Thursday, April 10, 2014

North Dakota #1 In Election Process -- Again -- Pew Charitable Trust

The Dickinson Press is reporting:
The Peace Garden State led the country for the second consecutive time in Pew’s Elections Performance Index, which looks at 17 indicators such as wait times at polling locations, voter turnout and accuracy of voting technology.
The study released Tuesday was based on the 2012 election. North Dakota also finished first in 2010 and second in 2008.
A Note for the Granddaughters

talk about another perfect "grandfather" day. Last week I stumbled upon a small pond stocked with small fish specifically for children under the age of 12 who want to learn to fish. The parks in this area are absolutely incredible.

So, yesterday, I rode my bike to Target (no fishing gear) and continued on down the road to Wal-Mart. I was impressed. Wal-Mart had everything in fishing gear. I started picking up everything I needed, and then saw that Shakespeare provided complete fishing sets: rods, reels, tackle, and even bait.

We had a great time: no fish this time, but the older one learned all about the basics (we were fishing while the younger one was practicing soccer).

So, at least once a week we will be fishing this summer.

Bakken Economy: Ground Broken On Two New Permanent ByPasses

The Dickinson Press is reporting:
State officials celebrated the groundbreaking Tuesday of two bypass projects that will relieve traffic in Williston and Alexander in North Dakota’s Oil Patch.
  • Construction on a 13-mile permanent bypass around Williston will begin this spring. Final completion of the $162 million project is projected for 2015. The four-lane roadway, which will replace a temporary bypass that opened in August 2012, will help meet the forecasted traffic loads for the area
  • Work is expected to be completed by fall of 2014 on a $28 million Alexander truck bypass. The 3.7-mile bypass will re-route U.S. Highway 85 to the west of Alexander.
ObamaCare: She's Out

I haven't read the story yet, just the headline. I assume Ms Sebelius wants to spend more time with her family and Mr Obama is praising her for a job well done. [Later: I quickly read through the story -- The Daily Mail -- wow,  I wish American newspapers could report as well.]

The fact is the roll-out of ObamaCare was a disaster. She should have been fired months ago.

But the roll-out debacle was a minor side-story compared to the real disaster. Mr Obama knows the numbers. He was given the numbers well before the Fiscal Times reported them. The original "fake" goal was to have 7 million signed up. When that clearly was not going to be me, the administration moved the goal to 6 million.

And now the numbers are out. The Fiscal Times suggests that it's very likely that 2 million folks signed up. Two million previously uninsured. Folks have long forgotten all the campaign rhetoric about 36 million or 40 million uninsured Americans back in 2007 and 2008. 

Not only did the number of previously uninsured who enrolled pale in comparison the rhetoric, the sad part is the millions of folks who lost a) their physician, or b) their insurance, or, c) worse, both.

Can it get worse? Yes, when the numbers come in reporting how many have actually paid their first ObamaCare premium. The numbers in North Dakota seem to be about 50%, and one can argue that folks in North Dakota who have enrolled are more likely to pay their first premium than enrollees in other states.

Can it get worse? Yes, when the reports come in reporting it was the "high risk" who disproportionately signed up. That, again, is according to the Fiscal Times.


By the way, does anyone care about the Masters this year now that Tiger Woods is not competing? I bet this year's Masters will have one of the lowest television ratings ever.

Jonas Blixt and Jimmy Walker are tied for fifth. If anyone cares.

I can't make this stuff up.

Twelve (12) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; Two More Stockyard Creek Wells Being Reported; I Think This Pretty Much Says It All: Putin's Army Vs Obama's BLM; Whiting Reports A Nice Well; BR Has "High-IP" Well, Almost 3,000 BOPD

Active rigs:

Active Rigs190190209173105

Twelve (12) new permits --
  • Operators: Emerald (6), Fidelity (3), American Eagle (2), Oasis
  • Fields: St Demetrius (Billings), Sanish (Mountrail), Big Dipper (Divide), Tyrone (Williams),
  • Comments: American Eagle has a permit for a wildcat in Divide County;
Wells coming off the confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Two (2) producing wells completed:
  • 22203, 1,430, CLR, Cuskelly 2-7H, Rattlesnake Point, t3/14; cum --
  • 27525, 941, Whiting, Meiers 44-18TFH, Sanish, t3/14; cum --
Wells coming off confidential list Friday:
  • 25758, 1,732, Whiting, Marsh 14-18PH, Dutch Henry Butte, t10/13; cum 47K 2/14;
  • 25928, 728, Petro-Hunt, Dolezal 145-97-17A-20-4H, Little Knife, t3/14; cum --
  • 26134, 676, Petro-Hunt, Boss 154-99-17A-18-6H, Stockyard Creek, t12/13; cum 26K 2/14;
  • 26170, drl, BR, Crater Lake 41-14MBH, Hawkeye, no production data,
  • 26419, 2,904, BR, Archer 14-25TFH, Charlson, t2/14; cum 9K 2/14;
  • 26698, 583, Slawson, Little Creature 1-15-14H, Stockyard Creek, t2/14; cum 15K 2/14;
Before the sell-off, these were trading at 52-week highs: AXASECA, EPD, ERF, SRE.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on anything you read here or anything you think you may have read here.

Putin Takes The Crimean; The BLM Takes A Nevada Ranch 

.... and folks are upset about Putin's heavy-handed tactics. LOL. Didn't Janet Reno do something similar in Waco under a Democratic president? I've never seen such a consistently corrupt an inept administration. [Later: I was a bit premature -- the BLM did not take the ranch. The BLM blinked. Obama/Holder saw another Waco, or worse, another Kent State. The BLM killing innocent Americans? Even that was a bridge too far. I'm sure Putin was watching. One rancher held off the entire BLM. Back in court. -- April 13, 2014]

Not Receiving Yahoo Mail

It looks like my Yahoo e-mail account has pretty much given up the ghost.

Don't bother to send any comments to the blog; don't bother to send any e-mail to my e-mail address. 

For the time being, I don't plan to open another e-mail account.

I have no plans to discontinue the blog; I enjoy it too much, but the loss of my e-mail will turn out to be a blessing (in disguise, as they say).

I am gradually withdrawing from social media. Except for the blog.

Yahoo Mail Service Continues To Have Some Interruptions; Off The Net; Time To Go Biking; ObamaCare -- $2 Trillion To Insure 2 Million; WTI Holds At $103

Again, today, I might not be receiving Yahoo Mail. If readers are sending comments or links to articles, I am not getting them. I reply to all e-mail. If you are not getting a response from me, I am not receiving your e-mail.

Dynamic link here.

ObamaCare Update

Since the original post below, it appears that there is yet another study suggesting that about 2 million previously uninsured may have enrolled in ObamaCare and about 1 million will actually their first month's premium (see this link at Yahoo!News.)

Fiscal Times has a long in-depth look at two studies regarding ObamaCare. Two items becoming clear:
  • less signed up than even worse-case scenarios
  • "wrong-type" of enrollees signed up
First, the numbers:
First, a significant amount of this increase comes from Medicaid enrollments, not private insurance. Almost six million people enrolled in Medicaid, and earlier studies showed that a relatively small number of those came from the expansion built into the ACA; most of these would have been Medicaid-eligible prior to the reform. 
Another 8.2 million more people enrolled in employer-provided health care, as 7.1 million left the “other” category and another 1.6 million left the individual insurance markets. Only 3.9 million actually enrolled in insurance plans through state or federal exchanges – not 7.1 million as claimed by Obama.
That number falls far short of even the lowered expectations issued by HHS and the White House earlier this year
It's actually worse, later in the article, near the end:
Of those who enrolled in an exchange plan, Express Scripts finds, 43 percent already had Express Scripts coverage in 2013 – and at least some of the other 57 percent may have had coverage under another prescription-medication management service. If the total number of actual exchange enrollees is 3.9 million, the final number of previously uninsured exchange consumers may be only as high as 2.23 million.  [At $2 trillion/2million, that works out to $1 million per new, previously uninsured, enrollee.]
Now, the demographics of those who enrolled:
Moreover, those who did enroll through the state exchanges didn’t provide the demographic lift and risk-pool support needed to prevent massive increases in either premiums or deductibles, or both, in the near future.  Pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, which collected more data from insurers than HHS managed through its own exchanges, determined that the incoming enrollees require more medical attention than the previous risk pools, not less – which means that insurers will need to raise premiums even more than first thought
Their new study shows, for instance, that the enrollees from state and federal exchanges have a 47 percent higher use of specialty medications than in commercial plans in general. “Increased volume for higher cost specialty drugs can have a significant impact on the cost burden for both plan sponsors and patients,” the report reminds readers. “Despite comprising less than 1 percent of all U.S. prescriptions,” the report continues, “specialty medications now account for more than a quarter of the country’s total pharmacy spend.” 
The medications themselves show that the care costs will increase relative to the existing risk pools as well. The rate for HIV medications in Obamacare exchange plans is four times higher than in existing commercial plans. Medication prescriptions are 35 percent higher, and anti-seizure medication increases 27 percent. Ironically, the only category where exchange consumers have lower demand than commercial-plan customers is in contraception – the focus of a big political battle in the employer mandate.
Like many studies, the results only confirm what common sense predicted.

What does this mean? Common sense will tell you that, but let's see what Fiscal Times has to say, again repeating:
.... insurers will need to raise premiums even more than first thought. 
My hunch:
  • open season this autumn will be delayed until after the election
  • the president will cap 2015 premiums at 2014 levels
  • existing mandates will be delayed ... again
The concluding paragraphs from The Fiscal Times were most interesting:
The debate on the law is far from over. When the next round of premium increases hits over the summer, and the market for employer-provided health insurance undergoes the same kind of massive disruption as the individual market did over the last six months, the debate over the honesty and integrity of the Obama administration may hit new levels of intensity.
Natural Gas Dispute In Ukraine -- Getting Nastier, and More Expensive By the Day

I think of Sylvia Nasar's Grand Pursuit. The "Crimean/Ukraine" issue has all the potential of spiraling out of control. The reason: asymmetrical heads of state. Putin sees himself much, much stronger than Obama. Putin is not going to be the one to "blink" when it comes to dealing with Obama. Obama is further handicapped by a weak SecState, John Kerry, a confused military veteran who failed as a presidential contender. Accurate or not, that's how Putin sees him.

From the AP:
Dragging much of Europe into his fight with Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged European leaders Thursday to quickly help Ukraine settle its gas debt to Russia to prevent an imminent shutdown of Russian natural gas supplies to the continent.
Putin's letter to 18 leaders, released Thursday by the Kremlin, is part of Russia's efforts to retain control over its struggling neighbor, which is teetering on the verge of financial ruin and is facing a pro-Russian separatist mutiny in the east.
A large Russian military buildup alongside the Ukrainian border has also raised fears that the Kremlin could use the tensions in eastern Ukraine as a pretext to invade, following Moscow's annexation of Crimea last month.
Putin's move raises the specter of a new gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine that could affect much of Europe. In 2009, Moscow turned off supplies to Kiev, leading to the shutdown of Russian gas moving across Ukrainian pipelines to other European countries.
My hunch is that existing and proposed sanctions are placing a heavy financial toll on Russia (that's been published in the mainstream media). If that's true, it's all the more reason Putin will hold Europe hostage until he gets paid a fair price of his country's natural gas.

I am greatly confused by the price of oil right now, with WTI solidly over $103. I'm beginning to think it may have more to do with Russia than I realize.

There are a lot of moving parts geo-politically at the moment, all exacerbated by a rudderless and weak US president. With a weak and rudderless US president, it doesn't make a lot of sense for Putin to negotiate with ... who would he negotiate with? Google "kerry foreign policy spiraling out of control."

How bad is it:
The amount that Putin claims Ukraine owes is growing by billions every day. In the letter, Putin said Ukraine owes Russia $17 billion in gas discounts and potentially another $18.4 billion incurred by Ukraine as a minimal take-or-pay fine under their 2009 gas contract.
He added, on top of that $35.4 billion, Russia also holds $3 billion in Ukrainian government bonds.
Germany could be left holding the bag. Again.

Stevie Ray Vaughan, Live at Montreux
For Investors Only

Blackberry may get out of cell phones completely.  At the same link, it is being reported that Whole Foods, the high-end grocer is getting whacked by over 2% on the news that Walmart is pushing on it's turf. This morning Walmart announced a plan to partner with Wild Oats on an expansion of Walmart's organic offerings starting this month. Walmart says customers will save around 25% or more when compared to other national brand organic products. It remains to be seen if organic customers are going to be willing to shop for their feel-good products at the Darth Vader of retailers, but those who do will be paying less. That's obviously a direct threat to Whole Foods' bottom line.

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.

Putin Takes The Crimean; The BLM Takes A Nevada Ranch 
Apparently At The Urging Of Senator Reid For Solar Farms

.... and folks are upset about Putin's heavy-handed tactics. LOL. Didn't Janet Reno do something similar in Waco under a Democratic president?

Jobless Claims Drop Significantly; Correlation With Gasoline Demand?

Reuters is reporting:
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to the lowest level in almost seven years, which could bolster views of an acceleration in job growth after a cold winter dampened hiring.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 300,000 for the week ended April 5, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That was the lowest level since May 2007, before the start of the 2007-09 recession.
Economists had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits falling to 320,000 for the week ended April 5.

Even the four-week average dropped significantly:
The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell to 316,250 in the week ended April 5, down 4,750 from the previous week.

Whiting USA Trust 1 Nearing Its End; For Investors Only; COP

ConocoPhillips outlines plans for growth and returns at analyst meeting: Co increases recoverable resource and future production estimate in its Eagle Ford program:
Co reaffirmed its objective to deliver double-digit returns annually to shareholders at its Analyst Meeting held at the New York Stock Exchange. Members of the company's executive leadership team outlined ConocoPhillips' goal to consistently deliver 3 to 5 percent compound annual growth in production and margins, with a compelling dividend, from a diversified, high-quality portfolio. 
ConocoPhillips highlighted its substantial U.S. unconventional position and announced an increase of its estimated resource base in the prolific Eagle Ford play. Based on its prime acreage position and technical knowledge, the company has increased its estimates from 1.8 billion to 2.5 billion barrels of oil in place. Production is also expected to increase from current volumes to more than 250 thousand barrels of oil equivalent a day by 2017.

Over the next several years, ConocoPhillips plans ... $16 billion per year and achieve the company's organic reserve replacement target of more than 100 percent. The company expects to generate 3 to 5 percent compound annual production growth...

From the Whiting USA Trust 1 10-K:
The NPI will terminate when 9.11 MMBOE have been produced and sold from the underlying properties (such amount is the equivalent of 8.20 MMBOE in respect of the Trust’s right to receive 90% of the net proceeds from such reserves pursuant to the NPI), which is estimated to occur on March 31, 2015 based on the reserve report (as defined below).
The Trust will soon thereafter wind up its affairs and terminate, after which it will pay no further distributions and the market price of Trust units will have declined to zero. To the extent that the Trust units are trading at a price substantially in excess of the aggregate distributions that may be reasonably expected to be made prior to the termination of the Trust, the market price decline in Trust units is likely to include one or more abrupt substantial decreases.
As of December 31, 2013, on a cumulative accrual basis 7.12 MMBOE (87%) of the Trust’s total 8.20 MMBOE have been produced and sold and a cumulative 0.02 MMBOE have been divested.
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. 


Richard Zeits on SandRidge over at SeekingAlpha.
  • Using production test results for a 32-well sample as a proxy for the company’s overall well quality, Q1 2014 is shaping up as a middle-of-the-road quarter.
  • Given that the number of wells brought on production during Q1 will likely be below the 2013 average, it is difficult to expect meaningful sequential production growth.
Six companies announced increased dividends or distributions, including a very small EPD distribution increase.   

Fed Shows Growing Worry About Low Inflation

Link here to The Wall Street Journal.
Federal Reserve officials are growing concerned the U.S. inflation rate won't budge from low levels, the latest sign of angst among central bankers about weakness in the global economy. 
The Fed began 2014 hopeful that a strengthening U.S. economy would push very low inflation from 1% toward the 2% level that officials associate with healthy business activity. Three months into a year marked by unusually harsh winter weather, which appears to have damped economic growth, there is little evidence of such movement.
Fed officials expressed worry about the persistence of low inflation at a policy meeting last month, according to minutes of the meeting released by the central bank Wednesday. They discussed at the March 18-19 meeting whether to make a more explicit commitment to keeping short-term interest rates pinned near zero until they saw inflation move up, but chose instead to take a wait-and-see approach.
Low inflation is high on the agenda of global central bankers and finance ministers gathering in Washington this week for semiannual meetings of the International Monetary Fund. Bank of Japan officials are trying to overcome more than a decade of on-again-off-again deflation, and inflation in Europe is running close to zero.
"We think there is also a risk of deflation, negative inflation. And we think that if this were to happen, this would make the adjustment both at the euro level, and even more so for the countries in the periphery, very difficult," IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard said of Europe on Tuesday, after the IMF released updated economic projections.
"We think that everything should be done to try to avoid it."
On its face, flat consumer prices sound like a blessing that holds down household costs. But when tepid inflation is associated with small wage gains, excess business capacity and soft global demand, as now, economists see it as a sign of broader economic malaise that restrains investment and hiring. Exceptionally slow wage and profit gains also make it harder for household and business borrowers to pay off debt. Fed officials believe the U.S. economy was soft in the early months of the year in part because of the weather, and they are now expecting a pickup.
But if that doesn't happen, they could wait longer to start raising interest rates. Many central-bank officials and market participants don't expect rate increases until well into 2015.

Thursday, April 10, 2014 -- CLR Reports Montana Bakken Completion With Six (6) Laterals

Active rigs:

Active Rigs191190209173105

RBN Energy: barriers to ethane export.
  • infrastructure
  • shipping
  • pricing
  • petrochemical demand
In the previous post, RBN Energy spoke to the first two barriers; in this post, the pricing and petrochemical demand barriers to ethane export are discussed.

Montana Update, from Fairfield SunTimes:
In Richland County, Continental Resources Inc. reported the completion of three Bakken Formation wells.
  • Mabel 1-14H, six laterals (14K, 13.5K, 13K, 15K, 17K, and 20K). An IP of 301. Seems like a lot of drilling for 301 IP.
  • Mifflin 1-30H, 14K, 348 IP.
  • Mullholland Federal 1-32H, 20K, 294 IP
In Roosevelt County, Oasis:
  • Reveille Federal 2759 14-26H, 20K, 1,284 IP
The Wall Street Journal

Top story: big car makes in race to recall.

Russia's push in Ukraine stalls.

Fed shows growing worry about low inflation. Note my long post yesterday along these lines.

Brandeis University has withdrawn its offer of an honorary degree to a human-rights advocate and former Dutch lawmaker after a campaign by the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned her as an Islamophobe.

ATT said it is in advanced talks to bring up to one gigabit per second speeds to six North Carolina cities, or about 10-times the current fastest options. Apple has a huge presence in North Carolina.

This may have been the reason my Yahoo e-mail was in-op a couple of days ago: popular websites and millions of internet users scrambled to update software and change passwords Wednesday, after a security bug in crucial encryption code was disclosed sooner than researchers had planned.

The Dickinson Press

State clamps down on oilfield waste: rules specify leak-proof containers for filter socks. That was easy.