The Tehrani Breakfast Club

Please check out my review of Offside for Sheila’s Iranian film blogathon. I was so thrilled to be asked to participate. And I feel a little smarter now that I’ve seen the movie. Check it out!

WSJ Writes About Cara Ellison Corp Q4 Earnings

I guess we did okay last quarter.

Cara Ellison Corp. (CEX) Q4 earnings surged on strong oil prices, improved refining margins and a gain on the sale of an interest in a US pipeline company, and it booked more oil and gas reserves than it produced last year.
The world’s third largest publicly traded oil company logged earnings of $5.3 billion, or $2.64 a share, up from $3.07 billion, or $1.53 a share, a year earlier. The latest period included a $400 million gain from the sale of an interest in US pipeline operator Shelby Pipeline Co. Revenue jumped 11% to $54.03 billion. Ellison’s “clean” earnings per share of $2.44, which exclude the asset sale, beat analysts’ expectations of $2.41 a share. Strong refining and chemicals results and cost efficiencies helped Cara Ellison Corp. beat estimates, said Jerome Schultz, an analyst at David Weil.
Houston-based Ellison Corp. said its quarterly production edged up 0.4% to 2.79 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, while its total 2010 production increased 2.2% to 2.76 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. The company said it plans to increase output this year by 1%, an estimate that is in line with the guidance the company offered investors last year.
That guidance assumes that exploratory drilling in the deepwater of the Gulf of Mexico will resume later this year.
The company, however, is concerned about the continued delays in the permitting process in the Gulf of Mexico, which could potentially force Ellison Corp. to reduce its annual production growth forecast, CEO Cara Ellison said.
The head of Cara Ellison Corp. pointed to some analysts estimates that say that 300,000 barrels of oil a day of total Gulf production have already been lost, a figure likely to increase over time and which could end up representing a sizable chunk of the spare capacity that the industry expects to see. “That will impact prices and that will retard economic growth,” Ellison said. “It is time to get back to work.”
Ellison’s results echoed those of other oil companies that this week reported surging quarterly profits driven by rising oil prices and improved refining margins. Oil giant ConocoPhillips (COP) reported Wednesday a 60% surge in earnings, while independent producer Occidental Petroleum Corp.’s (OXY) fourth-quarter earnings rose 29%. ExxonMobil is scheduled to report quarterly results Monday.
Oil prices have increased more than 70% since December 2008, while natural gas prices are trading about at about $4 per million British thermal units. That is down nearly 25% from January 2010.
Chief Financial Officer Owen Kind said the company plans to spend $750 million buying back its own shares in the first quarter, the same amount it spent in the fourth quarter. He added that the company’s international upstream earnings of $3.9 billion were boosted by foreign exchange effects of $190 million.

The Amanda Knox Movie

God forgive me, but my DVR is set to record the Amanda Knox movie on Lifetime tomorrow. The trailer looks ridiculous, with lots of blood smeared all over the walls and Hayden Panettiere looking oddly fat (how is that possible, and why would they make Amanda Knox look fat??) in a giant bright green coat.

I will keep my fingers crossed that it’s a halfway decent portrayal of the events in Perugia. My heart still goes out to Knox. Last week, I read that her parents had been indicted for alleging that Amanda was abused at the hands of the Italian police. I just felt like that poor family has had enough and the Italian justice system is being vindictive and evil for no discernible reason.

February Bookstacks 3 and 4

This might be getting out of control.

The top book on the second bookstack, Give Me This Night by Vanessa James, is actually written by Sally Beauman about four years before the epic Destiny. I bought it used from Amazon and it arrived in very good shape – thank goodness.

Second February Bookstack

I am dangerous in a B&N. I am giving “traditional” romances a try, particularly regencies. I’ve never read one in my life but there’s a first time for most things.

The book on the top, Sinful in Satin by Madeline Hunter, is so far very very good. I’ve only got to page sixteen but the writing is engaging. The first line: The funeral of a whore will be sparsely attended, no matter how celebrated and noble the whore’s patrons might have been. Love it.

Wicked Delights of the Bridal Bed looks like sheer, mindless fun and The Perfect Mistress by Victoria Alexander looks like it’s actually got a good plot. The rest are contemporary romances, with the exception of Mistress of the Game by Tilly Bagshawe. This book is based on a series started by Sidney Sheldon — and I lived on Sidney Sheldon as a teenager, so I’m curious to see if I still love those glammy stories.


If you’re a Sylvia Plath fan, you do not want to miss this epic post by Sheila about Plath’s beautiful volume, Ariel. Sheila has a way of writing about Plath that knocks me to my knees. Check it out!

February Bookstack

I am *finally* getting paid for my writing (that feels marvelous, by the way) and went a little nuts with a trip to B&N. My overindulgence didn’t stop me from ordering a few more books from Amazon today, but I’m okay with that.

I finished 1984 by George Orwell earlier this week and wanted to scream with pleasure at how clear the writing is. That was an amazing read. It also influenced my purchase of “Brave New Worlds”, an anthology of dystopian fiction.

I picked up The Walk-In by Gary Bernsten because I loved the back copy. It just sounded fast paced and modern, so I grabbed it. Lone Star Noir was another spontaneous purchase. I love the Noir series – Wall Street Noir is, of course, one of my very favorite books.

Dear Everyone Not In Texas

Dear Everyone Not In Texas,

Help us! We are freezing down here. Conditions began rocky this morning when I awoke to no internet, no ability to brew coffee. Indeed the a/c would not come on, and I was forced to take my morning toilette in the darkness like a savage. Upon arriving at Cara Ellison Corporation, I was welcomed with electricity aplenty – there was light and internet and coffee. But within moments, conditions began to worsen and have worsened all day with rolling blackouts. With no electricity, the traders, programmers, and analysts are idle. I have now returned to my home and have found the electricity flowing like the Colorado River, but there is no telling how long it may last.

I beg of you, everyone not in Texas, please start kneecapping environmentalists. Target their districts. Ban them from using Petrol. We – the oiliest state in the Union – should never have to worry about outages such as this. Word has come down that two burst pipes at coal fired plants have caused a massive bottleneck. This is not acceptable. Build more plants using clean natural gas (and there is so much of right now that producers can’t sell it even at a loss), coal, and nuclear energy. Destroy anyone who gets in your way. Any city in America, but especially Texas, should be able to take a quarter of the system off line with no effect at all.

Earlier today, before the burst pipes became public knowledge, I had a funny exchange with an Enron executive.

Sayeth he:

Why is electric power consumption a problem in the winter in Houston? Even with the cold front, it is difficult to imagine that electricity usage is exceeding summer A/C levels?!

My mind went directly to market forces, and I espoused an answer that we now know is completely wrong:

Because it isn’t profitable for the utilities to plan for these events. When electricity contracts are signed they’re marked to market at x. We are way above x. Therefore, the utilities are caught w/ o supply and don’t want to pay whatever will deliver reliable energy. Cmon, Enron boy, you should know this!!

Fortunately I was wrong. But my brief exchange with Enron Boy amused me since I found myself in the peculiar situation of explaining rolling blackouts to a man who was at the company when rolling blackouts were causing so much outrage in California, and which were being blamed largely on Enron.

Oh Irony, is there nothing you can’t do?

Dear everyone not in Texas, it is frightfully cold down here. Please send blankets, the ones not infected with your Yankee cooties.

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