Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nineteen (19) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; Some Huge Statoil Wells

Active rigs: 184

Nineteen (19) new permits --
  • Operators: Hess (4), XTO (3), HRC (2), EOG (2), Whiting (2), Oasis (2), QEP (2) American Eagle, Triangle,
  • Fields: Zenith (Stark), Gros Ventre (Burke), Cottonwood (Mountrail), Sandrocks (McKenzieI, Eagle Nest (Dunn), Parshall (Mountrail), Lost Bridge (Dunn), Grail (McKenzie), New Home (Williams)
  • Comments: American Eagle has a permit for a wildcat in Divide County
No wells came off the confidential list today.

Five (5) producing wells were completed. 
  • 23729, 1,803, Statoil, Delorem 12-1 3H, Painted Woods, Kinderhook mentioned; t7/13; cum --
  • 23730, 1,942, Statoil, Boots 13-24 3H, Painted Woods, Kinderhok mentioned; t7/13; cum --
  • 23731, 679, Statoil, Delorme 12-1 4TFH, Painted Woods, Kinderhook mentioned; t7/13; cum --
  • 23732, 1,078, Statoil, Boots 13-24 4TFH, Painted Woods, Kinderhook noted; t7/13; cum --
  • 23974, 3,997, Statoil, Rose 12-13 7H, Avoca, Kinderhook not mentioned; t8/13; cum --

The Williston Wire

No links, just headlines. It is easy to subscribe to The Williston Wire.

North Dakota led the nation in permanent housing growth in 2012, increasing its supply of housing by 2.3% in just one year. Overall national growth was 0.3%.

44,000 attend the Babe Ruth World Series, held in Williston (twice the number that showed up for the President's political event yesterday at the Washington Mall).

Williston had 350 students; Watford City adds 160. Look for some tough football, basketball, and wrestling teams coming out of the western divisions. 

Williston's Downtown Farmer's Market is now up to 20 vendors, having started with just three last year.

The "Bakken Boom Towns" TV crew was recently in Williston and Sidney to shoot some scenes.

This I would enjoy: the 68th Annual Old Settler's Days this weekend. I was last there in 2011, and it really was a treat. Highly recommend. A most relaxing day. It's "funny" how a little town like Alexander can really put on a spectacular event. If anything needs filming by an out-of-state film crew, it would be this.

Flashback: Former Lakers Coach, Author, North Dakota Alumnus Reminisces On Growing Up In The Peace Garden State

A reader sent this story by Phil Jackson, published in Sports Illustrated back in 2004. It begins:
My parents told us one spring morning in 1956 that they had accepted a pastorate in Williston, N.Dak. My two teenage brothers weren't happy about the decision to move 500 miles east from Montana. I was 10, and I couldn't have cared less, as long as I could play ball -- any kind of ball.
Williston, on North Dakota's western border, had recently gone through an oil boom that had almost doubled the population to just over 10,000 brave souls. It had brought in folks from Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas who knew the "ahl bidness" to join all those Norwegian immigrants who had come over at the turn of the century. The Lutheran church services were broadcast on the radio in Norwegian, and the lutefisk dinners at any of the 12 Lutheran churches during the holiday season were the social events on the Williston calendar.
Growing up a pastor's kid wasn't a cakewalk, but Williston was a good place to be when the chance to play arrived. We had school teams and recreational leagues, and the local 4-H county agent organized the eight counties in western North Dakota and eastern Montana into a rec-basketball conference. Some players came from the Indian reservations, and they liked to play run-and-gun style. We had fun playing with and against them, even though our parents and theirs didn't socialize.
North Dakota is large; there isn't a major U.S. city within 500 miles of Williston. If we wanted to see pro sports, we would drive three hours to Regina, Saskatchewan, to watch the CFL Rough Riders. But the adults in Williston didn't want us to think small-time. They regularly reminded us of the NoDaks (our term for North Dakotans) who had made the bigs, such as fomer secretary of state Warren Christopher and actress Angie Dickinson. 
In 1956, I was starting elementary school at Wilkinson, or maybe it was one more year at "Williston High" before Wilkinson opened up.  Unfortunately I never crossed paths with Angie, who was a bit older than I at the time. We are probably about the same age now; I've noticed that after 50, "ages" tend to converge.

But Mr Jackson's essay brings back a lot of memories. By the way, my closest childhood friend lived in the home in which Phil Jackson grew up in while attending Williston High School. I have been in that house many times. They should put a heavy iron plaque on the house designating it an historical landmark.

By the way,  Phil Jackson has written several books. I remember really enjoying Sacred Hoops and highly recommend it to anyone.

Heaven's Helpers In Bismarck, North Dakota

A reader alerted me to a story out of Bismarck earlier today that happened to mention the Heaven's Helpers Soup Cafe in west Bismarck. Curious to learn more about Heaven's Helpers Soup Cafe, I caught up with this article, reported by The Bismarck Tribune last year:
Heaven’s Helpers Soup Cafe opened in a converted gas station in March 2009. The meals are free and the servers don’t expect tips. The only rule is that nobody wastes anything.
No questions are asked and the customers are not rushed out after they finish their meals. Coffee and free desserts —including a table of take-home caramel rolls and bread loaves — are offered along with television and Christian music. But for the daily patrons, the socializing is the most tantalizing item on the menu.
“It’s truly a mission fueled right here in Bismarck,” said owner Mark Meier. “No one should go hungry.”
Most soup kitchens are open certain days of the week with limited hours, but Heaven’s Helpers is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays.
“(Heaven’s Helpers) is pretty much the only place in town that is available every day pretty much,” said Heidi Selby, vice president of the Missouri Valley Coalition for Homeless People.
This is their website

I'm sure they would love to hear from you --

Government Looking At New Rule Regulating Fracking Sand

Platts is reporting:
So, is a proposed federal rule designed to reduce worker exposure to crystalline silica in industrial sands a backdoor assault on the oil and gas industry in general, and hydraulic fracturing in particular?
A blogger for Motley Fool, Rich Duprey, thinks so. “It would seem that when you combine this move with the other efforts of the administration to attack the oil and gas industry, the motto ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ is the guiding principle at work thwarting future growth,” he said in a recent column.
Marc Freedman, the executive director of Labor Law Policy for the US Chamber of Commerce, said the proposed Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule “is going to affect a lot of different industries. Fracking will be significantly affected and to the extent that industry is generating a lot of beneficial outcomes, then that could be at risk too.”  He wouldn’t go so far as to say the government is plotting against the oil and gas industry.
A spokesman for API wouldn’t comment on the assertion the proposed rule is an anti-drilling plot. The head of the National Industrial Sand Association, Mark Ellis, the trade group that represents sand and gravel companies in Washington, didn’t think the Obama administration was conspiring against the industrial sands segment of the industry.
I can't get too shook about this.  Life will go on; posted for archival purposes, not to make any statement one way or the other. If push comes to shove, "we'll" just buy all our ceramics from China, sending more dollars to China instead of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Historical Data: Active Rigs At NDIC Web Site

A reader noted this addition to the NDIC "active rig" page: historical number of rigs for the past several years.  It will be interesting to follow.

BNSF To Add Second Mainline Track On 12-Mile Stretch, Ray To Tioga, North Dakota

This may or may not sound like a big deal -- twelve miles -- but it is huge. This will help Amtrak deal with all the BNSF oil-carrying unit trains across the northern frontier.

A reader sent me the public announcement which led with:
The District Engineer, U.S. Army Engineer District, Omaha, Nebraska is evaluating a Department of the Army (DA) permit application from BNSF Railway for construction of approximately 12 miles of new mainline between the towns of Ray and Tioga, North Dakota. 
Hopefully, over time, the entire route can be double-tracked.

Thursday Morning -- Around The Horn

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

KOG hits a new high, up a couple of pennies.

Oasis struggles.

CVX, COP, XOM: all down about a percent; strikes on Syria may be delayed;

EOG down about a percent: reports a non-injury incident in Eagle Ford

CHK is down, but SD up slightly.

UNP flat.

I don't follow BNSF (BRK) much any more; BRK follows the market in general.

ENB, EEP up slightly.

SRE, TransCanada: flat, down slightly.

So, the overall market is up slightly; energy is down slightly; probably a bit of profit taking, but not much activity going into the four-, five-, or six-day weekend, depending. 

Thursday Morning News, Views, And Links -- Jobless Rate Improves; GDP Surges

Yes, I've been posting since about 6:30 a.m. and just noticed that it was Thursday, not Wednesday. That's what happens when one is retired, and has the day off from child care responsibilities. Actually, I only have the morning off. I will have the granddaughters this afternoon and early evening.

GDP surges in second quarter, they say. Let's see, Reuters is reporting:
The U.S. economy accelerated more quickly than expected in the second quarter thanks to a surge in exports, bolstering the case for the Federal Reserve to wind down a major economic stimulus program.
Gross domestic product grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate, according to revised estimates for the period that were released by the Commerce Department on Thursday. The quarter's growth rate was more than double the pace clocked in the prior three months.
The report could boost confidence that the economy is turning a corner despite government austerity measures. At the same time, a full recovery from the 2007-09 recession is probably years away as the U.S. jobless rate remains historically high at 7.4 percent.
Jobless news:
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 331,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Claims for the prior week were revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.
The four-week moving average for new claims, which irons out week-to-week volatility, ticked up 750 to 331,250, still holding at a level economists associate with a strengthening labor market.
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here, or what you think you read here. 

Labor participation hits 34-year low

WSJ Links

Detroit woes add to angst over municipal debt
Bonds from some financially troubled issuers, like Puerto Rico and Chicago, have been particularly hard hit. Debt from the Windy City, which was downgraded by Moody's Investors Service last month amid questions about its pension liabilities, now yield about 1.50 percentage points more than a municipal market benchmark, up from about one percentage point in early July, according to Dan Toboja, senior vice president in fixed-income trading at investment bank and broker-dealer B.C. Ziegler & Co. in Chicago. Higher yields indicate lower prices.  
IBM has a new competitor: Amazon. Who wudda thought?
To understand the challenges facing makers of server systems, look to health-care staffing firm Schumacher Group.
The Lafayette, La., company, has been shifting a growing proportion of its computing chores to computers operated by Inc.  In the past year, Schumacher purchased just one server from Hewlett-Packard Co., says Douglas Menefee, Schumacher's chief information officer.
Five years ago, the company may have bought 50 such servers for as much as $12,000 apiece. "We don't really buy hardware anymore," says Mr. Menefee.
Many other companies are turning to operations like Amazon Web Services or Rackspace Hosting Inc. instead of buying and maintaining their own systems. The trend adds to a growing list of pressures for makers of servers, a crucial class of computers whose growth and profitability is being squeezed.
There are several story lines here. The biggest: Amazon is a trusted name in providing service. Very, very interesting. IBM doesn't have time for the "little guy." Amazon does. H-P, one word: clunky.

Syria: attack will be brief, limited.....and delayed. Stories everywhere; no link needed.

Ms Yellin playing down her chances of getting new job. The old glass ceiling.

Op-ed: $15/hour for McDonald's new workers will mean two things: fewer jobs in the fast-food industry, and a move to self-ordering at iPad kiosks. Personally, I like the idea of iPad-kiosk ordering.

Op-ed:  Here comes the unaffordable careless act. Same story, different verse. I no longer care; I will continue to post stories on this debacle, this train wreck, but I've long lost interest.

A Note To The Granddaughters

During the past few evenings I've been watching 'curb your enthusiasm,' the HBO television show. I don't recall if I ever saw the show when it first came out, but I was well aware of it, and wanted to see it. I had seen snippets on YouTube. So, now I've watched the first three seasons and am wondering whether to get the next six seasons. I don't know if new episodes are still being filmed or if the series is over.

I have grown tired of the series: Larry David is a misanthrope; he engenders no empathy, or sympathy; he is a loser; he is pathetic. The issues are banal. The episodes are repetitious.

But I'm addicted. I can't not watch it. I can't wait to see what craziness is up next.

People compare it to Seinfeld. Some say 'curb your enthusiasm' copies Seinfeld, but a cheap imitation. In fact, it is the other way around. 'curb your enthusiasm' is the prequel to Seinfeld. Just like "Firewalk With Me" was the prequel/sequel to Twin Peaks.

Having watched 'curb your enthusiasm,' I now see that Seinfeld was the slicked up, glossy, no-bloopers-allowed, over-the-top-Kramer sitcom based on Larry David's stand-up comedy. The only question I have is whether Larry David is the original, whether Jerry Seinfeld is the original, or is there an Ur-David-Seinfeld out there somewhere.

Seinfeld was hilarious; there's no question about that, but it was not reality. Sure, it was real, but not reality; it was sanitized, cleaned up, cut, edited, sitcom perfect.

'curb your enthusiasm' has so many defects. The actors -- if one can call them actors -- are generally one frame from breaking out of character and laughing. You can see it in their faces. I am impressed they can keep it together long enough to keep it going.

The cutting and editing is atrocious; the continuity between frames is incredibly bad. Larry David says they did many, many more takes on each scene than on sitcoms like Seinfeld. That is not surprising. This was improvisation; very little writing was done. Actors were given a scene and then then improvised the dialogue. So instead of actors working out the scene and their lines without being in front of the cameras, it was just the opposite here: they worked out their lines and the scenes in front of the cameras. Money was spent on filming, and not on editing. They may not have the time either to do the right editing. 'curb your enthusiasm' becomes a throwaway "sitcom." One saves Seinfeld for the ages; 'curb your enthusiasm' will be thrown out with the day-old newspaper.

It's easy to say that the show is about a dysfunctional group of Hollywood acquaintances. They are not dysfunctional; they portray what people like me think Hollywood personalities are like. And the fact that the show has been nominated/won so many awards suggest that Hollywood says "yes" this is what we are like. Banal, petty, self-centered, self-righteous, non-Christian, and unable to talk without using the f-word. It may not be 100% accurate, but my hunch is it comes very, very close to reality (without the scenes of drug use or sex). Or at least the reality the bored wives of Hollywood want to project. It sort of explains Mylie, I suppose.

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

Lo and behold! Yahoo! Finance finally got their "oil price" link working. And then this headline: oil falls. Yeah. Sure. It falls all of 80 cents to about $109.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on anything you might read here or what you thought you read here. 

Isn't this just incredible, as reported in The New York Times: no smoking gun that Mr Assad used chemical weapons. That is absolutely correct. It might have been the grocer at the corner of Muhammad and Omar.  It's all about Vladimir.

Thursday Morning News, Links, And Views -- Part II

Update on North Dakota's Legacy Fund. is reporting:
A savings account North Dakota created to preserve a portion of its oil and natural gas tax dollars for the future has exceeded growth estimates in its first two years and could swell to $3 billion by the time state lawmakers decide how to spend it.
State officials predicted the Legacy Fund would accumulate about $600 million by this summer. Through August, officials said, the fund has grown to $1.3 billion. It will continue building revenue until June 2017, when lawmakers are allowed under law to begin tapping the account for such things as education. 
“It is growing very fast. It's going to become much bigger,' Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple told Stateline in an interview. He said the fund added a record $92 million in July.
Maybe this would be a good time to ban flaring, shut down wells that are flaring gas, and let the projection catch up with reality. LOL.


Photos of the Bakken: 20-photo slideshow -- pretty nice.  In The Fiscal Times. A reader from California who knows very little about the Bakken but is a very, very close, dear friend, sent me the link. I am impressed.  I love the 'Home of Economy' photograph.


Labor fact of the day, from CarpeDiem: the six US metro areas with the lowest July jobless rates were near shale oil:  Crosby, Alamo, Fortuna, Williston, Watford City, and Dore. Just joking. The six at the link: Bismarck, Sioux Falls, Fargo, Midland (TX), Rapid City, and Billings. Pretty incredible, huh?


The Bakken is a lot bigger than we thought. Previously reported. Being confirmed.

This is kind of an unusual story. It is nothing new for regular readers. It was first reported back in 2012. Apparently some folks in Dickinson are just now hearing the news. For others it is a nice recap/update of where we are.

For my 30-second soundbite and to make it easier to remember: the Bakken may hold a trillion barrels of oil, five percent of which may be recoverable.

The Dickinson Press is reporting:
Given a recoverable factor of 4 percent — which is how much oil Continental predicts will be able to be commercially produced — the 903 billion barrels would mean roughly 36 billion barrels of oil could ultimately be syphoned from Bakken reserves, according to data presented to Continental investors in October.
Though the estimates are not new, Stark said that 13 of a planned 20 test wells in the deep regions of the Three Forks — including testing zones in Dunn County — have been completed this year with several more scheduled to be finished before 2013’s end. Stark added that Continental isn’t the only oil and gas operator exploring deeper into the vast Bakken play.
“The database for the productivity and the incremental reserve additions that will come from the Three Forks is building daily,” Stark said. “This is a very significant addition to the play and we’re going to continue to assess what impact it ultimately has. What we initially thought was a two-layer reservoir rock is now looking like a five-layer reservoir.”
Essentially what it has found to date, Stark said, is the results from the completed test wells — which are dotted over a 3,800-square-mile swath of the Bakken — have proven to be hard evidence that there is more oil deep in the earth than what was previously thought. A lot more.
Best three words in the article: "a lot more."

By the way, four percent is lowballing the recovery rate. 

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

Active rigs: 182

RBN Energy: another great blog posting on the economics of drilling horizontal unconventional wells, using dry gas wells in the Haynesville as an example. Today's essay is simply the introduction, laying the groundwork and explaining where the $10 million goes to drill these deep wells. Later posts will look at the outcome of these wells and financial returns.

Global warming: Peru is reporting coldest temperatures in a decade.
Hundreds of families have been affected and more than 250,000 alpacas have died due to freezing temperatures and snow storms that have hit the southern highlands.
Global warming: Worst snowfall in Brazil in 13 years, maybe 22 years.
The dimension of the phenomenon on Wednesday was much larger than expected, said Rocha. I talked to the staff that makes the prediction in the city and this was the biggest snow in 15 years.
Mary Rosineris, 22 years old, has never seen so much snow in the town.
Global warming: rare snowfall in Chilean desert; first in three decades
Residents of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, a desert city 750 miles (1,200 km) north of Santiago, say the weekend snow was the heaviest in three decades.
Municipal bankruptcy: another city is granted bankruptcy protection -- San Bernardino, CA. Reuters is reporting:
A U.S. federal judge on Wednesday granted bankruptcy protection to the California city of San Bernardino, paving the way for a precedent-setting battle between bondholders and California's giant public pension system.
The case is being closely watched by other U.S. cities, including Detroit, which declared the biggest U.S. municipal bankruptcy last month, where budgets are burdened by soaring pension costs.
Judge Meredith Jury of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California ruled that San Bernardino was eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection despite opposition by the California Public Employees' Retirement System, or Calpers. The $260 billion pension fund is the city's biggest creditor and America's largest pension fund.
I track municipal bankruptcies here. I never imagined how this chronicle would evolve when I posted the first municipal concern back on February 4, 2010.  San Bernardino's tipping point came when the firemen's union refused to "play ball."

Syria: looks like everyone is backing down. One word: Putin. Okay two words: Vladimir Putin. Like Elvis, one only needs his first name to know who we are talking about.  President O'Bama comes off looking like another putz. I've never used that word before but I heard it (again) on "curb your enthusiasm" last night, and it seems to be an apt word in this case. The civilized world, and the Nobel-Peace-Prize winner won't even confront a dictator who uses chemical warfare on his own nation. Putz. Say what you want about George; he wasn't a putz.