Friday, March 13, 2015

Twelve (12) More QEP State Wells In Spotted Horn In One Drilling Unit -- March 13, 2015

The first QEP State well in this section was spaced on a single section:
  • 17260, 471, QEP, State 4-36H, Spotted Horn, about 5 stages; 400K lbs proppant, t10/08; cum 233K 4/20;
The twelve new QEP State wells will be sited on the same lot, almost the very same location as that first QEP (Helis) State well. See first comment below -- these wells will be drilling a 2560-acre unit approved for 48 wells including all four benches of the Three Forks: 25/36-150-94 and 1/12-149-94.

The State wells, all in Spotted Horn:
  • 30909, 1,036, QEP, State 7-36-1BH, running south, t3/16; cum 283K 4/20;
  • 30908, 564, QEP, State 4-36-1TH, running south, t3/16; cum 152K 4/20;
  • 30907, IA/648, QEP, State 8-36-1BH, running south, t3/16; cum 124K 9/19; off line 9/19;
  • 30906, 1,110, QEP, State 4-36-1T2H, running south, t3/16; cum 166K 4/20;
  • 30905, 2,385, QEP, State 9-36-1BH, running south, t3/16; cum 191K 4/20;
  • 30904, 2.024, QEP, State 5-36-1TH, running south, t2/16; cum 168K 4/20;
  • 30712, 817, QEP, State 5-25-24TH, running north, t2/16; cum 211K 4/20;
  • 30711, 670, QEP, State 9-25-24BH, running north, t2/16; cum 249K 4/20;
  • 30710, 139, QEP, State 4-25-24T2H, running north, t2/16; cum 94K 4/20;
  • 30709, 991, QEP, State 8-25-24BH, running north, t2/16; cum 256K 4/20;
  • 30708, 375, QEP, State 4-25-24TH, running north, t3/16; cum 157K 4/20;
  • 30707, 595, QEP, State 7-25-24BH, running north, t3/16; cum 243K 4/20;

Federal Government Makes Money On Oil Trade -- March 13, 2015

FuelFix is reporting:
The Department of Energy is planning to buy up to 5 million barrels of oil to replenish the Strategic Petroleum Reserve after a test sale last year.
The planned purchase of sweet crude between June 1 and July 31 is required by federal laws forcing the Department of Energy to buy back petroleum products within one year, using the proceeds from a test sale.
In this case, the recent collapse in crude prices means the government is set to make money on the two transactions — effectively buying low now after selling high last year.
Pretty cool.

I was going to make a joke about "trapping wind in a bottle" so environmentalists could sell wind at "high" prices and buy wind at "low" prices, but it turns out they are already working on that. Bloomberg has the story from 2007.

Update On Halcon -- SeekingAlpha -- Richard Zeits

Over at SeekingAlpha, update on Halcon in the Eagle Ford, not the Bakken:
  • Based on my (Richard Zeits) well-by-well aggregation analysis, Halcón’s January 2015 Eagle Ford production remained essentially in line with the average for Q4 2014 (slight decline).
  • Wells that were added in the past six months are outperforming the average for the preceding wells.
  • HK's Eagle Ford production may decline in 2015 as the drilling program is scaled down to one rig. 
Halcón Resources' January 2015 daily gross oil production in El Halcón (Eagle Ford) in East Texas declined 1% from the previous month (and ~3.5% from the average production volume for Q4 2014). Two new wells were turned to sales in January, compared to the average monthly new completion pace of 3.8 wells in the second half of 2014.
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do make any investment, financial, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or what you think you may have read here even if what you think you read here was really, really cool. It probably wasn't. It was just my irrational exuberance. If this stuff is important to you, go to the source.

Let's Start Another Rumor: Statoil Eyes EOG -- March 13, 2015

Houston Business Journal is reporting:
Norway-based Statoil ASA may be pursuing a megadeal to acquire Houston-based EOG Resources Inc. 
Industry chatter online and off picked up in late February that Statoil was targeting EOG in a merger or acquisition that could exceed $50 billion — more than the $35 billion for which Houston-based Halliburton Co.  is buying Baker Hughes Inc. 
Analysts said the deal would make sense for Statoil, which is growing its Houston presence, and seeking to expand in U.S. shale, as EOG is the unofficial king of Texas shale. For EOG, though, it's more a matter of whether the company could be up for sale at all during the ongoing oil slump.
Active rigs in North Dakota:

Active Rigs112191186203173

Nine (9) new permits --
  • Operators: QEP (6), EOG (3)
  • Fields: Spotted Horn (McKenzie), Parshall (Mountrail)
  • Comments:
Permits renewal:
  • CLR renewed fourteen (14) Jersey permits but I don't think it changes anything; I track the Jersey permits here
  • Oasis renewed one permit, the Ellsberry Federal, in Williams County
90-Day Flaring Rule 

The Dickinson Press is reporting that conversation groups want the 90-day flaring rule re-instated.

Not Surprising

Through the grapevine: trucks not hauling much fracking sand from Minnesota, Wisconson. Still some moving by rail.

Why Does This Not Surprise Me?
Chariots-On-Fire Back In The News

You just can't win. Chevy finally has a car that emits less CO2 but instead emits CO, a much more poisonous colorless, odorless, gas.

Zacks is reporting:
GM is recalling 64,000 Chevrolet Volt hybrid electric cars, per media reports. The automaker is issuing the recall due to the problem of carbon monoxide creation when the vehicle is not shut down by the driver. The company plans to update the software to solve this issue.
I guess that would be just about all the Volts ever sold. 

Correction: only model years 2011 to 2013.

Williston Wire -- March 13, 2015

Headlines only; it is easy to subscribe to the Williston Wire.

New study puts Williston's population at 31,143 for calendar year 2014. "Normal" / "healthy" growth rates are generally around 2% -- Williston's grew 20% from 2012 to 2014.

United Airlines began daily service from Williston to Houston, Texas, on August 19, 2015. United added its fifth daily departure to Denver; Delta added its fifth daily departure to Minneapolis/St Paul.

Architects reveal plans for new Tioga city hall.

Graduate student from the University of Pennsylvania - Philadelphia are studying Bakken growth: the students are visiting Minot, Williston, Dickinson and small communities in the area.

Whiting: Plan B -- March 13, 2015; Let's Start A Rumor: Would It Make Sense For Exxon To Buy Hess? What About A Hess/ONEOK Merger?


March 14, 2015: Bloomberg is reporting --
Whiting Petroleum Corp., the North Dakota oil explorer, has attracted interest from Exxon Mobil Corp. and Continental Resources Inc. as it explores a sale of the entire company, people with knowledge of the situation said.
Hess Corp. and Statoil ASA are also looking at Denver-based Whiting.
Whiting has set up a data room for potential buyers to evaluate the company’s financial information and asked them to submit bids next week.
The discussions are ongoing and there’s no guarantee a deal will be reached. A potential deal for Whiting, the largest producer in North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation, may be the first in an anticipated pickup of merger activity for U.S. energy producers as they grapple with heavy debt and an oil selloff.
Continental, Exxon, Hess and Statoil are already among the 10 largest holders of acreage in the Bakken, a giant slab of oil-soaked rock that lies beneath Montana, North Dakota and parts of Canada, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Later, 11:18 a.m.: With MDU announcing that they are putting their Fidelity sale "on hold" for awhile (PN, January 18, 2015; MDU press release, January 9, 2015); and now with Whiting having to go to Plan B (see below), the obvious question needs to be asked -- if the operators get through the worst of this downtown, might they just decide not to sell at all?

Might MDU reconsider selling Fidelity? When a reader asked me that question, these were my thoughts:
I think everything is on hold across the oil and gas industry, waiting for someone to make the first move.
The operators have just completed their most recent meetings on how simply to survive -- mostly cost cutting --
Their next meeting will be on what assets to sell if necessary ...
The acquirers -- those doing the buying -- can afford to wait -- this is a buyers' market -- it appears that things will only get worse -- I think CLR is down another 7% today ...
And as noted, everyone is waiting for someone else to go first. I think Exxon goes first -- and buys .... cap $19 billion; debt $6 billion; Hess international history goes way back; I think XOM and Hess were originally both New York City/State companies.... XOM likes natural gas and refining as much as oil, it seems; Hess is well known for its natural gas in North Dakota; XOM could use the $8 billion bond sale as a down payment...I will have to dig out my copy of The Prize --- though it might be in San Pedro....
If Exxon waits too long, it could be too late --- why wouldn't a Hess/ONEOK merger be a possibility -- that "new" company might be a bit much for Exxon from a regulator's point of view....
Disclaimer: this is all idle chatter. This is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, or relationship decisions based on what you read here. This is simply my two cents worth. That and $1.79 will get you a Starbucks "tall" outside the DFW airport. See disclaimer for more interesting commentary on why I blog.

Original Post
Reuters is reporting:
YORK/WILLISTON, N.D., March 13 (Reuters) - Whiting Petroleum Corp, North Dakota's largest oil producer, has put Texas acreage and pipeline assets up for sale as an alternative to a sale of the full company, according to sources familiar with the matter.
This strategy could appease investors outraged by the possibility of any outright sale. It would dispose of assets not central to the core shale operations and generate cash for the company's balance sheet, engulfed by more than $3 billion in debt after December's buyout of smaller rival Kodiak Oil & Gas.
JPMorgan has shopped the full company in recent days to select parties, several people said.
However, several potential acquirers' interest in buying all of Whiting was tepid due to concerns about Whiting's $5.63 billion debt load, the sources said. One of the people said a bid deadline has been scheduled for next week.
Just yesterday I wrote:
I believe I have heard through the grapevine that Whiting is offering for sale some non-core assets, or its positions in non-operated wells. I could be wrong on that; I don't know if there has been an official press release or news item to that effect. This is outside the WSJ article that Whiting, the company, is looking to be bought. It's also possible these permits are old KOG permits that are going to be "re-accomplished." The Whiting permits that have been canceled have these key words in their names: Koala (1), Moccasin Creek (1), Skunk Creek (4), Smokey (3), and Nystuen (2). 
By the way, going back to that post reminded me of another story I forgot to post. Remember that story posted earlier today about all the wells -- about 850 -- that are waiting to be fracked. Every last well that came off the confidential list today -- every last one of them, all six -- went to DRL status -- another six that are are joining the queue to be fracked:

Wells coming off the confidential list Friday:
  • 28469, drl, Hess, EN-Rehak-155-93-0718H-8, Alger, no production data,
  • 28664, drl, MRO, Kerkhoff 14-8H, Murphy Creek, no production data,
  • 28886, drl, Zavanna, Gust 2-11 2H,  Long Creek, no production data,
  • 29011, drl, XTO, Nelson 24X-11A, Garden, no production data,
  • 29053, drl, Stephens Production, York 3-9, wildcat, 3-156-82, no production data,
  • 29231, drl, Statoil, Heen 26-35 4TFH, Todd, no production data,

Someone sent me President Obama's agenda for next week/rest of the month now that the heavy work -- vetoing the Keystone XL -- has been accomplished:
  • March Madness/Sweet 16/Final Four bracket-picking; press conference; no questions
  • Christmas vacation planning: Hawaii alone; Michelle on a Caribbean cruise? Fifty degrees of separation
  • start writing speech for Democratic nomination convention; emphasis on bringing country together
  • buy some more red-ink pens: one for vetoes; one for drawing lines on maps in war zones
  • schedule visit to Ferguson, MO, when Supreme Court announces date for ObamaCare decision
There is some question regarding the veracity of this agenda. If this is important for you, go to the source:

US Economic Malaise Due To Low Gasoline Prices -- Bloomberg; California Has About One Year Of Water Left -- Los Angeles Times -- March 13, 2015

Bloomberg Blames US Malaise On Gasoline Prices

This is almost impossible to make up; this reads like fiction. Bloomberg is reporting:
Consumer confidence declined in March to a four-month low as optimism about the U.S. economy was tempered by weaker income expectations and a rebound in gasoline prices.
The University of Michigan said Friday its preliminary consumer sentiment index decreased to 91.2 this month from 95.4 in February. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a reading of 95.5.
Consumers were less upbeat this month as cold weather boosted utility bills, the cost of gas climbed from the almost six-year low in January and wage growth was limited among middle- and lower-income households. At the same time, a better job market is among reasons Americans may feel comfortable sustaining a steady pace of spending. 
So,  US economic malaise blamed on "low" gasoline prices. 

Gasoline is near it's recent low -- yes, it has gone up a bit in the last few weeks -- but except for California where there are signs of $5 gasoline, gasoline is pretty cheap elsewhere. And the tea leaves suggest that gasoline prices are going to drop again -- even in California where there are reports that the refinery strike might be nearing its end. Woo-hoo.
One of the things that was driving it was just rising gasoline prices,” said Drew Matus, deputy U.S. chief economist at UBS Securities LLC in New York. “The general view on the U.S. consumer is going to be mainly driven by the improvement in the labor market.”  
$2.04 to $2.44/gallon -- at 16,000 driving mile / year; and 26 mpg = 615 gallons x 40 cents/gallon increase = $250/year or $20/month increase in gasoline expenses. Boo-hoo.

Wow. And he's a deputy US chief economist at UBS Securities. Where do they find these people?

Read the entire article at the link. The sector that accounts for one-sixth of the economy was not mentioned: health care. "Word-search" health in that article; you won't find it. 

Remember: ObamaCare was pretty much deferred/waived until 2015; it is now just kicking in. Folks are not getting their IRS refunds; it is being held back to pay their ObamaCare premiums. The labor market is screwed up mostly because of the overall anti-business sentiment in Washington, dramatically exemplified by the Keystone XL project which would have employed thousands of workers for at least a year.

Utility bills this year in New England were nowhere as bad as last year this time.

Dry States

California has "about" one year of water left. That's what the Los Angeles Times says. But at least the state continues to work on the bullet train.

Memo to self: follow-up on this story on March 31, 2016.

Not Gonna Happen

Bloomberg is reporting -- US oil companies pressing for ban on oil exports to be lifted. Not gonna happen, but just imagine how incredible that would be. Three things happen immediately:
  • oil becomes a true commodity -- currently two cartels: OPEC and US
  • Europe -- on the verge of another recession gets a shot at cheaper energy
  • US economy -- a huge boost
But not gonna happen. Ideology stands in the way.  The law could be written in such a way that would guarantee US storage facilities stay at least 67% filled to capacity (or choose whatever number you want) so Americans wouldn't have to worry about gasoline prices jumping due to worries about perceived future oil shortages due to exports.

From Don:
Take a look at the price of Brent oil and the value of the Euro vis-a-vis the dollar. The Euro for the week it is down in value against the US dollar by about 4 %. The price of oil is pegged in US dollars so the price for oil in Europe has gone thru the roof this week, even as the real price slides.
Update On Apple Car

Business Insider is reporting:

Here's what we learned from Apple Insider, which claims to have spoken with sources familiar with the matter.
  • Apple's electric car is codenamed "SG5."
  • It's well beyond the concept stage. 
  • The company is believed to be receiving shipments for components at a location in Sunnyvale, which is just minutes from its main campus at 1 Infinite Loop.
  • Apple has offices in Sunnyvale, but it's believed to be working on its electric car in a secretive building labeled 175 that reportedly belongs to a market research firm called SixtyEight. This could be a fake company that Apple is using as a front for its car project, but that hasn't been confirmed. 
  • Many of Apple's auto-related hires, including some from Tesla, are working out of the Sunnyvale campus.
  • These employees have been told to turn their badges around when entering the building to avoid suspicion.
Can you imagine how many Tesla battery cells Apple will pack in the door frames, roof, chassis, in the Apple Car? Even the "cubby hole" which no one uses any more will be packed with Tesla battery cells. If nothing else, Apple knows how to squeeze battery cells into tight spaces.

By the way, the Apple Car is going to be really, really thin. That's the rumor.

More at the Macrumors site.

Shopping With Apple Watch After Driving To The Apple Store 
In Your Apple Car 
While Listening To Your Playlist On Apple Radio

Speaking of Apple, this is what shopping with the Apple Watch will be like, Forbes reporting:
If you move your Apple Watch-wearing hand anywhere near a store’s payment terminal, mobile wallet system Apple Pay will activate automatically, using your primary credit card to pay for your purchases.
For security purposes, the smartwatch’s sensors will only allow a transaction if the device is on your wrist.
Quick, seamless in-store payment is just one of the reasons retail insiders are bullish on the Cupertino, Calif. gadget giant’s latest release.
“Some people tend to underestimate the potential impact of Apple Watch,” said Christian Gaiser, CEO of coupon app Retale. “This is a total game-changer.”

The Red Queen -- March 13, 2015

From the Director's Cut yesterday, the two big stories:
  • flaring: target met (if I read the numbers right)
  • the Red Queen
During the height of the boom (defined as the number of active rigs greater than 185), the number of wells waiting to be fracked were in the 250 - 350 range -- mostly due to shortage of frack spreads.

Then, when they went to pad drilling, the number of wells waiting to be fracked, crept up towards 400, the increase mostly due to operational reasons associated with pad drilling. With six wells on a pad, one waits until the last well reaches total depth before the entire pad is fracked. Six wells -- six months. I think the classic case -- CLR's Atlanta wells in Baker oil field -- 14 wells -- 18 months after the first well was spud before the pad was fracked (note disclaimer; if this information is important to you, go to the source; do not rely on this blog).

Last month, the Director's Cut for December, 2014, data noted that the number of wells waiting to be fracked was at 750, a decrease of about 25. The month prior, the November, 2014, data:
Back on December 13, 2014, I suggested exactly that: the operators would stop fracking. Look at this: generally there were about 400 wells waiting for completion, then it jumped to 450, then 650, and now 775, an increase of 125 in the past month. That is quite astounding. (Also, December 18, 2014; and, December 16, 2014.)
It's tough to frack in North Dakota in late December, January, and February (and late March/April) due to the weather (extreme cold followed by the spring melt), but that jump to 775 was quite an eye-opener.

So, now yesterday, the most recent Director's Cut, for January, 2015, data, where do we stand with number of wells waiting to be fracked? It jumped to -- 825 wells -- an increase of 75.

I don't know about you, the "average" reader -- what you think -- but when the backlog was in the 250 - 350 range, mostly due to shortage of frack spreads, it was a huge headline and a huge concern -- frackers couldn't keep up with operators. Now, it's something entirely different. We approaching 1,000 wells (in round numbers for those who like to average / think in round numbers). I think it's a huge story.

[By the way, companies have one year to complete a well once it is drilled in North Dakota -- see link here.]

Actually two stories. The first one I mentioned above: the Red Queen. Despite almost a thousand wells waiting to be fracked, North Dakota production dropped .... drum roll ... by about 3% month-over-month. And that occurred during some of the worst weather of the year. The Red Queen. We're going to have wait a few more months for the Red Queen to fall off her treadmill.

The second story: how much fracking will be done how soon?

So many more story lines, but I will stop here for now. Eight-hundred-fifty wells -- an increase of 75 -- month-over-month -- waiting to be completed.

Oh, and the wells are going to get better and better simply because of better technology, better completion techniques, more experienced roughnecks; more experienced geologists; better understanding of the middle Bakken and better understanding of the upper bench of the Three Forks.

Oh, one more thing. The wells will get better simply because during this period of a slump in oil prices, the operators are circling the wagons, drilling in the best areas they can.

Wow, there are simply too many story lines. 

Oil Futures Down Another $1.06; Update On CLR's Hartman Wells -- March 13, 2015; And A Whole Lot More -- UC Irvine, The Marcellus, The Red Queen, ObamaCare And Hobby Lobby -- And It's "Friday The Thirteenth"

For those interested, a reader has sent in a nice update on the CLR Hartman wells -- several interesting observations and questions of what might happen next. Well worth the read.

Lead Story Over At Yahoo!Finance: The Sky Crude Is Falling

Bloomberg is reporting: Record U.S. Oil Glut May Fill Storage, Cut Prices -- The IEA boosted estimates for U.S. oil production in 2015 as cutbacks in drilling rigs have so far failed slow its output. The nation’s crude inventories are at a record 468 million barrels:
The IEA boosted estimates for U.S. oil production this year as cutbacks in drilling rigs have so far failed (sic) slow its output. Crude inventories threaten to fill tanks, with the nation’s largest oil-storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma 70 percent full, the agency said. The IEA raised its 2015 estimate of global oil demand by the most since it was introduced in July.  
The Red Queen re-visited: " ... as cutbacks in drilling rigs have so far failed (sic) slow its output."

By the way, did you all read this little note yesterday:
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that North Dakota’s proved reserves have surpassed federal offshore reserves in the Gulf of Mexico.
I assume regular readers knew that. I don't know if I did. I am pretty sure I have never posted that observation so succinctly. I read that to my wife; even she was surprised. Just for the fun of it, you might want to overlay the map of 400 square miles (20 miles by 20 miles) of the most prolific Bakken over the vast Gulf of Mexico -- another eye-opener at 6:36 a.m. on a Friday morning.

Cool Story
The Dickinson Press is reporting:
WILLISTON — Halliburton Co., Schlumberger NV and other large energy companies were conspicuously absent from a major North Dakota job fair this week, a telling sign as employers in the No. 2 U.S. oil-producing state grapple with sliding crude prices.
Instead of roustabouts, the state’s oil industry wants pump technicians, gas-processing plant operators and truck drivers to help sustain existing production of 1.2 million barrels of oil per day — not to necessarily grow production.
“When a well is out, you still have to service it,” said Cindy Sanford of Job Service North Dakota, which helped organize the two-day job fair in Williston, capital of the state’s oil boom. (There are almost 13,000 active wells in the state.)
You know, this is a really, really cool story. If the Bakken survives, if the operators survive, this story tells me that the Bakken has reached a huge milestone: maturity. I think that's really, really cool. This will be an opportunity for some more infrastructure to be put in place.

Birds Of A Feather

I don't know if regular readers have been following the "flag flap" at UC Irvine -- that's the university in California where the students voted to ban the US flag -- they felt the flag was not inclusive, or it was racist, or it was inflammatory, or it was something -- but whatever it was, they didn't want to see it on their campus.

If folks remember, UC Irvine appears to be one of the president's favorite schools to visit. That's the school where the press pointed out that the president got a standing ovation.

I'm curious. Was the president wearing a pin of the American flag in his lapel that day? Just asking.

Back To The Bakken

Active rigs:

Active Rigs111191186203173

RBN Energy: part 2 in new update on the Marcellus infrastructure --
In the past 10 years Marcellus and Utica shale drilling has transformed the U.S. Northeast from a sleepy backwater of gas production into a powerhouse that (according to the Energy Information Administration) supplied 22% of total U.S. gas production in December 2014
NGL production from the region is already 8% of the U.S. total and likely headed toward 20% by 2020
These vast shale formations cover most of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Eastern Ohio, but it turns out that most of the production comes from only 20 or so counties across those three states[In comparison, most of the Bakken oil comes from four counties in western North Dakota.] Such geographic concentration has significant implications for regional infrastructure development and capacity. Today we describe where producers have found success in the region.
In Part 1 we described the huge growth in Marcellus natural gas production since 2010 and the subsequent expansion in natural gas liquids (NGL) production from Marcellus and Utica shale wet gas when drillers switched their focus to liquids in 2011.
In the five years since gas production took off in the Marcellus, gas processing capacity in the northeast has expanded nearly 13 times from 600 MMcf/d to 7,600 MMcf/d. NGL production from those plants is now over 245 Mb/d.   
Midstream companies have built gas processing infrastructure from a small group of stand-alone plants into a fully integrated system designed to operate without the luxury of significant NGL storage capacity. How that works is the subject of this blog series and the clue is in our title - “Join Together With Demand” – designing infrastructure to join supply to demand with fault tolerance as a foundation of the design. In this episode we provide an overview of the Marcellus and Utica producing regions.
And that's why New York State bans fracking: they would still be playing second fiddle to Pennsylvania -- the vast shale formation in the Marcellus is a Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and eastern Ohio "thing' -- New York? Not so much.

What an incredible story -- the Marcellus. Much, much more at the link.

Aesop's Fable: The Fox and The Grapes

Reuters/Rigzone is reporting:
A fall in oil prices may help long-term exploitation of fossil fuels in the Arctic by averting a short-lived "gold rush" into the vulnerable icy region, Norway's Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said on Thursday.
Exploitation of oil and gas required long planning to safeguard the fragile environment, which is heating up faster than the world average because of global warming, he said.
"It is safe to assume that Arctic gas will have its day," he said in a speech at an Arctic conference, saying that burning natural gas emitted half the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide as coal.
Brende said some projections for an opening of the Arctic to shipping, oil and gas exploration and mining, had been too optimistic amid a thaw that has cut the extent of winter sea ice on the Arctic Ocean close to a record low this month. "We should be very happy that there was not a 'gold rush'," he told reporters in Oslo. "A 'gold rush is not positive, it's throwing oneself at resources at breakneck speed."

Missed In All The News Noise

The AP is reporting:

The Supreme Court is ordering a federal appeals court to take another look at the University of Notre Dame's lawsuit over the health overhaul law's rules on paying for contraceptives.
Notre Dame is among dozens of religious organizations that have challenged a compromise in the Affordable Care Act offered by the Obama administration to faith-based groups. The compromise attempts to create a buffer for faith-based groups that oppose birth control, while ensuring that women still can obtain contraceptives free of charge.
The federal appeals court in Chicago ruled against Notre Dame, but that occurred before the Supreme Court decided the Hobby Lobby case in favor of corporations with similar objections.
Now the appellate panel must revisit its ruling in light of the Hobby Lobby decision.