Thursday, January 5, 2012

Another Great Story -- Just Not Enough Time To Review All These Articles -- Are "We" Over 600,000? -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Link here.

This is a Canadian website.

Lede paragraphs:
Amidst the doom and gloom headlines presaging dire prognostications for the Western economies in 2012 there is the very real promise of a global economy re-directing miracle in the making. The impact and promise of shale gas and shale oil is probably the good news story as we step into 2012. Not that you would know it, given the media’s predilection for bad news.

Only two obstacles stand in the way. First, bad energy policies that do not prioritise cheaper fossil fuels – dumping countless millions out of jobs and into fuel poverty. Second, environmentalist campaigners implacably opposed to any hydrocarbon-fuelled energy development. It threatens their Disney-esque utopian blueprint.

But before we glimpse a rare ray of sunshine amidst the stretching economic gloom, we must first demolish a key widely held myth that is fuelling bad energy policy-making: that oil and gas prices will only go on rising, ultimately rendering their cost comparable to expensive and feeble renewable energy generation. As economist and professor of energy policy Dieter Helm’s recent excellent article pointed out, the UK’s current bias towards expensive renewables is a direct result of energy secretary Chris Huhne’s unwavering faith that the price of fossil fuels can only go on rising.

That’s precisely the mistake an incoming Conservative Government made in 1979. Then oil prices peaked at $39 a barrel (the equivalent of $150 today). In the mid-1980s, however, the bottom dropped out of the oil price ‘barrel’ taking over 25 years to recover. As Helm points out, it is the peak oil and gas brigade – today, a useful ally to the green lobbies – who assume depleting resources based on then known reserves. As Helm says: “Nonsense – and some of it dangerous nonsense."
And then this:
According to EIA figures at the end of 2011, U.S. net imports of oil hit 45 percent from its high of 60 percent in 2005. That’s its lowest level since the mid-1990s. While reduced demand and greater energy efficiency played a part, a significant element is imputed to increased U.S. oil production, especially from shale-oil rich North Dakota. At the end of 2011 oil production in the ND Bakken formation hit a record high of over 600,000 barrels a day. In 2000, the formation was producing less than 100,000 barrels a day. Production here is now set to see the state outstrip California and Alaska early in 2012, making it America’s second largest oil producing state. While much of the United States is suffering economic hardship with employment at around 9 percent, North Dakota’s Bakken region has less than 2 percent joblessness. Further, the region has significant income levels, tax revenue growth, and the housing market is holding its own with the lowest number of foreclosures nationally.
I am not aware of the source for the "600,000" bopd noted above. Maybe I'm getting confused or missing something. But --

The most recent Director's Cut, December 12, 2011:
  • Production hits all-time high in North Dakota (again):
    Oct, 2011, oil: 488,066 bopd (preliminary, all time high)
    Sep, 2011, oil: 463,887 
If "we're" over 600,000 bopd at the end of 2011, "we" must be awful close to moving into #2, ahead of Alaska and California. 

Biggest Story of the New Year So Far? Another Chinese Investment in North American Oil -- One Step Closer to No Need for Keystone XL


September 1, 2012: Is Kuwait buying a piece of the Athabasca?

Original Post

I won't ever be able to find my post, but some time ago I joked that China would someday buy the entire Bakken.

Maybe that joke wasn't too far off base.

But this is a bigger story, a much bigger story, for a different reason, and I haven't seen anyone else talk about it yet. 

Today, from Oil & Gas Journal:

PetroChina snaps up remainder of AOSC's MacKay River project
    China’s state-owned PetroChina will be 100% owner of Athabasca Oil Sands Corp.’s MacKay River project at a total price of $2.5 billion (Can.) after paying a further $680 million (Can.) for the remaining 40% of the firm’s shares.

    AOSC said it exercised an option to sell its interest in the MacKay River project in Alberta to PetroChina, which in late 2009 bought a 60% stake for $1.9 billion (Can.) (OGJ, Sept. 7, 2009, Newsletter).

    Production from the development is slated to start in 2014, with an initial capacity of 35,000 b/d, eventually rising to a top-end output of 150,000 b/d. Canada’s government last month gave its stamp of approval for the start of construction.

    PetroChina’s purchase of the MacKay River shares marks the third investment by a Chinese state-owned firm into oil sands projects in Canada, the largest being the $4.65 billion (Can.) paid in 2010 by China Petrochemical Corp. for a 9% stake in Syncrude.

    Canada’s regulators do not need to approve the sale nor is it likely they would anyway. Canada’s government and petroleum industry have been frustrated by repeated delays by the US government in approving the Keystone XL pipeline project.

    That delay by the US—which is Canada’s only major oil export market—has brought a rethink in Ottawa. Indeed, the Canadians now believe that there best interest lies in diversifying its oil exports to other markets.

    Six (6) New Permits -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

    Daily activity report, January 5, 2012 --

    Operators: EOG (2), Hess, BR, OXY USA, Newfield

    Fields: Willmen, Bear Den, Clarks Creek, and Little Knife

    BR has a wildcat in McKenzie.

    Two wells released from "tight hole" status; one was not completed; the other one is interesting considering my recent update on OXY USA:
    • 20779, 75, OXY USA, Haroldson 160-91-14-D-1H, Burke County
    This is now the 7th of 7 OXY USA wells with an IP less than 80 since entering the Bakken.

    Two wells on DRL status were completed, including this one:
    • 20809, 1,294, CLR, Pletan 4-18H, Dunn County

    Timing Is Everything -- Why I Love To Blog -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

    In the last 60 days I have posted a number of stories about Enbridge, the pipeline company, entering the crude-by-rail business.

    On January 3, 2011, I wrote about Enbridge and crude-by-rail again

    In that post I wrote this:
    But the biggest reason, Enbridge got into CBR in the short term? If there is an pipeline oil spill, no matter how small, a) the media blows it our of proportion; b) the EPA shuts down ALL the pipelines that might be related; c) pipelines are not re-opened until the government gives its okay; d) the government won't give its okay until the mainstream media accepts the decision (internal political polling); and, e) a pipeline company can come to a complete stop, affecting a financial quarter's bottom line.

    Now, if the government shuts down an Enbridge pipeline, it can still meets it contractual arrangements with its customers.
    Now, today, in spades (as some would say), we see why Enbridge got into the railroad business:
    US President Barack Obama signed the pipeline safety reauthorization bill into law on Jan. 3. The law, which was developed in the wake of some significant oil and gas pipeline accidents, will not only help keep communities safer, but also provide operators regulatory certainty to run their systems more effectively, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said following the president’s action.

    The law gives the US Pipeline and Hazardous Safety Administration stronger enforcement tools and increases civil penalties for pipeline operators who do not meet safety regulations, LaHood said in a posting at his blog at the US Department of Transportation web site. It doubles the maximum fines that pipeline operators face for safety violations, and requires PHMSA to issue new pipeline safety standards requiring operators to install automatic or remote-controlled shut-off valves and excess flow valves in new or replaced transmission pipelines, he said.
    And that explains why Enbridge is spreading its risk. 

    Top Producers in North Dakota Oil Patch -- The Bakken, Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA

    I notice that I have the rankings for the top producers in the North Dakota oil patch for the years 2007, 2008, and 2009, but not 2010 (and, of course, the 2011 data will be out soon).

    So here is the data for 2010. This is the link, a Rocky Mountain Oil Journal pdf.

    But in case that link breaks, here is the data:
    Operator, Oil (bbls), Gas (mcf), no of wells producing

    1. EOG; 17,132,184; 8,251,946; 259
    2. Whiting; 13,705,737; 9,651,092; 341
    3. CLR: 12,148,864; 19,774,455; 11,155,972; 415
    4. Burlington Resources; 9,420,961; 5,805,441; 221
    5. Hess; 6,969,898; 22,638,088; 445
    6. MRO; 5,388,565; 3,427,071; 175
    7. Slawson; 4,603,809;  2,132,610; 84
    8. BEXP; 3,317,418, 2,622,612, 58
    9. Encore; 3,274,625; 3,486,986; 297
    10. XTO; 3,165,740; 3,127,154; 152

    11. Murex; 2.7; 1.5; 134
    12. Petro-Hunt; 2.6; 4.3; 179
    13. Hunt; 2.3; 0.83; 37
    14. SM; 2.0; 2.2; 177
    15. Tracker; 1.6; 1.3; 42
    16. Fidelity; 1.6; 2.2; 96
    17. Anschutz; 1.5; 0.412; 46
    18. Oasis; 1.4; 1.3; 66
    19. Newfield; 1.4; 2.3; 52
    20: KOG; 0.987; 0.830; 25 [2007: not in the top 50; 2008: not in the top 30; 2009: 27]

    21. Sequel; 0.803; 1.9; 232
    22. Zenergy Oper LLC; 0.775; 0.553; 17
    23. Zavanna; 0.767; 0.802. 42
    24. Zenergy Inc; 0.731; 1.0; 74
    25. ERF; 0.672; 0.040; 9
    26. Sagebrush; 0.639; 0.135; 123
    27. QEP; 0.542; 0.326; 10
    28. Helis; 0.534; 0.644; 14
    29. Citation; 0.438; 0.348; 113
    30. Samson; 0.430; 0.534; 32

    31. Eagle; 179 wells
    32. American Oil & Gas; 9 wells
    33. Luff; 29 wells
    34. Peak; 13 wells
    35. Encore Energy Partners; 39 wells

    36. Armstrong
    37. Sinclair
    38. Berenergy
    39. Summit
    40. BTA
    41. True
    42. Zargon
    43. Ward-Williston
    44. COP
    45. Prima
    46. OXY USA
    47. Baytex
    48. G3
    49. Windsor
    50. TAQA

    51. Abraxas
    52. Cornerstone
    53. Upton
    54. North Plains Energy
    55. Wesco
    56. Arsenal
    57. Condor
    58. Merit
    59. Paul Rankin
    60. SHD
    61. PDC
    62. New Millenium
    63. FH Pet
    64. Cline
    65. Ritchie
    66. Texakota
    67. Williston Industrial Supply Corp
    thru 146.

    Another Renewable Project Goes Bust -- Costing US Taxpayers $65 Million

    Link here.
    The failed Range Fuels wood-to-ethanol factory in southeastern Georgia that sucked up $65 million in federal and state tax dollars was sold Tuesday for pennies on the dollar to another bio-fuel maker with equally grand plans to transform the alternative energy world.
    Oh, well. 

    Some Interesting Data Points for Average Homeowner Installing Solar Panels -- Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Bakken


    September 20, 2012: When I originally posted the story below, I did not notice that the cost of batteries was not included. It's very possible the owner opted not to have batteries, but a true solar home would also have batteries. See this link for battery issues.

    Original Post

    Link here.

    A lot of little data points regarding solar energy.
    • natural gas so much cheaper than solar now
    • $21,000 for average family to install
    • likely life of the system: 17 years
    • payback time: 17 years; double what it was because natural gas so cheap
    • cost of repairs in the meantime?
    • cost to dispose of old solar panels
    • and who's to blame for this cheap natural gas? those companies engaged in hydraulic fracking, you know, " ... fracking, as it's called, is a controversial drilling technology that some say harms the environment."
    The wealthy don't have problems with one-time payments of $21,000, although their mansions would be bigger and the total cost of the system would be bigger.

    However, what I've noticed over the years is that most folks are more concerned with monthly payments than with the total cost of the item bought over time. Financial advisers tell us it is better to pay for something up front; that paying for it over time significantly increases the cost of the item, for example, buying an automobile on time.

    Yes, that's true, but most average Americans don't have $40,000 for a Chevy Volt and need to pay for it over time. The same with $21,000 solar panel systems. They look for the best interest rate and go from there, worried more about the monthly payment than the total cost.

    So, in the example above (and the story linked) I don't know if the $21,000 represents the total cost (paid for over time) or if it was the one-time cost.

    I've also noticed that folks don't like admitting how much they REALLY paid for something, so the $21,000 is probably the price for the system before interest if paid over time. 

    And if you buy a house with solar panels installed, the first thing you need to ask, is when will they need replacing?

    Volt Central


    February 19, 2016: January, 2016, EV sales

    October 5, 2015: Google search for 2016 Volt mileage:
    2016 Chevy Volt EPA Ratings: 53-Mile Electric Range, 42 MPG On Gas. The 2016 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid has been rated by the EPA at 53 miles of electric range, a nice boost on Chevy's earlier promise of "at least 50 miles."Aug 3, 2015
    October 10, 2014: The Chevrolet Volt logged deliveries of just 1,394--its lowest volume since February--and lower than the previous September's 1,766. The total sales through September are 14,540.

    November 5, 2013:
    August saw the extended range Chevy set an all-time monthly record for any plug-in vehicle…ever, at 3,351 sold.  That result was halved in September with only 1,766 Volts sold.
    For October, GM split those goal posts and sold 2,022 Volts – the 2nd best result of any plug-in car for the month narrowly beating out the Nissan LEAF for 3rd by 20 units.
    However GM was up against a very aggressive year-over-year comparison when 2,961 were sold in 2012 - meaning the model experienced a 31.7% decrease.
    Overall, 2013 total sales stand at 18,782, as compared to 19,309 – down more than 500 units or 2.7%.

    June 12, 2013: Volt sales fall another 4% in May; GM slashes Chevy Volts by $4,000.

    April 26, 2013: Tesla cannibalizing Chevy Volt sales

    December 30, 2012: Nissan will replace batteries in "all" Leafs due to premature loss of capacity. Wow.

    December 4, 2012: Chevy Volt sales down almost 50%, November over previous month.

    November 27, 2012: LA Auto Show; GM to introduce "all-EV" Spark -- no gas engine back-up; Ford's all-electric Focus has a range of 76 miles on one charge (fail); price <$25,000 after $7,500 federal credit; Nissan Leaf at $27,700 with same federal credit; will sell Spark in California (remember, California mandates a certain number of high-mileage cars must be sold).

    November 15, 2012: Nissan admits it won't meet EV sales target.

    November 6, 2012: Chevy Volt sets sales record in October, almost 3,000 vehicles.
    October 21, 2012, unbought at any price: link to Reuters here.

    Nissan plans to offer a lower-priced version of its Leaf electric car, which has been selling well below the company's predictions, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
    Nissan sold fewer than 12,000 Leafs in the first half of this fiscal year, up 11 percent on last year, but falling well short of its goal of selling 40,000 of the cars for the full year, the FT said.
    "The main hesitation in buying the car is from (driving) range anxiety. Maybe we were over optimistic with the ramp-up as well,"
    Nissan's move comes against a backdrop of disappointing early sales for plug-in cars, despite billions of dollars of loans, grants and consumer subsidies offered by governments in recent years.  
    October 19, 2012: Volt battery manufacturing plant -- heavily taxpayer subsidized -- sitting idle; employees play cards instead; LG Chem, Holland, Michigan;

    October 16, 2012: did the Chevy Volt's #1 fan just kill the Chevy Volt?

    October 11, 2012: rumors that the US government is buying Chevy Volts, boosting sales, turns out to be true. 

    October 2, 2012: August and September have been great months for auto sales, including the Volt:
    With 2,831 sold, August was a good month for sales of the Chevrolet Volt. In fact, it was the most Volts sold in the U.S. in a single month, ever. Critics questioned whether those sales were legitimate, but there's no question the Volt is on a roll. Could Chevy orchestrate a repeat? September has answered that question with a resounding yes, and then some: GM sold 2,851 Volts last month. In September 2011, Chevy sold 723 Volts. With 210,245 vehicles sold across all brands, GM says that this was the best September, U.S. sales-wise, since 2008. [2,851 / 210,245 --> 1.3%. Pretty impressive.]
    September 20, 2012:  tax credits for electric vehicles will have no impact on sales; waste of money; a crackpot? Nope: the Congressional Budget Office.

    September 10, 2012: we knew it was bad; we didn't know it was this bad.

    September 2, 2012: Volt sales to set record in August; but at huge cost to GM shareholders.

    August 28, 2012: 54.5 mpg by 2025; with mid-term review.
    The Obama administration issued new fuel economy rules on Tuesday that require auto manufacturers to increase the average efficiency of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. [See yesterday's entry below.]
    August 27, 2012: GM to shut down Volt assembly line for four weeks

    July 18, 2012: all the links you will ever need to bring you up to date regarding the Volt. File under "media fail."

    July 3, 2012: Volt sales released; no more "sales targets"; will set supply to match demand; has idled plants to match demand; outselling the Nissan Leaf 3:1; California permits Volt with single passenger to us HOV; annualized for 2012 - maybe 18,000 tops;

    June 28, 2012: GM/CEO -- Volt sales will miss forecast 

    June 22, 2012: it seems we've heard this story before. Now one can google "Cruze fire recall."

    April 26, 2012: even by 2025, not much of a market for EVs -- auto industry leaders

    April 18, 2012: Ford Focus EV battery costs $15,000.

    April 11, 2012: Prototype lithium battery blows up at GM factory; one seriously injured.

    April 9, 2012: Few hybrid vehicles owners buy another hybrid -- LA Times.
    Although the number of hybrid models in the U.S. continues to grow, few people who own one are sticking with the technology when they go to buy another car.

    Only 35% of hybrid vehicle owners chose to buy another hybrid when they returned to the market in 2011, according to a study by R.L. Polk & Co., the automotive consulting firm. About 75,000 hybrid owners went new car shopping last year.

    If you factor out the super-loyal Toyota Prius buyers, the repurchase rate drops to less than 25%.
    April 5, 2012: 27 years for a GM Chevy Volt to "pay" for itself. Assuming it doesn't catch fire first.
    Buyers who choose Nissan's all-electric Leaf ($28,421) over its approximate gas-powered equivalent, Nissan's Versa ($18,640), will likely wait nearly 9 years until they break even, according to a new report by The New York Times that examines the cost of fuel efficiency.
    For drivers of the Chevrolet Volt ($31,767), the wait is even longer— 26.6 years.
    April 2, 2012: GM to extend Volt's assembly line closure; sales strong.

    March 12, 2012: update on the Volt. The photo is worth the link.

    March 8, 2012: Volt promotional ad.

    March 4, 2012: now Obama wants to increase the incentive from $7,500 to $10,000 tax credit, and given back at the point-of-purchase. It never quits. Pretty soon we'll be giving them away to save Government Motor jobs.

    March 2, 2012: The president (February 28) says he will drive a Volt when he leaves office; less than one week after saying that, GM announces a 5-week halt on further Volt production for demand to catch up with supply

    March 1, 2012: Volt has a great February: 1,023 vs 1,500 in December, 2011, it's best month.

    February 3, 2012: Chevy Volt's Super Bowl ad.  You have to be kidding -- they're advertising the "feminine" Volt to the most "masculine" event on television?

    February 1, 2012: it turns out that GM is no longer setting sales target for the Volt, and will instead "build to demand."

    January 25, 2012: Somehow this strikes me as "beneath" what the chief executive officer should be saying about his product.  I remember when "everyone" was laughing at Apple; in fact, some competitors said Apple should liquidate and get out of the computer business. Meanwhile GM's CEO whines to Congress that his automobile has become a punching bag.

    January 20, 2012: Chevy will ship a "special" version of the Volt to meet California emissions standards allowing carpool sticker and California income tax incentives. I am still confused. I thought electric vehicles produced no emissions. I don't think my battery-electric computer has emissions issues.

    January 20, 2012: government closes investigation into Volt fires. Says no problem with the cars despite fact that all 8,000 sold have been called back to the dealers to be structurally changed.  Note: it was a "call back," not a "recall."

    January 18, 2012: the Volt does not meet California emissions standards to qualify for state subsidies....

    January 13, 2012: government denies delaying Volt fire disclosure. Well, someone delayed the disclosure.

    After the initial post (below), I had second thoughts all day about one particular data point/comment that I posted.

    But then this article erased all doubts.

    It appears I wasn't the only one who had issues with "call back" vs "recall."
    Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a watchdog group, says he sees no evidence of a government conspiracy, adding that NHTSA frequently lets automakers use safety campaigns when there should be recalls. He blames that on the agency having too few investigators to regulate such a large industry.
    "NHTSA frequently lets automakers use safety campaigns when there should be recalls...." but when batteries are exploding, this is a bit more than a sticky door handle.

    Original Post 
    When is a "recall" not a "recall"? When the recall involves a US government owned automobile company.

    Is this a joke?
    Government Motors is "calling back" 8,000 Chevrolet Volts to strengthen the structure around the batteries.

    The move is similar to a recall and involves the 8,000 Volts sold in the U.S. in the past two years.

    The person says GM will contact Volt owners and have them return the cars to dealers for several structural repairs.

    The repairs are a step below a formal recall.
    Considering the batteries are literally built into the car's chassis, it will be interesting to see how much work really needs to be done. Something tells me this is not going to be easy. And note the word "several" as in "several structural repairs."

    Also note that is not a formal recall. "The repairs are a step below a formal recall."

    I had never heard of such a thing: a "call back." I honestly do not know the difference between "call back" and "recall." Let's see what a google search will show: nope, "call back" and recall are synonyms

    One has to chuckle: when a car has a minor problem such as a sticky door handle, owners are notified of a "recall."  But when one is talking about a potential explosion and fire, apparently, and requiring several structural repairs, it's a step lower, and referred to as a "call back."

    Risk of EPA Ban on Fracking Increasing WIth Obama Going Around Congress on Ideology -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

    Motley Fool -- fracking at risk.

    Obama's recess appointments -- Politico.

    It's not hard to connect the dots.