Tuesday, June 4, 2013

In Which State Do Residents Pay Most To Fill Up At The Pump? Hawaii. And Second?

North Dakota.

Despite having a) lots of crude oil; and, b) very low state gasoline taxes.

Reuters is reporting.
North Dakota's residents have received an enormous income windfall from the shale boom, but strong local demand for trucking and fracking fuel has left them facing the highest gasoline prices in the mainland United States.
Only insular Hawaiians pay more to fill up at the pump.
The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the remote prairie state is $4.13, compared with $4.00 in California and $3.73 in New York, according to price comparison website GasBuddy.com.
Prices are exceptionally high even though the state levies below average taxes and fees. North Dakota adds just 23 cents per gallon in excise tax and other charges to the pump price of gasoline, compared with an average of 25-27 cents nationwide.
California and New York both add more than 50 cents per gallon, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
The pre-tax cost of gasoline in North Dakota is an eye-watering $3.72 per gallon, 40 cents more than California and almost 70 cents higher than in New York.
Before federal and state taxes, North Dakota gasoline costs nine cents more than in neighbouring South Dakota, 19 cents more than in Minnesota to the immediate east and almost 50 cents more than in Montana to the west.

The Best Crude Rail Play -- Motley Fool

Despite being another tease to subscribe to the Motley Fool, there is a lot of interesting information in this sales pitch.
Due to uncertainty about the completion date of the Keystone XL pipeline, Canadian National Railway stands to benefit the most from increased movement of crude by rail. The company has exposure to the Bakken Region and owns the only railroad in the massive Athabasca Oil Sands deposit in Alberta. CN moves crude to refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast and Eastern Canada. CN will be hauling crude for many years to come. I like all railroad stocks mentioned in this article, but I believe CN holds an edge over the others in the movement of crude.
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here, or what you think you have read here.

Update On The Issue Of Sour Bakken Oil; Enbridge "Wins"

First, a story from Motley Fool:
Enbridge Energy Partners has been in a bit of a battle with Plains All American Pipeline over the levels of hydrogen sulfide that's in the crude oil being delivered to its rail facility in the Bakken. The company is seeking to reject crude oil that contains more than five parts per million of the potentially deadly gas. This is after the company found extremely high concentrations of the gas in one of its crude oil tanks in North Dakota. The level of hydrogen sulfate hit 1200 parts per million which is a very potentially dangerous level.
Enbridge's proposal to reject crude with higher levels of the gas has not only caused it to fight against Plains, but it's not made producers like Marathon and Hess happy either. Those two companies, as well as other Bakken operators, could be forced to shut down oil and gas production until a new form of transportation can be secured. Both companies, along with Plains, have filed with FERC to slow down the pace of Enbridge's plans to reject oil with high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide.
f the souring of the Bakken becomes more widespread it could have a big impact on the profitability of higher-cost producers like Kodiak Oil & Gas. Because it costs the company $10 million on average to drill a well, its rates of return are already lower than its peers in the $8 million per well range. Additional costs from hydrogen sulfide mitigation equipment or special pipelines will slow growth and crimp profits.
Four days ago, Reuters reported:
Oil shipper Plains Marketing LP has agreed to limit the amount of crude containing high amounts of a dangerous gas it ships on Enbridge Energy Partners LP's North Dakota pipeline system, according to a filing with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this week.
Three days after discovering that high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas were in oil carried on the pipeline, Enbridge filed a request with FERC on May 8 to limit the amount of gas traveling through the system. It cited concerns about employee health when the crude was moved from the pipeline and onto rail cars at Berthold, North Dakota, for further shipping. Plains Marketing, part of Plains All American Pipeline LP, initially asked FERC to reject Enbridge's request, citing "serious economic harm."

So, Just How Much Oil Is Being Shipped By Rail Out Of The Bakken?

Motley Fool is reporting:
According to the Association of American Railroads, total crude shipped this past quarter was 97,135 carloads, a 166% jump from this quarter last year and the largest jump in crude shipments in over a decade. The largest sources of rail's success has come from a few select places, most notably the Bakken formation and Canadian oil sands. EOG ships 100% of its Bakken crude via rail, and Continental Resources, the top producer in the Bakken, now transports approximately 80% of its crude via rail.
I don't know what others think, but I find it somewhat amazing that EOG ships all -- repeat, all -- of its Bakken crude oil via rail.

Data from this article same as Motley Fool above.

For Investors Only: This Will Be Fun To Watch

Reuters is reporting:
Argentina's Supreme Court on Tuesday lifted a freeze that had been placed on Chevron Corp assets in the country, clearing the way for the U.S. oil giant to go ahead with a shale oil venture with Argentina's YPF.

Chevron has signed an agreement with YPF to invest up to $1.5 billion in the Vaca Muerta shale megafield, located in Argentina's southern region of Patagonia.
Late last year an Argentinean judge ordered a freeze on up to $19 billion worth of assets held by Chevron in Argentina as part of an environmental lawsuit by Ecuadorean villagers who say the company is responsible for contamination.
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decision based on what you read here or what you think you read here. 

Rigzone Essay On The Bakken; Some Spectacular IPs Could Be Seen In The Three Forks

I linked a long Rigzone article on an earlier post, but it is such an incredible interview, I decided to post it again, with additional excerpts.

On April 30, 2013, I said that "another Bakken" had been discovered with the reassessment of the Three Forks. At the time I wrote that headline, I was a bit worried that I had stretch it a bit. It turns out Rigzone picked up on the theme:
Q: What's the next Bakken?  
A: That's a tough one. In a sense, we've already seen it with the Three Forks reappraisal. But it would be exceedingly difficult to replicate the Bakken, with its vast areal extent and thick pays. 
I find that very, very interesting. With prospects like the Eagle Ford, the Permian, the Cline, the experts are still betting the Bakken will be the "gold standard."

And take a look at this. If you think IPs are already spectacular, Rigzone is suggesting we haven't seen anything yet. And although this is not an investment site, it's interesting that in this very long internet article, CLR was the one Bakken-centric company highlighted.
Q: The US government recently more than doubled its estimates for Bakken and Three Forks to 7.4 billion barrels of undiscovered and technically recoverable oil and 6.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. How is the industry responding to this? How are investors responding?
A: Some operators had already been developing the Three Forks formation ahead of the USGS revised estimate for the Greater Bakken play. That drilling in fact provided much of the knowledge about the Three Forks that led to the USGS upgrade. We're already seeing stepped-up drilling in the Three Forks, and some of that will entail dual horizontal laterals, a real milestone that could yield spectacular IP rates. Accordingly, Wall Street analysts are upgrading their guidance on companies such as Continental Resources that are leading the Bakken charge.

Rigzone Essay On The American Shale Revolution: Exceedingly Difficult To Replicate The Bakken; Don't Hold Your Breath On The Monterrey Shale; Beware Of Saudi

Rigzone has a long article on the Bakken boom, the next Bakken, and whether Saudi will let it continue (although not much of an answer is provided).

Three excerpts that sound very, very familiar; MDW has said the very same thing; no links now, but they are there. .

First question/answer:
Q: Can the US really compete with Saudi Arabia in terms of production?
A: Sure, just as long as the Saudis will allow it. Don't forget the Kingdom is still the world's swing supplier, a role it's held since the late 1970s. It's important to remember that the Saudis not only have the largest proved reserves of oil, it's also the largest repository—by far—of low-cost oil reserves. Much of Canada's oil sands and US tight oil requires $75 per barrel or more to be economically viable. Saudi Arabia also needs $75 per barrel, but that's to support its current domestic budget. The Kingdom's lifting costs are somewhere around $5 at last report. So Saudi Arabia could easily flood the market, as it did in the early ‘80s, if it lost too much market share, dropping oil prices to $50 or less, and US drilling and production would collapse. Ideally, growing demand from China and other Asian markets will help sustain Saudi production levels and oil prices even as the Americas become self-sufficient in oil.
Second question answer:
Q: What's the next Bakken?
A: That's a tough one. In a sense, we've already seen it with the Three Forks reappraisal. But it would be exceedingly difficult to replicate the Bakken, with its vast areal extent and thick pays
Third question/answer:
Q: How excited should investors be about the Monterrey Shale?
A: Some restraint is in order. While preliminary estimates put potential Monterey Shale technically recoverable resources at more than 15 billion barrels, it's hardly a slam dunk. There has been a flurry of leasing and some drilling to date, but as of yet no operator has “cracked the code” for the Monterey. Even apart from the substantial technical challenges and complicated geology and petrophysics, a bigger hurdle would be the widespread and entrenched anti-oil development attitudes industry faces in California, which already has the most stringent regulatory regime in the nation. Furthermore, that anti-oil stance will just gain momentum with the anti-frac campaign that the environmental pressure groups are pushing now.

The Central Corridor -- North Dakota To Texas -- Smart Money Moves First

This is kind of cool.

On July 24, 2012, I wrote:
Earlier this year, I pointed out the burgeoning energy zone / corridor running from North Dakota to Texas, referring to it as America's energy renaissance zone.  I couldn't decide on "corridor" or "zone." I felt "corridor" was being over-used by the media and that corridor was a bit restrictive; it's larger then just a corridor.

But it looks like the mainstream media will go with "corridor," ....
So, today, on CNBC (link sent in by Don), Meredith Whitney was plugging her new book:
Her new book is fate of the states: the new geography of American prosperity. She boldly envisions a country where the prosperity is now situated on the east coast and west coast will move to the center of the country .... smart money moves first .... between 2008 and 2011, the US grew about 6%; the same period, the states: Texas (8% growth), Louisiana (16%), North Dakota (26%).
Part of the description of her first book:
One of the most respected voices on Wall Street, Meredith Whitney shot to global prominence in 2007 when her warnings of a looming crisis in the financial sector proved all too prescient. Now, in her first book, she expands upon her biggest call since the financial crisis.

Whitney points out that it wasn’t just consum­ers who binged on debt for the past twenty years but state and local governments too. She explains how the fiscal sins of the past are beginning to transform the U.S. economy along regional lines. And she shows how we are moving into a new era in which wealth, power, and opportunity flow away from the coasts and toward the central corridor.
In contrast to those doom and gloom head­lines, a much different trend was developing in interior states such as North Dakota, Indiana, and Texas. They survived the housing crisis relatively unscathed, avoiding mass foreclosures and bud­getary chaos. As a result they’ve had the money to retrain workers and offer tax incentives to companies willing to relocate. Coupled with the recent booms in natural gas and oil extraction and a resurgence in manufacturing, these states are poised to become the new powerhouses of the American economy.
The linked video is a "must." Enjoy. 

Ten (10) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; Five (5) Producing Wells Completed; OXY USA With A Nice Well; Wells Coming Off Confidential List Wednesday; Arctic Sea Ice Decline For Month Of May Remains "Average"

Active rigs: 189 (steady, on high side)

Ten (10) new permits --
  • Operators: Oasis (4), Enerplus (4), Newfield (2)
  • Fields: Gros Ventre (Burke), Siverston (McKenzie), Mandaree (Dunn), Moccasin Creek (Dunn)
  • Comments: Enerplus seems to be getting a bit more active; nice to see more Newfield permits
Wells coming off the confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Five (5) producing wells were completed:
  • 23305, 1,480, WPX, Blackhawk 1-12HB, Moccasin Creek, t5/13; cum --
  • 23720, 318, Samson, Montclair 0112-2TFH, Ambrose, 4 sections; t5/13; cum
  • 23741, 1,794, Statoil, Jerome Anderson 15-10 7TFH, Alger, 2 sections; t4/13; cum --
  • 24212, 333, SM Energy, Jeglum 3-29HNB, Colgan, t4/13; cum --
  • 24705, 828, OXY USA, Stag 1-35-23H-142-96, Russian Creek, t5/13; cum --
Coming off the confidential list Wednesday:
  • 23410, 644, Baytex, Burton Olson 21-16-162-98H 1PB, Blooming Prairie, t12/12; cum 62K 4/13;
  • 23467, 1,132,Whiting, Buckman 14-9PH, Bell, t12/12; cum 61K 4/13;
  • 23468, 1,244,Whiting, Obrigewitch 11-16PH, Bell, t12/12; cum 51K 4/13;
  • 23493, drl, CLR, Simmental Federal 4-16H, Elm Tree, no data,
  • 23614, 312, CLR, Lester 1-1H, New Home, t2/13; cum 12K 4/13;
  • 24017, dry, Armstrong Operating, Zurcher 1, wildcat, a Madison well, 34 miles NNE of Minot, ND
  • 24252, 75, Enduro, MRPSU 19-31, Mouse River Park, a Madison well; t2/13; cum 3K 4/13;
  • 24409, drl, Hess, BB-Budahn A 150-95-0403H-4, Blue Buttes

 23410, see above, Baytex, Burton Olson 21-16-162-98H 1PB, Blooming Prairie:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

 23467, see above,Whiting, Buckman 14-9PH, Bell:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

23468, see above,Whiting, Obrigewitch 11-16PH, Bell:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold


Arctic ice decline for the month of May:
Arctic sea ice extent declined at a near-average rate through May, but overall it remained below average compared to the 1979 to 2000 average. The Arctic Oscillation (AO) varied through the month between modest positive and negative phases. Slack winds over central Alaska allowed cold air to stay in place and made much of the month unusually cold there. The last part of the month saw much higher temperatures.
Sea ice extent in May 2013 averaged 13.10 million square kilometers (5.06 million square miles). This is 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average for the month. As has been the case for the past several years, ice extent was below average in the Barents Sea on the Atlantic side of the Arctic. Greater than average ice extent prevailed on the Pacific side of the Arctic in the Bering Sea and Sea of Okhotsk.
Arctic sea ice extent for May, 2013, is 91% of the average for the two decades, 1979 - 2000; and the decline rate is at the near-average rate.

I will sleep better tonight knowing that. 

Sioux Falls, Like North Dakota, Is Open For Business

Back on May 17, 2013, we were talking about North Dakota being "open for business."

It looks like Sioux Falls, SD, is also open for business.

The Rapid City Journal is reporting:
Building permits in South Dakota's largest city for the first five months of the year are more than double the amount at the same time last year.

Non-residential construction was reported at $96.6 million, more than four times ahead of 2013.
One wonders how much of this is due to "Minnesota" moving into Sioux Falls. It's hard for me to believe this is not a regional story, and there's not much "region" in the Sioux Falls area except for Minnesota, and a bit of Iowa, I suppose.

"Non-residential," to me, suggests business and/or government buildings. 

Like Fargo, ND, Sioux Falls is also on I-29, just west of Minnesota state line, and also benefits from two interstate highways, one running north-south, and one running east-west.

My hunch: the Sioux Falls story is as much about Minnesota as it is about South Dakota.

CLR's Well-Spacing Pilot Projects -- Previously Posted

CLR's May, 2013, corporate presentation (this is a dynamic link, and the presentation will change over time), a PDF:

Slide 31: CLR's 160-acre density spacing for the middle Bakken and Three Forks formations. I've seen this slide before and I think I've even posted links to it with comments. Some observations:
the 320-acre spacing pilot project
  • long laterals on 1280-acre spacing units
  • 4 wells per formation (that's where the 320-acre spacing comes from: 1280 acre/4 = 320 acres)
  • 4 formations (MB, TF1, TF2, TF3)
  • 23 net wells across three pilot projects
  • $123 million net cost/23 net wells = $5.3 million/well
the 160-acre spacing pilot project
  • long laterals on 1280-acre spacing units
  • 8 wells per formation (that's where the 160-acre spacing comes from: 1280 acre/8 = 160 acres)
  • 4 formations (MB, TF1, TF2, TF3)
  • 6 net wells - one pilot project
  • $36 million net cost/6 net wells = $6 million/well

Just How Effective Is Fracking (Radially)?

Early on, I suggested the "effectiveness" of fracking extends out no more than 500 feet radially. See this note posted back on October 11, 2011:
Somehow the conversation got around to "how many wells in a section?"

Of course that depends on how many formations one is talking about and how "good" the location is.

There is also the question of how effective fracturing is the farther one gets away from the borehole. I suggested that the general consensus is that fracturing is effective out to 500 feet laterally (500 foot radius, or 1,000 feet diametrically) suggesting 4 to 5 wells average across a 5,280-foot section line. Note: "general consensus" in previous sentence.

I suggested that it is very likely that fracturing is not necessarily effective that far out. I am way beyond my depth here, so it was just idle chatter. And then this: Coincidentally I see that "luckyone" elsewhere has opined the very same thing -- back on September 22, 2011. I don't recall reading that entry before (although I probably have) but the point is that there are at least a couple of us armchair observers suggesting that it may be as little as 300 feet laterally or radially. That is a game changer. I also think (and have previously posted) that the farther away from the well, the less effective the fracturing. And, of course, that is borne out by the number of reports in which not all stages were successfully fracked, and usually it is farther out than closer in.
Fast forward to May, 2013, and Oasis corporate presentation, slide #10. Oasis plans to:
  • vary spacing distances to as low as 400 feet in certain areas (equates to 6 wells per formation in single spacing unit). [The link will take you to the current corporate presentation which will change over time; this refers to the May, 2013, Oasis presentation only.]
If that pans out, and there are four payzones in the "better" Bakken (middle Bakken, TF1, TF2, TF3), that could be as many as 24 wells in one spacing unit. [By the way, CLR has a graphic that suggests one could see as many as 40 wells in one spacing unit.]

24 x 300,000 = 7.2 million bbls/spacing unit @$50/bbl = $360 million/spacing unit.

By the way, contrary to some folks' early concern, there are now indications that fracking a "new" well actually improves the production of an older, neighboring well. Of course, the jury is still out on that, but it certainly makes common sense.

Train Wreck

The State is reporting:
South Carolina this week could become the first state in the country to restrict the enactment of Obamacare since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld that law last year.
A proposed bill, on special order in the state Senate, would allow the state attorney general to take businesses, including health insurers, to court if he “has reasonable cause to believe” they are harming people by implementing the law. The bill already has passed the House.
If it passes, the bill could push South Carolina to the forefront of Obamacare resistance, giving the state’s Republican leaders a national stage. It also could push South Carolina into yet another costly legal battle in the federal courts that, critics say, is unnecessary and avoidable.
I assume that while this is tied up in court, ObamaCare would  have to be placed on hold. If not, folks "on the street" could still interpret it the way they wanted. Sort of like how illegal immigrants individually interpret "amnesty" in this country. 

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2013/06/03/2800482/obamacare-nullification-bill-on.html#storylink=cpy

China Acquires More Shale Acreage in Texas: $1.7 Billion For 80,000 Net Acres In The Wolfcamp

This is old news for some; I can't remember if I've posted anything on it.

But it's part of one of the big stories (see sidebar at the right).

For newbies: as you read the story below, remember this bit of trivia about the Wolfcamp: the Wolfcamp is probably the thickest of any onshore U.S. oil shale play, with up to 1,000 feet of potential payout across hundreds of thousands of acres. In comparison, the middle Bakken is about 75 feet thick; thicker in some areas, less thick in other areas. The Three Forks, around 300 feet thick. (Again, these are my opinions, world view; others will have different numbers; their numbers are probably more reliable.)

The Oil & Gas Journal is reporting:
Sinochem Group has closed its previously announced $1.7 billion purchase of Wolfcamp assets in Texas from Pioneer Natural Resources Co.
PNR of Dallas sold 40% of its interest in 207,000 net acres in the horizontal Wolfcamp shale in the southern portion of the Spraberry trend.
Back-of-the-envelope (numbers rounded):
  • 40% of 207,000 = 80,000 net acres
  • $1.7 billion/80,000 = $20,000 / acre
  • Obviously there is production, other assets but, for me, that gives me an idea of valuation of these acres. Production is close to 10,000 boepd, according to the press release, which, at $50/bbl = $200 million/year.  
According to the press release:
At closing, Sinochem paid $631 million in cash of which $109 million was Sinochem’s 40% share of net expenditures in the joint interest area.
Sinochem will pay the remaining $1.2 billion by carrying 75% of PNR’s share of future drilling costs until the drilling carry is fully utilized.
 Again, lots of "moving parts" and I may be misinterpreting the deal, but that's how I see it for now.

For Investors Only: Following The KOG-Liberty Resources, Valuation Of KOG, OAS, And TPLM

SeekingAlpha is reporting:
Another E & P concern in the region I hold is Oasis Petroleum. It moved up on the Kodiak acquisition news by around 2% to just under $38 a share, but this producer is significantly undervalued as well. I believe this stock will richly reward shareholders over the next few years as it continues to rapidly expand production.
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here or what you think you read here. The quote above is from the writer at the linked article, not mine.

Three Projects To Follow In The Utica

Motley Fool is reporting:
Since wet gas is so important to the Utica's future, there are three major projects that Utica E&P companies will be following very closely. Enterprise Products Partners' ATEX pipeline, Enbridge's reversal and expansion of the Southern Lights pipeline, and Marathon Petroleum's $300 million plan to add 60,000 bpd of condensate refining capacity to two of its refineries in the Ohio valley.
The ATEX pipeline will be an NGL pipeline from the Utica/Marcellus to the Gulf Coast, where a majority of the United States' chemical refining capacity is located. The company just started open season where producers request space. Enbridge is planning to reverse the flow of the Alberta Clipper pipeline to go from the Midwest to Northern Alberta, where Utica condensate can be used as a blending component for Canadian heavy oils. For condensate to be shipped via pipeline, though, it needs to be stabilized. That's a fancy way of saying that it needs to be refined to reduce wear and tear on pipelines. It will take more wellhead investments for E&P companies, but with condensate trading at a $14 premium to WTI in Canada, it will be money well spent. 
And then this very, very interesting observation:
Whenever there has been a bottleneck in the supply of natural gas and NGLs, Enterprise Products Partners seems to be the one swooping in to take advantage of the situation. The ATEX pipeline is just one example of a long list of projects that will make Enterprise Products Partners one of the clear winners in the US energy boom. 
The essay is another attempt by Motley Fool to get you to subscribe to their newsletter which I don't. Be forewarned. 

Lowest Petroleum Bill In Nearly 2.5 Years; "The Track Is Back"

Reuters is reporting, regarding imports and the trade deficit: 
... the lowest petroleum bill in nearly 2-1/2 years ...
The North Dakota Bakken boom began in 2007 and hit its stride in 2010 or 2011. And 2.5 years this is where we are: the US reports the lowest (import) petroleum bill in nearly 2.5 years.

Unrelated, I suppose, Motley Fool provides a nice little essay on what regular readers already know: a) Kinder Morgan cancels proposed pipeline from west Texas to California (California refiners prefer the flexibility of rail); and, b) the Canadian govt likely to disapprove Enbridge's $6.5 billion pipeline from Alberta to the Canadian west coast. [Update: the Canadian federal government says the "fat lady has not yet sung."]

Activist environmentalists brought back the track. Ya gotta love it.

Tuesday Morning News And Links

Active rigs: 189

Wells coming off the confidential list have been posted.

RBN Energy: what becomes of empty pipelines -- markets for TransCanada's Mainline crude oil conversion.
The Energy East pipeline project proposes to convert part of the TransCanada Mainline natural gas system and add new pipeline in eastern Canada to connect oil receipts in Alberta with refineries in Ontario, Quebec and on the Atlantic seaboard. The proposal competes with existing plans by Enbridge to feed eastern Canadian refineries with light crude but does offer the prospect of supplying heavy crude for export from Canada’s East Coast. Today in Part 2 of a series on the project we review destination markets.
In Part 1 of this series (see What Becomes of the Empty Pipelines?) we described TransCanada’s plans to convert part of their massive Mainline natural gas pipeline to oil.
The Energy East Pipeline project would convert 1865 miles of existing natural gas pipeline and require construction of a further 870 miles of new pipeline to deliver oil from Hardisty Alberta and Saskatchewan as far East as St John, New Brunswick on the Eastern seaboard. If approved by Canadian regulators the pipeline will flow between 500 Mb/d and 850 Mb/d of heavy crude oil starting in 2017. The TransCanada open season on the project will end later this month on June 17, 2013.
If the Energy East pipeline gets built there should be no lack of crude production in Western Canada to be transported on it. 
Job watch. I happened to catch a snippet of CNBC this a.m. Two segments had to do with joblessness. The magic numbers for job creations remains 150,000 and 200,000. Below 150,000 will be a disaster; at 200,000 it will be pretty much ho-hum.

WSJ Links

Section D (Personal Journal):
Section C (Money & Investing):
Section B (Marketplace):
Section A:

US Oil Boom Scrambles Mideast Calculus

The Wall Street Journal is reporting:
Syria's civil war increasingly threatens to metastasize into a regional conflict, as Hezbollah fighters join the battle on the side of Syria's government, prompting the Syrian opposition to return fire directly into Hezbollah's home base in Lebanon. Calls for the U.S. to get involved persist.
Meanwhile, another interesting news development looms. Government projections show that in September, for the first time in almost two decades, the U.S. will produce more oil than it imports. Nor will that be a fluke; the trend is expected to continue, and domestic oil production is expected to outstrip imports by an increasingly wide margin throughout 2014.
These two developments may seem unrelated, but they are not. The worsening situation in Syria raises the question of whether the U.S. will feel compelled to do something militarily to help end the rule of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. At the same time, though, declining U.S. reliance on Middle Eastern oil raises the question of whether Americans will find it ever harder to see the point of getting involved in that messy region.
Syria itself is an exceedingly marginal oil producer, so its direct role in the energy picture isn't an issue in calculating America's interests there.
A Note To The Granddaughters

Wow, I feel good. I'm writing this on the morning of June 4, 2013 -- a beautiful day in the Boston suburbs, my last few days here before I return to Texas. The weather is gorgeous, perfect for bike riding. Only one thing would make it better: cycling with a soul mate, but that's a different story for a different time.

But the real reason I'm in a good mood is this: I've made great strides in bringing myself up to speed regarding quantum mechanics. I don't recall if I was introduced to the phrase in chemistry in my junior year of high school, but I do know that I was introduced to it in my college freshman course of chemistry. Sadly, and ironically, I don't think my physics teacher in my senior year of high school mentioned it; he taught us almost no physics.

It is impossible for me to cite the number of books I've read since college days related in some way to quantum mechanics but it's been a fair number. Most of them, I suppose, have been biographies of Einstein, Teller, Oppenheimer. But I've never really understood how the "science" developed. Louisa gilder's The Age of Entanglement changed all that. As I've mentioned before, it's a very difficult book to read. It is difficult because of the way she chose to write it, and it is difficult because, of course, due to the subject matter.

It was difficult to read but instead of getting bogged down, I simply pressed on, knowing that I would re-read the book. And that's what I'm doing now. Re-reading the book and taking notes.

Unlike calculus or genetics where it seems one can identify who, when, and where, quantum mechanics has been impossible for me. Over the years I have had three questions regarding QM: a) the general timeline; b) who coined the phrase, "quantum mechanics"; and, c) who were most instrumental in putting it together.

Here are the answers:
  • a) the time line began in 1913 when Bohr (Copenhagen) solved the problem of the "stable" atom
  • b) a mathematician in Gottingen, Max Born, coined the phrase in 1925
  • c) two university friends studying under Sommerfeld, Heisenberg and Pauli, were most instrumental
Back to the book.