Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Government Releases Results Of Recent SPR Release / Sale

Bloomberg provides results of the recent SPR release/sale at this post. It's interesting: it seems "winners" paid top price for the oil considering there must not have been much transportation costs involved. The average price was $99/bbl.

Winners: Phillips 66, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon, Marathon, and Mercuria Energy Asset Management BV

Bids rejected: Chevron Corp., Valero Energy Corp. and Petroleos Mexicanos, among others.

A big "thank you" to the reader for sending me this link.  The companies mentioned were not all that interesting, but the price certainly was. I would have expected much less considering the relative glut of oil right now, but the price was in line with spot prices. 

Random Update On Enbridge Pipeline Activity In Minnesota -- Enbridge Projects Would Infuse More Than $2.75 Billion Into Local Economy

Clearbrook News is reporting:
While the company already has a large presence in the region, plans are in place to expand further. Enbridge has three major construction projects in the works and recently announced a fourth.
The Line 67 (Alberta Clipper) project along with its Sandpiper project will carry a combined cost of $2.75 billion.
The Line 67 upgrade Phase 1 project will expand the pipeline’s capacity 570,000 barrels per day of heavy oil from its current level of 470,000 bpd. Phase II would bring the pipeline to its full design capacity of 800,000 bpd. Pending regulatory approval, Phase I construction would begin in mid-2014 and Phase II would begin in mid-2015.
The company’s Sandpiper project would build a 610-mile interstate pipeline to bring growing supplies of crude oil from North Dakota to refineries in the U.S. and Canada. A 24-inch diameter line would run from Tioga, ND, to Clearbrook, MN, and then a 30-inch diameter line would run from Clearbrook to Superior. Permitting for the Sandpiper project is scheduled for completion later this year. Sandpiper’s in-service date is tentatively scheduled for 2016.
Sandpiper will largely (75 percent) follow existing pipeline routes. However, portions of existing line in Itasca County would be bypassed in favor of a southern route option through Park Rapids, if the company’s preferred route is permitted. Haase called this southern corridor “more constructible.”
The other two projects:
Haase also spoke briefly to the board about the company’s recently announced Line 3 replacement project. Although still in the planning stage, it would replace a line constructed in 1968 that runs across northern Minnesota. In addition, the company is completing construction on two crude oil tanks and piping upgrades at its Superior terminal

An Example of "Ears Pinned Back" -- As CLR Calls It -- In The Bakken

This is the kind of information I used to provide when I first started the blog. Over the years I fault myself for not doing more analysis. I got lazy, simply aggregating and reporting stories. Posting day in and day out gave me a really good feel for what is, and what was, going on in the Bakken, but I let readers down by not providing an analysis. By posting a summary of the monthly dockets I got a feeling for how fast the Bakken was moving. A reader provided the following which shows how fast the Bakken is moving. For newbies, it is important to remember that back in 2007 when the Bakken boom began in North Dakota, folks talked about one well per section; and, the sweet spots in the Bakken had not been determined. CLR's Eco-Pad was seen by many as revolutionary. This is how the reader captured the velocity of the pace of change in the Bakken:
In Friday's "permit section" you raised a question regarding the pad for Continental's new 21 Jersey wells in SENE 6-153-93 of Alkali Creek.  On November's dockets Continental requested authorization for 30 wells on this 2560-acre spacing unit, sections 1-12-153-94 and 6-7-153-93.  This past September they got permits for 14 Linfield wells on this same pad; these permits were canceled a week ago.
Continental's nomenclature indicates the Linfield wells were all Middle Bakken or Three Forks wells, while the Jersey wells appear to be spread among the Middle Bakken and Three Forks 1, 2 and 3 benches.   Regardless of whether Continental limits the spacing unit to these 21 wells, or adds 7 more which would put them in line with their current 4-section, 28-well configuration, on Thursday, March 13 the Nabors 1 rig began drilling the Jersey 29-6H well on this pad.  This is the first well drilled in the spacing unit.
Continental also has a "virgin" 2560-acre spacing unit immediately to the west, sections 2-3-10-11-153-94 in the Elm Tree field.  This will be drilled from the south side of the river, and I assume Continental will put another 21 or 28 wells there.
To the north Continental has an adjoining, "virgin" 1280-acre spacing unit, 25-36-154-94 on the east side of White Earth Bay.  This is a pdf showing a snippet of the NDIC GIS map which covers this area.

 CLR's "Pinned Ears Back," March 14, 2014

On another note, the reader called my attention to White Earth Bay 1280-acre spacing units that Hess has, 23-24-154-94 and 26-35-154-94. The reader continues:
Last April Hess made plans for a 12-well pad in NWNW 26-154-94.  They planned to drill three EN-Leo wells in sections 23-24 and nine EN-Freda wells in sections 26-35 from this pad. (Supporting documentation was provided.)
Hess obtained three permits and completed the 25462, EN-Leo H-1 well November 14, cum 53K 1/14; the 25463, EN-Freda H-1 well November 24, cum 78K 1/14; and the 25464, EN-Freda H-2 well December 6, cum 57K 1/14. The EN-Freda H-1 is a Three Forks well, the other two are Middle Bakken wells.
Since then Hess completed drilling the 26841, EN-Leo H-2 well from this pad, and has almost finished drilling the 26842, EN-Leo H-3.  On February 12 Hess got permits to drill four more EN-Leo wells, 27671-74, from a new pad in NENE 24-154-94. 
Incidentally, this pad is just below the Oasis 19946, Spratley 5494 34-13H well, t10/11; cum 326K 1/14; in sections 13-14.
The Bakken's rapid increase in well density is mind-boggling.  As noted above, in April of last year Hess planned to drill 9 wells in the 1280-acre spacing unit, 26-35-154-94, and just nine months later, on the January 2014 dockets they requested 17 wells in the two-section spacing unit, 15-22-153-93, which is about 3 miles southeast down the lakeshore from Continental's Jersey pad.
On the November dockets Oasis requested 21 wells in all their Alkali Creek 1280-acre spacing units and all their Robinson Lake 640- and 1280-spacing units.
You noted  in February Oasis requested 21 wells in a 640-acre spacing unit, 4-153-93 in the Sanish field, two sections east of the Jersey pad.  EOG has been  requesting 34 and 36 wells on spacing units of varying sizes, Continental is forging ahead with their increased densities of 14 and 28 wells, and other operators have similarly increased their well densities.  This is occurring in many areas of the Bakken.
When I step back and look at these three Continental and two Hess spacing units, adjoining 14 sections (discussed above), they were all blank -- white board, "virgin" until the first well, the EN-Leo H-1 was completed just before Thanksgiving.  Now 30 wells are somewhere in process from producing to permitted.
Before too long these five spacing units could likely have around 100 wells -- 21-28, 21-28 and 14 wells in Continental's three spacing units, and 17 wells in each of Hess' two 1280-acre spacing units.  Amazing!
Then think about this. Each well averaging about $10 million (in round numbers) x 100 wells = $1,000 million or more simply $1 billion, just for the drilling in five spacing units

Thirteen (13) New Permits -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA; WPX Reports A Very Nice Well

Active rigs:

Active Rigs192186205171103

Thirteen (13) new permits --
  • Operators: XTO (4), Hunt (4), OXY USA (2), American Eagle (2), Petro-Hunt
  • Fields: West Capa (Dunn), Charlson (McKenzie), Sioux Trail (Divide), Alexandria (Divide), Colgan (Divide), Fayette (Dunn)
  • Comments:
Wells coming off the confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

No producing wells were completed.

  • 18550, dry, Petro Harvester, Deibler 25-16SESE 25-162N-83W, a Spearfish well, Bottineau
Wells coming off the confidential list Wednesday:
  • 22109, 1,106, WPX, Mary R Smith 5-8HX, Van Hook, t12/13; cum 32K 1/14;
  • 24515, drl, Hess, LK-Summerfield-147-96-15H-2, Bear Creek, no production data,
  • 24920, drl, Slawson, Hunter 6-8-17TFH, Big Bend, no production data,
  • 25705, drl, North Plains, Solberg 160-101-28-33-21-3A-1H, Sioux Trail, producing but not much,
  • 25706, drl, North Plains, Solberg 160-101-21-16-13B-1H, Sioux Trail, producing, albeit not much,
  • 25714, 137, Murex, Holice 2-11H, Writing Rock, t11/13; cum 15K 1/14;
  • 25975, 1,701, KOG, P Vance 154-97-4-17-20-13H3A, Truax, t2/14; cum --
  • 25980, drl, XTO, Inga Federal 41X-29H, Haystack Butte, no production data,

22109, see above, WPX, Mary R Smith 5-8HX, Van Hook:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

More Global Warming On The Way

Watts Up With That is reporting:
Another massive cold wave headed for Eastern US next week to put temperature 20 degrees below normal. Senior WeatherBell Meteorologist Joe Bastardi commented: "I am 58 years old; I have never seen anything close to this for late March."
Bastardi continues: "The pattern next week has as much extreme potential for the time of the year as I can find. Coldest opening to calender spring in 50 yrs at least.

Weather forecast models which have had good track records this year in identifying polar vortex outbreaks in advance, are now forecasting a massive cold blast for the beginning of spring.

Crude-By-Water; Colorado Sets Crude Oil Production Record

Regular readers, through RBN Energy links, already know the back story. A reader sent me this link about increased crude-by-water investment. HoustonBiz is reporting:
For Kirby Corp., a Houston-based tank barge operator, business is booming, thanks to shale oil and gas.
Looking to the future, Kirby is anticipating continued business success once petrochemical and refining expansions in the Gulf Coast come to fruition.
In preparation for these downstream expansions, the company is investing $81 million to construct 29 inland tank barges with a total capacity of 830,000 barrels of product. This is in addition to other barge investments Kirby announced earlier this year. These investments include 37 smaller inland tank barges, which cost a total of about $45 million, and one 185,000-barrel coastal articulated tank barge and tugboat unit that will cost the company between $75 and $80 million.

HoustonBiz is also reporting:
Colorado’s booming energy industry produced nearly 63.2 million barrels of crude oil in 2013, a new state record for annual oil production, according to a Denver Business Journal review of records from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), which oversees the multi-billion dollar industry.
That’s a 28 percent jump from 2012, when the state’s oil and gas wells produced nearly 49.3 million barrels of oil, according to COGCC records.
At a rate of 900,000 bopd, North Dakota is producing about 330 million bbls of crude oil per year. 

Oil Surges $1.50/Bbl Today; Wind Farms Not Getting Any Less Expensive -- And A Good News Story For The Coal Industry

Again, Yahoo!Finance has the wrong "oil price" at the top of the page. Quietly without much fanfare, and I completely missed it, oil surged almost a $1.50/barrel today, back to almost $100/bbl again. So much for price manipulation by President Obama's release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. From Yahoo!In-Play, at close: Apr crude oil rose $1.64 to $99.69/barrel. This surge had nothing to do with the strength of the dollar; it remained stable today. MarketWatch is reporting:
Oil futures gained nearly 2% on Tuesday, with some analysts attributing the price strength to news on the expansion of a key U.S. pipeline, as traders looked to the week’s supply reports and the conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting to help gauge oil’s next move. 
Some analysts attributed oil’s gains to a report that a pipeline expansion that would help draw down supplies at the Cushing, Okla. oil delivery hub would be completed sooner than previously expected.
“The oil trade is fixated on it,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group.
Enterprise Products Partners said it would more than double the capacity of the Seaway pipeline, with the expansion of the pipeline in service in late May or early June, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday, citing comments made by a senior vice president at an analyst day presentation in Houston.
Free Electricity For Native Americans
It will only cost them a billion dollars.

The Rapid City Journal is reporting:
Tribal leaders hope that the wind farm will not only provide free electricity to the reservation's 2,000 residents but generate significant profits from the sale of electricity off the reservation.
They're talking about a federal grant that would bring a billion-dollar wind farm to the Crow Creek tribe, based in central South Dakota. But it's not a slam dunk:
While the federal grant money would pay for land, wind and ecological studies on the proposed site, he estimated the tribe would need about $800 million to a billion dollars to bring a 400,000 megawatt wind farm to fruition.
However, Nagourney said he was confident the tribe could attract investors, based on the proposed site's close proximity to transmission lines and early studies of its energy potential.

If the tribe is able to attract enough private investment, Nagourney estimated construction on the first phase of the project, a 100 megawatt wind farm, could begin in early 2016 and be completed by the end of the year.
I assume a $10,000 donation from The Rapid City Journal to jump start the one billion dollars that would be needed would be a good start. 

Somehow the numbers don't make sense. The article says the federal grant totals $3.2 million spread among 21 Native American tribes across the United States.  Even if all $3.2 million went to the Crow Creek tribe in South Dakota, that's hardly a drop in the bucket for a billion-dollar project. Either I'm missing something or the numbers reported are incorrect.

By the way, back on February 7, 2013, the blog noted:
As a rule of thumb, Don uses $2 million / megawatt as the cost to "build" a wind farm. That agrees with other sources. 
So, this newest story, the one about the Crow Creek tribe, does that rule of thumb still hold?
The proposed wind farm is on 7,000 acres of tribal-owned land about 12 miles north of Fort Thompson, the reservation's biggest town. The tribe estimates the site could produce 100 to 400 megawatts of power, which could power 100,000 to 400,000 homes.
What does that work out to?
  • $1 billion / 400 MW = $2.5 million / megawatt
Wow, wind farms aren't getting any less expensive. This could cost taxpayers/investors as much as $2.5 million/MW based on figures from the story. Again, reporters are not asking the right questions.

By the way, this will end up being a good news story for the lignite miners in North Dakota. Wind is sporadically available; wind turbine farms need 100% back-up; coal-powered electric plants will provide the back-up; and because one cannot simply start and stop a coal-fired plant, the coal will have to burn at least at a low level 100% of the time. 


With the first military deaths associated with events in the Crimean/Ukraine, there is a very good chance we could see civil war in the Ukraine. Just saying.

But If You Plan On Coming, Plan Ahead ...


March 19, 2014: CNN Money picked up the story -- but said only 20,000 workers are being recruited. What's up with that? 
North Dakota's huge oil boom has spurred thousands of job seekers to flock to the state for years now. In some cities, the population has quadrupled.
Yet, the growth continues and companies are still so desperate for workers that the state is teaming up with oil giant Hess Corp. to launch an $800,000 campaign to attract new talent.
Original Post

The Bismarck Tribune is reporting:
State officials and business leaders on Monday announced a workforce recruitment campaign called “Find the Good Life in North Dakota,” that will be rolled out in May.
Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley accepted a $400,000 check from a Hess Corp. official in Memorial Hall following the announcement. Matching state funds are to be provided through the North Dakota Department of Commerce.
Wrigley said the campaign is a public-private partnership meant to attract employees to find permanent work and raise their families in the state.
Filling the approximately 25,000 job openings with skilled workers can help North Dakota fully realize its potential, he said.
One more indication that the boom is not over, despite what The Atlantic Monthly might say.

Plan Ahead If Coming To North Dakota

Don't come without having lodging arranged for first six months

Don't come without having a job lined up

There are only a few months when you don't need cold weather gear; in the few months you don't need cold weather gear, you need DEET

Random Post On Madison Wells In Glenburn Area

A reader asked how long it takes to drill a well in the Glenburn area? Ballard has a wildcat in this area:
  • 27319, conf, Ballard, Fines 24-19, wildcat. Note: no "H" designation
Most of the wells in this area are quite old, and I couldn't find much information from these old wells; it was probably there but painful to go through.

But data from some more "recent" wells, all Madison wells, pretty shallow, and the horizontals are pretty short:

Three Madison wells in the area:
  • 14645: spud June 29, 1997; cease drilling July 14, 1997; 6,431 feet/4,522 feet
  • 14509: spud Dec 2, 1996; cease drilling Dec 14, 1996; 6,283 feet/4,392 feet
  • 19763: spud Oct 30, 2010; cease drilling Nov 17, 2010; 6,535 feet/3,983 feet
About two weeks in the "old days."

The depths: the first number is the total depth (includes the horizontal which are fairly short); the second number varies -- vertical depth, casing depth, or kick-off point. But generally it looks like the Madison is about 4,200 feet here and the total depth is about 6,400 feet.

Again, I go through these pretty quickly, and errors are possible. If I've made errors, hopefully folks will correct me. 

For Investors Only -- Minnesota With History Of Low Minimum Wages; Last Time It Raised A $4.90/Hour Wage Was Almost A Decade Ago


March 19, 2014: a letter from someone who lives in Minnesota -- reported by The Dickinson Press --
For the past few months I’ve been examining the upper Midwest state personal taxation policies and their possible effect on population movement.
My original article “The great Minnesota exodus tax acts of 2013” available at gopherstatepolitics.blogspot.com indicates that North Dakota has no estate tax and that their individual income tax using an identical data example for all states was 73 percent lower than the Minnesota tax.
The next logical step was to check the out-migration population movement from Minnesota to its neighboring states. This had already been mostly done by the Center of the American Experiment in an April 2013 publication Minnesotans on the Move to Lower Tax States (AmericanExperiment.org) covering 20 states. I only had to go to the TaxFoundation.org website to find the IRS AGI (adjusted gross income) tax data on their migration calculator for Minnesota-Wisconsin for the same 2005-10 period to match the Center’s study.
Carefully reviewing the data, I was stunned by what appeared. Minnesotans moving to North Dakota had the lowest average taxable income of the 21 states migrating populations. We Minnesotans pride ourselves that we’re above average. Yet, here we are at the bottom. What a shame.

March 18, 2014: a reader confirms that Minnesota's minimum wage is one of the lowest in the United States. The state government is working to fix that but they still have not succeeded. In addition, when they finally do agree to increase the minimum wage, it appears that the minimum wage will be phased in. The Washington Post is reporting:
The House on Monday (earlier in March) rejected a Senate proposal that would have raised the minimum wage for employees at big businesses, saying they didn’t want to take a piecemeal approach. But the two chambers still need to resolve disputes over whether the minimum wage should be tied to inflation and the number of years the new rate would take to phase in.
The writer also notes:
Despite its progressive reputation, Minnesota has long had one of the lower minimum wages in the nation. In 1968, the lowest-paid workers earned just 70 cents an hour, a lower rate than any state other than Kentucky, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The last time the legislature raised the minimum wage, in 2005, the lowest-paid workers went from earning $4.90 an hour to the current $5.25 rate.
Original Post

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

It is amazing how fast folks find jobs when long-term unemployment benefits end. The AP is reporting:
Unemployment rates fell in 43 U.S. states in January as more Americans began looking for work and most quickly found jobs.
The Labor Department said Monday that the unemployment rate rose in just one state — Iowa — where the rate increased to 4.3 percent from 4.2 percent. Still, that's far below the national rate of 6.6 percent that month. Rates were unchanged in six states.
The data demonstrates that the steady decline in the unemployment rate nationwide has been broad-based, occurring throughout much of the country. The overall U.S. unemployment rate has fallen 1 percentage point in the past 12 months.
The story does not mention the end of long-term unemployment benefits. Unless I'm missing something the only thing that has changed in the last three months is the end of long-term unemployment benefits. Certainly, the economy has not changed all that much, and the weather was as bad as ever, certainly not conducive to finding work, unless it became a necessity.

What is more valuable: $15/hr in unemployment benefits or $10/hr working? For some, the answer is counterintuitive. I remember my first summer job; it was working for the county health department collecting mosquitoes. This would have been about 1967 or 1968.
The minimum wage had its highest purchasing value ever in 1968, when it was $1.60 per hour ($10.64 in 2012 dollars). -- Wiki  
The minimum wage may have had its highest purchasing value ever back then, but I was paid well below minimum wage, I assume. I honestly don't remember. But I know it could not have been much.

A bit of trivia: quick, which state ha a higher minimum wage? North Dakota or Minnesota? Redneck, conservative Texas or Al Franken's Minnesota? That backward conservative state of Kansas or that liberal progressive state of Minnesota? In all cases, Minnesota pays less. The minimum wage in Minnesota is a paltry $5.25 for small employers; $6.15 for large employers. North Dakota: $7.25; Kansas: $7.25; Texas: $7.25. Minnesota's minimum wage (small employers) is $2.00/hr less than its neighboring states. I can't recall any speech by Al Franken supporting President Obama's call for an increased minimum wage.


A most interesting book to read is Sylvia Nasar's Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius, c. 2011. It puts the above comments into context. As I read it, I take notes here.


Right, left, center, tea party, or Al Frankenite, without a doubt, no US president or German chancellor could have affected the outcome of the Crimean event once Putin made his decision.  I think the only argument is whether Putin would have made the same decision if the initial events had occurred under Ronald Reagan's watch. Ronald Reagan was absolutely predictably unpredictable; the Russians would have taken that into account. I do think Putin knew that Obama was absolutely predictably predictable which allowed him (Putin) to take advantage of a situation. Last night, while riding home on my bicycle, the phrase "emperor with no clothes" flashed in front of me. It was the first time in a very long time I recalled that idiom. Strictly speaking the idiom does not fit, but in contemporary parlance, it probably comes as close as any idiom to describe the president's situation.

Things are so ugly in the Ukraine right now, Kerry did not return. Instead, the president sent Joe Biden to eastern Europe to reassure folks that the US stands behind them 1000%, sort of like how we stood behind the Ukraine army when we removed all their weapons. Joe Biden has less credibility than almost anyone I can think of. 

Attacking The Bakken -- A Reader's Perspective

I received a very, very long note from a reader who apparently follows the Bakken even more than I do. It was an outstanding note and to give it the respect it deserves, I will post some items in separate stand-along posts.

The theme of the reader's long note was "attacking the Bakken." The reader provided numerous vignettes to support his case. I have had the same impression, but he says it much better than I could have. One of the faults of the blog is that I don't spend enough time analyzing. Most of my posts are simply aggregating news stories reported elsewhere trying to get a picture of the Bakken, each story, each post being part of the mosaic that is the Bakken.

The reader compares "attacking the Bakken" with professional sports:
Barely a decade ago George Mitchell, the "father" of fracking, ignited the oil and gas shale revolution with his pioneering work in the use of fracking and horizontal drilling.  Likewise, in the early 1960's Sid Gilman, coach of the San Diego Chargers  in the upstart American Football League became the "father" of the modern forward passing attack with John Hadl and "Bambi" - Lance Alworth.  The Chargers continued this tradition with "Air Coryell" and Dan Fouts in the early 80's, and more recently with "offensive guru" Norv Turner and Philip Rivers going deep downfield.
The "genius" Bill Walsh attacked NFL defenses with the passing of Joe Montana and Steve Young in the San Francisco 80's dynasty, and of course we have the great Al Davis with his mantra to "attack downfield" and his love of "speed at any position."
The men and women of the Bakken are attacking shale in the same spirit as American football attacks in its sport,  While the Bakken won't last forever, it will endure well into the future.
In that same vein, I've often thought of Phil Jackson, a native of Williston, North Dakota, who changed the game of basketball with his use of Tex Winter's triangle offense.

Fracking took off in the past ten years but it has been around for a long, long time. Yesterday, Rigzone reported:
With birthday cards and a social media campaign, API celebrated the 65th birthday of the technology that has spurred an energy revolution in America: hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
“Americans have long been energy pioneers, from the 1800’s when the first wells were drilled to today,” said API Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito. “As part of that history, on March 17, 1949, we developed the technology to safely unlock shale and other tight formations, and now the U.S. is the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas.”
The birthday cards feature a black and white photo of one of the world’s first commercially fractured wells located in Duncan, Oklahoma. Despite the 1940’s theme, API is commemorating the occasion on a distinctly modern platform – the internet.
Digital birthday cards will connect readers to a blog with more information on the history and success of hydraulic fracturing, which has been used on over a million wells nationwide and already accounts for the majority of U.S. natural gas production.
Later, a reader sent this quote:
While many believe fracking’s 65th birthday is this week, David Blockman writing for Forbes says that fracking was actually born two years prior to what is commonly believed.
It is true that 65 years ago this week, Halliburton conducted the first commercially successful application of “Fracking”, as it has come to be known, in Stephens County, Oklahoma,” says Blockman, “but the process itself was actually invented and experimented with two years earlier by Stanolind Oil and Gas Company, in the Hugoton gas field in Kansas.”
Talking about the history of the word itself, which is short for hydraulic fracturing, he said that the media and environmentalists made it controversial for their own purposes.
For the first 60 or so years of its life, the process was completely non-controversial.But then along about 2008, it began to dawn on agenda-driven media outlets and radical “green” groups looking for a new controversy to stimulate fundraising that the marriage of hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling was beginning to create an oil and gas renaissance in the U.S. Out of that realization, the anti-Fracking movement was born,” he writes.
However, in his opinion, “it’s all such a shame and a waste of time and resources, an entire movement based on fear of abundant, plentiful and affordable energy, and on the demonization of an historically safe and effectively regulated industrial process.”

Canadian Oil Sands -- The Largest Oil Reservoir On Earth? -- RBN Energy

Active rigs:

Active Rigs191186205171103

RBN Energy: an incredible story.
Western Canada’s vast bitumen sands are estimated to contain reserves of 575 billion Bbl of recoverable crude oil. The largely untapped bitumen carbonate formations lying beneath the oil sands could contain another 243 billion Bbl of recoverable reserves. When added to untapped tight oil shale reserves these huge hydrocarbon deposits potentially could make the Province of Alberta the world’s largest crude oil resource. Today contributor Mike Priaro concludes his description of Alberta’s crude oil reserves.
The Wall Street Journal

 Russia takes steps to annex Crimea, despite threat of new sanctions.

Food prices are surging as drought exacts a high toll on crops.

And God said, "Let there be light."

Discovery bolsters big-bang theory. The story sounds almost as important as the Higgs boson.
Scientists said Monday they have detected the earliest signals reaching back to the birth of the universe almost 14 billion years ago, buttressing the big-bang theory of how the cosmos was formed.
Using a radio telescope at the South Pole, a team of astronomers and astrophysicists said they found telltale patterns of gravity waves in the primordial microwave radiation that lingers in space today. Scientists consider this the faint afterglow of the big bang. The discovery offers what scientists say is the first direct data on the creation of the universe.
Until now, cosmologists had theories but few facts. If the work proves correct, it demonstrates that gravitational waves, which squeeze and stretch the fabric of space, were created in abundance during the early expansion, or "inflation," of the universe, the instant when space grew from a pinpoint smaller than an atom to the entire observable universe seen today, several experts said.
This theory is the keystone of modern cosmology. "It is direct evidence that inflation [of the early cosmos] happened," said physicist James Bock at the California Institute of Technology, who helped conceive the experiment at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "It is amazing to me that 14 billion years after the big bang we can peer back into the first moments of creation and learn something from it."
Gravitational waves also are a significant prediction of Einstein's theory of general relativity. Researchers have been seeking evidence of these waves for years, and now scientists say they have found it.

Buffalo to move farther into Montana, where the deer and the buffalo roam.

Bond insurer seeks to challenge Detroit suit; could derail whole thing.

The Los Angeles Times

The top story is also the discovery of gravitational waves supporting the big-bang theory. Note to newbies: this has nothing to do with the wildly successful Fox television sitcom.

A 4.4 earthquake in downtown Los Angeles: The epicenter is on a fault beneath the Santa Monica Mountains that hasn't seen a quake this size in 80 years. 'Earthquakes happen in places you don't expect,' a Caltech expert says. The memo goes on to not mention anything about the fact that there was no fracking in downtown Santa Monica prior to the quake. Somehow this is going to be blamed on either George Bush or Mel Gibson. [Later, March 18, 2014: I guess I was premature. The Los Angeles City council has directed a study to determine if fracking was the cause of this 4.4 magnitude earthquake. One more nail in the coffin of fracking in California. LOL. -- from the linked article:
Seismologist Lucy Jones, a USGS science advisor for risk reduction, said she would need to know much more about nearby pumping in the area, such as whether someone was changing the water pressure deep in the ground, to say whether it could have been a factor in the Monday temblor.
However, "my first impression is that sounds implausible," Jones said, "just because the earthquake was so deep. Induced earthquakes are almost always shallower than this."
Monday's quake struck in Encino on the northern edge of the Santa Monica Mountains in an area that has not seen much recent seismological activity. Comment: I doubt science will have any place in the findings and/or conclusion. ]
Retirement? I don't think so: Eighteen percent of Americans say they are very confident about retirement. But more than a third of respondents had saved less than $1,000.

The New York Times

One story to highlight:
The first turn to the west that diverted the missing Malaysia Airlines plane from its planned flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing was carried out through a computer system that was most likely programmed by someone in the plane’s cockpit who was knowledgeable about airplane systems, according to senior American officials.
Instead of manually operating the plane’s controls, whoever altered Flight 370’s path typed seven or eight keystrokes into a computer on a knee-high pedestal between the captain and the first officer, according to officials. The Flight Management System, as the computer is known, directs the plane from point to point specified in the flight plan submitted before a flight. It is not clear whether the plane’s path was reprogrammed before or after it took off. 
The fact that the turn away from Beijing was programmed into the computer has reinforced the belief of investigators — first voiced by Malaysian officials — that the plane was deliberately diverted and that foul play was involved. It has also increased their focus on the plane’s captain and first officer.
I believe "themilliondollarway" was the first non-commercial site blogging on the Bakken to discuss this likelihood. This was simply a pilot who snapped; nothing more, nothing less. The one possibility that he was going to use the passengers as hostages to get his friend released from prison becomes more and more unlikely as the days go by. He would be feeding a lot of passengers by now to keep them alive to use as hostages.