Thursday, October 6, 2016

Dead Man's Hand Poker Tournament Returns To Williston, North Dakota -- October 6, 2016

Quick! What is the "dead man's hand" in poker?

Two pair, black aces and black eights; and, an unknown "hole" card.

Now why would I bring that up, other than the fact I was in Deadwood, SD, last week?

Because .... drum roll... Dead Man's Hand Poker Tournament returns to Williston "Boomtown" North Dakota on October 15, 2016, for two days at the Grand Williston Hotel.

For those who enter the tournament and don't make it to the final table, there are plenty of alternative things to do in "Boomtown."

Just saying.

Yes, this little "hole in the wall" was what made Williston famous during the boom. Or infamous.

And Then They Wonder Why There Are No Jobs -- And The Economy Is Doing So Poorly -- October 6, 2016

Shell halts plans for a CBR off-loading terminal that would have brought Bakken oil to Washington state refineries. Smart decision. The Bakken needs to look:
  • in-state;
  • south to Cushing; but,
  • mostly in-state for growth opportunities.
I'm not holding my breath for the $4 billion Badlands NGLs project but that's what I'm thinking about, as well as fertilizer plants.

Flute and Recorder Practice

One is in Honors Band; one thinks she is in jazz band.

Tennessee -- Ground Zero For ObamaCare Implosion; The War-Time, Nobel Prize-Winning President -- October 6, 2016


October 12, 2016: wow, this is quite a story. Remember, Minnesota was the most visible among states jumping on the ObamaCare bandwagon. Governor Dayton loved ObamaCare. Now, not so much. Governor Dayton: Affordable Care is no longer affordable Geico Rock 2016 award nominee. Even if he does not win "best in show," he will most likely win the honorary award.
Minnesota’s Democratic governor said Wednesday that the Affordable Care Act is “no longer affordable” for many, a stinging critique from a state leader who strongly embraced the law and proudly proclaimed health reform was working in Minnesota just a few years ago.
Gov. Mark Dayton made the comments while addressing questions about Minnesota’s fragile health insurance market, where individual plans are facing double-digit increases after all insurers threatened to exit the market entirely in 2017. He’s the only Democratic governor to publicly suggest the law isn’t working as intended.
Dayton’s comments follow former President Bill Clinton’s saying last week that the law was “the craziest thing in the world” before he backtracked.
“The reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for increasing numbers of people,” Dayton said, calling on Congress to fix the law to address rising costs and market stability.
Much more at the link.
Original Post
I've seen numerous stories along the same line, but this may be one even folks in Hillary's camp can understand. In the WSJ today, an op-ed on page A15 -- ObamaCare's meltdown has arrived. Not linked; easy to google.

Helloooooo! Knock-knock, knock-knock. Hellooooo! Anyone home? Two new nominees for the Geico Rock Award 2016: Andrew Ogles, Tennessee state director, and Luke Hilgemann, CEO of Americans for Prosperity. The implosion began two years ago. I guess the folks at ground zero are now just climbing out of the rubble and writing about it. Wow.

The lede:
Tennessee is ground zero for ObamaCare's nationwide implosion. Late last month the state insurance commissioner approved premium increases of up to 62% in a bid to save the exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act.

"I would characterize the exchange market in Tennessee as very near collapse," the Tennessee insurance commissioner said.
Very. Near. Collapse.
Then last week BlueCross/BlueShield of Tennessee announced it would leave Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville.

BC/BS said they had experienced losses approaching $500 million over the course of three years on ACA plans. This is unsustainable.
And it just gets worse from there. I don't think I will even link the article. As noted earlier, only the folks climbing out of the ObamaCare rubble are learning about this for the first time.

The War Time President

This is a link to an AP story. The bottom line: President Obama would not be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize at this time.

AP tried to spin the story, suggesting that not everything Obama has done has been "bad." For example, "He is the commander-in-chief who pulled more than a hundred thousand U.S. troops out of harm's way in Iraq, ...." except that Obama's self-planned vacuum resulted in, everyone agrees, with the rise of ISIS. In response to  this "JV team," according to the AP, President Obama "also began a slow trickle of US soldiers back in." Incredibly bad policy to begin with, losing a war that had been won, and then, a response that was way to late, way to weak. (We won't even talk about Syria; and, of course, there are now pundits in Russia  who suggest a nuclear war between the US and Russia is closer than ever.)

I did not read the whole story, so I may have missed it, but it appears that the AP failed to note that President Obama is the first US president in history to have been at war the entire time he was president: and he was president for two full terms (assuming he doesn't find a constitutional loophole or create a constitutional crisis to extend his presidency, and his wars, which is not beyond the pale, if Trump has more electoral votes than Hillary at 11:00 p.m. Central Time, election night).

Enquiring Minds Want To Know -- October 6, 2016


November 29, 2016: funny how things worked out. A reader noted that "there are so many other polls that show similar or different results" when I persisted in showing one of the very few (almost the only poll) that showed Trump defeating Hillary. Interesting, huh? The ABC poll that showed Hillary 15 points ahead, which was the outlier of all such polls, was later shown to be a "manipulated" poll. 

Original Post
A reader asked earlier today (via a comment that I did not post because it was not in accordance with contractual guidelines) why I only link and only display the USC-Los Angeles Times presidential poll -- the poll is linked at the top of the sidebar at the right -- when there are so many other polls that show different results.

Yes, there are a gazillion polls to choose from. It's my understanding that the Rasmussen poll may be the most reliable and the most quoted. I don't think "anyone" quotes the USC-LA Times poll.

I never planned on posting a presidential poll at all. I'm not sure what made me decide to post any presidential poll at all, but the decision was made when I saw the poll for the first time. It had been linked by the Drudge Report, and Drudge continues to link it once in awhile, maybe every 7 to 10 days.

These are the reasons I started posting this particular poll, once I decided to post a poll, pretty much in order of importance:
  • the Los Angeles Times is the most liberal national newspaper in the United States; it is much more liberal than The New York Times; when the Drudge Report linked an LA Times poll -- now that is a story in itself
  • USC is my alma mater (not particularly important; coincidental, but may be important in my subconscious; I don't know) 
  • the poll is very, very easy to "read"; even middle school students should be able to read it
  • the poll is not a single snapshot in time; the entire timeline is shown
  • the survey is "re-taken" every day (I assume there are other pollsters who do this on a daily basis with no change in polling technique)
  • every morning when I get up, I know that poll will be there, like clockwork, and the polling question, methods, etc., will have not changed -- sort of like the "McDonald's" of polling
Yes, the reader is correct, if I infer correctly why he asked the question, and I'm sure I did infer correctly. If the results showed from day one a 20-point difference between Hillary and Trump, with Hillary in the lead, and the delta never changing ("why am I not 50 points ahead?"), I doubt know I wouldn't be posting the poll, much less even looking at it.

What makes the poll interesting to me is that it is simply not what I would expect from the Los Angeles Times. In fact, it turns out others are asking the same question, and the Times had to explain in an article today why they continue to post the poll.

I am truly curious to see if the Los Angeles Times continues to post the poll through the end of October.

I am also curious to see if the USC-Los Angeles Times poll turns out to reflect the actual results on election day.

So, I guess the bottom line for posting this particular poll is because it was absolutely not what I expected in the LA Times. Now I'm curious to see how it plays out.

And I probably won't post it if near the end it consistently shows Hillary ahead of Trump. That's like writing a story about a dog that bites a man. Hardly newsworthy. Or interesting. (Later: that's a pretty good analogy -- about a dog biting a man -- LOL.)

Note: this post may be edited in the future to add some things I had not thought of while writing this iteration. I won't delete anything, but there may be more to add. I think the reader had a very, very interesting question. Sometimes I don't even know why I post something. I once had a professor tell me that if you can't put something in writing, you don't understand the issue.

If You Go Away, Dusty Springfield



October 7, 2016: a reader sent me this article on brisket in the WSJ which appeared about 18 months ago. Very, very interesting. After all my years in Los Angeles, I never connected brisket with corned beef. 
Original Post
I thought that was a good song to listen to while posting this note.

I had a religious experience earlier this evening. If you do not see the Bakken blog tomorrow morning, you will know what happened. Well, you may not know exactly what happened but if anyone asks you what happened to "the Bakken blog" -- just say, "I don't know, he simply went away after some religious experience."

It started two nights ago. The neighborhood had a "neighborhood nite out" party, sort of like #BlackLivesMatter but maybe better hashed with #TexasLivesMatter.

This was the first neighborhood party I've attended after living her three years.

Speaking of hash, I was sorely disappointed with the food and drink. I was disappointed in how the chairs and tables were arranged. I said to myself, I am going to make sure this doesn't happen again at the next neighborhood party.

The big disappointment was food. No Texas barbecue. You have got to be kidding. No Texas barbecue at a Texas neighborhood party. Also, no music, but that's a different story altogether. I guess I will have to put together a CD for the next neighborhood party of hire our oldest granddaughter to be the DJ.

But no Texas barbecue. I have never made brisket before (or pulled pork for that matter). It was time to learn.

I went to Albertson's down the street and talked to my favorite fishmonger / butcher. I told her I had not made brisket before but was going to learn today. That was 9:30 a.m. this morning after getting the oil changed in my Honda.

I asked her what "brand" brisket was best. She said Albertson's only carried one brand. We walked over to the brisket, and then she saw the tri-tip and suggested maybe I wanted to try tri-tip. She called the apprentice butcher over to get his opinion. He said he was from "Jersey" and had been in Texas only three weeks; he said they don't make much Texas bbq/brisket in "Jersey." After a bit more discussion, we all decided to use brisket and not the tri-tip.

I got the other ingredients and slow-cooked the brisket for six hours. Tonight, at 7:30 p.m. Central Time my wife and I had the brisket. That's when I had the religious experience. I'm not sure my wife had the same experience but she said it was the best brisket she had ever had. She suggested a bit of "liquid smoke" next time. She added a bit of Jack Daniels Original No. 7 Recipe Barbecue Sauce and wow, it was heavenly. I had never tried that barbecue sauce before; my wife must use it as a secret ingredient in something of which I am unaware.

So, now I've got that part down, the brisket. Later, maybe next week, we move to beef ribs.

For those who want to learn how to do brisket, start with this video, then do some recipe searching, and pick the recipe you want. But the video below is 95% of everything you need to know. In the video, he suggests an hour for every pound of brisket. I did six hours for 3 1/2 pounds of brisket in a slow cooker because we are not allowed bbq grills as such in the apartment complex.


Photographing dark meat doesn't come out real well, but it is what it is.

The first photo: the ingredients. Note the garlic. Six cloves is what 3 1/2 pounds of brisket calls for. By the way, for the record, the 3 1/2 pounds of brisket was marked $22 and change. For some unknown reason, the cashier took $5.00 off at the cash register. Maybe it was on sale. I don't know.

The second photo: I needed a grill and a skillet to caramelize all the onions. You have no idea how much I love this kitchen. A few details to flesh out, but it's exactly what I want in a kitchen. The most important thing: everything -- literally everything is in arm's reach. But yet it seems to have a "big kitchen" feel.

The third photo: after 6 1/2 hours: the jus and onions to the left; the brisket to the right.

The fourth photo: jus on toast as an appetizer -- until my wife came home an hour later. I did not want to have this religious experience without sharing it with my wife. Under foil, the brisket stayed hot for another full hour after coming out of the slow cooker.

The fifth photo: a sampling of how the "pulled brisket" looked to the right.

And the surprise from my wife:

The Utica And The Marcellus Continue to Defy Skeptics -- October 6, 2016


October 7, 2016: from the comments below, brought up here so it can be googled --
In addition to the Marcellus (Pennsylvania) and the Utica (Ohio), there are the Upper Devonian formations that hardly anyone even knows about (three times as thick as the Marcellus Shale; does not overlie the entire Marcellus; situated in western New York [where fracking is banned]; western Pennsylvania [the rich get richer]; northeast Pennsylvania; western West Virginia, eastern Ohio; and, eastern Kentucky).
The report last year from Wrightstone Energy, claimed 100 trillion cubic feet recoverable from the UD based on 85 wells' production (total drilled up to that point).
Last several months, there have been dozens of wells turned online targeting the Genesee, Middlesex and Burket formations with output WAY higher than the earlier Wrightstone samples.
I will begin tracking the Upper Devonian at this site.

Original Post
This is an incredible article. A reader reminds me often that as big as the Marcellus is and as "famous" as the Marcellus is, the Utica is much bigger. In other words, "we haven't seen anything yet."

Think about that when you read this article from Forbes (a big thank you from a reader for sending me this link).

The "title" of the article: the Utica and Marcellus continue to defy skeptics.

In other words, this article is not about how big the Utica and the Marcellus are. This article is how the Utica and the Marcellus have defied skeptics, continue to defy skeptics, and will continue to defy skeptics.

The same could be said for the Bakken.

There are two threads in this article: a) how big the Utica and the Marcellus are; and, b) how fast things are changing, confounding skeptics.

The two threads may be tangled. But here goes:
  • Utica: Ohio
  • Marcellus: Pennsylvania
  • together they have provided 85 - 90% of US shale production growth since the start of 2012: the ongoing drilling efficiency is a key driver (the operational words are "ongoing"; and "a" -- meaning that drilling efficiency is only part of the story -- remember Hillary wants to shut this success story down -- and we haven't exhausted that drilling efficiency)
  • shale business continues to evolve: rig mobility, multi-pad drilling, deeper holes, DUCs, 
  • no sign that these giant plays in the Northeast are slowing down (assuming Hillary doesn't shut them down)
  • we could see pipeline additions of 18 billion cubic feet/day -- assuming the Native Americans don't have sacred burial grounds across the entire US
  • interestingly, despite all that, there is still upward pressure on prices due to demand for power generation, industrial use, and, export
Now this from David Hughes, a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, 2014:
There may be small, incremental further gains…but I think the biggest gains have already been had…I think the Marcellus is getting pretty close to the peak in [total] production…I wouldn’t be surprised to see a peak in the Marcellus this year, maybe next year (2015) at the latest."
So, how did David's prognostication turn out? Well, I certainly wouldn't hire him as my fossil fuel consultant. I wonder where David is these days? Working for Hillary? Working for Soros?
  • Marcellus gas production has jumped 15% since 2014
  • the Marcellus play will produce nearly 18 Bcf/day this month
  • this is more gas than any other nations in the universe produces, except for Russia or the US as a whole
And there is more:
  • Ohio now has about 10 Tcf of proven gas, a ten-fold increase since 2009
  • Pennsylvania has over 70 Tcf, a doubling since 2012 alone
  • "not even our very best experts at the USGS can keep up"
  • the Utica and the Marcellus: basis of some 800 Tcf that can be produced at a break-even price of $3/MMBtu or less
  • these plays are why the EIA projects that total US natural gas production will boom nearly 25% by 2025 alone to 96 Bcf/day --" a colossal 85% surge since 2005 when Exxon CEO Lee Raymond infamously declared that our gas production has peaked."
  • US gas production has increased every single year since 2006
Much more at the linked article. 

By the way, maybe regular readers remember this article from The New York Times back in 2011.
Link here. (Update, August 30, 2015: this is so interesting. The NY Times has removed this article.)

Natural gas companies have been placing enormous bets on the wells they are drilling, saying they will deliver big profits and provide a vast new source of energy for the United States. 
But the gas may not be as easy and cheap to extract from shale formations deep underground as the companies are saying, according to hundreds of industry e-mails and internal documents and an analysis of data from thousands of wells.

In the e-mails, energy executives, industry lawyers, state geologists and market analysts voice skepticism about lofty forecasts and question whether companies are intentionally, and even illegally, overstating the productivity of their wells and the size of their reserves. Many of these e-mails also suggest a view that is in stark contrast to more bullish public comments made by the industry, in much the same way that insiders have raised doubts about previous financial bubbles.

“Money is pouring in” from investors even though shale gas is “inherently unprofitable,” an analyst from PNC Wealth Management, an investment company, wrote to a contractor in a February e-mail. “Reminds you of dot-coms.”
Amazing, huh?

The Next Story To Come Out Of The Bakken -- DUCs Won't Be Completed -- October 6, 2016

Active rigs:

Active Rigs3367191183190

Wells coming off confidential list Friday:
  • 31121, 1,374, Oasis, Hysted 5200 12-30 10B, Camp, 36 stages, 20 million lbs, t4/16; cum 67K 8/16;
  • 32320, 583, EOG, EN-Freda-154-94-2635H-8, Alkali Creek, 50 stages, 3.5 million lbs, t9/16; cum 4K over first 5 days;
Four new permits:
  • Operator: XTO
  • Field: Lost Bridge (Dunn)
  • Comments: permits for a 4-well pad in SESE 5-148-96; unless I'm reading this wrong, the four wells will be in almost exactly the same location as the five wells permitted yesterday by XTO;  these will be Deep Creek Federal 44 wells; 
No DUCs reported as completed; I don't see how the 900+ DUCs can be completed within two years; granted, they are not all coming due at the same time, or even the same year, but DUCs started appearing in 4Q14, and we are now in the 4Q16, and I just haven't seen that many DUCs completed; I don't track actual numbers (I tried, but just too difficult/time consuming) but there are days and days when no DUCs are reported as being completed, and when DUCs do get reported, it is generally less than a handful (less than three or four); meanwhile, they keep drilling as fast as ever. It is interesting that both wells coming off confidential list tomorrow do seem that they will be completed, and not go to DUC status.


31121, see above, Oasis, Hysted 5200 12-30 10B, Camp:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold


Staggering -- October 6, 2016

Staggering. If you don't agree, you aren't paying attention. From today's oil patch update by Richard Zeits.

OMG -- Now, It's Contrails -- The UN Acts -- October 6, 2016

UN reaches airline climate deal because, OMG --- we just noted those contrails over London!
The deal: the airlines transfer profits to third world countries through UN diplomats. We'll start with 2%. No audits, please.

McDonald's Struggling

I probably know McDonald's as well as anyone. I grew up with McDonald's. My first visit to a McDonald's was in Rapid City when I was about eight years old, I suppose. Dad took mom and five kids to the Black Hills for our annual summer vacation. We were thrilled to stop at McDonald's. I think hamburgers were 25 cents; French fries maybe a nickel, but more likely 25 cents, also. I can't rember. All I know is dad had a very limited budget but he told us we could have as many hamburgers an d as many sides of fries as we wanted. We ate outside the car; maybe a station wagon with the tail gate down. I can't remember, but I know we did not eat inside. We ran back and forth and bought hamburgers and french fries and ran back to the car.

The WSJ has an article today -- that McDonald's is struggling

 I think we all have our opinions on why McDonald's is struggling, if indeed they are struggling. I assume they are. There's a lot of competition out there.

It appears to me that folks no longer go to McDonald's to enjoy the social aspect of dining. For adults, going to McDonald's, it is entirely utilitarian -- to re-fuel with the least expensive "grade of fuel" available.

There are exceptions: in fly-over country, in the very, very small towns in Nebraska and Kansas, the geriatric crowd meet at McDonald's for lunch and to socialize.

But in cities of 30,000 or more where there are many options, McDonald's seems to be for blue collar workers simply to re-fuel. Families, college students, the demographics McDonald's is competing for, go elsewhere.

I think much of this has to do with the ambience/atmosphere/dining experience, and I don't know how McDonald's can change that or change the impression. There was an article yesterday that suggested Chick-fil-A was thriving because its staff has been taught three words. I didn't read the article, but I can guess what the three words were.

CNBC had a story on Chick-fil-A along these same lines. The NY Post had a similar story: words that are banned by his employees and the following admonition:
“You will speak properly when you walk through these doors,” he wrote. “You are a professional so speak professionally.”
I have run into some very, very nice people working at McDonald's. But generally speaking, it seems McDonald's is the farm team for the US restaurant sector. McDonald's is where the herd is culled. The employees that rise to the top go elsewhere. It seems McDonald's is very, very generous in hiring practices, but the training is lacking, or the standards are not maintained for some reason.

In variably, when I walk into a McDonald's that is quiet, the manager or assistant manager says "welcome to McDonald's." But then when I step up to the counter, it's not unusual to be greeted by a teenager that speaks a slightly different language than I do and seems more interested in getting back to his or her socializing with another worker before I came and interrupted things. 

For whatever reason McDonald's also seems to attract the folks families generally don't want to hang out with -- again, the geriatric crowd without a home who come to the restaurant to sober up or sleep. I think that's wonderful that McDonald's is so gracious (for lack of a better word) but the practice drives families from returning. I had such an encounter decades ago at a McDonald's in St Louis when I was with our two daughters, both under the age of eight, waiting to catch a flight back to Germany where I was stationed. It was late, and a "down-and-out" was fast asleep at a table in the corner. with a half-cup of coffee in front of him. Our daughters asked me why he was sleeping in the restaurant. I don't know if McDonald's has changed their attitudes about such behavior -- I have not been in an urban city McDonald's in ages.

But that's lingering perception. And now I go to McDonald's when I'm a) traveling alone; b) need wi-fi; c) need an inexpensive meal to re-fuel; and, d) get in and get out as quickly as possible.

As I write this and review it, I feel I might be too harsh on McDonald's. But no matter how I sugar-coat it, McDonald's is just not the place I would take Sophia, our two-year-old granddaughter or her older sisters. That is so different than when I was growing up when going to McDonald's was a huge, huge treat.

Fracking In The Bakken -- Signs Of Life? October 6, 2016

This may not mean a thing, but over the past couple of days, I've seen Hess report wells being completed without going to DUC status. There's a slight hint that operators may be starting to frack again in the Bakken. As it stands, I do not see there is any way that operators can get all their DUCs fracked before the "statute of limitations" run out -- two years to get a well completed now in the Bakken is the rule, rather than the one-year rule that was in place for decades.

When I was back in the Bakken there was a new fracking company: Liberty Frac, headquartered out of Denver (previously reported). They bought Sanjel (bankrupt). Liberty Frac had five frack spreads in North Dakota/Montana but were in the process of moving three of those teams to the Permian, leaving two in the Bakken.

Stroh Wells Have Been Updated

Link here.  The update shows the cumulative production of these wells as of 8/16, and reflects the transfer of the OXY USA wells to Lime Rock Resources.

Notes to the Granddaughters 

This is so cool. Two days ago, I learned yesterday, Arianna's teacher asked the students if they knew whether koalas preferred chocolate or fruit, generally speaking? Arianna, age 13, did not understand the question. Then her teacher wrote it on the board, and immediately Arianna recognized it as a mnemnic for taxonomic classification. I was so incredibly impressed.

She said another student then recognized the mnemonic, but Arianna was first. I was so incredibly proud and impressed.

Years ago, probably when Arianna was in second grade -- at least that's when she said she learned a mnemonic from me, she told the teacher -- she and I worked out our own mnemonic. She was really, really involved in girl scouts in Boston at the time, and this was the mnemonic we had come up with on our own: King Phillip carried off funny girl scouts. I had forgotten the "D" -- domain, but that could easily be added, "Did King Phillip carry off funny girl scouts?"

But one gets the point.

Arianna and Ian were on their way to water polo and I was driving them. I asked them if they knew the three domains and they did: archaebacteria, bacteria, and eukaryota. I guess "archaebacteria" is already outdated, and the proper term is Archaea.

They also knew that there are six kingdoms of life: two of the kingdoms are prokaryotes (aracheae and bacteria) and four are eukaryotes (protista, fungi, animalia, and plantae). That's where we stopped. Ian was laughing; he said researchers had discovered a seventh kingdom but one year later that kingdom was "gone." That kingdom, he laughed, didn't last a year. I said that was like Pluto, once a planet, but then not a planet. He explained to me why that analogy did not work. Whatever. LOL.

I then asked if they knew the organelle in animal cells that provided energy for the cell? They knew it was the mitochondria and they knew the energy organelle in plants: chloroplasts. They knew about "iron" in animal cells but I was finally able to introduce them to something they did not know:that the "counterpart" in plants cells to "iron" was "magnesium."

To which Ian said that "made sense," that it was "iron" in animal cells and "magnesium" in plant cells. I did not know why that "made sense," but it was clear I was dealing with a 13-year-old who was smarter than I and decided it was best to let Ian and Arianna go back to discussing whatever they were discussing.

I went back to Sophia, who was in the car seat behind me, and have her point out the red lights and the green lights at intersections -- something she just started doing this past week.  I am still able to keep up with Sophia, but I think Arianna and Ian, age 13, are now beyond what I can impart to them. LOL.

An Incredibly Great Jobs Report -- 83 Straight Weeks Of Great Labor Reports -- Unprecedented -- Bloomberg -- October 6, 2016

Wow, wow, wow. Starbucks is incredibly busy at 8:03 a.m. Central Time here in north Texas, Grapevine. I haven't been in a Starbucks in ages. I vowed never to go again when they announced price increases some months ago, but then visited once in awhile, and then quit altogether. Until today. But that's because this Starbucks is about a block down the street from Firestone where the Honda Civic is getting an oil change and an inspection after the 3,000-mile road trip to the Bakken and back. The only place I have our cars serviced any more is Firestone. Their prices are actually competitive with Jiffy Lube. Their service centers are "connected" nationwide so they have all maintenance data on all our vehicles. Perhaps the most important piece of data, for those owning automobiles "forever," is a documented history of transmission fluid changes. Without documentatin, most automobile service centers are hesitant to change the transmission fluid when the odometer shows greater than 100,000 miles.

By the way, speaking of Starbucks. Does anyone know Starbucks' policy on bathrooms? Has anyone read an article laying out the CEO's thoughts on Starbucks' bathrooms. I assume the articles and the policy is out there but I have not seen it. But Starbucks solved the problem, quietly and efficiently. Every Starbucks has two bathrooms. One used to be labeled "women" or something to that effect, and the other was labeled "men" or something to that effect. But at this Starbucks, and I assume all Starbucks, they simply removed those signs and put up two identical signs, one for each bathroom: wheelchair, women, men, LGBT, and BLT. 

The weeks "jobs" report is out, or will be out shortly. Dow futures are down a bit (- 21 points) and WTI starts the day at $50.20. And some said, as recently as three days ago, that we wouldn't see $50-oil until next year (2017).

Bloomberg's headline: "US oil rises above $50 a barrel for first time since June." I assume we will see another story before the week is out from Goldman Sachs telling us that this is temporary, and once Iran, Libya, Iran, and Switzerland start ramping up oil production, the price of oil will trend toward $20 again.

I haven't read the story yet, but the headline is interesting. Over at Oilprice: the OPEC "deal" represents a permanent shift in oil markets. I don't think anything is permanent but I do think there has been a huge shift in oil markets. But that shift came in 2010 when the Bakken was reaching its stride. Folks who were paying attention knew that the shift was real by 2014 just before the Saudi Surge. The only difference now is that "everyone" agrees there has been a shift. It took several years for it to sink in for some folks, I assume. Regardless of what governments, regulators, and Native Americans do to stop the oil industry, the good news is that the oil isn't going anywhere, and our grandchildren will always have access to affordable, plentiful, dependable energy if enough people want that.

From the Oilprice article:
None of that matters much though. The more significant point about the OPEC agreement that investors may be missing is the sign of shifting attitudes that it portends. An agreement between two foes as intractable as the Saudis and Iran suggests that OPEC has finally accepted an important reality – they cannot turn back time. While U.S. unconventional production has been curtailed, only a fool would believe it has been hobbled permanently. As oil prices start to rise, U.S. production will likely rise as well.
OPEC seems to have finally accepted the fact that they are not as strong as they once were, and that the market forces behind unconventional production in the U.S., Canada, and abroad are not as weak as OPEC had supposed. While a few U.S. firms have been bankrupted by the last few years, those bankruptcies have only served to strengthen top tier players in the space like Devon and Continental.
The Fiscal Times on Obama's attitude toward Americans and health care: "let them eat bread." This is the actual headline over at Yahoo!Finance: White House to Americans: pay astronomical deductibles -- or else. Yup.

I see GE has won a huge data contract with the largest public US energy utility. This may be a great example of the internet of things.

Okay, here's the jobs report: filings for US unemployment benefits fell last week to the second-lowest level since 1973. First time jobless claims dropped by 5,000 to 249,000. The forecast was 256,000. Filings were "just a hair" above the four-decade low of 248,000 from April, "a sign of minimal layoffs ahead of Friday's monthly employment report." It will be interesting to see the analysis of the most recent data. Four-week moving average: 253,500, the lowest since December 1973, from 256,000 in the prior week. This report is chock full (chockful?) of great news: "filings have been below 300,000 for 83 straight weeks -- the longest streak since 1970 and a level economists say is typical of a healthy labor market." No wonder Hillary asks why she isn't 50 points ahead of Trump, which, of course, makes no sense. 

Lego's Disney Castle "Temporarily Out Of Stock" -- October 6, 2016

First things first: yesterday I noted that Lego's Disney Castle was once again available after being "temporarily out of stock" for quite some time. I have a link to the Disney Castle at the sidebar at the right. I was able to purchase a Disney Castle (there is a limit of two). At 3:30 p.m. my daughter in Portland tells me the castle was still available, but at 9:30 p.m. last night the castle was again "temporarily out of stock." These $350 castles are being flipped over at eBay for about twice that amount according to my daughter; I never check.

First things first: also linked at the sidebar at the right, the daily USC-LA Times presidential poll.

The world's largest retailer is now on track to double the number of giant warehouses dedicated to online sales to 10 by the end of 2016, according to Justen Traweek, vice-president of e-commerce supply chain and fulfillment.
That pace is faster than the 8 large warehouses that industry consultants expected Wal-Mart to build by the end of 2017.
Back To The Bakken

Active rigs:

Active Rigs3267191183190

RBN Energy: update on liquefaction/LNG export projects in the US.
The “first wave” of liquefaction/LNG export projects in the U.S. is cresting. Two new liquefaction trains in Louisiana are already producing liquefied natural gas, and a dozen other trains are under construction and scheduled to begin commercial operation in the Lower 48 over the next three years. The problem is, these multibillion-dollar facilities––planned when LNG market dynamics were much more favorable––are “rolling in” as the global market faces a supply glut, weak LNG demand growth, and low prices. Today, we begin a series on the next round of U.S. LNG projects and how soon market conditions might improve enough to justify building them.
In the early 2000s––not that long ago, really––U.S. natural gas production was on the decline, and midstream companies were preparing for an onslaught of LNG imports from Qatar and other leading producers by building new LNG import terminals, many of them along the Gulf Coast. In 2005, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated that by 2015 the U.S. would be importing the LNG equivalent of nearly 12 Bcf/d, and that by 2025 the nation would be importing LNG volumes equal to nearly 18 Bcf/d.
Zeits on the Marcellus with a great graph on the Bakken. Another excellent article. I think the best part was the Bakken graph. Old wells produced 100,000 bbls in the first year. New wells, defined as 2014 or newer, were nearing 300,000 bbls even as costs to complete a well were coming down.

Filloon with a Bakken update: overview of well economics in the Permian. It should be noted that every play in Texas, with a few exceptions, has a break-even price of $50. Just saying.