Friday, December 20, 2013

The ObamaCare Milestones -- One More Checked Off; Obama Repeals ObamaCare -- WSJ; Meanwhile, In North Dakota, Sanford Health Has The Monopoly -- And No One Cares


Later, 2:25 Pacific Time: wow, the folks in Minnesota must really feel like chumps now, now that President Obama has repealed ObamaCare for 2014. It sounds like the Minnesota on-line health exchange might be one of the worst, if not the worst, in the country, even worse than the Federal website (if that's possible). I can't make this stuff up. (Oregon doesn't count: they don't even their on-line website posted).
Minnesota's efforts became so beset with problems that Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton issued a public apology and MNsure's top executive recently resigned.
"I believe in this program. But this has just been inexcusable," said Tom Beckfeld, a small business owner and Democratic activist in central Minnesota who's been stymied in his attempts to nail down coverage through MNsure.
Beckfeld already canceled his old plan. Despite spending many hours on hold with the MNsure call center, he said, he has been unable to correct problems with his application and is still unsure if he can count on new coverage on Jan. 1.
Minnesota's website has been down for long stretches, even as callers to its helpline sometimes spent more than an hour on hold. Oregon's exchange still has not been able to enroll anyone electronically and continues to accept only paper applications. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, acknowledged last week that not every resident who wants insurance by Jan. 1 will necessarily get it. In Hawaii, the exchange had to delay the Oct. 1 start of open enrollment by two full weeks.
Original Post

On December 4, 2013, I posted:

ObamaCare milestones:
employer-mandate delayed one full year
small-business on-line enrollment delayed one year
Harry Reid exempts his staff from ObamaCare
    individual mandate delayed one year (currently delayed a few weeks) 
    webpage fixed 
Yesterday, a new milestone:
 ObamaCare milestones:
employer-mandate delayed one full year
small-business on-line enrollment delayed one year
Harry Reid exempts his staff from ObamaCare
  individual mandate delayed one year ("hardship" claim) 
    webpage fixed (moot; no longer needed)
The Wall Street Journal goes into much more detail:
The White House argued at the Supreme Court that the insurance-purchase mandate was not only constitutional but essential to the law's success, while refusing Republican demands to delay or repeal it. But late on Thursday, with only four days to go before the December enrollment deadline, the Health and Human Services Department decreed that millions of Americans are suddenly exempt.
Individuals whose health plans were canceled will now automatically qualify for a "hardship exemption" from the mandate. If they can't or don't sign up for a new plan, they don't have to pay the tax. They can also get a special category of ObamaCare insurance designed for people under age 30.
So, there you have it. Pretty much dead. The ideals are dead. Now we will watch to see if the insurance companies can claw their way out of this debacle. The insurance companies were depending on healthy folks under the age of 30 "subsidizing" the program; that has been pulled out from under them.


Meanwhile, in North Dakota, Sanford Health has the monopoly and no one cares. Least of all, Blue Cross Blue Shield after pulling out of North Dakota. The Bismarck Tribune is reporting:
One of two private insurers in North Dakota that submitted a proposal for involvement in state Medicaid expansion has now withdrawn.
The North Dakota Department of Human Services said Friday that Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota had notified the department of its withdrawal the previous day.
The department revealed the Blue Cross Blue Shield withdrawal in its overall update on Medicaid expansion.
It leaves the Sanford Health Plan as the only private insurer to submit a proposal.
This requirement is gonna kill Sanford:
Insurers submitting proposals had to assure the department that they would be able to meet the state’s requirements to for access to services statewide.

Target Update: A Blogger Broke The News; Kansas City Star Reports That The Hackers Did Get The 3-Digit Security Code


January 10, 2014: Nieman-Marcus said it was also hacked at about the same time as Target. The investigation has just begun. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

January 10, 2014: originally Target said 40 million hacked; now at least 70 million, and very likely close to 110 million. In addition, the hackers got a lot more personal information than originally disclosed.

December 27, 2013: despite earlier, steadfast denials, Target now admits hackers got the PINs

December 25, 2013: It was mentioned below that the 3-digit PINs had been stolen but the source of the story was "questionable." It is now being reported over at Yahoo!Finance that, yes, indeed, the 3-digit PINs had been stolen. Target has still not released what data was stolen from the credit cards. It will probably be awhile before I return to Target.

December 21, 2013: Target is telling its REDcard customers to continue using their cards. Even though the account numbers are stolen, Target says they are monitoring credit card use for "unusual buying trends," or something like that. Apparently in New York City, Target customers routinely buy Apple products (iPads, etc) in bulk. I cannot make this up. The New York Post is reporting:
A search of the vehicle turned up $20,000 worth of Apple goods in Target shopping bags inside the trunk. Receipts for the devices — 17 Apple iPad Airs, 11 iTouches and 14 iPad Minis — showed they had been purchased at area Targets, predominantly on Long Island, sources said.
Original Post
The Los Angeles Times is reporting what was exactly my experience:
Target — one of the country's largest retailers — is facing accusations that it waited too long in disclosing that its system had been hacked, exposing some 40 million of its customers' credit and debit card accounts. The Minneapolis company waited until Thursday to confirm that a break-in occurred between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.
The information was then downplayed on the retailer's website, tucked out of view at the very top of the page.
Now, potential victims have said they've been having problems reaching Target's customer service department through its website and call centers. Angry and afraid of identity theft and that scammers might siphon their money dry, they took to social media in droves to vent.
Bekah Sims Andrews complained on Facebook of waiting for 48 minutes on hold hoping to reach a Target associate before being suddenly booted off the call and hearing a busy signal.
"Are you kidding?" Andrews posted on Target's page. "This is completely unacceptable."
Target apologized with a form response, saying the delays were caused by "significantly higher volume than normal" to call centers. The retailer said it was "adding team member support and system capacity as quickly as possible," working to "build capacity hour by hour."
I was on hold for about 35 minutes when I called Target. When I reached a human, a male, I told him I wanted to cancel my account ... it was incredible ... after 30 minutes of being on hold, as soon as I said "cancel" I lost the signal and got the busy signal. 

I called again, and this time, knew that I would probably get a faster response if I called the number to report a stolen card. That worked. I didn't have to talk to anyone; the current account was canceled; and I would be sent a new card. Which I will never use.  

The company learned about the breach by the 15th (and it's my understanding it was a third party that released the story, not Target) and here it was, the 19th, yesterday, and I had still not heard from Target. Not an e-mail with an update. 

After reading several reports, I'm getting the feeling that Target and "authorities" were aware of this breach well before the 15th but were letting it continue hoping to trap the perpetrators. If so, this is going to really make my wife angry. She didn't use her credit card at Target until December 14th. It will be interesting to see if this is true -- that Target and authorities were aware of this breach before the 15th.

I am absolutely amazed that the company would direct its folks to hang up as soon as someone requested that his/her account be canceled. As soon as I said I wanted to cancel my account, I lost the connection and got a busy signal, exactly as described above. 

So, back to the article, what else in the update? What is most irritating, Target points out a few things that weren't taken from the magnetic strip, but has failed to say what exactly what was on the magnetic strip. 

Target says the thieves did not get the 3-digit security code, but the Kansas City Star is reporting quite the opposite:
The thieves carted off customer names, card numbers, expiration dates and even the three-digit codes on the back of up to 40 million cards.

Read more here:
Scrambling to tamp down consumer outrage over the theft of credit and debit card data from more than 40 million of its customers, Target announced on Friday that it would offer a 10 percent discount on purchases inside its stores on Saturday and Sunday — the final shopping weekend of the holiday season. 
Insult after injury. One gets 10% discount at Barnes and Noble day in, day out just for being a $25/year "loyal" customer.  

It gets worse:
Target, with nearly 1,800 stores and $73 billion in revenue reported last year, would not release information on the effect the hacking news has had on its sales or its traffic, but outrage was ricocheting around the Internet. Customers complained that the company was not doing enough, and that they were encountering error messages while trying to check their Target REDcard accounts online.
John Kenyan, a REDcard holder, said in an email that when he tried to check his account for fraudulent activity, the account listed only the total purchase amount, the date and the store, without listing the individual items purchased. “This makes it almost impossible to check for fraud,” Mr. Kenyan said.
Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consulting and research firm, said Target’s handling of the news had been “less than nimble,” because while the company became aware of the problem on Dec. 15, word first reached its customers days later when a blogger broke the news.
One wonders if Obamacare website, which apparently has no security precautions in place, is actually a safer bet at this time?

This is the real question: if Target only learned about this breach on the 15th, how did they put the necessary security in place by the 19th when the story broke? If it only took a day or two to put the necessary security in place, why wasn't it already done? Ten years ago? The Kansas City Star:
Target said it closed the breach quickly, once it was discovered, and assured customers that shopping was safe again.

Read more here:
I will eventually go back to Target; it's one of my favorite retailers. But it will be awhile. And I will pay in cash. All I need right now is a package of cherry Twizzlers.

Yeah, Didn't The Romans Salt Carthage? And Something Special For Warmists -- Seven Global Warming "Truthisms" Observed In 2013

Link here (to Carthage). LOL.

Seriously, this is an accident waiting to happen. Three million (that's a "3" with six zeroes on the end) gallons of saltwater sitting in storage tanks for each well that is going to be fracked. If there are 6 wells on a pad, one could imagine almost 20 million gallons of salt water on some farmer's wheat farm.

The Bismarck Tribune is reporting:
Statoil received the OK this week to proceed with a test that will use produced waterwaste water that is a byproduct of oil production – for fracking operations at a well site north of Williston.
Reusing the wastewater will save about 6.5 million gallons of freshwater for the two oil wells at the test site, said Russell Rankin, regional manager for Statoil.
Statoil did a small-scale test in 2012 to determine if produced water from the Bakken, which has a very high salinity content, could be used for fracking. The test used Halliburton’s technology known as CleanWave to treat the water.
On another note, after reading the description of CleanWave at the linked site, think of all the science projects the Williston High School students could present at the annual "Science Fair." My favorite was observing how plants grow while being exposed to loud "rock" music.  LOL.

A Note To The Granddaughters

Two stories.

First: 2013 Will Finish One Of The Ten Coldest Years In US History, With The Largest Drop In Temperature.

Second: The seventeenth year of no global warming. Seventeen years! An inconvenient truth.
This year has been trying for climate scientists and environmentalists who have been trying hard to explain away the 17-year hiatus in global warming and link “extreme weather” to rising greenhouse gas emissions — despite strong evidence to the contrary. There has been a breakdown in the manmade global warming consensus, and some even argue we are headed for an ice age.
The linked story provides seven -- count 'em -- seven "setbacks for the warmists.

The cockles of my heart are warmed.

OXY USA Has Two New Permits To Drill In The North Dakota Bakken

A reader pointed out that OXY USA has not reported a new oil and gas permit in the state of North Dakota for quite some time. My data base shows that the last OXY USA permit was issued back in October, 2013, and I was reporting the same thing: that OXY USA had not announced a new permit in quite some time in North Dakota.

Murphy's Law.

The one or two days that I am traveling and unable to access the web and/or update the blog, what do you know? OXY USA is reported to have not one, but two new permits, December 17, 2013, both in Crooked Creek in Dunn County.

So, there you have it. OXY USA is still applying for permits to drill in the North Dakota Bakken.

Nine (9) New Permits -- The Bakken, Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; Hess Reports Completion Of Five Producing Wells


December 29, 2013: in the original post I note that Chesapeake has finally made it official -- abandoning one of its wells. After posting that, a reader sent me this:
All of their wells are plugged except for the Hutzenbiler well, which they apparently sold to Williston Exploration.  W.E. has a sign at the entrance.  I live in the area and have been to all of the wells.  W.E. also is on the January hearing to set up spacing for a vertical Tyler well off of this pad.
This confirms, January, 2014, NDIC dockets:
  • 21608, Williston Exploration, establish a 160-acre unit, a vertical well, Tyler, Stark
Original Post
Active rigs: this is really quite surprising -- considering how much more effective the "new" rigs are, multi-pad drilling, blah, blah, blah, "192" today certainly "exceeds" 199 two years ago.

Active Rigs19218619916479

Nine (9) new permits -- 
  • Operators: Hess (4), Whiting (2), Enduro, Slawon, Ballard Petroleum
  • Fields: Manitou (Mountrail), Little Deep Creek (Renville), Big Bend (Mountrail), Parshall (Mountrail)
  • Comments: Ballard has a permit for a wildcat in Bottineau County (Spearfish well)
Wells coming off the confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Permit renewed:
  • 24650, conf, KOG, P Wood 154-98-3-27-16-3H, Truax
Permit canceled:
  • 26501, PNC, CLR, Vachal 7-27H1, Alkali Creek,
  • 26500, PNC, CLR, Vachal 6-27H1, Alkali Creek,
Five (5) producing wells completed:
  • 25060, 599, Hess, AN-Mogen Trust-153-94-3229H-1, Antelope, Sanish pool, t11/13; cum --
  • 25061, 1,432, Hess, AN-Prosser-152-95-0211H-4, Antelope, Sanish pool, t12/13; cum --
  • 25225, 814, Hess, BW-Sorenson 149-99-1342H-2, Cherry Creek, t11/13; cum --
  • 25285, 991, Hess, SC-Barney 154-98-1819H-4, Truax, t11/13; cum --
  • 25462, 1,155, Hess, EN-Leo 154-94-2324-1, Alkali Creek, t11/13; cum --
Finally, it's official, Chespeake has abandoned this well:
  • 21143, AB, Chesapeake, Schoch 21-137-97 A 1H, Three Forks, wildcat
And, finally, Chesapeake tells us this hole is dry:
  • 21135, DRY, Chesapeake, Decker 26-138-97 A 1H, Three Forks, wildcat; completed 10/17/2013 -- I guess someone just forgot about sending in the report. It's hard to say it was "dry" -- they reached total depth, but never fracked it. Samples were very poor, so unlikely to be economic; they cut their losses.
 Better late than never, I guess.

Crude Oil Closes Above $99

Maybe it's just me, but "closing just above $99" certainly sounds like $100-oil.

Futures at the sidebar, at the very top.

A Note To The Granddaughters

The Hunger Games phenomenon is absolutely fascinating. How does it happen? Or rather, how did it happen.

Our older granddaughter read the trilogy some time ago. I suppose she told me the first time what she was reading at the time, but I probably wasn't listening. Then, some time later, she told me she had read the trilogy three times. It still didn't sink in. So what? She read it three times. So what? She reads a lot of books, but she doesn't read many three times. (One exception: we read Black Beauty together and she read it alone and she says it remains one of her favorite books.)

But where did "it" come from? Where did The Hunger Games come from? A sleeper? The first movie comes out and I don't even know it. I heard later that our daughter and two granddaughters went to the movie. I don't know what my daughter thought of it, but the granddaughters loved it, especially the older one. She practically knew the books by heart, and here she was seeing, perhaps, for the first time, a movie of a book that she knew so well. [I will enjoy talking to her about that experience when I see her again when I return to Texas.]

The movie has become a franchise. I understand the second movie is better than the first. It's hard to believe. [I won't know until it comes out on DVD.] Again, our daughter and granddaughters went to the second movie but didn't say much. It was better than the first movie they said but they were "frustrated" with the ending. Apparently whatever develops in the second movie is not resolved by the end. A cliff-hanger, I guess.

But again, the phenomenon. The Hunger Games. How did it happen? The Academy apparently ignored it; few nominations and only one Award. Incredible. As I watch it for the second time, and the special features for the second time, this is clearly a movie that will stand the test of time. It is already more than it was. The myth is growing. At the supermarket today I see there is a glossy special edition of the first movie with five or six posters. I didn't buy it but something tells me I will buy it before the end of the year, as a gift to our older granddaughter.

I asked my wife the other day if she thought directors/producers knew when they had a hit on their hands. She didn't know; I certainly didn't know. It would have been wonderful to have heard Roger Ebert's commentary on this movie.

The Williston Wire -- North Dakota Has Third Highest Rate Of Unmarried Men

Headlines only; it is easy to subscribe to The Williston Wire. One two stories this time because most stories have been previously posted.

This really is quite impressive, the description of this new hotel in Williston, the Brooks at Williston, 80-room hotel with Heated indoor pool and a 3,100-square-foot aquatic center that includes a relaxing whirlpool.

North Dakota has third highest rate of unmarried men.  A graphic from The New York Times. Maybe I'm being over-sensitive here, but The New York Times seems to suggest part of the reason for a higher rate of unmarried men across the United States is because women are waiting longer to get married. Well, excuuuuussssssseeee me.... maybe a lot of men are not interested in getting married, for all kinds of reasons. Phil Robertson might have something to say about that. When I saw the graphic the first thing that came to my mind was --- remember, this is The New York Times -- that this was a public service announcement that the NYT was offering a significant portion of its audience.

January, 2014, Should Set A Record For Number Of Wells Coming Off The Confidential List

January, 2014, should be a big month for the Bakken. Right now it looks like there are 217 wells that will come off the confidential list in January, 2014.

From my database:

This data is tracked over here

Confidential wells, December 20, 2013: 2,177 
  • Previous high: 2,137 (October 10, 2013)
  • Previous high, 2,117
  • July 2012 confidential wells: 151
  • August 2012 confidential wells: 156
  • October 2012: 147
  • November 2012: 181 (record, previous 166)
  • December 2012 : 179
  • January, 2013: 152 --> 154
  • February 2013: 154 --> 175
  • March 2013: 180
  • April 2013: 173
  • May 2013: 168
  • June 2013: 152
  • July 2013: 152
  • August 2013: 158
  • September 2013: 186 (record, previous 181)
  • October 2013: 199 (record, previous 195)
  • November 2013: 153
  • December 2013: 170 (For 2013: 2,020 wells)
  • January 2014: 217 (this might be a record)
  • February 2014: 142
  • March 2014: 189
  • April 2014: 169
  • May 2014: 174

Obama Directs Federal Agencies To Obtain 20 Percent Of Their Electricity From Renewable Energy Sources By 2020

This is where guys like Warren Buffett are going to make tons of money.

Argus Media is reporting:
President Barack Obama directed federal agencies to obtain 20 percent of their electricity from renewables by fiscal year 2020, a move that could make the government a buyer of renewable energy certificates (RECs).
The new target, included in a presidential memorandum, would almost triple the government renewable energy usage from the current 7 percent.
That's less than 8 years from now.

Presidents come and go.

It's interesting that the president has this much power -- Congress not even involved in such a massive shift.

I guess that's why the US Navy is spending $26/gallon on algae-bio-diesel. 

CO2 Is Not A Hazardous Waste -- Obama Administration

I don't know how big a deal this is for the Bakken -- yet -- but something tells me this is very, very good news for some folks. 

From Argus Media:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday issued a final rule that exempts CO2 injected underground from hazardous waste regulations, a step the agency said would help ensure “safe and effective deployment” of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies.
The rule, issued under the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act, is intended to fill gaps in policy on CCS and help spur its use at stationary sources such as power plants. The resources conservation act governs the handling of municipal and industrial waste.
CCS is not yet used at a commercial-scale operation, but a few projects are under construction and EPA has proposed requiring new coal-fired power plants to capture at 30-50pc of CO2 emissions. CCS project developers have noted that regulatory gaps make planning difficult in spite of government initiatives to promote the technologies.
The new rule follows EPA's creation in 2010 of a new class of underground storage wells specifically for CO2sequestration under the Safe Water Drinking Act — Class IV wells. That ruling also established how wells used for CCS should be sited, constructed, tested and monitored.

More Meandering Musings; CBR, Pipelines, And Fractionation Facilities -- But No Keystone XL

This note may be the most important note I've posted all day, maybe all week. I spoke with a postal carrier yesterday who just happens to be someone I've known for about thirty years. In all those years, he has been a postal carrier for the US Postal Service (aka the US Post Office). I asked him if he was busy, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, knowing this was Christmas. He said -- now remember, he's been doing this same route -- almost the same commercial/retail route -- for over thirty years (he is working beyond his 30-year retirement) -- he said that ... a drum roll  ... this is the busiest year he has ever, ever seen. He says it is due to all the on-line ordering. Amazon.

I see UPS traded at a new high today.

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.

Kinder Morgan Partners and Imperial Oil to build Edmonton crude oil rail terminal :
Kinder Morgan and Imperial Oil today announced a 50-50 joint venture to build a crude oil rail-loading facility in Strathcona County, Alberta, called the Edmonton Rail Terminal. Imperial Oil will be the base load customer and has subscribed for the start-up capacity through a long-term contract. The partners are now actively marketing possible expansion capacity to potential third-party customers. Investment by the joint venture partners for the rail terminal will total approximately $170 million. In addition, Kinder Morgan will invest approximately $100 million in pipeline connections and two new staging tanks to be constructed within the Kinder Morgan Edmonton storage facility. Construction is now underway and completion is scheduled for December 2014. 
Kinder Morgan Partners and Magellan Midstream Partners joint venture enters into a long-term agreement with Anadarko to transport Eagle Ford Shale production:
Kinder Morgan Crude and Condensate LLC and Double Eagle Pipeline LLC, a 50/50 joint venture between Magellan Midstream Partners and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, announced that they have entered into a long-term agreement with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation to transport Eagle Ford Shale production from Gardendale, Texas, in LaSalle County, to the Houston Ship Channel via the KMCC Pipeline.
Double Eagle will construct 160,000 barrels of storage capacity and a pump station at Gardendale in addition to building an approximately 10-mile pipeline to connect the Double Eagle Pipeline and the KMCC Pipeline in Karnes County, Texas. Double Eagle will transport product from its new Gardendale station to the KMCC Helena station in Karnes County. KMCC will construct 240,000 barrels of storage at its Helena Station to move crude and condensate from the Double Eagle Pipeline to the KMCC delivery points. Double Eagle and KMCC expect to complete construction of these facilities in early 2015 to move production to the Houston Ship Channel. 

Kinder Morgan Partners and Targa Resources Partners (NGLS) sign letter of intent to form joint venture to construct new NGL fractionation facilities: Co and Targa Resources Partners LP (NGLS) announced they have signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture to construct new natural gas liquids (NGL) fractionation facilities at Mont Belvieu, Texas, to provide services for producers in the Utica and Marcellus Shale resource plays in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. In order to allow producers and shippers sufficient time to assess their Gulf Coast fractionation and pipeline needs, a binding open season currently under way for the Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline, a proposed joint venture between MarkWest Utica EMG, L.L.C. and KMP, will be extended until Feb. 28, 2014.

For the archives. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. From SeekingAlpha
It remains to be seen how many of these proposed [LNG export] projects will actually be approved and built, but the projects that were already approved have a capacity of more than 6 Bcf/d. Hopefully, some of the companies involved in these project proposals will realize the potential for loss on these investments and pull out before things get too far and it's too late to minimize losses. If these companies do not sober up before it is too late, we could count them to be among the victims who bought into the shale oil and gas revolution over-hype and got burned as a result.
This article was about natural gas revolution in the US. I can't speak to that; I don't understand natural gas all that well. The Bakken: we might have completed the first 50 miles if this were the Daytona 500 -- Lynn Helms, NDIC. The Bakken operators drill about 2,000 wells/year. It will take a minimum of 60,000 wells to drill out the Bakken. I don't see anything in the tea leaves to suggest the Scandinavians, Slavs, Syrians, and/or Germans will see any reason to increase the pace of drilling over the next five to ten years. 

Meandering Musings: I Wish They Would Turn The Heat On; WOW! GDP 4.1 3Q13!

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.

Wow, I was in a bad mood this morning. I miss Texas. Whenever I am in a bad mood or anxious, I try to "list" the things that could be bothering me. Then, I determine what the worst outcome would be for each and what I can do to minimize the concern or remove it completely.

It also helped to find the "right" music and play it very, very loudly, literally forcing out other thoughts.

And, then getting some e-mail from several readers helped me a whole lot. I got more notes that usual from readers today. Christmas spirit?

I appreciate most the comments from an individual offering to buy me a cup of coffee if I'm ever up his way.

It's interesting. I avoid all personal (verbal) contact with folks interested in talking about the Bakken. E-mail is fine. But not in person. I've made two exceptions. Both exceptions have worked out very well. Actually, there was a third exception; a telephone "interview" of sorts. Really, really nice, but I won't do it again.

By the way, speaking of those exceptions, meeting folks in person, I have to post a note regarding one such encounter. I've always thought there would be a niche for an individual (or a company) to provide one-stop shopping for those who have:
a) mineral rights in more than one well in the Bakken
b) surface rights of more than 80 acres in the Bakken
These folks need a) legal advice; b) geologic advice; c) financial advice; d) tax advice; e) estate planning; g) contract reviews; h) advice on said contracts; i) real estate sales/brokerage; and, probably a whole lot more. I am not aware of anyone doing that. Correction. I am now aware of one.

Farmers receiving a million dollars annually in oil royalties in the better Bakken, are no longer farmers. They are oilmen who are now hobby farming. That is not an original thought. A reader told me that.

This is not the song that helped this morning, it was the song before this one, but this one is too unique not to post:

After Hours, The Velvet Underground, solo, Maureen Tucker

The line has stretched outside the door all morning, since 8:00 a.m., at this particular Starbucks in San Pedro, California. I wish they would turn the heat on. 

London Homesick Blues, Gary P Nunn with Jerry Jeff Walker

Years ago, on my very first trip to Texas, I was amazed at all the dead armadillos I saw on the highway. I don't see so many dead armadillos any more; in fact, I cannot recall the last time I saw a dead armadillo. Either I'm not traveling in west Texas enough, or Darwin has finally eliminated the problem.

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.

Wow, the market has taken off this morning. Or I guess this afternoon. I'm in California and it's well past noon on the east coast.

This story, I guess, is driving the market:
Stocks rose on Friday, putting the S&P 500 on pace for its best week in five months, as an unexpectedly strong report on U.S. growth boosted investor confidence that the economy could handle a wind-down of Federal Reserve stimulus.
Gross domestic product grew at a 4.1 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the fastest pace in almost two years, and higher than the 3.6 percent pace reported earlier this month. Business spending was also stronger than previously estimated.
I have to update the earlier post, the "famous" "3.6 3Q13" post.

Chevron among Credit Suisse's top energy picks for 2014

Speaking of Jerry Jeff Walker, this song was from one of the most unique, one of the best albums I ever bought. I still have the vinyl somewhere. I tossed hundreds of vinyl records years ago, but kept a few.

Wheel, Jerry Jeff Walker

It's hard to believe that one man while I was alive could have written both "Mr Bojangles" and "Wheel" -- both sound like they might have been traditional or folk songs written by an unknown lyricist from the 1930's.

Observations Regarding The January, 2014, NDIC Hearing Dockets

The summary of the January, 2014, agenda is here

It looks like the "end of the year" agenda with a lot of "continued cases."

It is interesting to look at some of the miscellaneous issues. One almost gets the feeling that if there were any objections to requests last year, the operators tabled the request (or someone tabled the request) until everyone could get their migratory ducks in order.

A lot of pooling cases, as usual. Nothing new here; it is just interesting to see which companies are pooling each month.

A reader noted some time ago that OXY USA has not had any new permits since October. It is noteworthy that OXY USA has only one case in this month's docket and it was inconsequential.

Note the new "norm" -- fourteen, fifteen, seventeen wells in a 1280-acre unit.

Note the new "norm" -- all the 2560-acre overlapping units.

Note: 21651, CLR, Alkali Creek-Bakken, extend/amend, establish an overlapping 5120-acre unit, 8 wells; McKenzie; a 5120-acre unit is eight (8) sections.

No matter how much work has been done in Stockyard Creek, I am always amazed that operators can find more work to do in this small oil field east of Williston. And all the operators in this little field:
  • 21606, KOG, Stockyard Creek-Bakken, create 5 overlapping 2560-acre units, 2 wells each, Williams
  • 21617, KOG, Stockyard Creek-Bakken, 12 wells on 6 1280-acre units, Williams

Interesting Cases From The January, 2014, NDIC Hearing Dockets

Interesting cases from the January, 2014, agenda for the NDIC hearing dockets. I will expand on these cases if a) the spirit moves me; b) anyone is interested.

Case No. 21599: Application of SM Energy Co. for an order amending the applicable orders for the Bear Den-Bakken Pool to allow up to six wells to be drilled upon a 640-acre spacing unit described as Section 25, T.149N., R.96W., McKenzie County, ND, at any location not closer than 200 feet to any boundary of the spacing unit or granting such other relief as is appropriate.

Case No. 21613: Application of Petro-Hunt, L.L.C. for an order amending the applicable orders for the Clear Creek-Bakken Pool to authorize up to four horizontal wells to be drilled on a spacing unit consisting of Section 27, T.152N., R.96W., McKenzie County, ND, and such other relief as is appropriate.

Case No. 21616: Application of QEP Energy Co. for an order amending the applicable orders for the Squires-Bakken Pool to allow up to seven horizontal wells to be drilled on three existing 1280-acre spacing units consisting of Sections 14 and 23; Sections 22 and 27; and Sections 25 and 26, T.155N., R.102W., Williams County, ND, or for such other relief as may be appropriate.

Case No. 21617: Application of Kodiak Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. for an order amending the applicable orders for the Stockyard Creek-Bakken Pool to authorize up to twelve horizontal wells to be drilled on six 1280-acre spacing units described as Sections 1 and 12; Sections 2 and 11; Sections 3 and 10; Sections 4 and 9; Sections 5 and 8; and Sections 6 and 7, T.154N., R.99W., Williams County, ND, and granting such other relief as may be appropriate.

Case No. 21618: Application of Kodiak Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. for an order amending the applicable orders for the Truax-Bakken Pool to authorize up to fifteen horizontal wells to be drilled on a 1280-acre spacing unit described as Sections 28 and 33, T.154N., R.98W., Williams County, ND, and granting such other relief as may be appropriate.

Case No. 21619: Application of Hess Corp. for an order amending the applicable orders for the Sanish-Bakken Pool to authorize up to seventeen horizontal wells to be drilled on a 1280-acre spacing unit described as Sections 15 and 22, T.153N., R.93W., Mountrail County, ND, and granting such other and further relief as may be appropriate.

Case No. 21651: Application of Continental Resources, Inc. for an order extending the field boundaries and amending the field rules for the Alkali Creek-Bakken Pool to create and establish an overlapping 5120-acre spacing unit comprised of Sections 15, 16, 21, 22, 27, 28, 33 and 34, T.154N., R.94W., Mountrail and McKenzie Counties, ND, authorizing the drilling of a total not to exceed eight wells on or near the section line between existing 1280 and 2560-acre spacing units of said proposed overlapping 5120-acre spacing unit...

Case No. 21662: Application of XTO Energy Inc. for an order authorizing the drilling, completing and producing of a total of four wells on an existing 640-acre spacing unit described as Section 16, T.153N., R.95W., Charlson-Bakken Pool, McKenzie County, ND, eliminating any tool error requirements and such other relief as is appropriate.

Case No. 21721: Application of Sinclair Oil & Gas Co. for an order authorizing the drilling, completing and producing of a total of six wells on an existing 640-acre spacing unit described as Section 9, T.153N., R.93W., Sanish-Bakken Pool, Mountrail County, ND, eliminating any tool error requirements and such other relief as is appropriate.

Random Look At Where KOG Will Be Siting Up To 15 Wells In Another 1280-Acre Unit

Case No. 21618: Application of Kodiak Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. for an order amending the applicable orders for the Truax-Bakken Pool to authorize up to fifteen horizontal wells to be drilled on a 1280-acre spacing unit described as Sections 28 and 33, T.154N., R.98W., Williams County, ND, and granting such other relief as may be appropriate.

Area of interest inside red rectangle.

The January, 2014, North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) Dockets -- Oil And Gas Permits, The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

The summary has been completed. Disclaimer: there are typographical errors. Do not make any decisions based on anything you read on this page; this is for my personal use to help me understand the direction the Bakken is taken.

In addition to this page, I have posted some interesting observations from this agenda, and some interesting cases

Wednesday, January 15, 2013

21584, HRC, et al, Strandahl-Bakken, redefine field limits, rules, Williams
21585, Oasis, Alger-Bakken, establish 3 overlapping 2560-acre units; 1+ wells, Mountrail
21586, Oasis, Baker-Bakken, establish 1 overlapping 2560-acre unit; 1+ wells, McKenzie, Williams
21587, Oasis, Cow Creek-Bakken, flaring, Williams
21588, BTA, North Taylor-Winnipeg Gas Pool, redefine field limits, rules, Stark
21589, Petro-Hunt, Clear Creek-Tyler, redefine field limits, rules, McKenzie
21590, Whiting, Sanish-Bakken, establish either 4 320-acre units or alternatively establish 4 640-acre units; 1 well each unit, Mountrail
21216, cont'd
21392, cont'd
21397, cont'd
20607, cont'd
21591, QEP, Blue Buttes-Bakken, establish an overlapping 2560-acre unit, 1+ wells, McKenzie
21592, QEP, Blue Buttes and/or Spotted Horn-Bakken, establish 3 new overlapping 1280-acre units; 1+ wells on each; McKenzie
21593, QEP, Grail, Spotted Horn, Squaw Creek, Eagle Nest, Blue Buttes, and/or Bear Den-Bakken, establish 6 new overlapping 1280-acre units; 1+ wells; McKenzie
21594, QEP, Heart Butte-Bakken; establish 5 new overlapping 1280-acre units, 2 wells each; Dunn, McLean, Mountrail
21595, QEP, Deep Water Creek Bay-Bakken, alter the definition of stratigraphic limits of the pool, Dunn, McLean
14935, cont'd, Hess, revoke a CLR permit for the Foster 1-28H well, Williams, McKenzie
21596, Hess, Alkali Creek and Robinson Lake-Bakken, establish 2 overlapping 2560-acre unit, 1 well, Mountrail
21597, Hess, Tioga-Bakken, establish a 1920-acre unit; 7 wells, Mountrail,
21598, Hess, Tioga-Bakken, flaring, Burke, Mountrail, Williams
21401, cont'd
21599, SM Energy, Bear Den-Bakken, 6 wells on a 640-acre unit, McKenzie
21600, SM Energy, Poe-Bakken, establish an overlapping 2560-acre unit, 1 well, McKenzie
21399, cont'd
21601, SM Energy, Ambrose-Bakken, flaring, Divide
21602, SM Energy, West Ambrose-Bakken, flaring, Divide
21603, SM Energy, Colgan-Bakken, flaring, Divide
21604, Murex, Writing Rock-Bakken, flaring, Divide
21605, OXY USA, Murphy Creek-Bakken, flaring, Dunn
21407, cont'd
21606, KOG, Stockyard Creek-Bakken, create 5 overlapping 2560-acre units, 2 wells each, Williams
21607, KOG, Truax-Bakken, create 2 overlapping units; 2 wells; Williams
19399, cont'd, KOG, redefine Twin Buttes-Bakken limits, rules, Dunn
21608, Williston Exploration, establish a 160-acre unit, a vertical well, Tyler, Stark
21609, Earthworks, waste facility, Dunn
21424, cont'd
21610, Zargon, commingling, Renville
21611, Zargon, Mackobee Coulee-Madison, 3 horizontal wells on a 320-acre unit; Renville
21612, Petro-Hunt, pooling, East Tioga-Bakken, Mountrial
21613, Petro-Hunt, Clear Creek-Bakken, 4 hz wells on one 640-acre section, McKenzie,
21614, Petro-Hunt, North Tioga-Bakken, 2 hz wells on each 2560-acre unit in Zones IX, X, Burke, Divide and Williams
21615, QEP, pooling, Heart Butte-Bakken, Dunn, McLean
21616, QEP, Squires-Bakken, 7 wells on 3 existing 1280-acre units, Williams
21617, KOG, Stockyard Creek-Bakken, 12 wells on 6 1280-acre units, Williams
21618, KOG, Truax-Bakken, 15 wells on a 1280-acre unit, Williams
21619, Hess, Sanish-Bakken, 17 wells on a 1280-acre unit, Mountrail,
21620, SM Energy, pooling, Poe-Bakken, McKenzie
21621, Whiting, pooling, St Demetrius-Bakken, Billings

Thursday, January 16, 2013

21622, American Eagle, et al, Colgan-Bakken, redefine field limits, rules
21623, American Eagle, temporary spacing, Erling 15-33-164-102, Divide
21624, American Eagle, temporary spacing, Bryce 3-2-163-102, Divide
21625, Crescent Point, Gooseneck-Bakken, proper spacing, Divide
21626, Crescent Point, flaring, Colgan-Bakken, Divide
21627, Baytex, West Ambrose-Bakken, flaring, Divide
21628, Baytex, Ambrose-Bakken, flaring, Divide
21489, cont'd
21629, Hess, Juniper-Bakken, redefine field limits, rules, McKenzie
21630, Hunt, Werner-Bakken, proper spacing, Dunn
21631, Hunt, Sather Lake-Bakken, flaring, McKnezie
21503, cont'd
21632, HRC, Climax-Bakken, proper spacing, Williams
21633, Newfield, Grenora-Bakken, redefine field limits, rules, Williams
21479, cont'd
21634, XTO, Haystack Butte-Bakken, amend field rules, Dunn, McKenzie
21635, XTO, Sorkness-Bakken, flaring, Mountrail
21636, Triangle, Rosebud-Bakken, flaring, Williams
21637, EOG, Parshall-Bakken, temporary authority to rework Parshall 20-03 to test water injection operations in the Parshall-Bakken; Mountrail
21638, EOG, Van Hook and/or Parshall-Bakken; extend/amend; establish a 640-acre unit, 3 wells; establish a 640-acre unit, 5 wells; establish a 1280-acre unit; 7 wells; establish a 2560-acre unit, 6 wells, Mountrail
21639, EOG, Kittleson Slough-Bakken, flaring, Burke, Mountrail
21640, EOG, Clear Water-Bakken, flaring, Burke, Mountrail
21641, EOG, Clear Water-Bakken, define stratigraphic limits, Burke, Mountrail
21642, WPX, Mandaree-Bakken, establish 2 overlapping 2560-acre units, 5 wells each; McKenzie, Dunn
21643, WPX, Spotted Horn and/or Reunion Bay-Bakken, establish 3 overlapping 2560-acre units; 5 wells on/near each section line between existing 320, 640, and 1280-acre units, McKenzie, Dunn, Mountrail,
21498, cont'd
21499, cont'd
21500, cont'd
21501, cont'd
21644, Samson Resources, Ambrose and/or Blooming Prairie, extend/amend, establish 2 overlapping 2560-acre units; 1 well near the section line
21645, Statoil, revoke a permit issue to Zavanna for the Raven 19-18 1TFH well, McKnezie
21646, CLR, Last Chance-Bakken, proper spacing, McKenzie, Williams
21647, CLR, Painted Woods-Bakken, alter stratigraphic limits, Williams
21648, CLR, Winner-Bakken, alter stratigraphic limits, Williams
21649, CLR, St Demetrius-Bakken, create 2 overlapping 2560-acre units, multiple wells; Billings
21650, CLR, Elm Tree-Bakken and/or Antelope-Sanish; extend/amend, establish 4 overlapping 2560-acre units; 4 wells; estalbihs 3 overlapping 2560-acre unit, 8 wells on each; McKenzie
21651, CLR, Alkali Creek-Bakken, extend/amend, establish an overlapping 5120-acre unit, 8 wells; McKenzie;
21652, CLR. Elm Tree-Bakken, eliminate setback requirements for "heel and toe" of future wells; McKnzie, Mountrail,
21472, cont'd
21473, cont'd
21474, cont'd 
21476, cont'd
21477, cont'd
21478, cont'd
21306, cont'd
21152, cont'd
20926, cont'd
20927, cont'd
20928, cont'd
20929, cont'd
15224, cont'd,
21391, cont'd
21471, cont'd
21509, cont'd
21653, SHD, Heart Butte and/or Deep Water Creek Bay-Bakken, extend/amend, establihs 1 1280-acre unit, 8 wells; establish 3 overlapping 1920-acre units, 8 wells each; establish an overlapping 1920-acre unit, 8 wells; McLean, Dunn
21505, cont'd
21155, cont'd
21508, cont'd
21287, cont'd
20658, cont'd
21154, cont'd
21654, North Plains, pooling, Sioux Trail-Bakken, Divide
21655, North Plains, pooling, Smoky Butte-Bakken, Divide
21656, American Eagle, pooling, Colgan-Bakken, Divide
21657, American Eagle, pooling, Colgan-Bakken, Divide
21658, XTO, pooling, Lindahl-Bakken, Williams
21659, XTO, pooling, Midway-Bakken, Williams
21660, XTO, pooling, Capa-Bakken, Williams
21661, XTO, pooling, Capa-Bakken, Williams
21662, XTO, Charlson-Bakken; 4 wells on a 640-acre unit; McKenzie
21663, XTO, Grinnell-Bakken, risk penalty legalese, Mendenhall12X-18C, Williams,
21644, XTO, Grinnell-Bakken, risk penatly legalese, Mendenahll 12X-18H, Williams
21549, cont'd
21550, cont'd
21665, WPX, Antelope-Bakken, 14 wells on an existing 1280-acre unit, McKenzie, Mountrail
21666, WPX, Eagle Nest-Bakken, 14 wells on each existing 1280-acre unit in this field, Dunn, McKenzie;
21667, WPX, Heart Butte-Bakken, 14 wells on each existig 1280-acre unit in this field, Dunn, McLean, Mountrail,
21668, WPX, Moccasin Creek-Bakken, 14 wells on each existing 1280-acre unit in this field, Dunn,
21669, WPX, South Fork-Bakken, 14 wells on each existing 1280-acre unit in this field, Dunn
21670, WPX, Van Hook_Bakken, 14 wells on each existing 1280-acre unit in this field, Dunn, McLean, Mountrail
21671, WPX, pooling, Reunion Bay-Bakken, Mountrail, Dunn
21672, WPX, pooling, Reunion Bay-Bakken, Mountrail, Dunn
21673, CLR, pooling
21674, CLR, pooling
21675, CLR, pooling,
21676, CLR, pooling,
21677, CLR, pooling,
21678, CLR, pooling,
21679, CLR, pooling,
21680, CLR, pooling,
21681, CLR, flaring, Blacktail-Bakken,
20814, cont'd
20815, cont'd
20816, cont'd
21581, cont'd
21375, cont'd
21682, Newfield, risk penalty legalese, Barracuda 150-100-2-11-1H, Sandrocks-Bakken, McKenize
21683, Newfield, risk penalty legalese, Bernice 150-99-20-17-1H, South Tobacco Garden-Bakken, McKenzie
21684, Newfield, risk penalty leaglese, Bernice 150-99-20-17-3H, South Tobacco Garden-Bakken, McKenzie
21685, Mountain Divide, pooling
21686, Mountain Divide, pooling
21687, Mountain Divide, pooling
21688, HRC, pooling,
21689, HRC, pooling
21690, HRC, pooling
21691, HRC, pooling
21692, HRC, pooling
21693, HRC, pooling
21694, HRC, pooling
21695, HRC, pooling
21696, HRC, pooling
21697, HRC, pooling,
21698, HRC, pooling
21699, HRC, pooling
21700, HRC, pooling
21701, HRC, pooling
21701, HRC, pooling
21702, HRC, pooling
21703, HRC, pooling
21704, HRC, pooling,
21705, HRC, pooling,
21706, HRC, pooling,
21707, HRC, pooling
21708, HRC, pooling
21709, EOG, pooling,
21710, EOG, pooling,
21711, EOG, pooling
21712, EOG, pooling
21713, EOG, pooling
21714, EGO, pooling
21715, Enduro, Temple-Madison and the Temple-Winnipegosis, commingling, Williams
21716, Enduro, commingling
21717, Enduro, conversion, SWD
21718, Enduro, conversion, SWD
21719, Emerald, pooling
21720, Fram Operating, conversion, SWD
21721, Sinclair, Sanish-Bakken, 6 wells on an existing 640-acre unit, Mountrail,
21531, cont'd
20975, cont'd
21358, cont'd
21359, cont'd

A Very, Very Merry Christmas From The OIl And Gas Industry To The State Of Texas

A reader sent a link to this very nice article in Forbes:
According to the [Texas state] Comptroller, the state ended its 2012-2013 biennium with a surplus of more than $2.6 billion, almost three times the previously projected amount of $964 million.  The reason why?  Because the Texas oil and natural gas industry’s tax payments were more than $2 billion more than anticipated.
That is truly extraordinary, and just as encouraging is what all this means for the State’s Rainy Day Fund.  Some observers had expressed concerns earlier in the year that the Fund might be somewhat depleted when the 2015 session of the Legislature convenes, after the 2013 Legislature had tapped the fund for several billion dollars in earmarked funds for the State Water Plan and to help counties in heavy oil and gas development areas pay for road repairs.
But because the Rainy Day Fund is financed almost solely by severance taxes on oil and natural gas production, this large uptick in industry tax payments now enables the Comptroller to project that the Fund will have a balance of around $8.1 billion in January 2015, when legislators return to Austin.  Dale Craymer, President of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association (TTARA), thinks that estimate is actually conservative, and that the fund balance will actually significantly exceed that estimate.  Past results would indicate that Mr. Craymer is likely to be proven correct.
Then there’s the jobs report, as indicated in the quote from Mrs. Combs at the top of this story.  The ability of this state to have more than fully recovered at this point from the deepest recession in 70 years in the face of an otherwise moribund national economy is a testament to the state’s resource base, its people, its business climate and its leadership in Austin.  It is important not to discount how crucial the last part of that equation is.

For Investors Only; Individual Mandate Going By The Wayside (Along With Corporate Mandate); Closed My Target Account


December 27, 2013: despite earlier, steadfast denials, Target now admits hackers got the PINs.

Original Post


Dividends/distributions: three companies announce an increase; CVS announces a big increase.

Summit Midstream Partners' general partner to Acquire Interest in Utica Shale Gathering System in Southeastern Ohio from Blackhawk Midstream: Summit Midstream Partners, LLC, the privately held company that owns and controls the general partner of SMLP announced that it has executed a definitive agreement with Blackhawk Midstream, to acquire its equity interest in two entities, Ohio Gathering Company, L.L.C. and Ohio Condensate Company, L.L.C.. Ohio Gathering owns, operates and is developing significant midstream infrastructure in southeastern Ohio consisting of a liquids-rich natural gas gathering system, a dry natural gas gathering system and a condensate transportation, storage and stabilization facility in the core of the Utica Shale play.

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 Wall Street Journal

Gold set for annual loss. Buying opportunity?

President O'Bama issues veto threat on Iran bill. I'm not sure why he is even using the threat of vetoes any more when executive orders are so much more effective.


Last-minute health-site enrollment proves a very tough sell.
Insurers pressing for last-minute enrollees under the health-care law say they are running into a worrisome trend: Customers who were put off by the insurance marketplaces' early troubles are proving hard sells.
Many people thwarted by the technical problems of are reluctant to try again, citing frustration with the federal site, web-security concerns and the pressure of the holidays, several insurers say.
While enrollment has risen this month after a series of fixes to the site, problems bringing customers back to the site could stanch those gains. With only days before the Monday deadline to sign up for coverage that starts Jan. 1, insurers are facing a much smaller, and sicker, pool of customers than hoped for.
Not to worry: we've seen this phenomenon before (in the new car sales market where extensions of deadlines and rebates are now the norm). The Obamacare deadlines have all been extended; some Obamacare "stuff" has been declared exempt by the president; and, today, another exemption was announced by the president. Actually that was yesterday, but I believe is being reported today for the first time over at Bloomberg.

Again, one can become confused by all the ankle biting stories regarding Obamacare. These are the big ones to track:
  • the genie cannot be put back in the bottle
  • folks are tracking the wrong metric
  • largest act of civil disobedience
  • the insurers are on the hook for unlimited liability, a singularly unique situation for any sector

I just completed my "first reading" of a biography of T. E. Lawrence yesterday. I will re-read it later. T. E. Lawrence and Arabia put into perspective President O'bama's pick for ambassador to China: Max Baucus.

A  story on John Goodman. For those interested. I"m not sure I am. I haven't read it yet. Ever since I saw him kill a frog on screen, I have trouble watching him. First saw him in a Coen Brothers film.

 The Los Angeles Times

For newbies, there are three components of Obamacare:
  • corporate mandate (delayed one year0
  • individual mandate (limited exemptions; announced December 20, 2013)
  • taxes on medical devices (who cares)
Another exemption to Obamacare.
The Obama administration has opened a small, but potentially important, hole in a key requirement of the new healthcare law, letting some people who have had insurance policies cancelled avoid the requirement to buy coverage next year.

The change, announced Thursday night in a letter that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent to a group of senators, marks the first exception the administration has allowed to the law's so-called individual mandate.
Under the new policy, people who have received notices that their health plans are being canceled would qualify for hardship exemptions allowed by the law. Under those exemptions, they could buy low-cost catastrophic health plans or skip buying health coverage altogether. [These are exactly the type of policies Obamacare was designed to abort.]

The Target credit card theft story is incredible.
As millions of bargain-crazed customers swarmed through Target stores on Black Friday, one of the most audacious heists in retail history was quietly underway.

A band of cyberthieves pilfered credit and debit card information from the giant retailer's customers with pinpoint efficiency as shoppers bought discounted sweaters and electronic gear on the unofficial launch of the holiday shopping season.

By the time the scheme was discovered, the unidentified hackers had made off with financial data of 40 million Target customers over a 21/2-week period. It ranks as one of the nation's biggest retail cybercrimes on record.

Target disclosed the security breach Thursday, saying the thieves had purloined customer names, card numbers and a security code encrypted in the magnetic strip. The theft enables the culprits to make phony credit cards, make fraudulent purchases or siphon money from bank accounts.
This is (also) what is not being reported: Target's response: Consumers: you are on your own. Target's advice to the 40 million folks who had their account numbers stolen: check your account "frequently."

Not me. I closed it. I was "on hold" for about an hour yesterday when calling Target.

Couldn't get through. "Experiencing a heavier-than-normal" call rate was the recording, or something like that. One can't close a Target account at a Target store. One has to call in. The Target website was down all morning yesterday (or at least I couldn't access it). Let's check now: I found the "Manage my REDcard" tag at's now "connecting ....."...... taking much longer than usual....still not in.... very, very interesting...seriously, is it still down? Oh, there it is. Let's see if my account is still here. I canceled it yesterday by phone. Taking forever. This is not a good sign. Not a good sign at all. My hunch: the Target story will have "legs." By the way, this was the #1 conversation here at Starbucks this morning. No, it appears I cannot log in .... still "connecting....."

Nope, can't get in.   

1000 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Phone: 612-304-6073
Fax: 612-696-5400  

The scary part: I have no idea what is on the magnetic strip. I canceled my Target account, but what other information was on the encrypted magnetic strip? Very, very scary. When I get back home, I will report all my credit cards "lost" and have "them" reissued with new account numbers.  

I generally do that every few years anyway.  A bit of inconvenience. But solves a few other problems also. 

By the way, talking to employees at the neighborhood Target store yesterday revealed that most employees were unaware of the credit card account number heist. Supposedly "they" were going to have a store meeting on the issue "today." No signs were posted. The only way folks knew about this heist was through the press (and a lot of folks don't read newspapers these days). I received no e-mail alert from Target.

Janet Rowley dies at 88; scientist pinpointed genetic cause of leukemia Dr. Janet Rowley's research, which linked a chromosomal rearrangement to chronic myeloid leukemia, extended the lives of countless cancer patients. Her work at the University of Chicago earned her the National Medal of Science. Hers is an incredible story, similar to those of many, many other women in science:
Back home, a University of Chicago colleague gave Rowley some laboratory space, a microscope and a salary of $5,000 a year and encouraged her to study the chromosomes of leukemia patients.
Rowley's pivotal discovery came during one of her "off days" in 1972, while poring through images of chromosomes that she had spread out on the family dinner table.
At the time, scientists were befuddled by the relationship between genes and cancer, unsure why patients with a particular leukemia displayed one abnormally short chromosome — a threadlike structure that carries genetic information.
Rowley realized that the truncated chromosome was not just missing genetic material but had, in fact, swapped material with another chromosome. It was that rearrangement that led to a deadly chain of events ending in chronic myeloid leukemia, an uncommon disease that affects about 5,000 people annually in the United States.
Tenacity and perseverance.

Searching For Monster Wells -- Some Suggestions

A reader asked me about the big EOG wells in the Parshall. I wish I was more consistent in tagging, consolidating the big EOG wells, but I often forget to do that.

If folks are interested in looking for some monster wells in the Bakken, here are some ways to look for them at the blog:

1. At the bottom of the blog, there are tags which can help:
  • EOG_Spectacular
  • Staggering
2. At the sidebar at the right, there are two links. One is "Families and Fields" which will take you to Clarks field (which although is not the Parshall, has some huge EOG wells:
3. The second link at the sidebar (at the link, scroll down to the middle Bakken and Three Forks wells:

TGIF And Free Speech; And A Big Jump In Active Rigs In The Bakken

Active rigs: 190 -- wow, that's a surprise.

RBN Energy: Ethane and North American LNG exports.
The U.S. can make a lot more ethane than it can consume.  Producers are drilling for ‘wet’ shale gas, high in natural gas liquid (NGL) content – with ethane making up more than half of that NGL volume.  Unfortunately there is not enough U.S. petrochemical cracking capacity to use all that ethane.  And for a whole variety of reasons the product has been notoriously difficult to export.  Consequently, over 250Mb/d of ethane is being rejected – sold as natural gas instead of being processed into liquid ethane.  What if there were a ready market for all this surplus ethane supply, just waiting to open its doors?  Well, there just may be.  The emerging U.S. LNG export market may be able to absorb a big portion of the supply imbalance, and make LNG buyers happy at the same time.  In this blog series we will explore that possibility and consider the implications for the ethane market in North America.
Public service announcement: this happened to one of my wife's friends -- locked out of her computer files. Read the story. Be particularly careful with iPads. It sounds like there are situations in which iPads will momentarily open attachments during the process of deleting an unopened, spam e-mail. I don't know if that can happen, but according to this individual that's how it happened. 


That last note came from a DrudgeReport link that is no longer there; Drudge has outstanding "search" capabilities, however. As long as I'm at the Drudge site, I'm glad to see Camille Paglia weighed in on this.
The suspension of Phil Robertson from A&E’s Duck Dynasty is outrageous in a nation that values freedom, according to social critic and openly gay, dissident feminist Camille Paglia.
“I speak with authority here, because I was openly gay before the ‘Stonewall rebellion,’ when it cost you something to be so. And I personally feel as a libertarian that people have the right to free thought and free speech,” Paglia, a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Thursday. I've enjoyed Paglia's writings ever since reading (twice) her Sexual Personae
Again, I could care less (or couldn't care less about the Duck Dynasty -- I've never watched it; never will), but it's hard for me to believe that some folks still believe in "free speech" as long as it fits their personal beliefs. It's somewhat ironic that it's the private sector, and not the government, that is doing the censoring today.