Russian river runs red repeatedly

Several large web outlets have shared the astounding pictures of the Daldykan river in the Russian Arctic city of Norilsk that has turned blood red. And it?s not the first time. Locals have posted the pictures on Instagram that has caused the international concern prompting an investigation by Russian officials. We wonder if it did not make the worldwide press if they would have bothered.

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The river runs alongside a metal mine and plant. Processing the metals from the ore requires smelters that burn (oxidize) the rock, removing the valuable stuff (nickel and associated rare metals) and leaving concentrated waste, typically consisting of fine-grained iron oxide mixed with water to form a slurry which are dumped into ponds. The waste ponds breach or leak, dumping sediment into the river turning it red. The Verge reported that it happens in other nickel mining areas as well. The sediment eventually settles to the bottom and along banks and the water returns to normal color, as it apparently now has.

Instagram brought the vivid event to the public worldwide.

Instagram brought the vivid event to the public worldwide.

Avoid the hype from panic-inducing End Times sites and read the piece from the New York Times that explains that this is caused by lack of strong environmental requirements.

The metal smelters in this ore-rich region produce copious amounts of copper, one-fifth of the world?s nickel ? a key alloy in stainless steel ? and half of the global supply of palladium, a precious metal nearly as valuable as platinum.

The ore also contains iron, but that red-hued element is far less valuable than the precious metals extracted along with it, and is generally discarded in slurry ponds.

That iron slurry is the most likely source of the discoloration in the ?blood river,? environmental groups and Russian environmental regulators said, attributing the red hue to iron oxide, better known as rust.

Is it bad? Yes. The high iron and probably very low pH means that conditions in the river are poor for aquatic life; there is almost certainly none of the original diversity of biota present in this river. The water is certainly not potable (drinkable) even though the article notes it?s not dangerous to humans. Iron bacteria probably won?t kill you but it will make you ill.

Past red river events were caused by red dye or ink from industrial leaks or discharges. That?s what we have environmental regs for, folks. Don?t knock ?em. (Our waterways usually turn weird colors only on purpose.)

More red river valley events:

2011 ? Chinese river runs blood red due to red dye discharge.

2012 ? Yangtze river also in China, red from possible sediment.

2012 ? Beirut, Lebanon. Looks like red dye.

2014 ? Northampton, England. Red ink.

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Iran’s Investment Programme Upstream, Downstream

September 19th, 2016 3:05pm Posted In: Natural Gas News, LNG, Featured Articles, Iran, External Analysts, Exploration & Production, Import/Export, Ministries, Regulation, Asia, Natural Gas News Asia

Iran?s oil industry is 108 years-old but it is only this summer celebrating its 50th anniversary. Despite that it accounts for 70% of the country?s primary energy.

Iran produces nearly 735mn m3 of gas/day from 23 gas fields and many more oilfields, most of which needs processing, for example to extract sulphur. The latest statistics put Iran?s annual processed gas production at 190bn m3/yr, or 520mn m3/d.

Iran has 50 independent gas fields, of which 23 are brownfield. The largest, South Pars, it shares with Qatar and accounts for half of both Iran?s gas reserves half its output. South Pars holds 14 trillion m3 of gas.

Since 2008, Iran has added 1.5 trillion m3 of gas to its reserves and has extracted 1.8 trillion m3 to date. There are no new statistics about the details of Iran?s gas reserves, but brownfield reserve and location are as shown in Table 1.

Dalga Khatinoglu, Pooya Nematollahi

You can read the full article in Issue 3 of Natural Gas World Magazine. Out Wednesday September 21. Subscribe today. 


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Blair Witch: Into the Woods, This Time With Drones

You might not believe me, but the original The Blair Witch Project, when it came out in 1999, was one of the scariest movies I had ever seen. The found footage, the fake website, and the anonymity of the actors, meant that millions of audience members mistook it for a documentary. The movie was real, man. But even with that, I?d argue the scariest thing about the original Blair Witch is how it meticulously stripped away the protective illusion that we were all safe. In the last year of the twentieth-century we weren?t at war, the internet was making the world smaller in what seemed to be a good way, and the economy was humming. It felt like the world had been, sort of, solved. Three student filmmakers wander into a forest?what did they have to worry about? One of the deepest terrors of The Blair Watch Project was the realization that the savvy and ironic remove of Heather, Josh, and Mike was what doomed them. They thought they had nothing to worry about, because none of us did. We were very wrong.

Now, when you watch the original film, we?re onto the trick?the film is less existential terror and more three idiots yelling each other?s names for 80 minutes, unable to hold a camera straight. Theoretically, a Blair Witch sequel?one in which a whole new generation of cocky kids who think their GPS and drone cameras will save them in the forest?makes a certain amount of sense. We might feel a lot less safe than we used to, but the idea of being lost in the woods, which provides so many of the original?s scares, is almost a forgotten concept in an age of smartphones and Google Maps.

For a while, Blair Witch, from director Adam Wingard (You?re Next, The Guest), looks like it?s headed in that direction, a reinvention that stays thematically true to the shocks of the first film. But then you realize that it doesn?t have much to add to the Blair Witch mythology, and is mostly here to provide generic genre shocks. It takes place in a forest, references the old legend, and has some handheld cameras, but Blair Witch this isn?t.

James, the premise goes, is the younger brother of Heather, and he been haunted by his sister?s disappearance. He heads back out to the Burkittsville woods after a new tape is discovered by some local Blair Witch ?experts.? (It?s a little upsetting, as a person who remembers watching The Blair Witch Project in the theater like it was yesterday, to learn that someone who was four years old when the original came out looks like this now. Time comes for us all.) He of course has a friend who wants to make her student documentary about his journey, which is why there are cameras everywhere, though now they?re all GoPros and drones and contained in the same device with which you balance your checkbook and watch your pornography. The movie updates the uninitiated us on the Blair Witch curse and provides some new details, including a bit about exactly why those creepy wooden amulets that keep showing up in the night look like that, but on the whole, once these kids set up camp in the forest, it?s the same movie. They?re in for the same shit.

It?s not like Heather, Josh, and Mike were the most well-rounded characters, but you did always feel like they were real, terrified people. One of the major problems with Blair Witch is that the actors always feel like actors, partly because they?re all too conventionally beautiful, and partly because their characters are types we?ve seen in countless other horror movies. (Heather Donahue?s vanity-free performance in the first film famously eschewed makeup and felt rawer for it; here, you can tell they just got their powder touched up off screen) But a large part of the problem is that everything that felt revolutionary about the original has become routine and conventional. If you?ve seen one twentysomething breathing heavy running away from something in the dark while carrying a camera, you?ve seen them all.

The movie takes the same structure as the first film, and makes it feel less like homage and more like recitation. Surprisingly, Wingard doesn?t do much with the idea that his characters have more cameras on hand and are far more comfortable with having their every move documented: He simply accepts it as a way to give him more angles and never plays around with it like you might expect. (It might have been more clever if one character insisted on recording everything on Facebook Live) The movie just doesn?t have much pop to it. Wingard is the sort of up-and-coming horror filmmaker, one with a healthy regard for the original, that you?d think his revisit of a classic would come adorned with new twists and smart reinventions. Instead, it?s just another found footage horror movie that, if you haven?t seen the first film, will mostly seem derivative and prone to dull bits of exposition for no reason. I?m not sure it would have been possible to appropriately update the original The Blair Witch Project. The movie only holds up today to those who remember its initial power, and why. Without that context, there?s nothing to be scared of here. Blair Witch nods to the first film but never rediscovers its power. I?m not sure anything could today. Trust me, kids: You really did have to be that specific level of stupid to be that specific level of scared.

Grade: C

Grierson & Leitch write about the movies regularly for the New Republic and host a podcast on film. Follow them on Twitter @griersonleitch or visit their site griersonleitch.com.

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Rob Portman and the Return of the Split-Ticket Voter

In early September, James Carville?the political strategist who helped engineer Bill Clinton?s first presidential campaign?explained to Vanity Fair just how much national politics has changed in the past three decades. ?In 1992, the most treasured voter was a voter that would sort of swing back and forth, one that might vote for Republican for president, Democrat for governor,? he said. ?The voter that didn?t have that strong of a partisan ID. These were the voters that we targeted.?

In contrast, elections these days are all about turnout. The campaigns that wield the best field operations?capable of turning out scores of voters on Election Day and collecting thousands of early ballots in the weeks prior?are more likely to be victorious. The goal is no longer to identify and persuade those in the squishy middle of the ideological spectrum to split their tickets. Instead, campaigns try to find sporadic voters who, if they could be persuaded to go to the polls, would vote straight down the ticket.

One simple fact explains that shift: According to political scientists, that coveted voter from 1992?the one that might have voted for a Democratic president and Republican congressman?basically no longer exists. Only 25 congressional districts in 2012 voted for a president of one party and a House member of the other, down from just over 100 in 1992. It was the first time in 92 years that the percentage of congressional districts that split their tickets dropped into the single digits. And it prompted apocalyptic headlines like this one in The Washington Post: ?The ideological middle is dead in Congress. Really dead.?

Four years later, facing the prospect of likely defeat in the race for president, Republicans across the country are betting against the conventional wisdom. In crucial swing states, their electoral hopes rest on the slim chance that some affluent Republican voters dislike Donald Trump enough to split their tickets, backing Hillary Clinton for president and Republicans in the House and Senate. The stakes are highest in the Senate, which the Democrats have a good shot at reclaiming.

But thanks to the sui generis nature of Donald Trump?s candidacy?which has alienated key conservative groups like educated Republicans in the suburbs?the split-ticket voter may very well enjoy an anomalous resurgence this election season. And luckily for Republicans, some of states with the most competitive Senate races in the nation this year have long histories of splitting their tickets. 


Republicans hoping to pull this off, however, are going to have to be adroit in separating themselves from Trump, the man who muddled all these party divisions in the first place. If they need a playbook for how to convince voters to split their tickets, they ought to look to Rob Portman, the mild-mannered Republican incumbent running against former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, in what was supposed to be one of the tightest Senate races in the country.

National Review?s Eliana Johnson reports that Portman?s field organizers have been handing out literature touting his union endorsements at Clinton rallies in the state. The Teamsters, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the United Mine Workers, the Fraternal Order of Police?they have all endorsed Portman. A Black Lives Matter group even endorsedthe Republican senator in late July. That has helped Portman cast himself as a crossover candidate?and insulated him from the vagaries of the national political climate.

The last time Ohio voted for a Senate candidate of a different party than its presidential choice was way back in 1988, when it backed George H.W. Bush and Democrat Howard Metzenbaum. But this year, Portman?s split-ticket strategy seems to be working. He is up by nearly 15 points on Strickland, according to Real Clear Politics?s polling average. The margin is wide enough that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee recently diverted funds away from Ohio, canceling two additional weeks of ads there. It?s a sign that, at least for now, the national Democrats have given up on flipping the state, even as they hope Clinton can put Ohio in the victory column.

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, however, is having a tougher time. Since he was elected during the Tea Party wave in 2010, Toomey has studiously moved towards the middle, spearheading bipartisan gun control legislation with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. In this purplish state, his carefully cultivated moderate stances should have been enough to send him back to Washington this fall?until Donald Trump intervened.

Trump is popular in the conservative steel towns in central and northern Pennsylvania, and Toomey needs those voters in November. But he also needs to clinch the handful of suburban districts that ring Philadelphia, the swing districts in most statewide races. Voters there are wealthy, white, and have college degrees?all indicators that Trump will have a hard time winning them over. Toomey therefore needs to convince those voters to split their tickets, backing Hillary Clinton for president and him for Senate. (Clinton is currently up in Pennsylvania by a fairly comfortable six points.)

It all hinges on portraying himself as a crossover candidate, much like Rob Portman. But Toomey has had a harder time separating himself from Trump?in part because denouncing him might drive his Republican base away. His attempts to differentiate himself from the nominee have been wishy-washy at best. When The Washington Post asked him whether he would endorse Donald Trump in August, he replied that he was ?still learning things about this nominee.? 

Meanwhile, challenger Katie McGinty is bent on yoking Toomey to Trump. For now, it seems to be working. In the aftermath of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, when McGinty delivered a speech tying her opponent to the Republican nominee, she climbed into the lead. Real Clear Politics now has her running neck and neck with Toomey. His best bet would be to continue arguing that keeping the Senate in Republican hands would act as a check on a President Clinton.  


New Hampshire, like Pennsylvania, has a history of split-ticket voting. The Granite State elected a senator from a different political party than its presidential choice seven times in the last century, or 44 percent of the time. The state did so as late as 2004, when it backed John Kerry for president and Republican Senator Judd Gregg. That ought to be good news for Kelly Ayotte, the Republican incumbent.

But there is a chance she will lose her Senate seat to Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan. Like Toomey, Ayotte has struggled to put daylight between herself and the Republican nominee, while keeping her Republican base placated. Trump won the New Hampshire Republican primary in spectacular fashion back in February, carrying more than 100,000 votes. No other candidate even came close. She needs to make sure she can shore up their support. 

But she?s in a tough position. Her husband was in the military, and she?s a woman. Without speaking out against what Trump has said about Gold Star families, veterans, John McCain, and women in this campaign and beyond, she risks looking disingenuous. She and Hassan are essentially tied in the polls, even as Clinton leads by five points.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is in a far better position than Ayotte. He may well outperform Trump in Iowa, a state where the Republican nominee is already up around four points. ?Iowans have a tendency to split their tickets between Republicans and Democrats, and that tendency has almost always benefited Grassley,? The Des Moines Register wrote in late August. The Republican senator, first elected in 1980, has ?received tens of thousands of votes from registered Democrats? over his 36 years in the Senate, often outperforming the other Republicans competing in statewide races there (in 2004, he won 286,218 more votes than George W. Bush). 

In one sense, Marco Rubio may be in the strongest position of all these Republican establishment figures banking on split-ticket voters to hang on to their Senate seats. He has the distinct advantage of spending months during the Republican primary ridiculing Donald Trump in the hopes that it would stop him on his glide path to the Republican nomination. ?You know what they say about men with small hands,? he said at a Republican debate. He followed it up with similar salvos: ?Donald is not going to make America great, he?s going to make America orange.? He also called Trump a ?con man.? If Rubio wanted to differentiate himself from the Republican nominee, that ought to have done the trick.

Back in the spring, his campaign and network of super PACs also advertised heavily in Florida, in Cuban-American districts like Miami-Dade, claiming Rubio as a native son. One ad, narrated in Spanish, begins: ?This time we can make one of our own be the next president. Marco Rubio, proud son of Miami. He knows our streets. Our communities. Our passions. Understands our dreams. Believes in our future. Because he has never forgotten where he comes from.? The Hispanic voters in Florida will likely be the crucial demographic swinging Florida to Clinton, who is essentially tied with Trump in the Sunshine State. But Rubio, a proud son of Miami, may have an even stronger claim to their votes. Like other candidates hoping to split the ticket, Rubio is using local connections and local issues to his advantage.

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Divide and Conquer

Donald Trump is an entertainer. He is also a racist. These two facts are usually viewed as reflecting distinct and isolated facets of Trump?s personality. But we need to see them as intertwined. It?s the only way to make sense of the traveling racial-incitement show that is Trump?s campaign?and of how it?s taken him so far.

The whole ?Make America Great Again? extravaganza is rooted in Trump?s persona as an entertainer, and his long immersion in spectacle?from beauty pageants to boxing, from reality television to professional wrestling. Trump is the latest in a long line of carnival barkers, sports impresarios, and insult comics who have exploited America?s racial anxieties to build large audiences in the service of a quick buck. He?s brought the mores of the taboo-pushing performer and the boxing hype-man into the political arena in ways that Ronald Reagan, Jesse Ventura, and Arnold Schwarzenegger never dreamed of. In the process, he?s cannily exploited the license given to entertainers to talk about race in offensive ways, benefiting from the forgiveness that?s extended more readily to clowns than to politicians.

In 2005, while serving as host of The Apprentice, Trump offered NBC a novel idea for re-energizing a program he felt was losing its zip: a season in which the competing teams would be divided along racial lines, black against white. ?It would be nine blacks against nine whites, all highly educated, very smart, strong, beautiful,? he later explained to Howard Stern. The white team would be all-blond, but the black team would be an ?assortment? of light- and dark-skinned African Americans. Even Stern was taken aback. ?Wouldn?t that set off a racial war?? he asked.

The question was apt, because Trump?s idea harkened back to a form of entertainment that incited violent confrontations between black and white Americans. By the late nineteenth century, race-based entertainment, from blackface minstrelsy to ethnic joke books, had long been a profitable mainstay of American popular culture. Boxing promoters, looking to get in on the action, orchestrated matches that pitted different ethnic groups against each other: Irish pugilists against Italians, Germans against Greeks. But the most incendiary and money-making matches were between blacks and whites.

In 1908, when Jack Johnson became the first black world heavyweight champion, it triggered mass culture shock in white America?and ushered in a golden opportunity for publicists, newspaper publishers, and proto-Trumpian hype-men. The cry went out for a ?great white hope? to re-establish white supremacy in what was then America?s most popular sport. Novelist Jack London, writing in the New York Herald, famously appealed to former champion Jim ?Jeff? Jeffries to rise to the challenge: ?Jeff, it?s up to you.? When Jeffries answered the call, the buildup to the bout was everything Trump wanted for The Apprentice: Race War, and what he has finally achieved in his campaign for president: a racially charged drama that caught the national imagination, even at the risk of inciting violence.

When the match came off in 1910, Jeff let the white man down. Because the fight had been publicized as a life-or-death matter for the white race, Johnson?s victory led to a national outburst of violence, almost all of it white-on-black. ?In Houston,? writes historian Allen Guttmann, ?Charles Williams openly celebrated Johnson?s triumph and a white man ?slashed his throat from ear to ear?; in Little Rock, two blacks were killed by a group of whites after an argument about the fight in a streetcar; in Roanoke, Virginia, a gang of white sailors injured scores of blacks.? While at least 20 people were killed and many more injured, the newspapers that wrote up the match and the film company that recorded it made tremendous profits.

Like Trump?s campaign, the Johnson-Jeffries bout both played off existing racial tensions and greatly exacerbated them. The gladiatorial nature of boxing lends itself to allegories about group pride and dominance, and Trump clearly picked up some tips from his longtime friend Don King, the sport?s most shameless promoter and stirrer of the racial pot. This summer, before saner heads prevailed, Trump even asked King, who served time for manslaughter after kicking a man to death, and Mike Tyson, the former heavyweight champ and convicted rapist, to speak on his behalf at the Republican convention?Trump?s twisted idea of reaching out to black voters.


What he didn?t learn from Don King about racism as entertainment, Trump gleaned from his favorite art form: the quasi-sport of professional wrestling, which took the tradition of exploiting America?s racial anxieties, blew it up, and turned it into a highly profitable, long-running drama. Boxing always had a show-biz aspect to it; Jack Johnson made off-ring dollars on the vaudeville circuit. But professional wrestling is an even purer example of strife sold as entertainment?and it became the perfect place for Trump to hone his act as a bigger-than-life, self-inflating, insult-flinging antihero, while taking notes from impresarios like Vince McMahon, the CEO of Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment.

Trump hasn?t merely been an avid fan. He?s hosted two editions of WrestleMania, and participated in numerous story lines through the decades. In 2007?s ?Battle of the Billionaires,? he shaved McMahon?s head after his own wrestler bested McMahon?s champion. Atlantic writer Vann R. Newkirk II described the proceedings as a virtual precursor to the Trump campaign: ?phallic boasts, celebrity endorsements, crowd-pleasing grandstanding, lots of bloody violence, and constant references to polls by Trump.?

While it has become déclassé in American marketing to traffic too openly or obviously in racial stereotypes, pro wrestling never stopped. As recently as 2008, you could still see Kamala, a tribal boogeyman from ?deepest, darkest Africa,? performing in face and chest paint and wielding a spear. African American wrestlers still pose as pimps and ghetto ?thugs.? Latinos fare no better, often done up in stereotypical garb?bandannas and ?wife-beater? t-shirts?with equally offensive backstories. One of the best-known Latino wrestling teams, Los Guerreros, performed under the motto: ?Lying, cheating, and stealing.?

The pleasure of professional wrestling is that it blurs distinctions not only between sports and entertainment, but between reality and fiction. Wrestling fans bristle at the accusation that the sport is ?fake,? since the athletic prowess needed to perform in the ring is indeed genuine. And if you ask them about the racially stereotyped characters, many will say that they?re not meant to be taken seriously, that they?re just jokes.

Trump?s campaign has translated those blurred distinctions into the political arena. His outrageous comments are shielded by the plausible deniability afforded a WWE hype-master. When he suggested this summer that only ?Second Amendment people? would be able to deal with Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Paul Ryan shrugged it off as a ?joke gone bad.? Earlier in the campaign, when Trump fell into a fake Chinese accent while speaking about trade deals??We want deal??it barely stirred a ripple of protest. It was just Trump being Trump.

Over-the-top vulgarity and tacky spectacle?the stocks-in-trade of professional wrestling?have defined Trump?s presidential campaign from the get-go. His campaign launch could have been scripted and produced by WWE: the grand escalator entrance, the whooping audience stocked with hired actors, the racial taunting of Mexican immigrants. ?They?re bringing drugs,? Trump thundered, Los Guerreros?style. ?They?re bringing crime. They?re rapists.? His rallies are WWE-style events, too, complete with his own hype-master?anti-immigration crusader and campaign adviser Stephen Miller, who whips the crowds into a frenzy before the candidate triumphantly takes the stage.

The appeal of Trump?s act also draws on a related tradition in American entertainment: that of the insult comic. At the National Review, John Podhoretz called Trump the heir to Howard Stern and Andrew Dice Clay, those ace purveyors of the (white) American id. ?Guys like the Dice Man and Stern,? Podhoretz observed, ?had been told and taught and trained by respectable middlebrow culture to believe that their tastes and desires were piggish and thuggish and gross, and they said, ?So be it!?? For insult comics, nothing is off-limits. Just the way Trump and his fans like it.

Trump?s pose as a fearless taboo-breaker may be the best explanation of how he?s sold a plutocratic agenda (which includes getting rid of the estate tax) to a base that consists largely of older white men. Contrary to most media accounts, this is not really a crowd of ?working-class whites.? Most of the men at Trump rallies are Tea Party types, solidly middle class. But culturally, they are drawn to the plebeian forms that Trump so expertly deploys: the insult humor of stand-up comedy, the over-the-top stereotypes and cartoonish conflicts of pro wrestling, and the Darwinian ethos of boxing. More deeply, they are taken by the white man?s nostalgia of Trump?s message, his call for a return to an older style of bluntness?and offensiveness?about race and ethnicity that once pervaded the culture, reinforcing white supremacy under the guise of amusement.

Trump is routinely described in the media as a ?real-estate mogul.? But for more than a decade, he has been a professional entertainer who licenses his name for profit. His real-estate deals routinely fall apart. As a politician, he doesn?t display even a minimal interest in enacting policy or advancing an agenda. His specialty is performing his insult-flinging, ?king of the world? character while flogging his eponymous brand. Like others before him in the worlds of boxing, stand-up comedy, and professional wrestling, he?s found a lucrative niche market in exploiting racial tensions for their entertainment value.

It appears that Trump?s market really is a niche?that what drives some voters to him drives more of them away. It?s tempting to take comfort in such political math. But when it comes to Trump?s brand of racial showmanship, what happens in Vegas doesn?t stay in Vegas. As the riots that followed Jack Johnson?s win back in 1910 remind us, what starts out as a racist spectacle in the ring too often ends up spilling blood in reality.

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Hope dashed for those who believed in demon fairies

A creature promoted as being a ?demon fairy? or ?winged nightmare? by those who thought it matched a description in Revelations, has been revealed as a hoax.

alien-fairy-real

Synchronicity. Or something. Coincidences can seem very strange some times. Earlier today, I received an inquiry from Dr. Michael Heiser asking if I knew of anyone who had looked into this monstrous object since it reeks of a hoax of the likes we?ve seen before. I hadn?t seen this one. I did my typical Googling and inquired from others who might know more about it including the Group of Fort on FB, my crowd-sourcing means of choice to get good info on Fortean topics. Within hours I had the answer that this was revealed to be a hoax. Except, the exposé had just been posted yesterday on YouTube and posted on the researcher?s page today.

The story goes back three years and involves notorious hoaxer, Jaime Mausson from Mexico. Known as Mexico?s foremost ufologist, he?s been involved in hoax alien photos, the Roswell slides, the Metepec creature and more. In fact, you can pretty much guarantee that whatever he claims is the real deal is a total fake. He claims he?s the one who gets duped and that he has scientific evidence and documentation of all these things, but they never pan out and are often easily unmasked not long after. Is he gullible or fraudulent? Does it matter?

Back in July, 2016, SkyWatch TV, a religious-themed media outlet, featured researchers Richard Shaw and L.A. (Lynn) Marzulli who flew to Mexico several years ago to see this thing, preserved in liquid. They revealed it in Watchers #10, saying that based on X-rays and local stories, they believe it is a ?real creature?. Watchers is a series of documentaries put out by Shaw and Marzulli based on their idea that UFOs are related to fallen angels, the Watchers, come to earth. Marzulli, author of Nephilim Hybrids and books about other fringe ideas like this, presented the info on the creature to a UFO conference and in other outlets to promote the Watchers X DVD. Shaw and Marzulli explain in this clip why they felt it was probably a real thing and noticed it eerily resembled the creatures described in Revelations 9: 7-10, a herald for coming End Times ? it looked like a locust, face of man, wings, tails with stingers.

And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.

Or, they were evil fairies. Regardless, it gave them the creeps. They had X-rays done to reveal some internal structure that looked like a skeleton but also spherical beads that were concluded to be birdshot used to kill the creature. They were adamant that this was too elaborate to have been hoaxed. They presented the evidence to three veterinarians (who remained anonymous) that (they say) said it was real. Dr. Ricardo Rangel insisted DNA testing showed it was 98.5% human. Check out Jason Colavito?s blog from July 2016 when this news broke for more of the story. It?s obviously full of holes.

Jumping to yesterday, when this video was posted to SkyWatchTV?s channel and linked today on Marzulli?s blog, here is the story of the hoax reveal:

The researchers had paid $5,000 to get expert opinions on the creature. Marzulli insists that the three veterinarians were fooled so he was not gullible. Jaime Mausson had reportedly paid $10,000 for the creature. After examining the specimen outside the liquid for a while, the skin dried out revealing wood, glue, and plastic that a taxidermist had used to construct the thing. After hearing that the creature?s reality fell apart, Mausson still insisted ?It?s gotta be real!? Marzulli said he then reached out to zoologists via email who quickly ascertained the X-rays showed it was a hoax using some animal parts.

Well, we have to appreciate that Marzulli readily admitted they?d been taken. He insists he didn?t mean to mislead anyone. But?

Why did he go forward with such incredible assertions without checking with zoologists that so readily saw through it FIRST? Why did he put it on his DVD before thorough peer review? He claims that experts regularly refuse to touch this stuff because it?s ?woo-woo?, which is FALSE. And he still talks as if Mausson is respectable!

Marzulli remains blinded by cognitive dissonance because he is very much committed to the ideas that provide him with a livelihood but have no basis in nature, reality or what we already know to be true.

Dr. Heiser has written a post about the incident today. Head on over and read his version of the events that have transpired over the past few months. Marzulli had chastised him for being skeptical of the creature back in August:

The point of wanting the ?fairy? specimen tested under transparent peer review is to make sure it isn?t an example of this (anything look familiar?) X-rays don?t establish what material something is made of. Lots of material will show up on an X-ray. Sincere researchers have been duped before. I don?t want that to happen to Lynn or anyone else. If insisting on transparency with this sort of thing draws abuse for me, so be it. Let me go on record now as saying that I believe real scientific testing will show the specimen is not an unknown life form.

And, of course, he was right, concluding ?Jaime Maussan should not be trusted. Ever.? Heiser also notes that all involved didn?t do enough work up front, and that peer-review before going public is essential.

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Derek Gilbert of Skywatch TV talks to L.A. Marzulli who reveals the fairy creature was a fake.

Marzulli says he learned his lesson. I doubt it? Anyway, he still has high hopes for the Paracas skull.

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Hokkaido Gas to Start Second LNG Storage Tank at Ishikari Terminal

September 16th, 2016 11:15am Posted In: Natural Gas News, LNG, News By Country, Infrastructure, Storage, Natural Gas News Asia, Japan

Japanese gas distributors Hokkaido Gas? newly built 200,000 kl No.2 LNG tank at Ishikari terminal will become operational on September 17 by receiving the first delivery of LNG from a tanker.

In a statement issued September 16, the Japanese firm said the new tank will help expand the capacity at the terminal to 380,000 kl from 180,000 kl. The construction of the tank began in 2013. Hokkaido Gas owns the first and the second tank while third and the fourth tank is owned by Hokkaido Electric.

In June, Hokkaido Electric Power said it has started building the fourth storage tank at the terminal on Hokkaido, Japan?s second biggest island. The tank will have a capacity of 230,000 kl and is expected to be complete by October 2020. The expansion, the company said, will be able to improve the operational flexibility of Ishikari Bay New Port power plant which is currently under construction. 

In September 2015, Hokkaido Electric signed agreements to buy up to 330,000 metric ton/yr of LNG. The utility signed basic agreements with Kansai Electric Power and a unit of Petronas to buy up to three and two cargoes per year, respectively, for 10 years from April 2018.

Shardul Sharma


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Engie Finds Gas off Norway

September 16th, 2016 9:00am Posted In: Natural Gas News, News By Country, France, Norway, Natural Gas News Europe

French utility Engie (formerly GDF Suez) has discovered gas and oil in the Norwegian part of the North Sea, 6 km northeast of the Gjoa oil and gas field which it operates.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) and Tullow Oil said September 16 that drilling and testing the Cara prospect in licence 636 in the Norwegian North Sea has been completed by the Transocean Arctic drillship. Well 36/7-4 was drilled to a total depth of 2,702 metres in 349 metres of water. 

NPD said the well encountered a gas column of 50 metres and an oil column of 60 metres with the preliminary estimate of the discovery put at between 27 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) and 69mn boe.

Location of the Cara gas and oil find (Map credit: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate)

It said the well was formation-tested: the maximum production rate was 1.3mn m³/d gas through a 76/64-inch nozzle opening; the gas/oil ratio is roughly 16,000 m³ per m³ of oil.

Partners will now evaluate the possibility of linking this discovery to existing infrastructure at the nearby Engie-operated Gjoa field, it said. Licence 636 was awarded in the APA 2011 round and this is the first exploration well on it. Gjoa started production five years ago.

Engie is operator of licence 636 with a 30% stake. Japan?s Idemitsu has 30% equity, while Tullow and Norway-based start-up explorer Wellesley Petroleum each have 20% interests.

Tullow sold its interests in four blocks offshore Norway two weeks ago to Statoil, but its stake in licence 636 (Cara) was not among them. However Tullow has signaled that it plans to divest all its Norwegian assets.

Mark Smedley 


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Shah Deniz 3 on Hold: BP

September 16th, 2016 9:15am Posted In: Natural Gas News, News By Country, Azerbaijan, Caspian Focus, Exploration & Production, Natural Gas News Europe

UK?s  supermajor BP needs  to appraise deeper located gas and condensate horizons of the giant  Shah Deniz  field  in Caspian to prepare a program for its further development.  But currently the project is on hold as the company focused on Shah Deniz 2 development, BP regional president Gordon Birrell said.

? Shah Deniz  3 remains a very exciting opportunity for us,  at some point we will drill deeper in the field. But we don?t have a firm plans at the moment as we are very focused on Shah Deniz 2?, said Birrell answering a question from NGW.   ?At not a distance future we will drill wells as we have to appraise how deep the reservoir is and how to develop it. But currently we hold it opportunity for the future ?, he added.

A 3D seismic was shot in a northern part of Shah Deniz where no data was acquired before, he said.  

BP announced a discovery of extra reserves in Shah Deniz deeper horizons  in 2007. The SDX-04 appraisal and exploration well, some 70 kilometres south east of Baku, discovered a new high pressure reservoir in a deeper structure below the currently producing reservoir. The well was drilled to a Caspian-record depth of more than 7,300 metres in the south western part of Shah Deniz.

BP?s exploration  vice-president Greg Riley is more cautious about future development in Shah Deniz. ? When we carried out seismic programmes in the shallow water Absheron Peninsula (SWAP) area we took advantage of this and conducted additional survey in order to acquire some seismic data to see what opportunities exist on Shah Deniz beyond the current development?, he told NGW without giving more details.

According to the Socar sources deep located gas saturated horizons in Shah Deniz presents more challenges for development. ?The abnormally high pressure that was encountered during drilling of the SDX-4 well  did not allow to fully delineate the new structure below the currently producing Fasila Suite? the sources said.

According different estimates the Shah Deniz 3 reserves are between 300bn m3 to 500bn m3 of natural gas. The  Shah Deniz consortium?s contract runs until 2048 after extension agreement signed in 2013 between its partners and the government.

BP collected, processed and interpreted seismic data from its other deep-water Caspian project Shafag-Asiman, Birrell said.

?We do want to drill it but we are just waiting a rig being available.  A high quality rig is needed for that prospect as it could be very high pressure?I don?t have a firm schedule for drilling?, he said.

State player Socar is ready to provide to its partner a new semisubmersible that is under construction in CSC yard not from Baku , the company first vice president Khoshbakht Yusifzade told a conference in Baku August 29. The rig is scheduled to launch in April next year.

Azerbaijan desk 


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Indian OVL Buys Additional 11% Stake in Russian Vankorneft

September 15th, 2016 2:00pm Posted In: Natural Gas News, News By Country, Russia, Natural Gas News Asia, India

ONGC Videsh (OVL), the overseas arm of ONGC, has signed an agreement with Rosneft to buy an additional 11% stake in Vankorneft, which owns the east Siberian Vankor oil and gas field.

No financial details were provided but in May, the Indian state owned energy major closed the deal to acquire 15% stake for $1.27bn. After the closing of the present transaction, OVL?s share in Vankorneft will rise to 26%. The agreement was signed by OVL CEO Narendra K Verma Rosneft boss Igor Sechin in Moscow September 14.

Vankorneft is a 100% subsidiary of Rosneft, and Vankor is the largest oil and gas field discovered in Russia in the past 25 years. There are plans to produce about 500mn mt of oil and about 182bn m³ of gas jointly by the Russian and Indian sides at this field alone. 

As on January 1, 2016 Vankor field 2P reserves by PRMS classification are 265mn mt of oil and condensate and 88bn m³ of gas, according to Rosneft website.

?The acquisition of additional 11 % bears significant strategic importance and would add about 30% to the existing ONGC Videsh?s production at the current rate and approximately 2.2mn mt of oil and 1bn m³ of gas annually,? ONGC said in a statement.

In addition to OVL, Rosneft has signed a separate agreement with a consortium of Indian state owned energy firms to sell stake in Vankorneft. Companies led by Oil India Limited along with Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat PetroResources signed the agreement to buy 23.9% stake in the Rosneft subsidiary at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum earlier this year.

With US and EU sanctions in place, Moscow is looking to expand energy exports in fast growing Asian economies such as China and India.   

Shardul Sharma


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