Thursday, July 17, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014 -- Recap Of Oil Storage In US;

GE's profit surges, up 13% -- due to focus on oil and gas industry

Active rigs:

Active Rigs196189208180132

RBN Energy: Gulf coast crude oil storage capacity.
While doing the storage days calculation for PADD III we went ahead and did a comparison with other EIA reporting regions.
The East Coast – PADD I – historically fed almost entirely by water – had 18 storage days in April 2014 and an average of 19 days since 2011, suggesting that floating storage plays a critical role in that region – although that will need to change as PADD I refineries are fed increasingly from inland by rail.
The storage days number for PADD II – the Midwest – that is landlocked and therefore fed almost exclusively by pipeline - is 38 days in April 2014 and 35 days on average.
Like the Midwest, PADD IV (the Rocky Mountains) is also landlocked but refineries are smaller and supplies can leave the region on major pipelines in case of oversupply. Storage days in PADD IV were 30 in April 2014 and 27 on average since 2011.
PADD V (West Coast) has traditionally been largely supplied by waterborne crude from Alaska and foreign imports except for domestic California production. PADD V storage days are therefore lower because of the floating storage buffer – 24 days in April 2014 and 25 days on average since 2011. Like the East Coast, more supplies delivered from North Dakota and Western Canada by rail are reducing waterborne dependence on the West Coast.  
Finally the storage days number for the US as a whole is 35 days in April 2014 and 32 days on average. So the Gulf Coast region as a whole with 32 storage days of capacity is on a par with the US average of 32 days, lower than the Midwest and higher than the East or West Coast.
Analyst's view of the May, 2014, North Dakota Bakken production data:
Perhaps the most important nugget from that presentation had to do with flaring: New regulations require operators to limit flaring to 24% by October 2014. During May 2014, 31% of the 1.2 Bcf/d of natural gas production was flared. This is down from 37% flared from Jan-Apr 2014 and we expect most operators to meet the limits.

A huge "thank you" to "anon 1" for the link.
The Wall Street Journal

Surface-to-air missile hit Malaysia Airlines plane. "Tragedy" escalates tensions over Ukraine. So, it's just a tragedy and, I guess, we move on. The US says that the missile that brought down the plane would have been a sophisticated missile; that begs the question -- who fired it? And why?

Israel launches Gaza ground invasion, including tanks.

Microsoft to cut up to 14% of its workforce. There will be a lot written about MSFT's decision to buy Nokia a year ago.

Housing starts sink 9.3% -- now, they're blaming the rain. Who'll stop the rain?

Who'll Stop the Rain, Creedence Clearwater Revival

Economists dim growth views for US for 2014. Oh, well. Easy come, easy go.

Lawmakers clash over President Obama's OPEN BORDERS/OPEN ARMS policy.

Quick: the IRS e-mails that were lost. How many days worth of e-mails were lost? Answer: two-years worth of e-mails. Sort of compares to that 18-minute gap in the RMN tape. LOL. What are they going to do? Impeach him? LOL.

Google revenue beats estimates; 2Q14 revenue growth of 22%.

IBM's revenue remains soft; it's becoming a bit clear why the company is hitching its wagon to Apple.

US natural gas prices at seven-month low. Europe, for the most part, continues to ban fracking.

Heard on the street: Microsoft's tough call yet to come on phones. Microsoft has taken the ax to the Nokia business it bought last year -- but the hard work still lies ahead.
Microsoft announced layoffs of up to 18,000 workers Thursday morning, the software giant's biggest job cuts ever. About 12,500 of these are coming from the handset operations that are mostly comprised of the Nokia device business acquired last year under Mr. Nadella's predecessor as chief executive, Steve Ballmer.
That purchase added about 25,000 workers to the company's payroll.
Mr. Nadella reportedly was against the idea of the Nokia acquisition before he was for it.
Whatever the boardroom politics then, it is a business he is now saddled with. Reducing the workforce of the unit by half is a bold move and will earn support from investors.
But the long-term trajectory of the Windows handset business remains unclear—and could call into question having more than 12,000 employees still dedicated to the cause.
The Los Angeles Times

Malaysia defends flight path of downed jet.

Eighty (80) percent of California is now in extreme drought. For perspective start with the Mulholland bio over at wiki; and the California Water Wars. Long article on mandatory water restrictions, but nothing said about golf courses. In another article, the restrictions: can water all they want, but only between sunset and sunrise. I assume because golfers generally golf during sunlight hours, this is not particularly restrictive. I could be wrong.
How's That Again?

Hamas launches thousands of rockets indiscriminately over Israeli cities. Israel declares unilateral ceasefire; Hamas responds to the ceasefire with indiscriminate rocket launches on Israel. Israel defends itself. President Obama blames Israel for not protecting civilians I can't make this stuff up.

How's That Again? Again

The Chicago SunTimes reports that "global warming threatens Chicago tourism":
An unusually long winter like the one endured in 2014 showed that more severe storms and weather in the winter also hurt business bottom lines. The long, extreme cold further into the spring causes a drop in sales for group tour business and private events in the early part of the season as people are not yet ready to commit to outdoors activities. A colder Lake Michigan has resulted in fog blocking visibility for sightseeing.
And from IceAgeNow:
Feels like October in Oklahoma, Iowa, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Mississippi, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Kansas, even Manitoba. Have you seen much about this in the mainstream media?

EU At Risk Of Losing 30 Million Jobs To US Shale Revolution -- Bloomberg, July, 2014

On July 6, 2014, I wrote a long and rambling piece on Germany's plan to severely and intentionally cripple their economy.

Bloomberg continues the narrative:
The U.S. shale-gas boom is placing 30 million jobs at risk in Europe as companies with greater reliance on energy contend with higher fuel prices than their American counterparts, the International Energy Agency said.
Manufacturers of petrochemicals, aluminum, fertilizers and plastics are leaving Europe to take advantage of booming U.S. production of natural gas from shale rock formations, Fatih Birol, chief economist for the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based adviser to 29 nations, said at a conference in London today.
Many petrochemicals companies in central Europe are moving out,” Birol said. “Thirty million jobs are in danger.”
The U.S. has become the world’s largest producer of oil and gas as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling help producers extract resources from shale rock. The country’s refineries processed a record volume of crude last week as plants took advantage of cheaper domestic crudes.
Chemical makers from Germany’s BASF SE to Brazil’s Braskem SA plan to invest as much as $72 billion in U.S. plants to take advantage of low-cost natural gas feedstock.
One of the biggest users of electricity are tech companies, tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. 

And so it goes. Thank you, Mr Bakken.

For more on Europe at a tipping point, click here

Another Interactive Oil And Gas Map: Canada; ObamaNation: More Americans Than Ever Living In Multi-Generational Household (2014 -- Five Years Into The Reovery; Story Based On 2012 Data)

For those interested in tracking Bakken/Spearfish wells just north of the Canadian border, consider this interactive map:

Sent to me by "anon 1." I will add this to the "Data Links" page.

ObamaNation Five Years Into The Recovery: More Americans Than Ever Live in Multi-Generational Households

In a long, rambling note of July 14, 2014, I wrote:
Out here in California, on the surface, things look really, really good. But just beneath the surface, I'm not convinced everything is so hunkey-dory. Two things that one can't fail to notice almost immediately: the number of cars parked in driveways and on the streets in residential neighborhoods; and the price of gasoline, now pretty much averaging $5.00/gallon.

In middle class neighborhoods, houses were built for two-car households; now it appears it is not uncommon to see three-, four-, and five-car households. These are all sedans, pick-ups, SUVs, not recreational off-road vehicles. Local folks probably noticed this some time ago, but are now finally talking about it: multiple generations of same family living in three-bedroom homes. Across the street is a typical example, noted by many: grandparents, young adult children (both working), and elementary school children living in a small three-bedroom house, probably 1,500 square feet. Four cars. My brother-in-law lives in middle class neighborhood where townhouses are now going for $750,000 -- in Williston they would be $350,000 houses; in Williston, before the boom, they would have been $100,000 houses. His house and his neighbor's house share one wall. The neighbors are renting. The landlord is probably unaware of living situation: the landlord thinks a nice young couple moved in. In fact, there are three families living in the house: the parents and two of their adult children, both married. The parents and one son/wife life in the house; the second son/wife live in the garage. There are eight adults altogether in the house. The homeowners' association allows only two cars per townhouse to be parked in the complex. It took six months to a year to finally get the family to play by the rules; they now park six of their eight cars on a street outside the complex. A very, very nice family; all/most work at Disneyland (security guards, operating rides, etc; none professional as far as we know). No judgement. Simply a new phenomenon.
I wrote that on July 14, 2014. Today, three days later, The Los Angeles Times does the same story based on Pew Research:
More Americans than ever live in multigenerational households, and the number of millennials who live with their parents is rising sharply, according to a study released Thursday.
A record 57 million Americans, or 18.1% of the population, lived in multigenerational arrangements in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center.
That's more than double the 28 million people who lived in such households in 1980, the center said.
A multigenerational family is defined as one with two or more generations of adults living together.

The sluggish job market and other factors have propelled the rise in millennials living in their childhood bedrooms.
About 23.6% of people age 25 to 34 live with their parents, grandparents or both, according to Pew. That’s up from 18.7% in 2007, just prior to the global financial crisis, and from 11% in 1980.
For the first time, a larger share of young people live in multigenerational arrangements than of Americans 85 and older.
Hmmm..... I'm not going to add anything; the story speaks for itself.

Comparing The Bakken Boom With Previous Booms -- The Male Migration -- Pew Research, July, 2014

On July 15th, 2014 -- just a few days ago -- I had a long post on taxable sales and purchases in North Dakota as a result of the Bakken boom. A reader found a very interesting Pew Research study that was posted the very next day. Below is a graphic with regard to the male migration:

The second point had to do with the increase in women during those booms: "From 1970 to 1980, the number of men in Alaska increased by 31% (51,000). But the population growth of women was even faster, with a 46% increase (60,000) over the same time period."

I guess the "rush" is over.


Ten (10) New Permits; 196 Active Rigs; Nine (9) Producing Wells Completed; KOG Reports Several Nice Wells; Statoil With A "High-IP" Well; July 17, 2014; Four Of Six Wells To DRL Status

Wells coming off the confidential list Friday:
  • 25490, drl, QEP, Johnson 2-4-9TH, Grail, no production data,
  • 26428, 1,437, Whiting, Norgard 21-13-2H, Ellsworth, t1/14; cum 48K 5/14;
  • 26446, drl, Petro-Hunt, USA 153-95-4B-9-2H, Charlson, no production data,
  • 26525, drl, CLR, Jerry 2-8H, Poe, no production data,
  • 26986, drl, Hess, EN-Dobrovolny-155-93-2128H-6, Alger, no production data,
  • 27118, 427, CLR, Priebe 1-5H1, Border, 30 stages; 4.4 million lbs; open hole packers utilizing 30 stages and plug & perf;  t6/14; cum 3K 5/14;
Active rigs:

Active Rigs196189209178132

Ten (10) new permits --
  • Operators: Oasis (5), CLR (3), Sinclair, Mountain Divide
  • Fields: Missouri Ridge (Williams), Tyrone (Williams), Sanish (Mountrail), Big Dipper (Divide), LIttle Knife (Dunn)
  • Comments: CLR's newest permits are all in the Sanish (Mountrail) oil field
Wells coming off the confidential list today were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Nine (9) producing wells completed:
  • 27794, 524, Whiting, Brehm 42-35-3XH, Sanish, t6/14; cum --
  • 26062, 1,658, MRO, Two Crow USA 21-15TFH, Moccasin Creek, t6/14; cum --
  • 24156, 1,790, KOG, Koala 16-32-29-2H, Poe, t6/14; cum --
  • 24155, 1,928, KOG, Koala 16-32-29-1H3, Poe, t6/14; cum --
  • 26244, 1,955, KOG, Koala 16-32-29-1H, Poe, t6/14; cum --
  • 26243, 1,898, KOG, Koala 16-32-29-2H3, Poe, t6/14; cum --
  • 27793, 885, Whiting, Brehm 42-35-2XH, Sanish, t6/14; cum --
  • 27268, 1,803, BR, CCU Red River 34-9TFH, Corral Creek, t6/14; cum --
  • 24373, 2,719, Statoil, Garmann 19-18 2TFH, Banks, t6/14; cum --
End of the road for the Mylo Wolding 14-11 well? Placed on "TA" status.
  • 18511, TA/39, MRO, Mylo Wolding 14-11, Reunion Bay, a single stage frack;  t9/10; cum 4K 5/14; this well was never planned to be a producer. "The Mylo Wolding 14-11 is the second of three planned vertical wells to be drilled on the same pad as part of Marathon's Bakken Integrated Core Study. The project well pad will have two monitoring wells flanking a test well, each spaced approximately 5000 feet apart. The monitoring wells (Mylo 1 and 2) will be drilled to the Three Forks; the test well (Mylo Wolding 14-11) will be drilled to the Three Forks, logged, and cased." Summary: the well was successfully drilled. The will was cased as a vertical test well with no immediate plans for completion.

For Investors Only -- July 17, 2014 -- Microsoft, Minimum Wage, ObamaCare


July 18, 2014: in the original post I mentioned "minimum wage" in Seattle and how it related to Microsoft's announcement to cut 18,000 jobs. I was informed by a reader that MSFT was headquartered in Redmond, not Seattle. I stand corrected. However, on further review, at least one huge campus -- a manufacturing facility -- is located in Seattle. My hunch is that MSFT has more folks working in Seattle (subject to minimum wage) than in Redmond. 

Later, 4:56 p.m. PDT: it looks like the market is finally starting to pay attention to the three shooting wars (Ukraine -- taking out civilian aircraft; Iraq -- Russia filling the void; and, Israel-Hamas -- the latter being stomped): the market fell today and futures show continued selling, while oil is quickly moving back to the $104 level (WTI crude).

Original Post
Perhaps the top story of the day for those not following the Malaysian Airline story is the news that Microsoft will cut 18,000 jobs as it "chops" (their word, not mine) Nokia. Reuters is reporting:
Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella kicked off one of the largest layoffs in tech history on Thursday, signaling he intended to shake up the aging PC industry titan, but leaving questions about how exactly he would transform it into a nimbler, Web-based rival to Apple Inc and Google Inc.
Microsoft Corp said on Thursday it will slash up to 18,000 jobs, or 14 percent of its workforce, over the next 12 months as it almost halves the size of its newly acquired Nokia phone business and tries to become a cloud-computing and mobile-friendly software company. 
The larger-than-expected cuts are the deepest in the software giant's 39-year history and come five months into Nadella's tenure.
There's no question this is due to the changing nature of technology and cloud computing, but one has to ask the question: what other factors played into this decision? Microsoft is headquartered in Seattle. Seattle recently passed a $15/hour minimum wage. Granted, most tech jobs pay way more than minimum wage, but minimum wage jobs are everywhere (food service, janitorial, landscaping, transportation, etc). For every ten to twenty high-paying tech jobs, there are support service jobs -- cafeteria, janitorial, building maintenance, etc. [A reader points out that Microsoft is headquartered in Redmond, WA, not Seattle. When I wrote this piece, I knew it was a stretch attaching minimum wages and even ObamaCare to the 18,000 jobs that Microsoft will cut. I should have just left it well enough alone. The good news, I learned a bit more about the enthusiasm with which Seattle is embracing that $15/hr minimum wage.]

The most interesting thing, however, and what is never mentioned in these articles is the cost of ObamaCare. Wasn't ObamaCare going to cost employers somewhere between $2,000 and $5,000 / employee? I've long forgotten the number, but for argument's sake, let's say, $3,000.

$,3,000 x 18,000 employees = $54 million every year.

I know a lot of folks will blow off these personnel costs as marginal, but I remember clearly the history of the railroads. At one time, it was required that the last car, the caboose, have an engineer. It took years to get the number of engineers on a BNSF train from three to two, just the two engineers in the pulling locomotives. It's hard to believe that one person made such a big difference but it was a big deal at the time to eliminate that position. [See comment below: a reader does a much better job recalling the transition from five FTE's on one train, to three, and finally to two.]

Whatever. Idle chatter.

That Pesky Global Warming

WKRG is reporting:
Forecasters say Mobile, AL, has broken a 128-year-old record with a low temperature of 64 degrees.

The National Weather Service says the low Thursday morning was 1 degree cooler than the low of 65 degrees set in 1886.

The weather service says Huntsville tied a record low for the date of 59 degrees set in 1945, and temperatures were in the mid- to upper 50s across north Alabama.
Others Have Noted The Same Thing: It's All A Scam
Bloomberg is reporting:
Australia’s decision to repeal its levy limiting fossil-fuel pollution makes it the first nation to turn back from a market approach to fighting global warming.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government won final approval from Parliament yesterday to scrap a levy about 300 companies paid for their carbon dioxide emissions. The move leaves Australia, the largest polluter per capita among industrial nations, without a system for reducing greenhouse gases as it prepares to host a meeting of the Group of 20 nations. 
The first nation to turn back from a market approach to fighting global warming? None of these stories ever mention that Canada was the first signatory to opt out of the Kyoto Protocol some years ago. 

Global warming? I thought we had moved on. I did not know that it was called "global warming" any more; I thought it was "extreme weather." I guess sometime in the past couple of years we moved back to "global warming."

There has been no sign of global warming for the past 18 years. Just saying.

Legacy Fund To Receive Largest Deposit Yet -- $112 Million In July, 2014; Total Now Over $2 Billion

The Bismarck Tribune is reporting:
The state’s Legacy Fund will be receiving its largest infusion of cash since its creation this month, according to the state agency that oversees the multi-billion-dollar fund.
On Thursday the state treasurer’s office announced it anticipates a deposit of $112 million to make its way into the Legacy Fund before the end of July.
It is the first monthly deposit of more than $100 million since funds began being placed in the fund monthly in 2011. Through June the Legacy Fund totaled more than $2.2 billion in deposits.
Since its creation monthly deposits have been as low as $32 million and as high as $93 million.
$2 billion / 700,000 people = $3,000/person -- a family of 6 = $18,000. 

Another Malaysian Plane Down -- 298 On Board -- Shot Down Over The Ukraine; Doesn't Faze President Obama; Israel Launches Ground Invasion -- July 17, 2014


Later, 2:07 p.m. PDT: anyone wondering how detached President Obama is? This pretty much sums it up. The Daily Mail is reporting:
Barack Obama provoked fury in the U.S. by casually devoting mere moments to the deaths of 295 people (including 23 Americans) aboard a Malaysian airliner on Thursday in Wilmington, Delaware, and then launching into jokes and his prepared remarks on the need to expand America's transportation infrastructure. Twenty-three Americans are feared dead after the jetliner crashed in eastern Ukraine. Obama declared that 'it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy, but not before enthusiastically declaring that 'it is wonderful to be back in Delaware.'
He just doesn't get it. Or his handlers don't.

By the way, this tweet went viral:
Obama, in sum: A plane crashed. It may be tragic. We're trying to see if US citizens were on board. Hey, great to be in Delaware!
The only major newspaper that did not post this story was The Boston Globe. The author of this tweet was a Boston reporter. I can only assume The Boston Globe editor is a "twit."

Original Post 

Link here.
A Ukrainian official said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over a town in the east of the country, and Malaysian Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights over Ukrainian airspace.
Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) when it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher. A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday. The Buk missile system can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).
Malaysia Airlines said on its Twitter feed that it "has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow."
This changes things.

CNN has a new airplane story to follow. Watch their ratings surge. Fox News also reporting.

One has to wonder to what extent this was predictable with the US stepping off the international stage. It might have happened regardless, but as the US steps off the international stage, the world starts to implode in small unconventional wars everywhere: Ukraine, Israel/Hamas, Iraq, Afghanistan. It's not that these trouble spots weren't going to continue to be trouble spots; rather, it seems it's all happening at one time, just as the US provides the vacuum for others to fill. 

Israel Launches Ground Invasion

Supporting that thesis -- the mice will play when the cat's away: now that the US is off the international stage, Israel has free rein to do what it needs to do. With all attention focused on 300 passengers on a Malaysian Air plane brought down by a Russian-missile, Israel has pretty much dropped off the international radar scope. The timing of that downed Malaysian Air plane could not have come at a worse time for Hamas: a) the eyes of the world are on the Ukraine; and, b) the president is out golfing. The Jerusalem Post is reporting:
IDF ground forces began to move into the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening, the prime minister's office confirmed.  
The statement said that Operation Protective Edge, now in its 11th day, will continue until its goals are reached: restoring quiet for an extended period of time,and delivering a significant blow to Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza.
Prior to the commencement of the ground invasion, the IDF launched a massive wave of combined air and artillery strikes on Thursday night.
Speaking of the president out golfing, the White House is in lockdown due to security finding an unattended package. Most likely Amazon delivered the president his new set of golf clubs via a drone.

Poorest Timing For A Story

Two hours ago Kerry Sheridan posted this story: world is getting warmer, global climate report. Two hours ago:
  • a Russian missile downs a Malaysia Air plane over the Ukraine killing 295 passengers
  • Israel launches ground invasion into Gaza 
Has anyone noticed? The only international player not in the news today: North Korea.

The Towner County Leases

A reader thinks he has come up with the reason for the leases in Towner County, North Dakota (I agree).

Overseas, and on the East Cost of the US, there are a lot of investors looking to cash in on the Bakken. This is an opportunity for someone to buy up North Dakota leases at a very low price and re-sell them to these overseas and East Coast investors.

The Road To New England

I was curious why residents in New England didn't seem particularly angered by the high rates they were paying for natural gas this past winter. This may be part of the answer (I don't know, just rambling). Bangor Daily News is reporting:
The problem was highlighted last winter, when heating needs spiked and resulted in a reduced amount of gas available to generate electricity. Competitive bidding in New England’s wholesale power market sets the following day’s price at the cost for the last bit of generation needed. With natural gas making up almost 50 percent of the region’s electricity generation, supply constraints drove up prices for industrial and commercial customers buying on the wholesale market.
Residential customers will see those prices reflected in their power rates later because the standard offer price set by regulators — and used by most buyers — uses a three-year average to insulate ratepayers from fluctuating prices.
Putting The Bakken Into Perspective, Over In The North Sea

Reuters over at Rigzone is reporting:
U.S. oil major Chevron Corp. will cut about 225 jobs in its North Sea oil operations after reviewing its business in the region where high costs have undermined some field developments.
The second largest U.S. oil company will reduce by around one fifth its Aberdeen, Scotland-based oil and gas exploration operations headcount, it said in a statement to Reuters. The jobs will include contractors, employees, and expatriates. Chevron, like many of its peers, has been under heavy pressure from shareholders to cut spending after seeing disappointing earnings and plans to sell about $10 billion of assets in the next three years.
Global Warming

"The sun has gone quiet -- weakest cycle in more than a century."
Good Idea Gone Bad?

Out west, someone has solved the problem of the disappearing phone booth. ATT now leaves an iPhone in those old phone booths, and trusts that folks won't steal the iPhone. Our granddaughters tested this at the Grand Canyon.

A Solid (Un)Employment Report -- Everything Is Hunkey Dory: July 17, 2014

From Bloomberg:
Declines underway in jobless claim point squarely to improvement underway in the labor market. Initial claims fell 3,000 in the July 12 week to 302,000. The 4-week average is also down 3,000, to 309,000 which is a new recovery low.
Continuing claims, reported with a one-week lag, tell the same story. Continuing claims in data for the July 5 week fell 79,000 to a recovery low of 2.507 million. The 4-week average is down 13,000 to 2.559 million, also a recovery low. The unemployment rate for insured workers is down 1 tenth to a recovery low of 1.9 percent.
But this report is solid and will raise expectations for another strong employment report for July.

July 17, 2014: Almost 200 Active Rigs In North Dakota

Active rigs:

Active Rigs196189209178132

RBN Energy: Update on NGL fractionation in the Utica/Marcellus.
There is no doubt about it: With its location, infrastructure and long history, Mont Belvieu, Texas, is and will remain the center of the NGL fractionation world. It is worth noting, though, that fast-increasing production in the “wet” Marcellus and Utica has been spurring development of a new NGL hub of sorts in southwestern Pennsylvania, West Virginia and eastern Ohio. But the fractionation sector in the Utica/Marcellus is an orange to Mont Belvieu’s apple—that is, the infrastructure needed to separate NGL into its various purity products is evolving in an entirely different (and, well, more “fractionated”) way near Houston, PA than it did near Houston, TX. Today we explain this and summarize new fractionation-related developments in the Utica/Marcellus.
WTI: I assume folks have watched the minor volatility in WTI crude oil -- down to $99 fairly quickly (from $106) and now back up to $102 fairly quickly. A reader suggested the reason a couple of days ago, and I'm inclined to agree. Contracts expired on / about the 14th of the month. Folks holding contracts in oil will get that physical oil -- it will show up somewhere. When oil was getting down to $99, it certainly suggests a lot of folks were unloading oil as fast as they could -- ohterwise they were going to see tankers of oil show up out their back yard, with a sleepy-eyed truck driver asking the speculator where he/she wanted the oil to be unloaded.

The Wall Street Journal

Top story: US escalates sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. I assume New Hampshire will still be allowed to import Russian coal. LOL.

Here we go: Arkansas (Medicaid) denies payment for very expensive cystic-fibrosis drug

Slush fund: states increasingly use funds from gas taxes to service debt and spending unrelated to roads and bridges.

Immigrant children fare better in US immigrant courts if they have an attorney. Well, duh.

Quick: which party holds the Senate? Just asking. I see the Senate failed to override the recent Supreme Court opinion on Hobby Lobby and ObamaCare. Talk is cheap.

Shortage of physicians. Missouri will allow medical school graduates to skip required training to become licensed as physicians; instead, these undocumented graduates will be allowed to work as physician assistants in rural Missouri. Memo to self: stay healthy traveling cross-country through Missouri.

Five-hour ceasefire agreed to by Israel to allow Hamas to reload and re-organize.

China's GDP grew to 7.5%, up from 7.4% the previous quarter, reassuring global investors all is right with the world.

As births slow, P&G turns to adult diapers.

Do tax breaks work? Tesla is looking again at building its "big" battery factory in California after the state promises new tax breaks AND regulation changes.

Congress dithers, Obama fumes, pharmaceutical companies invert. Could Apple, Inc., invert?

Dow rises to record close.

Warren Buffett's Achilles' heel: retail. This is not a story about WB's stock-picking skills, this is a story about tectonic changes occurring in the US (can you spell Amazon?) and the very, very, very slow recovery (using the word "recovery" loosely -- the economy collapsed [their word, not mine] in 1Q14).

The Los Angeles Times

Microsoft to cut up to 18,000 jobs in sweeping restructuring. The story was previously reported on the blog but not the exact numbers. Can you spell Apple?