Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Projections for New Students in the Bakken (K-12 Students); Potentially 150% Increase In Students In Watford City

NDSU News is reporting:
Model one looked at trends observed in the school districts during the last two years. Growth from model one ranged from a 23 percent increase in Dickinson to a 153 percent increase in Watford City. In the next five years, the model projects there would be 178 more students in Ray, 200 in Stanley, 635 in Dickinson, 1,118 in Williston and more than 1,300 in Watford City in the next five years.
Model two looked at employment trends and produced more modest enrollment projections.
“This model likely is the best indicator of long-term projections because it only considers population changes associated with a long-term, permanent workforce,” Hodur says.
“However, the model likely underestimates projections in the short term and does not take the temporary workforce into consideration.”
Even the more modest enrollment model produced projected increases through the next five years of 70 students in Ray, nearly 300 in Stanley and Watford City, nearly 600 in Dickinson and more than 700 in Williston.
Use these numbers in conjunction with an earlier post to look at the Bakken boom and whether it's over or not.

Heckmann --> Nuverra Environmental Solutions

Heckmann soon to become Nuverra Environmental Solutions:
Heckmann Corporation, one of the largest companies in the United States dedicated to the removal, treatment, recycling, transportation and disposal of restricted solids, fluids and hydrocarbons - today announced that it will unite its individual business units under a single new brand. Heckmann Corporation - together with Heckmann Water Resources, Power Fuels and Thermo Fluids - will become "Nuverra Environmental Solutions."
Jim Cramer on Heckmann, including an interview with the Executive Chairman of Heckmann.
  • 2013 should be better than 2012
  • lots of optimism this year
  • rig count: wrong metric to follow (the MDW has said this for quite some time); the better metric: production
  • Bakken production up 30%; during same period rig count flat 
  • drilling technology "light years" of improvement in the past three years
  • 30 to 40% more drilling with same number of wells
  • four years ago, Heckmann-type business did not exist; recycling frack water
  • Four years ago: $15 million in sales with 30 employees; now: $800 million in sales with 3,000 employees
  • if California wants to fix its fiscal problems, all it has to do is open up E & P
  • energy independence is the future; by the end of this decade; we will NOT be importing oil from the Middle East by the end of this decade
Video link sent to me by Kent. Thank you.

For media interest only. No recommendations implied.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions on what you read, or think you read, at this site. 

Speaking of water:

Wells Coming Off The Confidential List Thursday; Looks Like Hess Has Another Gusher in Truax; BEXP and CLR Reporting Wells of Interest

21837, drl, MRO, Deep Creek USA 14-12TFH, Lost Bridge, 
22872, drl, BEXP, Pyramid 15-22 4H, Todd, the first of the Pyramid wells to report (looks like it will go to DRL status); middle Bakken; trip gas over 3,000 units noted; spudded Sept 14, TD reached October 10;
23325, 679, Hess, SC-Ellingsberg 154-98-3229H-3, Truax, t1/13; cum 27K 1/13;
23612, drl, CLR, Charlotte 4-22H, Banks, this is an important well; see the Charlotte wells; target: 19 - 33 feet below the top of the middle Three Forks formation; a long horizontal, almost 22,000 feet long; final note: 19 - 33 feet below the top of the Three Forks ("middle" was missing);


23325, see above, Hess, SC-Ellingsberg 154-98-3229H-3, on a gas line:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

Well, This Might Be Good

Reuters is reporting:
SandRidge Energy Inc and activist hedge fund TPG-Axon Capital struck a deal on Wednesday that could lead to the removal of the oil and gas company's chief executive, marking the second time in two months that allegations of self-dealing and poor performance have shaken a U.S. energy firm.
The company has been under fire since last year from TPG-Axon and another hedge fund for governance lapses and strategic missteps. TPG-Axon, which owns 7.3 percent of SandRidge, launched a campaign to oust Ward and the company's entire board of directors.
SandRidge said that four directors nominated by TPG-Axon will be added immediately to SandRidge's board, which will engage an independent firm to review land deals by Ward and his family. Chief Operating Officer Matthew Grubb plans to resign, ....
... and so it goes.

Well, This Can't Be Good

Reuters is reporting:
The founder and executive chairman of Fisker Automotive Inc resigned from the cash-strapped "green car" startup on Wednesday, saying he was at odds with the automaker's top executives over business strategy.
Henrik Fisker's abrupt exit comes at a sensitive time for the company, which has not produced a car since last July and is looking for a financial backer to buy a stake and help build its second model, the Atlantic plug-in hybrid.
But, then Steve Jobs was fired from his own company, and things worked out well for him and Apple.

So, you never know. 

Idle Rambling on the Bakken --

Note: earlier I posted a link to some photos at The Atlantic; the link was broken; it's been fixed. Here it is again. Sorry. Click here for photos of the Bakken.  (I hope that works. Smile.)

Now, back to this post.

Below: opinions mixed with facts; not easy to sort out which is which; but it's how I view things in the Bakken on a March night in 2013. I assume some folks living and working in the Bakken will disagree on some of the things. 

For newbies, right now, most of the activity in the Bakken is taking place in northern McKenzie County (opinion). Watford City is the county seat; its population was 1,744 in the 2010 census.

1. Population:  Currently, the "permanent" population is estimated to be 3,500. The "temporary" population is estimated to be 5,000. Regardless of the exact number, the city council has to think in terms of providing utility services to nearly 9,000 folks -- remember two or three years ago, the census was less than 2,000. And if the Bakken boom affected Watford City in 2010, then go back to 2004, well before the North Dakota Bakken boom, and the census was probably around 1,500. In the 2000 census, the count was 1,435.
Okay, so there it is: somewhere from around 1,500 to about 10,000 in the last few years.

Studies suggest the city needs to plan for a population of 20,000 permanent residents. Permanent, not temporary.
2.  Oil booms and populations: The banks and credit unions (the folks lending money for houses) work on the basis that it takes ten (10) years before temporary housing starts to convert to permanent housing in an oil boom.  Developers in the Watford City area feel they are in year six (6) of this boom. And the developers now see the conversion from temporary to permanent housing taking place, confirming what the bankers say. [By the way, I agree that North Dakota is in year six of the boom: it began in Montana in 2000 in Elm Coulee, Richland County, Montana; and in North Dakota in 2007, in Parshall, North Dakota.]

3. Drilling activity and production: If you have a Rand-McNally map, take it out and turn to North Dakota. If not, go to google maps. Find Watford City or New Town or Minot or something in western North Dakota. 
Then find Highway 23 from Watford City east to New Town; then take the road (8, 1804) up to Stanley; follow that with your index finger. Then trace US Highway 2 west from Stanley to Williston; then so south on US Highway 85 from Williston to Alexander, then west back to Watford City. Inside that "box" accounts for 80% of the Bakken production.

That "box" is about 1,600 square miles. And a lot of it is under the Missouri River.

Rhode Island is 1,000 square miles.

Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas, is 1,300 square miles.
4. I was looking for something else on the internet tonight, and ran across The Atlantic article that I linked some time ago. The author was questioning whether the boom in North Dakota was already over. 

Tonight, I happened to re-read his conclusion, why the author had suggested the Bakken boom had peaked. From the conclusion of the article:
The only large private sector category that is growing faster now than in 2011 is hotel and food services jobs, at the far right of the second graph. These jobs are lagging indicators of population growth because they respond to growing cities. 
This is how an energy boom should go, you could argue. First come the core mining jobs and manufacturing jobs. Then you build the houses and roads to accommodate the miners and factory workers. Then you open restaurants to feed their families. And you build hotels to room their visitors and petro-tourists. That's not a bust story. It's a modern growth story.
Okay, fine. Perhaps that's all the North Dakota slowdown is. Chapter Two in North Dakota's modern gold rush. The state's job creation isn't weak, after all, it's just, well, average. But that's just the problem. When you're girded for a historic gold rush, average growth isn't average news. It's bad news.
A couple of points the writer missed. First, he moved the goal posts. In his conclusion he talks about the "North Dakota gold rush." The Bakken is not North Dakota and North Dakota is not the Bakken. North Dakota is 71,000 square miles; 80% of the Bakken production is coming out of an area well less than 1,500 square miles. The writer needs to go back and re-look at the population figures: forget about "North Dakota"; concentrate on where the boom is happening -- in a very small area in western North Dakota.

The population centers of North Dakota are way outside the Bakken: Fargo and Grand Forks on the Minnesota state line; and in the center of the state, Bismarck, the capital, and the forgotten city, Mandan.

But what caught my attention in that article was the economic cliche: "...hotel and food services jobs .... are lagging indicators of population growth because they respond to growing cities." There's a difference between boom cities and growing cities; there's a huge difference between "temporary workers" and "permanent workers" and how to count them and how they affect the economy. The author misunderstands and/or miscounts temporary residents and permanent residents.

When I first read The Atlantic article some weeks ago, something about the article did not ring true, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Kent provided some of the data in paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 above; if there are errors, I made them. But it now makes sense. Now I understand better why The Atlantic article did not ring true.

Finally: if the "only" private sector growing faster now than in 2011 is the hotel and food services sector -- wow. After seven years of boom between Williston and Watford City, and "they" are still not caught up with lodging and food....what can I say. They may be lagging indicators in somebody's world but I thought two years ago, the area had caught up in lodging and food services -- in fact, I did a poll on that very subject and found I was completely wrong. Now, it's confirmed: lodging and food services have still not caught up. That simply blows me away. Six years into this and the hotel and food services is still growing faster than what it was in 2011.

I think it all goes back to how one defines a "boom." The boom may be over, but not the growth. Not by a long shot.

By the way, there is talk of a McDonald's going up in Watford City. How fitting for this story.

Here's a projection of the increase in the student (K-12) population; as much as 150% in Watford City.

Wow, A Very, Very Busy Daily Activity Report; Samson Resources Transfers Operator Status of 25 Wells To CLR; Seventeen (17) New Permits; 184 Active Rigs

Active rigs: 184 (steady, but down from recent high of 189)

Seventeen (17) new permits --
  • Operators: Slawson (3), KOG (3), Whiting (3), WPX (3), Baytex (2), Oasis, GMX Resources, CLR 
  • Fields: Willow Creek (Williams), Ambrose (Divide), Bennett Creek (McKenzie), Spotted Horn (McKenzie), Sanish (Mountrail), Truax (Williams), Sadler (Divide), Four Bears (Mountrail)
  • Comments:
Wells coming off confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Two producing wells completed:
  • 21392, 1,466, KOG, Smokey 15-7-19-15H3, Pembroke, t12/12; cum 22K 1/13;
  • 23402, 1,045, XTO, FBIR Smith 11X-10F, Heart Butte, t1/13; cum 3K 1/13;
As noted above, about 25 wells were transferred, operator status from Samson Resources to CLR; some very old wells all the way up to some recent wells.

Photos Of The Bakken

A huge "thank you" to a reader for sending me this link: photos of the Bakken. Enjoy.

EIA: Worldwide Liquid Fuels Consumption to Increase -- Imperceptibly -- E-I-E-I-O

Oil & Gas Journal is reporting:
Worldwide liquid fuels consumption will reach 90.1 million b/d in 2013 and 91.5 million b/d in 2014, due to a moderate recovery in global economic growth, the US Energy Information Administration forecast in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook.
EIA estimates that world liquid fuels consumption was 89.1 million b/d in 2012. [In other words, consumption remains flat, year over year.]
As oil product inventories are restocked and new refining capacity comes on line, refinery crude oil inputs in China are to be bolstered in 2013, EIA said. Liquid fuels consumption in China is forecast to increase by 450,000 b/d in 2013 and by 510,000 b/d in 2014, compared with annual average growth of 540,000 b/d from 2004 through 2010.
Because of declining consumption in Europe, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development liquid fuels consumption will further fall by 0.3 million b/d in 2013, EIA projected. The decline will be halted in 2014 in response to a higher economic growth in Europe.
In the US, EIA expects total liquid fuels consumption will grow modestly by 30,000 b/d in 2013, up 0.1% from last year, and by another 80,000 b/d in 2014. Distillate fuel consumption, which fell by 160,000 b/d in 2012, increases at an average annual rate of 10,000 b/d in 2013 and 60,000 b/d in 2014, driven by industrial output growth and colder winter weather. Motor gasoline and jet fuel consumption remain flat in 2013 and 2014 as increasing travel is offset by fuel economy improvements, EIA said.
It seems we get new EIA (and IEA) estimates every month or so. The new estimates don't amount to a hill of beans. Indeed, "up 0.1% from last year" -- I rest my case.

But traders will hang on every word.


White Smoke -- New Pope Elected -- Details To Follow

Pope Francis I.


Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio. 

Surge Corporate Presentation, Spearfish -- Data Points on Spearfish Cross-Border, North Dakota - Canada

For those interested in the Spearfish play, cross border -- Canada / United States.

March, 2013, corporate presentation for Surge Energy.

These data points from the presentation are ONLY for Surge in the Williston Basin.

Surge (Williston Basin, Spearfish, Canada and North Dakota):
  • 160 million bbls gross/108 million bbls net (36 degree API)
  • current oil recovery: less than one percent (1%)
  • continued technical review of 85,000 net acres of undeveloped land in North Dakota
  • total development in Williston Basin (Canada and North Dakota): 354 gross/231 net
  • remaining inventory: 310 gross / 198 net (just beginning)
  • based on 24 hz wells/section in Waskada (Canada) and 20 hz wells/section (North Dakota)
  • potential exists for another 80 gross / 25 net Spearfish locations as a result of recent offset success to the SE of Surge's land
North Dakota:
  • 100% drilling success in North Dakota
  • 44 hz multi-frac wells drilled to date
  • Surge: 17 gross / 10 net during 2012 -- 100% success rate
  • average well cost reduced to $1.5 million
  • in 2013, will test Spearfish and Madison with vertical exploration wells

Chevron Pipeline, Mississippi Barge Meet; Fire


March 13, 2013: no oil spill; no oil sheen seen on the water; fire burning itself out. Rigzone is reporting:.
A fire is still burning nearly a full day after a tug pushing a barge crashed into a pipeline in a bayou south of New Orleans Tuesday evening, but the Coast Guard said there is no visible oil in the water.
Earlier Wednesday, the Coast Guard had said a mile-long sheen was visible near the site of the incident, but it now says that was actually ash from the burn of the liquefied gas in the pipeline.
The pipeline fire is now about 30% smaller than it was earlier in the day, the Coast Guard said in a news release.
And so it goes. 
Original Post
Link here to ABCNews.
A pipeline fire that was ignited when the pipe was hit by a tug boat pushing an oil barge burned into the early morning hours Wednesday in a bayou south of New Orleans.
There was still liquid petroleum gas in the 19-mile pipeline and authorities were waiting for it to burn out, Coast Guard Petty Officer Alex Washington said. 
No deaths but the captain of the barge suffered 3rd degree burns and has been transferred to a burn center. The fire will be allowed to burn itself out.

New Poll: Will White House Tours Be Up and Running By the End of Summer?


June 15, 2013: President O'Bama's African trip this month will cost $100 million If they could cut $4 million from the African trip, they could fund one year of White House tours at $75,000/week.

March 28, 2013: Three percent of the $500 million being given to the Palestinians leaders this week would fund 5 years of White House tours. All $500 million would fund 150 years of tours. This $880,000 grant by the US government to study snail sex would fund almost five months of White House tours. And if lucky, one might even see some snail sex in the Lincoln bedroom. 

March 17, 2013: folks are starting to catch on. Presidential golf outings around the world continue, but White House tours are too expensive to continue. Now, nailing it, The (London) Telegraph is reporting: if you are rich, not only can you still "tour" the White House, you will get a VIP tour guide. But, if your are an elementary school student or poor, heaven, forbid, you are out of luck: the White House is closed to visitors.
Since last weekend, Mr and Mrs Regular Citizen have been denied the access people used to be granted to tour the White House, purportedly because of the clampdown on federal spending since the "sequester" that imposed cuts across the board. 
These tours, most recently guided by volunteers though monitored by paid Secret Service staff, have been an American tradition since John and Abigail Adams, the first White House residents, personally hosted receptions for the public.
And their cancellation is an austerity measure that saves a pittance, while more frivolous taxpayer funding for items like the White House dog walker continues.
March 17, 2013: see also a note to the granddaughters on same subject

Later, 3:42: already we're starting to see the White House realize that it blundered. The White House says that "limited tours" will likely be considered -- school tours, etc.,  -- but "general tours" are still canceled.  And, so it goes. Decisions are arbitrary and capricious.

Later, 3:04: the story that the president tried to spin (see below) did not ring true, which was the point of the original post. Indeed, it turns out, the story was not true. President Obama said the decision did not get up to the White House. Does one really think that this decision would have been made without Michelle's input? In fact, his press secretary says that the decision was indeed a White House decision.

Of course, this whole thing is a Hitchcockian MacGuffin, but it's not the sort of MacGuffin the president would like to see in his movie. The longer this MacGuffin plays out, the more this story will take on a life of its own. It will get more importance than it deserves (as in "none") and will become seen as the action of an angry, capricious, and arbitrary president. Don't let this influence your vote.  Regardless of how one sees the canceled White House tours, the question remains: will the tours be back on by the end of summer?

From wiki:
The MacGuffin technique is common in films, especially thrillers. Usually the MacGuffin is the central focus of the film in the first act, and then declines in importance as the struggles and motivations of characters play out.

Original Post

Time for a new poll.

First, the results of the old poll, looking at the value of Chesapeake's acreage in southwestern North Dakota:
1) < $2,500/acre -- 33%
2) $2,500/acre -- 12%
3) $5,000/acre -- 19%
4) > $5,000/acre -- 30%
5) Other -- 6%
Now, the new poll. This is has absolutely nothing to do with the Bakken.

Something does not ring true here. I would assume protecting the president is pretty high on the list of federal priorities. But the 2% federal spending cut -- due to the sequester -- means that the Secret Service had to furlough some folks. And by furloughing those folks, they had to cancel White House tours.

That alone is pretty incredible: cutting Secret Service. Note: the military was exempt from cutting active duty personnel. The exemptions are pretty extensive, by the way.

This, too, does not ring true: the president of the most powerful nation in the world does not have the "power" or authority, to do any of the following: a) exempt the Secret Service; b) direct Homeland Security to find other places to make the spending cuts; or, c) direct that White House tours will continue, though perhaps limiting them to five days/week rather than six.

Something does not ring true here. The Weekly Standard is reporting:
President Obama says he's not the one who canceled the White House tours. He made the comments in an interview with ABC News.
"[O]ne more question about the spending cuts," said the interviewer from ABC News. "You’ve been takin’ a lotta heat for this cancellation of the White House tours. They get– the Secret Service says it’s costs about $74,000 a week. Was canceling them really necessary?"
"You know, I have to say this was not– a decision that went up to the White House. But th– what the Secret Service explained to us was that they’re gonna have to furlough some folks. What furloughs mean is– is that people lose a day of work and a day of pay," Obama said, in response.
"And, you know, the question for them is, you know, how deeply do they have to furlough their staff and is it worth it to make sure that we’ve got White House tours that means that you got a whole bunch of families who are depending on a paycheck who suddenly are seein’––a 5% or 10%– reduction in their pay. Well, what I’m asking them is are there ways, for example, for us to accommodate school groups– you know, who may have traveled here with some bake sales. Can we make sure that– kids, potentially, can– can still come to tour?"
Wanna bet the tours are back on by the end of summer?

So, the poll is simple this time:

Will the White House tours be up and running again, by the end of summer? It is my understanding the spending cuts are for the rest of the year. 

Random Comment On Far-Reaching Impact of ObamaCare

Regular readers know that the blog was one of the first to note that until ObamaCare came along, the US had no definition or regulation or whatever for "an official work week" as did France. But with ObamaCare, the "official" work week for all companies with more than 50 employees* has now been defined as 30 hours by the government.**

Something else that I have not yet seen talked about anywhere is the need for all Americans to file federal income tax form every year due to ObamaCare. I could be wrong, but it's my understanding that if you have no income, none whatsoever, you don't have to file an annual income tax form. But with ObamaCare everyone has to "prove" to the government they are covered by an insurance program, and the process is overseen by the IRS. I could be wrong on this, and folks will correct me, but that's how I see it right now.

So, at least two far-reaching impacts of ObamaCare: a) an "official" work week across the entire US, 30 hours = full-time employment; and, b) everyone, regardless of income, or lack thereof, will need to file with the IRS. This, of course, is huge. The federal government is probably lacking data on a lot of folks; this will fill in that gap.

It turns out, of all things, there is another, a third impact of ObamaCare. From the Wall Street Journal today:
Getting grown kids out of the house these days is hard enough. Nudging them off the family cellphone plan—or out of an iTunes or Netflix account—can be even harder.

For increasing numbers of parents, the question of how much support to provide an adult child is no longer just about rent subsidies or car payments. The calculation is now complicated by the new maze of subscriptions that allow even far-flung family members (with the right password) to piggyback on a parental account well into their working lives.
When it comes to the digital apron strings, awkward relationship moments can ensue as parents, say, find themselves chasing down grown children about data limits. Now that federal health-care legislation lets adult kids stay on their parents' insurance plans longer, it seems 26 is the new 18.
This is not about Netflix or about digital aprons. This is about the need to have children move out of their parents' home at age 18. ObamaCare prolongs adolescence well into the late 20's. 


* Incidentally, due to the quirkiness of the law, the IRS defines full-time employment, not the employer. If an employer has 100 workers each working 20 hours/week, the employer thinks she has 100 part-time workers and not subject to ObamaCare.  Wrong. The IRS divides the total number of hours worked by these 100 employees (in this case, 2,000 hours) by 120, the number of 30 hours in a 4-week period. 2,000/120 = 17. The employer has the equivalent of 17 full-time workers for ObamaCare purposes. If this is the entire workforce, I do not know if the employer is required to provide ObamaCare health insurance. Does the employer with 100 employees (though all "part-time" by the employers' definition) exceed the 50-employee threshold, or does the IRS "see" only 17 employees. My hunch is that the employer exceeds the 50-employee threshold with 100 employees, albeit all working under 20 hours, and that she will have to provide health care for "17-full-time-equivalents."

**  The 30-hour threshold has other ramifications also. It is only a matter of time before employers will be required to pay overtime for any employee working longer than 30 hours/week, the "official" definition of full-time employment. This will end up in courts before it's all over.

Again, this is beyond my comfort level with correct interpretation of ObamaCare, but within the guidelines of the blog, as noted at the Welcome/Disclaimer, it is appropriate conversation.

Transparency in the Federal Government; Wednesday Links: Big Sugar Bailout; Apple Gets All The Good Apps; Oil Drillers Coaxing More Oil From Shale; Fifth RBN Installment on CBR Terminals In The Bakken

President Obama's transparent federal government: American finances will be made transparent to all federal "spy" agencies. I think it's great; if you have nothing to hide, who cares? I assume the ACLU will go "nuts." If this had even been proposed under a GOP regime -- but, then, of course, it wouldn't have been. There may not be enough money to fund White House tours, but there's enough money to institute more programs to make the government "transparent."

RBN Energy: fifth installment on crude-by-rail terminals in the Bakken.

WSJ Links

Section D (Personal Journal):
Section C (Money & Investing):
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering buying 400,000 tons of sugar—enough for 142 billion Hershey's Kisses—to stave off a wave of defaults by sugar processors that borrowed $862 million under a government price-support program.
The action aims to prop up tumbling U.S. sugar prices, which have fallen 18% since the USDA made the nine-month operations-financing loans beginning in October. The purchases could leave the price-support program with an $80 million loss, its biggest in 13 years, said Barbara Fecso, an economist at the USDA, in an interview. [Later, others saw this, also: the DailyTicker comments.] [Later, also made CNBC.]
Section B (Marketplace):
As expected, the FAA-authorized fixes involve a redesign of the lithium-ion devices to better insulate individual cells as a way to prevent internal short-circuits and overheating from spreading inside the batteries. Boeing also envisions a more-fireproof outside container for the battery, along with a new system to vent smoke and hazardous fumes outside the aircraft in the event a battery starts smoldering or catches fire. 
If all goes well, commercial 787 flights could resume by early May, according to industry and government officials.
  • Chevron expects 20% output rise; story everywhere, no link

  • Oil drillers boost efforts to coax more from shale (nothing of substance in the story; however, there is a photo of a rig outside of Williston, although it could be anywhere in North Dakota, I suppose):
Right now, even with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, new shale wells tap only a small percentage of the oil and gas trapped in small pores in the rock, leaving more than 75% behind."From 2004 to 2012, the development of shales was basically, hit it with a big sledgehammer and see what comes out," says Richard Spears, vice president of Spears & Associates, a Tulsa, Oklahoma, firm that tracks oil-field spending. 
"Now the question is who can do it the best and optimize the process. Shales aren't tube socks, a one-size-fits-all thing," he said, pointing to using fracking techniques of differing scale and intensity in different shale formations.
Section A:
A federal judge ordered Texas officials to allocate water supplies to meet the needs of what is believed to be the world's last wild flock of endangered whooping cranes.
In the latest skirmish over water rights in Texas, Judge Janis Graham Jack ruled that state water regulators violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to divert enough water from the Guadalupe and San Antonio rivers to feed the estuaries on the Gulf of Mexico where the cranes winter. As a result, the judge wrote in the ruling released late Monday, at least 23 of the birds died in the winter of 2008-09—representing about 9% of the flock.
  • Book review, Do As I Do, Not As I Say, Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg (this review worth the price of the entire paper, today; great review):
For one thing—and this is the most interesting part of Ms. Sandberg's book—it seems that few young women who earn high-end business-school degrees give any serious thought to how a business actually operates.
She describes a speech that she gave at Harvard Business School in 2011. During the question-and-answer session afterward, the male students asked such questions as "What did you learn at Google that you are now applying at Facebook?" and "How do you run a platform company and ensure stability for your developers?"
The female students asked such questions as "How can I get a mentor?"—the "professional equivalent of waiting for Prince Charming," as Ms. Sandberg puts it.
Her advice: If you want a mentor, impress a higher-up with how good you are at doing your job. She is similarly dismayed by a young woman at Facebook who asked her advice about how to "balance work and family"—even though the young woman wasn't even married.
"If current trends continue," Ms. Sandberg told the business-school students, "fifteen years from today, about one-third of the women in this audience will be working full-time and almost all of you will be working for the guy you are sitting next to."
The record of most preschool programs is disappointing. For example, a federal study recently found that the $167 billion spent on Head Start since 1965 has failed to deliver sustainable improvements in school readiness among the children who go through it. That program has recently undergone some changes, but there is understandable skepticism about the Obama administration's plan to spend $10 billion a year making preschool universal.
Anyone involved in such efforts should consider an atypical "pre-preschool" program called Reach Out and Read, which may be the most effective literacy program in the nation. Started 24 years ago by two doctors at Boston City Hospital, the program now touches four million low-income children a year at a cost of $10 per child. Here's how it works:
Whenever a parent brings a child to a participating doctor's office for a checkup, the staff "prescribes" that the parent read to that child. Doctors and nurses—who volunteer to incorporate literacy into regular checkups—demonstrate how to do so and why. Many parents have no tradition or habit of reading themselves, so doctors explain how important it is to read to children every day and give the family an age-appropriate children's book to keep.
  • Op-ed: drill, Barack, drill. A new study shows the US oil boom is all on private and state land. 
President Obama does a neat John D. Rockefeller imitation these days, taking credit for soaring domestic oil and gas production as if he planned it that way. Not quite. As a new Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports shows, "All of the increased [oil] production from 2007 to 2012 took place on non-federal lands."
Ever since the president took credit for piloting the first helicopter that took out Osama bin Laden, nothing surprises me any more.