Wednesday, December 14, 2011

LaLaLand -- Absolutely Nothing About the Bakken -- From The Land of Fruits and Nuts -- The Bullet Train

Update

May 2, 2019: bullet train now estimated to cost $79 billion. Will service three cities in "the valley" with an estimated population of one million.

February 12, 2019: California governor is not clear whether he plans to pull the plug on California's bullet train. Needs more time to study the project, and needs to spend more money to meet deadlines for federal stimulus funds. 

September 13, 2018: eleven years behind schedule; at $77 billion, cost projections have doubled, but now the new cost projections ... drum roll ... $100 billion. My hunch was that the next governor of California would kill this project, but at $100 billion, every politician and contractor is making money off this project. Too big to fail. Politically.

July 24, 2018: bridges falling down

March 10, 2018: from The LA Times; talk about smoke and mirrors. From the very beginning, experts expected this project would cost $100 billion but the governor et al sold the project to the public saying they could bring it in well under that. But now, it's official: $77 billion for sure; probably $!00 billion is more realistic; partial operation delayed for four years (2029); full operation not until 2033. Hunch: next California governor will kill it.

January 16, 2018: estimate of first phase now increased by 35%; total project to cost $67 billion. 

July 29, 2017: in a setback for Jerry Brown, et al, the California Supreme Court ruled that state railroads must comply with the state's strict environmental laws; this ruling will most assuredly apply to the "bullet train." Jerry Brown had insisted that the "bullet train" should only be subject to the federal government's less stringent environmental rules.

May 18, 2016: funding for California bullet train pushed back four years.

April 9, 2016: a four-generation project.

March 26, 2016: tea leaves suggest the "bullet train" project is dead

March 6, 2016: compare what you get in Paris for $25 billion vs $65 billion in California when it comes to public transportation. 

March 4, 2016: bullet train switcheroo -- cancel those plans to start from the south; now they plan to start the project from the north; too costly from the south; too much resistance in the south; the thought is if the north leg is built, the south will "come along."

December 9, 2015: at least one California Democrat, maybe more, are now against the bullet train.

November 26, 2015: the auctioneer's song

May 10, 2015: update on projected ticket prices for the bullet train

December 7, 2014: the $120-billion bullet train explains California's highway transportation funding shortfall.

December 14, 2013: bullet train in jeopardy; Congress wants to investigate.

November 26, 2013: judge says bullet-train-to-nowhere cannot tap state funding as passed; puts entire project into jeopardy.

November 17, 2012: judge says bullet-train-to-nowhere can proceed; environmental impact statement was accomplished "in good faith"; northern California farmers railroaded; by the way, do folks remember when this project is scheduled for completion? The completion date for this $120 billion project was moved from 2020 to 2033 earlier this year (see below); this is lifetime job security for some union bosses;

November 16, 2012: delayed a year, but "still on schedule."

July 11, 2012: As long as the GOP loses in California, the pundits feel the legislative process works. We will see in November.  Meanwhile, due to escalating costs for routine services, some California cities may simply "cease to exist."

July 10, 2012: From the San Diego Union-Tribune.  Letters to the editor, LA Times, suggest that spending tax money on the bullet train could result in defeat of the ballot measure that would increase taxes. Californians are, in general, against the bullet train, and seeing that their increased taxes will go to fund this debacle....so we'll see.

July 7, 2012: California provides funding for the train to nowhere

June 24, 2012: update on the "bullet train"; the train to nowhere; Assembly will pass the bil easily; Senate in question but it looks like with majority of Democratic votes, this will pass easily despite all the talk; California with huge budget problems, but continue to spend; Californians will get opportunity to vote to raise their taxes this autumn

April 9, 2012: House panel suspects conflict of interest.
A congressional committee has launched a wide-ranging examination of the California high-speed rail project, including possible conflicts of interest and how the agency overseeing it plans to spend billions of dollars in federal assistance.

Committee members say they want to ensure that tax dollars are being spent appropriately and check for possible conflicts of interest involving rail officials and contractors. They also plan to determine whether a large government commitment to the bullet train would siphon federal tax dollars away from other important transportation projects.
February 1, 2012: projected completion date has moved from 2020 to 2033. Total costs estimates have blossomed to $117 billion; just a few days ago, cost estimates were $98 billion. Elsewhere it's being reported that California needs to find $3.3 billion by March or it will be "bankrupt." Legislators thought they had enough to get through the current fiscal year which ends in June, so this is a surprise.

January 14, 2012: wow, this is bad news for California -- the governor is under huge pressure to spend $100 billion on a train that will go nowhere, and will be used by no one, and will require subsidies forever to keep it going -- taking transportation money from other "green" projects and from other economic development initiatives. This is a huge, huge mistake. If the former governor was seen as caving into the teachers union, this governor will be seen as caving into the construction unions.
A surprise shake-up of senior leaders at California's bullet-train agency this week was partly Gov. Jerry Brown's response to a growing crisis of confidence and credibility in recent months that has threatened the political viability of the project.

As criticism of the project has intensified, Brown has moved to exert more direct control, installing two representatives on the board of the California High Speed Rail Authority and, on Thursday, playing at least a peripheral role in replacing the authority's chief executive, Roelof van Ark. Several state government sources said Van Ark, an engineering manager and high-speed rail expert, had become personally frustrated and lost the confidence of some key legislators.

Brown is under pressure from unions, engineering firms, big-city mayors and the Obama administration to stabilize and press ahead on a nearly $100-billion project that would be the biggest in California's lofty history of extraordinary public works gambles. With so much at stake, Brown is putting his own people in charge, although their ability to quickly reverse the damage of a wave of negative outside reviews of the project remains unclear.
January 13, 2012: and now a bit of insanity. Not only does the governor want to throw $100 billion of taxpayer's money into the bullet train that will go nowhere, he now wants to set up a new state agency to oversee highway and rail transportation projects.
Others said Brown was unhappy with the project's trajectory. He recently proposed creation of a new state transportation agency to oversee both highway and state rail projects, including the bullet train.
You have to be kidding. Doesn't California already have a Department of Transportation. Maybe not. It's the land of fruit and nuts.

January 3, 2012: a little bit of sanity.
The Legislature should not authorize the issuance of $2.7 billion in bonds to start building California's $98.5-billion bullet train project, a state-appointed review panel says in a key report to be released later Tuesday.

The conclusion by the California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group is a serious blow to the project as it is currently designed because state law specifically empowered the group to make recommendation before any serious money on the train could be spent.
December 18, 2011: Somehow I can no longer take these op-ed pieces seriously. Californians may be grumpy but they have only themselves to blame -- especially in light of these crazy projects that will go nowhere. Literally, nowhere. But they will spend $100 billion proving it.
It may be the holiday season, but the public mood is grumpy.

Californians are dispirited, especially about the state's direction and their own pocketbooks as the inequality gap between haves and have-nots steadily widens.
December 16, 2011: US says it still supports California's plan for a bullet train.
  • "The worst thing we could do is make obligations to folks and start to renege on our word," Szabo told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
No, the worse thing you could do is spend $3.3 billion of tax payer money for a project that has no chance of being completed. This is a "ditch digging" jobs bill.

This project will eventually cost in excess of $100 billion; the US will jumpstart it with $3 billion.  If you have trouble with big numbers like I do, think of it this way. You see something in the store you want for $100; you offer the retailer $3 as a down payment. Ain't gonna fly.

December 3, 2010 (originally posted here):
California to build railroad track to nowhere; not only will it go nowhere, it won't start anywhere, and it will have neither trains nor maintenance facilities; but California needs the jobs and the Federal government has money to throw away.
Original Post

This is the kind of story I would generally not post, but without question, it has to be one of the best articles published today.

Remember that California bullet train? The bullet train ballot? Yup. That one. Californians voted to mandate a bullet train between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Somehow the sponsors were unaware that someone slipped in a time requirement: the bullet train had to cover the distance in not less than 2 hours and 40 minutes. That's the law. Yup, in California they mandate engineering projects to specification by proposition. And voting is open to anyone, even those with not a whit of common sense, it appears.

Only problem: it can't be done. Well, it can but note the caveats with that need for speed:
  • it will double the cost of the project, to $100 billion (before the overruns)
  • the train would run up to 220 mph, faster than most high-speed trains travel in Europe and Asia
  • such velocity would increase electricity use sharply
  • excess electricity violates another mandate: revenues must cover operating expenses
  • the project will need up to 168 miles of elevated viaducts, more than double projected back in 2009
  • tunneling will increase more than 60 percent to 52 miles
  • the combined cost of viaducts and tunnels, 43% of the system, has risen threefold to $34 billion
  • due to sharing track at the beginning and the end, the bullet train needs to average more than 190 mph
  • an average of 190 mph does not account for seven minutes of acceleration and deceleration at each end
  • the train would have to bullet through Lancaster, Bakersfield, Fresno, Gilroy, etc. without slowing down
  • "we do have some concerns from a noise and safety standpoint, of course."  
  • aerodynamic drag is geometric; a train going 195 uses about 50% more electricity than a train going 160 mph; that's why bullet trains around the world operate at 180 mph or less
  • the path of the train will be decided on non-engineering grounds
Don't even get me started.

Note: some folks have taken exception to my using cliches in describing California. I do that for a specific reason. There are two groups of folks who end up at this site: a) those who have the site bookmarked; and, b) those who get here by googling something. I track what folks google in getting to this site and then use those words/phrases to help them find the site again.

Solar Central -- Absolutely Nothing To Do With the Bakken

N.B. Renewable energy and a dose of reality.

March 8, 2014, for the archives:


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

July 26, 2017: SunEdison dead. Shareholders lost everything. 

August 26, 2015: Solyndra was a "scam."

March 3, 2014: rooftop solar and metered distribution (RSMD) back into the grid is going to end up costing Massachusetts utility customers even more. On the road to New England. 

January 3, 2014: SolarCity stock has surged 7-fold since it went public; hasn't made a dime, and no one knows if it ever will (and it sounds like no one cares). The Washington Post reports this bizarre story.

November 16, 2013: Arizona -- first state to charge a "fee" for residential roof solar panels to help pay for the grid; comes to about $5 / month for average size house. Both sides claim victory. Once the initial "tax"/fee is allowed, makes it easier for future increases.

June 6, 2013: Italian green jobs. Where's the spaghetti?

April 26, 2013: another taxpayer funded solar panel company goes broke. California's SoloPower with manufacturing site in Oregon.

April 19, 2013: plan for world's largest solar farm to be downsized; California. Solar costs $2.3 million/MW; compare with $1.5 million/MW for on-shore wind. (It should be remembered that President Obama recently -- November, 2012 --  increased the price solar panels by a significant amount.)

February 21, 2013: Advice for the new Secretary of Energy -- no more Solyndras. -- Bloomberg. 

February 15, 2013: see January 2, 2013, note below -- Warren Buffett paid $4 million/MW; analysts fee that asset is "high-cost" with razor-thin margins. Today, it appears KKR paid about $200 million for 20 MW solar farm in Canada (using 350 homes/megawatt), or about $10 million/MW (almost 3x what Buffett paid). Tax credits? If the link is broken google "KKR Starwood Energy solar Ontario power authority."

February 1, 2013: 36 solar energy companies that DOE backed with Steven Chu at its head. Steve announced his resignation today. It would be fun to see his "I Love Me" wall.

January 2, 2013:
What does Buffett know? SunPower Corp said it sold two Antelope Valley solar projects in California to a company controlled by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc, and would receive up to $2.5 billion in proceeds and related contracts.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/sunpower-inks-2-5-billion-194218719.html

1. Don mentioned elsewhere: $2.25 million/MW --- wind; was your price point.

2. Does that hold true for solar?

3. Buffett paid $2.0 - $2.5 billion for 579 MW --> $3.45 - $4.3 million/MW

4. Then this quote in the article:

Raymond James analyst Marshall Adkins said the monetization of the projects "does not alter the fact that SunPower retains a markedly high-cost structure and razor-thin margins in the context of a massively oversupplied market."

5. What does Buffett know? 
November 25, 2012: Solar energy not so bright for California counties

October 9, 2012: now, the Treasury Inspector General looking into solar industry tax credit/cash grant program;  ya think?

October 7, 2012: Solyndra fallout -- government delaying additional loans to green energy start-ups;

September 5, 2012: it looks like early investors in Solyndra are going to reap huge tax benefits. On another note, completely unrelated, I wonder if the new laundry facility in Williston is up and running?

September 1, 2012: Germany sets new solar record. It's the details that are scary.

August 18, 2012: President Obama and fantasy land

August 9, 2012: Obama's fingerprints all over Solyndra deals.

July 18, 2012: another one bites the dust -- Amonix, Las Vegas, Nevada.

June 28, 2012: another one bites the dust -- Abound Solar to declare bankruptcy

June 6, 2012: how much farther could shares of SunPower fall? According to Motley Fool: to zero. But the good news: Motley Fool doesn't feel SunPower shares will fall that low.

June 5, 2012: another one bites the dust. Konarta Technologies enters into bankruptcy.

May 18, 2012: who wudda thought? The #1 solar promoter raises prices on solar panels; price of solar energy will go up in the US. This according to US business firms as reported in the LA Times. This, too, will eventually be seen as a really stupid idea. Picking winners and losers. Crony capitalism. Costs of Apple's data centers (powered by solar) have just gone up.

May 8, 2012: CNBC reporting that First Solar hit its ninth low in 12 days. Not surprising: a) natural gas at less than $2.00/Mcf; b) entire stock market falling; c) solar, in general, has been in trouble for quite some months.  High for the year: $142; today's price: $16.60.

April 24, 2012: For investors only -- First Solar shares are now below the IPO price back in 2006.

April 17, 2012: First Solar to cut work force 30 percent.

April 3, 2012: More on Solar Trust bankruptcy -- it turns out that that the federal government guaranteed $2.1 billion in loans to this company.
In keeping with the recent trend of so-called green companies going into the red, another solar energy company supported by President Obama's top administration officials declared bankruptcy today.

Solar Trust for America received $2.1 billion in conditional loan guarantees  from the Department of Energy -- "the largest amount ever offered to a solar project," according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu -- for a project near Blythe, Calif., but declared bankruptcy within a year. It is unclear how much of the guarantee, if any, was actually awarded.
April 2, 2012: Just when I thought we had seen the end of solar energy bankruptcies, here comes another: Solar (Mis)Trust of America.

February 29, 2012: another solar company on the ropes; of the solar companies, received the largest investment from DOE;

February 21, 2012: another solar company, this one in Minnesota, on verge of shutting down. The article doesn't mention it, but reader says this company also a beneficiary of DOE stimulus money.
Cardinal Solar Technologies, Mazomanie, laid off 57 employees on Wednesday after the plant's primary customer, a solar photovoltaic panel manufacturer, saw its orders suddenly shrivel.

Most of the hourly production workers are off the job; 20 employees remain, mainly salaried and maintenance workers, plant manager Jeff Valek said.

The factory, which tempers glass used in solar photovoltaic panels, is still open and operating on a "much smaller scale," said Bob Bond, president of Cardinal ST, based in Spring Green. "We believe (the layoff) to be temporary. We believe our customer will come back when the imbalance is, hopefully, corrected," Bond said.
February 14, 2012: a fourth solar energy company goes bankrupt

February 10, 2012: North Dakota solar start-up, 70 employees, headquartered in Dickinson, ND, will be honored at a presidential event.
SolarBee Inc. of Dickinson will be recognized at the White House for starting a successful business in a rural region.

SolarBee makes solar-powered machines to improve water quality. They employ about 70 people. Their machines are used in lakes, water towers and wastewater facilities across the U.S. and in several foreign countries. 
For the archives.

January 5, 2012: This story sounds interesting. A lot of little data points regarding solar energy.
  • natural gas so much cheaper than solar
  • $21,000 for average family to install
  • likely life of the system: 17 years
  • payback time: 17 years
  • repairs in the meantime?
  • cost to dispose of old solar panels
December 7, 2011:  Warren Buffett certainly sounds like an Obama supporter.

This story was posted December 7, 2011:
Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings utility agreed to buy the $2 billion Topaz project in southern California, branching into solar power after the industry was battered by stock markets around the world.

The Topaz Solar Farm will be one of the world’s largest photovoltaic power plants and is being developed by the seller, First Solar Inc. of Tempe, Arizona, according to a joint statement today. Terms weren’t disclosed. The project’s 550- megawatt capacity is equal to about half a new nuclear reactor.
This story was posted December 14, 2011:
Solar developers and environmentalists have had a wary relationship at times as disputes have arisen over the impact of big green power plant projects on wildlife and fragile landscapes. But on Wednesday, the U.S.’s major environmental groups joined solar power companies to press President Obama to support the extension of a key subsidy for renewable energy set to expire a year’s end.
This story will be posted December 31, 2011:
President Obama thanked Congress for extending the subsidies for renewable energy earlier today. Warren Buffett thanked Congress and President Obama for extending those subsidies. In the joint news conference, the nation's second richest Democrat endorsed the President for re-election.

North Dakota Is Truly Blessed -- No Fault Lines -- No Earthquakes to Worry About -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Updates

February 21, 2012: New Madrid fault earthquake, magnitude 4.0, reported, centered in Missouri, and 12 surrounding states, most of which have no significant drilling activity, and even less fracking activity.

Original Post

Bloomberg link here.

With regard to fracking and earthquakes:
Ausbrooks did a study with the University of Memphis and concluded there was “a plausible relationship between the injection wells and the earthquakes” after a previously unknown fault system was discovered, he said.
I don't know if folks recall the 1812 New Madrid earthquake:
The 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes were an intense intraplate earthquake series beginning with an initial pair of very large earthquakes on December 16, 1811. These earthquakes remain the most powerful earthquakes ever to hit the eastern United States in recorded history. These events, as well as the seismic zone of their occurrence, were named for the Mississippi River town of New Madrid, then part of the Louisiana Territory, now within Missouri.
Faux-environmentalists believed these earthquakes were due to alligators used as cannon, until they realized that technology was not developed until three years later, in 1814 ... 




Battle of New Orleans, Johnny Horton


Then, they noted that a small oil company out of Chesapeake, Virginia, had been looking for oil near New Madrid, using dynamite to help drill, in 1811 - 1812.

"Fire in the frickin' hole" was the Chesapeake Company's dynamite cry to make sure folks were clear, and that's the origin of the term fracking, by the way....but I digress.

*********************
On a completely different note, and absolutely nothing to do with the Bakken, physicists are close to announcing that they have found evidence of the "God particle."

LA Times link here.
Physicists announced Tuesday that they had detected "tantalizing hints," but not definitive proof, of the long-sought Higgs boson, the so-called God particle that is crucial to physicists' understanding of why mass exists in the universe.

Two large teams of scientists based at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva separately saw what they believe are telltale tracks of the maddeningly elusive particle in the aftermath of about 400 trillion proton collisions carried out since January.

Neither group had solid enough evidence to announce an official discovery, they reported. But the fact that both teams generated similar results — and that those results were in good alignment with the predictions of theoretical physicists — indicated that scientists may be closing in on the Higgs at last.
It is my understanding that this puts the president in a good position to win the Nobel Prize in Physics to accompany his Nobel Peace Prize.

Just as he had nothing in his resume to justify the Nobel Peace Prize, winning the Nobel Prize in Physics will make him a good role model for American students.

The president had this to say about that:
"It's looking very good," said the president, who was not involved in the experiments but has been following them closely. "What's really important is that both teams see the same thing."

Now if only both teams in Congress could see the same thing ... that we need to extend the tax cuts to be funded by entrepreneurs and small businesses."
"Following the experiments closely" assures that the president has a good chance of winning the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Missouri Ridge Oil FIeld: Why I Remain Inappropriately Exuberant About the Williston Basin

While checking out the new Liberty wells in the Tyrone oil field, I ran across this cluster of wells just to the south in Missouri Ridge oil field (north of Williston):
  • 6306, Encore, Jensen 41, RR, Stonewall, Birdbear fms; s1/78; t6/78; cum ~ 400K bbls 10/11
  • 6642, Encore, Jensen 5 1, RR, Stonewall, Birdbear fms; s9/78; t3/79; cum ~ 350K bbls 10/11 
  • 6757, Encore, Clark 1, RR, Stonewall, Birdbear fms; s5/79; t8/79; cum almost 1 million 10/11
  • 6806, Oasis, Booke 1, Red River, Stonewall, s12/78; t4/79; cum 500K bbls 10/11
  • 8426, Meridian, Robert Rieder 1, Birdbear, s3/81; t7/81; cum 320K bbls 10/11
  • 10414, Encore, Winter Lesnick 1, Red River, Stonewall, s10/83;t2/84; cum 300K bbls 10/11
  • 10647, Encore, Winter Lesnick 2, Birdbear, s7/84; t8/84; cum 405K bbls 10/11
  • 10840, Conoco, Jensen 4 2, Birdbear, s8/84; t11/84; cum 94K bbls; PNA
  • 11704, Encore, Jensen 4 3, Madison, s8/85; t9/85; cum 255K bbls 10/11
  • 13666, Citation, Rieder 1-9R, Birdbear, Madison, s6/94/t7/94 ane 12/09; 105K bbls 10/11
Some of these wells are still producing, thirty years out. The Stonewall at #6757, completed in 1979, is still producing about 1,000 bbls/month. Maybe not as good as the Red Wing Creek cluster, but not bad.

Enjoy. Someone said the following sounded like Bob Dylan (vocals) being backed up by the Ventures.
 
Sultans of Swing, Dire Straits

WOW, WOW, WOW -- HEK CEO on MM -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Wow, wow, wow.

The HEK (Heckmann Corporation) CEO was on Jim Cramer this evening. He addressed fracking directly.

I about fell off my swivel chair. The CEO said something I have heard no one else say, and something I said some years ago (I couldn't find the post if I tried).
This is what he said, and what I said some time ago: fracking caught the faux-environmentalists off-guard. They never saw it coming. It screwed up their agenda. 
 Faux-environmentalists are now playing catch-up and will do anything they can to know fracking off the rails. 

Cramer mentions he drank Halliburton's fracking cocktail.  HEK CEO said fracking would be "green" by the end of the year.

I'm hoping Don will send me the link to the CNBC video of this incredible interview. A must-watch.

AC22 got the video link to me first.

This link will take you to a report and partial transcription

Ten (10) New Permits -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Daily activity report, December 14, 2011 --

Operators: Whiting (3), BEXP (3), Liberty (2) Corinthian, GMX Resources

Fields: Big Stick, North Creek, Alger, Bottineau, Pleasant Hill, Tyrone

GMX Resources has a wildcat in Billings County.

Liberty has permits for two wells in Tyrone oil field in Williams County. Tyrone is an interesting field: 42 sections, northwest of Williston, 36 sections in T156N-R101W.

Three wells released from confidential status today have all been completed; based on IPs, the wells were mediocre.

Oasis transferred two of its wells in McLean County to Mann Enterprises; no big deal; Mann Enterprises is in the salt water disposal business. Mann Enterprises, LLC, has three wells in North Dakota:
  • 12946, IA, Zahnow Federal 42-35
  • 14601, SWD, McKenzie Federal 35-1
  • 90172, SWD, TGIM Disposal 1
Texas Crude Energy, Inc, transferred seven (7) wells to Ballantyne Oil, older wells.

How Fast Is Williston Growing? Look at School Enrollment -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Williston Herald link here.
Williston Public School District 1 held a special meeting Wednesday primarily to discuss future funding. The district is already strapped for cash, and facing a possible gain of 800-1,200 new students next school year, the school board is trying to find sources of funding, according to Superintendent Viola LaFontaine.
It's frustrating. It seems reporters don't understand important of denominators as well as numerators.

All we know from this story is that District 1 will add 800 to 1,000 new students next year. If the number of Williston students was 10,000, it would be noteworthy, but not concerning. But we have no idea what the denominator is, unless I missed it.

I do recall that District 8 with three elementary schools with a total of about 200 students might see an additional 600 new students next year. Here's the link for that story (thanks to a reader, see below). The numbers are correct; I just can't remember if the "600" represents "new students" or if that will be the total. I think it was new students.

Maybe 10 Percent of Williston Internet Viewers Will Christmas Shop in Williston This Year -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

According to the Williston Herald poll asking the question, "where will you do most of your holiday shopping this year?"

Of course, most folks answering are probably avid internet folks, so the poll will be skewed, but it is very sad and very concerning. Here are the results at the moment:
  • Online: 343 votes, 47%
  • Elsewhere: (other than Williston, Minot, Bismarck): 144 votes, 20%
  • Minot: 92 votes, 13%
  • Bismarck: 69 votes, 9%
  • Williston in general: 43 votes, 6%
  • Williston Wal-Mart: 22 votes, 3%
  • Williston, downtown: 19 votes, 3%
I am absolutely amazed at the almost 50% who will shop on-line for MOST of their holiday shopping. 

Williams County Approves Enbridge Zoning Request -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Williston Herald link here.
The Williams County Commission voted to approve a zone change for Enbridge Pipelines on Monday.

Enbridge was proposing a zone change from agricultural zoning to industrial on approximately 40 acres of land in East Fork Township. The site is located off of U.S. Highway 2, east of the 13-mile corner, along Williams County Road 9. The County Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend denial at its meeting Nov. 29.

... the site would contain two 30,000 barrel storage tanks for oil. There would also be truck lots for delivery. She said the location would serve as a site for collection of oil from nearby oil wells.

She said Enbridge hopes from get approval from the Public Service Commission by April 2012, with construction to begin in the spring. McKitrick said a tentative startup date for the facility would be February 2013.

Mercy Sakes Alive, Looks Like We Got Us a Convoy! -- Photo of Fracking Tankers at Southwest Williston Water Depot -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Hopefully this photo won't disappear into the ethernet.

It's a great photo of the fracking tankers at the southwest Williston water depot.

Incredible.

I have no idea why they put in such a huge water depot inside city limits on a very busy city street, and not on the truck reliever route.


Convoy, C W McCall

Oil Services Trucks in New Salem, North Dakota, Area -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

"Anonymous" send in this comment:
Comment not related but got info this weekend that there are a bunch of huge geophysical trucks being staged for assembly in New Salem, no link but eye-witnessed first hand.
Knowing all don't read comments, this was worthy of a stand-alone post.

A big thank-you for the person who took time to send this in.

North Dakota Finances Exceed -- Really Exceed -- Expectations -- All About the Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Bismarck says it isn't all about the Bakken, but that's a stretch. It's all about the Bakken.

Dickinson Press link here. (Some numbers rounded.)
The general fund’s projected ending balance for June 30, 2013, is $383.2 million, a jump from the $51 million ending balance projected when the Legislature adjourned this spring. 
Did I read that correctly? The original projection earlier this spring was $50 million, and now, less than six months later, new projections put the balance at almost $400 million.

This miss, if I'm reading this correctly, and it's possibly I'm misreading it, suggests to me that Bismarck and the eastern part of the state have no clue about the Bakken boom and potential. A $50 million projection turns into a $400 million projects just a few months later. Say what?

BP Back in the Gulf -- Nothing To Do With The Bakken

National Journal link here
Salazar's initial announcement did not include any mention of whether BP was awarded any leases, but the British oil giant had made clear for months that it intended to get back into deepwater exploration in the Gulf as quickly as possible. BP was not excluded from bidding on any leases, much to the chagrin of environmentalists who say the company should be banned from further drilling until last year's spill has been fully cleaned up.

Former Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich in October defended the Interior’s decision to include BP in the lease sale.

“They don’t have a deeply flawed record offshore,” he said of BP. “We’ve done analyses over time on the relative safety records of offshore operators and they were in close to the top crew.”

“The question is, do you administer the administrative death penalty based on one incident?," Bromwich told reporters. “And we've concluded, I’ve concluded, that's not appropriate in these circumstances."
I don't have a dog in this fight. I could not care less about BP and the Gulf, but anything with this phrase, "to the chagrin of faux-environmentalists" can't be all bad.

Fracking, Filloon, and Investing -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

SeekingAlpha.com link here.

I haven't read the article yet, but thought folks might like to see it. Sent to me by Don.

Again, this is not an investment site, see disclaimer at the right.

From the Filloon article:
Stories about possible frack contamination are plentiful. Fracking itself Is very safe. This process is straight forward, as seen in this video from Northern Oil and Gas' website. In drilling, ground water does have contact with the drill bit, and drilling fluid. The casing and cement create a barrier between the well and ground water. If the casing and cement are not properly installed there could be contamination.

There have been instances of the casing and cement failing. This could be a structural problem, or poor installation. A Denbury well near Killdeer, North Dakota reported leaking of its casing. The water system in this area was tested and deemed safe. In November of 2010, Whiting  had a well near New Town, North Dakota that was shut down after a valve failed near the well head. Neither well caused environmental damage.

The story is the same no matter where researched. There are numerous articles written on the possibility of fracking polluting ground water. The problem with this is the word possibility. There is very little to prove this is happening. North Dakota, Texas, and Oklahoma, are the home of thousands of unconventional wells. If we look at all of these wells there is very little to prove the fracking process is environmentally unsound, if done properly. If this technology were flawed, there would be consistent reports of pollution.
I'm no longer worried about EPA and fracking; Teegue says not to worry.

By the way, Filloon says the same thing I do about the availability of water in North Dakota:
The Williston Basin has no shortage as the Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea easily meet demand. Areas like the Eagle Ford in Texas, are much dryer and have had difficulties.

China To Change Investing Tack: Will Buy Hard Assets, Not Bonds -- Will China Buy the Entire Bakken?

Reuters link here.

My understanding is that oil companies are pouring $2 billion/month into the Bakken.

China has announced it will spend $300 billion on hard assets -- like oil reserves.  Let's see, 300 divided by 2 --> 150 months, or more than ten years of the Bakken.
It's the clearest sign yet of Beijing's waning faith in bonds issued by Europe and the United States. Europe's festering debt debacle, record low yields on U.S. Treasuries and a depreciating dollar all add weight to the view in China that the time is ripe to change investment tack.

"China has decided that real assets are better than broken debt fix promises and low interest rates,"...

China had actively bought euro assets to guard its $3.2 trillion reserve pile against over-exposure to U.S. dollars, which have lost about a third of their value in the last 10 years as U.S. Treasury yields have sunk to record lows.

Reuters reported last week that the People's Bank of China plans to create the new vehicle with two funds, one for Europe and one for the United States, ...

"They want underlying assets. Equities, corporate bonds, real estate -- anything that governments want to flog," said one source involved in foreign exchange trading for official institutions such as central banks.

"One idea is that China could buy up agricultural land. They've also eyed ports in the past. They just don't want to do anything that's politically unpopular."
I don't know: would buying the entire Bakken be politically unpopular?