Friday, November 15, 2013

Three Observations On Today's Director's Cut

Three observations on today's Director's Cut.

1. Despite the record number of producing wells, a new natural gas production record, and a new crude oil production record, the percent of natural gas flared in North Dakota in the most recent reporting period actually decreased over the previous month.

2. This comment from the director:
Crude oil takeaway capacity is expected to be adequate as long as rail deliveries to coastal refineries keep growing
Is the director telegraphing his concerns over the recent CBR derailments/spills, or is he seeing something the rest of are not seeing? With regard to takeaway capacity, I only know what I see based on corporate presentations and past NDIC comments. [Update: see first comment -- I think the reader has "hit the nail on the head": BNSF CBR is competing with grain shipments, etc. As the economy recovers, rail other than CBR will also continue to increase, putting pressure on rail. Great comment.  The reader provides this link for more:,3233439.]

3. Finally, this. Regular readers know that larger operators hedge and collar the prices on the crude oil they contract to deliver on a specific date. The floor for these hedges and collars has been between $90 and $95 based on the corporate presentations I have reviewed. This means, that while the contract with this hedge/collar and floor is in effect, the Bakken operator will get "at least" $90/bbl upon delivery, regardless of the spot price of oil. Hold that thought.
The October sweet crude price quoted by the director: $85.

Today's sweet crude price quoted by the director: $71.

If an operator runs into a production glitch and can't meet the delivery contract, the operator can buy crude oil for the spot price of $75 and sell it to the refinery for $90. It's been my impression that quarterly earnings are often adversely affected when the spot price of oil has been higher than the hedge/collar/floor for which the operator has contracted.

This is very, very idle chatter. I am way beyond my comfort level and expertise but per my "disclaimer/welcome" I will throw it out there just for the fun of it. My thinking could be very wrong.
Update: Don points out, in response to the above, that the $71 would be after trucking/local pipeline/rail expenses have been deducted, so the $71 is probably the net Bakken operators would get for spot. Don is correct; I am wrong; I had forgotten those pesky little transportation costs.
North Dakota farmers, by the way, are very, very familiar with similar issues involving grain.

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

Despite the precipitous fall in the price of oil (NYMEX/WTI) from $104 to $94 over the past few weeks, almost all oil and gas companies I follow are "green" today, and some by a significant amount.

In addition, regular readers know what RBN Energy has to say about "netbacks" (CBR) for Bakken operators (the WTI-Brent spread -- the wider the spread, the better for CBR); and, about the reason for the recent decline in the price of oil, and what it likely means.

I Need To Know; My Heart Goes Out To The One-Third That Wanted To Keep Their Jobs

This is an op-ed from the New York Times on the story that is breaking: the machinists union voted down the Boeing contract which would have guaranteed that the 777X would have been built in Seattle.
... [but Boeint's plans came apart with] a vote of the people who actually assemble the planes. By a 2-1 margin on Wednesday, the machinists of Puget Sound told Boeing to stuff it. With this act of economic suicide, the state could lose up to 56,000 jobs on the new 777X plane.
The writer says Boeing:
tells the people who make its products that their pension plan will be frozen, their benefits slashed, their pay raises meager.
But the writer doesn't give specifics.

And the writer does not mention that ObamaCare is now available, where people have the opportunity to shop for the best medical insurance ever. Based on the president's sales pitch, ObamaCare is better than any union health program.


60% of the machinists said "no."

30% of the machinists voted "with" Boeing.

I need to know more what the 60% were unwilling to give up. And the New York Times writer did not provide those specifics, except that $80,000/year is not enough for these Boeing workers.

The World’s Only Paleoscatologist Visits The Pioneer Trails Regional Museum, Bowman, North Dakota

Nautilus is reporting:
Ms Karen Chin was in North Dakota visiting Dean Pearson, a paleontologist at the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum, who has done a great deal of work on the K-Pg. Pearson tries to create reconstructions of what the environment looked like prior to and after the big event by studying a geologically rich outcropping that contains evidence of the impact. The K-Pg boundary is marked by a thin layer of sediment containing high levels of iridium, an element that is scarce on earth but abundant in asteroids and comets, as well as two types of rock created by powerful impacts: shocked quartz and glass spherules.  
Chin isn’t the world’s only paleoscatologist—a handful of other researchers around the world study the fossilized excrement of ancient peoples to learn about their diet, health, and lifestyles, and a few others study the fossilized droppings of extinct animals. But Chin is an undisputed leader in the field, and her work has brought new insights to scientists’ understanding of Mesozoic Era, when towering reptiles walked the earth. “I think it’s fair to say I’ve studied more dinosaur feces than most,” she says modestly.  
A few weeks ago on my trip back to the Bakken I had the wonderful experience of touring one of the best museums in the country when it comes to dinosaurs and regional history: the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum. I was very, very surprised how really nice this museum was. It is worth your while, if anywhere in the area, to make a side trip to visit the museum. Check the webite/call ahead ot make sure it's open the day you plan to visit.

A bit more from the linked article on Ms Chin's background:
In the 1980s, Chin was getting a master’s degree in biology at Montana State University when she took a job with the legendary dinosaur hunter Jack Horner, the inspiration for the paleontologist protagonist in Jurassic Park. At first, Chin’s job was simply to slice fossilized bones into thin sections that Horner could examine under the microscope. They were working with fossils found in Montana’s Two Medicine Formation, a sandstone outcropping that Horner was exploring.
The rock layers were rich with bones of a newfound duck-billed dinosaur named Maiasaura, and not just the bones—also nests and eggs, and strange blobby deposits a bit removed from the nests. Horner believed these chunky rocks, embedded with shreds of fossilized plant material, were dinosaur patties.
I read Jack Horner's first book, and still have it in my library. It's a keeper. 

Did This Article Forget About The Dickinson Calumet-MDU Diesel Topping Plant ...

... or is the diesel topping plant not considered a refinery. According to MDU's 3Q13 earnings press release, the Calument-MDU diesel topping plant construction is on schedule.

In this article, this plant is not mentioned. The Minot Daily News is reporting:
A crew with heavy equipment began moving dirt this past weekend near Makoti for the construction of the transload facility, the first part of the Three Affiliated Tribes' clean fuels refinery project.
Glenda Baker Embry, public relations officer for the tribes, who visited the site Tuesday, said nine employees with Parks Construction, a Minneapolis firm, began the grading work at the site 2 1/2 miles west of Makoti on Saturday.
The construction of the transload facility is the first part of the tribal refinery project.
Costs for the refinery are conservatively estimated at $450 million, according to the article.

Later, in the article;
The refinery is conservatively estimated and projected to cost $450 million, according to tribal officials at the ground-breaking event.
The plans are for the refinery to refine Bakken Formation crude oil into diesel fuel, propane and naphtha products at the site in southwest Ward County, where the Three Affiliated Tribes own 469 acres of land. A portion of the land is specifically for the refinery. Some of the land will be used for feed for the tribes' bison.
The refinery will be one of the first refineries built in the United States in many years. The last refinery built in the U.S. was built in Garyville, La., and began operating in 1976.
The state has one refinery, the Tesoro Corp., in Mandan. Two other refinery projects have been proposed in North Dakota.
The two projects I am aware of:
  • Calumet-MDU, southwest Dickinson (noted at the beginning of this post
  • a diesel topping plant at Trenton

Director's Cut -- Data For September, 2013 -- 931,940, A New All-Time Record

Disclaimer: there may be typographical errors. The original document can be found at the NDIC website

At this post (click on that in blue), I track projections at 1%, 2%, and historical changes over the past two years. 

A 2.28% increase in crude oil production on a daily basis (a new record):
  • September oil: 931,940 bopd
  • August oil: 911,186 bopd
A 2.18% increase in number of producing wells (a new record):
  • September wells: 9,682
  • August wells: 9,475
  • October permitting: 267
  • September permitting: 287
  • August permitting: 276
  • All-time high: 370 in October, 2012
  • Today: $71.25
  • October: $85.16
  • September: $92.96
  • August: $93.97
Some comments:
Although the drilling rig count was unchanged from August to September, the number of completions rose sharply from 153 to 207. This resulted in a 2% increase in oil production.

Drilling crews drilled approximately 1.5 wells for every well that completion crews put on prodcution. Industry reports that this is a result of batch processing on multi-well pads.

Days from spud to intial production remained stady at just over 100.

The NDIC estimates that 520 wells are awaiting completion.

Crude oil takeaway capacity is expected to be adequate as long as rail deliveries to coastal refineries keep growing.

The percentage of gas flare is back down 1% to 29%.

Sushi And Lutefisk. Who Wudda Thought?

CNBC is reporting:
It's Friday evening in Williston, N.D., and Basil Restaurant is buzzing with diners sipping sake bombs and ordering up Flaming Tiger rolls.
After dinner, customers can head over to the Williston Brewing Company and sample 1280 Ale, one of 40 beers on tap. With 80 more varieties available by the bottle, the locally owned bar and restaurant claims to offer North Dakota's largest beer selection. 
A year ago this kind of night out simply did not exist in Williston. Oil was first discovered in North Dakota's Bakken region in 1951, but it took more than 60 years for sushi and craft beer to arrive
In just the last two months both of these popular new establishments have set up shop in North Dakota's most notorious boomtown, unofficial headquarters of the state's oil and gas fracking boom. Until recently, the idea that the town could support a sushi restaurant at all would have struck some residents as far-fetched.
"People said no one will eat sushi," said Lee Lusht, interim executive director of the Williston Chamber of Commerce. "Now it's packed. I can't get in."
It was my experience in the Bakken a couple weeks ago that the "restaurant problem" for the Bakken was over. There was no difficulty in finding a place to eat any more. Perhaps at some locations -- Buffalo Wings, sushi, etc -- there is standing room only and a wait, but at Gramma Sharon's -- generally easy to find a table. Except on Taco Wednesday.

And Yet Another Flaw In ObamaCare Reporting

People a lot smarter than I are seeing a lot of flaws in ObamaCare reporting that I missed. Good, bad, or indifferent, we are incredibly lucky we have a free press AND the internet.

Look at what CoyoteBlog noted. Very, very interesting. I had never thought of this. It's very, very possible a lot of folks who think they are enrolled are not.

Apparently the Obama administration is citing a report that "21% who visited the exchange, signed up" or something to that effect. In fact, 1% signed up. The conclusion over at the linked site:
The only effect including that 21% number has on me is to say that Obama likely has a bigger problem -- If 21% of visitors THINK they enrolled and less than 1% actually did so, aren't a lot of people in for a rude shock?
That will be the next story, come next spring, around April, 2014. Folks will complain, finding out they thought they were enrolled and in fact, weren't. If one is eligible for 100% subsidies ($0 for one's premium), does one even get a monthly bill or a monthly statement? Those eligible for partial subsidies probably won't complain if they aren't billed, thinking they are enrolled and now getting full subsidies.

The CoyoteBlog is one of the best blogs I have come across; it is one of the few I keep linked at the sidebar at the right. If you really want to follow the ObamaCare Express debacle, click on CoyoteBlog (home page link different than one above) and scroll down.

The Kyoto Protocol? That Was So Yesterday. Japan Slashes Commitment To Global Warming; Aussies Agree


Later, 10:11 a.m. CT: Yahoo!News is reporting:
The architect of President Barack Obama's climate-change plan, Zichal left the White House last week after five years as a top adviser on energy and climate change.
Her departure comes as the Environmental Protection Agency moves ahead with the linchpin of the president's climate plan: emissions limits for new and existing power plants to curb greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
"Do I walk out thinking that it would have been fun to do the rule for existing coal (-fired power) plants? The short answer is yes," Zichal said in an interview.
Zichal, 37, said she has not decided on her next job but said it will involve clean energy, a field she has spent the past five years promoting as the administration moves to boost renewable energy such as wind and solar power. Obama also has increased fuel-efficiency standards and moved to tighten limits on mercury and other toxic pollution from power plants. Zichal's deputy, Dan Utech, replaced her. 
If my experience in the military taught me anything, in bureaucracies headed by political appointees, it was the deputy that really knew what was going on. This news may be good or bad; it will be interesting to see who his next choice for "energy and climate change" adviser will be. Harold Hamm is probably not on the short list.

Original Post

Reuters is reporting:
China, the EU and campaign groups criticized Japan at U.N. climate talks on Friday after Tokyo slashed its target to cut greenhouse gas emissions, blaming its shuttered nuclear power industry in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
The Japanese government on Friday decided to target a 3.8 percent emissions cut by 2020 versus 2005 levels. That amounts to a 3 percent rise from a U.N. benchmark year of 1990 and the reversal of the previous target of a 25 percent reduction. [Holy mackerel, Batman!]
"Given that none of the nuclear reactors is operating, this was unavoidable," Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara said.
Japan's 50 nuclear plants were closed on safety concerns after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami wrecked the Fukushima reactors northeast of Tokyo. Nuclear accounted for 26 percent of Japan's electricity generation and its loss has forced the country to import natural gas and coal, causing its greenhouse gas emissions to skyrocket.
At least Japan is being honest. 

And then in Australia, it's not getting much better. The Daily Caller is reporting:
Australia’s new conservative government introduced legislation that would eliminate the carbon tax and cut funding to green energy in a series of aggressive moves to scale back the country’s environmental laws.
“We have said what we mean, and will do what we say. The carbon tax goes,” Prime Minister Abbott told Australian lawmakers. “Repealing the carbon tax should be the first economic reform of this parliament.”
The Liberal-National Party swept seats in September’s election in large part due to their opposition to the left-wing Labor Party’s imposition of a tax on carbon dioxide emissions. The unpopular tax was blamed for rising power bills and hurting economic growth. Abbott has touted his party’s bill to repeal the carbon tax as “our bill to reduce your bills.”
Three more years for the US. It can't happen soon enough.

No More Blogging For The Next Seven Days ...

... I'm just going to watch these videos over and over and over ... for seven days ...

The first one is the best and the only one that really needs watching. The other two are "raw" footage of same.

X-47B UCAS Aviation History Under Way

Just kidding. Blogging will continue. But it was tempting to shut down and just watch these videos. A huge "thank you" to Don for interrupting my otherwise productive morning.

From wiki:
The Northrop Grumman X-47B is a demonstration unmanned combat air vehicle designed for carrier-based operations. Developed by the American defense technology company Northrop Grumman, the X-47 project began as part of DARPA's J-UCAS program, and is now part of the United States Navy's Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration  program. The X-47B first flew in 2011, and as of 2013, it is undergoing flight testing, having successfully performed a series of land- and carrier-based demonstrations. Northrop Grumman intends to develop the prototype X-47B into a battlefield-ready aircraft, the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike system, which will enter service by 2019.


A writer over at SeekingAlpha suggests LNG's future as the preferred fuel for high-mileage long-haul trucks appears doubtful.


Based on the summary above it seems reasonable to conclude that a Class 8 truck running an assumed 100,000 miles in a year saves $10,000 - $20,000 by running on CNG instead of LNG. In addition carriers that have tested both CNG and LNG trucks report that drivers prefer CNG's simplicity and increased safety. When also taking into account that CNG stations are being rolled out at a much greater pace than LNG stations, it becomes hard to agree with CLNE and WPRT that LNG is going to be the dominant fuel for high-mileage heavy duty natural gas vehicles going forward.
That helps. I can never keep track of the pros and cons of LNG vs CNG. This article compares and contrasts the two. For me, it is splitting hairs. Both are natural gas variants. 

But after reading the article twice, I'm not sure the writer has made his case. I'm more sold on LNG than CNG after reading his pros and cons. Maybe I'm in a cynical mood this morning. I usually am.

Oh, that statement that CNG stations are being rolled out at a much greater pace than LNG stations? The writer admits that most CNG stations cannot handle the big rigs. But it wouldn't be the first time Boone bet on the wrong horse.

A New Father At Age 66 Says ObamaCare Is "Not Insurance"; Cher Was Correct -- "60 Is The New 30"

I've been blogging the $12,000 annual deductible since "the beginning." Now Bloomberg spells it out in language that is hard to miss. 

Headline story at Yahoo!Finance today: Obamacare deductibles 26% higher make cheap rates a risk. Bloomberg is reporting:
Americans seeking cheap insurance on the Obamacare health exchanges may be in for sticker shock if they get sick next year, as consumers trade lower premiums for out-of-pocket costs that can top $6,000 a person.
That's as far as most people will read. Of the people that even see the article. 
Expenses for some policies can reach $6,350 for a single person and $12,700 per family, the most allowed by the health-care law, according to a survey by HealthPocket Inc. of seven states, including California and Ohio. That’s 26 percent higher than the average deductible in the seven states, and a scenario likely repeated across the country, said Kev Coleman, head of research and data at Sunnyvale, California-based HealthPocket. 
Private employers have been raising deductibles and co-pays for years to help control costs on health coverage for their workers. Now insurers are using the tactic to lower premiums on the government-run exchanges. While that has allowed President Barack Obama to tout the affordability of plans, it poses a choice: Do consumers gamble they won’t face a major medical bill, or boost monthly premiums just in case?
“If you have to pay $5,000 upfront” when illness hits, “you might as well not have any insurance at all,” said Larry Saphire, 82, of West Orange, New Jersey, who shopped for coverage for his wife and two children, ages 16 and 21. “That’s not insurance.”
On California’s state-run exchange site, the standard low-premium “bronze” plan carries a $5,000 deductible per person, a $60 co-pay to see a doctor and a 30 percent fee, known as coinsurance, on hospital care. In Rhode Island, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s bronze plan has a $5,800 deductible while Missouri’s U.S.-run exchange offers plans by Anthem Blue Cross with the maximum-allowable $6,350 in out-of-pocket costs.
He is 82 years old. His youngest child, 16, means he was a new father at age ... 66.  And a first-time father (in this marriage) at age ... 61. One can start taking social security at age 62; full social security benefits at around 66. Cher was correct: 60 is the new 30.

GMXR Renewed A Permit In Stark County, Yesterday

A reader asks if anyone knows "what this might mean," GMXR renewing:
  • 21893, loc, GMXR, Frank 31-3-1H, New Hradec, Stark County
In fact, there are four "Frank" wells/permits in this area. Two 2-well pads in adjoining sections, about a mile apart from each other.
  • 21213, 240, GMXR, Frank 31-4-1H, New Hradec, a Three Forks well, 15 stages; 2 million lbs;, t12/11; cum 29K 9/13;
  • 21214, conf, GMXR, Frank 31-4-2H, New Hradec,
  • 21892, loc,  GMXR, Frank 31-3-2H, New Hradec,
That's as much as I know about the Frank wells; maybe someone knows something more. 

For newbies: NDIC issues permits that expire after one year if drilling has not begun; permits can be renewed with a $100 filing fee.


Another reason I love to blog: folks have asked why companies don't renew "all" expiring permits; it only costs $100. Apparently, based on comments of another reader, NDIC prorates the number of permits an operator may have in North Dakota based on a formula. Thus, an operator may choose to "give up" a permit if the max has been reached and there are better opportunities out there.


Weather Report

Wow, after that recent cold spell that lasted about 36 hours, I thought winter was here. But the warm front is moving in. Temperatures will continually "improve" over the next three days, hitting a high in the low 70's today; around 77 tomorrow, and then almost 80 degrees on Sunday. Dallas-Ft Worth metroplex area.

Coen Brothers To Release Holiday Film

This should be very, very good: inside Llywen Davis.
The Coen Brothers' latest film, set amid the acoustic folk movement in Greenwich Village in 1961, is about a musical era perched on a precipice. 
The movie takes place right before Bob Dylan emerged on the scene and completely transformed it. During that fleeting musical moment, "there's this apocalyptic feeling, a sense that this thing is coming, and it is almost like the end of days," says Oscar Isaac, 33, who plays Llewyn Davis. "The rapture is Bob Dylan." In the context of the film, the notion isn't as overblown as it sounds. 
The tragicomic film's plot centers on Llewyn, a sad-sack folk musician struggling to make it following the suicide of his singing partner. As the movie starts, he gets punched in the face, discovers that his debut solo album—called "Inside Llewyn Davis"—is selling abysmally, and realizes that he may have impregnated his best friend's wife ( Carey Mulligan ). Mr. Isaac says he believes his character is ordinarily "a gregarious, joyful, humorous, happy-go-lucky guy, but you are catching him during a very bad month."
This should be very, very, very good:
T Bone Burnett, who collaborated with the Coens on their other folk-infused film, 2000's "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" oversaw the music. Mr. Burnett, Mr. Timberlake and the Coens rewrote a humorous ditty about the space race called "Please Mr. Kennedy"—originally penned as a satirical song about Vietnam—which is performed in the film in one of its lighter moments. (Sample lyric: "I'm 6-foot-2, so perhaps you'll/tell me how to fit into a 5-foot capsule.")
It's on the soundtrack, along with 13 other songs, including two versions of the folk classic, "Green, Green Rocky Road." One of them is performed by Mr. Isaac, and the other by the raspy-voiced Mr. Van Ronk.

Friday; TVA To Close Eight (8) Coal-Fired Plants; Heinz To Lay Off 1,350; Calumet To Refine In San Antonio; Individual Mandate Delayed One Year -- Dems Asking For More

Active rigs: 185 (steady; higher than usual)

RBN Energy: Calumet is someone to watch; first a new refinery in Dickinson (North Dakota), now one in San Antonio
Owning a refinery in the middle of the fastest growing shale crude basin sounds like a good idea. Calumet Specialty Products LP thinks so – they purchased the 14.5 Mb/d San Antonio refinery in December 2012 located at the heart of the Eagle Ford. Since then Calumet has set about expanding production and organizing more efficient crude transportation. But owning such a small refinery near the largest refining region in the world has its risks. Today we describe how location and crude supply advantages help keep this refinery competitive.
 The Wall Street Journal

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. 

I think the biggest investment news story yesterday was the report that Warren Buffett bought 1% of ExxonMobil. There may be more to follow. In pre-market trading, XOM is already up by almost 2%. Motley Fool weighs in on why Warren bought XOM: cheap, second largest company in the world (market cap), and longevity. Those are hardly reasons, except "cheap." These "reasons" only explain Buffett's strategies and constraints; it provides no insight for the average retail investor. And, if anything, he's late. XOM was probably trading in the high 80's when he bought it; in July, 2010, he could have gotten it for less than $55/share (which many did). That was only a couple of years ago, so we're not talking about a decade-old story.

Was the word "speculators" used in this article? I guess it's not "speculation" when Goldman Sachs does it. Of if they lose money. It's just a "wrong-way bet."
A wrong-way bet on global oil prices has hit some of the crude market's most high-profile investment firms, including hedge funds run by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. traders, worsening what has been a dismal year for commodity-fund returns. Wagers that the gap between Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude-oil prices would narrow were upended when the "spread" between these two prices instead diverged during September and October. 
In blow to coal, TVA to shut eight (8) coal-burning units in Alabama and Kentucky

Yesterday it was announced that Lockheed Martin would cut 4,000 jobs; today the new owners of Heinz (which includes Warren Buffett) announces layoffs of 1,350.

Of course, the big story is President Obama delaying the individual mandate for a year.

Democratic lawmakers running for cover.

Insurers expressed a range of worries over "shift."
Insurers expressed a range of worries after President Barack Obama moved to placate millions of consumers by allowing insurers to offer plans next year that they were canceling under the health-care law.
Huge: West Virginia preps for shale-gas play.
A Brazilian conglomerate unveiled a proposal Thursday to build a multibillion-dollar natural-gas refining complex in West Virginia—the biggest such development in the state as it tries to profit from the region's drilling boom.
The proposed project by Odebrecht Group, a privately held São Paolo-based engineering, construction and petrochemical company, would include a plant known as an ethane cracker, where natural gas is turned into ethylene, a chemical-industry feedstock. It would also include three plants to produce polyethylene, which is used to make numerous products, from plastic bags to pipes.
This is an interesting story: boys more at risk than girls in womb. "We" talked about that all the time back "in the day." Although we didn't know why, and we didn't have the studies to back up our hunches, we always felt better when we learned that the baby was a girl if the baby was going to come early.

Humor For The Day

This was a front page headline in today's New York Times: "Health Law Rollout's Stumbles Draw Parallels to Bush's Hurricane Response"
President Obama is now threatened by a similar toxic mix. The disastrous rollout of his health care law not only threatens the rest of his agenda but also raises questions about his competence in the same way that the Bush administration’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina undermined any semblance of Republican efficiency.
But unlike Mr. Bush, who faced confrontational but occasionally cooperative Democrats, Mr. Obama is battling a Republican opposition that has refused to open the door to any legislative fixes to the health care law and has blocked him at virtually every turn. A contrite-sounding Mr. Obama repeatedly blamed himself on Thursday for the failed health care rollout, which he acknowledged had thrust difficult burdens on his political allies and hurt Americans’ trust in him.