Thursday, July 20, 2017

OPEC In Deep Doo-Doo -- July 20, 2017

Deep doo-doo: three years into cheap oil, OPEC is still hoping for a rebound.
The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council have curtailed subsidies and introduced new taxes to bolster non-oil revenue and reduce ballooning budget deficits.
Much of the savings, however, have been due to spending cuts and the pace of reforms has slowed across the region, said Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. Overall progress in economic diversification has been limited, she said. [I guess that's why they call it the blues.]
Absent a rebound in oil prices, analysts say it’s unlikely that these nations can repair their finances without deeper spending cuts that could further hurt growth. The standoff between a Saudi-led bloc and Qatar is also undermining investor confidence at a time when the GCC is seeking foreign funds.
The linked article has five excellent graphs.  I may need to add a new tag.


Elton John

Notes to the Granddaughters

I am deathly afraid of carnival rides. But with the first "love of my life" I remember riding "the rocket" with her. That's the only time in my life I ever rode "the rocket." [No double entendre intended.] You only go through life once; live it to its fullest.

Rocket Man, Elton John

Is Solar Failing US? LOL -- July 20, 2017

Making America Great Again -- Huge Story -- July 20, 2017

.... and this is why:

In My Whisky Phase

Six New Permits -- July 20, 2017

Active rigs:

Active Rigs593170195207

Six new permits:
  • Operators: CLR (5), Crescent Point Energy
  • Fields: Elm Tree (McKenzie); Marmon (Williams)
    Comments: CLR has permits for a 5-well pad in SENE 26-153-94 (see graphic below)
Two permits renewed:
  • EOG (2): two Burke permits in Mountrail County 

Although not updated in a long time, Elm Tree oil field is tracked here.  Note recent increase in production from the Elm Tree oil field.

The Texas Page -- July 20, 2017

From The Los Angeles Times: some California conservatives fed up; looking to Texas. The article mentions Vacaville where we once owned a home; mentions McKinney, just north of Dallas/DFW where growth is crazy. From the article:
The tipping point came in November, when he ran as a “pro-life, pro-family, pro-faith conservative Republican” in California’s 31st Congressional District on a platform of bringing back a shuttered military base to San Bernardino and cracking down on crime.
A veteran of the Iraq war who remains in the Navy reserves as an intelligence officer, he lost to his Democratic opponent by more than 11% of the vote. 
“In California, it’s like liberals can do no wrong,” said Chabot, who narrowly lost a race for the same congressional seat in 2014. “No matter what we do, we’re beating our heads against the wall.” 
He and his wife, Brenda, moved their four children to the suburban town of McKinney, Texas, a Republican stronghold about 30 miles north of Dallas in Colin County. Dotted with new subdivisions, golf courses, artificial lakes and strip malls, the area reminds him of Orange County in the 1970s and 1980s. 
“It’s like living a dream,” he said as he steered his golf cart down his cul-de-sac on a muggy afternoon recently, past large brick homes decorated with American flags and meticulously trimmed lawns. 
“You don’t see graffiti. You don’t see gang members, or police helicopters circling the neighborhood.” 
Texas and California — the two most populous states — have long offered competing versions of how to achieve the American dream. California has higher taxes to fund stronger social services and public universities, while Texas prides itself on lower taxes, less regulation and a more limited social safety net.
Exactly my impression.

The Best Part of the Blog

The best part of the blog? Links at the sidebar at the right. From "Humans of New York":

The video is awful but the medley is incredible and the audience reaction is wonderful:

Medley, Tammy Wynette & Dolly Parton

The Energy And Market Page, Part III, T+181 -- July 20, 2017

Long, long article on OXY in Forbes and OXY's experience in the Permian. The reader who sent me the link noted that OXY was producing oil for $28/bbl in the Permian. My quick, unedited, not-ready-for-primetime reply:
The self-reported prices per bbl by operator are always highly suspect; depends what they include in costs.

If OXY says they are getting Permian for $28/bbl, the "new" bbls coming out of the Bakken are much less -- using same method OXY uses to cost-out oil production.

The only thing the Bakken loses to the Permian is on transportation costs.

By the way, the thickness of a play is relevant in conventional plays; totally irrelevant in unconventional plays. (The linked article makes a point about how thick the Permian is.)

The Bakken is 94% oil. The Permian is significantly less, maybe 75% -- it varies across the basin.
We all remember how badly OXY's experience in the Bakken was; hopefully OXY does better in the Permian.  Maybe with a thicker play the company will be able to keep the wellbore in the target zone.

So, Got Coal? How's That Solar Working Out, Abe? -- July 20, 2017


February 11, 2018: the biggest risk to coral reefs and Hawaii's tourism is not acid rain or global warming -- it's the cesspools of Hawaii.
Sewage from cesspools is seeping into some of Hawaii’s ocean waters, where it has been blamed for infections suffered by surfers and snorkelers. It is also entering the drinking water in part of the state, pushing nitrate levels close to the legal limit.
Hawaii has 88,000 cesspools across its eight major islands, more than any other state. Collectively, they deposit 53 million gallons of raw sewage into the ground every day.
More than 90% of the state’s drinking water comes from groundwater wells.
State lawmakers, who outlawed new cesspools in 2016, are scrambling to find a solution to the thousands that exist.
Replacing all of the state’s cesspools with alternate sewage systems would cost at least $1.75 billion, according to the health department.
Original Post 

From fifty solar PV companies in Japan are already gone in 2017 as subsidies end. Coal is soaring. Actually, the story is even worse than the headline:
One hundred solar PV companies are forecast to collapse in Japan this year alone.
Up to 100 solar PV firms in Japan could face bankruptcy this year, with more than double the number of firms going bust in the first half of this year than the same period in 2016.

According to corporate credit research company Teikoku Databank, which surveys companies across various industries and has produced its third report on solar PV company bankruptcies, 50 companies in Japan’s solar sector have already gone out of business in the first six months of 2017.

While the market overall has rapidly expanded from the launch of the feed-in tariff (FiT) in July 2012, Teikoku Databank acknowledged that there has been a slowdown in deployment in the past couple of years as the government successively made cuts of 10% or more on an annual basis to the premium prices paid for solar energy fed into the grid.
This comes just days after another "green blog" noted that solar was  dying in Hawaii, also. This is the problem:
  • solar needs huge subsidies to compete with coal
  • subsidies cost governments money
  • coal / natural gas utilities make profits without resorting to subsidies
  • governments tax profits
  • this is not rocket science
Even Jerry Brown's successor will figure this out.

Speaking of Japanese Coal

Japan plans to build at least 45 new coal plants. From joannenova (same link as above):

You Only Live Twice

You Only Live Twice, Nancy Sinatra

Am I Missing Something? This Is Not A Headline Story? -- July 20, 2017

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 233,000 for the week ended July 15, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That was the lowest level since February, when claims fell to 227,000, which was the best reading since March 1973.  

Jobs. From
  • first time claims: down 15,000 to 233,000
  • not even mentioned on mainstream media
  • forecast: 245,000 
  • Reuters says it was near a 5-month low and not even mentioned on mainstream media (it probably was; I probably just missed it) 

Max look:

Pensions Being Slashed

From cbsnews:
The Central States Pension Fund was the first to actually be approved for this triage under a 2014 law known as the Multiemployer Pension Fund Reform Act. Many pension advocates call it unfair.

"It was run through Congress in the dead of night, and President Obama -- who was supposed to be for the working class -- signed it," complained Burruel. The fund is overseen by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, known for dividing up huge settlements in cases such as the 9/11 terrorist attack and the BP (BP) oil spill in the Gulf.

However, it's not clear what would be fair. The hammer is falling on the private pension funds that are running out of cash. And those shortfalls have many reasons. "The stock market crash had a huge effect," said Outreach Director Joellen Leavelle of the Pension Rights Center. "Some plans lost billions." It was a loss from which they never recovered.

Wow! What Just Happened? The Sports And Political Page, T+181-- July 20, 2017


July 23, 2017, later: wow, wow, wow -- a most spectacular finish -- Jordan Spieth comes from behind to win by three. Amazing.

July 23, 2017: what just happened at The Open? On the start of the last day, Spieth was at the top of the leaderboard, 3 full strokes ahead of his closest contender, Matt Kuchar. But after ten holes, playing +3 for the day; now even with Matt Kuchar, and both of them only two strokes ahead of Li Haotong, Chinese.
Original Post
Open: begins today. And already live on television. Jordan Spieth apparently has an early lead. First round, "lead; 5 under, 65; 2 in front." Leaderboard.

Representative Ryan says he won't start writing "tax bill" until this autumn. Wow.

Jobs. From
  • first time claims: down 15,000 to 233,000
  • not even mentioned on mainstream media
  • forecast: 245,000 
  • Reuters says it was near a 5-month low and not even mentioned on mainstream media (it probably was; I probably just missed it) 
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 233,000 for the week ended July 15, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That was the lowest level since February, when claims fell to 227,000, which was the best reading since March 1973

Gasoline demand: dropped a bit week-over-week, but still remains near record levels.

Idle Meandering On A Saturday Night -- July 14, 2017

This was posted July 14, 2017; why it is showing up here, I have no idea why. 

Disclaimer: I could not possibly be in a better mood. I am inappropriately exuberant about the Bakken. It's Friday night. I'm listening to Conway Twitty. I'm looking forward to spending the rest of my life on Flathead Lake, Montana. I'm off my meds. Folks should probably skip this post.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any financial, investment, travel, job, or relationship decisions based on anything you read here or think you may have read here.

I cannot believe this. What a great time to be an investor in energy.

The French minister of energy says the country will close a significant number of nuclear reactors (taking a page from Angela Merkel). Unless France switches to coal, there's only one alternative to nuclear fuel for dependable, uninterruptible energy: natural gas.

China is stealthily increasing its crude oil consumption.

Goldman Sachs says oil might fall to $20; Citi says otherwise.

All I know is this: energy is inexpensive. If I end up "averaging down" that's fine.

With regard to my equity portfolio, I continue to add energy. It's incredible. The oil sector has been beaten down so badly, there are opportunities galore. I prefer equities with dividends but I'm sure there are other alternatives. I just keep filling my market basket with shares in energy. I have a 20-year investment horizon. Overall, energy is a very tiny part of my total portfolio (pension, social security, trad IRAs, Roths, a 401k) but the most fun I have is watching developments in energy.

That's not exactly correct. The most fun I have is with Sophia when we go swimming.

The "thing" that has me most jazzed tonight is all the infrastructure that's being laid in across the US, but mostly in Texas. Specifically the stories at this post concerning Sempra and Enterprise Products are just one example.

For an investor, in her thirties just beginning to invest, this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to build a portfolio with some inexpensive energy stocks, many of them paying nice dividends (and very safe dividends).


This is why "no one" worries about the US debt. Whether they should worry about the US deficit is another question, a separate question. All I'm suggesting is one reason why folks don't worry about the US debt.

Today in the print edition The Wall Street Journal reports that "Vanguard Taps New Chief." But this is what caught my attention: Vanguard now has $4.4 trillion in assets under management, trailing only BlackRock Inc. in total size....during the first six months of this year, Vanguard pulled in roughly $214 billion in net new money. Industry-wide, US mutual funds and exchange-traded funds attracted a net $387.3 billion in the first half of the year.

$4.4 trillion and it's in second place. Okay. I first started investing in one of the Vanguard funds back in the late 1980s.


Our older daughter is in Chicago for nursing school reasons. She is having a blast.


Sophia and I just spent 90 minutes in the pool. Her favorite activity is jumping off the diving board at the deep end of the pool. It's over 14 feet deep. I'm 65 years old and an "okay" swimmer. She has just turned three years old and is learning to swim. The first few times she jumped off the diving board was very scary for me, but now I have her figured out and we make a great team. Instead of being right under the board and catching her, I stay back about 10 feet and let her jump in as far out as she can and then she swims towards me. By the time she reaches me, we are fairly close to the shallow end and I don't really have to swim that far to get her to where she can swim to the steps. We've done a lot of things together over the years -- all three years. LOL.

She's watching "Princess Sophia" on YouTube now on the MacBook Air. She can navigate YouTube as well as anyone. I almost never have to help her. Meanwhile, I'm on the old MacBook Pro.


I cut up a big apple for Sophia. She's not really interested but I also give her a small bowl with about six M&Ms and about five sour cream and onion potato chips. She finishes the candy and chips first, of course, but now will end up eating the whole apple. Just put out healthy snacks for Sophia and it's amazing how much she will eat on her own. I don't have to cajole her a bit. Her favorite snack: broccoli.

Music Trivia

How is this song related to Lost In The Fifties Tonight which was featured just the other day?

Seven Spanish Angels, Willie Nelson and Ray Charles

The Energy And Market Page, Part II, T+181 -- July 20, 2017


Later, 9:46 a.m. Central Time: well, that didn't last long. Everything is down; some quite significantly. Must have happened after the jobs report was digested.

Original Post

Whoo-hoo! Kinder Morgan shares up 4% after company forecast dividend increase.

BK: earnings just came out. Whoo-hoo! No telling what shares will do, but BNY Mellon reported a profit boost from higher interest rates: net income rose 12 percent or 88 cents/share; forecast, 84 cents. BNY Mellon has $31.1 trillion in assets under custody. Compare: Vanguard now has $4.4 trillion in assets under management [note: this link is back in draft; it will be re-posted later] trailing only BlackRock Inc. in total size. [BK up 1.4% in pre-market trading.]

UNP: some profit taking yesterday brought UNP down 1.29%; today in pre-trading, UNP is up almost 2.5%. Another whoo-hoo. Quarterly report: EPS of $1.45 on revenue of $5.25 billion, topping estimates. Business volumes increased 5% with gains in coal, industrial productions, yada, yada, yada, according to Investor's Business Daily. Wow. Gains in coal transport: 20% -- making American great again. Nothing like a good regional monopoly with a huge moat. And can't be bought by Warren Buffett.

EW: up 2% yesterday and in pre-trading, up another half-percent today.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, job, travel, or relationship decision based on what you read here or what you think you may have read here.

Some of the above I hold; some I don't. The point I'm trying to make: seems to be a pretty good earnings season so far, and it's just gotten started. 

DAPL Update; The Market And Energy Page, T+181 -- July 20, 2017

European Market: wow, this tells me all about the strength of the economy in Europe -- ECB did not raise rates. The European market was up a bit after that news; Dow futures went from six points up to 11 points up.

US Market: All three indices hit record closing highs yesterday. I think Nasdaq has had something like eight or nine consecutive days of record highs. I see Dow futures are up a few points today. I also see crude oil is up a bit. If oil were to go over $50 any time soon; and, if WTI clearly showed an upward trend toward the rest of the year, one can only imagine where the market might be at the end of the year. The energy sector (and right now, the healthcare sector) are dragging the market down.

[Hitting record highs and "dragging the market down" -- LOL.]

Having said that, it's hard to see how WTI can get much upward traction. But stranger things have happened.

Whoa! Nelly! Before I get to far ahead of my headlights in my inappropriate exuberance, let's take a look at a website that a reader sent me overnight. It seems I've seen this site before; can't recall. Whatever, we'll start with New Town since it sits in/near the sweet spots of the Bakken. This is the link:

DAPL update: in case you missed it, and it would have been easy to miss, be sure to go back and look at this link: I need to provide a bit commentary on it; maybe later.

OPEC: China using less. Oh-Oh.

India refiner follow-up: previously posted; now an update.
India approved the sale of a $4.6 billion stake in state-run refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp. to the country’s biggest oil and gas explorer.

The move fulfills a plan, first outlined in February, to create an Indian oil giant through consolidation and mergers, forming a company comparable with international rivals that could weather crude-price volatility.
Bringing HPCL into its fold will make Oil & Natural Gas Corp. the nation’s No. 3 refiner after Indian Oil Corp. and Reliance Industries Ltd.

The cabinet backed the plan to sell the government’s 51.1 percent holding in HPCL to ONGC; the information isn’t public. The stake is valued at about 299 billion rupees ($4.6 billion).

Update On MPLX -- NGL Takeaway From The Marcellus/Utica -- July 20, 2017

Active rigs:

Active Rigs593170195207

RBN Energy: MPLX's expanded plan for piping Marcellus/Utica NGLs and field condensate.
MPLX is wrapping up a three-part, $500 million plan to facilitate the pipeline transport of large volumes of field condensate and natural gasoline from the Marcellus and Utica plays to Midwest refineries, western Canadian heavy-crude shippers and other end users.
But “wrapping up” may be the wrong phrase. In fact, MPLX sees its Cornerstone Pipeline, Utica Build-Out Projects and other elements of the company’s Midwest pipeline push as part of a larger and continuing effort to deal with remaining inefficiencies in the delivery of Marcellus/Utica liquids to market. Today we review what has been accomplished so far, and what expansions and enhancements to MPLX’s pipeline plan may be in the offing.
It would be difficult (if not impossible) to find anyone who has done more than MPLX (a master limited partnership formed by Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) and its MarkWest Energy Partners unit) to address the challenges of increasing volumes of natural gas liquids (NGLs) and field condensate produced in eastern Ohio’s Utica play and the liquids-rich portion of the Marcellus play in western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.
As we discussed in our Join Together With Demand Drill Down Report, MarkWest not only developed an extensive portfolio of natural gas processing plants (to separate mixed NGLs from the raw gas stream that emerges at the wellhead) and fractionators (to split mixed NGLs into purity products like ethane, propane, butane and natural gasoline), but also a network of intraregional pipelines to help manage the efficient flow of NGLs — especially ethane, the lightest and most challenging NGL to store and transport.
More recently, in Part 1 and Part 2 of our “1-2-3” blog series, we considered MPLX’s plan to more efficiently transport the heavier end of the NGL barrel (namely, natural gasoline; a.k.a. plant condensate or pentane-plus) and field condensate (a superlight crude oil also known as lease condensate) to end users.

Update On Paving Project West Of Boomtown -- July 19, 2017

A little bit of local politics in the Bakken. Data points:
  • Madison Ridge development project
  • paving project
  • $2.3 million project
  • low bidder by $67,000: Knife River
  • Knife River says cannot finish project this year due to too much work
  • contract awarded to Northern Improvement; says they can finish the job this year
EIA Forecasts Record Production In 2018

From EIA:
U.S. crude oil production forecast to average 9.9 million barrels per day in 2018.
EIA forecasts that total U.S. crude oil production will average 9.3 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2017, up 0.5 million b/d from 2016.
In 2018, crude oil production is expected to reach an average of 9.9 million b/d, which would surpass the previous record of 9.6 million b/d set in 1970. Most of the growth in U.S. crude oil production from June 2017 through the end of next year is expected to come from tight rock formations within the Permian region in Texas and from the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico (GOM).