Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Wednesday Morning News

Let's see, a 30-cent replacement part would have prevented 13 deaths due to a faulty GM ignition switch and the CEO says that behavior was "unacceptable." That's refreshing. To hear that that was simply "unacceptable." So, let's move on.

Is she suggesting some might have thought that it was acceptable? I find it amazing what Government Motors can get away with these days. Why wasn't the retired GM CEO under whose this occurred subpoenaed to appear before Congress. I was not aware that statute of limitations applied here.


An 8.1 magnitude earthquake in Chile overnight. I don't think they are fracking in Chile. 


At Drudge, these two stacked headlines:

I think what he meant to say: FLASHBACK: Obama Was Seen as Lemon From Start, Data Shows ...


For Investors Only: Update On KOG

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.

A big "thank you" to a reader who sent this to me.

From SeekingAlpha:
With the Polar pilot test program, Kodiak gambled on lower short-term production growth and higher cap-ex in an effort to improve the company's long term enterprise value. It was a risky bet, yet the results prove the gamble was a resounding success. As a result, the company could reach a watershed inflection point in 2014: cash flow breakeven while actually reducing cap-ex YOY.
There is one caveat: oil prices. Barron's headline article this week is Here Comes $75 Oil. Yet KOG is in a much better position to handle weaker oil prices than it was a year or two ago. Note that at $75 oil, the company estimated its 800 MMBOE EUR Bakken wells have an IRR of 43%. Also, it should be noted the Barron's piece predicted a significant reduction in drilling costs would accompany such a downdraft in oil prices. And of course KOG is well hedged going forward to protect its cash flow. Lastly, production is expected to climb 47% this year, so cash flow will continue to ramp up even as cap-ex will be relatively flat YOY.
There is an incredible amount of information in this article. It's a must-read for anyone interested in the Bakken. I particularly appreciated this data point:
In addition, the company continues to increase drilling efficiencies. As of Q4 Kodiak reported it had used zipper-fracs to reduce its average frac time from 7.5 days to 5.4 days per well. The record time so far is 2.7 days per well. The zipper frac technique also allows the optimization of KOG's water management.
Incredible, huh?

I've blogged about zipper fracks before and there is a tag at the bottom of the blog, "ZipperFracs."

From Carpe Diem: Amazing Facts From The Miracle State Of North Dakota

A feel-good article. Mark Perry's comment at the linked story:
The phenomenal economic rise of North Dakota, going from the poorest one-fifth of America’s states for per-capita income seven years ago to becoming the second wealthiest state in the country last year (and surpassing Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts) was the result of one factor: oceans of shale oil in the western part of the state that were only recently accessible because of revolutionary drilling technologies. The shale oil bonanza in the Peace Garden State has created a jobs boom with more openings than available unemployed workers, and a housing boom with a three-fold increase in permits over the last year. It continues to be America’s “economic miracle state.”  Thanks to shale oil, North Dakota’s future looks very, very bright and its status as the “economic miracle state” will continue for decades. 
It should be noted that President Obama controls much more oil than the amount thought to be in North Dakota but there has been almost no change in oil production on federal lands during the past six years.  In fact, it's very possible that oil production on federal land has actually gone down during his tenure.

Seven (7) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; Oasis Reports Eight Wells Wednesday; Emerald Reports Three Wells

Active rigs:

Active Rigs192186207170103

Seven (7) new permits --
  • Operators: Oasis (4), Hess (2), Cornerstone
    Fields: Tyrone (Williams), Beaver Lodge (Williams), Flaxton (Burke)
  • Comments:
Wells coming off the confidential list today, were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Wells coming off the confidential list Wednesday:
  • 23678, 1,438, WPX. Martin Fox 20-17HD, Mandaree, t2/14; cum 12K 2/14;
  • 24623, 704, Oasis, Crabapple 5200 44-29T, Camp, t12/13; cum 46K 2/14;
  • 24707, 1,811, Oasis, Paul S 5300 13-13T, Willow Creek, t10/13; cum 47K 2/14;
  • 24919, drl, Slawson, Jeriyote 7-5-32TFH, Big Bend, no production data,
  • 25308, 646, Oasis, Norris 5892 21-30B, Cottonwood, t10/13; cum 18K 2/14;
  • 25578, 2,247, Oasis, Jade 5200 21-28T, Camp, 24K first month; t1/14; cum 41K 2/14;
  • 25640, 1,863, Oasis, Mawson 5493 43-23T, Robinson Lake, t11/13; cum 29K 2/14;
  • 25648, 1,659, Emerald Oil, Excalibur 3-25-36H, Boxcar Butte, t11/13; cum 49K 2/14;
  • 25649, 945, Emerald Oil, Excalibur 4-25-36H, Boxcar Butte, t11/13; cum 25K 2/14;
  • 25650, 1,398, Emerald Oil, Excalibur 5-25-36H, Boxcar Butte, t10/13; cum 44K 2/14;
  • 25828, drl, BR, Rising Sun 21-1MBH, 5NH, Clear Creek, no production data,
  • 25895, 76, Denbury, CHSU 14B-16NH 15, Cedar Hills, South Red River B, t12/13; cum 5K 2/14;
  • 25900, 248, Oasis, Cottle 5892 21-30T, Cottonwood, t10/13; cum 8K 2/14;
  • 26037, 1,612, Oasis, Texel Federal 5693 44-27 2T, Alger, t10/13; cum 39K 2/14;
  • 26038, 212, Oasis, Phazer 5992 12-26T, Cottonwood, t11/13; cum 7K 2/14;
  • 26164, 1,141, WPX, Brunsell 9-4HZ, Van Hook, t1/14; cum 38K 2/14;
  • 26358, drl, XTO, Rink 13X-4E, Garden, no production data,

24623, see above, Oasis, Crabapple 5200 44-29T, Camp:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

 26164, see above, WPX, Brunsell 9-4HZ, Van Hook:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

.... It Never Quits.....Another Global Warming Snow Storm ... And With Regard To ObamaCare, We've Only Just Begun ...

The most recent global warming snow storm was named "Xenia."

There are reports of yet another storm to follow with up to another foot of snow in north-central Minnesota extending to Michigan. They may run out of alphabet letters ... sort of reminds me of that I-98 episode in which a pharmaceutical company nearly ran out of letters ....

... if we're still getting snowstorms out into July/August, the "global warming" tag will change, regardless. The "GlobalWarming_2014_2015" tag starts with July 1, 2014 posts.

By the way, we've come full circle:
ice age coming --> global warming --> climate change --> extreme weather --> ice age coming 
Wunderground is reporting that March, 2014, was a record-setting cold month across the United States:
While typically cold, parts of the northern Great Lakes and northern New England shivered through a record cold March in 2014. 
Specifically, the following cities set a new cold standard for March monthly mean temperatures, according to final statistics from the National Weather Service:
  • Caribou, Maine 
  • Bangor, Maine (tied) 
  • Barre/Montpelier, VT
  • Glens Falls, NY​ 
  • Washington (Dulles Int'l Airport) 
  • Gaylord, MI
  • Houghton Lake, MI
Caribou, Maine chalked up 14 days with low temperatures below zero, tying their record from 1939.
And now it's official:
An over a century-old record falls.
The average temperature for December 2013 to March 2014 period in  Chicago was only 22.0°F, 10 degrees below freezing, beating the old record set in the winter of 1903-04. It even beat the harsh winters of 1977/78 which were some of the worst ever.
This is the coldest such period in Chicago since 1872! That was about six years after the end of the US Civil War.
We've Only Just Begun -- Human, Aetna, BC/BS, Gazprom, Putin

This is quite incredible. It's a fact that ObamaCare premiums for 2015 will increase significantly. HHS Secretary Sebelius has said as much. The insurers have said as much.

But I didn't expect to see these stories this soon. Reuters is already reporting:
As the first Obamacare enrollment period comes to a close, U.S. insurers are already anticipating the need to raise prices for 2015 and fear that it will put them at the center of the political blame game over President Barack Obama's healthcare law.
The Obama administration declared victory on Tuesday over signing up more than 7 million people for this year, overcoming technology failures that stymied enrollment in the program's early weeks and Republican efforts to discredit it in the eyes of consumers.
But insurers have already said that the first group of new enrollees under Obamacare, as the law is widely known, represent a higher rate of older and costlier members than hoped. To keep their health plans from losing money in the coming years, many expect monthly premium rates to rise by double-digit percentages in some parts of the country.
We've only just begun...

We've Only Just Begun 
The Carpenters, Ms Pelosi, Mr Reid, Aetna, BC/BS, Humana, Wellpoint, et al

I can all but guarantee that because of the late enrollment closure for 2013, "open season" for 2015 will be delayed until January - March, 2015, well after the November, 2014, elections.

In addition, by executive order, the President will cap 2015 premiums at 2014 rates.

How Much Is The Bakken Capable Of Producing? Idle Chatter


April 3, 2014: the post below stands alone; I don't think I will update it. I will add updates up here. One of the points I made believe was the fact that affect daily production in the Bakken is the completion techniques (which affects the decline curves).

Something I failed to mention that affects the rate of increase in bopd month-to-month is time from spud to first sales. I think I read that in the Bakken the average time from spud to first sales is about 120 days. I read, if I recall correctly, that in some other field somewhere in the US for some operator, the time from spud to first sales was down to 30 days. I could be way wrong on that, but think about that. If the "time from spud to first sales -- TFSTFS -- decreased some 120 days to 90 days in the Bakken, think what that would do for the rate of increase in bopd month-over-month.

During the winter, they probably cannot improve the TFSTFS too much (fracking is limited in the winter) but a) in the summer fracking should follow drilling fairly closely if it were not for operational delays caused by pad drilling; and b) zipper fracks are really, really fast and perfect for pad drilling.
Original Post

I'm really not sure I want to go down this road. It's possible I will meander around for awhile, and if it doesn't go anywhere, I will simply delete the post, or leave it up for folks to think about, but deny I ever wrote it.

It has to do with the Bentek study (linked at the sidebar at the right) and a comment I received earlier regarding the Bentek.

There are so many story lines with regard to the Bentek study, one hardly knows where to begin. The first story line, of course, has to do with questions like: who commissioned the study, why was it commissioned, to what degree was it helpful, and whether it contained actionable information for those who commissioned it, and for others who see the study.

Another story line that will evolve over time is the "accuracy" of the study.

A third story line is what question was Bentek answering with regard to production: was Bentek predicting what the Bakken would produce over time, or what the the Bakken could produce over time.

There must be a dozen other story lines one could entertain from that study, but I'll spend a few minutes on the third story line mentioned above.

For the longest time I had been perplexed how to answer folks who asked me how big the Bakken is, or how much it would produce. I was perplexed because I was stymied by geo-politics. If Saudi wanted, could Saudi flood the world with oil and drive high-cost operations (Canada oil sands, Bakken shale) out of business? Could activist environmentalists succeed in getting fracking banned completely? Could Ford invent an automobile that ran on water and sell a production model for $5,000?

A few months ago I had an epiphany. Now when folks ask me how big the Bakken is or how much the Bakken can produce, I re-phrase the question: what are the roughnecks capable of producing in the Bakken? When I ask that question I am taking fringe activist environmental possibilities and geo-politics out of the equation. I am also taking the price of oil out of the equation. When I say "roughnecks" I use the term in a more general way, to include all the folks involved in actually producing oil.

I'm simply looking at the size of the reservoir (the "original oil in place"); the recovery rate; the technology; the workforce; and other similar variables.

I Don't Want To Talk About It, Rod Stewart and Amy Belle

Estimates of the size of the reservoir/the OOIP have increased significantly since the 2008 surveys. It will be awhile (if ever) before we seen another Williston Basin survey, but if we do, I assume the OOIP estimates will be further increased.

The recovery rates have similarly increased. When the boom began, "we" were talking about recovery rates of 2 - 5%. Folks were considered nuts if they talked about 8%. Now, there was a throwaway line in a linked article last week that suggested the recovery rate in the Bakken was 15% in some areas (this is primary production; we are not talking about enhanced oil production). 

Technology is obviously a big player in production estimates. There are a number of issues here, but I will limit it to "speed." How fast can we get the oil out of the Bakken? There are several factors:
  • rigs: more powerful; get to total depth more quickly
  • pad drilling: less down time
  • knowledge base: each well provides geologists with more information about the Bakken
  • geologists: with more experience, better wells
  • better completion techniques: sand? ceramic? how much? density of perforations? completions techniques always getting better; best practices spreading across operators
Decline rates affect daily production. The decline rates are not getting worse; the decline curves are actually improving. This goes along with the discussion on completions.

I think the most interesting variable is the workforce. Production is, obviously, a function of the work force.

Work force

Size: The size of the work force is important: for an adequate work force to be in place and remain in place in a free society, they have to have more than adequate shelter, food, quality of life, and companionship. An employee has to like it "there" and feel "needed" and "want to stay for the duration." If the work force is unhappy with what they get out of the Bakken they will move elsewhere if jobs are available elsewhere. There is probably some inverse relationship between jobs elsewhere and coming to North Dakota to work.

Trained: the size of the work force won't matter if they aren't trained to do the job. I couldn't drive a truck if my life depended upon it, and yet, I assume, the skills needed to get a CDL rank somewhat lower than other jobs in the oil patch (don't take that out of context: there's a huge gap between the 18-y/o who just got his CDL and the mature driver who's been driving oil trucks in the Bakken for the past seven years). The Bakken competes for trained workers and as the national economy improves, that competition will get tougher. Texas, south of San Antonio, where the Eagle Ford is, beckons. Nice weather, low cost of living.

Specialists: the supply of specialists is limited and it takes time to train new specialists. There was a "specialty" that just popped up on my radar last week -- I had not seen this before, but apparently the US is running short of welders. How crazy is that? Bakken production could be held up by the availability of welders. But also, papers don't get signed without lawyers dotting "i's" and crossing "t's." There are only so many oil and gas lawyers around. Backhoe operators. They can ship a gazillion Bobcat backhoes to the Bakken but if they don't have the operators, those things don't drive themselves (yet). Interestingly enough, the chokepoint in the Bakken might be electricians. Every well requires the services of an electrician. Even if the pumps are run on natural gas, it requires an electrician to hook them up. You know, I was just thinking (that's a scary thought). Remember those night-time photos of the Bakken taken from space? You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones where folks think they are all images of natural gas being flared. In fact, very few of those images are of flares; 99% of the light coming out of the Bakken at night is related to lights on the rigs themselves and/or the well pads. The luminosity of the "Bakken light" may not be as bright as Chicago, but it covers a bigger footprint. When you see that satellite photo, think: electricians. It's 99.9% light, with the rest flared natural gas.


This is a work in progress. But I have errands to run. I will add to this post later, but you get the idea. I no longer worry about what the Bakken will be producing in the year 2022. If fracking is banned completely, the Bakken won't be producing much oil. If the Saudis flood the world with $20 oil for the rest of eternity, the Bakken won't be producing much oil in 2022.

I look at this: based on the size of the work force, based on what banks are willing to lend, based on technology, based on how fast paperwork can be accomplished, based on the number of hours in the day, based on the experience of the work force, based on simply getting the job done, what is the likely production capability, in bopd, of the Bakken on a yearly basis going forward?

The tea leaves tell me that "North Dakota" feels comfortable with about 2,500 new Bakken wells each year for the next few years.

From there, one simply watches the new OOIP estimates; the takeaway capacity at the end of each year; the time from spud to first production; the recovery rates (probably the biggest unknown); and, the history of the preceding years in the Bakken and one can pretty much figure out the "bopd" potential of the Bakken.

For calendar year 2014, the OOIP estimates have probably not changed since last year; the takeaway capacity is increasing slightly but not appreciably so; the work force has stabilized; the recovery rates probably have not changed much from 2013; and that pretty much leaves what the rough necks, geologists, and frack teams can do with 2,500 new wells.

The biggest thing that rough necks, geologists, and frack teams can do with 2,500 new wells is improve completion techniques resulting in a) higher first-year production numbers; and b) better decline curves. The tea leaves tell me this is where the operators are focused and huge strides are being made.

[Note: somehow I missed EURs -- I'm not sure if EURs are pertinent to the discussion; I have to sleep on this.]

Flashback: Government's Prediction For 2013 - 2014 Winter -- Yeah, That One

Link to NOAA (no, not Noah, that's the movie), published November 21, 2013, before winter:
Winter 2013-2014 may be a cold one for some in the Midwest, but relatively mild in other parts of the nation, according to the winter outlook released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Did the Farmers' Almanac do any better? The Washington Post said this about the Farmers' Almanac prediction (note, this was back in August, 2013):
The Farmers’ Almanac is generating a tremendous amount of buzz around a “C-O-L-D” winter forecast.  And it’s ratcheting up the hype by forecasting a “Super Storm” for Super Bowl XLVIII at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.  But its forecast is baseless and lacks credibility.
One word for the Washington Post: really?

A Note to the Granddaughters

From Sylvia Nasar's Grand Pursuit, p. 174:
Middle-class, multiethnic, and determinedly monoculturally German, Vienna was the destination of choice for refugees from the rest of the empire -- especially after 1867, when liberals in the cabinet promoted Jewish emancipation along with economic modernization. Many of the recent immigrants became peddlers or small shopkeepers. Their sons mostly went into professions such as law or medicine that didn't require attendance at an elite prep school, or banking, journalism, or the arts where a university degree was not needed. The preponderance of Jews in law, medicine, banking, journalism, and the arts stoked resentment, especially in bad times.

Richard Zeits Over At Seeking Alpha -- Who's Got The Most Productive Wells In The Bakken?

Link here.
So which operators have the most productive wells in the play, based on the 1-year cumulative production per well?
The #1 rank should be given to EOG Resources, given that the company's ostensibly peer-average productivity was achieved from shorter laterals. If normalized for lateral length, EOG's well results would be in a class of their own.
There is a huge amount of information in that article, but I'm not going to place any more of the article here. I've discussed almost every point in this blog in the last six months or so. I can't wait to see the NDIC report in September, 2014, which will post the August, 2014, production data for North Dakota. It could be huge.

For folks worried about decline rates, the Red Queen, Peak Oil, blah, blah, they should take a look at another staggering EOG well reported today. EOG tested the well near the end of November, 2013. By the end of January, 2014, that well had produced 91,000 bbls of oil. Decline rate? LOL. 

The April report, due out in a couple of weeks will post the March data which should be okay, coming out of a tough winter. Any upside surprises in the March data will be reason for me to open a new bottle of ... diet Coke. LOL.


I wasn't going to post this until April 15th, but I couldn't wait. You will probably see it again:

Taxman, The Beatles

Idle Chatter -- WTI Pricing; Amtrak Changes Its Schedule For The Bakken To Compensate For Crude Oil Derailments

I'm not going to provide the link (I think I linked it in an earlier post) but yesterday I was sent a link to a CNBC video with a talking head suggesting oil could go to $75 over the next five years.

Today, a talking head over at Yahoo suggests oil could surge to $150 this year. He even sees a $200-scenario.

I'll go on record here, based on RBN Energy posting this past year and futures trading going two months forward: it is more likely we will see $90-oil before the year (2014) is out than we will see $105-oil. I don't think we will ever see $75 oil again, in my investing lifetime, but I wouldn't rule out $85-oil. I'm talking WTI oil, priced at Cushing. [Update, April 5, 2015: boy, was I wrong.]

A Little Bit of Humor

The Bismarck Tribune is reporting:
Amtrak officials say the company is changing the schedules of its Empire Builder passenger train because of congestion from increasing oil freight along the line.
The Empire Builder runs daily between Chicago, Seattle and Portland, OR, passing through Glacier National Park and North Dakota. In recent months, it has been consistently late because of freight traffic, particularly trains from the Bakken oil region.
It's my experience -- after many, many trips on Amtrak -- that Amtrak is seldom late. The problem is in the definition. Airlines define an "on-time" take-off if they pull away from the gate no later than fifteen minutes after the scheduled departure time, regardless of how long they remain on the tarmac getting de-iced or waiting in line to take off.

Likewise, Amtrak needs to re-define "on-time" arrival. No one travels by train to get somewhere on time. From Williston to Spokane folks ride the train for the scenery. I always considered Amtrak on schedule if it arrived within 24 hours of scheduled arrival time.  That goes back to my days in high school (1967 - 1969) when I would help a friend pick up the Sunday edition of The Minneapolis Tribune for delivery here in Williston. If the train arrived on Sunday during the winter, I was always surprised.

Sixteen (16) New Permits On Yesterday's Daily Activity Report -- March 31, 2014 -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; Permits Running 30% Higher Than Two Years Ago During The Boom

New permits --
  • Operators: SM Energy (4), Oasis (4), KOG (3), Whiting (2), OXY USA (2), EOG
  • Fields: West Ambrose (Divide), Missouri Ridge (Williams), Pembroke (McKenzie), Sanish (Mountrail), Cabernet (Dunn), Fayette (Dunn), Ambrose (Divide), Parshall
  • Comments: #28034, the EOG permit was inadvertently left off the activity note yesterday
As of March 31 for this year and the previous two years, this many permits have been issued, and this is how many permits were projected at that time:
  • 2014: 685 -- 2,778 (rounds to 2800)
  • 2013: 619 -- 2,539 (rounds to 2500)
  • 2012: 520 -- 2,132 (rounds to 2100)
2778 - 2132 = 646
673/2132 = 30%
Projected permits for 2014 (this year) are running higher than 30% of that seen in 2012 at same point in time.

NDIC issues permits based on a number of parameters including the ability/capacity/likelihood that the operator can actually execute the permit. Think about that: permits are running 30% higher than 2012. Now look at the rig count today compared to 2012:
  • 2014: 193
  • 2012: 207
207 - 193 = 14
14/193 = 7%
So, permits are running 30% ahead when rigs are running 7% behind. How can this be:
  • time drilling has decreased significantly (more powerful rigs, more info about the Bakken)
  • down time has decreased due to pad drilling

For Investors Only; EOG Splits 2:1 Pre-Market Trading Today

Dow futures suggest gains made yesterday.  Oil is down slightly. Tea leaves suggest traders are betting the price of oil drops significantly over the next two months, some say as low as $85. Folks may have noticed that shares of most Bakken operators dropped yesterday: RBN Energy's blog today (linked earlier) suggests why. If accurate, it could get worse.


Contributor over at SeekingAlpha suggests algae could play a role in drilling fluid. BHI and the Bakken are both mentioned. The story has to do with Solazyme's Encapso. 

Remember: EOG trades at post-split price today; 2:1 split pre-market today.

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.

Clean Energy Fuels opens two America's Natural Gas Highway stations; signs multiple fueling agreements and commences sales of Redeem at new facility:
  • Co announced fueling has begun at its Amarillo, TX, and Oklahoma City, OK, America's Natural Gas Highway stations to serve UPS' (UPS) growing heavy-duty LNG truck fleet.
  • Additional truck fueling agreements were also announced for fleets fueling across Clean Energy's nationwide network from Los Angeles, CA, to Jacksonville, FL. Clean Energy and its customers were also awarded grant funds by the state of Pennsylvania for LCNG infrastructure development and heavy-duty natural gas vehicle conversions.
Samson Oil & Gas provides weekly update: Co advises that the Blackdog 3-13-14HBK well has flowed at 1,995 BOPD with 3.2 MMCFD of gas for a combined rate of 2,527 BOEPD. The infill development plan for North Stockyard is to drill 10 middle Bakken wells and 8 Three Forks wells.
  • The flow back of the Blackdog 3-13-14H is complete, and the final hourly rates measured were an oil rate of 83.13 BO per hour (equivalent to 1,995 BOPD) with 3.2 MMCFD of gas, for an equivalent 2,527 BOEPD. The well was flowing at 2,500 psi on a 28/64ths choke. As advised previously the frack volume used in this well was large (8.5 million pounds) and as a result the oil rate has responded accordingly. The well is currently shut in.
  • Production from Sail and Anchor is about to be re-established after its shut in for the Backdog frack.
  • Rennerfelt 2-13-H was fracked in 15 stages using 1.5 million pounds of  proppant. Rennerfelt 1-13-H is being fracked and is pumping Stage 11 of 15 stages.
For newbies, the number of frack stages depend on several factors. Of course, one is cost. Another is the degree to which the local area is naturally fractured.

Sylvia Nasar's Grand Pursuit

I finished the book last week but will go back and re-read parts of it. I don't think I've ever read a book on macroeconomics. Nasar's book really helped me understand the Fed's action in the context of personal investing. I'll leave it at that for now.

Pricing Pressure Pushing Bakken Prices Lower In Texas -- RBN Energy;

Active rigs:

Active Rigs195186207170103

RBN Energy:
In the eight weeks since January 24, 2014 crude oil stocks in the Gulf Coast region grew by 34 MMBbl to reach record levels. Much of the crude pouring into the Gulf Coast is coming by pipeline from Cushing where stocks have been draining over the same period.
In addition the Gulf Coast is receiving increased domestic and Canadian supplies from the Midwest via waterway and rail as well as by pipeline from the Permian Basin and by pipeline and barge from the Eagle Ford. Existing Gulf Coast infrastructure is being strained by the challenge to stage crude supplies to area refineries. Today we describe increasing flows of crude into the Gulf Coast region.

And as Cushing inventory has fallen, Gulf Coast stocks have increased.
Increased movements of crude oil by rail are contributing to the Gulf Coast stockpile. The Association of American Railroads recently reported that more than 780 Mb/d of crude moved by rail in 2013 -  a 71 percent jump from 457 Mb/d in 2012.
All this incoming crude means the infrastructure required to stage supplies for timely delivery to Gulf Coast refineries is under increasing stress. The situation is made worse by the long-running ban on crude and lease condensate exports. That ban limits crude exports except for limited quantities to Canada and means that crude at the Gulf Coast refiners can’t process ends up in storage or needing to be blended to meet refinery requirements. The growing imbalance between US domestic light crude from shale and Gulf Coast refining capacity designed to process heavy crudes exacerbates this challenge.
In the meantime the surge of crude supplies at the Gulf Coast is putting downward pressure on  crude prices. The premium of Gulf Coast benchmark Light Louisiana Sweet (LLS) to WTI at Cushing narrowed  to $2.25/Bbl yesterday (March 31, 2014) – the narrowest it has been since April 2010. 
And since as we said at the start of today’s blog, Gulf Coast storage inventories are already at record levels, it seems likely that there could be serious challenges ahead if the region starts to run out of crude oil storage space. That is the issue we turn to next in this series to understand how much additional crude storage is available and whether it is enough to handle all of the barrels being shoved into the Gulf Coast market.
 The Wall Street Journal

Yellen assures markets on interest rates. The market acted positively positive yesterday following her remarks and futures indicate more of the same today.

This is hardly news: ObamaCare websites went down (crashed) during the weekend surge. By the way, my hunch is that "open season" will move from the last three months in a calendar year to the first three months in a calendar year. ObamaCare will reset the health insurance calendar. This way, insurance companies won't release the new premiums (expected to surge) in October, just before the election.

This seems unexpected: for the first time since the recession, US farmers are planning to pull back on corn production.

Global warming has disrupted school calendars across the nation. All the snow and all the cold this past winter resulted in number "snow days" which now have to be made up.

Detroit bankruptcy: bondholders and pensioners will get even less under new plan.

Remember the outrage over the cost of that new hepatitis C drug? The pill "that costs $1,000 a day is on track to notch among the biggest sales ever for the first year of a newly approved drug, showing how hard it is for insurers to curb usage."

Size and cost of GM's recalls mount.

Diet soda sales waste away. It's hard to say what's replacing these diet soda sales but "caffeinated energy drinks and ready-to-drink coffee rose 5.5% and 6.2% last year, respectively. Sales of sports drinks edged up."

Caterpillar avoided $2.4 billion in federal taxes under a corporate restructuring that shifted most porfits from an overseas division to a Swiss subsidiary. The headline fails to say the total accrued since 1999. Congress could have closed this loophole but chose not to do so. From what I'm reading, it sounds like CAT took a page from Warren Buffett's playbook on taxes.

Mark "Facebook" Zuckerberg's 2013 salary tumbled 67%: he declined to participate in the bonus plan and took a base salary of $1. By so doing, he deprived the federal government of some serious tax revenue. LOL.

Having battered one legal opponent in its fight to undermine a $9.5 billion envionmental verdict in Ecuador, Chevron is now going after another: law firm Patton Boggs.

Exxon: climate regulations don't threaten the value of its reserves. 

NPR Morning News

Medicare payment cuts to physicians will be temporarily shelved for the 17th time since 2009. President Obama signs the bill today.

Arizona court upholds law on strict laws regarding oral abortifacients. 

Oil in the Houston Ship Channel has now reached some very sensitive natural preserves in the gulf.

The Los Angeles Times

School superintendent's $675,000 pay in a southland district called excessive. I would call it obscene. But then this is California.

Apparently global warming is helping one mammal: California is reporting record whale migrations.

California extends deadline for ObamaCare due to delays. 

Progress is moving toward yet another federal holiday, this one honoring Cesar Chavev.

Linda Ronstadt to be inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame.