India expects coal capacity to swell by a fifth in three years

Chief Engineer at the country’s Federal Power Ministry, Ghanshyam Prasad, said coal capacity is likely to reach 238GW by 2022

India expects coal-fired power capacity to grow by 22% in three years. That’s according to the Chief Engineer at the country’s Federal Power Ministry, Ghanshyam Prasad, who Reuters reported as stating coal capacity is likely to reach 238GW by 2022.

India’s Coal Minister, Pralhad Joshi previously said annual coal demand rose by 9.1% during the year ending March 2019, noting the figure hit 991.35 million tonnes, driven primarily by utilities, which accounted for three-quarters of total demand.

Courtesy Wikepedia

India’s electricity demand rose by 36% in the seven years up to April 2019, while coal-fired generation capacity during the period rose by three-quarters to 194.44GW.

In 2040 It’s Coal, Gas and Oil with Renewables Hardly Making a Difference

The vast expenditure on renewables during the past decade has seen installed capacity equivalent to a mere 2% of global energy demand. The world remains and will remain dependent on fossil fuels well into the 21st century if not beyond.

A new report by Woods MAckenzie forecasts that coal, oil and gas will still contribute about 85 per cent of primary energy supply by 2040, compared with 90 per cent today, jeopardising efforts to contain the worst impacts of climate change.

Energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie said 1 TW of installed solar and wind capacity makes up around 8 per cent of total power generation as of 2019. This equates to just a fraction of total energy consumption.

The deamnd for energy is not coming from teh developed western economies, it is the emergining economic playing catch-up in Asia and Africa that will see an increase in energy deamnd of 25% though 2040.

If the World was to aggressively pursue compliance with the PAris accord and the Green New Deal, developing countries would be forever remain in energy deficit and the wealth transfer that is renewable subsidies would continue to enrich the top 1%.

Renewables have a role to play where they can be supported by economics, particularly in remote areas lacking energy infrastructure, but for much of the world, fossil fuels will remain the energy source of choice for at least the next 50 years.

Does “Gordon Gekko” Target Female CEOs?

Gordon Gekko from the film “Wall Street” Courtesy 20th Century Fox/The Everrett Collection

Do activist investors target female CEOs.

WSJ’s John D Stoll seems to believe they may well do so. He reports that academics have started to take a look at potential bias after a string of prominent women leaders—including Marissa Mayer ( Yahoo ), Mary Barra (GM), Meg Whitman (HP), Indra Nooyi ( Pepsi ) and Sandra Cochran (Cracker Barrel)—had battles with activists, who are almost exclusively men. But was the activism targetted towards women seen either as easy targets of under-performers in a rough and tumble corporate world?

Although women make up half of the nation’s workforce, only 5 percent of Fortune 1000 companies have female chief executives. Now, new research from Arizona State University reports that female CEOs are far more likely to be pressured and second-guessed by shareholders than men occupying the same leadership position.

A recent study from Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business examined “shareholder activism,” which occurs when shareholders seek to affect a corporation’s behavior by exercising their rights as owners. Though shareholders don’t run a company, there are ways for them to influence the board of directors and top management.

Reported in the 2016 paper, “The Glare of the Spotlight: Female Leadership and Shareholder Activism,” Christine Shropshire, associate professor of management at the W. P. Carey School of Business, noticed that a disproportionate amount of shareholder activism was aimed at companies with women in charge. The research examined shareholder proposals at Fortune 1000 companies during the time period 2003 to 2013.

“Controlling for other reasons investors target certain firms, our models show that gender alone explains significant activism specifically toward female CEOs,” Shropshire said. “All else held equal, female CEOs have a 27 percent likelihood of facing activism, while their male counterparts have a near zero predicted likelihood of being targeted.”

Christine Shropshire, associate professor of management at the W. P. Carey School of Business

If I were an activist investor keen to maximise profit I would certainly consider the temperament of the CEO and the BoD, as public corporate activism is risky and expensive. That said more than likely women CEOs with less M&A experience might indeed make a target corporation with unrealized shareholder value more attractive.

Gordon of course will deny any bias, indeed Gordon will deny just about everything!

Leeches, they are some of the sweetest tucker you’re ever likely to find when lost in the outback

Leeched Courtesy BBC

Here is an excellent read (with the occasional typographic error) for anyone who ventures in the wilds. The US Navy SEAL Survival Handbook.

Some years ago together with a colleague I was doing geological traverses across the Earaheedy Basin in the deserts of Western Australia – in January. Mapping along a traverse and only navigating with a compass in the early morning, I walked across the stratigraphy and then reversed course to locate the vehicle parked in thick scrub. My colleague was several kilometres away exploring access options to the west.

Counting paces (before portable GPS) I returned on the reverse compass bearing but could not locate the vehicle. Given that midday temperatures were in the high 40s I quickly realised that this was a potentially life threatening event. Important in this situation not panic. I sat down had a cup of tea and a biscuit and developed a strategy. I very carefully walked to the east 400 metres – no vehicle. I retraced my steps and traversed a mere 100 metres to the west to locate the vehicle.

An excellent read with entertaining anecdotes and much useful information. The overarching message, go prepared and when faced with a challenge avoid panic, sit and have a cup of tea and a biscuit.

The leeches comment is on page 218.

36 Million User Accounts Used to Study Corporate Misconduct – Is Yours?

Ashley Madison Home Page

Remember back in 2015 when the dating site, Ashley Madison (AM), was hacked and 36 million user details were posted online, causing some level of personal angst for those named? Finance faculty members John M. Griffin and Samuel Kruger from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin published a study yesterday, using the AM data and public records, of the relationship between spousal infidelity and corporate misconduct in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. There was a surprisingly strong correlation within the data.

Griffin and Kruger examined professional behavior in 4 groupings totalling more than 11,200 individuals: Chicago police officers with substantial complaints, financial advisors engaging in misconduct, US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) white-collar criminals, and CEOs and CFOs of firms that engage in misconduct. In all 4 settings, they measured the relation between professional misconduct and personal usage of AM by matching data on individuals in the professional setting to AM transaction data. The first 3 settings demonstrated a link between personal AM usage and professional misconduct. The fourth setting goes a step further by linking the personal conduct of CEOs and CFOs to corporate outcomes. Detailed firm-level data allowed the researchers to examine this last setting most thoroughly.

They concluded that police officers and financial advisors who use the infidelity website are significantly more likely to engage in professional misconduct. Results are similar for US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) defendants accused of white-collar crimes, and companies with chief executive officers (CEOs) or chief financial officers (CFOs) who use the website are more than twice as likely to engage in corporate misconduct.

“This is the first study that’s been able to look at whether there is a correlation between personal infidelity and professional conduct,” Kruger said. “We find a strong correlation, which tells us that infidelity is informative about expected professional conduct.”

“More broadly, our findings suggest that personal and professional lives are connected and cut against the common view that ethics are predominantly situational. This supports the classical view that virtues such as honesty and integrity influence a person’s thoughts and actions across diverse contexts and has potentially important implications for corporate recruiting and codes of conduct. A possible implication of our findings is that the recent focus on eliminating sexual misconduct in the workplace may have the auxiliary effect of reducing fraudulent workplace activity”.


Read the Paper
We study the connection between personal and professional behavior by introducing usage of a marital infidelity website as a measure of personal conduct. Police officers and financial advisors who use the infidelity website are significantly more likely to engage in professional misconduct. Results are similar for US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) defendants accused of white-collar crimes, and companies with chief executive officers (CEOs) or chief financial officers (CFOs) who use the website are more than twice as likely to engage in corporate misconduct. The relation is not explained by a wide range of regional, firm, executive, and cultural variables. These findings suggest that personal and workplace behavior are closely related.


The final moments of Deepwater Horizon

On April 20, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect, a catastrophic failure on the Deepwater Horizon platform resulted in a massive oil spill considered to be the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry and estimated to be 8% to 31% larger in volume than the previous largest, the Ixtoc oil spill, also in the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. Federal Government estimated the total discharge at 4.9 million barrels (210 million US gal; 780,000 m3). After several failed efforts to contain the flow, the well was declared sealed on September 19, 2010.

The ultimate cause of the blow-out was a poor cement job, undetected because a Bond Log was not conducted. This resulted in ingress of formation fluids into the well-bore when heavy drilling mud was circulated out and replaced with sea-water, placing the well in an under-balanced situation, prior to planned well suspension as a producer.

This should not have produced the uncontrolled flow to surface however and the BOP should have been capable of controlling flow. This video examines the failure of the BOP and does so well. Differential pressure between the tubing and annular pressures resulted in flexing of the drill-string out of the path of the blind-shear rams which would normally have sheared the drillpipe and contained the well.

However, there was one decision that ultimately lead to the inability of the crew to control the well. In their haste to de-mob the rig, instead of circulating out the drilling mud to monitored mud tanks on the rig, the crew elected to dump the mud directly off-rig to a waiting barge. The barge had no ability to accurately monitor mud volumes. If the mud tanks on the rig had been used the crew would have quickly seen that the volumes being reported to the mud tanks were increasingly greater than the volumes of seawater being circulated into the well. The crew would immediately have realised that they had a well control issue, would have circulated heavier mud weights and would likely have controlled the well.

The US Government reports on the Deepwater Horizon investigation are available below.

Deepwater Horizon Final Report
Volume I – US Coast Guard Report
Volume II – US Department of the Interior Report 

Deepwater Horizon Report Appendices

The Internal BP investigation report on the Deepwater Horizon accident can be viewed and downloaded below.