Wednesday, April 23, 2014

On The Agenda Tomorrow: NDIC Hearings -- The Slawson Case -- A Reminder For Those Who Want To Listen; April 23, 2014

Link here regarding the case:

This case is on the agenda for tomorrow.

If you go to the NDIC website, click on "hearing dockets" on the sidebar at the left (at the NDIC website) or click here:

You will see how easy it is to listen to the live hearing.

I won't be able to listen, but if you are at all interested, you've been reminded.

This has been a public service announcement.

Trivia Question For Roughnecks -- A Question About "Nodding Donkeys"

I'm curious.

Is there a reason that pumpjacks (the "nodding donkeys") vary in length in their cycles? Generally, "nodding donkeys" seem to have a four-second cycle -- from highest point down to lowest point, about four (4) seconds, probably even shorter. This is in the Bakken (I don't recall what the pumpjacks were doing in and around Huntington Beach in southern California.)

But occasionally, let's say a Tyler well just for grins, would there be an explanation why a "nodding donkey" might take twice as long, like eight (8) seconds? Even to a casual observer, it would be very, very obvious that the donkey was moving at "33 and a third" when all his neighbors were moving at "45 rpm." (Of course, only older roughnecks remember the "33 and a third" / "45" vinyls).

So, just throwing that out there. Yes, I need to get a life.

For those who would like their own living room "nodding donkey," see this site: 


I'm up on the upper deck overlooking a huge indoor swimming pool in north Texas where there must be over a hundred swimmers, ages 6 to 17, practicing, as part of their local swim team. It's a huge team. 

At the near end of the ten-lane pool, some of the swimmers are practicing their dives. I had never seen this before, but they can turn on / turn off a huge whirlpool under the diving board -- I did not know this, but apparently, the whirlpool minimizes the pain associated with "belly flops."

It's really quite incredible how good some of the dives / some of the divers are. I got a real kick out of a young man, appears to look about 14 years old -- big grin, athletic body, appearing to have the time of his life. He is just all over the pool; all over the board; flirting with the girls; teasing his male friends. You just know he is going to be the BMOC four years from now.

I was not the BMOC when I was a freshman in college, not by a long shot. But my roommate, Rick, was.  He was even elected "freshman king" for homecoming. I knew from the minute I met him he would have a wonderful life, a huge success at whatever he chose to do. And he did. 

It brings a huge smile across my face watching this 14-y/o diving. He is having so much fun. This will not be the best time of his life, but it will be one of the best times of his life. Hopefully, his best times will be in his coming of age years sometime between age 16 and 26. You just want him, and all his friends, to succeed. Life should always be so good for everyone.

When I see him diving, I can't help but think of the four friends in the movie immortalized by this song:

Stand By Me, Ben E King


Really? Analysts are reading this blog? That's a scary thought.

About two or three months ago, I started a new tag, "The Road to New England" which tracks the shortage of propane (and energy in a broader sense) in New England after this last winter, when the northeast came close to running out of natural gas.

Over at Drudge Report, this teaser/link: "Power grid at limit: road to electrical blackouts ...."

Sounds suspiciously like "Road to New England." LOL.

Here's the story reported at Daily Caller:
Last winter, bitterly cold weather placed massive stress on the US electrical system ― and the system almost broke. On January 7 in the midst of the polar vortex, PJM Interconnection, the Regional Transmission Organization serving the heart of America from New Jersey to Illinois, experienced a new all-time peak winter load of almost 142,000 megawatts.
Eight of the top ten of PJM’s all-time winter peaks occurred in January 2014. Heroic efforts by grid operators saved large parts of the nation’s heartland from blackouts during record-cold temperature days.
Nicholas Akins, CEO of American Electric Power, stated in Congressional testimony, “This country did not just dodge a bullet ― we dodged a cannon ball.”
Environmental policies established by Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are moving us toward electrical grid failure. The capacity reserve margin for hot or cold weather events is shrinking in many regions. According to Philip Moeller, Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, “the experience of this past winter indicates that the power grid is now already at the limit.”
EPA policies, such as the Mercury and Air Toxics rule and the Section 316 Cooling Water Rule, are forcing the closure of many coal-fired plants, which provided 39 percent of U.S. electricity last year. American Electric Power, a provider of about ten percent of the electricity to eastern states, will close almost one quarter of the firm’s coal-fired generating plants in the next fourteen months. Eighty-nine percent of the power scheduled for closure was needed to meet electricity demand in January. Not all of this capacity has replacement plans.
And, of course, much more at the linked article, but you get the idea. 

Which leads me to this, and the reason why I posted the above.

Did you all see this poll: 2/3rds of Americans favor the Keystone XL? In other words, if you are an activist environmentalist living in Nebraska, your spouse and your 3-y/o child both favor the Keystone XL. When you go to out to dinner tonight, your spouse and your waiter/waitress will be in favor of the Keystone XL; you will be the lone crackpot. If you are against the Keystone XL, your two elderly parents, barely getting by on social security and paying $4.50/gallon of gasoline will be in favor of the Keystone; you will be the lone holdout.

But that's not the story. The story is not that 2 out of 3 Americans favor the Keystone XL.

This is the story: I found it incredible that polltakers could find enough Americans who had even heard of the Keystone XL to warrant a poll, and then, to have "valid" results. For me that speaks volumes. I have trouble believing that many Americans actually heard of the Keystone. But apparently they have. And when they pay exorbitant gasoline prices this summer driving season, right or wrong, you know they will know who to blame. Some Nobel-Peace-Prize-President who is sending American troops to Poland. To Poland? I thought we won WWII. I thought we won the Cold War. And now the Nobel-Peace-Prize-President is sending troops to Poland, and the Dutch and the Brits are scrambling jets to scare off Russian spy planes.

Lewis Carroll could not have done better writing this narrative.

My hunch is that this will be the theme song for incumbents this summer when they see the poll numbers if a) they voted for ObamaCare; and, b) they are on record dissing the Keystone.

Summertime Sadness, Lana del Rey

Eleven (11) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; Daily Activity Report From Yesterday Corrected

Reporting tomorrow:
  • AMZN: 23 cents, after market close
  • Carbo Ceramics (CRR): 80 cents; misses by 7 cents; impacted by weather.
  • CAT: blows through forecast; reports $1.44; forecast $1.24
  • GM: 6 cents; either beat by 2 cents or in-line depending on analyst
  • HP: blows through forecast; reports $1.59, vs $1.48 forecast
  • MSFT: 63 cents; after market close;
  • NYTimes: beats by four (4) cents
  • Noble Energy (NBL): 55 cents well below forecast of 75 cents, but excluding certain items, adjusted earnings at 82 cents/share
  • Starbucks: 56 cents; after market close;
  • UPS: big miss; misses by 10 cent; reports 98 cents vs $1.08; though others forecast $1.48
  • Verizon: $1.15 in earnings and 84 cents in adjusted EPS vs 87 cents forecast
  • Weatherford: 11 cents; after market close;
Active rigs:

Active Rigs187188212175109

Eleven (11) new permits --
  • Operators: Legacy (3), XTO (3), Slawson (2), Fidelity, Petro Harvester, Enduro
  • Fields: Red Rock (Bottineau), North Tobacco Garden (McKenzie), Big Bend (Mountrail), Heart river (Stark), Portal (Burke), Newburg (Bottineau)
  • Comments:
Wells coming off the confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

First: was the daily activity report for yesterday corrected? Yes, the "permits were not canceled." Those were producing wells that had been completed -- just as the reader had suggested.

Five (5) producing wells completed:
  • 25010, 1,398, WPX. FBIR 13-24HD, Van Hook, t3/13; cum 2K 2/14;
  • 25012, 966, WPX, FBIR 13-24HC, Van Hook, t3/14; cum --
  • 25416, 1,564, XTO, Rolfsrud State 14X-36E, Sand Creek, t2/14; cum 10K 2/14;
  • 25705, 321, North Plains Energy, Solberg 160-101-28-33-21-13A-1H, Sioux Trail, t2/14; cum 6K 2/14;
  • 25706, 371, North Plains Energy, Solberg 160-101-21-16-13B-1H, Sioux Trail, t2/14; cum 7K 2/14; 
25012, One (1) permit was canceled:
  • 22638, PNC, SM Energy, Hatter Federal 16-29H, 
Wells coming off the confidential list Thursday:
  • 25380, drl, XTO, Loomer 41X-3G, Tobacco Garden, no production data,
  • 25832, drl, American Eagle, Blackwatch 2-2N-163-101, Colgan, no production data,
  • 26350, drl, Hess, SC-Berner-157-99-1918H-1, Lone Tree Lake, no production data,
  • 26598, drl, BR, Sequoia 14-9TFH, Hawkeye, no production data,
  • 26616, 8 (no typo), Enduro, MRPSU 30-13, Mouse River Park, a Madison well; t12/13; cum --

AAPL Earnings Out; Huge Beat; Stock Surges 8% After Hours

Huge beat.

Surges after-hours. Spikes 8%.

The reports:
Apple shares jumped after the tech giant posted fiscal second-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street estimates, and announced a 7 for 1 stock split.
Apple reported second-quarter earnings of $11.62 a share, generating $45.6 billion in revenue. The company shipped 43.7 million iPhones, 16.4 million iPads, and shipped 4.1 million Macs during the quarter. Gross margin, a highly watched level for Apple, came in at 39.3%.
For the fiscal third quarter, Apple said it expects revenue between $36 billion and $38 billion, with gross margins between 37% and 38%. Operating expenses will be between $4.4 billion and $4.5 billion, and it will have a tax rate of 26.1%.
Forecast: $10.19. Actual: $11.62. H.U.G.E

Here's an example of a reporter who doesn't get it. The headline: "Apple Reports a Big Miss on iPad Sales."

I saw that headline and said, "oh, boy, Apple is in trouble."

Then I saw the story. Here's the story to that headline:
iPhones: 43.7 million units vs. 37.7 million units expected by analysts.
iPads: 16.35 million units vs. 19.7 million units expected by analysts.
That's a huge miss on iPad sales, and just another demonstration of how growth in Apple's tablet business has stalled.
But it was a beat on iPhones. Analyst expected Apple to sell fewer iPhones last quarter because we were coming off the holiday quarter.
The iPad business is in big trouble though with negative growth. (See chart below.) The theory is that people aren't buying iPads because they don't upgrade them as often as they do iPhones. There are also a lot of competing tablets from companies like Amazon, Samsung, and Google that are much cheaper and do most of the same stuff.
The reporter doesn't get it. There are so many story lines, but this is the big story line: folks use their iPads to surf; they use they iPhones to generate cash for ATT with all those expensive data plans.

If you have both, a smart phone and a tablet, which one has the more expensive data / voice plan? Ha. Trick question, of course. The tablet probably doesn't have a voice plan.

My data plan from ATT for my iPad is $5.00/month. Yes, $5.00/month.

Folks use their tablets almost exclusively where free wi-fi is available or at home where they have bundled wi-fi. But on the road, mobile, folks with both a smartphone and a tablet use their smartphone with an expensive data/voice plan.

Second story line: add up total units, iPhones and iPads. Actual, 60, vs expected, 57. Not too shabby. Big miss? Hardly. Tim Cook has to be smiling.

The big worry for ATT/Apple was folks switching from ATT/Apple. Earlier today we learned that ATT had a great quarter, adding more subscribers at a time when "everyone" was concerned ATT would lose subscribers.

By the way, that competition from "cheap" Samsung, Amazon, Google tablets. Volume (sales) are important; margins are more important. Let Samsung, Amazon, Google sell "cheap" tablets; Apple will sell at the high end AND the high margins. 

So many more story lines (including the one about the concern about the holiday season -- wow, that's when everybody buys these toys). But the analyst was right about one thing: unlike Microsoft which is dinging users every six months, it seems, with an upgrade, iPads last "forever."

Expands buyback; 7-1 split.

On top of that: will raise dividend 8% and will do that annually.

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.

Straight Talk

The Boston Globe is reporting:
The nation’s top energy official delivered a blunt message Monday to a Connecticut audience of energy executives, regulators, environmentalists, and others who already know that fuel heating and cooling homes and businesses and running power plants in New England is among the costliest in the nation.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, stopping in Providence and Hartford in a months-long federal review of energy issues, said New England doesn’t share the good news developing in the field of energy with the rest of the country.
‘‘Out there, in much of the country, the talk is about the energy revolution, the abundance of energy that we have, the way that we are in fact drawing upon new resources . . . promoting renewables, at the same time reducing carbon emissions,’’ he said.
‘‘But yet if we come here, it’s not a discussion of abundance. It’s a discussion of, in particular, infrastructure constraints,’’ he said.
Actually he was being kind. The discussion in New England is not about infrastructure constraints but how to put more obstacles in front of the oil and gas industry. 

Of course that's what all the pundits will focus on.

The big story is this. Well, actually two stories. First, the top US energy official knows New England: he is a physicist and professor at MIT, Cambridge (across the river from Boston), Massachusetts.

Second, he recognizes the US is in the middle (or at the beginning) of an energy revolution. Certainly he uses the same phrase when the cabinet heads get around the table for a photo op with the president.

I wonder if he golfs? I wonder what his position on the Keystone is? I wonder if he ever meets with the president?



January 19, 2015: it seems incredible that less than a year ago folks were still talking about a fossil fuel renaissance in Europe, with countries like Poland potentially producing their own natural gas. With the glut of oil and natural gas, and prices collapsing, one wonders if there is even any thought of any fossil fuel development in Europe.  

Original Post

As a "Big Story," I track "Europe is at a tipping point" here.

One country that gets a lot of energy "play" is Poland. The oil and gas industry is excited about the prospect of natural gas in Poland but has been frustrated by both political obstacles and technological issues.

All of a sudden, in the last few weeks, Poland has gotten a lot more exciting.  Don sent me this Calgary Herald story:
The Russian invasion of Crimea is making Alberta's oil and gas more attractive in European capitals, says Poland's ambassador to Canada.
Poland supports the idea of importing Canadian oil and gas, envoy Marcin Bosacki said Wednesday prior to the start of a two-day visit to his country by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.
"This point of view is being shared in a growing number of European capitals in the last two months since the Crimea invasion," Bosacki said.
"Of course, we are absolutely in favour of increasing the abilities of ... western Canada oil and gas to be exported also to Europe."
Earlier this week, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk argued in an article in the Financial Times that the European Union should become less dependent on Russian energy sources.
Baird is touring several eastern European countries this week to express Canadian solidarity in the face of Russia's annexation of Crimea and its subsequent provocations in eastern Ukraine.
He wrapped a visit to Slovakia on Wednesday after visiting the Czech Republic a day earlier. After Poland, Baird is bound for Latvia and Estonia.
It's my perception that Polish politics has been as big a problem as the technology issues. Platts reported back in January, 2014:
The Polish government's decision to prioritize the acceleration of shale gas exploration has been welcomed by operators frustrated at more than two years of regulatory uncertainty.

That uncertainty combined with red tape and disappointing drilling results significantly slowed exploration in 2013. Just 12 wells were completed last year, compared with 24 in 2012.

In November 2013, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk fired his environment minister Marcin Korolec in a cabinet reshuffle saying he was frustrated at the pace of exploration.

Minutes after being sworn in, Korolec's replacement, Maciej Grabowski, said accelerating exploration would be his priority.
And this is the problem (sounds like Mexico):
Industry's main concerns about the proposals are the lack of a guarantee that exploration license holders, who are investing millions of dollars to verify reserves, will be able to convert that license into a production license.

The other is a plan to create a state-owned company, NOKE, which can take minority stakes in all future production licenses.

NOKE would have compulsory participation in profits without taking part in expenses and the right to veto investment decisions. The government signaled it would change this but the issue is still not clarified.
Sounds like the Poles want to nationalize foreign oil and gas industries even before they get started.

[There were so many possible subject lines for this one, I thought it best to simply call it "Poland" and not get myself in trouble.]

Oil Inventories Rising; Gasoline Demand Rising; Gasoline Production Falling; Gasoline Imports Rising; Refinery Capacity At 91% (Well Below Potential)

Brent / WTI spread widened suddenly yesterday from about $5 to about $9.00.
Reuters via Rigzone is reporting:
U.S. crude futures fell on Tuesday ahead of data expected to show that inventories in the world's top oil-consuming nation have risen close to record highs.
Brent also fell but was cushioned by continued concerns of an escalation in the standoff in Eastern Ukraine that could lead to further Western sanctions against Russia and disrupt supplies from one of the world's biggest producers.
The disproportionate fall of West Texas Intermediate crude futures led to the widening of the Brent-WTI spread by more than a dollar. U.S. crude settled at $102.13, down $2.24 a barrel, or more than 2 percent. Brent crude settled at $109.27, down 68 cents.
The May U.S. crude oil contract expires at the end of Tuesday making the June contract the new front month. But June futures settled almost 2 percent lower, at $101.75 a barrel.
Analysts said in the absence of a major escalation in Eastern Ukraine, where separatists still hold government buildings in defiance of a peace accord struck last week, attention instead has turned to U.S. crude oil inventories.
Stocks in the country are approaching all-time highs - after building 10 million barrels in the week ending April 11 they reached 394 million barrels, close to the record 398 million barrels hit last year.
Wednesday inventory data (for week ending April 18, reported April 23, averages; some numbers rounded):
  • crude oil refinery inputs: 16 million bopd = 367,000 bopd more than previous week
  • refineries operated at 91% (better than 88% last week; not as good as 92% week before)
  • gasoline production decreased by 9 million bbls/day
  • crude oil imports dropped 475,000 bbls/day; down to 7.8 million bbls/day
  • inventories (excluding the SPR) increased by 3.5 million bbls to 397.7 million bbls
  • inventories well above the average range for this time of year
  • gasoline inventories decreased by 0.3 million bbls last week; remain in the lower half of the average range
Gasoline demand can be tracked here.
  • gasoline demand up but curve is flattening

No Oil From Kashagan This Year

Reuters via Rigzone is reporting:
French major Total said no oil production was to be expected from the troubled Kashagan project in Kazakhstan this year and it was not likely to yield much next year either.
"What is clear is that no production can be expected in 2014, and in 2015 ... it will be probably little," Yves-Louis Darricarrere, head of exploration and production, told a conference on Tuesday.
Production at the offshore deposit, the world's biggest oil find in 35 years, started in September but was halted in early October after the detection of gas leaks in the $50 billion project's pipeline network.
The Bakken, Eagle Ford, and the Permian look better and better every day. EOG has a huge play in each of these plays and surged today, perhaps on news that the Kashagan will not produce anything this year. Likewise, Libya is having its problem. Iraqi exports are up, but not exactly the most stable exporter in the world. Russia? "Who knows?" he asked rhetorically.

Mid-Day Trading, For Investors Only; EOG Surges

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.

EOG surges over 2%; trading at new high. No specific headline news but the tea leaves predicted this. 

Oasis up over 1%.

KOG: up slightly; flat.

Wow: nineteen (19) companies announce increased distributions or dividends, including Williams Partners, Southern (SO), NRG Energy, Noble Energy, Marlin Midstream, Kinder Morgan (KMP).

On a day that the market is in negative territory, look at the companies trading at new 52-week highs (see if you note a trend): BHI, BRK (A & B), CAT, CLR, CVN, EOG, ERF, HAL, PSX, SLB.

In addition:
  • UNP: flat
  • ENB: barely green, but near its 52-week high
  • EPD: barely red, but at its 52-week high
New home sales declined 14.5% in March from an upwardly revised 449,000 (from 440,000) in February to 384,000. The consensus expected home sales to increase to 455,000. March sales were the lowest since 373,000 new homes were sold in July 2013. Winter weather conditions, which were unduly blamed for softness across the economy, again showed little effect in the new home sector. The return to more normal temperatures, which should have boosted sales from pent up demand, resulted in the weakest demand since the middle of last year.

SD is up almost 4%, trading at a new 52-week high, also.

TMS -- One Of The Best Shale Plays In The US? --  Motley Fool

The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale isn't exactly a name that has been associated with America's shale boom like the Bakken or the Eagle Ford, but Goodrich Petroleum's recent discovery there proved it to be very economical. Goodrich's recent well results were so good that it's even had a major effect on the stock price of Halcon Resources and the only thing they have in common is that they have abutting acreage in this shale formation. 
While the geology of the region has been challenging for drillers so far, the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale has one distinct advantage over the almost all other shale formations in the U.S.: its location. In the video below, find out why the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale's location in Louisiana and Mississippi could make it one of the belles of America's oil ball.
GDP is surging, up another 6% today. HK is up about 3% today.

CHK: hit a new 52-week high, over $29; up about 2% today.

Man Camps Gain Ground In The Bakken -- WSJ

Link here. The lede:
Target Logistics, a Boston-based builder and operator of dormitory-style housing, recently landed a nearly $30 million contract to provide lodging for hundreds of oil-field workers in North Dakota over the next three years. The deal is the latest example of rising demand for professionally managed "man camps," sprawling barracks that house mostly male workers at American and Canadian oil sites.
A few years ago, many North American energy companies needing places to house their expanding workforces operated their own man camps or gave the business to upstart operators. But after complaints that these barracks were becoming active markets for prostitution and illegal drugs, some companies decided to turn the business over to professional companies like Target Logistics that not only house and feed the employees, but also monitor their activities during off hours.
Target Logistics declined to identify its customer in the recent North Dakota deal, saying only that it is "one of the largest independent nonintegrated crude-oil and natural-gas companies in the U.S."
That narrows it down to one. 

There are so many story lines (and some private notes) but I am pushed for time, so it may have to wait.

Coupled with news earlier this week, this is why I posted the new poll asking whether one thought we would see 200 active rigs in North Dakota this week.

Memo to self: send note to The Atlantic Monthly: the Bakken boom is alive and well.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014; Existing Home Sales Fall Three Months In A Row, Lowest Since July, 2012 (NO JOBS); Obama Stalls Drilling On Federal Lands (NO JOBS)

Active rigs:

Active Rigs187188212175109

RBN Energy: LPG exports; part 4.
Exports of liquefied petroleum gases (LPGs – propane and butane) from the U.S. to international markets - are expected to nearly double from 460 Mb/d in 2014 to 915 Mb/d in 2019 as production from gas plant processing exceeds domestic demand. Available Very Large Gas Carrier (VLGC) vessels to carry these increased overseas volumes are limited. As a result spot freight rates have reached record levels recently. In today’s blog “Stayin’ Afloat With the LPGees – Part 4 Freight Voyage Calculation Model” Sandy Fielden walks through a voyage cost calculation. Today we walk through a voyage cost calculation.
The Wall Street Journal

Top story: Supreme court backs racial preference ban.

Cold War II heats up. Nobel-Peace-Prize-President moves US troops to Poland.

Unions blast US Postal Service alliance with Staples. Why does this not surprise me.?

Big business supports Mary Landrieu in Louisiana.

Pilots at JetBlue vote to unionize. Not unexpected.

The Los Angeles Times

ObamaCare pushing insurance rates up; where to take your gripes. Good luck.  Let me know how it works out. If you thought signing up through the website (the easiest part of the process), wait until you have an issue that needs to be resolved.

Sweeping clemency guidelines for drug offenders are announced, just in time for the fall elections.

ATT sales rose to start the year, as the carrier added more subscribers and increasingly sold mobile devices like the iPhone at full price.

McDonald's plans marketing push as profit slides. Hey, I may go there for lunch.

Coming on the heels of ObamaCare, this is not good for those who like monopolies: a federal appeals court ordered a major health system in Ohio to unwind its merger with a local hospital as antitrust authorities step up scrutiny of hospital deals.

BNY Mellon says "goodbye" to NYC; may move to where it was founded in 1784.

USA Today

Existing home sales fall three months in a row; seasonally adjusted rate is lowest since July, 2012. No jobs? Keystone killed.

Front page: two stories, one on background checks, guns, and felons; and, one story on "killer asteroids bigger threat than believed." This one caught my eye because I'm reading The Mistaken Extinction, in which the authors spend a fair amount of time on the "theory" that it was a meteorite that ultimately led to the demise of the dinosaur.

I've always said "1969" was the best year for music. USA Today polled readers on "most resonant rock's' roll moments. Of the top ten, three were from the 1967 Monterey International Pop Music Festival -- one of the best music DVDs ever, by the way: Jimi Hendrix (1), Janis Joplin (2), Otis Redding (6). The Woodstock Music & Art Fair, 1969, had two top ten:  Santana (4), and Sly and the Family Stone (8). Queen at Live Aid, 1985, ranked #3 and Bob Dylan, #5, at the Newport Folk Festival, 1965. The other three: Nine Inch Nails, Woodstock Music & Air Fair, 1994, #7; U2, Live Aid, 1985, #9; and, Muddy Waters, Newport Jazz Festival, 1960, #10.

Movie review: the documentary "For No Good Reason" which profiles artist Ralph Steadman. Steadman broke into the "big time" when he was hired by Scanlan's Monthly editor Warren Hinkle to illustrate Hunter S Thompson's article "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved." This is one documentary I won't miss. I assume it will play at local fine art museums where art documentaries are shown.


Reuters columnist John Kemp out of London is reporting:
The White House likes to claim a share of the credit for the drilling revolution that has transformed North America's energy production and security.
Except the revolution has largely taken place on private rather than public land, and energy producers feel frustrated about the numerous obstacles and long delays in obtaining permission to drill in areas directly controlled by the administration.
"Crude oil production has grown each year President Barack Obama has been in office to its highest level in 17 years," the Council of Economic Advisors wrote back in the summer of 2013. "Over the past four years, domestic oil supply growth has accounted for over one-third of global oil production growth."
"Government-funded research supplemented private industry's work to develop the technology that sparked the boom," the council explained ("Reducing America's dependence on foreign oil", Aug. 29, 2013).
The theme has often been taken up by the president himself to underline his commitment to an "all of the above" approach that embraces fossil fuels such as oil and gas, renewables like solar and wind as well as measures to reduce wasteful energy consumption while increasing efficiency.
"We are drilling," the president told an audience in Maryland in 2012. "Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. We've quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high."
He might have added, "And we did this all on private land. We have not done anything on federal land that might upset my activist environmentalist base. And there's no need to. Guys like Harold Hamm and Mark Papa have done what I couldn't do. I've asked Joe Biden to head a fact-gathering commission to see why those guys are succeeding in the face of all the EPA regulations I've spearheaded."

This is just the first page of a four-page article. Again, the Brits have it right.


Seeing a weakness and a void, Putin looks to increase its presence in the Arctic. Reuters is reporting:
President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia should step up its presence in the Arctic and challenge other nations in exploring the world's largest untapped natural reserves, days after it started shipping its first oil from the region.
Russia's ambitions in the Arctic have for some time been raising eyebrows among other states vying for a presence there, but the Kremlin's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula is likely to put its Arctic plans under greater scrutiny.
Russia has staked its future economic growth on developing the Arctic's vast energy resources and reviving a Soviet-era shipping route through the ice.
The United States, Denmark and Norway are also pressing for access to what they consider their fair share of the Arctic's massive oil and natural gas reserves.
Russia loaded its first crude tanker from an oil platform in the Pechora Sea last week.
I honestly was not aware that President Obama was looking to increase oil and gas activity in the Arctic. Everything I've read, and I've posted much on the subject, of all nations interested in the Arctic, the United States Under Obama has opted out of the Arctic.  What's gasoline selling for in California these days? $4.75/gallon?