A Great Year For Oil

Grind for March 5th, 2019
“In politics nothing is contemptible.” – Benjamin Disraeli

Out Of This World

The Headline

Linux computer system stranded in space

The Grind

In August 2017, NASA sent a Linux computer system to the International Space Station (ISS) to test its data processing abilities.

The system, comprised of two Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) servers, has supercomputer processing power. The three original computers on board the ISS, which cost $8 million each and took 10 years to build, rely on Earthbound computer for data processing.

The HPE servers were supposed to return to Earth in November 2018, but the flight was postponed following the failure of a Russian rocket.

The Details

HPE is eager to retrieve and examine the servers as it works with NASA to plan a manned trip to Mars. Such a trip would require a computer that can handle massive amounts of data on site (because it would take 40+ minutes to transfer data between Earth and Mars).

HPE senior architect Adrian Kasbergen, who spoke about the project this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, hopes to retrieve the computer system from the ISS sometime the summer.

Good News

The Headline

Oil prices rebound after last year’s decline

The Grind

Oil prices are off to their best-ever start to a year, with US crude up 25% during the first two months.

We haven’t seen a January-February performance like this since 1984.

Prices jumped sharply on Wednesday following confirmation from Saudi Arabia that OPEC would continue cutting production. The announcement contradicts pleas from President Trump, who has urged OPEC to keep prices low.

Saudi Arabia has already reduced output by 400,000 barrels a day and is expected to push for more restrictions when it meets with OPEC members in April.

In the meantime, production in the US is at an all-time high with daily output in February breaking 12 million barrels.

The Details

Saudi Arabia’s announcement sent WTI futures up 2.6% Wednesday to reach $56.94 a barrel and Brent crude up 1.8% to reach $66.39 a barrel.

The rebound is somewhat unexpected following a dismal fourth quarter.

Crude prices plummeted more than 40% from their multiyear peak in October and hit a low on Christmas Eve amid a larger stock market plunge that broke records set in 1918.

The crash was exacerbated by the government shutdown, trade tensions with China, and fears that a global economic slowdown would weaken the demand for oil and other commodities.

Despite the rebound, many continue to worry about the impact of US sanctions on oil-producers Iran and Venezuela.

Did you know… All clams start out as males; some decide to become females at some point in their lives.