Thursday, December 5, 2013

Information Provided: Outcome of Case 20922, November, 2013 -- The Operator Requested That The Case Be Dismissed


December 6, 2013: Zenergy requested that the case be dismissed.
Original Post

A reader over at the discussion board is wondering if anyone knows the outcome of case 20922:
20922: Application of Zenergy, Inc. for an order amending the field rules for the Eightmile-Bakken Pool to create and establish an overlapping 2560-acre spacing unit comprised of Sections 29, 30, 31 and 32, T.153N., R.102W., Williams County, ND, authorizing the drilling of multiple wells on said 2560-acre spacing unit, eliminating any tool error requirements and such other relief as is appropriate.
This case was originally on the September, 2013, agenda, but was forwarded to October, and then (finally?) to November, 2013.

I do not subscribe to NDIC's premium services ($175/year) so I do not know the outcome. The NDIC GIS map server does not yet show an approved 2560-acre spacing for these four sections.


From wiki:
On July 15, 1979, President Jimmy Carter gave a nationally-televised address in which he identified what he believed to be a "crisis of confidence" among the American people. This came to be known as his "malaise" speech, although Carter never used the word in the speech.
I want to talk to you right now about a fundamental threat to American democracy. . . . It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation. . . .
In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning....
I'm asking you for your good and for your nation's security to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel....
From Reuters -- President Barack Obama's "frayed American economy" speech:
In a recent speech billed as a preview of his upcoming State of the Union address, Obama summarized piles of economic research to explain why millions of Americans are falling behind. “The basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed,” he said. “The problem is that, alongside increased inequality, we’ve seen diminished levels of upward mobility in recent years. The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe.”
There’s a growing “opportunity gap” in America, Obama insisted. Kids born in wealthy communities are increasingly likely to stay wealthy, while kids born in poor communities are increasingly likely to stay poor. In other words, it’s getting harder to move up the socioeconomic ladder. One problem is too many people lack the right skills to get ahead. Another is the sketchy quality of education. And if you think these problems only affect minorities or inner-city folks, think again, he said: They threaten the middle class everywhere.
Back to wiki:
The New York Times ran the headline "Speech Lifts Carter Rating to 37%" later that week.
The current polls, November 21, 2013:
A CBS News survey released Wednesday showed the President's approval rating at 37%.
I can't make this stuff up.

At least he's aware that the American economy is frayed. One year into his second term. 

Vern Whitten Photography, Autumn, 2013

Autumn colors, North Dakota from Vern Whitten Photography.  

These are incredible photographs. It will take me quite some time to go through all of them. Note how "big" the new Williston recreation center is (slide 11/41 in the November set of energy photos). I am seeing vistas I have always wanted to see, such as overlooking the wide Missouri, slide 7/41 in the same set. Absolutely incredible.

Scenic photos:
Energy photos: 

Vern Whitten Photography
(701) 261-7658

Cognitive Dissonance

From wiki:
Social psychologists refer to cognitive dissonance as the presence of incongruent relations among cognitions that frequently results in mental discomfort. Ultimately, individuals who hold two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas and/or values frequently experience cognitive dissonance. This discomfort may also arise within an individual who holds a belief and a performs a contradictory action or reaction. For example, an individual is likely to experience dissonance if he or she recognizes that smoking is unhealthy while continuing to purchase and smoke cigarettes.
From Reuters:
In a recent speech billed as a preview of his upcoming State of the Union address, Obama summarized piles of economic research to explain why millions of Americans are falling behind. “The basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed,” he said. “The problem is that, alongside increased inequality, we’ve seen diminished levels of upward mobility in recent years. The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe.”
There’s a growing “opportunity gap” in America, Obama insisted. Kids born in wealthy communities are increasingly likely to stay wealthy, while kids born in poor communities are increasingly likely to stay poor. In other words, it’s getting harder to move up the socioeconomic ladder. [Especially when there are no jobs.]
From multiple sources, paraphrasing:
Despite all the blue collar jobs this multi-billion-dollar project will provide, and despite the fact that it will help secure America's energy independence, I am canceling the Keystone XL.
Oh, by the way, let's kill the American coal industry. 

Thirteen (13) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA

Active rigs: 191

Thirteen (13) new permits:
  • Operators: EOG (4), American Eagle (3), Fidelity (3), Hunt (2), Whiting (1)
  • Fields: Hoot Owl (Golden Valley), Colgan (Divide), Smoky Butte (Williams), Green Lake (Williams), Skjermo (Divide), Parshall (Mountrail), Stanley (Mountrail)
  • Comments:
Wells coming off the confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Emerald canceled on permit: #24937, Saxon 14-36-1H, Dunn County.

Wells coming off confidential list Friday:
  • 23693, drl, XTO, FBIR Huntsmedicine 24X-8E, Heart Butte, no production data,
  • 25144, drl, Hess, HA-ogen 152-95-0508H-4, Hawkeye, no production data,
  • 25419, drl, Hess, CA-Halverson 154-95-0409H-5, Hofflund, no production data,
  • 25511, drl, KOG, P Evitt 154-98-13-12-1-3H3, Truax, no production data,
  • 25565, 439, CLR, Brogger 3-4H, Crazy Man Creek, t8/13; cum 19K 10/13;

For The Record: Shell To Shelve GTL Plant In Louisiana

Bloomberg is reporting:
Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s biggest oil company, halted plans to build a $20 billion gas-to-liquids plant in Louisiana, citing the potential cost and uncertainty about future crude and natural gas prices.
The project would have used natural gas to produce 140,000 barrels a day of liquid fuels and other products normally made from oil, The Hague-based company said in a statement today. Despite ample U.S. gas supplies from a boom in shale production, gas-to-liquids isn’t “a viable option for Shell in North America,” the company said.
Shell started the first commercial gas-to-liquids plant in 1993, using a process developed in Germany and used to make fuels during World War II. The company completed the $19 billion Pearl gas-to-liquids facility, the world’s largest, in Qatar in 2011. South Africa’s Sasol Ltd., the largest producer of motor fuel from coal, announced plans last year to build a $14 billion gas-to-liquids plant in Louisiana.
“While we cannot speak to another company’s plans, we continue to view our proposed GTL facility in Louisiana as a very attractive opportunity as we advance it through the front-end engineering and design phase,” Russell Johnson, a spokesman for Johannesburg-based Sasol, said in an e-mail today.
The economic viability of turning natural gas into fuels depends on the relationship between oil and gas prices.
For a gas-to-liquids plant to make money, a barrel of oil has to trade at a ratio of about 16 times the cost of a million British thermal units of natural gas, Sasol Chief Executive Officer David Constable said in an interview last year.

Tesla Motors Batteries To Provide Backup Power For Solar Panel Customers

Zack's at Yahoo!Finance is reporting:
Tesla Motors, Inc.’s batteries will be offered along with SolarCity Corporation’s commercial solar systems. Tesla’s batteries will be providing a backup power source to its customers and support in reducing the consumption of electricity and hence the electric bill.

Solar systems need to depend on sunlight. However, Tesla’s batteries will help the customers in times of solar blackout as well. In addition, Tesla’s batteries will provide an alternative source of energy during power cuts. The batteries will help the functioning of critical systems for several hours or for several days if it gets charged from the solar energy during the day time.

Moreover, commercial consumers have to pay charges for the entire amount of electricity they may need from the grid at any one time. This is known as demand charges in the electric industry. The solar panels and Tesla’s battery packs intend to reduce those demand charges. It is expected that the addition of Tesla’s batteries will reduce demand charges by 20%.
Except for the occasional battery fire and loss of home or business, this sounds like an incredibly great idea. 

North Dakota May Have The Lowest Unemployment Rate In The Universe

From Carpe Diem:
I reported a few weeks ago that North Dakota might have the best labor market in The Americas. Some new data suggest that the state’s labor market just got even a little bit better, if that’s even possible, the Peace Garden state might have the best labor market on the planet!
1. The BLS released employment data today for the nation’s 372 metro areas, and the three metro areas with the lowest jobless rate in October were all in North Dakota: Bismarck (1.7%), Fargo (2.3%), and Grand Forks (2.5%). Although not included in today’s BLS report of cities with population above 50,000, the state of North Dakota reported this week that the jobless rate in Minot (closest city to the Bakken oil fields) matched Bismarck’s rate of 1.7% for October for the lowest metro jobless rate in the country.
2. The state of North Dakota also reported this week that 21 of the state’s 53 counties had jobless rates in October of 2% or less, and the jobless rate in Williams County, in the heart of the Bakken oil fields, dropped to a record, jaw-dropping low of only 0.49%!  That’s a jobless rate below 1/2 of 1%, which also means that 99.51% of the labor force in Williams County is working (45,900 payroll employees in a labor force of 46,158 persons, with only 228 workers being classified as unemployed in October), and is about as close to achieving “full employment” as you can get!
Note: Minot is the closest city to the Bakken with a population greater than 50,000 -- Mark said that, but it might be a bit unclear. The largest city in Williams County is Williston, center of the northern Bakken; the largest city in Stark County is Dickinson, center of the southern Bakken.

Somewhere in between Williston and Dickinson is Watford City which will soon be renamed "ONEOK."

By the way, rumor has it that the 0.49% unemployed in Williams County are those folks in-between jobs, most of them laid off ObamaCare navigators.

For The Archives And For The Warmists

See also this story about how the media plays along with the warmists

A great op-ed in The New York Post
The 2013 hurricane season just ended as one of the five quietest years since 1960. But don’t expect anyone who pointed to last year’s hurricanes as “proof” of the need to act against global warming to apologize; the warmists don’t work that way.
Warmist claims of a severe increase in hurricane activity go back to 2005 and Hurricane Katrina. The cover of Al Gore’s 2009 book, “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis,” even features a satellite image of the globe with four major hurricanes superimposed.
Yet the evidence to the contrary was there all along. Back in 2005 I and others reviewed the entire hurricane record, which goes back over a century, and found no increase of any kind. Yes, we sometimes get bad storms — but no more frequently now than in the past. The advocates simply ignored that evidence — then repeated their false claims after Hurricane Sandy last year.
And the media play along. For example, it somehow wasn’t front-page news that committed believers in man-made global warming recently admitted there’s been no surface global warming for well over a decade and maybe none for decades more. Nor did we see warmists conceding that their explanation is essentially a confession that the previous warming may not have been man-made at all.
Last two paragraphs at the link:
People have a right to religious and cult beliefs within reason. But the warmists have been proved wrong time and again, each time reacting with little more than pictures of forlorn polar bears on ice floes and trying to shut down the opposition. (More bad timing: Arctic ice increased by almost a third this past year, while that at the South Pole was thicker and wider than it’s been in 35 years.)
In war and in science, the bloodiest conflicts always seem to be the religious ones. Time for the American public to say it’s no longer going to play the victim in this one.

A Top Link Over At DrudgeReport: North Dakota Roughnecks Shrug The Cold


Later, 3:15 pm CT: the post below is linked to an AP story. That story is now showing up everywhere including The Guardian which has a better photo

Original Post

The AP is reporting:
Some people were choosing to stay indoors as an arctic blast swept across the Northern Plains, but the prospect of temperatures not cracking single digits had a different effect on the roustabouts, roughnecks and thousands of others working outside in western North Dakota's oil patch.
For them, it was just another challenge to face as they go about the task of pulling nearly a million barrels of oil a day out of the ground.
"This is what I love to do," said Craig Hovet, during a break from maintenance work on a well near Mandaree. "The joke around here is: This kind of weather keeps out the riffraff."
Hovet and his crew shrugged off blowing snow and single-digit temperatures on Wednesday, but the real deep freeze was just ahead. Thursday's projected high was minus 6 degrees, falling to minus 10 by Saturday, with overnight lows to 24 below as a major winter storm bulldozed from the Rockies eastward.
Cold weather is an issue for fracking, but less so for drilling. And cold weather (by itself) is nothing compared to spring flooding and February blizzards. 

Just out of curiosity: when do people seem most productive? Summer vacations on the beach? Winters in North Dakota? I don't know, but I certainly have some thoughts.

Tipping Point? On The Cusp? First Time Jobless Claims Plunge

The AP is reporting:
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits tumbled 23,000 last week to 298,000, nearly a six-year low that shows companies are laying off fewer workers.
The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average declined 10,750 to 322,250.
Last week's unemployment benefit applications nearly matched a September figure that was distorted by late reporting from California. When excluding the September report, last week's figures were the lowest since May 2007. 
With regard to these unemployment numbers, folks may want to scan down this page:

A Note To The Granddaughters

Stories about how badly Obamacare is going fill the blogosphere and even mainstream media (to include NPR).

We saw the same thing when the Department of Defense rolled out Tricare. It was a disaster getting the program rolled out. But Tricare has survived and has turned out to be a pretty good insurance program. Not perfect, but not bad.

We'll see the same thing with Obamacare. It's the law of the land, and one can't put the genie back in the bottle.

There are three "components" to consider: a) access; b) coverage; c) cost. These were the same "components" we saw when Tricare was rolled out.
Access:  yes, there are problems with the website. It was amateur hour. But the website will be fixed. This is simply a technological problem and it will be solved. A year from now, the website problems will be history.

Coverage: this is why the genie cannot be put back in the bottle -- the coverage is incredible. No one can be denied insurance for pre-existing conditions. When one applies, not one question is asked about one's medical history. Only three questions are asked: sex (male/female), age, and zip code. After the annual deductible, the insurance company is on the hook for every last penny. The coverage cannot be beat.

Cost: this is where the rubber meets the road. Folks think once they see the cost of the premiums, the annual deductibles, the co-pays, etc., Americans will be outraged, and not enough Americans will enroll to make the program viable. 
But like "access" the issue of "cost" is a technical issue; the issue of "cost" is not insurmountable. If Europe can afford "it," Americans can afford "it." Americans are not going to give back the "coverage" (no questions about pre-existing conditions; ceiling on personal liability; unlimited liability for insurance companies) because of cost.

If the genie cannot be put back in the bottle, how will it play out?

The insurance companies are on the hook for huge losses. Initially we will get reports of smaller, under-capitalized insurance companies pulling out or going bankrupt. There will be panic.  The larger insurance companies will testify before Congress, and Congress will be left with no choice but to bail out the program -- Americans are not going to give back the "coverage" (no questions about pre-existing conditions; ceiling on personal liability; unlimited liability for insurance companies).

And then we are left with one simple question, the question that was there all along: how do we pay for national health care? That is not a very hard question to answer when it finally sinks in that Americans are not going to give back the "coverage" (no questions about pre-existing conditions; ceiling on personal liability; unlimited liability for insurance companies -- what's not to like?).

Tricare (the military insurance program) had the three same issues: access, cost, and coverage. The coverage was/is incredible, and that's why Tricare, like Obamacare, was not going to fail. Access was the big issue (or better said, execution was the big issue): rolling out the program was a disaster; it was a good three years before it really got going, and finally on auto-pilot. The third component, cost, was never an issue. The Department of Defense/federal government had deep pockets to take care of the cost.

From the perspective of the Oval Office, this is all going according to game plan. It might cost the president and his party some political points over the next five years, but the basic plan will survive. How much credit the president will get in history books twenty years from now is yet to be seen.

I think folks are going to be surprised.

All The News That Is Fit To Print: Some Stories Bigger Than Others; The White House Caught In Another Lie ... Or Something; Which Newspaper Do You Read?

The DICKinson Press is reporting:
Oil production isn’t the only thing growing in North Dakota.
An online condom seller has named North Dakota king of the oversized condom, with a study showing the Roughrider State is No. 1 in the nation in buying larger-sized condoms.
  • South Dakota: #3
  • Minnesota: #39
  • Texas: #41
Others near the top:
Rhode Island ranked second, the District of Columbia came in fourth and Massachusetts was fifth — all large urban centers.
The White House Is Caught In Another Lie... Or Something

On a completely different note and switching gears from really big condoms to really big lies. I really don't care, but I do not understand why "the White House" would lie over something so trivial that would eventually be found out. Two years ago, "the White House" said that "the President" had never met his "uncle" who was here "illegally." Now, it turns out that "the President" lived with his "uncle" for "a brief period" of time back when "the President" was going to Harvard. I'm trying very hard, ala Clinton, to parse the statement on how the question was either misunderstood or the answer technically truthful. And I think this is the clue: "there is no record of the two having ever met." I can believe that.

It is now being reported everywhere but this link takes you to The Washington Post:
The White House acknowledged Thursday that President Obama lived with his uncle for a brief period in the 1980s while he was a student at Harvard Law School -- despite previously saying there was no record of the two having met. [Today, the NSA would have telephone records of the two talking, but not back then.]
"The president did stay with him for a brief period of time until his apartment was ready," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement. "
After that, they saw each other once every few months, but after law school they fell out of touch. The president has not seen him in 20 years, has not spoken with him in 10."
Onyango "Omar" Obama faced a deportation hearing earlier this week following a drunk-driving arrest. During the hearing, he said that the president had lived with him while he was a student at Harvard.
George Washington, it is said, could not tell a lie, and I am convinced beyond all doubt, Abraham Lincoln never told a lie. But with President Obama it appears to be a way of life: if there is no record, it did not happen. Sort of like his birth certificate. 


Speaking of The Washington Post, my good friend Don asked me if I knew who read what newspapers. I did not, so he told me:
An Easy Guide to Keeping American Newspaper Reading in Perspective: 
1.   The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.
2.   The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.
3.   The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country, and who are very good at crossword puzzles.
4.   USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.
5.   The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could find the time -- and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it.
6.   The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country.
7.   The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.
8.   The New York Post is read by people who don't care who is running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.
9.   The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country, but need the baseball scores.
10.  The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure if there is a country or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for.
11.  The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the supermarket.
12.  The Key West Citizen is read by people who have recently caught a fish and need something to wrap it in.

Economy Speeds Ahead; 3.6% 3Q13

Link here.
The US economy grew at a speedy annual rate of 3.6 percent in the third quarter, significantly higher than initially estimated, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
Gross domestic product growth was originally estimated at 2.8 percent for the July-September period. Most analysts expected that the pace of GDP expansion would be revised slightly upward to 3.0 percent.
The upward revision mainly reflected data showing a higher build in private inventory investment and nonresidential fixed investment than seen at the first estimate on November 7.
The strong third-quarter reading marked the fourth consecutive quarter of expansion in the world's largest economy, and was the fastest growth since the 2012 first quarter's 3.7 percent pace.
One word: wow.

Okay, two words: totally unexpected.

Whiting Has A New Presentation: Includes Its High Density Pilots In The Williston Basin And Graphic Of Increased Entry Ports (Points) Per Frack Stage

Link here.

The company's December 4, 2013, presentation shows location of their high density projects in the Bakken, slide 14.

In addition to more wells in each drilling unit and in each formation, there is another wrinkle readers might have noticed: Whiting is increasing the number of "entry points" per frack stage:

US Shale Oil And OPEC: SeekingAlpha

Jennifer Warren over at SeekingAlpha is reporting:
In this arguably "new" hydrocarbon-plenty era, economics will drive investment decisions. Exploiting the shale oil and gas is relatively expensive. And a subtle but sticky-priced floor is likely emerging given supply realities. Given that U.S. production would be hit hardest by any serious decline in oil prices, E&P firms have been hedging portions of production, up to three years ahead in cases. Between U.S. firms' financial hedges in place and OPEC's lever of production cuts, if needed, the volatility that oil could face is becoming lessened to a degree by new supply realities. In other words, the price volatility from negative supply shocks of years past is temporarily muted because of U.S. oil production.
In the nearer term, demand shocks and dampeners, such as economic crisis or recession and U.S. policy paralysis that squanders a decent recovery, are more of a catalyst for oil prices to fall. The EIA reports that "energy use in non-OECD countries is projected to grow by 2.2% per year, and the share of non-OECD energy use is expected to rise from 54% of total world energy use in 2010 to 65% in 2040." Growing developing countries will mop up excess supply. Further out on the horizon is the impact of greater fossil fuel consumption and whether the closed system of the earth's ecosystem can handle it.

A Random Look At Twelve (12) QEP Wells In Heart Butte Oil Field

The area south of the river in northeast Dunn County is very, very active. Yesterday I posted a screen shot of this area with the announcement that QEP has permits for 12 new wells in one section in this area. In that screen shot I noted two other areas where wells have been completed which will serve as a template for the new QEP wells.

Just out of curiosity I looked to see if there was anything else similar going on. There certainly is, in section 10-149-91, Heart Butte:

A screen shot of northeastern Dunn County (McLean County is to the immediate east):

Now, zooming in on the 12 wells in section 10-149-91, all confidential, with one rig-on-site:

Most of the areas in the Heart Butte oil field are 1280-acre spacing, but not sections 10, 11, 14, and 15. Those sections are part of a 2560-acre spacing unit. This 2560-acre spacing and another 2560-acre spacing unit border the river on the south side. I assume these spacing units are in the riparian zone

The wells:
  • 25403, conf, QEP, MHA 4-10-11H-149-91, 
  • 25404, conf, QEP, MHA 2-10-11H-149-91, 
  • 25405, conf, QEP, MHA 3-10-11H-149-91, 
  • 25406, rig-on-site, QEP, MHA 1-10-11H-149-91, 
  • 25407, conf, QEP, MHA 4-10-14H-149-91, 
  • 25408, conf, QEP, MHA 2-10-14H-149-91, 
  • 25409, conf, QEP, MHA 3-10-14H-149-91, 
  • 25410, conf, QEP, MHA 1-10-14H-149-91, 
  • 25411, conf, QEP, MHA 4-10-15H-149-91, 
  • 25412, conf, QEP, MHA 2-10-15H-149-91, 
  • 25413, conf, QEP, MHA 3-10-15H-149-91, 
  • 25414, conf, QEP, MHA 1-10-15H-149-91, 

Boiler Plate

It's almost impossible not to see this boiler plate:
... Halliburton, formerly headed by Dick Cheney....
.... the troubled site...
... controversial practice known as fracking ...

Thursday; The Kashagan Debacle Is Making ObamaCare Website Look Good; Seth Sees Dow Hitting 20,000 By 2018; Young Won't Support ObamaCare -- Critical If ObamaCare Is To Survive As We Know It

Young folks support Obama; won't support Obamacare
Mounting opposition to ObamaCare among young adults is creating a new crisis for the White House.
While the federal enrollment website appears to be improving by the day, polls show the “young invincibles” key to making the law work are becoming less likely to enroll.
Younger people were skeptical of the healthcare reform law even before its troubled rollout, despite their support for President Obama.
Medicaid is latest health-site victim. Yes, it's a trainwreck, also. We're gonna see the same thing come January 1, 2014, for ObamaCare. Reporting in today's Wall Street Journal:
States are refusing to process Medicaid enrollments from people who signed up through the troubled site, citing incomplete information. Thousands who thought they got insurance may not have it.
Active rigs:

Active Rigs19318120016466

RNB Energy: Part 3 on the "painful" situation in western Canada.
Expanding Western Canadian Oil Sands production is currently butting up against pipeline constraints to move the crude to markets in the US and beyond. The result is painful price discounts for producers and an increased inventory of crude in storage at the Edmonton and Hardisty hubs in Alberta. New storage capacity is being added in both hubs to handle the growing volume. Today we detail TransCanada and MEG Energy expansion plans in Edmonton.
Observation for the day: the NSA can track 5 billion cellphone locations per day, Amazon can ship over a million line items per hour, and can accommodate (maybe) 50,000 people at any one time. Apparently in general, the state health exchanges are in worse shape, and the Oregon website is not even up yet.

The Wall Street Journal 

Drug-cost surprises lurk inside new health plans.
Americans with chronic illnesses—who are expected to be among the biggest beneficiaries of the health law—face widely varying out-of-pocket drug costs that could be obscured on the new insurance exchanges. 
Under the law, patients can't be denied coverage due to existing conditions or charged higher rates than healthier peers. The law also sets an annual out-of-pocket maximum of up to $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families, after which insurers pay the full tab.  [As far as I know, this is the ONLY unlimited liability any non-government entity has in the United States. I don't think folks have given this much thought.]
But depending on the coverage they select, some patients on expensive drug regimens could reach that level fast. Some medications for conditions including hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV and cancer can retail for thousands of dollars a month, and some plans require patients to pay as much as 50% of the cost.
 Early interbreeding more widespread than thought. This is really, really exciting, coming on heels of James Shreeve's 1995 The Neandertal Enigma: Solving the Mystery of Modern Human Origins. Yes, it's an old book, and I don't generally care for his writing style, but it brought me up to speed regarding human origins. Now this fascinating article comes along. From The Journal:
Researchers analyzing DNA found in ancient bones from Spain discovered a stranger in the mix, suggesting that interbreeding between human species in Ice Age Europe was more widespread than suspected, according to research published Wednesday.
Geneticists led by Matthias Meyer at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany extracted the oldest known human DNA—dating back more than 300,000 years—from a fossil thigh bone preserved at the bottom of a cave shaft called Sima de los Huesos—the pit of the bones—in northern Spain, where remains of 28 early humans belonging to an unknown species have been discovered.
By the appearance of their bones, these primitive precursors to modern humankind likely looked most like stocky, barrel-chested Neanderthals. But the genetic analysis reported in Nature showed that their maternal DNA, drawn from special cell structures called mitochondria, was different than that of Neanderthals and also unlike that of more modern humans. It was most closely related to a mysterious species called the Denisovans.
The Denisovans themselves were unknown to science until 2010, when their DNA was first identified from the fingertip of a young female discovered in a cave in Siberia. Her remains dated to about 40,000 years ago, offering evidence that Neanderthals, anatomically modern humans and Denisovans coexisted at that time.
CBR under attack by Sierra Club; they were late on fracking; they won't let the CBR issue get away from them.

I'm beginning to think there's only one story worse than the website and that's the Kashagan debacle. Today The Journal reports:
Operators of the giant Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan are homing in on microscopic cracks in a steel pipeline as they race to understand the cause of dangerous gas leaks that have forced them to halt output indefinitely and could result in hefty repair costs.
Members of the NCOC consortium running Kashagan fear the stoppage could extend well into next year if a technical investigation, launched in October after leaks were detected for the second time in three weeks, concludes that a poisonous mix of hydrogen and sulfur contained in the crude oil has done extensive damage to the pipeline system in the $40 billion project, people familiar with the matter said.
 Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on anything you read here or think you may have read here. 

The Journal is reporting:
When Seth Masters, chief investment officer at Bernstein Global Wealth Management, first predicted the Dow Jones Industrial Average would hit 20,000 by the end of this decade, he said he was ridiculed as a "starry-eyed optimist." 
That was June 2012, not long after the worst of the euro-zone debt crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 12,500, some 3,500 points lower than today, a rally of nearly 27% for the blue chips. Now, with the Dow at 15,889, Mr. Masters isn't just sticking by his call, he is moving it up. 
He reckons the Dow could reach 20,000 by 2018, a 26% gain from Wednesday's level. The Dow is up 21% in 2013. "We are actually ahead of schedule," said Mr. Masters, whose firm manages $69 billion in assets.

Gasoline Demand Up As "We" Move Into Holiday Season; Saudi Arabia Sticks With America

The Journal is reporting:
Gasoline prices are rising as the holiday season kicks off, as stronger demand in the U.S. and elsewhere takes a bite out of fuel supplies.
Gasoline futures, which tend to dictate prices at the pump, are up 7.6% in the past month, to $2.7192 a gallon on Wednesday.
Also, The Journal is reporting that Saudi Arabia will stick with America:
OPEC's raison d'etre is to get a high price for its oil. But selling to the highest bidder isn't always the preferred option. Consider the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' de facto leader, Saudi Arabia. West Texas Intermediate sets the pace for crude-oil prices on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. It costs about $97 a barrel, a $15 discount to Brent, which aligns more closely with world prices.
All else equal, an oil exporter like Saudi Arabia might send more barrels elsewhere; Asia, say.
Yet U.S. imports of Saudi Arabian crude oil continue to bounce around between one million to 1.5 million barrels per day—roughly the level they have held since the late 1980s. Because U.S. crude-oil imports overall have fallen, 19% of barrels landing in September came from the kingdom, the highest proportion since the summer of 2003.
Why is Riyadh OK with selling all that oil at a discount?
The answer matters for investors in exploration and production companies and refiners. Partly it lies in Saudi Arabia's supply chain. Via its national oil company, it owns half of Motiva, a joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell that operates several Gulf coast refineries, including the 600,000 barrel per day Port Arthur facility in Texas. These are natural outlets for Saudi Arabian crude, and the resulting products such as diesel can then be sold either in the U.S. or exported anywhere at global prices.
Geopolitics is another motivation. The recent interim agreement on Iran has fueled speculation of a growing rift between Washington and Riyadh. Michael Levi at the Council on Foreign Relations reckons Saudi Arabia's leaders might view any foregone oil revenue as "a small price to pay to disabuse U.S. policy makers of the idea that they don't matter anymore." 
This is a great story, something I have talked about often (the Motiva refinery) and would not have known about had I not blogged. There are several story lines in this article that are carried throughout the blog over the years.

Sierra Club To Kill CBR; Late On Fracking Will Not Let This Opportunity Pass

If the Sierra Club can't stop fracking, they will stop CBR. The Journal is reporting:
Companies that thought they had found a relatively easy way to move crude from the booming oil fields of North Dakota to the West Coast are encountering obstacles.
Half a dozen companies are trying to build rail terminals on the coast of Washington state to receive trainloads of crude from the Bakken field in North Dakota. The oil would then be transferred to ships and barges that could carry it to refineries in the Pacific Northwest or south to California. Analysts say regulatory hurdles make it difficult to build the necessary rail yards and tank farms in California, and it's more expensive to ship crude there.
But getting a permit in Washington is proving more challenging than companies expected.
Targa Resources Partners recently called off plans to build a new crude-oil tank farm and rail yard at the Port of Tacoma, saying it was "unable to identify an economical path forward."
The company, which didn't return requests for comment, applied earlier this year to get a permit from a regional clean-air agency that would allow it to ship crude by barge from its existing facility at the port, but that is still being reviewed.
And in the wake of this summer's train derailment in Quebec that killed 47 people, some groups are vowing to stop projects that would increase the number of oil trains rumbling through communities. "The whole enterprise raises serious concerns about the heightened risk of transporting crude by rail," said Devorah Ancel, a staff attorney for the Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy group that has opposed some of the crude-by-rail projects at Washington ports. Companies that want to transport crude by rail say the risks are minimal, and the rewards are great. Refiners have said shipping crude by rail from North Dakota to Washington is a bargain at as little as $10 a barrel, compared with $13 to $16 for a barrel of crude to travel by rail to California and $16 to ship a barrel to the East Coast.
Targa was in the news a year ago when it was announced it would invest $1 billion in North Dakota-Bakken-related operations. I don't know how this latest setback -- calling off plans for a CBR unloading facility in Washington State, Port of Tacoma.

The Trainwreck Simply Gets Worse And Worse

Medicaid is latest health-site victim. Yes, it's a trainwreck, also. We're gonna see the same thing come January 1, 2014, for ObamaCare. Reporting in today's Wall Street Journal:
States are refusing to process Medicaid enrollments from people who signed up through the troubled site, citing incomplete information. Thousands who thought they got insurance may not have it.
States are warning that they may not process Medicaid enrollments from people who have signed up for the health program through the troubled site, raising the prospect that several hundred thousand low-income people who thought they had obtained insurance actually may not have it.
The federal health-insurance site, which serves residents in 36 states, is designed to sell policies from private insurers. But some people who apply for coverage through the site discover they are eligible instead for Medicaid, the joint federal-state health-insurance program for the poor and disabled.
So far, the federal government has been unable to transfer full Medicaid applications to states, potentially leaving people who sought to sign up for Medicaid through without coverage.
In all, some 183,396 people who submitted coverage applications through were determined to be eligible for Medicaid through Nov. 2, according to data published by the Department of Health and Human Services. Many thousands more are believed to have received similar assessments in the month since then.
Call it what you want, but the senator's description of this as a trainwreck is about as apt as one can get. The federal site is unable to transfer data to state sites. That shouldn't be all that difficult. Medicaid is state-funded, with federal support, so I doubt cash-strapped states will work overtime to solve the problem.