Sunday, May 3, 2015

Dickinson Refinery Begins Operations; Video Of The Bakken -- May 3, 2015; Chevy Cuts Prices On Volt

Refinery up. Press release:
MDU Resources Group, Inc. and Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P. today announced that the Dickinson, North Dakota-based Dakota Prairie refinery, the first greenfield fuels refinery built in the U.S. in nearly 40 years, has commenced operations. The facility has begun producing diesel fuel and is expected to begin sales of diesel as the plant ramps up during May.
The refinery is designed to process 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) of locally sourced Bakken crude oil, resulting in a production slate that includes up to 7,000 bpd of diesel fuel that will be sold from the plant to regional, North Dakota-based customers.
Wasn't it just last week when MDU announced that they were hoping to have the plant opened up in the next couple of months or so ... it's amazing how fast things happen when earnings will be announced. MDU announces earnings after market close tonight. It will be interesting to see how much diesel will be produced this week -- now that the refinery is up and running. 

Volt Down

Chevrolet cuts price on new Volt. USA Today is reporting:
The Chevrolet Volt is getting more electric-only miles, sleeker styling and a whole suite of improvements -- yet Chevrolet is cutting the price of its extended-range electric car by $1,175.
The price cut speaks to the difficult time that automakers are having when it come to selling fuel-conserving cars in a low gas-price environment. And it's not the first time that Volt got a price cut. The original Volt, not this all-new model, had its price reduced by $5,000 in August, 2013.
The new Volt is capable of being driven 50 miles on electricity alone, some 31% better than the outgoing Volt. It also has a backup gas engine.  
I assume the tax credits are good only for the original buyer, but I don't know.


The Tesla home battery. Seeking Alpha is reporting:
It's pretty clear that without "going crazy", your house can easily draw 3kw of electricity; and yet, Tesla's 10kWh back-up battery has continuous output of only 2kw, and thus is inadequate to run even a medium-sized house, and would be completely dead in five hours anyway, with no capacity to run central air conditioning or charge an electric car.
(For a medium-sized house, a central air conditioner alone draws nearly 5kw.)
 ... a comparably priced 16kw natural gas-fired generator can run your entire house (including the air-conditioning) for as many hours as needed, at a cost of less than $2/hour (assuming 195 cubic feet/hour consumption at full draw and a New York State gas price of less than $10 per 1000 cubic feet of gas)?
By the way, another dot is connected. Why did this battery pack show up now?
... to find some use for millions of Panasonic cells that it has committed to buy without being able to sell enough cars to utilize them ...
I don't know that much about Tesla batteries but this rings true. Regardless, the Tesla battery pack runs about $3,500 and SolarCity has an installation package that doubles the price.

Memo to self: Dana Perino has a new book out.

Short Video Of Highway Construction

This short video probably should be deleted and not posted, but it may be one of the few recordings of my 93-year-old dad talking about how these construction workers worked right through the winter this past year, whereas when he was growing up, construction workers often quit for the winter. The video is a few miles south of Williston, if I remember correctly.

Cross-Country Trip

I try to get in two cross-country trips each year, generally one to California and back, and one or two to North Dakota and back.

I enjoy them all. Sometimes I'm by myself, sometimes I'm with my wife, and rarely (once) we go with the granddaughters. The trip with the granddaughters is always the most fun.

For whatever reason, this most recent trip back to Williston was one of the best I've had, possibly because a) I drove through Nebraska during the night, both directions; and, b) the weather was incredible, and the scenery spectacular, especially in Kansas.

Thinking about this, I wrote the following down why this particular trip seemed particularly nice -- all because I was driving by myself:
  • I could play the music I liked as loud as I liked
  • I could listen to all three hours of Rush Limbaugh (when I remembered, and when I found "his" station)
  • I could stop at McDonald's without anyone saying, "McDonald's? Not again!"
  • I could stop when and where I wanted; even if the rest stop looked "creepy," I could stop there
  • as soon as the car came to a stop, I was out the door, out of the car
  • I could read a book while driving
  • I could sleep at rest stops and not motels, and not feel guilty
  • I could write this list while driving


  1. Bruce, You are bad Boy!! reading and writing while driving will lead you to a big nasty.As in death and or large civil law suit. tsk tsk tsk.

    1. I'll be one of the first to buy one of those "hands-free" cars that drive themselves.