Thursday, May 28, 2015

"Katy, Bar The Door!" Alice In Wonderland: US Economy Likely Shrank 1Q15 But Fundamentals Strong -- Reuters -- May 28, 2015

Friday morning, we can look forward to: the second estimate of Q1 GDP will be released at 8:30 ET ( consensus -0.7%) while Chicago PMI for May (consensus 53.0) and the final reading of the Michigan Sentiment Index for May (consensus 89.0) will be reported at 9:45 ET and 10:00 ET, respectively.

Okay, is that a minus 0.7%? Have to check. Meanwhile, back in April, the revised estimate was a paltry 0.2%.

Back in December, consensus was that 1Q15 US GDP would be 2.9%. This was gradually revised down to 1-1.25%.

Wall Street is forecasting a big downward revision to -0.9% from 0.2%.   

I suppose if the revised GDP comes in 0.00% or anything above 0.00%, the market will surge. Otherwise, flat to huge sell-off. If there is no huge sell-off with a negative GDP reading, it means that the "movers and shakers" already anticipated the negative reading and that accounts for the down days we've had this month. 


The third (and last) estimate is released June 24 for those looking that far ahead.  

From almost 3% back in December's estimate to a minus 0.7% now. Pretty fascinating.  

[Update, 2: 14 a.m. May 29, 2015: I just love the spin. 1Q15 GDP is likely to be revised downward. By a lot. And now only down, but into negative territory. And Reuters' assessment: fundamentals strong. This is so bizarre, I had to take a screenshot: I can't make this stuff up:

Reuters = President Obama's speech writer.

Tea Leaves Couldn't Be Any Clearer: Obama Is Suffering From Iraq Fatigue

Iraq is on its own. We've done all we can

My hunch is he has the same thoughts about Israel. 

Setting Us Up For $200 Oil? -- May 28, 2015

This is a most interesting story coming out of Bloomberg via Rigzone today. Note the bit in bold in red:
China’s lead over the U.S. as the world’s biggest buyer of crude oil is poised to get bigger, and it’s largely thanks to teapots.
Dozens of small refiners, known as teapots to those in the industry, account for a third of the Asian nation’s processing capacity. They are now expanding as new rules will almost double the amount of crude the refiners, including Shandong Yongxin Energy Group, can import.
America, the world’s largest economy, is now the least reliant on foreign oil since 1994, while China is taking advantage of the slump in prices to expand its strategic stockpiles -- a strategy that help it overtake the U.S. as the biggest buyer last month.
The flow of oil to Asia will help create a global supply deficit by the end of the year, according to Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd.
“The expected new crude import quota for teapot refineries will help bolster China’s appetite for foreign oil,” said Gao Jian, an analyst at SCI International, a Shandong-based consultant. “Crude imports this year will exceed 2014’s level.”
China bought a record 7.4 million barrels a day in April, up almost 17 percent from March and 3.1 percent from the previous high in December, customs data show. The U.S. imported about 7.3 million barrels a day, according to government figures.
That "7.3 million" figure bought by the US is interesting. Compare that with other data points in the linked article:
The Energy Information Administration forecasts the country will import an average 6.54 million barrels a day next year, down from 6.69 million in 2015. It received 6.99 million last year.
And finally: 
China’s record purchases are adding to signs of increasing demand that will create a global shortfall of 1.5 million barrels a day in the fourth quarter, Bernstein said in a May 27 report. That will drive up Brent crude prices to $80 a barrel, the researcher predicts. The European benchmark oil closed at $62.58 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange on Thursday.
Even if Iraq was able to "flood the market with oil," a 800,000 bopd increase will hardly meet the 1.5 million bopd shortfall, and I seriously doubt Iraq can do much to increase its production of oil by as much as they say.

I also have trouble reconciling $80-oil with a global shortfall of 1.5 million bopd. If there's a 1.5 million bopd global shortfall in oil, the price of oil will go a lot higher than $80. That's my two cents worth.

In addition to increasing Chinese consumption, note the record gasoline consumption being reported in the US

One Minute Apart -- This Is The Country That Says It Will Flood The Market With Crude Oil -- Mary 28, 2015

The only flood I see is blood in the Tigris.

Runaway, Del Shannon

Coolest Post Of The Day: Breaking All Kinds Of Records -- May 28, 2015

It took awhile for the EIA to massage the data, I guess, but the report was finally released, and what a report it was. Look at the increase in gasoline demand for the most recent reporting period. It looks like about 150,000 bbls per day more than last year:

Then this data. For all that talk about less gasoline demand in this country, this is the data from 2000 to most recent reporting period, March, 2015. U.S. Product Supplied of Finished Motor Gasoline (Thousand Barrels):

The columns across are monthly, January to December. Source.

A couple of observations:
  • I may have missed it, but I don't believe "280,000 or more" was seen prior to the year 2000
  • greater than 280 million bbls of finished motor gasoline per month is seldom reached
  • greater than 290 million bbls has been reached a few times, but it is rare
  • we came close to 300 million bbls in the summer of 2007, just before the great recession
  • 280,708 in March, 2015, from 269,207 in March, 2014 represents a 4% increase
  • the high last summer was 287,911,000 bbls in August; a 4% increase would be 299,427,000 -- about as close to 300 million bbls as one can get without going over
My hunch is that we will go over 300 million bbls of gasoline in the month of August, 2015.


Back on , January 19, 2015, I wrote:
Has the US ever gone over 9.5 million bpd gasoline demand? Yes, starting back in 2003 there were many periods in which demand for gasoline in the US fluctuated around 9.5 million bopd.
  • fourth week in August, 2003: 9.668 bpd
  • second week in August, 2004: 9.521 bpd
  • third week in August, 2005: 9.471
  • first week in August, 2006: 9.697
  • third week in August, 2007: 9.762
  • the last week of August, 2014: 9.480 million bpd
I am unaware of any weekly period in which gasoline demand went over 9.5 million bpd over the Memorial Day Weekend, but it certainly looks like we could do that later this spring. 
Wow, that was back on January 15, 2015, when I wrote that. How did we do? We won't know for another week, but we went over 9.7 million bopd in the most recent reporting week:

Weekly U.S. Product Supplied of Finished Motor Gasoline (Thousand Barrels per Day):

I think that's an all-time record for the fourth week in May; if not an all-time record for the fourth week in May, awfully close.

So, back in January, I predicted that we would go over 9.5 million bpd this past Memorial Day weekend which would be a record. We won't know for another week or so, but at 9,734,000 bbls / day last week, that came close to hitting an all-time record. I think the record is 9,762,000 bbls / day, set in the third week of August, 2007.

Wow, wow, wow.


By the way, the record for number of US drivers driving on Memorial Day was set in 2005; the AAA prediction is that 2015 will set a new record. That number has not yet been posted. 

Note: I often make typographical and factual errors in my exuberance. There may be many typographical and factual errors on this page. If this information is important to you, go to the source. Let me know if CNBC talking heads are talking about these records. Based on what little I hear on the radio or television, I get the feeling that most folks think gasoline consumption is dropping in the US.

Living Next Door To Alice, Smokie

Be sure to read this week's EIA "Week in Petroleum," released May 28, 2015.

Flashback: From 2010

Do you realize 25% of all married men kiss their wife good-bye when they leave the house?

Of these same men, 90% will kiss their house good-bye when their wife leaves.

I don't remember who sent me that. Probably Don.

Gullible Minnesotans And Other Potpourri; This Is Not An Investment Site -- Do Not Make Any Investment Or Financial Decisions Based On Anything You Read At This Blog -- May 28, 2015

The WTI crawler says oil is well above $57/bbl and this is May 28, 2015. Something tells me that huge North Dakota tax break won't take effect.


Selected quarterly dividends for COP over the years (some numbers rounded):
  • February, 1982: 7 cents
  • February, 1987: 6 cents
  • February, 1991: 11 cents
  • January, 1997: 12 cents
  • February, 2000: 13 cents
  • February, 2004: 16 cents 
  • June, 2005: 2/1 split
  • February, 2006: 27 cents
  • February, 2008: 36 cents
  • February, 2011: 50 cents
  • February, 2013: 66 cents
  • February 2014: 69 cents
There were two more splits since 2005 (which I did not fully understand) and a spin off.

Currently paying 4.5%.

COP came up in a discussion with a family member (in-law) so I thought I would take a look at COP. 


At last minute, unions turn against minimum wage law for those employees who are union workers. Link here. Regular readers can probably figure out the reasoning on this one.

Minnesota's Grandchildren Will Rue The Day This Was Approved

Twenty-one (21) solar energy sites approved in Minnesota and what does it get you: the equivalent of one small traditional generating station. All those sites will require new transmission lines in and out, and all that traffic and all those fried birds and all that pristine 10,000-lakes scenery interrupted by solar farms in Minnesota.

Here's the map:

The StarTribune is reporting:
Geronimo Energy has won state approval to build solar arrays across Minnesota to serve Xcel Energy electric customers. The $250 million Aurora Solar Project will be, by far, the largest solar generating effort in the state.
Geronimo Energy, an Edina-based renewable energy developer, is authorized to build large solar parks at 21 locations across the state for a combined output of 100 million watts, or the equivalent of a small traditional generating station.
All but one of the solar sites will be bigger than the state’s largest existing solar array in Slayton, Minn., which generates 2 million watts. The largest of the new solar sites, near Paynesville, will generate five times more than that — and cover an area the size of Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis.
One site -- remember, there are 21 sites -- one site will cover an area the size of Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. 

Just down the road, fourth-generation farmer Janelle Geurts said she and her husband, John, were alarmed when a neighbor made a deal with solar developer NextEra Energy Resources. “Honestly, our biggest concern is that we are trading off green growing fields that provide food,” she said.
NextEra? Where have we heard that name before? Oh, yes, this is the renewable energy company that has no wind farms or solar farms in its home stage of Florida, but it loves putting up wind farms and solar farms in North Dakota and Minnesota, buying land from gullible landowners and getting approval from PUCs mandated by legislators. Fast-tracked by the way before anyone catches on.

UNP Furloughs 900 Workers; Jamie Dimon To Lay Off 5,000

UNP furloughs workers due to less rail activity. The AP is reporting:
The number of shipments Union Pacific has been delivering so far this year is down about 3 percent, which includes a 30 percent drop in coal carloads.
The Association of American Railroads says rail traffic nationwide is down less than 1 percent, but coal shipments are nearly 7 percent lower.
Not to be outdone, JP Morgan will layoff 5,000 employees. The Wall Street Journal is reporting:
The layoffs won’t necessarily mean that overall head count at the bank will continue to fall; J.P. Morgan hires about 40,000 employees each year to fill open positions and add to its new class of analysts, the person said. And the layoffs aren’t anticipated to be as high as last year’s when the bank cut 7,900 mortgage jobs and exited several businesses. 
So, 900 jobs (UNP) and 5,000 jobs (JP Morgan). Seems a bit of headline hyperbole. Rail traffic nationwide is down less than one percent and JP Morgan hires 40,000 employees each year to fill open positions.

A Note to the Granddaughters

Because the granddaughters now spend less time at our apartment now that they've moved into a McMansion, May and I have re-arranged our 700-square-foot apartment to give ourselves more room, removing the "personal space" once reserved for the granddaughters. Wow, it seems we've opened up an area equivalent to a small den.

No sooner had we completed that when our older granddaughter said she was coming over tonight to work on a school project requiring computer, printer, card-making stock, book binding material, sharpies, stickers, etc. We quickly arranged the apartment again for that to be managed efficiently and effectively. I picked her up and brought her over to the apartment, and then to get out of their way I drove down to Starbucks. Normally I ride my bike, but another night of rain is forecast. In Boston I often rode my bike in the rain but that's because rain was the norm in Boston. Here in Texas, not so much. Except for the past three weeks. Also, it was hard to find parking in Boston, and the roads were atrocious with potholes. Except for some potholes on I-35E north of Dallas, I don't drive anywhere in North Texas where there are potholes.

I used to hate automobiles. But I love the little Honda Civic and every time I get in it -- especially at night -- I'm reminded of my cross-country trips to the Bakken. Tonight while pulling unto the frontage road as the sun went down I had fleeting memories of pulling off the freeway on those cross-country trips to stop at McDonald's to blog and catch upon e-mail. 

It looks like I will have another cross-country opportunity soon. The granddaughters -- the two older ones -- and May and I will be driving out to California in late June. The older granddaughter is already working on the itinerary; she wants to spend more time in Sedonia this trip.

The price of gasoline has crept up quietly to $2.65/gallon, least expensive grade in our neighborhood. Diesel runs anywhere from ten cents to twenty cents more per gallon than least expensive grade of gasoline.

Six (6) New Permits -- May 28, 2015

Active rigs:

Active Rigs83189186216172

Six (6) new permits -- 
  • Operators: Hess (4), Sinclair (2)
  • Fields: Antelope (McKenzie), Little Knife (Dunn)
  • Comments: 
One (1) producing well completed:
  • 28702, 1,722, MRO, Krebs 34-20TFH, Bailey, target defined as a 12-foot zone, drilling in the F, G, H markers; at one point penetrating the K marker outside the target zone; the lateral was within the targeted interval 76% of the time, and 100% within the Three Forks; background gases generally very low, but trip gases as high as 1,544 units; environmentalists will be happy that no flar was observed throughout the drilling operations; frack data not yet posted; t3/15; cum 19K 3/15;
Wells coming off confidential list Friday:
  • 21833, A, CLR, Micahlucas 2-5H, Jim Creek, no IP, no test date, probably 3/15; cum 2K 3/15;
  • 27774, 739, EOG, Wayzetta 60-3334H, Parshall, Bakken well, 26 stages, 3.5 million lbs; t11/14; cum 24K 3/15;
  • 29074, drl/NC, XTO, Amundson 34X-22A, Siverston, no production data,
  • 29819, drl/NC, Enerplus, Rebutia 149-92-35B-05H, Heart Butte, no production data,
  • 29983, 481, Slawson, Phoenix 1 SLH, Big Bend, t3/15; cum --

GDP Now: GDP To Surge -- Forecast Jumps 14% To 0.8% Growth; From Earlier 0.7% Growth Expectations

Latest forecast — May 26, 2015
The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the second quarter of 2015 was 0.8 percent on May 26, up slightly from 0.7 percent on May 19.
Following this morning's advance durable manufacturing report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the forecast for second-quarter real equipment investment growth increased from 3.5 percent to 5.1 percent while the forecast for the change in inventory investment in 2009 dollars increased from -$22 billion to -$19 billion.

Refracking -- May 28, 2015

This is a huge story; we've been talking about it for quite some time. Investopedia is reporting:
There was an interesting theme running through the conference calls of energy giants and oilfield service companies this past quarter. From Chesapeake Energy to Halliburton to Schlumberger, the one theme that kept coming up, other than oil prices, was the potential for refracking. It's a trend that could have enormous potential for Chesapeake Energy in the years ahead.
I have a tag for refracking. It began with MRO.

From the linked article:
Jason Pigott, Chesapeake's EVP of its Southern Division, noted the company's refracking potential on its first-quarter conference call:
Within our retained portfolio, Chesapeake has drilled 6,750 horizontal wells since 2004. Of these wells, nearly 4,600 were drilled prior to 2012, and we consider these wells understimulated, compared to our current designs, and based on their vintage.
In other words, 68% of the company's wells could be refracked because they were drilled before 2012 and therefore aren't using the latest technology and techniques that have really driven the company's operations over the past few years.
EOG says it's cheaper to simply drill a new well (to include fracking) rather than go back in and re-frack.
It really doesn't matter to Schlumberger or Halliburton whether one re-fracks or drills a new well (in fact, it would be better for SLB and HAL if new wells were drilled, rather than just refracking old wells).

Staggering -- If You Think About It -- May 28, 2015

From RBN Energy today, a most remarkable blog. One can talk all day about solar and wind energy, but when it comes down to reality, in global energy, it's all about coal and natural gas. Today's RBN Energy post is about LNG exports to Asia. Maybe some day they will find huge natural gas reserves in Asia, but apparently not there yet.

From RBN Energy today:
Asian consumers of liquefied natural gas hope to use the current supply glut—and the start-up of U.S. LNG export facilities--to their long-term advantage. Their very understandable goal is to up-end the old market structure, which for years has had them paying far more for LNG than their Western European counterparts. How will the coming revolution affect U.S. natural gas producers and the next round of U.S. LNG export projects? Today, we continue our review of the fast-changing global market for LNG with a look at a new set of Asian LNG buyers and at the region’s fast-changing supply/demand dynamics.
Most of Asia has experienced significant economic growth in the first 15 years of the 21st century—not just powerhouses like China and India but smaller, more mature economies like South Korea’s, Taiwan’s and Singapore’s, and still-developing nations like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand and Vietnam. In most places that growth is being fueled in large part by energy from natural gas, and that trend is very likely to continue, especially if (as seems probable) gas prices remain competitive with oil and coal. Asia’s gas reserves are spotty, though, forcing many countries (Japan, Korea, China and India among them) to turn to LNG imports and—if possible—gas delivered by pipeline.
As we said in Episode 1 of our series, the market for LNG has evolved gradually over the last 50-odd years, but it remains dominated by long-term LNG supply deals. At first LNG prices were fixed, but starting with the OPEC oil crisis in 1973-74, oil and LNG prices were linked, with the goal of mitigating risks for buyers and sellers.
In Episode 2, we ran through five major catalysts shaking up the LNG trade:
1) New LNG capacity coming online, mostly in Australia and the U.S.;
2) Fixed liquefaction tolling agreements being offered by U.S. LNG developers and natural gas costs tied to price index percentages (typically 115%) of the U.S. Henry Hub, LA benchmark;
3) The collapse in oil prices and the resulting drop in oil-indexed LNG prices;
4) The roll-off of long-term LNG supply deals and the increasing share of LNG capacity available to the spot market; and
5) The recent slump in Asian LNG demand-and prices--that have occasionally  made Western Europe a more attractive market for spot LNG sales.
In Episode 3, we looked at existing and future demand in China and India, which are expected to be the world’s biggest LNG growth markets—along with the use of LNG as a ship bunker fuel.
And in Episode 4, we considered Japan and Korea, by far the world’s largest LNG consumers, and (with China and India) the driving forces behind reshaping the Asian market.

In RBN Energy's next episode, RBN Energy will look at why the Asian and European sub-markets for LNG have been so different, and at whether there’s a chance that, with lots of new LNG capacity coming online, those sub-markets might finally start to look more alike. RBN Energy will also consider Asian LNG-buying alliances and the potential for an Asian LNG hub—two things that could help keep a lid on LNG prices in the region.
  • China: 1.357 billion (10x Japan; 27x Korea)
  • India: 1.252 billion 
  • Japan: 127 million
  • South Korea: 50 million
And everyone in China and India wants to have the lifestyle of the Japanese and/or the South Koreans.

Apple Page

Apple, also, has some exciting news today. Apple announced a new retail store to open on Saturday, June 13 in Upper East Side, Manhattan, NYC

The comments were interesting: mostly a complaint that there were not enough Apple retail stores in NYC. As hard as it is to believe, there is no Apple retail store near Wall Street. Apple must have a very, very interesting algorithm when determining when/where to open a new retail store.

This is only Apple's seventh store in NYC, and apparently some New York boroughs still have no Apple stores.
Apple overnight added signage to its upcoming retail location in the Upper East Side of Manhattan that confirms the store will open on June 13. The new store will be located at 940 Madison Avenue, on the corner of 74th Street, and remains under construction ahead of opening. The new store will be Apple's seventh retail location in New York City alongside Fifth Avenue, Grand Central, SoHo, Upper West Side, West 14th Street and Staten Island stores.

Wow, Will This Year's Global Warming Ever Quit?
Caribou, Maine, Reporting Record Snowfall Today

Ice Age Now is reporting
Not much, but it’s still a record.
“The 0.3″ of snow observed at Caribou yesterday was the greatest snowfall on record so late in the season,” says National Weather Service Tweet.
“Old record 0.2″ on 5/25/74.

QEP With Three 4-Well Pads In One Section, 2560-Acre Spacing, Heart Butte -- May 28, 2015

More on this later.

27176, conf, QEP, MHA 4-26-23H-149-91,
27175, conf, QEP, MHA 2-26-23H-149-91,
27174, conf, QEP, MHA 3-26-23H-149-91,
27173, conf, QEP, MHA 1-26-23H-149-91,
27172, conf, QEP, MHA 4-26-24H-149-91,
27171, conf, QEP, MHA 2-26-24H-149-91,
27170, conf, QEP, MHA 3-26-24H-149-91,
27169, conf, QEP, MHA 1-26-24H-149-91,
27168, conf, QEP, MHA 4-26-25H-149-91,
27167, conf, QEP, MHA 2-26-25H-149-91,
27166, conf, QEP, MHA 3-26-25H-149-91,
27165, conf, QEP, MHA 1-26-25H-149-91,

Update: Canadian Wildfires In Oil Sands Area; Peak Oil? What Peak Oil -- Norway Has More Oil Than Ever Before-- May 28, 2015

Reuters via Rigzone is reporting:
A wildfire raging in northeastern Alberta near two major oil sands projects nearly doubled in size to 17,000 hectares on Wednesday, although firefighters made some progress tackling blazes elsewhere in the oil-rich Western Canadian province.
The fires have forced energy companies operating in Alberta, the largest source of U.S. oil imports, to shut in 233,000 barrels per day of production, or roughly 10 percent of total oil sands output.
Scott Long of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency said the fire on the Canadian military's Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, near the oil sands projects, was still out of control even though 250 firefighters were battling to contain it.
It advanced on Cenovus Energy Inc's Foster Creek project and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd's Primrose oil sands facilities, both of which were shut down and evacuated over the weekend after the blaze, which began on Friday, closed the only access road to the sites.
Peak oil? What peak oil? Norway has more oil than it had a decade ago. Rigzone is reporting:
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate reported Wednesday that current recoverable oil on the Norwegian Continental Shelf exceeds the estimated figure for 2005.
A select number of producing fields and 62 discoveries, for which development decisions had not been made in 2005, were reviewed in order to determine the latest figures.
Over the course of the ten-year period, 28 of these discoveries were developed and their oil reserves have nearly doubled.
The NPD has attributed this to new information, better reservoir understanding and optimization of development solutions and drainage strategies.
Discoveries made after 2004 also led to development decisions for 13 new fields, according to the NPD, which have contributed an overall resource growth totaling 2.8 billion standard cubic feet of oil. The Edvard Grieg, Ivar Aasen and Knarr fields account for more than 75 percent of this volume. The NPD’s latest review was a way to track the agency’s goal from 2005, which was to achieve an oil reserve growth of 28 billion cubic feet, or five billion barrels, over ten years. Although the reserve growth turned out to be significantly less, the goal would have been reached if the development plan for Johan Sverdrup had been submitted before the end of 2014, instead of February 2015.
Remember, the Bakken was pretty much "discovered" in 2000 (Montana) and then, again, in 2007 (North Dakota). That's about the same time period as the Norway story (2005) above. Imagine what the numbers might show if the USGS re-evaluates the Bakken in ten years, let's say, 2017.

Thursday -- Unemployment Claims Surge -- May 28, 2015

Thursday is always a big day for posting data, stories. I think I will quit updating everything below. Any new updates will be clearly marked as updates.

Coolest thing today: bobcat (cougar, puma, big non-domestic cat) outside Starbucks this morning here near DFW.

Second coolest thing today: activity continues to heat up around Richardton, ND. I got a report from Don that pipe is being brought in / pre-positioned / near Richardton, probably for the ETP pipeline. If so, it would so southeast from there towards South Dakota (reminder: the Aberdeen story). In addition, progress should be continuing on the Richardton trans-loading terminal. The terminal is south of the railroad (between the railroad track and I-94), west of Richardton. Connect that dot with the fact that last autumn there was a report from the field that "earth was starting to be moved" for this project. Connect that dot with an earlier dot that Halliburton was shutting down its operations in Minot. And finally connect that dot with the Chesapeake story below from Investopedia on re-fracking. It could be quite a story line if one wanted to pursue it. 

Jobs: economists had forecast a drop in unemployment claims by 5,000; in fact, the number of first-time unemployment claims surged 7,000 -- a delta of 12,000 between expected and reality. 

Re-fracking: Chesapeake, being reported over at Investopedia. If the link is broken, consider this link

Active rigs:

Active Rigs84189186216172

RBN Energy: Asian LNG demand set to rise -- as prices plummet
Asian consumers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) hope to use the current supply glut—and the start-up of U.S. LNG export facilities--to their long-term advantage. Their very understandable goal is to up-end the old market structure, which for years has had them paying far more for LNG than their Western European counterparts. How will the coming revolution affect U.S. natural gas producers and the next round of U.S. LNG export projects? Today, we continue our review of the fast-changing global market for LNG with a look at a new set of Asian LNG buyers and at the region’s fast-changing supply/demand dynamics.
I will post this again as a stand-alone, if I remember. It's a big, big story. It dwarfs the EIA renewable story being reported below.
Belfast: Baltimore. CBSLocal is reporting that, not me.

Spin: four words Janet Yellen hates to see in the same sentence -- Reuters is reporting:

unemployment claims unexpectedly surge
Lucia Mutikani says this unexpected surge is nothing to worry about; the job market is still on track, still consistent with a strengthening labor market. Indications are that these boiler-plates are posted the night before, in draft form, and as soon as the numbers are released, the numbers are put into the story and released. So these are the data points today:
  • unemployment claims surge unexpectedly by 7,000; now up to an adjusted 282,000
  • this is the beginning of the very, very buy summer hiring season for all those high-paying construction jobs, especially in the oil and gas industry
  • last week's number was also raised, adjusted up by another 1,000 -- not trivial -- last week was already a high number
  • without getting into specifics (which suggests bad news), Lucia says the 4-week average stayed under 300,000 -- but the trend must be going the wrong way, and it must be just barely under 300,000 -- based on the fact specifics were not given
  • economists expected the number to be "slipping" -- as in decreasing -- to 270,000 -- which would have been a drop of 5,000; instead of dropping 5,000, it rose 12,000
  • wow, I was correct -- deep in the story, the 4-week average which is supposed to be much less volatile soared by 5,000 -- that is amazing
Lucia was the name of James Joyce's only daughter.
More spin, the EIA "energy cookie":
Renewable energy accounted for 9.8% of total domestic energy consumption in 2014. This marks the highest renewable energy share since the 1930s, when wood was a much larger contributor to domestic energy supply…Renewable energy use grew an average of 5% per year over 2001-2014 from its most recent low in 2001. The increase over the past 14 years was in part because of growing use of wind, solar, and biofuels. -- EIA 
Comments: so many story lines -- some quickies
a) wind farms being paid not to produce electricity in the northwest
b) "in part" -- the key renewable that was not mentioned: hydroelectric -- that's where the biggest increase in renewable energy has been
c) note well -- that 5% increase was NOT 5% of the TOTAL increase in energy production; this was 5% increase in renewable energy; solar energy accounts for zero percent of US electricity consumption when rounded to the nearest whole number (nada, zilch, nil); 5% of 0% is still a pretty small number
d) renewable projects are fast-tracked; oil and gas industry projects are sandbagged, delayed (Keystone XL was killed; Sandpiper was sandbagged)
e) the 5% was an average over each year; it would be interesting to see the trend line
f) this 5% growth comes after gazillions of dollars in tax breaks, subsidies
g) EV sales have been a disaster
h) EIA comments are US-centric, see RBN Energy story above
NG fill rate: 112, right at the 5-year average; remember -- roughnecks are producing natural gas at record levels as consumers switch from coal to natural gas, and the roughnecks are still having trouble keeping up. Fill rate is right at the 5-year average.

Gasoline demand: apparently the EIA is still massaging the data; the data is supposed to be released today (the website confirms it is to be released today); and on the day it is released, it is always released at 10:30 a.m. ET. It's possible the 3-day holiday will delay the report until tomorrow -- but one would assume they knew a week ago that there was a 3-day weekend this week. [Update: the data was finally released; I remembered to check about 8:30 p.m. and there it was.]

Whose side is he on, anyway? This should be the most disturbing story all day -- it appears the President is purposely holding back in taking on the JV team. One has to ask the question, if the US has such a strong presence in the Mideast, and as the president once said, he could take out the JV team if he wanted, why is that not happening? It appears the pilots have the answer. It certainly fits the story line.