Friday, December 7, 2012

Week 49: December 2, 2012 -- December 8, 2012

Note: I have a busy Saturday scheduled with the granddaughters tomorrow; blogging may be compromised.

Bakken operations
It's official: a trillion-barrel reservoir
1.5 million bbl-EURs
Filloon: 1.5 million bbl-EURs
CLR successfully completes first TF3 well
On track for 2,575 new oil and gas permits for calendar year 2012 
Random note on times to drilling to total depth
Active rigs hit intra-boom low: 181
OXY USA has a gusher
CO2 - EOR - Bakken, being studied
Helis reports another huge well

Other formations
Red River
Three oil formations folks may not have heard of

Enbridge: $6.2 billion announcement -- huge
Enbridge: $3.4 billion announcement
First Bakken oil unit train reaches BP's Cherry Point refinery, Washington State
North Dakota oil and rail: National Geographic
Human interest: BNSF in North Dakota

Economic development
Williston's building permits, >$405 million; exceeds those of Fargo AND Minot combined

Vern Whitten

634 in 2011; 532 in 2010 (North Dakota)

The Washington Post Will Pay All 2013 Dividends To Beat the ObamaCliff

Link to AP News.
The Washington Post Co. will pay its 2013 dividends before the end of this year to try to spare investors from anticipated tax increases.
The media and education company said Friday that its dividend of $9.80 per share is payable Dec. 27 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 17. The payout is instead of regular quarterly dividends next year.
Washington Post is the latest company to move up its quarterly payout or issue a special end-of-year payment to protect investors from potentially having to pay higher taxes on dividend income starting in January.
The list of companies paying dividends early continues to get longer and longer. I first started investing in 1984. I don't recall anything like this in all those years.

A lot of folks are going to get some nice cash dividends for Christmas, 2012. Very, very interesting. 

Unintended consequences.

BP Starts Building Biggest Commercial Computer -- Rigzone

Link to

Years ago I followed the dramatic increase in commercial computing power, tracking the "race" between the US and Japan. I pretty much forgot all about that race until this story.
BP has begun building a new supercomputing complex for commercial research that it claims will be the biggest in the world at its Westlake Campus in Houston, the company reported Friday.
The project is designed to keep BP at the forefront of seismic imaging technology and, the firm said, will be a critical tool in its global hunt for oil and natural gas in coming years.
BP's existing HPC center was the world's first commercial research center to achieve a petaFLOP of processing speed (or one thousand trillion calculations per second). But the company said that this has now reached maximum power and cooling capacity in its current space at the Westlake Campus.
The new center will be housed in a three-story, 110,000-square foot facility. Equipped with more than 67,000 CPUs, it is expected to have the ability to process data at a rate of up to two petaFLOPS.
Currently, the world's fastest supercomputer is the non-commercial Cray Titan – which is used for scientific projects at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and was built with funding from the US Department of Energy. The Titan has a processing speed of 17.59 petaFLOPS.
One almost wonders what the US intelligence community computers can do.

Eco-Trade Acquires Acreage in South Bakken Prospect in Montana (Alberta Bakken)

Link here to
Eco-Trade Corp. announced Friday that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the South Bakken Prospect in Montana.
Eco-Trade Corporation ... Lewis & Clark County in Montana, near Great Falls totaling over 5,800 acres called the South Bakken Prospect. The property is located in the southern part of the Alberta Bakken Fairway, and may hold an estimated reserve potential of between 80 to 120 millions of barrels of oil ...
The advent of the Alberta Bakken Fairway creates another opportunity for Bakken production outside of the boundaries of the Williston Basin. The Bakken Fairway was first discovered and drilled in Alberta, Canada, but now extends deep into northwest Montana into Lewis & Clark County where it is bordered by the Rocky Mountain Thrust Zone on the west and the Sweetgrass Arch to the west.
I occasionally post stories about the Alberta Bakken (this is not part of the Williston Basin Bakken) at a link on the sidebar at the right for other formations.

On Track For 2,575 New Oil and Gas Permits for Calendar Year 2012

Back on October 13, 2012, I posted that the rate of new permits being issued, North Dakota was on track for 2,535 new permits this calendar year.

Tonight, December 7, 2012, North Dakota is now on track for 2,575 new permits for this calendar year.

Back on June 1, 2012, I posted these stats:
My database showed the following number of permits (may or may not include salt water disposal wells):
  • 2012: 2,093 (est) -- based on 866 permits issued as of May 31, 2012
  • 2011: 1,940
  • 2010: 1,684 
  • 2009: 629
  • 2008: 956
  • 2007: 497
  • 2006: 422
The pace of permitting has increased significantly since June 1, 2012.

Twelve (12) New Permits

Bakken Operations

Active rigs: 182 (steady, but two rigs will be moving to Montana; one is an Oasis rig; one is KOG)

Wells coming off confidential list were reported earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Twelve (12) new permits:
  • Operators: Whiting (4), Resolute (3), Sequel (2), Oasis (2), EOG
  • Fields: Lone Butte (McKenzie), Camp (McKenzie), Lake Trenton (Williams), Sanish (Mountrail), St Demetrius (Billings), South Heart (Stark), Temple (Williams)
  • Comments: Resolute now has seven (7) permits/wells in North Dakota. I first blogged about Resolute back on August 27, 2010; Resolute has four active wells, and now three more permits;
Another twelve wells approved to "tight hole" status.

Permit canceled:
  • 20190, PNC, XTO, Davis 31X-15, Williams County

Enbridge: Long Announcement For New Bakken-Related Projects

From Oil & Gas Journal

ONEOK may not have gotten sufficient shipper support to build its Bakken Crude Oil Express pipeline (going south) but Enbridge obtained enough support to go ahead with its Light Oil Market Access (LOMA) Program (going east to Canadian terminals and east to Chicago-area refineries).

The increased Enbridge capacity is designed to carry oil from the Bakken as well as from their Cardium and Viking formation production in Alberta (all light oil).

Data points regarding new takeaway capacity program:
  • will deliver an additional 400,000 bopd to refiners in Ontario, Quebec, and Chicago-area refineries
  • will increase pipeline capacity on Enbridge's North Dakota regional system
  • will further expand US mainline system
  • will upgrade its Canadian mainline terminals
  • will expand its Eastern Access Program
  • $6.2 billion program; will enter service at varying dates between 2014 and early 2016
  • in addition, Sandpiper (North Dakota System): expand from 225K to 580K bopd
  • Sandpiper pipeline, 965 km; 24-in od, from Beaver Lodge, ND, to Superior, WI
  • Will twin Sandpiper's exisitng 210K bopd North Dakota System mainline by adding 225K between Beaver Lodge, ND, and Clearbrook, MN; 375K bopd between Clearbrook, MN, and Superior, WI; cost of the Sandpiper existing line: $2.5 billion
  • Beaver Lodge is the oil field where the first oil well in North Dakota was discovered; south of Tioga;
  • Subtotal: $6.2 billion + $2.5 billion --> 8.7 billion
Previously announced:
  • expand Eastern Access Program: full reversal of Line 9 to ship Bakken and western Canadian crue to refineries in Ontario and Quebec; add 80K bopd capacity at Ontario and Quebec
  • Eastern Access Program also includes expansions between Griffith, IN, and the US-Canadian border near Sarnia, Ontario
  • Eastern Access Program expansion estimated at $3.2 billion, including the $200 million Toledo Pipeline expansion 
  • Subtotal: $3.2 billion
Also announced earlier:
  • a 265 km, 24-in od, Southern Access Extension Pipeline from Flanagan, IL, to Patoka, IL; estimated $800 million; initial capacity will be 300,000 bopd; contract for supply will be Marathon Petroleum
  • Enbridge could increase capacity if demand is warranted (additional horsepower or increasing od to 30 inches
  • Subtotal: $0.8 billion
Chicago-area refineries have shifted interest to Bakken and Canadian light oil
  • Enbridge will expand its US mainline Lakehead System between Flanagan, IL, and Griffith, IN; will build a 122 km, 36-in od twin of its existing Line 62; initial capacity of 570K bopd; $500 million
  • will also increase capacity of its 42-in od Line 61 from Superior, WI, to Flanagan, IL, to its full 1.2 million bopd; $1.3 billion
  • Subtotal: $0.5 billion + $1.3 billion --> $1.8 billion
Enbridge plans to expand its Canadian mainline terminals to accommodate the additional light oil volumes and expand flexibility.

Total, although I may have missed something or double-counted (full details are at the link): $14.5 billion? 

When I saw this I thought:
CLR may be the face of the Bakken, among producers, but Enbridge is the face of the Bakken among the pipelines. Of course, ONEOK is the face of the natural gas producers in the Bakken.
Note how Enbridge is "twinning" new pipeline with existing pipeline. It begs the question why TransCanada refused to "twin" its Keystone XL pipeline along the original Keystone pipeline; the argument that it was the shortest distance seems a bit lame after all the delays and even the possibility of being "killed" again. Enbridge, meanwhile, keeps picking up "shipper support."

Sweet: COP Increases Dividend And Approves Additional Share BuyBack

From Yahoo!In-Play:
Phillips 66 announces 25% increase in quarterly dividend; approves additional $1 bln share repurchase: Co's Board of Directors has approved a 25% increase in the company's dividend, effective in the first quarter of 2013, representing an annual dividend of $1.25 per share of common stock. Phillips 66's board of directors has also approved an additional $1 billion share repurchase which augments the $1 billion share repurchase plan announced in the third quarter of 2012.
Didn't we just post a PSX story earlier today! Whoo-hoo!

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make investment decisions based on what you read here.

From The Oil Drum: Non-OPEC, Non-OECD Production

The oil drum posted a couple of stories updating global oil production, first OPEC, then OECD, and now non-OPEC, non-OECD, which pretty much leaves: China, Russia, Malaysia, Indian and ... Omam.

China has leveled off at 4 million bopd.

Russia and former Soviet states have also leveled off at just under 14 million bopd.

India is blowing away the competition, shattering records, up from 800,000 bopd in 2002 to 950,000 bopd, ten years later. India has 1.2 billion people ... 0.0008 bbls/person/day.  Converting to gallons, 42 x 0.0008 --> 0.03 gallons/person/day.

For newbies: The Oil Drum is a "Peak Oil" site. Production has plateaued during a period when global growth has also plateaued.

Friday Links -- Part 2

Wow, this is a great story sent to my Don, on the "premium oil" for refiners.
As a long-time shareholder of ConocoPhillips, I also became a shareholder of Phillips66 earlier this year when the mother ship spun off its refining, chemicals, and mid-stream assets into the stand-alone company.
The results have been fantastic.
PSX shares are up nearly 50% since May. PSX has benefited from lower feedstock costs in two of its three business groups. Margins and returns in the chemical joint venture with Chevron (CPChem) have been boosted by low domestic natural gas prices. At the same time, PSX's huge refining business has benefited from the spread between domestic oil prices and the worldwide price of oil reflected by the price of Brent crude.
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Make no investment decisions based on what you read here.

I've always said Bakken was good for two reasons:
a) North Dakota economy
b) laboratory for fracking
Then, I had to add a third:
c) the US economy (when it was clear that more than just ND was benefiting -- just ask: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Idaho, Wyoming, Warren Buffett, for starters)
Now, I have to add a fourth:
d) once refineries are configured to handle light oil, their margins will be huge.

Detroit, MI: state laying ground for managed bankruptcy. Lessons learned from the 29-day GM bankruptcy.
The case would be filed under Chapter 9 of the federal bankruptcy code, according to two ranking sources familiar with the situation, following efforts to reach prenegotiated settlements with as many key creditors — unions, vendors and pension funds among them — as possible before any filing.
"Clearly, we will always try to do that," one source familiar with the situation said in an interview Thursday. "You can move on a much more expedited basis if you can demonstrate that your cash is running out" — as Detroit clearly is with each passing week.
Unemployment rate: now we know why the rate went down -- more than a half million folks dropped out of the job market. Americans are content/satisfied.  Foreshadowing the Great Recession of 2013. Cue up Connie Francis.


A must-see movie for baby boomers: "Not Fade Away." 112 minutes. 40 songs. 20 different artists.

Apple's power within. The iPhone: a computer that happens to make phone calls.

A Mac that's "Made in USA." Huge front page story, section B, WSJ.

What's wrong in Fort Wayne? A lot of story lines in this article. Floor worker applicants don't have the skills necessary for the jobs? Wow! Speaks volumes about US public education.
Unemployment in this Midwest manufacturing city is 6.8%, below the national average, but far above normal historically. There are 14,600 people locally looking for work, about 60% more than six years ago.
Yet for many employers with openings, here and elsewhere, filling those jobs isn't easy and not for a lack of trying.
Most applicants for factory-floor jobs at Fort Wayne Metals don't have the skills needed to do the work, and the medical wire maker is hesitant to do more training.
At Sweetwater Sound Inc., an Internet retailer, applicants often know a lot about guitars and recording gear, but can't schmooze over the phone with the customers, its hiring manager said. The local school system's part-time, classroom aide positions, which pay between $8.65 and $11.79 an hour without health benefits, go unfilled because locals won't even apply for jobs at that wage, officials said.
I keep saying: Americans are content/satisfied. Perhaps this is why. Perhaps $168/day from the government is better than $8.65/hour actually working. [Update: I guess some Americans are not as content/satisfied as I had thought: consumer confidence plunges. It was 83% peri-election; consumer confidence is now 74%. Cut up Connie Stevens.


John Kerry, Secretary of What? WSJ, op-ed. I do not care for John Kerry, and I am certainly not an apologist for those those who suggest Kerry for a cabinet position, but one's impressions of Kerry are probably tweaked after reading any of Tim O'Brien's fine books on the Vietnam "War." I can't remember which of his books it was, but The Things They Carried might have been the one that brought back some vivid memories of the late 60's. My,  how things have changed.

Biggest Story of the Day: Plains All American Pipeline --> Rail

Link to HBJ Morning Call.
The facilities and marketing giant said in a statement three of the operating terminals are located at major U.S. shale plays, the Eagle Ford, Bakken and Niobrara formations. Those terminals have an aggregate daily capacity of about 85,000 barrels of oil per day, Plains All American said.

In the deal, the partnership bought another operating, unloading terminal in St. James, La., which has a capacity to unload about 140,000 barrels per day. The unloading terminal under development will be located near Bakersfield, Calif., the partnership said.
In an earlier post, Don suggested that there were five BP refineries in the US that could see Bakken oil. I did not think California would see Bakken oil, but "anon 1" did -- and this tends to support the possibility.  Whether California sees Bakken oil is not the point.

This is the story: for those who thought rail was a temporary phenomenon for shipping oil .... hmmmm.  Producers like rail for at least three reasons. Actually I can think of four.

By the way, PAA is not the only pipeline company to add rail. Enbridge is doing the same thing. There are several posts on Enbridge and rail; that is just one of them.

Job Watch

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Page 1

NOTE: see next note. I had planned to discontinue this page now that the election was over. However, with the impending ObamaCliff in play, it will be interesting to see how it impacts jobs, so for now, the page continues.

See also: "Doomsday: The US Worker"
Also, check out daily job cuts
Calculators and the "new normal"

NUMBERS TO WATCH: The Magic Numbers

First time claims, unemployment benefits: 400,000 (> 400,000: economic stagnation)
New jobs: 200,000 (however, now I see that the goal posts have been moved to 120,000) --  
Economists estimate the labor market needs to create about 125,000 jobs a month to keep the unemployment rate steady, though estimates vary -- Reuters
I will stick with 200,000 -- it's a nicer, "rounder" number to remember.


November 7, 2013: first time apps drop 9,000 to 335,000, which means the previous week must have been revised to 344,000, revised up from 339,000. 

October 30, 2013: no improvement; first time apps drop less than expected but back to 339,000; four-week average actually increases by 8,000, back up to 356,250; computer technology being blamed for poor numbers. Okay.

October 29, 2013: another "stellar" ObamaNation jobs report; the average has now dropped below 150,000 new jobs/month. Fifth year into the "recovery" -- absolutely atrocious. Analyst: "Any further weakening would signal rising unemployment. The weaker job growth is evident across most industries and company sizes."

October 24, 2013: first time claims, worse than expected. Four-week average rose.

October 22, 2013: the jobs report is "significantly worse than expected."

October 10, 2013: The second nominee for the 2013 Geico Rock Award goes to US Labor Department analysts who grossly underestimated the number of initial jobless claims. 

September 6, 2013: A watershed report; mainstream media finally gets it -- a double whammy -- unemployment drops to 7.3% but there is no headline. Why? The unemployment rate dropped because folks are dropping out of the labor force; they have given up looking for work. But this is the real thud that dropped on Wall Street today: the July numbers were revised downward. Instead of a mediocre 162,000 new jobs (praised b analysts last month) were revised down to a horrible, horrible 104,000. That is incredible.

September 5, 2013: last week's numbers revised upwards by 1,000; this week's numbers estimated for three states; drops 9,000 to 323,000 (analysts expected 330,000); 4-week moving average to 328,500, down 3,000. My hunch is that the numbers will be revised upwards by at least 3,000 a week from now when the official numbers come in.

August 29, 2013: down 6,000 to 331,000 (previous week revised upward by 1,000); four-week moving average ticks up 750 to 331,250. 

August 22, 2013: last week everyone got excited when the number dropped 15,000! Today's report: back up 13,000. Back to 336,000. Now, let's do a bit of math: 336,000 - 13,000 = 323,000. So, last week's number of 320,000 must have been revised upward by 3,000 to 323,000 (which Reuters conveniently overlooked). So, last week's "15,000" drop was actually a 12,000 drop, which did not offset this week's jump. Four-week moving average: 330,500.

August 19, 2013: incredibly bad report; unemployment rates rises in 28 states; improves in only 8 stages by in six of those states, by only 0.1 percent.

August 15, 2013: lowest number in six years; down 15,000 320,000. Four-week moving average down to 332,000. It appears that last week's number must have been revised UP 2,000.

August 8, 2013: initial claims rise by 5,000 to 333,000; Reuters says this points a healing economy.

August 2, 2013: horrific hiring numbers for July. Non-farm "new" jobs: 162,000; well below forecasts of 184,000. On top of that, numbers for May AND June were revised down.

August 1, 2013: highly, highly suspect; analysts miss by biggest margin ever; miss by 20,000. Claims drop "unexpectedly" to lowest level in almost five (5) years. Claims: 326,000. Four-week moving average: 341, 250.

July 25, 2013: bad news -- claims jump 7,000; last week's number is revised upward. This week's number: 343,000. I guess it's not really bad news; it's simply the same ol' thing. Weekly reports are no longer news; they are simply "weekly reports." No surprises between now and 2016.

July 18, 2013: huge drop; surprised analysts; down 24,000 to 334,000; 4-week average dropped 5,250.

July 11, 2013: spin continues; claims up a staggering 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 360,000; Reuters economy still on track; the 4-week average rose to 351,750.

July 8, 2013: quick! who is the #1 employer in the US? Wal-Mart. Now, is #2? Kelly Services: a temporary staffing agency.

July 5, 2013: another disappointing report; unemployment does not budge; remains at 7.6%; all "new" hiring was for temporary/part-time help; full-time hiring actually decreased; largest growth sector: bartenders and fast-food restaurants.

June 27, 2013: last week's numbers revised upward by another 1,000. This week, modest decline of 9,000 to 346,00. Four-week moving average drops to 345,750.

June 19, 2013: surges past analysts' expectations; rises 18,000 to 354,000. Four-week average jumps to 348,250, just 1,750 below the magic number according to Reuters.

June 13, 2013: falls 12,000 to 334,000. Four-week moving average decreases to 345,250, but total number on benefits actually increases. 

June 7, 2013: unemployment edges up to 7.6%. Average monthly new jobs last autumn: 235,000. Today's number: 175,000.

June 6, 2013: Jobless claims drop to 346,000; analysts had predicted a slightly bigger decrease. Previous week's report was ... drum roll ... revised upward, from 354,000 to 357,000. Actually not bad in the big scheme of things (the revision, that is).

June 5, 2013: job growth has slowed; 135,000 new jobs added; analysts forecast 165,000. Horrible. 

May 30, 2013: increased by 10,000 to 354,000. Previous week's number revised upward by 4,000. Four-week moving average: 347,250. Essentially no change throughout the entire recovery, but Reuters continues to see silver linings in the dark clouds. I don't see them.

May 23, 2013: decreased by 23,000 to 340,000. Previous week's number revised upward to 363,000. Moving average, 339,500.

May 17, 2013: the AP is reporting.

Nevada had the highest unemployment rate last month, at 9.6 percent. But it also had the biggest decline of any state over the past year, falling from 10.7 percent. Part of that decline is because many people have given up on their job hunts. But the state has also gained 22,700 jobs in the last 12 months.
North Dakota reported the nation's lowest unemployment rate, at 3.3 percent. The state has benefited from an oil and gas drilling boom.
May 16, 2013: one of the worst reports ever. Jumps 32,000 to 360,000, highest level in 6 weeks. Worse, it caught everyone by a surprise; huge surprise. Four-week moving average jumped to 338,000. It was also interesting to see that the previous four-week average was quietly raised to 339,250 (previously stated to be 336,750). This is one of the worse reports seen in quite some time, even though the headline only suggests six weeks.

May 9, 2013: though the headline says the jobless claims are at a near 5 1/2 year low, in fact, the numbers today are pretty much a wash. Last week's numbers were revised up 3,000, and this week's numbers dropped 4,000, to 323,000, a whole 1,000 less than last week.  The four-week moving average for new claims dropped 6,250 to 336,750 - the lowest level since November 2007.

May 2, 2013: jobless claims drop 18,000 to 324,000, a five-year low. Last week's claims were revised upward to 342,000 (an increase of 3,000). Four-week moving average dropped 16,000 to 342,250. That's incredible. Hopefully these numbers hold up next week, without revisions.

April 25, 2013: jobless claims drop 16,000 to 339,000 (forecast: 350,000). Last week's figures were revised upward to 355,000, higher than the forecast for last week.  Four-week moving average dropped 4,500 to 357,500. Same ol', same ol'. Continuing claims: 3.0 million vs 3.093 million last week.

April 18, 2013: jobless claims rise to 352,000 (forecast: 350,000). California sends in estimate, so next week's "revised" number will probably be even higher; four-week moving average also increases to 361,250 from 358,500.

April 11, 2013: jobless claims plummet -- down 42,000 to 346,000; largest weekly drop since mid-November. Interestingly enough the numbers for March 30 were revised upward, making them worse than originally reported -- again, California's numbers were estimated. Economists forecast a drop to 365,000, which was reasonable. It will be interesting to see what the revised numbers show next week. The numbers are seasonally adjusted which leaves room for all kinds of shenanigans, and, in fact, Reuters reported that the floating Easter holiday and spring breaks pose challenges for the "so-called" seasonal factor. The four-week moving average increased to 358,000.  The four-week average is a better measure of labor market trends.
April 5, 2013: March jobs number is horrendous. By any standard. Need to add 200,000 jobs/month to make headway. Some tried moving the goalposts to 120,000. Whisper numbers suggested the worse, at 150,000. So, the number, please ... drum roll .... 88,000. Labor force at level not seen since President Jimmy Carter's year of the Iranian hostage crisis, 1979. Labor force at 63%. 

April 4, 2013: horrendous. Economists had predicted a fall to 350,000. Instead spikes an incredible 28,000 to 385,000, the highest in four months. It will likely be revised upward next week when the estimated California numbers are in. The four-week moving average spiked 11,250 to 354,250.

March 28, 2013: weekly jobs report; incredible spin; the number rose to 357,000; previous week's number revised upward an astonishing 5,000; initial claims rose 16,000;

March 26, 2013: Wow, I've been saying this for two years, maybe longer: the great recession has been followed by the grand illusion; don't be fooled by the latest jobs numbers. The unemployment situation in the US is still dire.It's a very long article, but the statistics are daunting.

March 21, 2013: previous week's numbers revised upwards; total receiving benefits rose; 336,000 this week;

March 7, 2013: unexpectedly falls 7,000 to 340,000 (previous report revised upward); four-week moving average, 348,750

February 28, 2013: falls 22,000 to 344,000; analysts had expected number to fall only to 360,000 from 360,000 last week. Four-week moving average: 355,00.

February 21, 2013: 362,000. Rises significantly more than expected. Up 20,000. Expected: 355,000. Four-week moving average also increases to 360,750.

February 14, 2013: 341,000. Drops more than expected. Analysts had expected 360,000. Very interesting. Drop was 27,000.

February 7, 2013: 366,000. Last week's number was revised upward from 368,000 to 371,000.

February 1, 2013: unemployment rate rises slightly, back to 7.9%.

January 31, 2013: Analysts confused again! The number surges 38,000 --- now back up to 368,000. Analysts had expected the number to increase ONLY to 350,000. Earlier this month, "371,000," was the highest number in five years.

January 24, 2013: surprising report; caught analysts off-guard; had expected an increase to 360,000. In fact, down 5,000 to 330,000, the lowest in five years. Perhaps last week's report of a stggering drop of 37,000 was not a one-off. The four-week average: 351,750. Again, the numbers were estimated for several states, including California.

January 17, 2013: down to 335,000; lowest in five years; drops a staggering 37,000 in one week. Four-week moving average: 359,250.

January 15, 2013: from

Long term unemployment under President Obama is at the highest level since at least the end of World War II, threatening to create a permanent underclass of workers who will find it difficult or impossible to obtain jobs in the future. What’s more, Obama’s insistence on repeatedly extending long term unemployment benefits may be fueling the unemployment problem.

January 10, 2013: no estimates today; the "real" data. First time claims benefits (unemployment) jumped to the highest number in five weeks (371,000) and the four-week moving average jumped significantly to 365,750, a "gain" of almost 7,000.  Comment: that was the report. But yet the numbers/analysis don't quite match -- look at last couple of weeks. The number was 372,000 last week -- which means this week's number 371,000 is not the highest in five weeks (though, perhaps the revised numbers were different -- that 371,000 was an estimate). Also, the four-week moving average, though it showed a jump, is exactly the same as it was two weeks ago.

January 3, 2013: the numbers are bogus, again; nine states sent in estimates. The government says unemployment, first time-claims benefits jumped 10,000 to 372,000 this past week. After all is said and done, the unemployment rate went up and was revised upward the month before. After that, it's all spin.

December 27, 2012: the numbers are bogus, all estimates due to government shut down for holiday -- 350,000 last week; 365,750 four-week moving average.

December 20, 2012: huge jump; now up to 361,000 ---  most concerning: there was no explanation.

December 13, 2012: huge drop; now down to 343,000, lowest level in .... two months. The four-week moving average: 381,500.

December 7, 2012: Rounding, 75% of new jobs created in past five months were government jobs.

December 6, 2012: weekly -- 370,000; four-week moving average: 408,000. Gallup, unadjusted, unemployment takes huge jump; back to 8.3%; government figures: only 7.7%. Non-farm jobs added: 151,000. Remember: the magic number is 200,000.

Friday Links -- Part I

Down below, I have a group of rail-related articles. They were posted because a reader sent me this story from Platts. This is a huge story, maybe the best story of the day: US petroleum products rail volumes rise 65% yoy.

It's a big story for several reasons. This is the story that caught my eye: the writer throws in this stand-alone non sequitur:
Rail traffic is seen as a useful gauge on the health of the US economy.
The statement is true, but it is not a conclusion that can be reached simply because  "US petroleum products rail volumes increased 65% yoy."

Petroleum by rail is increasing because of the huge amount of oil being produced where there is inadequate infrastructure. And is continuing because producers see at least three advantages to shipping oil by rail.

In fact, according to the article, considering all rail activity, "cumulatively, total US rail carloads originated are down 3.1%." Now, one can say: rail traffic is seen as a useful gauge on the health of the US economy.

But oil shipments are pretty much just keeping the railroads alive/solvent (see below) now that a) coal is dead; and, b) we are heading toward the ObamaCliff.


Wells coming off confidential list have been posted.

RBN Energy: condensates and pricing.

Grand Forks Concrete says they would not be operating if it weren't for the Bakken. That's true for many, many companies. 
Dick Edgar said western North Dakota oil development has kept his Grand Forks concrete plant in operation and offers millions of dollars in opportunities for other companies, if only they can find a way in.“My plant in Grand Forks right now would be shut down if it wasn’t for the Bakken,” said Edgar, the business development director for Wells Concrete in Grand Forks, referring to the Bakken oil play, the main driver of petroleum production in North Dakota.
I've been working on the railroad ... stories:
9/10 North Dakotas approve oil production in North Dakota