Thursday, January 8, 2015

CNBC To Forego Daytime Nielsen Ratings -- January 8, 2015

Wow, I missed a lot of stories, links while traveling. Here's another one, sent by a reader. The reader knows that I am not exactly a fan of CNBC. We don't get cable television, so I almost never seen CNBC any more. Here's the New York Times story:
CNBC announced Tuesday that it was abandoning Nielsen ratings for its daytime programming in favor of a research firm that will survey financial advisers and investment professionals to gauge the effectiveness of ad campaigns on the business news network.
The network said its new partner, Cogent Reports, would measure the viewing of people who watched its Business Day programming outside of their homes — at the office or the gym, for instance — viewing that Nielsen did not measure. Cogent Reports’ research will focus on CNBC’s target audience of business professionals and affluent investors, who are more likely to pay attention to financial news.
Right, wrong, or indifferent, this is what really surprised me. Look at the numbers. Look at how very, very few people actually watch CNBC:
According to Nielsen data, CNBC drew an average of 137,000 total daytime viewers in 2014, up 5.4 percent from an average of 130,000 in 2013.
Oprah, at her peak, drew 12 to 13 million viewers. David Letterman is down to about 2 million viewers per show. Rachel Maddow has about a million viewers. CNBC -- about the only cable business news show out there -- minimal competition -- minimal alternatives -- and it gets about 200,000 viewers?

Three Graphs That May Hold The Key To The Price Collapse -- Richard Zeits -- January 5, 2015

Link here to Seeking Alpha.

I think I forgot to link this the other day; we might have been traveling cross-country or preparing for the trip. A reader sent me the link: big "thank you." Much appreciated.

From Richard Zeits: Crude Oil: 3 Graphs That May Hold The Key To The Price Collapse.

The first graph:
Based on this data, global crude oil stocks have increased by approximately 200-225 million barrels over the past twelve months. This increase in stocks cannot be attributed to the seasonality of demand. The data imply excess supply of approximately 0.6 million barrels per day over the past twelve months, on average. 
That's interesting. I forget the source I posted a few weeks ago, but he said the same thing: 600,000 bopd.

But then additional graphs:
EIA's estimates that combined oil production capacity that is currently disrupted exceed 3 million barrels per day, which is five times greater than the estimated apparent oversupply of 0.6 million barrels per day during 2014.
As a result, it would be structurally incorrect to reason that 0.6 million barrels per day is all it takes to balance the market. Excess supply is a moving target that may change rapidly, in either direction. To some degree, the same is true about the demand.
Zeits then asks: So what makes the current oil price correction so much deeper than the one in 2012? There is hardly a fully satisfactory answer. However, the following observations may be relevant, Zeits suggests:
  • a logical question comes to mind: if Saudi Arabia's goal is to address excess productive capacity growth, is it conceivable that supply is currently being managed to maintain the price at a sub-economic level? In an oversupply situation, it would indeed take very little to be successful in such a strategy. If this premise were accurate, it would explain the difference versus the 2012 correction.
  • second, a much larger volume of productive capacity is currently off-line due to disruptions than during the first half of 2012 (by ~1.5 million barrels a day). This capacity represents a threat of potential supply growth, and is an "overhang" that may be contributing to the pressure on the price of oil.
  • third, oversupply appears to be more persistent now than in 2012. Oil prices will have difficulty finding support as long as global crude stocks continue to build.
  • finally, global supply and demand statistics should be viewed as inherently imperfect. The current oversupply estimate is obviously not free of significant estimation error. The oversupply may simply be understated in the data.
His conclusion at the end of the linked article. 

Note: Zeits' articles over at SeekingAlpha are often archived for subscribers only after a short period of open viewing.

With regard to Richard Zeits' article above: this seems to be the second article of his in which he suggests the "oversupply" is exaggerated as a reason for the severe slump in oil prices (at least that's what I interpret what he has written about the slump).

Sometimes I think too many analysts are over-analyzing this. I've struggled with sorting it out, but one fact seems to be clear (and something very different than past OPEC/Saudi actions): protecting market share. Protecting market share is not something Saudi Arabia had to worry about before.

Now, to go back and read the comments to Zeits' article.

Did She Or Didn't She? Only Her Hair Dresser, Her Divorce Lawyer, Her Accountant, ....

... her banker, her favorite restaurant owner, her car dealer, her real estate agent, and her "tell-all" book editor know for sure whether she cashed that check or not.

 We're Not In Cabo Any More

The best ten minutes of your day: reading "We're Not In Cabo Any More." It's a fast read and lots of pictures. Well done. My favorite pictures: those of North Dakota. Seriously.

A Resurgence In Vinyl Records

Some time ago I started noticing vinyl records being sold in Barnes and Noble. Then I vaguely remembered some stories on the resurgence of vinyl records. This is one such story but does not explain the reason for resurgence (at least to my satisfaction).

I have a few old vinyl records; unfortunately my wife gave our entire collection away when we were stationed in Turkey. She had a much better collection than I did, no doubt. But with the few old vinyl records I have and the new ones being sold, I played with the idea of getting a new turntable, and then remembered all the other stuff one would need: the amplifier and the speakers. 

Break, break. Tonight I was curious to see how the new UE Boom sounded in our little apartment. Again, I was amazed how easy it was to use. I turned it on, and then opened iTunes on my computer from across the room. And there it was: Lana Del Ray, Summertime Sadness. Wow. 

At the time I bought the UE Boom at the Apple store I recall another wireless speaker that the Apple person said was the absolute best -- it was much larger and thus had great bass. 

I was curious. What was Marshall all about? And there it was: the explanation for the resurgence of vinyl. From the linked site:
Compact yet packing plenty of audio punch, the Marshall Stanmore speaker wirelessly powers the music on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with Marshall's heritage of big stage performance.
Stanmore's classic design is a throwback to the golden days of rock and roll, featuring analog interaction knobs that give you custom control of your music.
Its vintage-looking front fret, brass details, and iconic script logo make the Stanmore right at home with the rest of your Marshall collection.
Connect it wirelessly via Bluetooth, use the RCA input to plug in your record player, or simply connect your iOS device to the 3.5 mm auxiliary port using the included coil cord. Stanmore is even compatible with Apple TV and other devices that have an optical output.
Wow. Marshall Stanmore, here I come.

On another note, using UE Boom with iTunes on MacBook Pro, I understand exactly what Steve Jobs was looking for in an Apple Television. My hunch he was 90% there when he died. He probably had much more than anyone needed or expected, but he was not happy with what he had and was still looking for 110% when he died. Unless Tim Cook has some of Steve's DNA (or more likely, RNA) we may not see Steve's vision for an Apple television. 

 A Note Lost In The Mail?

This well was spud in 1983:
  • 10086, 76, Petro-Hunt, CMSU B-227X, Charlson, a Madison well; t6/83; cum 136K;
The last date for any activity regarding this well was December, 2008.

It was last on line for one day, February, 2004, and produced one bbl of water.

Prior to that it was on line for 30 days, April, 2003, and produced one bbl of oil.

Prior to that it was on line for 31 days, August, 1997, and produced 190 bbls of oil.

All zeroes from September, 1997, to December, 2008, except for one bbl of water and one bbl of oil, and nothing even recorded after 2008.

Today, in the daily activity report, the well was listed as "Temporarily Abandoned." An individual from the company noted that the well will be plugged within the year.

The sundry form to temporarily abandon the well was dated December 31, 2014, after the company received a letter dated August 29, 2014, from the NDIC stating, "that our records indicate that the above referenced well has not produced in over two years, and ....North Dakota Administrative Code says in part that the failure to produce a well for a period of one year constitutes abandonment of the well...and must be plugged and the site reclaimed."

Better late than never, I suppose.

I assume someone's dog ate the original letter. 

Maybe the slump in oil prices will be good for the Bakken to allow some folks to get caught up, and for work for others. My hunch is there is a lot of work to be done with plugging a lot of "temporarily abandoned" holes -- holes that were temporarily abandoned ten years ago.

A Note for the Granddaughters
More On Spineless

Continuing from an earlier entry regarding a new book, Spineless, by Susan Middleton

Susan Middleton notes that there are 34 phyla in the animal kingdom.  She notes that "considering the seemingly endless variety of bizarre forms animals can achieve, it may be surprising that there are only three basic styles of symmetry in animal design: spherical, radial, and bilateral."

Spherical: rare in terms of what we are familiar with; generally adult single-cell protozoan organisms.

Radial: common, but not around us -- anemones, jellyfish, corals, sea stars, sea urchins, sand dollars.

Bilateral: everything else.

More than half of the 34 phyla have "wormish shapes."

Middleton discusses at some length, characteristics of eight of the 34 phyla: Porifera, Cnidaria, Platyhelminthes, Arthropods, Mollusca, Echinodermata, Annelida and Chordata.

It was "neat" to see her short discussion on Porifera (sponges) because I first became acquainted with them in Richard Dawkins' The Ancestor's Tale. I did not care for the book the first time I read it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it the second time, and would recommend it for summer reading for a high school senior looking forward to majoring in biology in college.

It's agreed that sponges belong in the animal kingdom; if so, they predate all other animal phyla that emerged during the "Cambrian explosion."

Cnidaria -- the "c" is silent, and the "cni" is like "kni" in knife. In other words, "knife-daria --> knidaria --> cnidaria. These are the things that cut you like a knife; they sting, the anemones, the jelly fish, the coral. They have radial symmetry and were the first animals to have nerves with electronic impulses. Having toxins, they were also the first predators on the planet.

A new body plan, the flatworms (platyhelminthes) appeared about 565 million years ago. For the first time, an animal had a head. It had a front, and and end. Flatworms were the first animals with a central nervous system; they were also the first active predators.

And then this which I always find surprising: more than 80% of all described living animal species -- including crabs, lobsters, shrimp, copepods, barnacles, insects, and spiders -- belong to the phylum Arthropoda. The jointed legs are key for  may of them. There are more arthropods in the ocean than any other group.

The Mollusca -- snails, slugs, clams, oysters, octopuses, and squids -- are the most malleable in the animal kingdom. Their distinguishing feature: some kind of foot for mobility, a rasping tongue called a radula, and a mantle that secretes body armor.

Echinodermata: sea stars, sea cucumbers, brittle stars, sand dollars -- bizarre and seemingly alien creatures in the animal kingdom.

Annelida: as noted earlier, more than half of the 34 phyla have "wormish" shapes.

Chordata: 97% of them are vertebrates, which were not part of the book and so she did not spend much time on them. She did note however that humans share this phylum with some unlikely invertebrate relatives: tunicates, sometimes called sea squirts (broadbase tunicates) and lancelets, nearly transparent flattened spear-shaped animals. These latter animals have the chordata distinguishing features only during early developmental stages which disappear when they are adults.

SandRidge Earnings -- January 8, 2015


January 9, 2015:
  • SandRidge Energy (NYSE:SD) +11.5% premarket after finally releasing FQ3 earnings after several months of discussions with the SEC and filing restated quarterly results for the past two years after the SEC questioned its accounting practices.
  • FQ3 results beat Wall Street expectations after reporting unadjusted net income of $0.30/share vs. a $0.20 loss for the year-ago quarter.
  • SD says it is already reducing 2015 capex levels from 2014's $1.55B as well as its rig count, and expects to announce its 2015 spending plans next month.
  • SD has a fully undrawn borrowing base of $1.2B with a current facility of $900M, total long-term debt is sitting at $3.2B, and it holds $590M in cash, leaving net debt at $2.6B.
  • Says its Mid-Continent drilling program continues to generate commercial returns, even at current commodity prices; in the first nine months of 2014, 81% of SD's capex went to this region.
Disclaimer: see disclaimer


SandRidge reports earnings here.

An article on SandRidge over at SeekingAlpha on January 5, 2015:  SandRidge: Playing The Endgame With A Hedged Position.
At this point, I think you have to be operating under the assumption that SandRidge Energy has two years or less, from the month of January 2015, in existence. That doesn't mean, however, that BK is imminent or that SD is a complete avoid - it isn't at this point at least not entirely. In fact, I'm actually leaning heavily towards the idea that SD gets bought out, for pennies on the dollar I might add, by a multi-national looking for a way to add growth (this would be possible if you could revalue all of SD's assets based on current information among doing a few other things that I'll outline) or gets bought cheaply/taken private by a massive PE and then chopped up and sold piece by piece to bidders in the space.
So, to start this article let us assume two truths: 1) SD has 24 months of existence left and is officially on the clock - I don't think this is a stretch of imagination considering the ample SA coverage of the struggles at SD recently; and 2) SD does stand a really good chance of being acquired based on today's information.
Note: SeekingAlpha articles are often archived for subscribers only.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, or relationship decisions based on what you read here. This particular article was very, very, very long. I did not read all of it; I will read it in its entirety at a later date. Or maybe not. But a quick run-through of the article helps me understand better how hedged positions in the Bakken may be helping Bakken operators survive. Also, my contract called for another linked article before going to bed, and I just decided to include this one. 

How Did I Ever Get Started On This Subject? -- January 8, 2015

USA Story today says:
Despite a better-than-expected holiday shopping season, it wasn't enough to keep J.C. Penney JCP from announcing it will shutter 39 underperforming stores and lay off 2,250 workers.
Penney said the mall-based stores in 19 states will close by early April.
Wet Seal is closing 338 stores and laying off 3,700 employees in an effort to avoid a bankruptcy filing.
Sears, Staples, Macy's and Coach announced store closures in 2014.
But this is why I posted the story as a stand-alone (I just generally update the "big box closure" page elsewhere):
Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow, author of Decoding the New Consumer Mind, says, "Retail is in a massive transformation period. Consumers have lost their enthusiasm for trolling through massive stores hunting for a bargain. They can do that online.
"The only big department stores that will remain relevant to consumers are those that are incorporate tricks and treats into the shopping mix — like product offerings you can't find online, special demonstration or sampling, cushy or fun relaxation areas."
Some time ago I mentioned on the blog that Barnes and Noble was turning into a storefront where folks browse for new books and then go on-line to buy them. Here in Southlake, TX, Barnes and Noble has also turned into a place where non-buying teens hang out on Friday and Saturday nights. I was told by the Friday night security officer in the Southlake Barnes and Noble store that the B&N store in Southlake was the only in the US that had to have security on Friday and Saturday nights due to teenagers "taking over the store," particularly in the summer. The Southlake B&N is located in an outdoor mall and soccer moms in huge SUVs and stretch limos drop off dozens of teens at a time on weekend nights because the outdoor mall is perceived to be very, very safe.

But I digress. As I was saying:
"The only big department stores that will remain relevant to consumers are those that are incorporate tricks and treats into the shopping mix — like product offerings you can't find online, special demonstration or sampling, cushy or fun relaxation areas."
I said the same thing to my wife some months ago when we were out in California and noted that the B&N bookstore in west LA was trashed by readers who left books and magazines everywhere but appeared not to have bought anything. I asked my wife if she had any ideas on how B&N might transform itself.

She was at a loss.

This is what I would do. Maintain, or even possibly, increase the loyalty / member's card from $25 to $50 annually. Like Costco, only members would be allowed inside.

My wife said she would never buy a B&N card for $50. We both (once) said we would never buy a B&N card for $25 but we have, and we will. It's the only "real" bookstore left (where we can browse and then order on-line).

But for $50, B&N would have to transform the store into a very special kind of store. First, they need to match Amazon's prices. Easy. Some stores already do that; I believe Target says they match other retailers' legitimate prices. At least one Target in southern California had that sign up. Even "Amazon price + 5%" B&N pricing would be a winner. Today, I saw a new book that I had not seen before; I will get it but it's $50 at B&N and $36 (with free shipping) at Amazon. You can bet where I'm going to get it.

Second, they need to make it a really, really cushy place to be. An occasional coffee shop is cushy, but even Starbucks could do better. Too many hardwood, straight-backed chairs and library desk-like tables. Make is so cushy people stay there all day (with wi-fi, of course). Add a nook upstairs with bar and sports restaurant and both mom and pop will stay forever. The longer folks stay, the more they will end up buying. And yes, it can be done. The Starbucks on Harvard Square, Boston, has an upstairs bar with upscale coffees that is open only during certain hours (busy weekend evenings).

The music and DVD section of B&N is superb, especially in the bigger stores, but again, it's great for the consumer: browse and buy on-line. I often find new Blu-Ray titles only because of B&N. But they have to match Amazon. And I have no idea why Apple and Barnes/Noble can't co-exist under the same roof (with or without the Nook). Not the full line of Apple, of course, but the top of the line iPad, and then accessories, like headphones.

My hunch is the children's section in Barnes and Noble does very, very well.

I would also set aside an upscale "used" book area, separated like they separate the children's section, and then rotate the stock. Readers love to explore old books. Partner with "Half-Priced Books" to have a local HPB bookstore rotate the stock of about 250 used books (one copy of each title) every two weeks. Start with one copy of each of Virginia Woolf's books with new biographies of Virgnia Woolf in the same area.

There must be a gazillion things one could try.

Thursday, January 8, 2015 -- Daily Activity Report; Fourteen (14) New Permits

One oil and gas well name changed:
  • 21574, PNC, BR, Manchester 13-9PNC (previous name was Manchester 14-9MBH), Little Knife (Dunn);
Active rigs:

Active Rigs165193181200163

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

Fourteen (14) new permits --
  • Operators: Statoil (6), SM Energy (4), Hess (2), Enduro, BR
  • Fields: East Fork (Williams), Ambrose (Divide), West Ambrose (Divide), Manitou (Mountrail), Little Knife (Dunn), Mouse River Park (Renville),
  • Comments:
Three (3) producing wells completed:
  • 27742, 2,937, XTO, Brandvik Federal 44X-13G, Corral Creek, t12/14; cum --
  • 27927, 1,060, XTO, Gilbertson 11X-26B, Charlson, t11/14; cum 3K 11/14;
  • 27928, 1,543, XTO, Gilbertson 11X-26F, Charlson, t11/14; cum 4K 11/14;
A dry hole:
  • 20728, dry, EOG, Vanville 17-1213H, Thompson Lake, never drilled/never completed; filed paperwork doesn't provide answer unless I missed it; but nothing to suggest this well ever got very far; federal lease issues, but one would think PNC would be the status and not dry.
Wells coming off confidential list Friday:
  • 27070, 1,892, WPX, Good Voice 34-27HB, Spotted Horn, t11/14; cum 24K 11/14;
  • 27442, 394, EOG, Parshall 66-14H, Parshall, 1 section, 19 stages; 5.8 million lbs, t7/14; cum 62K 11/14;
  • 27786, drl, XTO, Ernest 31X-19D, Haystack Butte, no production data,
  • 28087, 807, Hess, BW-Sorenson-149-99-1324H-4, Cherry Creek, t12/14; cum 8K 11/14;
  • 28130, 2,318, QEP, Moberg 1-18BH, Grail, t8/14; cum 93K 11/14;
  • 28131, 1,546, QEP, Moberg 2-18BH, Grail, t8/14; cum 71K 11/14;
  • 28204, 73, Whiting, Gajewski 31-18TFH, Lonesome, t7/14; cum 22K 11/14;
  • 28272, drl, BR, Copper Draw 11-27TFH, ULW, Pershing, producing,
  • 28396, drl, XTO, Ernest Federal 31X-19G, Haystack Butte, no production data,

A Must-Read "Faces Of The Bakken" From "The Fairfield SunTimes" -- January 8, 2015

A must-read "faces of the Bakken" from The Fairfield Sun Times. I won't do my usual excerpt; because of the way the story is written, doing an excerpt would not do it justice. I assume the link will be lost / broken six months from now. Enjoy!

A Note for the Granddaughters

I had a wonderful two weeks -- driving out to California and back. I looked forward to everything: the drive, the scenery, the music, the friends, the restaurants, the museums, our younger daughter and son-in-law, everything.

I didn't get as much reading done as I had hoped, but I did pick up a lot of new books. I continue to read the Brenda James' second book on Shakespeare. I might write more about that later when I finish the book.

One of best books of the many I bought: Spineless: Portraits of marine Invertebrates, the Backbone of Life, Susan Middleton, Amazon, hardcover, c. 2014.

I bought it for our older granddaughter who has an interest in becoming a marine biologist but we leave it at our apartment for a number of reasons. (They and we live in the same apartment complex, and the granddaughters are generally in our apartment every day for as little as fifteen minutes to as long as several hours. They each have a work space/library/crafts area in our little apartment.)

But I digress.

Spineless. Hard cover. Coffee table book. Incredible photos of marine invertebrate life. Scattered throughout the book are several short essays (four to five pages). The common names of all the invertebrates and their Latin names are provided. The full-page photographs (all in color) and the essays end on page 227. Then the "catalogue" begins: 22 pages of one-inch square photos of all the full-page photos and a short narrative of each invertebrate.

To give you an example of the catalogue narrative, here is the entry for "sea stars" (which I grew up calling "starfishes"):
Sea Stars. Hemprich's Sea Star, page 192, Ophidiaster hemprichii
Scale: Diameter 3.5 cm (1.4 in)
Sea stars are a diverse group of predators and scavengers that play important roles in marine ecosystems worldwide. Known to eat everything from mussels and clams to sea anemones and even other sea stars, most have the remarkable ability to turn their stomachs inside out, and extrude them from their mouths. The advantage? The stomach can squeeze into spaces as narrow as one-tenth of a millimeter across (for example, between the two shells of a clam) and begin digesting tissues while it's outside the sea star's body. The sea star then brings the meat, partially broken down, into its body for further digestion and absorption. (Also pages 193 - 195). SEA STAR, Class Asteroidea (p. 192 top right diameter 1 cm/0.4", ....EGYPTIAN SEA STAR, Gomophia egyptiaca .... ; MULTICOLORED LINCKIA, Linckia multiflora ... ; DWARF MOTTLED HENRICIA, Henricia pumilia ... ; PACIFIC BLOOD STAR, Henricia leviuscula ... ; SEA STAR, Crossaster papposus ... ; DWARF MOTTLED HENRICIA and SIX-RAYED SEA STAR, Henricia pumila and Leptasterias hexactis ... ; RED FROMIA STAR, Fromia milleporella ...; MORNING SUN SEA STAR, Solaster dawsoni ...
The catalogue entry for hermit crabs is an entire page of small print and no less than 20 species of hermit crabs are listed. This alone might be worth the price of the entire book for all those children (and some adults) who "collect" hermit crabs when visiting beach locales. 

The book concludes with a two-page narrative by the author describing how she took the photographs and two full pages of small photos of her locations and laboratories.

The book ends with a full page of acknowledgments. The book is published by Abrams in New York City.

Eighteen Months In The Bakken -- Incredible Aerial Photography Of The Bakken -- Vern Whitten -- January 8, 2015

Wow, talk about perfect timing.

Just after posting the top Bakken stories in 2014, Vern Whitten sends a package of 26 photographs that document the change from 2013 to 2014.

At the link, there are 26 photos. One can simply go through them, but it's more rewarding to look at them in pairs.

The first of the pair (odd-numbered) is how a particular site looked in 2013; the second of the pair (even-numbered) is how the site looks one year later. I thought "7" / "8" was the most spectacular pair, and then I saw the rest. Now I can't say. They are all spectacular. A huge thank you from Mr Whitten.

Here is the link:

Here is the note from Vern, so you have his phone number and website.
This slide show is a little different. You may want to toggle back and forth to get the full effect of the before and after photos.
Thanks for watching, and feel free to send these along.
Vern Whitten Photography
(701) 261-7658
Again, for all you snowbirds in Arizona, consider some 8 x 10's to place in a photo album.

Photo #26 of the bald eagle is spectacular.

For folks interested in the technology of drilling, look at #25. 

Top Stories For 2014

2014 was an interesting year for the Bakken. It was really two "years." The first year was the first 9 months; the second "year" was the last three months. Two completely different periods. The first nine months of 2014 were incredible for the Bakken enthusiast; the last three months: a real downer. It makes it hard to sort out the top Bakken stories for 2014. The top story without a doubt is the bust in oil prices. The rest of the top stories will probably come from the first nine months of the year, which now seems a long, long time ago.

For me, 2014 boils down to two stories:
  • the Bakken economy -- the build-out continues in all sectors
  • the slump in oil prices
There are so many stories that could make the list. A quick scroll through the top stories of 2014 by month is perhaps the best place to start.

Williston Wire's top 10 stories for 2014

The List 
Subject To Change

Top Story of the Year:
The slump in oil prices

The world: Russia

The nation:
Bakken regains its position as largest tight oil play in the United States -- EIA 

North Dakota:
Williston apartment rent: highest in the nation
North Dakota, #1, population increase, 2014, year over year
North Dakota, #1, in job creation
North Dakota taxable sales and purchases, Dickinson story
Of America's ten counties with highest per-capita income, five counties are in western North Dakota

Most exciting operator in the Bakken in 2014: Whiting
Whiting to acquire KOG for $3.8 billion; no cash premium; all stock deal
Did Whiting set a new record IP in the Bakken (a Three Forks 2nd bench well) 
Whiting's Sanish wells model to 2 million bbls EUR (2013)
Whiting to expand the Robinson Lake natural gas processing plant
Whiting well in Twin Valley: 150,000 bbls in less than four months
March NDIC hearing dockets -- Whiting with 243 more drilling locations
Petro-Hunt transferred about 30 wells to Whiting

Most surprising story of 2014:
Fidelity E&P done

The deals:
See sidebar
Whiting to acquire KOG for $3.8 billion; no cash premium; all stock deal
Harold Hamm's divorce finalized (but will surely be appealed) 

Record price per acre:
Producing acres in the Bakken going for $40,000/acre
Bakken acreage goes for $34,000/acre 
Leasing in McKenzie County: $27,300/acre with a 22% royalty

Bakken Operations: production

Bakken Operations: infill density
EOG with a case for 64-wells in a single spacing unit
Sixty (60) wells in one 2560-acre drilling unit

Most exciting production prediction:
Estimated ultimate recovery in the Bakken as much as 40%

Bakken oil field story of the year:
None. Perhaps the Grail. Or Stockyard Creek.

Biggest story in takeaway capacity:
BNSF to buy its own fleet of 5,000 new crude oil tank cars with safety features that exceed stds 
Re-posting: three new pipelines could add almost one million bopd takeaway capacity

BNSF will add $1,000/old tank car as a surcharge to push operators to use safer tank cars

Another staggering EOG well -- 54 stages; 17 million pounds; 216,000 bbls in less than 5 months
New record set: 94-stage and 102-stage fracks in the North Dakota Bakken

Natural gas:
ONEOK to double capacity of proposed new Demicks Lake natural gas processing plant
Hess' Tioga natural gas processing plant is back on-line / Rigzone's perspective
ONEOK to build 7th natural gas gathering and processing plant in Williston Basin
Targa to build 200 MMcf/d natural gas processing plant in McKenzie County
Halcon to build out CNG facilities

Investment story of the year:
CLR/Harold Hamm scraps hedges

The "Other" Williston Basin formations
New Madison field in the Williston Basin, North Dakota?

Bakken economy (to list just a few)
El Rancho Motel in Williston sold
Watford City boom -- The Atlantic Monthly
Starbucks in Williston 
New casino west of Williston 
Home Depot coming to Williston

Thursday -- January 8, 2015; EPA Delays Coal Rules But No Date Provided (Probably After President Obama Leaves Office); Post-Modern Science -- "Fake But Accurate"; EU Sending Russia $2.1 Billion To Pay For Natural Gas For The Ukraine

Initial production numbers for wells coming off confidential status today have been posted

Perhaps the best two minutes of reading you can do today: The Coyote Blog. For me, perhaps the two best blogs I stumbled across early were The Coyote Blog and Bakkenshale. It is very, very unfortunate/sad that the latter is no longer with us; it was perhaps the best among the Bakken blogs. But I digress (again); here is the blurb over at The Coyote Blot that caught my attention.
If you want post-modern science in a nutshell, think of the term "fake but accurate." It is one of the most post-modern phrases I can imagine.  
It means that certain data, or an analysis, or experiment was somehow wrong or corrupted or failed typical standards of scientific rigor, but was none-the-less "accurate."
How can that be?  Because accuracy is not defined as logical conformance to observations.  It has been redefined as "consistent with the narrative."  She actually argues that our standard of evidence should be reduced for things we already "know." But how do we "know" it if we have not checked the evidence?  Because for Oreskes, and probably for an unfortunately large portion of modern academia, we "know" things because they are part of the narrative constructed by these self-same academic elites.
Kemp: Bakken oil prices nearing 2008 - 2009 lows.

UAE oil minister says oversupply may last months, years. Reported by Reuters at Rigzone. Note the minister's internal inconsistency in these quotes:
"Depending on the actual production growth from non-OPEC countries, this problem could take months or years. If they act rationally, we can see positive corrections during 2015."
Mazrouei also said the UAE would not panic over low prices and the market would eventually stabilise itself, adding that low prices would not delay the country's plans to boost its output capacity to 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2017.
Active rigs:

Active Rigs166193181200163

EPA delays CO2 rules until President Obama leaves office. Link here
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday it will postpone finalizing new rules for carbon dioxide emissions.
The new rule will affect coal burning plants across the country.
[A spokesman] expects the EPA's new rule will be implemented in 2017 with lower carbon dioxide emissions standards phased in by 2030. [Update, January 11, 2015: EPA says rules will be out mid-summer, 2015.]
Jobs: the numbers without the spin at this link. (Monthly unemployment report comes out tomorrow.)
Initial jobless claims fell 4,000 in the January 3 week to 294,000, helping to pull down the 4-week average slightly to 290,500. The average is trending about 10,000 lower than the month-ago comparison which points to steady improvement underway in the labor market.

Data on continuing claims, which are reported with a 1-week lag, are mixed. Continuing claims in the December 27 week rose a sizable 101,000 to 2.452 million but the 4-week average fell 17,000 to 2.397 million. This average has been steady around the 2.400 million mark since late November. The unemployment rate for insured workers is unchanged for a fourth week at a recovery low of 1.8 percent.
Natural gas fill-rate: -131
The big story is that current storage now hits the mid-point of the 5-year average. Scroll to the graph at this link.
RBN Energy: final in a 9-part series on Canadian diluent. "If Canadian oil sands survives the current slump in prices, there will be adequate diluent for the Canadian western oil industry."

ONEOK has new presentation. The PDF is linked here.

GE should buy National Oilwell Varco -- writer, SeekingAlpha. See Disclaimer.

The EU to send $2.1 billion to Russia to pay for natural gas for the Ukraine -- the Russian winter is coming. -- This is actually being reported in The Moscow Times


GE, no gee, I seem to have just written a note regarding Apple yesterday, and now a new record for Apple: a half billion dollars spent on apps in one week (remember, after Christmas mobile devices activated? 51% went to Apple). The AP is reporting:
Apple said Thursday that its App Store customers set a record for billings by spending nearly half a billion dollars on apps and in-app purchases during January's first week.
It said New Year's Day was also the single biggest day ever in App Store sales history. Apple Inc. said billings climbed 50 percent in 2014 and apps produced more than $10 billion in revenue for developers. The company launched the App Store in 2008.
The store has more than 1.4 million apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users in 155 countries. Apps are available in 24 categories, including games, social networking, photo & video, sports, health & fitness, travel and kids. 
This is no longer about "cool." This is about "real." This is about functionality and convenience.

By the way, another typical Apple story. Apple is turning its retail stores in "fine art museums"
Apple is turning its retail stores into art galleries featuring the work of professional photographers and other artists who use iPads, iPhones and Mac computers to create.
Travel photographer Austin Mann used an iPhone 6 to take otherworldly panoramic photos of an Icelandic glacier. Mann, who recalls mowing lawns for a summer as a 7th grader to save up for his first, bright green iMac in 1998, says his use of an iPhone and high-end cameras is "split pretty even" when it comes to professional work.
"In the photography industry especially, when you are getting started you are always seeking gear, 'If I could only get this $1,000 lens,'" he says. Using just an iPhone to take great photos encourages people to "shift away from focusing on gear and equipment."
Apple commissioned the work of 12 artists at various stages of their career to create works meant to inspire. Showcasing the people who use its technology — in this case, painters, photographers, filmmakers and other visual artists — is a shift for a company long focused on making its products front and center.
The artwork, done on iOS devices and Macs using various apps, is displayed on Apple's website as part of an ad campaign called "Start something new." And the Cupertino, California-based company is replacing all product signage in its retail stores with the artwork. Some of the artists are gathering Thursday evening at 6 p.m. at Apple's SoHo store in New York to talk about their work.
29-Hour Work Week

The AP is reporting:
The measure would increase the definition of a full-time worker who must be offered health coverage at work to 40 hours from the current 30.
A similar bill cleared the House last year with the support of 18 Democrats but died in the Senate, which was then under Democratic control.
Republicans argue the health law's 30-hour requirement is encouraging companies to cut workers' hours. They cited a study by the conservative Hoover Institution that says 2.6 million Americans making less than $30,000 a year are most at risk of having their work time and wages cut as a result of the 30-hour rule. Of that group, it said 63 percent are women and over half have a high school diploma or less education.
But the White House said in a statement there is no evidence the law has caused a broad shift to part-time work, and said the new measure would create incentives for companies to shift employees to part-time work.
It pointed to an estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that the bill would boost federal deficits by $53.2 billion over a decade.
LOL. The Obama administration is worried about federal deficits. $55 billion over 10 years is $5 billion; a rounding error in US debt.

I heard this on the news earlier; I was surprised. It warms the cockles of my heart. I noted the 29-hour week back in 2012, and was blogging about it on a regular basis; I even have a tag at the blog, the "29-Hour-Work-Week."

I don't think mainstream media ever took on this story; now that it's in a bill, we will see lots of stories and lots of debate.

Obama will veto it and then we will see how many Senators are willing to risk re-election on voting to support Obama and ObamaCare.

For the record, I no longer care; it's political theater. I don't recall if I ever cared.

Global Warming
Ice Age Now
It Depends Where You Place Your Thermometers

Chicago arctic blast continues; near record, now snow
Mobile, AL, freezes; beats 1886 temperatur of 18 degrees
New Orleans temps plunge to historic lows
Teams to fight frigid air in Green Bay (Dallas), New England
Governments warned to plan for "climate change" migrants (remember, they are fleeing two feet of water rising on their beaches; and they have a century -- 100 years -- to prepare for it -- that's the worse case scenario -- if you believe the hype):
Sea level rise of 19 cm (8 inches) since 1900, caused by factors including a thaw of glaciers from the Andes to the Alps and of Greenland's ice sheet, aggravates storm surges in many coastal regions, according to the U.N. panel of climate experts.
The panel's scenarios point to a further rise of 26 to 82 cm by the late 21st century. The panel says it is at least 95 percent probable that human activities, led by burning of fossil fuels, are the main cause of warming.
82 cm/2.54 = 32 inches.

At Least It's Hard To Catch

By the way, the measles outbreak in California was predictable.