Monday, October 3, 2011

A Little Bit Of Irony In This Post -- The Oil Company BP Will Get a Pass When It Kills Whooping Cranes in Kansas

Some things I just cannot make up.

I don't recall if the US Fish and Wildlife Service has gone "final" with its plan to legally allow wind turbines to kill migratory birds (whooping cranes, golden eagles, bald eagles, and such).

Meanwhile, of course, six or seven oil companies in North Dakota have been charged with killing 26 migratory birds (ducks) this past spring when the birds allegedly flew into oil waste pits during one of the worse spring floods in North Dakota history.

So, here we have a bit of irony. BP plans to build $800 million worth of migratory bird killers in Kansas in 2012.
BP Plc announced plans on Monday to build an $800 million wind farm in Kansas next year, providing a lift for the U.S. wind power industry as its outlook dims with the looming expiry of federal tax credits.
The 419-megawatt Flat Ridge 2 wind farm will include 262 General Electric turbines spinning about 43 miles southwest of Wichita, BP said, in what will be the largest installation for both the state and BP Wind Energy.
Because of the Central Flyway migratory route, Kansas claims 470 species of birds within its borders more than surrounding states. Ah, yes, some folks were upset with the Gulf spill. Now they can talk about sanctioned bird kills.

The other irony in all this is that under normal operating conditions, wind turbines are expected to kill birds. When birds are killed by wind turbines it is not because the turbines are malfunctioning; they are operating as engineered.

On the other hand, everyone in the oil industry -- regulators, operators, oil service companies, environmentalists -- are working to prevent a malfunction in the oil exploration and production system which would harm the environment. But accidents happen.

From the wind turbine perspective, when a whooping crane or a bald eagle is killed by a wind turbine, it is not an accident. I guess that's why it's legal.

Meanwhile, environmentalists are lined up in Nebraska to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.

The irony of it all.


By the way, how many ducks and/or mergansers are hunters allowed to take in North Dakota during hunting season? The daily limit is six ducks/day/hunter and five mergansers/day/hunter with 12 and 10, respectively, of each in possession. Once the hunter has disposed of the "possession limit" he/she may go out for more. I don't know how many duck hunters there are in North Dakota, but at least one estimate puts 80,000 duck hunters in Minnesota.


So, are there any whooping cranes in Kansas?
Likely the most well-known endangered bird in North America, the whooping crane was nearly extinct. In 1941, only 16 birds made the semiannual migration between Canada and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Through intensive conservation efforts, this number grew to 43 by 1966 and just over 230 individuals in 2004. There were 54 documented nests in 2004 at Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada. These nests produced a record number 41 young. There is also a captive breeding flock in Florida. The population is closely monitored on breeding grounds, wintering grounds and in migration by wildlife officials. Whooping cranes occur over central Kansas during migration and are often seen near Cheyenne Bottoms or Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. For many Kansans, spotting a whooping crane is a sighting of a lifetime.

Is the Chevy Volt a Sales Flop? --

I follow the Chevy Volt sales since, as a taxpayer, I own part of the company. I forget where I post updates but this is one post.

At, October 3, 2011, this lede:
General Motors has repeatedly claimed a sales target for 2011 of 10,000 units for the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt sedan. But, nine months into the year, they've only shipped 3,895 off the lot. In fact, in September sales numbers, released an hour ago, GM sold only 723 Volts. Will GM fail to meet its own sales predictions?
To be fair, GM has claimed that sales would falter during the summer because of a pre-planned shutdown of the automaker's Hamtramck assembly plant. But, it was thought by most analysts that GM would have already swallowed that hiccup and by September we'd see higher sales. Despite more than doubling last months sales, we somehow don't think 723 units sold this past month is what one would consider massive sales momentum — especially given this summer's anemic numbers. And that's not to say there aren't any Volts on dealer lots. shows over 2,600 units available in a nation-wide search of new vehicle listings.

Coming Off the Confidential List Over the Weekend -- Fracking Backlog 6/9 Not Completed -- Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Nine wells came off the confidential list over the weekend and today (Monday); all but three were placed on DRL status, i.e., not completed, most likely waiting to be fracked.

Flashback -- Levittown -- First Mass-Produced Suburb -- Archetype for Postwar Suburbs (Were There Pre-War Suburbs?] -- Bakken Relevancy

The other day I posted a note about housing issues in Williston. I used another city as an example, but DH reminded me of a better example: Levittown. 

From wikipedia:
Levittown gets its name from its builder, the firm of Levitt & Sons, Inc. founded by William Levitt, who built the district as a planned community between 1947 and 1951. William Levitt is considered the father of modern suburbia. Levittown was the first truly mass-produced suburb and is widely regarded as the archetype for postwar suburbs throughout the country.

The building firm, Levitt and Sons, headed by Abraham Levitt and his two sons, William and Alfred, built four planned communities called "Levittown" (in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico), but Levittown, New York, was the first. Additionally, Levitt and Sons designs feature prominently in the older portion of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, Vernon Hills, Illinois, Willingboro, New Jersey, and the Belair section of Bowie, Maryland.

The Levitt firm began before World War II, as a builder of custom homes in upper middle-class communities on Long Island. During the war, however, the homebuilding industry languished under a general embargo on private use of scarce raw materials. William "Bill" Levitt served in the Navy, and developed expertise in mass-production building of military housing using uniform and interchangeable parts. During this same period, he was insistent that a postwar building boom would require similar mass-production housing, and was able to purchase options on large swaths of onion and potato fields in undeveloped sections of Long Island.

Flashback -- Indian Hill -- 1980's -- North Dakota, USA

More than once I have heard oilmen talk about the Bakken as something they've never experienced before in onshore drilling. I assume they mean a) "no" dry holes; and, b) first month production that crushes previous experience in the Williston Basin.

But it's fun to go back and look at what previous booms have shown. There have been some good wells.

DH alerts me to three interesting wells drilled back in the 1980's, just south of Williston, across the river, on Indian Hill. All three wells are vertical wells (would have cost very little compared to Bakken wells today) and are still producing. These three wells were placed eighteen feet apart. They are so close to each other I had to rely on DH's information; the GIS map server wouldn't get down to 18 feet separation on the "distance finder." Look at the spacing on these wells and the cumulative to date on the first one. And they've been producing for almost 30 years.

10431, s12/1983,t1/1984, 423, Deer Pass 20-1, XTO now; was Columbia Gas, Red River formation, cumulative as of August, 2011: 770,2141 bbls, listed as active, but no production for past several months, spacing 320 acres.

10910, three formations, Columbia Gas Development, Deer Pass
  • Stonewall, s1985, t1985, 463, cumulative as of August, 2011: 133,534 bbls; 320 acres
  • Birdbear, t1986, 335, cumulative: 125,031 bbls; 160 acres
  • Duperow, t1993, 57, cumulative 23,659 bbls; 160 acres
  • Total: 282,224 bbls and still listed as active, though no production for several months
11470, 504, Columbia Gas Development, Deer Pass 20-3, s1985, t1985, cumulative as of August, 2011: 726,210 bbls; Madison formation (Duperow was dry); still listed as active, though no production past few months; 160 acres

This Posting For Newbies Only -- And For Those "Numb" to News Out of the Bakken -- Bakken, North Dakota, USA

When you get to the list of reporting wells at the bottom, you can see why the activity is moving to McKenzie County (Watford City). Also, it was interesting to note that BEXP has a well in Mountrail County; I'm used to seeing BEXP in Williams County.

For newbies, in the old days (two years ago) some folks were excited with IPs greater than a 1,000. In fact, I kept a list of all wells with IPs greater than a 1,000. But that got old, and then I only kept track of those with IPs greater than 2,000. Now I've pretty much quit that. If oil companies want to get IPs with 2,000 the first time around, they can.

And check out that BR "Eco-Pad" in the list below; three of four wells reported.

Finally, there are "no" dry wells in the Bakken.

Now, to the exciting news for the last day of September:

First of all, we are back to all-time high of active rigs in North Dakota today: 201

Second, we are on track for 1,840 permits for 2011.  Huge.

Third, on Friday, 23 wells completed were reported by NDIC; and five more came off the confidential list, and four of those reported IPS. Altogether, 27 wells reported IPs on Friday, September 30, 2011. And, best of all, I am not aware of any other press report, blog, mainstream media, etc., that reported this remarkable day. I guess everyone thinks "ho-hum." Something tells me elsewhere will get around to this eventually. Everybody was more interested in man-camp controversy. I can hardly wait for the 3rd quarter earnings reports.

But here are just some of the 27. First of all, Burlington Resources, one of the first to use horizontal fracking in the Bakken (remember Meridian?), reported several phenomenal wells, and I don't recall BR ever being accused of inflating their numbers. BR is one of the more conservative operators in the Bakken. Here are the BR wells reported a couple of days ago:
  • 18687, 667, BR, LP Keene 14-35H, Dunn
  • 19282, 1,346, BR, Rising Sun 11-1MBH, McKenzie -- same pad as one below, 1 of 4 wells on pad
  • 19283, 1,524, BR, Sunline 11-1MB -- same pad as one above, one of four wells on same pad
  • 19286, 1,464, BR, Sunline 11-1TFH -- same pad as one above, one of four wells on same pad
  • 19487, 2,108, BR, Cleetwood 11-27H, McKenzie
  • 19690, 2,884, BR, Mazama 44-21H, McKenzie
  • 19775, 2,645, BR, Patton 31-1H, Dunn
  • 19883, 1,603, BR, Abercrombie 44-12H, McKenzie
Others of note:
  • 17859, 827, Petro-Hunt, McKenzie
  • 19540, 2,032, Murex, Vanessa Abigail 33-28H, Williams
  • 19554, 1,933, BEXP, Hovde 33-4 1H, McKenzie
  • 19672, 1,185, Murex, Virginia Leigh 33-28H, Williams
  • 19996, 1,148, Slawson, Alamo 2-19-18H, Mountrail
  • 20337, 2,089, Whiting, Johnson 31-4H, McKenzie
  • 20338, 980, BEXP, Pladson 4-9 1H, Mountrail
  • 20891, 1,167, EOG, Clarks creek 12-0719H, McKenzie