Thursday, December 4, 2014

Third Year Running: North Dakota Best-Run State -- 24/7 Wall Street -- December 4, 2014

Link here.
North Dakota is 24/7 Wall St.’s best-run state for a third consecutive year.
People have been flocking to North Dakota: more than 5% of the population in 2013 had migrated from another state or country since 2010.
One reason for this is the surging economy. Last year, the state's GDP rose by 9.7%, the most in the nation. Much of this growth came from the mining industry, which includes oil and gas extraction. In recent years, oil extraction in North Dakota has grown exponentially, driven by drilling in the Bakken formation. This has made the state the second largest oil producer behind Texas. Job growth has also been rapid. North Dakota’s 2.9% unemployment rate was the lowest in the nation last year.
The trick will be if North Dakota can be among the top three one year from now; it's going to be a tough year based on "reading the tea leaves."

Surprisingly, Minnesota is #5 and Texas is #8.

And before folks say it all has to do with energy, note that Pennsylvania is #36, worse than New York, Connecticut, and California:
Pennsylvania’s economy demonstrated little growth in 2013, as GDP grew by just 0.7%, or less than all but a few other states. This was despite the state's ongoing natural gas boom. Natural gas production in the state exceeded more than 3 trillion cubic feet last year. This was more than any other state except Texas. The state’s finances also contributed to its mediocre rank. Pennsylvania had a pension funded ratio of less than two-thirds of the present value of its liabilities as of 2013, worse than in the majority of states. Also, Moody’s recently downgraded Pennsylvania’s debt from Aa2 to Aa3, highlighting “the commonwealth's growing structural imbalance, exacerbated by the fiscal 2015 enacted budget that depends on non-recurring resources.”
With all that, it's hard to believe Pennsylvania makes the list as high as 36. I hate to think how the states "below" 36 are doing. By the way, Bakken crude oil "saved" one or two or three Pennsylvania refineries, I believe.
Police Brutality Protests

Being tweeted across the nation right now: multiple "police brutality" protests in major cities across the nation.  -- 11:24 p.m. CT, December 4, 2014.

The Handbook For Mineral Rights Owners Is Now Available At

For quite some time The Mineral Rights Manual (Royalties Within Reach: A Handbook for Mineral Rights Owners) has been available as an eBook; it is linked at the sidebar at the right.

It's hard to believe, but it's now available as a softcover over at At the site one can "take a peek inside."

Pretty exciting. It's already ranked pretty high among "Amazon best sellers."

Again, I have no relationship with the author. I have no hidden agenda posting this information. It's simply a service for readers who might be interested.

Six (6) New Permits, North Dakota -- December 4, 2014; Whiting Shareholders Overwhelmingly Approve Acquisition Of KOG

Whiting's acquisition of KOG is one step closer: Whiting's shareholders overwhelmingly approved the acquisition. The deal is slated to close next week. is reporting. Two data points:
  • the $6 billion deal–expected to close next week–included $3.8 billion in stock and $2.2 billion in debt;
  • this merger will make Whiting Petroleum the largest crude-oil producer in the Bakken shale region of the northern Great Plains

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

Wells coming off the confidential list Friday:
  • 25585, drl, KOG, Moccasin Creek 14-33-28-3H, Moccasin Creek, no production data,
  • 25996, 1,029, Whiting, Froehlich 11-13PH, Zenith, t6/14; cum 40K 10/14;
  • 25997, 1,133, Whiting, Froehlich 41-13PH, Zenith, t6/14; cum 41K 10/14;
  • 27611, drl, Hess, EN-Abrahamson-155-93-3019H-7, Alger, no production data,
  • 27805, 413, CLR, Pamela Ann 1-34H1, Temple, t10/14; um 7K 10/14;
  • 27926, drl, XTO, Gilbertson 11X-26FXG, Charlson, no production data,
  • 28100, 673, WPX, Lucy Evans 29-32HA, Antelope, t10/14; cum 4K 10/14;
  • 28111, drl, MRO, Susana 14-23TFH, Bailey, cum 8K 10/14 after first 16 days;
  • 28299, drl, XTO, Omlid 41X-13H, Siverston, no production data,
  • 28324, drl, Hess, EN-Freda-154-94-2635H-3, Alkali Creek no production data,
  • 28352, drl, BR, CCU Pullman 1-8-7TFH, Corral Creek, no production data,
Six (6) new permits --
  • Operators: CLR (6)
  • Fields: Jim Creek (Dunn)
  • Comments:
Active rigs as reported by the NDIC:

Active Rigs191192181199164

Record Snow Cover In Northern Hemisphere -- The Washington Post; December 4, 2014

Northern Hemisphere sets record for most snow cover for this time of the year ever in recorded history, The Washington Post is reporting. In fairness, it must be remembered that the warmists predicted more precipitation, perhaps helping end the drought in California.

How To Spend Your Money

It seems weekly or more often I read comments from analysts and others suggesting Apple needs to do more with their cash horde.

Sort of like what Microsoft did with theirs.

Business Insider is reporting how Microsoft turned $300 million into $116 million
Barnes and Noble and Microsoft have dissolved their joint venture, and Barnes and Noble is buying back all shares in the joint venture for $62 million in cash and stock worth about $54 million, according to a new SEC filing.
That leaves Microsoft with a loss of about $238 million on the deal. It also gives Barnes and Noble a cleaner exit if it wants to spin off the Nook business.
And then lots of spin.

New Facebook Bakken Community Group For Mineral Rights Owners

A reader wrote to tell me he had established a new Facebook community group for Bakken mineral owners. The individual shared a bit of his background with me; very legitimate.

This is the link:, which will also be posted at the sidebar at the right.

Wall Street Continues To Runaway From Main Street -- December 4, 2014


Later, 1:50 p.m. CT: Bloomberg is reporting: ECB is preparing a broad stimulus plan; all assets but gold on the table for purchase  (probably because the US stimulus program worked so well); all things being equal, this is not bad news for the stock market.

Original Post
To visit Main Street, Disneyland, this past summer it cost a bit more than last year. Not much, but a bit.

But 24/7 Wall Street is reporting:
Walt Disney Co. has lived up to one key expectation we had stated earlier this week: it announced that it is raising its dividend payout to stockholders.
What is a major surprise is by just how much the company increased its dividend above and beyond what we had modeled. Disney’s board of directors declared on Wednesday that it would pay an annual cash dividend of $1.15 per share.
This is an increase of $0.29 per share, or a gain of 34% from the previous year.
Remember: This is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or what you think you may have read here. Make no travel plans based on what you read here. I post quickly and frequently; typographical and factual errors are likely. If this information is important to you, go to the source.  

As I've said many, many times on the blog, young folks just starting to invest have a great future ahead of themselves.

After being down as much as almost one hundred points earlier this morning, it looks like the Dow is clawing it's way back into positive territory. It may not get there, but it will be close.

Domesday or Doomsday

Most folks remember reading about the Domesday Book, the "great survey" of England undertaken by William the Conqueror, in 1086. The king needed to know who owned what, and in the process, who was who and where "who" lived.

Although the 30-second sound bite suggests the Domesday Book was simply about taxes, it was much more than that. To control a country, a King needed to know as much as possible about his subjects.

A parallel can be drawn with regard to all the political interest in the current US president's obsession with immigration and amnesty, and might explain to some extent why more senior GOP senators seem less hostile to the provisions than some of the younger, less experienced GOP house members.

I assume the oft-cited figure of 11 million undocumented people living in the US is an estimate, and perhaps a very, very good estimate. But to bureaucrats in Washington, it has to be quite concerning, to know very little about 11 million people living in the US.

I think some Americans would be amazed how much information the various government agencies have on US citizens: birth records, death records, census information every ten years, IRS filings, state taxes, court records, traffic stops, automobile registrations, drivers licenses, jury duty, property taxes. All that information is cross-referenced across local, state, government computers.

On the other hand, the government may have very little information on those 11 million undocumented individuals.

There is some talk that the "executive order" was never signed by the president. Instead, some are suggesting the "rule" was made by a bureaucrat. If at some point the government or the courts determine that the "rule" is in error or unconstitutional, the "green card" (or whatever color the card will be) can easily be revoked. However, the US government will still have all that information on file in those computers.

So, however this turns out, the US government may be on the verge of obtaining much needed information about as many as 5 million undocumented people currently living in the US. Whether or not these individuals get to keep their "green card," one can be assured the government will keep their information on these individuals.

Constitution Pipeline Approved By Obama Administration -- December 4, 2014

The AP is reporting:
Federal energy regulators have approved a $700 million pipeline project designed to ferry cheap Marcellus Shale natural gas from Pennsylvania into high-priced markets in New England and New York.
Data points:
  • 124 miles
  • could be operational by next winter (2015 - 2016)
  • Williams Partners and Cabot Oil & Gas are lead partners
  • will be about half the cost of Gulf of Mexico gas that is typically sold in the northeast
  • route: from Penssylvania's Susquehanna County through New York's Broome, Chenango, and Delaware Counties, to connect with the existing Tennessee and Iroquois pipelines in Schoharie County, 80 miles southwest of Albany
A map can be seen at this link, and a bit of schadenfreude.


Being tweeted now: Obama administration acknowledges average premiums for policies will rise for 2015 - @AP

And Then Along Came Jones; It's Official: President Obama First President Since Civil War To Preside Over #2; December 4, 2014

MarketWatch is reporting:
There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it: We’re no longer No. 1.
Today, we’re No. 2.
Yes, it’s official.
The Chinese economy just overtook the United States economy to become the largest in the world.
For the first time since Ulysses S. Grant was president, America is not the leading economic power on the planet. It just happened — and almost nobody noticed.
The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. And when you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion — compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A.
As recently as 2000, we produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese. 
As recently as 2000 ... and then along came Barry.  This is so good on so many levels ...  give me the deed to your ranch, you didn't build that .... then along came Jones, tall, thin Jones, slow-talking Jones, gum-chewing Jones....

Along Came Jones, Ray Stevens
And with $18 trillion in debt, he pretty much holds the deed.

Venezuela -- It's Starting

Tweeting now:  Blackout hits parts of Venezuelan capital of Caracas - @Reuters

Propane Update, RBN Energy, December 4,2014

Link here for a must-read article for those interested in propane in the midwest.

Three key paragraphs, broken up for easier reading on the blog:
Until last year significant volumes were delivered to the Midwest from terminals along the 50 Mb/d Cochin pipeline that flowed propane south from Edmonton in Western Canada. You can see the path of the pipeline as a dotted grey line on the map in Figure #1 [at the link] with the terminals marked in blue.
This year, with Cochin out of the picture, pipeline deliveries of propane into the region can still be made from the natural gas liquids (NGL) trading hub at Conway Kansas to the south. The Enterprise Products Partners owned Mid America Pipeline (MAPL) ships to Minnesota and Wisconsin from Conway. The NuStar Energy Partners owned Kaneb pipeline ships barrels from Conway into South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa, and Oneok ships Conway barrels to Nebraska and Iowa.
But all three of these pipelines have limited remaining capacity to take up the slack left by Cochin. And although production of NGL’s in the Bakken in North Dakota and in the Rockies is expanding rapidly, most of that production ends up being shipped to Conway or Mont Belvieu, TX, as “raw-mix” for fractionation so useful quantities of refined propane have to be redelivered to the Midwest from Conway.

With pipeline supplies constrained and local NGL production shipped off for processing in Kansas or Texas, the main propane delivery mechanism replacing the Cochin pipeline is rail shipments. To that end a number of rail terminal infrastructure improvements have been underway this year to help replace Cochin pipeline supplies – including significant projects by CHS Inc, Alliance Energy Services and Hess Corp that we describe next.

CHS Inc. (formerly Cenex Harvest States), the nation’s largest farmer-owned cooperative and a major wholesaler and retailer of propane has invested $24 million in a “Northern Tier Rail Terminals” initiative to build out and expand capacity and storage at 5 rail terminals in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The five terminals are marked with red dots on the map in Figure #1 [at the link].
At Rockville, MN, CHS upgraded an existing BNSF rail terminal operated by Wenner Gas Co. to include 15 MBbl of propane storage and capacity to unload up to 30 rail tank cars a day as well as to load six trucks an hour (each rail tank car holds enough propane to load three trucks).
The Canadian Pacific (CP) served Glenwood terminal in Pope County, MN, has been upgraded to include 32 MBbl of storage, rail unload capability and six trucks an hour loading capacity.
The Fairmont, ND, terminal, served by CP, has 7 MBbl of storage and can unload 10 rail tank cars a day and load 6 trucks an hour. In addition to these upgrades, CHS is building two new terminals.
The first is at Hannaford, ND, dedicated in September 2014 and served by both BNSF and CP railroads. The terminal will have a rail loop accommodating dedicated 110 tank car unit trains and be able to unload 48 railcars at a time as well as 24 MBbl of storage.
The second new CHS terminal, being built at Hixton, WS, is due online in mid-November 2014 and will be served by the Canadian National railroad with 9 MBbl of storage, 32 rail cars a day unload capacity and two truck racks that can load 6 trucks an hour.
At the link, some neat graphics, including a map of the CHS terminals. 

Memo To Saudi: Active Rigs In North Dakota Continue To Rise -- Now At 191; Thursday, December 4, 2014; ENB Pops Almost 12%, Up Almost $6


Later, 1:49 p.m. CT: see first comment with regard to rig count.

Original Post 

Unemployment benefits: four-week average nears the 300,000 mark. Reuters is reporting:
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to
an improving labor market. 
Data points
  • initial claims dropped by 17,000 to seasonally adjusted 297,000; 
  • analysts had expected a drop to 295,000
  • four-week average increased by 4,750 to 299,000
Later we will read that "extreme weather" in all 57 states was the cause of the anomalous jump in unemployment benefits a week earler.

Natural gas fill
Active rigs in North Dakota:

Active Rigs191192181199164

RBN Energy: update on propane situation in US. This is a must-read; includes a map of five new CHS terminals in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Update On Enbridge
Shares Pop Almost 12%; Surge Almost $6/Share

When I saw the Enbridge dividend news, I thought I needed to check in on Enbridge, something I have (had?) not done in quite some time.

Dividend increase: 33%Link here.

Moving assets, restructuring. Link here. Also here.

Enbridge acquires interest in E.ON's wind portfolio. Link here. Press release here. Earlier story on E.ON at the blog here.

More On E.ON
DW/DE is reporting:
Germany's largest power supplier E.ON is quitting conventional energy to focus entirely on renewables. The overhaul comes amid mounting debt and as Germany gears up to phase out nuclear energy by 2022. 
The energy giant announced plans to spin off its nuclear, oil, coal and gas operations - a move that will include selling its businesses in Spain and Portugal to Australian investment firm Macquarie for 2.5 billion euros ($ 3.11 billion).
"We are convinced that it's necessary to respond to dramatically altered global energy markets," the company's CEO Johannes Teyssen said in a statement late Sunday.

European energy suppliers are experiencing a price slump on the wholesale electricity market, and as E.ON braces for impairment charges of 4.5 billion euros on its operations in southern Europe in the fourth quarter of 2014. The company is already struggling with massive debts.