Monday, May 6, 2013

OBSERVATION 6: Random Observations Regarding the USGS 2013 Assessment of the Bakken: UND-EERC

This may or may not be trivial with regard to the USGS 2013 Assessment of the Bakken.

Check out the USGS 2013 PowerPoint presentation [The USGS Report on the Bakken] regarding the assessment of the Bakken. Slide lists the "Non-USGS Cooperators." Notably absent is UND and/or UND-EERC. The only academic entity listed is the Colorado School of Mines. Perhaps UND and UND-EERC are closely aligned with the North Dakota Geological Survey and perhaps the UND folks had some input.

Maybe I'm just super-sensitive but it certainly seems UND/UND-EERC should have been part of the process.

Painted Woods Oil Field Has Been Updated

Painted Woods oil field has been updated.

This field is located just a few miles to the northwest of Williston, a few minutes drive.

Some observations. All personal opinion and I'm sure many folks will disagree me. The observations come in context of the USGS 2013 Survey.

1. Almost all the wells are middle Bakken wells to date in this field.

2. All the wells have paid for themselves at the well head except for the most recently completed wells. These wells will now go on producing for the next 20 or 30 years. It costs very little to maintain a producing well compared to the initial cost. There will be no dry wells in this field (except due to operator error). Operators should be able to drill out this field on operating cash flow of the existing wells already in the field.

3. I would consider the Painted Woods a very good Bakken oil field, but probably "average" in the big scheme of things.

4. Being on the periphery of the Bakken in North Dakota, my expectation is that the Three Forks is going to be an even big play. The middle Bakken is about 60 feet thick. The Three Forks is about 300 feet thick, for round numbers. Both the middle Bakken and the Three Forks are sourced from the same source rock.

5. A quick glance of the NDIC GIS map server suggests that the field is now about twice as big as it was when BEXP drilled the first Painted Woods well. It looks like there about 80 sections.

6. All spacing units in the Painted Woods field are 1280-acre spacing units; there are no 640-acre units; and there are no 2560-acre overlapping spacing units yet.

7. There is only one active rig in the oil field (at this time): a Statoil rig. But there are a lot of permits for wells waiting to be drilled.

8. With the exception of five full sections, and two small sections along the Montana state line, the entire field is held by production. Two of those five sections appear to have confidential wells in place.

9. A quick glance suggests there is an average of one long horizontal in each spacing unit. It's hard to believe that this field won't have at least 4 wells in each 1280-acre spacing unit when all is said and done (160 wells, minimum). And my hunch is there will be a lot more. There will definitely be wells down the section lines with overlapping 2560-acre units before it's all done. [Based on effectiveness of fracking there should be a minimum of four middle Bakken wells on each spacing unit: 160 wells. A minimum of three wells in both TF1 and TF2 gives another 240 wells. That's 400 wells, and even that number could be low, but we won't know for ten years or more.]

10. There are almost no multi-well pads; any multi-well pads are 2-well pads, but new permits will change that.

Wells Coming Off The Confidential List Tuesday; Legacy With A Nice Well;

  • 21951, 157, Legacy, Legacy Etal Berge 12-31H, North Souris, a nice Spearfish well; t12/12; cum 11K 3/13; TD = 7,300 feet
  • 22559, 754, OXY USA, Federal Tormaschy 1-8-5H-142-96, Manning, t11/12; cum 23K 3/12;
  • 23561, drl, Crescent Point, CPEUSC Reed 10-3-158N-100W, Winner,
  • 23730, drl, Statoil, Boots 13-24 3H, Painted Woods
  • 24233, 1.948,  XTO, Wood 21X-25A, Truax, t4/12; cum -- 

21951, 157, Legacy, Legacy Etal Berge 12-31H, North Souris, a nice Spearfish well:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold
3-201323580
2-201329430
1-201333570
12-201217800

 22559, see above, OXY USA, Federal Tormaschy 1-8-5H-142-96, Manning:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold
3-201347742114
2-20131407557
1-20132741479
12-201241342067
11-201294613805

On Track For 2,514 New Permits This Year

For 2013, to date, 868 oil and gas permits have been issued (this does not include permits for salt water disposal wells, only oil and gas wells).

At this rate, the state is on track for 2,514 new permits this year. At this time last year, the state was on track for 1,996 permits; the state finished with 2,251 permits for oil and gas wells; of those about 30 were canceled.

These figures are from my data base and they will vary slightly from NDIC figures because I always miss a few. But it's pretty close.

Thirteen (13) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; XTO With Two Nice Wells

Active rigs: 190

Thirteen (13) new permits --
  • Operators: XTO (3), Zavanna (2), Whiting (2), G3 Operating (2), Corinthian (2), Oasis, Legacy
  • Fields: Blue Buttes (McKenzie), Williston (Williams), Sanish (Mountrail), Eagle Nest (Dunn), North Souris (Bottineau), Foreman Butte (McKenzie), 
  • Comments: G3 Operating is quite active; Corinthian and Legacy permits for are Spearfish wells, I assume
Wells coming off the confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Permit canceled:
  • 20889, PNC, Whiting, Henry State 24-36H, wildcat, Golden Valley,
Producing wells completed:
  • 22302, 1,556, XTO, Mariana Trust 12X-20C, North Fork, t4/13; cum -- 
  • 23762, 1,246, XTO, Nelsen State 24X-33A, Indian Hill, t2/13; cum 22K 3/13;

Oil Futures Rise To Highest Level In A Month Due to Events In The Mideast

Rigzone is reporting:
Oil futures settled at their highest level in a month Monday, after escalating violence in Syria stoked concerns about a wider conflict that could imperil oil supplies in the region.

Light, sweet crude for June delivery settled 55 cents, or 0.6%, higher at $96.16 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest front-month settlement since April 2. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange rose $1.27, or 1.2%, to $105.46 a barrel.

Futures climbed following reports over the weekend that Israel had launched two air strikes against Syria, the latest sign that the two-year-old civil war is spilling over into neighboring countries.

Although Syria isn't a major oil producer, the fighting there has oil traders on guard for the possibility that it widens into a broader war affecting countries that do export major volumes of oil. Reports said Israel had struck weapons bound for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, a group that is closely associated with Iran.
This morning, there was another story that the US Navy was starting to lay mines, starting to take action to safeguard the Strait of Hormuz.

This morning, one of the first stories I posted was a Yahoo!Finance News story suggesting that the rising price of oil was due to "great" jobs report last week. I noted at the time that was crazy. Economists and analysts knew what the "great" numbers really meant. Whether or not one agrees with the economists or analysts about the jobs report, that was "old" news, as Art Carney would say. That "great" jobs report was oh, so, last week.

The price of oil is rising because of events in the Mideast, not because of any "great" jobs report last week.

We should start seeing the usual stories about the potential spike in oil prices if "war" breaks out in the Mideast any day now. If a war does break out in the Mideast, maybe this would be a good time for President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline: a) national emergency; and, b) the mainstream media would be distracted by what's going on overseas.

EOG: Earnings Led By Prolific Eagle Ford; Market Likes The Report

Press release here. EOG is reporting:
  • Delivers Outstanding Crude Oil Production Growth of 36 Percent Year-Over-Year in the U.S. and 33 Percent Total Company
  • Surpasses Eagle Ford Production Targets
  • Announces Successful North Dakota Three Forks Second Bench Test
  • Reports Positive Results from Bakken Core 160-Acre Downspacing Program
  • Records Success from Permian Delaware and Midland Basins
  • Provides Five-Year Outlook
EOG Resources, Inc.  today reported first quarter 2013 net income of $494.7 million, or $1.82 per share. This compares to first quarter 2012 net income of $324.0 million, or $1.20 per share.

Consistent with some analysts' practice of matching realizations to settlement months and making certain other adjustments in order to exclude one-time items, adjusted non-GAAP net income for the first quarter 2013 was $489.9 million, or $1.80 per share.

Adjusted non-GAAP net income for the first quarter 2012 was $317.5 million, or $1.17 per share
The results for the first quarter 2013 included net gains on asset dispositions of $115.0 million, net of tax ($0.42 per share) and a previously disclosed non-cash net loss of $105.0 million ($67.2 million after tax, or $0.24 per share) on the mark-to-market of financial commodity contracts. During the quarter, the net cash inflow related to financial commodity contracts was $67.1 million ($43.0 million after tax, or $0.16 per share).

Earnings per share increased 52 percent, discretionary cash flow increased 28 percent and adjusted EBITDAX rose 25 percent during the first quarter 2013, compared to the first quarter 2012.
This is an abbreviated summary; go to link for full story.

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

First Solar Misses By Six (6) Cents; Beats On Revenues

First Solar misses by $0.06, beats on revs; reaffirms FY13 EPS guidance, revs guidance47.69 +1.69 : Reports Q1 (Mar) earnings of $0.69 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.06 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.75; revenues rose 51.9% year/year to $755 mln vs the $725.99 mln consensus.

Reuters story here
First Solar Inc reported a first-quarter profit compared to a loss in the previous year, helped by higher sales of third-party solar modules, and the company backed its full-year outlook.
The company posted a net profit of $59.1 million, or 66 cents per share for the first quarter. This compares to a loss of $449.4 million, or $5.20 per share, in the year-ago period, which included $444 million in restructuring charges and costs in excess of normal warranty.
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here or think you read here. 

PAA Posts Strong 1Q13 Earnings

Press release:
“PAA reported very strong first-quarter results, which meaningfully exceeded 2012’s comparable results as well as our guidance,” said Greg L. Armstrong, Chairman and CEO of Plains All American. “This performance was underpinned by solid fee-based results in our Transportation and Facilities segments and outstanding execution in our margin-based Supply and Logistics segment. We have increased our 2013 adjusted EBITDA guidance by $135 million, representing an approximate 7% increase over our guidance issued at the beginning of the year. This updated guidance incorporates the benefit of our strong first-quarter performance as well as a slightly improved outlook for the second quarter of 2013."
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here or think you read here. 

MPO Earnings

Press release:
Key points include:
  • Adjusted EBITDA totaled $56.5 million, up 16% from $48.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.
  • Adjusted Net Income totaled $1.4 million.
  • Average production for the quarter was on track to achieve the top end of guidance of 17,300 barrels of oil equivalent (“Boe”) per day until snowstorms in Oklahoma shut in production, costing the quarter about 1,100 Boe per day. Average daily production for first quarter 2013 rose to 16,208 net Boe per day from 15,592 net Boe per day in the fourth quarter of 2012.
  • Cash Operating Expenses were $20.29 per Boe, flat with $20.26 per Boe in the fourth quarter of 2012.
  • The Wood 10H-1 well in North Cowards Gully reached a total measured depth of 15,366 feet, with a 3,000 foot lateral targeting the Upper Wilcox “B” Sand. The well has been completed with 10 stages of fracture stimulation and produced a seven-day average flow rate of 1,250 Boe per day (64% oil).
  • In early April, Midstates entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with Panther Energy, LLC, (“Panther”) to acquire producing properties as well as developed and undeveloped acreage in the Anadarko Basin in Texas and Oklahoma for $620 million in cash. The transaction will be effective April 1, 2013 with closing expected on May 31, 2013, subject to customary closing conditions.
  • Midstates now plans to fund the acquisition fully with $700 million of debt and has canceled its plans for an equity offering. 
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here or think you read here. 

NOG Earnings -- The Market Likes The Numbers

From the press release:
First quarter 2013 production of one million barrels of oil equivalent (“Boe”), or 11,115 average Boe per day; an increase of approximately 30% when compared to first quarter of 2012.
  • Oil and gas sales, including the impact of settled derivatives, increased 38% to $82.8 million, as compared to the first quarter of 2012
  • Northern added 128 gross (9.6 net) wells to production during the first quarter of 2013
  • Northern’s oil price differential to the NYMEX WTI benchmark was $3.62 per barrel
  • Production expenses totaled $8.64 per Boe of production, falling 12% when compared with the fourth quarter of 2012 and up 3% when compared with the first quarter of 2012
  • General and administrative expenses were down 34% on a per Boe basis when compared with first quarter 2012
Northern’s first quarter 2013 adjusted net income was $18.1 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, a 25% increase compared to the first quarter of 2012.
Adjusted net income excludes the impact of unrealized mark-to-market gains and losses on derivative instruments. GAAP net income for the first quarter of 2013 was $9.0 million, or $0.14 per diluted share. Adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter of increased 42% to $63.5 million, as compared to the first quarter of 2012.
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here or think you read here. 

Spot Bakken Weakens; Enbridge Restarted Line 81 Into Clearbrook; Weakened By Almost $1; Differential Now Almost $5.00

Bloomberg is reporting:
Bakken oil on the spot market weakened after Enbridge Inc. restarted the pipeline that takes the crude to its pricing point in Minnesota from fields in North Dakota and Montana.
Enbridge Inc. restarted Line 81, which can carry as much as 210,000 barrels a day into Clearbrook, Minnesota, on May 4, said Larry Springer, a Houston-based spokesman for the company. Enbridge shut the line May 2 after crews discovered contaminated soil near the pipe in North Dakota during an integrity inspection.
Bakken oil in Clearbrook weakened by 75 cents to $4.75 a barrel below West Texas Intermediate in Cushing, Oklahoma, at 12:07 p.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s the widest discount for the crude since Jan. 14.
Bakken production in North Dakota increased 6.2 percent to 715,150 barrels a day in February, according to the state Industrial Commission. The Enbridge line is the only pipeline out of the Bakken region. About 71 percent of crude production from the formation left North Dakota by train in February, according to the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.
Go to the link for additional information.

In addition, this link to Clearbrook News will provide more background to this story.  From a May 3, 2013, Bloomberg article regarding the closure of Line 81:
The Enbridge North Dakota system runs from Plentywood, Montana, to Clearbrook, and the capacity of the main section from Minot, North Dakota, to Clearbrook is 210,000 barrels a day, according to Enbridge’s website.
“What a world we live in, that 10 gallons can close a 210,000-barrel-a-day pipeline, but I guess these days they take a lot of precautions,” said Andrew Lebow, a senior vice president at Jefferies Bache LLC in New York. “This should not be a long-lasting event.”

Texas Railroad Commission --> Texas Energy Resources Commission

Other headlines of interest:
  • Apple moves ahead of XOM in market cap, $435 billion to $405 billion.
  • YouTube will start to charge for some "channels." 
  • For investors only: Union Pacific Railroad hits a new 52-week high.

These Lists Come And Go, But They're Still Fun: Best States to Retire In -- North Dakota #10; South Dakota #3

Obviously the list is skewed toward cost of living and taxes.

In reverse order:
10. North Dakota: access to medical care; 2nd-lowest crime rate
9. Nebraska: access to medical care; low crime rate
8. Alabama: golf, low taxes,  high crime
7. West Virginia; low taxes, low crime rate, access to medical care
6. Virginia: scores high in everything
5. Mississippi: warm; low cost of living; crime slightly high; and very few physicians
4. Kentucky: extremely low cost of living
3. South Dakota: lowest crime rate in the nation
2. Louisiana: balmy, lost cost of living, one of the highest crime rates in the country
1. Tennessee: cost of living 2nd lowest in the nation, right behind Oklahoma
The worse: Oregon
Texas: #12

I think I would eliminate any state with a crime rate in the top 10.
Cost of living: one gets what one pays for. 

So, Where Is The Surge in Coal Mining Taking Place -- The Answer May Surprise You

The president's home state: Illinois. 

The WSJ is reporting:
LIVELY GROVE, Ill.—Coal has been losing favor as an energy source for a few years, thanks to relatively cheap and clean-burning natural gas and stricter environmental rules. But at least in this part of the country, mining is a booming business.
One coal mine in this farming community southeast of St. Louis is part of an energy project that has added 580 jobs and helped fund a high school and court building. In McLeansboro, 70 miles to the east, a mine under construction has brought jobs and several new businesses. A Peabody Energy Corp. mine farther east, in southern Indiana, is now the biggest coal mine east of the Mississippi.
Last year, overall coal production in the U.S. fell 7% from a year earlier, with the biggest decline in Wyoming's Powder River Basin and in Central Appalachia mines of West Virginia and eastern Kentucky. But in the Illinois Basin, which includes southern Illinois and Indiana and western Kentucky, coal output rose by 10% last year, and the region over the next several years is projected to surpass Central Appalachia in coal output for the first time ever.
 Lively Grove, IL, is 300 miles south-south-east of Chicago, just a few miles east of St Louis, Missouri. I guess when the president talked about killing coal, he meant killing coal outside of his state. Like in Montana and in Appalachia. LOL.

For Investors Only: The Fortune 500 List

From MacRumors:
Wal-Mart edged out ExxonMobil for the top spot in this year's rankings, with Chevron, Phillips 66, and Berkshire Hathaway also ranking ahead of Apple and its $156.2 billion in revenue. In looking at profits, Apple ranked second among Fortune 500 companies at $41.7 billion, trailing only ExxonMobil at $44.9 billion.
  1. WMT
  2. XOM
  3. CVX
  4. PSX
  5. BRK
  6. AAPL
I did not know that PSX was #3. Wow. 

In profits:
  1. XOM
  2. AAPL
*******************

Someone pointed out that the oil companies got bigger mostly through mergers (ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips) and, of course, BRK, is not a conglomerate/index fund. WMT and AAPL stand alone among the top six as their "own" company. Not completely accurate, but not too far off. 

*******************

PSX 66 -- nice story at The Wall Street Journal.
Phillips 66 certainly fits that trend, with its stock up 86% in the last year.
But while the new company may be a revenue giant, its profits are slim, reflecting the thin margins on offer in the fuel refining business. On $169 billion in revenue, the company made just over $4.1 billion in profit; its former parent Conoco Phillips, now focused on more profitable oil exploration and production, earned more than double that much in profit from less than half the revenue.
The company also markets gasoline via about 7,000 independently-owned gas stations sporting its logo. And it does have some fingers in more profitable pies --
  • 7,000 service stations
  • 11 domestic refineries; 4 refineries outside the US
  • 50% interest in Chevron Phillips Chemical

Slicers And Dicers -- For Archival Purposes

Link here to "Save The Eagles International."

The story that should catch everyone's attention today: the Golden Eagle, the whooping crane, and the California Condor will probably become extinct due to the wind turbine. It will be an interesting (and sad) story to follow because one will be able to track the number of surviving birds on an annual basis, and we can watch the disaster unfold in real time.

The polar bear, by the way, is thriving.

With regard to slicers and dicers, my attitude would be the same as Robert Oppenheimer's, no doubt. 

The Keystone XL? Are You Kidding? This Is Not A Big Deal. It's Been Blown Way Out of Proportion -- The President's Inner Circle -- A New Poll

I just love trial balloons, don't you?

The National Journal is now reporting that the Keystone XL is no big deal, that it has been blown way out of proportion. I said that a long time ago. The president's mistake was not approving it the first time around; now it's become much bigger than it ever should have been. For heaven's sake: it's a pipeline. Millions of miles of pipeline in this country, and this crisscrossed the nation where there was already a thousand miles of pipeline.

Had the president approved it the first time around, it would be off his agenda and he wouldn't be wasting time and political capital discussing this with his base (actually I doubt he's discussing this with his base, but you can bet his staffers are).

So, now we have the National Journal reporting that the Obama staff thinks the Keystone XL is no big deal. Talk about throwing his activist environmental base under the bus. Talk about rubbing salt into the wound. Not only will the president approve the Keystone XL, the story implies, but it won't even be a big deal.
To environmentalists throughout the country, denying the Keystone XL oil pipeline would be the most important sign that President Obama is committed to combating global warming.
To people close to Obama, the pipeline is not nearly that important, and they think the debate surrounding it is overblown, if not misplaced. In interviews with National Journal Daily, people who have advised Obama over the years, including former White House aides, downplayed the effect the pipeline would have on climate change or much of anything really, besides politics.
“It’s important we focus on things that make the biggest difference in terms of global climate change and do the most to actually reduce carbon emissions, like economy-wide carbon policy or use of the Clean Air Act,” said Jason Bordoff, who left the White House this January after advising Obama on energy and climate issues in senior policy positions since April 2009. “I don’t know how much building or not building one pipeline is going to affect either how much oil is produced in Canada or in global greenhouse-gas emissions.” Bordoff now heads up Columbia University’s new Center on Global Energy Policy.
I wonder if Mr Bordoff recommended that the President deny the permit the first time around. 

"I was against it before I was for it."

Time for another poll.

Since the Keystone XL is now no big deal, how will the president announce his decision when he okays the pipeline?
  • in a long speech
  • during a press conference
  • through his press secretary, Art Carney
  • through a press release at the end of the weekly news cycle
  • over a beer in a bar in Fargo
************************
A Note To The Granddaughters

I continue to enjoy James Gleick's The Information.

I have always enjoyed number theory, and know about as much about number theory as I know about the Bakken: in other words, not much. Maybe 1%. Smile.

But it's things like this that fascinate me about number theory, on page 339:
Number theorists name entire classes of interesting numbers: prime numbers, perfect numbers, squares and cubes, Fibonacci numbers, factorials.

The number 593 is more interesting than it looks. It happens to be the sum of nine squared and two the ninth -- thus a "Leyland number" (any number that can be expressed xy + yx).
Wikipedia also devotes an entire article to the number 9,814,072,356. It is the largest holodigital square -- which is to say, the largest square number containing each decimal exactly once.  [The square root can be found here: 99066.]

*********************
Of more relevance, perhaps, from page 347, in the chapter on randomness:
Photographs are compressible because of their subjects' natural structure: light pixels and dark pixels come in clusters; statistically, nearby pixels are likely to be similar; distant pixels are not. Video is even more compressible, because the differences between one frame and the next are relatively slight, except when the subject is in fast and turbulent motion. Natural language is compressible because of redundancies [f u cn rd ths] and regularities...Only a wholly random sequence remains incompressible; nothing but one surprise after another [earlier, it was said, information = surprise].

Fourteen (14) New Permits -- Last Friday's Daily Activity Report -- Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; Active Rigs: 192; Monday Morning Links -- Rail/Pipeline Bakken Differentials

The narrowing WTI/Brent spread is not good news for Bakken or the rails. See RBN Energy below.
 
Active rigs: 192 (very nice)

Fourteen (14) new permits --
  • Operators: KOG (4), XTO (2), Newfield (2), MRO (2), Slawson (2), Whiting, Hess
  • Fields: Truax (Williams), Elkhorn Ranch (Billings), Haystack Butte (Dunn), Westberg (McKenzie), Reunion Bay (Mountrail), Van Hook (Mountrail), Robinson Lake (Mountrail)
  • Comments:
Wells that were released from the confidential list Friday were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Wells coming off the confidential list over the weekend and today have been posted.

Monday Morning Links

RBN Energy: Rail/pipeline differentials affecting the Bakken 

WSJ Links

Section R (Journal Report): most retirement; might look at it later

Section C (Money & Investing):
Section B (Marketplace):
While many book publishers are heavily investing in the digital frontier, Benedikt Taschen is looking to corner the market in oversize collectible books.
His Cologne, Germany-based publishing house, Taschen, collaborated with SebastiĆ£o Salgado, a Brazilian photojournalist and Unicef Goodwill Ambassador who spent the past eight years traveling to remote places untouched by deforestation, urbanization and the modern world, to produce "Genesis." The 704-page two-volume collection of black-and-white photos depicts Mr. Salgado's trek, which included a 47-day journey tracking 7,000 reindeer across Northern Siberia and a roughly 525-mile hike in the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia.
My hunch is that Taschen books will start to compete with wall art among the very wealthy. 
Section A:
  • Maybe later I will post the story (probably not) but there's a ridiculous assertion over on Yahoo!News that oil is slicing through $96 because of the great jobs report last week. The price of oil, today, has nothing to do with the  jobs report last week; it's all about Israel laying into Syria. It's all over the news.
  • Despite Obama's goal to destroy the coal industry in the US, in the Midwest, coal stages a comeback. And now that the President is a lame duck (some would say a rabid skunk), things may get even better.