Saturday, October 6, 2018

As Trudeau Looks On -- October 6, 2018

From  Zacks:
ENB recently decided to replace its 65-year old crude pipes of Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac. The decision has been backed by the Michigan government. The company will install a multi-use utility tunnel that is to be drilled through the bedrock of the channel and decommission the old pipes. The cost of the project is estimated in the range of $350-$500 million.
The project involves extensive engineering works and is expected to take 7-10 years for completion. Until then, around 23 million gallons of natural gas liquids and oil, which are used to make propane, will be transported through the lines daily. The cost of designing, building and maintaining the tunnel will be met by the company.
This decision is in line with the recent demands from environmental activists, who were wary of the oil line’s present state, fearing that it could lead to a potential spill. In April, the pipeline suffered damage from a ship’s anchor. Moreover, protective coating of the pipes is not intact at several places. Hence, the project further ensures safety of the pipeline as well as the water body. It will enable the company to deliver uninterrupted energy sources to the residents of the state.
The independent state agency of Michigan, Mackinac Bridge Authority (which controls operations of the Mackinac Bridge across the Straits of Mackinac) will help Enbridge to receive necessary government permits for the project. Once the project is completed, the agency will own the tunnel and lease it to Enbridge for pipeline operations. Going forward, the agency may strike similar deals with providers of electric and telecommunication cables.

North Dakota #1 In Lignite Production -- October 6, 2018

Link here.
North Dakota overtook Texas as the country's top producer of lignite coal in the first half of 2018, as power plant retirements led to mine closures in the Lone Star state.
Vistra Energy Corp.'s decision to close three of its lignite-fired power plants contributed to production cutbacks, along with Westmoreland Coal Co. shutting down its Jewett mine. "
Texas produced 11.4 million tons of lignite coal in the half, compared to North Dakota's 14.4 million tons. Overall, lignite coal production in the U.S. dropped by 14.9% from the first half of 2017 to the same period of 2018.
Mistaken Identity?
Mistaken Recollection?

From Understanding The Great Gatsby, Dalton Gross and MaryJean Gross, c. 1998, p. 8:
Another conservative thinker of the 1920s (in attitude, not, certainly in poetic technique) was T. S. Eliot, whose The Wasteland (1922) became the most influential poem in English of the decade. Eliot, who was going through agonizing spiritual and emotional struggles when this poem was written, announced in 1929 that he had become a member of the Church of England and a royalist in politics. The theme of The Wasteland is the spiritual sterility of modern life, symbolized by images of desert, dust, rock, and decay, in a world waiting for rain that may or may not come. The rain is a deliberately ambiguous symbol that seems to stand for life, fertility, spiritual fulfillment, and salvation, but may also at the same time somehow be menacing, since it is sometimes associated with death.
The German thinker Oswald Spengler argued in The Decline of the West (1918 - 19922) that cultures had an approximate life span of one thousand years and that Western culture, which began in the tenth century AD was now dying.
Both Eliot and Spengler had a profound influence on Fitzgerald. Fitzgerals admired Eliot greatly and sent him a copy of The Great Gatsby. Eliot responded by saying that he thought the book was "the first step that American fiction had taken since Henry James." Eliot's approval may have been based partially on the fact that the novel is saturated with symbols and images from The Wasteland.
Spengler's influence was perhaps as strong as Eliot's. In 1940 Fitzgerald claimed ot have read Spengler while writing The Great Gatsby and to have permanently affected by him. About this early reading, however, he was mistaken. The Decline of the West was not translated into English until 1926, after The Great Gatsby was published, and Fitzgerald did not read German. The least attractive explanation for this discrepancy is that Fitzgerald realized that his novel could be taken as Spenglerian and decided to claim that the resemblance was intentional. The more likely explanation is that Fitzgerald read descriptions and analyses of Spengler's work in magazines, and later remembered incorrectly that he read Spengler before he actually did.
I have watched Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby countless times. It is amazing how much I missed, symbolically. The rain is particularly interesting. So is the scene in which Gatsby nearly knocks over a clock during the awkwardness of his reunion with Daisy.

I am absolutely amazed how Luhrman captured, it seems, every important detail in the book.

Young and Beautiful, Lana del Rey

On long cross-country trips, by oneself, one really gets the opportunity to pay attention to the lyrics of the music being played on the radio. This one I've always enjoyed; I never realized how good it actually is/was. Written by a US Army helicopter pilot. Wow.

Help Me Make It Through The Night, Sammi Smith

From wiki:
Smith's recording of the song remains the most commercially successful and most well-known version in the United States. Her recording ranks among the most successful country singles of all time in terms of sales, popularity, and radio airplay. It topped the country singles chart, and was also a crossover hit, reaching number eight on the U.S. pop singles chart.

On Investing -- October 6, 2018


Later, 2:37 p.m. MDT: wow, what a beautiful day. Snowing in Yellowstone at the higher elevation. Two of the roads in the higher elevation were closed due to snow, but the other roads were open. At the highest elevation where the roads were still open, it got down to 27 degrees, but for the most part, well above freezing throughout the park. All of six buffalo seen along the road. More on this later someday. I am now in Butte, Montana. Then to Missoula where I turn right (north) for the last leg of the trip.

I'm hoping that next spring, I can make the same trip with Sophia. We would drive up, get a room in Jackson Hole, and then her parents would fly up to Jackson Hole. Travelocity has DFW-JAC flights, round trip, for two, stating at $443, with a one-hour layover in Salt Lake City. We would have a rental car, and would pick them up at the airport and then spend two days in the park. So, we'll see.

Original Note 

I will be leaving (Cody, WY) soon. Breakfast. Coffee.

Either west through Yellowstone National Park or north to Belfry. Tough, tough decision.

I plan to write a note to my granddaughters on my lessons learned after 30+ years of investing.

One lesson: don't invest in silver or gold coins. Maybe gold coins, but definitely not silver coins. The lesson has nothing to do with investing or even with the monetary value of the coins and whether they appreciate or not. It has to do with the phenomenon of collecting.

I was reminded of that when I saw the news this past week that Bill Gross, the poster child for bond investing, is selling his stamp collection, perhaps the biggest and best stamp collection known in the free world.

Anyway, enough of this. Talk to you later. Good luck to all.

Another Monica?

I'm feeling much pressure to post my thoughts on "Kav."

In a reply to a reader, not ready-for-prime-time:
When I get time I will post my thoughts on the Kav story.  Rush Limbaugh filled in some connecting dots which were important. I forget how many of those dots Susan Collins mentioned (at least one).

I don't know where one begins. One could begin with the reporting. It goes without saying that even far-left "journalists" were gullible. But that's not new. 
At the end of the day, Ford was "played." Feinstein was also "played" but she should have figured that out. I don't think you can say the media was "played." This is the irony that needs to be sorted out. Had Feinstein brought this letter to Trump's / Grassley's attention well before the hearing and said she would only bring it up if Trump went ahead with the nomination, it is very likely that rightly/wrongly Trump/Grassley/McConnell might have had the nomination withdrawn. The Dems would have kept Kavanaugh off the bench. The fact that they waited until the last minute to mention the letter (not release it, just mention it) raises the question: why did they wait so long? Diane Feinstein was under no moral compulsion to NOT pass that information to Trump/Grassley/McConnell as soon as she had the letter. I think that's the interesting question to explore. At the end of the day, everything will lead back to Feinstein, but she is the connecting dot to a much bigger story.

One starts with Susan Collins' statement. Her review of the timeline is concise, and would pretty much be accepted by everyone involved. From there, one can then ask the question why the existence of the letter (not the letter itself) was not brought to Grassley's attention earlier.

When one goes through this, especially with the stuff Rush Limbaugh brings up (not to mention what Dr Savage alleges), the Feinstein-Ford- MonicaMcLean mystery is fascinating. I would argue that it is worthy of as much investigation as the JFK assassination.
If the Dems that the US House in the mid-term election, I fervently hope the US House does a full investigation and following through with their "promise" to do so. The key witness that will never be called: Ms Hillary Clinton.

Later: after hearing Susan Collins' speech, Diane Feinstein still could not take the "high road" and the "right" road. With regard to my note above, clearly I'm wrong. Diane Feinstein was not "played." She knew exactly what she was doing and clearly orchestrated the entire three-ring circus. The fact that a GOP senator from Alaska said she was "present" on the day of the vote but had still had not made up her mind is priceless. I believe Sir Saint Obama had a habit of doing that when he was the junior senator from Illinois. 

Later, later: as more and more of the story starts to come out and the dots get connected, it is obvious that I am very, very wrong. Neither Ford nor Feinstein were played. I was going to write more regarding this subject but the statement by Susan Collins pretty much says all that needs to be said. 

The Great Gatsy

And finally, before heading out, a few pages of The Great Gatsby. 

A Shout Out To Some Big People -- October 6, 2018

Susan Collins finds starring role in Kavanaugh vote -- Drudge Report link and top story. Immediate thought, actually two thoughts:
  • if Trump gets a third opportunity for Supreme Court justice nominee: Susan Collins
  • some screenwriter needs to write a screenplay just for Meryl Streep to play Susan Collins; it would rival To Kill A Mockingbird, Gone With The Wind, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Guns of Navarone, and Apollo 13, just to name a few
Borked. Not

Disclaimer: because I was so far behind in my blogging and my mail, I posted a lot of stuff very quickly. There will be typographical and factual errors, as well as formatting errors. We will take care of them as time permits.

Trucks. Again. The reason for this stand-alone post was to give another shout-out to the truck drivers. I have said many times how much I respect the truck drivers in this country. Again, over the past 24 hours, driving from the Dallas area to the Yellowstone National Park area I was in awe of the truck drivers.

Lights On The Hill, Slim Dusty

Getting old: while driving, lots of thoughts. Many thoughts about how wonderful my dad was. RIP. He drove truck for awhile. He talked about it a lot.

Phantom 309, Red Sovine

In Phantom 309, Red describes the trucker only as a "big man, he weighed about 210..." and that was all, except for the name, "Big Joe."

What wasn't said about the trucker was even more important. He was a "big man...."

Wow, I just love great writing -- what to write, what not to write. I don't think Ernest Hemingway could have written a better line ... "he was  a big man ..." Red wasn't talking just about the driver's weight.

Susan Collins is probably one of the slightest women in the US Senate. Yesterday she proved she was a "big woman."


Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses, Kathy Mattea

Six Days on the Road, Dave Dudley

Reader Updates The Brooklyn Oil Field -- October 6, 2018

There are so many story lines here. I hope to come back to this to make comments -- so much to say. But I wanted to post it even though I don't have time to comment because I know a lot of mineral owners will enjoy the update. [For the reader who sent the note below: if your note looks very slightly different, I removed about six words to maintain anonymity.]

From a reader:
There have been status changes on some of the wells on LOC status in Brooklyn Township so I cut short a vacation to make the drive out to ND to see what is going on.  
My interest was in the 4 Rolf wells but 5 Springfield and 1 Helena well also had changed to drilling status.  The Springfield and Helena wells are now SI.  A fracking rig is on that pad and a drilling rig is on the adjacent Rolf pad. So it looks like they are going straight from drilling to fracking.

The initial Rolf well is not pumping at this time and it’s pump has been partially dismantled.  It is two miles south of the new pad.  All the wells in the area are flaring because (I was told) of a partial shut down of the Tioga Gas plant.  This enormous Bunsen burner is from the Charleston and Olympia 4 and 5 wells.  It’s roaring. 

Just for the record I have a daughter who is a firstie at USAFA and I love to bike.  Next time you’re in [our area], if you’d like a local bike guide or even just info I’d be happy to assist.
The reader sent three photographs:

Cleaning Out The In-Box, Part 3 -- October 6, 2018

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

What was he thinking? Warren Buffett recently announced he sold off some/much/most/all of his COP. Apparently he found opportunities that looked better than COP. From about a year ago, this is the screenshot of COP shares. A 7% dividend increase was just declared, now at $0.305/share.

Comment: I posted this -- not because of COP per se. This is what caught my attention. This represents the incredible potential of the United States and the opportunities for young investors. Think about this. A year ago one could have bought COP for under $40. Today it is trading at almost $80. In fact, it is going up in a market that, in the past two days, was going down. In addition, one gets a nice dividend, and a dividend that is increasing. But even with all that, Warren Buffeet, said to be the best investor ever in the world, says there are better opportunities out there. He sold some/much/most/all of his COP this past year which suggests to me he thinks there are even better places to put one's money. Wow.

Seque needed? LOL: from Hollywood Reporter -- Camille Paglia. Coincidentally she mentions Gone With The Wind (see this post, posted moments ago).
No American movie in decades has approached the blazing sizzle, conveyed simply by eye contact, of the first encounter of Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) and Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) on the grand staircase of Gone With the Wind (1939). Electrifying onscreen energy was once generated by stark sexual polarization — old-fashioned gender differences, rooted in biology. Campus gender theory, with its universal androgyny and rigid social constructionism, is box office poison.
Here's a short list of incandescent star couplings whose heat is now rarely duplicated by Hollywood, even in its monotonous remakes: Anthony Quinn and Rita Hayworth in Blood and Sand (1941); Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not (1944); John Garfield and Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946); Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal in The Fountainhead (1949); Laurence Harvey and Elizabeth Taylor in Butterfield 8 (1960); Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968); Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand in The Way We Were (1973); and Michael Douglas and Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction (1987).
To Have and Have Not: incredibly over-rated. And yet, once one watches it for the umpteenth time, one realizes how great it really is. I never tire of watching it, although I don't watch it all the way through. Snippets are fine.

"I'd walk home if it wasn't for all that water." 

One has to remember how young this woman was ... "... it's even better when you help ..."

To Have and To Hold

Dr Ford was no "Slim."

[In the clip above, Lauren was 19; the other person -- I forget his name -- was 44 years old. He was married at the time to Mayo.]

In the DFW area, there is a commercial that is pretty much going viral as far as local commercials go. It's a car commercial, a local Cadillac dealer I believe. The premise of the commercial is that their service department is so incredibly wonderful, some folks go there just to have coffee and hang out, even when their car needs no servicing.

Last week, while getting a new gas cap for my wife's Chrysler minivan at the Chrysler dealer about a mile down the road from that other incredible service department, a vehicle with that dealer's emblem on the license plate holder drove into Chrysler for servicing.



Which reminds me. I carry Gene Simmons" On Power: My Journey Through The Corridors of Power with me in my backpack. All the time. In that book, he has a chapter on the importance of one's name. Important enough to change it. Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske. Getting from Perske to Bacall took two steps.

Cleaning Out The In-Box, Part 2, October 6, 2018

Boom! From Rigzone -- $32 billion of oil, gas merger and acquisition deals in 3Q18 breaks record.

Blowback from Bloomberg: Trump request for maximum OPEC output may backfire. What could this possibly be about? The article is said to be in the "News" section of Bloomberg, but it's clearly an op-ed piece:
If OPEC is the central bank of oil, then the Trump administration is commanding it to run the printing presses at full speed.
The U.S. State Department took the unusual step of issuing a statement on Wednesday asking the cartel to boost production by tapping the supply buffer it maintains in case of unexpected disruptions. It even gave a figure for how much more the group could pump -- 1.4 million barrels a day.
If the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries were to fill this request -- and Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Thursday that it could -- the oil market would be in uncharted territory. Even during the worst crises of the past two decades, including the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Libya’s civil war, the cartel has never been forced to pump flat out.
If President Donald Trump gets what he wants from OPEC, it might not bring an end to the high oil prices he’s been complaining about for months. U.S. crude futures responded on Wednesday to the news that Saudi Arabia had joined Russia in pumping at close to record levels by rising 1.6 percent to $76.41 a barrel -- the highest since 2014.
In his 30 years covering the oil market, Jefferies analyst Jason Gammel said he can’t recall ever seeing anything like the State Department request.
“This is the lowest level of spare capacity in the global system relative to demand that I’ve ever seen,” Gammel said in an interview on Bloomberg television. “Spare capacity is moving to a precariously low point” and $100-a-barrel crude is a realistic possibility, he said.
Assuming Trudeau can close the deal; that the faux environmentalists don't shut this project down. From Rigzone -- LNG Canada raises the bar for Gulf Coast projects. We've discussed this before.

US natural gas revolution: at this post I noted I may not follow the natural gas fill rate any more; it seems to be irrelevant. A reader who is very, very knowledgeable about the Appalachian story wrote:
As per the RBN story, the ADDITIONAL 8 Bcf output expected in 5 years is about 25% MORE than Haynesville currently produces. 
Appalachia Rising!
Health insurance: $20,000 per year per employee. Previously posted? Can't remember. But if so, worth re-posting.

Cleaning Out The In-Box, October 6, 2018

Dividend increase: did COP increase its dividend from $0.285 to $0.305? Apparently so. A 7% increase. More later, perhaps.

Ponzi not: The Bakken is not a Ponzi scheme: from SeekingAlpha.
A must read. Addresses many issues regarding shale oil, including:
  • the "Red Queen" -- the decline rate
  • cash flow
  • more than two years into the oil upswing, shale oil developers are thriving, with many of them either already generating or on the way to generate positive free cash flow
  • however, some investors still cling to the notion that shale developers run on an ever-faster treadmill in capital needs and thus operate a Ponzi scheme
  • here, I intend to use empirical hard data to demonstrate shale oil as a Ponzi scheme is a pure fallacy which can potentially blind investors from seeing opportunities in shale.
Yeah, Sure

Saudi Aramco IPO is still "on." From CNBC --
  • Saudi Aramco IPO will happen by 2021, the kingdom's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says
  • the king in waiting reiterated his belief that the company is worth $2 trillion
  • Aramco had originally targeted a 2018 IPO, and analysts say a $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion valuation is more likely. 
NOG: additional $750 million credit facility through a syndicate of several banks. This, by the way, is why Congressional concern about "too big to fail" is misplaced. From the press release:
NOG announced that it has closed an agreement with Royal Bank of Canada, as administrative agent, and a syndicate of lenders under a new $750 million first lien revolving credit facility (the “new credit facility”). RBC Capital Markets, ABN AMRO, Capital One, Citizens Bank and Wells Fargo Securities are the joint lead arrangers and joint book runners. The new credit facility matures in October 2023.
The new credit facility has an initial borrowing base of $425 million, with the next redetermination scheduled for April 1, 2019. Northern has drawn $50 million of borrowings at closing. Northern applied a portion of the initial proceeds, together with the net proceeds of its previously announced offering of senior secured second lien notes, towards the repayment and retirement of its term loan credit facility led by TPG Sixth Street Partners.
Politics: from a reader regarding Susan Collins, Brett Kavanaugh --
This is one of the most compelling, analytical political floor speeches I have ever heard.
Under the circumstances I was riveted until the very end. Senator Collins will vote for Brett Kavanaugh. Doing the Job of a U.S. Senator as the Constitution and Founders of our Country Intended.
Right down the line. One of my favorite posts this past week. A reader agreed. Right down the line.

Tesla: analogy with Lethman Brothers collapse. From SeekingAlpha.

Ford: to downsize its salaried workforce.

Geoff Simon's Top North Dakota Energy Stories For The Week -- October 6, 2018

School funding:
The North Dakota Legislature’s interim Education Funding Committee wrapped up its work yesterday and although it won’t be introducing legislation on behalf of the committee, there will likely be several bills introduced in the 2019 session related to its discussions.

Among those will be “on-time funding,” which simply means that money provided by the state to support local education is based on the enrollment figure for the current school year. The state’s Foundation Aid formula now bases payments on the previous year’s school enrollment, which helps protect districts where enrollments are declining. But Aimee Copas, executive director of the ND Council of Educational Leaders, said the lack of on-time funding in the current formula results in school districts with increasing enrollments (like those in western North Dakota) providing services to additional students without additional funding. 
Heavy trucks
The Burleigh County Commission voted this week to join the LoadPass Permits system for the movement of oversize trucks on its county roads.

Burleigh County is the latest non-oil producing county to join LoadPass. It will officially join the system on January 1. County Engineer Marcus Hall said the county has been interested in finding a better way to manage overweight truck traffic.

"We've experienced in the last few years a real big increase in what I would call 'super heavy loads,' 250,000-plus pounds, and traveling many miles on some of our county roads," Hall said.
Davis Refinery. Court rulings:
A complaint against Meridian Energy's Davis Refinery project near Belfield has been dismissed by a Burleigh County District Court judge. The Dakota Resource Council's motion for summary judgment was denied and all claims dismissed with prejudice. 

District Judge Bruce Haskell found the Conditional Use Permit for the Davis Refinery is valid and still in “full force and effect.”

Another North Dakota judge finalized his recent conclusion that state regulators don’t have a say in the site. Administrative Law Judge Patrick Ward released his ruling this week that the refinery will not produce enough to fall under the oversight of the ND Public Service Commission. Environmental groups are asking Judge Ward to reconsider his recommendation. 
 Mountrail-Williams Co-Op opens new office (possible only because of the Bakken):
North Dakota oil producers have seen explosive growth the past decade, but so have the electric companies that serve them. This week, one of those companies moved into a new office building in north Williston.

Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the co-op’s new 85,000 square-foot office building. General Manager Dale Haugen said the electric load currently served by the co-op is about 15 times larger than it was in 2010. 
Quick Connects
  • Lignite Energy Council’s conference highlights hard work -- KFYR-TV
  • Hess donates to Williston school's STEM program -- KFYR-TV
  • Ward County approves $53 million budget, no property tax increases -- Minot Daily News
  • ND tribal group joins lawsuit over methane rule, claim toxins affect people -- Bismarck Tribune
  • School budget committee discusses hiring construction manager -- Dickinson Press
  • NDLTAP encourages fourth graders to become missing "Sign Warriors" -- NDLTAP
  • EIA says both US natural gas supply and demand have increased in past year -- EIA
  • Shale drove record U.S. oil and natural gas exports in first half of 2018 -- Energy in Depth
  • Saudi Arabia plans oil output hike in October and November -- Reuters