Thursday, December 11, 2014

Random Look At A Bakken Well -- Delay In Production Following Fracking / Testing -- December 11, 2014

I'm sure there are simple explanations for all these things, but when I come across something like this, it certainly suggests I know less than 1% (or even much less) of everything that is occurring in the Bakken.

Take a look at this well:
  • 20815, 325, CLR, Lindell 3-10H, Stoneview, Bakken, 4-section spacing; Stoneview, 30 stages, 3.0 million lbs sand/ceramic; gas maxed at 945 units, t3/12; cum 110K 10/14;
It was tested March 25, 2012.

It was stimulated (fracked) several months earlier, December 18, 2011.

One would assume that it would have some pretty good production in the first month following fracking; and certainly some great production the first month after testing.

But look at the production profile for this well for the first twelve months:


So, this well was fracked in December, and had no production for the next several months. Nada, zilch, zero.

Even after it was tested in March, there was almost no production; in fact, in May, two months later, there was again absolutely no production, not even one bbl.

But, I guess on June 3, 2012, or thereabouts, they opened the spigot, and lo and behold, almost 13,000 bbls of bubbling crude over the next 27 days.

By the way, this is an "old" well by Bakken standards, spud back in 2011, and yet look at the spacing: 2560-acre spacing. I've always thought 2560-acre spacing was fairly recent. 

Beverly Hillbillies Theme

Billionth Barrel Of Crude Oil -- December 11, 2014

Do folks remember this subject line?
Eagle Ford Produces Its One-Billionth Bbl Of Oil; Most Of It In The Past Two Years -- December 5, 2014 
North Dakota has its own bragging rights. In a much, much smaller geographic area of drilling, North Dakota:
  • struck oil in April, 1951
  • produced its first billionth bbl of oil in October, 1989 (38 years)
  • produced its second billionth bbl of oil in November, 2011 (22 years)
  • will produce its third billionth bbl of oil sometime in 2015 (4 years)
For the entire presentation, go to the NDIC website at this link; when you get there, click on / open the fourth presentation, dated 8-6-14 (August 6, 2014), titled, "ND Update."

The "billionth barrel" slide is slide #3.

Having said that: it is quite incredible that the Eagle Ford, a newly discovered field, hit one billion bbls of oil in two years or thereabouts. Besides the technical achievement, it took a lot of cooperation among state and local politicians; state residents; surface owners; oil companies; oil service companies; local, state, and federal environmental agencies, etc., etc., to make this happen.

By the way, just for grins, go back to that linked NDIC August, 2014, presentation and look at slides #28, #29, and #30. Slide #28 is BEFORE, #29 is DURING, and #30 is AFTER -- #28 before the wells went in; #29 where the wells were, and #30, where the wells are now. Imagine those three same slides with thousands of wind turbines that will be there "forever" once they are put in. That's the future of North Dakota in Algore's mind, a wind farm state. He lives in in a McMansion in Tennessee.

Reminder: Some Very Old Links Are Broken -- But Are Recoverable

Remember: this site was hacked a long time ago.

I had to change the URL very slightly to recover all the posts.

If you are going back to old entries, and if you click on a link that says the page is no longer there and it's a milliondollarway post, it's probably there.

Look at the URL. If it's a "" or some variation of that, change that portion to:

Sometimes there are other errors in the URL that doesn't work. The "" should work. I correct them as I find them.

If you find one and it matters to you, and can't get it to work, let me know and I will see what I can do.

Links to old sites at other websites are often gone broken for any number of reasons; those I can do nothing about.

Re-Fracking Article Over At Seeking Alpha -- December 11, 2014

The article will get a lot of google hits, but it says almost nothing about re-fracking that is actionable or useful and says nothing about the Bakken. I think I have more about re-fracking in the Bakken than he does -- there is a "re-fracking" tag and a "re-entry" tag at the bottom of this blog.

Here's the link.

A reader provided this link also, but it, too, has very little information. 

7/10 Of New Wells To DRL Status; Twenty-Two (22) Permits Canceled; Fourteen (14) New Permits -- North Dakota, USA -- December 11, 2014; Buffett Finally Sells More Of His COP

Twenty-two (22) permits canceled -- these are relatively recent permits; suggests that cancellations are due to slump in oil prices:
Legacy (1), EOG (1, Burke), Ballantye (1), Whiting (2, Mountrail, Billings), WPX (1, Mountrail),  Petro Harvester (3, Burke), Fram Operating (Renville), PetroHunt (1, Billings), Statoil (1, McKenzie), OXY USA (1, Dunn), Thunderbird (1, McKenzie), Samson Resources (1, Divide), True Oil (5, McKenzie), Corinthian (1, Bottineau), QEP (1, Dunn - Heart Butte)
Three (3) producing wells completed:
  • 24916, 819, Petro-Hunt, State of North Dakota154-99-16B-3H, Stockyard Creek, t11/14; cum 7K 10/14;
  • 26937, 768, Hess, SC-Norma-154-98-0706H-4, Truax, t11/14; cum --
  • 28067, 669, Hess, EN-State C-156-93-1615H-9, Alger, t11/14; cum -- 
Two temporarily abandoned:
  • 09749, TA, OXY Little Knife, LLC, Loh "A", Little Knife, a Madison well, hasn't produced since 8/13; t11/82; cum 254K 10/14;
  • 25372, TA, OXY USA, George Palmer 1-11-141-94, wildcat, Stonewall/Siluirian/Precambian; it's an exploratory well; in the future will test Upper Interlake, Red River, and "possibly other zones"; located in southwest North Dakota, near Murphy Creek, 14 miles northeast of Dickinson; application permit suggest Red River as the target; s6/13;
Wells coming off confidential list Friday:
  • 23271, 673, CLR, Yvette1-4H, St Demetrius, t9/14; cum 19K 10/14;
  • 25588, drl, Whiting, Moccasin Creek 14-33-28-4H3, Moccasin Creek, no production data,
  • 26066, drl, XTO, Arley 21X-18F, Grinnell, no production data,
  • 26273, drl, CLR, Rehak Federal 6-25H1, Alkali Creek, no production data,
  • 27282, drl, Petro-Hunt, Brenna 152-96-22D-14-1HS, Clear Creek, no production data,
  • 27565, 738, Triangle, McCabe 150-101-24-13-3H, Rawson, t6/14; cum 47K 10/14;
  • 27566, 909, Triangle, McCabe 150-101-24-13-4H, Rawson, t6/14; cum 53K 10/14;
  • 27700, drl, BR, Haymaker 31-15TFH-A, Elidah, no production data,
  • 27973, drl, EN-Trinity-154-93-2833H-9, Robinson Lake, no production data,
  • 28201, drl, SM Energy, Dallas 2X-13H, Poe, producing, 7K in 2nd full month;
Active rigs:

Active Rigs186192183200166

Wells coming off the confidential list today were posted earlier, see sidebar at the right.

Fourteen (14) new permits --
  • Operators: EOG (5), Oasis (5), XTO (4), Petro-Hunt
  • Fields: Parshall (Mountrail), Baker (McKenzie), Lindahl (Williams), Charlson (McKenzie)
  • Comments:
Buffett Finally Sells More of His COP 

Link here. Still has some. Not much. 

Ticker Symbol KOG No Longer Exists -- December 11, 2014

On another note, I was talking to a family member today who has waited, literally, for years to buy shares in COP. I think he was talking about investing in COP ten years ago. He mentioned that COP was still not low enough for him to buy in.

As noted: there will be winners and loser.

Peak oil? What peak oil? Oil solidly under $60/bbl today. 

Breaking Down The Bakken Based On Break-Even Costs -- December 11, 2014


December 27, 2014: see also this "heat map."

Later, 5:59 p.m. CT: I provided a map of the areas mentioned at another source with regard to break-even areas in the Bakken. It was my rough guess. It turns out another recent source, and a very good source, is an article by Michael Filloon over at SeekingAlpha. The biggest help was the "West Nesson" area. My map is still a good first approximation, especially if you overlay Filloon's map on mine with regard to the "West Nesson" which is a pretty vague term to begin with. A big "thank you" to a reader for pointing this article out to me; I had seen it; can't remember if I linked it. But now you have it.

Original Post
I assume there are factual and typographical errors in this post. Feedback is welcome.

In an earlier post, a source broke the North Dakota/Montana Bakken into several areas based on break-even prices. A reader asked if I would provide a map of the various areas. I might do a map later on if I get some feedback on my "definitions" of the areas mentioned. There are as many "areas" as there are analysts, operators, mapmakers, geologists, and people like me trying to delineate the Bakken.

The blog has any number of stand-alone posts and any number of links to presentations with various maps delineating the Bakken. One such post, as an example, might be the Hess prospects.

With regard to the Bakken broken down by break-even costs, these are my initial impressions. Again, I am looking for feedback to correct big errors and feedback to further refine areas that are generally correct. 

In bold are the areas of the Bakken that the source at the linked post named. The sites are listed in the order they were provided at the linked site. My comments follow each named area, but I need help on a couple of the areas (see below):

2. Parshall - 1. Sanish: see the Parshall oil field (EOG) and the Sanish oil field (Whiting) on the GIS map server (which, if clicked on, might open a new window in your browser)

3. Nesson Anticline: a vertical rectangle, six miles on either side of the city of Tioga, extending south to the river and north towards Canada, but probably not including most of Divide or Burke counties; Hess and many other operators

4. Fort Berthold: see the GIS map server; it's that big, grey rectangular area with that huge body of water running through it; KOG, WPX, SHD and several other operators

5. West Nesson: in this post, the West Nesson was described as the northeast corner of McKenzie County, south of the river; many operators;

6. Northern Mountrail: Mountrail County northwest of the Parshall oil field, west and southwest of Stanley

7. Williams County, core: east and southeast of Williams County, extending east to Mountrail County, and south to the river

8. Dunn County: see the GIS map server; also, see Bakken, southern fringe, below

9. Elm Coulee: Richland County, Montana; directly west of Watford City

10. Williams County perimeter: I assume they mean northern Williams County and Divide County/Williams county line; CLR, other operators

11. McKenzie County: see GIS map server; it's interesting they split Williams County into about three or four pieces but lump all of McKenzie County into one county; this confuses me a bit; if one divides McKenzie County into four quadrants, the bulk of activity is in the northeast quadrant, around Watford City, extending west to Indian Hill

12. North Williston: wow, they are really splitting hairs; that area between the Williams County perimeter and north of Williston

13. Bakken southern fringe: go to the GIS map server and look for such fields as the Cabernet, Fayette, and Manning which are in Dunn County, but since Dunn County is already mentioned, the southern fringe may apply to the area around Dickinson and Belfield; when I think Bakken southern fringe, I think Whiting

Preliminary map based on reader's request : 

Why Should We Cut Production -- Saudi Oil Minister -- December 11, 2014; OPEC's Mandate: Stability And Predictability In Oil Pricing

Reuters via Rigzone is reporting:
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi on Wednesday shrugged off suggestions that the world's biggest crude exporter might cut production to reverse the deepest price slump in years, saying the kingdom's output had remained steady through last month.
Naimi's comments on the sidelines of an annual U.N. climate change conference in Lima, Peru, stuck to the message he laid out at OPEC's meeting two weeks ago: The market would be left to balance itself without the kingdom's intervention. That stance was seen as a shift from longstanding Saudi policy to act as a swing supplier.
Oil prices have dropped $13 a barrel since that November meeting.
Yet asked on Wednesday whether he thought it would be necessary to reduce oil production prior to OPEC's next scheduled meeting in June, Naimi responded: "Why should we cut production? Why?"
At the same event, Venezuela's foreign minister and top OPEC emissary Rafael Ramirez provided his country's answer to Naimi's question: OPEC must act, he told Reuters, because "that is our job. We want stability in the market and predictability."
By the way, did you see where he was speaking? LOL. I get the feeling Ali is not particularly concerned about global warming. LOL. The average temperature in Saudi Arabia is 97 degrees Fahrenheit in July -- the Saudis have experienced global warming since the beginning of time. LOL.

Low Cost Gasoline Will Accelerate The Demise Of Gasoline As A Fuel -- Bloomberg -- December 11, 2014; US Refineries Boost Oil To Record As Prices Plunge

US refineries boost oil to record as oil prices plunge. Think about that. We can't export oil (some exceptions) but we can export refined products, and the US is doing that, as my dad used to say, "in spades."

This is an incredible story, and all the more significant because regular readers are well aware of this. The US is a formidable power in global energy -- and US energy includes "all of the above" -- except coal if President Obama gets his way. Bloomberg is reporting
Refiners in the U.S. used the most oil ever last week, taking advantage of crude prices tumbling to a five-year low.
Plants processed 16.6 million barrels a day of crude in the week ended Dec. 5, the most in Energy Information Administration data going back to 1989. The rise occurred as futures tumbled to the lowest in more than five years after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided Nov. 27 to maintain output levels and as U.S. production climbed to the highest level in three decades.
The access to cheaper domestic crude and natural gas has enabled U.S. refiners to increase operating rates to above 95 percent for the first time since 2005, increasing gasoline supply and driving down prices at the pump to the lowest level in more than four years. Refineries have used more crude in each of the past six weeks as seasonal turnarounds wound down. 
The article doesn't mention, I don't think, but the refining tsunami also extends to ethylene and polyethylene.

But the Bloomberg story is a great segue to that silly story I mentioned earlier today.

That Silly Story

The Bloomberg link

This was the conclusion that Lynn Doan (San Francisco) and Dan Murtaugh (Houston) came to with regard to the drop in the price of oil:
"Consumers are doing their best to get themselves out of buying petroleum products," Verleger said. "The fall in oil prices is going to accelerate the fuel's own demise."  
Okay. Think about. These guys are arguing that as the price of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel drop in price, we will see an acceleration in the fuel's own demise.

Oh, boy, let me count the ways. LOL.

First of all, the Bakken will be producing through at least 2100. And the Permian may be even bigger, and it will produce even longer. I don't see oil, gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel going away any time soon.

Second, did the writers even look at the government's statistics on demand for gasoline over the past few months? At that link, it's the graph at the very bottom of the page.

Third, the article is incredibly parochial, only looking at the US. The real growth in the use of transportation fuel over the next century is going to be in China and India.

Fourth, the writers, and this is perhaps the most incredible conclusion, folks will use the extra savings in their pockets due to cheaper gasoline to buy new, more fuel-efficient automobiles. And airlines wil buy more fuel-efficient jet engines to take advantage of this cheap fuel. LOL. Let me count the ways.
  • first, 12,000 miles/year x 24 mpg x $3.99/gallon = $1,995/year vs 12,000 miles/year x 24 mpg x $2.29/gallon = $1,145. Yeah, I suppose someone is going to use their $850/year or $70/month to purchase a new car. Are they kidding 
  • second, as gasoline decreases in price, people will drive more miles. So, 14,000 x 24 mpg x $2.29 = $1,335, thus narrowing the delta. And, regardless of the cost, the consumers will actually be using more gasoline.
  • third, if folks actually do go out and buy a new automobile because gasoline is less expensive, they will feel more comfortable buying a SUV at 26 mpg vs a Ford hybrid at 45 mpg
  • fourth, auto manufacturers and airlines will always work to improve their fuel efficiency, regardless of the price of fuel (but if the price of fuel was guaranteed to be low for the next 25 years, I doubt they would work as hard, unless mandated by the government)
Fifth, after three decades of federal and state governments pushing EVs with tax credits and other perks, EVs make up 1% of all auto sales, and I don't think any truck sales. And if we get to 5% -- which won't happen in my investing lifetime -- it would take more coal than we have ever used in the US to produce all that electricity, plus GE would become more valuable than Apple, Inc (market capitalization) just putting all those new transformers in every neighborhood in NYC, LA, and SF.

Yeah, it was a very, very silly article. Again, the conclusion:
"Consumers are doing their best to get themselves out of buying petroleum products," Verleger said. "The fall in oil prices is going to accelerate the fuel's own demise." 
I see absolutely no evidence of that.

Oh, most ridiculous: the writers completely forget all about all the other reasons consumers will never be able to do without oil. I think less than half of oil is refined for transportation purposes. More than half is used for other purposes: fertilizer, plastics, asphalt.

Solar: $2.5 - $3 Million / MW Electricity Vs $900K MW Electricity Produced By Natural Gas -- December 11, 2014

GE  is going to make a gazillion dollars building a solar farm in Japan. Link here. When you get to that story, remember:

From an August 25, 2014, post, this is 30-second sound bite for "cost of renewable megawatt":
  • Solar: $3 million / MW
  • Wind: $2.5 million / MW
  • Natural gas: $865,000 / MW
I like these stories -- the GE story about building a solar farm in Japan -- because it provides a glimpse of what renewables cost compared to natural gas and coal.

In this case, the GE solar farm in Japan will cost $109 million for 42 MW = $2.5 million / MW of solar energy. Compare to natural gas at about $900K / MW.


Off The Net For Awhile

I hate to get off the net for now; I have a great wi-fi connection and a lot of stories to post.

But I've posted a fair amount of very interesting information already today, and need to do some hardcover book reading.

See you all later.

Active rigs:

Active Rigs186192183200166

This Is Really Cool -- Conference On Horizontal Drilling Cost Reduction, February 18 - 19, 2014; Houston, TX

It was only yesterday that I posted a note that suggested "fracking/shale wasn't going to disappear" because of  the current slump in oil prices. Even if nothing changed, shale/fracking/the Bakken are not going to disappear.

However, things are going to change: the analyst who wrote that story -- and I now forget where I saw it -- said that horizontal drilling/fracking will get even more cost effective with new technology.

Wow, isn't that the truth -- especially if you've been paying attention to Whiting - NCS - coiled tube fracking.

There is a conference scheduled for February 18 - 19, 2014, in Houston, TX, on this very issue: "Technical Strategies for Driving Down the Cost of Horizontal Drilling."

Regular readers know that I don't particularly care for "break-even prices" in lifting oil to the surface, mostly because these numbers can be so easily massaged. If "one" thinks IPs are meaningless (and I do not), I can only imagine what "one" thinks about 'break-even prices."

Having said that, I do think "relative" break-even prices are very, very important. I think they are important, not necessarily from a dollar-point-of-view, but a human-nature point of view. Let me see if you can follow what I'm saying.

At the linked website above, there is a graph: "estimates of breakevens for key US shale plays." The graph is so small (I cannot read the source for the data) and it is hard to enlarge it (perhaps if you print the page it will be easier seen) but if you work at it, you can see the following:
  • there are about 38 plays noted
  • the graph includes reserves (billions of boe)
  • breakeven (billions of dollars)
  • ranked based on breakeven point
The ranking of some plays that interest me:
#1 (lowest breakeven point): Eagle Ford - Kearnes - Trough condensate
#2 Bakken - Parshall - Sanish
#3 Bakken - Nesson Anticline
#4 Utica condensate
#5 Bakken - Fort Berthold
#6 Eagle Ford - Edwards condensate
#7 Bakken - West Nesson
#8 Bone Spring - Pecos River Region
#9 Bakken - northern Mountrail
#10 Bakken - Williams - core
#11 Eagle Ford - Haynesville condensate
#12 Bakken - Bakken - Dunn County
#13 Wolfcamp
#14 Bakken - Elm Coulee
#15 Niobrara
#16 Niobrara
#17 Eagle Ford - Black Oil
#18 Bakken - McKenzie County
#19 Niobrara

#26 Bakken - Williams County Perimeter

#27 Bakken - North Williston (?)

#37 Bakken -- Southern Fringe
This is a nice graph because, to the best of my knowledge, this does not include the pure natural gas plays. This is a graph of oil plays and condensate plays. By the way, notice that no area of the Bakken was singled out as a condensate play:
  • even though the Bakken is rich in condensates
  • many of the plays that match the Bakken in breakeven are condensate plays and not oil plays (yes, I know the graph is corrected for "boe")
But look at the ranking again. It looks like the Bakken holds 8 of the top 10 "break-even" plays for oil.

[Later, a reader asked if there was a map available for these Bakken areas -- here's what I posted in response:]

Now, there's one last thing to look at: reserves.

Look at Wolfcamp Ozona -- that's just one play of many in the Permian, September 6, 2013.

Anyway, I got off the subject by quite a bit.

The point is this: the Bakken isn't going to go away. Except for one oil play in Texas, the oil plays in Texas are more expensive than almost all of the Bakken oil plays. I've read that before and it always surprises me.

And horizontal drilling /fracking are going to become more cost-effective.

And one can find where horizontal drilling / fracking is headed by attending the Houston conference on this very subject in mid-February (when the weather is really, really cold in the Bakken). See the first linked website near the top of this post.

What A Wonderful Day -- December 11, 2014

Wow, I am in a good mood this morning.

Remember: This is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or what you think you may have read here. Make no travel plans based on what you read here. I post quickly and frequently; typographical and factual errors are likely. If this information is important to you, go to the source.

I think the story that put me in the best mood was the story that Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are going to unravel President Obama's Arab Spring policies. This has a number of interesting story lines which I noted in an earlier post.

The second story that put me in a real good mood was an article in Forbes that recommended three oil companies in which to invest in at the present time. One of the three is exactly what I had already decided to do. I don't think I have posted that story yet. Link here.

The third story has to do with GE which is going to make a gazillion dollars building a solar farm in Japan. Link here. When you get to that story, remember:
From an August 25, 2014, post, this is 30-second sound bit for "cost of renewable megawatt":
  • Solar: $3 million / MW
  • Wind: $2.5 million / MW
  • Natural gas: $865,000 / MW
The fourth story was a silly story on the demise of gasoline as a transportation fuel. It is an incredibly silly story and I will get around to posting it later. Link here.

The fifth story is a link to a conference on horizontal drilling cost reduction and a graphic showing most cost-effective oil shale oil plays in the US

A sixth story that relates to the silly story noted above: US refineries boost oil to record as oil prices plunge. Think about that. We can't export oil (some exceptions) but we can export refined products, and the US is doing that, as my dad used to say, "in spades." Link here.

And, of course, the last story: the market gets it. Surging today.

Oh, no, I see one more story: piling on. Sebelius -- rolled out ObamaCare -- she says "ObamaCare" is a "very bad brand name." Well, duh. Not really. You can add lipstick to a pig, but it's still a pig.  If ObamaCare was a great product, ObamaCare would be a great brand name: it's short, snappy, and tells a story. It's better than Coca-Cola or Sprint or Apple, none of which relate at all to what they sell. ObamaCare says it all. As far as Sebelius goes: add her to the Schumer - Reid list of those who got snookered.

Tweeting right now, 10:06 a.m. CT, December 11, 2014:  European Space Agency's Rosetta mission to Comet 67P finds in 1st tests that comet's water composition differs from Earth's oceans - @ESA_Rosetta. Coincidentally, this was reported yesterday: Earth's water may have come from asteroids, not comets.

Thursday - December 11, 2014; Mideast Gulf Cooperation Council To Unravel President Obama's Arab Spring Policy; US Natural Gas Fill Rate Graph Is Pretty Impressive

Active rigs:

Active Rigs187192183200166

RBN Energy: Canadian diluent requirements -- part 7, Hardisty.

Jobs: first time claims, down 3,000 to 294,000; better than expectations which had expected not much change from previous week. The four-week average was little changed at 299,250 vs 299,000 the week before. Bloomberg said, "Companies are retaining staff and hiring at the strongest pace since 1999 as they try to meet stronger demand for their goods and services. Retail sales rose in November by the most in eight months."


Natural gas fill rate: -51 Bcf.  For background, see this post.

Working gas in storage was 3,359 Bcf as of Friday, December 5, 2014, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decline of 51 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 186 Bcf less than last year at this time and 351 Bcf below the 5-year average of 3,710 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 191 Bcf below the 5-year average following net withdrawals of 50 Bcf. Stocks in the Producing Region were 121 Bcf below the 5-year average of 1,230 Bcf after a net injection of 7 Bcf. Stocks in the West Region were 39 Bcf below the 5-year average after a net drawdown of 8 Bcf. At 3,359 Bcf, total working gas is below the 5-year historical range.
Look at the graph at the EIA natural gas fill rate site. It is quite incredible -- a huge kudos to the US natural gas industry -- look at how the current graph is narrowing the gap with the historical averages. It is very impressive. I assume the weather helped.  


This story is so interesting on so many levels.

Debkafile is reporting:
The six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) rulers meet in the Qatari capital of Doha next week amid high suspense across the Arab world. Its agenda is topped by moves to finally unravel the 2010 Arab Spring policy championed by US President Barack Obama, moves that also bear the imprint of extensive cooperation maintained on the quiet between Israel and key Arab rulers.
Story lines:
  • provides glimpse of changing Mideast
  • interesting what our own media does not broadcast or publish
  • the timing of the meeting
  • "extensive cooperation maintained on the quiet between Israel and key Arab rulers"
That third bullet is what I find most interesting: the timing of the story. It coincides almost exactly when Saudi's took action (or better said, inaction) to let the price of oil plunge, thereby adding incredible volatility to western markets and an obvious attempt to thwart Mr Obama's North American energy successes. 

Okay, they are not Mr Obama's energy successes; I made that part up.