Thursday, February 13, 2014

For Investors Only: OXY Working To Make Investors Happy

Link here.
Occidental Petroleum Corp said on Thursday its board voted to increase its share repurchase authorization by 30 million shares to be funded in part by the $1.4 billon sale of natural gas assets in the central United States.

Occidental, which is restructuring and under pressure to return more cash to shareholders, also raised its annual dividend by 12.5 percent to $2.88 per share.
"The dividend increase reflects our commitment to growing Occidental's dividend annually, and we will continue to make share repurchases as opportunities arise," Chief Executive Officer Stephen I. Chazen said in a statement.

Natural Gas Infrastructure -- Third Nominee For This Year's Geico Rock Award

This is the third nominee for this year's Geico Rock Award: Scott DiSavino and Edward McAllister over at Reuters. They report a story with this headline: winter exposes weakness in US natural gas supply network.

When one reads this story, it almost sounds like something that would be occurring in a banana republic somewhere else in the world, certainly not in the nation that sent the first man to the moon, and safely back; and did that several times. 

I assume folks like Jane Nielson, Algore, and William Ernest McKibben could offer an explanation of how this happened.

Eleven (11) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; BR Reports Five "High IP" Wells

Active rigs:

Active Rigs18818320516592

Eleven (11) new permits --
  • Operators: Hess (4), Oasis (4), Whiting (2), Murex
  • Fields: Alkali Creek (Mountrail), Tyrone (Williams), Sanish (Mountrail), Elk (McKenzie, Writing Rock (Divide)
  • Comments: Hess had four permits for Alkali Creek yesterday also.
Wells coming off the confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

One permit was canceled, the MRO Mink well, #22557.

Six (6) producing wells were completed:
  • 23927, 558, True Oil, Liberty Federal 13-36 36-31H TF1, Red Wing Creek, t1/14; cum --
  • 25891, 2,805, BR, Blue Ridge 44-31MBH, Keene,  t1/14; cum --
  • 25962, 2,592, BR, Archer 34-25TFH, Charlson, t2/14; cum --
  • 25679, 2,800, BR, Washburn 41-36MBH, Charlson, t1/14; cum --
  • 25680, 2,544, BR, Washburn 42-36TFH, Charlson, t1/14; cum --
  • 25665, 2,952, BR, Washburn 44-36TFH, Charlson, t12/13; cum -- 
Wells coming off confidential list Friday:
  • 22895, 536, OXY USA, William Kubischta 2-14-11H-143-96, Fayette, t8/13; cum 37K 12/13;
  • 22896, 592, OXY USA, Williams Kubischta 3-14-11H-143-96, Fayette, t8/13; cum 60K 12/13;
  • 25158, drl, CLR, Tallahassee 2-16H, Baker, no production data,
  • 25701, drl, Hess, AN-Evenson 152-95-0310H-2, Antelope, no production data,
  • 26004, 99, Legacy, Legacy Et Al Berge 4-6 2H,  North Souris, a Spearfish well, t10/13; cum 10K 12/13;

22896, see below, OXY USA, Williams Kubischta 3-14-11H-143-96, Fayette:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

Will The Price Of Natural Gas Hit $6.00 This Winter Season? Meanwhile, A Freshwater Leak North Of Williston: Quick, Round Up The Usual Suspects

I can't recall if I linked this WSJ story earlier, which was also linked and posted at the MDU message board:
Natural-gas prices hit $5 a million British thermal units for the first time in 3 ½ years on expectations that continued cold weather would keep demand high for the heating fuel.
Natural gas for February delivery rose as high as $5.026/mmBtu on the New York Mercantile Exchange before pulling back slightly. The February contract recently traded up 26.4 cents, or 5.6%, at $4.994/mmBtu. The rally highlights concerns about supply, after several years of booming U.S. production. The amount of gas stored in the U.S. has dwindled in recent weeks as heating demand has ramped up.
Inventories as of Jan. 17 stood at 2.423 trillion cubic feet, 13% below the five-year average for the week. Supplies now stand at 1.686 trillion cubic feet, 27% below the five-year average level for the same week, according to the EIA. If the cold weather persists, those supplies would dwindle further.
Apparently the article I have on-line has been changed slightly from the original article which was linked/quoted at the MDU message board. In that article this was noted:
"The focus right now is: Do we have enough gas to deliver to customers in March?" said Ben Smith, president of market-data service First Enercast Financial in Denver. "We really have over a month of winter still."
More cold weather is expected.

Don suggests a poll to see if anyone expects natural gas to hit $6 or more on the New York Mercantile Exchange before this winter season is over. Posted.

Rounding Up The Usual Suspects

The Dickinson Press is reporting a freshwater pipe leaked the other day resulting in "some water" flowing into a drainage ditch. The company said there were no additives in the "fresh water." The state is taking samples and rounding up the usual suspects.

Round Up The Usual Suspects, Casa Blanca

The Keystone XL 2.0 North Discussion In The New York Times

I'm pretty tired of reading about the Keystone, but I'm taking a break, having read a bit more of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and was surfing the net, on a day that turned out to be more newsworthy than I had expected when I started blogging this morning.

I noted that The New York Times had a "discussion"on the Keystone. Eight "debaters" provided an essay. The "debate" is: Is Keystone Worth The Fight? I actually read the first couple paragraphs by Bill McKibben, activist environmentalist who is probably the face of the Nebraska crowd to stop the Keystone. I skimmed a few of the others. I did not read the essay provided by the American Petroleum Institute.

I think the last essay, co-written by the president and the chairman of something called The Breakthrough Institute was the most in line with my thoughts. The writers were able to accurately place the Keystone in context with the current environmental movement.

The essay is all of 324 words (as counted by Microsoft Word). I can't recall an essay that packed so much into so short an essay).  It is such a great article, I have saved the entire article for later reference in case the link breaks or the article is archived.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Trailer

The best line in the trailer was changed slightly for PG audiences. Unfortunate.

The US Is Exporting Crude Oil To Europe; Ninth Circuit Court Strikes Down San Diego's Restrictive Handgun Law

US starting to export limited amount of oil to Europe.  See this article, the link sent to me by a reader, a Reuters article reported at the website:
The U.S. government has authorized limited crude oil exports to Europe, for the first time in years, raising new questions about how companies are testing the limits of a controversial, decades-old exports ban.
The Department of Commerce has granted two licenses to export U.S. crude to the UK since last year and another two to Italy, according to data Reuters obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
One application for German exports was filed in January and is awaiting a decision by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which is responsible for reviewing requests to export crude under a 1975 law that bans most shipments with a few exceptions, including sales to Canada and re-export of foreign oil.
These are the first permits for shipments to the UK since at least 2000 and the first to any European country since 2008, according to data from the BIS. The bureau has approved 120 licenses since January 2013, nearly 90 percent of which were for sales to Canada, the data show.
Two things I find so interesting: a) that it happened; and, b) it took a Freedom of Information Act request, apparently, to get the story.

The entire story provides additional interesting trivia regarding the oil and gas industry, including whether this might have simply been a swap of light oil for heavy oil? Regular readers understand the reason behind this question.
Others said oil volume swaps -- whereby companies can export U.S. light oil for a higher quality or volume of crude or refined fuels -- may be behind the recent expansion in export licenses to Europe.
"The implication is that we are not exchanging a higher value item for a lower value," said Ed Morse, global head of commodity research at Citi, while noting that re-exports of Canadian heavy oil from U.S. shores are on the rise. 
Applicants for such licenses have to demonstrate that the trade is part of an overall transaction in the nation's interest and the oil cannot be sold for a reasonable price in the United States. 
Sellers also have to prove that exports will be terminated if U.S. supplies are seriously threatened. 
"I am sceptical that it was a swap because tests for such exports are very complicated," Kassinger said, referring to sellers' onus to prove that they can't sell the oil at a profit within the country.
San Diego's Concealed Handgun Law

The Washington Post is reporting: The federal government's Ninth Circuit Court strikes down San Diego's restrictive handgun law.
The Ninth Circuit’s decision in Peruta v. San Diego, released minutes ago, affirms the right of law-abiding citizens to carry handguns for lawful protection in public.
California law has a process for applying for a permit to carry a handgun for protection in public, with requirements for safety training, a background check, and so on. These requirements were not challenged. The statute also requires that the applicant have “good cause,” which was interpreted by San Diego County to mean that the applicant is faced with current specific threats. (Not all California counties have this narrow interpretation.) The Ninth Circuit, in a 2-1 opinion written by Judge O’Scannlain, ruled that Peruta was entitled to Summary Judgement, because the “good cause” provision violates the Second Amendment.
The Court ruled that a government may specify what mode of carrying to allow (open or concealed), but a government may not make it impossible for the vast majority of Californians to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

NuStar Energy Completes CBW Loading Dock At Corpus Christi

NuStar Energy completes construction of a private marine loading dock at its North Beach Terminal in Corpus Christi, Texas, and has its first ship at the dock to be loaded with crude oil: Originally scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of this year, NuStar expedited the project in order to meet strong customer interest in using the dock to transport shipments of Eagle Ford crude oil by water.

Just sitting on the dock of the bay:

Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay, Otis Redding

Remember: oil cannot be exported except to Canada and to a few other locations by exception.

[Later: that's where I ended the original post. Look this article, the link sent to me by a reader, a Reuters article from website.
The U.S. government has authorized limited crude oil exports to Europe, for the first time in years, raising new questions about how companies are testing the limits of a controversial, decades-old exports ban.
The Department of Commerce has granted two licenses to export U.S. crude to the UK since last year and another two to Italy, according to data Reuters obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
One application for German exports was filed in January and is awaiting a decision by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which is responsible for reviewing requests to export crude under a 1975 law that bans most shipments with a few exceptions, including sales to Canada and re-export of foreign oil.
These are the first permits for shipments to the UK since at least 2000 and the first to any European country since 2008, according to data from the BIS. The bureau has approved 120 licenses since January 2013, nearly 90 percent of which were for sales to Canada, the data show.
RBN Energy has had countless posts on the CBW phenomenon.

Nothing to do with the Bakken. Putting things into perspective

Bloomberg's Snapshot Of The Bakken, One Word: Torrid; A Little Bit Too Much Emphasis On Rig Count Vs Type Of Rig

From Bloomberg (sent to me by a reader; link to follow):
Total wells drilled in the Bakken fell by 34 sequentially, or 5.7% in 4Q.
Continental, Hess, and Whiting drilled the most wells in the quarter.
The largest sequential increases included Enerplus (300% rise; added six), Statoil SA (145% rise; added 16) and EOG Resources (80%, eight).
Wells drilled in the most active county in the play, McKenzie, fell 13% to 187, while the well count in the next most-active county, Williams, rose by 22 to 106.
The number of permits issued in the Bakken fell 2.1% sequentially in 4Q.
Even with this decline, there were many notable increases.
Sequential absolute growth leaders in the quarter were Hess (117%; 55 permit rise), EOG Resources (128%; 23 permit rise), and Exxon Mobile (48% rise; 15 permit rise). Other notable operators such as Continental Resources, Whiting Petroleum, Kodiak, and Conoco Phillips drove overall weakness in permits.
Permits provide a peek into future drilling for a certain area. Permit awards in the North Dakota Bakken fell 2.1% n 4Q, after rising in 3Q. The lag time between permit award and first production from a well is about 60 to 90 days, depending on drilling depth and other considerations.
Rising rig productivity may combat the flat production outlook suggested by a decrease in permitting.
Bakken oil production rose 30% in 2013 to an average output level of 887,000 barrels per day from 2012’s 685,000.
While overall output levels have continued to rise at a torrid rate, average rig count levels in the Williston basin fell 11% to 184 from 207 in 2012. The output rise and rig count drop has been driven by increased rig productivity, which rose 32% yoy last year. Average output levels are up almost 32% ytd yoy.

Idle Musings; Off The Net For Awhile; Going Valentine's Day Shopping

Just a few thoughts.


The CBR story is on the back burner ... until the next derailment. [Later, 12:43, p.m., right on cue: a crude oil / propane-carrying Norfolk Southern Railway train derails near Pittsburgh, PA. No fire, minimal leakage. Local media event.] [Later: update at The New York Times:
A 120-car Norfolk Southern train carrying heavy Canadian crude oil derailed and spilled in western Pennsylvania on Thursday ....
There were no reports of injury or fire after 21 tank cars came off the track and crashed into a nearby industrial building at a bend by the Kiskiminetas River in the town of Vandergrift. Nineteen of the derailed cars were carrying oil, four of which spilled between 3,000 and 4,000 gallons of oil, Norfolk Southern said. The leaks have since been plugged. Two other derailed tank cars held liquefied petroleum gas.]

The LSS pricing story is going to be the big story/challenge for the Bakken. 

With the huge turn in the market today, from down over 100 points at the opening to positive territory now, it's hard not to remain optimistic. The consensus in our Starbucks coffee group yesterday -- one financial adviser -- not me -- is that the market will go up 10% this year. The gap will widen between the "haves" (the investors and the "have-nots" (the non-investors).

The "jobs" story hasn't changed for five years, and won't change this year. For investors, long-term joblessness has been baked into their calculations. The Fed will try very hard to "stay the course" but a new Fed chairwoman will not want to be blamed for the losses in November. Inflation is not a short-term concern (except there is NOT enough inflation for growth); jobs are the concern. By the end of the summer, benefits for long-termed unemployed will be reinstated.

It appears this will be the year for oil companies to re-trench a bit: less CAPEX; will concentrate on strengthening their cash flow. I was surprised there were no big M&A stories coming out of the Bakken last year, and will be even more surprised if there is no big M&A Bakken story this year.

Immigration will not be a big story this year.

Eventually, not this year, maybe next year, perhaps going into the 2016 election, the big story will be the huge student loan problem. I look for the government to provide relief in this arena also. If I had a huge student loan, I would pay just enough to keep me out of trouble, but start investing what I could, feeling pretty comfortable that the government will eventually have to step in. 

Obamacare: the future of Obamacare becomes clearer. It will be delayed, and delayed. The word on the street is that the individual mandate will be delayed in the next month or so. Even if it is not, the "word on the street" is what matters. By now, the insurers have missed two months of premiums by those who have not signed up. The insurers will get a huge bailout this year. The health care insurance industry will be in a shambles by October, 2014, as insurers try to figure out how to calculate premiums for 2015. Most of ObamaCare will be delayed, but the rules (no pre-existing clause; no annual cap) will remain in force. Unions will drive Obamacare going into the November, 2014, elections -- i.e, the ENTIRE corporate mandate will be delayed until after the 2016 elections. Americans will continue to muddle through Obamacare: the genie cannot be put back in the bottle. The country will probably return to "business as usual" with regard to health care except for two Obamacare "successes": a) no pre-existing clauses; b) no annual cap. The insurers will simply be pass-through entities as the national government silently becomes the single payer (it will start out as a bailout each year for the first few years, until the next president simply calls it what it is).

Just A Random Thought For Mineral Owners As We Go Into Tax Season

If your tax preparer is not an expert in oil and gas investments, one might consider getting him/her a copy (or recommending he/she get a copy) of the mineral rights handbook / manual linked at the sidebar at the right. Again, I have no connection with the author or the handbook (other than the link) but when I was thinking about this again, it dawned on me that the majority of mineral owners probably have their taxes prepared by a professional tax preparer. It also might be a good handbook/manual for financial advisers. In fact, if I was receiving any significant amount of royalties and I had a financial adviser, I would ask what resources he/she used or what training he/she had in the oil and gas industry. Just a random thought as I go through the day. Lawyers involved in oil and gas also might be interested.

Everyone Says Price Of Oil To Trend Down; OPEC Says Demand For Oil To Increase

The stories may not be mutually exclusive: as the price of oil comes down, demand will go up. Economics 101, I suppose.

RBN Energy and everyone else suggests the price of oil will trend down over the next two years. See multiple earlier posts.

Now, Reuters via Rigzone is reporting that OPEC joins US in predicting strong oil demand in 2014:
World oil demand will rise slightly more than expected in 2014, OPEC said on Wednesday, becoming the second major forecaster this week to predict higher fuel use as economic growth picks up in Europe and the United States.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, in a monthly report, said global demand will rise by 1.09 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, up about 40,000 bpd from its previous forecast.
The group, which pumps a third of the world's oil, also sees potential for further rises. "Given the improvement in OECD oil demand, the likelihood for upward adjustments for world oil demand growth in 2014 is currently higher than existing projections," said the report by economists at OPEC's Vienna headquarters.
OPEC's report comes a day after the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration raised its 2014 world oil demand growth forecast by a similar increment. Oil prices edged higher after it was released, with Brent crude trading near $109 a barrel.
While the bulk of the growth in global oil demand continues to come from China and the Middle East, OPEC was more upbeat about the prospects for further fuel use this year in established economies.
Of course, Reuters is the same media outlet reporting that all is well with the job picture in the US.

Finally, A Shovel-Ready Project....

... wow, this is quite a project. If I were younger, it might be worth moving to Alaska just to be part of it. A reader sent me the link to this very interesting Forbes article. Look at the scope of this project:
... the building of a new natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage.
 The proposed pipeline project – in which the state, thanks to Governor Parnell and state legislators working in partnership with major oil and gas producers – will require about $45 billion in new investment (about seven times the cost of the equally important mid-continent Keystone XL project) and include not just the pipeline itself but harbors, roads, and state-of-the-art facilities to liquefy the gas for shipping to points south.
 This project – in part spurred by the oil and gas tax reform measures recently passed by the state legislature – would finally allow the tapping of the more than 8 TRILLION cubic feet of gas (one of the world’s largest reserves) in the Point Thompson section of the North Slope.
 The economics of the project are obvious – $2-3 billion more per year in additional revenues for the state, thousands of permanent (and temporary construction – if you call a decade “temporary”) jobs, and a more independent, reliable, and cost-effective energy production system for the United States.
It still boggles the mind that the US government halted Keystone XL 2.0 North over a bit of real estate in Nebraska that is no longer an issue.  One thing Mr Obama is good at: delays.

Slicers And Dicers? KFC-CA? Tortoise Scorchers Are Now Toasting Birds; Beer Can Chicken, Anyone? Costs Four Times Conventional-Sourced Electricity; Peking Duck, Perhaps

From The Wall Street Journal:
A giant solar-power project officially opening this week in the California desert is the first of its kind, and may be among the last, in part because of growing evidence that the technology it uses is killing birds.
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is scheduled to speak Thursday at an opening ceremony for the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station, which received a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee.
The $2.2 billion solar farm, which spans over five square miles of federal land southwest of Las Vegas, includes three towers as tall as 40-story buildings. Nearly 350,000 mirrors, each the size of a garage door, reflect sunlight onto boilers atop the towers, creating steam that drives power generators. ... a major feat of engineering that can light up about 140,000 homes a year....
... and cook twice that many turkeys in half the time. 

And, then look at the cost:
Utility-scale solar plants have come under fire for their costs–Ivanpah costs about four times as much as a conventional natural gas-fired plant but will produce far less electricity—and also for the amount of land they require. That makes for expensive power. Experts have estimated that electricity from giant solar projects will cost at least twice as much as electricity from conventional sources. But neither the utilities that have contracted to buy the power nor state regulators have disclosed what the price will be, only that it will be passed on to electricity customers.
Peking Duck anyone?
BrightSource wants to build a second tower-based solar farm in California's Riverside County, east of Palm Springs. But the state Energy Commission in December proposed that the company instead use more conventional technologies, such as solar panels or mirrored troughs.
One reason: the BrightSource system appears to be scorching birds that fly through the intense heat surrounding the towers, which can reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The company, which is based in Oakland, Calif., reported finding dozens of dead birds at the Ivanpah plant over the past several months, while workers were testing the plant before it started operating in December. Some of the dead birds appeared to have singed or burned feathers, according to federal biologists and documents filed with the state Energy Commission.
Let's see: 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit into the atmosphere. Global warming? I'm trying to think of something good to say about this:
  • $2.2 billion project; government guarantees $1.6 billion
  • cooks birds
  • costs four times as much as conventional-sourced electricity
  • permanent 
  • no dual-use for the land it comes
  • heats the local desert another 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit
I don't know about you, but this would really not look good in western North Dakota. I'm trying to figure out where the activist environmentalists would want to put a solar farm like this in North Dakota. And activist environmentalists want these solar farms to blanket the earth. With wind turbines in between the panels, I suppose.

For Investors Only; KOG Trading At New Highs; ObamaCare Math -- Double-Counting; No Idea Who Paid; Breaking News! German Economic Growth Forecast Raised to 1.8% From 1.7%, Citing Strong Domestic Demand

Breaking News! Stop The Presses. From The Wall Street Journal. I can't make this stuff up. Germany's economics ministry increased its 2014 economic growth forecast to 1.8% from 1.7%, citing strong domestic demand. That will get the market moving.

Mar natural gas pops to new session highs following inventory data; now up 3.5% at $4.99 :  
Natural gas inventory data: Natural gas inventory showed a draw of 237 bcf vs expectations for a draw of 228-233 bcf.

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. 

Trading at new highs: KOG, EPD, MDU, XLNX, ARII, ERF, NFLX,

Skirting with new highs, but not quite there: WMB, UNP,

Nine companies announced increased dividends or distributions. Alaska Air increases quarterly dividend by 25%.

Comcast will buy Time Warner Cable. CMCSA down 3%.

EnCana beats by 12 cents.

Apache misses by $0.20, misses on revs: Reports Q4 (Dec) adj. earnings of $1.57 per share, $0.20 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.77; revenues fell 18.6% year/year to $3.58 bln vs the $3.68 bln consensus. 

Phillips 66 Partners announces first asset acquisition: to acquire $700 mln in assets from Phillips 66: Co announces that its first post-IPO acquisition will include Phillips 66's Gold Product Pipeline System, also known as the "Gold Line System," and the Medford Spheres, two newly constructed refinery-grade propylene storage spheres, for a total consideration of $700 million. The dropdown from Phillips 66, which is targeted to occur March 1, 2014, is expected to be immediately accretive to the earnings and distributable cash flow of the partnership. The partnership will finance the $700 million acquisition with cash on hand of $400 million, the issuance of additional units valued at $140 million, and a 5-year, $160 million note payable to a subsidiary of Phillips 66. The number of additional units will be based on the average daily closing price of the partnership's common units for the 10 trading days prior to February 13, 2014 or $38.86 per unit, with 98 percent issued as common units and 2 percent issued as general partner units. 

ObamaCare Math

Yesterday there were mainstream media links that said ObamaCare enrollments continued at a fast pace in January. That seemed a bit unlikely. The reporters, yesterday, liberal media, were looking at the raw numbers -- something like a million signed up -- compare that to the tens of millions of iPhones that Apple will sell in one month -- but the mainstream reporters were not looking at denominators or rate of growth. Today, a better analysis from a conservative source, and even if they are exaggerating, it's probably a bit closer to the truth. From The Weekly Standard:
On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that enrollment in the Obamacare private exchanges increased by 1,146,071 in January. In December, HHS reported 1,788,000 enrollees in the month of December. That suggests a drop-off of approximately 500,000, or 29 percent. 
Yes, there it is. My memory is pretty accurate despite not even paying attention to the reports yesterday, but enrollments were barely over a million in January. That's a 29% drop since Decembe
I would assume with the announcement earlier this week that the corporate mandate has been delayed through 2016, the push for individual enrollment will fade, and the numbers will correspondingly fall. I assume some of the 1 million that signed up in January were part of the cost-shifting due to the corporate mandate. That is now off the table.

Trainwreck: some 3.3 million people signed up for health coverage via insurance exchanges through January, but enrollment from young Americans remained tepid, new Obama adminstration figures showed. So: a) not enough healthy folks enrolling; b) the plan needed 7 million (minimum) and they are barely at 3 million; and, c) the word on the street is that ObamaCare will be delayed thorugh 2016, and maybe longer. D.E.A.D.

Of course, even worse: no one knows how many of the 3.3 million actually paid their first premium. My hunch: perhaps not even 50%. The vast majority probably thought ObamaCare was like an ObamaPhone: free. Breitbart says the same thing:
The administration continues to say it cannot estimate how many people who have selected plans have actually paid a first month's premium since the payment system has not been built. Experts and journalists who have spoken to insurers say the total percentage who have not paid is around 20 percent. This means it's possible HHS is now double counting some people who were dropped after failing to meet a mid-January deadline but are now applying again.
HHS also highlighted the fact that the percentage of young people 18-34 enrolling was 27 percent in January compared to just 24 percent in October through December. That's an improvement obviously but it's not nearly enough to bring Obamacare to the overall 38 percent level that was anticipated prior to launch. Once the new figures are averaged in with the rest, we can see how little difference they make. The cumulative percentage of young people for all four months of enrollment now stands at 25 percent, an increase of just one percent from where it stood at the end of December.

Thursday, February 13, 2014 -- LSS Changes Everything -- RBN Energy

Active rigs:

Active Rigs18918320516592

RBN Energy: WTI, Brent, and LSS pricing.
The Brent/WTI spread can no longer be looked at in isolation because comparisons to LLS are now central to the relationship between US crude supply/demand and the international market. The key dynamic for 2014 revolves around how much pressure Gulf Coast prices for LLS come under from rising inventories and new flows from Cushing. We may yet see the LLS premium to WTI flip to a discount. In the meantime Brent prices are dancing to their own tune although the backwardation in the futures prices suggests the world market believes current crude supplies are more than adequate to meet demand.
Bottom line: RBN Energy expects WTI to trend down over the next few years unless the US allows oil to be exported -- and that is not going to happen, not to the extent producers are hoping.

This is an RBN Energy post one should read.

Yes, LSS has changed everything. Sort of like, money changes everything:

Money Changes Everything, Cyndi Lauper

The Wall Street Journal

Very first story: health options limited for many. What an ObamaCare disaster. But at least Michelle had a nice dress when Mr Hollande came to visit. "Let them eat cake."

Comcast acquiring Time Warner Cable in all-stock deal. That's a pretty good deal -- no cash. 

Winter storm knocks out power for thousands.

Wind taken out of the sails of the NY Times: GOP approves debt limit "thingie."

And then this: the Senate votes to roll back military pension cuts.

Trainwreck: some 3.3 million people signed up for health coverage via insurance exchanges through January, but enrollment from young Americans remained tepid, new Obama adminstration figures showed. So: a) not enough healthy folks enrolling; b) the plan needed 7 million (minimum) and they are barely at 3 million; and, c) the word on the street is that ObamaCare will be delayed thorugh 2016, and maybe longer. D.E.A.D.

Toyota recalls 1.9 million Priss hybrids for software/electrical glitch.

Deere earnings grow on boost in equipment sales.

The Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles may be on the hook for $26-million legal payout:
L.A. officials wanted to make absolutely sure the city's trash truck drivers would not get caught sleeping in their trucks — a sight sure to enrage taxpayers or possibly attract a TV news camera.
So they laid down a set of break time rules prohibiting naps and placing other restrictions on where and how drivers could have lunch.
Now, that effort to avoid offending delicate public sensibilities has the city facing a $26-million legal payout, most of it for more than 1,000 trash truck drivers who said they were improperly barred from catching a few winks during their 30-minute meal breaks.
The City Council, meeting behind closed doors, moved ahead Wednesday with the payout, designed to end an 8-year-old class-action lawsuit. The drivers would receive an average of $15,000 each in back pay, according to Matthew Taylor, their attorney. He argued that they effectively were required to remain “on duty”— but not paid — during nine years of meal breaks.
Taylor said the no-napping rule created dangers on the road involving heavy city garbage rigs.
“It's a hazard to the public if you have commercial truck drivers who are fatigued and are not allowed to take a nap during their breaks,” he said.
In addition to banning naps, the Bureau of Sanitation also prohibited drivers from congregating in large groups or traveling to locations away from their pickup routes during lunch breaks. Those rules were abandoned last summer.
City lawyers warned council members that they might have to pay as much as $40 million if the court battle over the drivers' work rules continued. A Superior Court judge and a state appeals court panel have already sided with the drivers.
I'm with the drivers on this one. 

"What Fresh Hell Is This?" -- Dorothy Parker -- Unemployment Claims Jump; Had Expected To Fall

I saw the headline. It will be interesting to see what spin Reuters puts on it today.

I see Yahoo!Finance removed the headline, story almost immediately. Had to find it over at The Los Angeles Times where folks are just starting to get up. It will be interesting to see their spin. Oh, good. The LA Times says the horrible number says it is consistent with an improving economy. LOL. The four-week average rose, also.
Initial jobless claims rose last week, but remained at a level consistent with moderate labor market growth amid mixed signals recently about the strength of the economic recovery.
About 339,000 people applied for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ended Saturday, up from 331,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists had projected a slight decrease to 330,000.
The weekly claims figure, a key labor market indicator, has settled in recent weeks to about 335,000 after the usual holiday season volatility. The four-week average rose 3,500 last week, to 336,750.
Economists say claims below 350,000 indicate moderate job creation. But labor market growth was sub-par in January and December, averaging just 94,000 net new jobs created, according to government data.
And that's the incredibly bad number an average of just 94,000 net jobs over the last two months. A minimum of 200,000 net new jobs are needed to suggest a "better" economy. Anything less than 200,00 -- and 94,000 is way less -- is a "stagnant" economy. And the two horrendous reports were back-to-back, and seasonally adjusted so you can't blame the weather for everything.