Monday, August 12, 2013

This Will Be Fun To Watch: Utility Says Rate Payers Should Help Cover Cost Of Shutting Down Nuclear Plant

The Los Angeles Times is reporting:
Preparing for months of battle over who should pay the estimated $4.1-billion cost of permanently shutting down the San Onofre nuclear power plant, which closed in June, Southern California Edison has launched a public relations campaign suggesting that ratepayers pick up part of the cost.

Who pays — ratepayers, stockholders, equipment manufacturers or insurers — is expected to be a long and thorny dispute before state and federal regulatory agencies as well as in the courts.

On the eve of legislative hearings Tuesday on the issue, the utility offered its 4.9 million customers a preview of its point of view in an advertisement published in the Los Angeles Times.

Closing the power plant is in the "best interests" of customers, it said, and ratepayers should be prepared to pitch in. The company discovered that hundreds of new steam generating tubes were wearing out, and it determined that keeping the plant open till the problem was resolved would be too costly.

Five (5) Wells Coming Off Confidential List Tuesday

  • 22441, 808, OXY USA, Binstock 1-34-27H-142-96, Russian Creek, t2/13; cum 17K 6/13;
  • 22841, drl, Statoil, Rose 12-13-4TFH, Avoca, no data,
  • 23636, 718, Fidelity, Bob 16-21H, Stanley, t2/13; cum 39K 6/13;
  • 24148, 132, Legacy, Legacy Et Al Berge 8-11H, Red Rock, Spearfish, t4/13; cum 9K 6/13;
  • 24607, drl, KOG, P Wood 154-98-2-27-34-16H3B, Truax, no data,

The Legacy well:
  • spud: February 13, 2013, 0400 hours
  • kick-off point: 2,150 feet
  • heel: 3,564 feet
  • total depth: February 21, 2013, 2000 hours
  • total depth: 7,240 feet
  • 24 stages; 211,644 lbs of sand
  • 320-acre spacing unit
Compare the data points for the recent Corinthian well reported with this Legacy well (not the production, but just the drilling data points: how few days it takes to drill; the very little sand used in fracking; how shallow these wells are).

Twenty-Three (23) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; Seven (7) Producing Wells Completed; Big Day For The NDIC

Active rigs: 184

Wells coming off the confidential list today were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Twenty-three (23) new permits --
  • Operators: WPX (11), Whiting (4), (Statoil (4), BR (2), Corinthian Exploration (2)
    Fields: Sanish (Mountrail), Hawkeye (McKenzie), Reunion Bay (Dunn), Banks (McKenzie), Zenith (Stark), Van Hook (Mountrail)
  • Comments: Corinthian has permits for two wildcats; both in Bottineau County; one in Haram oil field, the other not specified
Producing wells completed:
  • 24356, 816, Hess, EN-Hermanson 154-93-0235H-2, Robinson Lake, t7/13; cum --
  • 24369, 1,240, Hess, EN-Weyrauch A-154-93-1720H-4, Robinson Lake, t7/13; cum --
  • 22884, 335, Hess, LK-Dukart 145-97-0310H-4, Little Knife, t7/13; cum --
  • 22570, 418, Hunt, Antelope 1-36-25H, Antelope Creek, t7/13; cum --
  • 21274, 1,389, Enerplus, Chord 148-93-18D-07-3H, McGregory Buttes, t7/13; cum --
  • 21275, 1,082, Enerplus, Music 148-93-18D-0704H TF, McGregory Buttes, t7/13; cum --
In addition, nine (9) permits were renewed, including seven (7) by WPX -- the Martin Fox wells in Mandaree oil field, Dunn County.

The Daily Activity Report Summary Will Be Delayed Due To Swimming Lessons

I just sent a note to Don:

 I don't think I will be able to complete the daily activity post before I have to sign off the net -- taking the girls to their swimming lesson, but I do not recall ever seeing two pages of new permits.

Even at almost 20 permits they could squeeze them into one page; today they went into a second page: 23 permits. (It's possible, early on, when I first started blogging, I saw some daily activity reports with two pages of new permits -- but it's been a long time.)

Also, 7 producing wells completed. A year ago, we saw one or two producing wells completed each day; recently it's been getting up to 6 pretty common; I don't recall as many as 7 in one day. All due to pad drilling.

So, I will complete the report later. It looks like WPX has about 11 new permits; Statoil several, and then, my current favorite, Corinthian Exploration. I will be off the net for several hours. Good luck to all.

Another CBR Terminal Near Edmonton, Alberta

And yet another CBR facility in the west Canadian oil sands.

The Oil & Gas Journal is providing the following data points:
  • joint venture between Keyera Corp and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP
  • cost: $65 million
  • anchor: 5-year agreement with major refiner
  • CBR facility at Edmonton, Alberta -- the Alberta Crude Terminal
  • destination: North American refineries
  • collocated with Keyera's Alberta Diluent Terminal
  • 20 loading bays; total 40,000 bopd into tank cars
  • Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway
  • eyeing possible expansion of up to 125,000 bopd of additional crude loading capacity AND the addition of a diluent recovery unit
  • additional modifications to pipeline and facilities (unrelated to new project)
Two comments:
  • the "CBR laboratory" has its genesis in the Bakken, specifically EOG's terminal at Stanley, ND
  • the diluent will most likely come up from the Eagle Ford in Texas, and possible from the Bakken
Again, killing the Keystone XL may have been the gift that keeps on giving.

I am waiting for the president's announcement that with regard to the Keystone XL 3.0 application, the determination has been made that no determination is necessary. 

Another CBR Terminal For Western Canadian Oil

It's getting hard to keep up with all these stories. I'm pretty sure this is a new story, one I have not posted. (By the way, another "thank you" to readers who send me these stories and links. Don sends me a lot of the stories and I don't always acknowledge that. My bad.)

This is another CBR terminal to be constructed near Hardisty, Alberta.

In my mind, I picture Hardisty sort of like America's Cushing, Oklahoma, the center of oil receiving, storage, and shipment. One can search "Hardisty" on the web site and find the number of stories about pipelines coming into and out of that staging area.

Now, they are adding CBR terminals due to, most likely, the lack of movement on the Keystone.

The Wall Street Journal provides these data points:
  • joint venture between Gibson Energy Inc and US Development Group LLC
  • near Hardisty, Alberta
  • cost not disclosed
  • Gibson: Alberta-based midstream energy company
  • US Development Group: Houston-based
  • terminal will be able to hand two unit trains daily up of up 120 railcars each
  • the terminal will handle multiple grades of crude oil
  • initial capacity: 140,000 bbls
  • 1Q14: operational
  • five-mile pipeline from Canadian Pacific Railway's North Main Line to Hardisty Terminal
You know, I'm beginning to think killing the Keystone XL will result in a lot more long term jobs than the pipeline would have, and many of those jobs will be in Canada.

Three things will follow:
  • a lot more railcars will have to be built, maintenance of those railcars
  • maintenance of track will be enhanced
  • more track will be laid
I can envision dual track where there is currently single track in a lot of locations. This will be much more manpower intensive and longer-lasting in terms of jobs than pipelines ever would have been.

As an example, a Greenbrier press release dated today:
The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. announced today it has signed a multi-year maintenance supply agreement to provide CIT Rail with dedicated access to repair capacity at Greenbrier's railcar repair & parts shop in Atchison, Kansas, with opportunities to expand to additional repair facilities in its nationwide network. Throughout the term of the agreement, the parties will collaborate to match CIT Rail's railcar maintenance requirements with available shop capacity, thereby maximizing shop utilization and reducing out of service time for CIT railcars.
Greenbrier expects the repair work it performs under the agreement will enhance revenue and gross margins for its Wheels, Repair & Parts segment starting in its 2014 fiscal year. 
CIT Rail is one of the largest freight car owners in North America with a fleet of approximately 104,000 railcars and 400 locomotives. CIT aims to provide its customers with high quality and dependable railcar assets and this agreement will serve to secure shop space for preventative railcar maintenance, regulatory certifications, lining and paint work and other standard service needs.

Devils Lake, The City, Not The Lake, Is Growing -- This Is Really Good News


August 14, 2013: The Dickinson Press is also reporting Devils Lake's "reversal of fortune."
The city’s attention in recent years has been commanded by the flood fight, which has cost more than $1.5 billion throughout the Devils Lake Basin. The lake has risen more than 31 feet and quadrupled in size since 1993, reaching a record elevation of 1,454.3 feet in 2011. The lake currently is at about 1,453.4 feet.
The final pieces of the flood protection infrastructure are nearing completion.
“The dike, at one point, was a hindrance to attracting business. How comfortable are you behind a dike? But that seems to be going away,” said Rick Anderson, recently retired executive director of North Central Planning Council, a regional economic development organization.
Here’s a sample of commercial and other public construction projects underway or planned:
- A 120,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter is in early stages of construction along U.S. Highway 2, with completion expected in 2014
- A new Applebee’s restaurant is under construction along the highway
- A 60-room Sleep Inn is under construction across the street from the new Walmart. Officials already are talking about expanding
- Ultra Green, a manufacturer of biodegradable food containers from wheat straw, is under construction in the former Noodles by Leonardo pasta plant. Officials expect to employ about 100 by the end of the year and 300 to 350 within three to five years
- Butler Machinery, a dealer of Caterpillar heavy equipment, is building a new agricultural equipment sales and service branch just west of the city
And more at the link.

Original Post
The Bismarck Tribune is reporting:
A Walmart Supercenter is in the early stages of construction along U.S. Highway 2, with completion expected in 2014. A 60-room Sleep Inn is under construction across the street from the new Walmart, and an Applebee's restaurant also is being built along the highway.
Ultra Green, a manufacturer of biodegradable food containers made from wheat straw, is under construction in the former Noodles by Leonardo pasta plant. Officials expect to employ about 100 people by the end of the year and up to 350 within five years. Butler Machinery, a dealer of Caterpillar heavy equipment, is building an agricultural equipment sales and service branch just west of the city.
Last year saw construction of a High Plains Implement dealership, a $10 million expansion of Altru Clinic, a new Lake Chevrolet building downtown and a major addition to Summers Manufacturing, an agricultural equipment builder and dealer. About 50 housing units also were built, and that number will grow to at least 100 by the end of this year, with more planned next year.
It's just hard to believe that the oil patch is having this much impact on Devils Lake, but it's hard to explain it otherwise. Of course, agriculture is still the #1 industry in the state, but it's hard to believe that agriculture is driving this growth. 

Devils Lake is well outside the oil patch about 250 miles to the east of Williston.

Calumet Specialty Products Acquires Seven Oil-Loading Facilities In The Bakken Oil Patch

Calumet Specialty Products acquired seven crude oil loading facilities and related assets in North Dakota and Montana from Murphy Oil USA: Co announced that it has acquired seven crude oil loading facilities and related assets in North Dakota and Montana from Murphy Oil USA. The transaction closed on August 9, 2013.  Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. With the acquisition of these loading facilities, all of which are connected at junction points along Enbridge's North Dakota pipeline system, Calumet will be positioned to source increased volumes of crude oil directly from local producers in North Dakota and Montana while continuing to supplement its feedstock procurement through third-party marketing relationships. -- Yahoo!Finance In Play.

Regular readers are familiar with Calumet Specialty Products; the company is in a joint venture to build a refinery west of Dickinson. Calumet Specialty Products was also exploring the opportunity to build a terminal on Lake Superior.

At Murphy Oil's website: the company operates a network of 7 company-owned terminals. These terminals, along with numerous third-party terminals, provide fuel supply to our retail network and wholesale customers throughout 23 states.

I was unaware of Murphy CBR facilities; it is possible these are truck-loading terminals. Maybe others know. 

RBN Energy Crude Oil Pricing, The Bakken, And The Spearfish

Elsewhere there are always a lot of questions and confusion about pricing Bakken oil.

RBN Energy has a great essay today on the crude oil market in the United States. This is an article that needs to be archived (and it has been, over at the sidebar under "RBN Energy").

This is a very important paragraph in that analysis:
Both LHS and Eagle Ford are light sweet crudes and there are plenty of these grades headed into Houston in the coming months. However many Houston refiners are actually looking to buy heavier sour crudes because their refineries are configured to process these grades rather than the light-sweets.
Most of these heavy sour requirements are currently met by imports from Mexico and Venezuela but those suppliers will increasingly compete with Canadian heavy crudes arriving via Cushing and medium sour grades such as WTS from the Permian Basin. So although there is no clear trading market for a standard sour crude grade in Houston yet, because the infrastructure and supply picture is still evolving, it is likely that one will develop. In fact heavy sour crudes may well become more valuable than light sweet grades. For example it is interesting to note that during July 2013, prices for WTS crude at Midland in the Permian Basin were higher than for WTI at the same location (by an average of about 20 cnts/Bbl).
That situation is unusual since WTS has traditionally traded at a discount to WTI because sour crude is generally less valuable to refiners. [The reason that sour crude prices are usually cheaper  is that additional expensive processing is required to remove the sulfur from refined products made from these grades.] Higher WTS prices last month reflected new demand for delivery to Houston refiners on the Longhorn pipeline, particularly since the Shell Houma to Houston (Ho-Ho) pipeline is now no longer flowing sour grades to Houston since it was closed to finish the reversal of that pipeline. Increased demand for sour crudes in the midst of the incoming flood of light sweet crude is likely to continue to upset “business as usual” for Gulf Coast crude pricing.
Two takeaway points for those following the North Dakota oil industry:
  • Bakken oil is closer to what refiners want compared to Eagle Ford oil which is too light, and flooding the market
  • Spearfish heavier, sour crude is exactly what some refiners are now looking for
It looks like my commentary over the weekend was spot on.

Even more interesting: it looks like Corinthian Exploration in Bottineau County, North Dakota, is hitting its stride at just the right time. In addition to that well reported last week, today Corinthian Exploration reports two more similar wells -- as good as any mediocre Bakken well, and, way, way less expensive:
  • 23894, 146, Corinthian Exploration, Corinthian Backman 12-34 1H, North Souris, another very nice Spearfish well, t2/13; cum 16K 6/13; 19 stages, 163K lbs proppant; 3,000 feet deep vertically; < 6,000 feet total depth; five days to drill; 320-acre spacing;
  • 23895, 133, Corinthian Exploration, Corinthian Backman 4-34 1H, North Souris, a very nice Spearfish well; t3/13; cum 18K 6/13; 20 stages; 180K lbs proppant; 3,000 feet deep vertically; < 6,000 feet total depth; 4 days and 1 hour to drill to total depth
Theme song for the roughnecks working the Spearfish:

She Bop, Cyndi Lauper

They can drill a Spearfish well in about the time it took to record this song. Fast. Play it loud with the windows rolled down.

Corn Boom Starts To Wilt -- WSJ

The WSJ is reporting:
The boom in corn prices that helped propel the U.S. farm economy is fading amid expectations for a record-high harvest.
Prices are down more than 40% from last year's all-time highs, to their lowest point in nearly three years. The decline is bringing relief to meat producers and other food companies hurt by steep costs for animal feed and other ingredients made from corn. Lower corn prices also could curb supermarket prices for beef.
But the slide is bad news for farmers who saw their incomes surge to the highest levels since the early 1970s, adjusted for inflation, while farmland values ballooned so much that some analysts worried about a bubble. Lower corn prices will squeeze profit margins, farmers who rent land for their crops might struggle to make money, and sales of tractors and other farm supplies likely will suffer.
Corn is the largest U.S. crop, grown on more than 400,000 farms. The total area harvested for the grain is as big as New Mexico. On Friday, corn traded in the futures market for slightly more than $4.65 a bushel, down from $8.31 a bushel last August. Prices for soybeans, the U.S.'s second-biggest crop, are down more than 20% from a year ago.
This may be a double whammy for corn farmers. The ethanol industry is starting to take some hits also. 

Monday Morning News, Links, And Views

Active rigs: 185 (nice trend, up)

RBN Energy: today's RBN Energy essay will get its own stand-alone post. For now:
Light sweet crude is flooding the market; refiners along the coast are optimized for heavier crudes and sour crudes. Eagle Ford is "too" light. Bakken is better for the refiners than Eagle Ford, and RBN Energy will have a stand-alone essay on Bakken pricing in the near future. Interestingly enough, the US refiners, particularly the refiners along the Gulf coast, are looking for sour cruces. And, just coincidentally, North Dakota has sour crude also: the Spearfish. Two things are converging nicely for Bottineau County: Corinthian Exploration is reporting some very nice wells, and refiners are looking for sour crude.
On Friday, ten companies announced increased dividends, including Whiting's trust I and II. 

Wells coming off the confidential this past weekend and today have been posted. Some huge wells; four (4) make the "high IP" list; many outstanding well.

Over the weekend, some nice posts, in case you missed them:
WSJ Links

A corn boom starts to wilt. -- a stand-alone post has been posted. This was the headline, front page story in Section C, "Money & Investing."

For investors only: there is a nice article about major oil companies and investing in "Heard On The Street," -- reserving a spot in the shifting oil world.  Some data points:
  • 50 - 60 billion boe in reserves: Shell, Rosneft, PetroChina, ExxonMobil, Petroleo Brasileiro
  • 30 - 40 billion boe: Chevron, Total, BP
  • 25 billion boe: Eni, Statoil, COP
  • Two homebody elephants with 90% of their resource base at home: Rosneft and Petrochina
  • Only truly global integrated majors: Exxon and Shell; but they won't break up
  • But smaller majors with reserves in only one or two regions (Statoil, Eni, Conoco) are in a quandry: either bulk up or break up
  • state-run companies like Statoil and Eni unlikely to break up
  • that leaves Conoco: a split is possible -- a) North American growth; and, b) international deepwater and LGN projects
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here or what you think you might have read here.

Another article on Chinese car sales. It seems we've talking about Chinese automobile market quite a bit lately. Today, passenger-car sales pick up pace in China even as economy slows.
China's passenger-car sales picked up pace in July, signaling healthy consumer confidence and continued strength in the world's No. 1 auto market even as the nation's economic growth moves toward a 20-year low.
Sales of passenger vehicles, including sedans, sport-utility vehicles and minivans, were up 10.5% from a year earlier to 1.24 million vehicles, the semiofficial China Association of Automobile Manufacturers industry group said on Friday. That exceeds June's 9.3% pace and May's 9%, both over a year earlier. 
While most economists expect the growth rate for China's economy to slow to about 7.5% this year, the weakest since 1990, analysts and industry groups expect passenger-car sales gains to accelerate past 10%. That would be well short of the high double-digit figures of the previous decade, but still the highest level since 2010.
Emerging world loses economic growth lead to Japan, US, and Europe. Front page, headline story, above the fold.

Protests grow in Egypt. This was also on NPR news this morning. Every day the military does not crack down on the protestors, their numbers grow, organization improves, and the military has a bigger problem. The biggest problem Mediterranean military senior officers face is a lack of sophisticated strategic thinking.

Op-Ed: the budget sequester is a success -- the Obama spednign blitz is over, and the deficit is heading below 4% of GDP. And the best news: the president is on vacation.

The deficit drop is also being reported by the AP:
The government is on track to record a significant drop in the budget deficit this year with stronger growth helping to boost tax revenues.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the deficit for July will total $96 billion and that will bring the total for the first 10 months of the budget year to $606 billion, an improvement of $368 billion from the same period in 2011. The Treasury Department will release the July budget report at 2 p.m. EDT Monday.
Through June, the deficit totaled $509.8 billion. That was an improvement of 43.6 percent from the same period a year ago and kept the country on track to post the first deficit below $1 trillion in five years.

ObamaCare will probably sink a Democratic senator
An internal poll conducted in Arkansas for the National Republican Senatorial Committee puts GOP Rep. Tom Cotton head of incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor by 2 percentage points.
The freshman congressman led the two-term senator 44 percent to 42 percent in a survey taken two weeks ago, ahead of his official campaign launch.
Of course, this is way too early to tell, but my hunch one of two things will happen.