Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Italy: Finally, Some Common Sense

Link here to
Sound Oil announced that it has been advised by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development that it has immediately re-opened the Company's applications for two of its offshore permits located in the Gulf of Taranto, southern Italy.
These two permit applications had previously been withdrawn by the Ministry in August 2011 in compliance with the environmental decree enacted in June 2010 which was preventing oil and gas activity within a 5 nautical mile radius of the Italian coast
A new law passed in August 2012 reverses this previous restriction.
"The Laura discovery is one of the "hidden gems" in the Company's portfolio and we are pleased that we shall shortly receive the formal permit award.
Nothing like a financial crisis .... I wonder if there is any oil off-shore Greece?

Wow: Maybe The Biggest Story of the Week -- Not The Bakken

Link here to
Two years ago, Denise Dennis delivered a dramatic denunciation of Marcellus Shale natural gas development at a Philadelphia City Council hearing. She equated drilling to the tobacco industry, and said that "Pennsylvanians are the lab rats" for a massive shale gas experiment.
The Philadelphia resident had a powerful story: Her family owned a historic 153-acre farm in Susquehanna County, where her ancestors were among the first freed African Americans to settle in Pennsylvania just after the Revolutionary War. She became a potent symbol in the shale gas wars.
"The process for extracting natural gas from shale is as dirty as coal mining," she testified to thunderous applause at the 2010 council meeting.
So, why is this a big story? Fast forward two years.
Last week Dennis signed a lease allowing the Houston company to extract the shale gas beneath her family's farm, which the National Trust for Historic Preservation has called a "rare and highly significant African American cultural landscape."
"I decided to stop demonizing the industry and to start negotiating with individuals," said Dennis. "I had to be realistic."
The reality was that most of the surrounding landowners had leased their mineral rights, and gas drilling was going to proceed with or without the Dennis farm.
Yup. Some state governments might be so wise.

GE, CLNE, Flying J, And The NG Corridor

Link here to
Under the agreement, Clean Energy will initially buy two "MicroLNG" plants from GE Oil and Gas and then use a standardized design of the GE technology to build subsequent plants as it expands its "America's Natural Gas Highway" LNG fueling network. By year's end, Clean Energy will have deployed its own LNG technology at 70 natural gas fueling stations nationwide -- primarily at Pilot Flying J retail outlets. Going forward, GE will be Clean Energy's partner as it seeks to grow its network exponentially.
It will be interesting to see if any of the trucking companies in the Bakken swithc to LNG.

Random Update Of The Canadian Oil Sands

Link here to
Canada holds the largest crude oil deposits outside the Middle East, most of which are in the form of oil sands, and are expected to play a major role in supplying the world's future energy requirements, stated a new report by energy experts GlobalData.

The new research states that Canada is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of proved oil reserves, with 175.2 billion barrels of proved oil reserves at the end of 2011, out of which 169.2 billion barrels of reserves were available as oil sands. Development of the oil sands industry in Canada will continue to be spurred on by the continuous growth of global oil demand and high crude oil prices, as oil sands projects once seen as economically unviable are now being considered profitable. The favorable business and political climate in Canada, and continuous technological advancements are also set to support industry growth.

In Case You MIssed It: President Obama on Global Warming

Link here to the

There were some hopeful signs in his statement. But ...

The US will be going it alone: China increases use of coal; Europe is switching to coal in lieu of natural gas (reported yesterday); EU can no longer afford renewable alternatives (reported some time ago); Merkel's green shift forces Germany to use more coal; and, last, but not least, Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol. Yes, on global warming, the US will be going it alone.  

And so it goes.

ONEOK's Bakken NGL Pipeline Under Construction, Open Season

Link to Oil and Gas Journal.

Open season on this pipeline: 
ONEOK expects the 60,0000-b/d pipeline—now under construction—to enter into service in first-quarter 2013.

The previously announced 600-mile Bakken NGL Pipeline will transport unfractionated natural gas liquids from the Bakken shale in the Williston basin to an interconnection with its 50%-owned Overland Pass Pipeline in northern Colorado.

New Home of Economy in Minot

This is an interesting story because of the "data point" in the second paragraph below.
The original Home of Economy opened in 1965, and after 47 years has finally given way to a new facility that's 58,000 square feet, roughly three times the size of the old one. Rod Walker, store manager, said they have newly expanded operating hours to go along with the new store.

With the massive growth in Minot, Walker said the old store simply couldn't meet the demands being placed upon it any more. That made the decision to start fresh a pretty easy one for the owners.

One of the big additions to the new store is the Amish Gallery, which features Amish furniture such as dining room sets, bedroom sets, living room sets, desks and rockers. Walker said the Amish Gallery is around 10,000 square feet, so it takes up a sizable part of the store.
Link to Minot Daily News for full story

On Tap for Thursday; Confidential Wells To Report Thursday;

Coming off confidential list Thursday:
  • 20067, 1,042, EOG, Redmond 22-1807H, Clear Water, t8/12; cum 22K 9/12;
  • 22298, 1,095, Petro-Hunt, Fort Berthold 148-95-27A-34-2H, Eagle Nest, t10/12; cum --
  • 22509, 468, Hess, EN-Hanson-156-94-3031H-2, Manitou, t8/12; cum 13K 9/12;
  • 22531, 754, ERF, Emerald 14-95-03A-10H, Eagle Nest, t10/12; cum 6K 9/12;
  • 22728, 465, Hess, GO-John 156-98-0508H-1, Wheelock, t9/12; cum 17K 9/12; 
  • 22734, drl, CLR, Glasoe 6-19H, Dolphin,
  • 22784, 286, Crescent Point Energy, CPEUSC Justin Troy 33-28-160N-97W, Wildrose, t8/12; cum 1K 9/12;
  • 22822, 796, G3 Operating, Berg 1-29-32H, Wildcat, t8/12; cum 12K 9/12;

Williston, Minot Set New Permitting Records

First, Williston:
From KXNews television.
The Williston Herald reports that through October, 938 permits had been issued with a total value of $406 million. That broke last year's record of 929 permits totaling nearly $358 million.
Only $44 million worth of building permits were issued in Williston in 2009. That was more than doubled to $106 million in 2010.
2012 (through October): $406 million (see human interest story posted December 2, 2012)

2011 (full year): $358 million
2010 (full year): $106 million
2009 (full year): $44 million

I doubt this includes the permits for the newly announced "The Ridge at Harvest Hills." 
Now, Minot:
From KXNews television.
With two months left in the year, building permits have already shattered the record set last year in the city of Minot.

The dollar figure is massive -- in fact, in October of this year alone, about 65 million dollars worth of projects were given permits.

In the entire year of 2009 the dollar figure was about 66 million.
2012 (through October): $279 million
2011 (full year): $204 million
2009 (full year): $66 million
I find the 2009 figures for Minot and Williston interesting (comparing the two).

Twelve (12) New Permits, KOG With Some Nice Wells

Bakken Operations

Active rigs: 189 (steady, down two from earlier this week)

Twelve (12) new permits --
  • Operators: Petro-Hunt (8), QEP (3), Oasis
  • Fields: Eagle Nest (Dunn), Deep Water Creek Bay (McLean), McGregory Buttes (Dunn), Bull Butte (aka Kalil Field, Williams)
  • Comments: Again, no Newfield or OXY USA permit, but look at all those Petro-Hunt permits
Wells coming off confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Producing wells completed:
  • 20730, 1,706, KOG/BTA, 20711 Long 112 1H, Stockyard Creek, t10/12; cum 116K 9/12; 13 days to vertical depth; 23 days to total depth; did not see frack report; background gas very high from the Scallion through the Middle Bakken; true also of #20507;
  • 20838, 1,205, KOG/BTA, 20711 Lind 211 1H, Stockyard Creek, t10/12; cum 62K 9/12;
  • 20507, 827, KOG/BTA, 20711 Swanson 3328 1H, Epping, t10/12; cum 127K 9/12;
  • 22216, 347, WPX, George Evans 11-2HD, Van Hook, t10/12; cum --
KOG's Long well:

PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

KOG's Swanson well:

PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

New Production Records for North Dakota

Also noted at CarpeDiem with commentary. Enjoy. 

Wells actually producing:
  • August: 7,719
  • September: 7,899
Wells capable of producing in September: 8,682

Oil production:
  • August (adj): 21,743,671
  • September (preliminary): 21,854,812
Daily average:
  • August: 701,409 bopd
  • September: 728,494 bopd
Percent daily increase, September over August: 3.86% (fairly respectable)

  • August: 90.87 bopd/well
  • September: 92.26 bopd/well

Foreshadowing The Recession of 2013


January 30, 2013: This post started as way of tracking the economy leading up to 2013 where data points suggested the likelihood of a "Great Recession" in 2013. Late in 2012 and early in 2013, things seemed to be turning around. Then, on this date, the government reported that the economy contracted for the first time since "the" recession ended -- and the contraction was unexpected.

So, now back to this past: tracking general economic activity through 2013.

Original Post

For archival purposes only.

Corporate America will cut back on jobs and hours due to rising cost of employees after January 1, 2013. The stories are already out there. It was going to happen regardless (due to the 29-hour week mandated by ObamaCare) but the severity of the job cuts will be exacerbated by the uncertainty colloquially referred to as the "fiscal cliff." Everyone now agrees that taxes, fees, and/or health care premiums will go up for every US citizen in 2013. Taxes may be the least regressive, but fees and health care premiums will be highly regressive. (Taxes may be less regressive, but loopholes easier found in tax code than in fees and health care premiums.)

This is not unexpected. As the US continues its transition to "a new economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry" one should expect significant jolts to the system. 

Speaking of jolts. Last night in the dark and fairly heavy rain, I was barreling down the sidewalk toward another intersection. Over the years, most cities have removed curbs for wheeled vehicles to move seamlessly from street to sidewalk, and so it was at this particular intersection. But in the dark, it was very, very difficult to find the "path." At the last moment, I saw it and had not choice to take it. If I did not take the "path" I would hit an 8-inch curb and go "head-over-heels." It was amazing how fast I was able to make that decision, turn, hit the "path," miss the curb, and prevent a major mishap. It was all over in a nanosecond. 

Unfortunately, at the end of that nanosecond, I was headed directly for a huge, grand, old (oak?) tree, head-on. The only thing, in retrospect: hitting the tree was preferable to hitting the curb. Hitting the curb would have been "head-over-heels" and probably a broken neck; hitting the tree head-on could be averted by a slight turn resulting in a glancing blow and a sliding, careening spill. I gripped the handlebars very, very firmly, headed for the tree, and at the last nanosecond (again) pulled slightly right. I missed the tree by a margin that I would not care to repeat. 

That's how I see 2013 playing out. The "fiscal cliff" and the next six months: we are headed for an 8-inch curb on a bicycle out of control, with "head-over-heels" outcome. The movers and shakers will avert the neck-breaking crash, but the question is whether we miss the tree. 

So, for archival purposes, tracking the business stories leading up to next summer.

Foreshadowing the Recession of 2013

January 30, 2013: economy unexpectedly contracts; GDP at -0.1%.

After several months of good news, some bad news: new home sales fall 0.3%, foreshadowing the great recession of 2013, CNBC, November 28, 2012.

Boston Globe: the state of Massachusetts is in trouble, going into 2013, November 25, 2012
Facing weaker than expected state tax revenues, Governor Deval Patrick’s administration has curbed state hiring, halted an automatic income tax reduction, and begun identifying cuts in spending that may be necessary to balance the budget.
Recent tax collections have been unexpectedly disappointing, failing to measure up to last year’s levels. In October, revenues were $162 million short of budgetary estimates and $48 million below the level reached in October 2011.
State revenues are running $256 million behind budget and $33 million behind last year’s actual collection, officials said.
One "fact" that is hard to refute: states have usually gotten into severe financial trouble under Democratic governors; states with Republican governors generally thrive. Just an observation.

This paragraph from the Boston Globe story above says it best:
“If this were happening at the beginning of a recession, it would be seen as . . . not a dramatic shortfall,” said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “But when it comes in year five of this extended fiscal crisis, it’s a serious issue.”  -- Cue up Connie Francis.
In fact, I think one can predict where the jobs will be the next five years by looking at this map: map of the US, in color. The linked map looks very much like the rtw map.

Morgan Stanley: major recession in 2013, November 20, 2012
The bank’s economics team forecasts a full-blown recession next year, under a pessimistic scenario, with global gross domestic product (GDP) likely to plunge 2 percent.
“More than ever, the economic outlook hinges upon the actions taken or not taken by governments and central banks,” Morgan Stanley said in a report.
Under the bank’s more gloomy scenario, the U.S. would go over the “fiscal cliff” leading to a contraction in U.S. GDP for the first three quarters of 2013. In Europe, the bank’s pessimistic scenario assumes a failure of the European Central Bank (ECB) in cutting rates and a delay of its bond-buying program.
EU economic summit likely to end in failure; severe results, France24, November 18, 2012

Eurozone back in recession; since this was a foregone conclusion/predictable, not a headline, The Bismarck Tribune, November 15, 2012

President Obama agrees: taxes on middle class might bring on recession; will affect seasonal retail sales; hiring, November 14, 2012, Reuters/Yahoo (he's starting to understand)

Retail sales in US decrease for first time in four months, November 14, 2012, Bloomberg

Budget deficit rises to $120 billion in October, 22% increase, larger than expected; November 13, 2012, Reuters

Business spending falls off a cliff, November 9, 2012, Boston Globe

6,125 proposed regulations and notifications posted in last 90 days; average 68 per day, November 9, 2012, CNS News, 

McDonald's: reports first drop in same-store sales in nine years, November 8, 2012, WSJ

Acme Tools To Build In Williston

Link here to the Sacramento (CA) Bee.
Acme Tools, a major tool distributor and premier retailer of tools and equipment, today announced plans to build its fifth North Dakota store in Williston, N.D.  The new store, scheduled to open in late summer of 2013, will be the tenth Acme Tools retail location in the Upper Midwest.

Read more here:



Later, 11:15 pm: there have been a number of folks suggesting that KKR is at risk of overbuilding (see comments below). Kent, below, in the comment section has provided an outstanding argument supporting KKR. Another article that supports Kent's argument and KKR: Director, NDIC, outlines future oil and gas development in North Dakota, presented in October, 2012. 

Original Post

Wow, wow, wow -- I didn't think there would be anything about the Bakken in today's WSJ. Boy, was I wrong. Front page, huge story, section C: a boomtown is born in North Dakota: Williston, North Dakota. With photos. Huge story. Enjoy.
North Dakota, an epicenter of the nation's oil rush, is grappling with a scramble reminiscent of the most-heated periods of the housing boom.
Now, private-equity firm KKR & Co. is trying to capitalize by making a multimillion-dollar bet on a housing project in a town at the heart of it all.
KKR is expected to announce Wednesday that it will develop a sprawling master-planned community that could become a modern-day Levittown on the North Dakota plains. The project in Williston is expected to serve some of the thousands of workers pouring into the region who are searching for jobs but facing inadequate housing.
Just after posting this, I see a reader sent a link to the same story from another source: Daily Finance.  Maybe I'm missing something, but this seems like a big story.
The City of Williston today announced that affiliates and clients of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co including KKR Financial Holdings LLC, along with co-investors Pfeffer Capital and CP Realty, have acquired land to develop a high quality, permanent residential community in Williston, North Dakota.
If you go back to my early, early posts on the Bakken (I doubt I can even find them any more), I suggested Williston should have done this from the beginning -- bring in professionals. Meandering, "we" finally got there.
The project, The Ridge at Harvest Hills, includes 164 acres of land overlooking the city of Williston. Construction of infrastructure for the current phase is under way and will support development of up to 330 apartments which are scheduled to commence in Spring 2013 plus completion of lots intended for sale to homebuilders for construction of 500 single family, townhome, and duplex homes.
The Ridge at Harvest Hills will represent an evolution in housing stock and community planning for the city as developers and public officials worked together to include parks, recreation, and open space. Furthermore, the community was planned to slow or divert commercial traffic to further enhance the suburban feel of safety and security for its inhabitants. Importantly, and unlike much of the surrounding land, The Ridge at Harvest Hills is fully entitled and has immediate access to utilities so the new community can help solve the city's near-term housing shortage as well as long-term community demands.
For a mind-blowing photo of the Ridge at Harvest Hills, click here

Wednesday Links, Part III; Mostly WSJ; Including Huge Story on the Bakken

How big is the Paula-Petraeus story? Well, let's say that you often don't see a CIA-SEX-SCANDAL as a big story on the sports page of the WSJ (yes, the WSJ does have a sports page, one that I actually read). So, here it is, the sports angle to the Paula-Petraeus story: Paula Broadwell is faster than you. In more ways than you might think. In this case it has to do with rumors that most of her interviews with the general were during "grueling fast-faced runs." Go to the link: see the incredible speeds these two could run. One excerpt: "Petraeus, who is 60, ran a 2006 five-mile race at a blistering 6:46 pace and a 2002 10-mile run at a pace of 6:22." Paula, age 40, ran a half-marathon (13.1 miles) at a pace of 7:21 minutes per mile.

By the way, at the top of the fold on WJS sports page: sleeping your way to the top. I did not read that article after seeing the sub-headline.

Wow, wow, wow -- I didn't think there would be anything about the Bakken in today's WSJ. Boy, was I wrong. Front page, huge story, section C: a boomtown is born in North Dakota: Williston, North Dakota. With photos. Huge story. Enjoy.
North Dakota, an epicenter of the nation's oil rush, is grappling with a scramble reminiscent of the most-heated periods of the housing boom.
Now, private-equity firm KKR & Co. is trying to capitalize by making a multimillion-dollar bet on a housing project in a town at the heart of it all.
KKR is expected to announce Wednesday that it will develop a sprawling master-planned community that could become a modern-day Levittown on the North Dakota plains. The project in Williston is expected to serve some of the thousands of workers pouring into the region who are searching for jobs but facing inadequate housing.
And then this: Chesapeake Energy says oil prospects dim in Ohio. Wow. Huge day for links, news.
Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s prospects of coaxing crude oil from Ohio's rust belt have dimmed, the company's chief executive said Tuesday, though he maintained the region remains key to the natural-gas giant's future.
In Ohio, Chesapeake executives had expressed optimism about producing oil from the Utica Shale, a deeply buried layer of petroleum-rich rock. Chesapeake owns drilling rights to 1.2 million acres in the Utica, and roughly a third of them lie in a zone it has described as rich in oil, though the company has focused its drilling in an area known to yield wet natural gases, like ethane and propane.
Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake's co-founder and CEO, said in May he was confident the company would report good results from oil production.
But on Tuesday, he said the Utica was unlikely to drive a major increase in its oil production. It is not a place "where we are going to probably see a huge amount of oil production growth," Mr. McClendon said at an investor conference. "And to the extent the oil works, it will be with some other companies."
But he is still very, very upbeat about the Utica, calling it "one of Chesapeake's foundational plays for decades to come."

I'm not even sure I want to start to read section A of the WSJ; already too many stories that I have yet to really read. Oh, well, to press on.

Front page with "Obama sets steep tax target." "Scandal entangles a second general." Google if you want to read the stories.

Page A6: huge story on cutbacks in hiring due to fiscal cliff. We are heading to a most severe recession in 2013. This is not rocket science.  CEOs aren't going to cozy up to higher corporate taxes, especially when they can get better outcomes overseas. Apple paid 1.9% in taxes last year with money routed through Ireland, Netherlands, or something to that effect. Great political theater.

Stories in Greece only get worse. Again, huge articles, page A12 and A13. Greece running out of cash while EU dithers. And due to Greece's failing safety net in the public health arena, malaria, once eradicated in Greece, has now returned. Malaria was "mostly" eradicated in Greece back in 1974.

So, enough of this. Back to the Bakken. But I post all of this to put what is going on in the Bakken in perspective. Twenty years from now when we read about the Bakken, it needs to be put into perspective. Five years ago North Dakota accounted for one (1) percent of US oil production; today, North Dakota accounts for twelve (12) percent of US oil production despite infrastructure and manpower obstacles.

Wednesday Links, Part II; Nothing About the Bakken

So, last night, I got on my bike in slightly drizzly weather and rode the four miles (more or less) to the Upper Crust Pizza restaurant near Harvard Square, Cambridge. The more I rode, the more it rained. The weather forecast suggested that the drizzle was going to lessen. Wrong. But I knew that after an hour or so at the Upper Crust the weather was likely to improve. And then, on the door a handwritten sign: "Closed." Looking inside, suggested it had abruptly closed in the last thirty minutes or so. One lone soul, in the dark, was still on his laptop. So, I rode home in weather that had only gotten worse. A very nice invigorating ride. Reminded me of my halcyon days in Yorkshire.

So, this morning, I read that the Upper Crust abruptly closed the rest of the restaurants it had not closed earlier due to bankruptcy proceedings. There are still a handful open, but for me it appears the Upper Crust is closed. I'm sure it will be back. Changes? I hope not.
Bankrupt and controversy-laden pizza chain The Upper Crust has suddenly closed "most of its restaurants" and said goodbye to 140 employees, says the Globe. The closed locations will stay closed unless they "can get a cash infusion in the next few days." Of sixteen locations throughout New England and in D.C., eleven are now closed. The end of the chain has long seemed apparent, but this latest development happened all at once and could spell a finishing blow to the company. Earlier today, a general manager for the Brookline location said that nothing was out of the ordinary, which is true in a sense, since drama has become the norm for The Upper Crust.
Very, very, very sad. Especially for the employees who I had gotten to know quite well. 

On another note, I see woman #3 has claimed diplomatic immunity. (Yes, there are two different links in that short sentence.)
If you were to diagram the increasingly tangled sex scandal involving former CIA Director David Petraeus, nearly all lines would lead back to one person - Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old Tampa socialite who hosted parties for the nation's top military brass.
Kelley's complaint about anonymous, threatening email triggered the FBI investigation that led to Petraeus' downfall. And now she is at the center of an investigation of the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan over alleged 'inappropriate communications' between the two.
Together with her identical twin sister Natalie Khawam, the two women have become key players in the growing controversy gripping Washington, rising from their humble beginnings in Pennsylvania as the daughters of Lebanese immigrants to vital players in a scandal which could have far-reaching effects for the United States' national security.
The headline: The incredible social climbing of a woman who went from humble beginnings to 'honorary consul' for South Korea...and she even thinks she gets diplomatic immunity.
I see a huge movie deal coming. Her surgeon husband must be loving this.

Lots of Links Today; Confidential Wells Posted, Part I

Links for Wednesday, Part I

Confidential wells posted.

RBN Energy: Fractionation capacity updated (refineries, not fracking).

For those who missed it earlier, here's the link again to the top story in the WSJ yesterday: US redraws world oil map.
A shale-oil boom will help the U.S. overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer by 2020, according to the International Energy Agency, a shift that could transform not just energy supplies but also U.S. politics and diplomacy.
Cuomo forces resignation of Long Island Power Authority head, but apparently that's not true:
The head of the Long Island Power Authority resigned on Tuesday night, but he claims it has nothing to do with LIPA coming under the harshest criticism of any utility in the region post–Hurricane Sandy. CEO Michael Hervey told The Wall Street Journal that he'd been planning to step down for months and offered to leave on Thursday, but lawyers and trustees persuaded him to stay on through the end of the year. "The company had changed and was changing over time," Hervey said. "I was in the interim position as acting CEO and COO for the past two years plus, and it seemed like I didn't have further opportunities here."
Sure. He was right about that last part: "It seemed like I didn't have further opportunities here."

And a bit more from the governor's office:
Now that may be even more true. On Tuesday Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he's established a commission to review the response of New York utilities — including LIPA, the New York Power Authority, and Con Edison — to Hurricane Sandy, Tropical Storm Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee. At a news conference today, Cuomo reminded everyone that he "talked about consolidating LIPA and the other energy agencies in my campaign two years ago," but sidestepped the suggestion that he probably should have done more to fix the troubled utility in the 22 months he's been in office.
No mention in the first two paragraphs that LIPA is a government-owned utility. In fact, a word search revealed that this fact is not mentioned in the entire article. I assume that make Governor Cuomo the honorary CEO.

Oh, well. On to more.

But this will get too long. Will start another stand-alone post.