Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Witch Is Dead -- December 23, 2017

Going biking. Christmas Eve eve. Heavy, heavy traffic. Very dark. Should be a sporting ride.

My, How Quickly Things Change In Washingon

From don't mess with
IRS goes against Trump's "order. IRS backs off Trump's Obamacare order, will enforce ACA coverage reporting rule.What's going on with the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? It depends on where you're looking for answers.

Federal lawmakers remain in a quandary over how to deal with the ACA, or as it's known (for now) Obamacare.

The Internal Revenue Service, however, made it clear this week that it plans to follow the health care law's reporting requirements as long as they are officially on the books.

That's a reversal of a prior IRS position.

However, given the confusion with the law, both under its namesake president and since Donald J. Trump moved into the Oval Office, the tax agency's position change isn't surprising.
I find it amazing that a government agency that works directly for the executive branch ignores the President of the United States. Tell me again about draining the swamp. Tell me again there's no "deep state." But I digress.

Flash forward two-and-a-half months: Congress easily passes and president wastes no time signing the biggest tax cut in the history of the US which, among a few other things, specifically states that, "no, the IRS won't enforce the individual mandate."

Ding, dong, The witch is dead.

ObamaCare. Effectively. Repealed. RIP.

The Wizard of Oz

Merry Christmas, North Dakota, From All Of Us At US Oil -- December 23, 2017 (Christmas Card Signed By CEOs Of CLR, OAS, WPX, EOG, STA, Just To Name A Few)

Legacy Fund data here (unfortunately this just shows the deposits, not the net asset value). 

North Dakota state government site: Legacy Fund.

North Dakota budget: probably easiest to read is at Ballotpedia.

North Dakota state office of management and budget.

December deposit:

Memo to North Dakota State Treasurer: I don't think anyone would mind if the state rounded off monthly deposits to the nearest $10 but noting the "80 cents" is a nice touch.  

BOE (back of the proverbial envelope):
  • the January, 2017, deposit: $30,835,935.50
  • the December, 2017, deposit: 44,430,940.80
  • dollar delta: $13,595,005.30 (note: I often make simple arithmetic errors)
  • percentage delta: an increase of 44.09%, 
  • or rounded, almost 44%, 
  • and in my simple mind, it increased 50% from the beginning of the year. 
  • If I had the time (and interest), I could find the December, 2016, data, and my hunch is that year-over-year (December, 2016, to December, 2017), the increase was more than 50%
Ah, yes, "the end of the beginning for the Bakken."

The Bakken -- It Just Never Quits -- December 23, 2017

The item is very short:
WBI Energy Transmission Inc. filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a new section of pipeline to boost transportation capacity to the company's interconnect with Northern Border Pipeline Co. in western North Dakota.

The project would include 12 miles of 24-inch-diameter steel pipeline that would begin at the Spring Creek meter station and end at the Cherry Creek valve setting. The company said it has precedent agreements with Oasis Petroleum Marketing LLC and ONEOK Rockies Midstream LLC for 196,000 Dth/d and 10,000 Dth/d of incremental firm transportation service, respectively.
That was it. My comments/observations:
  • huge, huge pipe: 2 feet in diameter -- think about that next time you see pipeline (water, natural gas, sewer, whatever) -- a 2-foot diameter pipe is one huge pipe
  • total ND natural gas production: 2,000,000 or 2 million mcf/d 
  • 206,000Dth/d = 200,000 mcf/d
  • 200,000 / 2,000,000 = 1% -- one percent
  • if my figures are correct, this pipeline will move about 1% of all the North Dakota natural gas produced in one day
  • the connector is 12 miles; at $1 million / mile = $12 million dollars
This is pretty cool. If you are remotely interested in this project or just want to have some fun looking at FERC documents and maps of North Dakota, simply click on this A PDF will probably download on your desktop.

It downloads incredibly quickly suggesting it's in the cloud. It will download faster on a cloudy day.

I don't know how long the Bakken will last or how important the Bakken will be in the big scheme of things. All I know is that "they" aren't putting in 12 miles of 2-foot-diameter pipeline for upwards of $15 million for a one-year science project. Art Berman can say it's the "beginning of the end" for the Bakken and The Atlantic can say the boom is over and oilprice can say that US shale is not the answer and yada, yada, yada, but without question there's a lot going on in four little counties in western North Dakota, providing a lot of high-paying jobs for a long, long time, and for the most part not upsetting the gods to any significant extent -- at least the volcanoes in western North Dakota are not erupting, suggesting the gods can't be too mad at "us."

Hypocrisy Is Spelled H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y -- December 23, 2017


December 26, 2017: China's natural gas consumption soars. From
Chinese natural gas consumption surged through the first 11 months of 2017, up 19 percent year-on-year.

China is the third largest consumer of natural gas in the world, behind the U.S. and Russia, and is expected to show the strongest demand growth over the coming decades—propelling it to second place by 2040.

As the nation's industrial and residential sectors pivot away from coal (think: smog), natural gas demand is going through the roof, with domestic Chinese LNG prices reaching a six-year high in recent weeks.

One data point that highlights these tightening fundamentals is how CNOOC just rented a convoy of 100 trucks to transport LNG thousands of kilometers to northern regions in China to fill supply gaps.

Driven by this recent rampant rise, China is now the second-largest importer of LNG globally. Spiking demand has lifted Northeast Asian spot LNG prices above $10/MMBtu.
Natural gas consumption: US, Russia, China, and then India, I suppose. That tells met that India is using a lot of coal (as is China, of course).

Original Post

North Texas. Yesterday was cold, windy, rainy -- it completely reminded me of southern Scotland in winter. We were told to expect more of the same today.

It was a bit cool taking Sophia to gymnastics and then swimming this morning, but when we left the education and training center about noon, it was a beautiful day: bright sunshine, no wind, and fairly warm.

Now (about 4:00 p.m.CT) it's short-sleeve weather and not a cloud in the sky. Our older granddaughter says our e-mail will be slower today since "everything is now in the cloud," and THE cloud is nowhere to be seen today. Yesterday, with all the clouds, she said, our e-mail moved very, very quickly.

Speaking of which, I'm told that iPhones use slightly more power on nights when there are full moons. To protect the iPhones, Apple will throttle back the processing time of older iPhones to conserve battery power when the moon is full. Apple says that most people won't notice it but if they do it will be rare, usually only once in a blue moon, or 1.16699016 x 10-8 hertz.

I assume Apple is making the announcement to fend off class-action lawsuits.


All I know is it's great bicycling weather and that's what I'm doing -- but stopping now for a Coke and a bit  of blogging.

ISO Watch (Or Is It ISO-Ouch?

ISO New England: spot price for electricity surged to almost $250/MWh earlier this morning and $150 this afternoon, but is now (6:34 p.m. ET) down to about $50/MWH. How's that renewable energy working out?

Global Warming

Global warming. Both China and the UK are experiencing incredibly cold winters. I mentioned China's winter a few weeks ago and now I'm hearing about the weather in the UK. We've talked about this many times over the years. If I find the old posts, I will link them but I'm not going to go looking for them. The articles today (sent by various readers):
  • China's LNG imports surge to record amid winter heating crunch, from Bloomberg, December 22, 2017 --
    • LNG imports rise 53% y/y to a record 4 million tons
    • November LNG pipeline supplies up 27% to 2.5 million tons
  • coldest winter in five years has been forecast for Britain, from The Daily [London] Star, December 23, 2017
    • it's a bit difficult making sense of the article as written, so I won't say anything but post the link.
  • this article and headline are a bit easier to understand. From The [London] Express, November 28, 2017: Britain is facing "snowmageddon" as La Nina to bring Big Freeze. 
    • Britain's Christmas weather 2017 is set to be the harshest for years thanks to a freak phenomenon in the world's biggest ocean. Two comments:
I did not see England's most famous analyst mention the forecast for such a harsh British winter; if John Kemp tweeted it, I missed it.

Thank goodness for global warming to provide a bit of warming effect on this very, very cold weather to hit Great Britain ... and just when things seemed to be going so well.

Synonyms: Hypocrisy, Fake News
Bird Brains

Killing eagles. This is my world view of the laws protecting migratory birds:
  • for two centuries (1781 to 1981) the US had the strictest and best-enforced laws in the world to protect migratory birds
  • era of Algore: California piloted the advancement of the wind power industry. Between 1981 and 1986, 15,000 turbines producing more than 1,000 MW of power were installed in the state
  • in December, 2016, the Obama administration officially announced that individual wind-energy companies that plan to operate the technology for up to 30 years, will be allowed to kill up to 4,200 of the birds without liability. See also Scientific American, in which it was noted that the bill did not limit killings to wind farms: the permits can be sought by "all sources of human-caused eagle mortality," including oil and gas exploration and production, mining, military bases, airports, cell towers and utility lines
  • on December 23, 2017, the Trump administration did away with the need for permits and re-interpreted the Federal laws to say that "accidentally killing migratory birds not a crime."
I have no dog in this fight. It is what it is, but considering that slicers and dicers, and solar fryers kill tens of thousands of more birds than any oil site, this bill is clearly a huge win for the renewable energy sector. It also provides a lot of "coverage" for USAF air bases. I know there were more than a few Air Force commanders that wanted to kill the Canadian geese pooping on military golf courses.

It was not hard to see this one coming. Either it's legal or not legal to kill migratory birds accidentally, but one energy industry cannot be held to a different standard than another energy industry.

However this issue plays out -- I assume it will end up in court -- it's going to be entertaining to watch the Sierra Club thread this needle.

Later: now that unlimited bird strikes are allowed, maybe this wind farm developer will re-consider. Back on December 18, 2017, Penn Energy reported that an energy company has cancelled plans for a wind farm in central Montana, blaming the regulators, saying the regulators set the price too high to make the project unfeasible. TransAlta has scrapped the 21-megawatt farm near Martinsdale after regulators approved a price of $23.30 per megawatt hour. The Calgary-based company wanted more than $43 per megawatter hour for the power. Consumers wanted a price of .... drum roll ... $13.96. 

Short Takes

Montana: I heard on the radio yesterday that the electricity grid is still pretty much shut down in Puerto Rico.
One wonders if this would have been resolved by now if that Montana company had been allowed to simply complete their job and not told to leave the island by the US Congress. Just wondering. I know anything Montana folks set their minds to will get it done. I have personal experience. As a high school wrestler our Williston team wrestled teams from Montana and North Dakota. The only teams that "terrified" me were the Montana teams.
Back to that Chinese winter story, in case the link is broken. It's an important story on so many levels:
The world’s largest energy user -- that would be CHINA -- is facing a winter supply crunch after demand surged this year amid President Xi Jinping’s fight against smog, which has focused on cutting the use of coal in favor of cleaner-burning gas. 
Parts of the country started facing shortages just two weeks into winter, with Hebei and Shandong provinces in the north and central Hubei reporting supply shortfalls last month and curtailing supplies to businesses and factories in order to keep homes warm. 
Spot LNG prices in Northeast Asia rose this week to $10.90 per million British thermal units, the highest in three years. China’s top economic planner last week reiterated its call for gas suppliers should speed up LNG imports to meet winter demand. 
And I thought wind energy and solar energy was going to solve all the world's energy problems. Silly me.