Friday, August 30, 2013

Gran Tierra Energy Inc - GTE.t

Gran Tierra Energy Inc - GTE.t is advancing interests in producing and prospective properties in Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Brazil.

On August 6, 2013 the company reported Numbers

Gran Tierra Energy Inc. (“Gran Tierra Energy”) (NYSE MKT: GTE, TSX: GTE), a company focused on oil and gas exploration and production in South America, today announced its financial and operating results for the quarter ended June 30, 2013. All dollar amounts are in United States (“U.S.”) dollars unless otherwise indicated.
Financial and operating highlights for the quarter include:

• Quarterly oil and natural gas production net after royalty (“NAR”) and adjusted for inventory changes, was 22,131 barrels of oil equivalent per day (“BOEPD”), an increase of 57% from the comparable period in 2012. Production before adjustment for inventory changes in July 2013 averaged approximately 23,000 BOEPD NAR. As a result of strong production performance in the first half of 2013, including continued plateau production at the Costayaco field in Colombia, guidance for 2013 has been increased from 20,000 BOEPD NAR to a range between 21,000 and 22,000 BOEPD NAR and before adjustment for inventory changes;

• Revenue and other income for the quarter was $168.8 million, a 47% increase over the comparable period in 2012;
• Net income for the quarter was $47.8 million, representing $0.17 per share basic and diluted, an increase of 265% compared with net income of $13.1 million, or $0.05 per share basic and diluted, in the comparable period in 2012;
• Funds flow from operations increased to $200.1 million in the first half of 2013 from $116.6 million in the comparable period in 2012;
• Cash and cash equivalents were $282.0 million at June 30, 2013, compared with $212.6 million at December 31, 2012;"





Tuesday, August 27, 2013

US Maritime Disasters

In 1865 The SS Sultana was commissioned by the war department to transport just-released Union prisoners of war back home. The ship was legally registered to carry less than 400 people, but with the government paying $5 per soldier, 2,300 soldiers were packed in so tightly that they could barely stand.

At 2 a.m., April 27, three of the ship’s boilers exploded since they were rapidly and poorly repaired in order to get “first dibs” of the POWs. Fire quickly spread throughout the ship and those who survived jumped into the river and drowned. More than 1,700 soldiers died and the Sultana sank about seven miles north of Memphis, Tennessee.
Built in 1891, the 235-foot passenger steamship PS General Slocum was involved in a number of incidents, but none would compare to the disaster on June 15, 1904, when 1,358 passengers boarded the ship for an annual church event up the East River. Shortly after launch, a fire began in the forward section and within the hour, the fire had spread to a paint locker that contained flammable liquids. Unfortunately, the fire hoses had rotted away, the lifeboats were bolted in place, and life jackets were unusable. To make matters worse, the captain sailed into headwinds that actually spread the fire over the majority of the ship. By the time it sank off the Bronx shore, 1,021 people had died.
On July 24, 1915, the passenger ship SS Eastland was docked on the Chicago River preparing to depart for Lake Michigan. The ship had been chartered to take Western Electric Co. employees and their family members on a picnic. As the 2,700 passengers boarded the ship, it began to list while still moored to the dock. Eventually, the weight caused the ship to roll onto its side, spilling hundreds of passengers into the river with the rest trapped underwater in the interior cabins. The disaster killed 844 passengers, mostly women and children.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft from six fleet carriers attacked the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet in the port of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The two attack waves destroyed or severely damaged many vessels including several of the U.S. Navy’s prized battleships: the USS Arizona, California, Oklahoma and West Virginia. The Arizona sustained eight direct bomb hits, one of which penetrated the deck and the black-powder magazine. The subsequent explosion and fire ripped through the forward part of the ship. The Arizona sank at its mooring taking the lives of 1,177 of the 1,400 sailors on board making it the greatest loss of life on any warship in U.S. history. Its fires burned for more than two days and oil continues to seep up from the wreckage to this day. In all, 2,402 Americans were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Today, a 184-foot memorial structure spans the mid-portion of the Arizona and welcomes an average of 1.5 million visitors a year.
On April 16, 1947, a 437-foot French-registered vessel SS Grandcamp was docked in the port of Texas City on the Texas Gulf Coast. Its cargo included 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate that was used for fertilizer and high explosives. After a small fire started in the cargo hold, the captain ordered his men to steam out the fire in order to protect the cargo. The steam actually liquefied the ammonium nitrate and raised the temperature of the hold to 850 degrees Fahrenheit, which caused the water around the ship to boil. At 9:12 a.m., the ammonium nitrate detonated with an explosive force that shattered windows 40 miles away, ignited nearby oil refineries, destroyed hundreds of buildings and even sheared off the wings of overhead planes. The explosion, dubbed the “Texas City Disaster,” injured thousands and killed an estimated 600 people.
The USS Thresher was a 3,700-ton, nuclear-powered attack submarine commissioned in August 1961. On April 9, 1963, the Thresher sailed to an area 220 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and began a series of deep-sea trials. The next morning, the accompanying ship USS Skylark received a garbled message: “Minor difficulty … have positive up-angle, attempting to blow.” At 9:18 a.m., the Skylark’s sonar picked up the sounds of a submarine breaking apart. The submarine was found broken into six major sections at a depth of 8,400 feet. Investigations proved that the Thresher suffered from a failure in the piping system that caused a reactor shutdown and a loss of propulsion. Timed with the inability to blow the ballast tanks due to frozen valves, the submarine dropped like a brick and imploded with 129 members on board. The U.S. Navy lost another nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Scorpion, five years later, to unknown causes in an incident in the Atlantic. There have been no incidents since then.
The 697-foot liner SS Andrea Doria offered passengers three outdoor swimming pools and state-of-the-art cabins. The ship’s design included 11 watertight compartments and lifeboats that could be launched even if the ship’s list reached 20 degrees. On July 25, 1956, it was headed for New York with 1,706 passengers. At the same time, the 528-foot MS Stockholm was on its transatlantic voyage back to Sweden. The two ships charted similar courses at full speed completely unaware of each other’s presence. Once the ships spotted each other, it was too late and crucial errors in steering only made it worse. The bow of the Stockholm plunged into the Andrea Doria’s starboard side, ripping open seven decks. Within minutes the ship had listed 20 degrees and after 11 hours, the Andrea Doria sank. 1,660 passengers were rescued while 46 people died as a consequence of the collision. Today, the ship lies at a depth of almost 250 feet and has been called “The Mount Everest of Dive Sites” due to the challenging dive depth, dangerous currents, and fishing nets that drape the rusted hull.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Gold of the Achaemenid Empire

The Achaemenid Empire (c. 550–330 BCE), was an empire in Western and Central Asia, founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great. The dynasty draws its name from king Achaemenes, who ruled Persis between 705 BCE and 675 BCE. The empire expanded to eventually rule over much of the ancient world which at around 500 BCE stretched from the Indus Valley in the east, to Thrace and Macedon on the northeastern border of Greece, making it the biggest empire the world had yet seen. The Achaemenid Empire would eventually control Egypt as well.

Panoramic view of the Naqsh-e Rustam. This site contains the tombs of four Achaemenid kings, including those of Darius I and Xerxes.
In 480 BCE, it is estimated that 50 million people lived in the Achaemenid Empire or about 44% of the world's population at the time, making it by population the largest empire.

Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) defeated the Persian armies at Granicus (334 BCE), followed by Issus (333 BCE), and lastly at Gaugamela (331 BCE). Afterwards, he marched on Susa and Persepolis which surrendered in early 330 BCE.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sotheby’s to Auction Rare Blue Diamond

Sotheby's auction house announced Monday that the stone, “The Premier Blue,” will be sold on Oct. 7 as part of Sotheby’s regular twice-yearly auction series.

The stone weighs 7.59 carats. Its size, vivid blue color and round cut — highly unusual for colored diamonds — make it exceptionally rare, and Sotheby’s expects the stone to bring about $19 million, Quek Chin Yeow, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s in Asia, said in an interview before Monday’s announcement. That, he said, would be a record per-carat price for any diamond.
Blue diamonds seldom hit the market and have been coveted by royals and celebrities for centuries, while a round cut is rarely used in coloured stones because of the high wastage.

The term "fancy" is used to describe a diamond of intense colour, while a gem's saturation grading ranges from light to vivid for coloured diamonds. In April, a rare 5.3-carat fancy deep-blue diamond was sold for £6.2 million ($9.5 million) at a London auction, then setting a record for price-per-carat at $1.8 million.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Rare Gemstones IV

Sri Lanka Padparadscha sapphires are a delicate color that is a combination of pink/coral and orange/red.

Padparadscha sapphires are one of the most expensive sapphires, with prices similar to those fetched by fine rubies or emeralds. Prices for padparadscha sapphires are difficult to determine because some value them at the highest range of a pink sapphire at $4,800/carat, while others place them in their own category of up to $30,000/carat. Much depends on the size and quality of the stones.
Benitoite is a rare blue barium titanium silicate mineral, found in hydrothermally altered serpentinite.

It was first described in 1907 by George D. Louderback, who named it benitoite for its occurrence near the headwaters of the San Benito River in San Benito County, California. It is the sole source of gemstone quality material. Benitoite is California's official state gem.
Demantoid garnet was discovered in 1868 in Russia's western central Ural Mountains. Possessing an unusual green color and a dispersion greater than that of diamond, it quickly became a treasured and expensive gemstone. From the time of the demantoids find until about 1919, they were popular in Russia as Fabergé made jewelry with them.

A significant new find of demantoid and andradite took place in Namibia in 1996 at what is now dubbed the "Green Dragon" mine. Around 2009, there was a significant discovery of demantoid and andradite garnet in Madagascar.
Black opal is the rarest and most valuable of all opals. 97% of all opals come from Australia. Opal is Australia's national gemstone.

Opal is unique among gemstones. No two are ever exactly alike and the colours and patterns within each stone can change with the angle of view.
Taaffeite is named after its discoverer Richard Taaffe who found the first cut and polished gem in November 1945.

In 1951, chemical and X-ray analysis confirmed the principal constituents of taaffeite as beryllium, magnesium and aluminium. Taaffeite occurs in carbonate rocks alongside fluorite, mica, spinel and tourmaline. This extremely rare mineral is found in alluvial deposits in Sri Lanka and southern Tanzania.