Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fracking Not Significant in Causing Earth Tremors; Energy Released Is Less Than Someone Jumping Off A Ladder Onto The Floor

Rigzone is reporting:
New research has found that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is "not significant" in causing earth tremors. Released Wednesday by the UK's Durham University, the results of a study of hundreds of thousands of fracking operations showed that the process only caused earth tremors that could be felt on the surface in three cases.
The research, titled Induced Seismicity and the Hydraulic Fracturing of Low Permeability Sedimentary Rocks, found that almost all of the resultant seismic activity was on such a small scale that only geoscientists would be able to detect it. It also discovered that the size and number of tremors is low compared to other manmade triggers such as mining, geothermal activity or reservoir water storage.
And if you can't believe the Brits, who can you believe?

Can one quantify the amount of energy released?
"By comparison, most fracking-related events release a negligible amount of energy roughly equivalent to or even less than someone jumping off a ladder onto the floor. Of the three fracking-related quakes that could be felt, even the largest ever, in the Horn River Basin in Canada in 2011 had a magnitude of only 3.8. That is at the lower end of the range that could be felt by people. The widely-reported quake at Preese Hall near Blackpool in 2011 had a magnitude of 2.3."

Slow-Rolling The Oil and Gas Industry

ConocoPhillips will delay drilling in the Arctic. Rigzone is reporting:
ConocoPhillips will place on hold its 2014 drilling plans for Alaska's Chukchi Sea due to the uncertainties of evolving federal regulatory requirements and operational permitting standards.
While the company is confident in its expertise and ability to safely conduct offshore Arctic operations, ConocoPhillips believes it needs more time to ensure that all regulatory stakeholders are aligned, said ConocoPhillips Alaska President Trond-Erik Johansen in a statement.
"We welcome the opportunity to work with the federal government and other leaseholders to further define and clarify the requirements for drilling offshore Alaska," Johansen commented. "Once those requirements are understood, we will reevaluate our Chukchi Sea drilling plans. We believe this is a reasonable and responsible approach given the huge investments required to operate offshore in the Arctic."
I honestly don't know how an oil company could survive an off-shore mishap. BP has paid $23 billion to date and the trials are yet to begin. COP investors should be relieved that COP is not taking on an unnecessary risk.

For the Bakken, this frees up more CAPEX for BR. I'm sure it won't make a difference, but it can't hurt.

So much for all those folks who say the Obama administration is not slow-rolling the oil and industry; so much for "all of the above" as an Obama energy policy.

Rambling, Nostalgic Note --

My wife saved a clipping from the April 5, 2013, issue of the Wall Street Journal. I had not seen the hard copy and can't remember if I linked the electronic version. I'm sure you can find it if you google the headline, "In North Dakota, Oil Brings Housing Squeeze." It's another one of many stories about the impossible housing situation in the Bakken oil patch. I remember polling folks about a year or so ago, asking whether folks thought the housing situation would have improved by now. Apparently, housing is still a big issue. I have some thoughts about that but will leave them to myself. I am posting for other reasons right now.

The hard copy includes a huge photograph of a young mother, perhaps 28 years old with two children, one daughter about 2 years of age in her arms, and a male toddler, perhaps four or at most five years of age. They are standing in front of some austere trailer houses, and although it cannot be seen, the landscape behind them is probably just as austere.

To folks who have not experienced such austere living conditions on the prairie, this has to make them wince, and ask why anyone would put up with this.

For me it brings back sweet memories. When my mom and dad moved from Bismarck to Williston, I was two or three years old. This must have been in 1953 or 1954. I don't remember much then, but I do remember my dad rocking me to sleep, watching the airport beacon light go round and round. The house was very, very small, and was probably smaller than the typical single-wide trailer home, and certainly with less amenities than trailer homes have now.

A couple years later, we moved to a wonderful, large, "Larson and Stang" house, pretty much on the edge of town. I remember digging "forts" in an empty field only a block away from our home. At first the street was dirt and gravel, but within a few years it was paved.

There were no trees. It was prairie and it was austere. My dad planted trees and today they are overgrowing the original lot. Looking back, one really wonders how families remained in such a place. But we did. And over the years it got better. My siblings and I had an outstanding public school education, and because the school census was generally small throughout the years, we could participate in any activity. And we did.

We always said we did not live at the end of the world, but we could see the end of the world from where we lived.

But the experiences did not seem to hurt us. A lot of folks went on to bigger and better things.

Two examples:

Vice Admiral Donald F. Hagen, the thirty-first surgeon general of the US Navy, was a native of Williston, North Dakota.

Phil Jackson, NBA player and NBA coach, was a native of Williston, North Dakota, taking the Williston High School team to state. I think I was in middle school, or as we called it then, "junior high," when Phil Jackson was a high school senior. I know my dad was very impressed watching him play those years. I did not care much for crowds and did not attend many games.

I cannot imagine a more remote place, a more difficult place to grow up. The winters, we were told, were horrendous. We did not know anything different, so I don't recall them as being so bad.

But I look at the photograph in the Wall Street Journal. My heart goes out to the young mom. I can only assume she will have days that she will absolutely hate Williston. Maybe not. There is so much more in Williston now than there was when I was growing up. But she also knows there's a lot more in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Denver, even Fargo or Bismarck. [The caption says she is a teacher, which suggests she sought this assignment/location.]

But, as my daughter says, life is a journey. I look at her two children in the photograph and wonder what the future holds for them.

When I was younger, I wanted a lot of material things. Now that I am older, money does not mean much, and material things mean even less. [I can say that; I have a comfortable retirement -- no minerals. I know others are not as fortunate, and thank God daily how things have turned out.] I am very much like Scobie in Graham Greene's book The Heart of the Matter. As I've grown older my possessions become less.

It does not take much to keep children happy. When I look at that photograph, I don't see the austere housing. I don't see the austere prairie. All I really see are the children. Their housing will not define them and their housing will not determine who or what they become. I hope it all works out for them. It will be very, very tough, but the rewards can be great.

Wells Coming Off The Confidential List Thursday; Of 15 Wells Coming Off The List, Nine Are Oasis; OXY With An IP of 23; Oasis With Several Great Wells

Undeserved commentary, I suppose
Note the OXY USA well that reported today (see below). The IP is just about as low as I've seen for a Bakken well, excluding dry holes. That well was tested in September, 2012. Now, almost 6 full months later, that well has produced less than 8,000 bbls of oil. It is my impression, and I could be wrong, that the average Bakken well tested in the last six months will produce more than 8,000 bbls the first full month of production. That's probably an exaggeration, but probably not far off. This well had two things going against it: a) it's in the Dimond oil field which is anything but a diamond among Bakken fields; and, b) it was drilled by OXY USA who seems to have a knack for reporting these results.
Wells coming off the confidential list, Thursday, April 11, 2013:
  • 21011, 1,263, Zenergy, Owan 23-26H, Painted Woods, t2/13; cum 18K 2/13;
  • 22177, 23, OXY USA, Split Ridge 1-2-1H-160-91, Dimond, t9/12; cum 8K 2/13;
  • 22389, 629, Hess, BW-Norgard 149-100-1102H-1, Ellsworth, t3/13; cum 2K 2/13;
  • 22425, 1,677, Whiting, Norgard 41-13H, Ellsworth, t10/12; cum 40K 2/13;
  • 22438, 955, Oasis, M Lee 5793 42-11H, Sorkness, t11/12; cum 18K 2/13;
  • 22676, 1,468, Oasis, Blanchet Federal 5693 41-28H, Alger, t11/12; cum 32K 2/13;
  • 22751, 905, Oasis, Jenna 5604 13-1H, Bull Butte, the Kalil field, t11/12; cum 11K 2/13;
  • 23046, 271, Oasis, Connie 6093 14-5H, Gros Ventre, t11/12; cum 12K 2/13;
  • 23204, 698, Oasis, Aubrey 5304 41-22H, Ft Buford, t11/12; cum 18K 2/13;
  • 23230, 2,734, Oasis, Ash Federal 5300 11-18T, Baker, t11/12; cum 44K 2/13;
  • 23274, 792, Oasis, J Cory 5602 41-10H, Bonetrail, t11/12; cum 25K 2/13;
  • 23392, 447 Oasis, Bull Moose 6093 13-4H, Gros Ventre, t11/12; cum 14K 2/13;
  • 23476, 2,513, Oasis, Whitten 5393 11-3B, Sanish, t12/12; cum 51K 2/13;
  • 23490, 38, Surge, Scandia 1S SENE 34 02 SENW 35H, Souris, a Spearfish/Madison, t12/12; cum 7K 2/13;
  • 23805, drl, CLR, Lystvedt 1-9H, Upland,

Huge Story For North Dakota; Bigger Story For Bismarck -- This Is Really A Great Story -- Bobcat Is Back in Bismarck -- Bigger Than Ever -- In a Sense, I Think It's the Biggest Bakken Story of the Week

KXNET is reporting:
It was a big blow to the city when Bobcat left Bismarck in 2009.
Company heads said it was to regroup, and focus on operations elsewhere.
This time, they say it's different. "Bobcat is here to stay. In particular, for Bismarck, it's great news. We've gone through this extensive renovation, where we've gone through the offices and the factory floor. We've, in addition to that, we've brought new product into this facility to be built here. I'm also looking out and looking forward to what other opportunities exist to further our footprint here in North Dakota and Bismarck, in particular," says Kuhn.
I can't recall, but I think I recall blogging a lot about Bobcat, its trials and tribulations back in 2009. A big "thank you" to Don for updating the status of Bobcat. I was unaware of this. This really is a big deal.

The history of the Bobcat is at wiki

New Pipeline Operator in the Bakken -- At Least The First Time I've Heard This Name In The Bakken

Oil & Gas Journal is reporting:
CenterPoint Energy Bakken Crude Services LLC (CEBCS), an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of CenterPoint Energy Inc., has entered into a long-term agreement with XTO Energy Inc., a subsidiary of ExxonMobil Corp, to gather XTO’s crude oil production through a new crude oil gathering and transportation pipeline system in North Dakota's Bakken shale. The agreement with XTO is the first entered into from an open season announced by CEBCS Feb. 19.
There are several story lines here. Think about this one. 

Presidential Approval of the Keystone XL Is Not a Slam Dunk

Even the House has deep divisions. Oil & Gas Journal reporting.
A hearing on US Rep. Lee Terry’s (R-Neb.) bill to congressionally authorize construction of the final portion of the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline revealed how wide the gap has grown between the viewpoints of the project’s proponents and opponents.
Proponents reiterated that US failure to authorize construction would force Alberta oil sands producers to pursue other export routes. Opponents maintained that oil sands development economics have grown so expensive that the permit’s denial would significantly slow down—and possibly even halt—further oil sands development there.
A senior US House Energy and Commerce Committee member also warned that congressional approval of HR 3 could result in legal challenges that would delay the project’s construction longer than letting the US Department of State’s review of Keystone XL’s revised application proceed.
“This bill would circumvent the established process and open the projects to a plethora of lawsuits,” warned US Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.). “Instead of legislative approval where it’s not needed, this committee should be focusing on steps to make certain this project moves forward without creating more opportunities for litigation.”
Terry said his bill is definitely necessary. “Not until Congress became involved 2 years ago did the administration even begin to move on this,” he said in his opening remarks at the Apr. 10 hearing by the committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee. “Here we are, April 2013, still mired in the process. My bill would put an end to that.”
I'm starting to lose the bubble on this. Too many chefs getting into the soup. Some argue that the bill is not even necessary; just let the SecState / Presidential process run its course. 

Six (6) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA -- Active Rigs Jump Back to 190

Active rigs: 190 (nice; predicted by a reader some time ago; when we were around 180, a reader said we would get back to 190; had the data)

Six (6) new permits --
  • Operators: XTO (2), G3 Operating, Petro-Hunt, OXY USA, American Eagle
  • Fields: West Capa, Antelope, Stockyard Creek, Colgan
  • Comments: OXY USA has a wildcat in Dunn County.
It appears NDIC did not report IPs for wells coming off confidential list today. I could be wrong but I did not see any reports.

The daily activity report was very short
: six new permits, one permit canceled, two sites resurveyed.

The Things We Worry About.

Oil & Gas Journal is reporting that the proposed Obama budget is targeting the oil and gas industry. You can to go the link to read the details.

I get a chuckle out of all of this. Right now there is renewed anxiety by some folks elsewhere that the oil companies in North Dakota are going to quit drilling in the Bakken once they get everything tied up in production, holding leases by production. First of all: that isn't going to happen. Most of the Bakken-centric operators have nowhere else to go to drill. Once they stop drilling in the Bakken, the game is pretty much over for them. Unless someone knows where KOG plans to drill outside of the Bakken. Or Oasis.

Folks elsewhere would be better off working with their state and federal legislators to minimize new taxes on the oil and gas industry. Nothing will slow down drilling faster than increased taxes, loss of industry-wide incentives, and more regulations. And, of course, even if drilling continues, increased expenses --> decreased royalties.

But do what you want.

"Fracking Sand 101" La Crosse, Wisconsin

A reader sent a note earlier regarding a "Fracking Sand 101" conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin, yesterday.

He sent the presentation which can be accessed here.

Stock Market Exploding -- Sequester, What Sequester? Market Loves The FOMC Minutes

The Dow is having a huge day. The S & P is having a big day.

It looks like a slightly delayed reaction but maybe folks are finally noting the Japanese stimulus.

But "the Fed minutes."

First, released early, 9:00 a.m. vs 2:00 p.m. Amazing what gets folks excited.  For traders, the timing is important. For investors....well, not so much.

This, from "the Fed minutes" caught my eye:
The next group appears to include the most members: “Many participants” argued that the improved outlook for the job market could justify slowing the pace of bond purchases “at some point over the next several meetings.” (This seems, from recent speeches, to be a relatively broad group of the committee, including centrists such as Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart and doves such as John Williams of the San Francisco Fed and Fed vice chairman Janet Yellen.)
Folks have been talking about "improved outlook for the job market) for two years now. I haven't seen it. There are three issues: a) current economy; and, b) long-term tectonic changes. Even if the economy improves, the workforce is forever changed. Oh, the third difference? ObamaCare. That will have a huge effect on job creation. 

Random Update on Refineries in North Dakota -- A Feel-Good Story -- Nothing New

Reuters is reporting:

On a windswept North Dakota prairie in late March, Governor Jack Dalrymple drove a bulldozer into the fertile black earth and broke ground on the first new U.S. refinery since 1976.
The state's two U.S. senators, as well as dozens of other politicians and investors, stood nearby wearing hard hats, eagerly sharing hopes that this new refinery will help resolve North Dakota's diesel demand problem.

Thanks to the Bakken shale formation, an extensive layer of oil-rich rock two miles deep, North Dakota produces more crude oil than any state except Texas. But because the state only has one refinery, it imports more than half of the roughly 53,000 barrels of diesel consumed each day by rigs that suck oil out of the ground, and trucks and trains that transport it.

The Futility, The Futility

April 10, 2013, OPEC: The Fly on the Wall is reporting:
OPEC has left unchanged its world oil demand forecasts for 2012 and 2013, with China expected to contribute the most to growth while industrialized countries appear headed to a decline, reports the Economic Times.The organization expects world demand to reach 88.87M barrels per day this year, which is slightly higher than its previous forecast in March of 88.83 barrels per day. 
Call me a cynic, but isn't 2012 about three months ago, and it is being reported that OPEC has left unchanged its world oil demand for 2012.....

April 10, 2013, OPEC: Market Watch is reporting:
Crude-oil futures fell Wednesday, weighed as data from a trade group showing a jump in weekly crude supplies added to concerns about already high inventory levels, and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries downgraded its forecast for world oil demand
Earlier, OPEC said it had slightly cut global oil demand estimates for the year, the second time in two months, pointing to Cyprus as the latest cause for concern.
OPEC is concerned about the fragility of euro-zone economies, and the crisis has impacted oil prices, especially Brent crude. 
If OPEC is worried about Cyprus, I'm worried about OPEC. Just for starters, problems in OPEC's neighborhood are a tad worse than the Russian banking problem in Cyprus, which by now is so yesterday.

OPEC's neighborhod: the USN is closing in on Iran with .... OMG .... lasers.  Iran closing in on Syria.  Syria is closing in on Lebaon; John Kerry is closing in on Palestine Israel Egypt who knows, I give up. 

Speaking of flies on walls, Cyprus is about as important as yesterdays' fish. But I digress. The point of the article is OPEC's changing forecasts. I guess it depends on which oil prince you talk to and what agenda the kingdom has for the day.

SeekingAlpha Articles

There were so many SeekingAlpha articles over the past two days regarding the oil and gas industry, I think I will put them all on this page for today/yesterday.

Disclaimer: SeekingAlpha is geared for investors and traders. This blog, the MDW, is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here. I follow SeekingAlpha because it provides insight on the Bakken, the purpose of this blog.

Initially, just the link and perhaps a snippet. Might come back to them later.

First: the SeekingAlpha article that was pulled yesterday. I have linked and discussed it here.

Whiting is rated a buy. In fact, it's rated a strong buy:
Whiting Petroleum is a sustainable company operating in the energy sector and through its availability of lucrative growth options provides a feasible investment for both short- and long-term oriented investors. This analysis provides an overview to WLL's current performance in the market and concludes with five reasons as to why WLL is a buy at its current valuation. Specifically, the five reasons will concentrate on WLL's opportunity for growth going forward, its strong asset set, its financial position relative to its peers, its valuation, as well as where analysts think WLL's stock price is headed. For a good primer, here is a brief overview of WLL's recent market performance.
Whiting: upgrades:
I have not posted anything on the Whiting Petroleum (WLL), an undervalued E&P producer with assets in the Bakken and other promising regions, in awhile. However, the stock is starting to pick up on some positives, and it feels like it is ready to make its next leg up.
Recent positives for WLL:
  • JPMorgan upgraded the shares Monday to "Overweight" from "Neutral." It also walked up its price target to $65 a share from $62.50 a share. Analyst Joseph Allman also noted "Our model could be conservative if the company has success testing the higher-density pilot programs in the Williston Basin."
  • BMO Capital also upgraded the shares to "Outperform" from "Market Perform" in February. It also raised its price target to $60 from $50.
  • Consensus earnings for FY2013 have moved up nicely over the last two months.
  • During its last quarterly earnings report, Whiting beat on both on the top and the bottom lines on higher production.

EOG, meanwhile, is a "good value." It could earn $8/share this year. Unlike Chesapeake it saw the crude oil / natural gas disconnect early and moved quickly to avert disaster.
U.S. production is the primary source of EOG's production and is focused on the most well known oil and gas producing areas in the United States. Primary production areas in the United States are as follows; the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, Williston Basin and Bakken Shale of North Dakota, the Unita Basin of the Rocky Mountains, the Permian Basin, the gulf coast of Mississippi, Louisiana, and East Texas, and the Barnett Shale of the Fort Worth Basin. In recent years, EOG has focused more on producing high margin liquids helping moderate the issues associated with low/volatile natural gas prices. In 2012, EOG expects a 4% increase in total production with a 28% increase in crude oil/natural gas liquids production and a 15% decrease in natural gas production. This change in the mix of production should push crude oil/natural gas liquids to about 55% of total production in 2013 compared to 48% of total production in 2012. We believe that increased liquids production will help profit margins and cash flow this year. Analysts estimate that EOG will earn $5.91/share in 2013 and $7.93 in 2014.
And XOM is best of breed and attractive.
Demand for energy will continue to increase as the global population grows and Exxon Mobil is well positioned to take advantage with its global presence, integrated supply chain, efficient cost controls and oil extracting technology. Because Exxon has the reputation of being the most successful integrated oil company over the long term, based on metrics such as return on invested capital, it is important to pay careful attention to price to ensure that the stock offers a good enough margin of safety. At current prices, I don't believe Exxon to be extremely attractive...
That's not exactly what the headline said.... 

A reader alerted me to a SeekingAlpha article that doesn't say anything new, and has this summary:

In my opinion production is going up, but it isn't going to continue at the breakneck speed that it has over the past couple of years.
So far we have seen the initial surge like my graphs above show. With each successive year the amount of growth is going to keep decreasing.
The implication of this for investors is simple. We might as well accept the fact that higher oil prices are here to stay because while the boom in American oil production is going to continue, the rate of growth is going to start slowing dramatically.
The unconventional oil revolution provides a welcome decrease in the amount of oil being imported from outside the country, but to extrapolate the growth of the past couple of years out over the longer term is not realistic.
I don't think anyone would disagree, given the data points the writer provided.

Most folks reason the same way: if we are all given certain data points, we come to the same conclusions. I read the article very quickly and perhaps he said some of these things but I just missed them.

But some quick thoughts:

1. That's why they call it the Bakken boom, a "boom," and, or the shale revolution, a "revolution." At some point they both come to an end. "Booms" and "revolutions" don't go on forever.

2. Production depends on, all things being equal, DEMAND. If demand goes goes down, all things being equal, production will go down unless Harold Hamm likes to pay for storage fees somewhere.

3. If demand increases, in the Bakken the limiting factor is TAKEAWAY CAPACITY. The rigs are more effective, more efficient and much potential production is being choked back due to takeaway issues. If demand increases, and takeaway capacity increases, the Bakken operators can increase production significantly. Forecasts are for a million bopd this year or next.

4. A recent article I posted suggested, coming from folks on the ground in Midland, a city of 150,000, debating what they want their skyline to look like, said the city of Midland is booming. And then they said this: Midland, the home of the Permian (an old Texas field with new life) is a year-and-a-half behind the Bakken. My hunch is that the Permian, revitalized, will be bigger than the Bakken. (I don't have data to back that up; just basing it on geography).

5. I don't post much about it, but it is commonly accepted that the Eagle Ford will be much bigger than the Bakken. If the Permian is a year-and-a-half behind the Bakken, I certainly get the feeling that the Eagle Ford is even farther behind; at best the Eagle Ford is as far along as the Permian is.

6. There are only three onshore US fields to talk about at the moment: the Bakken, the Permian, and the Eagle Ford.  The others are marginal at this point (Uinta, Niobrara, Utica, Miss Lime, etc) but that could change. If demand is there, production will increase.

7. As the reader who alerted me to the article noted, the article seems more of the same. I'm not sure what the point of the article was. But the writer is probably incorrect about the price of oil going up because of not enough oil being found/produced. The biggest determinant of the price of oil day-to-day is pretty much the weakness/strength of the dollar.

8. We haven't even begun to talk about the effect of Canadian oil if more of it could reach the market.

CLR To Provide Additional Oil to PBF Energy's Delaware City Refinery

Reuters is reporting:
NEW YORK, April 10 (Reuters) - PBF Energy Inc has inked a deal to take Bakken shale crude produced by Continental Resources to its Delaware City refinery, the latest step by East Coast refiners to leverage the benefits of the U.S. oil boom to struggling plants. Volumes of how much Bakken crude PBF would buy from Continental through the deal, which was announced in a press statement released on Wednesday, were not immediately available. PBF Energy in February announced the completion of a second rail unloading facility at the 182,000 barrel per day Delaware plant, allowing the plant to take a total of 70,000 bpd of light, sweet crude from North Dakota's Bakken shale and 40,000 bpd of Canadian heavy oil. 
There is more background at the link.

This story seems familiar; it may have been posted previously from a different source.

Busy, Busy Day! Feast or Famine.


Later, 10:19 am: CNBC news is reporting:
The S&P 500 surpassed its all-time high of 1,576.09 set in October 2007 shortly after the market opened Wednesday, boosted by upbeat economic news from China and after the Federal Reserve's latest meeting minutes. 
Later, 10:15 am: It is now forty-five minutes into the trading day. I have not yet opened the print version of the WSJ. I have not yet visited the market (not turned to Yahoo!Finance). I am so far behind. Before going to the market, I always check out Drudge Report first because it will give me an idea how the market is providing. It will also give me a worldview in ten seconds. There is no question that Drudge has an agenda, but he does not write any of his own articles. Ninety percent of the articles come from mainstream press, including the NY Times and the Washington Post. Maybe a stand-alone post on the Drudge Report would be interesting. Anyway, I see at Drudge that the S&P breaks record again. Now to find out why.

Original Post

I apologize. I am simply not going to get to all the good stories today, and there are a bunch. Just the stories at today's WSJ would keep me busy all day. For some reason, the NDIC is delayed reporting the wells coming off the confidential list. Unless I've got the wrong group of wells. Unlikely.

For the record, The Dickinson Press is reporting that the number of jobs in North Dakota has increased by a third since 2000. The Bakken boom in North Dakota began in 2007.
Jobs in North Dakota have grown by almost a third since 2000, increasing by 100,000 during that period and by 33,000 in 2012 alone, the Department of Commerce announced last week.
It would be interesting to see what the job growth was between 2000 and 2007, before the boom. Considering that a lot of academicians, back in 2000, thought North Dakota should be turned back into a "buffalo commons" this is quite remarkable. 

I'm not going to link the weather stories now but the storm that hit overnight was quite a doozie. It is calving season and cattle and calves sought shelter. When the Chick-fil-A restaurants started overfilling, one could find cattle trying to find shelter at McDonald's restaurants.

A reader sent me a note regarding a housing investment opportunity in eastern Montana yesterday, while I was traveling. I was able to post the comment. Shortly I will be posting it as a stand-alone. As usual, I have no connection with the offering. I just post it as I get it.

Housing Investment Opportunity in Eastern Montana

I received the following yesterday from a long-time reader of the blog:
My company is developing Wheatland Hills Subdivision (see attached Phasing Plan), a 142-lot residential subdivision being annexed into the eastern Montana town of Culbertson. 

It is located 40 miles west of Williston at the intersection of Hwy. 2 (the Highline) and Hwy. 16.

It is  34 miles north of  Sidney, Montana. 

We will have multi- & single family lots for sale as well as 100 lots for rent in our residential park (manufactured homes).

the developer's e-mail:
I am not an investor in real estate but there may be folks out there that are interested. Again, I  have no connection with the company. It is for information purposes only. The information was also sent in as a comment; if the developer wants any of this information changed or removed, please let me know.

Wednesday Morning Links; This May Be The Best Bunch of WSJ Links In Some Time

Initial production for wells coming off the confidential list will be posted as soon as I see them.

RBN Energy: the economic bounty of shale oil and gas!
Last week our attention was drawn to the “State of Energy” report published by the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners (TIPRO).  Using Bureau of Labor quarterly census data the report provides a summary of state and national benefits attributed to growing US oil and gas production during 2012. For example, TIPRO reports that oil and gas industry employment increased by 65,000 to 971,000 in 2012.  But the benefits of increased production are not just confined to the oil and gas industry. According to a presentation by the Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy (ITCE) the shale revolution provided $237B of growth to the US economy in 2012. Today we look at how huge changes taking place in US energy supplies impact the wider economy.
Unfortunately this article will not be read by White House staffers or economists. 


WSJ Links

Section D (Personal Journal):
  • This is personal. Disney rolls out its newest young royal, Sofia the First. My niece, Sofia, yes, spelled the same way, will be graduating from high school on May 23, 2013. I can only at least one graduation present. 
Section C (Money & Investing):
Corn traders brace for a long slump. The corn market was upended last month when the US government reported unexpectedly high domestic supplies. Now many investors are bracing for a prolonged period of ample stockpiles and lower prices. Awesome. May the article will explain the unexpectedly high supplies. Ethanol?
Overheard on the street. I normally don't include this much, but it's huge -- I will come back to this as a stand-alone post. It is from the free side of the WSJ; this much does not require a subscription:
The natural-gas business used to be about one thing: finding more of the stuff. These days, when even a price of just $4 a million British thermal units feels like a windfall, more than a few drillers must wish everyone would just stop looking. It seems like every time gas prices might finally be recovering, someone finds another few trillion cubic feet of it.
On Tuesday, the somewhat unfortunately named Potential Gas Committee released its latest biennial assessment of U.S. gas resources. The volunteer organization of engineers and other energy buffs now estimates the nation sits on 2,384 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable gas reserves, 486 trillion cubic feet more than 2010's assessment.
Technically, recoverable gas isn't the same as proven reserves, as some gas may simply prove too costly to bother with. But to put that extra 486 trillion cubic feet in perspective, it is about 60% bigger than the entire proven reserves of the country and enough to meet 19 years of consumption at current rates. Gas geologists?
I think it's time for a similar "in-your-face" honest assessment of where "global warming" stands today. I think folks would be surprised.

Section B (Marketplace):
  • Lead story on Yahoo and Apple in discussions. Did I hear yesterday somewhere Apple might buy Twitter?
  • The JCP story keeps getting richer. JCP's ouster of Johnson is a blow to hedge-fund manager Ackman, who set out to change the retailing world by revamping the chain.
Section A:
  • Front page: US energy boom hits foreign suppliers. A handful of traditional suppliers of America's crue are scrambling to deal with the fallout of surging US output. And the impact on Canada has been especially painful.
  • The USAF is idling one-third of its combat air fleet because of across-the-board spending cuts, a move officials said would reduce readiness to respond in the event of a global crisis. And what global crisis would that be. The US Navy has Iran cornered. And everyone is blowing off the Korean Missile Crisis as so much hot air. The only global crisis right now is the ongoing lawsuit between JCP and Macy's.
  • Earthquake strikes southern Iran -- where Iran's nuclear power plant is located. The nuclear plant was unscathed. It must have been Allah's wish. And the Iranians aren't even fracking.
  • US to open wallet in Mideast peace bid. But White House tours are still closed. Oh, why not?
  • A new leak was found at that Japanese nuclear power plant whose name is hard to pronounce and is spelling even harder: Fukushima Caiichi. I think I know where all the vowels are that the Polish surnames have lost: they are in Japan. Just how many "i's" do you need in a name? Caiichi. Shiiiiii!
  • Talking about dupes, which we weren't, the Germans will be pleased to see this. It turns out that households in Europe's fragile southern economy have far higher wealth -- on paper, at least -- than households in Germany. This may fuel resistance to more bailouts. What's wrong with that picture? On paper households in Cyprus, Greece, and Italy, have more wealth than their German benefactors.
  • Book review: give monogamy a chance. Emily Esfahani Smith reviews Donna Freitas's The End of Sex.  Both Emily and Donna could loan some vowels to their Polish counterparts.
  • Op-ed: Counting on 7.5% when Treasury bonds are paying 1.74%? That's going to cost taxpayers billions. And folks say the Bakken uses fancy accounting.