Thursday, July 11, 2013

Across The US, CBR Continues To Increase

Rigzone is reporting:
With U.S. crude oil producing at record amounts and outstripping pipeline capacity, the country is relying heavily on railroads to move new crude oil to refineries and storage centers, reported the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Wednesday.
The total amount of crude oil and refined products being transported by rail is close to 356,000 carloads during the first half of 2013, up 48 percent from the same period last year, according to Association of American Railroads.
“U.S. weekly car loadings of crude oil and petroleum products averaged nearly 13,700 rail tankers during the January to June 2013 period. With one rail carload holding about 700 barrels, the amount of crude oil and petroleum products shipped by rail was equal to 1.37 million barrels per day during the first half of 2013, up from 927,000 barrels per day during the first six months of last year. Crude oil accounted for about half of the 2013 daily volumes," reported AAR.
With U.S. oil production booming and pipelines operating at full capacity, the amount of oil shipped by rail car surged in the first six months of the year -- jumping 48%. And in light of rail's growing importance in bringing oil to market -- and the derailment and explosion of a train carrying oil in Canada earlier this week that killed at least 24 people -- the focus is now on safety. 
The rapid rise in rail oil transport is directly related the boom in U.S. oil production from places such as North Dakota's Bakken Shale and Texas' Eagle Ford. Most of the rail shipments are believed to originate in North Dakota. They are usually bound for refineries along the Gulf Coast or the east coasts of the United States and Canada.

Genscape Weighs In On Poll -- Estimates A 1.5% Increase In North Dakota Production Month-Over-Month When May's Figures Are Released

Rigzone is reporting:
The North Dakota Industrial Commission’s July 15 crude oil production report will likely show a production increase of 12 thousand barrels of oil per day (bopd) from April to May, according to energy information provider Genscape. 
This production figure would represent a 65,000 bopd increase since the start of 2015 and a 170,000 bopd rise from this time last year, Genscape reported in a July 11 press release.
So, percentage-wise -- see poll at sidebar at the right --
  • April, 2013: 793,249 bopd
  • 12,000 / 793,249 = 1.5% increase
See other possibilities on production going forward.

More from Genscape:
Genscape has seen significant production gains as weather has improved in June and July and completion activity has increased. Over the past two months, 65,000 bopd of production has been added in North Dakota, equivalent to production increases seen over the first five months of 2013.
The company forecasts Bakken crude to keep rising with 127,000 bopd added between May and year-end 2013. Genscape estimates production will reach 1.1 million bopd by the end of 2014.
Genscape: 793,249 + 12,000 + 127,000 = 932,249 by end of 2013.

A Note To The Granddaughters

This is a  most interesting article: Riddle of the script: how the world's most difficult puzzle was solved.

There are so many story lines in the "story" below:
  • a Rosalind Franklin phenomenon
  • the Hungarian connection (see Teller's quote on Hungarians)
  • cracking codes
  • mythology

It was one of the most captivating mysteries of the modern age, requiring three detectives and 52 years to solve. Along the way, there was magnificent obsession, bitter disappointment, world-shaking triumph and swift, unexplained death. 
The tablets were unearthed in the spring of 1900 by the great English archaeologist Arthur Evans. Digging at Knossos, Crete, he discovered a sprawling palace larger than Buckingham Palace, comprising grand staircases, artisans' workshops, once-bubbling fountains and hundreds of rooms linked by a network of twisting passages.
Evans named the vast edifice the Palace of Minos, for surely, he reasoned, it was the historic basis of the Classical Greek myth of the labyrinth, built for King Minos by the architect Daedalus and housing at its centre the fearful Minotaur - half-man, half-bull. 

Though Evans tried ferociously to decipher the tablets, he was unable to do so – or even to determine what language the tablets recorded – before he died in 1941, at 90. As a result, Linear B gained a reputation as one of the most intractable puzzles in history, a locked-room mystery with almost no possibility of procuring a key.

Then along came Alice Kober. The story of Linear B has long been a British masculine triumphal narrative, bracketed by two remarkable Englishmen: Evans and Michael Ventris, the dashing young amateur who, against all odds, deciphered the script in 1952.
But at the narrative’s centre there stands an equally remarkable American woman: Kober, an overworked, underpaid classics professor at Brooklyn College in New York City. For it was she, sitting night after night at her dining table, who hunted down the hidden patterns within the script that would furnish the long-sought key.
Though the full extent of her work remained unknown for decades (Kober’s private writings became available only recently), scholars of the decipherment now believe that without her painstaking analysis, Linear B would never have been deciphered when it was, if ever.
The daughter of Hungarian immigrants, Alice Elizabeth Kober was born in Manhattan in 1906. Her childhood had none of Evans's privilege or even Ventris's middle-class certainties: Her father was an upholsterer and in later years an apartment-building superintendent.
As an undergraduate at Hunter College, part of the city's public university system, Kober took a course in early Greek life, and it appears to have been there that she encountered Linear B. On her graduation in 1928, the 21 year-old confidently announced that she would one day decipher the script. No one believed her, but she very nearly kept her word. 
It could so easily have been Kober who solved the 50-year riddle. But on May 16 1950, Alice Kober died, aged 43. No one knows what she died from, but it seems probable, given her heavy smoking, that she had some form of cancer.  
In June 1952, Ventris, just shy of his 30th birthday, solved the riddle of Linear B. Ventris was an architect who had never been to university. But he had a prodigy’s gift for languages and an obsession with the tablets that dated to his youth. 
On June 1 1952, Ventris took the microphone at BBC Radio to announce his discovery: Linear B recorded a very early Greek dialect – spoken long before Hellenic peoples were known to have existed, 500 years before Homer and seven centuries before the advent of the Greek alphabet.
His great triumph would end in tragedy. Beset by self-doubt as he was invited to speak before the world’s greatest learned bodies, Ventris died four years later, at 34, in a swift, strange car crash that some observers believe was suicide. 

The Riddle of the Labyrinth' by Margalit Fox (Profile, RRP £14.99), is available to pre-order from Telegraph Books.

The 2014 Predictions Begin -- OPEC, IEA Predictions For 2014

Rigzone is reporting:
“Oil demand is surging and commodities are on a tear … adding to a buying frenzy. Oil supply will outstrip acceleration in demand growth next year as production outside of OPEC expands at the fastest pace in 20 years.” -- analyst
OPEC: non-OPEC supply will grow faster than demand in 2014. Demand for OPEC petroleum will fall further.
OPEC's Observations and Predictions
Global demand
  • global oil demand growth has returned to 2010 levels
  • 0.4 million bopd decline in 2013
  • 0.2 million bopd decline in 2014
  • will continue to drive demand growth
  • growth of 1.2 million bopd
  • oil use will climb by 3.3 percent to 10.4 million barrels a day in 2014
  • a similar percentage gain to that predicted for this year  (3.3% increase predicted for 2013)

IEA's Observations and Predictions
Source: Platts

The International Energy Agency has painted a picture of softer market fundamentals in 2014, but gone to lengths to point out a number of intangibles which could ultimately derail its latest predictions.

Fleshing out for the first time its oil market forecasts for 2014, the IEA believes the US’ shale oil boom will continue to underpin surging non-OPEC supply next year.

Non-OPEC oil production should increase by more than 1.3 million b/d in 2014, the highest growth in 20 years, with US crude production alone making up 530,000 b/d of the growth forecast, the IEA forecast in its latest monthly report this week.

The two-decade peak in oil output growth from non-OPEC producers will outpace global demand growth and continue to dent OPEC’s share of the global oil market, it said.

Just A Matter Of Time ...

... and the Surface will be history.

MacRumors is reporting:
Microsoft is planning to drop the prices of its Surface RT tablets by $150, reports The Verge
The lower prices, which will go into effect on Sunday July 14, are likely the result of lackluster sales.
Bloomberg reported in March that Microsoft had sold just 1.5 million Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets since they debuted in October of 2012 and February of 2013, respectively, with 400,000 of those sales attributed to the Pro. HP experienced similarly poor sales with its TouchPad, which was heavily discounted and then discontinued.
By the way, whatever happened to the Zune? 

A Letter To The Granddaughters

Times have really changed. It's wonderful to wake up in the morning, grab the tablet and check a) the mail; b) one business site; c) two news sites; d) one news aggregation sites -- takes about ten minutes. That gives me plenty of time to wake up. The original Apple iPad is/was the right size, but I have to admit, I may enjoy the mini for reading in bed. Not sure yet.

Ten (10) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA

Active rigs: 185 (steady)

Ten (10) new permits --
  • Operators: QEP (4),  Petrogulf (2),  CLR (2), Whiting, Luff Exploration,
  • Fields: Sate Line (Bowman), Frazier (Divide), Pleasant Hill (McKenzie), Grail (McKenzie), Antelope (Mountrail)
  • Comments: These are the first two Petrogulf wells in North Dakota; Luff Energy has been in North Dakota for a long time, but relatively few wells. In the February, 2013, lease sales, Petrogulf was mentioned. One can also find occasional references to Petrogulf in monthly dockets. I am not sure whether this is their webpage. Operations don't mention North Dakota but this site did.
Wells coming off confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Wells coming off the confidential list on Friday:
  • 23698, 781, Murex, MacKenzie Joy 3-10H, Sanish, t1/13; cum 34K 5/13; 
  • 23710, 348, Whiting, Richard 31-15PH, Zenith, t2/13; cum 10K 5/13;
  • 23787, drl, XTO, Thorp Federal 11X-28B, Little Knife, no data

23698, see above, Murex, MacKenzie Joy 3-10H, Sanish:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

 23710, see above, Whiting, Richard 31-15PH, Zenith:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

Headlines From The Williston Wire

Headlines only; no links; it is easy to subscribe to The Williston Wire.

City of Williston plans to reinvest state oil impact funds into infrastructure needsOver the last two years, the City of Williston has invested roughly $50 million in infrastructure improvements to keep up with the enormous growth underway.  Another $100 million will be infused into high priority projects for water, sewer and road improvements. 

Since the Public Input Meeting held last November, the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) and City of Williston have been considering the selection of a preferred option for improvement of the US Highway 2 and 11th Street intersection. A decision has recently been made to construct Alternative E. The project will be split into two phases of construction. Initial construction is anticipated to begin in August of this year.

The labor and housing shortage has created challenges for all types of businesses in the Williston Basin.  Public agencies find it difficult to attract police officers and public works employees without housing. The City of Williston offers a $350-a-month housing allowance and it has partnered with a developer to build apartments. This approach has "worked wonders for us. We really struggled to keep staff," says Shawn Wenko, assistant director of economic development.

KOG As A Takeover Target -- Idle Chatter, Again

The Wall Street Journal is reporting:
KOG, long speculated to be an acquisition target, hired bankers last year to help it field interest from potential suitors, according to people familiar with the matter.
Talks with those suitors have largely fizzled without a deal though Kodiak is still working with the banks, said the people.
Some potential suitors decided Kodiak, which has a market capitalization of about $2.5 billion, is fully valued by the stock market, which could make the company a pricey acquisition, the people said. Factoring in the company's debt and accounting for some premium to its current share price, Kodiak would represent around a $4 billion ticket for an acquirer.
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here or what you think you may have read here. 


The Bismarck Tribune is reporting:
  • in 2007, the state set a goal to double energy production from all sources by 2025
  • the goal has been met
  • 13 years early
Commission chairman Al Anderson says meeting the goal 13 years early ``is a significant accomplishment'' for the state.

Yes, I would say so. 

This begs the question: where do "we" go from here?

A Note To The Granddaughters

The granddaughters helped Tim with building a bench for the patio. They both learned some great carpentry skills.

UK Energy Secretary Is Pro-Fracking -- Good Luck

Oil & Gas Journal is reporting:
UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey told a parliamentary group that a public awareness campaign is needed to promote shale gas and dispel what he calls “myths” about hydraulic fracturing. He also said the government will promote unconventional oil and gas to the public.
Recently, the British Geological Survey estimated the Carboniferous Bowland shale in the central UK onshore has 822-2,281 tcf of gas in place. The higher estimate came in a 46-page report, although researchers said the proportion that it may be possible to extract is unknown.
Once a myth takes hold in Britain -- good luck reversing it: a) William Shakespeare; b) The Lord of The Rings; and, c) Harry Potter.

Incredible, Isn't It, How Activist Environmentalists Can Slow-Roll The Country; When Is A Moratorium A Permitorium?

The story out of Delaware down below just goes to show how fortunate "we" are in North Dakota. I am not aware of many votes / studies / decisions taking decades to complete/make by North Dakota government agencies. The NDIC is making decisions and the commission is about as transparent as one could expect / hope for.

On the other hand, the story is completely different in Delaware. It's now been three years of study and the Delaware River Basin Commission still hasn't set rules for drilling in the Marcellus. Incredible. Even if they said "no" folks could get on with their lives, knowing they won't be getting royalties from their minerals. Which is probably what will happen anyway.

Oil & Gas Journal is reporting.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has asked the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to remove a 3-year moratorium on natural gas drilling from the Marcellus shale.
In a letter to DRBC last month, Corbett said the agency has had more than enough time to implement regulations that would allow gas drilling from the Marcellus shale while protecting water quality in the Delaware River and its tributaries.
DRBC has published draft drilling regulations in 2010, but the agency cancelled a 2011 vote on the rules. That vote has not been rescheduled.

Short Term The War On Coal Is Being Won By O'Bama, EPA -- But We're In The Early Innings

I assume a lot of these union coal miners voted for President O'Bama. Twice. 

Reuters is reporting:
American Electric Power Co Inc said Thursday it expects to retire its 585-megawatt (MW) Unit 5 at the Muskingum River coal plant in Ohio in 2015 due to the high cost of complying with environmental rules and low power and natural gas prices.
AEP said in a release it reached an agreement with other parties in February to modify a 2007 deal to give AEP the option to retire Muskingum 5 or refuel it with natural gas.
But due to the cost of compliance with environmental regulations and current market conditions, AEP said it is now unlikely to make the capital investment to refuel the unit.
Since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, about 15,000 MW of coal-fired power plants have closed as low electricity and natural gas prices have made it uneconomical for generating companies to upgrade those facilities to keep up with the government's stricter environmental rules.
Those generating companies have also announced plans to shut more than 37,000 MW of coal-fired units over the next 10 years or so.
Ohio is a red state according to The Daily Caller though wiki calls Ohio a purple state. 

The world's largest off-share wind farm, the London Array, has about the same nameplate capacity as this soon-to-be-mothballed power plant.

West Texas Intermediate - Brent Spread Lowest Level Since 2010

Oil & Gas Journal is reporting:
Oil prices escalated July 10 with front-month crude up 2.9% in the New York futures market following a bullish government report of an unexpected surge in commercial US inventory last week.
“Oil rose on both sides of the Atlantic despite news that Chinese imports of crude declined to their lowest level in 9 months,” said analysts in the Houston office of Raymond James & Associates Inc. North Sea Brent inched up 0.4% “on higher demand forecasts made by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, dropping the West Texas Intermediate-Brent spread to less than $3, its lowest level since 2010.”
And with all the pipeline and CBR in place, the Bakken-WTI spread will narrow.

Gradually, every so gradually, oil is becoming a world-wide commodity again (same price world-wide). 

O'BamaCare Mandates Health Insurance For Full-Time Workers....

... but not part-time workers.

(When you read the article at the link, note how the writers try to spin this as "good news" for those part-time workers who no longer have health insurance -- "good news" because of O'BamaCare. It really is quite amazing -- the spin. Companies are telling their full-time employees they will soon be part-time employees. And part-time employees won't get health care from the company. But the part-time employees will get care through O'BamaCare which is not yet in place, and for all we know, may be delayed.)

(One can start to see how Aetna, United Heath, BlueCross/Blue Shield, KP, etc., could have a huge "swing year." These HMO's raised their premiums in anticipation of O'BamaCare. Employer-mandated O'BamaCare has now been delayed. Do you think these HMO's are going to lower their premiums now. You get three guesses and the first two don't count.)

Unintended consequences.

BuffaloNews is reporting:
The Rochester-based grocer that has been continually lauded for providing health insurance to its part-time workers will no longer offer that benefit.
Until recently, the company voluntarily offered health insurance to employees who worked 20 hours per week or more. Companies are required by law to offer health insurance only to full-time employees who work 30 hours or more per week.
Several Wegmans employees confirmed part-time health benefits had been cut and said the company said the decision was related to changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act.
However, part-time employees may actually benefit from Wegmans’ decision, according to Brian Murphy, a partner at Lawley Benefits Group, an insurance brokerage firm in Buffalo.
“If you have an employee that qualifies for subsidized coverage, they might be better off going with that than a limited part-time benefit,” Murphy said.
That’s because subsidized coverage can have a lower out-of-pocket cost for the insured employee while also providing better benefits than an employer-paid plan.
Under the Affordable Care Act, part-time employees are not eligible for health insurance subsidies if their employer offers insurance.
One can see where this is going: companies are going to game the system. And the companies that are most nimble will come out on top. 

The nuances of this law and the unintended consequences are incredible.

I could be wrong, but I don't believe O'BamaCare is available yet; if companies are already eliminating their health-care programs, it's putting a lot of folks in limbo. 

Last Post For Awhile

So, what do we have so far today?

E-book ruling cements Amazon's virtual monopoly

COP raises its quarterly dividend to 69 cents

Oil is pulling back slightly -- okay, by a little bit -- over a dollar. Profit-taking. Obviously not much changed in 24 hours. I didn't link the article, but there was a story that gasoline prices are going to surge in a few day. Californians are noticing the jump in gasoline prices -- taxes on gasoline went up significantly on July 1 to make up for all that gasoline not being used. Too many Priuses being sold. So, now GMC and Ford owners can subsidize Prius owners. Nice.

BRK-B hit a new 52-week high today. Already. And the day has hardly started out here on the West Coast. But look at this: EOG blew through it's old 52-week (all-time?) high -- up over $3.00. Sweet. As in Bakken light, sweet crude oil. CVX would also be at a new high, except it dropped too much last week to make up that much ground this week. And this was just after a report that their second quarter production will be down (slightly) due to maintenance in Nigeria and elsewhere. Yeah, maintenance in Nigeria. Plugging all those holes in their pipelines. XOM did hit a new high; now $93, and some time ago some analysts said XOM was on its way to $100. Hard to believe when NGLs, which are so important to XOM, are so depressed. EEP traded at a new high, before pulling back a bit. EPD traded at a new 52-week high, and also raised its dividend for the 36th consecutive quarter. Thirty-six consecutive quarters of dividend raises. Sweet. Oasis came within 9 cents of a new 52-week high, but when news broke that Wall Street can't find a buyer for KOG, it pulled back. If KOG needs to issue more stock to pay for its recent pricey acquisition, there might be another buying opportunity. MDU traded at a 52-week high.

You have to love this alert on Twitter: short squeeze on Samson Oil & Gas: it's up $0.004. No typo. Up $0.004. Although less than haf-a-penny, it's still almost 1% of the current share price, I guess.

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

Back to oil. At some point, Americans might -- might -- start asking why gasoline prices are so high when there's so much oil in North America. Pretty good question. I certainly can't answer it. However, if gasoline prices surge next week, the odds are 10-1 the next headline we see regarding oil prices will include the word "speculator."

This is a story that needs to be read by everyone interested in the oil and gas industry and OPEC figures. The headline story was OPEC decreased production this past month: that was the narrative. In fact, when one looks at the tables submitted by OPEC, production from Angola was conveniently removed. If Angola's historical production was included, then OPEC production actually rose. This will be a stand-alone post. It's an important story. 

A Note To The Granddaughters

Dollars per ounce of plastic, this is the most expensive car made in America today, the 1977 Monte Carlo.

But never a happier six-year-old, who turns seven this summer. Her first model. Hopefully not her last.

At the beach two days ago, we were the only one that brought a kite (or so we thought) -- one did not see a kite as far as one could see up the coast, or down the coast. And then the family next to us got out their kite -- it was identical to ours! What were the odds. I wish I had caught a photo. You will have to believe me.

I've never had such good kite-flying weather. We put this kite up and it stayed up for hours while attached to a beach chair. It was quite incredible.

California Dreaming.

Valero May Expand Plans For Additional Projects

Platts is tweeting: Valero's plan for $600-$700 million methanol project at St. Charles, LA, described by spokesman as "probably not a one-time thing.

OPECs Numbers Don't Add Up -- Who Wudda Thought?

This is a story that needs to be read by everyone interested in the oil and gas industry and OPEC figures. The headline story was OPEC decreased production this past month: that was the narrative. In fact, when one looks at the tables submitted by OPEC, production from Angola was conveniently removed. If Angola's historical production was included, then OPEC production actually rose.
The latest monthly oil market report, published earlier this week by the Vienna secretariat, estimates June crude output at 30.379 million b/d, which represents a drop of 309,000 b/d from 30.668 million b/d in May.
The direct submissions for June do not include a figure from Angola, but if Angola were to repeat the 1.73 million b/d figure it supplied for May, the June total would be around 32.12 million b/d – some 1.74 million b/d more than the secondary source total.

Wal-Mart Scraps DC Plans -- Look At The "Bill" -- This Was "The Wal-Mart Tax"

The WSJ is reporting.
Wal-Mart said it was scrapping plans to build three stores in Washington, D.C., after the city's council passed a bill late Wednesday that would require big retailers to pay starting wages that are 50% higher than the city's minimum wage.
The retailer also said it would review its legal and financial options on the only other stores it has in the district, three that are still under construction. Wal-Mart had warned in an op-ed article in the Washington Post on Tuesday that it would pull out of the city if the District of Columbia's council passed the bill, called the Large Retailer Accountability Act of 2013.
"This was a difficult decision for us—and unfortunate news for most D.C. residents—but the Council has forced our hand," Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo in a statement released after the 8-to-5 vote.
The bill requires retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and with stores of at least 75,000 square feet to pay workers starting salaries of no less than $12.50 an hour. The city's minimum wage is $8.25.
Obviously the only stores with 75,000 square feet or more AND corporate sales of at least $1 billion are Wal-Mart stores.

This was not about DC.

This was about other cities and states following suit.

Thursday Morning Links, News And Views

Active rigs: 186 (steady, no change)

Wells coming off confidential list have been posted; scroll down.

RBN Energy: first in a 3-part series -- the depressing price of NGLs

First time jobless claims: groundhog day, more of the same; spin continues

WSJ Links

Nothing in the Personal Journal but the first story in Money & Investing to catch my eye: oil at a 15-month high.
The jump in prices was sparked by data showing a bigger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude-oil supplies last week, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.
Several recently opened pipelines and rail routes are helping oil companies tap into the huge pool of supplies that were previously trapped in the middle of the country.
The declines in stockpiles and surging price of U.S. crude are changing the outlook for commodity investors.
And "everybody" thought it was due to demonstrations in Egypt. Another huge OPEC producer. Not.

The graph at the link is striking.

Wow. In the Marketplace, Chinese computer maker Lenovo turned out to be more nimble than H-P:
A shift in consumer tastes to tablets continues to take its toll on the PC industry, with China's Lenovo emerging as sales leader in a shrinking market. Blame Apple.
The figures are the latest evidence of structural changes in the market, as more people turn to touch-based tablets and smartphones rather than PCs to tap into the Internet and carry out other computing tasks.
PC makers have tried to respond in a variety of ways, including laptop computers equipped with touchscreens and devices that switch from clamshell mode to tablet-style operation. Microsoft Corp. has tried to help with touch-based Windows 8 operating system, which was released last fall.
But the software—now being modified in response to user complaints—failed to spur much demand and may have added to consumer confusion. "Essentially, Windows 8 did not help, and some would argue that it hurt," said Jay Chou, an IDC analyst.
A spokesman for Microsoft didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. But Tami Reller, chief financial officer for Microsoft's Windows division, in May disputed the notion that users were turned off by basic elements of the new operating system. She acknowledged, however, that Microsoft and its partners wished they had done more to encourage PC sales last fall and earlier this year. 
We talked about this yesterday (?): Wal-Mart scrapped its DC plans
Wal-Mart said it was scrapping plans to build three stores in Washington, D.C., after the city's council passed a bill late Wednesday that would require big retailers to pay starting wages that are 50% higher than the city's minimum wage.
The retailer also said it would review its legal and financial options on the only other stores it has in the district, three that are still under construction. Wal-Mart had warned in an op-ed article in the Washington Post on Tuesday that it would pull out of the city if the District of Columbia's council passed the bill, called the Large Retailer Accountability Act of 2013.
"This was a difficult decision for us—and unfortunate news for most D.C. residents—but the Council has forced our hand," Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo in a statement released after the 8-to-5 vote.
The bill requires retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and with stores of at least 75,000 square feet to pay workers starting salaries of no less than $12.50 an hour. The city's minimum wage is $8.25.
The Front Section near the top: e-book ruling puts a "crimp" on Apple. I think everyone lost on this one. I'm trying to figure out who was upset with higher prices for e-books. Oh, that's right: consumers. It could get worse for Apple. Next the music.

Let's see if this works: the Illinois governor will withhold pay for legislators until they "solve" state's pension program.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn cut off pay to lawmakers Wednesday, saying he will withhold their checks until they address the worst pension crisis among U.S. states.
The suspension of pay is the most dramatic move by Mr. Quinn to prod legislators to confront a shortfall in the pension system for government employees that is approaching $100 billion. The Democratic governor has been at odds with the House and Senate, which both have large Democratic majorities, as lawmakers ignore repeated deadlines he has set.
They only make $70,000/year. Most of them are not in the legislature for the salary. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I wonder if the courts will allow this to stand. Probably not. 

There were several stories in the past 24 hours suggesting the GOP is starting to flex its muscle(s). Right, wrong, or indifferent: the immigration bill is back in the news.
House Republicans coalesced Wednesday around a piecemeal approach to overhauling immigration laws, bucking pressure from the Senate and the White House to move quickly—and leaving unsolved the fate of millions of illegal immigrants currently in the U.S.
Emerging from a closed-door meeting, GOP lawmakers were united on one front. Few had any appetite to take up a sweeping immigration bill that passed the Senate with bipartisan support. That sets the House up to rewrite immigration laws bit by bit.
And then this: division in Senate hampers Democrats' agenda.  Yes, one-third are up for re-election. It's easy to support President O'Bama when not up for re-election, or if one is from San Francisco.

Update on the SFO plane crash. This is most alarming:
Ms. Hersman also said that after the crash, the pilots waited about 90 seconds before ordering any of the jet's doors opened or evacuation slides deployed. Given the extent of damage to the plane and severe injuries to some passengers—and the subsequent fire—that decision is likely to be examined.  
When your airplane is about to blow up, 90 seconds is a life-time -- literally. It sounds like these pilots were really, really, slow to react at every level.

Oh, this is nice. The Japanese nuclear reactor water contamination is spreading -- into the ocean. Meanwhile activist environmentalists will continue to hammer the fracking industry.

Criminal probe underway in that runaway train. And death toll rises in that little Quebec town

Op-Ed: Henninger headline -- big government implodes. No, the headline is wrong. O'Bama has imploded.  As was noted from Day 1, or almost Day 1, Mr O'Bama was in over his head.
Mark July 3, 2013, as the day Big Government finally imploded.
July 3 was the quiet afternoon that a deputy assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy announced in a blog post that the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate would be delayed one year. Something about the "complexity of the requirements." The Fourth's fireworks couldn't hold a candle to the sound of the U.S. government finally hitting the wall.
Since at least 1789, America's conservatives and liberals have argued about the proper role of government. Home library shelves across the land splinter and creak beneath the weight of books arguing the case for individual liberty or for government-led social justice. World Wrestling smackdowns are nothing compared with Hayek vs. Rawls.
Maybe we have been listening to the wrong experts. Philosophers and pundits aren't going to tell us anything new about government. The one-year rollover of ObamaCare because of its "complexity" suggests it's time to call in the physicists, the people who study black holes and death stars. That's what the federal government looks like after expanding ever outward for the past 224 years. 
Oh, by the way, that immigration bill? One can assume that if passed in its current form, President O'Bama would "temporarily delay" that part about border security. Precedents have been set.

This is better than the line-item veto. Just let the bill pass, then let the president pick and choose what part of the law he/she wants to enforce. And Congress seems happy to let that go. 

First-Time Jobs Claims Up Again; Increase By A Staggering 16,000; Economy Still On Track -- Reuters

Reuters is reporting:
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, a potentially worrisome sign for the economy although the level still pointed to ongoing healing in the labor market.
Other data on Thursday showed prices for U.S. imports and exports fell in June for the fourth straight month, hit by cooler economic growth worldwide.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased by 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 360,000, the Labor Department said.
Analyst: "it's a bit worrisome."

An understatement. 

Going on five years now.

But here's the real story buried well into the article: analysts had expected the number to drop to 340,000. So, instead of dropping to 340,000, it rose to 360,000, Wow.

Remember The Fad Some Years Ago When You Increased Your Fish Oil to Prevent Heart Disease ....

.... well, that increased your chances for prostate cancer by 70%.

I wouldn't get too worried. The is the same newspaper that was one of the first to report that the earth quit warming about 15 years ago (now 17 years ago, I suppose).  And we all know that's not true.

On another note, from the San Francisco jet plane crash investigation:
Federal crash investigators revealed Wednesday that the pilot flying Asiana Airlines flight 214 told them that he was temporarily blinded by a bright light when 500 feet above the ground.
Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said it wasn't clear what could have caused the problem. Asked specifically whether it could have been a laser pointed from the ground, Hersman said she couldn't say what caused it. 
It was probably his life flashing in front of him. 

Drill, Baby, Drill: Texas Producing More Oil Than Some OPEC Countries is reporting:
In March, Texas oil production reached its highest level since 1984. 
That month, the Lone Star State pumped more than 74 million barrels of crude from the ground, which means if Texas were a country, it would be one of the 15 largest oil producers in the world.
Oil’s new reign in Texas draws comparisons to the Kingdom Texas’ oil output has doubled in less than three years, putting it in the ranks of OPEC heavy-hitters like Venezuela, Kuwait and Nigeria.

A Lot Of Windmills Are Going To Be Needed ...

The Los Angeles Times is reporting:
The energy landscape of Southern California will look vastly different without San Onofre, officials said in a state Senate committee hearing Wednesday, the first in a series of public discussions on life without the nuclear plant.
The 2,200-megawatt behemoth in northern San Diego County brought a steady supply of power to about 1.4 million homes until equipment problems forced it to close in early 2012.
But the plant's owner, Southern California Edison, announced last month that it would be permanently retired.
That southern California landscape is going to need a lot of windmills or a lot of solar panels.  The good news: California has had about ten years to plan for this contingency.

To put that into perspective, the world's largest off-shore wind farm:
The London Array: will generate 630 megawatts of electricity – enough power for more than 470,000 British homes (Brit homes use significantly less electricity than the average US home).  

NYMEX Crude Futures Rallied Almost $3.00 Today; Pipelines, Rail, Economy, Libya All Partly Responsible

Platts is reporting:
US crude stocks fell 9.87 million barrels last week to 373.92 million barrels, the second large draw in two weeks, data released by the US Energy Information Administration showed Wednesday.
Especially bullish for NYMEX crude futures was a draw at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point of 2.69 million barrels. NYMEX crude futures rallied $2.99/barrel on the data, settling at $106.52/b.
Platts analysis is here

Already nearing $107, oil futures are up slightly, but the DOW futures are up "huge."

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

#3 In Business Climate, Now #5 In Quality Of Life

Earlier it was reported that North Dakota was ranked #3 for business climate.

Today, Yahoo!Finance is reporting that North Dakota is tied for 5th place along with Maine for quality of life among the 57 US states.
1. Hawaii
2. Vermont
3. Minnesota
4. Nebraska
5. North Dakota: low crime rate and air quality
5. Maine
Just for the record, South Dakota was #7. Not bad. 

Wells Coming Off The Confidential List Thursday; Hess Reports A Nice Well

23632, drl, Statoil, Reiten 23-14 1TFH, Painted Woods, no data,
23744, 501, Fidelity, Fladeland 34-31H, Sanish, t1/13; cum 26K 5/13;
24003, 757, Hess, EN-Cvancara 155-93-1522H-3, Alger, t4/13; cum 27K 5/13;
24455, drl, CLR, Hawkinson 13-22H, Oakdale, no data,
24687, drl, QEP, G. Levang 4-32-29BH, Grail, no data,


23744, see above, Fidelity, Fladeland 34-31H, Sanish:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

24003, see above, Hess, EN-Cvancara 155-93-1522H-3, Alger:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold