Monday, January 23, 2012

Western North Dakota Issues -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA has posted the "Western North Dakota Issues" list which went viral on Facebook a few days ago. I have been sent copies of that list by numerous readers but chose not to print it.

It was a list of "numerators," but no "denominators."

The big denominator is this: $1.5 billion to $2.0 billion is being pushed into eight counties in North Dakota. 

The story is not that there are stories about problems in the oil patch, the story is that there are few stories about the problems.

Drugs? With $2 billion/month going into a rural state known for a meth crisis, who wouldn't expect stories on drug busts. The big story is that there are so few stories in the regional press about drug busts. The last one was several weeks (months?) ago about two idiots trying to break into a Williston pharmacy. Man-camps have zero tolerance policies, and if one loses housing in a man-camp, there are few alternatives. The oil companies and the trucking companies are not going to lose their golden geese to druggies. Everyone is getting drug tested. If positive, no job. No job, no money. No place to live. The winter keeps the riff-raff out. [Of course, that will change, if the city of Williston turns one of the largest facilities in region into a homeless shelter.]

Traffic fatalities? Hello, folks. Western Dakota is now one huge industrial park. If there were a 10 trucks/day on a local stretch of highway, there are now a thousand. And, yet, even with all that very, very dangerous 18-wheel traffic, one can go weeks without reading about a traffic fatality in the Bakken oil patch.

The Wal-Mart pallet story. "They" write that the Wal-Mart in Williston doesn't stock shelves any more. Hogwash. The shelves are well-stocked; the store is extremely well managed. The floor is a mess due to snow, mud, water, but that's true in every Williston store every year. But yes, Wal-Mart brings pallets of merchandise out to the aisles and folks empty those pallets before they can be stocked. What surprises me is how fast Wal-Mart, Home of Economy, have adapted to stocking merchandise so quickly. Wal-Mart brings it out front because their storage area is full; it makes more sense to bypass the storage room and bring it right out front. A paradigm shift. There would be screaming headlines if supplies weren't getting to Williston. Menard's is afraid to move to Williston; Wal-Mart took the challenge head-on.

I honestly do not remember any of the other bullets.

The list was from a PowerPoint presentation that was "designed" to catch the attention of law enforcement agencies.

But as noted, the story is not with what was said, but what was not said.

Oh, by the way, I am very, very impressed how well the federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are staying on top of these challenges.

Oh, it just came to me. I don't recall if the the data point about prostitution was included in the western Dakota issues, but it hardly interests me. The law enforcement agencies will take care of these problems. And with no room at the inn, the whole profession is challenging to say the least. Not a lot of activity in the city parks during the winter.

Survey: N. America Land of Greatest Opportunity in 2012 -- All About the Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Link here to
Oil and gas industry leaders have forecast improved performance and higher levels of capital expenditure this year, despite concerns over global economic instability, according to a new report on the future of the sector.

Increased investment across the industry will focus on exploration activity, with North America emerging as the area with the greatest opportunities in 2012.
Either on the blog or in private communication I have mentioned several times in the past two days a shortage of welders in the Bakken.

So, it was with a bit of joy to read this following just now:
Skills shortages are becoming more acute. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit's research, this issue comes out of the survey as one of the major obstacles to growth over the next 12 months. Last year, skills issues came fifth on the list of barriers and were only identified as a top three issue by 25 percent of respondents. This year, the issue has risen to second on the list, and has been identified as a key barrier by 34 percent of respondents.
Increased regulatory oversight is the number one barrier; the increased oversight is due to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico which to the best of my knowledge caused no lasting effect. By the end of calendar year 2010, it was a non-story.

Never, Never, Never Give Up -- The Greenland-Cairn Saga -- Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Bakken

Link here.
UK oil firm Cairn Energy is getting together with Norway's Statoil to explore for oil and gas in Greenland.

Cairn announced Monday that it has entered into a "farm down" agreement with Statoil for the Pitu block in the Baffin Bay Basin, west of Greenland.
After a number of failed drill attempts to find hydrocarbons in Greenland, Cairn believes that Statoil's background of exploring for oil in the Arctic will improve its chances of success in the region.
There are three stories that fascinate me: a) the Keystone XL story; b) the Greenland-Cairn story; and, c) the megaload story coming out of Idaho and Montana.

They fascinate me because they have one thing in common. They seem to be the epitome of "never, never give up."

A fourth story fascinates me: The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (Spanish: El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha).

Johnny B. Goode, River City Rumblers, Australia

What's a Brand Worth? How Much Does a Bakken Well Cost? Enquiring Minds Want to Know

This is what blogging is all about.

I would never pay attention to some of these stories if I wasn't blogging.

People talk about the value of a brand name: what Coca-Cola is worth? What is Apple worth? Just the brand name? 

What is the value to an oil exploration and production company to say they are in the Bakken? I have no idea, but a headline story in today: Magnolia Petroleum Plc announced an update on the two  Eckelberg wells in the Bakken today, suggests that it means something.

Magnolia is participating with Marathon who is the operator of these two wells.

How much participation does Magnolia have in these two wells?  Drum roll....
  • Eckelberg 14-23H infill well in Dunn County, North Dakota (0.53367 percent working interest) in partnership with Marathon Oil Company, located in Sections 14 & 23-146N-93W.
  • Eckelberg 14-23TFH infill well in Dunn County, North Dakota (0.53367 percent working interest) in partnership with Marathon Oil Company drilling to the Three Forks Sanish Formation using the same pad as the above well.
Yes, that was a cut and paste, so no typographical error: Magnolia has half a percent working interest in each of these two wells. Half a percent interest and it rates a front page story in Rigzone. Am I missing something?

Ok, so that's the value of the "Bakken" name.

But we get a bit more from that article. We learn what a Bakken well costs these days.
  • The first well is drilling to the Middle Bakken Sandstone interval and is expected to be completed with a 30 stage frac at a cost to Magnolia of approximately US $43,232.
  • The second well is expected to be completed with a 30 stage frac at a cost to Magnolia of approximately US $44,933.
Rounding, that totals $90,000. Rounding, Magnolia has 1 percent interest in these two wells. A 30-stage Bakken well these days is budgeted for $9,000,000.

My third grade granddaughter is learning how to use "estimation" in math; the Bakken is providing a great opportunity to show how rounding makes things easier to follow.

Keystone XL Cancellation Benefited Obama's Very, Very Close Friend Who Would Like To Pay More Taxes -- Bloomberg -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

My eyes are glazed over, I am exhausted, answering so much e-mail and replying to so many comments -- I have to take a break.

CRC sent me this link:
and I was not going to post it. I know the story well and have posted it at least twice if not more often (I can think of at least three times, I guess, I posted this story or alluded to it), so I did not want to post it again.

But now I see it's on the front page of Drudge Report taken from/linked to Bloomberg -- so I guess I better link it.

So, consider it linked. I'm too tired to talk about it but maybe later.

And yes, the Keystone XL 1.0 is canceled. Killed. See my other posts explaining my terminology. Keystone XL 1.0 was canceled some time ago. It was canceled due to an unusual coalition of folks in Warren's home state, and perhaps his home town.

The president just killed Keystone XL 2.0.

They are now working on Keystone XL 2.1 and possibly Keystone XL 3.0.

Keystone XL 2.1 could be voted upon by the states and / or Congress. Keystone 3.0 will be presented to the president after the election.

Regardless, the earliest TransCanada says Keystone XL X.X will be operational is now 2014.

Plenty of time for Enbridge and Warren to keep on doing what they're doing.

Keystone XL: The Ball Is In Congress' Hands -- Let's See What They Do --

Link to Bismarck Tribune.

My hunch: more political theater.

In the back rooms, the following deal will be made: House of Representatives will pass the bill, or at least try to get a floor vote, with the understanding that Harry Reid won't put it on the Senate calendar until after the election.

From the linked story:
Congress has the authority to vote for approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, according to a nonpartisan legal analysis released last week.

The Congressional Research Service, which provides policy and legal analysis to committees and members of Congress, released its legal analysis on the authority of Congress to regulate foreign commerce late Friday.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said the analysis provided by the CRS provides strength to Congress' efforts to have the pipeline project approved.

Williston Makes Forbes Fastest-Growing Small City List -- Williston, North Dakota, #6 -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Never in my wild dreams would I have expected to see Williston on a "fastest-growth" list!

A big "thank you" for sending me this link to Forbes magazine.
  • The Villages, Florida, #1.
  • Pecos, Texas, #2.
  • Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, #3.
  • Boone, North Carolina, #4.
  • Heber, Utah, #5.
  • Williston, ND, #6.
  • Gillette, Wyoming, #7.
  • Laramie, Wyoming, #8.
  • Andrews, Texas, #9.
  • Elk City, Oklahoma, #10.
  • Vernal, Utah, #11.
  • Hobbs, New Mexico, #12.
  • Rock Springs, Wyoming, #13.
  • Jackson, Wyoming, #14.
  • Oxford, Mississippi, #15.

Eleven (11) New Permits -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Daily activity report, January 23, 2012 --

Operators: Triangle (2), Oasis (2), Marathon (2), BEXP (2), CLR, Gadeco, Whiting

Fields: Ranch Coulee, Reunion Bay, Epping, Aler, Squires, Sanish

Triangle has two wildcats in Williams County.

Eleven wells released from confidential list and reported elsewhere earlier today. The list included a monster well.

Chesapeake To Cut Natural Gas Production -- Impact On the Bakken?

Link here.
Faced with decade-low natural gas prices that have made some drilling operations unprofitable, Chesapeake Energy Corp. says it will drastically cut drilling and production of the fuel in the U.S.

Drillers had already begun to shift their drilling activity toward shale formations and other regions that produce oil and other liquid hydrocarbons. Strong global demand has kept oil prices high and made these drilling operations extraordinarily profitable.

Chesapeake said it would cut its current activity in so-called dry-gas regions by half, to 24 rigs, by the second quarter. That's 67 percent fewer rigs than an average of 75 rigs the company had in use last year.
Some suggest this may free up some workers.

I wonder if this could free up some frack spreads. If so, North Dakota could benefit. I would assume fracking shallower natural gas wells is different than fracking deep oil wells in the Bakken, but I suspect the skills are transferable. The equipment would be different.

Too Much Dust in Dickinson? -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

The faux-environmentalists are the last ones who should be complaining of too much truck traffic now that they have a) banned man-camps in Dickinson (increased vehicle traffic up the road to man-camps in Dunn County); and, b) killed the Keystone XL.

The folks I am referring to are quoted in the linked article.
Dickinson Mayor Dennis Johnson said while he was as concerned with traffic pollution, he was more concerned with dust pollution from dirt and gravel roads. The city has been looking at ways to get industrial companies to pave their parking lots, including drafting an ordinance that would require any business expanding their business by more than 50 percent to pave off-road parking.
The professionally-run man-camps will pave their sites if asked/required.

The concerns with flaring is a red herring as I have mentioned numerous times on the blog. Even so, private enterprise is working to resolve the issue. Click on "ONEOK" in the tags/labels at the bottom of the blog to see how one company is removing flaring from 750 wells.

Raymond Center Being Considered for Homeless Shelter -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Bad, bad, bad idea.

Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown, Jim Croce

If folks are in Williston having arrived looking for a job and don't have one, they need to move on.  Idle hands -- illicit drugs, fights, etc.

If folks are in Williston with a (high-paying) job, they need work with their employer for a place to stay, and/or hotel, motel, or man-camp.

It sounds very, very hard-hearted, but life is not fair, and the city is inviting additional problems, not the least of which is removing a recreational facility.

Helping folks move on can be done humanely with the help of a social worker and/or the clergy, with the funds that would be used for a homeless shelter to pay for transportation back home. 

Finally: Williston, Heart of the Bakken -- $1.3 Million for the Parks

Link here to Williston Herald.
The 1-cent sales tax voters approved last November to go to the Williston Parks District will be spent on area parks and facilities.

The board took a bold step of approving $1.3 million in improvements to existing parks, including more than half a million dollars for new bathrooms at Harmon, Davidson and Recreation parks and $125,000 for a playground at Harmon park.
Data points:
  • 1-cent sales tax begins in April, 2012
  • Estimates range from $4 million to $10 million
  • half of the sales tax increase goes to a new 125,000 sq ft recreation facility
  • half designated to maintain and improve the park district
  • playground improvements will be sized to handle a city population of 35,000 to 40,000

From the Dickinson Press: Man-Camps Needed in Dickinson -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

The headline:

From boom town to ghost town: Dickinson without man camps

The lede:
Last week was big for man camps. Dunn County has approved 5 camps that would hold more than 1,200 people. Now those people will have a place to live while they work, hopefully keeping them out of Dickinson rooms.

Don’t get me wrong. Without those workers there would be no one to collect the vast amount of oil in the Bakken, and North Dakota wouldn’t be experiencing such success. With the unemployment rate hanging around 3 percent and wages starting at $10 an hour, there isn’t much to complain about.
Let me try that again.  Rent prices are sky-high, traffic is backed up half the time I want to go to lunch and people can’t build housing fast enough to meet the demand.  How ironic it is then that people complain about these things when they don’t want man camps in Dickinson. Why is that?
The ending:
So instead of filling up man camps, the employees that are going to come here anyways will fill up our hotel rooms and apartments, leaving no apartments for the locals. If you find a place to live, which is doubtful, expect to pay $1,000 for a one-bedroom apartment per month. And forget getting a hotel room unless you want to dish out $150 to $200 a night. Those prices will remain until the construction industry can catch up, and that could take a year or two.

Like I said, I’m glad oilfield workers are here. We need them, but we also need a place for them to stay.  Dickinson needs man camps, and some may have to go in someone’s backyard. I hope someone is willing to be the better “man” (or “woman”) and steps up. The city officials are willing to do it, so why not its people? This city seriously need an attitude adjustment if they are looking out for the future good of the city. Otherwise, Dickinson could see itself turn into a partial ghost town.
Comment: well said.

Minot 2012 -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

If I remember, I will use this "page" to track Minot construction projects and other "events" in the Minot area for the calendar year 2012.

This is a great article with which to start, one that was posted the other day.
United Pulse Trading will be building a new facility at Minot's Ag Park Complex to process peas, beans, and pulses. The facility is expected to begin operations by "harvest season 2012" with an annual capacity of approximately 100,000 metric tons per year.
Minot-area: Berthold to get 60 percent bigger.
Mayor Alan Lee said that Five Stone Development is moving along with plans to place a subdivision just north of the city that in all likelihood will increase Berthold's population by 60 percent immediately.

Lee said the bulk of the development will be permanent housing subdivisions.

According to is website, Five Stone Ranch will have "200-plus" homes available in 2012.
January 27, 2012: BNSF opens $30 million yard, east of Minot, Gavin Yard.

TransCanada Mulls Bakken Opportunities -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

I think this has been referenced before, but perhaps not with such clarity.

The Cushing MarketLink is the final leg of the Keystone XL project, from Cushing, OK, to Port Arthur, TX. TransCanada says that segment cannot stand alone as a "pipeline" transporting oil at Cushing to the Gulf. It can only "work" as part of the Keystone XL. The linked article does not say why, but I bet it has to do with pumping stations.

However, it is obvious TransCanada has the easements for a pipeline from Cushing to Port Arthur, which raises the question of "why not put in a parallel pipeline to just carry Bakken light oil?"  And that is exactly what TransCanada is mulling, but they can't be more specific.

Meanwhile, they will present Keystone XL 2.1 or 3.0 to the Feds in September/October, 2012, just before the election on November 6. My hunch is that this is the timeline:
  • October 30, 2012: the package is mailed to Washington, DC
  • November 1, 2012: the package arrives in the mailroom at Foggy Bottom
  • November 2, 2012: the package is delivered to the top floor, State Dept
  • November 3 - November 5, 2012: the package remains unopened on Hillary's desk
  • November 6, 2012: the package is opened early in the morning to take their minds off the election
  • November 7, 2012: the Keystone XL is ..... denied once again (either out of spite for having lost the election; payback to faux-environmentalists for having won the election)
And so it goes.

The Helis Grail -- Some Monster Wells in the Grail -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Yes, it's the Helis Grail!!! They will be gabbing about this one for weeks. It looks like the Grail is a sweet spot for the Three Forks. This is exactly what keeps oil men excited about the industry.

I've just posted the most recent wells that have been released from confidential status. Another big thank you to Karen for all her work.

Of the nine wells that came off the confidential list, five were fracked/completed, including these two:
I am eager to see the results of this one, right in the bull's eye of the Bakken:
  • 20717, 3,295, BEXP, Hilly 22-15 1H, Camp, Bakken, s7/11; t11/11; F; cum 71K 2/12; most recent reporting month, only 18 days on-line
But back to the Holy Helis Grail, this is the production data:
  • s7/11
  • t10/11
  • October, 2011, 25 days: 40,037 bbls of oil
  • November, 2011, 30 days: 28,372 bbls of oil
  • Cumulative for less than 2 months: 68,409 bbls.
Lynn Helms says ND Sweet is averaging about $85/bbl --> $5.8 million

Check out the Grail field here:
Grail oil field is a 30-section oil field just west of the reservation; the field currently has two rigs on site (posted April 26, 2011).
Back on March 3, 2011, this was reported:
  • 17722, 2,068, Helis Oil and Gas, LLC, Henderson Federal 4-26/35H, Grail, Bakken; TFS, 35K in 41 days; ~ 24-stage fracs 9/10; t1/11; cum 132K 3/12;
But this is the "biggie" in Grail, section 17-149-95:
  • 18448, 2,429, Helis Oil and Gas, LLC, Andrecovich 5-17/16H, 24-stage frac; TFS, tested, 9/10; 129K in 4.5 months; 20K/month; s4/10; t9/10; cum 232K 3/12; 24 stages; 3 million lbs; half Ottawa sand; half ceramics

If anyone knows of any Bakken Pool well that has produced in excess of 40,000 bbls in less than 25 days, I would be happy to get comments.

By the way, this Helis well is in the wings, waiting to debut:
  • 19894, DRL, Helis, Gabbert 4-2/11H, s4/11; as of 3/11, still on DRL status; almost looks like it is having problems, or delays in getting fracked; the well file suggests that this is going to be a great well;

    A Tsunami -- North American Crude Oil Production To Surge Through 2016 -- All About The Bakken

    Link here to PennEnergy.
    BENTEK Energy, a leading energy markets information and analytics company, today announced a new Market Alert, Crude Awakening: Shale Boom Hits Oil, which reports U.S. and Canadian crude oil production will grow 3.1 million barrels per day, or 36%, over the next five years
    Data points:
    • most of this production will be light or intermediate crudes
    • crude oil imports from Canada to the US will rise to 900,000 bbls/day (let's round that to a million)
    • crude oil supply will outpace demand
    • downward pressure on US oil prices
    “This supply growth will have a profound impact on the U.S. oil market and energy policy,” noted Adam Bedard, senior director of energy analysis at BENTEK Energy. “The resurgence of U.S. oil production should greatly reduce the need for foreign oil over the next five years.
    This will be a tsunami.

    Ramblings From the Bakken -- Notes to the Granddaughters -- New York Times Article on American Crystal Sugar

    A note was sent to me over the weekend, more precisely this morning, regarding the links to the Minot and the Bismarck stories in the "lost decade" post. His observations back up what I said about Minot:
    "Minot is going to become gridlock this summer, everybody will want everything and nothing will get done. All the flood work will start by the city, private investment will flow in and the fight for resources will be huge. We are already limited on how much concrete we can get each day."
    Actually a lot will get done; it just won't seem like enough will get done. That's why God invented time: otherwise everything would happen at once.

    It should be noted that there is no indication that the Bakken will slow down: we're back to 203 rigs, just one shy of the record. After seeing the number drop to 199 the other day, I am quite surprised that in the middle of the winter, the number has bounced back. 

    Notes to My Granddaughters

    Link here to a New York Times on union lockouts.

    I have no dog in this fight except that of a spectator, like a spectator at a boxing match. It is incredible, I think, how "attractive" boxing was in this country some years ago (think: Muhammad Ali). I didn't get it then; I don't get it now. I was reminded of the role boxing played in national sports some years ago when I happened to catch American Gangster on cable the other evening.

    I thought the linked story would be a bit more general in nature, but it turned out to be a story, for all intents and purposes, on the lockout at American Crystal Sugar, the nation's (the world's?) largest sugar beet processor. The writer did talk a bit about recent lockouts in professional sports, but I don't recall any other example.

    The occasional American Crystal Sugar lockout story reminds me of a boxing match: both will come out bloodied, and I'm not sure if either side will benefit all that much when it's over. But it does "show" the frustration -- and perhaps that's it -- it's no longer about what's best for either, but it's simply frustration with "the system."

    So, I link it here because anything about North Dakota that hits the national news I find fascinating.

    Some years ago I was reading a biography of Ernest Hemingway. There was a very short vignette in the biography in which Hemingway runs into a young woman from North Dakota while both were in Spain. I don't have the book with me, but if I recall, the woman was from Williston. At the time I tried tracking down more information on that little vignette but nothing came of it.

    So, now I'm reading a new biography of EH (as the pros refer to him): Paul Hendrickson's 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award-winning book -- Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961. I've read most (?) of the most important biographies of EH, including those by three of his four wives. (I don't know if all four wrote biographies; it seems to me they did.)

    The Hendrickson book is surprisingly good. Wonderful writing. And, then, incredibly, a connection with North Dakota. The 35-page chapter, "Shadow Story" was all about a would-be, wannabe, writer from White Earth, North Dakota, who sailed with Hemingway the first year the famous writer had his new / first boat, Pilar.  As noted, the chapter is 35 pages long and takes up a significant amount of space in this 467-page book, not including extensive notes. All other biographers have captured this 10-month period of time in a throwaway sentence, or perhaps a footnote in Hemingway's life, but Hendrickson has captured the essence of Hemingway, and of a wannabe writer, a North Dakota farm boy who had never been on a "ship" until that summer with EH.

    Arnold Morse Samuelson is not someone I would have wanted to be near as based on what the author writes about him. The biographer talks with his daughter Dian: "Could he never recover from Hemingway? I don't know. Did he feel he could never live up to what he wanted for himself as a writer, after being on Pilar? She paused. "What I think I now know about him is that his whole life was overwhelmed by that year with Hemingway. Nothing was ever the same."

    Clearly Samuelson had his issues before he met Hemingway, but just the same, he never did recover, nothing was ever the same, after that near-year with EH.

    I assume most folks have a summer, a winter, a year, a period in their lives from which they will never recover, or after which nothing will be the same. For most, it's a "coming of age" story. For me, it was the summer I sold dictionaries door-to-door in Westfield, New Jersey.  That was absolutely the most challenging thing I had done in life up to that point, and, looking back, nothing since has been more challenging, including medical school and residency. Rarely a day goes by when I don't think back on that summer. I would could never do it again, knowing what I know now. But then.... Unfortunately there is no YouTube video of Garth Brooks singing "The Dance."

    And yes, that summer developed into a coming of age story for me, also, but it occurred somewhat later.


    One short of the record: 204.

    I'm actually somewhat surprised to see it back up to 203 during the middle of the winter. But hey, I'm not complaining.

    Thank you to Charley for sending me the note; I  had not gotten around to checking the NDIC site yet.

    For Investors Only -- HAL, WMB, OKE -- Idle Rambling, Market In General -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

    Some odds and ends while I have some free time.

    HAL: 4Q11 earnings up 50%. Earnings jump said to be due to boom in American shale.

    I always find it interesting what I don't hear talked about on CNBC.

    OKE: as low at $60 this past year; now up to $84. The chart is quite fascinating -- check out the one-year view.

    OKE: recently announced a healthy increase in its quarterly dividend.
    OKE increased the quarterly dividend to 61 cents per share of common stock from 56 cents per share, a 5-cent-per-share, or 9-percent, increase, effective for the fourth quarter 2011, payable Feb. 14, 2012, to shareholders of record at the close of business Jan. 31, 2012.  "This latest dividend increase is higher than the guidance increase of 4 cents per share that we provided in September 2011 and reflects the continued strong performance in our ONEOK Partners segment, which has resulted in increased distributions to ONEOK from the partnership ... 
    WMB:  the one-year view is not as striking as that of ONEOK but one could have bought WMB as low as $22 this past year; it's now around $28. WMB is not as striking because Williams split up the company: oil exploration, and pipeline and I believe both companies will pay a dividend (but I don't know).  It would be interesting if WMB hits its old high despite splitting off its exploration and production segment.

    WMB: the most recently announced quarterly dividend increase was not much, but the dividend is now double from what it was a year ago. In addition, WMB says it will increase its dividend every quarter going forward. That press release is really bullish.
    The board of directors has approved a regular dividend of $0.25875 on the company’s common stock, payable March 26, 2012, to holders of record at the close of business on March 9.

    The first-quarter 2012 dividend is more than double the $0.125 per share the company paid to shareholders a year ago. The most recent quarterly dividend the company paid was $0.25 in December 2011.

    Williams plans to increase its dividend more frequently – with increases every quarter. As a result, the company increased its full-year dividend forecast to $1.09 per share for 2012. That is 41 percent higher than the full-year dividend Williams paid in 2011. The company’s previous 2012 dividend forecast was $1.03 per share.

    Moving to quarterly increases is consistent with the expected growing cash distributions Williams is receiving from its significant ownership interest in Williams Partners L.P. . Strong business fundamentals and growth outlook within Williams Partners’ businesses are driving the expectation of continued strong distribution growth. 
    Be advised of the disclaimer for this blog. This is not an investment site. I just enjoy blogging and sharing information easily found on the internet.  As noted several times, if I post something that doesn't look right, it may be a typographical error; check it out; let me know.

    COP: I have not seen anything new regarding the breakup of COP (upstream from downstream). I believe this is to conclude in 2Q12. Here's an old (last summer) CNNMoney/Fortune essay on the breakup.
    The announcement last month that ConocoPhillips plans to break up into two separately traded companies took Wall Street by surprise, raising uncomfortable questions as to Big Oil's raison d'etre.

    ....other companies, namely BP and ExxonMobil, could soon find themselves under pressure from their shareholders to follow suit, forever changing the energy landscape.

    Up until now, it was widely accepted that being bigger was the key to being a better oil company. That view was taken to its logical extreme in the late 1990s when the "Super Major" oil company was born. In the United States, Conoco merged with Phillips, Chevron merged with Texaco and Exxon merged with Mobil. In Europe, BP snapped up U.S. oil companies Amoco and Arco while France's Total acquired Belgium's Petrofina and fellow French oil company Elf Aquitaine. Only Royal Dutch Shell avoided the merger mania.

    The reason for the mergers was clear -- oil prices had collapsed. In the late 1990s, oil traded down as low as $10 a barrel due to a myriad of events -- how soon I forget...
    Others may want to confirm, but WTI spot is around $94; North Dakota Sweet is around $75 (SemCrude), but Murphy shows ND Sweet closer to $85. It sure will be nice when the bottleneck at Cushing is resolved. Links to various sites like SemCrude and Murphy can be found at my Data Links page.  When you get there, scroll down just a bit to "oil prices."

    I see the price of oil is up about a buck in futures, and the Euro is rising against the dollar -- which probably explains the move in oil. Even CNBC talking head was surprised by the Euro move, coming as it does with no firm announcement from Europe regarding the Euro.