Saturday, April 5, 2014

New Transloading Facility Southwest Of Williston?

Our terminal in East Fairview, North Dakota is strategically located at the epicenter for inbound and outbound transloading in the Bakken Shale and Williston Basin regions of North Dakota. 
Situated in McKenzie County on the border of North Dakota and Montana, NorthStar Transloading provides your company with an extensive national transportation network. 
The 400 acre state-of-the-art terminal provides unit and manifest train switching and transloading. 
Our BNSF-served rail yard is positioned and designed to support the ever increasing demand for rail transportation in and out of the Bakken region of North Dakota and the facility is designed to sustain continued growth as demand in the Bakken continues to increase.
NorthStar Transloading aims to be the premier transload partner for moving crude to high value markets and shipping industry aggregates into the region.  Our industry experts can help you streamline your transportation and logistics needs and help you meet your operation deadlines.
I'm not sure if it can be seen on google satellite images, but one possible location is a few miles east of East Fairview.

The best part of this story: the new facility is located well outside Williston, further de-conflicting all the transportation issues in that city.

For Investors Only
Only 20 Companies Matter

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. 

The SeekingAlpha article is a good article; lots of story lines; lots of things to think about. The article has to do with corporate profits. But is was two comments that caught my attention. The first comment:
The next great corporate savings will be healthcare, or should I say not having to pay for it. When large corporations realize how much more they can save by pushing their employees to ACA there will be another stair step in corporate profits. 
I agree 100%. I was surprised, the article said so little about ObamaCare.

The second comment:
They won't eliminate it [health care costs] completely. They'll pay their employees enough to go out and buy Obamacare. But they'll lose the aggravation and the potential legal liability. But they won't save a lot, there's still no such thing as a free lunch. 
There is no such thing as a "free lunch," but if one can set one's own price for lunch, that's not a bad deal.

What these folks are missing is "predictability." High cost of health care is/was an issue for corporations, but many of them could pass on the cost to their customers. The real problem for Corporate America was the unpredictability of annual increases in the health care costs. They simply couldn't budget what their costs were going to be. 

By providing their employees a monthly stipend to find their own health care program, Corporate America can now plan how much they will spend on health care in the out years. I'm not saying ObamaCare will solve all the health care issues CA faces but it will certainly go a long way to making things easier for bigger corporations and more nimble corporations.  

Louisiana: On The Road To New England

This is a most interesting op-ed.

Because of the way the pipelines run in Louisiana, the state could actually have to import natural gas.

Think of Louisiana as a north half and a south half.

The north half has the Haynesville and more than enough natural gas.

The south half has the urban centers and industrial petrochemical plants that need natural gas.

And therein lies the problem. There is inadequate pipeline infrastructure running between the north and the south. The op-ed suggests it won't be a slam dunk to solve this problem.

Does this sound familiar?

[Actually, I don't see a problem. The governor of Texas will be more than happy to ship natural gas acors the Texas-Louisiana state line.]

I Think He Meant Just This Until ObamaCare Kicked In

Flashback, 2008: "Here are the facts, I can make a firm pledge, under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes." [If you don't enroll, you pay a penalty, but it's not a tax.]

Summary Of March Permits, North Dakota, USA; The Smithsonian Is Finally Getting It's Own T Rex -- From The Williston Basin

Active rigs: Averaged about 196 active rigs, many of them drilling saltwater disposal wells.

Permits by operator (selected):
  • American Eagle: 5 (0 last month)
  • BR: 7 (14 last month)
  • CLR: 52 (7 last month; 21 in January)
  • Emerald Oil: 6 (1 last month)
  • EOG: 11 (13 last month)
  • ERF: 0
  • Fidelity: 2 (1 last month)
  • Hess: 20 (18 last month)
  • HRC: 0 (1 last month)
  • KOG: 19 (0 last month)
  • MRO: 5 (1 last month)
  • Murex: 0
  • Newfield: 2
  • Oasis: 18 (30 last month)
  • OXY USA: 8 
  • Petro-Hunt: 12
  • QEP:  8
  • Slawson:  9
  • SM Energy:  8
  • Statoil:  10
  • Triangle:  3
  • Whiting: 18
  • WPX:  0
  • XTO: 12
Permits by county (Williams was the big mover in February):
  • Divide: 21
  • Dunn: 24
  • McKenzie: 74
  • Mountrail: 58
  • Williams: 44
Permits by field, selected:
  • Alger: 0
  • Alkali Creek: 33
  • Banks: 7
  • Bear Den: 0
  • Big Bend: 3
  • Blue Buttes: 0
  • Chimney Butte:  1
  • Corral Creek: 13 
  • Cottonwood: 14 (after original post; see comments)
  • Eagle Nest:  0
  • Elidah:  2
  • Grail:   8
  • Little Knife: 3
  • Parshall: 11
  • Poe:  1
  • Sanish:  8
  • Siverston:  3
Permits for wildcat wells:   3

Permits for the year (end of March): 685 -- on track for 2,778 permits for calendar year, which would be a record, but down significantly from projection of 2,990 at end of January.

Disclaimer: summary totals from my personal database; not from NDIC (original source was the NDIC). There may be errors in the data and there may be typographical errors. 

A Note to the Granddaughters

Wow, this is a huge story. The Smithsonian is finally getting its own T rex. The Billings Gazette is reporting:
Next week, the now nearly complete fossilized skeleton of the Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur that Wankel discovered in 1988 in Eastern Montana will be shipped from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman to the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
There, the Wankel rex will be on loan for 50 years as the centerpiece of the museum’s new 31,000-square-foot national fossil hall, which will open in 2019.
“It’s about time the Smithsonian had their own T. rex,” said Mark Robinson, marketing director at the Museum of the Rockies. “Seven million people a year will be seeing it, and we’re OK with that. It will be good exposure for the Museum of the Rockies, Montana State University and the state.”

The Bakken Boom Will Never Be Repeated In California

Reuters through Rigzone is reporting:
Republican lawmakers said on Friday over regulation has prevented a shale oil boom in California and if eased, could boost production in the state and reduce its dependence on foreign energy.
With more than an estimated 15 billion barrels of oil, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, California's Monterey shale formation is twice as large as North Dakota's Bakken formation. That state has risen to become the second-largest U.S. oil producer in recent years, behind Texas.
California had the third-largest U.S. oil output in 2013, narrowly ahead of Alaska, but could produce far more if the state aggressively moved to develop its energy resources, lawmakers said at a House Natural Resources committee hearing. "The challenge now is not our ability to find it, it's the ability of government allowing us to be able to produce it in a sound way," said Republican Kevin McCarthy, who represents California's oil-producing Kern county. 
Actually, that's not true. The geology in California caused by tectonic plate shifts suggest that fracking won't be a slam dunk. 

North Dakota ObamaCare Numbers

Approximately 55 to 60% of those who enroll in ObamaCare in North Dakota actually paid first-month premiums. 

Two comments: first, my hunch is that North Dakota has a higher rate of first-month premium payers than most other states; and, second, most insurers are going to exaggerate the numbers to prevent more disillusionment with the program.

So, there you have it. Maybe 50% of enrollees will pay their first-month premium. The good news: 100% of enrollees will get their pre-filled voter registration cards.

PetroBras Can't Buy A Break; It's One Thing To Drop A Wrench Into A Bakken Well; Can You Imagine Dropping $2 Million Worth Of Pipe Into The Ocean? PetroBras Can; A Day In The Life

I find this so incredibly interesting.

I invested in Petrobras some years ago, but held the stock less than six months when I realized the challenges facing the country. I have blogged often on the failure of Petrobras to live up to the initial hype.

Now this update. Reuters through Rigzone is reporting:
Brazilian state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA suffered a setback in its effort to boost oil output last month when Italian contractor Saipem SpA dropped a 2.3 km steel pipe into the Atlantic Ocean.
On March 16, rigging failed as it was being used to wrangle the pipe into position on a floating oil platform. The high-grade, metal-alloy tubes plunged about 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) to the seabed, a total, crumpled loss.
The pipe itself was worth about $2 million, but the cost of the accident will be much higher, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters. By setting back efforts to expand Roncador, Brazil's No. 2 oilfield, by at least a month, Petrobras will lose tens of millions of dollars in oil output, salaries and equipment leases when it can least afford it.
The accident was the latest in a series of setbacks as Petrobras has struggled to transform giant new offshore discoveries into increased output, despite a $221 billion five-year investment plan.
I love the next quote:
"The series of management and engineering problems the company faces is flabbergasting," said Cleveland Jones, a professor and researcher with Brazil's National Petroleum and Gas Institute at the State University of Rio de Janeiro.
Just yesterday I posted that a $10 million well in the Bakken is a bargain from a global perspective. That seems especially true when one looks at Petrobras and Kashagan.

A Note to the Granddaughter
A Day In The Life

My only responsibility today was to get our younger granddaughter to soccer on time this morning. Moments ago I was called by my daughter; she was at work but she wanted me to know that my son-in-law / granddaughter's father would be taking the granddaughters to soccer and I was free. I will still go to the soccer game but due to picture-taking, etc., I don't have to arrive as early as expected.

I was given the best gift of all: time:

One extra hour.

I was on my way out of Starbucks when I got the call so I pressed on. I rode to Target to see what was new; nothing. I headed home. Toast for breakfast. The Beatles' Abbey Road.

The "Review" section of the weekend edition of the WSJ.

Wow, this is a great section this week. Look at these book reviews:

In Paradise, Peter Matthiesen. The atrocity exhibition: how much cheapening of the Holocaust are we willing to accept in the name of art?

Updike, Adam Begley; and, The Collected Stories, John Updike. What made Rabbit write? Updike confessed he 'drank up women's tears and spat them out / as 10-point Janson, Roman and ital.'

Faisal I of Iraq, Ali A Allawi. A king worthy of the title. Faisal carried authority whether wearing a kaffiyeh or a Chesterfield coat.

The Most Dangerous Man in America, Mark Perry. The ungovernable general. In 1932, Douglas MacArthur personally led troops to expel a group of protesting veterans from the city of Washington and burn their encampment.

Delphi, Michael Scott. Go ask Apollo. Cities in the 8th century BC confronted new problems: Should we found a colony? Allow this one man to rule?

Encounters at the Heart of the World, Elizabeth A. Fenn. The Okipa combined the sun dance with sexually charged re-enactments of Mandan origin stories. The article includes a photo of a Mandan-style lodge at North Dakota's Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. The article begins:
The opinions of chauvinistic New Yorkers and geographical nitpickers notwithstanding, the exact center of North America is the Cornerstone Cafe in Rugby, ND, where a rock obelisk marks the spot. About a hundred miles to the southwest lies the ancestral homeland of the Mandan people, where the Heart River empties into the Missouri. Maybe 150 miles northwest of that confluence, and an equal distance west of Rugby, is the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, where Mandans live today. For them, these landscapes have always been "the heart of the world."
The review takes up half a page. Awesome. 


Along with these reviews, some regular columns including Amanda Foreman, "Historically Speaking." Her column today: the lesson of the last passenger pigeon. She died in what scientists call the Sixth Extinction. I can't wait to read the column. I hope she includes the North American bison which was on its way to extinction well before the white man finished him off.

A review of fine art by John Wilmerding, "Ship Starlight in the Fog," Fitz Henry Lane, about 1860. Best known for recording the nuances of early-morning light and sunset, Fitz Henry Lane produced just a half-dozen foggy views. "Ship Starlight in the Fog" was considered one of his most beautiful.


In addition to all that there are two long, long articles, the first, "What Have All The Workers Gone?" The second: "The smart way to do fracking. Plug leaks, run more tests and build better wells." I just love these armchair experts (sort of like me, smile). The author of this article, Russell Gold covers the energy industry for The WSJ and is the author of The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World to be released April 8, 2014.


And now, off to that soccer game.

Oil & Gas M & A Barely Reaches $35 Billion In 1Q14

Rigzone is reporting:
The recent absence of major Chinese involvement and eroding profitability in the oil and gas industry has led to M&A reaching just $33.4 billion in Q1 2014, 28% lower than the average quarterly M&A spend over the past three years. The lower M&A value is also mirrored in the deal count of 205 deals during the quarter (excluding licensing rounds) which is 27% lower than the average deal count by quarter since 2010. Two factors: China, profitability.
Since the start of 2010, state-influenced Chinese companies have been responsible for $95 billion of company-to-company oil and gas deals at an average spend of $5 billion per quarter. In Q1 2014, these companies accounted for only $147 million of upstream deals. It is likely that this relatively low amount of activity is more to do with a timing issue, rather than a shift in strategy from China, especially with Chinese companies rumoured to be interested in acquiring large stakes in the LNG industries of Canada’s west coast and Cyprus during the quarter.
The more significant factor in the relatively lower M&A total is likely to be the continued drop in profits for the upstream industry as a whole. At the time of publication, 200+ companies had reported their 2013 annual results. Using the Evaluate Energy database, it can be seen that the 2013 normalised profits are 25% lower than in 2011 and 16% than 2012. The underlying reason behind the erosion of profits is the escalation of operating and development costs in the oil and gas industry, which haven’t been reflected in the oil and gas price realisations. Therefore, profits and free cash flow have been squeezed and companies have been more tentative with their capex budgets.

Update On EVs


May 29, 2014: Toyota may be getting out of the battery business. 24/7 Wall Street is reporting:
But not everyone considers a battery-operated automotive future to be a done deal. And when I say “not everyone,” I’m not just talking about cranks I’m talking about some big names.
Like Toyota.

Few companies know more about battery-powered cars than Toyota. The company’s Prius is far and away the world’s best-selling hybrid. Toyota has built over 6 million hybrids to date. And the Japanese automaker is a big investor in Tesla.

Toyota has spent 20 years trying to create a viable mass-market battery-electric vehicle.  But lately, the company has hinted that it has given up the effort.
Toyota North America chief Jim Lentz recently told Automotive News that the company doesn’t see battery-electric vehicles as a viable mass-market proposition.
Lentz said the technology is only viable in “a select way, in short range vehicles that take you that extra mile, from the office to the train, or home to the train, as well as being used on large campuses.”
For a primary vehicle intended for longer-range travel, Toyota feels there are better alternatives, like hybrids. And like fuel cells, the technology the company is investing heavily in now.
May 29, 2014: April, 2014, plug-in electric vehicle sales report card
  • For the year, Chevrolet has now sold 5,154 plug-ins, which is down 7.1% from 2013 when 5,550 were moved.
  • For April 2,088 LEAFs were sold, a 7.8% improvement over last year when 1,936 were moved off dealer lots.
  • This result comes hot on the heels of March’s impressive result as Nissan set an almost all-time monthly best for the LEAF with 2,507 sold…just 22 short of the record set previously in December. 
  • Cadillac ELR:
There is a story brewing here and it goes something like this: “There is a lot of darn inventory and the car is not selling.”
With almost 2,000 ELRs sitting on lots ready to be bought, just 61 were sold.  (Don’t do the “selling days math”, it is ugly).
This “Oh hello inventory!” story has now been in play since February as massive amounts (relatively speaking) of ELRs started to arrive at the 60% of dealers that didn’t “opt out” of selling the plug-in Cadillac for fear of low demand throughout the month. 
In March just 81 ELRs were sold.Thankfully, this inventory level for the ELR should only go down from here as GM has reportedly wound down full scale production of the luxury plug-in coupe. It appears that the heady $75,995 price tag is just too much to expect for the plug-in Caddy, and we suspect that big reductions will be needed in the future to move product; although we do like the look of their $699/month lease deal a lot better than the big MSRP headline number.
Original Post 

Flashback: in the showroom -- 
Prospective buyer: wow, nice looking car? How far can you drive on a full charge?

Salesman: 38 miles.

Prospective buyer: 38 miles/gallon?

Salesman: No, a total of 38 miles per full electric charge.

Prospective buyer: Say what?

Salesman: Well, that is an increase from 35 miles the previous year?

Prospective buyer: you mean from 2013?

Salesman: no, the 2013 model increased its range from 35 to 38 miles from the year before. The model you are looking at stayed the same. No improvements. But the tax breaks are better. And, hey, we will send a technician out to your house and install $2,000 worth of charging equipment in your garage.
Prospective buyer: I don't have a garage; I live in a high rise. By the way, are they still catching on fire? You know, I would never want to put a Volt in my garage. If I had one.

I was reminded of that August 6, 2013, post after Don sent me the following article. Investor's Business Daily is reporting:
Today's electric vehicle driving ranges, recharge times and high purchase prices are stumbling blocks for people who might otherwise buy an EV, a new study says.
While high-end Tesla Motors (TSLA) is selling all the plug-in Model S sedans it can make, expected to be more than 35,000 this year worldwide, General Motors and Nissan have had to discount sale prices and leases to move the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid and Nissan Leaf plug-in EV. In the U.S., GM sold only 3,606 Volts in Q1, while Nissan sold just 5,184, though that was a 46% jump for the Leaf from the year-earlier quarter.
Electric vehicle sales have largely failed to meet manufacturers' sales expectations because their capabilities and features fall short of customer expectations, research firm TechnoMetrica concludes, but it says the outlook for the EV market is improving.
Three comments/questions:
  • how long have "we" been pushing EVs? Has it been 20 years? A: 24 years. See below.
  • the Tesla? for the ultra-rich, as a show-vehicle, and to feel good; not mass market by any means
  • remember GM's goal: 45,000 Volts/year?
The answer to that first question, from wiki:
In January 1990, General Motors' President introduced its EV concept two-seater, the "Impact", at the Los Angeles Auto Show. That September, the California Air Resources Board mandated major-automaker sales of EVs, in phases starting in 1998. From 1996 to 1998 GM produced 1117 EV1s, 800 of which were made available through three-year leases.
For at least thirteen families, it would have been nice had GM spent as much time fixing an ignition switch (the fix: $1.00) as they did on the Volt. 

The last question: does Algore drive an EV? Ever?

The Fed Vs Obama

I am so happy to have read Sylvia Nasar's book on economics. I really feel I have a better understanding of macroeconomics. There's a chapter on FDR and social security. The worst thing that a government can do during a depression/recession is to impose a big new tax, and that's exactly what FDR/social security did. The author's contention (based on experts) is that the recession/depression was extended several years longer in the US than in Europe because of social security coming on-line. Very interesting.

It seems with ObamaCare we are repeating that very history. Social Security was mandated, automatic withholding, no chance of evasion, no delay. Perhaps the reason the US did not experience a double-dip recession due to ObamaCare was because it really was such a failure on initial execution. Obama and the nation might have dodged a silver bullet only because his web page designers were so inept, and the whole program was delayed indefinitely -- in reality, if not "on paper." 

Saturday Morning -- April 5, 2014 -- Brakes, Bananas, And The Bakken

The Wall Street Journal

Op-Ed: ban on fracking hurts low-income as much as anyone.
Mayors, governors and economic-development officials love natural-resource jobs—and today's North American energy revolution has been providing a lot of them.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of new jobs in the oil and gas industry (technically a part of mining) increased by roughly 270,000 between 2003 and 2012. This is an increase of about 92% compared with a 3% increase in all jobs during the same period.
The people of New York and other states that have so far declined to take part in the boom might like to know what they are missing because these jobs pay well. The BLS reports that the U.S. average annual wage (which excludes employer-paid benefits) in the oil and gas industry was about $107,200 during 2012, the latest full year available. That's more than double the average of $49,300 for all workers.
At the other end of the wage spectrum are waiters and waitresses in food services nationwide earning about $16,200 a year, workers in the accommodations industry with average pay of $27,300, and those in the retail trade with average wages of $27,700.
But the evidence from the oil boom regions is that energy development lifts wages for low-income workers too. Consider the Montana-North Dakota border, which includes the western edge of the Bakken formation.
This is one of the newer oil-technology plays—based on the latest advances in geophysics, nanotechnology, engineering and production management—that have led to the shale-energy revolution and America's growing energy production. There are boomtown atmospheres in places like Sidney, MT, and Williston, ND. Oil-drilling rigs multiply, the traffic is astonishing, and there are no vacancies in the few motels.
Employment in Williams County (Williston) has increased 276% between 2003 and 2012, and 65% in nearby Richland County (Sidney). The plenitude of high-paying natural-resource jobs here includes petroleum engineers, drilling managers and environmental specialists. There are also roustabouts and roughnecks who put in long days. Other indicators suggest the Bakken boom is having a strong economic impact throughout North Dakota. Only a job with good pay, for instance, can cause someone to make a 600-plus mile commute from Western Montana. Talk to the retired airline pilot who saw an opportunity, bought a used water truck and opened a water-hauling business in the oil patch.
For an example further afield, talk to the official in a thriving Marcellus Shale county of Pennsylvania about the economic stasis and decrepitude over the border in anti-shale New York.
Much more at the linked op-ed. I really don't are and it doesn't appear Governor Cuomo cares either.


This should have been the top story, but wasn't: McDonald's to close all three restaurants in the Crimean. 

Top story, front page: US reaches a milestone in lost jobs -- private employer payrolls hit a record high of 116.09 million, suggesting a winter slowdown was only temporary.

I love the spin: US signals pause in Mideast talks.

Wow, this was not-expected: the high school prom is back, in a BIG WAY.

Takeaways from the monthly jobs report: the labor market hasn't yet fully healed after the recession and financial crisis. Well, duh.

States push the pedal on gas tax: frustrated by lack of leadership in Washington, states are raising their own state taxes on gasoline. Oh, this is good.

Those George W. Bush paintings are surprisingly good. Putin was particularly striking.

ObamaCare helps add 3 million to Medicaid.

The sell-off Friday? High-growth technology and biotech appear to be the problem. A buying opportunity?

The Los Angeles Times

Taiwan's thaw with China turning to slush. I just posted a note on China-Taiwan yesterday; pure coincidence. It appears that all is not hunky-dory in Taiwan.
For decades, relations between Taiwan and its giant neighbor China have been one of the great success stories of the ending of the Cold War. Slowly but surely, the two nations have pulled back from half a century of bellicose confrontation and in recent years embraced a level of political and economic cooperation that seemed to promise new riches for both.
But today, for many Taiwanese, the bloom is off the rose. This disenchantment lay behind the outbreak of angry protests from Taiwanese students that are in their third week. And Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou is scrambling to placate a restive electorate.
Hundreds of students stormed Taiwan's legislature March 18 and have occupied it since, draping signs denouncing a free-trade pact with Beijing and posting caricatures of Ma around a portrait of Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China, the official name of Taiwan. Others have tried to break into the cental government headquarters, clashing with police who repelled them with water cannons and batons.
No one questions the benefits of lifting the half-century long threat of military conflict.
And almost everyone acknowledges that there are advantages to Ma's policy of stepped-up cooperation. Today, 118 airline flights a day link Taiwan and 54 cities in China, many packed with Taiwanese businesspeople going one way and mainland tourists going the other. Seven years ago, there were no such flights.
But for Ma's critics, the benefits have fallen far short of expectations. Although China's economy continues to grow briskly, Taiwan's economy has stagnated; incomes have barely budged while housing costs have soared. More Chinese tourists come to Taiwan, but the massive new capital investment that had been expected from the rapprochement with Beijing has largely failed to materialize.

The Dickinson Press

The regional paper has their five top stories running across the top. Three of the five have to do with problems in the Bakken; one on sports, and one human interest.

The three Bakken stories:
  • transportation debate: as safety questions persist, crude oil transportation modes show differing records
  • know your filter socks: Dunn County sheriff warns citizens to stay away if they find potentially radioactive waste (I assume the county is issuing Geiger counters to its residents) (going bananas over Bakken beta rays)
  • study of oil from deadly derailment points to Bakken crude's volatility; more research is on the way (must be a very, very slow news day when the focus of the story is "more research is on the way")
I could be wrong, but the one deadly crash involving Bakken oil was due 100% to human error; the train engineer forgetting to set the loco's brake.  The article's only reference: "... while investigators pointed early on to the train's brakes...." Yes, the brakes aren't much good if they are not engaged.

The caption under the photo of the Casselton derailment fails to note there were no fatalities in that derailment.

ObamaCare: The End of Year-Round Enrollment*

I did not know this. I thought "open season" was the rule, not the exception. It appears that prior to ObamaCare one could buy health insurance year-round. If one already had health insurance, one would renew during "open season," generally the last three months of the calendar year.

But now it appears that ObamaCare has eliminated the possibility of buying health care year-round. ObamaCare mandates purchasing health care during "open season." The AP is reporting:
Here's more fallout from the health care law: Until now, customers could walk into an insurance office or go online to buy standard health care coverage any time of year. Not anymore.
Many people who didn't sign up during the government's open enrollment period that ended Monday will soon find it difficult or impossible to get insured this year, even if they go directly to a private company and money is no object. For some it's already too late.
With limited exceptions, insurers are refusing to sell to individuals after the enrollment period for and the state marketplaces. They will lock out the young and healthy as well as the sick or injured. Those who want to switch plans also are affected. The next wide-open chance to enroll comes in November for coverage in 2015.
A couple of comments: first, who cares? Second, we are finally starting to see some "truth-in-advertising" stories about ObamaCare in the mainstream media. This is not good news for incumbents running for re-election who voted for ObamaCare.  Third, this whole article if full of malarkey. The "open season" is another red herring. The deadline has been extended so many times, we had a six-month open season, and even this article admits that folks who have started the process can continue, thus extending the "open season" to about seven or eight months. Reminder for low-information crowd: a typical calendar year has twelve months. 

But this is the real story: I can guarantee you that anyone who wants to buy insurance at any time will find some insurer who will be accommodating. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if some insurers will simply start the process now (April, 2014) with hopes that one's enrollment process will be complete by October, in time to receive the pre-filled voter registration form along with the insurance card. 

I recently had a minor leak around the bottom of the toilet bowl which necessitated repair and replacement of the bathroom flooring. What a hoot if I had logged on to the Obama Plumbing and Voter Registration Website only to find out that one could only get one's plumbing needs resolved during "open season," i.e. three months at the end of the year. What a great country. Obama certainly had all the right ideas for this country.

* There is one exception to the "general" open-enrollment.
Important: Members of federally recognized tribes and Alaska Native shareholders can enroll in Marketplace coverage any time of year. There is no limited enrollment period for these groups, and they can change plans as often as once a month.
Taken directly from the government website. The craziness of the ObamaCare law never fails to amaze. Why were "federally recognized tribes and Alaska Native shareholders given special preference?

Week 14: March 30, 2014 -- April 5, 2014

Wow, you have to get to Starbucks early to be the first one here every day. I come close. I'm usually among the first three to drink coffee inside, but by the time I get here, the drive-through is already busy.

Top Story
WSJ third-page story on the Bakken

Should Have Been The Top Story
Oil and gas permits running 30% higher (so far) in 2014 compared to comparable date at height of the boom

Operator with the most productive wells in the Bakken -- Richard Zeits 
EOG reports another staggering well; 91K in less than three months
Four big Koala Wold wells
Transfer of operator: KOG's wells in Mondak oil field to Emerald Oil
Bakken projections published in Boston Herald
Cumulative production by formation for 2012
Amber Renee is off -line
Summary of permits: February, 2014
Some wildcats to watch, north of Minot
A thousand more Slawson wells?
Hunt is getting busy in the Bakken
Crescent Point is getting active in the Bakken

Tyler Formation
SM Energy interested in the Tyler
Random note on the Tyler

The "halo effect" of fracking

Cold winter weather in Wisconsin results in fracking sand shortage

Natural Gas
Whiting to expand the Robinson Lake natural gas processing plant

How much is the Bakken capable of producing?
Predicting productivity in the Bakken
Decline rates and the Bakken
Putting the Bakken in perspective; around the globe, $10 million/well is a bargain
The challenges of estimating EURs
Amazing facts from the miracle state of North Dakota -- Carpe Diem
Saturday morning musings on the Bakken

Mineral rights handbook by Bakken landman
Re-entry wells 

History is made this past week: first BBR unit train all the way to the Gulf Coast