Thursday, January 3, 2013

Random Update of Electric Vehicle Sales in the US for 2012

Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf sales for 2012: sizzling for the former, steady for the latter --
Volt sales have been relatively strong throughout most of 2012 with GM selling 2,831 units in August; 1,849 units in July; and 1,760 units in June. The trend was not sustained in November, but December was definitely a rebound month. If we look back at December 2011, we discover that sales of the Volt were 1,529 units.
Nissan reported that sales of its electric LEAF were relatively strong in December, with 1,489 units driving off the lots. Recapping recent LEAF sales shows us that Nissan moved a solid 1,539 units in November, nearly identical to October's 1,579 sales. In December 2011, LEAF sales totaled 954 units.
In terms of 2012 year-to-date numbers, the tally for the Nissan LEAF is 9,819 units. That's incredibly close (+ 1.5 percent) to 2011's results, when sales of the LEAF totaled 9,674 units. Meanwhile, the 2012 YTD results for the Chevy Volt ring in at a remarkable 23,461 units. In comparison, General Motors' Volt sales for all of 2011 tallied only 7,671 units. That's a year-to-date (2012 versus 2011) increase of 205.8 percent.
The Chevy Volt is now officially the U.S.'s top-selling plug-in vehicle for 2012. In the number two spot is not the Nissan LEAF, but rather the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid.
Huge apology for a comment in MDW yesterday: Nissan is replacing the batteries of "some" Leafs due to premature loss of capacity, not all Leafs as erroneously stated. Nissan is extending the warranty for almost all Leafs.  I misread the press release. A reader was kind enough to note that error as well as one other error regarding the post about the Nissan. Because that post was deleted, the reader's comment was not published. I owe the reader a huge "thank you" for catching the multiple errors. 

Is It Just Me --- Or Are Mainstream Media Articles On Fracking Becoming Just a Bit Less Alarming in Tone?

"Anon 1" sends this link: An Energy Lifeline: Fracking a Game-Changer for U.S. Economy

From the mainstream media:
Driving along the narrow roads of southwest Pennsylvania through the hamlet of West Middletown, you can't miss the legacy the declining coal industry has left behind. Barbed, leafless tree branches reach across the road as the wild landscape slowly reclaims the town's once majestic homes.
But head just a few miles down the road from the crumbling town and a different picture of the area emerges. Pristine new white fences cordon off lush farms; million-dollar state-of-the-art barns have replaced rickety, decaying wooden ones.
Perhaps most important is the increasing number of forest-green well pads that now dot manmade gravel mounds in the Pennsylvanian foothills, an emblem of the booming natural-gas industry that has sprouted from the dying embers of the coal industry in just a few short years.
As much as the discovery of massive stores of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation has already started transforming the state's economy and landscape, it also has the potential to fundamentally change the nation's role in the energy security conversation.
The BLM says fracking has been going on for more than sixty years in California and has a proven record of safety. (BLM = Bureau of Land Management)

New York State: One Step Closer To Approving Fracking

A big "thank you" to "anon 1."

Link here to
The natural gas drilling process known as fracking would not be a danger to public health in New York state so long as proper safeguards were put into place, according to a health department report that environmentalists fear could help lift a moratorium on the controversial technique. 
Governor Andrew Cuomo is weighing the economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing - commonly known as fracking - against the environmental risks from a technology that could unlock a vast domestic energy supply but also one that environmentalists say pollutes groundwater and the air.
Potential hazards could be avoided by implementing precautions the state has identified, according to a February 2012 preliminary assessment from the New York State Department of Health that became widely reported in the media on Thursday. 
"Significant adverse impacts on human health are not expected from routine HVHF," or high volume hydraulic fracturing, the document concluded.
 Natural gas drilling in New York state could create $11.4 billion in economic output and raise $1.4 billion in state and local tax revenue.

Global Warming Hits That Other Oil Capital -- Odessa, Texas

Link here: 2 - 4 inches predicted for Odessa, Texas, overnight.

Another One Bites the Dust -- Nothing About the Bakken

The "netbook" is dead; squeezed by the iPad and the MacBook Air.
The netbook industry will be winding down in the first quarter of 2013, as major players Asus and Acer will be shutting down production of the tiny notebooks.  -- The Guardian
Apple alone stood against the tide of netbooks. Apple’s brilliant insight was that despite netbooks’ popularity, nobody really wanted a netbook per se. Instead, Apple realized that people who were buying netbooks were looking for one of two things—they wanted full-fledged laptops that were very portable, or they wanted cheap machines that allowed them to easily surf the Web, use email and do other light computing tasks. Rather than building a single netbook that fit both these audiences poorly, Apple built two machines that were, each in its own way, much better than any netbook ever sold. -- Slate
I was going to leave it there ... and then ...  "rather than building a single netbook that fit both these audiences poorly" ... a vision of the Surface flashed in front of me.

Wow, Talk About Smoke and Mirrors -- Nothing About the Bakken

Link here to LA Times:
The agreement reached in Washington to avert the so-called fiscal cliff is generally good news for California finances, but it's still going to take a bite out of Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plans.
Legislation signed by President Obama on Wednesday won’t allow states to keep a portion of revenue from the federal estate tax, a levy on wealth inheritance.
California hasn’t received any revenue from the tax since 2004, and analysts doubted Congress would reverse course and restore the money. But Brown administration officials and Democratic lawmakers included the revenue when calculating the state’s current budget plan anyway.
The result means it will be harder to balance California's next budget than Brown administration figures suggested last year. Officials previously estimated receiving $335 million from the tax over the next year and a half.
The situation also affects the state's long-term financial plans, because officials projected that the tax would generate an increasing amount of money for California over the next few years. They estimated nearly $1.2 billion in revenue in the 2015-16 fiscal year.  

Wells Coming Off Confidential List Friday: BR With a Huge Well In Haystack Butte Oil Field

21924, 2,897, BR, Jackson 14-22MBH, Haystack Butte, t10/12; cum 7K 11/12;
22070, 720, OXY USA, Mildred Sadowsky 1-11-14H-142-97, Willmen, t712/ cum 32K 10/12;
22844, drl, MRO, Diamond A 44-21TFH, Bailey,
22974, 471, Hess, GO-Jarland-156-98-1102H-3, Wheelock, t11/12; cum 8K 11/12;
23054, 786, CLR, Rixey 2-28H, Lone Tree Lake, t9/12; cum 28K 10/12;
23164, 261, Samson Resources, Coronet 2413-3H, Ambrose, t 12/12; cum --

22070, conf, OXY USA, Mildred Sadowsky 1-11-14H-142-97, Willmen, no flaring at all?
PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

22974, 471, Hess, GO-Jarland-156-98-1102H-3, Wheelock, t11/12; cum 8K 11/12; a nice well:

PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

23054, conf, CLR, Rixey 2-28H, Lone Tree Lake, natural gas on line in about three months:

PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

Worried About Global Warming? Sit Back and Grab a Beer -- Nothing To Do With The Bakken

Connecting the dots just keeps getting more and more fun.

Some days ago I posted a link to a very, very long PDF that suggested global warming will have a negative effect on North Dakota's durum crop, but the world will not notice; in fact, it may work out even better. Global warming will push the durum crop farther west into Montana, and because of longer growing seasons may actually result in greater annual production of durum.

It turns out durum may not be the only grain / grass that benefits from global warming. There is good news for Norm, Cliff, Cheers, Homer, and Moe's Tavern.

It turns out that a major ingredient of beer, barley, is adapting to global warming, and is actually thriving. In addition, under increased CO2 conditions, barley does just as well, perhaps better, and actually affects soil less severely, assimilating nitrogen more efficiently.

Like durum, it would be expected that increased barley production would be predicted moving farther west into Montana.

And then this. Don sent me this link a couple days ago:
It was a welcoming crowd that greeted officials from MillerCoors and Halverson Construction during a Friday afternoon meeting at the Community Center in Power, Montana.

Company representatives were on hand to present the plans for the 3.2 million bushel barley elevator that will be constructed [here].
 “This is the first time since the early seventies the companies have built a new grain elevator.” Since that time the companies have expanded existing elevators or acquired them from other operators.
Power, Montana, is about 450 miles due west of Williston.

The article continues:
Smelser described the size of the bins to be erected; each bin will be 90 feet in diameter and 100 feet tall, towering over the triangle of land where the elevator will be built, a tract bordered on the east by Power itself; on the North by the BNSF railroad and on the south by the highway.

The plant’s receiving capacity will consist of two truck pits and rail, and will be able to handle 20,000 bushels per hour. The design will allow the elevator to receive half of the barley during the harvest season. When shipping, the elevator can process 15-30 rail cars per day; currently the railroad offers one train a week to Power.
So, worried about global warming? Sit back, have a beer, and think about those Warren Buffett-owned trains carrying Montana barley back east.

How good is Montana barley?
Presently, some Montana barley goes into all the products produced by MillerCoors, according to Rockhold: “Montana barley is great quality.” Currently, 16 percent of the barley used by MillerCoors comes from the Big Sky State; with the construction of the Power Elevator that number will rise to 25 percent.

Nine (9) New Permits -- The Williston Basin; KOG Has a Great Skunk Creek Well; OXY USA With Two New Permits

Bakken Operations

Active rigs: 182 (steady, but down one from yesterday; near the intra-boom low of 180)

Nine (9) new permits --
  • Operators: OXY USA (2), Oasis (2), Zenergy, Slawson, MRO, Whiting, Crescent Point
  • Fields: Camp (McKenzie), Little Knife (Billings), Kittleson Slough (Mountrail), Russian Creek (Dunn), Willow Creek (Williams), Saxon (Dunn), Sanish (Mountrail)
  • Comments: Crescent Point has a permit in Divide County
Wells coming off confidential list were reported earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Producing wells completed:
  • 22466, 1,370, KOG, Skunk Creek 12-7-8-9H3, Heart Butte, t11/12; cum 4K 10/12;
  • 22483, 308, Samson Resources, Coronet 2413-4TFH, t12/12; cum --

WSJ Links -- Not The Bakken

Section D: nada.

Section C:
  • Weak demand turns tables on potash firms.  Potash demand in 2012 is expected to be 9% lower than its peak in 2007.
Section B:
  • US electricity use on wane.  Counterintuitive. Interesting.
  • Zipcar: startup genius, public failure. That's what I thought. Sold to Avis. Hard to understand. Avis way to compete directly with Enterprise? 
  • Al Gore: $100 million personally in sale of Current TV to Al-Jazeera; the deal didn't close before December 31, 2012; bad news for Al. Higher tax rate for folks earning more than .... well, for folks earning this much anyway ...
  • US car sales to zoom past Europe's
  • Several articles in WSJ and other places recently suggesting drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico is ready to explode (figuratively) this year; big article today also
Section A:

Job Watch: Okay, The Number Jumps 10,000 And The 30-Second Sound Bite: Conditions Continue to Improve at A Steady Pace


January 5, 2013: I thought the mainstream media reports on the jobs numbers yesterday were a bit too upbeat. Right or wrong, the WSJ agrees: tepid job growth fuels worry. Huge headline and top of the fold, top story in today's WSJ. I don't watch network television or talk shows on cable, so I have no idea the spin the American viewer is getting on this, but the numbers are atrocious, four years, going on five years into the "recovery." Government cuts and more spending are yet to kick in.

Original Post

Remember: the magic number is 400,000

If you recall, last week's unemployment number was mostly estimated. I couldn't find the revised numbers.

However, the numbers for last week increased by 10,000 to 372,000. That would suggest the "official" number for the previous week was 362,000, significantly higher (by 12,000) than the bogus estimate that was posted by the government:
December 27, 2012: the numbers are bogus, all estimates due to government shut down for the Christmas holiday -- 350,000 last week; 365,750 four-week moving average. 
The government reported 350,000 last week when in fact it was 362,000.

Now, today, the unemployment, first-times claims, jumped another 10,000, back up to 372,000.

The four-week moving average "was little changed at 360,000. A nice round number that suggests .... I won't go there.

But let's look at this. Last week the government says the four-week moving average was 365,750; that was before the "official" figure was revised to 362,000 (12,000 more than the 350,000 estimate) and now today's number up another 10,000, and yet the moving average is actually down from last week. Okay. The same bureaucrats that wring their hands over 0.01 degree change in global temperatures.

Anyway, be that as it may: today's number of 372,000 is also an estimate:
However, claims data for nine states, including California and Virginia, was estimated because of the Christmas and New Year holidays.
And despite the number going up by 12,000 two weeks ago, and by 10,000 today, the analyst's conclusion: the moving average suggests "a sign labor conditions continue to improve at a steady pace." Wow. I guess that's why the President extended unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, because things were looking to get better. This is not rocket science.

By the way, did you all notice something else? The press actually referred to the earlier holiday as the "Christmas" holiday. I'm wondering if that might be politically incorrect. 

Topps Oil Services In Williston -- Phone Number, Address Provided; More On Fracking Technology


Later, 3:07 pm: okay, here's the contact data for Topps:
Organization: Topps Fracturing Services LLC
Office address: 15046 49th St NW Williston, ND 58801-9040
County: Williams
General: Phone (701) 875-6513

Time stamp: 3:07 pm EST, January 3, 2012

Original Post 

Does anyone have a contact number for Topps in Williston, said to be a "small fracking company"?

Time stamp: 1:35 pm EST, January 3, 2013.


Speaking of fracking, a reader sent this in as a comment which I will also post at the page on fracking. For context, read this post first. Now, the new comment:
I have been hauling sand in the Bakken for a year and a half, our company servicing Sanjel, CalFrac and Cudd. I can hopefully add a little clarity on a couple of points:

Zipper frac: the only type of zipper fracing I know of is when two plug and perf frac jobs are done simultaneously on a multiple well pad. I.E., the frac crew pumps one well while the other well has the "gun" downhole, then reverses the process. They're able to frac two wells at once without (theoretically) the down time a plug and perf normally engenders.

The zipper frac methodology is, in my experience, one of those ideas that works better on paper than in real life. We've had 6 or 7 multiple well pads in the last 4-5 months that were to be "zippered". None of them came off. They ended up fracing one well then moving to the other. Pressure problems, equipment problems, you name it.

Continental Resources has gone to almost 100% plug and perf on their wells that we service. Ball and sleeve is faster, on average, but also tends to more problems, especially with sanding off, or better put plugging up. Continental wants slower with fewer problems, this from a friend who is a Continental companyy on site rep.

BTW, Cudd is rumored to be moving their operations center to Billings, Mt. They have acquired a new contract for the east slope of the Rockies area (Shelby-Conrad areas)and also have quite a bit of work in Wyoming. Most of the Shelby-Conrad work will be existing wells. 
By the way, and please, no one, no one take this next comment "wrong" or out of context. I sometimes read these comments or show them to my wife to read: her first comment -- "wow, these folks really seem well educated." Yes, I agree. I am blown away by the professionalism, the well-written comments I get from folks in the oil patch. Thank you. 

That's a very, very interesting observation about Continental Resources.

For Now: 'Nuf Said -- The War On Coal -- But It Meanders Into Fracking

EPA staffer Richard Windsor announces resignation, apparently the same day that Lisa announced her resignation.

Berkshire Hathaway Hits A New 52-Week High -- Yes, This Eventually Gets You To The Bakken, And To Fargo


January 15, 2013: Link here to Fargo Forum.
The company that took over DMI Industries – a wind turbine plant located here – has reopened the plant to manufacture containers for energy-related products.
Dallas-based Trinity Industries told city leaders the West Fargo plant will now produce containers that can hold 100,000 gallons of products such as water, propane or anhydrous.
The West Fargo plant has been open for the past six weeks with about 40 employees on the job. The first product was shipped from the plant last week.
The company plans to grow to more than 75 employees in the coming months, said Mark Vaux, West Fargo economic development director in a statement.
On the west side of the Minneesota/North Dakota state line. Add wheels to the tanks, and you have railroad tank cars. Same story at Minneapolis St Paul Business Journal.

Original Post

Although it's pulled back slightly since the market opened, Berkshire Hathaway has traded above its 52-week high today, and is, for all intents and purposes, at its all-time high today, right around $94.

This site is not an investment site, and I have no interest in Berkshire Hathaway as it pertains to this blog. So why am I posting this? Why did I mention Berkshire Hathaway yesterday in what looked like a throw-away post? Because a) Warren Buffett owns his own railroad, the one that carries most of the Bakken oil out of state; and, b) because of the article Don just sent me: here's the headline -- Buffett Like Icahn Reaping Tank Car Boom From Shale Oil.
Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn are reaping the benefits of surging demand for railroad tank cars to haul shale oil from beyond the reach of existing pipelines.
Buffett’s Union Tank Car Co. is working at full capacity and Icahn’s American Railcar Industries Inc. (ARII) has a backlog through 2014. Trinity Industries Inc., the biggest railcar producer, began converting wind-tower factories last year to help meet demand for train cars that can transport the petroleum product.
All three are getting a boost from a shale-oil boom that’s poised to make the U.S. the world’s largest crude producer by 2020. Rail carloads of crude tripled last year to more than 200,000, and demand for tanks designed for it soared, helping both Trinity and American Railcar outstrip the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
“People who want to ship oil can’t get them,” Toby Kolstad, president of the consultant firm Rail Theory Forecasts LLC said, referring to railcars. “They’re desperate to get anything to move crude oil.” 
Did you all see this in the story above:  "Trinity Industries Inc., the biggest railcar producer, began converting wind-tower factories last year to help meet demand for train cars that can transport the petroleum product."

Does this have anything to do with my rants on wind energy? No.

Does anybody remember this story other than Don who sent it to me months ago: the wind-tower manufacturer DMI located in Fargo, ND, was bought by Trinity last autumn

Now, did you all read the RBN Energy post today, about that huge geopolitical island on the west coast called California? No pipelines to the west coast bringing oil in from east of the Rockies: the only near-term solution: rail.


By the way, speaking of Berkshire Hathaway, which I seem to be doing a lot of recently (I am tempted, as I've said before, to scuttle the Bakken blog and replace it with a Berkshire Hathaway blog, but don't worry, I won't. But, wow, it is tempting. Someday I'm going to look back on the Bakken blog as "so yesterday" and wished I had a) spent more time on my literature blog; or, b) started a Berkshire Hathaway blog.

Anyway, I digress. Speaking of Berkshire Hathaway. Did anyone else see that Warren Buffett has bought two solar farms? I posted the story here, buried deep in the blog, hoping no one would see it, but now it finally makes sense. Wow, I told Don, sometimes I have to be hit over the head with a 2x4 before I finally understand things.

Warren is buying the wind farms because a) his conventional energy companies are mandated to provide "x" amount of energy from renewables; and, b) he knows that mandated requirements are eventually reimbursed, either by the government directly or indirectly, or the consumer, directly.

Going forward, starting as soon as 2014 or 2015, "working" Americans (and actually "non-working" Americans, also) are going to be crushed by a) ObamaCare; and, b) home energy costs.

What do those two things have in common? Both are mandates: mandates for universal health care coverage (even those who do not need it: 90% of those between the ages of 16 and 50; except for pregnant people) and mandates for renewable energy which many Californians thought was free, because, hey, it's always there and no one charges you for standing in the sun with the wind blowing through your hair. 

That's what happens when mandates are mandated and free market capitalism is denigrated. "You didn't build that." By the way, that phrase now has its own wiki page.

RBN Energy: A Must-Read For Those Interested in the Bakken and California

Seldom is there an RBN Energy post that doesn't capture my interest, but today's post is excellent. It does the following:
  • explains why California is an "island" unto itself when it comes to energy
  • gives us a glimpse of why Alaskan oil production is declining
  • how Bakken oil will benefit from the first two data points
  • the Canadian, Permian, and Bakken oil will put further pressure on Alaska pricing; the Alaska "oil rush" is over (for now; and probably won't recover in my lifetime)
It really is one of those articles that folks interested in the Bakken should read.

These are the takeaway points that caught my interest:
  • Alaska North Slope (ANS) crude oil production has been declining since 1987; and I didn't get a warm fuzzy that much was going to change any time soon;
  • California is part of PADD 5; almost 50% -- half -- of all oil refined in PADD 5 is imported; it comes from Canada, Asia, and the Middle East; ANS oil is priced at Brent for the most part
  • even newbies should know, by now, the delta between Brent and WTI
  • WTI is priced at a discount due to oversupply at Cushing; my hunch -- this won't last forever (but I digress)
  • there are no pipelines linking the west coast with supplies east of the Rockies; PADD 5 is an island, geographically and politically
  • ANS pricing will change this year (2013) because Bakken oil will start reaching West Coast refineries by rail and barge, see next data point
  • Bakken crude is priced against WTI and is $20/bbl cheaper than Alaska oil
  • terminals are being built on the west coast to receive Bakken oil (previously posted at the MDW); good summary in the linked RBN Energy post
  • rail again: US Development Group -- recently purchased by Plains All American -- is building a rail terminal in Bakersfield, CA, to receive crude from North Dakota
  • Canadian crude oil is in a world of hurt: pricing is even worse for Canadian oil than WTI; the linked article explains why
  • but Canadian oil will eventually reach California (new pipelines) and Alaska oil will suffer even more
  • bottom line: the Alaska "oil rush" is over for the time being

Croff Oil Field

The Croff oil field is a very small field, only 11 sections, located about 15 miles to the east-southeast of Watford City and immediately west of what I like to call the "Helis Grail" oil field.

The Croff oil field caught my attention with the Kummer well being reported today:
  • 22193, drl, QEP, Kummer 1-6/7H, Croff, a Three Forks well:
PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

For newbies: this is huge. Almost 100,000 bbls in the first two months. I have some reviewing to do: to see how common it is for a well of this magnitude to show absolutely no natural gas by the second month. [See comment below: oil and gas production figures arrive at different times, and most likely the natural gas production numbers have simply not been updated.]

Another note: this well is important for another reason. This field, the Croff field, sits right in the middle of a huge sweet spot in the Bakken, more specifically the middle Bakken. Now, we have a huge Three Forks well. Harold Hamm opines that the Three Forks could be much thicker than the middle Bakken, and that in places, the Three Forks could have four benches (four payzones) vs just one payzone in the generally thin middle Bakken. 

IIRC: At the time QEP acquired Helis acreage, QEP stated that Helis used ceramics in completing/fracking a well; and that QEP did not use ceramics. QEP planned to not use ceramics in the Helis acreage. I do not see the completion / fracking report yet in the file for this well at the NDIC site, and I don't find the well at the national database but I could have missed it.

The file report said that the middle Bakken showed promise as a secondary site to explore in the future, and although the report said the same for the Tyler, it seemed not quite as enthusiastic. Other formations were said to be poor candidates for future exploration.