Thursday, January 10, 2013

In Just The Past Six Years .... What Fracking Has Done ...

... link here to
The Department of Energy (DOE) is forecasting that US oil output will increase this year by 14% to an average of 7.3 million barrels per day (bpd), up from last year’s average of 6.4 million bpd.  In 2014, the DOE projects another annual 8.2% increase to an average of almost 8 million bpd, which would bring production by the end of 2014 to 8.5 million bpd, the highest monthly level of domestic crude oil output since 1986.
But there's even more at the link. Staggering.
Considering that oil output has increased by 52% in North Dakota over the last year, and by 32% in Texas, the Department of Energy’s forecast of a 14% increase this year in domestic oil output might be rather conservative. And I’m not sure that the Department of Energy is incorporating recent developments in West Texas oil in its forecasts, but that’s where we might see the next surge in domestic shale oil and gas production.
Peak what?

BEXP With Another Nice Well; Wells Coming Off The Confidential List on Friday; Looks Like CLR Has A Nice Well Where BEXP Reported a Record TFS Well Back in 2009

Wells coming off the confidential list on Friday:
  • 22172, 528, OXY USA, Havelka 1-19-18H-142-95, Manning, see below, t7/12; cum 20K 11/12;
  • 22299, 615, Petro-Hunt, Fort Berthold 148-95-27A-34-3H, Eagle Nest, t10/12; cum 21K 11/12;
  • 22481, 2,016, BEXP, Wright 4-33 4H, Alger, hooked up to a NG pipeline; t9/12; cum 36K 11/12;
  • 22518, 567, G3 Operating, Quarne 1-27-34H, Strandahl, hooked up to a NG pipeline; t10/12; cum 10K 11/12;
  • 22964, 139, Corinthian Exploration, Corinthian Feight 5-36 1H, North Souris, a Spearfish well, t10/12; cum 6K 11/12;
  • 23211, 577, CLR, Durant 1-12H, East Fork, see below; t11/12; cum 16K 11/12;
Deeper look of selected wells from list above:

22172, conf, OXY USA, Havelka 1-19-18H-142-95, Manning; not hooked up to a NG pipeline; Manning field is in the Whiting Pronghorn prospect area in southwest Dunn County where Whiting has some nice wells in the general area:

PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

23211, conf, CLR, Durant 1-12H, East Fork (back in 2011, BEXP reported a record TFS well in East Fork oil field):

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

One mile to the east of the Durant, CLR has three producing wells in the Brooklyn oil field:
  • 19652, 993, CLR, Helena 1-7H, Brooklyn, t10/11; cum 96K 11/12;
  • 22267, 341, CLR, Helena 2-7H, Brooklyn, t10/12; cum 23K 11/12;
  • 22679, 822, CLR, Helena 3-7H, Brooklyn, t10/12; cum 29K 11/12;

Saudi Said To Have Cut Production In December


January 16, 2013: BP: North America Shale Boom Will Pressure OPEC to Cut Output
Increasing output of shale oil in North America will put pressure on OPEC to cut its own crude production, resulting in a global oil supply buffer on a scale not seen since oil prices were far lower more than 10 years ago, BP PLC said in its annual energy forecast Wednesday.
BP's forecasts illustrate the extent to which the North American boom, first in shale gas production and now in shale oil, has redrawn the global energy map. However, the company doesn't expect the shale revolution to spread by 2030 on any great scale to Asia or Europe, where conditions for investment in unconventional oil and gas fall short of those in North America, BP said.
Original Post 

Link here to

It was probably all over the news but I missed it until seeing it in Rigzone.
Crude-oil futures prices climbed to a 16-week high Thursday on news that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, cut production in December.
Analysts said the reduction likely came in response to weak near-term demand. But, if sustained in coming months, the reduction could offset somewhat the impact of rising U.S. oil output that is expected to help trim global prices this year.
Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, and the de facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, cut output by 5% in December from a month earlier to 9.025 million barrels a day, a person familiar with the matter told Dow Jones Newswires. The drop was the largest percentage cut by the Saudis since January 2009, as the recession took hold and U.S. benchmark oil prices collapsed to $42 a barrel from a record monthly average high of $134 a barrel in June 2008.
The cut put Saudi output at its lowest level since May 2011, prior to an increase to cover lost supplies from the Libyan civil war. The Saudis boosted output to 10.1 million barrels a day last spring to cover lower exports from Iran as stricter sanctions took hold.

American Express To Cut Almost 10% Of Their Workforce; Boeing Will Cut 40% of Workforce At El Paso, Texas

Specifically: 8.5%.

5,400 jobs.

Link here to Yahoo!News.

Again, according to "anonymous," the unemployment numbers are lagging indicators.

This was the first few paragraphs:
The steps will cost the company about $600 million in charges in the fourth quarter after taxes, which will halve its net income.
Nearly $300 million of the charges are to cover restructuring, primarily in its travel division, to save money and adapt to the fact that customers increasingly book travel online and on their mobile phones instead of with travel agents.
The other half of the charges are for higher costs from customers redeeming more rewards for spending with cards, as well as $153 million of payments to reimburse customers that were overcharged or short-changed benefits.
But then this. I would have missed it had I not read it:
American Express tends to cut staff at the beginning of recessions
This time it's different.
But CEO Kenneth Chenault, speaking to stock analysts after the announcement Thursday, said spending with its cards continues to grow.
"This is not driven by our view of the macro environment," he said.
The company said the job cuts will happen over the year and come even as it hires some new employees and invests in more online customer service. The current workforce of 63,500 people will be about 4 to 6 percent smaller by the end of 2013.

Seriously: I have maintained for quite some time job losses in many cases are due to tectonic changes in our culture, and this explains some of the cuts at American Express. I was surprised to see that it has taken this long for AMEX to cut personnel in its travel agent offices.


Meanwhile, over at Boeing at El Paso, Texas: Boeing to cut 40 percent of workforce.
Boeing Co said it will cut a little more than 40 percent of jobs, or 160 positions, at its El Paso plant as it looks to reduce the impact of planned U.S. defense budget cuts.
The company said it will reduce occupied square footage 50 percent at the plant by moving from three buildings to one. The plant in Texas manufactures electronics for a variety of Boeing products.
Again, another lagging indicator. I'm beginning to get worried about the leading indicators.

Global Warming Hits Jerusalem; Global Warming Hits Southern California -- Interstate Closed Due to Snow (No, This Is Not a Bakken Story)


January 13, 2013: the Hollywood elite filing into the auditorium for the Golden Globes Awards are complaining about the cold temperatures. Frozen Globes, as Drudge says. 

January 13, 2013: epic cold spell in southern California continues; farmers hit hard. Headline in LA Times. Not unusual for cold snaps this time of year, but "they" say this was one of the colder ones.

January 12, 2013: temperatures could hit record lows in southern California tonight. That forecast for a one- to two-degree rise in global temperature over the next century looks more and more shaky.  But look at this: it's only been a few years since it was this cold (2007). [By the way, the Grapevine -- I-5 -- was closed for an epic 17 hours the other night due to the weather.]

January 11, 2013: Wow, don't even talk to me about global warming tonight. Epic cold snap in southern California could threaten citrus crops.
An Arctic air mass sent temperatures plunging across California, forcing the 17-hour closure of a key interstate highway through the mountains north of Los Angeles and threatening citrus crops in the state's vast central valleys, authorities said on Friday.
Temperatures throughout the state fell by as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius) below normal, allowing snow to accumulate at elevations as low as 1,500 feet, the National Weather Service reported.
Original Post
Link here to DailyMail.
Jerusalem hit by worst snowstorm for TWENTY YEARS as eight inches fall across Holy City.
  • unusually heavy snowfall as temperatures dip below freezing
  • Dome of the Rock and Western Wall bathed in white blanket 
  • Prime Minister Natanyahu gets in on the fun with family snowball fight 
Looks like they are having fun; great photos.


Meanwhile in sunny southern California, the portion of I-5 known as the Grapevine has been closed due to snow
The California Highway Patrol has shut down Interstate 5 through the Grapevine because of snow as Southern California was hit by a cold front.
The announcement came at 4 p.m., with the CHP saying the northbound lanes were closed at Parker Road. The southbound lanes were closed at Grapevine Road.
The Grapevine was closed earlier this morning because of snow and ice.
A cold front from Canada settled in Southern California on Thursday, bringing snow flurries and low temperatures that forecasters said should stick around for days. 
Forecasts for that one- to two-degree increase in global temperature over the next century continue to look more and more shaky. 

The video below was posted a couple of weeks ago, during an earlier winter storm:

Winter on the Grapevine, Southern California, posted December 27, 2012

What a great country.

This Is Nice: Chevron To See Increased Earnings

Link here to Yahoo!News.
Chevron Corp , the second-largest U.S. oil company, said on Thursday its fourth-quarter profit would be "notably higher" than the previous quarter as oil and gas output bounced back and it booked a $1.4 billion gain on an asset transaction.
Chevron is also preparing to bring its refinery in Richmond, California, back to full production this quarter, after the crude unit of the 245,000-barrels-per-day plant was badly damaged in an August fire.
I like the word "notably."

From a press release:
Chevron is the nation's second-biggest oil company, and it earned $5.25 billion, or $2.69 per share, in the third quarter.
Analysts expect the company to report earnings of $3.03 per share when it posts fourth-quarter results on Feb. 1.
All things being equal that would equate to a share price of about $122, which would be a 52-week high and an all-time high based on Yahoo!Finance chart set at "max."

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

The Williston Wire: Fuddruckers Coming To Williston; FIve Guys Burgers and Fries Considering Williston

No links; the Williston Wire is easy to subscribe to.

Huge: Five Guys Burgers and Fries consider opening in Williston. This would be huge; over the top.

Williams County commissioners approve bypass route:
Commissioners discussed the route briefly at a meeting recently before agreeing to authorize the state to move forward with the route with the city's language, which follows what was the so-called "yellow" route closer to town as far north as possible before cutting west to the "red" route on 142nd Avenue Northwest and then east on 56th Street Northwest.
The owners of 3 Amigos Southwest Grill are opening a new self-serve frozen yogurt shop at the same location.

Wow -- developers to bring in another hotel and Fuddruckers. Fuddruckers will be opening in May or June along Highway 2 north of Wal-Mart. The restaurant will be stand-alone but next to a new, 102-room, four-story hotel. The developer is Serka Services, a company that has been noted on the blog before and works globally and often as a contractor for the Department of Defense.

Lake Sakakawea: 1,829.3 feet. At the lower end of "what might be considered a comfort zone." Water will start to be released in the months ahead to generate hydroelectric power through Garrison Dam turbines.  Contrary to what others might say, water for fracking from the Lake will have no material effect on the level of the Lake.

QEP Has a Nice Well; Eight (8) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA

Bakken Operations

Active rigs: 181 (steady)

Eight (8) new permits --
  • Operators: Whiting (3), Hess (2), Fidelity, Petro-Hunt, Bakken Hunt
  • Fields: Hawkeye (McKenzie), Stanley (Mountrail), Sanish (Mountrail), Hay Creek (McKenzie), Antelope (McKenzie), Crosby (Divide)
  • Comments: None
Wells coming off the confidential list were reported earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Several permits were canceled:
  • 23999, PNC, BR, Bice 44-12MBH, Dunn
  • 23998, PNC, BR, Bice 44-12TFH, Dunn
  • 22222, PNC, CLR, Bonney 3-3H, Dunn
  • 21808, PNC, Samson Resources, Crow 32-29-163-96H, Divide
  • 21836, PNC, Samson Resources, Defender 9-4-163-97H, Divide
  • 21843, PNC, Samson Resources, Teal 3-10-163-96H, Divide
But, there were three producing wells completed:
  • 22193, 2,367, QEP, Kummer 1-6/7H, Croff, t10/12; cum 83K 11/12; --  part of the Helis deal?
  • 22419, 586, Hess,  BW-Sorenson 149-99-1324H-1, Wildcat, t12/12; cum -- ; another good example of the "craziness" of wildcats in the Bakken; this one is sitting in the heart of the Bakken; McKenzie County
  • 22418, 724, Hess,  BW-Spring Creek 149-99-1201H-1, Wildcat, 12/12; cum -- sits on/near the same pad as 22419;

Off The Air For A Few Hours

Isn't This Interesting: Canadian Sands Oil Shipping to Mississippi (USA) By Rail


Later, 7:53 pm est: a reader pointed out that trains coming from Canada do not produce any CO2. 

Original Post

Link to Oil & Gas
Southern Pacific Resources Corp. said rail shipments have begun of diluted bitumen (dilbit) produced at its STP-McKay thermal oil sands project in Alberta to a terminal in Mississippi as production at the project ramps up.

The first shipment of dilbit left the Lynton terminal south of Fort McMurray on Dec. 22, 2012, and arrived in Mississippi on Jan. 6 for offloading at the Genesis Natchez terminal, where Southern Terminal has exclusive capacity. With steady shipments under way, the company plans to build storage before starting sales to Gulf Coast refiners at the end of January.
While developing the rail transport program last year, Southern Pacific said the system would provide pricing advantages and lower diluent requirements.
The faux environmentalists can probably watch the 100-unit oil trains as they pass through North Platte, Nebraska, over the aquifer, on their way to Mississippi. 

Restoring Faith in the US Post Office In Williston, ND


Later, 7:50 pm est: here's a list of post offices in North Dakota considered for closure; see how many you recognize that are located in the Bakken, starting with Epping -- where there is now a huge crude-by-rail terminal. I rest my case. [For newbies, zip codes starting with "588XX" are generally in the Bakken; some with "587XX" are in the Bakken; and, even some with "586XX" are in the Bakken.

Later, 7:45 pm est: I got a nice comment that said the post office had new personnel from Detroit who were unable to read street addresses. That helps me understand the problem.  I was concerned that folks would think I was blaming staff personally. That couldn't be farther from reality. I was blaming shortsightedness of the USPS -- the "bureaucracy." Just as the Bakken was taking off there were recommendations to close any number of post offices and/or downsize post offices throughout the Dakotas. In fact, I think there were efforts to delete the Williston zip code per se and consolidate it with Minot's or something to that effect. Let's see: the boom is well into its fifth year, and the USPS is finally getting around to "restoring faith in the service it's trying to provide."

Original Post

There is a story in the Williston Wire today (which I might get around to posting later on but am so negative about the US Post Office in Williston that I have purposely not posted until now) --

... but as I was saying ... there is a story in the Williston Wire today that the US Post Office in Williston will try to "restore faith in the service it's trying to provide." Whatever that means.  "Trying to provide?" How about "mandated to provide?"

Since 1969, I have sent, probably, thousands of letters to my family in Williston, and have never had one not reach its destination. So, I was quite surprised (to say the least) when all three letters that I mailed my family in December, 2012, were returned with that ubiquitous yellow strip glued on the front with the words: "addressee has no box."

All three letters were sent to the same family business address; the same address I have used for the past 20 years (or more). It's a business with a front door like most mom-and-pop businesses and no, it does not have a mail receptacle out front. If mail was delivered to the address all these years, the postal carrier must have walked in the front door and dropped off the mail at the reception desk, immediately inside the door. It's also possible, the post office simply placed the mail in one of two post office boxes that the company rents inside the one post office in Williston. Regardless of how it was done, for 20 years (or more), I have mailed letters to the same address and have never gotten one back. But this year, all three letters, all three sent separately, all three letters were returned to me because the addressee did not have a mail box on site. And never has, for 20 years (or more).

I did put all three returned letters inside a larger yellow manila business envelope, one of those 8 x 11-inch envelopes that Wal-Mart sells for a dollar or two and then mailed them back to a PO Box number that I vaguely recall to be correct. That was a week ago.

It appears, in the future, I will simply type my letters on the computer, attach them to e-mail, and have my sister print them off to give to the intended family member when she has time.

Fortunately I do all my banking on-line. And if I do have to mail something to Williston it will be by UPS, although it is my understanding that to save costs UPS often hands off their packages to USPS for remote locations, which Williston appears to be. At least in the eyes of the USPS. 

Well, This Is Nice -- ENB Just Hit a 52-Week High

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

.... and I believe this is an all-time high for Enbridge.

Regular readers know that Enbridge is one of my favorite energy companies in terms of watching its business model. My first post on Enbridge was back on July 23, 2010, which I called "putting the pieces together." Enbridge caught my attention then because it was investing in solar energy. It was then that I knew that Enbridge saw itself as an energy company, and not a pipeline company. Since then it has added rail, certainly novel at the time, for a pipeline company.

EOG, another one of my favorite Bakken-centric companies is also flirting with another 52-week high. 

Hamlet Oil Field, The Bakken, Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA



None as of October 16, 2014
25263, 215, CLR, Farver 4-29H1, t11/13; cum 49K 8/14;
24769, 548, CLR, Rosenquist 2-24H, t10/13; cum 90K 8/14;
24768, 487, CLR, Vatne 2-25H, t9/13; cum 57K 8/14;
24767, 627, CLR, Rosenquist 3-24H, t10/13; cum 90K 8/14;
24766, 600, CLR, Rosenquist 3-24H, t10/13; cum 59K 8/14;

24660, 511, CLR, Salo 4-26H, t5/13; cum 54K 8/14;

Original Post

Folks are getting excited about the news story earlier this month about Hunt getting ready to do a lot of drilling in Ambrose County, Divide County.

A reader asked for a look at Hamlet oil field, Divide County. I think the reader knows more about this Hamlet oil field than I do, suggesting that we are going to see some huge multi-well pads in the field, though they are not yet on the NDIC GIS map. Having said that, a few notes on Hamlet.

Hamlet oil field is located in the extreme southeast corner of Divide County, its southern line the Williams County/Divide County line. Divide County became an exciting county in the Bakken boom in late 2012. The field is almost exactly one township in size, T160N-R96W. It appears that leases in all sections are now held by production: there is a long lateral in every section in the field.

First, some old wells. In section 23/24/25-160-96, there are six vertical Madison wells on 160-acre spacing -- all still active, including this stellar well:
  • 5535, 1,340, Enduro Operating/Sequel Energy, Vatne et al 1, Hamlet, t2/75; cum 714K 8/14; still producing 800 bbls/month; and still producing after almost 39 years.
Obviously, this well is not indicative of all Madison wells, but it is also not an exception.

Currently there are two areas of interest in the Hamlet.

First, 29/30-160-96:
  • 19173, 513, CLR, Farver 1-29H, Hamlet, t11/10; cum 96K 8/14;
  • 24658, 90, CLR, Farver 3-29H2, Hamlet, t8/13; cum 28K 8/14;
  • 24657, 344, CLR, Farver 2-29H4, Hamlet, t7/13; cum 32K 8/14;
  • 24594, 570, CLR, Rosenvold 5-30H-2, Hamlet, t10/13; cum 39K 8/14;
  • 24593, 405, CLR, Rosenvold 3-30H-3, Hamlet, t4/14; cum 39K 8/14;
  • 19709, 492, CLR, Rosenvold 1-30H, Hamlet, t12/11; cum 69K 8/14;
Second (and on the date of the original post, there is a rig on site on #23856)
  • 23853, 674, CLR, Hamlet 7-2H, Hamlet, t5/13; cum 66K 8/14;
  • 23854, 749, CLR, Hamlet 6-2H, Hamlet, t4/13; cum 88K 8/14;
  • 23855, 700, CLR, Hamlet 5-2H, Hamlet, t5/13; cum 69K 8/14;
  • 23856, 463, CLR, Salo 7-35H, Hamlet, t6/13; cum 56K 8/14;
  • 23857, 583, CLR, Salo 6-35H, Hamlet, t6/13; cum 65K 8/14;
  • 23858, 566, CLR, Salo 5-35H, Hamlet, t6/13; cum 57K 8/14;
Now, a look at some of the better Hamlet oil field wells:
  • 18958, 865, CLR, Howard 1-5H, t8/10; cum 134K 8/14;
  • 19183, 1,171, CLR, Dalin 1-4H, t10/10; cum 189K 8/14;
  • 18321, 700, CLR, Milton 1-23H, t3/10; cum 163K 8/14;
  • 18904, 466, CLR, Harriet 1-22H, t12/10; cum 131K 8/14;
  • 18818, 479, CLR, Rosenquist 1-24H, t7/10; cum 132K 8/14;
So, what does the future hold for Divide County (not just Hamlet oil field) going forward? Below is a very brief summary of the cases in the NDIC hearing dockets since June, 2012 (the most recent six or seven months) with regard to Divide County.

From the NDIC hearing dockets since June, 2012. Note: due to the way cases are handled, there could be some double- or triple-counting below, but one gets an idea of the activity in Divide County through a quick scroll. These are all in Divide County.

  • 19409, Bakken Hunter, extend Paulson-Bakken, establish 2 1440-acre units; 2 wells each;
  • 14910, Bakken Hunter, extend Bounty School-Bakken, establish 5 1440-acre units; 10 1280-acre units; and 7 640-acre units; 2 wells on each 1440 and each 1280-acre units;
  • 19244, American Eagle, extend Colgan-Bakken; establish 2 800-acre units; 8 wells on each; Divide
  • 19331, Hunt, extend West Ambrose, Musta, and/or Smoky Butte-Bakken, establish 18 1280-acre units; one well each, Divide;
  • 19356, Baytex, Frazier-Bakken, 7 wells on each of 3 1280-acre units, Divide
  • 19357, Baytex, Ambrose-Bakken, 7 wells on each of 10 1280-acre units; Divide  
  • 19358, Baytex, Whiteaker-Bakken, 7 wells on each of 11 1280-acre units, Divide
  • 19359, Baytex, Blooming Prairie-Bakken, 7 wells on each of 3 1280-acre units, Divide 
  • 19072, CLR, Hayland-Bakken, 14 wells on an existing 1280-acre unit, Divide 
  • 18832, Hunt, Fertile Valley and/or Smoky Butte-Bakken; establish 18 1280-acre units; 
  • 18846, CLR, amend Sadler-Bakken, create 2 overlapping 2560-acre units; multiple wells;
  • 18847, CLR, amend Dolphin and/or Hamlet-Bakken, create 3 overlapping 2560-acre units;
  • 18848, CLR, amend Stoneview-Bakken, create an overlapping 2560-acre unit; multiple wells;
  • 18942, CLR, Upland-Bakken, 14 wells on an existing 1280-acre unit, Divide
  • 18590, Marquis Alliance, construct an oil treating and oilfield waste treating/processing facility
  • 18701, Samson Resources, Blooming Prairie-Bakken, 7 wells on an existing 1280-acre unit
  • 18705, Samson Resources, Bluffton-Bakken, 7 wells on an existing 1280-acre unit, Divide
  • 18409, Sequel, amend Stoneview-Bakken and North Tioga-Bakken, 6 hz wells on each unit
  • 18438, SM, amend Colgan-Bakken, up to 4 hz wells on 4 1280-acre units, Divide
  • 18541, Samson Resources, 7 wells on an existing 1280-acre unit, West Ambrose-Bakken,
  • 18291, Samson Res, Blooming Prairie-Bakken, 2 overlapping 2560-acre units; 14 wells each
  • 18292, Samson Resources, amend Ambrose-Bakken, establish 5 2560-are units; 14 wells on each overlapping 2560-acre unit, Divide (70 wells)
  • 18358, Samson Resources, Blooming Prairie-Bakken, 7 wells on each of 2 1280-acre units
  • 18383, American Eagle, Colgan-Bakken, complete 4 wells on each of 3 existing 800-acre units
  • 18111: Samson Resources, West Ambrose-Bakken Pool, create a 2080-acre unit, 14 wells;
  • 18112: Samson Resources, Ambrose-Bakken Pool, create 5 2080-acre units; 14 wells on each unit; 70 wells;

KOG Provides Interim Update; Opens Slightly Lower


Later, 3:25 pm est: I see that KOG is now green for the day. I honestly did not think that borrowing more money would affect the price of KOG in light of all the positive news today. 

Original Post

From Yahoo!In-Play:
Kodiak Oil & Gas provides interim operations update; Kodiak completion operations in the Williston Basin continue with two full-time, 24-hour-per-day crews, Co's drilling operations continue with seven operated rigs : Co provided an interim corporate update on recent completion and drilling activities.
So, is the news good or bad? KOG is down a bit this morning on a day that:
a) the general market is up
b) the price of WTI is up solidly, up a buck

Thursday Links

WSJ Links

Section D: This is nice. Ranking of airlines for 2012. Overall #1: Delta. Followed by Alaska, US Airways, and Southwest. Surprisingly, Jet Blue was #5 of the seven listed. Other gauges (#1, #2, and #8 listed):
  • Getting planes off on time: Alaska, Delta .... American
  • Fewest canceled flights: Delta, Southwest ... American
  • Fewest extreme delays: US Airways, Alaska ... Jet Blue (hmmmm)
  • Fewest bumped passengers: Jet Blue, Delta ... United
  • Fewest lost bags: Jet Blue, Delta ... United
  • Fewest complaints: Southwest, Alaska ... United
I've never found much usefulness in airline rankings; every flight is a potential adventure.

The sports page, very interesting today:
Actually, the second story of those three links is the story of "deep weirdness." In the modern vernacular: "creepy."

Section C: 
This is simply very, very interesting. All that talk of global warming and one would think that South America -- much of it at the equator -- would be hit hard by global warming. And then this huge photo-story on the front page of section C: Brazil's surprise coffee call throws off the market's bean count -- with 50 million bags, this is at the upper end of Brazilian government's forecast for the country's 2013 coffee harvest. There has been talk that slightly increased CO2 and slightly warmer temperatures does do wonders for agriculture (all other things being equal). The story is actually on page C4; only the huge photo is on the front page. Years ago I was part of a research team studying the efficiency of Arctic plants. We were based in Barrow, Alaska. It was obvious that a slightly longer growing season would do wonders for these plants and a degree or two in temperature increase would do the same. The lemming population would probably do better, also. But I digress.  Another story along this line (agricultural profits) is on page B3 -- Cargill and Monsanto are reporting sharply higher earnings. Weather around the world varies immensely, but overall, the data does not suggest the world is coming to an end due to that forecast of one to two-degree rise in global temperature over the next century.

Apple is in the news with talk of a low-priced phone. As an elitist when it comes to Apple, I wish Apple stuck to its high-end, high-margin, high-priced business model. [Update, one day later: that story was pulled by Reuters. It never did sound "true" to me; Apple doesn't "dumb down" for profit margin or market share. Tea leaves suggest Apple will continue making high-end, high-margin, high-priced products and accelerating the product cycle.]

Section B:
A nice story on Clearwire, Sprint, Dish. Huge front page story. [Wow, a most beautiful male cardinal just showed up -- it's quite interesting that putting out different types of bird seed results in different birds showing up.] Back to Clearwire, Spring, Dish. I don't think folks understand how important spectrum is. I remember the challenge the military had back in the early 2000's with not enough spectrum, and then the government turning over some of that spectrum to the civilian sector. I don't follow telecom, but for those who, it would be interesting to track value of company based on spectrum.

As tax hikes loomed, some CEOS sold stock. Five biggest sales of stock by executives or directors in December, 2012 -- companies mentioned: Teavana Holdings (#1 by a huge margin), First Citizens Bancshares, Google (Eric Schmidt), Starbucks (Schultz), and Shaw Group. I would not have linked this story except for the fact that my daughter buys an excellent honey for our older granddaughter from Teavana. The honey is priced right and, best of all, it doesn't crystallize.

Natural-gas rally fizzles.

Section A:
Page A3 (followed closely by page B3) is always the most interesting. Today: schools get taste of own medicine; states assign A to F grades based on test results, other factors; some parents, administrators are shocked by poor scores.  [This link is first one today that I could not access on the web without logging in with a paid subscription.] I have mixed feelings about over-reliance on testing.

US lags peers in life expectancy. [Link required password, see above.] This is the list with average life expectancy at birth for men in 2007:
  • Switzerland: 79.33
  • Australia: 79.27
  • Japan: 79.20
  • Sweden: 78.92
  • Italy: 78.82
 ... then, Canada, Norway (78.25), Netherlands, Spain, UK, France, Austria, Germay, Denmark, Portugal, Finland, and then the US, in 17th place at 75.64. "The shorter life expectancy for Americans largely was attributed to high mortality for men under age 50, from car crashes, accidents, and violence." Apparently American men play hard, work hard, and die hard.

Having said that, the "verbal conclusion" tends to overstate the actual numbers. I can't get too excited about 76 vs 79 years of age, especially considering the number of 76-year-olds with Alzheimers and other quality of life issues. My attitude will probably change when I have my 76th birthday. American women: life expectancy for those born in 2007, is 80.8 years. That is five years shorter than Japan's, which had the highest expectancy.

Northern Gateway pipeline in Canada under seige

Supreme Court case to watch: forced DUI blood tests.

Jobs Data -- Continued Spin

Remember: the magic number is 400,000

Link to the Denver Post.
Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits ticked up slightly last week, the latest sign of stability in the job market. 
The Labor Department said Thursday that applications rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 371,000, the most in five weeks. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 6,750 to 365,750, after falling to a four-year low the previous week.
A department spokesman says all states reported data and none were estimated. In the previous two weeks, many states were estimated because they weren't able to report data over the holidays. 

So, the unemployment number ticks up and this the sound bite: " ... the latest sign of stability in the job market." Okay. Overlooked? The seasonally adjusted number is the largest it's been in five weeks.

And, the four-week average, a less volatile measure, continues to increase, this time up a fairly significant amount, almost 7,000.

And so it goes. I see Morgan Stanley's announcement to cut 1,600 jobs is still a headline story.

Unemployment is a lagging indicator.  The seasonally adjusted number is the largest it's been in five weeks.