Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014; New CBR Rules Will Stifle Bakken Production -- RBN Energy; US Importing Coal From Russia (So Much For Those Ukrainian Sanctions)

The road to New England: Bloomberg is reporting --
When New Hampshire’s largest utility needed to rebuild coal supplies after the past frigid winter, it turned to Russia rather than Appalachia in the U.S. Northeast or Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
The Doric Victory, a bulk carrier the length of two football fields, transported the fuel almost 4,000 miles (6,436 kilometers) from Riga, Latvia, last month to Public Service of New Hampshire’s Schiller power plant in Portsmouth, a 150-megawatt facility that’s produced electricity since 1952.
Utilities in the U.S. are scrambling for coal, on pace to increase imports 26 percent this year, as railroad bottlenecks slow deliveries and electricity demand climbs with an improving economy. Russia, the world’s third-largest exporter of the fuel, will boost shipments 3.9 percent to 106 million metric tons this year, IHS Energy forecasts, part of President Vladimir Putin’s plan to expand Russia’s role in the global coal market.
Active rigs in North Dakota:

Active Rigs192189213178132
If as appears likely, US regulators impose new rail tank car safety standards by the end of 2014 including the phasing out of older designs, the cost for a new car could be as much as $150,000. Retrofitting older designs to meet new standards could range between $20,000 and $60,000 per car. The resulting higher lease costs, concerns about safety and lingering logistics issues from this past winter are leading to producers looking more favorably at pipeline projects. The latest data this week from North Dakota indicates crude-by-rail traffic out of that State fell by 11.5 % from 693 Mb/d in November 2013 to 614 Mb/d in May 2014. Today we look at the impact of these changes on future crude-by-rail traffic.
Rail tank car owners should be able to comply with new regulations to replace or retrofit older tank cars within two or three years after 2015 – depending on how many new builds are required and based on the assumption that growth in the rail tank car fleet is tapering off. The costs will be passed on from lease companies to shippers – increasing the cost of shipping crude by rail. The combination of these increased costs, public safety concerns and the advent of new pipeline capacity threatens to stifle crude-by-rail traffic growth – at least in North Dakota. The best hope for continued growth is the more pipeline constrained Western Canadian market. It remains to be seen whether the rail tank car industry will return to the levels of growth witnessed between 2011 and 2013. 
The Wall Street Journal

Fed's Yellen hedges her view on rates. And this is a headline?

Israel getting ready to stomp Hamas; has ordered tens of thousands of Palestinians in northern Gaza it may be best to "clear out" by Wednesday morning. Memo to self: avoid the Beit Lahiya-to-Nuseirat commute Wednesday morning.

Front page news: "JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs posted better-than-expected quarterly results, driven by an unforeseen uptick in key trading businesses in June. Had the results not been good, pundits were ready to blame the weather.

Hold off on the Algore lockbox: Medicare is expected to remain financially solvent through 2030, five years longer than previously expected. That takes me to age ... 63 + 16 = 79. Okay. Whew.

President Obama urges immediate action on "inversions." Why doesn't he just unilaterally
ban "inversions" through an executive order. What's the House gonna do? Impeach him? LOL.

Walgreen weighs riding "inversion" wave. Walgreen may relocated to Switzerland if it ends up buying the remainder of Swiss-based peer Alliance Boots, a move that would help the retailer lower its US tax bill. I say, "go for it."

The Pentagon scuttled the highly anticipated international debut of its advanced F-35 fighter jet, citing safety concerns arising from a recent fire in its Pratt & Whitney engine. Now that's a chariot on fire!


Huge story:
Carbon dioxide isn't just a greenhouse gas that federal officials want to curb: It is also highly prized by the energy industry, which injects it into aging oil fields to increase their output.
Coal-fired power plants vent carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, while oil drillers generally have gotten their CO2 from underground caverns or industrial plants. But electricity producer NRG Energy Inc. is trying to change that.
With a new Japanese partner it disclosed Tuesday, NRG is planning to capture some of the carbon dioxide produced by one of its coal-burning power plants outside Houston and then pipe the gas to an oil field about 80 miles away. In return, NRG and partner JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp. will get a share of the extra oil that the carbon dioxide helps produce.
 For activist environmentalists, this must be the acme of cognitive dissonance. Reminds me of the "buttered cat paradox."

The Los Angeles Times

Job losses surge in California; productivity up 73% in last 15 years.
The output of state factories has surged 73% during the last 15 years — twice as fast as the rest of the nation — even as the sector bleeds jobs, according to a new report from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. Employment declined nearly 34% during the same period.
The surge in production owes itself to innovations in machinery and materials, digitization and computing power, along with a strong network of industry clusters.
Under pressure from automation, offshoring and aggressive cost-cutting, the state's manufacturing workforce shriveled to 1.2 million in 2012 from 2.1 million jobs in 1990 — a faster rate of decline than the nation as a whole.
The difference exceeds the total number of current manufacturing positions in all of Southern California.
Hmmmm...... one sometimes wonder if overt/covert "job actions" actually hurt productivity?

Million Dollar Man, Lana Del Rey

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