Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Williston Wire

Headlines and short notes only; no links. It is easy to subscribe to The Williston Wire.

Best story of the day: A swimming sensation at the 2012 London Olympics, Bethesda's Katie Ledecky followed her gold-medal performance in the Summer Games with a record-smashing showing at the world championships in Barcelona this summer.  For her achievements in 2013, highlighted by winning four gold medals and setting two world records at the FINA World Championships, the 16-year-old Ledecky was named the U.S. Olympic Committee's Sportswoman of the Year.  Ledecky is the granddaughter of long-time Williston resident Kathleen Hagan and the niece of Frank Keogh.

Construction at one of Williston's newest subdivisions is in high gear.  The infrastructure is in the ground at The Meadows and eight single family homes are under construction; builders hope to break ground on at least five more before winter weather sets in.  Some of the 104 lots feature beautiful views of the Eagle Ridge Golf Club and Little Muddy River. The development will accept single family occupancy only. 

Lutheran Social Services is getting ready to complete a key project that will provide another location for older adults living in Williston to call home. The Legacy at Central Place (formerly the Williston Junior High)is expected to be ready for occupancy at the end of 2013.  The 44-unit project has one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartmentsthat will be rented out to those 55 and older with modest income. 

This is truly an incredible story: It's been a long day for Andrew Klefstad. And a long four years.  At dawn, he coaxed milk from the cows in his father Roger's barn near Ridgeland, Wis. Then he went back to work, restoring the century-old farmhouse that will soon become his young family's home.  Now it's 11 p.m., and his wife, Tiffany, is reaching up to wrap her arms around his neck, kissing him goodbye after a 90-mile drive from the farm to the Amtrak depot in St. Paul.  A duffel bag slung over his shoulder, Klefstad searches for a seat. More than 54,000 passengers last year rode this 12-hour, overnight train to the Bakken oil fields near Williston - more than doubling the passenger volume since North Dakota's latest oil boom began.

Not dealing with dry holes -- where I have heard that before? A leading energy analyst believes the world has an endless supply of oil.  Speaking at the North Dakota Motor Carriers Association Oilfield Trucking Convention in Dickinson, Southern Methodist University professor Bernard Weinstein said with advances in technology, fossil fuels may never run dry.  "There are five factors that go into the amount of oil that's available: geology, technology, price, capital and policy. Forever is a long, long time, but producing from shale is not like wildcatting. Shale plays are more like manufacturing plays because you're not really dealing with dry holes. We don't really know how much shale oil and gas is recoverable because the numbers keep going up." 

In June (most recent month for international oil production data), the three most prolific US oil fields - Permian Basin, Eagle Ford, and Bakken - together produced more than 3.1 million bpd. To put that amount of oil into perspective, that's almost as much oil produced throughout all of Canada in June at 3.66 million bpd, and slightly more oil than Iraq produced in June at 3.1 million bpd.

More trains proposed to move North Dakota oil to Washington state. With five refineries, Washington has long received crude oil from Alaska and elsewhere by ship, barges or pipelines.

XOM Looks At CBR; Consequence Of Killed Keystone XL 1.0

Corporate Intelligence is reporting that XOM is being hurt -- perhaps significantly -- by the lack of adequate pipeline coming out of western Canada.
Exxon Mobil Corp.'s ambition of boosting production depends in large part on wringing more crude from the oil sands of Western Canada. One challenge: Getting that crude to market to get paid. 
With room on Canadian oil pipelines in short supply, and the future of the proposed Keystone XL project in doubt, Exxon is considering building a rail terminal in Edmonton, Alberta to haul crude into the U.S. on trains, a company executive said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, a local Chicago news outlet posts a video on CBR safety, sent to me by a reader, noting that Chicago probably has the most truck/rail traffic in the nation. The reader questioned whether the news outlet had "an agenda." My answer:
Probably no agenda per se. But this is the buzz -- safety of CBR.

And the network now has file footage when the next CBR derailment occurs and blows up the entire city of Chicago.  Smile.

Seriously, thank you.

You are correct about all the railroad and truck traffic that goes through Chicago. It has to be much more than NY simply because of geographic location. Not  a lot of trains/trucks go east from NYC.

So, It Was God All Along, Huh?

Remember that record oil spill in North Dakota a few weeks ago? It looks like it had nothing to do with a "bad pipe," but rather a "bad lightning storm." The Bismarck Tribune is reporting:
Federal regulators say a lightning strike may have caused a pipeline rupture that spilled more than 20,000 barrels of oil in northwestern North Dakota.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (TPHMSA) said Thursday that a preliminary investigation "points to a strong electrical discharge as the cause of the failure."
I have heard through the grapevine that President Obama has directed the USDOTPHMSA to begin legal proceedings against God.

Vice President Biden has also asked the TPHMSA to come up with a shorter name/acronym -- one that he can remember.

MDU Reports Strong Earnings; Diesel Topping Plant Construction Progressing On Time

Data points highlighted by MDU regarding 3Q13 earnings, from the press release:
  • adjusted earnings per share of 49 cents compared to 38 cents last year, 29 percent increase
  • GAAP earnings per share of 44 cents compared to a loss of 16 cents last year
  • E&P earnings substantially higher; oil production grew 37 percent
  • construction business continues growth with combined 18 percent earnings increase and higher backlog
  • midstream asset drives earnings growth at pipeline and energy services
  • diesel topping plant construction progressing on time 
  • utility electric retail sales increased 5 percent
Hey, do you remember that wind farm that wasn't needed, that had no customer, ....

Earlier this week, in a press release, MDU announced:
 ... that [MDU] has signed a power purchase agreement with Thunder Spirit Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Wind Works Power Corp. 
The agreement is for approximately 105 megawatts of installed capacity of wind turbine generators to be located in southwest North Dakota near Hettinger. 
The generation will interconnect at Montana-Dakota’s substation near Hettinger. The project is expected to begin commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Montana-Dakota issued a request for proposal earlier this year for electric capacity and energy. 
The Thunder Spirit Wind proposal will provide Montana-Dakota customers with stable pricing over the 25-year contract.

Wells Coming Off The Confidential List Friday; Oasis Has Several Big Wells; BR Has A Huge Well; KOG Reports Four Nice Smokey Wells In Pembroke Field

Active rigs: 180

Wells coming off the confidential list Friday:
  • 24570, 1,649, Oasis, Shields 5200 43-20T, Camp, t7/13; cum 27K 9/13;
  • 24644, 1,773, Oasis, Newberry 5200 41-20T, Camp, t9/13; cum --
  • 24905, 2,846, BR, CCU Prairie Rose 31-30MBH, Corral Creek, t8/13; cum 9/13;
  • 24952, 2,765, Oasis, Leni 5693 42-11B, Alger, t7/13; cum 24K 9/13;
  • 24956, drl, SM Energy, Cade 12X-19H, Poe, no production data,
  • 25278, 2,605, BR, CCU William 24-20TFH, Corral Creek, TD = 22,550 feet;  t10/13; cum --;

24905, see above, BR, CCU Prairie Rose 31-30MBH, Corral Creek:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold


In today's daily activity report, seven wells came off the confidential list and all went to PNC (permanently canceled), including two BR permits, one EOG permit, one Hess permit, one American Eagle permit, one MRO permit, and one Zenergy permit.

Six (6) new permits -- 
  • Operators: Oasis (4),Whiting (2)
  • Fields: St Anthony (Dunn), Gros Ventre (Burke), Cottonwood (Mountrail)
  • Comments:
Seven producing wells were completed:
  • 21646, 22 (no typo), Hess, LK-State 146-98-3526H-1, a Bakken well, Ranch Coulee, t9/13; cum --; this well was designed to test the middle Bakken production in this oil field, near Grassy Butte, North Dakota; the completion data is not yet scanned in; the consulting geologist thought the well would be a "successful well," pending completion
  • 23783, 640, CLR, Brandvik 4-25H1, Corral Creek, 4-section spacing, t10/13; cum -- 
  • 23784, 632, CLR, Brandvik 3-25H, Corral Creek, 4-section spacing, t10/13; cum --
  • 24788, 1,880, KOG, Smokey 13-7-19-13H, Pembroke, t9/13; cum 12K 9/13;
  • 24789, 1,669, KOG, Smokey 13-7-19-13H3, Pembroke, t9/13; cum 10K 9/13;
  • 24786, 1,321, KOG, Smokey 13-7-19-14H, Pembroke, t9/13; cum 12K 9/13;
  • 24787, 1,329, KOG, Smokey 13-7-19-14H3, Pembroke, t9/13; cum 8K 9/13;
KOG's Smokey wells are tracked here. The Pembroke oil field is tracked here
Rim Operating assumed operator status for 35 Prima Exploration wells.

Based on the number of salt water disposal wells being transferred to Cypress Energy Partners and the number of Cypress Energy disposal sites I saw while visiting the Bakken recently suggests Cypress Energy is becoming a major player in the Bakken. Maybe it always has been, and I simply had not noticed.

WPX: Website With Interesting Updates On The Bakken, The San Juan, The Niobrara, And The Marcellus

A reader alerted me to a nice 3-part series on the San Juan Basin at the WPX website. It turns out WPX has a number of great articles on various plays around the country, including the Bakken.

A reminder: I track, to some degree, the other oil and gas plays in the United States and Canada on the sidebar at the right, but you might have to scroll down a bit to find it.

Way Too Much Today: The New York Times Reporter Has It Wrong -- It Does Not Cost More To Ship By Rail Than By Pipeline

I'm going to be going off the net in a few minutes. I am overwhelmed with stories that need to be posted. So quickly, which I will come back to:

The New York Times is reporting:
Gizem Akhan, 24, was about to begin her final year studying the culinary arts at Yeditepe University in Istanbul. Tomasz Dziemianczuk, 36, took a vacation from his job as a cultural adviser at the University of Gdansk in Poland that has now unexpectedly turned into an unpaid leave of absence. 
Dmitri Litvinov and the others are just three of the 30 people aboard a Greenpeace International ship, the Arctic Sunrise, who are now confined in separate cells in the far northern city of Murmansk after staging a high-seas protest last month against oil exploration in the Arctic. All face criminal charges that could result in years in prison as a result of having grossly underestimated Russia’s readiness to assert — and even expand — its sovereignty in a region potentially rich with natural resources.
The vigorous legal response by the authorities, including the seizure of the ship itself, appears to have caught Greenpeace off guard and left the crew’s families and friends worried that the consequences of what the activists considered a peaceful protest could prove much graver than any expected when they set out. 
And speaking of unintended consequences, The New York Times is also reporting:
Over the past two years, environmentalists have chained themselves to the White House fence and otherwise coalesced around stopping the Keystone XL pipeline as their top priority in the fight against global warming.  
But even if President Obama rejects the pipeline, it might not matter much. Oil companies are already building rail terminals to deliver oil from western Canada to the United States, and even to Asia.
Since July, plans have been announced for three large loading terminals in western Canada with the combined capacity of 350,000 barrels a day — equivalent to roughly 40 percent of the capacity of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that is designed to bring oil from western Alberta to refineries along the Gulf Coast. 
Over all, Canada is poised to quadruple its rail-loading capacity over the next few years to as much as 900,000 barrels a day, up from 180,000 today.
The acceleration has come despite a derailment in the lakeside Quebec town of Lac-Megantic in July, in which a runaway oil train bound for a refinery in eastern Canada exploded, killing dozens of people and bankrupting the railway company. That accident and others more recently have renewed concerns about the safety of transporting oil by rail, and given an added argument to some who favor the Keystone XL pipeline.
“They don’t give up,” Jesse Prentice-Dunn, a Sierra Club policy analyst, said of the oil industry. [Nor does the Sierra Club, it should be added.]
If all the new terminals are built, Canada will potentially increase its exports to the United States by more than 20 percent — even if Keystone XL is never built.
Shipping by rail can cost an additional $5 or more per barrel, but oil companies have decided that they cannot afford to wait.
“The indecision on Keystone XL really spawned innovation and mobilized alternatives, and rail is a clear part of the options available to our industry,” said Paul Reimer, senior vice president in charge of transport and marketing at Cenovus Energy, a Canadian oil company that is planning to increase rail shipments from 7,000 barrels a day to as many as 30,000 barrels a day by the end of 2014. 
And much more at the link. The New York Times reporter notes that it costs $5/bbl more to ship by rail than by pipeline....I think that's grossly inaccurate. It is incredibly cheaper (as in less expensive to ship by rail and than by pipeline. When I have time, I might explain. I've explained it before, but it seems some folks still don't get it. A hint: it costs about $85/bbl more to ship by pipeline than by rail.)

Throwing Working Americans Under The Bus

This, incredibly, is the lead story over at Yahoo!Finance: "ObamaCare's Unintended Consequences: Throwing Working Americans Under The Bus."

Okay, that wasn't the exact headline; I paraphrased.

But here's the opening paragraphs:
Obamacare is meant to provide health coverage to the millions of Americans who don't have it, but the cruel irony is that millions of other Americans may lose their current health insurance as a result.
These "losers" are primarily people who buy their own health insurance rather than have it provided by an employer. Many now find their plans will be canceled because they fail to meet the minimum coverage requirements under Obamacare. These plans offer "bare bones insurance...usually catastrophic care...and beginning Jan. 1 insurance companies will not be allowed to offer these very plans," says Rick Newman, Yahoo Finance columnist.
"Obama did not tell us this was coming," adds Newman, "and now the White House is saying it's only 5% of the U.S. population. But it's 15 million people we're talking about here."
No one knows for sure exactly how many of those 15 million will actually lose their current insurance coverage. NPR reports that some insurers are canceling 20% of individual plans; others are canceling 80% of them.
Interestingly, the video has been pulled, as in removed. 

Much more at the link.

What makes this so incredible, is that just a few minutes ago, I posted a long "original" post that complements this story very, very nicely.

Nukes In A Post-Nuclear World: Going, Going, ... Gone


August 25, 2017: more on the Duke Energy decision to scrap the South Carolina nuclear energy project.

July 31, 2017: nuclear energy is dead in the US. The final nail in that coffin was the abrupt halt to any new work on the construction of nuclear reactors in South Carolina and Georgia.

May 30, 2017: Three Mile Island to close in 2019, Harrisburg, PA, although the announcement could simply be to put government regulators on notice.

Original Post 

Wow, this is incredible.

Over on the sidebar, I have something called the "Big Stories."

And over at "Big Stories," I have something called "Natural Gas and Coal in the Post-Nuclear World." I couldn't find a link for this to go to, so I simply linked a number of sites by country and state (that probably doesn't make sense but I doubt folks coming to read about the Bakken have read even this far, so it really doesn't matter, does it).


A reader sent me a most interesting article a couple of days ago. I was traveling and didn't have time to read the article or get back to the reader. It turns out to be a great article. Everyone (who had read this far, all three of you) needs to read this article.

Seldom do I hear such tough talk from a CEO (exception: Martha Stewart on her way to prison).

An excerpt from the article:
Facing deteriorating sentiment on Wall Street, Exelon Corp. CEO Christopher Crane today directly challenged analysts' views on his company and restated his confidence that the depressed wholesale power markets largely responsible for the Chicago-based utility giant's declining earnings will recover.
But, though Mr. Crane delivered it more pointedly than in the past, his message is one analysts have heard before, with no evidence afterward that the market fundamentals were changing. So this time Mr. Crane put a time limit on his patience: one year.
If wholesale power prices don't show signs of increasing by late next year, Exelon will begin shuttering power plants, he said on a call to discuss the company's third-quarter earnings, which surpassed analysts' expectations.
“We will shut down facilities that we do not see a path to long-term sustainable profitability,” Mr. Crane pledged.
Among the nuclear power plants regarded as the most vulnerable in that scenario is Exelon's Clinton facility, one of five it runs in Illinois.
And this:
But in reiterating their long-held view that power prices will increase $2 to $4 per megawatt-hour and boost Exelon's profits from its industry-leading nuclear fleet, Mr. Crane and other company executives didn't offer much new to back their opinion. “I sound like a broken record when I do this,” said Kenneth Cornew, CEO of Exelon's power-generation unit.
He then laid out Exelon's case that the retirement of old coal-fired power plants will lead to price increases over the next few years. Asked what effect the recent news that Princeton, N.J.-based power generation company NRG Energy Inc. would buy four coal-fired power stations in Illinois out of bankruptcy had on Exelon's outlook, Exelon Senior Vice President Joseph Nigro said, “We still see that $2 to $4 of upside in the market.”
While much of Exelon's stock performance is predicated on future natural gas prices, which correlate strongly with wholesale power prices, its current performance exceeded expectations. Its third-quarter operating earnings of $667 million, or 78 cents per share, easily beat consensus analyst estimates and also topped the 77 cents per share posted in the same quarter a year before.
Earnings at Exelon's Commonwealth Edison Co. were responsible for much of the upside surprise. ComEd generated operating earnings of $127 million, or 19 percent of Exelon's total, up 41 percent from $90 million during the same period last year, when ComEd accounted for 14 percent of Exelon's earnings.
The primary reason: higher revenues at ComEd thanks to the 2011 formula rate law enacted in Illinois over Gov. Pat Quinn's veto, according to Exelon's earnings release.
And much, much more at the link.

I can't think the reader enough for sending me this article. This will be the post linked to one of the "Big Stories" at the sidebar at the right.

Wow, I love my readers. In a manly sort of way, as they say in Dallas. 

History Is Repeating Itself

I would usually put something like this in draft, but these three data points keep bugging me, waking me up at night; bothering me while traveling cross country; and, interrupting my thoughts while at Starbucks. So, I will post the data points, and expand on the subject at later date:
  • Industrial Revolution: 1760 - 1820/1860
  • Romanticism Period: 1790 - 1800/1850 (peaked between 1800 and 1850)
  • Americans afraid of pipelines, perhaps the most mundane "thing" this country does
I was "forced" to finally start this subject when I read the headline/article that Don sent me: shale gas fracking a low risk to public health, review finds. Reuters is reporting out of London. Great Britain is debating whether to bankrupt their country with wind energy or become energy independent through fracking. It doesn't take a geologist or rocket scientist to know where this is going.
A Note To The Granddaughters

During the summer between my junior year and senior year in high school (1968), I took a summer course in "Romanticism" at St Olaf College, Northsomething, Minnesota. It was an incredible course, perhaps the most important thing I did during my high school years. (The most important thing I did in junior high was take a typing course during the summer following eighth grade. Prior to that, the most important thing I did was build a pinball machine with my close friend, Bruce.)

Some years before that summer at St Olaf College, I remember the specific moment when John F Kennedy said, in 1961: the United States should set as a goal the "landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth" by the end of the decade.

I was ten years old, watching television, eating popcorn, and had just dropped a kernel on the floor when my mom asked me if I was okay and the wind was howling outside, and we were expecting a May thunderstorm, and the sky was getting darker and darker, and then the president said he was going to send a man to the moon. He didn't say which man, but I believed him. I thought maybe he was going to send Hubert Humphrey (too big) or maybe Richard Nixon (too controversial).

Now, I am older, wiser (?), certainly more cynical, and we have a president who can't get a website right and the Americans are afraid of underground pipelines.

The course on "Romanticism" helps me understand why Americans are afraid of underground pipelines. It's funny how things happen.

Carbo Ceramics Blow Past Analysts Expectations

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site.  Do not many any investment decisions based on what you read here or what you think you might have read here. 

From Yahoo!In-Play:
Carbo Ceramics beats by $0.48, beats on revs (CRR) 97.68 : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $1.31 per share, $0.48 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.83; revenues rose 33.4% year/year to $201.5 mln vs the $161.03 mln consensus.

The increase in revs was mainly attributed to a 48% increase in proppant sales volumes offset by a 6% decrease in the average proppant selling price for all proppants. North American (defined as Canada and the U.S.) proppant sales volumes increased 63%, while international proppant sales volumes decreased 17%, compared to the same period last year. 
CRR is surging $21 today, up 21%. No typo. Up 21% today. And the rich get richer. I think I first blogged about CRR back in 2009, maybe earlier. This was my August 7, 2010, post on Carbo Ceramics. At that post, I was in a hurry, but specifically singled out CRR as something folks should read about and finished with this, back in 2010:
I am easily swayed by presentations and earnings reports, but reading the "tea leaves" suggests to me that there are some very interesting things going on in the Bakken. I am accused of being inappropriately exuberant, but I feel even more so going into this next week. If we slip into a double-dip recession and price of oil drops back to below $60, I won't feel so good, but it will be another buying opportunity: a) the bigger companies have hedged their prices; and, b) the long term trend for the price of oil is up, at least in my mind.
Wow, "... some interesting things going on in the Bakken." Talk about an understatement.

For Investors Only

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Wow, how many times do I have to post this. Buy my legal adviser says I need to post if "often." Whatever that means. This is not an investment site. Do not many any investment decisions based on what you read here or what you think you might have read here. But if you had, you would be very, very rich today. Or broke. Whatever. 

For the rich folks, seven more companies announced they were increasing their dividends/distributions in this very, very bad economy, in which the US stock market hit a new all-time high earlier this week.

From Yahoo!In-Play:
  • Crude oil just rallied sharply higher. Dec crude is now +0.2% at $96.92/barrel.
    Magellan Midstream misses by $0.03, beats on revs; Raises 2013 DCF guidance: Reports earnings of $0.55 per share, $0.03 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.58; revenues rose 36.2% year/year to $443.8 mln vs the $424.75 mln consensus.
  • Phillips 66 seeks to expand Midstream business with proposed LPG export terminal to supply global markets. Co plans to develop a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) export terminal in Freeport, Texas. The new terminal is intended to help meet growing global market demand for U.S.-supplied products. The proposed LPG export terminal would provide 4.4 million barrels per month of LPG export capacity, the equivalent of eight very large gas carriers (VLGC). It would be located at the site of the company's existing marine terminal in Freeport and utilize existing Phillips 66 midstream, transportation and storage infrastructure to supply petrochemical, heating and transportation markets globally. 
  • Exxon Mobil beats by $0.01, beats on revs: Reports earnings of $1.79 per share, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.78; revenues fell 2.4% year/year to $112.37 bln vs the $106.1 bln consensus.   
  • Enterprise Products: Texas Express Pipeline begins operations: Cos announced the start of service on the Texas Express natural gas liquids ("NGL") pipeline from Skellytown, Texas to the NGL fractionation and storage complex in Mont Belvieu, Texas. The Texas Express Pipeline, operated by Enterprise, gives producers in West and Central Texas, the Rocky Mountains, southern Oklahoma, the Mid-continent and the Denver-Julesburg basin much-needed takeaway capacity for growing NGL volumes and improved access to the largest NGL trading hub, located along the Gulf Coast.
  • Cardinal Health beats by $0.07, beats on revs; guides FY14 EPS above consensus; authorizes new $1 bln repurchase program.
  • ConocoPhillips beats by $0.02: Reports arnings of $1.47 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.45.  Achieved third-quarter guidance with production of 1,514 MBOED, including continuing operations of 1,470 MBOED and discontinued operations of 44 MBOED, which reflects two months of disruptions in Libya.  Carbo Ceramics beats by $0.48, beats on revs: Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $1.31 per share, $0.48 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.83; revenues rose 33.4% year/year to $201.5 mln vs the $161.03 mln consensus. The increase in revs was mainly attributed to a 48% increase in proppant sales volumes offset by a 6% decrease in the average proppant selling price for all proppants. North American (defined as Canada and the U.S.) proppant sales volumes increased 63%, while international proppant sales volumes decreased 17%, compared to the same period last year.  
  •  Freightcar America beats by $0.01, misses on revs.

Thursday -- Jobless Apps Fall Less Than Expected; Rigs Falling In The Bakken; And It's A Wonderful Fall In Dallas; Stepping Stone To National Health Service

Active rigs: 180 (trending down)

RBN Energy: an update on CBR in the Bakken --
Bakken producer wellhead netbacks now favor shipping crude to the East Coast by rail. That is because Brent crude prices are trading more than $13/Bbl above WTI and nearly $11/Bbl higher than Light Louisiana Sweet crude at the Gulf Coast (October 30, 2013). Loading data from North Dakota indicates that volumes being shipped by rail have returned to levels not seen since April although less crude is going to the Gulf Coast. Today we conclude our two part analysis of Bakken producer transport options.
Jobless claims fall less than expected: another stellar ObamanNation report; data points:
  • analysts expected the drop to 339,000
  • actual drop to 340,000
  • worse: four-week average, a better measure, increased by 8,000 to 356,250
  • analysts blaming glitches in computers (where have we heard that before?)
  • when glitches fixed, some analysts expect numbers to drop to 330,000
  • buried very, very deep in the article, this boiler-plate: 
The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of labour market trends, increased 8,000 to 356,250.
It's interesting to scroll through the weekly summaries at "job watch" to see how little things have actually changed with regard to unemployment claims.  Sad commentary overall. Considering.


For newbies:  ObamaCare has three parts -- a) the employer mandate; b) the individual mandate; and, c) tax on medical devices.

The employer mandate was delayed for one full year. The individual mandate has been delayed six weeks due to a horrendous rollout on October 1, 2013. There are calls for the employee mandate to be delayed one year; the administration says the process will be fixed by December 1, 2013. I've lost the bubble on the tax on medical devices, and have no interest in it, anyway.

The big insurers are underwriting the employer mandate, but they are pulling out of the individual mandate insurance. The insurers underwriting the individual mandates are undercapitalized new-to-the-game health insurers. Folks who understand how insurance works can already see that the insurers underwriting the individual mandate will go the way of Solyndra over then next two to five years. These insurers have already said the six-week delay for the individual mandate will affect their profits. There is a reason the insurers underwriting the individual mandates are raising their premiums (often doubling their premiums) and canceling existing policies.

But that is all well known.

This is the bombshell: the employer mandate.  Everyone I have talked to, and having read extensively (I spend at least 30 seconds each day reading about ObamaCare, more time than I spend on sports), the majority of Americans are unaffected by ObamaCare because their company health care plan has been unaffected. Those who still have insurance with their employer haven't noticed a change in their insurance programs. So they are all happy. Hello! The employer mandate was extended one year, so of course company health programs have not changed much in the past few months.

There were many reasons that the employer mandate was extended, but I have not seen this reason discussed anywhere. So again, the MillionDollarWay blogspot is providing "new" information, something the site is well known for. LOL.  But I digress.

Just like the individual mandate, the employer mandate was not "ready for prime time." The insurers needed the one-year extension to see/study how the individual mandate was going to roll out. And it's not been a pretty picture.

As the undercapitalized, new-to-the-game insurers of the individual mandate start to exit the game (having made their money), the president will ask (direct?) the larger insurers to underwrite the individual mandate. The undercapitalized, new-to-the-game insurers are the "bad apples" that the President references. These "bad apples" will leave on their own, or will be directed to leave. The void will need to be filled by the larger health care insurers.

All things being equal, ObamaCare will increase the number of dollars insurance companies pay out for health care. One of the best features of the program, and one I strongly support, is the end of the cap on lifetime healthcare expenses. But commonsense tells one that eliminating the cap on lifetime healthcare expenses will require insurance premiums to go up. So, all things being equal, starting next year, folks who are insured through their employer will see their health care premiums, co-pays, and/or deductibles rise. More likely, the companies will simply shift their employees to ObamaCare's individual mandate, giving their employees $200/month to find their own care. Or as Mr Obama himself has said: "shop around."

But all things are not equal. As noted above, the president will ask (direct?) the larger insurers who underwrite employer-mandate insurance to step in and underwrite the individual-mandate insurance.

Two things follow:
  • the large insurers knew this would happen, and they needed the one year extension to see how the individual mandate roll-out would, well, roll out ---; and, 
  • the large insurers know they will have to increase premiums and/or change the benefit program for the employee-mandate insurance
So, for all those folks who get their insurance through their employer and have noted no change in their premiums or benefits, enjoy it for one more year. Next year, you will be subsidizing the individual mandate, as well as paying for the increased costs associated with ObamaCare mandates.

"Navigators" are noting that they are not signing up new folks because of "sticker shock."

The tea leaves are pretty easy to read:
  • the individual mandate will fail because it defies the law of insurance
  • the employer mandate will be the stepping stone to single-payer insurance
Single-payer insurance is "code" for a national health care system. And that's fine with me. The National Health Service works relatively well in Great Britain.


I don't know if anyone outside Massachusetts knows this, and I'm sure few residents of Massachusetts know this, but electricity for Massachusetts is provided by a UK company, National Grid.

This begs the question. If Mr Obama copied the Massachusetts health care plan when he developed ObamaCare, as he said throughout the day yesterday, why didn't he follow Massachusetts' lead in the electricity grid, and simply contract out the entire US health care program to the British National Health Service?

My hunch: that was in the works (for the US to simply contract out its entire healthcare program to the Brits until Mr Snowden defected, and we learned that Mr Obama was listening in (eavesdropping) on the Britsh prime minister's private phone calls. And so it goes.