Credit Card Companies Get Federal Bail Out

 

The credit card industry got a huge boost from President Obama last month when he signed an executive order requiring a switch to chip-and-pin technology for government vendors and agencies.

It dictates the Department of the Treasury “take necessary steps” to guarantee payment terminals authorized by the agency have “enhanced security features” by January 2015. It would require a complete upgrade of all credit card machines approved by the Department of Treasury, a cost borne by government agencies instead of credit card firms.

Sand in Demand in the Bakken

As Williston Basin operators accelerate the use of sand for hydraulic fracturing – as much as six million pounds per well in some cases – there is an even bigger ramp up in new sand mines in Wisconsin and unloading terminals in North Dakota.

EDG Resources, for example, uses 1000 pounds of sand per lateral foot – about 2.5 to 5 times higher than proppant used on the average Bakken well.

Some estimates put the proppant market in North America to exceed one billion pound worth $10 billion by 2017.

Industry Making Huge Strides in Cleaner, Efficient Technology

Many new, often game-changing, technologies are being developed by industries which improve efficiencies, reduce costs and bring profound environmental improvements with almost no public recognition. Recently reported by Watchdog was one such technology that is allowing the cleanup of coal waste dumps which have plagued eastern communities for decades.

The new technology for coal burning called "fluidized bed combustion" — has allowed piles of coal waste to be useful, to generate electricity and steam.

Prior to this development, coal that was too contaminated with rock or other material couldn't be burned, and was simply dumped out of the way as it was mined.

Natural Gas Boom Reshapes Manufacturing

The American shale gas boom has the potential to revitalize domestic manufacturing, and a new report from a University of Michigan-led panel recommends steps to make that happen in a responsible manner.

Those steps include increasing public trust of hydraulic fracturing; monitoring and reducing methane emissions; and using shale gas profits to advance renewable energy technologies, among other efforts.

The report, Shale Gas: A Game-Changer for U.S. Manufacturing, summarizes and expands on the U-M-sponsored daylong conference of the same name held this spring in Washington, D.C. In addition to U-M faculty members, representatives from industry, environmental organizations and government agencies participated.

Lockwood Looks Good For Industrial Park

An area near the convergence of interstate highways, I-90 and I-94, east of Lockwood has the greatest potential for a future industrial park in Yellowstone County. But that doesn't rule out the prospects for two other potential sites, one in Billings, the BN Industrial Subdivision, and another, Spurling Siding west of Laurel.

The prospective sites were unveiled during a meeting, last weeks, at which officials from Big Sky Economic Development (BSED) and KLJ reviewed the results of a comprehensive study which KLJ, an engineering firm, conducted on behalf of BSED, to identify potential industrial sites in Yellowstone County.

Inside the Patch by Dennis Blank

Two recent Wall St. Journal articles regarding Bakken crude oil lacked the kind of fair and in depth reporting that is so characteristic of most Journal articles. In fact, I would consider this reporting very biased and inflammatory. Consider the recent headlines: “Firms Leave Oil from North Dakota Fracking Prone to Explosion.”

There is not a word in that article that supports the headline that extracted oil is explosive. And in the Aug. 11 article on the same subject the Journal said, “several trains carrying Bakken crude have derailed since the summer of 2013, exploding violently and in one instance, killing 47 people in Quebec. As the Wall Street Journal has reported, “light crude tapped from North Dakota shale is more combustible than many other grades of oil, unlike in other places, seldom stabilized.”

Sandfire Resources Purchases Tintina Resources

Tintina Resources Inc. announced that Sandfire Resources NL has agreed to purchase 80 million units of the Company at a price of $0.20 per unit for gross proceeds of $16 million.

Sandfire is an ASX listed company based in Perth, Australia and the owner and operator of the DeGrussa Copper-Gold Mine. The closing of the private placement will give Sandfire an initial 36% stake in the Company. The funds raised will enable the Company to continue work on a feasibility study and a mine operating permit application for the Company's Black Butte Copper Project, Montana.

Cheaper Transportation Pushes Oil North

A dramatic shift is taking place in the movement of crude oil – including lightweight Bakken crude – going north to Canadian refiners, and more is anticipated.

According to a new report by Turner Mason, Canada is becoming a new destination as a relief valve for US refiners saturated by huge increases in domestic production.

"As North America continues toward energy independence, a reshuffling of crude flows will take place to balance crude qualities with refinery demands," Turner Mason said. "The increase in US production will continue to flow north as long as the economics drive it in the direction."

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