Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Director's Cut Is Out: What Slowdown? Permitting At All-Time High By a Huge Margin; With Ten Less Rigs --> Production Up By Almost 4 Percent; Growth Exceeding Capacity to Capture Natural Gas


Later, 12:31 pm: a closer look at permitting. Mr Helms says that the pace of permitting has increased due to a) multi-well pads; and, b) winter coming. The record number of permits, 245, set in November, 2010, was beat by a new permitting record this past summer, July, 2012, with 266 permits. In October, that record was shattered (see below): the new record for permitting in North Dakota was set in October, 2012, with 370 permits. This new record of 370 absolutely shatters all previous records, just as the pace of permitting has increased significantly over the past six months.

Original Post
Link here.

  • Sept: 728,494 bopd (preliminary, all-time high)
  • Aug: 701,409 bopd
Producing wells
  • Sept: 7,798 (preliminary, all-time high) --> 93 bbls/well/day might be a record high, also
  • Aug: 7,701
  • Oct: 370 (new all-time high) -- 36% increase over September
  • Sept: 273
  • Aug: 261
  • Oct: $87/bbl
  • Sept: $85/bbl
  • Aug: $81/bbl
Rig count
  • Oct: 188
  • Sept: 190
  • Aug: 198
Same comment regarding fracking as usual: "...uncertainty surrounding future federal policies on hydraulic fracturing are impacting capital investment decisions."

Additions to gathering and processing capacity are helping but the percentage of gas flared rose slightly to 30%. The historical high as 36% in September, 2011 (again, flaring is a red herring). "Gas/oil ratios are increasing and confirms the need for more gathering and processing capacity. Construction of processing plants and gathering systems will not be affected by weather."

The NDIC approved (YESTERDAY) funding for researching flared gas to anhydrous ammonia fertilizer. Other research projects being considered.

Takeaway: 40% (rounded) by pipeline; 50% by rail; truck 2%; and Tesoro refinery, 8%.

"Drilling permit activity has increased dramatically to accommodate more multi-well pads and the need to build locations before winter."

The permitorium continues: "The number of rigs actively drilling on federal surface in the Dakota Prairie Grasslands is down to 5."

These are the concerns with the draft EPA proposal regarding diesel and fracking:
There are a significant number of concerns with the guidance as proposed, but the major points that should be commented on are as follows:
  • This is a state’s rights issue. States that have adopted hydraulic fracturing rules that include chemical disclosure, well construction, and well bore pressure testing should be explicitly exempted from the guidance. 
  • The definition of diesel fuel is too broad because it includes six CASRNs as well as any materials referred to by one of these primary names or any associated common synonyms. [Remember: the EPA re-defined "diesel" to include Newman's Own Salad Dressing, if I recall correctly, but I could be mistaken on this.]
  • EPA made no attempt to identify dangerous concentrations of these materials. Hydraulic fracturing treatments that utilize concentrations of less than 10% of any material defined as diesel fuel should be exempt from permitting requirements. 
  • The guidance is written for Enhanced Oil Recovery wells or disposal wells completed with tubing and packer. It shows a serious lack of understanding of the horizontal drilling-hydraulic fracturing process. Most of the requirements will not work mechanically on wells completed with swell packers and fractured down the production casing.


  1. I saw a story that said Permian Basin oil tanks, pipes, etc. are full. Prices there falling.

    Now I see a bigger differential from Cushing to Brent.

    Most Permian oil goes to Cushing.

    There may be a big Cushing drop.

    But, there is a big pipe throughput increase due from Cushing to Houston.Maybe early January.

    Tight squeeze.

    Nice to have rail.

    Anon 1

    1. I agree; the rail story is quite phenomenal. RBN Energy had quite a nice write-up on crude-by-raid out of the Bakken: