Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wednesday -- New Developments At Starbucks

Active rigs:

Active Rigs192185205172102

RBN Energy: Adequate LPG carriers for CBW?
Exports of liquefied petroleum gases (LPGs) from the U.S. to international markets - are expected to nearly double from 466 Mb/d in 2014 to 825 Mb/d in 2018 as production from gas plant processing exceeds domestic demand. There are two LPG export terminals on the Houston Ship Channel that have been responsible for most exports, another six around the country that have exported some LPG over the past year, and still another four new-builds that have been announced.  That’s a lot of volume and a lot of dock capacity.  One question is whether there are enough LPG ships to handle all of these exports.  Today we introduce our review of this question, looking at the specialized vessels used to ship LPGs.
Collateral Damage

On NPR this morning, it was noted that with his successes in the Crimean, the government forces in Syria have also benefited. Putin knows that the west is a paper tiger, that President Obama is an emperor with no clothes, and Chancellor Merkel is held hostage by EU energy supplied by Russia. A return to the Cold War, another Obama legacy. That was NPR reporting about turn of events in Syria due to the Crimean, not me. Here's The WSJ article.

The Wall Street Journal

It appears that Putin is taking a page from Obama's playbook, using his pen to sign executive orders when the UN doesn't "pass legislation." In this case, Mr Putin signed an executive order annexing the Crimean. Memo to MSNBC: you can't have it both ways.

The big story is not that Putin annexed the Crimean, the big story is how fast it happened. The backstory is how Putin did it so easily with so little show of force, and no casualties. The WSJ has the story. It reveals a bit about their operating style. Mr Obama cannot come to a decision on the Keystone -- at least six years have gone by now -- approve, or not approve, whatever, -- and Putin can annex a pretty big piece of property over a long weekend.

CEOs see increased spending, but not on hiring.
Nearly half of CEOs surveyed by the Washington trade group said they expect to boost U.S. capital spending in the next six months, compared with only 39% eyeing higher spending three months ago. But while 72% of CEOs see an increase in sales in the next six months, only 37% expect to boost U.S. employment, according to the survey released Tuesday. Forty-four percent see their U.S. payrolls unchanged.
I've blogged about this from the beginning that Mr Obama will delay the individual mandate (technically, it has been delayed; just claim a "hardship"). One legacy of ObamaCare will be the chaos created in the health insurance industry. Now, The WSJ reports on it:
Headaches over the health-care overhaul are likely to grow in the coming year as tens of millions of Americans face the task of establishing that they have insurance coverage to avoid paying penalties, tax experts say.
"We believe it's going to create massive confusion," said Mark Ciaramitaro, vice president of health-care enrollment services for H&R Block. HRB -0.87% "There's so much now that confuses people. We think it gets much worse next tax season."
Perhaps the biggest problem is a lack of public understanding of the complex and frequently-changing program, tax experts say.
They expect that to be compounded by a misunderstanding of the penalties, as many don't realize they could pay more than the minimum $95 for not having insurance.
"With respect to the individual shared responsibility provision under the Affordable Care Act, the rules are clear, and taxpayers should be able to determine very simply whether they had health coverage for 2014 or, if not, whether they owe a fee," said a Treasury spokeswoman, adding that the administration will impose the fee on anyone who doesn't have an exemption.
But the potential for confusion about the law is feeding speculation among some tax experts that the administration might end up waiving the individual-mandate penalty for 2014, or minimizing its impact by granting widespread exemptions.
The Los Angeles Times

There they go again.

A group of scientists warned Tuesday that world leaders must act more swiftly to slow greenhouse gas emissions or risk "abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes" from climate change.
The American Assn. for the Advancement of Science's blunt report contains no new scientific conclusions. But by speaking in plain, accessible terms it seeks to instill greater urgency in leaders and influence everyday Americans. Scientists said many previous assessments have been long and ponderous, and have failed to shift public opinion on global warming.
The goal "is to move policy forward by making science as clear and straightforward as we possibly can," association Chief Executive Alan Leshner said. "What we're trying to do is to move the debate from whether human-induced climate change is reality … to exactly what should you do about it."
The 18-page report titled "What We Know," lays out many effects of human-caused climate change already underway. It warns that the consequences are growing more severe the longer governments delay action.
One risk of global warming, of course, is the extinction of entire species. Despite the fact that the earth has warmed about 1.8 degrees since "the 1800's"-- from the story above -- The Los Angeles Times is reporting that scientists have recently identified nineteen (19) new species of praying mantis.
An entomologist trekking through Amazonian rain forest and sifting through musty museums has discovered 19 new species of praying mantis in Central and South America.
The findings, published in the journal ZooKeys, nearly triple the number of known bark mantis species and reveal the diversity of this charismatic insect group.
These insects aren’t your typical praying mantises, said entomologist Gavin Svenson, curator of invertebrate zoology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
The archetypal praying mantis is a fresh, new-leaf green with a tubular body and is seen as an ambush hunter. Not so with the bark mantises, which have brownish, mottled backs and flat bodies that allow them to lie flat against the bark of a tree and hide from predators.
Unlike your garden-variety praying mantis, these bark mantises don’t just sit quietly and wait for unsuspecting prey to come their way -- they’re speedy critters that can quickly chase down a fly or a cricket for a quick snack. They also actively evade their enemies, scurrying around to the other side of a tree if they see someone coming, just as neurotic neighborhood squirrels do. As a last-ditch effort to avoid getting eaten, they even jump to the ground and fall into the dead leaf litter and play dead.
The only species at risk of dying in America due to global warming is the whooping crane, flying into slicers and dicers. There are only a handful of cranes still flying and their migratory routes take them right along wind farm alley. A truly inconvenient truth.

On more pleasant news, scientists have discovered the secret to dark chocolate's health benefits: the article is too long to cut and paste but it's a must-read. I may archive it elsewhere. It may be more fascinating than the Bakken. Just a joke. This is not an investment site, but Starbucks is getting very, very interesting. When I traveled cross-country, I noted something new at Starbucks in the Vail-Aspen-Denver area. Now, it has come to Starbucks in the Dallas area. The company has introduced incredibly good pastry. I noticed that the Starbucks here in Grapevine (northwest of Dallas) has a new sign on their front door: "We warmly welcome cafe and bakery La Boulange. Quality baked goods warmly served." The croissants are straight, not curved, which is a huge change, and Starbucks now has chocolate-croissants which are as good (better?) than the ones I had in Trier, Germany, which, in turn, were as good (better?) than anything I ever had in Paris. If I am a connoisseur of anything it is chocolate croissants. In Williston, the heart of the Bakken, I could get a cup of coffee for about a dollar and a maple donut for fifty cents at CashWise -- breakfast cost $1.50. Here at Starbucks, I pay $1.87 for a simple coffee, black, and $2.45 for a chocolate croissant. Total: about $4.50 for breakfast. This is not an investment site, but just saying.

Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here. For all I know, the chocolate croissants cost Starbucks $3.00 and they are selling them at a loss to bring customers in. And with that, another post comes to an end.

Note: I post quickly. I seldom spell-check. I assume there are typographical errors. If you see something that appears to be wrong, it probably is. Check the original source. I correct errors when discovered. If I have to blog from a PC at a local library, I can guarantee there will be mistakes. This site is optimized on Firefox.


  1. Bruce,
    Just wanted to once again say "thanks" for all the work you do here. I've told you this on other occasions, but I just want you to know how much your blog is enjoyed by people from all over the world. I used to hate when you would get away from subject material not related to the Bakken, but I honestly have to say I am starting to enjoy that part of the blog more than the Bakken material. You also make it clear you are not an investment advisor, but I have learned an awful lot about investing by following your blog. I would say more so than by following my investment advisor. I can tell by your postings that every once-and-awhile a comment becomes a bur under your saddle and bugs you badly. That is one of your short-comings. The world is filled with people like this. Be yourself. Do not try to be everything to everybody. Do not let these people bother you. Their posts are a reflection of themselves. Their power should not be expressed in their ability to agitate you, but in their ability to click a button and navigate away from the site if it bothers them so badly what you pen. Thank you again, and I truly enjoy what you have contributed to society in your lifetime. Look back and be proud of what you accomplished!!!

    1. I appreciate the kind comments.

      Wow, you "know" me very well --- yes, when a burr gets under my saddle, ....

      You certainly know my 'hot buttons."

      I've mentioned this before: when I just blogged about the Bakken, I found myself getting a bit bored; that's really why I end up talking about things other than the Bakken.

      More importantly, at least for me, it puts things into perspective. When I read a story about something costing $10 million, I could never get my arms around it -- now I can compare it to the cost of a $10 million well. Of course, the Bakken is affected by world events and that needs to be placed into perspective, also, when talking about the Bakken.

      I have learned a lot from the blog. It's embarrassing to re-read what I wrote back in 2009, but it shows how far we have all come.

      Again, thank you for taking time to write.