Monthly Archives: September 2010

Why are my lungs burning (2)

Looking at a map, Santiago de Chile looks vaguely like Sacramento, California — a big city in a long north-south agricultural valley, with a low mountain range separating it from the Pacific and a high, steep cordillera to the east. Both are at about 35 degrees (one north, one south) so there is a persistent high pressure system over them all summer: air that rose in ecuatorial thunderstorms and dried out in the upper atmosphere falls back to earth at about 35 degrees, with the aridity especially notable around 28-38 degrees on the west coasts of all the continents.

But there are big differences. Maybe the biggest is that in Sacramento, despite more cars and plenty of industry, you can breathe the air pretty dependably. A few indications of why:

Metallurgical coke by the sack

Everything you could need for proper lung care: thermal coal, metallurgical coke, and cigarettes

burning farmland

Burning mulch off a field before planting, north of Santiago, Aug. 27 2010

Gold Reserve cuts damages claim 60% to mildly less outlandish figure

Gold Reserve, one of the mining companies that have taken Venezuela to international arbitration after losing access to the Las Cristinas/Brisas gold deposit, said it’s asking for $1.928 billion in compensation. This is a bit lower than the $5 billion damages they were talking about 11 months ago.

Opinion time: I suspect it’s still a goofy number. Continue reading

More charts: Latin America-Caribbean oil & gas drilling booms

I know you’ve been wondering: what is going on with oil drilling across Latin America? Is it really going great guns, or is that just Brazil?

Here are a couple pictures based on the monthly rig counts from Schlumberger, the world’s biggest oilfield services company.

First, the main Latin American and Caribbean oil countries:
Latam's main oil countries rig utilization

The main trend is that things are up, up and up. Good news for Spanish- and Brazilian-speaking drill bit salespeople.

Next a picture of the less substantial oil producers:
Continue reading

Geek out on electricity tariffs

GTZ, the German foreign aid organization known for its international survey of fuel prices, has put out a new international survey of residential electricity prices. The report is pretty inconclusive — I don’t see any obvious trends, and residential electricity rates don’t necessarily have anything to do with industrial tariffs or subsidies for efficiency and renewables — but heck, I love these folks’ research and thought you might like the link. All yours for no extra charge, just for reading this website.

Here’s the key table: Continue reading