Monday, January 14, 2013

A Man Of Few Words --

Link here to Bloomberg.
Justice Clarence Thomas spoke at a U.S. Supreme Court argument for the first time in almost seven years, evoking laughter as he made a wisecrack during a discussion about Ivy League law schools.

Thomas hadn’t asked a question at argument since Feb. 22, 2006, when he interjected in a South Carolina death penalty case. Since then, he had limited his courtroom comments to summaries of his opinions. 

Denbury Buys COP Field in the Williston Basin; Wells Coming Off The Confidential List Tuesday; Another Bakken Story From RBN Energy


May 18, 2013: the wells involved in the COP (BR) - DNR deal were posted in the daily activity report yesterday (May 17, 2013). About 250 wells were transferred.  The original price was quoted as $1.05 billion. $1,050,000,000/250 = $4 million/well?

March 28, 2013: press release; update of the acquisition;

February 17, 2013: From slide 13 of DNR's corporate presentation of Februrary 5, 2013:
● $1.05 billion cash, prior to working capital adjustments
● Acquisition expected to close near the end of the first quarter of 2013 with a 1/1/2013 effective date
● The original oil in place of all units in the CCA is estimated at over three billion barrels of oil
● Including this acquisition, we estimate that a CO2 flood of our CCA assets could recover between 260-280 million barrels of oil
● Currently producing ~11,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (~95% oil, ~4% NGLs)
● Assuming acquisition closes at the end of 1Q 2013, we estimate it to add ~7,700 BOE/d to 2013 production estimates
● Conventional (non-tertiary) reserves ~42 million boe 
Original Post 

Denbury buying COP field in the Williston Basin for $1.05 billion. The Wall Street Journal story here.
ConocoPhillips  said Tuesday it agreed to sell its energy properties in the Cedar Creek Anticline of North Dakota and Montana to Denbury Resources Inc. for $1.05 billion. The deal includes about 86,000 net acres with 2012 net production of 13,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day through November. The sale does not include assets in the Bakken region.
This is a Red River formation field, an old field, perfect for CO2 EOR, one would assume.
Denbury said it'll fund the purchase out of the $1.3 billion of cash received from its Bakken sale and asset exchange with Exxon Mobil Corp. completed in December.

Regular readers of the MDW will recall these two items in my top stories for 2012:
Investment story of the year:
The "Other" Williston Basin formation:
Can't get much better than that.


RBN Energy: NuStar's adaptation of storage at the St James, LA, crude terminal to adapt to Bakken oil arriving by rail

So far in this blog series we have described how six crude oil terminals are adapting to a changing supply position in the Gulf Coast region caused by increased domestic US and Canadian production. The first four episodes covered terminals in the Houston area. Episodes five and six focused on the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port. The latest episode was the first of two on the St. James, LA crude terminal – describing NuStar’s adaptation of storage there to facilitate crude by rail traffic from North Dakota.
Active rigs: 184

20582, drl, XTO, Ames 31X-13C, Grinnell, no IP yet; cum 21K 11/12;
22431, 380, WPX Energy/Dakota-3, Paul Peter Coffee 35HA, Moccasin Creek, t10/12; cum 14K 11/12;
22978, drl, XTO, Tong 34X-9B, Midway, no IP yet, cum 877 bbls 11/12;
23128, 322, Hess, SC-Norman 154-98-3130H-2, Truax, t12/12; cum --
23217, 335, SM Energy, Tomlinson 3-2HN, West Ambrose, t10/12; cum 13K 11/12;

New Link At The Bottom of the Sidebar -- Quirky


Later, 12:35 am est: in addition to some quirkiness, there is some really good reporting, great observations  of the world / political situation. Perhaps I was too quick to call it quirky. Deserves more exploring, but first impressions --- great site.

Original Post

I have added a new link at the sidebar at the right, under "Quirky": 10,000 Years From Now. I haven't had a chance to explore it in depth, but first glance suggests it should be lots of fun.

Interestingly enough, and coincidentally at that link, in the very second article, the writer talks about neolithic cave dwellers in Turkey. Early Christians lived in similar dwellings to escape persecution. My daughter and I visited Cappadocia some years ago when "we" were stationed in eastern Turkey. It truly was one of the most amazing sites I had ever seen. I wonder what Peter Jackson (of The Lord of the Rings fame) could have done with Cappadocia?

More Detail On That Story: A Boston-Area Company Shipping Bakken Oil Direct to Albany, NY; Bayway, NJ


March 12, 2014: Global Partners ordered to stop expansion in Albany County, New York.  

Original Post

[And this is why I love to blog; and love hearing from my readers. Thank you. This connected some dots I had not been able to find.]

Link here to

The original post can be found at this link.

Here is additional information, provided by a reader, thank you.
Global Partners LP today announced that it has signed a five-year contract with Phillips 66 under which Global will use its rail transloading, logistics and transportation system to deliver crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota to Phillips 66's Bayway, NJ refinery. 
The terms of the contract include a take-or-pay commitment from Phillips 66 to receive approximately 91 million barrels of crude oil over the contract term, which equates to approximately 50,000 barrels per day. 
The Bakken crude oil is expected to be transloaded at Basin Transload LLC's North Dakota rail facilities. Global has agreed to purchase a 60% interest in Basin Transload
As a continuation of the partnership between Canadian Pacific and Global, the crude oil will be transported on CP's rail network from the Bakken directly to Global's terminal in Albany, NY.
According to the Boston GlobeBasin Transload operates two rail facilities in North Dakota. That link then takes you to a press release which completes the story:
The transloading facilities are approximately 195 miles apart in Columbus and Beulah*, North Dakota. The Columbus facility is located along the Canadian Pacific Railway and provides single line haul service to Global’s recently expanded terminal in Albany, NY.
Basin Transload’s Beulah site, which supports crude oil production efforts in the Williston Basin, is located along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad with direct long-haul service to the West Coast and Gulf Coast markets. The Partnership owns and operates a 100,000 barrel storage tank and truck offloading rack at the Columbus facility.
Under the purchase agreement, Global will acquire a 60% membership interest in Basin Transload, with the remaining 40% split evenly between current owners TGC, L.P. and MBI Holdings, LLC. Global intends to arrange an optimal financing structure for the transaction, and is currently considering several debt financing options. 
A huge "thank you" to the reader for sending me an update. I was curious where the transloading facilities where and his/her link ultimately led us to the answer. Whoo-ah!

I try to keep track of all CBR facilities in North Dakota at this site.

*By the way: what's with that "approximately 195 miles apart"? According to Google maps, Beulah and Columbus are 198 miles apart. Why didn't the press release simply say "approximately 200 miles apart"? Enquiring minds would like to know. Rhetorical. Answers not expected. However, this is noteworthy: one facility is in the northern operations of the North Dakota Bakken (Canadian Pacific) and one is in the southern operations of the North Dakota Bakken (BNSF).

Frontier Energy Group, LLC, Buys Rival Canary Wellhead Equipment

Link here to Rigzone.
Frontier Energy Group LLC, a closely held company that builds and maintains oil wells, said it acquired rival Canary Wellhead Equipment Inc. Monday in a move that underscores the ongoing consolidation in the U.S. oilfield-services sector.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Frontier Energy CEO Dan Eberhart said his Denver-based company is paying less than $100 million for privately held Canary, which had headquarters in Oklahoma City, Okla. Canary offers wellhead services and manufactures parts used in oil production.
Advances in drilling methods have allowed energy companies to unlock a wealth of crude oil and natural gas from shale and other deeply buried rock formations once considered too costly to develop. The drilling boom has led to new oilfield-services companies cropping up in places where shale reserves are plentiful, such as Texas, North Dakota and the Midwest.
Denver-based Frontier Energy has been a consolidator, spending $100 million over the past three years prior to the Canary deal to acquire eight small service companies.
Go to the link to learn more about the details. 

Screenshot of Natural Gas Production in North Dakota

Natural gas production in North Dakota:

Source: NDIC.

Never Fails To Surprise Me -- The Energy Story -- SandRidge In The News

I was looking for a story to post since I had some free time. And there it was, a lead story at CNBC this evening: SandRidge: a page from Chesapeake's playbook.
Two large SandRidge shareholders - hedge fund TPG-Axon Capital and investment firm Mount Kellett Capital - have been pressing to replace Ward and the board and to put the company up for sale.
"There is constant intermingling of the personal and the private" between the CEO and SandRidge's business, said Dinakar Singh, founder of TPG-Axon, which owns 6.7 percent of SandRidge.
Greg Dewey, a spokesman for SandRidge, declined to respond to questions from Reuters on Ward's transactions or on any similarities between SandRidge and Chesapeake. But he stressed that "in each case, we have followed our own internal guidelines and we know the (Securities and Exchange Commission) rules very well and have followed those."
In addition to borrowing $75 million from Bank of Oklahoma's chairman, Ward also collected $67 million from SandRidge by selling back his personal interests in a controversial corporate perk: stakes in the company's wells. McClendon, too, had a similar incentive at Chesapeake.
SandRidge has also paid nearly $28 million more to Ward or firms linked to him or his family, according to SEC filings.
Very, very interesting. 

Twenty (20) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; BEXP Reports Four More Nice Wells

Bakken Operations

Active rigs: 184: steady (but up 2 from the weekend)

Twenty (2) new permits –
  • Operators: BEXP (6), Newfield (3), SM Energy (3), Marathon (2), Enerplus (2), Oasis (2), Zenergy, Enduro Operating,
  • Fields: Sanish (Mountrail), East Fork (Williams), Todd (Williams), Mouse River Park (Renville), Moccasin Creek (Dunn), Colgan (Divide), Westberg (McKenzie), Spotted Horn (McKenzie),
  • Comment: Glad to see some more Newfield permits; but again, no OXY USA permits; nice to see some Divide County permits 
Wells coming off confidential list were reported earlier; see sidebar at the right. I missed four earlier:
  • 20443, PNC, Newfield, Fischer 159-102-18-19-1H, Hanks,
  • 20477, PNC, Newfield, Larson 159-102-26-25-1H, Bar Butte,
  • 23626, PNC, Helis, Henderson Johnson 13-33/4/9H, Grail,
  • 23922, PNC, Helis, Henderson Federal 5-25/36H, Spotted Horn,
Producing wells completed:
  • 20715, 2,412, BEXP,  Beaux 18-19 1H, Banks, t11/12; cum --
  • 22330, 3,050, BEXP, Taylor 14-23 1H, Elk, t12/12; cum --
  • 22459, 2,276, BEXP, Liffrig 29-20 2H, Alger, t11/12; cum 7K 11/12;
  • 23033, 2,888, BEXP, Jennifer 26-35 1H, East Fork, t11/12; cum --
Well name change:
  • 22096, loc, Triangle USA, Larson 149-100-9-4-2TFH  (was Larson…2H); the name change suggests it is targeting the Three Forks, rather than the middle Bakken

Horizontal Drilling in Tennessee Successful; Mississippian Fort Payne Limestone

Link here to Oil & Gas Journal.
Miller Energy Resources Inc., Knoxville, reported completion of a horizontal well in Mississippian Fort Payne limestone in Tennessee.
Data points:
  • IP: 365 bopd, 739 mcfd; no water; 3/4 inch choke
  • will level off to 200 bopd once gas injection begins
  • Miller has identified 25 sites; 40,000
  • earlier wells recovered around 9% OOIP; company thinks that number can be "greatly" increased
Update: See first comment below and the reply. This is not an investment site. I posted this because I was surprised to see yet another horizontal play in a location that completely surprised me. I never even thought that someone might use this nugget of information to think it might be an investment opportunity. I know nothing about Miller; nothing more than what is noted above and at the linked article.

AARP: Where Are You? Like Greece: Lurching From Crisis to Crisis



January 15, 2013: Wow, some days I feel just so vindicated. After writing the original post, "anonymous" said that Congress paid the bills and that they were all paid or they were not paid, suggesting that I was wrong when I said the President (i.e., the Executive Branch) prioritized spending once we bumped up against the deficit. And tonight it's being reported. The executive branch, in this case, the Secretary of the Treasury is foregoing "paying" or transferring funds to the federal pension program so other bills can be paid.  I won't post comments if it would embarrass "anonymous." Sometimes I wish I did.

Original Post

The President has apparently drawn a line in the sand. He has prioritized "payment" cuts if the debt ceiling is not raised.
#1: Social security payments
#2: Veterans' pensions
The first group were members of Tom Brokaw's "greatest generation."

Of the second group, "all gave some, some gave all."

And so it goes.

Not on the short list:
  • Congressional pay
  • executive pay
  • White House staff pay
  • First Family vacations
  • Obamaphones
  • payments to government defense contractors
  • debt payments to China
  • Medicare payments to Fortune 500 health care insurers
  • unemployment benefits that were recently extended to 99 weeks (from 26 weeks)
It should be noted that it was not Senator Harry Reid drawing up the short list (of two items). It was the president who was re-elected in a landslide.

Cue up Connie Francis.

However, good investors will look for the silver lining in this announcement. Who will the winners and losers be? The big winners: credit card companies, companies specializing in reverse mortgages, and loan sharks. It's pretty much impossible to invest in the latter, and I don't know a lot about the companies offering reverse mortgages, but I do know that Discover Card, MasterCard, AmEx, and Visa are easy to invest in. The president only said payments would be delayed. Perfect for short term loans on credit cards. Mastercard is down $6 today; Visa is pretty much flat; AmEX is relatively flat, and ... Discover Financial Svs is down about 1.5%.

Again, this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here.

Overheard at the diner: When social security payments are delayed, more seniors will die of the cold in February who cannot pay their utility bills than the number of polar bears that will die due to global warming.

[Remember: it's the Treasury that determines the order in which bills are paid. Not Congress. Some folks who have written in are confused by all of this. Tim Geithner has already done this, and it has been widely reported on CNBC. In fact, if push comes to shove, the House will pass a bill prioritizing payments and taking this out of the hands of the Treasury. Of course, constitutionally it won't go anywhere -- it wouldn't be voted upon in the Senate in any event -- but the media would have a field day with it, with photographs of Congressmen depositing their paychecks while Social Security recipients wait for theirs. This is not rocket science. ]

[Incidentally, by including Social Security payments on the short list, this is a tacit admission that Social Security is no longer self-supporting. Apparently, already, Social Security payments are being paid from the "general fund" and replaced with Al Gore IOUs. I had not thought of that. Thank you to readers. [Update: wow, huge error by reader who sent this in; I completely missed it. My error and it was a doozie. See comments below -- this was my reply to the individual who caught the error: Wow, you are so correct. Huge error on my part. I did not catch that. I held off publishing this comment for 24 hours to see if anyone else that this huge error. You were the only one. That speaks volumes about ... well, probably that not many read my non-Bakken stories. Smile.

However, that really begs the question. If Social Security is solvent, why are Social Security payments being delayed even in the discussion about the debt ceiling? By the way, this is how the funding works for Social Security.]

[It appears some folks are still confused by all this. The best recommendation: ignore everything written above and simply read this AP lede, taken verbatim from the top news story of the day:
President Barack Obama demanded on Monday that lawmakers raise the nation's $16.4 trillion federal debt limit quickly, warning that "Social Security benefits and veterans' checks will be delayed" if they don't and cautioning Republicans not to insist on cuts to government spending in exchange. 
It seems pretty straight forward for those who have at least an eighth grade public education.]

Monday's Market -- And Then Off The Net For Awhile -- Good Luck To All

Oil pretty much flat.

ENB hits a new 52-week high, pulls back a bit. EPD edging up, near its 52-week high. The Seaway was a joint venture between ENB and EPD. Folks might remember COP sold its interest in Seaway to Enbridge about the time this expansion/reversal was announced.

BRK-B hits a new 52-week high, holding that gain.

CVX, edging up. Remember CVX comments about 4Q12 earnings.

Big names in the Bakken mostly flat today. 

Government Motors slips:
General Motors lost the global sales crown once again to Toyota in 2012 as its sales grew just 2.9 percent to 9.2 million vehicles, the US auto giant said Monday.
GM, which briefly regained the crown after Toyota's supplies were shattered by the 2011 Japanese quake and tsunami, nonetheless remains at number two worldwide.
German rival Volkswagen, which aspires to be the world's biggest automaker by 2018, reported an 11 percent increase in 2012 sales to 9.07 million on Sunday.
Toyota has forecast its 2012 sales will jump 22 percent to 9.7 million vehicles.
The article doesn't say: is Ford about 6 million vehicles worldwide?

Indian Chief: But Not In My Backyard -- Yes, The Bakken, Fracking

Link to the Bismarck Tribune.
The chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa asked lawmakers from oil-rich North Dakota on Thursday to support job training to help lower the high rate of unemployment on the state’s reservations.
Job training he won't accept, apparently, is job training in the oil and gas industry. 

Flashback: Turtle Mountain tribal council bans fracking, November 21, 2012.

An alert reader caught that. The Bismarck Tribune did not mention it. Hmmm.

Color me cynical.

Actions have consequences. I wonder if any state legislator will dare confront the Turtle Mountain tribal chief on this bit of hypocrisy. It probably would not be politically correct.  Folks in Williston, Dickinson, Watford City paying a huge price for oil development, and now the Turtle Mountain folks think they should share.

Speaking of which, there's a great book at Amazon the tribal leaders could have their pre-schoolers read: Little Red Hen; only $3.99.

Best Link of the Day? -- Crude-by-Rail

A huge "thank you" to Don for sending me this link. This is an incredible link.

Link at Bloomberg: pipeline companies investing in rail terminals.

See also Mike Filloon's recent article. And also "winners and losers" for those who believe 2013 will be the "year of the pipeline."

North American energy companies are starting to invest more in railroad terminals than the railroads themselves.
A group of oil and gas pipeline operators led by Plains All American Pipeline LP (PAA) announced plans just in the past three months to spend about $1 billion on rail depot projects to help move more crude from inland fields to refineries on the coasts. Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC, the largest U.S. railroad, spent $400 million on terminals in 2012.
For the first time, energy companies that traditionally rented rail capacity are buying the assets because swelling output from Alberta’s oil sands and shale fields in North Dakota’s Bakken region and Eagle Ford in Texas has overwhelmed pipelines. Producers and refiners such as Devon Energy Corp. (DVN) and Irving Oil Corp. say they’ll turn even more to rail to get domestically pumped crude to the highest-paying refineries.
“If a refiner in Philadelphia is paying $110 for Nigerian crude and could replace it with cheap Bakken crude, they’ll be willing to pay up to $109.99 to replace that,” said Bradley Olsen, an analyst with Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. in Houston. 
But go to the link. There is so much more there.

Look at the spot price for Canadian oil sands: $60! A $40 discount from WTI. We've talked about the problems Canadian producers are having. If Canadian producers are willing to keep investing despite discounts of $40/bbl, it can only mean good news for the Bakken, as the Bakken/WTI spread is likely to narrow. 

Wow, there are so many story lines there. Maybe I will post more on this story, maybe not. 

As Predicted: Brent/WTI Spread Narrows With Seaway Expansion/Reversal

The MDW has many, many stories on the Seaway pipeline expansion AND reversal. Don't think about one and not the other.

As predicted: Brent/WTI spread narrows. Both were up in early morning trading.
West Texas Intermediate climbed as much as 0.8 percent after a fifth weekly gain, the longest run of advances since August. The 500 mile (805 kilometer) Seaway line running from Cushing, OK, to Freeport, Texas, resumed service after shutting Jan. 2 to boost capacity to 400,000 barrels a day from 150,000 barrels, Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD) and Enbridge Inc. (ENB) said Jan. 11. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) said WTI’s discount to Brent will shrink to $6 a barrel in the second quarter, from $17 today.
“Cushing stocks should start to decline with the start of the extended Seaway pipeline,” ...  predicts the spread between WTI and Brent may narrow to $15 a barrel this quarter.
I track the spread, occasionally, at this post

Remember, the WTI/Bakken at Clearbrook spread is at this link; today it's about $5.00. Back on February 9, 2012, if you can believe it, the spread was almost $30.

Even CNBC has re-discovered the domestic oil and gas industry with another bit of trivia that most folks don't follow:
Brent crude production peaked in 1999 with 398 million barrels being produced that year. By 2007, however, it fell to 250 million barrels. Today, it stands at about 220 million. Most analysts expect the number to drop by another third by 2020. Brent is four different blends of crude with the 40's blend being the benchmark for prices. With the production of that blend being very low, only 280,000 barrels a day were produced in the third quarter. Due to most of it being taken out the ground and poor maintenance of production facilities, it opens up the contract for price movements that would not normally happen in a well supplied market. 

If that continues the world will look for another benchmark with stable pricing: cue WTI. In fact according to a recent article in the "Financial Times," ICE -- the platform where Brent is traded -- is already looking for ways to remedy the situation. It only makes sense that if this continues, the world will once again see WTI as the benchmark for crude, especially as its production is rising and the North Sea falling.
Quick: fill in the blanks:
About two months ago, the U.S. Department of Energy started using _______ crude as its benchmark for crude prices. It appears ______ could soon be the benchmark again, though.

Renewable Energy Investment Sinks

Link to Bloomberg.
Clean energy investment slid 11 percent last year after governments in industrial nations slashed subsidies for technologies ranging from wind turbines to solar power and biomass.
The $268.7 billion invested in the industry last year was down from a record $302.3 billion in 2011, the second highest reading ever and was five times the level in 2004, according to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Investment fell 32 percent in the U.S., 51 percent in Italy, 68 percent in Spain and 44 percent in India. That offset gains in China and from small hydropower projects, which were among the few bright spots in the report released today. 
Even as US CO2 emissions went to 20-year lows.  Time for China and India to do their part.

Monday Morning

Wells coming off the confidential list have been posted; see below; also at sidebar at the right. Almost half of the wells are on "drl" status, not completed due to various reasons according to Director, NDIC, but probably mostly due to weather in December -- snowiest day in December since 1901.

Only for the brave, today, the RBN Energy post: part IV of ethane rejection.

WSJ Links

Section D (Encore -- Retirement): should interest me; it doesn't, except for the article on "second careers."  65-year-old Jim Ferry retired from management consulting after 30 years, and now works as an oyster farmer at Big Rock Oyster Company, East Dennis, MA, on Cape Cod. On our regular trips to Provincetown, MA, at the tip of Cape Cod, Miss Daisy and I drive by East Dennis. Maybe next time we will stop. We've met a fair number of oyster farmers. One of the most memorable is a 50-something Atlantic Coast surfer who moved from Long Island to Cape Cod to farm oysters.

Section C (Money and Investing): nothing of interest. Of note: it's all about the Cloud. In this case, Amazon's cloud: Amazon Web Services. Many, many story lines if one was interested. But the Bakken beckons.

Section B (Marketplace): 
Wow, yet another story on "payroll tax taking a new bite." Wow, if ever a case could be made for diverting that 2% to private retirement plans as suggested by George Bush many years ago. But alas, that boat has sailed; that train has left the station. But Americans are content/satisfied. Cue up Connie Stevens.

Apple cuts orders for iPhone parts as demand slips. No link. The story is everywhere. But another Apple computer photo in an unrelated story same page; the MacBook Pro is everywhere. Watch the scoring benches at televised college basketball games and note the number of MBPs out there. And if you watch the game you will see some future MVPs. Couldn't resist.

Nice story on GM and Ford pickup trucks.  Both are focusing on increased fuel efficiency: GM with more efficient engines; Ford with lighter trucks by using more difficult to handle and more costly aluminum.

China has moved one step closer to allowing COP to fully resume crude-oil production in its waters after sanctioning the US company over a 2011 oil spill.

Last week I mentioned Vizio's smart (LCD) television. I never mentioned plasma at the post but when we were at Target looking for a new television, it was notable that plasma was not available. I thought about it, but didn't say anything. Now, today, big article: Panasonic closes plasma-TV factory. The Japanese company's big bet on plasma has not paid off.  By the way, we are still impressed that that Vizio television.

The sports page: the NFL's brilliant weekend. I agree. I will come back to the article. 

Section A:
As mentioned often, page A3 is always the most important page in the Journal. Today, two articles: "closure" of the Mississippi River is forestalled; low river gets some relief. And then this story: California farmers battle record chill. No links; the story can be found everywhere.

Op-ed: thanks to mandates that take effect in 2014, premiums in individual markets will shoot up. Some may double. Cue up Connie Stevens. Americans are content/satisfied.

For those enamored with e-filing, you may want to read "E-Filing and the Explosion in Tax-Return Fraud." The bit on fraud didn't bother me. This is what caught my eye:
Targeting taxpayers for audit is a major factor behind the IRS's push for e-filing. E-filed returns are available for audit several months sooner than paper returns, allowing more time before the three-year statute of limitations expires. The IRS has even boasted that its e-file database is "a rich and fertile field" for selecting audits and has estimated that if its "screeners could be reallocated to performing audits, they could bring an additional $175 million annually."
Folks complain all the time the amount of information Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook collect, and then they turn around and e-file. 

By the way, that $175 million would be enough to cover the additional $100 million that the Feds provided HeadStart as part of the Hurricane Sandy relief bill. The WSJ says HeadStart doesn't work. Maybe. Maybe not. Double the size of the program for all I care. I do get a bit tired of elitists who can afford to send their three-year-olds to pre-school but can't find ways to help spread that opportunity to all 3-year-olds in the US, including those children of "illegal" immigrants. Some older privileged kids will be attending a 4-week summer camp that will cost more than a year's tuition for pre-school.

But enough of this. Back to the Bakken.