Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014 -- Mr Putin And His Chess Games

Active rigs in North Dakota:

Active Rigs190186212175131

Russia to drill off-shore. Off-American shore. Reuters in Rigzone is reporting:
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he was hopeful Russian oil company Rosneft and Cuban state oil company Cupet could begin jointly exploring Cuba's potential offshore oil reserves "in the very near future."
Shortly before Putin began his six-day trip to Latin America, Rosneft and fellow state oil company Zarubezhneft agreed to help Cupet explore offshore in Cuba, which has limited onshore production and depends on Venezuela for oil imports. 
It appears Putin continues to befuddle the Obama administration with his chess moves.  It now appears Putin is engaged in three chess games: the Ukraine; the Mideast (to fill the Iraq void left by the US); and, now Central America. We won't hear any speeches from Mr Obama on this precisely because there's really nothing to say, but worse, there's nothing Mr Obama could say -- he has lost all relevancy in the eyes of Mr Putin.


Another earthquake, magnitude 8.6, hits Japan. To the best of my knowledge, the Japanese are not fracking in this area. They may be rolling sushi, but they are not fracking. At least to the best of my knowledge.
The Wall Street Journal

Reynolds and Lorillard in talks to merge. This was also a front-page story in New York Times which had an interesting comment in the article about global warming. The New York Times is reporting:
As was the case during the dot-com boom, when many made wild forecasts of potential Internet users and revenue, people are already predicting that sales of e-cigarettes will surpass those of regular cigarettes — well, by 2047, according to one analysis by Bloomberg Industries.
By 2047, many of us could also be underwater because of global warming, assuming we are alive.
It's refreshing to see The New York Times joke about the claims of the warmists and the cover of The National Geographic some months ago, showing the Statue of Liberty up to her waist in global-warmed oceans.

Speaking of which (global warming), two stories are being reported elsewhere -- Chicago is "bracing" (their word, not mine) for a cold summer; and a 103-year record for low temperature was broken south of the equator. This was originally reported in The Australian but I forgot to link that source (one can find the same story at ABC online):
Not since July 28 1911 has Brisbane (Australia) felt this cold, getting down to a brisk 2.6C at 6.41a.m.
At 7a.m., it inched up to 3.3C.
Matt Bass, meteorologist from BOM, said the region was well below our average temperatures.
“If it felt cold, that’s because it was, breaking that record is pretty phenomenal for Brisbane,” Bass said.
“The average for this time of year is 12C, so Brisbane was about 9C below average, it is pretty impressive really, to have the coldest morning in 103 years is a big record.”
This along with the NOAA admitting that the Antarctic continent is at its largest extent ever, and global sea ice setting new records; the fact that polar bears are back; and even the penguins are thriving, tells me that all this hoopla over global warming is starting to wane. Except as a tool for fund-raising, my hunch is the president doesn't even get all that excited about the subject any more. Pool (as in billiards) and beer is his new interest. And pretty soon, planning his library will take up a lot of his time. I'm waiting to see when he visits the Black Hills -- now that he has visited North Dakota (SRIR, really?). Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial take up their entire mountains, respectively, but there might be room on Mount Rushmore, and maybe it's not too late to change the rider on the horse up at Crazy Horse.

Back to the WSJ:

A story on dead polar bears
Say what you will about Congress's catering to narrow, special interests.
This past week, the Senate, in blocking a vote on an outdoor sportsman's bill, kept one group quite literally on ice: 41 polar bears that were shot more than six years ago and have largely remained in storage in Canada while U.S. lawmakers debate whether they can be imported.
The polar bears were legally killed by hunters such as Don Hershey, co-founder of an agriculture-equipment company in Lancaster, PA, who traveled to the northern reaches of Canada in March 2008 to hunt the animals. But the hunters ran into a problem when they tried to bring the bears back. The U.S. government's decision to label the bears a "threatened" species in May 2008 made it illegal to import polar-bear trophies, even those killed before the ban went into effect, leaving the bears killed in March and April of that year in bureaucratic limbo.
Front section story on Kurdistan's secession plans. No doubt they are waiting for John Kerry and Christiane Amanpour to show up.

US oil prices at lowest in nearly two months. The consensus: signs of abundant supplies spurring investors to resume selling. Me? I think it is something else. Be that as it may: buying opportunity.

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

A Note To The Granddaughters

We made it safely from northern Texas (near Dallas) to San Pedro, CA (south Los Angeles).  Their parents were concerned that the granddaughters would be bored to tears and stuck in the back seat on this cross country drive. Google says it would take 22 hours if driven straight through. We took it very slowly. It took us almost exactly 75 hours. We left on Tuesday night, 8:00 p.m. and arrived in San Pedro at 10:00 p.m. (local; 1:00 a.m. Dallas time -- I guess that's 77 hours). If google says 22 hours driving time and we took 77 hours, that means 55 hours were spent outside of the car.

A huge shout-out to American technology. First, to Firestone. It hit 111 degrees Fahrenheit in the Mojave Desert, when we had already driven 1400 miles or so. I was really worried about the tires on the hot asphalt and in 111-degree temperature, and the tires did just fine. I think the tires are rated for 75,000 miles and they were new 10,000 miles ago.

Second: a huge shout-out to Jiffy Lube. Prior to starting the trip, I took the minivan in to Jiffy Lube to have it inspected, lubricated, and whatever else it needed. They must have done a great job. I felt much more comfortable having the car checked out before we left, and Jiffy Lube did a great job.

Third: a huge shout-out to Chrysler. This is our third of three Chrysler minivans, a 2007 base model with 53,000 miles on it. Our second, a 2005 base model, has about 60,000 miles. We gave away our first minivan, a 1996 model, back in 2010 or thereabouts with 196,000 miles on it. We really enjoyed the minivan on this trip; very versatile.

Fourth: a huge shout-out to a wonderful park ranger at the Petrified National Forest. When we handed him our $10-bill to enter the park, he said that for no extra cost, we could get a lifetime pass for all national parks -- for seniors. The very next day, we entered Grand Canyon with the pass, and did not have to pay the $25 entry fee.

Fifth: a huge shout-out to McDonald's. We only stopped a McDonald's twice on this trip (and no stops at Starbucks) to use wi-fi.

Sixth: a huge shout-out to Shell, Chevron, Exxon, and myriad other national downstream companies providing gasoline at affordable prices 24/7, and also providing restrooms, some much cleaner than others. Even the "worse" restrooms on our trip wer better than the average toilets we experienced in eastern Turkey.

Seventh: speaking of Turkey, a huge shout-out to Lady Bird Johnson (RIP) -- Beautify America. There was almost no litter and no billboards along the entire route except in urban areas. Of course, the billboards are being replaced by wind turbines, most of which were not turning. The turbines may not be generating electricity but they are generating tax credits, especially for folks like Warren Buffett. What a great country.

The list could go on and on. I may add to it later.

Week 28: July 6, 2014 -- July 12, 2014

The most interesting development, not unexpected, is the increasing delay in wells being completed due to pad drilling. I only linked one such posting, but almost every day now, more than half the wells coming off the confidential list are waiting to be fracked. There are few weather delays in the summer and reports suggest more-than-adequate fracking spreads which means that operational reasons (pad drilling) account for all the wells on DRL status.

Another major trend noted this week had to do with all the national and international stories about "Bakken" revolution: a) prices at the pump would be unaffordable without the shale revolution; b) US set to surpass both Russia and Saudi Arabia in oil production; and, c) the shale revolution is fueling a US jobs boom and the "Bakken" prevented further collapse of the US economy. One needs to go no farther (further?) than looking at the railroad statistics for the past five years to see that.

The US economy collapsed (their word, not mine) in 1Q14. However, the Bismarck Tribune is reporting:
North Dakota's taxable sales and purchases increased 4.4 percent during January, February and March when compared to the same three months a year ago.
North Dakota's Tax Department says the state recorded $5.6 billion in taxable sales and purchases during the first quarter.
Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger says taxable sales and purchases increased $239 million from the first quarter in 2013.
Rauschenberger says eight of the North Dakota's 15 economic sectors grew during the first quarter.
The wholesale trade sector showed the most growth in taxable sales and purchases, with the total rising $176 million compared to the first quarter 2013.
Top Stories For The Past Week

Top story: perhaps the top story of for this week will be the one reported immediately above; while the GDP for the US as a whole contracted ("collapsed" was what others called it) while the ND economy actually grew, using the quarterly taxable sales and purchases as a proxy.

Pad drilling leading to huge delay in completing wells; as many as 6 of 7 wells come off CONF status to go to DRL status
Top 20 middle Bakken wells
Random look at Oasis wells under the river; lease sale at $14,000/acre
Random look at Petro-Hunt 5-well pad recently leased in Little Knife oil field

Random update from three sources
Bakken economy
Foreign investors have eyes on the Bakken; other Williston Wire stories  

For investors only
Baytex to sell some North Dakota Bakken mineral acres -- report

Bakken revolution is fueling US jobs boom; preventing national economic collapse
Shale boom confounds forecasts as US is set to surpass Russia, Saudi Arabia
Not quite "all of the above"; federal lands contributing less to US energy security -- President Obama
Without the Bakken, prices at the pump would be completely unaffordable - IEA

Bakken well efficiency has topped out; rebuttal

Bakken Revolution Is Fueling A Jobs Boom, Perhaps Preventing A Collapse Of The Economy -- Rigzone; July 11, 2014

Parker Hallam, in an op-ed over at Rigzone, is reporting:
If you want to talk about job growth, reducing unemployment in this country, and providing the next generation with a stable foundation of career choices that pay more than the average, you need look no further than the energy industry.
North Dakota boasts the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. Texas is outpacing the United States as a whole in job growth. Pennsylvania added 1,300 manufacturing jobs in March alone. In 2000, the population of Midland, Texas was about 95,000.  City leaders expect it to jump to 200,000 in the next 15 years.
What do these places have in common besides enviable job numbers and increasing household incomes? Oil and natural gas exploration.
The domestic energy boom is fueling a jobs boom, not just in traditional oil states like Texas and Oklahoma, but in the most unlikely places such as North Dakota, and the “Rust Belt” states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.
But if some well-meaning, but mis-informed activists get their way, all these jobs could disappear.

Kurds: One Step Closer To Becoming A Sovereign Nation -- July 12, 2014

On Thursday, June 19, 2014, I wrote:
Of all the stories out there right now, I'm really curious how Kurdistan will play out. The tea leaves suggest Kurdistan could take this as their best opportunity yet to separate from Baghdad completely. They won't get US support (but Obama has flip-flopped so much they probably don't pay much attention to hm any more anyway) but they might get Turkish help. Turkey is probably now more concerned about ISIS than the Kurds. Turkey has always had an Islamist problem and it's gotten worse since I retired from the USAF. I think Turkey has a bigger risk of insurgency than Saudi Arabia.
It looks like it is already happening. Today (Friday, July 11, 2014), Reuters at Rigzone is reporting:
Kurdish forces seized two oilfields in northern Iraq and took over operations from a state-run oil company on Friday, while Kurdish politicians formally suspended their participation in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government.
The moves escalated a feud between the Shi'ite-led central government and the autonomous Kurdish region driven by a Sunni insurgency which threatens to fragment Iraq along sectarian and ethnic lines three years after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
The Kurdish forces took over production facilities at the Bai Hassan and Kirkuk oilfields near the city of Kirkuk, the oil ministry in Baghdad said. It called on the Kurds to withdraw immediately to avoid "dire consequences."
Kurdish forces took control of nearby Kirkuk a month ago after Iraqi troops withdrew in the face of a lightning assault by Islamic State militants, who have seized large parts of northern and western Iraq. The two oilfields have a combined production capacity of 450,000 barrels per day but have not been producing significant volumes since March when Baghdad's Kirkuk-Ceyhan export pipeline was sabotaged.
The Kurd's golden rule: those who have the oil make the rules.  As the Mideast spirals into chaos (, the Kurds are just off the radar scope, consolidating their gains. According to the linked article, there are those who believe President Obama has almost no influence any more in the Mideast. Whether he does or doesn't, there are signs he no longer cares.

Seems Like A Pretty Safe Bet -- July 12, 2014

IEA says US shale boom to extend into 2015. That seems to be a pretty safe bet. Reuters at Rigzone is reporting:
The IEA said it expected nonOPEC supply growth to average 1.2 million bpd next year, in line with increases in 2013 and 2014.
"The U.S. and Canada remain the mainstays for growth, but sources are expected to be more diverse than in 2014," said the IEA, naming Brazil, Britain, Vietnam, Malaysia, Norway and Columbia among countries which will grow output in 2015.
North America will remain the leader in 2015, contributing about two-thirds of the net non-OPEC supply increase compared to 85 percent in 2014.
U.S. light tight oil, mostly from North Dakota and Texas, as well as Canadian bitumen, represent well over half of 2014 non-OPEC supply growth, the IEA said.
It added that the Eagle Ford Shale Play in south Texas will remain one of the most dynamic oil provinces with output growing by 34 percent to 1.4 million bpd this year and exceeding 1.6 million next year.
"Certain OPEC countries have experienced severe disruptions, so North America has made the difference in terms of avoiding severely constrained global supply," the IEA said.
You betcha.