Sunday, October 2, 2011

Update on Activity in the State's Oil Capital -- Tioga, North Dakota -- Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Link here (regional links break early and break often).
Today, what could become the 16th largest community in North Dakota will shoot up practically over night on crop land west of Tioga.

Capital Lodge, a Texas entity incorporated in North Dakota to build worker housing, is setting up units for 2,500 people as fast as the units can be shipped from the assembly plant in Indiana.

Wham-bam, just like that, a community is rising from the dust storm of bulldozed clay soil. It'll have its own general store, lagoon and waste treatment facility, water wells, a football field-sized dome with swimming pool, hot tubs, exercise facility, basketball court and dining, and parking for 200 semi trucks.
Long-Term Vision
Its management representative, Richard Brown, says the long-term plan is that when the boom is off the oil and mostly male truckers and workers are replaced by production-phase families, a "Capitalville" could become its own self-sustaining community.

Brown said the units, which have seven bedrooms and a large living area, were designed to become four-bedroom homes with relatively little interior remodeling. Every other unit would be removed, or moved, to provide some yard around the remaining units.

That's an unusual bit of futuristic thinking in the oil zone, where between 15,000 and 20,000 temporary housing units (no one knows the exact number) are most often Lego-style modules that bolt together and are intended to be trucked off to the next boom, small modulars, or rows of RVs parked in raw camps and farmyards.

Capital Lodge will bring the number of temporary housing units to 9,400 in Williams County alone.
This is impressive, but one subdivision alone in Williston will be adding about 2,200 permanent units for families.

Gun Issue

Regardless of where one stands on this issue, the guest does raise three good questions or makes three good comments to which the interviewer was unable to answer, except to ask why your neighbor shouldn't be allowed to have nuclear weapons:
a) if the police need automatic weapons to protect themselves, why shouldn't an average rational, thinking citizen, think the same; and,

b) the whole concept of projection: "I don't want my neighbor to have a gun, because he might go crazy." So, if I give you my gun, I should be worried that you are going to shoot me?

c) And, of course, the law to ban methamphetamine worked real well. 
You Mean My Doctor Carries a Gun?West Virginia Decision Makers

One of the best comments at the linked YouTube site: In today's society, I don't understand why anyone should think they need a fire extinguisher. We've got firefighters that are there to protect us.  How many more schools have to be vandalized with "assault" fire extinguishers before we come to our senses?!

Opposition to the Keystone XL Suprised the Developer

This is a very, very good story about the Keystone XL with regard to the opposition it has experienced.

Many months ago I posted a note about how fracking caught those opposed to "Big Oil"completely off guard. I post up to 10 new posts/day and update dozens of other posts and it will take a moment to find that post or posts. Ah, yes, here are the posts in which I first discussed this issue. Click here and here -- links will have to wait. I'm using Microsoft IE and links are impossible to access; when I get home I will use my old MacBook and put in the links.

Folks who say that the oppositon to Keystone XL is simply about opposition to pipelines in general are misreading the story.

Folks are misreading the reason for the national interest in opposition to the Keystone XL. The anti-Big Oil folks have fewer and fewer issues to challenge. Even the response to the Gulf oil spill back in 2010, in retrospect, caused more economic damage than the spill itself.

When you get right down to it, there's really only one national issue the anti-Big Oil folks have in common: fracking. But with regard to fracking, opponents to "Big Oil" were caught completely off-guard. Early on I opined that opponents might be able to stop fracking, but the tea leaves suggest otherwise. Too many states with unemployment in double digits and budgets in disarray desperately need the industry, even if their leaders are unwilling to admit it. I understand even Governor Moonbeam of California is courting the oil industry for onshore drilling.

With gasoline at $4.00/gallon, with wind turning out to be more expensive than folks realized and are whooping crane and bald eagle killers to boot, and solar all but dead (see Solyndra; see two more companeis get Obama's larges -- links to follow), common folk are asking: what's wrong with Canadian oil?

So, having been caught off-guard with regard to fracking, the anti-oil folks didn't have many places to go. It is truly amazing that a simple pipeline became a national lightning rod. Even SecState Hillary Clinton was caught off-guard, having flip-flopped on the issue. I don't know her current position on the Keystone. [According to --
Friends of the Earth, Corporate Ethics International, and the Center for International Environmental Law are seeking a record of all communication between Clinton's office and that of Paul Elliott, who served as the national deputy director in her 2008 campaign and now serves as the director of government relations at TransCanada. The initial Freedom of Information Act request was denied. A new request was submitted in late January.]
The following from someone else who understands what is going on:
The problem with fracking isn't that it's particularly new or dangerous. The methodology has been in use for decades, and it is as safe as other drilling processes. The real problem is that it could produce relatively cheap hydrocarbon energy for a very long time, and that's what has environmentalists worried.
Others have already talked about the hypocrisy of giving a pass to whooping crane killers. Now, check out the goverment's map of pipelines crossing the country, particularly through Nebraska, and it is obvious the degree of hypocrisy with regard to Keystone XL. The national pipeline infrasture, we are told, is old and in need up repair or renewal. Everyone talks about need for new infrastructure in the US. Now that a Canadian company actually has a shovel-ready infrastructure project in place, folks in New York City, Washington (DC), and San Francisco are against it. (I assume most of them don't even know where Nebraska is on a map.) Hypocrisy in full bloom.

I don't have a dog in this fight. My interest is in Enbridge and KinderMorgan.

$4,000 For 2-Bedroom Apartment in Williston -- Predictable Outcome -- Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Big front page story in Williston Herald today on $4,000 rent for apartments, Sunday, October 2, 2011, or at least I think it's the Sunday edition. Groundhog day in the Bakken and I lose track of time.

I don't have a dog in that fight, but I will post the link and a short clip since regional links break early and break often.
The first application was brought forth by Cudd Energy. Cudd Energy was requesting renewal of an existing conditional use permit approved in November for a one-year period and to expand the existing 64-bed facility to a 120-bed facility. The facility would be constructed in phases. The complex would be two or three stories. The first phase would be 75 beds. As the new facility is constructed the other facility would be phased out.

Cudd Energy Services District Manager Kelly G. Kelly said there is a need to expand the current facility due to the lack of housing in the area. He said he has seen apartments renting for $4,000. More people are continuing to move to the area with not enough homes available to purchase or apartments to rent.
It was my impression that Cudd was warmly received when the company moved to Williston a year or so ago; I guess the honeymoon has worn off. Cudd was given the cold shoulder. 

It appears to be a win-win for all. Local landlords can charge $4,000 for a two-room apartment that was renting for $700 last year, and $300 the year before, and the oil companies can move their man-camps south of the river. The state has widened the highway and can bear a bit more traffic. "South of the river" is only ten miles (and less) for all the oil service companies west of Williston.

Interestingly enough, the Williston Herald is on the right side on this issue.


After thought.

I agree with the commission on this one.  I don't like the idea of man-camps, dormitories, RV trailers, shanties, etc., inside industrial parks. I won't go into all the reasons.

It would be great to see an undertaking similar to what happened to Lynn, Massachusetts, peri-WWII, when General Electric moved in and pretty much took over the city. In this case, the oil service companies need to look at Indian Hill, south of the river the way GE looked at Lynn in the 20th century. [Update: a more familiar example is Levittown, NY. I wanted to use that as the example, but I couldn't remember the city. DH reminded me that it was Levittown in a comment at another post.]

Chaos is self-organizing. The oil service companies are fighting City Hall. There are easier fights to pick. The oil service companies are spending too much time on finding an answer to the housing situation when the answer is staring them in the face. (Note: this is not an original idea for me; someone else suggested it to me some months ago.)


As long as I've digressed this far, I might as well throw in this story. The Williston Park Board, on the advice of its lawyer to appraise the deal, nixed plans to have a 15.7-acre playground and park for children and parents in the new 2,200 unit development northwest of Williston.

I'm not sure about the "2,200 units" -- the number remains in flux. Now that the plans for a playground have been nixed, the developer will put houses on the lots.

The story is very, very confusing, and folks should read the original story at the link. It is still there today, but regional links break early and break often.

I often wonder if Donald Trump has ever asked the city for an appraisal of Central Park in New York City to see if it's worth keeping as a park, or whether they Kennedys ever thought to appraise the Boston Common Frog Pond. I haven't spent much time in Central Park (New York City) but I have spent a lot of time at the Frog Pond and have very, very fond memories.

Hmmm, I just can't get it out of my mind that there won't be a 16-acre park where there could have been one. Wow. Hmmm.