Tuesday, August 27, 2013

For Investors Only

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here or what you think you may have read here. 

Natural Gas Storage receives buyout proposal from Plains All American Pipeline (PAA); proposed consideration represents a value per PNG common unit of $22.74 : Co announced that the independent directors of the board of directors of PNG's general partner received a proposal from Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. (NYSE: PAA), whereby PAA would acquire all of PNG's outstanding publicly held common units through a unit-for-unit exchange. PAA is proposing consideration of 0.435 common units of PAA for each issued and outstanding publicly held PNG common unit in a transaction that would be structured as a merger of PNG with a wholly owned subsidiary of PAA. The proposed consideration represents a value per PNG common unit of $22.74 based on the trailing 10-day average closing price of PAA's common units through August 26, 2013.


I see oil futures have NYMEX oil just below $110, at $109.70. 

Some Inconvenient Truths: China To Build 363 Coal-Fired Power Plants; The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant (In The US) To Close


September 21, 2015: natural gas processing plant in the works to replace the nuclear power plant? Don't hold your breath.  

Original Post
Do you all remember this post?
According to an analysis by the World Resources Institute [these are the activist environmentalists who are worried about global warming] in Washington, 1,200 coal-fired plants are proposed globally, with more than three-quarters of those planned for India and China alone. If all are built, which WRI says is unlikely, that would add more than 80 percent to existing capacity.
1,200 coal-fired plants on the drawing board world-wide. Wow.

Now, today, this article from the same WRI folks:
To maintain its economic growth and provide for its massive population, China must reconcile two powerful, converging trends: energy demand and resource scarcity. One prime example of this tension is the country’s coal use and water supply.
According to a new WRI analysis, more than half of China’s proposed coal-fired power plants are slated to be built in areas of high or extremely high water stress. If these plants are built, they could further strain already-scarce resources, threatening water security for China’s farms, other industries, and communities.
As of July 2012, China’s government planned 363 coal-fired power plants for construction across China, with a combined generating capacity exceeding 557 gigawatts (for reference, installed capacity at the end of 2012 was 758 GW. This amounts to an almost 75 percent increase in coal-fired generating capacity. China already ranks as world’s largest coal consumer, accounting for almost 50 percent of global coal use.
That pretty much tells me coal is going to be around for a long, long time and that the Obama war on coal will probably last about as long as his administration.

As XOM pointed out a long, long time ago, there isn't enough money to capitalize all the wind and solar farms the world would need to replace all those coal-fired power plants, and even if there was enough month, there would not be enough surface on the earth for all those renewable farms. The math simply doesn't work. But this is the Second Age of Romanticism, and not another Age of Science. At least in Washington, DC.

By the way, for the folks who think nuclear would fill the gap, not likely. Japan and Germany have said "no" to nuclear, and the latter is going back to coal. Japan, I believe, is going back to natural gas. And once nuclear plants are shut down, they will never be brought back on-line. The Vermont Yankee nuclear station is closing. Reuters is reporting:
Entergy Corp said it will shut its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, becoming the latest casualty of low power prices and utilities preferring cheap natural gas to generate electricity.
The 620-megawatt power station is not expected to produce power after its current fuel cycle and will be decommissioned in the fourth quarter of next year, the company said.
"This was an agonizing decision and an extremely tough call for us," said Leo Denault, Entergy's chief executive officer. Power prices have followed the natural gas market to lows, as the market grapples with the shale gas boom and flagging demand due to the struggling economy.
And so it goes. More engineers without a job. Fortunately there is ObamaCare being brought up to speed next year. 

Thirteen (13) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; QEP Has A Nice Well; Other Four Are Mediocre; A Madison Well And A Red River Well In The Mix

Active rigs: 186 (continues to slowly climb back up toward 190)

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

 Thirteen (13) new permits --
Operators: Whiting (5), MRO (3), HRC (3), Oasis (2)
Fields: Murphy Creek (Dunn), Bell (Stark), McGregory Buttes (Dunn), Pleasant Hill (McKenzie), Alger (Mountrail)
There were 12 permit renewals; a fairly long list; seven of of them were Statoil permits.

Two Whiting permits were canceled:
  • 25794, PNC, Whiting, Schilke 14-33-2H,
  • 25795, PNC, Whiting, Schilke 14-33H,
Four producing wells were completed:
  • 24449, 440, SM Energy, Legaard 2-25HNA, Colgan, t7/13; cum --
  • 24552, 780, EOG, Van Hook 131-1415H, Parshall, t8/13; cum --
  • 24626, 2,924, BR, Badlands 41-15MBH, Hawkeye, 1280-acre; t8/13; cum --
  • 24658, 90, CLR, Farver 3-29H2, Hamlet, t8/13; cum --
Wells coming off confidential list Wednesday:
  • 24366, 2,102, QEP, MHA 4-04-03H-149-91, Heart Butte, t7/13; no production data, 
  • 24468, drl, Statoil, Viking 16-15 1H, Poe, no production data,
  • 24587, 229, Murex, Keri Elizabeth 4-9H, Fortuna, t4/13; cum 11K 6/13;
  • 24714, 1,029, Hess, EN-Hein S 156-94-1201H-4, Big Butte, t7/13; cum 10K 6/13;
  • 24910, 45, Whiting, Meyers 31-19, Bonnie View, a Red River well; Golden Valley county;  (2-section field out in the middle of nowhere), t5/13; cum 1K 6/13;
  • 24958, 40, Petro Harvester, Swenson 4H,  Columbus, a Madison well; t6/13; cum -- 

Whiting To Acquire 17,000 Acres In the Williston Basin Bakken; $260 Million


August 28, 2013: a reader tells us that the seller was Petro-Hunt, LLC
Original Post

A reader sent this press release; I completely missed it earlier today:
Whiting Petroleum Corporation announced today that it has signed a purchase and sale agreement with a private party to acquire certain producing oil and gas wells and development acreage in the Williston Basin in Williams and McKenzie counties of North Dakota and Roosevelt and Richland counties of Montana. The purchase price is $260 million, subject to customary adjustments, and the acquisition has an effective date of August 1, 2013.

The properties primarily target the Middle Bakken and Three Forks zones and include 17,282 net (39,310 gross) acres located in and around Whiting’s acreage in the Missouri Breaks and Hidden Bench prospects in its Western Williston Basin area. The properties include 13 operated 1,280-acre Bakken/Three Forks drilling spacing units with an average working interest of 58% and net revenue interest of 48%. 92% of the acreage is held by production.
Net oil and gas production from the properties is estimated to average 2,420 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day in August 2013. Whiting estimates proved reserves at 17.1 million BOE with 85% of reserves being oil. Whiting also estimates 24% of the reserves are proved developed producing and 76% are proved undeveloped.
James J. Volker, Whiting’s Chairman and CEO, commented, “This acreage expands our presence in our Western Williston Basin area where we have seen recent strong production growth primarily as a result of positive drilling results at our Hidden Bench, Tarpon and Missouri Breaks prospects.”
At the link, there should be a map of the properties.

One year of 2,420 bopd = 800,000 bbls / year (yes, I know there is a significant decline rate in the first two years). At 48% net revenue and about $75/bbl, that's about $30 million. $260 million - $30 million = $230 million for about 17,000 net acres, or about $13,500/acre. So, we will see what others come up with. If anywhere close to "accurate," it certainly suggests the Bakken is holding its value. 

The "Moscow Declaration" -- Connecting Some Dots -- And There Are A Lot Of Dots To Connect; New Poll -- Will We See $145 Oil Soon?

A few moments ago, I updated an earlier post regarding Saudi's decreasing oil production and the concerns of the kingdom (scroll to the bottom at the link).

Coincidentally, a reader sent me this article linking Russia, Syria, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:
Saudi Arabia has secretly offered Russia a sweeping deal to control the global oil market and safeguard Russia’s gas contracts, if the Kremlin backs away from the Assad regime in Syria.
The revelations come amid high tension in the Middle East, with US, British, and French warships poised for missile strikes against Syria, and Iran threatening to retaliate. The strategic jitters pushed Brent crude prices to a five-month high of $112 a barrel (US dollars).
‘‘We are only one incident away from a serious oil spike. The market is a lot tighter than people think,’’ said Chris Skrebowski, editor of Petroleum Review.
Leaked transcripts of a behind closed doors meeting between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan shed an extraordinary light on the hard-nosed Realpolitik of the two sides.
Prince Bandar, head of Saudi intelligence, allegedly confronted the Kremlin with a mix of inducements and threats in a bid to break the deadlock over Syria.
The "Moscow Declaration":
President Putin has long been pushing for a global gas cartel, issuing the ‘‘Moscow Declaration’’ last month to ‘‘defend suppliers and resist unfair pressure."
Mr Skrebowski said it is unclear what the Saudis can really offer the Russians on gas, beyond using leverage over Qatar and others to cut output of liquefied natural gas.
Saudi Arabia could help boost oil prices by restricting its own supply. This would be a shot in the arm for Russia, but it would be a dangerous strategy if it pushed prices to levels that put the global economic recovery at risk. Mr Skrebowski said trouble is brewing in supply states.
‘Libya is reverting to war lordism. Nigeria is drifting into a bandit state with steady loss of output. And Iraq is going back to the sort of Sunni-Shia civil war we saw in 2006-07,’’ he said.
The Putin-Bandar meeting took place three weeks ago. Mr Putin was unmoved by the Saudi offer.
Vladimir looks more and more like the "big man on campus" with a weakened, "in-over-his-head" O'Bama presidency who still believes the future of the US rests with wind. And solar. And it does: in about two hundred years.

A huge "thank you" to the reader for sending me this article from Australia's The Age.


So, finally, time for a new poll.  But first the results of the "open book test" about Japan's total public debt (in which the readers were overwhelmingly correct). Japan's total public debt is what percent of its GDP?
  • 5%: 5%
  • 7.5%: 3%
  • 10%: 4%
  • 250%: 70%
I don't know about you, but I find it incredible that Japan's total debt represents 250% of their GDP and folks here in the US get excited when our total debt represents 6% of our GDP and the debt appears to be falling in percentage terms. Whatever.

So, the new poll. In light of the story above ("The Moscow Declaration?), will we see $145 Brent oil by the end of next month? It could be a "yes/no" poll but I hate binary. So, some options. Will we see $145 Brent oil by the end of September, 2013?
  • Yes
  • No, the high will be less than $130
  • No, the high will be less than $120
  • No, we have already seen the high ($114)

Is Crescent Point Pulling Out Of North Dakota? -- August 27, 2013

A reader sent me this:
Have also noticed that Crescent Point Energy has had little to no activity in the area just to the north of these wells; some of their permits are about to expire.

Does anyone know what happened to Crescent Point? Are they concentrating their efforts in Canada and Utah? 
This might explain some of the back story, posted back in May 14, 2013 (when you get to the link, scroll down to the original post):


Crescent has 8 active permits in North Dakota. Interestingly, none of the permits/wells below have a date for coming off the confidential list suggesting they have not been spud.
  • 22323, 181, Crescent Point, CPEUSC Makowsky 31-30-158-99W, t10/14; cum 108K 2/16;
  • 24062, 505, Crescent Point, CPEUSC Narcisse 8-5-158N-99W, t12/14; cum 103K 2/16;
  • 24072, 342, Crescent Point, CPEUSC Holmes 8-5-158N-100W, t3/15; cum 84K 2/16;
  • 24451, 128, Crescent Point, CPEUSC Ruby 17-20-158N-100W, t3/15; cum 66K 2/16;
  • 24695, 297, Crescent Point, CPEUSC Campbell 7-6-158N-100W, t3/15; cum 68K 2/16;
  • 24710, PNC, Crescent Point, CPEC Marino 25-36-162N-102W,
  • 24719, PNC, Crescent Point, GO-Riders 158-99-1522H, 
  • 25055, 288, Crescent Point, CPEUSC Dressler 36-25-158N-100W, t9/14; cum 114K 2/16;
And more concerning, Crescent has no active drilling rigs listed in North Dakota today

Crescent Point Energy corporate presentations are located here. The August, 2013, presentation:
  • the company has 6,680 net wells in its "development inventory" but only 575 are in the US (ND/MT)
I didn't find the presentation particularly enlightening, but certainly nothing to suggest much interest in North Dakota Bakken right now.

Tuesday Morning News, Views, And Links -- Part V -- NBC Releasing War Plans -- First Cruise Missiles To Be Launched Thursday

Note: this is Part V of today's links.  Part IV is classified -- the NBC war plans. 

Wow, how many days has it been since the Yahoo! Finance page has not fixed its broken oil link? It must be over a week now.

CNBC shows oil spiking almost $3.00 to over $108. I assume this is due to the impending cruise missile strikes on Syria. Let's see what Drudge has to say: yup. There it is. The war plans being laid out for all to see. Two days of cruise missile strikes. US war planes arriving at Cyprus. Stock market plunges. Allies being told strikes to occur within a couple of days. Russia, China say "not on our watch." The president won't get UN mandate. Not this president. Little use for the UN. Little use for Congress. But oil is nearing $110. Another psychological break point.

NBC is releasing the war plans: expect first cruise missiles to fly Thursday. Need to get this done over 48 hours so it doesn't interfere with last three days of the Deutsche Bank FedEx Championship. But the timing should work out. Re-arm, re-assess over the long weekend, and then resume firing if necessary.

We appear to be stumbling in...

Stumblin' In, Chris and Suzi

but this, too, shall pass, and we will all meet again, and happy to know that we were singing this song:

We'll Meet Again, Vera Lynn; theme song Assad, Mussolini, Hussein, and Hitler

9:26AM WTI crude oil rallies to new HoD as Syrian tensions rise; Oct crude rose above $109/barrel for a few seconds. Crude is now +2.8% at $108.90/barrel.

My hunch: the President will dither for at least a week; this could still blow over. No drama, O'Bama. Two thoughts into the president's psyche: a) on Benghazi -- let the embassy go, throw it under the bus; we don't need another "Carter-style" hostage situation; and, b) Syria is the new "Cuban Missile Crisis" for O'Bama but this time Putin holds all the cards.

It looks like the market is "red" except for oil companies which are "green."  Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here, or what you thought you might have read here. 

On a lighter note: the US Treasury has kept the US debt frozen at $16,699,396,000,000 for 100 days now. And the government will meet debt limit in mid-October. It's all smoke and mirrors. Even the mainstream media doesn't care.
The statement for Aug. 23 said the federal debt subject to the legal limit set by Congress was $16,699,396,000,000—or $25 million below the current limit of $16,699,421,000,000.
Every Daily Treasury Statement since May 17 has also shown the legally limited debt at $16,699,396,000,000, or $25 million below the limit.
During the 100-day period from Friday, May 17 to Sunday, Aug. 25, according to the Treasury, the legally limited debt of the federal government did not change.
$25 million for the US federal government is a rounding error. It's going to be an ugly October. Anyone remember "Black Friday," October, 1987?

The Treasury Secretary says the administration won't negotiate over debt limit. It will be interesting to see the president just blow through the debt ceiling. My hunch: if Congress doesn't act, the Treasury Department will simply pay bills with some form of IOUs.  Then we will have two sets of ledgers to follow: the official debt which will remain frozen at $16 trillion, and a second ledger of IOUs.

Tuesday Morning News, Views, And Links -- Part III

Schools in the Bakken oil patch are maxed out.

These stories warm the cockles of my heart.

When I first started blogging, I remember all the naysayers saying workers would not a) stick around in the Bakken; and, b) would not bring their families.

I opined at the time that, after 30 years of traipsing around the world at the whims of the United States Air Force, I knew that some folks would go anywhere to serve their country or their company, and that their families would follow. I saw military spouses travel to countries, where they were specifically told they were not welcome, to be with their active duty husbands. And they would bring their children if they had children.

First Williston and Watford City.

So, now we see it's true here also. The Dickinson Press is probably surprised, but they are reporting:
Schools in the booming towns of Williston and Watford City welcomed hundreds of new students Monday.
Early enrollment estimates in Williston show a student body of about 3,150, an increase of about 350 students since the school year ended last May, said Superintendent Viola LaFontaine.
Much of the growth is in the elementary grades because many families moving to North Dakota’s Oil Patch tend to have young children. Williston now has about 300 students in 15 sections of Kindergarten.
Enrollment numbers are expected to go up and down throughout the year as many families move in and out of the community, LaFontaine said.
McKenzie County School District opened a new elementary school this fall and it’s already full, said Superintendent Steve Holen.

McKenzie County had 1,027 students on its first day of school Monday, up 162 students or nearly 19 percent more students than the district ended with last May.
One could have predicted this. And some did. Some didn't. And so it goes.


On the other hand, Dickinson lodging is "improving." The Dickinson Press is reporting:
Dickinson’s hotels and motels are becoming less responsible for housing oil field workers as more extended-stay lodging, like crew camps and extended-stay hotels, as well as permanent housing are created in the area.
From two years ago, the hotel occupancy rate is down, said Terri Thiel, executive director of the Dickinson Area Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. In July it sat at 72 percent. It has been above 90 percent the last few years.
“That’s leaving more rooms for us to work with for leisure travel or meetings and businesses that are coming into town,” Thiel said. “It’s probably a good thing so we can continue to attract that long-term business back again repeatedly.”
The occupancy rate does include extended-stay hotels that feature kitchenettes and other amenities similar to a studio apartment, Thiel said.
“If one person stays in the same room for over 30 days — whether it would be a regular hotel or an extended stay — then the taxes are not collected after that,” Thiel said.
“They’re marketing towards these longer-term stays for the crews or on the business end of that project.”
I didn't know that about the 30-day rule and taxes. Interesting.


The Minot schools are also growing. The Minot Daily News is reporting that the city needs to build another elementary school, and more.  For newbies: Minot lies outside of the Bakken but plays a major supporting role.

Tuesday Morning Views And News -- Part II

Coal: one man's worst nightmare:  How many people remember this: the O'Bama administration's worse nightmare? Coal. Yes, that was noted at this post back on March 12, 2011. That is more than two years ago. And the fallout (pun intended) from the  Fukushima debacle continues; it is worse than ever more than two years later.

Two years ago:
Steven Chu is the country's Secretary of Energy.

He is an advocate of alternative energy and nuclear power.

Steven Chu's worst nightmare:coal.
What about other energy sources? Big Coal won’t be very happy if Dr. Chu gets confirmed as head of the DOE—he’s really, really not a big fan. “Coal is my worst nightmare,” he said repeatedly in a speech earlier this year outlining his lab’s alternative-energy approaches.
This morning there are reports that there has been a huge explosion in one of Japan's nuclear reactors where radiation had already risen 1000 times higher than normal.  [Update: March 12, 2011 afternoon: a second reactor ha now lost its emergency cooling system. Two reactors at risk.]
And so it goes.  Steven Chu's worse nightmare: coal. I can't make this stuff up.


Ignoring the law:  I assume all presidents ignore the laws they swore to uphold, but one thing about President O'Bama. He has kept his promise to be transparent. He is very up front about ignoring the laws he does not like. Fortunately there are some who still believe in the rule of the land. For North Dakotans, it will mean another $3.2 million.

The Bimarck Tribune is reporting: the Feds "agreed" to pay the states the mineral rights they were owed. Wow. "Agree" to pay the states the mineral rights they were owed. The O'Bama administration has such contempt for states' rights. All 57 of them; 57 states, that is. If you bother to read the linked article, the best line:
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, said the administration's reversal showed it had "seen reason."
Seen reason. Okay. 

WSJ Links

 Soybean, grain prices soar

Earthquakes and fracking
So much oil and water is being removed from South Texas' Eagle Ford Shale that the activity has probably led to a recent wave of small earthquakes, according to a study that appears in the online edition of the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
The Wall Street Journal reviewed the findings in advance of publication. The peer-reviewed study's authors suggest that taking oil and water out of the ground allows surrounding rock and sand to settle, triggering small tremors that are typically too weak to be noticed on the surface.
Environmental and community groups have expressed concerns about a link between earthquakes and hydraulic fracturing, a method of injecting water into dense shale formations in order to crack them open and tap into trapped oil.
The new study doesn't find much evidence that the man-made fracturing is causing earthquakes all by itself.
The connection is more indirect, the study found: New wells are extracting nearly 600,000 barrels of oil a day and a considerable amount of water as well. Given the scale at which oil is now being removed, enough liquids are being disturbed that rocks are settling and faults slipping, causing the small earthquakes.
The cause of the earthquakes in South Texas is similar to what occurred around the city of Long Beach, Calif., last century, said Cliff Frohlich, one of the study's authors and an associate director at the University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Geophysics.
Oil production and groundwater wells caused much of the area to sink nearly 30 feet over many years.
Harrisburg gives the court its plan to pay off $360 million in debt. I follow these stories here.
Harrisburg's state-appointed financial overseer released a plan on Monday for Pennsylvania's financially troubled capital to rid itself of $360 million in debt through the sale of an incinerator and the lease of its parking facilities for 40 years.
William B. Lynch, the city's receiver, filed a proposal with the Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg for approval. A spokesman for Mr. Lynch said a decision could be made within three weeks. The receiver has negotiated with the city's creditors, who have agreed to take about $100 million less than they are owed, although they could recoup more money after 25 years from parking revenues.
Court approval would bring the city significantly closer to stabilizing its finances after years of missteps and the intervention of the state's governor. The sale and lease also require city council to approve legislation sanctioning the deals. A council member said bills to do so would be introduced Tuesday.
Under the plan, Harrisburg would sell its debt ridden incinerator for between $126 million and $132 million to Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority.
Why O'Bama is being pulled into the Syrian debacle: one word - Iran. 
After two years of trying hard to avoid involvement in a conflict that he fears could easily become a long-term quagmire, that has little popular appeal at home, and that his own Pentagon chiefs have essentially called a losing proposition, President Barack Obama stands on the edge of a military commitment in Syria.
The reasons the situation has come to this are many and varied, but the most complex one can be summarized in one word: Iran.
As the force behind the Syrian regime, Iran is the country most responsible for fueling the regime's fight, and the nation whose influence will be most enhanced if President Bashar al-Assad prevails. 
The timing is such, President O'Bama will leave the next president to clean up this mess.

A bittersweet story: a civil rights leader finally gets his medal of freedom. He died in 1987. 
A Quaker born in Pennsylvania in 1912, Mr. Rustin grew up a star athlete and talented musician. He joined the Young Communist League in the 1930s, drawn to what he saw as the party's efforts toward righting racial wrongs in the U.S., though he broke with the party after concluding that its allegiance was more to the Soviet Union.
During World War II, Mr. Rustin spent 27 months in federal penitentiaries for refusing to submit to the draft, in keeping with his Quaker beliefs. In prison, he led protests against segregation behind bars and got in trouble for sexual activities with other inmates.
After his release, he wound up on a North Carolina chain gang after organizing protest rides against racial segregation on buses. He traveled to India in the 1940s to study the nonviolent tactics of Mahatma Gandhi.
Teaming up with Rev. King, he helped organize the 1956 bus boycott in Montgomery, AL.

Tuesday Morning Links, Views, And News -- Part I

Active rigs: 185

Wells coming off the confidential list have been posted. KOG has a nice well

RBN Energy: handling the expanding production from the Uinta.

Houston is booming due to the energy revolution: "build, baby, build." Rigzone is reporting:
With Texas one of the few bright spots in the U.S. economy, the skyline of swaggering Houston is where the action is as builders and global oil companies, from Phillips 66 to Exxon Mobil Corp, look past previous busts and spend billions on gleaming new buildings.
The U.S. shale oil and gas revolution - which has already changed industries from railroads to pipelines and refineries - is helping drive the voracious appetite for office space needed for the expanding workforce in the world's energy capital.
Demand is so hot that Houston is one of the few places where banks - including Wells Fargo & Co, which is seen as one of the more conservative big banks - will loan money for a new building without demanding developers first have a tenant.
The entire United States could be booming if we had had the right leadership. And with the Feds ready to announce new fracking rules, even where things are going well, will slow down. But I digress, of course.

Greenpeace illegally enters the Russian Arctic to protest drilling. Rigzone/Reuters is reporting:
The Arctic Sunrise entered the Northern Sea Route early Saturday morning to protest adjacent to the park. Rosneft and ExxonMobil plan to jointly explore the Vostochno-Prinovozemelsky-2 concession, which includes 11,119 acres (4,500 hectares) in the Russian Arctic National Park. Greenpeace said the plans to drill in the park directly contradict Russian environmental law.
The environmental group reported Aug. 21 that the Russian government had denied the Arctic Sunrise entry to the Kara Sea. Greenpeace said the ship met full requirements for entering Russian waters and said the refusal of entry was a “clear attempt” by the Russian government to stifle oil industry criticism.
As the ship approached the Northern Sea Route, Greenpeace called on the Northern Sea Route Administration to reassess the unjustified refusal of entry. The decision was not reversed, but the vessel entered the Kara Sea.
 Wow, I'm glad the US is not drilling in the Arctic.

Another essay from The Oil Drum mentions the increase in drilling that Saudi Arabia has announced. I reported same story back back on April 7, 2013.
The news that Saudi Arabia is planning to employ 200 drilling rigs next year (up from 20 back in 2005) suggests that there is a recognition that future reserves may not measure up to the planned volumes needed. Plans now include exploration of the shale deposits in the country, looking primarily for natural gas. There are estimates that this resource could run as high as 600 trillion cubic ft. Current plans are to drill seven exploratory wells in the Red Sea, off Tabuk.