Wednesday, March 19, 2014

And Now A "Bird-Dinosaur" From North Dakota -- Vaguely Related To The Bakken, I Suppose (Or Not)

The Los Angeles Times is reporting:
A dinosaur nicknamed the "chicken from hell" was described by a team of paleontologists in a study released Wednesday, and researchers say it is even weirder then they first imagined.
The dinosaur's official name is Anzu wyliei, but it was nicknamed the chicken from hell because it reminded researchers of a giant clawed chicken with a neck like an ostrich. 
And from North Dakota.
The dinosaur had a rounded crest on its head and a long, strong tail. Its jaws were tipped by a toothless beak, and it was probably covered in feathers.
The description of Anzu wyliei comes from three fossils found in North and South Dakota that together make an almost complete skeleton. The fossils were discovered in rock that is about 66 million years old, which means Anzu wyliei lived at the tail end of the age of dinosaurs, at the same time as the T-rex and stegosaurus.
And where was it found?
But perhaps the coolest part of this find is that it was made in the Hell Creek Formation, one of the most picked-over areas of the world for dinosaur fossils.
"The fact that this big, distinctive, very weird-looking animal remained effectively hidden in one of the best-explored set of rocks shows you how much more out there is left to be found," Lamanna said.

Seven (7) New Permits -- North Dakota, The Williston Basin, USA -- KOG Adds Seven More P Wood Permits In Truax Oil Field

Active rigs:

Active Rigs195185205172102

Seven (7) new permits --
Wells coming off the confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right. 

Six (6) producing wells completed:
  • 24540, 2,271, Whiting, Levi Federal 21-33H, Sanish, t 2/14; cum -- 
  • 25499, 707, HRC, Moline 157-100-20D-17-2H, Marmon, t2/14; cum --
  • 25430, 2,204, XTO, FBIR Youngbear 31X-9A, Heart Butte, t2/14; cum --
  • 26211, 1,188, HRC, Moline 157-100-20D-17-3H, Marmon, t2/14; cum --
  • 25431, 1,785, XTO, FBIR Youngbear 31X-9E, Heart Butte, t2/14; cum --
  • 25429, 1,410, XTO, FBIR Youngbear 31X-9F, Heart Butte, t3/14; cum -- 
Wells coming off confidential list Thursday:
  • 25976, 1,976, KOG, P Vance 154-97-4-17-2-14H, t2/14; cum --
  • 26030, drl, KOG, P Earl Rennerfeldt 154-99-1-3-27-1H,
  • 26135, 705, SM Energy, Doris 1X-13H, t1/14; cum 9K 1/14;
  • 26252, 734, Newfield, Eide 150-99-7-6-2H, t1/14; cum 14K 1/14;
Screwed The Pooch

Andrew's comment over at this story was right on target:
One more thing (a natural gas deal with Shell) that Ukraine missed out. So let's take a look: no more $98 million per year from Russia for the naval base; no more $15 billion, no strings attached aid; no more discount gas from now on from Gazprom. Lukoil stopped oil flow to Ukraine, no more talks with Shell for extracting oil, lost Crimea permanently. Ukraine really screwed the pooch here on this one. I bet this new government didn't predict this one, huh? Wow, this is a complete circus, but its ok. The Ukraine will get $1 billion dollar loan from US that will go straight to Russia's pocket for natural gas payments, and the Ukraine will still owe about $1 billion to Russia. 
If Putin wants the whole country, he doesn't have to do a thing -- just wait the Ukraine out -- I give the country one harsh winter .... unless, of course, Merkel and Obama want to step in and start sending the Ukraine several billion dollars every year for the next decade.

A Reader Comments On Some Of The Recent Vern Whitten Photographs

I always enjoy receiving a new set of photographs from Vern Whitten. Seldom do I get a long comment on the photos, but a reader sent me the following note, which is quite enjoyable.
Vern Whitten's "Never Ending Winter" photographset, which you linked to last Saturday, is quite stunning.  The photographs are gorgeous and have a fine, delicate quality.
I noticed slides 12 - 15 are photos of White Earth Bay.
In slide 12, on the left is the Hess 12-well pad in NWNW 26-154-94 on which Hess has been drilling the EN-Leo and EN-Freda wells that Ihave been discussing.  On the right is a Continental pad where they are drilling several Vachal wells in NENE 27-154-94.  In the Hess spacing unit, section 26 extends south to the lake, and section 35 is almost entirely in the lake.
Across White Earth Bay to the east is Continental's 25-36 spacing unit that has yet to see a drill bit, and that spacing unit goes down to the lake's edge.  Across the bay and around the point, southeast down the lake shore a bit is Continental's 30-well Jersey pad off to the left.  Most of Its 4-section spacing unit is in the lake, and immediately to its west is another Continental 4-section spacing unit that again is mostly in the lake and which Continental will drill from the south side.
In slide 14, north of the Hess pad is section 23 where the EN-Leo H-1, 2 & 3 wells are.  Just under two miles to the east Hess is putting in a pad to drill an additional 4 permitted EN-Leo wells back to the west across the 23-24 spacing unit.
In slide 13 is the Nabors B5 rig that has drilled, other than the spud work, all the EN-Leo and EN-Freda wells to-date.
Enjoy. Again.

Must-See Graphs Over At Carpe Diem

Link here. Thank you, Don. In case the link breaks, it has to do with the phenomenal US crude oil production and US crude oil export over the past several decades in graphic form. Striking.

The comments are as entertaining as the graphs are educational. One comment:

In NJ we went through a 50% increase in retail electrical costs in order to pay for a massive increase in solar, wind, and other green projects. Result after years of build out (per EIA): Less than 1% of all the electricity generated comes from these green sources. It’s supposed to be 20% at some point.
Green energy is an unmitigated disaster and deserves to be thrown into the ash pit of history.


Financial Times is reporting:

Porsche is set to completely manufacture a car outside Germany for the first time, marking a departure from its proud brand claim that all its vehicles are “Made in Germany.”
Matthias Müller, Porsche chief executive, said on Tuesday that after 2016 the next generation of the Cayenne SUV – a vehicle that currently accounts for roughly half of Porsche sales – will be manufactured entirely in Bratislava, Slovakia.
I love the "stated" reason: to be closer to their fast-growing markets. I can't make that up.

According to google maps, Stuttgart (Porsche HQ/Factory) and Bratislava are less than 500 miles apart. That would be like Mall of America moving to Williston to be closer to a fast-growing market. I doubt the Slovakians are a fast-growing market for Porsche. This is all about cheap labor. No unions in Slovakia.

Northern Italy is a bigger Porsche market than eastern Europe. It is almost twice as far from Bratislava to Milan as from Stuttgart to Milan. Just saying. If they wanted to be closer to their markets, Porsche would have moved to Austria or northern Italy. Or North Dakota. 



And I always thought Toyota was better than this. 

The Los Angeles Times is reporting:
In the agreement with the Department of Justice, the Japanese automaker admitted that it misled U.S. consumers by concealing and making deceptive statements about two safety issues affecting its vehicles, each of which caused a type of unintended acceleration. The case focused on reports of floor mats jamming gas pedals and sticking gas pedals.
Misleading regulators. No excuse. Incredible. Sad. No better than GM in my book.

A Random Update On The Road To New England: Look At How Much Coal New England Used This Past Winter

A reader sent me this link. Thank you. Boston Biz Journal reported electricity rates in New England soared 55 percent last year:
If New England’s governors wanted something to help buttress their case for an unprecedented new electricity tariff, ISO New England just gave it to them.
The Holyoke-based grid operator reported today that the volatile natural gas market in this region  pushed wholesale electric prices up by 55 percent last year. We’re already seeing some of this at the retail level, but the real impact will likely be seen in our monthly bills next winter.
Driving this increase is a 76-percent jump in natural gas prices in New England over the same time frame. This region has become increasingly reliant on natural gas as older plants are retired, but pipeline constraints are making it tougher to take advantage of the cheap shale gas from Pennsylvania.
Wholesale electric rates had hit their lowest point in 2012 since the current market system took effect in 2003. So we had been enjoying some benefits from the low-cost Marcellus Shale gas. But it’s going to get harder to do so as more people and businesses convert from heating oil to natural gas, putting added pressure on the pipeline network.
And how would they pay for this expanded pipeline network? From the same source, different link:
Here's one more reason to complain about this bitter cold snap we're all experiencing: It could cause our electric bills to go up again next year.
We saw this already in the past year, with National Grid's and NStar's rates rising by double-digit percentages this winter. Blame New England's constrained pipeline capacity: On cold days, the natural gas pipelines are filled to capacity, but power plants that normally rely on that gas get bypassed to ensure heating customers get what they need.
To keep the lights on, more expensive gas is imported from Canada, and rarely used oil and coal turbines are fired up. (During this cold weekend, as much as 35 percent of New England's electricity came from coal and oil, compared to less than 4 percent normally.) This pattern of tight natural gas supplies and high wholesale electric prices already happened last February, driving up the cost of electricity to consumers this winter.
Well, top state officials across New England are paying attention, and they've come up with an unprecedented solution. The New England States Committee on Electricity, a group of the six governors' top electricity regulators, sent a letter to electric grid operator ISO New England last week on behalf of the states' governors. In that letter, the regulators ask ISO New England to approve a tariff on electricity that would help pay for increased natural gas pipeline capacity into New England by the end of 2017.

Random Update On Halcon

Halcon is a minor operator in the Bakken.

I track Halcon to some extent here. Scroll down at the link.

I track the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (TMS) to some extent here.

A SeekingAlpha contributor updates Halcon today.

Note the Crosby well in the TMS: at 156,000 bbls in one year, compares with the better Bakken well. One more reason I love tracking the Bakken. It puts other shales and other wells into perspective.

Great Question About The CLR Atlanta Pad

A reader asked which formations the wells on the CLR Atlanta pad southwest of Williston were targeting. The nomenclature is not helpful except to note that they are all "H" wells suggesting that they are not targeting the lower Three Forks benches. The question was whether the wells would target both the middle Bakken and the Three Forks. [On other pads in which CLR is targeting the middle Bakken, the upper Three Forks, and the lower benches of the Three Forks, CLR follows the "H" in the nomenclature with a number between 1 and 4, or no number at all, for example: -3H, -3H1, -3H2, -3H3.)

Considering that all four wells run in the same general direction (south: eastsoutheast; southeast, and south) -- none run north -- suggest that the wells would have to target bot the middle Bakken and the Three Forks.

I've just gone through all the well files to see which formations the wells are targeting. It's half and half: half middle Bakken and half Three Forks, which I assume are upper bench, the "conventional" / "standard" Three Forks, not the lower benches.

Also, in passing I noted that two of the wells had very good gas shows suggesting that these wells might have a more surprising IP than I would have guessed.

I track the Atlanta pad here. I've probably talked about the Atlanta wells elsewhere; one can find those posts by using the "blogger" search app.

Are People Paying Attention? I Wasn't ---

--- that's not meant to be snide or "holier-than-though" -- "are people paying attention?" I missed it, too, not so much because I wasn't paying attention or that I didn't read it, but because I couldn't understand it; I couldn't get my arms around. It is beyond what I can imagine.

The point is that the numbers coming out of the Bakken are absolutely staggering. Let's pretend this is 2015 -- that's only a year from now.

2025 is ten years from 2015. Ten years is not all that far down the road. The Bakken boom began in Montana fourteen years ago (2000) and seven years ago in North Dakota (2007).

All that is background to this one data point from the recent MDU presentation:
  • Natural gas, current, about 280 mmcf/d; base case 2,700 mmcf/d; high case 3,900 mmcf/d by 2025.
Think about that. I don't know what 280 mmcf/day means, but whatever it means, just one company, MDU, will be producing ten times that amount of natural gas from the Bakken in the "worse case scenario" in less than ten years. It could be much more. 

The geographic footprint of the Bakken is not very big. Right now, in the big scheme of things, it's most of Williams County, much of McKenzie County, half of Mountrail County, and half of Dunn County. There may be about six natural gas processing plants in that footprint right now. To manage ten times, and maybe more, of natural gas production, it's gonna take a lot of natural gas processing plants. (Yes, I know about the Whiting southern ops in Stark/Billings counties.)

It begs the next question, the next thought, but I better stop there before I get myself in trouble.

Speaking of Paying Attention

I've blogged about this from the very beginning. With regard to ObamaCare there is a lot of white noise out there -- coming from both sides of the aisle. I post some of those stories, but for me, the proof in the pudding will be a) the earnings reports for the health insurers for 3Q14, 4Q14, and 1Q15; and, b) the 2015 insurance premiums that will be announced in October, 2014. 

The tea leaves tell me four things with regard to the 2015 health premiums that are scheduled to be announced in October:
  • the Obama administration will delay the open season for 2015 (and forbid the new premiums to be released prior to the election)
  • by executive order, 2015 health care premiums will be capped at 2014 levels
  • the subsidies will be significantly increased
  • individual mandate (already "unofficially" delayed) will be "officially" delayed
The Hill is already reporting:
Health industry officials say ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration.
The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP’s prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015.
The industry complaints come less than a week after Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to downplay concerns about rising premiums in the healthcare sector. She told lawmakers rates would increase in 2015 but grow more slowly than in the past.
“The increases are far less significant than what they were prior to the Affordable Care Act,” the secretary said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee.
Her comment baffled insurance officials, who said it runs counter to the industry’s consensus about next year. 
You can believe an Obama appointee, Ms Sebelius, or you can ignore the industry. One has to be wrong. I don't know which one, but like you, I can guess.

That Is The Future, Here's The Past

The Daily Caller is reporting:
Health insurance premiums have risen more after Obamacare than the average premium increases over the eight years before it became law, according to the private health exchange eHealthInsurance.
The individual market for health insurance has seen premiums rise by 39 percent since February 2013, eHealth reports. Without a subsidy, the average individual premium is now $274 a month. Families have been hit even harder with an average increase of 56 percent over the same period — average premiums are now $663 per family, over $426 last year. [By the way, $275/month is a great bargain for the best medical care in the world, or $665/month for a family. It's that $6,000 annual, individual deductible that stings.]
Between 2005 and 2013, average premiums for individual plans increased 37 percent and average family premiums were upped 31 percent. So they have risen faster under Obamacare than in the previous eight years.
An important caveat is that eHealth’s prices don’t include subsidies, so the prices for anyone earning between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level will be lower. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has repeatedly claimed patients will pay as little as $18 per month, without noting the taxpayer cost.
"... without noting the taxpayer cost." Minor point. LOL.

So, if everything works out, the insurers will a) make money, hand over fist, because the government will make up the difference through subsidies); and, b) not require a bailout.

But, if something does not work out -- like a) not enough people enroll; or, b) the "wrong" type of people enroll, the insurers a) will take a "haircut," or a "bath"; and, b) demand a bailout.

By the way, the "bailout" is part of the ObamaCare law. ObamaCare guarantees that the government will be the "backstop" for any "significant" losses beyond the control of the health care industry. Sort of like a "force majeure" in the oil and gas industry. Websites that don't work should be considered a "force majeure" by any reasonable person.

Speaking of Trainwrecks

Has it been two weeks without a Bakken crude oil train derailment? Knock on wood.

Today's Celebrity Schedule

Ms Sebelius: US speaking tour --health insurance premiums will increase in 2015
Mr Biden: NATO speaking tour -- reassuring US allies 
Mr Kerry: global speaking tour -- global warming
Michelle: Chinese vacation -- with children, no press corps -- 100% vacation
Mr Putin: redrawing the world map
Mr Obama: filling out his NCAA "March Madness" basketball brackets

Oh, Mr Gore, you ask? Al Gore has an unexpected free day. The "global warning" conference he was scheduled to speak at was canceled due to snow/cold weather.

Random Observations From MDU's Most Recent Presentation On Its Regulated Businesses (Electric And Natural Gas Utilities)

The pdf. (Of course, this link will break over time.)

24 slides.

Second slide (2): strategy includes pursuit of mergers and acquisitions. Think: the Berkshire Hathaway in the utility sector.

Slide 23: three focal data points
  • the three pipelines that come on-line this summer/autumn (Paradox, Garden Creek, Black Hills)
  • first rate case filed since 1999; rates increased
  • proposed Dakota Pipeline
Third slide (3), four utilities:
  • Montana-Dakota Utilities
  • Great Plains Natural Gas
  • Intermountain Gas
  • Cascade Natural Gas
Sixth slide (6):
CAPEX of $70 million in the Bakken in 2014
$77 million 88-MW gas turbine in Mandan (think $1 billion for 400 MW wind farm)
  • $2.5 million/MW for wind
  • $875,000/MW for gas
Slide thirteen (13): forecast Bakken oil and Bakken natural gas (I'm not exactly sure why this is in the "regulated" presentation but I guess it puts things into perspective).
  • Oil, current: about 175,000 bopd; base case, 1,750,000 bopd, high case scenario, 2,750 bopd by 2025
  • Natural gas, current, about 280 mmcf/d; base case 2,700 mmcf/d; high case 3,900 mmcf/d by 2025
Slide 14: recap of pronghorn asset acquisition in 2012
Slide 15: update on the Dakota Prairie Refinery, west of Dickinson
Slide 16: photograph of the Dakota Prairie Refinery, west of Dickinson
Slide 18: 2014 growth-related capital projects -- total CAPEX ~ $50 million; all three in service this summer; this autumn
  • Paradox Pipeline
  • Garden Creek Pipeline
  • Black Hills Pipeline
Slide 20: proposed Dakota Pipeline (natural gas pipeline from western ND to northwestern MN)
  • 375 miles
  • $650 million 
  • 400 mmcf/day, scalable to 500 mmcf/day (about 8,000 boe/day?)
Slide 21: map of proposed Dakota Pipeline Route (does not cross the Canadian border; President Obama won't have to weigh in)
  • the sweep of the pipeline might give folks an idea of where future natural gas processing plants will be located


I will provide the links later. Regular readers already know.

A 400 MW wind farm for $1 billion = $2.5 million / MW of electricity
A 88-MW gas turbine for $77 million = $875,000 / MW of electricity

Those numbers are so far apart, one wonders if I am reading the sources correctly.

And remember, one cannot build a wind farm without an equal amount of coal- or natural gas-production backing it up. When the wind quits blowing (or if it blows too fast), the turbines are taken off-line. And, oh by the way, the the coal- or natural-gas utility needs to keep operating at a low level while the blades are turning. 24/7. Wind farms will end up saving the US coal industry. If for no other reason, Americans will demand something inexpensive (coal = 6 cents) to offset high cost of renewable energy (solar, wind = 20 cents). 

For Investors Only

Later, 12:01 p.m. Incredible. These companies hit new highs: DAVE, HP, XLNX, UNP, EPD, SRE, and many others are trading new all-time highs. It's an impressive market. Oil has slipped just below $100/bbl.

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. I have never invested and never plan to invest in DAVE and others I may have mentioned in the blog. I follow some of these companies because they shed light on certain sectors of the market.

Later, 8:26 a.m. futures up slightly and now oil is trading above $100. It appears investors like what Putin is doing, keeping Obama in check.

Futures are up again? Putin takes the Crimean. The Syrian government gets a new life. And futures are up. Okay. Oil down slightly.

I assume everyone saw this coming; this was foreshadowed in an earlier posting:
American Eagle Energy prices 11 mln shares of common stock at a price of $6.60 per share; reflective of 1-4 stock reverse stock split: Co announces it has priced an underwritten public offering of 11,000,000 shares of common stock at a price of $6.60 per share after giving effect to a 1-for-4 reverse stock split that occurred after the closing of the market yesterday afternoon and will be in effect as of the opening of the market and the commencement of trading on March 19, 2014.
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. 

I thought we would see more M&A activity in the Bakken last year (2013). Now, I think it will be 2014. I will probably be wrong again.

At least for me, the investment picture in the Bakken is absolutely unpredictable. Two days ago the market had a huge day. Everything was green. Energy companies were up 1 to 2 percent. It was an incredible day. With one exception: CLR was down, lost about 50 cents/share. An analyst downgraded CLR earlier this month. There is increasing speculation that the Atlanta pad is not going to be all that great, whether it is or not, it has to have been a huge drag on cash flow for the company. I think they started drilling that pad 12 - 14 months ago and still 12 of 14 wells are yet to be reported. As much as $140 million in drilling costs and still meager return, I assume.

So, had this been an investment site, I would have suggested investors exchange their CLR shares for EOG shares two days ago. And then yesterday, CLR surges a couple of dollars and is trading near its 52-week high. And that's why this is not an investment site, and why I don't give investment advice. But I track market action because it helps me understand the Bakken. When CLR surges a couple of bucks in light of the Wall Street downgrade, it gets my attention.

A Note to the Granddaughters

I have really enjoyed Blu-Ray. For the past few nights I've been watching Dr No (Blu-Ray) and find it absolutely fascinating. I recall seeing it when it first came out -- I mean, when it first came to Williston. Dr No was released in 1962; I don't know if it showed in Williston that year or the next year or didn't get to Snyder until 1964. In 1962, I was eleven years old, but I distinctly remember the scene of the tarantula crawling up Sean Connery's arm. I had been told that Connery used a double in that scene, but "they" do not say that in the commentary; one is led to believe that it was really Sean Connery in the tarantula scene.

[Snyder Theater was on North Main, east side of the street; Grand Theater was on South Main -- one block away -- on the west side. Snyder always got the "better" movies, it seemed.]

I do not recall noticing Ursula Andress when I first saw the movie. Now, I find myself studying her bikini design quite closely; there are some interesting features. LOL.

The nice thing about Blu-Ray, in addition to the high definition, is the capacity of the disc which allows for a lot of extras. I really enjoy the commentary that is now a standard feature found on Blu-Ray. It is interesting that the most "controversial" aspect of Dr No was the cold-blooded murder committed by 007. The director was worried about getting it past the censor, and, in fact, the director and his staff had to convince them why it should not be censored. It was never mentioned in the commentary, but that's exactly what "00" was all about -- a license to kill. That means "in cold blood" as they say. Censors would not object to killing in self-defense. But "00" had a license to kill.

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.

The Rent In North Dakota -- Making Floridians Rich

From The Wall Street Journal:
Related Cos., the developer best known for luxury condominiums and big commercial projects, is turning its sights to low-slung apartments on the North Dakota and Texas prairie, where a shortage of housing tied to the energy boom is allowing landlords to command some of the highest rents in the country.
The company, run by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, last week paid around $300 million for 20 apartment complexes with 3,000 units in Midland and Odessa, Texas, according to people familiar with the transaction.
It also is in advanced talks for a deal on an existing project in North Dakota's Bakken region, and plans to raise up to $300 million for a fund focused on shale-rich communities from desert areas near the Mexican border to the Appalachian basin in the East, the people said. Mr. Ross is following a small band of investors, including private-equity giant KKR & Co. and real-estate firm Westport Capital Partners, into the residential and commercial markets of new and resurgent energy towns a world away from the cities and suburbs where they usually build or buy.
They are drawn by rents that would seem more reasonable in Midtown Manhattan and Silicon Valley, the result of almost nonexistent unemployment and low supply. A two-bedroom apartment in Williston, N.D., for example, can go for $3,000 a month, or more. In nearby Watford City, North Dakota Housing LLC rents a two-bedroom trailer for $2,350 a month. The same rent could fetch a spacious luxury apartment in cities like Las Vegas or Phoenix, or a studio in new towers in New York. "We think it's a unique opportunity," says Justin Metz, managing principal of Related's fund-management group.
There are a heck of a lot of story lines in that story. I remember the articles I posted at the beginning of the boom talking about a a lack of strategic planning for development in the Bakken; and, the conflict of interests by local government to disapprove housing projects. The result: highest apartment rents in the nation. 

Yesterday, I posted a note sent to me by a reader. His observation led me to note that in five drilling units southeast of Williston, operators have spent almost $1 billion in drilling costs alone, so far. The city has about ten drilling units (1280-acre units) within its present boundaries. One just gets the feeling that the boom has not sunk in yet, locally.