Saturday, July 26, 2014

Spreadsheet, Natural Gas Processing Plants In North Dakota; Dickinson Plans For More Growth West Of Town, Near The New Refinery -- July 26, 2014; Phoning It In (Their Words, Not Mine)

It's hard to find fault with developers trying to stay ahead of all that natural gas and all that flaring. Don happened to come across this spreadsheet detailing all the natural gas processing plants in North Dakota. The jpg is here:

Look at the difference between 2010 and 2013.

And then look at the difference between 2013 and 2014, and, then that planned through 2015. It's really quite dramatic.

West Dickinson Area Plan

Now that it really does appear that one of the nation's first new refineries in decades is about to be completed in North Dakota, Dickinson folks are planning on how to develop the area west of their city, near where the MDU-Calumet refinery will be. The Dickinson Press is reporting:
City officials are getting ready to study how to use approximately 6,100 acres of land west of Dickinson.
The City of Dickinson, in partnership with engineering firm Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson, is preparing to draft a plan to address the rapidly developing area.
The West Dickinson Area Plan will be an addendum to the Dickinson Comprehensive Plan, “Dickinson 2035: Roadmap to the Future,” which was adopted just two years ago.
The study area will consist of the region spanning from 35th Street West south to Patterson Lake, and approximately 116th Avenue Southwest east to 30th Avenue West; it’s not within city limits, but receives some city services.
In recent years, developments in the area have included the Dakota Prairie Refinery, Bakken Oil Express, the Dickinson Interstate 94 Exit 56 interchange, the Dickinson interim bypass route and numerous infrastructure improvement commitments, including an extended sewer line, Day said.
Global Sea Ice At Record Levels
The Maldives Are Doomed Once This Ice Starts Melting
This Is The Coolest Summer On Record in The US

Steven Goddard/Real Science is reporting: global sea ice is at record levels; eighth (8th) highest on record. In 1992 Algore said sea ice was melting due to global warming. There is an interesting graph at the link. Note the trend with regard to the extent of global sea ice over the past four years: almost straight up. I can't make this stuff up.

Steve Goddard also notes that the summer of 2014 (that would be THIS summer) has turned out to be the coolest summer on record in the US. The graph at this link:
The frequency of 90 degree days in the US has been plummeting for 80 years, and 2014 has had the lowest frequency of 90 degree days through July 23 on record. The only other year which came close was 1992, and that was due to dust in the atmosphere from Mt Pinatubo.
Phoning It In

The (London) Telegaph is reporting:
The degree to which Barack Obama is now phoning it in – sleepwalking perfunctorily through his second term, amid golf rounds and dinner parties – is astonishing. 
President Obama has emotionally checked out of his job a couple of years early, it seems. How can one tell?
Candidates for president who brazenly assume they are the inevitable victor are sometimes accused of “measuring the drapes” for the White House.
Obama, conversely, seems to be prematurely packing his bags in hopes for an early departure. 
Obama’s not dumb [but he is lazy, his words, not mine], and he’s clearly capable of marshalling an effective propaganda campaign when he wants to. So what explains this series of bad optics, which might be described by PR professionals as political malpractice?
The only thing that makes sense is that he is exhausted and, perhaps, has checked out of the job early.
If Nero fiddled while Rome burned, then Obama is dining out, golfing, and raising money while the world collapses.
I started noticing this back in October, 2013, and Peggy Noonan (WSJ) started writing about earlier this month.  I have the tag "Obama_Lame_Duck" but I'm wondering whether I should have called it "Phoning_It_In"?
Israel Offers Extended Truce, Hamas Refuses
Hamas In Secret Arms Deal With North Korea

No sooner had the 12-hour truce come to an end, and Hamas started firing rockets into Israel again. Israel offered to extend the truce; Hamas rejected

Meanwhile, The (London) Telegraph is reporting that Hamas and North Korea are in a secret arms deal.
Hamas militants are attempting to negotiate a new arms deal with North Korea for missiles and communications equipment that will allow them to maintain their offensive against Israel, according to Western security sources.
Security officials say the deal between Hamas and North Korea is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and is being handled by a Lebanese-based trading company with close ties to the militant Palestinian organization based in east Beirut.
Hamas officials are believed to have already made an initial cash down payment to secure the deal, and are now hoping that North Korea will soon begin shipping extra supplies of weapons to Gaza. 
And then folks wonder why Israel has the Gaza strip coastline blockaded. This is not rocket science.

Previous US presidents would have called this "outrageous" (his word, not mine) but the current administration will let it go.

Another GM Recall?
General Motors Government Motors Genuine Menace

Get ready for another GM recall. This time: older model Impalas with air bag software problems. If there is a problem with Impalas, I doubt it will be limited to one make/model. It could be a double whammy: if the ignition switch fails and the car comes to a sudden stop, and the air bag does not deploy ...
Handicaps Crossing

My hunch is that President Obama's handicap is decreasing while Tiger Woods' handicap is increasing. It's very possible, the two handicaps will cross sometime in 2018.  Someday you can say you read it here first.

Disclaimer: this is not a sports column. Do not quote anything from this site as accurate if it pertains to sports, or anything you think you might have read here that might possibly have related to sports. Definitely don't make any Las Vegas bets based on what you read here. 

A Note To The Granddaughters

Earlier I posted a note for the granddaughters about my experience at LAX today. As I watched the buses go by with their destinations in LED (e.g., Van Nuys), I thought about the man who probably did more than anyone to promote this city (Los Angeles): Johnny Carson. 

The Road To New England (After That Brief Detour In Colorado) Has Its Roots In California, 1980

This is a great article, a must-read, for those following the blog. A huge thanks to Don for sending it my way. The American Spectator reports
In 1980, under the first administration of Governor Jerry Brown, California decided it wasn’t going to build any more power plants but would follow Amory Lovins’ “soft path,” opting instead for conservation and renewable energy. By 2000, with the new digital economy sucking up electricity, a drought in the Pacific Northwest cut hydropower output and the state found itself facing the Great California Electrical Shortage.
You know what happened next. For weeks the Golden State struggled to find enough electricity to power its traffic lights. Brownouts and blackouts cascaded across the state while businesses fired up smoke-belching diesel generators to keep the lights on. Governor Gray Davis finally got booted out of office but the state didn’t rescue itself until it threw up 12,000 megawatts of new natural gas plants.
At that point California officials decided that the whole thing had been engineered by Enron and other out-of-state merchant providers and the charges and lawsuits flew. No Democrat ever learned a lesson. The state is now 60 percent dependent on natural gas for its electricity — twice the national average — and its electric bills are almost twice that of surrounding states. Industry is headed for the door.
So how have California’s liberal counterparts on the East Coast managed to avoid the same fate? You’d think a region that could produce Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders plus legions of college students trained to hate fossil fuels would have no trouble pursuing the same green dreams. Well, it’s about to happen. In the next few years New England will be facing a full-scale power shortage.
Last week the governors of the six New England states met in an emergency session at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to discuss what to do about the pending crisis. Significantly, they asked the premiers of five of Canada’s provinces to attend. That makes sense because if the region is going to get electricity from anywhere it is probably going to be from north of the border.
The article continues at the link. 

Fact check. The writer says: California is now 60 percent dependent on natural gas for its electricity — twice the national average — and its electric bills are almost twice that of surrounding states. Industry is headed for the door. The US government says otherwise. It's possible the writer was comparing a different set of metrics than what I was looking at or what the EIA was reporting.

It is true, according to the EIA, if you take "all sectors," the cost of electricity in California is about 12 cents/kWh compared to 9 cents for Oregon and 10 cents for Arizona. It is possible that the "electric bills are twice those of neighboring states" but that would be due to greater use of electricity by Californians (for air conditioning, no doubt, and longer commutes).

These are the residential rates for electricity as supplied by the EIA, cents/kWh, 2014 (2013):
  • California: 10 (16)
  • Oregon: 10 (10)
  • Washington (with all that hydroelectric power): 9 (9)
  • Montana: 10 (10)
  • Nevada: 14 (13)
  • Colorado: 12 (12)
  • North Dakota: 9 (9)
  • South Dakota: 10 (9)
  • Iowa (with all that wind power): 12 (11)
  • Minnesota (with all those mandates): 12 (12)
  • Wisconsin: 14 (14)
  • Michigan (with all those activists): 15 (14) 
  • Illinois: 12 (11)
  • New York (bans fracking; hates fossil fuel): 20 (18)
  • Pennsylvania (loves fracking): 13 (13)
The Road to New England
  • Vermont 18 (18)
  • Rhode Island 18 (14)
  • New Hampshire: 18 (17) -- already high and trending higher
  • Massachusetts: 18 (15) -- already high and trending higher
  • Connecticut: 20 (17) -- already high and trending higher
WallStreetCheatSheet looks at the ten states with most expensive electricity. New Hampshire was #3: With little in the way of production and high costs from nuclear energy, New Hampshire residents are faced with energy prices much higher than the national average, coming in at $28.35 per one million BTUs.

Vermont was #2: One of the biggest factors playing into Vermont’s high energy costs are that 70 percent of the state’s electricity is generated by nuclear power. That’s a higher percentage than any other state.

And, finally, drum roll ... #1 is Hawaii, but that's an outlier based on logistics. The pleasant climate, of course, offsets some of the costs, which cannot be said for Vermont and New Hampshire with their severe winters (worse than North Dakota's?).

A Note to the Granddaughters

We had a wonderful southwestern US vacation, driving from Dallas to Los Angeles via the Grand Canyon with another full day in the Albuquerque area. Then almost a full three weeks in San Pedro and Huntington Beach, California.

Today, the granddaughters will depart, in another couple of hours, and fly to Louisville, KY.

LAX has three entry points: Sepulveda from the north; Century Blvd from the east; and, Sepulveda from the south. The I-105 enters the Sepulveda on the south side. The main entry point, Century Blvd was closed last night for construction and will remain closed for 56 hours. We were told that traffic would be horrendous.

We drove north from San Pedro, leaving about 8:15 a.m. Saturday morning, on the I-110, and then the I-405 toward Santa Monica. We took the El Segundo exit off I-405 (absolutely no traffic). Sepulveda going north was almost traffic-free. We hit the green light at the Sepulveda - I-105 connection and sailed through. There was really no traffic going into LAX this morning.

It was a different story inside. The Delta line was the longest we had ever seen, streaming from the check-in area to almost the next terminal. The good news: Delta's Special Services line was very, very short, and that's where the granddaughters were checked in. While waiting, I noted that the Delta line moved very quickly and is now almost non-existent: folks must have all arrived at the same time, very early, to beat the horrendous traffic that was predicted. It took a fair amount of time to get the granddaughters checked in so that May could go through security with them and get them to their gate. I am waiting outside the security area.

It's about 10:20 a.m. and the granddaughters depart at 11:55 a.m., I believe.

By the way, huge kudos to the Delta folks for dealing with so many customers. Everything seemed to move along very smoothly.

The airport authority also did a great job managing the new traffic flow due to new construction.

A Note to the Granddaughters

In a recent post, I said I had a love-hate relationship with Los Angeles: some days I love it, other days not so much, but perhaps "hate" was too strong a word. 
In the autumn of 1972, I flew out to Los Angeles for an interview. I barely had enough money for the flight, so I planned (and did) hitchhike back to Sioux Falls, SD, after the interview. 

I remember the day I flew into Los Angeles for the first time as vividly as if it had occurred yesterday. I was "temporarily blinded" by the very bright sunshine. The airport seemed immense. I walked over to "information" asking which direction my destination lay. 

They said I could never walk that far, and suggested I take a bus to Chinatown (which I did) and then walk the rest of the way (which I did).

Today, with three hours to spare waiting for the granddaughters to depart, I took a walk, leaving LAX and headed east on Century Blvd. May was at the departure gate with the girls.

It was slightly (but only slightly) difficult finding the way out of the airport on foot. It appears that one can easily walk towards the city on the west-bound boulevard but not the east-bound boulevard. And there it was: the first non-airport restaurant, a Subway, about a 15-minute walk from terminal 5, or I suppose about a 10-minute walk from terminal 1, the first terminal upon entering the airport. I was surprised at the number of pilots that were walking from the surrounding high-rise high-end luxury hotels to the airport. I assume this was about the only exercise many of them get in their day-to-day work.

I'm now back at the airport, the plane has pushed back, and we can leave as soon as the plane is airborne. 

Meanwhile, across from me the police have just brought in a bomb-sniffing dog to examine a piece of abandoned luggage. I am amazed at all the luggage that seems to be left behind. I taught the granddaughter to count the number of items they carry unto the plane. My hunch is they already knew to do that because the older one, when asked, said she had five items, including a ribbon she tied around the new hardcover book that she picked up yesterday. 

On my walk, it looked like traffic was amazingly light. I doubt there will be any trouble getting back on Sepulveda, going south, to catch the I-405. 

I guess this would be one of the days I "love" LA.

Here comes May now.