Friday, October 4, 2013

First ObamaCare Enrollee Bogus

Bloomberg is reporting.

The entire story about this 21-y/o enrolling was bogus. The lying began with an Obama communications specialist, or something like that.

This is the update:
UPDATE, 2:53 p.m.: The Washington Post's Sarah Kliff has had an interesting chat with Chad Henderson, and the First Spouse's suspicions proved justified:
I spoke with Chad over the phone about this situation. He told me that he has indeed not purchased coverage but doesn't believe he was lying. He said he told reporters that he completed an application for coverage and knows what plan he would like to purchase, but has not, as of yet, enrolled in that insurance plan.
My hunch is the entire story will be removed by Bloomberg in the next 72 hours. 

Sounds Like Libya Is Getting Out Of The Oil Business

Reuters is reporting:
Two years of turmoil since the Arab Spring and some of the toughest terms in the business have led international oil companies to reassess their role in North Africa, with U.S. firms looking keenest to leave.
Libya and Algeria are among Africa's top four oil producers. Together with Egypt, they are major suppliers of gas to Europe and their budgets depend heavily on energy revenues.
But Libya has not turned into the bonanza some foreign oil firms had hoped for, while the cost to reward ratio of producing gas in Egypt and Algeria looks less appealing as new finds in more politically stable places like Tanzania offer alternatives.
For some U.S. companies, the prospect of shedding non-core assets and cashing in on the shale gas boom at home seems increasingly attractive, analysts say.
At least seven firms, five of them American, have abandoned projects, frozen activities or sold stakes worth billions of dollars in Libya, Algeria and Egypt in the past 18 months alone.

Seven (7) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA

Active rigs: 183 (trending down)

Seven (7) new permits --
  • Operators: Hess (3), Emerald Oil (3), MRO
  • Fields: Hawkey (McKenzie), Sheep Butte (McKenzie), Reunion Bay (Mountrail)
  • Comments:
Wells coming off the confidential list were posted earlier today; see sidebar at the right.

It was my understanding that the government shutdown could/would affect all drilling activity on Federal land. I don't know if that means "active" rigs will become inactive in much of Dunn County, on the reservation. It sounds like even "the big guys" don't know what will be shut down and what will not be affected. And folks used to take me to task for being worried about federal fracking permits. The link takes you to a Rigzone article in which it sounds like the federal shutdown will have minimal effect OFFSHORE (short term) and most affect ONSHORE activities, but not much more specifics.

Sheep Butte is a very small field (only 9 sections) in central-west McKenzie County. Half of the field is under US Forest Service management (National Grasslands). This whole area is pretty much void of any oil activity.

The graphic below is from the NDIC GIS map server. The area in grey is under US Forest Service management (with every federal government website closed down, the NDIC map is nice to have). This is about 25 miles southwest of Watford City.

By the way:
  • 7648, 60/PNA ANR Production Company, USA 22-24, a Red River well, t12/80; cum 120K 8/92. Just think, I spent the first 18 years of my life growing up in North Dakota and this Red River well in the National Grasslands was never mentioned once.

The Williston Wire

Headlines only. No links. It is easy to subscribe to The Williston Wire.

Outlaws' Bar & Grill to open spring, 2014. This is really, really awesome:
After a year of working, watching and waiting, Outlaws' Bar & Grill is coming to Williston.  Company owners and managing partners Angie and Aaron Pelton want to bridge the gap between their restaurant and Williston residents who used to drive to the Watford City location but stopped due to excessive roadwork.  The Williston Outlaws' will be located on 9th Avenue Northwest in the First International Bank Plaza. It stands out because of its Wild West theme and specializes in serving steak, seafood and pasta dishes plus seasonal dishes.
One of the best restaurants I've experienced. Absolutely awesome.

Gaffaneys will build state-of-the-art store in Williston.

Ground-breaking ceremony for new commercial terminal at Minot International Airport held recently.

Ragged Butte Oil Field Was Updated

I track the various fields here.

I updated the Ragged Butte oil field earlier today (I need to add the most recent permit, but that can wait).

New Poll And Around The Horn -- Day 4 Of The Government Shutdown (Sounds Like A Headline Out Of Italy Or Greece)

Before going around the horn, I just noticed that we are in day 4 of the government shutdown (sounds like Italy or Greece, doesn't it?).

Time for a new poll: are you affected by the shutdown?

But first: the results of the first poll on the government shutdown in which we asked whether it was a BIG deal or NOT a big deal:
  • a big deal: 24%
  • not a big deal: 76%
Now, for the new poll, in which we ask -- are you affected by the government shutdown?
  • Yes
  • No
  • What government shutdown?
  • Yes, I have a business near a national park
Note: "what government shutdown" is not facetious. I assume many Americans are unaware of the government shutdown. There is a fascinating vignette in the Ray Monk biography of Robert Oppenheimer. The Oppenheimer family was very, very well off (as in incredibly rich). Robert Oppenheimer's father sold out just before the stock market crash (it is not known if it was pure luck or if he sensed something). His father sold out before the stock market crash. He was out west when the crash occurred, and he was completely unaware of the Depression. 

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. 

30-second sound bite: oil is up today; Bakken operators are significantly outperforming the majors. Sweet.

KOG trades at new high; up about 0.5%. I used to consider KOG the bellwether stock to track the Bakken. About a month ago (sometime in September, 2013), I began re-thinking this. I now consider HK the bellwether stock to track the Bakken.

HK is up almost 8% today. A $5.00 stock is up about 36 cents today.

Oasis trades at a new high, up about 0.75%.

WLL is up over one percent, just above its 52-week high. [Later: WLL is up over 3% today. Deep within the blog I've posted why I think WLL is moving. I posted that yesterday.]

CLR is up 1.5%. Trading at a new high. This stock has really been on a tear the past few weeks. 

CVX, COP, XOM: CVX continues to slide; COP and XOM up marginally.

EOG up about half-a-percent; near its all-time high.

CHK up about half-a-percent; near its all-time high.

SD: is up but in a trading range.

AMZG up about 2% but still below a nice entry point at $2.00.

TPLM is trading at a new high, up 1.5% in early trading.

UNP is in its trading range well below its 52-week high. Down again today.

I don't follow BNSF (BRK) much any more; BRK follows the market in general.

ENB, EEP are both in a trading range, well below their highs.

SRE continues to struggle. But paying 3%. I wonder if the Mexican economy can be seen as a proxy for SRE's prospects?

TransCanada is up about half-a-percent, and well off its highs.

Now To Re-Fuel Your Vehicle Using Natural Gas

Reuters is reporting:
When Connie Jones arrives home from her job as an information technology manager in Chandler, Arizona, she parks her car in her garage and fills it up with natural gas. It is a convenience that relatively few Americans can enjoy.
"We hook it up, turn it on, and it fills up overnight," said Connie's husband Travis, who bought a natural gas home refueling unit in January 2012. 
With natural gas at $1.40 per equivalent gallon, it costs the Joneses $30 to drive their Honda Civic GX 1,200 miles each month, about $130 less than an average gasoline car covering the same distance. 
Home refueling units, which tap into a house natural gas main and compress the fuel so it can fill a vehicle tank overnight, have been available for years. 
But even though the fuel is cheap and units have to meet safety standards like other household appliances, home refilling is uncommon in the United States, held back by the upfront expense of buying and installing new units, and a lack of natural gas cars. The cars themselves generally cost about $10,000 more than comparable conventional vehicles.
I wonder if the author has ever shopped for/bought an automobile. 

Some data points:
  • $10,000 / $130 = 76 months (exceeds the length of the loan)
  • $10,000 up front: lost opportunity to use that cash for something else (like investing)
  • $10,000 financed will cost more than $10,000
  • fueling station in garage: $6,000 ("four years to pay off the initial outlay")
  • in Atlanta, Georgia: ten (10) home refueling units have been sold
"Home refueling has not grown as much as people would have hoped because there aren't many cars to choose from," said Kevin McCrackin, vice president of business development at AGL Resources in Atlanta.
More data points:
  • 66,000 light-duty natural gas-powered cars on U.S. roads
  • nearly 200 million light-duty vehicles on U.S. roads
  • only 605 public compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in the United States
  • more than 120,000 gasoline stations  
While the number of small consumer natural gas cars on the road is far smaller than electric vehicles, their 200-mile (322- km) range is twice as large as most electric cars - and they fill up faster. 
Not gonna happen in my investing lifetime. I doubt my daughters will ever be driving CNG. My granddaughters? Possibly.

Random Data Point From The Rolfstad Presentation

Source: Brigham Exploration (now Statoil)

Undated slide; probably 12 - 18 months old.

Frack stages/length: EUR: $ drilling/finding cost
  • Single long: 127K: $34/boe
  • 7 stages short: 236K: $21/boe
  • 12 stages short: 411K: $13/boe
  • 20 - 32 stages long: 500- to 700K: $15 - $11/boe

8" Of Snow In Black Hills; On-Site Observers Say Could Reach 24"

Don sent me the data point.

Let's see if there are any "official" updates, though observers on the ground are about as good as one can get.

Accuweather is predicting 12 - 18 inches in the higher elevations around Rapid City through Friday night (that would be tonight). Pretty early in the season, especially when global warming haunts us.

New Rolfstad Presentation -- Has Been Removed By Source (I Believe)

It appears the presentation has been removed. See comments below.

Predicted -- 800,000 Furloughed Workers Snarling Unemployment Offices; Jobs Numbers Next Week, Following Week Should Be Interesting

From The Wall Street Journal: furloughed workers snarl states' benefit systems.
Applying for jobless benefits is typically a straightforward affair. But it is shaping up to be a mess for 800,000 furloughed government workers and confounding state officials who run the benefit programs.
Applications from federal workers have been flooding state unemployment offices since the shutdown began Tuesday. It will likely be weeks before workers see benefit payments, which would be a small share of what they typically earn.
The flurry is throwing a spotlight onto a complex, little-used program funded by the federal government but administered by states, each of which has its own eligibility rules and compensation levels. The program is operated much in the same fashion as state unemployment insurance programs, except that the benefits are covered by various federal agencies.
Maryland, like other states, suddenly found itself scrambling this week to ramp up staffing to handle federal employees who are blocked by law from returning to work. About 10,600 furloughed federal workers had applied for jobless benefits as of noon Thursday—more than three times as many federal workers as typically apply in an entire year.
"We're overwhelmed," said David McGlone, the Maryland labor department's acting assistant secretary for unemployment insurance. "We're putting in a lot of overtime. We're doing the best we can."

I might come back to this later, but I have never seen a presidency in my lifetime do so much to screw up this country in such a short time. I assume he will be golfing this weekend.

Friday Morning: Don't Worry, Be Happy; PSX Increases Dividend; Congress Has Moved On -- Without The President

Active rigs: 185 (steady)

RBN Energy: an interesting look at "pigs" -- the thing that runs down pipelines checking the integrity of the pipeline.
The pig, or “Pipeline Integrity Gauge,” is a sophisticated device that is critical to the safety and integrity of pipelines.  The oil and gas pipeline transportation industry can’t live without them.  They help ensure the safe and efficient passage of crude oil, NGLs, petroleum products and natural gas through more than 2.3 million miles of pipeline in the U.S. Over 3,000 pipeline operators in the U.S. manage the national pipeline transport system. Their success is due in large part to pigs.  Today we investigate the role of pigs in oil and gas pipeline transportation infrastructure.
Six companies announced increased dividends, including: Murphy Oil, Phillips 66, Plains All American Pipeline, and Sabine Royalty. Sweet. Murphy Oil and Phillips were pretty good increases.

I started following the weekly jobs numbers very closely about two years ago; I forget exactly when. But over time I noted that they were highly manipulated and always revised -- downward (increased unemployment than originally stated). At least that was my impression. It is interesting to see that I am not the only one who has noted this. See comments at this link.

The Wall Street Journal

These were the stories on the front page of the on-line edition, in the order in which they were posted:
  • Twitter's IPO
  • Citi fined over leak of iPhone research
  • Brokers from expelled firms still sell stocks
And then, finally: GOP begins search for broad deal on budget -- wow, government shutdown/gridlock dropped all the way down to "oh, by the way."

This is interesting. Regarding the shutdown and the debt ceiling, it looks like the GOP are actually the adults here trying to put together a grand plan: Senior Republicans in Congress, frustrated over their inability to strike a deal to reopen the government, began shifting from their drive to undercut the 2010 health-care law toward a broader budget deal.

I sent a note to Don earlier this morning suggesting that I always thought this would be a one-two punch in sequence: government shutdown to be followed by the debt ceiling "crisis." But then it occurred to me, that the issues don't have to be handled in sequence. One could move to the debt ceiling now and pretty much just ignore the "government shutdown." Just between you and me (and the others sitting here with me in Starbucks in Texas), nothing seems to have changed despite the government being shutdown. Of course, I haven't been to the nearest national park, wherever that might be.

If the House is now going to focus on a "grand plan," it means that they might simply be ignoring the "government shutdown." After all, the president closed the White House to the American public which was pretty much ignored by mainstream media. Closing the White House  has pretty much defined this president for me.

Anyway, on to more news.


Insurers see enrollment on health exchanges:

Insurers said they are now getting enrollees through the health law's new online marketplaces, though some state websites and the federally run exchange continued to be slow amid heavy traffic. Folks who understand how insurance works predict that the on-line health insurers will be bankrupt within three years. [My comment; not those of The WSJ.]
Furloughed workers snarl states' benefit systems. 
Applying for jobless benefits is typically a straightforward affair. But it is shaping up to be a mess for 800,000 furloughed government workers and confounding state officials who run the benefit programs. 
Ex-rebel, with militia, lays claim to Libyan oil patch.

Samsung reports record profit.

Tesla stock falls on video of fiery crash.

Too big to fail? Ackman's Pershing Square takes $2 billion hit on misplaced bets on JCPenney and Herbalife. Wasn't it a $7 billion hit for a much, much bigger company, JPMorgan? I honestly don't remember, but it seems like it was something like that. 

It seems there is more and more talk about a possible default and how to manage the risks. Roosevelt's "the only fear we have is fear itself" is fitting. The more "we" talk about default, the less scary it sounds.

And regular readers knew this video would follow:

Don't Worry, Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin