Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ten Permits Renewed -- June 20, 2018

Active rigs:

$65.476/20/201806/20/201706/20/201606/20/201506/20/2014
Active Rigs62562977189

New permits: none.

Ten permits renewed:
  • Bruin E&P Operating (5): five Fort Berthold permits, all in section 3-150-94; McKenzie County
  • Whiting (3): one Pronghorn State Federal in Billings County; one Strand permit in Mountrail County; and, one Jackman permit in Williams County
  • BR (2): one Veederstad permit and one Cleoff permit, both in McKenzie County

Afternoon Headlines -- T+20; BP Says Global Energy Consumption Set New Records In 2017 -- June 20, 2018

I don't know about you, the reader, but I think it's incredible. News is coming fast and furious. I'm concentrated on the Bakken specifically and the oil and gas sector in general, but enjoy following current events in any field. And in any field, news is coming fast and furious.

First, I hear that President Trump has signed a executive order to prevent parental felons from being separated from their children. Yes, that's a bit of hyperbole. First time you cross the US border illegally, it's a misdemeanor; second time, it's a felony. I'm not sure what the executive order actually says -- ABC will tell us later -- but Trump does not want illegal immigrant families separated. Good for him. One thing about Trump: he doesn't draw a lot of red lines in the California sand, and he doesn't take a long time to make a decision.

Second, I hear the US-led Foreign Legion has assassinated the Chief of Oil Smuggling for Isis.

Third, I saw a crawler on the web that suggested the NASDAQ hit an all-time high. I haven't looked; I haven't confirmed. I'm staying away from business news until the silliness ends. I am continuing to invest in the market. I log on to my on-line broker, avoid looking at anything else, and simply place my order. Seems to work fine.

Fourth, and this would be huge except it's a headline over at oilprice.com which immediately suggests caution.


The headline: global energy consumption soars to new heights. The link: oh, it's the 2018 BP statistical review of world energy. New metrics (13, 12 and 11):
First, the report shows that the world achieved a new oil production record of 92.6 million barrels per day (BPD), which is the 8th straight year global oil production has increased. The United States was the world’s top oil producer in 2017, exceeding 13 million BPD* for the first time ever. Saudi Arabia was second at 12.0 million BPD, while Russia came in at 11.3 million BPD.
And this is why caution is needed. See that little asterisk? This is what the asterisk links:
*Note that BP’s definition of “oil” includes natural gas liquids (NGLs), which have surged in the U.S. along with natural gas production. This is the primary reason BP’s oil production number is higher than numbers reported by the Energy Information Administration.
So, maybe the metrics haven't changed all that much. If not, then still 10, 10, 10.

And for what it's worth (not much, in my mind):
The growth of renewables wasn’t enough to prevent a new record for total fossil fuel consumption. Consequently, carbon dioxide emissions rose in 2017. Global carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.6% to a new record of 33.4 billion metric tons.
Carbon dioxide emissions actually declined by 0.5% in the U.S. as more coal-fired power was phased out, but strong growth was registered in the Asia Pacific region, Europe and in Africa. Of the 18 Asia Pacific countries reported, only Japan showed a decline in carbon dioxide emissions.
Isn't it the Asia Pacific countries that are most affected by rising seas?
 
Fifth, I almost forgot. With regard to the NASDAQ hitting an all-time high, apparently Netflix also soared to a new all-time high. Netflix, the next big thing.

Sixth, as long as I'm at it, Caterpillar, last week, announced it would increase its quarterly dividend from 78 cents to 86 cents. And wow, so did FedEx, from 65 cents to 98 cents.

Oh-oh! Gasoline Demand Drops Year-Over-Year; Week-Over-Week -- June 20, 2018

Despite all the good news coming out regarding the US economy, this is concerning:


GDP forecast: latest forecast: 4.7 percent — June 19, 2018.
The GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the second quarter of 2018 is 4.7 percent on June 19, down from 4.8 percent on June 14. The nowcast of second-quarter real GDP growth decreased 0.2 percentage points after the Federal Reserve Board's industrial production release on Friday, June 15, as a decline in the nowcast of real gross private domestic investment growth from 10.9 percent to 9.2 percent more than offset a slight increase in the nowcast of real consumer spending growth from 3.6 percent to 3.7 percent. After this morning's new residential construction release from the U.S. Census Bureau, the nowcast of second-quarter real residential investment growth increased from 0.3 percent to 2.9 percent.

Wow, What A Coincidence -- Nothing About The Bakken -- A Geography Lesson -- June 20, 2018

In 1982, or thereabouts, my closest friend at the time wrote to tell me that I "had to get the US Air Force to send me to Bitburg Air Base in Germany" where he was stationed. It was perhaps the best Air Force assignment at that time. In addition to the spectacular setting (the scenery and the beer) the Air Force was flying its premier fighter jet, the F-15, out of Bitburg.

One Air Force astronaut returning from a space shuttle flight was asked by a journalist: "Now that you've been to space, what would you like to do next?" The astronaut's answer: "Get assigned to Bitburg Air Base, Germany."

If I can find the link, I will.

In 1983 I was assigned to Bitburg AB where I spent my first three years overseas. I went on to complete thirteen years overseas, including a second four-year tour at Bitburg.

Upon arriving at Bitburg, I bought two used cars for our growing family: a large Mercedes-Benz 280 sedan and a smaller BMW sedan, 5-series, if I recall correctly. It may have been a 3-series. I forget. I digress.

I bought the Mercedes-Benz within a week after arriving in Germany, and my first trip out of Bitburg was up to Pruem, Germany, about 35 km to the north, I suppose, to visit my friend who said I needed to get assigned to Bitburg. I don't recall what type of car his wife drove -- oh, that's right -- it was a Toyota (?) mini-van they had brought over from the states. He drove a Porsche that he had bought in Germany, but because it was "German spec" he would not be able to bring it back to the states.

So, he had a Porsche. I had an old "heavy, Chevy" Mercedes-Benz. LOL.

We loved the Bitburg-Pruem area because it was so close to France, Luxembourg, and Belgium. A day trip would take us to any of those countries. One day we drove to Switzerland, stayed overnight, and came back home the next day just to say we had been to Switzerland. We generally took the train to Paris -- a four-hour trip, but everywhere else in the area, we drove. 

I was reminded of all  that by this story sent to me by Don: Tesla is considering Germany as its first site outside the US for a "gigafactory." Okay.

Then I read the story to the end. More specifically the location in Europe:
"Germany is a leading choice for Europe. Perhaps on the German-French border makes sense, near the Benelux countries," Tesla's billionaire boss Elon Musk said on Twitter here Tuesday, responding to a public tweet.  
Tesla already has operations in Pruem, Germany, which is only 30 kilometers from Belgium, and about 100 kilometers from the French border. 
Pruem is the headquarters for Tesla’s Grohmann Engineering division, which specialises in automated manufacturing systems for battery making plants.
Grohmann recently built a production line for Tesla’s U.S. battery factory in Reno, Nevada, to speed up production for its Model 3 electric sedan.
Wow, Pruem, Germany. Who would have thought?

If Bitburg was sort of the size of Williston or Minot back in 1983, then Pruem was the size of Ray, North Dakota. Can you imagine Tesla setting up shop in Ray, North Dakota? What are the odds? What a coincidence.

Anyway, three maps.

The first map is of the larger, general area where Bitburg and Pruem are situated. Some years earlier, 1973, after graduating from college, I hitchhiked to NYC; flew to Luxembourg City via Reykjavik, Iceland, on Icelandic Airlines; and then walked from Luxembourg City to Koblenz, Germany.


That hike took me two weeks. A German friend and I met at at a Luxembourg hostel and decided to hike back to his home in Germany. We crossed the "frontier" at Echternach, Luxembourg. I remember the crossing vividly. Germany would not allow "homeless" into their country at the time, and I had to prove I had enough money to support myself; a German family who would "sponsor" me; and, proof, that I had a return ticket back to the states.

The arrow on this map shows our general route towards Koblenz.

The second map zooms in a bit, showing the geographic relationship between Bitburg and Pruem. Bitburg was the better of the two assignments, but Spangdahlem Air Base just a few miles to the east was also a great assignment. Its primary aircraft were the older F-4s. I've flown in F-15s and F-111s, but I don't recall ever flying in an American F-4. But I forget.

Note Speicher. During WWII, Speicher was the turn point for US bombers returning to England after dropping their bombs over military/industrial sites in Germany farther to the south and to the east. At the turn point -- that is, over Speicher -- the bombers were directed to drop any ordnance that they had not dropped on their targets earlier in the night. Speicher was bombed mercilessly (and militarily needlessly) throughout WWII. When I was in Germany, Americans assigned to Bitburg Air Base and Spangdahlem Air Base were generally told to "stay clear" of Speicher. If I recall, I drove through Speicher only once during my seven years (two different tours) assigned to Bitburg, and we were only driving through to another destination. American military personnel had "American military" license plates on their cars; that was changed near the end of our second tour when we were given "German" license plates. It took that many years to get the Germans to agree that "American military" license plates needed to be replaced with "German" license plates.


Finally, the third map shows our general route from Luxembourg City to Koblenz, Germany, that my newfound "friend" and I took, walking to Koblenz. At Koblenz, we went our separate ways. He took the train north to Cologne, I believe. I took the train south to Basel, Switzerland, where I met my next hiking "buddy," an incredibly attractive (female) art student from one of the California universities.

By car, google suggests the trip from Luxembourg to Koblenz is about 135 km. Let's see, 10 days x 10 km = 200 km. That's only twelve miles a day but it was through the hills and the forests. We did not take any roads or highways. We probably walked about six hours/day -- three hours before lunch, and three hours after lunch.


Maybe more later.

Bloomberg On The Comebakken -- June 20, 2018

This might be the best summary of the Bakken I've seen in a long time. Archived. When I saw the headline I feared the rest -- especially coming from Bloomberg. I was pleasantly surprised. To the reader who sent me the article, my only observation:
Wow, talk about a great article. The only data point that surprised me was Bloomberg's comment about DUCs. Obviously Bloomberg is correct and I am wrong, but I have not seen that statistic before -- "month's supply of DUCs."
    • April, 2017, one year ago; waiting on completion: 830; unchanged from the end of April to the end of May
    • April, 2018 (most recent data): DUCs, waiting on completion: 942, up 26 from the end of March to the end of April 
The spike in DUCs at the Bloomberg chart correlates with the two years that Saudi Arabia made their trillion-dollar mistake. From 2015 to 2017, Saudi maximized production to try to crush US shale; US shale operators responded in various ways, including more DUCs.
But the number of DUCs, month-to-month in the Bakken has stayed fairly stable over the past two years. Bloomberg did not address the number of inactive wells in the Bakken -- increasing in numbers as more and more wells are being fracked. Neighboring wells are taken offline when a new well is being fracked.
Without an additional waiver, Bakken operators are now routinely allowed two years to complete a well. Prior to the Saudi Surge, Bakken operators had to complete a well within one year of spud.

A screenshot of the Bloomberg article:

*********************************************
Renewables

Link here.

Where's solar PV? Where's wind? Where's Waldo?


Keeping Louisiana Great -- Making Safety In The Oil Patch Fashionable -- June 20, 2018

A Louisiana firm wants to make safety more fashionable. From Rigzone, the screenshot:

Wow, Wow, Wow -- US Crude Oil Inventories Dropped Almost 6 Million BBls -- The Market, Energy, Political Page, Part 3, T+20 -- June 20, 2018

Yesterday, the API said US crude oil inventories dropped 3 million bbls. What does the EIA say?

The weekly petroleum report, link here:
  • wow -- US crude oil inventories dropped 5 9 million bbls from previous week
    • WTI immediately after the announcement: up 60 cents -- ho-hum -- 
    • US crude oil inventories now below 430 million bbls; I still use 350 million billions as my benchmark; inventories stand at 426.5 million bbls -- about 2% below the 5-year average for this time of year -- although between 2015 - 2017 supplies were "manipulated" by Saudi Arabia's policy to maximize production and exports
  • refineries operating at an astounding 96.7% capacity
    • are the refineries keeping up?
    • gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 10.1 million bopd (my benchmark is 10 million)
    • distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 5.5 million bopd (my benchmark is 5 million)
  • total product supplied averaged 20.3 million bpd (my benchmark is 20 million bpd)
  • we'll have to wait for the John Kemp-EIA graphs but something tells me distillate fuel is the big story here

The Market, Energy, Political Page, Part 2, T+20 -- June 20, 2018

Another misleading headline (of course, "misleading" is subject to interpretation): this is the headline --
Washington, DC, votes to boost wages for waiters, bartenders. Tipped workers could see their base pay rise to $15 an hour, up from $3.33.
So, that was the headline from The WSJ. The devil is in the details.
Voters in Washington, D.C., cleared the way [yesterday] for the city to more than quadruple the minimum wage for tipped workers.
Under Initiative 77, blessed by 55.1% of voters with nearly 90% of precincts reporting Tuesday night, the minimum wage for waiters, bartenders and other tipped workers is set to reach $15 an hour by 2025. Currently, tipped workers make a minimum of $3.33 an hour, while non-tipped workers make a minimum of $12.50.
The overall minimum wage in Washington is already set to rise to $15 an hour by 2020; employers are expected to make up the difference if tipped workers’ gratuities don’t push them to the current hourly minimum wage for non-tipped workers.
I would imagine the waiters and waitresses in many of DC's finer restaurants are making well above $15/ hour.

********************************** 
ATT and Debt

One would have thought ATT already had all the debt it could manage. Now this: ATT in talks to acquire AppNexus for $1.6 billion. From The WSJ. Something tells me that generous ATT dividend is about to become history. That's okay: the greatest investor of all time according to some folks, Warren Buffett, does not like paying dividends either.

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The EU and Negative Rates

This will be fun to watch. The EU now has the tricky task of undoing negative interest rates. Combine that with ever-increasing energy costs, companies in the EU are about to see their costs rise significantly, widening the economic growth gap between the US and the EU. Oh, and Germany says they will spend more money on NATO and their military. LOL. And Germany wants to send more money to some South Korea committee to help atoll nations in the Pacific Ocean fight rising seas due to global warming caused by China.

*****************************
Horses

Now that I'm caught up with today's news, something fun -- from The WSJ -- the horses that changed history.
In the years to come, I would learn, as I immersed myself in the literature of Arabians, that breeders regard their potent blood as some sort of equine nitroglycerin, infusing Arabians with agility, speed, endurance and a spirit that has beguiled humans the world over for millennia. Forged in the brutal conditions of the Arabian desert, these horses could withstand extreme heat, cold and thirst and were prized by Bedouins. Camels were reliable for carrying loads across the desert, but on a raid or in battle, a Bedouin would trust his life only to an Arabian horse.
As such, Bedouin breeders began noting lineages of mares and stallions thousands of years ago. They ruthlessly selected for stamina, speed, soundness and courage, allowing only the very best horses to breed. When possible, they fed them dates and camel milk. During birth, foals weren’t allowed to touch the ground, were lovingly bathed and sheltered with the mares in the family tent. Over the centuries, this process produced a super breed, defined by its oversized nostrils and large lungs, which allowed Arabians to run far longer than other breeds. Arab poets dubbed them “drinkers of the wind” and “swallowers of the ground.” The Prophet Muhammad declared them sacred.
Initially, Arabs recognized the military advantage their fast, light horses gave them, especially compared to the large, slow horses ridden by heavily armored European knights during the Crusades, and they were reluctant to trade them to potential enemies. But eventually Arabian blood would course through the veins of the cavalries of the Far East, the Ottoman Empire, Europe and the New World. Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, the Spanish conquistadors, George Washington—all rode Arabians.
Today, the world of racing is completely dominated by Arabian blood. The entire Thoroughbred breed derives from three pureblood Arabian stallions imported to England, which means the winner of every Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes owes it winnings, in some measure, to the inspired toil of ancient desert nomads. But I didn’t know any of that then.
But how did the first horses get to the Arabian peninsula in the first place. They did not originate there. From wiki:
Thus proto-horses changed from leaf-eating forest-dwellers to grass-eating inhabitants of semi-arid regions worldwide, including the steppes of Eurasia and the Great Plains of North America. By about 15,000 years ago, Equus ferus was a widespread holarctic species. [Holarctic? see wiki.]
Horse bones from this time period, the late Pleistocene, are found in Europe, Eurasia, Beringia, and North America
Yet between 10,000 and 7,600 years ago, the horse became extinct in North America and rare elsewhere. 
From another site: The exact origins of the Arabian horse are still a mystery.  Its distinctive silhouette is first seen in the art of ancient Egypt more than 3,500 years ago, but it was the nomadic peoples of the Arabian desert, known as the Bedouin, who created and refined the pure breed that exists today.
Without question, Gavin Menzies would/could provide the answer.

And with that, we will quit for awhile. Good luck to all.

Later: a reader sent me this link, with a suggestion to read the penultimate paragraph.

Germany Automakers Propose Tariff-Free Zone -- June 20, 2018 -- The Market, Energy, Political Page, T+20

Remember: this is only day 20 of the "Trump trade wars."

Wow, wow, wow -- top story of the day -- actually two top stories for the day -- the trade wars. The first story -- the White House is confident it has an edge over China in trade dispute. John Kemp suggested the same thing in three sets of graphs yesterday. Regarding the graphics at that link:
If one thinks about the graphics above and Kemp's thesis, it comes down to this:
  • China will have to become energy independent over the next few years
  • the US will have to start making its own televisions and plastic toys or find another international source
Now, the second big story for the day regarding  the trade wars: Germany's largest auto makers back abolition of US car import tariffs. Wow. Wow. Wow. Apparently Trump's idea of a tariff-free zone was not such an outlandish suggestion. Also from The WSJ
When the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, returns to Washington for consultation with the administration Wednesday, he will be carrying a peace offering for President Donald Trump from Germany’s leading auto makers.
Their proposal, people familiar with the situation say, is simple: Abandon all import tariffs for cars between the European Union and the U.S.
Number of comments to that article so far: 181. Most WSJ articles get zero comments; generally, articles get less than 10 comments.

Kinder Morgan over at SeekingAlpha. Great article for the archives.

Max output? We've talked about this before -- OPEC, Russia promise more oil, but can they keep their promises? Uncertainty over crude supplies from Iran and Venezuela complicate matters. Of course, countries can cheat when it comes to Iran, but who will insure the supertankers carrying that oil? No one. See more at The WSJ. One of my favorite graphics, posted multiple times over the years:
Coal: op-ed from The WSJ. Regardless of how it plays out, Trump's plan is not to put coals miners out of work. You have to love it. Hillary could not even imagine this when she suggested a $30 million program (funded by you and me) to help the coal miners she wanted to put out of work. Is it politically correct to talk about the number of ways to skin a cat?
A presidential missive this month to the Energy Department could eventually result in grid operators, in the name of national security, being ordered to buy power from large coal and nuclear plants that otherwise would be shut down due to unprofitability.
Such an order is somewhat unprecedented, but the fainting spells of energy lobbyists are hard to take, especially from a solar-and-wind promoter at the American Council on Renewable Energy who complained of “arbitrary market interventions.”
Carbon tax: proof that this issue will never die, and will get worse once President Trump leaves office. Even "conservatives" want to institute a carbon tax. Again, from The WSJ and if it's in The WSJ, it has to be true. 

Two Years Ago: Active Rigs In North Dakota Down To Less Than 30 -- June 20, 2018; Meanwhile, The Permian Is A Monster

Active rigs:

$65.956/20/201806/20/201706/20/201606/20/201506/20/2014
Active Rigs62562977189

RBN Energy: possible fixes to the Permian gas takeaway constraints.
Permian natural gas production increased by about 10% in the winter of 2017-18, from about 7.1 Bcf/d to 7.8 Bcf/d, but all spring it’s remained relatively flat, never averaging more than an even 8 Bcf/d. There’s good reason for that.
While at first glance it might seem as if there’s enough pipeline takeaway capacity out of the Permian to accommodate considerably more production growth, the big pipes from the Waha Hub to Mexico are transporting far less than they’re capable of because of delays in developing new pipes and gas-fired power plants on the Mexican side of the border.
And pipes from the Permian to California are running less than full, in part because of that state’s hard tilt to renewable power. That’s left the Permian with a takeaway conundrum that may not be fully solvable — at least for a time — until new, greenfield pipeline capacity from West Texas to the Gulf Coast comes online in 15 to 18 months. Today, we discuss the options that producers, gas processors and midstream companies may need to consider if things get really tight. See more below -- scroll down.
From Bloomberg: biggest US oil patch near its limits.
  • pipelines will reach limit by this fall -- Pioneer
  • lack of capacity to curb growth in Texas shale-oil region
  • the Permian will have to shut wells within four months 
  • the bottleneck is worsening
  • now loading crude oil on trucks and driving hundreds of miles
  • the Permian is growing at almost 1 million bopd annually
  • production currently stands at 3.3 million bopd
  • total pipeline capacity is 3.6 million bbls
  • bottleneck won't ease for at least a year
  • US crude oil production, March, 2018: 10.5 million bbls
  • US crude oil production, March, 2018: up 1.4 million bbls from a year ago
Much more at the link.

For more on the RBN Energy story regarding the natural gas takeaway problem in the Permian:
There are a handful of ways that the effective takeaway capacity out of the Permian could be increased within the next few months.
One possibility — outside the control of folks on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande — would be the completion of Mexican gas pipeline and power plant projects that would boost gas demand south of the border and allow gas flows on existing southbound pipes out of the Permian to increase.
Other possibilities would be adding capacity to an existing gas pipeline out of the Permian; bringing back into service an idled pipeline (or pipelines) between the Permian and a destination market; or repurposing an existing and operating pipeline to transport natural gas instead of crude, NGLs or refined products. We’ve already seen examples of this. Enterprise Products Partners and Energy Transfer Partners in early May (2018) announced the formation of a 50/50 joint venture to resume service on the Old Ocean Pipeline, a 24-inch-diameter pipe between Ellis County, TX (southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth), and Sweeny, TX (just down the Gulf Coast from Houston) within the next few weeks, and increase the capacity of the North Texas Pipeline from the Permian to the upstream end of Old Ocean by the fourth quarter of this year. (By our estimate, this will add about 150 MMcf/d of effective takeaway capacity out of the basin — not a huge amount, but certainly a help.) There’s an outside chance we will see another near-term effort (or two) to increase effective takeaway capacity — surely, every midstream company out there has been considering every possibility the past few months.
There are more ways to reduce the amount of Permian gas that needs to be transported out of the basin — some less onerous and/or less costly to producers than others. We’ll tackle these in some depth one by one, beginning with the one that would probably attract the most public and regulatory attention: gas flaring. We’ve discussed gas flaring several times in the RBN blogosphere, but always about the Bakken — the crude-focused shale play in western North Dakota that was notoriously short on gas pipeline takeaway capacity as crude production ramped up a few years ago.