Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Circulation at The Wall Street Journal Rose Sharply From a Year Earlier -- All Other Dailies Down (Sunday Editions Up)

Newspaper circulation slips further -- WSJ; 
Circulation rose sharply at The Wall Street Journal, which had average weekday circulation of 2.3 million as of Sept. 30, up 9.4% from a year earlier.
The Wall Street Journal maintained its position as the country's largest newspaper by average weekday circulation, with others in the top three spots also keeping their ranks.
The Journal moved past Gannett Co.'s flagship USA Today as the largest U.S. newspaper in 2009. USA Today had been the biggest paper in the U.S. for a decade.

Boomtown Banks: What To Do With All That Money!

Note the source of this article!

Link here to Stanford University.
Gary Peterson, along with his family, owns the Lakeside Bank in New Town. I first interviewed him about a year ago, and didn’t notice the hint of gray showing along his temples. He’s smiling as he tells me, “The amount of liquidity in the system is amazing. We’re growing at 20% a year in deposit growth, which for rural North Dakota is unheard of. Before this happened, I think a lot of bankers would have told you that one their concerns is how we going to sustain the deposit side of our balance sheet. As the elderly would leave or die, those deposits would go to their kids who are usually elsewhere. Totally different story these days, we’re wondering what to do with it, frankly.”
David Hansen is the President of American State Bank and Trust in Williston, the epicenter of today’s boom. He remembers what happened during the oil embargo of the 1970’s. Williston funded an infrastructure expansion with bonds. “Then the oil embargo was over, the price of oil plummeted, and all exploration pretty much stopped in a very short time frame. People exited the area very quickly. [Williston] was strapped with about $27 million of special bonds based on property tax, and they weren’t worth anything. They went to a sales tax to pay off those bonds, and it took about 25-30 years to pay them off. That’s still fresh on people’s minds.” Hansen adds that it wasn’t only the city that was hurt; many banks had many bad loans on their hands as well.
Note to the Granddaughters

Earlier today I bicycled down to the Boylston Apple store in Boston (which reminds me: there's a Microsoft store across the street inside the mall; I've never visited it; I saw it "going up" some months ago). I wanted to see the new iPad mini, but it won't be available (in stores) until Friday. Apple stores generally open at 10:00 a.m. (I think) but there are rumors that the stores will open at 8:00 a.m. on Friday for the iPad mini launch.

There has been some complaints that the iPad mini is priced at $329 instead of $299. Of course, if it had been priced at $299, folks would have complained that it was not $249. But back to the $329 vs $299 price point. Somehow, when most Apple aficionados own several Apple products (iPhone, iPod, desktop, and/or laptop) it's hard to take those complaints ($329 vs $299) seriously. Seriously? $30 is a deal breaker?

I had forgotten (actually never paid any attention) how phenomenal the iPod Nano is, the one with the FM radio. 4,000 songs. One ounce.

But this was the takeaway: there is something for everyone for holiday gifts at the Apple store, from less than $20 to more than .... well, whatever you want to pay.

Ten Defining Moments

Photo-Ops: bowing to world leaders (compare to Putin)
Foreign policy: deciding to ignore the Libyan debacle, and then lying about it later
Energy: killing the Keystone XL; Solyndra and 36 other failing/bankrupt DOE-backied companies
Social programs: ObamaCare
Tourism: don't visit Las Vegas
Geography: 57 states
Bailouts: GM in/out of bankruptcy in 39 days; unions own GM
Natural disasters: short visit to New Jersey; then back to campaigning; avoids questions
Language of desperation: "Opponent is bullshitting"
Michelle: school lunches

Fourteen (14) New Permits

Bakken Operations

Active rigs: 185 (steady)

Fourteen (14) new permits -- on track for 2,580 permits this calendar year --
  • Operators: Petro-Hunt (5), Marathon (4), Zenergy (2), Liberty Resources, Whiting, Baytex
  • Fields: Dollar Joe (Williams), Foreman Butte (McKenzie), Glass Bluff (McKenzie), Bailey (Dunn), Eagle Nest (Dunn), Wolf Bay (Dunn), Burg (divide), Clear Creek (McKenzie)
  • Comments: Another day with neither a OXY USA permit or a Newfield permit.
Wells coming off confidential list were reported earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Producing well completed:
  • 22270, 484, WPX/Dakota-3, Fettig 6-7HC, Eagle Next, t9/12; cum ---
Fidelity canceled a permit:
  • 23458, PNC, Fidelity, Westin TTT 34-27H, Mountrail, 
A Note to the Granddaughters

Absolutely correct
“I believe the novella is the perfect form of prose fiction,” McEwan writes. “It is the beautiful daughter of a rambling, bloated ill-shaven giant (but a giant who’s a genius on his best days). And this child is the means by which many first know our greatest writers. Readers come to Thomas Mann by way of ‘Death in Venice,’ Henry James by ‘The Turn of the Screw,’ Kafka by ‘Metamorphosis,’ Joseph Conrad by ‘Heart of Darkness,’ Albert Camus by ‘L’Etranger.’ I could go on: Voltaire, Tolstoy, Joyce, Solzhenitsyn. And Orwell, Steinbeck, Pynchon. And Melville, Lawrence, Munro. The tradition is long and glorious.”
“The great novella,” McEwan observes, “is Joyce’s ‘The Dead.’” 
This is exactly how I started with the great writers: "The Turn of the Screw," "Metamorphosis," "Heart of Darkness."
Of them all, Henry James' "The Beast in the Jungle" may be the most haunting. I need to re-read "The Dead."

Wow! Dow! Wow! Dow Chemical Loses Big On Batteries -- $1 Billion

Link here to Reuters.
Dow Chemical Co will take a fourth-quarter charge of up to $1.1 billion related to last week's announcement it will close 20 plants, write down the value of its lithium ion battery business and lay off thousands of workers.
Dow, the largest U.S. chemical maker, said the restructuring program - its second of 2012 - was necessary because of dropping demand for its plastics and other products.
Dow will record a charge of $900 million to $1.1 billion for the layoffs, plant closures, as well as a write-down of Dow-Kokam LLC, Dow's lithium ion battery joint venture with TK Advanced Battery LLC. The disclosure came as part of a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.
Before the filing, analysts had expected Dow to post a fourth-quarter net profit of about $429.3 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

North Dakota Company Building Canola Plant in Oklahoma

Link here to Dickinson television.
A North Dakota-based company plans to build a canola processing plant in Oklahoma.

Fargo-based Northstar Agri Industries says construction of the plant near Enid, OK, is expected to be done before the 2015 canola harvest. The plant would be capable of producing 290,000 tons of food-grade canola oil and 450,000 tons of canola meal animal feed annually.
Enid, OK, is where CLR used to be based. Coincidental?

Update on Kows to Kazakhstan


December 4, 2012: Link to The Bismarck Tribune.
Fifteen cattlemen from Kazakhstan have taken ranching tips back to their country after spending time with some veteran North Dakota cowboys.

More than 5,000 Hereford and Angus cattle bred to withstand North Dakota winters have been sent to Kazakhstan recently to rebuild the country's beef industry, which was almost depleted after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Original Post

Link here to earlier story on kows to Kazakhstan.

Now, an update at Dickinson television:
A state trade official says North Dakota-bred cattle are successfully taking root in a former Soviet republic but many of Kazakhstan's cowboys are still greenhorns.
North Dakota Trade Office Executive Director Dean Gorder says about a dozen Kazakhstan cowboys are slated to work on North Dakota ranches next month for an intensive two-week crash-course in tending cattle.
About 5,000 hardy cattle bred to withstand North Dakota's harsh winters have been airfreighted to Kazakhstan over the past two years to help rebuild the country's cattle industry. About 3,000 more cows are slated to be shipped this fall.
How much you wanna bet about dozen Kazakhstan cowboys will be looking for ways to stay in North Dakota after the two-week course?

What a great state! What a great country! I find this whole story very fascinating.

These videos will keep the Kazakhstan kowboys koming back:

Do I Love You, Hillbilly Moon Explosion
And more hillbilly:

I'm Gonna Dry My Eyes, Hillbilly Moon Explosion
I love the bass.

But, a kowboy klassic:
Cattle Call, Eddy Arnold

Three Completed Wells in Montana's Williston Basin Bakken

Link to Fairfield Sun Times.
In Richland County, XTO Energy Inc. wrapped up the Panasuk 34X-12, with an SHL at SW SE 12-23N-58E (275 FSL/1350 FEL) and a BHL of 19,760 feet at  NW NE 1-23N-58E (716 FNL/1974 FEL). The Bakken well reported an initial production (IP) of 205 barrels of oil per day; 89 thousand cubic feet of gas per ay (mcfpd) and 982 barrels of water per day (bwpd).

In Roosevelt County, Oasis Petroleum North America LLC completed the Piercy Federal 2758 13-5H. The Bakken well has an SHL at NW NE 5-27N-58E (320 FNL/2310 FEL) and a BHL of 20,686 feet at NW NE 29-28N-58E (652 FNL/2311 FEL). The well had an IP of 1,792 bopd; 1,365 mcfpd and 3,956 bwpd.

In Sheridan County, TAQA North USA, Inc. finished the Kavon 17-16H. The Bakken Formation well has an SHL at SE SE 17-37N-56E (680 FSL/245 FEL) and a BHL of 11,912 feet at SW SW 17-37N-56E (673 FSL/660 FWL). The well had an IP of 24 bopd and 390 bwpd.
For newbies:
Roosevelt County is directly west of Williston; recent story on new fracking sand terminal in Bainville, is in Roosevelt County.

Richland County is southwest of Williston, home of Elm Creek, first major Williston Basin Bakken field.

Sheridan County is northwest of Williston, the northeasternmost county of Montana.

Faux Environmentalists Continue to Stifle Coal Exports; Slow Montana's Economy -- Nothing To Do With The Bakken

Link here to Fairfield Sun Times.
Although the benefits of an expansion at the Spring Creek mine are obvious, whether the project will be able to proceed is far from certain.  Global demand for coal is projected to increase significantly in coming years, but existing shipping ports on the West Coast are currently at capacity.  In order to ship more coal, grain, and other Montana commodities to overseas markets, new terminals need to be built.  Environmental groups have launched a new campaign against the ports to delay or prevent their construction.
An economic analysis of a proposed expansion of the Spring Creek Mine near Decker shows significant, positive impacts for Montana, including over 1,400 new jobs, a nearly $60 million increase in income for Montanans, and over $70 million in new tax revenue for state and local governments.
Data points (numbers rounded; exact numbers at link):
  • 1,500 jobs, in many sectors, all regions of Montana
  • $60 million in income on an annual basis; $50 million after-tax for household spending
  • $70 million/year in state government revenue
  • the current worker at the Spring Creek Mine: $100,000 in wage and benefits, far above median wage in Montana

Another Inconvenient Truth -- $300,000/Job -- Government Stimulus Job Creation -- Nothing To Do With the Bakken

October 30, 2012: $300,000/A123 job with government stimulus (best figure; it could be worse; depends "how" one counts) --
Battery maker A123 Systems vowed thousands of new jobs when it received a nearly quarter-billion-dollar stimulus grant in late 2009, but federal job-tracking figures show only a few hundred positions were created before the company joined a growing list of federally backed energy businesses that ended in bankruptcy.
The latest quarterly report on file with a federal stimulus tracking database shows just seven positions created through the grant from April to June this year. Previous quarters’ job reports contained anywhere from a handful of positions created to more than 100 new jobs.
But even when the quarterly reports are combined, a total of 408 new positions were reported under the stimulus program since 2009, amounting to more than $300,000 spent for each new job reported. [Double counting, triple counting?]
Click here for a list of DOE-backed green energy companies that went bankrupt.

I saw the linked article on A123 earlier but had not planned to post it, but:
a) a reader also saw it and sent it to me for posting; and,
b) someone sent in a comment asking if I was going have my daily global warming rant.
I wasn't going to post a global warming story (I didn't comment on the record snowfall in Appalachia this week) but I didn't want to let my readers down ... so it's posted.

Feel Good Story: The Bakken As a Laboratory

Sent to me by CRC; see first comment (that comment was sent to a different post; I moved it to this post). Thank you.

Link here to Bismarck television.
North Dakota was once a place early pioneers came to explore. Today there`s more exploration in the oil fields where companies are pioneering new technologies to enhance oil recovery. Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have opened the flood gates to extract oil from the Bakken. Yet companies are still only recovering six to eight percent of the oil in the ground.

So now the goal is to become more efficient and test new technologies that would allow the other 92 percent of the oil in the Bakken to be used (sic).

Newer recovery methods are moving past hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to other technologies that would provide even greater efficiency.

"As we continue with our technology and we get better and better at what we`re doing on all three fronts, the geology, the horizontal drilling and the fracking technology, and then bring in that secondary and tertiary recovery, the future is just tremendous for North Dakota," said Kathleen Neset with Neset Consulting Service.
Go to the link for the full story.

Random Note on the Storm, Whaling, Etc -- Nothing To Do With The Bakken

Yesterday I rode my bike to Starbucks during the storm. I arrived at Starbucks before the storm really got started (here) and then departed just as it was beginning to pick up. The wind pushed me pretty fast on the way home.

Today, the weather is quite nice. We are far enough inland from Boston harbor that not a lot of problems. It is overcast, but no rain, no wind. Nice temperature for riding a bike.

One tree fell in the Starbucks parking lot, taking out a car from New Jersey. The driver had come up here to visit friends and family, and to escape the storm in New Jersey.

What's that they say about Mother Nature?


On another note, I am reading Moby Dick on the iPad. I don't recall ever reading Moby Dick, unless I read parts of it in high school. I never thought I would enjoy it. Like so much literature, one has to be ready to enjoy it, to enjoy it. I've often said that "making" students read entire novels in high school does not work. The operative word is "making."

It's been quite a journey to Moby Dick, but I finally arrived. The writing is such I never could have enjoyed it in high school, but after James Joyce and Virginia Woolf it's "easy" to read. But still, I would not be enjoying it without:
  • the whaling watches with granddaughters out of Boston harbor
  • studying whales with the older granddaughter
  • reading Dick Russell's Eye of the Whale (perhaps this is really what got me started), about Charles Melville Scammon, whaler and conservationist; two other "whale" books
  • visiting New Bedford, home of whaling in the 19th century; on a whim; serendipity the visit;
  • visiting Seamen's Bethel in New Bedford, frequented by Herman Melville, at least on one occasion (Seamen's Bethel was probably the highlight of my day in New Bedford)
  • downloading a free copy of Moby Dick on the iPad; can take notes; google phrases, words

Nothing About The Bakken -- If You Came Here for The Bakken, Scroll Past this Post -- Where Did All That Green Energy Money Go? -- Absolutely Nothing About The Bakken

Al Gore: net worth estimated at $100 million, up from less than $2 million when he left government service on a salary of $181,400.
"Fourteen green-tech firms in which Gore invested received or directly benefited from more than $2.5 billion in loans, grants and tax breaks, part of President Obama's historic push to seed a U.S. renewable-energy industry with public money." 
That's nice work if you can get it—at least if you're on the investment-management end of the deal. But what if you're on the worker-bee end?
The Post story mentions one of the beneficiaries of Mr. Gore's investment acumen, Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls, which won a $299 million award from the federal government in 2009 to make electric-car batteries. Here's how that worked out:
"The company has dramatically scaled back, after executives concluded demand for electric cars was far lower than the administration forecast. The factory outfitted with stimulus funds is nearly idle, and plans to build a second plant have been postponed."
And the article gets more interesting, at the link.

Global warming. Follow the money.

Other op-ed pieces from the WSJ worth reading. Not recommended for those on heart medication or with "heart conditions."

The Fog of Obama's Non-War

Secretary of Say What?

The Ethanol Election Delay
Why the US burns 40% of its corn, despite a global food shortage.
School reform on the ballot

Jerry Brown vs the 99%

Payroll taxes are "Regressive"? Time to rethink that idea

"Concierge" medicine, ObamaCare and the end of empathy

Putting Things into Perspective

From the WSJ, byline, Minneapolis, putting a face on welfare spat.
Latisha Cunningham, an unemployed 30-year-old, carries an activity log in her pink backpack so she can document every hour she spends in temporary work, looking for jobs or at community college.
If she is missing signatures from a teacher or doesn't have the right mix of activities, she could lose the $437 a month she receives in cash assistance. If the state doesn't have the right documentation for her, it could lose federal funding for its welfare program. Counselors say that assembling the paperwork is so time-consuming that helping her land permanent employment takes a back seat to perfecting her time sheet.
Minnesota's frustrations with federal-welfare regulations are at the center of a campaign-trail fight over how much leeway Washington should give states to run the program. It and a handful of other states contend too much emphasis is being placed on documentation and not enough on whether recipients actually find jobs. 

From Teegue, the Pugh clause
" The answer was generally yes but we need stratigraphic relief to optimally continue our explorations" translates into 'we want the freedom to go deeper without having to buy new vertical leases in areas where we have shallower wells already drilled and holding higher formations by production." So, end result is IF the NDIC grants them that "stratigraphic relief"  then these operators will most certainly be exploring into areas not on the radar at the time of permitting... and since they will not have to secure another formational permit, neither will they be required (or compelled, or even morally prompted) to put the time and resources into investigating who does and who does not have a workable and viable Pugh Clause --

Most Fun I Will Have All Day Posting -- Yes, It's About The Bakken -- Life Imitating Art

I posted this photo-journalism story about one year ago, October 18, 2011: photos of new housing activity in the heart of the Bakken.

It was posted at the height of some pricing insanity in the Bakken, and the story was done tongue-in-cheek. I certainly hope no one on the East Coast thought it was "real."

So, check out the story at the link above, and then go to a Dickinson Press story about life imitating art.