Sunday, December 23, 2012

Global Warming To Hit the US Mid-Section on Christmas Day; Rare Christmas Snow For Dallas

And yet, another bit of global warming to hit the country's mid-section on Christmas Day.

Eastern Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas to feel the brunt.

Holiday travel across the south on alert: global warming could interrupt plans. -- Los Angeles Times

Rare Christmas snow for Dallas, Oklahoma City
Not often does Dallas, Oklahoma City and Little Rock see snow on Christmas, but Mother Nature is ready to defy those odds this year.
Yes, it's all that global warming. 

California To Vie With Texas as #1 Oil Producer -- Or Not


December 24, 2012: priceless -- the BLM auction for tracts in Monterey County brought ... drum roll ... $10/acre.  California needs a crude awakening -- Tom Gray, senior editor at Investor's Business Daily, writes on California economy and politics. 

Later, 9:09 pm: what one hand giveth, the other taketh away. In this case, the BLM offers to lease 18,000 acres of the Monterey Shale (inland, of course), but the president will remove a large off-shore tract from oil exploration forever. And that's fine. Life goes on.  "We" don't want too much competition for the Bakken. A huge "thank you" to a reader for sending the link: there must be a lot of ads or something at the link; it took quite awhile for the link to download -- though my wi-fi connection is somewhat slow tonight.

Original Post

Link to this story, a Bloomberg story, sent by a reader. 
California, even as it seeks to be the greenest U.S. state, stands a good chance of emerging as the nation’s top oil producer in the next decade, helping America toward what once seemed an unlikely goal of energy independence.
The catalyst is the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s sale last week of 15 leases covering about 18,000 acres of the Monterey Shale, a geologic formation whose sweet spots stretch from east of San Francisco more than 200 miles south to Monterey County. The auction was dominated by Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum Corp.  and smaller companies betting on a coming boom. Yesterday California regulators issued a draft of new rules to sharpen their oversight of the surge in fracking. 
While shale developments have been most associated with natural gas, the ribbed-shaped Monterey could hold 15.4 billion barrels of oil, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. That amounts to 64 percent of all estimated U.S. shale oil reserves and double the combined reserves of North Dakota’s Bakken Shale and Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale, where energy companies are spending billions to ramp up output.
With regard to fracking:
In August, the Center for Biological Diversity notified the Bureau of Land Management by letter, as required by federal law, that it intends to sue under the federal Endangered Species act to stop further lease sales unless BLM agrees to consult with federal wildlife managers on potential fracking impacts.  
But the BLM disagrees:
BLM, in a letter to the Center in October, said consultation isn’t necessary because fracking has been “occurring under existing regulations on public lands in California for decades” and impacts to endangered species “are lower in California than in other areas of the country.”
A form of fracking has been used in California for 60 years with no allegations of fouled water or environmental harm, said Tupper Hull, spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association, an industry trade group. 
A few comments:
  • with regard to "reserves," industry estimates for the Bakken suggest 24 billion barrels, significantly more than the reserves of the Monterey as stated above; so we shall see
  • if anyone has followed the Bakken and OXY USA for any length of time, it is clear that some operators have not cracked the code on completing/fracking a well
  • there is a link to the Monterey at the sidebar on the right which includes a more sobering view of the Monterey
  • Chevron's recent decision to move 800 of its employees from its headquarters in northern California to Houston, after its recent refinery fire
  • the tea leaves regarding fracking are shifting
  • note again how gracious the BLM was in opening the Monterey shale to leasing: 18,000 acres.  We've seen a lot of this in this administration: a big announcement but as others have said, "all hat, no cattle." For newbies: compare with CLR's one million net acres in the Bakken, and CLR is just one operator. Even KOG, one of the smaller operators in the Bakken, has >150,000 net acres in the Bakken

A Must-Read For Those Interested in the Back Story of The End Game

MDW posted this link earlier. Now Mr Drudge has posted the same link as the banner for his page.

It's a must-read for those interested in the art of negotiation. And perhaps how not to do it.

Oil and Gas Industry Creating (Way) More Jobs Than the Administration

Click here to Casper Wyoming

In Wyoming alone the oil and gas industry is creating...
According to the study, co-sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, shale energy has created or supports 17,800 jobs in Wyoming, and that total will grow to 23,600 jobs by 2020. The forecast’s job totals include workers employed by the natural gas industry, but also include jobs that work in support industries and indirectly supported jobs in other fields.

30-Second Soundbites For Those Attending Holiday Parties, Kwanzaa Parties, Christmas Parties, New Year's Parties, ObamaCliff Parties, Mayan End-of-the-World Parties....

Fracking helped America meet 83 percent of its energy needs in the first eight months this year, on course for the highest annual level since 1991, Energy Department data show. An intelligence advisory panel said last week the nation may achieve energy independence in as little as 10 years.  --  Source: via Don
Let's see: 83% of our energy needs ... and yet it will take another 10 years to achieve energy independence....what's up with that? I wonder if  you throw in "Canada" as a domestic source, would we be independent more soonly?

Also, this bit of trivia, posted earlier:
Today, according to Whiting Oil executive Blain Hoffmann, North Dakota leads the world in shale oil technology, and according to Kirkland, that technology has put North Dakota on the map.

Huge Article in The Washington Post -- Bakken Oil To East Coast Refinery

Five-page (internet) article. Link here to The Washington Post.

When you get to the article, count the number of times the Bakken is referenced. This article could have been written by a Bakken enthusiast.

Gradually, just gradually, the "Bakken" is becoming a household word.

There are a number of story lines in this article. The involvement of President Obama and his EPA are at least three story lines.
Rinaldi is working for Carlyle Group, the Washington-based private equity firm that earlier this year acquired about a two-thirds interest in this imperiled oil refinery, whose history dates to 1866. The day after Labor Day 2011, Sunoco had announced it would shut down the plant as part of a strategy to exit its refining business, where the company had lost about $800 million over three years.
What did Carlyle see? Opportunity, said Rinaldi, and a chance to turn it around by tapping energy resources that even a year earlier weren’t readily available: cheap Pennsylvania shale gas and growing supplies of North Dakota shale oil. The private equity firm’s commitment to invest and pursue those supplies has saved about 850 jobs at the south Philadelphia refinery and transform it into a hub of rejuvenated industry.
The story leads with this:
Phil Rinaldi looked out the window of a company car at the sprawling oil refinery that straddles the Schuykill River. The property covers an area nearly twice the size of New York City’s Central Park, and it is home to clusters of pipes, processing towers and storage tanks along with big stretches of empty dirt.
The site, situated next to a baseball field, is what Rinaldi calls his own “field of dreams” where he hopes to build a high-speed railroad terminal to unload shale oil and a power plant that would run on shale gas. And he believes that both of those will lure new industrial companies here to help build up what the oil company Sunoco had until recently planned to close down.
I believe this refinery is separate and distinct from the refinery that Delta bought from COP, the Trainer refinery, but I could be wrong. 

It's an incredibly interesting "back" story; long, fairly in-depth.

Again, count the number of times the Bakken is referenced, and the Obama/EPA story lines. 

Bakken Wells of Note

Periodically while updating some old posts, I run across a Bakken well that is of interest to me for various reasons. I may never run across that well again but I don't want to lose track of it. Many of these wells will eventually be moved to "Monster Wells" but for the moment are not "worthy." However, they interest me for other reasons.

If readers have any other wells that might be "of note," don't hesitate to send them in. I can't promise I will post them all, but I generally do. 

"Deepest" horizontal in Williams County:
  • 23714, 892, CLR, Memphis 2-4H, Last Chance, t2/13; cum 53K 8/13
First Bakken well drilled in the West Bank field:
  • 15683, 436, Murex, Stacey-Lynne 1-12H; West Bank, Bakken, t3/05; cum 306K 12/12; this was the first Bakken well drilled in the West Bank field. West Bank is a small field, 12 sections, southwest of Tioga, just to west of the oldest field in North Dakota, the Beaver Lodge field. 
Not a "Bakken" well, but a well I want to keep track of for awhile:
  • 21235, 0/IA, BTA Oil, Sharon #1, North Taylor oil field, a Winnipeg formation well, a dry gas well; 20K mcf the first month; this is not a "dry" well; the IP for oil was zero, but the IP for gas was 5,000 mcf. (I had called this a "dry" well, but "anonymous" corrected me.)

North Dakota Leads the World in Shale Oil Technology -- Oil Industry Spokesman

Link here to McKenzie County Farmer.
Today, according to Whiting Oil executive Blain Hoffmann, North Dakota leads the world in shale oil technology, and according to Kirkland, that technology has put North Dakota on the map.
The link takes you to an incredible human interest story with some important data points for the future, including the quote above. Unfortunately, links to regional and local sources are often broken. Hopefully, the source in this case will be around for awhile.

The article discusses the first well in McKenzie County discovered on Ben Homer Risser's property. According to the story at the link:
His nephew, John Kirkland, was working for Risser at the time and still tells about how Amerada Oil, now Hess, brought in a rig from Louisiana by train and unloaded it in little pieces in the city of Arnegard, then hauled it using old semis to the well site.
“They spent all summer erecting it, and when it was completed, it stood 156 feet high,” states Kirkland.
He tells of how the Amerada Oil company started drilling in the fall of ’51 and how the winter of ’51 and ’52 was so rough that they had to keep water boiling to prevent the pipes from freezing.
“They burnt 1,200 tons of coal that winter, just keeping the well moving,” states Kirkland. “There was a ton of snow that winter and it was not uncommon for crews to work without relief because the next shift couldn’t get in.”
Kirkland states that no one expected the Amerada company to find oil, but in April of 1952, they did.
According to NDIC:
  • 33, PA, Amerada, Benhomer Risser 1, the well targeting the Madison, was spud August 8, 1951; and the well was completed on May 19, 1952, which fits with the article. The only confusing thing, for me, is that the well is about 25 miles eastsoutheast of Arnegard. The story at the link suggests the well was much closer to Arnegard.
Be that as it, Benhomer Risser 1, spud in August, 1951, went on to produce 113K bbls of oil from the Madison formation. It was re-entered in 1962, targeting the Devonian, from which it produced 442K bbls of oil. The well last produced oil (from the Devonian) in 1990.

XTO To Drill Oil Well Inside City Limits of Sidney, MT

Link here to the Sidney Herald.
The city of Sidney will have its own oil well after the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation approved temporary spacing of an oil well north of Sidney.
The oil well could generate some $14,000 a year for the city if the well produces between 200-250 barrels a day based on $75 a barrel. Residents themselves would see yearly checks of $50-100. The approved oil well application docket contains dozens of pages with residents’ names who will receive an oil check. Smelser said he’ll donate his to the city of Sidney and start a campaign for others who choose to do the same. 
Funds from the well, he said, will go toward employee salaries and infrastructure expenses. 
The oil well has been in the works since the 1980s, having been spurred on by Elliott Oil Corp. owners.
Smelser said XTO Energy, the company behind the oil well, has invested more money in upfront costs than any other well, “so I want to thank XTO for doing this project.” 

Williams County Solidly Above $1 Billion in Taxable Sales

Link here to KQCD-TV.
For the months of July, August and September of this year, the state saw a 22 percent increase in taxable sales and purchases compared to the same time last year.

According to the report, Williams County generated nearly $1.3 billion in taxable sales and purchases, a 36 percent increase from last year.
$1.3 billion in taxable sales. Wow. I can't get my arms around $1 billion in Williston. But look at the increase: 36% increase y/y. And some thought the boom was slowing down.

Again, this is just what was bought in Williams County. Imagine all the steel, proppant, pipeline, that is being shipped in every single day. All the trucks that are being bought elsewhere. All the rail tankers that are being built elsewhere. [My assumption is incorrect. See first comment below.]

Dickinson Leads the State in Single Family Home Building Permits

Link here to KXNET.
In 2012 Dickinson led the way in the state, with 554 single family building permits, according to the North Dakota Association of Builders.
Bismarck comes in second with 426 single family building permits, but areas with heavy oil development are towards the end of the list, such as Williston with 198.
This is quite incredible. It was just a couple of years ago when MDW was blogging all those stories coming out of Dickinson that the residents were anti-growth. 

Bismarck is not even "near" the Bakken in the minds of some people: look at the growth there. Lots of CPAs needed to manage all the money coming into the capitol. Also, a lot of lobbyists to help the state legislators spend that money.

And then this:
"We've identified that we need over 880 dwelling units per year for the next ten years to meet the demands of our population gain," Kessel said.

A Note For The Granddaughters -- Nothing To Do With the Bakken

I'm not terribly worried about how going over the fiscal cliff would affect my taxes. 
I won't be here to pay them. -- Joe Queenan


There are some days better than others to be alive. This is one of them.

I have no television. I have no car. I have no bicycle.

I do have access to the internet, thanks to Starbucks.

I do have a monitor and a DVD player. And I have a small library that rivals ... well, it must rival something. I am quite happy with it. My library is such that I will never have to buy another book. But I will.

But there are some days better than others to be alive and this is one of them.

I am getting back to Section C of the Wall Street Journal that I did not have time for yesterday. Wow, a lot of dots to connect.

Last night I was watching Robert Altman's Mash. In one of the special features on the DVD, Richard Zanuck was interviewed. Mr Zanuck died just a few months ago, July 13, 2012, of a heart attack at age 77. Again, I feel fortunate to have been a contemporary of Zanuck: wow, he had some great films. Including Patton, a subject of review in Section C.

Two full pages of Section C, including the front page, are devoted to an article on maps. In the big scheme of things, the article is not all that interesting, perhaps because I am so familiar with all the trivia in an article that seems to have no reason for being, except to remind us that the Apple map app was a bust. But there is a connecting dot for me. I am back in my JRR Tolkien phase, re-reading Tom Shippey's biography of the greatest author of the century and watching hour-after-hour of the special editions of The Lord of the Rings. It can be argued that Tolkien's trilogy was a success because of ... the map. It would have been "huge" had the WSJ replaced the "Mountains of Kong" map with a map of Middle-Earth. By the way, the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings could have been subtitled, The Never-Ending Story. In addition to the movie itself (three separate collections), one can listen to five different commentaries of each movie. If one wants more, there are at least another five to ten hours on the appendices.

One of the commentaries is provided by one of the two head writers, and the producer/director himself. I am absolutely amazed how they stuck to the story, though JRR Tolkien's son was appalled how they filmed the story. They really, really knew the epic.

Just before departing the city of universities, I was getting into my Charles Dickens phase. It would be the first time in my life that I recall reading anything by or about Charles Dickens. I have read bits and pieces of Dickens in books and articles about other subjects but I don't recall reading Dickens for Dickens' sake. I suppose I have; I just don't remember. And there on page C7 of yesterday's WSJ, almost a full page and three books reviewed of "The Mystery of Charles Dickens." I left my copy of Charles Dickens and the Great Theater of the World, Simon Callow, back in Belmont/Boston. The WJS provides a reminder of what I left behind.

Covering almost the bottom half of page C8 is Meghan Cox Gurdon's review of several children's book. I normally would not have paid any attention to the article, but the phtograph of "Angel of Death Colonel Paul W. Tibbett and the Enola Gay" caught my eye.

Enola Gay, The Hillbilly Moon Explosion

This is how Ms Gurdon begins her review:
Among the more unpleasant euphemisms deployed by the Nazis in their attempted mass extermination of Europe's Jews during World War II were "special work" and "resettlement." These bland expressions were a type of promise designed to fool victims into going quietly to their deaths, and they were frighteningly successful.
In the stories contained in "Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust" (Candlewick, 228 pages, $22.99), we're repeatedly reminded of how difficult it was even for many Jews to grasp the scope of the horror on which the Nazis were embarked. Many people found it all too monstrous to believe.
Not all were deceived, though, and Doreen Rappaport has unearthed remarkable stories of Jews (and Gentiles) who saw what was happening and engaged in harrowing attempts to thwart the Nazi project. Jewish partisans played cat-and-mouse with German troops, bombing military transports, shooting informers and collaborators, and dynamiting German army warehouses.
Ms. Rappaport introduces readers ages 14 and older to valiant Jewish children like the 12-year-old violinist and spy, nicknamed Motele, who blew up a building full of SS officers in occupied Ukraine. Young readers also meet 11-year-old Sara Menkes, who survived the mass murder of Lithuanian Jews in the forest of Ponar in 1941. 
Appallingly, when she made it back to Vilnius, her elders didn't believe her story. "Resettlement could not possibly be a lie," the head of the Jewish Council told the girl, Ms. Rappaport writes, and "warned Sara that if she wanted her father to keep his work permit and stay alive, she'd best keep her silence." With numerous archival photographs, including portraits of the brave individuals it describes, "Beyond Courage" is beautifully designed and a sobering, bittersweet read.
It's hard not to read this, and the mind goes to --> Enola Gay --> Catch-22 --> and there and back again --> Mash

Ms Gurdon reviews several children's books at the link, including a book on the Galapagos, a "place" where the USAF sent me for a few days.

Wow, I'm only halfway through the section. 


Cheers for Chuck, a must-read for anyone who enjoys the annual Charlie Brown special. I don't (enjoy it).

Melanie McGraths' five favorite books on the Arctic.

Joe Queenan's "Don't Worry, the World Is Still Doomed."

Durham, England, the silver swan, brings me back to my halcyon days in northern England, again at the pleasure of the United States Air Force: the "magic wrought by a Merlin."

And one last link to the section (though there is still more): our fading footprint for farming food. Folks worry about the pad drilling in the Bakken. Give me a break. The MDW has addressed that issue before. It's nice to see Matt Ridley provide some support.
It's a brave scientist who dares to announce the turning point of a trend, the top of a graph. A paper published this week does just that, persuasively arguing that a centurieslong trend is about to reverse: the use of land for farming. The authors write: "We are confident that we stand on the peak of cropland use, gazing at a wide expanse of land that will be spared for Nature."
esse Ausubel and Iddo Wernick of Rockefeller University, and Paul Waggoner of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, have reached this conclusion by documenting the gradual "dematerialization" of agriculture. Globally, the production of a given quantity of crop requires 65% less land than it did in 1961, thanks to fertilizers, tractors, pesticides, better varieties and other factors. Even corrected for different kinds of crops, the acreage required is falling at 2% a year.
In the U.S., the total corn yield and the total corn acreage tracked each other in lock step between 1870 and 1940—there was no change in average yield per acre. But between 1940 and 2010, corn production almost quintupled, while the acreage devoted to growing corn fell slightly. Similar divergences appeared later in other countries. Indian wheat production increased fivefold after 1970, while wheat acreage crept up by less than 1.5 times. Chinese corn production rose sevenfold over the same period while corn acreage merely doubled.
This page is dedicated to Chester.

Colorado Wind Factories Cut Employee Hours

Wind factories in Brighton and Windor, Colorado, cut employee hours from 40 hours to 32 hours. Apparently some deal was made between the state and the company to cut hours and not cut jobs.
The state's unemployment fund will compensate employees for their lost wages for up to 18 weeks.
The 32 hours will also ensure that the employees are eligible for ObamaCare; 30-hours is the federal cut-off, and the new federal guideline for an "official workweek."

The downturn in wind energy in the US is due to loss of a tax credit which will expire on December 31, 2012. My hunch is that the tax credit will be inserted into a defense spending bill sometime next year. It will not be part of the grand ObamaCliff compromise.

For another article on wind energy, also out of Colorado, click here for a story posted just a few days ago.
NextEra is selling electricity to Xcel from its Limon wind farm at an average 3 cents a kilowatt-hour — competitive with coal or natural gas, O'Sullivan said.
That, however, includes the federal wind production tax credit of 2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour — a subsidy set to expire, making it unavailable to new wind farms starting next year.
The Limon facility — the last of 17 Colorado wind farms that supply Xcel with power — just beat the deadline.
Without the tax credit, the wind market is projected to contract by as much as 90 percent in 2013.
Coal and natural gas can be had for about 6 cents. I'm not sure why Limon wind farm needs a 2.2 cent tax credit. At 5.5 cent, it seems wind should be a) competitive, and, b) if not "exactly" competitive, it's a small price for consumers to pay the difference.

The real issue is that wind energy has no redeeming features. None. 

CNG Corridor From Denver to Wyoming Continues

The CNG corridor continues to expand. Two more CNG stations opened in Weld County, Colorado, near the Niobrara oil field, and about an hour north of Denver.
Two more stations were opened [in this county], in Fort Lupton and Kersey, bringing the total number of CNG stations to four, say officials.
The Fort Lupton and Kersey stations are owned by Zeit Energy. The two other CNG stations, located in Firestone and Greeley, are owned by SkyBlu.
Officials here want to see Weld become an alternative fuel corridor between Denver and Wyoming by opening a series of compressed natural gas stations throughout the county.
Fort Lupton and Kersey are on US Highway 85, south and east, respectively, of Greeley.

Oil Well Mishap, Five Miles West of Watford City; No Reported Injuries


December 26, 2012: photos of the well, taken about the time of the blowout:

December 24, 2012: well is under control.  Blew Friday night; capped early Sunday evening.
The initial height of the blowout was caused by intense pressure from the well and because the blowout forced the well pipe up out of the well and it got caught up in the workover rigging.
Original Post

Link here to The Bismarck Tribune.  Occurred during fracking/completing the well.
Wild Well Control is on location and will bring in specialized equipment with plans to get the well controlled today.
[A spokesman] said no one was injured in the blowout.
Two wells on DRL status five miles west of Watford City, both on the same pad:
  • 19675, 84, Newfield, Drovdal 150-99-7-6-1H, Tobacco Garden, t5/11; cum 2K 11/12; (updated January 21, 2013)
  • 19676, drl, Newfield, Drovdal 150-99-18-19-1H, South Tobacco Garden,
No other wells in DRL status in that area. One well on confidential three miles west (also a Newfield well, #23207) and a Hess well five miles well with a rig on site.