Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Number Of Active Rigs In North Dakota Continuing To Fall

Active rigs:

Active Rigs183186204175108

RBN Energy: continuation of the series on US laws on natural gas and crude oil exports.
So what conclusions can we draw from our survey of the Molecule Laws that are in turn both cryptic and contradictory but all have an impact on hydrocarbon exports?  Well first there is a common theme across natural gas, NGL and crude oil markets – namely that, in a new world of surpluses for these hydrocarbons, exports naturally balance the market. Therefore constraints on exports will result in market imbalances. And inconsistencies in export policies will create artificial arbitrage opportunities that will be exploited by some market participants. That is the reality regulators and legislators need to understand when reviewing these laws. The U.S. is now a major exporter of energy. Hopefully we will develop policies that are in sync with this reality.
For me, this is not about changing laws; as an investor, this is dealing with reality and watching the tea leaves.

The Wall Street Journal

The Ukraine uses military force for the first time. 

Housing market slows abruptly.

A nice story on the lunar eclipse in the front section.

US consumer prices rise slightly. Housing and food costs helped lift overall consumer prices last month, a development that could reassure some Fed officials as they roll back their easy-money policies.

New Hampshire's rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been one of the rockiest in the nation, putting Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen on the front lines of Republican efforts to make the 2014 elections a referndum on the health law.

Obama administration won't extend insurance enrollment. The administration said that a midnight deadline for most people to finish health-insurance applications for private coverage this year wouldn't be extended amid signs that enrollment waits had dissipated.

Detroit reaches deal with police, firefighter retirees.

Shale boom's new problem: "North Dakota has been slow to address repercussions from the surge in crude output, including the proliferation of radioactive oil filters. The state how no place to store such waste, which has led to illegal dumping." Top story, second section. Another red herring which can be quickly resolved. Illegal dumping is a problem; radioactivity is not.

In a digital world, Lego sticks to its bricks.


Why people are eating less fish. Michelle appears to have missed an opportunity.
At a time when some Americans have started to improve their diets, they're increasingly turning their noses up at one of the healthiest foods around: fish.
The average U.S. consumer ate 14.4 pounds of seafood in 2012, the last year for which figures are available, down from 15 pounds in 2011 and a record high 16.6 pounds consumed in 2004. That's far less than the average 82 pounds of chicken, 57 pounds of beef and 46 pounds of pork Americans consume in a year. It's also much less than the amount of seafood eaten in other countries. The average Japanese consumer eats 120 pounds a year, while Spaniards consume 96 pounds.
This fading appetite for fish shows that for a fragmented industry having a healthy product isn't enough. Surveys show consumers aren't sure how to cook fish and prices can be high, while the seafood industry hasn't been able to organize any major marketing campaigns to promote fish consumption, the kind of efforts that paid off for the beef and pork industries.

Companies try to get kids hooked on fish sticks.

Google unveils "Project Ara," a 'modular' smartphone. Earlier this year, The WSJ had an article suggesting why "lego" phones would not work.

Charles Schwab's first-quarter profit rose almost 60% as a resurgence in investor trading activity helped the discount brokerage report the highest volume of daily average trades on record.

Utilities are sweating the small stuff—with good reason. "Shining Cities" is a new report from an environmental-advocacy group ranking the top 20 U.S. cities by installed solar capacity. One fact stands out: Solar power is tiny. The top 20 cities' aggregate solar capacity, 892 megawatts, represents 0.08% of total U.S. electricity capacity. Solar overall equates to 1.1%.
Even at this scale, solar power is raising existential questions for utilities. Solar, along with other renewables, erodes already weak power demand, threatening the revenue utilities rely on to maintain the grid and pay shareholders. So, already, battles are being waged between utilities and solar advocates in hotspots like Arizona and California.
And the trend isn't utilities' friend.
Raymond James estimates the current addressable market for residential solar panels at 76 gigawatts. That is fully 33 times the current installed residential base. And with electricity bills only going one way—up—and the cost of solar technology the other way, that addressable market will only expand. Small stuff has a way of eventually adding up.
Fortunately, US utility companies can look at the German experience.

The Los Angeles Times

The Dickinson Press

Walking and talking rigs could revolutionize fracking.  

Illegal dumping of salt water could cost Black Hills Trucking a one-million-dollar fine. Driver faces criminal charges. Hopefully the state takes as much action as possible, and if guilty, a maximum fine. If true, no excuse.