Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bakken Economy -- Western North Dakota Television Market Ranking One Of The Nation's Fastest Growing -- September 17, 2015

From a press release:
IRVING, Texas -- Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc.announced today that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of four CBS-affiliated television stations serving the Minot-Bismarck-Dickinson-Williston, North Dakota market (DMA #139) for $44.0 million from Reiten Television, Inc.
In addition, under the terms of the agreement, Nexstar will provide sales and other services to the market’s two ABC-affiliated television stations owned by Forum Communications.

The Minot-Bismarck-Dickinson-Williston television DMA is benefitting from rapid economic expansion related to strong growth of the U.S. domestic energy production industry in the region. From 2006 to 2015 Nielsen’s market rank for Minot-Bismarck-Dickinson-Williston has ascended to DMA #139 from DMA #160, making it one of the fastest rising DMAs in the country.

According to the 2014 BIA Kelsey Television Yearbook the Reiten television stations are the leading revenue share cluster in the market.

    City of License   Market Rank   Station   Affiliation  
1   Minot, ND   139   KXMC   CBS  
2   Bismarck, ND   139   KXMB   CBS  
3   Dickinson, ND   139   KXMA   CBS  
4   Williston, ND   139   KXMD   CBS  
5   Minot, ND   139   KMCY*   ABC  
6   Bismarck, ND   139   KBMY*   ABC  
* Forum-owned stations where Nexstar will provide sales and other services.
Rumor has it that Dan Rather and Brian Williams will co-host a late night show on the Bakken. Dan Rather will refer to the Bakken as "hotter than a pistol" and Brian Williams will tell us about his early experiences in Tioga as a roughneck. Details are still being worked out on the seating arrangement; apparently their "good side" is the same for both men.

New Post-Boom Low: 67 Active Rigs In North Dakota; Whiting With A Huge Well; 3/4 Wells To DUC Status -- September 17, 2015


Later, 9:37 p.m.: the richest man in North Dakota was behind the idea for a high-speed train between Lost Angeles and Las Vegas. This is absolutely incredible; I can't make this stuff up. A huge thanks to a reader for spotting this. 
Energy Media Group broke the story today about our long time friend, advocate and investor Gary Tharaldson securing a major deal with the Chinese today to build a high bullet train from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. This has been a vision that Gary has had for many years. We are so proud of his dedication to North Dakota and all the the amazing business seccess he has had over the years.
Tharaldson will be "putting up" the first $100 million.

Original Post 

Rail in California/Nevada: this is really, really cool. And unless someone's "blowing smoke" it sounds like it might be the "real deal." It certainly beats the "bullet train" from Los Angeles to the Bay Area. BloombergBusiness  is reporting:
A China Railway Group-led consortium and XpressWest Enterprises LLC will form a joint venture to build a high-speed railway linking Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the first Chinese-made bullet-train project in the U.S. 
Construction of the 370-kilometer (230-mile) Southwest Rail Network will begin as soon as next September, according to a statement from Shu Guozeng, an official with the Communist Party’s leading group on financial and economic affairs. The project comes after four years of negotiations and will be supported by $100 million in initial capital. The statement didn’t specify the project’s expected cost or completion date.
The agreement, signed days before President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the U.S., is a milestone in China’s efforts to market its high-speed rail technology in advanced economies. The country has been pushing the technology primarily in emerging markets -- often with a sales pitch from Premier Li Keqiang-- as a means to project political influence. A $567 million contract last October to supply trains for Boston’s subway system was China’s first rail-related deal in the U.S.
Such huge opportunities in this country for young people just starting out. I wonder what the energy source will be. I had forgotten or missed the Boston subway story. I suppose to some extent it's a sad commentary on our own US Railcar/GM/Ford/UAW industrial base that we can't "turn on a dime" and build subway cars. Can't be that difficult. Sounds like Washington or Boston or someone let the UAW workers down. My hunch is that if US Railcar/GM/Ford/UAW had bid on the project it would have come in two to three times higher than what China could do it for.

There seems to be a bit of irony that after the Chinese built the first transcontinental railway in the US back in the 1860's, some 150 years later, the Chinese are still building railways and rail rolling stock for the US.

I guess we've lost our technological edge in high-speed rail, but we sure can build damn-good wind turbines.


Active rigs:

Active Rigs67198180196199

Six (6) new permits --
  • Operators: Hess (3), HRC (2), Whiting
  • Fields: Capa (Williams), Antelope (McKenzie), Sanish (Mountrail)
  • Comments: I see HRC is back to drilling -- or at least getting permits to drill
American Eagle and Petro-Hunt each renewed one permit: J. Adeline in Divide County and Farstad in Burke County, respectively

Four (4) producing wells completed:
  • 30642, 3,572, Whiting, Two Shields Butte 13-22-33-16H, Heart Butte, t9/15; cum --
  • 29258, 693, Newfield, Rolla Federal 153-96-29-12H, Sand Creek, t5/15; cum 21K 7/15;
  • 29850, 1,249, Newfield, Rolla Federal 153-96-29-13H, Sand Creek, t5/15; cum 34K 7/15;
  • 29257, 1,418, Newfield, Rolla Federal 153-96-29-4H, Sand Creek, t51/5; cum 34K 7/15; 
Wells coming off confidential list Friday:
  • 29780, SI/NC, Abraxas, Ravin 8H, North Fork, no production data,
  • 29795, SI/NC, BR, Morgan 24-21TFH, Pershing, no production data,
  • 30100, 1,507, Hess, BB-Ole Anderson-151-95-3130H-7, Blue Buttes, t8/15; cum -- 
  • 30669, SI/NC, XTO, Odegaard State 21X-16E, Midway, no production data,

The Fed Left "The Rate" Unchanged -- September 17, 2015; Samson Resources Files For Bankruptcy But Will Keep Operating

The Fed did not raise rates. The poll? 67% of MDW readers that responded said the Fed would not raise rates -- a pretty smart group of readers.

What's the market doing? The market is up 51 points. What does David "trickle down economics" Stockman say about that? The "market" is in store for huge correction if Fed doesn't raise rates. The market (NYSE) closed down about 100 points for the day.

Old News?

Note: Samson Resources has filed for bankruptcy protection but will keep operating. It is one of the few operators still applying for permits in the Bakken. Most recently, it was issued permits #31951 and #31952 for wells in Ambrose oil field (September 11, 2015).  My data base shows Samson Resources has 10 permits in 2015 as of this date, all in Divide County.

I thought this already happened; must have been a story suggesting it likely to happen. Whatever. KKR's Samson Resources declares bankruptcy. [Yes, this was posted back in August, 2015.]
Oil and gas driller Samson Resources Corp. filed for bankruptcy in Delaware Wednesday night, undone by a collapse in energy prices and billions in debt that KKR & Co. and other investors piled on to fund a 2011 takeover.
Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Samson and its owners were stung by the price drop that put money into the pockets of consumers through lower gasoline and heating costs, while driving other producers, such as Sabine Oil & Gas Corp. and Quicksilver Resources Inc., into Chapter 11. Samson’s filing is among the biggest energy bankruptcies in the U.S. this year, but it probably won’t be the last.
Samson has said it will use the Chapter 11 process to try to shrink its $4.2 billion debt load. Second-lien lenders would own “substantially all of the equity” of the company if the plan goes through, according to a statement last month.
The plan has support from more than 68 percent of second-lien lenders, Samson said Wednesday. That backing could help speed the company through reorganization. Samson said it has as many as 10,000 creditors and that it will keep operating while in bankruptcy.
Target Pharmacy (Soon To Be CVS) Unionizes In Brooklyn, New York 

The vote was 7 - 2. We'll check back in a year. Each of the top four directors of Target earn about $1 million in annual salaries and live in a state sensitive to workers' needs so this should not be a big deal. Operating cash flow for Target is estimated at almost $6 billion, so even a $1 million annual salary per union member that voted (9), the $9 million annually would only be 0.15% -- fifteen-hundredths of a percent of operating cash flow. With profit estimated at over $20 billion, the $9 million would represent only 0.045% -- slightly less than 5-hundredths of a percent. Everyone agrees the income gap between owners and workers needs to be narrowed. This would be a good start, Brooklyn.

And not only that, soon this will be a CVS issue. Nothing to see here folks; time to move on.

Note: I often make simple arithmetic errors. If this information is important to you, go to the source. This is not an investment site. Do not make any investment or financial decisions based on what you read here or think you may have read here.

Wind Turbine Syndrome -- September 17, 2015

MidwesternEnergyNews is reporting wind turbine syndrome (WTS):
A Wisconsin town of fewer than 1,200 stands on the verge of sending shock waves through the wind energy industry.
Late last year, Glenmore, a rural community just south of Green Bay, persuaded its county's board of health to declare that the sounds of an eight-turbine wind farm pose a "human health hazard."
It was the first time a health board has made such a determination. Wind energy opponents from across the country seized on the decision as proof of "wind turbine syndrome," a supposed illness caused by low-frequency noise and "infrasound" that is typically undetectable to the human ear.
Local activists have continued to press the issue in hopes of shutting down the turbines, pointing to families who complain of sleep deprivation, headaches, nausea and dizziness -- symptoms similar to sea sickness. Lawns display signs saying, "Turbines kill: Birds, Bats, Communities" and "Consider How Your Turbine May Harm Your Neighbor." More than one family has moved out of their home.
I've often wondered about that inaudible noise.

I'm waiting for all the lawsuits in which folks allege property values have plummeted because they live near an industrial park. It was incredible what they have done west of Hays, Kansas.


This past week while I was traveling another complimentary issue of BloombergBusinessWeek showed up at my door, usually delivered on Sunday.

It's almost tempting to subscribe. Whatever.

This issue has a three page (four pages if you count a full page given over for the headline -- huge waste of space) article on 3D Touch for new Apple iPhone. In addition, last night on Stephen Colbert, or was it the night before, Tim Cook spent most of the interview talking about 3D Touch.

There is also a long article on "The Big Dry Spell" -- the drought in Australia, California, and now Brazil. Of course, folks are blaming it on global warming, which in fact, predicted more rain, hurricanes, and floods (remember "extreme weather") and regardless, there has been no evidence of global warming in 18.5 years, going on 19 years which is very close to twenty years which is almost two decades, and 2.5 decades makes a quarter century of no evidence of global warming. So this drought has nothing to do with global warming.

However, what this does point out is that while we're all focused on a one degree rise in temperature a hundred years from now and flooding of some islands in the South Pacific, we've taken our collective eyes off things that are going to kill us right now -- like ISIS, the Iranian nuclear industry, and, of course, "the big dry spell."

One wonders where California, Australia, and Brazil might be right now had we not spent $1 trillion on intermittent (wind, solar) energy and instead used that money to figure out and get desalinization right. Californians cut back on as much as 31% in water by simply conserving.

And finally this headline: Solar Suffers From Gas Pains in Israel. The story:
With more than 300 days of sunshine per year and a world-class tech sector, Israel should be a hotbed of solar, but it has lagged behind places such as cloudy Germany and the rainy Netherlands.
That’s because in recent years, geologists have discovered huge gas fields just off Israel’s coast, making the country a potential energy exporter and allowing its power plants to burn cheaper and cleaner gas instead of coal -- and shifting the government’s focus away from renewables. 
I still think that whether it was Saudi's plan or not, forcing oil back down to $30/bbl (in some places) did exactly what Saudi was hoping: a) get people hooked on oil (and natural gas) again; and, b) destroying the intermittent (solar, wind) energy industry. 

And, of course, Germany and the Netherlands are now paying outrageous amounts for their intermittent energy.

Bakken Economy -- September 17, 2015 -- North Dakota Expands, US Stagnates -- Tea Leaves

The Dickinson Press is reporting:
Efforts to get a direct flight from Fargo to Seattle are getting a $500,000 boost from the federal government.
The U.S. Department of Transportation grant would guarantee any airline offering the service would not lose money in the first year, and provide marketing support.
Seattle is an important destination because there are strong business and family ties between the Pacific Northwest and the Fargo area, [a spokesman] said, citing Microsoft’s Fargo campus. 
Seattle is also a hub with connections to other West Coast cities, Alaska, Hawaii and the Asia Pacific.
The grant will be matched with $300,000 from the airport, the local Economic Development Corp. and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Rent seeking?
US Economy

Wal-Mart to hire 60,000, Macy's to hire 85,000 for holidays.
In line with one widely watched holiday hiring forecast, Wal-Mart said Thursday that it will hold its seasonal hiring to last year's levels.
Earlier this week, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said it expects retailers to add roughly 755,000 seasonal hires to their payrolls in the final three months of the year. That level would be flat with last year, when holiday hiring fell short of predictions.
Toys 'R Us, Kohl's, FedEx, and UPS expand hiring for the holidays.

Winds -- September 17, 2015

Wow, talk about a beautiful day for slicers and dicers in the midwest. The link is dynamic. And with the fall migration, it should be a bountiful buffet, as they say, for foxes, wolves, and vultures over the next few weeks.

Poll Results

Wow, the CNN and Drudge Report polls are pert-near identical regarding the second GOP presidential debate. The candidate, CNN, Drudge Report results:
  • Donald Trump - 59% -- 53%
  • Carly Fiorina - 17% - 21%
  • Marco Rubio - 6% - 6%
  • Rand Paul - 4% - 4%
  • Ben Carson - 4% - 4%
  • Jeb Bush on tiptoes - 3% - 1%
Time for about six candidates, including Jeb Bush to call it quits. 6'3" and he stands on his tiptoes for the group photo. It looks like Drudge readers are a bit more circumspect than CNN poll-takers.

And this is why Hillary will lose big if it's mano a mano with Donald Trump, and without question, everyone in America wants to see that debate. If that link breaks, here's the upshot: Wednesday's GOP debate appears to be the highest-rated event in CNN's history, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings.
The Apple Page

The Wall Street Journal is reporting:
WASHINGTON-A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled Apple Inc. was entitled to an injunction barring rival Samsung Electronics Co. from incorporating features into its devices that infringe the iPhone maker’s patents.
A trial judge who previously denied Apple’s request “abused its discretion when it did not enjoin Samsung’s infringement,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said.
The decision is a notable win for Apple, which has argued that Samsung should have to do more than pay monetary damages for infringing upon Apple’s patented technology.
Thursday’s decision stems from a 2014 trial in San Jose in which a jury concluded that some Samsung devices violated iPhone patents, including an Apple patent on “data tapping,” a feature that allows the user to call a phone number in an email by clicking on it.
The jury awarded Apple more than $119 million in damages, but the presiding judge denied Apple’s request for an injunction blocking Samsung from including infringing features in its devices.
I wondered the same thing. Not issuing an injunction was tantamount to allowing a competitor to steal a patent at the backdoor, pay a court-determined "royalty" to the injured party, and then let the competitor sell the stolen product out the front door, with no further penalty. 

The bad news, of course, is this: if Apple ever loses a similar patent ruling, it could be devastating for the fruit company.
Tesla Spotting

By the way, after taking our middle granddaughter to soccer practice last night, I spotted a Tesla, with the Texas license plate "GAS NOMO" on the north side of Grapevine, TX, westbound on Texas Highway 114. It pulled off into the highly expensive enclave called Carillon, in Southlake.

Later on the ride home, I asked our granddaughter, age 8, if she was familiar with the Tesla automobile. She was not, but she told me that "Tesla" worked for "Edison." She recalled there was a disagreement over the safety of AC/DC but could not recall whether Tesla supported AC or DC and what Edison supported. Working backwards we rationalized since batteries were DC, and Tesla uses batteries, and the cars are called Tesla, then it was likely that Tesla advocated DC as safer and Edison wanted to go with AC. She mentioned that ultimately the two parted ways, and Edison joined up with someone else (I said I thought it was Westinghouse; she did not recall). She then, as an aside, mentioned the Rockefellers (oil) and the Vanderbilts (trains).

So, that was it: Tesla and AC or DC; Edison and AC or DC? It's a bit confusing; not easily reconciled. See wiki and the link above.

I did not mention to our granddaughter that the Tesla ran on coal. She is being taught all about the future of wind and solar energy at school and I did not want her to get a failing grade.

Back To The Future -- September 17, 2015

I remember the North Dakota oil bust in the early 1980s but was not aware just how bad things were back then.

The graph below shows the amount of oil the US imported from Saudi Arabia back in the 1980s. When one looks at those numbers, one can see clearly why Saudi Arabia said they were going to protect their market share this time around:

Right or wrong, this is a 30-second soundbite from DailyReckoning explaining the oil glut in the 1980s:
There were a lot of reasons for that oil price crash of the 1980s. Among them were that the high oil prices of the late 1970s, caused by the loss of oil output from Iran after the fall of the Shah and the Iranian Revolution, led to a worldwide recession.
The recession reduced demand for oil and allowed prices to fall. Also, a number of then new oil provinces of the world were coming on line, and oil output grew rapidly from nontraditional locales such as Alaska, the North Sea and Mexico. And one critical reason for the fall in the price of oil was purely geopolitical, in that the Saudis maximized oil production to drive the price down and hurt the economic interests of the Soviet Union, which had invaded Afghanistan in 1979. By reducing the price of oil, the Saudis indirectly deprived the Soviets of a key source of hard currency, from the sale of Soviet oil for U.S. dollars. As the Mogambo Guru likes to say, “Everything is connected to everything else.”
But as I mentioned above, the falling price of oil severely harmed the world oil patch.
Only the “best” prospects were drilled, and the low-cost oil was extracted and sold at relatively low prices (in retrospect, the prices were ridiculously low). The more high-priced oil was uneconomic to extract, and hundreds of thousands of oil wells across the world, particularly in the United States and Canada, were plugged and abandoned.
Perhaps it made economic sense to plug the marginal wells when oil was selling for $10 or $15 per barrel. But today, when oil is selling for $60 or more per barrel, don’t we wish that we still had many of these old wells, even producing just a few barrels per day? And many elements of the vendor base went out of business as well. From drilling companies to equipment makers to service providers, there was a severe contraction within the oil and gas industry. But with oil appearing “cheap” based on its nominal price, no one was calculating the long-term price to be paid. 
Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal also spoke of the past:
A surge of oil from outside of the Middle East flooded global energy markets. The world-wide thirst for crude didn’t keep up. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries stood by and watched as oil prices fell and then fell more.
Welcome to the world of oil in 2015—a repeat in surprising ways of the story 30 years ago. Between November 1985 and March 1986, the price of crude plunged by 67%. Between June 2014 and today, crude prices have fallen by 57% and could well head lower.

Weekly Crude And Natural Gas Data Points -- September 17, 2015

Tweeting now:
Persian Gulf diesel exports will set monthly record in September, with estimates around 1.5 mil mt.
Regular readers might recall that Saudi Arabia has been greatly expanding their refining capacity so this is not surprising.

Also tweeting now:
 NYMEX oil price jumped >$2/bbl on Sept. 16 (yesterday) after EIAgov report showed lower-than-expected oil, product inventories.
OPEC crude oil exports to rise by 100,000 b/d to average 23.83 mil b/d in 4 weeks to Oct 3
US Energy

Natural gas fill rate (dynamic link): 73. In the East Region, stocks were 38 Bcf below the 5-year average following net injections of 50 Bcf.

Gasoline demand continues to plummet -- something I did not expect -- but look at the graph at the link at the very bottom of the page.  Gasoline demand this year is exceeding last year's demand but has dropped off remarkably. If one uses gasoline demand as a proxy for the economy of the country / a proxy for the recovery, this is a scary graph. I think this most recent data includes Labor Day weekend which is even more concerning, especially given the price of gasoline -- record lows.

Housing Starts Fall

Speaking of the economy, Reuters is reporting that housing starts fell for the second straight month in August.

ND Regulators Deny Xcel Energy's Request To Help Fund Minnesota Solar Power Project; $2.5 Million/MW -- September 17, 2015

They say the price of solar energy is coming down. Look at the figures below.

The other day I had a short piece on "rent seekers," a concept I never understood very well. Here's another good example. I wasn't going to post this story for various reasons, but more than one reader has sent me the link, so this is an opportunity to help reinforce the concept of rent seeking.

The Grand Forks Herald is reporting:
For the second time this summer, North Dakota utility regulators on Wednesday railed against the idea of allowing Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy to charge North Dakota ratepayers for solar power to meet a Minnesota mandate.
The $250 million project will consist of solar arrays in 16 counties in southern Minnesota. North Dakota would share in roughly 5 percent of the energy and 5 percent of Xcel’s cost of purchasing the power.
But commissioners denied the request 3-0 on Wednesday, repeating the arguments they made on June 17 when they unanimously rejected Xcel’s ADP request for 187 megawatts of solar power from three projects in Minnesota.
The Bismarck Tribune also has the story. It will be interesting to see if Debbie Downer publishes this story [Update -- at 11:11 a.m. Debbie Downer has not yet posted this story; must be a real downer for them]. [Update, September 19, 2015: again, I am unable to find any "evidence" the Debbie Downer reported this story; remarkable considering DD reports every other story on solar energy in Minnesota/North Dakota]:
North Dakota utility regulators on Wednesday renewed their opposition to having the state's ratepayers subsidize solar-generated electricity projects in Minnesota to satisfy that state's mandate to get some power from the sun.
Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy Inc., which has about 90,000 customers in North Dakota, is backing a $250 million solar project in southern Minnesota that would create 100 megawatts of power, or enough to power about 15,000 homes. The project is part of Minnesota's mandate that investor-owned utilities get 1.5 percent of their power from the sun by 2020, and 10 percent by 2030.
North Dakota law allows utilities to seek an advanced review, called a "determination of prudence," of whether regulators believe a project is a good idea and companies can charge ratepayers to help fund it.
The three-member, all-Republican North Dakota Public Service Commission voted against endorsing the project, saying North Dakota customers shouldn't get stuck with paying for expensive and unneeded solar-generated electricity from neighboring Minnesota.
"This just doesn't cut the mustard by any means," Commissioner Brian Kalk said. "This isn't an anti-solar message, it's just not prudent."
The Public Service Commission's action Wednesday was the second time this year that the panel shot down Xcel Energy's plans for solar projects. In June, the commission failed to endorse a 187-megawatt solar project that would power about 41,000 homes. The cost of that project has not been disclosed by the company.
$250 million / 100 MW = $2.50 million (and I assume this is a "low-ball" / conservative estimate).
From an August 25, 2014, post, this is 30-second sound bite for "cost of renewable megawatt":
  • Solar: $3 million / MW
  • Wind: $2.5 million / MW
  • Natural gas: $865,000 / MW
 A recent Milwaukee solar energy project was estimated at $6 million / MW.

The CEO of Xcel Energy makes about $3 million / year.

No Link, Being Reported Everywhere

President Obama's DOD training program to take on ISIS;  "4 or 5" soldiers; $500 million.

Just kidding, here's one of the links:
Gen. Lloyd Austin, who leads the U.S. military’s Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday there are only four or five Syrian fighters left out of 54 who were trained as part of a [$500 million] U.S. program.
Another 100-120 fighters will be trained in the program’s three remaining classes, NBC News reported Wednesday.
Obama said in September that assisting Syrian rebels was “the best counterweight” for combating the Sunni radical terror group’s control over large swathes of Iraq and Syria, NBC reported.
I can't make this stuff up. This general even admits he doesn't know whether it's four or whether its five "Syrian" fighters. Whatever happened to $60 hammers and $600 toilets or whatever it was. Don't even talk to me about rent seekers in corporate America.

A Note For The Granddaughters 

Last night driving home from water polo practice, I happened to mention something to our oldest granddaughter about irony. She said, coincidentally, they had been studying the difference between irony and coincidence in school earlier that day.

I was blown away when she said that she particularly enjoyed "dramatic irony." She said she loved seeing "dramatic irony" in the books that she read; she said she would like to reach out and slap some of those characters when they were completely clueless.

I thought it ironic that I just wrote about irony a few weeks ago. Except if I told our granddaughter that, she would correct that: it was a coincidence, not irony.

Initial Jobless Claims Plunge 11,000 -- September 17, 2015

From ycharts:
US Initial Jobless Claims is at a current level of 264,000, a decrease of 11,000 or 4.00% from last week. This is a decrease of 52,000 or 16.46% from last year and is lower than the long term average of 360770.
Reuters reports:
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 264,000 for the week ended September 12, 2015. That was the lowest reading since the week ended July 18.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims holding at 275,000 last week.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 3,250 to 272,500 last week.
The number seems a bit fishy, but it is what it is. Futures are down slightly.  

Poll: will the Fed "raise the rate" today? Yes/no? Update: the rate was left unchanged!

Poll results:
  • the Fed will raise rates: 33%
  • the Fed will NOT raise rates: 67%
A pretty smart group of readers. I was neutral; had no idea, but leaned ever so slightly to "would not raise rates."

Notes From New York

The Huffington Post reports:
The New York Times reported Wednesday night that Gabay is dead.
An aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was shot in the head before a Labor Day parade in Brooklyn. Carey Gabay, 43, first deputy counsel in the Empire State Development Corporation, was declared brain dead on Tuesday and had been in critical condition since getting caught in the crossfire of alleged gang violence on Sept. 7, hours before the start of the massive West Indian Day Parade. Gabay was struck by a single bullet. 
The son of Jamaican immigrants who grew up in Bronx public housing, Gabay got a law degree at Harvard and joined Cuomo's administration in 2011 as an assistant counsel in the governor's office before moving to the ESDC, a development agency.

Active Rigs In North Dakota Flriting With New Post-Boom Lows -- September 17, 2015

Active rigs:

Active Rigs69198180196199

RBN Energy: propane, part IV.
Surging domestic propane production in PADD 1 (East Coast) and PADD 2 (Mid-Continent) over the past four years is unlikely to result in an increase in traditional consumer propane demand in those regions, even with today’s lower overall domestic propane prices.  Most propane use in those markets is from the residential and commercial sectors, and that demand has been in a slow, steady decline for years due to competition from electricity and natural gas, efficiency improvements and the general population shift to warmer states.   In fact, the only sector of the U.S. market expected to see an increase in propane demand in the next few years is for its use as a feedstock to produce petrochemicals.  Most petrochemical demand has traditionally been centered at the Gulf Coast but is projected to expand on the East Coast as well. Today we detail current and projected propane demand.
This blog and others in the series are based on an analysis recently completed by RBN for the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC).  PERC engaged RBN to assess market developments that could impact the prospects of disruptions similar to the one that occurred in the Perfect Storm winter of 2013-14, and to suggest actions that could alleviate the risk of such market turmoil.  The project was completed in August and with the permission of PERC, this blog series summarizes some of RBN’s analysis and conclusions.
This is the fourth episode in the series. Episode 1 provided an overview and introduction to the analysis – beginning with the dramatic increase in propane production over the past 7 years. Total U.S. propane output has increased by 75% from an average of 0.8 MMb/d in 2008 to 1.4 MMb/d during the 1st half of 2015. Most of that growth has been driven by production from gas processing plants that has more than doubled from 0.5 MMb/d in 2008 to 1.1 MMb/d in 2015. The overall growth in propane has outpaced domestic demand such that as much as 50% of the total is now exported to balance the market – even as inventories are at all time high levels. RBN’s analysis for PERC sought to understand changes to the propane market since the disruptive winter of 2013-14 as well as how susceptible today’s market is to similar events and what actions should be taken to reduce the risk of it happening again. Our approach to the analysis involved developing a monthly model of U.S. propane supply, demand, logistics and pricing at the PADD (Petroleum Administration District for Defense) level using historic propane market data. In Episode 2 we outlined supply and demand scenarios for the model based on oil price Growth and Contraction as well as Normal and Severe weather patterns. Episode 3 took a closer look at propane production by PADD region – noting the dramatic growth in the Northeast as well as the Mid-Continet. This time we look at historic and future propane demand by PADD region.