Thursday, October 27, 2016

Nothing To Do With The Bakken; One Company With Many Competitors Loses $1 Billion In One Quarter, Shares Up 5%; Another Company With No Real Competitors Reports Earnings Up More Than 200%, Shares Down 6% -- October 27, 2016

Reading headlines can get folks into trouble.

I scanned half a dozen business stories on COP's 3Q16 earnings. There was so much minutiae I guess I missed the part about COP losing a billion -- that's with a "B" -- dollars. At least I think that's what I read. Oh, yes, there it is -- buried in the sixth paragraph over at The Wall Street Journal. I don't know about you, but a loss of $1 billion in one quarter seems a bit extreme, especially when other integrated oil companies are expected to report nice (by comparison), albeit, lower profits.

COP may not be considered an integrated any more, but that's beside the point. 

One would expect COP shares to plummet after that news.

In fact, after announcing to the world that it lost $1 billion in one quarter, COP shares "popped" (as they say on Wall Street) over 5%.

Now, jump over to Amazon, providing a service that really, when you get down to brass tacks, no other company does, or certainly no one does nearly as well. Compare that to COP in which there must be no less than a dozen major competitors all doing the same thing, and a gazillion lessor competitors doing similar things, like crude oil and natural gas exploration and production.

But back to Amazon. The first headline I saw (it was the first headline I saw because I wasn't looking for Amazon stories) said (this was over at Drudge): "Bezos Bomb ... Amazon Miss ... "

Wow, that Drudge "headline" and a scary photo of Jeff Bezos suggested that perhaps Amazon had just gone belly up. So, over to the linked article, over at Financial Times. Did Amazon lose $1 billion this quarter? Did Amazon lose $2 billion this quarter? Based on what Drudge implied or what I inferred I thought the worst: Amazon lost a gazillion billion rubles this quarter.

But no: 
  • Amazon reported earnings that were up more than 200% from the same period last year.
  • Net income was $252 million. That's a "positive" (in the green) income. Not a loss. Not a billion-dollar loss. Not a two-billion-dollar loss. 
  • Revenue from Amazon Web Services soared (their word, not mine) 55%, the biggest year-on-year leap in sales, as prices came down and AWS rolled out new features. 
  • Operating margin at AWS increased to almost 32%.
But it gets better.
  • Amazon forecasts as much as a 27% increase in holiday sales this year, compared to last year, which I assume was a record then. 
  • Amazon expects operating income as high as $1.3 billion in 4Q16 compared with $1.1 billion in 4Q15. 
And it still gets better: Amazon's operating cash flow increased almost 50% for the 12 months ended September, and free cash increased to almost $10 billion. 

COP lost $1 billion this past quarter. It shares "popped" more than 5%.

Amazon's shares: plunged 6% in after-hours trading.

Now why did Amazon have such a bad quarter in which earnings were up 200% and its web services soared 55% and so on? Because it was spending record amounts on building the company to exceed customers' expectations:
  • Amazon opened 18 fulfilment centers during this quarter, the biggest growth in its network since 2012;
  • and, a whole bunch of other stuff; but,
  • you get the point.
Why did COP lose a billion dollars this quarter? Because oil is selling for about $49.

The good news: oil might hit $50 by next year.

Nothing To Do With The Bakken -- October 27, 2016

At National Review, our neutron bomb election.

I was sent the link to this review by several readers.

Many, many comments.

1. The writer of this editorial a) either did not know any of this before she wrote the editorial; or, b) she did know this.

Either she did or she didn't.

If she did not know of any of this before WikiLeaks, she is, hands-down, no question, the winner of the Geico Rock Award for 2016. I can think of only one other past winner who has said something more incomprehensible: "We cannot simply drill our way to low gasoline prices."

If she did know this before WikiLeaks, one has to ask why she waited until the week or two before the election to write it. (Not that it would have made any difference.) But did it require WikiLeaks for this writer of this editorial to learn about the following four items cited in this editorial?
  • CNN vice president Virginia Moseley is married to Hillary Clinton’s former deputy secretary at the State Department Tom Nides (now of Morgan Stanley) — suggesting “The Clinton News Network” is not really a right-wing joke.
  • Former ABC News executive producer Ian Cameron is married to Susan Rice, a — pre-Benghazi — regular on the Sunday talk shows.
  • CBS president David Rhodes is the sibling of aspiring novelist Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser for “strategic communications and Speechwriting,” whatever that fictive title means.
  • ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman married former White House press secretary Jay Carney (now senior vice president for “worldwide corporate affairs” at Amazon: not just “corporate affairs” or “worldwide affairs” but “worldwide corporate affairs”).
You and I may not have known all of those (or many others), but that's not our job. It's the job of the media to bring that to our attention, not WikiLeaks.

2. Ninety-nine percent of Americans will never read the editorial at The National Review. Shoot, I'm not sure even nine percent of Americans have even heard of The National Review. The one percent who do read The National Review editorial should already know the facts that were in it, even if the writer did not.

3. What bothers me most: anyone who actually read this editorial (one percent of Americans) and who found this material new or shocking; they, too, are nominees for the Geico Rock Award for 2016.

4. But this is the biggest problem: the analogy to the neutron bomb. From the lede, the first three sentences in full:
  • The shells of our institutions maybe survive the 2016 campaign, but they will be mere husks.
  • The infamous neutron bomb was designed to melt human flesh without damaging infrastructure. 
  • Something like it has blown up lots of people in the 2016 election and left behind empty institutions.
The writer is correct about only one thing, which was expressed in the second sentence: what a neutron bomb was designed to do. Everything else is wrong, dead wrong.

Does anyone really believe:
  • that the shells of our institutions will be mere husks after the 2016 election?
  • that something like a neutron bomb has blown up lots of people in the 2016 election and left behind empty institutions?
In fact, after the 2016 election, the federal institutions will still be there, and they will be stronger than ever: including but not limited to the EPA, the IRS, DOJ, DOE, HHS, Congress, the Supreme Court, and POTUS (especially if a felon by any other name is elected).

Does anyone seriously doubt that?

After this election, our federal institutions will certainly not be "mere husks."

With regard to the second wrong point, WikiLeaks (which this editorial is all about) did not "blow up" a single individual. If anything, every individual "exposed" by WikiLeaks is stronger than ever (by definition: "that which does not kill us, makes us stronger"). If anything, every individual mentioned in the editorial, starting with the network news anchors, are stronger than ever. (Megyn is asking for a $20 million salary, isn't she? That's more than POTUS will likely earn.)

If I'm wrong, name one individual "exposed" by WikiLeaks whose career has been destroyed and whom we will never hear of again or who might actually go to prison. Nope, not one. Okay, maybe the wiener.

In fact, if Hillary is elected, it will simply be "revolving doors" writ large as deputy directors of federal agencies move to become directors of other federal agencies. In fact, if there are not enough agencies to go around to reward everyone named in WikiLeaks, existing departments will spin off new departments. EPA will spin off a new agency: the Federal Agency of Global Warming. Treasury will spin off a Federal Agency of Debt, thereby moving $19 trillion in debt to a new federal agency, and simply mandate that the US Treasury start over with a clean slate, with a zero balance. The Treasury Department will take in revenue; the Federal Agency of Debt will simply keep a separate set of books, classified ultra-top secret, to be seen only by George Soros. The Federal Reserve will spin off a Federal Reserve Agency for Journalism to post minutes that cannot be interpreted by anyone.

If Trump is elected, the bureaucracy is such he might be able to appoint/move/fire/affect 200 individuals but that leaves about 150,000 entrenched bureaucrats who have learned to survive by showing up to work generally on time, keeping their heads down, and simply waiting out any president. Does anyone really think the Senate will approve any Supreme Court justice appointed by Trump? We've survived the past year with eight justices; we can survive four more (years) without Sarah Palin on the bench.

For me, all WikiLeaks did was start to level the playing field. Prior to WikiLeaks only one or two percent of Americans were in on the joke. Ninety-eight percent of Americans had no clue; some may have had suspicions but nothing "concrete" on which to hang their pitchforks. Now maybe six percent of Americans are in on the joke.

By the way, speaking of jokes, the cruelest joke (and there have been many) in this administration was this which was "revealed" just this past week: $25,000 in 2017 in the US is considered a "modest" income by the folks who brought us ObamaCare. That's why Megyn needs $20 million.

I don't watch network news so I don't know if WikiLeaks has been reported to any extent on ABC, NCB, CBS, CNN, HLN, MSNBC, FOX, etc, etc., but I assume not. Nor do I suspect we will ever see anything from WikiLeaks mentioned on Sixty Minutes.

So, back to the writer of this editorial. If she really was unaware of Caligula's Circus or Nero's Nepotism in Washington, DC, she is the winner of the 2016 Geico Rock Award.


October 28, 2016: grifters-in-chief, from The Wall Street Journal; again, it took WikiLeaks to open this reporter's eyes. Wow.

October 28, 2016: most Americans think media is biased
Overall, 56 percent of likely voters say the media is biased against Trump, just 5 percent say it's biased in his favor and 37 percent say coverage is mostly balanced.
Eighty-seven percent of Trump's supporters see the media as biased against him, and even Hillary Clinton's supporters are more likely to see bias against Trump than bias in his favor, 30 percent to 8 percent. Sixty percent of Clinton's supporters see no bias in either direction.
Supports my thesis above. At least 54% of Americans are not paying attention. And among Clinton supporters, at least 60% of them, are just like Clinton herself. Delusional.

Bakken 2.0: CLR Transfers 67 Wells To Kraken Operating -- October 27, 2016

Active rigs:

Active Rigs3568195182186

Three wells coming confidential list Friday:
  • 29147, 470, Triangle USA, J Garvin Jacobson 150-101-8-5-6H, Pronghorn, 31 stages, 4.1 million lbs, t4/16; cum 46K 8/16; most months less than 30 days;
  • 29148, 550, Triangle USA, J Garvin Jacobson 150-101-8-5-5H, Pronghorn, t4/16; cum 43K 8/16; most months less than 30 days;
  • 32000, SI/NC, BR, CCU Zephry 24-34 MBH, Corral Creek, no production data,
No new permits.

Three Statoil permits canceled: three Knight permits in McKenzie County.

Three DUCs reported as completed:
  • 30442, 1,135, EOG, Shell 17-2819H, Parshall, t10/16; no production data,
  • 30444, 407, EOG, Shell 15-2819H, 4 sections, Parshall, t10/16; no production data,
  • 30469, 1,203, EOG, Shell 22-2819H, 4 sections, Parshall, t10/16; no production data,
Operator Transfer: CLR transferred 67 wells to Kraken Operating:
  • the wells are all in Williams County
  • all are horizontal wells; I assume all are middle Bakken/Three Forks welsl
  • lowest file number: 18498
  • highest file number: 30275
  • ten wells in the #18XXX series
  • four wells in the #19XXX series
  • no wells in the #20XXX series
  • fifteen wells in the #21XXX series
  • six wells in the #22XXX series
  • eight wells in the #23XXX series
  • eleven wells in the #24XXX series
  • one well in the #25XXX series
  • two wells in the #26XXX series
  • five wells in the #27XXX series
  • two wells in the #28XXX series
  • one well in the #29XXX series
  • two wells in the #30XXX series
  • Kraken Operating was last mentioned on the blog on October 25, 2016

29148, see above, Triangle USA, J Garvin Jacobson 150-101-8-5-5H, Pronghorn:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

29147, see above, Triangle USA, J Garvin Jacobson 150-101-8-5-6H, Pronghorn:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

Hyperbole? I Don't Think So -- Apple's New Touch Bar Is Revolutionary -- October 27, 2016


October 28, 2016: the notes below were just some random notes taken during the presentation yesterday.

Now that I've had some time to think about it and read comments from others:
  • I will never be able to afford the 15-inch MacBook Pro, starting at $2,500
  • most feel that the MacBook Pro is way over-priced
  • the Touch Bar is very, very interesting; that's all I can say about it now 
Original Post
It looks like it was pretty much a presentation about MacBook Pro and the new Touch Bar. Nothing else except a bit about the new TV app. 

It will be interesting to hear what "critics" have to say about the new MacBook Pro and especially the Touch Bar. The live presentation, now into the second hour, is live on a Safari browser, at (The presentation ended about 1:20 p.m. Central Time.)

Comparing it with MacBook Air.

The new MacBook Pro is smaller than the MacBook Air.

Wow, the MacBook Pro is thinner than the MacBook Air. It's also smaller in volume; they both weigh the same.

13-inch in two versions, and one 15-inch version.

$1500 to $2500.

I could be wrong but it appears there is no hard drive, but rather solid state memory up to 256 GB. The only two things I did not like about the old MacBook Pro that I had: a) way too heavy; and, b) the hard drive, subject to failing.

Apple share price before the presentation: around $115.

Apple share price after the presentation: around $115.

Random Update Of Russia's Northern Fleet In The Mediterranean; Reason #35 Why I Love To Blog -- October 27, 2016


Later, 1:53 p.m. Central Time: from a reader's comment --
If you zoom in and select "track" the Russian tug Nikolay Chiker is paired up with a Russian ship (unclassified, but has the appearance of a cargo ship or possible odd tanker) by the name of Osipov.
I have been watching them since last night when the Nikolay Chiker was steaming toward the Osipov which was in a static position. I initially thought that the Tug was steaming toward a north African port. The track today is in the same general area and appears to be drifting or static refueling or replenishment unlike American warships.
Early this morning the track almost appeared to be a working tug track like pushing other ships next to the Osipov.
Last night there were also two Spanish warships ahead of the Nikolay while it was steaming toward the Osipov. 
Original Post
Received signal one minute ago (approximately 11:05 a.m. Central Time), the tug escorting Russia's only aircraft carrier was headed south toward landfall, just miles off the coast of northern Morocco, just north of the port city of Al Hoceima, Morocco.

Al Hoceima has the second-largest port in the northern region of Morocco. Current, local time, in Al Hoceima, is 5:10 p.m., just about supper-time, I suppose.

Reason #35 Why I Love To Blog


Later, 12:41 p.m. Central Time: you know, lost in all this clutter is the comment made by the reader -- "that area should have cheap electricity for decades to come." This area is often referred to as the "Rust Belt" or very near that area formerly known as the "Rust Belt." If folks don't screw this up, this could be the re-emergence of US industry in that area -- aluminum, steel, cars, trucks, rail cars, and yes, dare I say it, wind turbines and towers. Folks paying attention know that coal is expensive in Asia (particularly India) and it's unlikely energy is going to get much cheaper overseas, certainly when compared to the US.

Later, 12:12 p.m. Central Time: see first comment:
To put some of these numbers (MW) in perspective, standard Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plants generate from 600 to 1,100 MW as a rule.
They are designed to go from cold start to 100% nameplate in about ten minutes time.
(The New England grid operator, ISO, has some great info on their website - ISO Express. One of the sections is the Daily Generation by Fuel Use.
Natgas ramps up and down throughout the day to keep the lights on for the folks in the Northeast.
In Pennsylvania, there are plans, or actual development of, 18 CCGT plants with a total generating capacity of more than 10,000 MW.

That area should have cheap electricity for decades to come.
And a quick follow-up from the same reader:
The company In energy is building a 1,480 MW plant now outside of Scranton. 
Cost, $500 million. 
A second, smaller plant, 500 MW, may be built nearby. 
$500 million / 1,480 / MW (with 100% nameplate capacity - generation =$350,000 /MW.

Wind farms/solar farms will cost in excess of $1 million/MW nameplate capacity, which means that 480 MW wind/solar plans (in the original post) will also be about $500 million. For this renewable energy (not counting the cost of back-up natural gas energy), $500 million / 70 MW generated capacity = an astonishing $7 million / MW.
Original Post
Because of the blog, I've learned to pay a lot more attention to exactly what word journalists use in reporting stories.

I have to thank one of my readers for "beating my head over this" on many, many occasions.

Here's an example.

From PennEnergy today: three New England states choose six clean energy generators, an AP story.  The lede:
Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have selected six proposals to develop more clean energy for the New England market. The projects announced Tuesday include mostly wind and solar projects, which are expected to generate 460 megawatts of electricity collectively.
My hunch is that the "460 megawatts" is the nameplate capacity. We know that wind farms generate no more than 20% of their nameplate capacity (solar energy, a "meager" 10%).

It's hard to say from the article whether the reporter means that the nameplate capacity of these new "generators" is 480 megawatts, or if the reporter is suggesting that the nameplate capacity will be 2,400 MW. After all, the reported said these generators would "generate 480 MW collectively." At 20% that means the nameplate capacity would have to be 2,400 MW, and perhaps more because the article says the generator would be a mix of wind (20%) and solar (10%).

[If using both wind and solar, generation will be closer to 15% of capacity or 3,200 MW capacity.]

To put that into perspective, the Hoover Dam held the world record for power production between 1939 and 1949 with capacity of 705 MW of hydroelectricity. Grand Coulee Dam held a similar world record from 1949 to 1960 with a 2,280 MW capacity. So, if New England really has a plan for 2,400 MW of capacity (480 MW generated), I'm impressed. 

My hunch is that the reporter is talking about nameplate capacity, and is not telling us that equates to about 70 MW generation.

Note: this is not a discussion between the merits of wind/solar energy vs other forms of energy. It is a discussion of what consumers will actually be paying for when they sign on for these projects. They are not going to get 480 MW of electricity generation (if that's what the reporter meant).

Rate-payers need to start asking not what the cost / MW nameplate, but the cost / MW generated

Note: I often make simple arithmetic errors, and am prone to misreading or misinterpreting something. If this is important to you, go to the source. If this is not important to you, I assume you have not read the post anyway.

A Note to the Granddaughters

Years ago, your mom and your aunt lived overseas when "we were in" the USAF. We visited all the major cities in Europe. One of our favorite cities, of course, was Vienna. We spent a full week in Vienna around Christmas during our first year in Europe: your mom, Kiri, would have been about five years old; your Aunt Laura would have been about eleven months old.

Today while reading Edmund de Waal's The Hare With Amber Eyes, I came across this passage describing the Palais Ephrussi (the palatial home of the author's family several generations earlier) and the Ringstrasse in Vienna:
It is all so self-consciously grand, and yet a bit Cecil B. de Mille. I am the wrong audience for it. A young painter and architecture student, Adolf Hitler, had a proper visceral response to the Ringstrasse:
From morning until late at night I ran from one object of interest to another, but it was always the buildings that held my primary interest. For hours I could stand in front of the Opera, for hours I could gaze at the Parliament; the whole Ringstrasse seemed to me like an enchantment out of The Thousand and One Nights."
Hitler would paint all the great buildings on the Ring, the Burgtheater, Hansen's Parliament, the two great buildings opposite the Palais Ephrussi, the university and the Votivkirche. Hitler appreciated how the space could be used for dramatic display. He understood all this ornament in a different way: it expressed "eternal values."
We would have walked right past the Palais Ephrussi (multiple times). Kiri would have been about seven years old, walking with us, while Laura would have been about three years old, able to walk, but mostly being pushed in a stroller.

Great, great memories.

Big Oil Reaps Windfall From Ethanol Rules -- October 27, 2016

OPEC: apparently plans to cut output by 4%; oil prices creep above $50. Source: Reuters

Definitions: with exports again becoming of interest, two definitions that were new to me -- "dirty tankers" and "clean tankers." From Platts:
  • Dirty tankers: carry crude oil, fuel oil, or other "dirty" products such as vacuum gasoil or dirt condensate
  • Clean tankers: carry light ends such as gasoline, middle distallates, or naphtha.
  • Smaller dirty tankers (unique Platts classification): dedicated to moving just fuel
  • Dry bulk carriers: pretty much as the name suggest; includes edibles
Links: this may have been going on for some time, but I just noted it today. For several years now there has been talk about copyright violation and other issues involving embedding links in one's posts. I do that a lot -- for various reasons, mostly to give credit to the originator of the story, and to go back and correct a typographical or factual error if needed. This morning I noted that embedding Fox Business News links into the blog, fail.

For example, this link works for me in the draft blog: but when I post it, Fox Business News does not allow access. I don't know if this has been going on "forever"; if it's something new; or, if it's a temporary phenomenon, intended or unintended.

For me it's not a problem because I can always go back to my "draft" and get back to the linked story, but it means readers will have to go to the Fox Business News site to find the story if they are interested. Of course, no one will do that. 

 Lego's Disney Castle. Some readers may have noted the link to the Lego Disney Castle at the sidebar at the right. I find it quite amazing and interesting to follow. Lego simply cannot keep up with demand. The castle is usually "temporarily unavailable." When it comes available, the castle is sold out within about 18 hours and the the site says the castle is again "temporarily unavailable," and then that lasts about a week or so. 

Jobs: first time unemployment claims drop 3,000; now down to 258,000. Previous week was revised up by a thousand. Four-week average also rose a thousand to 253,000. Analysts had forecast a drop to 255,000. In the FoxBusinessReport (which I don't link, see above) the story says the "new" magic number for evidence of economic stagnation is 300,000 first time unemployment claims, vs 400,000 which was the magic number when I first began tracking this metric years ago.

Back to the Bakken

Active rigs:

Active Rigs3568195182186

RBN Energy: Tier 3 sulfur requirements closing in on refiners. Bottom line -- all things being equal, gasoline will go up slightly in price.

Meanwhile, Big Oil reaps windfall from ethanol rules -- WSJ. Now, how did that happen?

The Market

Xcel: tops forecasts on both top, bottom line. Those wind credits must sure help the bottom line.

Noon: Dow 30 up about 45 points. NYSE:
new highs -- 53:
new lows -- 53:

Early morning trading: opened positive but now slightly down. WTI up a bit but still below $50.


Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution
Nathaniel Philbrick
c. 2016
DDS: 973.4 PHI
Chapter 13
No Time For Remorse

The Vulture, scooting south out of harm's way, only went a mile or so downriver, anchoring off Ossining, NY, and eventually returned to her original position.

Again, Benedict Arnold and his "comrade" Andre were helping each other, but each out to help himself first.

Arnold was on the "wrong" side of the river because he met Andre at Smith's house on the west side of the Hudson, rather than having Andre come to him at the Robinson house on the east side of the river.

Smith and Andre ride down the east side of the Hudson to Tarrytown, en route to Manhattan. Arnold remains in Robinson house, his HQ near West Point.

Andre discovered as a spy and captured by small number of militiamen guarding the road. The documents they found had to do with security of West Point.

Marched him 12 miles to American "HQ" at North Castle. Americans start marching him back to Robinson house where Arnold was not quite sure if Andre was a spy or not.

Another American spy/militiaman hears of this; decides to try to reach Andre before he gets back to Arnold.

Andre is captured (again). This time he writes a letter to His Excellency, Geo Washington, admitting and confessing, asking for leniency.

So, Arnold's letter to the Brits had not reached Manhattan, but he did not know that. In a few days, Geo Washington would be meeting Benedict Arnold near West Point. And Andre was on his way back, as a prisoner of war.

Wow -- the story of Arnold realizing he had been found out. He needed to escape. Geo Washington would be arriving any minute, and would meet Andre and the confession. Peggy had to serve breakfast and act as if nothing was remiss.

Arnold leaves, lying that he was going to West Point to prepare for Geo Washington's visit. He takes a small boat towards the Vulture

The author mentions that suicide and treason are the most self-centered of acts.

Geo Washington learns the full extent of Benedict Arnold's treason.

Still trying to catch up with Arnold on his way to Manhattan.

Andre put in prison at West Point and ultimately at army headquarters at Tappan, NY, 34 miles to the south.

Geo Washington was given the option to trade Andre for Arnold, but in the end, Geo Washington had no choice but to execute Andre.

Andre hung as a spy, not shot as an officer.

Washington thought back on his disastrous emotionally ragged performance at the Battle of Long Island four years earlier, and had learned to take the long view, that nothing could be decided in a single battle, no matter how brilliantly fought.

Winning a war and creating a new nation took time, but Benedict Arnold's treason has been a shock. But the United States (and that's the two words the author uses), despite having no money, no order, and no solidarity, had so far survived five years of bitter conflict.

"It had been revealed to him dangerously late, but Washington now knew his man."