TOP STORIES PAST 7 DAYS

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mango Crop Report from the National Mango Board for week ending February 05, 2013 ...






The Mango Crop Report from the National Mango Board has been updated. 








Please note - after you click on the link, you may need to refresh the page to see the most current report.

















Mango Market News




Mango volume shipped on week ending 2/5/2013 was approximately 1,111,417 boxes representing 7% more than the previous week.






Peru

Peru shipped approximately 1,038,468 boxes on week ending 2/5/2013 representing .09% more than the previous week. 


Projections for the next two weeks are 468,244 and 242,378 boxes respectively. 



Kent weekly average price per box at the Philadelphia entry port on week ending 2/5/2013 increased by .2%.



Kent weekly average price per box at the Southern California entry port on week ending 2/5/2013 decreased by 7%.




Kent weekly average price per box at the South Florida entry port on week ending 2/5/2013 increased by 6%.






Mexico 


Mexico shipped approximately 72,949 boxes on week ending 2/5/2013. 



Mexico's projections will be posted as soon as Empacadoras de Mango de Exportacion (EMEX) provides them. 








2013: MEXICAN MANGO DEAL KICKS OFF ...




By Will Cavan
Executive Director
International Mango Organization (IMO)
Publisher
Mango World Magazine (MWM) (IMO BLOG)






February 07, 2013






Winter Park, Florida -






A very select few Mexican mango importers are beginning to offer Ataulfo mangoes in the $7.00 per (4kg.) carton range.




The deal is expected to kick off in earnest this weekend.






For the first time, there is a limited offering of redskin (Haden variety) from Mexico.





The Ataulfo variety will predominate the deal until the end of May 2013.





Shippers are looking forward to repeat of last season that saw stellar returns for the yellow skinned fruit that averaged $6.00 per carton.







Volume will be in full swing by the middle of March forcing Peruvian shippers to cease operations as cost structures and shipping times make their fruit uncompetitive.



The Mexican mango deal will run until September 2013.






TOP TEN GLOBAL PAGEVIEWS CHANGE BY THE MINUTE AT Mango World Magazine (IMO BLOG) ...












Now (1;10 pm on 2/7/2013):



Top Ten Current Pageviews by Countries




Entry
Pageviews


United States


214



Germany


11



India


11



France


9



Pakistan


9



Philippines


8



Guatemala


7



Nigeria


5



Poland


5



Benin


4








Today:





Pageviews by Countries



Entry
Pageviews


United States


3,615



India


120



Germany


83



Philippines


66



United Kingdom


58



Australia


57



Peru


53



Mexico


46



Canada


34



Tanzania


32










Week:






Top Ten Weekly Pageviews by Countries



Entry
Pageviews


United States


24,473



India


765



Philippines


419



United Kingdom


316



Australia


308



Germany


258



Canada


257



Singapore


212



France


208



Pakistan


134









Month:






Pageviews by Countries


EntryPageviews


United States


112,293



India


4,597



United Kingdom


2,628



Philippines


2,077



Germany


1,267



Australia


1,237



France


1,150



Canada


1,031



Netherlands


547



Mexico


496









ALLTIME:






Top Ten Alltime Pageviews by Countries




Entry

Pageviews


United States


1,122,640



India


48,628



Philippines


31,108



United Kingdom


29,595



Germany


17,202



Canada


16,368



Pakistan


13,098



Mexico


8,510



Australia


8,282



Venezuela


8,207




Total Pageviews since March 14, 2011 ....








Pageviews today
3,717


Pageviews yesterday
4,891


Pageviews last month
151,595


Pageviews all time history
1,599,087




~ Statistics Courtesy of Google Analytics


Mysterious Check Reignites Controversy over Iran-Venezuela Relationship ...










Controversial ties between two countries hostile to the United States reemerged on Saturday when a former Iranian official was caught in Germany with a sizable check from a Venezuelan bank. 



The German newspaper Bild am Sonntag first reported that German officials are investigating Tahmasb Mazaheri, Iran's former central bank chief and economy minister, for smuggling after he was caught with an undeclared check worth approximately $70 million. 






Upon his arrival from Turkey on January 21, Mazaheri was stopped and searched by German customs officials at the Dusseldorf airport. A check for 300 million Venezuelan Bolivars issued by the state-run Bank of Venezuela was found in his luggage.










According to customs authorities, visitors entering any of the European Union countries must declare incoming amounts above $13,580. Failure to disclose the funds is a civil offense punishable by a fine of up to $1 million. German authorities have not yet disclosed to whom the check was directed and are expected to decide later this month whether to press charges. In the meantime, local and international concern has emerged, sparking questions about how a former Iranian official ended up with a check of such a significant amount – in Venezuelan currency.







Iran's ambassador to Venezuela, Hojattolah Soltani, told the Venezuelan media that the check was going to pay the expenses of the Kayson Company, an Iranian construction business that builds public housing for the Venezuelan government. 




According to the ambassador, Kayson has a contract to build approximately 10,000 low-income housing units. However, it remains unclear why Mazaheri misled German officials by not declaring the exorbitant check with which he was traveling. 




When questioned by customs authorities, he failed to provide adequate explanation of the purpose and recipient of the funds, leading to further skepticism. Soltani claimed Mazaheri did not declare it because the check was not for him and was not destined for a German bank.







Reports confirm that Mazaheri has returned to Tehran, as officials launch an inquiry into possible impropriety and determine whether to return the check. But the controversy has given rise to the possibility that Venezuelan banks are helping Iran evade the economic sanctions imposed against it as a result of its nuclear development program. According to sources, the discovery has prompted a further investigation by the international community into the ties between the Venezuelan financial system and Tehran.







Such actions mirror the ongoing U.S. investigations into some of the largest European banks for violating sanctions against Iran. The investigations resulted in billions in fines between 2010 and 2012.









Members of the Venezuelan opposition alleged that the Kayson Company is on Canada and the United Kingdom's list of undesirable companies, largely due to its links with illegal businesses.










United by their public condemnation of the U.S., Iran and Venezuela have built a strong alliance since Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assumed office in 2005. They have reportedly signed over 70 joint venture agreements in housing, agriculture and energy, among other areas. The deals are valued at up to $17 billion, though neither country has much to show in terms of progress.










Mazaheri was personally involved in one of those projects back in 2008, when he became president of the International Development Bank (IDB), opened in Caracas as an independent subsidiary of the Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI). Nine months after its opening, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed economic sanctions on both entities for financing Iran's nuclear programs.










Citing the irresponsible handling of funds money by the Venezuelan government, the country's opposition is demanding an explanation





Venezuelan officials have yet to comment on the matter. And with Hugo Chávez's condition unknown to any except his Cuban medical team – now two months after his cancer surgery – the world remains wanting for answers.








To read this post at What's Next Venezuela, please click here.




DOMINICAN REPUBLIC WILL BE HOST TO Xth INTERNATIONAL MANGO SYMPOSIUM ...(June 3-7, 2013)




Join the Global Mango Community in the Dominican Republic this coming June ...


























Proposed Program





The symposium program is divided into the following sessions:





Session 1: World Production



Session 2: Genetics, breeding and biotechnology


Session 3: Physiology and reproductive biology


Session 4: Horticultural practices


Session 5: Diseases and Pest control


Session 6: Postharvest physiology and technology


Session 7: Postharvest pathology



Session 8: Fruit processing and commercialization






http://www.cedaf.org.do/eventos/xmango2013/en/index_en.html





FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY: ISO 50001 ENERGY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS ...










With energy one of the most critical challenges facing the international community, ISO International Standard ISO 50001 on energy management systems could have a positive impact on some 60 % of the world's energy use.




































Solomons quake shows might of 'Ring of Fire' ...











by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Feb 6, 2013



Deadliest earthquakes and tsunamis of the past century






Hong Kong (AFP) 







Feb 6, 2013 - Three villages were reportedly flattened in the Solomon Islands Wednesday when a tsunami triggered by an 8.0-magnitude quake crashed ashore.






Below is a list of the world's deadliest earthquakes, including quake-induced tsunamis, over the past century:




- 2011: Japan: more than 19,000 were killed when a tsunami triggered by an undersea quake slammed into the northeast coast, triggering a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi atomic plant. Magnitude 9.0.

- 2010: Haiti: between 250,000 and 300,000 killed when a quake hits what is already one of the world's poorest countries, devastating the capital Port-au-Prince. Magnitude 7.0.

- 2008: Sichuan province, China: 87,000 dead or missing. A large number of children are among the dead, with shoddily-built schools blamed. Magnitude 8.0.

- 2005: Indian and Pakistani Kashmir: at least 75,000 killed with poor construction in the mountainous region accounting for the high death toll. Magnitude 7.6.

- 2004: Indian Ocean: more than 226,000 died when a tsunami sparked by an undersea earthquake off Indonesia hit countries around the Indian Ocean. Magnitude 9.1.

- 2003: Iran: More than 30,000 killed in and around the city of Bam, with mud-built homes blamed for the level of destruction. Magnitude 6.6.

- 2001: India: More than 20,000 killed when a quake hits Gujarat on India's Republic Day holiday. Magnitude 7.7.

- 1990: Iran: 50,000 dead when quake hits in the northwest of the country near the Caspian Sea. Magnitude 7.4.

- 1976: Tangshan, Hebei Province, China: officials said 242,000 people died, although some Western sources said the toll was higher. Magnitude 7.8.

- 1970: Mount Huascaran, Peru: earthquake and resulting avalanche killed 66,800. Magnitude 7.5.

- 1948: USSR: More than 100,000 people killed in and around Ashgabat in modern-day Turkmenistan. Magnitude 7.3.

- 1939: Erzincan, Turkey: 35-40,000 killed. Magnitude 8.0.

- 1935: Quetta, India (now Pakistan): more than 50,000 killed. Magnitude 7.6.

- 1932: Gansu province, China: around 70,000 died. Magnitude 8.0.

- 1927: Nanshan province, China: up to 200,000 dead. Magnitude 8.0.

- 1923: Yokohama, Japan: more than 142,000 people died in the Great Kanto earthquake and resulting fire, which destroyed Tokyo. Magnitude 8.2.

- 1920: Gansu, northwestern China: more than 100,000 killed. Magnitude 8.5.





A huge earthquake that struck off the Solomons Islands Wednesday was another reminder of the power of the volatile "Ring of Fire", a vast zone of volcanic instability that encircles the Pacific Ocean.



The 8.0-magnitude earthquake was feared to have flattened villages in the Solomons, and generated small tsunami waves that reached Pacific nations' coasts, triggering emergency sirens and evacuations.






Australia's earthquake monitoring agency and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said a wave measuring three feet (90 centimetres) had been recorded at Lata, on one of the Santa Cruz islands in the Solomons.






The Ring of Fire reaches from Indonesia to the coast of Chile in a 40,000 kilometre (25,000 mile) arc of seismic violence that unleashes earthquakes and volcanoes around the Pacific rim almost every day.





Most of history's deadliest quakes, tremors and volcanic explosions have occurred along this weak line in the Earth's crust, including the eruptions of Krakatoa near Java and Mount St Helens in the United States, as well as the massive quake that sparked the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004.






The Ring of Fire stretches along the western coast of the Americas and through the island nations of the South Pacific and on through Southeast Asia.





It is an interconnected circle of fault lines -- cracks in the Earth's hardened upper crust -- which are under constant pressure from super-hot molten rock beneath.





Occasionally the fissures give in and explode, creating volcanic eruptions and causing the land on either side of the fault line to shift and buckle violently, triggering earthquakes.





The fault lines are actually the margins of huge plates of rock on which the continents sit. These plates are in constant motion.





The 9.3-magnitude quake that struck Indonesia on December 26, 2004 unleashed tsunamis that crashed into Indian Ocean shorelines, killing more than 220,000 people.






The world's largest-ever registered tremor, the 9.5-magnitude Valdiva quake, shook Chile in 1960 and churned up a tsunami that killed scores in Japan and Hawaii.






A 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake off Japan in 2011 triggered a tsunami that left about 19,000 people dead or missing, and caused a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in the world's worst atomic disaster in 25 years.




In 2007 a tsunami following an 8.0-magnitude earthquake killed at least 52 people in the Solomons and left thousands homeless.





Key facts about the quake-hit Solomon Islands


Honiara (AFP) Feb 6, 2013 - A powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake rattled the Solomon Islands on Wednesday, triggering a regional tsunami warning. Here are some key facts about the South Pacific nation:



-- GEOGRAPHY: The Solomons comprise hundreds of islands with a total land area of 27,540 square kilometres (10,630 square miles).

It is a tropical nation and its main islands are mostly rugged and jungle-clad, although the country includes coral atolls.

It has a number of active volcanoes and severe earthquakes routinely hit the area, although seldom cause damage

Its larger islands include Choiseul, Guadalcanal, Santa Isabel, New Georgia and Makira.



-- POPULATION: In July 2012 the population was estimated to be 584,578, with Melanesians making up 94.5 percent. Indigenous Polynesians and migrant Micronesians also populate the islands.

-- RESOURCES: These include fish, forests, gold, bauxite, phosphates, lead, zinc and nickel.

-- HISTORY: Parts of the Solomons have been occupied for 20,000 years.

Spaniard Alvaro de Mendana arrived in 1568 to give it the name, believing the islands held the secret of Biblical King Solomon's gold.

In the late 19th century the British government established a protectorate over part of the Solomon Islands, which was later extended

The island of Guadalcanal was the site of the first major offensive by Allied forces against the Japanese empire in World War II

The Solomons became independent on July 7, 1978.

The Head of State is Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor General Frank Kabui.

Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has held office since November 2011.






Crowley Fresh Cold Storage & Warehouse Facility Now Open In Miami ...












 



by Crowley Maritime Corp.
Posted: 2013-02-07 08:54:35 EST






Crowley Maritime Corp. and Customized Brokers, the company’s Miami-based Customs brokerage company, have announced the opening of a new cold storage warehouse facility, Crowley Fresh, located in Miami.




A joint offering from Crowley and Customized Brokers, Crowley Fresh features multiple humidity and temperature-controlled coolers and is open 24/7 to store and handle perishables arriving from Latin and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and the Far East in South Florida for import and export.







The state-of-the-art facility is ideal for perishable storage or may be used as an in-transit consolidation/deconsolidation point.




Crowley Fresh features high-tech cooling and monitoring equipment, including forced air precooling, which can be adjusted to meet and maintain varying temperature requirements.




With 400,000 total cubic feet of refrigerated space, the facility also offers additional storage space for cargo supplies and non-refrigerated materials.






“When you’re shipping temperature-sensitive goods, every second counts. Shippers of perishables need a reliable and committed cold-chain logistics partner who has industry-leading specialized equipment and experience,” said Crowley’s Nelly Yunta; vice president; sales, marketing and customer care.




“We can offer this and more, including a diverse suite of additional logistics capabilities, such as Customs brokerage, air freight and trucking services. For South Florida perishable customers, Crowley is truly a one-stop-shop shipping and logistics provider.”





ABOUT CROWLEY HOLDINGS:


Jacksonville-based Crowley Holdings Inc., a holding company of the 121-year-old Crowley Maritime Corporation, is a privately held family and employee-owned company. The company provides project solutions, transportation and logistics services in domestic and international markets by means of six operating lines of business: Puerto Rico/Caribbean Liner Services, Latin America Liner Services, Logistics Services, Petroleum Services, Marine Services and Technical Services. Offered within these operating lines of business are: liner container shipping, logistics, contract towing and transportation; ship assist and escort; energy support; salvage and emergency response through its TITAN Salvage subsidiary; vessel management; vessel construction and naval architecture through its Jensen Maritime subsidiary; government services, and petroleum and chemical transportation, distribution and sales.






Additional information about Crowley, its subsidiaries and business units may be found on the Internet at www.crowley.com.





Crowley Fresh is located at 11401 NW 100th Road, Medley, FL 33178. Customers may contact the Crowley Fresh team by calling 305-463-4800 or 305-720-5127 (after hours).






Source: Crowley Maritime Corp.

OCEAN CARGO: Sneak peek at new Maersk Line giants ...





 http://shippingwatch.dk/English_Version/article5194598.ece#ixzz2KE6yZSBu



Foto: Eric Jakobsson








One of the first pictures of the new Maersk Line Triple-E, which will be deployed on Asia-Europe this summer.




BY OLE ANDERSEN
Offentliggjort 07.02.13 kl. 09:55







In a few months, Maersk Line will deploy the largest container ship in the world; the Triple-E class. 




Thus, the Danish container carrier will reclaim the position as the owner of the largest container ship in the global container fleet; a position the company held with Emma Maersk in 2006. 





Until this summer, French CMA CGM has the honour of owning the largest container ship in the shape of Marco Polo with a capacity of 16,000 containers.






On Twitter and Maersk Line's Facebook page the first picture of the Triple-E being built at the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering ship yard in South Korea has been published. The ship will be approximately 400 meters long, 59 meters wide and have an overall capacity of 18,000 teu. If all these containers were placed on a train, the train would stretch for 110 kilometres.






Maersk Line holds outstanding orders for 20 new Triple-E ships. 




The first of the six Triple-E’s to be delivered in 2012 will be delivered in July or August, nine ships will follow in 2014 and five in 2015.








So far, the public has only seen sketches of the new ships. 





The three E’s stand for Economy of Scale, Energy Efficiency and Environmentally Improved. According to Maersk Line, the Triple-E will become the most fuel efficient container ship ever built.













FRUITLOGISTICA 2013: Perú está en el centro de la atención en feria de frutas y hortalizas de Berlín ...









Perú concitó hoy la mayor atención de la feria Fruit Logistica de Berlín (Alemania), durante el corte de cinta inaugural por parte de los ministros peruanos y alemanes, en medio de una ceremonia en la que empresarios y asistentes nacionales y extranjeros degustaron el pisco sour y tradicionales bocaditos.






En un espacio del pabellón peruano que tiene como fondo los colores rojo y blanco y el logo de la marca Perú, los ministros peruanos de Comercio Exterior y Turismo, José Luis Silva, y de Agricultura, Milton von Hesse, así como la ministra para Alimentación, Agricultura y Protección del Consumidor de Alemania, Ilse Aigner, cortaron la cinta que oficializa el inicio de la feria.






La ocasión, que convocó a la prensa alemana y extranjera, fue propicia para que los asistentes degusten el tradicional pisco sour y bocaditos como causa, cebiche y ají de gallina preparados por bartenders y chefs conducidos por Martha Leng, peruana que reside en la capital alemana desde hace varios años.






Silva entregó a Aigner un poncho y una chalina con colores y decoraciones andinas y dijo sentirse orgulloso de ser peruano por la presentación del stand nacional y la variedad y calidad de productos que están exhibiendo los empresarios.






En tanto, la ministra alemana señaló que a propósito de la próxima entrada en vigencia del Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC) entre Perú y la Unión Europea la cooperación será aún mejor entre ambos países por ser de su interés.






El pabellón peruano, donde en distintos lados se muestra el slogan “Perú, sabores cautivadores, variedad y calidad”, en idioma inglés, se ubica en el hall 25, tiene más de 500 metros cuadrados y ha agrupado en espacios específicos a gremios de un mismo rubro de frutas y hortalizas.






La feria Fruit Logistica en su totalidad tiene una extensión de 180 mil hectáreas (??), congrega a 2,500 expositores y 56,000 visitantes de 139 países.





Perú comenzó su participación en el año 2003 con un stand de apenas 50 metros cuadrados y ahora, al ser país invitado de honor, tiene más de 500 metros.







En tanto, Von Hesse indicó que la exportación de productos peruanos a Europa se consolidará con la entrada en vigencia del TLC con la Unión Europea y reconoció que se debe seguir fortaleciendo al Servicio Nacional de Sanidad Agraria (Senasa) para los temas fitosanitarios.



Remarcó la necesidad de que los sectores público y privado trabajen de la mano para ampliar la oferta exportadora, por ejemplo con granos como la quinua, la kiwicha y otros.







Fuente: Andina



Fecha de publicación: 07/02/2013





http://www.freshplaza.es/news_detail.asp?id=70271










National Mango Board seeks to focus on safety












Carl Collen |







 07 February 2013





All US mango industry members have been invited to join the Board for a free event discussing food safety









IMO NOTE:

Seven months after the worst food safety related incident in the industry's recent history, The National Mango Board (NMB) seeks to address food safety concerns. 




"Food Safety without traceability losses it's efficacy"



~Will Cavan
Executive Director
International Mango Organization (IMO)









The National Mango Board (NMB) will be hosting their inaugural Mango Food Safety Conference on Wednesday 6 March at the McAllen Convention Center at 700 Convention Center Blvd, McAllen, Texas.







According to the US organisation, the conference is a free information sharing event with industry members of all levels of the mango supply chain encouraged to join.






Keynote speakers will provide attendees with information about food safety guidelines and standards, high risk areas and suggested solutions for the mango industry, a broader view of the field, how food safety issues affect the food supply chain, and much more.







"This conference provides an opportunity for mango industry members to learn and network, all while gaining useful and applicable tools and resources to help protect the health and safety of consumers," said NMB executive director William Watson.




http://www.fruitnet.com/content.aspx?ttid=15&sid=51&cid=16514


Peru holds Colombia 'drug lord' Jacinto Nicolas Fuentes ...








                                                                         

Jacinto Nicolas Fuentes German is accused of being a key member of the Urabenos








Related Stories

Colombia criminal bands pose new threat







Peruvian police have arrested Jacinto Nicolas Fuentes German, who is suspected of being a leader of Colombia's Urabenos criminal gang.



Peruvian officers detained Mr Fuentes in Lima, after a joint intelligence operation with Colombia, Peru's police chief, Gen Raul Salazar said.






Mr Fuentes, known as Don Leo, entered Peru illegally last month, they added.





The Urabenos gang controls much of the drug trade in northern Colombia, with many ex-paramilitaries in its ranks.



According to the Colombian authorities, Mr Fuentes took over running part of the Urabenos after one of the most wanted drug dealers, Henry de Jesus Lopez, was arrested in December in Argentina.




Mr Fuentes had been in prison in 2008 after being arrested with a group of armed men, but was subsequently released, Colombian media reported.






http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-21364428#TWEET589171


CASH CROP: MANGO FARMERS SHOULD CONSIDER THIS ALTERNATIVE ...












Shale energy triggers bean "Guar-Cluster Bean" rush in India:





An extract of guar which is commonly referred to as guar gum is being used by the oil industry. This has sent its costs sky rocketing. The gum is being used as an adhesive in the oil pipelines. It is also being utilized for extraction of shale gas for the last one year with the help of a new technology called horizontal fracking. There is no alternate to guar for this technology. Shale gas is a natural gas trapped within shale formations. It has become an increasingly important source of natural gas in the United States over the past decade. Hence, the guar seeds are being exported.




"In Pakistan couple of guys started doing it...........last year selling price of dried guar seed was @ around 160 PKR/kg.......if 30 or 40 mds/acre dried seed is obtained.........then i think it'll become a very lucrative crop.....due to its low cost production technology....besides it'll improve the soil...."


~ Hadi Laghari
Technical Manager
Assim Agricultural Farm
Sindh, Pakistan








(Reuters) - In India's northern desert states, farmers are scrambling to harvest as much as they can of a bean with the power to lift them out of poverty. In the United States, the multi-billion dollar shale energy industry is banking on their success.



U.S. companies drilling for oil and gas in shale formations have developed a voracious appetite for the powder-like gum made from the seeds of guar, or cluster bean, and the boom in their business has created a bonanza for thousands of small-scale farmers in India who produce 80 percent of the world's beans.








"Guar has changed my life," said Shivlal, a guar farmer who made 300,000 rupees ($5,400) - five times more than his average seasonal income - from selling the beans he planted on five acres (two hectares) of sandy soil in Rajasthan state.







"Now, I have a concrete house and a color TV. Next season I will even try to grow guar on the roof."







Guar gum, which is also used to make sauces and ice cream, is a main ingredient of the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process used to extract oil and gas from oil shale.






Fracking has been called the technology that will change the geopolitics of energy, boosting domestic North American gas supplies to such an extent that experts predict the net importing region will soon turn into a significant gas exporter.






It has also turned guar into a precious commodity farmers now call "black gold". In the Rajasthani city of Jodhpur, under the shadow of an ancient fort, traders buy guar seed at 305 rupees ($5.5) a kg, a 10-fold increase from a year ago.






"The whole world got caught not ever thinking they would need as much guar as they do now," said Wade Cowan, co-owner of West Texas Guar Inc., a Brownfield, Texas, company that supplies the powder to U.S. energy companies.






India, on average, produces more than 1 million metric tons (1.1023 million tons) of guar beans annually, the biggest crop in the world. It exported more than 400,000 metric tons of guar products, including gum, in the fiscal year that ended in March 2011. Exporting beans is prohibited.





U.S. energy firms, however, will need nearly 300,000 metric tons of guar gum this year, energy investment banking firm Simmons & Company International said in a February report. Last year, the guar shortfall forced some U.S. firms to halt fracking, it said.







"There is a shortage of seeds. Last year, good quality seeds were available at around 60 rupees a kilo but now, traders are demanding over 500 rupees per kilo for the same seed," said Shyam Lal, a farmer based in the Churu district of Rajasthan.








GUAR'S RISE TO GLORY


Guar gum is used to increase the viscosity of proppants, materials which are forced into shale fractures to enlarge them so that the oil and gas can be extracted. It also helps reduce friction, which in turn decreases the energy consumed.




In March, the United States bought 33,800 metric metric tons of guar gum from India, the highest amount ever. Last year, U.S. firms bought an average 22,000 metric metric tons from India a month.




About nine metric tons of guar gum are used per well. Some companies are also fracking wells several times to squeeze out as much as possible, which means using even more guar.





As a result, guar prices in India has risen rapidly, so fast that the local commodity exchanges halted trading in guar futures in late March amid a ministerial inquiry.





David Lesar, CEO at market leader Halliburton (HAL.N), recently said the cost of the guar gel now accounted for up to 30 percent of fracking costs to customers in some basins.





"The problem with guar is it is probably the fastest-moving commodity price that I have ever seen," Lesar said.





To cash in on the guar rush, Vikas WSP (VWSP.BO), India's largest producer of guar gum, is distributing, free of charge, seeds worth more than 900 million rupees to 100,000 farmers and giving them guaranteed returns, said B.D. Agarwal, its chairman and managing director.





Some farmers are planting more seeds early this year, taking advantage of early rain.





"This upcoming season supplies will definitely be higher than 2011," said Uday Merchant, managing director of Lucid Colloids, a guar exporter based in Mumbai.





The United States produces guar, but only on 40,000 acres, an area that pales in comparison with the more than 10 million acres (4 million hectares) Indian farmers are expected to plant this year in the Thar desert.




In 2011, about 20,000 acres were planted with guar in Texas but only 5,000 acres were cultivated as the crop was hit by drought, said guar supplier Cowan. He estimates the planted acreage might be twice as much this year.








SEARCHING FOR SUBSTITUTES


With the North American shale boom expanding to China, South America and Eastern Europe, oil field services firms around the world are poised to gobble up guar. U.S. industry researchers reckon the global fracking business will grow to $37 billion in 2012, up $6 billion from a year earlier.




But the rising prices and tight supplies are spurring a search for alternatives.




"Guar substitutes become attractive at a certain guar price. We're at that price right now," said Tim Probert, Halliburton's president of strategy and corporate development.





Halliburton touts its "CleanStim" technology as a possibility while Schlumberger (SLB.N) points to "HiWay," which it says will cut back on the water and sand use in fracking.





Both firms did not provide specific details about their products, which they said can replace proppants.





CleanStim technology has been used effectively in a number of basins, including the Eagle Ford prospect, and will essentially create a ceiling on guar prices, Probert said.






Other industries that use guar, such as paper, food processing and textiles, have already turned to alternatives.




For fracking, replacing guar will only make sense if prices continue to rocket. But guar producers expect prices to ease by 2013 as the new crop comes to market and supplies increase from all the extra acreage planted.





Guar merchants say prices, like those of many agricultural commodities in India, will hinge on the monsoon rains. The rains are expected to arrive on time at the beginning of June and progress as normal.






But even if guar eases from its current levels, prices would still be highly profitable for farmers who cultivate the crop at very little cost.



And the robust demand from the U.S. shale oil and gas industry shows no sign of abating.




"We're out desperately trying to find more of this product to process for the market, because we could sell all we can find," Jim O'Brien, chief executive officer of U.S. chemical maker Ashland Inc (ASH.N), said.




($1 = 55.4050 rupees)







USA: Blizzard to Bury New England for Weeks' End ...








By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist
February 07, 2013; 4:21 AM














Two storms will merge quickly enough to bring colder air, heavy snow and increasing wind to New England. Some areas will be hit with an all-out blizzard and a couple of feet of snow.



The worst of the storm will hit late Friday and Friday night and will wind down Saturday morning. However, lingering effects from blowing and drifting snow, blocked roads and other travel delays are likely to linger into much of the weekend.






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Numerous flight delays and cancellations are possible centered on New England, but these problems will be felt elsewhere across the nation.




Strong winds will not only cause white-out conditions but can result in massive drifts.










At the height of the storm, snow can fall at the rate of 2 to 4 inches per hour and may be accompanied by thunder and lightning.




The intense snowfall rate anticipated is making the forecast especially challenging. A matter of an hour of intense snow versus 8 hours of intense snow will make the difference between a manageable few inches and a debilitating few feet of of snow. Nearby to the southeast of this intense snow, rain will be falling for a time.






A person traveling northeastward from New York City Friday evening along I-95 would encounter progressively worse and potentially dangerous weather conditions.




With such snowfall intensity, vehicles can become stuck and people can become stranded.





                                                                                           



The storm has the potential to bury some areas of New England under a couple of feet of snow. This image was taken in Queens, N.Y., following the Jan. 23, 2005, blizzard. (Photos.com image and thumbnail.)







The hardest-hit areas are likely to include Hartford and Providence to Boston, Worcester, Concord, Portsmouth and Portland.






                                                            

For a larger version of this map consult the AccuWeather.com Winter Weather Center.







Coastal flooding is another concern with this storm along the coast of eastern Massachusetts. The period of strong northeast winds will be occurring within a couple of days of the new moon and high astronomical tides.





Warm air will play a major role in the storm from New York City, Long Island and central New Jersey on south and west in the mid-Atlantic, resulting in rain during part or all of the storm, depending on location.







Only if the two storms sync up completely would heavy snow wrap around into New York City for an extended period, bringing a foot of the white stuff. Even so, without complete phasing of the storms, New York City and Long Island will get significant snow.





A separate story on the storm's role in New York City and the mid-Atlantic is now available on AccuWeather.com.







Meanwhile, a fresh injection of arctic air will fuel the blizzard over New England. The colder air will cause rain to change to snow on Cape Cod and along the South Coast, as well as cause wet snow to become more dry and powdery with time, making it subject to blowing and drifting in central and southern areas.






In northernmost New England from northern Maine to along the Canada border of New Hampshire, Vermont and northern upstate New New York, too much dry air feeding in from the north may limit snowfall or cut off the storm completely.






Snow from the Alberta Clipper part of the storm will still deliver enough snow to shovel and plow over much of upstate New York.



A separate story on the impact of the Alberta Clipper around the Great Lakes is now available on AccuWeather.com.






http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/blizzard-to-bury-new-england-at-the-end-of-week/5673457