Thursday, November 17, 2011

Billionaire Buffett's Bakken Boom -- Investor's Business Daily -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA


The IBD was a bit late to the party with this story. The gist of the story has been circulating since early October. This is probably the best source: when you get to the post, go to the links for one of the first to write about the Buffett connection. I have no idea how likely Warren Buffett's folks were involved. And, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. The buck stops at the Oval Office, and that's where the decision was made.

Original Post
There are some errors in this story, suggesting that it was written more than a year ago, and re-posted today.

Investor's Business Daily re-posting old stories with new ledes?

The lede is current:
Energy Policy: Killing the Keystone XL pipeline may help one of the world's richest men get richer. North Dakota's booming oil fields will now grow more dependent on a railroad the president's economic guru just bought.
But this next paragraph is a year old:
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has agreed to buy Burlington Northern Santa Fe in a deal valuing the railroad at $34 billion. Berkshire Hathaway already owns about 22% of Burlington Northern, and will pay $100 a share in cash and stock for the rest of the company.
Warren closed on the Burlington Northern in 2010:

And then this little gem:
Rail shipments accounted for up to 65,000 of the nearly 343,000 barrels of oil produced daily in North Dakota in December. That percentage is likely to increase.
What's wrong in that sentence? Well, two things with regard to timeliness -- first, it says oil produced daily in December. December, 2011, isn't here yet, so the writer is referring to December, almost a year ago. And the "343,000 barrels of oil produced daily in North Dakota." Well, that was SOOOO last year. We are nearing 500,000 bbls/day.

The last three paragraphs, if still accurate, are interesting data points:
Many of the rail shipments from the Bakken fields are being handled by BNSF Railway Co., which has more than 1,000 miles of tracks in the region.

Michael Bruce, the railroad's business development director, said BNSF could ship up 730,000 barrels of crude daily out of North Dakota "contingent on facilities being built."

North Dakota pumped a record 113 million barrels of oil in 2010. State officials estimate the state will produce 700,000 barrels daily in four to seven years.
I am somewhat flabbergasted that IBD -- a source I normally respect -- would let this reporting get by. 

With regard to the point of the story: Warren Buffett standing to reap huge benefits -- this is already an old story.

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