Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Road To New England -- October 18, 2014


October 19, 2014: folks may have been following the story in Russia, the early snow in Moscow, and now the snow in Siberia. Ice Age Now/Bloomberg is reporting:
Last year, the snow level across Eurasia was the fourth highest for the month in records going back to 1967. In January, frigid temperatures dubbed “the polar vortex” slid out of the Arctic to freeze large portions of the U.S.
With the snow now piling up across Eurasia, will this winter be a grim reminder of last year’s?

While “the snow has gotten off to an incredible start,” [Judah Cohen, director of seasonal forecasting at Atmospheric and Environmental Research in Lexington, Massachusetts] Cohen said he needs to see how much covers the area through the entire month before he can make an accurate forecast.
Stay tuned.

By the way, the weather in Moscow: a short blurb here. The forecast is for snow tonight. The temperature in Moscow has been trending lower this year than historical norms. Regardless of one's position on global warming climate change extreme weather ice age now, this cold weather in Europe will impact the natural gas story, Putin vs EU.

Original Post is reporting:
Many Massachusetts households are going to see their electric bills shoot up 37 percent this winter, a rate increase that some advocates fear will put additional strain on low-income families.
State regulators approved the increase for National Grid household customers that would mean an average of $33 per month more for the typical residential customer and would push a typical monthly bill higher than $150.
Large-business customers will see even higher increases. [which will pass costs on to consumers]
National Grid has almost 1.3 million residential and business electric customers in Massachusetts.
The new rates take effect in November. [folks will see their November statements after the election]
‘‘This is pretty bad, and it’s going to really have a bearing on a lot of Massachusetts households’ abilities to just make ends meet this winter,’’ John Howat, senior energy analyst at the National Consumer Law Center in Boston, told The Boston Globe.
When my utility bill (electricity only; no natural gas) here in Texas goes above $95/month, I know it's been a hot month, lots of air conditioning, or we've used the washer/dryer a lot more than usual.

Just Another Bad Nightmare

Remember ObamaCare? The website that let you keep your doctor, that let you enroll online.  After a gazillion hours and the smartest folks in software land, Oregon failed to enroll one single "customer." FoxNews is reporting:
Oregon has moved online customers to the federal site after software bugs and other technical problems kept the state from fully enrolling a single customer online.
I had forgotten that; I knew it was bad; didn't know it was that bad. 


The Prisoner

Another Link? -- October 18, 2014; In-Fill Wells In The North Dakota Bakken

I assume everyone except me was aware of this link: economic calendar. For all I know I've linked it elsewhere at the blog, but have simply forgotten.
This was the link that led me to it. Nice summary.

Infill Wells In The North Dakota Bakken?

A reader has asked a very interesting question over at the discussion group, asking where one thinks "infill drilling" is headed in the North Dakota Bakken. I assume she means geographically: which county, which area in a specific county, which fields, etc. I've provided my initial thoughts. I'm interested in what others have to say. I'm sure it's a question many readers have been asking.

Standing In Line To Vote ...

I love politics. As a spectator, not as a participant.
Tomorrow (Sunday) there will be a very, very interesting article in The New York Times on the mid-term elections just a couple of weeks from now. I alluded to that very issue without getting into specifics (for very good reasons) on this post two days ago. And that's why I love to blog. Develop a world view, a model, a theory, whatever, and then tweak it as new data becomes available.

Is The Bakken In A Sweet Spot? -- October 18, 2014


October 20, 2014: in the original post, I said, "Alaska isn't coming back." The Alaska Dispatch provides an update:  
The price for Alaska oil dipped to $82.80 on Tuesday and $82.16 on Wednesday.

The oil price slide, triggered by more supply, less demand and a move by Saudi Arabia to compete for market share, holds major implications for Alaska if it lasts. As always, that’s a big “if.”
In June, the threat of a disruption on the world market by continued unrest in the Middle East sent prices climbing to $113, but in four months the world view has changed again. Oil is $30 cheaper and the gaping hole in the Alaska budget is potentially hundreds of millions deeper.

With the most recent decline, Alaska oil prices are close to what they were in 2010, but oil production is down by more than 100,000 barrels per day, the continuation of the long-term decline of the largest oil field ever found in North America.
The article talks about taxes on oil in Alaska. Two data points:
At $80 per barrel, the effective net tax rate on most oil production is about 15 percent under the current system, rising to 25 percent at $100 per barrel and 30 percent at $120 per barrel, the Department of Revenue says.
The Legislature adjourned and the governor signed the budget knowing it would take an annual average oil price of $117 to balance it, expecting prices below that level but above $100.
Original Post

I have not read the article, just the headline. I'm tied up with swimming and soccer but ...

Forbes is reporting: shale rail means cheaper gas for California. This is really, really cool. I haven't read the article, but the headline is intriguing. I started opining about this about a month ago based on RBN Energy posts. Remember three data points:
1) California has no crude oil pipelines into the state (and never will be)
2) California source for crude oil: Alaska and OPEC
  • Alaska isn't coming back in a long time
  • OPEC oil is way more expensive than Bakken oil
  • rail to Vancouver to ocean-going tanker to San Francisco
3) there are three on-shore oil plays in the states: the Permian, the Eagle Ford, and the Bakken
Now add in a couple of more data points:
  • with gasoline well below historic highs, the end of "demand destruction," which will generate more demand
  • Permian and Eagle Ford are "wired" to deliver oil to the Gulf Coast 
Is the Bakken sitting in the sweet spot to supply California AND the northeast US?
A Note to the Granddaughters

This is really quite a story. Some years ago I posted a fairly extensive biography of my dad as part of the collection of "Million Dollar Way" stories. During WWII my dad had joined the US Coast Guard which during the war operated as a service in the US Navy. For almost the entire time he was in the US Coast Guard / US Navy dad served as an enlisted man on the USS Wakefield, a cruise ship before the war that had been converted to a troop carrier, carrying US troops to Europe; US Marines to China; and, POWs back to the states.

At one point Dad talked about Jack Dempsey being on the USS Wakefield. I noted it, and inserted a short biography of Dempsey and the USS Wakefield into dad's biography. I did not give it much thought a the time.

Break, break.

I am currently reading Donald L. Miller's Supreme City, c. 2014, the history of Lower Manhattan, New York City, during the Jazz Age, pretty much the 1920s and the early 1930s. It is most enjoyable and I highly recommend it to anyone at all interested in that history, and who simply enjoys really good writing. It's one of the few books I have paid full price for, seeing it featured at Books On Broadway in Williston during my last trip to the Bakken.

Chapters 18, 19, and 20, relate the big sports stories of the Jazz Age, notably the sluggers, Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey.

Dempsey had avoided WWI; he was considered unpatriotic by most, and perhaps a traitor by many, for doing what another boxer would do some decades later, but for very different reasons. I don't know the "whys" and "wherefores" but Jack Dempsey redeemed himself in WWII. According to USCG history:
During World War II Dempsey joined New York State National Guard and was given a commission as a first lieutenant. He resigned that commission to accept a commission as a lieutenant in the Coast Guard Reserve.
He reported for active duty on 12 June 1942 at Coast Guard Training Station, Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, New York, where he was assigned as "Director of Physical Education." He also made many personal appearances at fights, camps, hospitals and War Bond drives. He was promoted to lieutenant commander (temporary) in December 1942 and commander (temporary) in March of 1944.
In 1944 he was assigned to the transport USS Wakefield.
In 1945 he was on the attack transport USS Arthur Middleton for the invasion of Okinawa. In July of 1945 he assigned to the Commander, 11th Naval District for assignment to Military Morale Duty. He was released from active duty in September 1945.
According to dad's bio:
“After boot camp, I went by train to Boston, Massachusetts. From Boston, the assignments were made. I was assigned to Rockland, Maine. I spent about a year in Maine and then was assigned to the USS Wakefield (AP-21). The USS Wakefield was a former liner called The SS Manhattan. In 1942 it had burned to the water line and was rebuilt and recommissioned the USS Wakefield, a troop transport, on February 10, 1943. The ship was harbored in Hartford, Connecticut. I was there living in barracks waiting to go to sea. I was on the shake-down cruise and then went to Boston, Massachusetts. The USS Wakefield home port was Pier 13, Boston Harbor, until February 1945.”
While assigned to the USS Wakefield, Dad logged:
  • 17 round trips to Liverpool;
  • England 3 round trips to France, including one to Marseilles;
  • 2 round trips to Naples, Italy;
  • 6 trips in the Mediterranean; and,
  • 4 round trips across the Pacific, including China
It was in 1944 and 1945 that Dad was in the Pacific. Sometime in 1944, Dad served on the ship under Commander Jack Dempsey. He remembers Dempsey mingling with the troops and challenging the men to spar with him. Dad recalls watching several matches. 

For the archives. Just some idle meandering.

By the way, speaking of POWs that were brought back to the states. While assigned to the USAF many years ago, and while stationed in Germany, I ran into a German who had been a POW and brought to the states for "incarceration." He was said he was very, very fortunate to have gotten out of the war that way and had appreciated the Americans ever since. His POW camp/prison was somewhere in Louisiana. I don't recall what his "job" was during the day, but in the evening the German POWs were allowed to leave the camp/prison as long as they returned back to the camp sometime before midnight. And they always did. I guess the punishment for failing to return was a threat to be returned to the fighting front in Germany when caught after going AWOL from prison.

North Dakota Legacy Fund Ballooning -- October 18, 2014

Lots and lots of interesting stories being reported today. I will eventually get to them, but I have lots of swimming and soccer activities with the granddaughters so there will be intermittent blogging throughout the day. At swimming venue, there is wi-fi, but very, very slow on a good day, so at a swimming meeting, it may be practically "non-existent." We'll see.

Three quick stories. 

I'm most surprised by Supreme Court ruling on Texas voter's ID law. At least one dissenting justice says the Election Identification Card (EIC) harkens back to the "poll tax." In fact, the EIC is free if one qualifies. The application is an incredibly simple two-page form and can be filled out at home but must be notarized. It is not difficult to find notaries in Texas who will notarize the application for free; our local library, for example, provides the service. Folks with disabilities are exempt from requiring an EIC. Of the states 26 million residents, it is estimated that 600,000 (about 2%) do not have a government-issued photo ID that would qualify. And if one does not have an EIC, one can still vote, but for the vote to count, the individual must return with an EIC within 6 days of casting the vote.

I will do a commentary sometime on the counter-intuitive result of journalism and not having boots on the ground. I haven't seen anybody discuss this before.

And the North Dakota Legacy Fund is ballooning, far more than expected.
Roughly 40 percent of the oil and gas tax revenue the state expects to receive this biennium is already spoken for in the state’s constitution. The largest portion of that is the voter-approved Legacy Fund, which is expected to reach $3.8 billion in June 2015. Lawmakers won’t be able to touch legacy funds until 2017, and even then they’ll have to reach a two-thirds majority to make decisions on how to spend the money.
And in November, voters will decide whether to create another trust fund aimed at conservation. Measure 5 would create both a trust and a fund using 5 percent of the state’s oil extraction tax revenue.