4 companies begin costly quest for oil and gas off Florida's coast

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) -- Oil companies once viewed drilling in the deep waters off Florida as cost prohibitive. Politicians feared even the slightest sign of support would be career suicide.

No more. Record crude oil prices are fueling support for oil and natural gas exploration off the nation's shores. In Florida, movement was underway even before President Bush called on Congress last month to lift a federal moratorium that's barred new offshore drilling since 1981.

The early activity here stems from a 2006 Congressional compromise that allows drilling on 8.3 million acres more than 125 miles off the Panhandle -- an area that had been covered by the moratorium, which was enacted out of environmental concerns. In exchange, the state got a no-drilling buffer along the rest of its beaches.

Florida may turn out to be a prelude for other coastal states. If oil or natural gas deposits are found in the newly opened region, experts say it could further the push to explore other once-protected areas everywhere. It also could be a rallying point for critics, who say the new exploration isn't a license to expand exploration.

With gas topping $4 a gallon, recent polls show Americans, Floridians included, more supportive of drilling in protected areas. Some politicians -- including Gov. Charlie Crist -- have switched sides.

"We think the public is way out ahead of the politicians on these issues. People are more open to (offshore drilling) now," said Tom Moskitis, spokesman for the American Gas Association, a trade group.

At the same time, oil companies, driven by the record energy price, are more willing to risk $100 million or more to begin exploring new regions. The Interior Department estimates there could be 18 billion barrels of oil and 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas beneath the 574 million acres of federal coastal waters that are now off-limits.

Drilling activity off the Florida Panhandle has started and sputtered for decades. Some companies had leases to drill off the Panhandle before the 1981 moratorium. They were grandfathered in when the moratorium passed because they were already actively exploring in their lease areas. They continued their activity off and on into the early 1990s.

In March, four companies -- Australia-based BHP Billiton Petroleum Deepwater Inc., Houston-based Anadarko E&P Co., Shell Offshore Inc. and Italian oil and natural gas company Eni SpA -- purchased leases on 36 Gulf of Mexico tracts under the 2006 compromise.

Jeb Bachmann, an analyst with New Orleans energy consultant Howard Weil, said the four understand the shifting political and financial realities.

"It gives you an indication that some of these companies believe there is some light at the end of the tunnel," Bachmann said. "There is higher pricing and a belief that higher prices are going to ultimately drive some changes."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Everything You Know About Oil Is Wrong

Myth Vs. Reality:

Myth: Oil Comes From Biological Organisms

Reality: No biological organism has ever been observed miraculously transforming into hydrocarbons. The Second Law of Thermodynamics prevents that from ever happening.

Myth: Oil Is Formed In The Earth's Crust

Reality: In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences published a paper which proves that the complex polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in outer space and on Earth can only be formed at pressures above 30 kilobar, which corresponds to a depth of about 100 kilometers deep in the Earth's mantle. (No biological molecule can survive at such a depth because it is hotter than the critical point of water).

Myth: Oil Is Only Found In Sediments

Reality: Oil is found in volcanic igneous rocks. See here, here, here, and here.

Myth: Biomarkers Are Found In Oil

Reality: In 2007 ICP-MS analysis proved that all oil has inorganic geochemistry. Also see here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Death From Below?

What happens when molten magma or lava hits a natural gas deposit?

Huge Tunguska Explosion Remains Mysterious 100 Years Later (Hat tip: Bill)

Death from below?

Instead of a cause from above, in the last decade some researchers have suggested the Tunguska explosion actually came from below. Astrophysicist Wolfgang Kundt at the University of Bonn in Germany and others have suggested that an eruption of natural gas from kimberlite, a kind of volcanic rock best known for sometimes holding diamonds, could be to blame.

"It would have come from the molten earth, some 3,000 kilometers deep (1,864 miles)," Kundt said. "The natural gas would be stored as a fluid that deep, and when it reaches the surface it would become a gas and expand by a factor of thousand in volume, for a huge explosion."

For support, he cited the pattern the trees fell in, as well as chemical anomalies.
Tunguska trees look exactly like the trees after the Mount St. Helens eruption.