Tuesday, August 4, 2015

More On The Natural Gas Pipeline Story, US To Mexico -- August 4, 2015

A couple of days ago a reader sent me a Forbes article about the skyrocketing natural gas pipeline activity from the US to Mexico. It must be quite a story. Tonight there is a long story on the same subject over at Rigzone:
Never mind Mexico’s oil reform. These days, the action is in natural gas. Since last year, when new laws made it easier for foreign companies to export gas to Mexico, there’s been more than $10 billion of planned or completed pipeline investments announced by companies such as Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP.
On Monday, Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy Partners LP agreed to a $2.1 billion acquisition of closely-held NET Midstream, owner of seven pipelines including a 120-mile stretch that runs from Texas to the Mexican border. Tumbling crude prices have damped prospects that the Mexican oil-drilling laws adopted last year will spur an investment boom.
Instead it’s the surge in gas-pipeline construction that’s attracting foreign capital, expanding the market for U.S. gas producers and meeting growing demand from Mexican manufacturers and power plants.
The pipeline construction “is similar to building a first- class highway system,” Glenn Pinkerton, a partner at Sidley Austin LLP who has worked on Latin American energy financing and infrastructure projects, said in an interview.
Just last week, Infraestructura Energetica Nova, a unit of San Diego-based Sempra Energy known as Ienova, agreed to pay $1.325 billion for a 50 percent stake in Gasoductos de Chihuahua, which operates a 73-mile pipeline between the northern states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas.
And more:
Kinder Morgan Inc., the largest U.S. pipeline operator, is doubling the size of its U.S.-Mexico pipeline, while Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Oneok Partners LP said it would spend as much as $100 million on an expansion to Mexico.
The past year’s drop in crude prices by more than half has dimmed private oil producers’ appetite for Mexico, which was supposed to draw an estimated $62.5 billion of energy investments through 2018. In an oil-rights auction last month, the first in the nation’s history, only two of 14 drilling blocks drew sufficient bids to win a contract.
With gas, there’s been less hesitation.

Now Inc Will Buy Challenger Industries In Bismarck, ND -- August 4, 2015

FuelFix is reporing:
National Oilwell Varco spun off Now Inc, last year. Now Inc immediately became one of the largest pipe distributors in the energy industry and for industrial firms. Now Inc employs 5,000 people across 330 locations.

Now Inc announced plans to buy Challenger Industries, Inc, based in Bismarck, ND. Challenger services all sectors of the oil and gas industry, including downstream companies such as refineries and chemical plants, along with midstream firms that operate pipelines.
For the archives.

*******************************
A Note for the Granddaughters

When we were stationed in England, I collected "original Suffolk terracota" kitchen pottery. I loved it; my wife did not care for it all that much. I had completely forgotten but my wife must have given it all away to our younger daughter.

Laura sent us a photograph of the pottery today:


These pieces are priceless now (but very, very inexpensive on eBay) and someday, hopefully, they will be passed down to you. I used to bake bread in the bread baker.

August 4, 2015 -- End Of Day, Non-Bakken Notes

The good ol' days:
  • aluminum siding salesmen
  • door-to-door magazine subscription salesmen
  • used car salesmen
  • snake oil salesmen
  • carburetor additives to increase gas mileage
The WSJ is reporting: solar fight hits home in Arizona. New rules will required solar companies to tell potential customers how much systems will cost over the lifetime of their contracts. SolarCity (Elon Musk) does not want potential customers to know the full cost if they adopt rooftop systems, or at least that's what the article suggests:
Claims about consumer protection are camouflage for opposition to solar power among utilities and some government officials, said Lyndon Rive, chief executive of SolarCity Corp. , which has sued the state and a Phoenix-area utility over measures the company says are meant to deter customers from adopting rooftop systems.
The new rules, which go into effect Jan. 1, require solar companies to tell potential customers how much their systems will cost over the lifetime of their contracts, many of which are as long as 20 years. The companies must also guarantee that the panels will perform as promised. Consumers will have at least three days to cancel a contract after signing it.
And then this, surprise, surprise:
Paul Braverman, 79, of Litchfield Park, Ariz., near Phoenix, said that when he signed a 20-year solar lease in 2013 he believed he would cut his overall utility payments. Instead, a year after the panels were installed, he said that he was paying roughly $800 a year more for electricity. His solar company, Sungevity, first said he had been using much more power than in the past.
Data that Arizona Public Service supplied at The Wall Street Journal’s request showed that wasn’t the case. Sungevity said it made a mistake and has refunded him $1,600.
Wow.

That part about "must perform as advertised" has to have solar energy companies concerned. That's in the eye of the beholder and open to lawyerly interpretation. 

The good ol' days:
  • aluminum siding salesmen
  • door-to-door magazine subscription salesmen
  • used car salesmen
  • snake oil salesmen
  • carburetor additives to increase gas mileage
***************************************
 The Debate

Fox News announces those who will debate Thursday:
  • real estate magnate Donald Trump; 
  • former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; 
  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; 
  • former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; 
  • retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; 
  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; 
  • Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; 
  • Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; 
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; and, 
  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich
I am thrilled the list did not include a former governor from Texas, but I won't name names. Of the list above, I would have eliminated three, and had only 7 on the stage. An even number is "bad luck" in Japan; seven, an odd number, is a "lucky number" almost everywhere.

Fox News will have blow-out numbers. Hopefully, Donald Trump "fires" two or three of the wannabes, starting with ....

***************************
Baltimore Calls In The Feds For Help

The Wall Street Journal is reporting:
Ten federal law-enforcement agents are being assigned to the Baltimore Police Department’s homicide unit for 60 days to help solve murders amid the city’s worst surge of violence in decades.
For 60 days. That's just enough time to put together two or three PowerPoint presentations, have a few 3-martini lunches, and head home. Are they serious? My hunch is that Baltimore couldn't come up with the cash necessary to pay for more Feds for more days. Doesn't the Bakken have about ten full-time FBI agents? Just asking. I don't know. And it's rhetorical. Please don't tell me.
Baltimore has had 192 homicides so far this year, a 57% jump from this time last year, police say. Nonfatal shootings are up more than 80%, records show.

The city had 42 homicides in May—a one-month total that hadn’t been seen since 1990. July was even bloodier, with 45 homicides—which tied the city’s highest monthly tally set in August 1972, according to news reports.
Just give the murderers a big more space. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 -- Active Rigs Back Up To 75 In North Dakota

The Katie Ledecky Page


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

Reach For The Wall is reporting: Katie Ledecky's world record is among 'best ever' swimming performances.
She wasn’t going to make it. She must have been too tired. In the end, it must have been simply too difficult a task. No shame in that. Fifty meters remained in the second heat of the women’s 200-meter freestyle semifinals, and nobody at Kazan Arena — not the screaming fans, not the Team USA members assembled to watch their most unbeatable teammate, not the international media horde that long ago ran out of superlatives for the phenom before them — would have blamed Katie Ledecky, in seventh place at the final turn, for admitting defeat and cruising home.
She deserved credit just for attempting the impossible — a 1,500/200 “double” on the third day of the FINA World Swimming Championships, with less than 30 minutes in between. She had set another world record in that 1,500, her second of the meet and ninth of her career. So what if she failed to advance in the 200, a race she isn’t really engineered to swim? Bravo for dreaming big. Nice try, kid.
And then — here she came. And there she went, past one rival, then another, then another, and another. Kicking furiously with rubbery legs, pulling herself forward with aching arms, Ledecky surged in that final 50, touching the wall in third place, good for sixth overall in the semis, advancing — with a quarter of a second to spare — into Wednesday night’s final.
“It was a little nerve-racking being behind quite a few of those girls. But I just knew I had to finish hard and get my hand to that wall,” said Ledecky, an 18-year-old Bethesda native who has become the most dominant female swimmer in the world. “I just knew I could get my hand to the wall before a couple of those girls in my heat.”
And then this:
As she swims, she has said, she listens to the water, to the rhythm of her chop — in order to lock her into her chosen pace. She thinks mostly about how many laps remain, and what her race strategy is at that specific stage.
Occasionally, though, her mind drifts, even in races — even in a world championship. On Tuesday, in the middle of a 1,500 that would result in a world record — stretching to 17 seconds the total time she has shaved off the mark in the past two years — she thought about her late grandfathers.
Edward Hagan, father of her mother, Mary Gen, was a Purple Heart and Silver Star recipient from World War II, a physician and a swimming advocate whose hometown of Williston, ND, named not one but two community pools after him.
Jaromir Ledecky, father of her father David, was a Czechoslovakia native who came to America in 1947 to study English, taking his first job as a dishwasher at a Howard Johnson’s off Exit 9 of the New Jersey Turnpike and later became an economist with a PhD from NYU.
“I don’t do this very often,” Katie Ledecky said, “but at one time I did think about both my grandpas. Both have passed away, but I know both my grandmas are watching the whole championships very closely back home.”
The thoughts of her grandfathers, she said, occurred only once Tuesday, and only briefly. But when she thought of them, she said, “I dug deep.”
And now back to much less important, much more mundane news.

**********************************
Refinery Expansion In Texas To Meet Bakken Glut

Oil & Gas Journal is reporting:
ExxonMobil Corp. is planning a 20,000-b/d capacity expansion at its 345,000-b/d refinery in Beaumont, TX, to accommodate increased processing of US light crudes.
In addition to boosting the refinery’s capacity to process light crudes from US shale, the expansion project would contribute to improved energy efficiency at the Beaumont plant.
ExxonMobil recently completed a metallurgy upgrade project at the Beaumont refinery to expand the plant’s capacity to process heavy Canadian crude, the company said in its 2014 annual report to investors released earlier this year.
************************************ 
Back To The Bakken

Active rigs in North Dakota:


8/4/201508/04/201408/04/201308/04/201208/04/2011
Active Rigs75192179206182

Two (2) wells coming off confidential list Wednesday:
  • 29209, 2,776, MRO, Ernestine USA 11-14TFH-2B,  Reunion Bay, "the third of many wells to be drilled onthis pad by H&P #259; the very first 2nd Bench"; Three Forks Second Bench, a huge well, 32K in first month, background gases relatively low (300 - 10,000; 20' flare common and intermittent; a 10' target; ; t6/15; cum 33K 5/15;
  • 29662, drl/NC, Newfield, Olson 152-96-30-31-4HLW, Westberg, producing, a huge well 24K in first month;
Seven (7) new permits --
  • Operators: CLR (4), Cornerstone Natural Resources, Armstrong Operating, BR
  • Fields: Catwalk (Williams), Customs (Burke), Clear Creek (McKenzie)
  • Comments: Armstrong has a permit for a wildcat in Renville County, just a couple miles northeast of Tolley, North Dakota; Tolley is fourteen miles northwest of Grano; Grano is about 25 miles northwest of Minot;
********************************
Watermelon Season


******************************
A Note For The Granddaughters

From The WSJ op-ed page today: "Thank God for the Atom Bomb."
The headline of this column is lifted from a 1981 essay by the late Paul Fussell, the cultural critic and war memoirist. In 1945 Fussell was a 21-year-old second lieutenant in the U.S. Army who had fought his way through Europe only to learn that he would soon be shipped to the Pacific to take part in Operation Downfall, the invasion of the Japanese home islands scheduled to begin in November 1945.

Then the atom bomb intervened. Japan would not surrender after Hiroshima, but it did after Nagasaki.
Your great-grandmother was Japanese, a young girl living in Japan at the time the atomic bombs were dropped on her country.

On my top shelf is a copy of The Great War and Modern Memory, Paul Fussell, 25th Anniversary Edition, c. 1975, 2000. If I could keep only ten books in my personal library, this would be one of the ten.

Time to re-read it.

***********

Art review by Karen Wilkin in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal: Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter's Eye, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (I wonder if Michelle will feel welcome there?).

Generally when there is a major art exhibit, there is a very fancy coffee table art book published to go with the exhibition. That's true with the Gustave Caillebotte retrospective. I bought the book a few weeks ago at one of the museums in Los Angeles when we visited earlier this summer, probably the J Paul Getty Museum in west LA. The book is still in its shrink wrap: I don't want to open it until I am really, really ready to enjoy it.
Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894) is the “unknown Impressionist.” If Paul C├ęzanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste-Renoir are synonymous with the movement, Caillebotte remains unfamiliar.
Yet Caillebotte’s masterpiece, “Paris Street, Rainy Day” (1877), with its chic Parisians under their arching umbrellas, carefully disposed against a vast expanse of shiny, wet cobblestones, narrow streets zooming into infinity behind them, is admired by countless art lovers, even by many who don’t know the artist’s name. And, it turns out, Caillebotte played a vital role in the early history of Impressionism, in many different ways.
****************

And finally, some time ago, maybe a year or so ago, my wife and I stumbled across a most delightful DVD on a nanny-American street photographer by the name of Vivian Maier. It was pure serendipity that we came across the DVD and it remains one of my favorites. I had not thought about the DVD in quite some time and don't recall reading about her anywhere. Then, out of the blue, Carol Joyce Oates mentions her in a very, very long essay, in the August 13, 2015, issue of The New York Review of Books.
When photography began to be an art that didn’t depend upon careful staging in a studio, or even outdoors, it was discovered to be ideally suited to the caprices of opportunity; the artist wanders into the world, armed with just his camera, freed from the confines of the predictable and the controlled, as in the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Weegee, Bruce Davidson, Garry Winogrand, the newly discovered Vivian Maier, Diane Arbus (whose strategy was “to go where I’ve never been”), and numerous others.

Early Use Of ESPs In The Bakken -- August 4, 2015

Again, a big thank you to the reader who recently alerted me to the early use of ESPs by EOG and Halcon. From today's daily activity report of wells coming off the confidential list:
  • 28525, 1,227, EOG, Parshall 58-1608H, Parshall, ESP July 3, 2015; 43 stages, 9.1 million lbs sand, 7 million gallons xl gel, HCl, fresh water; t2/15; cum 83K 6/15;
  • 28639, 848, EOG, Parshall 92-28H, Parshall, ESP February 21, 2015, 34 stages, 6.7 million lbs sand, 5 million gallons xl gel, HCl, fresh water, t2/15; cum 55K 6/15;
****************************
Native North Dakota Grasses 
 
And for those curious about the mix of grass that EOG uses in reclaiming land:
  • Western Wheatgrass, 41.35%
  • Green Needle Grass, 20.46%
  • Slender Wheatgrass, 25,88%
  • Side Oats Grama, 10.60%
I wonder what Greenpeace and/or the Sierra Club use / recommend?

Rangeland Energy Back In The News -- August 4, 2015

From Oil & Gas Journal:
Rangeland Energy, Sugar Land, Tex., has received a $300 million equity commitment from EnCap Flatrock Midstream and formed Rangeland Energy III LLC “to pursue new midstream opportunities in resource plays across North America.”
An existing entity, Rangeland Energy II LLC, will continue to focus on construction, operation, and expansion of its RIO System, which includes a rail-and-truck hub near Loving, NM, providing transportation of crude oil and condensate produced in the Delaware basin as well as inbound frac sand. The hub was fully commissioned last month.
A related crude oil system, including a gathering hub near Mentone, TX, and an 85,000-b/d pipeline between there and Midland, is under construction.
EnCap Flatrock Midstream and Rangeland founders provided equity financing for Rangeland Energy II and for the first Rangeland entity, which developed a system of crude oil pipelines and terminals in the Bakken play.
Inergy Midstream LP, now Crestwood Midstream Partners LP, bought that company in 2012.
I posted an earlier story on Rangeland on June 12, 2012 -- feels like ages ago - only three years ago. Wow, a lot has happened in three years.

And I posted the note about Inergy buying Rangeland back on November 5, 2012

These were the CBR terminals in the Bakken back in 2011.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 -- Part IV

Texas needs to send a thank-you letter to President Obama. According to The Dallas Morning News, "Texas got a whole lot of things they claimed they wanted."

In fact, for all the right-wing talk radio wage, the headlines were much, much worse than the story.

First of all, the deadline for when cuts in carbon emissions must begin was extended by two years, to 2022. For heaven's sakes, a lot can change by 2022. And even if things stand the way President Obama has proposed/ordered, it gives folks seven years to start saving money to pay their higher electricity bills. And 2022 is not when emissions must be cut to the bone; that's when power plants need to start cutting emissions.

Texas even got a huge break: instead of having to cut emissions by 39%, they only have to cut by 33 percent.  Assuming the courts uphold all of this in the first place. And assuming President Donald Trump doesn't change things when he gets into office. Anyway, from the linked article:
The rules require states on average to make deeper than expected cuts in carbon emissions from power plants by 2030, but extends the deadline for when the cuts must begin by two years, to 2022.
Changes in the way the EPA set each state’s goals appear to have played out in Texas’ favor. Texas will be required to cut its emissions to 33 percent below a 2012 standard set by the EPA instead of by 39 percent.
“Texas should issue a press release thanking the Obama administration for listening to nearly all of its complaints” about the draft proposal issued last year, said James Marston, a former assistant Texas attorney general who is founding director of the Austin office of the Environmental Defense Fund. “Texas got a whole lot of things they claimed they wanted.”
But even as lawyers on all sides of the debate sought to absorb the final rule, which runs 1,560 pages, opposition poured in quickly from industry leaders in Texas and from the state’s top elected leaders in Washington and Austin. They called the new rules too sudden, costly and potentially illegal.
****************************
Light Rail Finances For The Gullible
But, This Is How The Federal Government Does It

A must-read for those who believe in light rail and/or the California bullet train: http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2015/08/why-valley-metro-phoenix-light-rail-cant-be-trusted-and-shouldnt-be-given-more-tax-money-to-play-with.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CoyoteBlog+%28Coyote+Blog%29.

****************************************
Confidential Well Data Released

Posted.
**************************
Sweet Irony

The Luddites lost their most recent battle to save the Arctic at the Port of Portland. The AP is reporting:
Hours after a repaired Shell icebreaker eased past protesters in Oregon to join an Arctic drilling operation, the oil giant used other vessels in its flotilla to begin excavating off the coast of Alaska in hopes of confirming the presence of billions of barrels of crude below the ocean floor.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC now only needs the 380-foot Fennica, repaired at a Portland shipyard, to be on hand at the drill site to ask federal regulators for permission to dig into oil-bearing rock already included on its Arctic offshore leases.
By the way, I'm sure the two Greenpeace protesters (of the 13) that were arrested will consider their arrest a) a joke; b) a badge of honor; and, c) a temporary hassle. But every time they are pulled over for a minor traffic stop, the law enforcement data base will show "prior arrest." In addition, every time one of these idiots applies for a job, when it comes to the block, "prior arrests," they will have to check "yes" and explain. If it's a federal form and they check "no" -- because they think it was such a minor deal so many years ago -- it's a felony. Only if the charges are dropped will the "prior arrest" data be erased, even if the judge simply gives them a suspended sentence.

************************
At Least We Know Who Kelly Osbourne Hires To Clean Her Toilets

Link here to a most inflammatory video. But that's how Hollywood sees Latinos, I suppose.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015, Part III

A reader provides a most interesting reason why Halcon might be reporting some unexpectedly great wells in the Marmon oil field. It makes a lot of sense. The number of stages and the amount of proppant being used by Halcon is more than what was used at the beginning of the boom in the Bakken, but the number of stages/amount of proppant is not particularly noteworthy. It looks almost as if Halcon is getting the IPs that Statoil was always famous for, but unlike Statoil, is able to continue that level of production for many more months.

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

Tweeting now: UK diesel cheaper than gasoline at pump for first time since 2001, according to DECC data compiled for week to Aug 3, 2015.

Tweeting now: Saudi Arabia and Iraq are producing more crudeoil than necessary,' according to Ecuador's oil minister Merizalde. [Comment: among the OPEC members, Ecuador has been hurt about the worst.]

Tweeting now: China National Petroleum Corp drops out of Ecuador greenfield refinery project, says Ecuador #oil minister Pedro Merizalde. [Double whammy.]

EIA "energy nugget":
Algeria is the third-largest oil producer in Africa, after Nigeria and Angola, and the largest natural gas producer in Africa. However, production of both oil and natural gas has declined over the past decade.
This declining production has led the Algerian government to amend its law regarding foreign investment in hydrocarbons in an attempt to attract the investment and technology improvements needed to help stop production declines.
In 2014, the national oil and gas company Sonatrach offered 33 blocks located in four sedimentary basins with high shale gas and oil potential. This auction resulted in Sonatrach signing five contracts with Repsol, Shell, Statoil, and Dragon Oil-Enel. By law, Sonatrach takes a mandatory majority share (at least 51%) of any resulting projects. --- EIA
*******************************
From The Wall Street Journal

Paper Tigers: RINOs can't even get Planned Parenthood Bill through the Senate. Despite the Mengele glee in sorting through baby parts.

Port of Portland, Oregon, in deep, deep trouble. Comments at the article say it all. City lacked vision. Unions ran the show. Geography didn't help, but it provided a niche had Portland grabbed it.
Back in February, 2015, the huge Chinese shipping company Hanjin "left" Portland for good after another dockworkers' slowdown. Earlier this year, the Port of Portland said no to crude-by-rail terminals.

ObamaCare winners: Aetna (which plans to buy Humana) lifts guidance as profit tops expectations. Aetna benefits from growth in its government business. [Comment: this is not rocket science.]

Freddie Mac to sent $3.9 billion to US Treasury Department after posting a sharp increase in profit during its second quarter.

Shire offers to buy Baxalta for $30 billion. Bid is latest example of a foreign company using its tax-friendly status to buy a US firm.  I really didn't want to add another tag but it appears it is time: the "tax inversion wave" tag. For more on the "tax inversion wave," see this July 7, 2015, WSJ article

US and Turkey agree to keep "rein in" Kurds. This is a big story. There are some interesting ways the Wall Street Journal has framed the story. First of all, the writers frame it as a "border" story and we all know how important borders are -- everywhere but along the US-Mexico border, and for the first time ever, I see the WSJ refers to "them" as Syrian Kurds. Syrian. Yes, Syrian. The Syrian Kurds. Very interesting how even the WSJ can frame a story.

Epson kills the printer ink cartridge, but instead of $60 printers it will cost you $500 for the printer. Perhaps small businesses with big budgets can afford these $500 printers but those who buy personal printers at Wal-Mart or Target are not going to pay $500 for a printer sitting alongside a $60 printer. Worse, Epson will swap out the first $500 printer if anything goes wrong, no questions asked, but then after that, "you are on your own." Printers aren't exactly the most dependable electronic gadget in the house.

US consumer spending up 0.2% in June.

*********************************
Obama's Thoughts About Senate Republicans: I Think You're Crazy. You Think You Are In Control? LOL

Crazy, Gnarls Barkley

All This For 0.01 Degree Celsius -- Joe Bastardi -- August 4, 2015

Posted on August 3, 2015, over at The Patriot Post, this article is getting a lot attention. I might come back to it later.
To show how fossil fuels played a roll in expanding the global pie, there are many more people alive today living longer and enjoying a higher GDP. One has to wonder if someone against fossil fuels is simply anti-progress. Ironic since many in the camp of anthropogenic global warming like to label themselves “progressive.” They’re certainly anti-statistic given something like this staring them in the face.
More:
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted that the steps being taken would only prevent .01 degrees Celsius of warming, but it was the example that counted for the rest of the world.
This in addition to the fact that, in 2011, she admitted she did not know how much CO2 was in the atmosphere. 
*************************
Brick Wall Of Facts

From Investors.com: Global warming alarmists run into brick wall of facts. And the only way one runs into a brick wall is by not paying attention.

Global warming alarmists must be shaking their heads in disbelief. Just when they felt they had the stars aligned to push their anti-capitalism/free enterprise agenda on the international stage and claim the power that they crave, the climate and scientists have begun to turn against them.
Sydney, Australia, has snow for the first time since 1836. To put this in perspective: in 1836, Andrew Jackson was president of the United States, Victoria was a year away from being crowned Queen of England upon her 18th birthday, and Davy Crockett met his heroic end at the Alamo.
Needless to say, it has been a long time since Sydney has seen snow.
In other news, the Big Island of Hawaii had snowfall in July. Not to be outdone, the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California also had snowfall this July. Antarctica set a new record for ice extent in 2014 and continues to set records for how much ice covers the oceans surrounding this southern hemisphere continent as 2015 progresses.
And to confuse the science-is-settled-on-global-warming crowd even further, some solar scientists are now projecting that due to changes in the sun's cycles, the earth is likely to suffer from what is known as a "Little Ice Age" starting in 2030, as the heat-giving star settles into a very rare pattern of inactivity. Imagine their consternation at learning that the sun actually plays a role in the earth's temperature.
Alarmists are battling the climate record's showing an 18-year hiatus from warming by changing and erasing temperature data collection to create the results needed to justify their continued funding.
The church of global warming is also struggling to explain why the much more reliable satellite temperature data also continue to embarrass them by showing no new warming for almost two decades.
 Much more at the link.

*********************************
Headlines From The Los Angeles Times

California is ahead of the game as Obama releases Clean Power Plan. Oh, goodie.

How bad is the traffic in LA metroplex? On 91 Freeway, a $2 billion effort to keep up increasing traffic. Oh, goodie.

Blue Shield of California owes almost $85 million in ObamaCare rebates. Where do folks apply for their rebate? 

India, I can't make this up, rescinds ban on Internet porn after public outrage, ridicule.

"Real Housewives" star Kim Richards arrested for alleged shoplifting at Target. If you are going to shoplift in west Los Angeles, I would recommend Rodeo Drive, not Target.

This is important: five best places to watch the Perseid meteor showers. Start watching the second week of August, specifically the mornings of August 11, 12, 13, and 14, with the best night probably August 13. Moonlight will not obscure this year's Perseid meteors. View to the norteast, after midnight.

2016 Chevy Volt will have longer range, lower price tag: all-electric range of 53 miles. With the federal tax credit, the 2016 Chevy Volt gets a $1,175 price cut, and drops to $26,495. Wow, still too expensive considering one still needs to install a charging station in one's garage and then pay for the electricity, anyway. I don't know if the tax credit of $7,500 still holds true, and I don't know if one gets the full tax credit regardless of tax bracket, but adding $7,500 to $27,000 puts the cost to over $34,000 if one doesn't qualify for the tax credit.  Based on the IRS publication, it sounds like the tax credit of $7,500 still holds true, but the tax credit begins to phase out for a manufacturer’s vehicles when at least 200,000 qualifying vehicles have been sold for use in the United States (determined on a cumulative basis for sales after December 31, 2009).

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 -- Part I

Active rigs:


8/4/201508/04/201408/04/201308/04/201208/04/2011
Active Rigs74192179206182

RBN Energy: CBR in the Bakken, part two. (Archived)
Yesterday (August 3, 2015) Brent crude closed under $50/Bbl for the first time since January 2015. At that price expensive crude-by-rail (CBR) freight costs to the East Coast leave Bakken producers with netbacks not much over $30/Bbl. Yet CBR shipments to the East Coast were still over 400 Mb/d in May 2015 according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). By 2017 there should be adequate capacity to get all Bakken crude to market by pipeline. But direct pipeline competition against rail to the East Coast is not expected until at least 2020. Today we look at the future of East Coast CBR.
In Part 1 of this series we covered the growth of crude-by-rail (CBR) transportation out of North Dakota from 2012 to 2014. Rapid increases in Bakken production outpaced pipeline capacity and new construction – leading to crude price discounts that helped justify more expensive rail transportation to coastal markets. CBR load terminal capacity in North Dakota increased to over 1 MMb/d in 2013. State data from the North Dakota Pipeline Authority (NDPA) shows that by April 2013 CBR was shipping 73% of Williston Basin output to market. Pipelines – which had carried 56% of crude to market in February 2012 – reduced their market share to 23% by February 2013. Then the price differentials that encouraged the CBR boom began to narrow. The discount of domestic benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) to international crude benchmark Brent fell from an average of $18/Bbl in 2012 to $11/Bbl in 2013 and $6.50/Bbl in 2014. The narrower differentials made it harder for shippers to justify the higher cost of CBR to coastal markets as new construction increased pipeline alternatives. But even though the rail slice of crude traffic declined to just 52% by May 2015 there was still not enough capacity available to get all North Dakota’s crude to market by pipeline and about 0.5 MMb/d was still using rail – primarily to get to East and West Coast markets that do not have pipeline access. That picture is changing now – first because the rate of growth in Bakken crude production has slowed in 2015 in response to lower crude prices – making it easier for pipelines coming online to keep up with new production. And second - new projects are underway to build pipelines from North Dakota to markets on the Gulf Coast and the East Coast of Canada that – on paper at least - provide adequate pipeline capacity by 2017 for Bakken shippers to no longer need CBR. In this second installment we look at how Bakken netbacks have evolved and ponder how new pipelines could impact the future of rail shipments to the East Coast.