Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Day In Williston -- August 21, 2014; Video Of New 5-Lane Highway Southwest Of Watford City

My wi-fi is acting up; having trouble all day accessing internet. I generally won't have wi-fi after 7:00 p.m. while visiting Williston. Postings will be delayed; photos and videos may be delayed until I get back home. I will respond to e-mail but such responses may be delayed.

Miscellaneous While I Have Wi-Fi

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.

Williams Cos reaffirms dividend growth guidance through 2017; increases quarterly dividend by 32% to $0.56 per share from $0.425 per share :
  • The co is reaffirming dividend-growth guidance of ~15% annually
Random Video Driving Into The Bakken
Bakken Driving 101

My first time back to the Bakken in several months. 

About 7:00 a.m., southwest of Watford City, on the new 5-lane (four-lane plus middle turning lane) US Highway 85 between Watford City and Williston. About 13 miles is completed between Watford City and Alexander. The drive going through construction with the fog and pitchblack was even more exciting, but I did not have camera; I was concentrating on the obstacle course. Maybe on my return trip. Smile.

Lots of video taken, but taking way too long to load. This is the shortest piece of video I had. Will gradually get others loaded.

New US Highway 85 southwest of Watford City, 7:00 a.m. CDT (6:00 a.m. MDT, I believe), August 21, 2014; visibility said to be 1/2 mile; I think it was significantly less. Almost all traffic going south from Williston to Watford City (oil service companies in Williston; most intense drilling around Watford City). I was unable to keep up with (speed) trucks in front of me. No trucks behind me at time this was being filmed.

The unwritten "rule" in driving in the fog in the Bakken appears to be: if everyone just drives faster than the person behind you, then everything should work out okay. In other words, if you see headlights in your rear view mirror you are not driving fast enough.

And, yes, regular readers know which music video I will put up tomorrow. LOL.  

............... added August 22, 2014: 

Lights Over The Hill, Slim Dusty

Why Man-Made Earthquakes (If They Exist) Are Less Intense, Of Less Concern Than Natural Earthquakes (Perhaps Even Of Benefit) -- August 21, 2014

I thought I had posted this before; can't find the original article. A reader sent me a link explaining why man-made earthquakes (if they exist) are less intense than natural earthquakes.
Expanded oil and gas operations in the central and eastern United States have triggered earthquakes as large as magnitude 5.7, as drillers inject wastewater back into the ground. But seismologists now report a bit of good news: such 'induced' quakes appear to shake the ground less than a naturally occurring earthquake of the same magnitude would.
That is good news because less shaking means less damage. “Maybe induced earthquakes aren’t quite as fearsome as they may seem,” says Susan Hough, a seismologist at the US Geological Survey (USGS) in Pasadena, California, whose work is published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
“The hazard from induced quakes is going to be down a notch relative to tectonic quakes.”
But the observation holds only for areas more than 10 kilometres from the earthquake’s epicentre. Anyone close to the drilling would still feel as much shaking as a natural quake would bring. “This might lead to a recommendation that deep injection wells should be kept 10 kilometres away from population centres,” says Hough.
And ten kilometres from the New York State border. No doubt.

Explanation For Global Warming Pause?

In 1999, the feverish rise in Earth's surface temperatures suddenly slowed, even as greenhouse gas emissions escalated. This unexpected slowdown has been called a global warming hiatus or global warming pause. Most climate scientists don't think this hiatus means global warming went kaput, but the reason (or reasons) for the slowdown has scientists flummoxed. Researchers have offered more than two dozen ideas to explain the missing heat.
Now, a study published today (Aug. 21) in the journal Science suggests a natural climate cycle in the North Atlantic Ocean gobbled Earth's extra heat. While the study is unlikely to settle the scientific debate, it does support the idea that Earth's global warming continues in the ocean, even when air temperatures stay flat.
I'm going to have to put thermometers in the ocean now, along with my popsicle sticks with millimeter hash marks. Does this mean the oceans are still rising? Warm oceans, and yet sea ice is expanding, setting new records in the Antarctic? Hard for all this to be reconciled. If nothing else, a new avenue for research grants. I think a good spot to do this research is off the big island of Hawaii. Just saying. 

Five (5) New Permits -- North Dakota

Wells coming off confidential list Friday:
  • 26468, 946, Newfield, Scott 150-99-13-24-5H, Siverston, t5/14; cum 29K 6/14;
  • 27061, drl, BR, Denali 21-4MBH 3NH, Johnson Corner, no production data,
  • 27536, 84, Legacy, Legacy Et Al Bernstein 4-17H, Red Rock, a Spearfish well, t5/14; cum 5K 6/14;
  • 27717, 50, Corinthian, Corinthian Backman 12-35 3H, North Sourth, a Spearfish well, t4/14; cum 10K 6/14;
Active rigs:

Active Rigs193185197193138

Five (5) new permits --
  • Operators: Newfield (3), Fidelity (2)
  • Fields: Stanley (Mountrail), Siverston (McKenzie)
Wells coming off confidential list today were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Arrived Safely In Williston, ND, The Heart Of The Bakken -- August 21, 2014

If I recall correctly I was last in Williston back in February (2014). At the time, I was impressed; the Bakken keeps growing visually.

I arrived back in Williston this morning -- just minutes ago -- and I am more excited than any previous visit. Mark Perry over at Carpe Diem has talked about "Saudi Dakota" for quite some time based on the volume of oil being produced by the Bakken (it now accounts for 12% of all US oil production). I never really saw "Saudi Dakota" until today. For the first time, I can say that in addition to the production numbers, the Williston area now looks like what I imagine a Saudi oil field would look like (without the sand -- I'm talking about the rigs, the flaring, the crude oil tanks, the storage areas, the support areas, the trucks, etc). It is absolutely incredible.

I hope to be here for 7 - 10 days. I will post photos / video while I'm here.

Trip From Dallas to Williston
August 19 - August 21, 2014
For archival purposes only
Not for general readership
In other words, of no interest to anyone except me for archival purposes

I left Grapevine, TX, about 5:00 p.m. Tuesday evening and arrived in Williston, ND, at 8:00 a.m. Thursday morning, sleeping in the car along the way.

Nebraska continues to be the longest and most difficult stretch. The only "good" thing I can say about Nebraska is that it makes the Texas-Oklahoma-Kansas stretch seem short in comparison, and the South Dakota-North Dakota even shorter.

As usual I took I-35 from Dallas/Ft Worth area to Wichita, Kansas. I did not note anything new on this leg this trip.

Because I have to angle to the northwest somewhere between Wichita, KS, and the Black Hills (and southeast going back), my route varies a bit each time I visit the Bakken.

This time, I drove north to the Kansas-Nebraska state line, cut west just before entering Nebraska, and then drove up to/through Grand Island, and took Nebraska Highway 2 up to Chadron.

The route from Chadron to Williston varies little; generally, the only option is whether to meander through the Black Hills or go more directly to I-90 via Rapid City. This time I drove directly to Rapid City.


1. I picked up Bakken-traffic earlier than ever before. My first such encounter was meeting up with a  truck somewhere in Nebraska carrying pipeline for the oil and gas industry. I followed it into the Rapid City area; obviously heading north it's only destination could have been the Williston Basin.

2. From mid-Nebraska north, the grass was incredibly lush, tall, and green. I saw horses in shoulder-high (their shoulders) grass. I saw cows in similar fields and if lying down, the cows were hidden by the grass. I don't recall ever seeing so many calves. I assume it's the same every year; that it was simply the time I happened to be driving through. But where there were cows, the fields were filled with calves. Not yearlings, but calves.

3. There seemed to be an over-abundance of those huge round bales of hay. Certainly as much as I've ever seen, and I think farmers/ranchers might be able to get yet another cutting before the freeze.

4. This was the most interesting "new" thing I saw on this trip: South Dakota Highway 79 is being completed at a four-lane divided highway from the Nebraska state line all the way to I-90. It appears this will be completed this construction season. I assume this is due to all the Rapid City traffic, particularly tourist traffic for the Black Hills. But one wonders how much of it was due to the oil activity in North Dakota. Obviously, plans to widen this 2-lane highway had to have been made years ago, but the Montana boom began in 2000 and the North Dakota boom began in 2007, so it's possible the Bakken had something to do with the plans to widen highway 79. If not, Mr Fortuitous and Ms Serendipity each played a part. The highway clearly connects the Bakken/Williston Basin with Wyoming/Colorado's DJ Basin; to some extent, it may help the Powder River Basin in southeastern Montana. But it probably had nothing to do with oil or coal; simply due to tourism.

5. Lots and lots of water. The Loup branches in Nebraska were practically overflowing their banks.

6. Rapid City was incredibly busy with tourists, I suppose. I had planned to spend the night in Rapid City but decided not to fight the tourists for booked rooms, and so continued driving.

7. I departed Rapid City by 6:00 p.m. and it looked like I had two hours of daylight. My father grew up on a farm just south of Newell, and I knew if I did not waste time, I would be able to still see the farm before it got dark. I exited I-90 at Sturgis. The signage for the annual Sturgis rally was up; the city looked in perfect shape; cleaned up. The rally was held August 4 - 10 this year.

8. I got to Newell in plenty of time to see my grandparents farm. Very, very moving (emotionally) for me. I spent many wonderful summer vacations there, and I've heard my dad tell many stories of growing up on the farm. The farm was one mile south of the highway intersection that was two miles south of Newell. It's an important distinction because I recall my dad telling me his bicycle's tires would usually be flat after the first mile; he would leave the bike at the highway intersection, and pick it up on the way home. At some point, his mom gave him a horse that he rode back and forth to school.

9. I had dinner at the Blue Line Diner on the north side of town (Newell). The sign at the south end of town, said the diner would be found by taking a right at the stop sign. Yes, "the" stop sign. No traffic lights on highway 79 through Newell, just a single stop sign. My dad does not recall the Blue Line Diner in Newell which was located just a few blocks north of where his sister lived when she married, many years ago.

10.  I continued through Buffalo, SD, and then to Bowman, and then to Belfield.

11. By the time I crossed the North Dakota state line, it was already well after dark. I was greeted by a well-lit oil rig in Bowman County, just to the east of Highway 85.

12. I arrived in Belfield about 10:30 p.m. I slept in the car until 3:00 a.m. and then went inside the truck stop, got a cup of coffee, and worked on the blog until just before 5:00 a.m. I then headed north to Williston.

13. As usual there was a lot of truck traffic and oil-related activity around Belfield, but ten miles north, it was not much different than past visits. There were some new oil services activities, but I didn't notice any drilling activity.

14. But it seemed there was more truck traffic this visit than before.

15. It was still dark when I drove past the north unit of the national park. I am pleased to say there was not one indication of any oil activity anywhere near the park. The park ranger who is spearheading the charge to keep the oil industry away from the park has been quite successful. There is nothing in the area to indicate any oil activity: no truck traffic; no lighted rigs; no flaring.

16. Five miles south of Watford City, everything changed. I was back in the Bakken. 

First Time Claims For Unemployment Benefits Plunge; Continuing Claims At 7-Year Low -- August 21, 2014

Reuters is reporting:
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, pointing to a sustained improvement in labor market conditions.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000 for the week ended Aug. 16, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Claims for the prior week were revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to 300,000 last week. A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing the state level data.
The four-week average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 4,750 to 300,750. But at that level, it remains consistent with solid job growth and claims are back at their pre-recession levels.
Dow futures up a bit.

Super-spike in oil? The video "teaser" is more exciting than the actual video: why cheap oil could result in super spike in price of oil. The "talking head" is talking about "long, long term" and is very, very vague, saying he has no idea how far out. But the argument is no different that before: as the price of oil falls, some producers will cut back; relative shortage of production would lead to "super spike." Pretty lame video.

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.

Reuters is reporting that the US manufacturing sector surged in August:
The U.S. manufacturing sector expanded in August, with the rate of growth exceeding expectations and moving at the fastest pace in more than four years, an industry report showed on Thursday.

Financial data firm Markit said its preliminary or "flash" U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 58 in August, which was its highest since April 2010, from 55.8 in July. Economists polled by Reuters expected a reading of 55.7.

Unconventional 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 -- Update -- August 21, 2014

WoodMac is reporting:
Energy research firm Wood Mackenzie believes the emerging third phase of onshore unconventional oil and gas development in the United States could show the way ahead for shale gas and oil projects in Europe.
Wood Mackenzie said that after conducting an in-depth analysis of U.S. unconventional activity over the last decade, it considers that the emerging third phase of the unconventional sector in the Lower 48 States of the United States – focusing on brownfield exploration – signals a shift in the industry's thinking about what constitutes a successful unconventional play.
The firm now believes that the characteristics of "Unconventional 3.0" projects could be readily applied to brownfield sites further afield, including in Europe. In the United States, Wood Mackenzie estimates that 3.0-style projects have the combined potential to produce more than one million barrels of oil equivalent per day by the end of 2020.
It looks like I have some research yet to do, regarding unconventional 1.0 and 2.0:
"The emergence of the unconventional 3.0 phase of development in the United States could provide the bridge for international unconventional projects to be successful. To date, operators have struggled to build unconventional 1.0 and 2.0 projects outside of North America. However, the development of international plays does not need to follow the same sequence of phases as has been successful in the United States," Clarke said.
Here's a quick overview of Unconventional 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0.

Unconventional 1.0: numerous mega gas plays
This period was characterised by intense production growth, with operators amassing positions in dozens of mega gas plays.
In 2005, the Barnett Shale in North Texas was the only significant shale gas play but by 2011, seven plays were all producing more than 500 mmcfd. Marcellus shale supply rose rapidly, with producers adding over 3.0 bcfd to the market each year over a 36-month period.
Unconventional 2.0: high margin, smaller volume tight oil plays
In 2011, the booming supply of shale gas caused prices to drop and producers quickly began redeploying their asset teams to high margin tight oil plays, including the Eagle Ford, Wolfcamp, Bone Spring and Cline.
Yet as oil plays developed, total production volumes from successful plays were – on average - around a third smaller compared with typical unconventional gas plays during a similar timeframe.
Most importantly, a smaller absolute number of commercially successful large scale liquids plays have been discovered. Two plays are clear leaders, currently producing more than 800,000 b/d, whilst the third most productive asset is only producing 160,000 b/d.
Unconventional 3.0: Development of niche assets
The smaller number of large scale plays in the unconventional 2.0 tight oil phase provided the impetus for operators to explore more aggressively.
In this current third phase, producers are using the combined knowledge from unconventional 1.0 and 2.0 to target niche plays  - essentially re-evaluating existing inventory and underexplored strata previously considered insufficiently permeable.
Smaller companies are leading exploration efforts and unexpected sweet spots are being identified at a fast pace.
Consequently, non-headline 1.0 and 2.0 plays now have 35 more unconventional rigs running in them than they did last year. This is a larger year-on-year increase than the joint number of rigs added in the prominent Utica and Denver-Julesburg Niobrara plays, which together boast over 550,00 boed in production.
In a global sense, operators have struggled to build unconventional 1.0 and 2.0 projects outside of North America, and we believe the emergence of this new 3.0 development phase could provide the bridge needed for international unconventional projects to ultimately be successful.

EOG Over At Seeking Alpha -- Bret Jensen -- August 21, 2014

For investors only. I don't suppose I would normally do this as a stand-alone, but Bret Jensen is one of three really good analysts on the Bakken.

Over at SeekingAlpha, Bret Jensen is reporting:
  • EOG Resources, the biggest leaseholder in the Eagle Ford shale formation, has sold off ~$10 a share or 10% on the recent decline in energy prices.
  • This stock is never "cheap" but the pullback is a good entry point to start accumulating some shares of this premier E&P concern.
  • The company has had an impressive history of production growth, possesses a deep drilling inventory and a growing percentage of production coming from oil & liquids. 
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.

Remember: Seeking Alpha is starting to take down some articles after awhile requiring a subscription to access. If you are interested in these stories, best to look at them sooner than later.  

And as long as I'm doing this, I might as well add the SandRidge earnings link from another analyst that Don sent me. Link here.
  • The company beat 2Q consensus on the bottom line, but missed on the top line.
  • We’re still unimpressed with what SandRidge has accomplished over the past year or so - noting that debt remains elevated.
  • We didn’t expect the recent beat, but note that the company still expects full year 2014 to be below previous expectations.
SandRidge Energy managed to post 2Q earnings of $0.06 a share (beating $0.04 consensus), but revenues were $375 million (missing $392 million consensus). Shares took a 10% haircut on the earnings news.

Thursday Morning, 3:00 A.M., Belfield Truck Stop, Southern Gateway To The Bakken; Thirteen (13) New Permits -- North Dakota; KOG With Three Big Wells In Epping (Northeast Of Williston); Big Oil Looks To Win In Alaska On Tax Issue

Two Public Service Announcements

Folks need to read the blog entry at east of billings. Link here at the click. The link will take you to my post, but go directly to the story, here.

And this important note: a reader sent me this -- a simple click to the Enercom presentations without having to go to each individual company's website:
The Enercom Conference presentations were my first real introduction to a lot of Bakken information years ago.


Now, back to the rest of the news. 

I left Grapevine, TX (suburb, north side of Ft Worth) at 5:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon, Tuesday. Driving straight through with naps along the road I arrived in Rapid City late Wednesday evening.

I arrived in Rapid City about 7:30 p.m. a few hours ago.  I was going to stay overnight but it was obvious I would be fighting the tourists; I forgot this was still August -- the kids are starting school out in California. But it's still only August 21, so the city was crazy busy, I couldn't handle the crowds.

After all that emptiness of Nebraska for the previous 12 hours I wasn't ready to deal with "people." So, I pressed on.

I stopped at the truck stop here in Belfield; got a couple hours of sleep; will now catch up with news, and then drive the last four hours home to Williston, arriving about 9:00 a.m., I suppose. My dad will be up by then.

Enbridge plans to deliver oil east of Chicago. Click here to RBN Energy
The Enbridge crude oil network is North America’s largest. Its original objective was to deliver western Canadian crude to refineries in the US Midwest. Many of those refineries like the 413 Mb/d BP Whiting complex south of Chicago have spent billions upgrading to process heavy Canadian crude. But the shale boom is adding significant volumes of light crude to the Enbridge system, particularly in North Dakota. So now the company is expanding capacity to get that light crude to market in eastern Canada and the US Midwest. Today we continue our coverage of Enbridge’s expansion plans.
Although there has been a lot of discussion about reversing the Capline pipeline so that it could ship Canadian heavy and Bakken light crude south to St James, LA (a route that significant volumes of railed crude from the Bakken still travel on), no firm plan has been announced yet. In the meantime, the evolving Energy Transfer Partners Dakota Access project is planned to be built in 2016 to deliver at least 320 Mb/d of Bakken crude from North Dakota through Patoka and down to Nederland on the Texas Gulf Coast. Together with the existing 96 Mb/d ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline (closed due to an accident in 2013 but due to re-open soon) the Dakota Access provides a potential alternative route for Bakken light crude to the Gulf Coast. Although the Enbridge Eastern Access plans are separate, all these competing projects will impact supply and demand for light crude in eastern Canada so they can’t be ignored when looking at the eastern supply picture.
Active rigs:

Active Rigs192185197193138

Thirteen (13) new permits --
  • Operators: CLR (6),  Whiting (4), Corinthian (2), EOG
  • Fields: Brooklyn (Williams), Sand Creek (McKenzie), Nameless (McKenzie), Sanish (Mountrail),  North Souris (Bottineau), Parshall (Mountrail)
  • Comments: all six CLR permits are for the Brooklyn;
Wells coming off the confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

Thirteen (13) producing wells completed:
  • 21957, 1,779, Statoil, Cvancara 20-17 4TFH, Alger, t7/14; cum --
  • 23117, 3,251, Statoil, Cora 20-17 4H, Poe, t7/14; cum --
  • 25777, 2,857, Statoil, Lloyd 34-3 3H, Sandrocks, t7/14; cum --
  • 26332, 286, Hess, GN-McCoy-158-97-1102H-1, New Home, t7/14; cum --
  • 26710, 1,106, Hess, BW-Arnegard State 151-100-3625H-4, Sandrocks, t7/14; cum --
  • 26738, 103, Hess, Ti-Wao-157-95-14H-1, a Lodgepole, proposed, TVD, 9,192; TD, 13,693; drilled as an exploration hole; two cores taken (176-foot core from the Lodgepole; a 282-foot core from the False Bakken through the Three Forks 2nd bench); gas in the Lodgepole, up to 443 units; gas in the middle Bakken up to 191 units; gas up to 2,889 units in the Three Forks; all formations suggested oil; one-section spacing, t7/14; cum --
  • 27119, 2,324, BR, Arches 24-35MBH, Keene, middle Bakken, t8/14; cum--
  • 27253, 908, Hess, EN-Hanson A-155-94-0607H-4, Manitou, t7/14; cum --
  • 27487, 1,617, KOG, P Irgens 155-99-3-4-9-14H3, Epping, t7/14; cum --
  • 27488, 2,976, KOG, P Irgens 155-99-3-4-9-14H, Epping, t7/14; cum --
  • 27489, 1,920, KOG, P Irgens 155-99-3-4-9-3H3, Epping, t7/14; cum --
  • 27620, 683, Baytex, Bernie A-20-17-162-98H 2XC, Blooming Prairie, t7/14; cum 9K 6/14;
  • 27621, 531, Baytex, Bernie B-20-17-162-98H 3XB, Blooming Prairie, t7/14; cum 5K 6/14;
Note the great KOG P Irgens wells in Epping field; folks may recall the post on the little town of Epping just the other day.
Other News

From SeekingAlpha:
  • ConocoPhillips beat out BP to win one of the most contested tracts of today's western Gulf of Mexico lease sale, entering the event's highest apparent bid of $16.7M for Alaminos Canyon block 431.
  • However, BP easily submitted the most bids (32) and was the apparent high bidder on 27, totaling $22.8M, while BHP was next with 14 bids comprising $21,8M; Chevron submitted just five bids but tallied the highest sum of high bids, totaling $25.8M.
  • Shell made just one offer in the sale, for territory near its Perdido developments; its $1.75M bid was enough to win Alaminos Canyon block 905, edging out the only other competitor, Stone Energy.
From SeekingAlpha:
  • In a victory for Big Oil, an Alaska ballot measure to repeal a 2013 law that drastically cut the amount of taxes major oil companies in the state had to pay appears headed for defeat.
  • A measure on Alaska’s primary ballot yesterday would have reinstated the state’s progressive oil taxes, originally installed in 2007 and dismantled last year in an effort to lure oil companies to the state.
  • ConocoPhillips and BP, the two biggest oil producers in the state, called it a victory; COP, which has said it plans to spend $2B to drill more wells in Alaska's Alpine and the Kuparuk fields, says the new tax plan has improved the investment climate in the state.
  • BP has said the new tax code enables it to invest $1B into Prudhoe Bay, the field that has produced 12B barrels of oil over several decades and could pump 12B more before it is completely spent.
Global Warming
The Road to New England

I saw this on the overhead television in the Belfield truck stop, and now Don sent me the link to the story. It's gonna be a cold winter in the northeast. The AP is reporting:
The Old Farmer's Almanac, the familiar, 223-year-old chronicler of climate, folksy advice and fun facts, is predicting a colder winter and warmer summer for much of the nation.
Published Wednesday, the New Hampshire-based almanac predicts a "super-cold" winter in the eastern two-thirds of the country. The west will remain a little bit warmer than normal.
The TV weather-person said it was hard to predict the weather a year in advance. But warmists can predict global temperature a hundred years from now.

Now, just after posting the link from this story on the colder winter forecast for eastern two-thirds of the country, I see Steven sent me this link. Portland Press Herald is reporting:
A first-of-its kind effort by the six New England governors to expand natural gas pipeline capacity in the region has stalled and may be dead because of Massachusetts politics, dealing a blow to efforts to save Maine homes and businesses $120 million a year.
The plan, announced with great fanfare in January, would increase gas pipeline capacity by nearly 20 percent within three years and build at least one major electricity transmission line to bring renewable energy from Canada. Utility customers would be asked to help pay for the projects through electricity rates. The costs, though, would be recovered through savings on energy bills, according to advocates.
The plan hit a snag this month when the Massachusetts Legislature rejected a so-called clean energy bill presented by Gov. Deval Patrick. One part of that bill would have let utilities sign contracts for hydropower from Canada, a measure opposed by local power generators.
At the same time, growing public opposition to a new pipeline across northern Massachusetts has prompted Patrick and other influential politicians in the state to reconsider their support for the broader plan.
Taken together, the events have hobbled the regional effort, because new pipeline capacity in Massachusetts is critical to the venture.
It will be interesting to see if this story is re-visited this winter.  
Back In The Bakken

First Impressions

I always take the same route coming back into the Bakken, after I get north of the Black Hills. The first thing I noted this trip was the truck traffic was a lot heavier than any of previous visits. Generally the truck traffic was not all that noticeable until I reached Belfield. This time, the truck traffic was noticeably busier starting as far south as Buffalo, South Dakota. I was now driving after dark and it's possible the night driving "exaggerated" the reality. But it did seem busier: not miles of trucks but always at least one truck coming towards me or one truck behind me. I still pull off the road to let trucks pass me. I won't be able to do that farther north; the traffic will be too heavy.

I always stop at the Belfield truck stop: free wi-fi, and today I see they have outlets; in the past I did not need them so I never looked. The flies are the only annoyance. We have an uneasy truce; that's the best I can do because I don't have a fly swatter. Though...

The truck stop is open 24/7 of course, but it is quiet inside the store. Outside, there must be about 15 18-wheelers, some running, some not.

The trip from Texas to North Dakota was incredibly beautiful. I will write more about that later. Just wanted to let family and friends know where I am now.  

The Wall Street Journal

Investors pouring money into Vanguard.

Lots of ink on the Fed, but amounts to "no change."

Modern humans arrived in Europe earlier than thought.  Will read later.

Supreme Court blocks start of same-sex marriages in Virginia. You have got to be kidding.

Holder talks with family. My hunch: he spoke in code to them.

Sanctions: Russia temporarily closes four McDonald's restaurants in Moscow.

Much, much more, but I have to get on the road. It's 5:08 a.m. and I'm still at the Belfield, ND, truck stop. I should be in Williston by about 10:00 a.m.