Thursday, January 30, 2014

Liberty Resources Re-Enters The Bakken -- January 30, 2014


Saturday, February 1, 2014: evidence of the global reach of the Bakken. A reader provides a link to a video of Liberty Resources presenting to the UK Parliament, House of Lords, on January 14, 2014.
Original Post
Press release:
Liberty Resources II LLC, a Denver-based oil and gas company, today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire oil and gas assets in North Dakota's Williston Basin for $455 million.
The properties to be acquired comprise approximately 53,000 net acres in Williams, Divide, Burke and McKenzie counties and over 4,000 boe/day of production from the Bakken and Three Forks formations, which Liberty II will continue to target as it furthers the development of the acquired properties.
The transaction represents the first acquisition by Liberty II since it announced in November 2013 a $350 million equity commitment from funds managed by energy private equity firm Riverstone Holdings LLC, including Riverstone Global Energy and Power Fund V and Riverstone Energy Limited, management, and other investors. Riverstone and Liberty II management previously partnered successfully in Liberty Resources LLC, an oil and gas company focused on the Bakken.
Over the course of two years and through thirteen discrete proprietary acquisitions, Liberty established a land position of approximately 43,000 net acres and drilled and completed 29 operated wells in the Bakken and Three Forks formations of North Dakota, ultimately achieving over 6,000 boe/day of net production. Liberty realized industry-leading recovery rates in the Bakken due to its application of unique and proprietary completion designs.
The majority of Liberty's assets were sold to Kodiak Oil & Gas in July 2013 for approximately $680 million.
It's not entire clear if one can assume the $455 million bought 53,000 net acres, but assuming it did, we have $455 million / 53,000 net acres = $8,600/acre.

"Snapshots" of Bakken operators are tracked here, which has actually turned out to be fairly useful.

A Note to the Granddaughters

I can't remember, but I think the first time I heard this song some time ago, I either a) did not like it, or, b) loved it. I can't remember. I heard it for the first time again, in a long time, today. And for some reason, it really hooked me. A great song.

I Hold On, Dierks Bentley

Busy, Busy Weekend Coming Up

The February hearing dockets should be released tomorrow which is one of the highlights of every month for me.

Mondays are also a huge highlight, when generally, when wells from three days come off the confidential list. If Monday is a holiday, Tuesday is the big day of the week.

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.

CVX will report 4Q13 earnings tomorrow. By the way, from Reuters:
Oil producer ConocoPhillips outshone larger competitors on Thursday with a quarterly profit that beat expectations as it moved to overcome the problems of high costs and lack of fresh reserves that have nagged at Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell.
ConocoPhillips, the largest U.S. oil company without refining operations, said its profits were helped by the sale of its Algerian business and by higher crude oil production in North America.
The company shed its refining business in 2012 and has sold billions of dollars of lower-yielding assets to focus on more profitable oil production from North American shale basins such as the Eagle Ford in south Texas.
Analysts said Conoco's plan is beginning to pay off at a time when the industry faces pressure from shareholders to lift returns despite flat oil prices and rising costs for risky exploration work designed to replace reserves.
By the way, COP is the company Warren took a big bite of some years ago, for which he apologized, and pundits have taken him to task. He should have stuck to his guns and not changed his investing style. Whatever. 

COP has a huge presence in the Bakken through its wholly-owned subsidiary, which Reuters failed to mention, at least in that part of the story I actually read.


This is another incredible story.

Steve Jobs always talked about skating to where the puck is going to be, quote #50.

I have gotten tired of all the talk about iTV, iWatch, and how all the pundits suggest that Apple cannot innovate without Steve Jobs. Someone said, maybe it was Mr Jobs himself who said, that he left enough ideas behind to keep the company busy for a hundred years, or at least as long as the Bakken produced oil (okay, he didn't say that part about the Bakken. I made that part up. But he said that other thing).

Now a fact, not a rumor, from MacRumors:
Next week, Major League Baseball will begin rolling out thousands of iBeacons in ballparks around the country according to a source familiar with the plans who shared them with MacRumors.

The league is looking to have twenty parks outfitted with roughly 100 iBeacons each by Opening Day at the end of March. Boston, Milwaukee, San Diego, LA Dodgers, and San Francisco are among the teams that will have iBeacons installed.

The iBeacon deployment is one of the largest rollouts in the world, aside from Apple Retail's 254-store effort. MLB will be using iBeacons sourced from Qualcomm.

The iBeacons will work with primarily with MLB's At The Ballpark app, demonstrated at Citi Field last fall. The app should be updated by Opening Day with iBeacon support.

Functionality will vary by ballpark, with individual teams having significant input and control over what users will see. There are a number of potential use cases including point of interest information, concessions, loyalty and rewards programs, shopping, and more. Specific scenarios have yet to be determined for each ballpark and teams will share more information as it gets closer to Opening Day.

Separately, the NFL is rolling out a limited number of iBeacons at MetLife Stadium, the Super Bowl venue for this year, and in Times Square. The beacons will mostly be used to help users get to entry gates and to find Super Bowl-related tourist attractions in the area.
I can imagine Steve Jobs response when anyone brought up "near field communication."
Jobs: "So how far does NFC reach?"
Techhie: "About two inches."
Jobs: "WTF? Two inches? What can you do with just two inches? Come back when you have NFC out to a hundred yards. Then I'll listen. And we'll call it iBeacon.
This is a big deal. iBeacon capability was quietly slipped into all new iPhones. No one else has it.

It's In: The Vote Is 2 - 1 On QEP's "Helis" Grail "Unitization"

The Dickinson Press is reporting:
The North Dakota Industrial Commission voted 2-1 to approve a proposal from QEP Energy Co. to develop 25,000 acres in McKenzie County as one large drilling unit known as the Grail-Bakken Unit.
But individual mineral owners will still have the final say. QEP needs 60 percent approval from mineral owners and working interest owners in the unit.
Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources, recommended approval because QEP estimates it will be able to recover an additional 2.7 million barrels of oil by developing the area as a large unit. reports (same writer):
An oil drilling proposal that drew opposition from many mineral owners moved forward Wednesday in a split vote with Gov. Jack Dalrymple objecting.
The North Dakota Industrial Commission voted 2-1 to approve a proposal from QEP Energy Co. to develop 25,000 acres in McKenzie County as one large drilling unit known as the Grail-Bakken Unit.
But individual mineral owners will still have the final say. QEP needs 60 percent approval from mineral owners and working interest owners in the unit.
Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources, recommended approval because QEP estimates it will be able to recover an additional 2.7 million barrels of oil by developing the area as a large unit.
I assume that first paragraph could have been written: "...that was supported by many mineral owners in which the commission voted 2 -1 ."

I have no dog in this fight, and I will hold off comments for now (the subject is full of landmines, which I don't need).

However, I have very, very strong feelings about this on so many levels, and some day, I will write about some of them, if the spirit moves me. 

Fourteen (14) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; Two Nice Wells Reported; HRC Reports A "High IP" Well

Active rigs:

Active Rigs19018620416390

Fourteen (14) new permits --
  • Operators: Enerplus (5), Slawson (3), CLR (2), MRO (2), BR (2)
  • Fields: Antelope (McKenzie), Big Bend (Mountrail), St Demetrius (Billings), Sadler (Divide), Chimney Butte (Dunn), Elidah (McKenzie)
  • Comments:
Wells coming off confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Two (2) producing wells were completed:
  • 23178, 1,812, Enerplus, Prairie Dog 150-94-04A-09H, Spotted Horn, t1/14; cum --
  • 24753, 1,589, Enerplus, Fox 150-94-04A-09H, Spotted Horn, t12/13; cum --
Wells coming off the confidential list Friday:
  • 25399, 2,271, HRC, Fort Berthold 152-94-13A-24-4H, Antelope, Sanish, t11/13; cum 12K 11/13;
  • 25422, drl, XTO, Alice 44X-34D, Siverston, no production data,
  • 25432, 720, Slawson, Mauser Federal 4-18-17TFH, North Fork; t11/13; cum 36K 12/13;
  • 25638, dry, Petro-Hunt, Lardy 139-105-24B-3-1, wildcat (24-139-105), no production data, out in the middle of nowhere; far southwest corner of the state; 7 miles southeast of Beach;
  • 25835, drl, XTO, Duke 34X-31F, Siverston, no production data,
When the last well comes off the confidential list tomorrow, that will end the month of January, 2014, the month that holds the record for most wells to have come off the confidential list in any one month.


Pennsylvania is a swing state.

No Comments Necessary

Let's See If The Activist Environmentalists Will Help "Fast-Track" This Project

Let's see if the activist environmentalists will help us "fast-track" this project.

Yahoo!Finance is reporting:
WBI Energy, Inc., the pipeline and energy services subsidiary of MDU Resources Group, Inc., announced that planning for a 375-mile natural gas pipeline stretching from western North Dakota to northwestern Minnesota is underway and an open season seeking capacity commitments has begun.
“The Dakota Pipeline offers another avenue to move Bakken-produced natural gas out of the area and complements our other ongoing activities to build connections to several natural gas processing facilities,” said David L. Goodin, president and CEO of MDU Resources.
“The increase in natural gas pipeline capacity out of the region will provide additional transportation opportunities for new production as it comes on line, as well as more capacity for natural gas captured through industry’s efforts to reduce the flaring of this valuable resource.”
Pipeline of interest are tracked here

Physician Wait Times

Fox is reporting:
How long do you typically wait to see your doctor?
Well if your physician is in D.C., you will most likely wait about 17 days.
A survey of physicians nationwide found the average wait time for a new patient is nearly 19 days.
The longest wait time was in Boston at 72 days and the shortest is in Dallas with 10 days
That's just the waiting time once you get to the clinic. Can you imagine how long it takes to make an appointment?

Glad I live in Dallas, not Boston. Boston was the blueprint for ObamaCare or as Harvard grads like to say, the "ur-Obamacare."

Wagon Wheel, Old Crow Medicine Show, song by Bob Dylan

EPA May Move To Act: Making Coal Ash (AKA Fly Ash) 'Non-Hazardous' Material


Later, 2:28 pm CT: Don provided some background but first, from the blog:
Don said about the same thing with a reference to Kerr McGee burning coal/lignite in large kilns west of Bowman (Griffith) and Belfield, North Dakota, in the 1950's for the uranium. The coal came from the area around Ludlow, South Dakota. 

Original Post
I don't follow this issue, so I don't know the significance. From Yahoo!InPlay:
EPA may move to act making coal ash 'non-hazardous' material.
Headwaters announces a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency action that will lead to regulatory certainty for coal ash as a "non-hazardous" material. A Consent Decree signed by Headwaters and all other parties to the Appalachian Voices vs Gina McCarthy lawsuit was delivered to the Federal DC District Court on January 29, 2014. 
The Consent Decree states, "The EPA Administrator shall, by December 19, 2014, sign for publication in the Federal Register a notice taking final action regarding EPA's proposed revision of RCRA Subtitle D regulations pertaining to coal combustion residuals."
The proposed regulations created regulatory uncertainty that has dampened the beneficial use of coal combustion products. The District Court agreed with Headwaters and ordered EPA to propose a date by which it would finalize revised coal ash disposal rules. In the Consent Decree the parties have agreed to set the date at December 19, 2014, and also not to appeal the Court's order. This lifts the burden of regulatory uncertainty.

QEP Press Release: To Spin Off Its Midstream Business, QEP Field Services; Sell Non-Core Upstream Assets

QEP Resources provides update:
  • on strategic initiatives; 
  • authorizes $500 mln share repurchase program; 
  • initiates non-core E&P asset sales; 
  • co to implement the separation of QEP Field Services into publicly-traded co and explore alternative strategic transactions (QEP)
Co announced that, after significant review including discussions with shareholders, its Board of Directors has approved a series of strategic initiatives designed to maximize the inherent value of the co's midstream business while focusing on its core upstream business. These initiatives include:
  • increasing the upstream and midstream expertise on its Board of Directors;  
  • preparing and filing documents to facilitate the separation of the midstream business, QEP Field Services co, from QEP Resources; 
  • commencing the sale process of non-core Midcontinent upstream assets; and, 
  • authorizing the return of capital to shareholders through a $500 million share repurchase program. 
The Board of Directors has authorized management to implement the separation of QEP Field Services, including the co's interest in QEP Midstream Partners (QEPM), from QEP Resources into a standalone public co.

 As previously announced, QEP plans to sell non-core E&P assets located in the Midcontinent during the first half of 2014. The co is working with an advisor to effectuate the sale of the assets in multiple packages, the first two of which, the Granite Wash and "Cana" Woodford packages, will be marketed beginning in mid-February. The co anticipates closing the asset sales by July.

If I Get Too Many Complaints, I Will Delete This Post ...

... I have not defined "too many."

Alert: adult language at the link.

Serious readers will know where this is coming from. It results in comments that were sent in earlier today.

I did not know this.


After posting the above, a reader sent this to me --
Starting on page 27 of Zukerman's book The Frackers,

But George Mitchell was willing to try a relatively new drilling technique he had read about in petroleum-engineering literature that held the possibility of loosening up this compact raock and getting the gas to flow. The technique, a way of "completing" oil and gas wells, or preparing them to produce energy, was called hydraulic fracturing, or "fraccing." It entailed fracturing the rocks, or breaking them up, by pummeling them with various liquids to free up the gas trapped in those rocks.

(Years later, hydraulic fracturing became known in the popular media as "fracking" with a "k" replacing the "c." From the beginning, industry members detested the word because of its closeness to the common expletive, not to mention a similarity to "fragging," the act of attacking fellow soldiers. "Fracking" also rhymes with "hacking," yet another word with a negative connotation. Energy veterans claim that "fracking" was first used in the late 1970s in the science fiction series Battlestar Galactica as a substitute for the curse word.)

From this point Zuckerman continues with other methods of breaking up wells such as explosives, machine guns, and nuclear. 
I like the "nuclear option."

Catching Up On Mail Readers Have Sent Me; Fracking Is Good, Get Over It -- President Obama

Henry Waxman to retire from Congress

I haven't had time to look at the market yet today, but Don tells me oil is up another dollar, or thereabouts. This is the longest period of "sustained" high prices for oil. The great news: minimal volatility. The economy can manage "high-priced" oil better than volatility.

Bloomberg reports:
Ford, the maker of the top-selling pickups in the U.S. for the last 37 years, said it plans to increase production by 15 percent at one of its factories building F-Series Super Duty trucks.
Ford plans to boost annual capacity by about 55,000 vehicles at its Kentucky truck plant, Joe Hinrichs, president of the Americas, said today in an interview from the factory with Bloomberg Television. The Dearborn, Michigan-based company said it expects to invest $80 million and add 350 jobs.
“The demand for our F-Series trucks continues to grow” and shows the “underlying the strength of the economy,” Hinrichs said in the interview.

Facebook: I just looked at the market; another reason to avoid CNBC. Remember all those pundits wringing their hands over the Facebook IPO? I think the IPO was in the $20 range that day. Today, Facebook is surging, up 16%, and solidly over $60. A "stranger" at Starbucks about three weeks ago told me to keep an eye on Facebook. His reasoning: "like us on Facebook" is now ubiquitous. I see "like us on Facebook" more than I see billboards for Coca-Cola.

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.

Netflix, the next big thing: Just out of curiosity, let's see what Netflix and Starbucks are doing? Netflix, up 2% and trading at a new 52-week high. Starbucks up about a percent but $10 off its 52-week high.

NOG: NOG has 187,000 net acres, which represents an increase from previous postings. Minerals in the core Bakken went for $34,000/acre yesterday. NOG has a market cap of less than $900 million.

Under Armour: hits record as shares surge 22%.

News From All Over

Shocker: from The Washington Post -- In his State of the Union address, President Obama heaped praise on the boom in natural-gas production across the United States. And he made a comment about fracking that triggered some grumbling from green groups. Comment: the link is to The Washington Post; I don't need to read any more. But it looks like the president is throwing the activist environmentalists under the bus.

Gas: from The New York Times -- North Dakota continues to work on plans to reduce flaring.

From under the Geico rock: Forbes is reporting -- fracking fuels an economic boom in North Dakota. Really? Posted in Forbes on January 29, 2014. This just shows me how east-coast centric Big Media is. This story is, like, three years old.

LOL: folks think Bakken oil is explosive. Now the railroads are thinking about transporting liquified natural gas. There are two words in "liquified natural gas" that should concern folks: "liquified" and "gas." The story was in Forbes. Your humor for the day.

My least favorite subject in the Bakken: The Dickinson Press is reporting on a task force for flared gas. I could care less. I couldn't care less. The only thing I like less than the flaring issue in the Bakken, are stories on "task forces."

Executive orders: it appears that President Obama does not have the corner on "executive orders." Looking forward to 2016, Governor Cuomo is starting to issue his own "executive orders." His first executive order this week: instructing his emergency response agencies to review their emergency response procedures. Exactly what the hell are these folks being paid to do in the first place. Talk about a wimp. Memo to self: consider a new blog (only to get sued for copyright infringement): "Diary of a Wimpy Governor."  Maybe to avoid copyright infringements, a better blog: the governor who would be king.  By the way, this is bad news for Donald Trump who is now rumored to be the front-runner for the GOP presidential nominee -- he can't issue "executive orders." As a CEO, he is pretty much limited to "memos."

The Bakken Shale Discussion Group

I have to chuckle. The "original" Bakken Shale Discussion Group had a rule about political comments but was unable to control such comments. The "new and improved" Bakken Shale Discussion Group has no such rules (LOL) and gets no political comments. And if it does, the comments would not be published anyway.

The Video
Pater Patriae

Let's see, what video for the day? Oh, this is perfect. In keeping with the 50th anniversary of the Beatles, "print his face on a coin and proclaim him the dictator for life." Veni, vidi, vici.

The triumvirate -- Obama, Holder, and Axelrod.

O's Cleopatra: Helle Thorning-Schmidt (google "Obama's Danish Babe"). The ultimate selfie.

Julius Caear, Besame Mucho, The Beatles, The History Teachers

By the way, Latin is a "dead" language; it is only written and read. It is not spoken. No one can know how the Caesar Romans "spoke." So I truly appreciate how Amy (Burvall) pronounces "ides." She is brilliant. I wonder if she's a Harvard University grad. She teaches in Hawaii. On the big island, as they say.

Update On The New SHRT; Look At The Railcar Needs Going Forward

A huge "thank you" to the reader sending me this press release. A great link. 

The press release, January 17, 2014, announcing the new rail terminal at South Heart, a PDF:
 The story was posted earlier, back on November 28, 2013.

Read the press release carefully; it is full of incredible, staggering information:

From the press release in case the link is broken:
Watco Terminal and Port Services and Great Northern Project evelopment, L. P. announce their partnership in the development and operation of a major multi-purpose rail transload terminal and railcar maintenance shop near South Heart, North Dakota.
South Heart Rail Terminal, (SHRT), will serve the energy industry and its service providers to meet the increasing demand and development of the Bakken, Three Forks, Tyler and emerging oil and gas formations. Construction is expected to start in the first half of 2014 with operations projected to begin during the first quarter of 2015.
SHRT will be strategically located just south of Interstate 94, twelve miles west of Dickinson, ND, and will offer rail, transload, and railcar maintenance services, as well as warehousing and materials storage. The Terminal will be served with national connectivity via BNSF Railway Company and will feature two double-loop tracks and twelve manifest tracks. SHRT will accommodate multiple unit trains, manifest
business, and significant long or short term railcar storage needs.
South Heart Rail Terminal will have the capability to receive and transload dry bulk commodities such as frac sand, ceramic proppants, and cement. Tubular pipe, oil field equipment, building products and other materials will also be handled at SHRT. In addition, the Terminal will provide off-loading and storage for aggregates, asphalt, and road materials.
A full service railcar maintenance facility, operated by Watco Mechanical Services, will be located on-site to provide services to tank car owners and lessees. Based on 10 year growth projections in the crude oil sector alone, there will be a need for an additional 70,000 tank cars in the US fleet with 60% of those needed for the Bakken Shale area alone. South Heart Rail Terminal’s rail car maintenance shop will provide services to assist Customers with tank car inspections, testing, qualifications, preventive
maintenance, retrofits, paint and lining. In addition, Watco Compliance Services will provide fleet management solutions, engineering and regulatory guidance to ensure ongoing safety and mechanical integrity.

Great Plains Synfuels Plant, North Of Beulah, To Add New Product Line: Urea, For Fertilizer


August 2018: Great Plains Synfuels Plant -- pretty much "dead."
More than 300 Basin Electric Power Cooperative employees will take buyouts as the utility aims to cut costs amid a plummeting financial outlook.
Basin’s latest financial forecast predicts a decade of losses at the cooperative’s subsidiary Dakota Gasification Co., operator of the Great Plains Synfuels Plant near Beulah, said spokesman Curt Pearson. Basin CEO Paul Sukut was not available for comment.
The move to cut more costs follows several years of losses at DGC as it struggles to compete with cheap natural gas made available by hydraulic fracturing in the Bakken oil field. The plant suffered $212.4 million in net losses over the past three years — $87.2 million in 2017, $94.1 million in 2016 and $31.1 million in 2015, according to the cooperative’s annual reports. The plant also suffered $11 million in losses in 2013.

July 6, 2016: wind heavily damages this $500 million project.
Original Post
Regular readers know that I can never keep track of the various energy industries in North Dakota, who owns what, who does what, so before I post the link to the newest story regarding Synfuels, I need to look at the following sites and information:

Dakota Gasification Company website
Basin Elecric Power Cooperatiave (Basin Electric), through its for-profit subsidiary, Dakota Gasification Company (Dakota Gas), owns and operates the Great Plains Synfuels Plant (Synfuels Plant). The Synfuels Plant is the only commercial-scale coal gasification plant in the United States that manufactures natural gas. It is also the cleanest energy plant operating in the state of North Dakota, according to a comparison of emissions data available from the North Dakota Department of Health.
157-foot tower for new anhydrous ammonia facility arrives.

The plant: The Synfuels Plant supplies carbon dioxide to the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project in the world in Saskatchewan, Canada. Dakota Gas currently captures between 2.5 and 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Now the story today: PrairieBusiness is reporting that the plant will add a new product line - urea.
A synthetic natural gas producer plans to produce urea at its facility.
Dakota Gasification Co. approved the $402 million project at Great Plains Synfuels Plant north of Beulah on Monday, according to a news release.
Urea, which is a granular fertilizer used in agricultural applications, is the 10th product the facility will produce.

Jobs Report: First Time Jobless Claims Surge; Labor Market Is Healing -- Reuters

Jobless claims rise more than expected. [Later, after finishing the article -- wow, that's an understatement.]

The jobs story was buried. The story is becoming so common, so repetitive, it is no longer news.

Let's see how bad it is this week and how Reuters, Bloomberg, others spin it.

WOW, LOL, the same opening statement I've seen for the past four years: despite the bad news,
the underlying trend suggested the labor market continued to heal."
LOL. Seriously.

That's as far as I got. What are then numbers?

HOLY MACKEREL. I thought maybe 2,000, or 3,000 or 5,000, but am I reading this correctly? 19,000. Not only that, but the numbers for the previous week were revised upward another 3,000.

This is a BAD, BAD, BAD report.

This is where I track weekly reports. See how many weekly reports report a number as high as 19,000. 

Analysts had expected the number to rise to 330,000. In fact, it rose to 348,000.

Oh, here it is, the spin. Reuters is using a new adverb: ironed-out, as in, "the four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, edged up 750 to 333,000." LOL.

The revised numbers, which will come out next week, will, of course, be worse.
A Labor Department analyst said claims for Louisiana were estimated because of inclement weather, adding there were no special factors affecting the state level data.
Now more spin:
Last week's claims data include the Martin Luther King Jr Day and filings tend to be volatile around federal holidays.
Hmmmm.... there's a federal holiday almost every month. Is this new, Martin Luther King Jr Day?
Job growth slowed sharply in December, but economists shrugged off the surprise meager increase in payrolls, pointing to freezing temperatures that hit sectors such as construction and transportation.
Federal Reserve officials also appeared to dismiss the slowdown in payrolls, saying at the end of a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday that the labor market on balance showed further improvement.
The decision by Congress to not extend unemployment benefits out to fifteen years or more is starting to show up in the data:
The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid fell 16,000 to 2.99 million in the week ended January 18.
The Sunday comics are being replaced by the weekly jobs reports coming out of the Obama administration.

Amtrak Stays On Schedule Despite Surge In Crude Oil Shipments

Yahoo!News is reporting that Amtrak continues to arrive "on time," generally within 24 hours of the scheduled arrival time. I don't think the article actually gives any specific data, it's mostly hearsay and rumor and conjecture, but reading between the lines, it seems everything about Amtrak is about as I remember it.

Well before CBR, a) Amtrak was "always late" according to those who did not understand Amtrak; and, b) farmers always said there were not enough grain cars during harvest season. Fortunately, Amtrak has been able to keep on schedule (as defined by arriving at destinations within 24 hours of scheduled arrivals) due to the administration's success in holding back the economy. Amtrak would have significant problems if the economy were (was?) surging.

I love riding Amtrak, but haven't had the opportunity since 2011. Amtrak has always had delays; I have blogged in the past that if Amtrak arrives within 24 hours of its scheduled arrival, it has arrived on time.

In the winter, it is the weather that "delays" Amtrak.

In the summer, it is the flooding around Minot and Devils Lake that "delays" Amtrak.

In fact, if Amtrak is moving, it is delayed. 

As usual, the comments at the story are the most interesting part.

The tracks are owned by the railroad companies. Amtrak does not own the tracks. In North Dakota,  most tracks are owned by Warren Buffett and BNSF. Amtrak rents the opportunity to use BNSF tracks and, yes, freight trains have priority. These freight trains carry a lot more than just crude oil: including agricultural and industrial products. And the much-talked about, seldom seen hobo.

At one time a great capitalist nation would have solved this problem. There was the potential of shovel-ready jobs many years ago to build more railroad sidings, but the president had no interest in such shovel-ready jobs. Had the railroad companies started work on these railroad sidings, efforts would have been stopped by activist environmentalists, anyway; it would have taken five years just to get the environmental impact statements completed. Crude-by-rail surged after the president killed the Keystone XL pipeline program.

If Congress kills CBR, the oil will be trucked.

But the writer of the Amtrak story misses the most important point: no one rides Amtrak to make time or to arrive on schedule, at least not across the northern tier. If folks need to be somewhere on time, they take the airlines. Amtrak is no longer competitive on price vs airlines.

Amtrak appears to be reaching most of its destinations within 24 hours of scheduled arrivals. Amtrak is so consistently "late" by other people's definitions I've never understood why Amtrak doesn't simply change its schedules to reflect reality. 


Wells coming off the confidential list have been posted. KOG has another "high IP" well.

Active rigs: another day in which the number of active rigs in North Dakota exceeds the number of one year ago.

Active Rigs18918620416390

RBN Energy: a continuation of their series on royalties. Anyone with Bakken royalties should be following this series.
The Wall Street Journal

I guess this is why the market is surging: GDP surges 3.2%. Despite all the headwinds. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where the growth came from. Facebook mobile ads. LOL.

Senator Reid delivers a body blow to President Obama. And they call the Republican Party divided. LOL.

Facebook shares soar to record high.

Global warming gridlocks Atlanta.

Exxon profit falls on lower production.

Shell suspends US Arctic project. Shell said it would suspend drilling in the US Arctic, as it reported a 71% decline in 4Q13 profit larely because of rising costs and lower oil and gas volumes. This certainly puts the Bakken in perspective.

Wow, that was fast: President Obama signs order for retirement accounts.

But, minimum wage is stalled -- and the President's party controls the Senate which can't seem to get its act together on this issue. And they call the Republican Party divided. LOL. This is a no-brainer for the President's party.

Egypt continues with its hard-line policies, charging Al Jazeera journalists.

Germany's perfect storm: now the German pension plan eyes a rise in taxes. Merkel's planned improvements to pensions in Germany will cost $80 billion until 2020 and lead to an increase in payroll taxes from 2019.

And again, in case you missed it the first time, Facebook's profit surges on mobile-ad growth.

Target: hackers used vendor credentials. The Target hackers appear to have breached the discounter's systems by using credentials stolen from a vendor. Maybe not so much hacking as just plain theft. I no longer have a dog in this fight. My Target account is canceled.

American Energy Partners buys Utica shale gas from Hess.

A doubling of revenues in three years is the real reason Amazon receives the benefit of the doubt from so many investors. I pretty much by all non-grocery products through Amazon. The book reseller program allows me to buy remaindered books (in perfect condition) for as little as 1 cent and $3.99 shipping charges. Not much tax on a one-cent item. The two books I bought this week have 2013 copyright dates and sell at B&N for $30 each.

The Los Angeles Times

For a newspaper that writes mostly about sports and entertainment, the newspaper found room on its front page to post the story that Exxon's profits dipped 16% to $8.35 billion. But I cannot find the OXY earnings in which the company beat forecasts by 4 cents.  

Lots Of News Today -- It Will Take Awhile To Catch Up

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.

A lot of companies of interest are reporting earnings today. All of them, except one, beat forecasts. In addition to earnings, dividends are being increased. This is an incredibly day of reports.

COP beats by 8 cents.

OXY beats by 4 cents.

Enterprise Products beats by 4 cents.

Helmerich & Payne beats by 13 cents.

Carbo Ceramics beats by 9 cents.

Noble Corp increases quarterly dividend by 50%.

Royal Dutch Shell declares an interim dividend of 47 cents, an increase of 4.4% over last year.

The one miss: XOM misses by a penny.

TECO Energy beats by a penny.

Kelly Services beats by 10 pennies.

Facebook is making new highs in pre-market trading.

Weatherford warns, sees 4Q13 well below consensus.

Raytheon beats by 23 cents. Not trivial.

Northrop Grumman beats by 18 cents. Not trivial.

Cardinal Health beats by 6 cents.

Time Warner Cable beats by 8 cents.