Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Absolutely Nothing -- Repeat, Absolutely Nothing To With the Bakken -- But Tons of Fun

One of Time's top 100 most influential is, Salman Kahn:

After you read that, then go to the site and click on any "lesson."

After you visit a few short videos, make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom and look at the "Vi Hart" videos.

I don't have time to check out all 100 people, so if you run across a similarly "fun" website generated by the "Top 100" list, please let me know.

License to Kill? Slicing and Dicing

Link here to StarTribune.
The number of birds could determine whether the developer, AWA Goodhue Wind, will be one of the nation's first wind farms to get a federal "incidental take'' license to legally kill or injure a specified number of eagles. Such permits are a new federal strategy aimed at managing the often-lethal conflict between birds, bats and turbine blades, and the question has drawn national attention to the small, 50-turbine project near Red Wing.

The issue has stalled the Goodhue project for almost a year. In February, regulators delayed the project until the developer produced a plan to protect eagles, bats and other wildlife that might be affected by the towers.
With any luck, tax incentives for wind farms will expire before this project is approved or gets underway,, making these wind projects non-economical anyway. 

Ironically, this is the very same county in which folks are fighting the mining of fracking sand,Goodhue County.

Coal-Powered Cars

This is really quite exciting for me (yes, I know, I need to get a life).

Back on May 8, 2011, I talked about the term "coal-powered cars" when referencing electric vehicles (EV). I'm pretty sure it was "Don" who first used that term in a note that I subsequently used.

Don sent me a Yahoo news story from their "Green Center" site, and it appears that Yahoo now refers to EVs as coal-powered cars, also.
A study has found that cars with very high gas mileage are less polluting than electric vehicles charged up in coal-heavy regions.

The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report today called "State of Charge" that finds that on average plug-in cars are less polluting than gasoline-powered vehicles in the U.S. But the greenhouse gases emitted from electric vehicles depends on the sources of electricity.

The study centers on a heated discussion in auto circles. Automakers have sometimes referred to electric vehicles as "zero emissions," which is misleading because most plug-in drivers charge their cars from electricity generated by burning coal or natural gas.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit, sought to clarify matters by doing a lifecycle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions that includes energy inputs from start to finish, not only during drive time.

It finds that charging an all-electric car, such as the Nissan Leaf, in regions dominated by coal results in global warming emissions equivalent to a car with a mileage rating between 31 miles per gallon to 40 mpg.
Don suggests we will be seeing "coal-powered car" in Webster's Dictionary in the near future.

Oh, the headline: Hybrids can be less polluting than coal-powered EVs

By the way, faux environmentalists are arguing the same point when trying to "ban" coal shipments to Asia. Even though we won't be using this coal in our country, faux environmentalists are arguing that the carbon footprint produced by hauling all that coal and building those new west coast terminals is enough reason to ban shipping coal to Asia. The EPA has directed the US Army Corps of Engineers to thoroughly study that issue before approving applicable permits.

As The World Turns: Episode 46, "Pipeline: The Theme Song"

Tonight's episode of the surprise cable television hit, the adult soap, Keystone XL: "Pipeline: The Theme Song."

Tonight the theme song for Keystone XL is introduced, because very little else happens.

Spoiler alert! 
TransCanada says it has submitted a proposal for a new route through Nebraska for the disputed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Details of the new route were not immediately available. A spokeswoman for the State Department said officials had not received notification of a new route. 
In tonight's episode the TransCanada board of directors entertains us with "Pipeline" to divert our attention from the fact that we still don't have any more information than we did last week. The Nebraska Philharmonic sits back and listens.

Episode 45: "Under Pressure."

Eight (8) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA

Daily activity report, April 18, 2012 --

Operators: Cornerstone (2), Newfield (2), Baytex (2), EOG, Whiting

Fields: Lostwood (Burke), South Coteau (Burke), Westberg (McKenzie), Parshall (Mountrail), Whiteake (Divide)

Whiting has a permit for a wildcat in Golden Valley:
  • Ross 13-2 (note: no "H" designation)
Five (5) wells released from "tight hole" status; four were completed, including:
  • 21200, 1,051, Denbury Onshore, Erickson 41-25SWH, McKenzie
  • 21331, 2,164, Helis, Foreman 5-2/1H, McKenzie
  • 21339, 261, Hess, EN-Moore 157-93-1819H-1, Mountrail
Whiting has three wells in southwestern North Dakota (Billings and Stark counties) approved for confidential status.

For Investors Only: Seeking Alpha on KOG

Link here.
Activity and results for Kodiak have exploded over the last few years. The company has gone from drilling a few wells in smaller, less attractive plays in Wyoming and Colorado to becoming a surprising player in the Bakken play. The company has drilling rights on 157,000 acres in the play and is ramping up the drilling of new wells to take advantage of the leases in this highly productive oil play.

At this point, the company has about 40% of its proven reserves under production and the balance awaiting development. The drilling leases expire at the end of 2013, so the company plans to put the remainder under the drill rig by the end of 2013. During 2012, Kodiak will have seven drilling rigs operating with plans to drill 71 wells.

In 2011, the company drilled 47 wells, completing 36. At the end of 2011 the company was pumping from 137 wells. Due to joint venture agreements, Kodiak's current share amounts to 60.2 producing wells.

For Investors Only: Seeking Alpha on VOG

Link here.

This particular writer likes these three more speculative, smaller cap plays in the Bakken: USEG, Triangle Petroleum, and VOG.

This article is on VOG (in earlier articles, the writer discussed USEG and Triangle).

Voyager's primary asset is 33,000 net acres in the Bakken/Three Forks. The company anticipates 50% of the acreage will be held by production by the end of the year. The company has 33,500 net acres in the Heath Oil Shale in Montana, which management believes has similar characteristics to the Bakken. They also have 65,000 net acres in the Tiger Ridge area of Montana. This acreage is a natural gas play and drilling is not economical based on current natural gas prices.

CLR: Doing More With Less

From CLR's press release today:
Continental Resources, Inc., announced today it expects production growth of approximately 13 percent in the first quarter of 2012, compared with the fourth quarter of 2011. First quarter production is expected to average approximately 85,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day compared with 75,219 boepd for the fourth quarter of 2011.

At 85,000 Boepd, the Company's 2012 first quarter production represents a 65 percent increase over production of 51,663 Boepd in the first quarter of 2011.

"We're performing at an exceptionally high level in the Bakken of North Dakota and Montana, and in the Anadarko Woodford in Oklahoma," said Harold Hamm, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "A mild winter and early spring has helped, but the primary factor has been the combination of faster cycle times between wells and strong well results overall."

The Company noted it is operationally ahead of plan for the year while reducing its operated drilling rigs, as scheduled. Continental currently has 35 operated drilling rigs, compared with 43 rigs at year-end 2011.

The Company has 24 operated drilling rigs in the Bakken play, with 21 in North Dakota and three in Montana. Four of the Continental-operated rigs are currently drilling ECO-Pad® projects, and the Company's drilling vendors are upgrading additional rigs to make them ECO-Pad capable.
By the way, this press release validates something I've written about before. I track the number of active rigs in North Dakota but that number is simply one data point. At the end of the day, it's all about production.  Fewer rigs and increased production would be best for all involved.

The CLR numbers really are impressive: one year ago, 1Q11, 52,000 boepd, and this quarter, 85,000 boepd. Pretty impressive. And operators like CLR are getting into a rhythm. 

President To Announce New Pollution Standards When Completing Gas Wells

Whatever the standards will be, they will be delayed two years


Later: Rigzone provides a much better explanation of the rules and the delay in implementation. And by my reckoning the delay is more than two years: the new rules won't go into effect until 2015. That's all of 2014, all of 2013, and most of 2012.

Later: here's the USA Today story reporting the Presidential announcement. The references are all to "gas wells." So, unless I'm missing something, this does not affect the Bakken. I must be missing something.

Original Post

Again, a most confusing story, the way it is written.

The Debbie Downer headline: President to announce federal standards to reduce pollution from fracking

But one has to read several paragraphs before you finally get to the pre-announcement:
Administration officials who briefed The Associated Press in advance of Wednesday's announcement said drillers now would be given an additional two years to reduce pollution during that stage. The Environmental Protection Agency will require drillers to burn off gas in the meantime, an alternative that can release smog-forming nitrogen oxides, but will still reduce overall emissions.
So, I guess we will wait to see if the President's announcement sheds more light on the new standards.  Unless I'm missing something in the story, the article simply states the President will delay for two years implementation of emissions standards involving gas wells.

Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, The Animals

Baby, do you understand me now?
Sometimes I feel a little mad,
But don't you know that no one alive can always be an angel?
When things go wrong, I feel real bad.

I'm just a soul whose intentions are good.
Oh, Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood.

The EPA has new standards to reduce pollution,
We'll just delay them for two years.

I'm just a soul whose intentions are good,
Oh, Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood.

Harold Hamm Named to Time Magazine's Top 100 Influential People in the World

Link here.
Mr. Hamm and his company have pioneered the development of America's premier oil play—the Bakken Play of North Dakota and Montana. With an estimated 24 billion barrels of oil, the Bakken is the nation's largest oil discovery in more than 40 years.
Note the estimated reserves: 24 billion barrels. No source provided for that estimate, but I believe that it Harold Hamm's assessment. The USGS assessment is significantly lower. 

Cost of the Ford Focus EV Battery: $15,000 For A Car That Normally Sells For $22,000


April 28, 2012: Most hybrid owners will not buy a second one; less than 40% of Boston hybrid owners plan to buy another hybrid.
Auto owners looking to go green may want to take notice of a new report out by noting hybrid owners don't repeat that purchase when looking for a new set of wheels.

That's not stopping brand new buyers from grabbing a fuel-efficient vehicle. According to Wards Auto, U.S. vehicles that averaged more than 30 miles per gallon accounted for 11.8% of all new car sales in the U.S. in March. That's up from 4.3% from the same time last year.

The online auto trading site surveyed drivers in Boston and found that only 38.4% of Beantown drivers who owned a hybrid would buy another one.

The automotive market research firm R.L. Polk, which conducted the Edmunds Boston drivers' study, also says that only 35% of hybrid car owners bought another electric/gas vehicle as a trade-in during 2011.
The fact that only about one-third of hybrid owners would repeat the hybrid experience is surprising, given the positive press coverage "green" vehicles enjoy.
Ominous for manufacturers of hybrids and EVs.

Original Post
Link here to WSJ:

One of the auto industry’s most closely guarded secrets—the enormous cost of batteries for electric cars—has spilled out.

Speaking at a forum on green technology on Monday, Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Alan Mulally indicated battery packs for the company’s Focus electric car costs between $12,000 and $15,000 apiece.

“When you move into an all-electric vehicle, the battery size moves up to around 23 kilowatt hours, [and] it weighs around 600 to 700 pounds,” Mr. Mulally said at Fortune magazine’s Brainstorm Green conference in California.

“They’re around $12,000 to $15,000 [a battery]” for a type of car that normally sells for about $22,000, he continued, referring to the price of a gasoline-powered Focus. “So, you can see why the economics are what they are.”

RBN Energy: Oil Refinery Liquified Petroleum Gasses vs Natural Gas Liquids

Even if not interesting in the economics or investing in liquid natural gases, this RBN Energy presentation is highly educational:
Gas plants are not the only producers of NGLs.  Refineries produce liquefied petroleum gasses – LPGs. LPGs include refinery propane, refinery normal butane and refinery isobutane.  And these products are chemically equivalent to the propane and butanes produced by gas plants.   Of total U.S. propane (C3) and butanes (C4) production, refineries produce about 25% on a year-round basis, and more than one-third during the summer.   In a world of increasing supply and flagging demand (that’s the world we are in), it means heads up competition between NGLs and LPGs for end-use markets.