Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Archives: The Best

In an attempt to make the sidebar more manageable, I am winnowing "The Best: Archived" at the sidebar at the right. Most will be removed from the sidebar at the right and placed here.

A trillion-barrel reservoir?

Bentek: the Bakken to produce 2.2 million bopd

Archived presentations

Bakken breakout, 2012

Bakken breakout, 2011 (The Bismarck Tribune link for this story is no longer working)

Maximum Bakken production

RBN Energy on flaring in the Bakken -- May 6, 2013

Publications Re: The Williston Basin

Archived commentaries

Staggering statistics, 2009

Crazy numbers

The Lodgepole: Update

Definition: The Bakken Pool

Basic Analysis of the Bakken Boom

World's Largest Microseismic Array

TOC and the Tyler

Snapshot: Data Prior to May 20, 2013

The Americans: Tex Ritter


January 16, 2014: For now, this goes here. It may be moved to a different pay some day in the future. 

The Minneapolis Star and Tribune recently did a story, "Cast Adrift on an Ocean of Oil," pointing out how a preacher, a teacher, and a cop have had enough of the crime, the traffic, and the outsiders, and are moving out. I mentioned the article earlier but did not post the link. There was something about the story that did not ring true. I could not place my finger(s) on it. A reader helped me out. Here is the reader's response to that story:
As a takeoff on News Busted's report that "polar vortex" is also the nickname for the space between Al Gore's ears, if empty space is actually found there, news reports will most likely attribute it to shrinkage of the polar cortex. 
Since so much that passes as news, today, belongs in the classification "Political Satire," it's hard to restrain the urge to satirize those reports. And that's how I spent much of this past Sunday.
It was good to note my fears were unfounded that you wouldn't have time to mull the Star Tribune article on ND towns "cast adrift" or the picture of the traffic jam which my local paper---I kid you not--- actually dated thusly: "These trucks were lined up along a road near Watford City, N.D., on Dec. 10, 2013." This was too precious to just give it a pass. In the photo, the hills, fields and meadows are alive. The lush groves are deep green and heavy with summer's full foliage.
In July, I had come upon a similar scene, topping a hill and seeing a solid string of vehicles extending down and away to the top of the next even higher hill. I joined the jam, for a brief period through a road construction zone, and was soon rewarded with the completed and smoothest 4-lane highway I have ever been on. Change happens.
When I cross the ND oil patch and spot an oil derrick, it is fun to peruse the horizon all around for a count, as if the number of rigs visible from any one point were related to the significance of that particular stretch of the "oil ocean" I was traversing. On my last trip between Canada and Williston, I did count as many as three rigs from one point and miles apart. For most of the 70-mile stretch, I saw none. I only mention this because of the anecdotal reporting of reactions to the light pollution from 200 ND oil rigs operating around the clock. In the mind of the reader, lights from all 200 oil derricks tend to be immediately transposed on each site about which anyone could wax nostalgic over an idyllic, natural, nighttime ND light show.
But the minds eye is just as apt to err with time as with place, superimposing a current experience as if following directly from a piece of one's rustic, treasured past and relating them as an unbroken cause and effect sequence. How long will it be, before a new New Town resident boasts he can remember when New Town only had two traffic lights? Another recalls the short period, when there was only one. Others recall when there were none. I expect, such a vanishing point can be found for most subjects of nostalgia.
New Town and Lake Sakakawea are telling examples. The very people (in their 70's) whose memories are mined by the Star Tribune writer for images of the view from a lakeshore cabin, minus the flares of oil wells and lights from drilling rigs or the recent doubling of light pollution from New Town's traffic lights, surely also recall when the lake was a river and New Town was once a prairie plateau. The vanishing point of nostalgia for the villages of Van Hook and Sanish was pretty well sealed when "Vanish" failed to prevail as the name of the new town that was to be the result of their relocation from the soon-to-be flooded, wooded river bottoms. Had the jobs, dam and resulting reservoir with lakeshore cabin sites not come with a price?
Compare this to the writer's perspective: "While thousands of workers and billions of dollars flow in with the oil, losing teachers and preachers comes with a price." While there are similarities in how the story of "the lake" and "the ocean" (of oil) can be told, this summary of the latter is classic. Its faulty transpositions in time are beyond what can be covered in a letter. Briefly put, It ignores the reality that the loss of teachers, preachers, their country schools, "churches with steeples," and entire small-town communities was almost complete, before horizontal drilling interrupted not the dreams of those left behind but, rather, interrupted the very decline to which the flight of so many from the good earth only contributed.
And, since the writer pays appropriate reverence for the roles of preachers and teachers, the notion that oil contributes to their flight begs for testing from the perspective of the historic origins of their churches and schools. Mission fervor drove pastors along the courses taken by homesteaders to organize congregations in homes or storefronts. The density of resulting churches and country schools was determined to a surprising extent by the distance one could reasonably ride a horse or carriage for schooling or Sabbath worship. (Today, its the number of hours reasonable for a student to spend riding a school bus each day.) Those pastors thrived or suffered the hardships of the homesteaders they served, carving a future out of prairie sod. Some even homesteaded themselves.

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