Thursday, October 30, 2014

Three More KOG P Wood Permits In Truax Oil Field -- October 30, 2014

It never seems to quit. KOG has three more permits for P Wood wells in Truax oil field, sited on the same pad (or near the same pad) as the four new permits issued October 27, 2014:
These three new permits - wells will be sited - SESW 22-154-98 --
  • 29865, loc, KOG, P Wood 154-98-14-22-16-3HA,
  • 29864, loc, KOG, P Wood 154-98-14-22-16-3H,
  • 29863, loc, KOG, P Wood 154-98-14-22-16-2H,
These wells are tracked here.  It looks like these wells will be sited in section 22 and terminate to the northwest in section 16, unlike the previous four which will run straight north into section 15.

Global Warming
Climate Change
Extreme Weather 
Ice Age Now

Perhaps the best thing I've read on the subject all month. Recommended for adults only. 

What Some Of Us Will Be Talking About Friday -- October 30, 2014

The Wall Street Journal

US extends solid growth; sidestepping global tumult; 3.5% GDP.

Judge approves bankruptcy-exit plan for Stockton, California; city can raise taxes to protect pensioners.

Just the other day (or was it today?) I mentioned that water is the issue to follow in the Southwest: top news in the WSJ tomorrow -- parched cities in the west (Phoenix and Tucson, AZ) -- find ways to share resources. It's just a matter of time.

Wow, wow, wow -- this is great news! Ukraine and Russia settle gas dispute. This is really an amazing story. Adult leadership. Or sanctions.

The Los Angeles Times

Nothing. Unless one is interested in truffles or the fact that one of Kobe Bryant's early homes is on sale.

Fast Facts On New Bypass Around Watford City -- October 30, 2014

Taken directly from MDU's Fast Facts, sent to me by a reader:
The North Dakota oil patch town of Watford City is the fastest growing city in the fastest growing county in the country.
Tuesday morning (October 28, 2014), thanks to Knife River, the city finally got some much-needed breathing room. With an assist from North Dakota’s governor and a pair of shiny scissors, Knife River officially opened the U.S. Highway 85 bypass.
The $55 million project — which routes traffic around Watford City to the west — was the largest in Knife River history. The nine-mile bypass takes 13,000 vehicles a day, including 5,000 trucks, out of downtown Watford City. It improves both safety and traffic flow in the busy Bakken oilfield.
“It’s a great feeling to complete a project of this size that will have such a positive impact for so many people,” said Brad Arntson, president of Knife River’s North Dakota Division. “We’re proud to be involved with this bypass. This was a huge job and took some good teamwork. In the end, we worked together to build a safe, high-quality road on time and within budget. This project is a big success.”
Knife River’s Andy Cramer and Stacey Ashinhurst managed the project out of the company’s Williston, North Dakota, office.
The North Dakota team worked closely with Dave Midtlyng, Zach Cooper and Knife River’s Idaho Division, which handled much of the civil construction.
In total, Knife River moved 2.1 million cubic yards of dirt and provided 520,000 tons of aggregates and 200,000 tons of asphalt. The project also included 30,000 cubic yards of concrete.
Knife River finished the project on budget and in less than 13 months, which was ahead of schedule.
“To have this happen in the speed that it did speaks to great cooperation,” Watford City Mayor Brent Sanford said at Tuesday’s ribbon cutting. “And to (Knife River), thank you. This has to be a record for finishing a project.” 
I was in the area two or three times when they were working on this project. A couple of things stuck out. It seemed they worked on this 24/7 and it seemed they kept the traffic moving throughout the process with a minimum of fuss.

But look at that traffic: 13,000 vehicles per day; 5,000 of them trucks! Gives newbies some idea just how busy the Bakken is.

No Wells Coming Off Confidential List Tomorrow -- October 30, 2014

Companies reporting earnings Friday, according to Yahoo!Finance:
  • CVX, before market open, $2.56;
  • XOM, 8:00 a.m. ET, $1.73;
  • Genesee & Wyoming, before market open, $1.17;
  • Magellan Midstream Partners (MMP); before market open; 66 cents;
This is not an investment site, yada, yada, yada....


Daily Activity Report For Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wells coming off confidential list Friday: None. There was no "April 31" this year.

Wells coming off confidential list today were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Three (3) producing wells completed:
  • 21374, 2,263, Statoil, Barstad 23-14 4TFH, Alger, t9/14; cum --
  • 28611, 1,160, Whiting, Bartleson 13-18-2XH, Sanish, ICO, t10/14; cum --
  • 28610, 1,807, Whiting, Bartleson 13-18-3XH, Sanish, ICO, t10/14; cum --
Seventeen (17) new permits --
  • Operators: Newfield (4), WPX (3), KOG (3), Sedalia (2), XTO (2), Slawson, Hess, CLR
  • Fields: Lost Bridge (Dunn), Mandaree (Dunn), Truax (Williams), Pratt (McHenry), Bear Den (McKenzie), Big Bend (Mountrail), Truax (Williams), Brooklyn (Williams)
  • Comments: Sedalia has a relatively long history in North Dakota, though it has drilled very few wells; their two permits today are for Madison wells (horizontal) in the Pratt Madison Unit; the Pratt oil field is east of the Glenburn oil field, about 8 miles east of the city of Glenburn; the field is about 20 miles northeast of Minot;
Active rigs:

Active Rigs190182185200152

COP (BR) To Slow Drilling In The Bakken Due To Slump In Oil Prices; The Road To Fukushima -- October 30, 2014

Bloomberg is reporting:
ConocoPhillips became the first major oil company to announce plans to reduce spending due to falling crude prices as drilling in some emerging North American fields becomes less profitable.
The third-largest U.S. energy producer can meet its target to boost production by as much as 5 percent each year even as it reduces annual spending to below $16 billion, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ryan Lance told investors today.
ConocoPhillips plans to scale back drilling in emerging oil regions such as West Texas and the Rocky Mountains. The company’s ability to produce oil at lower costs in more established areas that have fueled the U.S. shale boom make growth sustainable. ConocoPhillips could also reduce exploration spending, he said. 
The "Rocky Mountains" include the Bakken in this context. In the Bakken, BR is COP. 

Later in the article:
ConocoPhillips increased production 33 percent to the equivalent of 212,000 barrels of oil a day in North Dakota’s Bakken and Texas’ Eagle Ford formations, two of the fastest-growing U.S. oil fields. That follows a 41 percent output increase in the second quarter. The company also completed a sale of its interest in Nigeria for $1.4 billion.
The company has gone from a small player in fast-growing U.S. shale regions to a dominant force able to turn a profit at an oil price of $40 a barrel.
“They have plenty of places to put capital, and they can take the time to make sure that when they drill an unconventional well, they are successful and realize a high margin,” James Sullivan, a New York-based analyst at Alembic Global Advisors, said today in a telephone interview.
ConocoPhillips became the second major oil company today to report rising profits in the face of falling crude prices as an asset sale in Nigeria and higher output in Texas and North Dakota boosted returns. 
New 52-Week Highs

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.

Wow, what a market. Hitting new 52-week highs: AEP, AMGN, CSX, EW, SRE.

Fukushima All Over Again

This is an incredible story. I had a different "headline" but I thought it might be a bit too much (LOL).

A huge "thank you" for Don spotting this story. I missed it. Pretty much encapsulates the entire global problem with renewable energy. Even Spain and Germany are mentioned. Newbies probably need to read the entire article to understand the blurb below, but regular readers will understand this, from the AP via Yahoo!Finance:
The utilities say they can't accommodate the flood of newcomers to the green energy business, throwing in doubt the future of Japan's up-to-now aggressive strategy on renewable energy.
Another challenge is that supplies of power from sources such as solar are not reliable enough or easily stored.
"Kyushu electric shock is spreading in a domino effect," said Oba. "It's like fraud on the national level, with utility companies and the government in cahoots with each other."
Traumatized by the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl and encouraged by the highest rates for renewable energy in the world, Japan has been undergoing a green boom. It's now rapidly turning into a fiasco as the cost proves prohibitive and utilities anticipate putting some nuclear reactors, shuttered since the March 2011 Fukushima disaster, back online. The unfolding green glut in Japan echoes similar experiences in Germany and Spain.

I see the state of Maine plans to ask the nurse returning from Ebolaland vis New Jersey to "self-quarantine" herself for 21 days. One would think the clock would have started when she entered the states, which must have been about a week ago. [I see the 21 days is up November 10, 2014.] I see she has not yet been invited to the White House to be hugged by the president. I don't blame him. It's now well confirmed that the virus can survive outside the human body for a lot longer than suspected or first reported. Like on doorknobs and toilet seats.

[Update: I posted that two days ago, October 28, 2014. Today, two days later, October 30, it is being reported that the CDC is, in fact, reporting the same thing: Ebola is more easily spread than we are being told:
Ebola is a lot easier to catch than health officials have admitted — and can be contracted by contact with a doorknob contaminated by a sneeze from an infected person an hour or more before.
And there you have it.]

[This is kind of funny. The other day Mike Savage, talk radio, was upset about folks using the word "catch" when talking about contracting an infectious disease. He often reminds us that he has a doctorate in something, maybe infectious disease epidemiology but I really don't know and I really don't care, but it is interesting that he was upset about the use of "catch." As noted above, almost everyone uses the colloquial "catch" including the NY Post above. The question is: do recognized medical authorities use "catch" in connection with infectious disease? It turns out that the Mayo Clinic does:
An easy way to catch most infectious diseases is by coming in contact with a person or animal who has the infection. 
I can't make this stuff up. Reason #2,387 why I love to blog. LOL. Mike Savage needs to move on.]

The nurse, by the way, is now out and about in the state of Maine, bicycling (photo of her bicycling at this link). CNN update (their words, not mine), October 31, 2014:
Nurse Kaci Hickox recently returned to the United States after treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. She's been in a tense standoff with state authorities, who want her to stay home for 21 days -- the incubation period for the deadly virus.
"Want her to stay .... "

By the way, speaking of Ebola, the CDC has backtracked. After a call from the White House and the Ebolaczar, the CDC has removed posters warning folks that Ebolavirus, like all viruses, can be found in droplets from sneezing and coughing. I can't make this stuff up.  This was noted October 31, 2014, one day after the posters were noted by mainstream media.

A Note For the Granddaughters

About two months ago we noted a "new" pastry item at our favorite breakfast restaurant in downtown Grapevine. The pastry item was a "Cronut." I had never heard of such a thing until then. It's a "cross" between a croissant and a donut. I asked the folks at the restaurant what that was all about. They have apparently had it for quite some time; it has become very, very popular. While we were talking -- this was a Sunday morning -- a person rushed in to pick up two Cronuts. Unfortunately the pastry shop had sold out; none were left. The proprietor gave the individual a half dozen other pastry items as a gift to make up for the fact they had sold out of Cronuts. The individual had not pre-ordered; we were told that if we wanted to assure ourselves of a Cronut we needed to call ahead and put an order in. Only so many are made each day and once that batch is made, no more are set out for the day.

The reason the proprietor was so happy to give the aforementioned individual half-a-dozen other pastry items was because this customer was a regular. Actually, the person coming in the restaurant-pastry shop was not the customer; he was the chauffeur to the customer who was outside, waiting in the limousine.

Yes, in Grapevine, Cronuts are very popular.

I, of course, would never have posted that except for an Adam Gopnik's article in this week's issue of The New Yorker: Bakeoff: What is happening to our pastry? The first paragraph:
It would probably be going too far to say that there is a war on between Maury Rubin's pretzel croissant and Dominique Ansel's Cronut -- going too far because the two things can and do coexist grudgingly, one at Rubin's City Bakery, off lower Fifth, and theother at Ansel's self-named bakery, in SoHo, and also because, truth be told, Rubin's combinaiton of croissant sweetness and pretzel salt is by now a familiar staple fo the lower-Manhattan breakfast, while the crowd for Ansel's deep-fried croissant-doughnut is still a phenomenon, creating lines that sometimes start crawling aroudn the block at Spring and Thompson Streets at five in the morning.
" still a phenomenon in New York"? Apparently we've had Cronuts in Grapevine, TX, for quite some time and they, too, are still a phenomenon.

Busy, Busy, Busy -- October 30, 2014; Nominations For 2017 Audio CD Now Being Taken

Wow, I'm in a good mood. More later. I forgot. I have to update the IPs for the wells coming off confidential well today.

Okay, that's done.

From A Reader

Here's another Bakken success story for you.
American Smoke Wagon in Watford a City started out in a food trailer along Hwy 85 south of Watford.  I heard their radio spot and had a sandwich a couple years ago.  Today I am picking up sandwiches for the crew in a nice modern restaurant across from the new Cashwise in Watford.  In 2011 when I came here this area was a big mudhole and now is nicely developed , and from all appearances is doing well.

American Smoke Wagon: Bill Nichols.
Food is superb.
3Q14 grew at a solid 3.5%. I believe this is the first estimate. I believe there are at least two more revisions, over the next two months.

These countries are getting "killed" by low oil prices
Oil is selling for roughly $83 a barrel on the global market.
That's bad news for Iran, Nigeria, Venezuela, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, among others.
Iran's budget is built on oil at $135 dollars per barrel. 
Russia has oil budgeted at $100, while Saudi Arabia will break even at $95 per barrel. 
See my list here.

Same reader notes:
Forgot to mention that the Watford and Alexander bypasses are open and are just great. Makes an awesome drive now.  
[Memo to Google: update your satellite views of the Bakken.]

I drove on part of the bypasses that were complete back in August (or whenever it was I was last there); the roads are incredible; I can't believe how wide they are. I also can't believe how fast they got this completed. I don't recall public discussion about these bypasses even as recently as 2011 or 2012. I'm sure it was all there but I missed it, but in my mind, these huge bypasses were "done overnight."


Funny how time changes everything (regular readers know where this is going). After the election when he can throw his base under the bus, the Obama administration is likely to delay EPA rules on electric utilities and CO2. The question is why would he do this? He's not up for election any more. 

Time Changes Everything, Bob Wills

They Won't Build This Either -- Hillary, Barack, and Pocahantas

The Bismarck Tribune is reporting:
Watford City officials joined principals from Triton Real Estate Investments in a ground-breaking ceremony held Oct. 15 for a new 40,000- square-foot, four-story office and retail building located on Main Street in Watford City.
“We’re very excited about this,” said Jonathan Kalikow, one of the principals of Triton Real Estate Investments. “It’s our first office building in North Dakota. It’s our first, but definitely not our last.”
Estimated cost of the building is approximately $15.5 million. Triton currently has no tenants for the new building.
The rumor is that all building material will be delivered by trucks using roads built by the government and/or trains using rail placed on ground given to tycoons in the 19th century.

Audio CD Nominations, January 20, 2017

I'm starting to put together a commemorative audio CD for the outgoing president come January 20, 2017.  I'll choose the best 20.

Here's the first nomination.

Ray Price, For The Good Times

The Fill Rate? 87; The West Region Had A Fill Rate Of Only 8 BCF -- October 30, 2014

The magic number is now more than 100 as winter approaches.

More is better if one is worried about preparation for the winter.

The number today: 87. At the link, scroll down to see the graph.

See "NG_Fill_Rate" at bottom of blog for past posts on this subject.

This link probably explains the most.

Wow, wow, wow -- 87. Yes, as we move into autumn, the fill rate will start to decrease, as consumers start to use more natural gas. I understand that. What is fascinating to watch is the delta between current fill rate and historical ranges, and historical average. The EIA's statement:
Stocks were 294 Bcf less than last year at this time and 310 Bcf below the 5-year average of 3,790 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 130 Bcf below the 5-year average following net injections of 41 Bcf.
Stocks in the Producing Region were 146 Bcf below the 5-year average of 1,223 Bcf after a net injection of 38 Bcf.
Stocks in the West Region were 34 Bcf below the 5-year average after a net addition of 8 Bcf.
At 3,480 Bcf, total working gas is below the 5-year historical range.

Thursday -- October 30, 2014

Active rigs:

Active Rigs190182185200152

RBN Energy: continuation of the series on diluent by pipeline to Canada. A very, very good series.
Canadian production of diluent range light hydrocarbon materials such as natural gasoline and condensate are not currently meeting demand from the oil sands region. Diluent is used to reduce the viscosity of heavy Canadian crude so that it can flow to market in pipelines. Diluent supplies required to supplement Canada’s domestic output are nearly all imported from the U.S. via two pipelines that originate in the Midwest. Those pipelines are mostly supplied with diluent sourced from the Gulf Coast. Today we look at how imported diluent gets to Western Canada.
The first episode in this series provided an overview of current and expected demand for diluent range materials for use by oil producers in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB). The diluent is blended with heavy bitumen and heavy conventional crude to reduce its viscosity enough to flow to market in pipelines. We covered the range of diluent materials used by WCSB producers including natural gasoline and synthetic crude oil. Total Canadian demand for diluent in 2014 is expected to average 380 Mb/d – meaning that with 160 Mb/d of local supply about 220 Mb/d will be imported – mostly from the U.S. By 2019 that import requirement number will more than double to 485 Mb/d (assuming that Canadian domestic production doesn’t increase dramatically – which it might.). This series details the distribution infrastructure being built out to deliver increasing quantities of diluent to production locations in the WCSB. In this episode we recap pipeline diluent routes from the U.S. to Western Canada.

Shale Boom Shines Light On Natural-Gas Liquids -- WSJ, October 30, 2014

This really is quite remarkable.

For newbies, two data points:
  • the Bakken is an oil play, not a gas play; 90% - 95% of hydrocarbons coming out of the Bakken is crude oil, not gas
  • however, 5% to 10% of a gazillion boe is still a lot of natural gas 
  • the second data point: Bakken natural-gas liquid is said to be particularly "rich"
Now the WSJ is reporting:
An unsung byproduct of oil and natural-gas production is getting more attention from hedge funds and investors as they seek new ways to bet on the U.S. shale boom.
Natural-gas liquids, which include ethane, propane, butane, isobutane and natural gasoline, are separated out from crude oil and natural gas. They are known as the fuels in propane grills and butane lighters and as feedstocks to make plastics and chemicals. Until recently, they attracted little investor consideration.

Remember that word.

Regular readers are aware of the $4 billion significance.

Let's see if the article mentions the Bakken. Nope.

Other comments from the article:
“I don’t think the market really truly appreciates just what [NGLs] can do” for oil-and-gas producers, added Mr. MacDonald, who manages the $1.4 billion Invesco Energy Fund.

“I’m actually beginning to move some of my businesses more into the NGL side because of the demand,” said Steve Reese, chief executive of Reese Energy Consulting and Reese Energy Training in Edmond, Okla., who said he is planning to start a propane business. “The trading activity has definitely increased.”
It helps that unlike oil and natural gas, NGLs can easily be exported overseas, where prices are higher. Connections to the global market make it less likely NGLs will meet the same fate as natural gas, which saw prices crash when production swamped U.S. demand. NGLs fetch an average of $9.94 a million British thermal units, more than double the price of natural gas.
Remember: this is not an investment site. Do not make any financial, investment, relationship decisions or change any travel plans based on anything you read at this site or anything you think you might have read at this site. Perhaps this is a red flag:
The lack of transparency in the market is keeping OppenheimerFunds Inc. from trading NGLs, said George Zivic, portfolio manager for the $420 million Oppenheimer Commodity Strategy Total Return Fund.
“Unless you’re privy to what [producers and manufacturers] are doing on a month-to-month basis, you can really get squeezed,” Mr. Zivic said.

First Time Unemployment Benefits Rise; The Spin Continues -- October 30, 2014

Wow, talk about spin.

This is the headline from Bloomberg: Fewer Americans Filed for Jobless Benefits in Past Month. I fell line, hook, and sinker for that. Wow, you have to read this closely. Look at the first two paragraphs:
Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits over the past month than at any time in more than 14 years, a sign the strengthening U.S. economy is buoying the labor market.
The four-week average of jobless claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, fell to 281,000 in the period ended Oct. 25, the lowest since May 2000, from 281,250 the week before, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. Compared with the prior week, applications for benefits rose by 3,000 to 287,000. 
I had a devil of a time finding the number for this week because I was reading through this so fast. The number is there, but it's buried (usually it's the first line); and second, in the three years or so of posting jobs data, this is the first time, I recall, that Bloomberg put the four-week average first; that is never, never, ever done. I was wondering why the market was down on seemingly good news; now I know. The jobs picture is not getting better. It's mired in quicksand.

Applications ROSE this week. The reason the four-week average -- the less-volatile measure -- is lower is due to the anomalous report of two weeks ago when the number dropped an incredible (as unbelievable, never explained, impossible, LOL-hilarious) 50,000 or something like that.

But from the headline today, I thought first-time applications THIS WEEK plummeted. In fact they rose.

Is this the last report before the election?

The worse thing: a) it delayed me to getting to what I love most, the Bakken; and, b) put me in the mood to take the day off, enjoy Starbucks coffee (and a donut). So, we'll see.

[Update, two hours later: it appears Reuters read my note. Even they realized their reporting/spin "jumped the shark." Reuters has this headline: "US Jobless Claims Rise, But Underlying Labor Market Trends Firming." Nice to see they fessed up.]

And the spin continues.

Yesterday, I posted:
The Fed is so happy with low unemployment, it has ended quantitative easing. After $1.6 trillion.
This is from the source that came up with the $16-trillion figure:
An effort to stimulate economic growth through easier lending and an increased money supply, the Fed’s current round of quantitative easing, as the program is called, has been in place since September 2012, when the jobless rate was 7.8 percent. Since then, the Fed has purchased $1.6 trillion in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities.  
I thought the $1.6 trillion was low, but I don't have time to fact check, and in the big scheme of things, who cares? It turns out, at least one reader cares. It appears that mainstream media US News failed to account for everything.

I hate to say it, but it appears Wiki is a more reliable source than mainstream print media. From Wiki, the total is a tad higher than $1.6 trillion:
On 18 September 2013, the Fed decided to hold off on scaling back its bond-buying protram. Purchases were halted on October 29, 2014, after accumulating $4.5 trillion in assets
Predictable: ObamaCare
Employers Dropping Health Care Coverage For Their Employees To Save Money

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that "small firms start to drop health plans." These small health firms view ObamaCare as inviting and affordable.
Small companies are starting to turn away from offering health plans as they seek to reduce costs and increasingly view the health law’s marketplaces as an inviting and affordable option for workers.
In the latest sign of a possible shift, WellPoint Inc. said Wednesday its small-business-plan membership is shrinking faster than expected and it has lost about 300,000 people since the start of the year, leaving a total of 1.56 million in small-group coverage.
Some other insurers have flagged a similar trend.
Aetna Inc. Chief Financial Officer Shawn M. Guertin said the company was seeing “some erosion at the bottom of the market” among employers with two to 10 workers.
Kaiser Permanente is seeing “some contraction” in the small-group market, particularly in places where insurers are offering cheap individual plans.
Laura Land, who co-owns cellphone-case-maker Empire Cell Phone Accessories in Riverside, CA, which has 38 full-time employees, said the company plans to discontinue its health plan next year and instead direct workers to the state’s health-insurance exchange.
“It’s getting to be too much paperwork for us to administer the plan, especially if workers are going to decline anyway and go to the exchange,” said Ms. Land, adding that several new hires recently turned down the plan in favor of cheaper exchange options.
It’s not yet clear how widespread the shift will ultimately be. An April survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that 22.5% of employers with 50 or fewer employees said they “definitely will” still be offering health benefits in five years, while an additional 42% said they “very likely” would. Among large employers with 500 or more employees, about three-quarters fell into those two categories.
The health law doesn’t penalize companies with fewer than 50 workers that don’t offer coverage, and those with fewer than 100 employees won’t face fines until 2016.
So, over time, all things being equal, the number of folks signing up for ObamaCare will start to increase, but not for the reasons the mainstream media will cite. 

Thursday -- October 29, 2014; What Some Of Us Will Be Talking About Later Today

From Rigzone: Mideast gas field up for grabs ... again.
Islamic State militants in Syria killed at least 30 pro-government fighters in an assault on a gas field that has witnessed some of the bloodiest confrontations between the two sides.
Islamic State seized the Sha'ar gas field in July, killing some 350 government troops, allied militiamen, guards and staff.
Government forces recaptured the field, east of the central city of Homs, later that month. In a new round of fighting on Tuesday, Islamic State seized three wells and killed at least 30 government and pro-government fighters.
The Wall Street Journal

The Fed is so happy with low unemployment, it has ended quantitative easing. After $1.6 trillion.  That source failed to mention the total spent. From a more reliable source, I guess, wiki:
On 18 September 2013, the Fed decided to hold off on scaling back its bond-buying protram. Purchases were halted on October 29, 2014, after accumulating $4.5 trillion in assets.
North American energy boom can withstand steeper oil-price drop. It sure seems like there is a lot of angst over the price of oil. One would think we should be celebrating cheap oil. And talk of "Peak Oil" is going the way of talk about "global warming." Or whatever Algore calls it now.

It never quits, does it? The US Air Force says it is running short of jet mechanics because of the war on ISIL. If "we" can't handle Al-Qaeda's "junior varsity" how in the world could we have taken on the USSR, or even Al-Qaeda's varsity team? This is quite mind-boggling. "Officials say campaign against ISIS is exacerbating its shortage of plane-maintenance experts." Really? It's hard to imagine that SecDef Hagel could have cut the USAF personnel that fast, that quickly. That's why he was hired by POTUS, to cut the military, but Air Force jet mechanics? [Update: I posted that October 29, 2014, around midnight. Today, October 30, 2014, about noon, less than 12 hours later, CNN is hinting that Chuck Hagel is about to be thrown under the bus. Timing is everything. It's amazing how much one can learn from this blog. LOL.]

Amnesty rules for people in the US who don't have government-issued photo IDs.

Largest active sunspot in 24 years has launched six major flares toward Earth so far, intermittently disrupting navigation systems and radio communciations. I wonder if this can be blamed on George W. Bush?

This is what happens when POTUS lets others decide: chaos. President Obama, on Wednesday, made a broad appeal for US leadership (who would that be?) to stem an Ebola outbreak in West Africa and expressed frustration with policies that may discourage health-care workers from volunteering on the front lines. Memo to POTUS: your US Army is mandating a 21-day quarantine for all troops who spend any time whatsoever in west Africa.

Meanwhile, that nurse who arrived back from Ebolaland with a fever now in an undisclosed location in Maine says she will "resist" quarantine. The fever, she says, was bogus. She tested negative for Ebola on two occasions.

And there it is, the third in a series of three stories on Ebola: SecDef approves mandatory 21-day quarantine for any and all military personnel returning from Ebolaland.

Sanctions are seen to be hurting Moscow. And Italy. And Germany. And the Ukraine.

ISIS executes at least 40 tribal and Iraqi government fighters.

It appears President Obama has made another executive decision; along with choosing the Capitol Christmas Tree, I now count two executive decisions he's made this week. The second: US to lift sanctions on Fiji.

Sanctions, what sanctions? Apple looks to sell iPhone in Iran.

Small firms drop health plans -- citing ObamaCare. More here.

Regular readers are aware of the "payments system" challenging Apple Pay: CurrentC. It just got hacked: hackers stole e-mail addresses of some people participating in the pilot project.

Arctic shipping volume rises as ice melts: northern sea route primarily carries oil, much of the cargo involving Russia. All that oil over the pristine Arctic. 
The opening up of the Arctic for commercial cargo offers a faster route for some shipments between Europe and Asia, and holds the promise of increased trade for once icebound ports in the High North of Arctic countries such as Russia, Norway and Canada.
However, much of the new traffic through the Northern Sea Route is one-way shipments of fossil fuels from Northern Europe to Asia or is between Russian ports, according to a report to be released Friday by the Arctic Institute, a Washington think tank.
The institute said 71 ships carried 1.35 million tons of goods through the route last year. That was up from 46 vessels with 1.26 million tons of cargo the previous year. The majority of ships originated in Russia and many were from one Russian port to another in the country. Only 41 vessels traveled the full length of the Arctic shipping lane, and of those, 30 ships carried cargo, the report said.
[From elsewhere: video of the Arctic ice pack.]

Samsung in free-fall? But not because of Apple. It's really quite a story with several story lines. Not enough time to discuss. Gotta move along.