Saturday, February 6, 2016

For The Archives -- CO2 Now -- February 6, 2016

I'm mostly interested in how the charts will look in February, 2017.

The two screenshots below were taken at the same time from the same webpage/website: https://www.co2.earth/.



When one goes back to get the link, the link for the upper graph is: https://www.co2.earth/earths-co2-main-page; the link for the lower graph is: https://www.co2.earth/keeling-curve-monthly. I assume these are dynamic links.

It should be noted that atmospheric CO2 in January 2015 was 402.53, and atmospheric CO2 in January 2016 was 402.52.

This is a most incredible science experiment. I hope they don't "change" the way this data is collected or presented over the next 100 years. 

One Hitch At A Time -- February 6, 2016

Whether you enjoy the video or not (I love the video), I learned a lot from this comment that was posted with the video:
He's not in HIS kitchen, he's in the crew shack on the rig location, about 75 yards away from the rig on which he works, away from his family, before or after a 12 hour day.
How he's presenting himself is what every Roughneck is familiar with after 12 hours day or night in whatever weather nature decides on. His attire is only about comfort not what you deem acceptable. That is his home away from home shared with at least 9 other guys for 7, 14 or 21 days straight. The fact that he is taking time away from when he could be sleeping or eating to perform a song obviously dedicated to loved ones speaks volumes and encompasses how we all feel when we're on hitch.
So please, no more left handed compliments from the peanut gallery. The fact that this had to be explained means precisely that you will never understand.

One Hitch At A Time, Bryan Martin

There's a lot of similarity between deployed US Army personnel and "deployed" roughnecks. My hunch is that US Army personnel have a better support system, but in the end it probably all comes down to one's "wingman" or "wingmen." (I apologize for mixing metaphors.) 

I believe the video was posted on YouTube in August, 2014, just before Saudi announced "no cut in production." A lot of hardworking roughnecks are not working tonight because rigs are coming down. 

I-98: Episode Eight -- Pork: The Other White Meat

is
a syndicated television series spanning one decade, 2040 - 2049
Chronicles from The Bakken
Starring Samuel "Oilman" Goshwin & Liam Nikolai Gjorkstad
with occasional appearances by Archie McCool
initial funding from Apple Prairie Broadcasting  
and 
matching grant money from The Legacy Fund
and 
continuing support from viewers like you.

In the last episode, Amtrak had cleared Minot, heading west, bringing Sam and Liam closer to Boomtown every hour.

Somewhere west of Ray, Sam asked Liam what kind of car they should buy at Northstar. Liam was surprised Sam would ask. Wouldn’t they simply replace the Lamborghini with another Lamborghini?

“I don’t understand. Aren’t we just going to get another Lamborghini?”

“I suppose. I was just thinking about an electric car. A Tesla. A Model XS.”

Charging stations were now ubiquitous across the US. Tesla and GE had merged in 2030 after realizing they were pretty much in the same business: making money off government subsidies.

GE-Tesla cars now had a 650-mile range on one charge.

“But this time, driverless.”

Driverless cars never were perfected. Funding for that research died out when Congress realized that with 34% unemployment among the country’s youth there was another solution to driverless cars. Uber-all and Lyft-us received government contracts to train inner city youth, ages 14 to 19, to drive. Once they had their commercial small-vehicle driving licenses (CSVDLs), they were matched with owners of cars who no longer wanted to drive or were physically unable to drive.

Not only would the cars technically be “driverless” from the owner’s point of view, the owner had his own personal valet who could drop off the dry clearing or pick up dinner-to-go. Pizza delivery companies like Dominoes pretty much folded once “driverless cars” and Amazon drones appeared on the scene.

“You know, if we got a driverless car, ….

“ … pizza delivery would be a snap.”

“Speaking of which, I’m hungry. What about you?”
 “I’ve been thinking about pulled pork and a Dr Pepper when we get to Williston.”

“That’s right. There’s a Jimmy Deen’s Pulled Pork and Billiards at the mall.”

Williston was a “Pork Sanctuary City.” In 2015, federal prisons quit serving pork with the explanation that it was a financial decision. There just wasn’t much demand for pork in federal prisons, officials said.

After the pork ban in federal prisons, the #PigsLivesMatter snowballed. PETA stole the hash tag from some police union in Missouri confusing donors. It was a fortunate turn of events. Over the next decade the number of Muslim immigrants streaming into the US resulted in tense situations in Detroit, Cedar Rapids, the Twin Cities, and Kansas City. The Pork Party was using pork to instigate and incite demonstrations, not always peaceful, by throwing pork at undocumented residents. Things got so out of hand that by 2027, Congress felt there was no choice but to ban pork across the continental US and Alaska. Due to the popularity of Spam in Honolulu and the fact that Hawaii was now home to the first presidential primary, Hawaii was exempt. Hormel’s Spam Museum was moved from Austin, MN, to Makakilo, Hawaii.

The Pork Prohibition Amendment never passed; it became a state issue. Forty-nine of the fifty-one states banned pork but no less than 65 major metropolitan areas declared themselves pork sanctuary cities. Iowa declared itself a “pork sanctuary state.” Iowa was punished; the “Iowa caucuses” were shut down and Iowa lost its bragging rights as the first state to vote in the presidential primaries. Texas banned pork but the state claimed to have more pork sanctuary cities than any other state, though Illinois was not far behind.

Pork wasn’t the only issue dividing America by 2025. Other Congressional bans that resulted in sanctuary cities included urban rap (music), automatic weapons (such as “machine guns”), NASCAR racing, curling, and kite-flying. Most of these wedge issues resulted in multiple sanctuary cities, with one exception. For inexplicable reasons, there was only one NASCAR sanctuary city, Daytona Beach, and much of that was under water much of the year due to rising sea levels due to global cooling. As the polar sea water froze, it expanded, and earth’s oceans rose precipitously. NOAA had tweaked its thermometers and moved them closer to the tropics but to no avail. It was only a matter of time before NASCAR racing would be a thing of the past. No one would notice.

Williston was one of five pork sanctuary cities in North Dakota. The others were: Alexander, Watford City, Rugby, and New Ulm. Three of the cities were in the Bakken; many of the roughnecks were from Texas and there was a risk they would leave if pork was banned. New Ulm’s strong German heritage explained why it was a sanctuary city. New Ulm, in fact, boasted two "sanctuary" designations. In addition to being a pork sanctuary city, New Ulm, located in south-central Minnesota, tired of ever increasing utility rates, declared itself a "North Dakota sanctuary city." The issue was tied up in court, but for all practical purposes, "New Ulm, MN" was now "New Ulm, ND." The zip code did not change.

No one could ever explain why Rugby became a pork sanctuary city. Rumors were that the city fathers hoped Harold Hamm would build a $4 billion pork processing plant in the city. The city fathers did not know that although Harold had the "right" last name, he had nothing to do with pork. 

The sanctuary cities were clear proof how Balkanized the United States had become over wedge issues. One agency that seemed immune to this was the EPA. No jurisdiction was able to successfully challenge EPA rules and regulations, no matter how bizarre, in the early decades of the 21st century.

The last straw was the EPA rule inserted into the 6,000-page omnibus bill as a footnote designating oxygen as a toxic gas. An EPA bureaucrat had noted that oxygen was toxic for anaerobic bacteria and, as they say in the Smithsonian, "the rest is history." In general, most Americans felt oxygen did more good than harm, but it depended on how the pollsters asked the question. 

The EPA had pretty much brought the US to an economic standstill by 2030. The states that did challenge the EPA found themselves in court for years. It was at that point that Congress stepped in again, forming a cabinet-level department to expedite the challenges: the Department of Conflict Resolution, Arbitration, and Policing. If conflicts between the states and the EPA could not be resolved within one year and a day, the parties were referred to a Department of CRAP arbitration committee which would impose a solution. [EPA rules did not apply to the Federal government, the District of Columbia, or Hawaii.]

These arbitration committees were patterned after the North Dakota Industrial Commission which had been so successful in managing the boom-bust cycle of the oil and gas industry in the early 2020’s. Of course, that was all in hindsight. Badda-bing.

Like the NDIC, the federal arbitration committees were composed of three members, but the director did not vote unless there was a tie between the two voting members. In the case of a tie, the director cast the deciding vote. There was talk of eliminating the two other members who seemed superfluous, leaving just the director as the only commission member, but then it wouldn’t have seemed like a real commission. So, in the end, the panels were left with three members. The commission was given 45 days to come up with a decision. There was no appeal process.

Once a conflict was resolved, with or without arbitration, it was DeptCRAP’s responsibility to police the decision, to make sure both parties complied with the decision.

Sam and Liam were getting their stuff together. Amtrak would soon be pulling into Williston's Northstar Center.

[The I-98 theme song crescendos as the camera pulls away with an overhead shot. In the distant, the Bakken is coming into view. Rolling credits.] 

Additional Oil Storage Capacity Found Near Houston -- February 6, 2016

Reuters/Rigzone is reporting:
Early construction of Fairway Energy Partners' Pierce Junction underground crude storage caverns in south Houston has yielded something of an unexpected geologic surprise: an additional 1 million barrels of capacity.

The added space, which will bring storage capabilities at the site to 11 million barrels, is a windfall at a time when oil traders around the world are scrambling to secure a place to hold crude and wait for higher prices as a global supply glut fills available tanks to the brim.

Fairway found the extra space at salt domes previously used for brine production, which over time had prompted the cavern to grow, chief executive officer Chris Hilgert said in an interview.

Salty water, or brine, is widely used to push hydrocarbons from underground storage facilities.

Oil prices have fallen by more than 70 percent in the past 18 months and remain stubbornly around $30 a barrel.

But the current contango structure of the market, where future barrels are worth more than those delivered today, makes storage profitable.

At today's prices an oil trader can fetch nearly $10 more a barrel for crude by holding it in storage for a year , with fairly modest storage costs.
Rigzone is reporting:
Oil producers around the world are continuing to operate many lossmaking oilfields, according to new research by Wood Mackenzie. Less than 0.1 percent of global production has been halted to date even though 3.5 percent of global supply is currently cash negative.

Wood Mac's survey indicates that 3.4 million barrels per day of oil production is cash negative at a Brent oil price of $35 per barrel, however just 100,000 bpd has been shut-in globally to date. The areas with the largest volumes shut-in so far have been Canada onshore and oil sands, conventional US onshore projects and aging UK North Sea fields.
Rigzone is reporting:
Northwest Europe-focused junior explorer Faroe Petroleum confirmed Friday that it will be involved in three exploration wells offshore Norway in spite of the low oil price.

The firm also expects to see progress with a number of North Sea field development projects this year. In an operational update, Faroe said that the Barents Sea-located Kvalross well, where drilling started on January 11, is progressing according to plan. Results from the Wintershall-operated well are expected by the end of this quarter. In the Norwegian North Sea, an exploration well on the Brasse prospect (where Faroe is the operator with a 50-percent interest) is planned for the summer of 2016. Faroe has secured the Transocean Arctic (mid-water semisub) rig for this operation.
From The Wall Street Journal:
With oil hovering at $30 a barrel and gasoline below $2 a gallon, the pleasure of lower fuel prices is turning painful for more of the U.S. economy.
The problem isn’t just the layoffs and investment cutbacks in the oil patch, two effects that have been expected since crude oil began sliding in 2014. Worries about energy-related bankruptcies and loan defaults also are helping to tighten financial conditions, weighing on a broader swath of the economy.
Can the U.S. have too much of a good thing? Few economists expect the crude slump will tip the economy into recession. But the fallout could grow harder to contain if the oil-price declines are instead a symptom of broader weaknesses in the global economy, including soft demand and an oversupply of raw material, productive capacity and labor.
Cheap oil reflects a strengthening dollar, which has already crimped U.S. exports. And consumer sentiment could take a hit if the early-year stock-market declines are sustained.
The bottom line: Even if cheap gas is still good for consumers, the forces behind it could be more corrosive than initially imagined. This past month’s declines in oil “are less a sign that things are about to get a lot better, and more a sign that things are in danger of getting a lot worse,” said HSBC senior economist Stephen King.
Typically, markets treat higher energy prices as tax increases and lower prices as tax cuts. Indeed, cheap gasoline has been a boon to American households, which saved around $140 billion last year as a result, roughly double the savings in 2014. Gas prices averaged $1.82 a gallon last week, down from $3.68 in June 2014.
And last year’s fuel-price drop contributed around 0.5 percentage point in consumption growth, according to Jason Thomas, research director at private-equity firm Carlyle Group.
But the overall boost was weaker than expected, suggesting high household debt levels along with rising housing, health-care and college-education costs have American consumers refraining from bigger purchases.
Finally someone mentions health care. The big three: housing, healthcare, and college education. Congress can't do much about about housing; Congress won't do much about health care. That leaves education. Which explains why Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are rushing to propose free college education for all. Paid for by $10 / bbl "fee" on US crude oil.

Memo To Self: Lindahl Wind Farm -- February 6, 2016

Updates

May 7, 2017: the wind farm is now up and running. Additional data points:
  • owned by Enel Green Power North America, an Italian company specializing in renewable energy
  • capable of eliminating 450,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year (that's theoretical; of course it will never come close)
  • now said to be a $220 million "facility"
  • developers now given approval for feasibility study for an adjacent wind farm, to be called Another Scam the Aurora Wind Project
Original Post 

This post will eventually help me understand data points regarding wind farms. Note the data points below. This wind farm is "rated at 150 MW." It will have a mix of 75 wind turbines; some will be 2 MW; some will be 3.3 MW.

If all 75 wind turbines were rated at 2 MW, this wind farm would be rated at 150 MW, I suppose.

If all 75 wind turbines were rated at 3.3 MW, this wind farm would be rated at 250 MW, I suppose.

But the wind farm is said to be a "150-MW-wind farm" with a mix of 2-MW and 3.3 MW wind turbines with 75 wind turbines. I'm sure there is a simple explanation.

The best data point will be the actual wind energy output posted on an annual basis. Let's see if that data is forthcoming three years from now. 

**********************************

Keep your eye on this project. I will write about it at a later date, the wind farm north of Tioga, the Lindahl wind farm.

Data points:
  • 75 wind turbines; 2 to 3.3 MW each
  • 150 MW
  • approved December, 2015
  • four (4) miles north of Tioga
  • 13,000 acres
  • there are no bald eagle nests within 20 miles of the wind farm
  • Tradewind Energy; wind farm will be sold to Basin Electric Power Cooperative
  • construction will start in early 2016 and will be completed by the end of the year
  • estimated cost: $248.5 million 
  • $248.5 million / 150 MW = $1.7 million / MW
Related links:

First Day Back In The Bakken -- February 6, 2016

10:30 a.m. central time, I suppose, yesterday, Friday, February 5, 2016, north of Bowman, ND.

US Highway 85 is the same two-lane highway I’ve known for decades. There is a “new” courthouse in Amidon — about one to two years old. The sky was clear, not a cloud in sight. The temperature reached a high in the 40’s I think. There was very little snow in the ditches; none on the road. Very wet on the road, though.

Traffic was very, very light between Bowman and Belfield, probably about the same as traffic before the Bakken boom, about the same as I remember as a high school student on wrestling / football trips.

As usual I stopped at the truck stop in Belfield. They were remodeling the back: the deli, the truckers’ break area, showers, bathrooms, etc. But — and, good for them — they still had a few booths up front and free internet. I was surprised. I caught up on blogging; a quick 30 minutes and then back on the road.

Traffic picked up a bit north of Belfield, and as I got closer to Watford City, definitely heavier, but very, very light compared to even a year ago or whenever it was that I was last here. [That's right: I was here last September to attend a family reunion.]

The bypasses around Watford City and Alexander continue to amaze me: four-lane divided highways. Really, really nice. No highway patrolmen noted during the whole trip from the South Dakota state line to Williston. Most folks stayed within the posted speed limit.

The four-lane divided highway continued all the way to the south side of the Missouri River, south of Williston. I have been on this new highway about three times I think. The first couple of times I was simply amazed that they actually built this highway, and did it so quickly. They built much of it during the boom, and there was little emphasis on traffic control during the construction; the effort was on getting the highway built.

This time I had a different “feeling” about the four-lane highway. I kept expecting it to end. After all the little two-lane roads I was on in Nebraska and South Dakota, and with traffic so light here in the Bakken, I had a dream-like feeling that this really wasn’t a four-lane highway, that I was imagining things, and at any moment I would be brought back to reality when it returned to two lanes. It never did, but I often caught myself trying to match reality with my imagination. Confounding things, I lost all my landmarks. On the old two-lane highway, I always knew where I was. This time, I kept having to consciously figure out where I was. I can’t explain it.

Wal-Mart is probably selling a lot of windshield cleaning solution. I had to use it almost continuously between Watford City and Williston.

Construction on the bridge across the Missouri River seems to have stopped. The same two cranes are there and they seem no farther along than they were last autumn when I was up here. I asked my sister about it but she did not know. She says she has not been down that far since I was last here. The bridge is about seven miles from where she lives and is the only route south out of town. The fact that she hasn’t seen the bridge in months speaks volumes about … well, about something. [The Missouri River is "frozen up." The ice is probably 10 feet thick; someone suggested that's the reason the construction has come to a temporary halt, but the bridge will be completed.]

Traffic was “constant” but nothing like the traffic during the boom. There were very few 18-wheelers; no oil trucks. No fracking sand trucks. There was nothing on the road to suggest I was in oil country. But lots of pickups, commercial and POVs. I did not see any evidence of businesses closing down but I’m sure there were some. There were some “motels” or man-camps that had closed outside of town, between Williston and Watford City. The man-camp at the turn between Watford City and Alexander advertised rooms for "$24.99 and up."

I took a quick tour of downtown Williston — the two strip clubs on south Main were still there but I did not go inside. I stopped inside Books on Broadway for a few minutes. The new four-story “Renaissance” business building is completed and occupied (?) on south Main just north of the two strip clubs. The old Hedderich building is unchanged from when I was here, going to high school. Or even unchanged since I was in kindergarten. I remember the store very, very well, my mother taking me there to buy — clothes, shoes? I don’t remember what we bought there. Shoes, I think. Interestingly enough, it’s the only store in which I recall shopping or even going out anywhere with my mom when I was in elementary school. We didn’t have much money growing up in Williston, and I don’t recall every really going shopping with mom. Never with dad. I remember going to the movie theaters once in a while, but rarely.

The most amazing thing I saw in Williston: the four-lane divided bypass that went around Williston on the northwest side. It was wide, and smooth, and no sharp turns — just one long gentle curve. The bypass forms an arc west-to-south from the nine-mile corner north of Williston where it connects with US Highway 85; it seems to go on forever, skirting hundreds of acres between it and Williston. It connects with US Highway 2 at the 4-mile corner west of Williston. Original plans had this road connecting with US Highway 2 farther west which would have made no sense. I was blown away. This was the best bypass they could have possibly built. Somewhere along the route will be the new airport. The bypass is designated US Highway 85 which suggests the original "2&85" which went through Williston will now be redesignated. I vaguely recall seeing US Highway 85B somewhere. North Dakota DOT, the Williams County commissioners, and surface owners deserve a lot of thanks and appreciation for this incredible success story. [Update: US Highway 85B is the bypass on the east side of Williston, based on signage on state highway 1804 just east of Williston.]

I had supper in Fuddruckers because it had free internet. I always eat at Fuddruckers when I am in Williston. My dad doesn’t have internet at his house.

Tonight on the way home about 8:00 p.m. the Wal-Mart parking lot was full — perhaps not as packed as it was during the boom but it was as busy as any of the busiest Wal-Marts I’ve seen in this part of the country. There were cars in even the seediest motels, but a lot fewer cars in the better motels compared to two years ago. Applebee’s was busy, but, again, the parking lot was perhaps a third what it was during the boom. Fuddruckers was not deserted but it certainly was not very busy, but the folks working there were very, very pleasant. Traffic at Fuddruckers was constant, and even a party of 16 people or so were there. Asking about Super Bowl Sunday, they did not expect a big day. Most folks have their own Super Bowl parties at home.

I met a young woman — perhaps in her late 20’s — who had just come from Denmark (in Europe) to live here in Williston. Her husband works in the oil patch. They met six years ago in Thailand (Asia). They dated — geographically separated — for three years — and finally got married three years ago — and eventually ended up in Williston. She says Williston “is not as bad as she thought it was going to be.” That’s an incredible compliment about Williston's hospitality. I’ve been to Denmark and its incredibly beautiful and cosmopolitan. I can’t imagine moving from Denmark to live in Williston. Her only complaint: she used to ride her bicycle everywhere in Denmark: the weather was good for cycling; the terrain was flat; and the traffic was safe for biking.

A receptionist at one of the places I visited was from Alabama. Having lived in Alabama for two years (Montgomery/Prattville), I asked her where in Alabama she was from. I did not recognize the name of the town she was from but she says she later moved to Huntsville, and seemed happy to be able to say she was from Huntsville and not the other town she mentioned.

At Books on Broadway, the store was filled with more books than ever. I’m not sure how I asked it, but the bookie said that with all the families living here and the baby boom they were doing exceptionally well. The store has lots and lots and lots of stuff for babies, toddlers, kindergarteners, etc.

I was concerned about something else, though. A young couple with a child or two had moved here during the boom because they were unable to make “a go of it” in California. They were a lovely couple. But it was difficult to find an affordable place to open a donut shop and all kinds of problems I won’t get into when they were starting their business in Williston during the height of the boom. For several months — maybe a year — they were in between places — when I saw them last autumn they had a new donut shop. I stopped by this afternoon; they were still there. I didn’t get a chance to talk to them. She was out and about picking up her kids from school, and he was busy with his business. I will try to talk to them while I’m here. I hope they are doing okay. But I was much relieved they were still making it in Williston.

At Cashwise there were not so many people in the deli/restaurant area, but a lot of traffic in the parking lot and a lot of shoppers. It is precious/heartwarming to see a female roughneck in her work clothes coming in from the field with her boyfriend or husband and picking up a fresh bouquet of roses.