Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Drilling in the GOM

The bar chart below shows the history of well permitting and drilling in the GOM. As you can see, permitting is picking p but has a while to go before it builds a backlog of work that would indicate a healthy industry.

Source: Offshore Magazine

Monday, January 30, 2012

Universal Truths

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.
A common saying in the CCCP was: "They pretend to pay me. I pretend to work."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Definition of Engineering

If it's green, it's Biology

If it stinks, it's Chemistry

If it doesn't work, it's Physics

If it works, but no one can explain why, it's Engineering

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Spooky Meeting

Tam has a recent post concerning military training in LA. It reminded me of an incident that happened back when I worked in Big Oil.

I was called into a meeting where I met a Special Forces Major from the Joint Readiness Training Center and a Spooky Civilian. (The civilian was wearing a lapel pin replica of the Meritorious Service Medal). We exchanged business cards and they made their pitch.

This was about a year after the First Gulf War. It seems that the military had some difficulties in destroying Sadam's offshore platforms and they wanted to train on how to do it better. They knew that the oil industry needed to remove our platforms at the end of their life and they were offering to do the job for us at no charge. They just wanted the fun of blowing the thing up and learning how to do the same to the enemie's platforms, should it become necessary.

While their offer was indeed interesting, we explained that not only did we have to remove the platform, we had to clear the sea floor of debris and could not leave any scrap steel that could snag fishing nets or otherwise make a hazard. This pretty much killed the discussion.

Things continued on with a short discussion of a terrorist drill where they would perform a HAHO jump with the intent of landing paratoopers on the platform while SEAL Team 6 infiltrated from below. It sounded like fun but we were concerned about what a bunch of Louisiana red necks would do if they suddenly had armed men dropping in from the sky and climbing the platform legs.

We took a short break before we adjourned. When I came back to the meeting, I noticed that the business cards that I had left on the table with my note book, had disappeared. It was as if it had never happened.

SOTU, Finale

The President's Cabinet consists of 15 Departments. In addition, he has 8 other cabinet level offices. These include OMB and EPA. What I would like to see is for each cabinet level officer to prepare 2 - 3 PowerPoint slides with bulleted items describing their key accomplishments, status of their KPIs and a SWOT analysis. The President could then cherry pick and condense these into the most important items for his SOTU address. He would end up with about 30 to 35 slides which would fit nicely into a one hour speech.

And after that hour, the American people would have a good idea of what has been going on in their government and what to watch for in the future.

But, what if a cabinet officer can't come up with any information for a PowerPoint slide? Well, then, one would have to question whether that department was worth the cost.

It will never happen, of course, but I will do it when I get my private island. You can come live there if you agree to live by MY rules.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Allow me to do some very basic education on Project Management tools.....

Project Managers use measurement tools to gauge the health of their project. One is called Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. The big four KPIs are Cost, Schedule, Quality and Safety. There may be others but every project report includes some sort of yardstick to measure progress.

Besides the Big Four KPIs, management wants some idea of the risks facing their project. After all, they are investing a bunch of money and they want to know what could affect their investment. One tool that is used is called the SWOT Analysis. SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat. Project Managers brainstorm issues affecting the project that fall within each of those categories. This can provide a list of things to watch for and prevents the PM from being surprised.

The two tools complement each other. KPIs are backward looking - they tell what the project was doing in the past, and while they tell you what things need improvement, they give no idea about what the future holds. SWOT, on the other hand, is forward looking. It gives you ideas about what may be an issue in the future.

I'd like to see the SOTU utilize these, or similar tools, to report on the Union. Next, I'll propose how.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

SOTU, My Way

When the founding fathers required the president to stand before Congress and review the State of the Union I believe they had several things in mind - and a campaign speech was not one of them. I think they wanted an objective evaluation of the country. They wanted to hear how it was growing and if it was improving or not. They wanted facts and figures, not campaign promises. I also think they wanted to impress upon the president that he worked for the people, and Congress, as representatives of the people, wanted a report on the job he was doing. It's really no different than a Project Manager making a status report to management - and it should be presented in a similar manner. Are we on budget, or are we over or under? Are we on schedule? What risks do we see in the future and how can we mitigate them? What measures of performance are you using?

I have some thoughts about how the SOTU should be done that I will write in future posts even though I know it is a futile exercise.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Kraut and Chops

When we had family dinners at Grandpa's house, Grandma would make a sauerkraut dish. (Grandpa made his own kraut) She put in pork chops and hot dogs. You could substitute any good sausage as well. The version below is my wife's interpretation based on my memory of the dish. Good, simple and filling.

6 center cut pork loin chops, season w salt & pepper

Rinse chops pat dry and season place in a cold frying pan w 1 tbs. oil and brown, when browned remove and set aside.
2 bags (about 2 lbs) sauerkraut rinse well and drain.
4 strips bacon,
4 cups apple juice or cider,
1 med. chopped onion,
2 cloves garlic minced,
3 cups chicken stock,
½ cup brown sugar or splenda brown sugar sub.
1 tsp. juniper berries,
2 bay leaves,
½ tsp caraway seeds,
pinch cloves,
1 tsp creole seasoning
1 small apple

Reduce apple juice or cider to 2 cups. Fry bacon till crisp. Add onion fry till golden, add garlic , add reduced apple juice /cider chicken stock , brown sugar and all spices. Cook about 5 minutes. Peel and chop 1 apple, add sauerkraut and apple. Cook until almost all of the juice is gone. Set aside.

Peel and chop 4 small potatoes into 2 inch cubes, brown in pan drippings from pork chops.
Place ½ of sauerkraut mix in crock pot top with 3 pork chops , to with remaining sauerkraut and chops.

Cook until done about 2 hours.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oil Field Hands

A tourist walked into a pet store in Houston, Texas and was looking at the pets on display. While he was there, a petroleum engineer from a nearby office walked in and said to the storekeeper, "I'll take a rig hand monkey please." The storekeeper nodded, went to the side of the store, and took out a monkey. He put a collar and leash on the animal and handed it to the Engineer, saying, "That'll be $2000."

The man paid and left with the monkey.

The surprised tourist went to the storekeeper and said, "That was a very expensive monkey. Most monkeys are only a few hundred dollars. Why did that one cost so much?"

The storekeeper answered, "Ah, that's a rig monkey. He can rig up, throw the chain, work derricks, rack pipe, paint, mix mud, all with no back talk or complaints. It's well worth the money."

The tourist then spotted a monkey in another cage. "That one's even more expensive $10,000!
What does it do?"

"Oh that one" replied the store keeper. "That's a Rig Manager monkey. It can instruct all levels of maintenance, run the safety program, deal with clients, and even do some paper work. A very useful monkey indeed."

The tourist looked around a little longer and found a third monkey in a cage. The price tag was $50,000.

The shocked tourist exclaimed, "This one costs more than all the others put together. What in the world can it do?"

"Honestly," said the storekeeper, "I've never actually seen him do anything but drink beer and whiskey, cuss and play with himself all day, but his papers say he's a "Company Man. "

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mummo Kulju's Nisu

One of my childhood memories is my Finnish grandmother making cardamon bread. I remember her weathered but strong fingers kneading the dough and its sweet taste. She passed before I got to know her very well. She didn't speak English and that was intimidating to an 8 year old. Here's the recipe:

1 package yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
2 eggs, slightly beaten
4 to 4-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg yolk
2 tbls whole milk

Dissolve yeast in the warm water in a large bowl and stir in evaporated milk, sugar, salt, cardamon, eggs and 2 cups flour. Beat in butter until mixture is smooth. Stir in enough flour to make the dough easy to handle. Let rest 15 minutes.

Turn dough onto floured board. Knead about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled. Push it down and cover and let rise again for about 1 hour.

Divide dough into half and each half into thirds. Roll the six parts into 1 inch strands. Braid three strands to make one loaf. (Will make 2 loaves) Place each into a bread pan, cover and let rise until doubled.

Heat oven to 375. Mix egg yolk and whole milk. Brush bread with mixture and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until light brown and bread sound hollow when tapped. (about 20 to 25 minutes.) Let cool on a rack.

(Mummo is Finnish for grandmother. Nisu is the name of the bread)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Old vs New Navy

Shamelessy stolen from Rico, on the dsidebar

If you smoked, you had an ashtray on your desk. Now if you smoke, you get sent outside and treated like a leper, if you're lucky.
Mail took weeks to come to the ship. If the ship is near land, there's a mob topside to see if their cell phones work.
If you left the ship it was in Blues or Whites, even in home port. Now the only time you wear Blues or Whites is for ceremonies.
You wore bell bottoms everywhere on the ship. Bell Bottoms are gone now and 14 yr-old girls wear them everywhere.
We wore a Dixie cup all day, with every uniform. It's not required and you have a choice of different hats.
Say "DAMN," people knew you were annoyed and avoided you. Say "DAMN," now and you'd better be talking about a hydro electric plant.
The Ships Office yeoman had a typewriter on his desk for doing daily reports. Now everyone has a computer with Internet access and they wonder why no work is getting done.
We painted pictures of pretty girls on airplanes to remind us of home. You put the real thing in the cockpit.
Your girlfriend was at home, praying you would return alive. Now she is on the same ship, praying your condom worked.
If you got drunk off duty, your buddies would take you back to the ship so you could sleep it off. Now if you get drunk off duty now, they slap you in rehab and ruin your career.
Canteens were made out of steel and you could heat coffee or hot Chocolate in them. Now canteens are made of plastic, you can't heat them because they'll melt, and anything inside always tastes like plastic.
Our top officers were professional sailors first. They commanded respect. Your top officers are politicians first. They beg not to be given a wedgie.
We collected enemy intelligence and analyzed it. Now they collect our pee and analyze it.
If you didn't act right, they'd put you on extra duty until you straightened up. If you don't act right now, they start a paper trail that follows you forever.
Medals were awarded to heroes who saved lives at the risk of their own. Now medals are awarded to people who show up for work most of the time.
We slept in a barracks, like a soldier. You sleep in a dormitory, like a college kid.
We ate in a Mess Hall or Galley. It was free and you could have all the food you wanted. You eat in a Dining Facility. Every slice of bread or pat of butter costs, and you can only have one.
If you wanted to relax, you went to the Rec Center, played pool, smoked and drank beer. You go to the Community Center and can still play pool, maybe.
If you wanted a quarter beer and conversation, you could go to the Chief's or Officers' Club. Now, the beer will cost you three dollars and someone is watching to see how much you drink.
The Exchange had bargains for sailors who didn't make much money. Now. you can get better merchandise and cheaper at Wal-Mart.
If an Admiral wanted to make a presentation, he scribbled down some notes and a YN spent an hour preparing a bunch of charts. Now, the Admiral has his entire staff spending days preparing a Power Point Presentation.
We called the enemy things like "Commie Bastards" and "Reds" because we didn't like them. You call the enemy things like "Opposing Forces" and "Aggressors or Insurgents" so you won't offend them.
We declared victory when the enemy was dead and all his things were broken. You declare victory when the enemy says he is sorry and won't do it again.
A commander would put his butt on the line to protect his people. Now a commander will put his people on the line to protect his butt.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dem Cajuns is Clever

I once worked on a project where we negotiated a Right of Way for a pipeline to cross a farmers field. Everything was fine until the construction crew arrived and found the rice field covered in water. This, of course, threw the monkey wrench into the gears and we went to the farmer to ask WTF? He informed us that he now intended to raise crawfish and if our construction prevented him from doing so, he wanted compensation. As you can guess, he got paid for crawfish that never existed, the field was drained and construction began.

And if you want a lesson on negotiation, sit down with some people who have rented out their plantation homes for movies. You could learn a lot about how business is done in Hollywood.

Now it seems some Yankees thought Swamp People's Troy Landry could be taken advantage of. He got them good, I think.

Monday, January 9, 2012

IgNoble Prize Candidate

This paper from the Journal of the Institute for Brewing deserves consideration, IMHO. This is the kind of research I can relate to. (Warning: Science Geekery below)

Sensory and Chemical Analysis of ‘Shackleton’s’ Mackinlay Scotch Whisky

Three cases of Mackinlay’s Rare Highland Malt whisky were excavated from the ice under Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1907 expedition base camp hut at Cape Royds in Antarctica in January 2010. The majority of the bottles were in a pristine state of preservation and three were returned to Scotland in January 2011 for the first sensory and organoleptic analysis of a Scotch malt whisky distilled in the late 1890s. Sensory analysis and the higher alcohol and maturation congener profiles describe a lightly peated malt whisky matured in American white oak sherry or wine casks. Analysis of process related compounds together with combined gas chromatography (GC) mass spectrometry and GC-olfactometry analysis of fermentation related congeners show a distinctly ‘modern’ style of malt whisky. While Scotch malt whisky at the end of the 19th century was generally regarded as heavily peated and harsh in character,Charles Mackinlay & Co. Distillers were producing a malt whisky with an altogether more subtle character at their Glen Mhor distillery near Inverness. The sensory and chemical analysis of this unique whisky artefact significantly changes our understanding of the quality and character of Scotch malt whisky produced by our distilling forefathers.

For the entire paper, go here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Twelfth Night

The Mardi Gras season starts today. Mardi Gras is probably the biggest enemy of New Years Resolutions ever. Go get a King Cake and enjoy.

In other news, Nick Saban (The Most Hated Man in Louisiana) is here with his 'Bama Boys for the BCS Championship game. Given Nick's history, if you were him, would you dare eat any food in a public restaurant? Me, I'd bring all pre-packaged food and heat it up in my room.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Roast Pork and Gravy

Here's a pork recipe......My wife developed this one to get rid of excess apple juice and cream from Christmas.

Use a bone-in pork loin roast. Almost any butcher will cut one with the bone. The boneless ones are OK, but when you can get one with bones it produces a better tasting roast. The butcher will also crack the bones for easy carving.

Brine it for 24 hours in a mixture of enough apple juice to cover the roast with 2 Tbs. sugar and 1/2 cup salt.

After the pork has brined take out and discard liquid, rinse and pat roast dry, inject with any Cajun Injector flavor you prefer. Pour a little extra virgin olive oil over the roast, and add spices but do not add salt. Bake at 350 * until internal temp is 140 *. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before carving .

While roast is cooking, reduce 4 cups of apple juice to about 1-1/2 cups, set aside until roast is cooked. Add the pan drippings, 1 Tbs. flour cook flour a minute add cream stir and keep warm. Serve with roast.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Head Count

The KSA beheaded four people in December. Three were murderers and the fourth was a woman who was executed for the crime of sorcery and witchcraft. That brings the total for the year to 62 beheadings.

The next time someone tells you about how "moderate" Saudi Arabia is becoming remember that they still believe in witchcraft and that its practice is punishable by death.