Thursday, March 5, 2015

Heel-To-Toe, Toe-To-Heel Drilling Neighboring Wells; Also "Halo" Effect Re-Visited; The Hess Evenson Wells In The Antelope Oil Field -- March 5, 2015; Pipeline Co-Author Dead At 69


March 6, 2015: from a reader over at the Discussion Group -- I did a little 3-D mapping of these wells and it looks like the north pad targets the upper Three Forks with the exception of one well that is lower. The south pad is just the opposite- all but one wellbore in the lower Three Forks, one in the upper horizons. Thank you. I will go back and use the terminology that the operator used. Comment: I just went back through the file reports, updated what I found in the wells below, and agree with you 100%. Thank you -- I was unaware of the differences in the formations in this area, the Antelope Oil Field, the Sanish pool. Much like the Sanish Oil Field, Whiting.

March 6, 2015: by the way -- note that according to the NDIC this well -- completed back in 2008 is still flowing without a pump (caveat: sometimes NDIC data is not updated -- there have been instances in which wells have been put in and the NDIC still shows the well as "flowing" without a pump, according to some readers. I would not have first-hand knowledge of that. But again, look at this, still "F" for flowing without a pump:
  • 17214, 443, Hess, AN-Evenson-152-95-0310H-1, Three Forks (geological report, though application said Bakken NOS), 2 sections, open hole, 1.4 million lbs, t11/08; cum 226K 6/19; (off line March/April/May 2014); off line as of 6/19; remains off line 9/19;

March 6, 2015: the note below is very long, and my original comments come somewhere near the bottom/end of the post. The reader who first noted these wells responded to my comments and added some new thoughts. These are his thoughts, edited to fit the narrative below.
Looking at the drilling unit to the west of these wells might provide some additional information. The drilling unit immediately to the west is where the Bice 1-29H well was drilled, which is the very first Three Forks well that CLR drilled (as far as we are aware).

When the "companion" middle Bakken Bice well was drilled, there was much discussion regarding communication between the two. If I find the original post, I will link it later (it won't be hard to find). 

The reader sorted the Hartman wells out, based on the order in which they were fracked (my spelling, not his). The reader felt that in the case of TF2 and TF3 (second and third benches, respectively), the second well fracked is doing much better than the first. The question: if there is communication, are frack solids from the second well interfering (plugging) the earlier fracked well?

The reader also noted that although they are into a few months of production, the water production has stayed the same for the last two months, but oil production has increased by over 20%. Looking at the new tank battery scheme, it appears the oil is transferred directly to the pipeline network whereas the salt water waste is trucked out. The question: is water removal bottle-necking oil production?

The reader also noted that fracking these Hartman wells used volumes about twice that used on the Hawkinson wells and the Hartman wells are spaced about half the distance of the Hawkinson wells. Result: the volume of frack solution per volume of reservoir is actually 4 times greater than that used in the Hawkinson wells. Observation/comment: it's possible the Hartman wells are still in the flow-back / clean-out stage; if so, production numbers may improve going forward. 
 Excellent observations and questions. The most frustrating thing is that operators are managing production (choking back) because of the low prices and if the production of these wells fall, it is hard to determine if it was due to purposeful choking back or if due to well dynamics regardless of price. The writer makes a great observation about the amount of salt water that has to be trucked away.

Finally, a note on spelling. I know the spelling of frac / frack and its variations is a sensitive subject to many, especially the roughnecks in the field who first broke open the Bakken. The reader who provided the notes above prefers to use "frac" and so it was me to who changed the spelling to keep the blog consistent. I apologize for stepping on the toes of those folks who prefer the alternate spelling. No disrespect is meant.

Original Post
This is going to be a really, really long note. First the data, and then some comments. 

Some time ago I talked about heel-to-toe wells neighboring toe-to-heel wells. A reader over at the discussion group noted these ten wells demonstrating that pattern: six wells run north (heel-to-toe) and four other wells run south, in the opposite direction, toe-to-heel, relative to the six wells running north (if that makes sense). See screen shot of all ten wells:

The six wells sited in section 10-152-95; all six run north into section 3:
  • 28395, 969, Hess, AN-Evenson-LW-152-95-1003H-2, Three Forks B1, 4 sections, 35 stages, 2.4 million lbs, Antelope, t1/15; cum 166K 9/19;
  • 28072, 1,336, Hess, AN-Evenson-LW-152-95-1003H-1, Bakken NOS (application; geologic report -- upper portion of the middle Bakken), 4 sections, 35 stages, 2.4 million lbs; t1/15; cum 192K 9/19;
  • 27798, 1,032, Hess, AN-Evenson-152-95-1003H-9, Three Forks, second bench (application and geological report), 2 sections, 35 stages, 2.5 million lbs; t1/15; cum 184K 9/19;
  • 27797, 1,044, Hess, AN-Evenson-152-95-1003H-8, Three Forks first bench (application and geological report); 2 sections, 35 stages, 2.3 million lbs; t12/14; cum 153K 9/19;
  • 27796, 949, Hess, AN-Evenson-152-95-1003H-7, Three Forks second bench (application and geological report), 2 sections, 35 stages, 2.2 million lbs, t12/14; cum 117K 9/19;
  • 27795, 910, Hess, AN-Evenson-152-95-1003H-6, Three Forks first bench (application and geological report), 2 sections, 35 stages, 2.2 million lbs, t12/14; cum 156K 9/19;
The screen shot of these six wells:


 The four wells sited in section 3-152-95; all four run south into section 10:
  • 25698, 1,056, Hess, AN-Evenson-152-95-0310H-5, Three Forks NOS (application; though the geologic summary says middle Bakken), 2 sections, 26 stages, 1.8 million lbs, t6/14; cum 118K 9/19;
  • 25699, 1,253, Hess, AN-Evenson-152-95-0310H-4, Bakken NOS (application, and geologic summary), 2 sections, 26 stages, 2.5 million lbs, t5/14; cum 212K 9/19;
  • 25700, 1,263, Hess, AN-Evenson-152-95-0310H-3, Three Forks NOS (application, though the geologic summary says middle Bakken), 2 sections, 35 stages, 2.5million lbs, t5/14; cum 266K 9/19; (off line Nov/Dec 2014)
  • 25701, A, Hess, AN-Evenson-152-95-0310H-2, Bakken NOS (application; geologic summary a bit hard to sort out), 2 sections, 35 stages, 2.5 million lbs, no test day but active and producing, s5/14; cum 166K 9/19; (off line Nov/Dec 2014, and still off line January 2015, but apparently back on line February 2015)

A screen shot of these four wells:


A singleton well further to the east, running south, sited in the same section as the 4-well pad, section 3:
  • 17214, IA/443, Hess, AN-Evenson-152-95-0310H-1, Three Forks, 2 sections, open hole, 1.4 million lbs, t11/08; cum 226K 6/19; (off line March/April/May 2014); off line as of 6/19; remains off line 9/19;

Comments (these are all personal opinions; I have no training or background in the oil and gas industry; these opinions may be completely wrong; no one else may agree with me; there may be typographical and factual errors on this page; I don't always double/triple check postings; if this information is important to you, go to the source, starting with the NDIC):
  • these are all incredibly good wells
  • the operator sometimes listed the pool as the Sanish; other times, the operator listed the pool as the Three Forks; I listed them all as Three Forks (I do not know if there is a fine distinction between the Three Forks and the Sanish in the Antelope field)
  • these wells are all so similar (and so good) that it's really hard to tell if there was any advantage to drilling ~ half of them from the south, and ~ half of them from the north, but it certainly looks like this was done for that purpose, as a test; they easily could have all been drilled on the same pad in the north or the south
  • bottom line: I don't know if it made a difference drilling them in opposite directions
The "Halo" Effect Of Fracking

One question the reader did not ask about was the "halo" effect of fracking wells near existing wells.

The most recent fracking was done too recently to be able to tell with one exception.

Look at #25700. This well is one of the older wells, tested back in May, 2014. It came off line when neighboring wells were fracked in the January, 2015, time-frame. After the neighboring wells were fracked in the January, 2015, time-frame, #25700 was put back on status. It's very subtle, and may not mean anything, but prior to that neighboring fracking it produced 11,373 bbls in 31 days; after the neighboring wells were fracked, that same well produced slightly more (11,729 bbls) in 2/3rds the time (only 20 days). In fact, it's slightly worse: prior to the fracking, it got down to less than 9,000 bbls in 30 days and then less than 6,000 bbls in 26 days. Obviously the data is minimal, and there could be other factors (the operator could have modulated the production for some reason prior to neighboring fracking), but it certainly appears there is evidence of the "halo" effect.

I did not check the depths, but I assume all the depths were similar since they all were targeting the same pool/formation.

To re-cap, look for evidence of the "halo" effect in this well:
  • 25700, 1,263, Hess, AN-Evenson-152-95-0310H-3, Three Forks, 2 sections, 35 stages, 2.5million lbs, t5/14; cum 266K 9/19; (off line Nov/Dec 2014) (as of 4/17, no data for a re-frack over at FracFocus):
PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

More Evidence of The Halo Effect?
Is there any evidence of the "halo" effect in the Evenson well quite a bit farther to the east?

Below is the production profile of that well (#17214) just prior to the neighboring fracking in the January, 2015, time-frame, and right after. The monthly production has declined quite significantly by this time, so it's not easily visible, but note that prior to the neighboring fracking, we were seeing 1,200 bbls/month; after the neighboring fracking we started to see around 2,400 bbls / 31 days. When looking at production, be sure to look at total number of days of production in any given month. It's subtle; I wouldn't bet the farm on it, but it is interesting.


One Pipeline Not Vetoed By President Obama

Pipeline co-writer Brian Carman dead at age 69. From wiki:
The Chantays were formed in 1961 when five high-school friends decided to start their own band. Bob Spickard, Brian Carman (co-writers of "Pipeline"), Bob Welch, Warren Waters and Rob Marshall were all students at Santa Ana High School in California, when a local group called the Rhythm Rockers inspired the five to form the Chantays. In December 1962, the group recorded and released "Pipeline," which eventually peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1963. The track also peaked in the UK Singles Chart in 1963 at No. 16. The Chantays recorded their first album in 1963, also titled Pipeline, which included "Blunderbus" and "El Conquistador." Their follow-up album was Two Sides of the Chantays in 1964.

Pipeline, The Chantays

Reader Seeks Information Regarding Reasonable Price For Pipeline Easement In Heart Butte Oil Field -- March 5, 2015

Over at the discussion group, a reader asks about a fair price for a pipeline easement on the FBIR, in Heart Butte oil field. I don't have any expertise in this area, but hope a reader or two might. See details at this link:!topic/the-bakken-shale-discussion-group/vqZwBRpuKOY.

If Exxon Goes Shopping -- Barron's; Record-Breaking Cold Expected For Friday, March 6, 2015

Barron's is reporting: If Exxon goes shopping, particularly if low prices persist into 2016:
First, the big three unconventional plays: Bakken, Permian, and Woodford/Ardmore (interestingly, the Eagle Ford has dropped to relatively unattractive due to Exxon's weak current position there, and the persistently high cost of entry.

The list of potential targets in the Bakken is relatively short:
  • Hess
  • CLR
  • Whiting
Because Eagle Ford is out:
  • no EOG
  • no MRO
Globally, both Canada and Brazil are relatively unattractive
Globally, deepwater Gulf of Mexico and West Africa are attractive; Anadarko Petroleum matches well here
More at the link.

The other day there was talk that Exxon raised $8 billion in a bond sale to make a purchase, such as BP. I don't know if I posted that but I wrote a reader that I found it unlikely that Exxon would buy BP with its tarnished reputation. However, thinking about it, I'm probably wrong on that. Deepwater Gulf of Mexico -- see above. 

See disclaimer. This is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, or relationship decisions based on anything you read here or think you may have read here. 

Global Warming
Climate Change
Ice Age Now

The Weather Channel is reporting: Record-Breaking Cold: All-Time March Record Lows Expected Friday Morning.
All-time March record lows are likely to be broken Friday morning as one more shot of bitterly cold air plunges south in the wake of Winter Storm Thor. In addition to monthly record lows, dozens of daily record lows will be threatened into Saturday morning, and some cities could see their coldest temperatures in decades for so late in the season.
The cold snap follows persistent record-breaking cold across much of the Great Lakes and Northeast in February.
This latest round of arctic air is following right behind Winter Storm Thor. The snow cover left behind by Thor may play a role in just how cold temperatures will bottom out in some cities late this week.

Two (2) New Permits -- North Dakota, March 5, 2015

Active rigs:

Active Rigs113192186206172

Two (2) new permits --
  • Operators: Whiting (2)
  • Fields: Pleasant Hill (McKenzie)
  • Comments:
Wells coming off the confidential list Friday:
  • 22204, 2,040, BR, Manchester 24-9MBH, Little Knife, t1/15; cum 7K 1/15;
  • 23620, 703, Triangle, Rowe 150-101-1-12-4H, Rawson, t9/14; cum 55K 1/15;
  • 26866, 1,726, HRC, Fort Berthold 148-94-33C-28-8H, McGregory Buttes, producing, note production profile; t9/14; cum 80K 1/15;
  • 26867, 1,564, HRC, Fort Berthold 148-94-33C-28-10H, McGregory Buttes, producing, note production profile, t9/14; cum 89K 1/15;
  • 28858, IA/SI, Enduro, SSU 11-24H, Stoneview, no production since spud;
  • 29038, IA/SI, CLR, Salem 5-6H1, Dollar Joe, produced for five days;
Wells coming off the confidential list were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.


26866, see above, HRC, Fort Berthold 148-94-33C-28-8H, McGregory Buttes:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

26867, see above, HRC, Fort Berthold 148-94-33C-28-10H, McGregory Buttes:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

Train Derailment -- March 5, 2015, Galena, Illinois

Link here
Local responders say eight cars derailed this afternoon about three miles south of Galena.
Galena City Administrator Mark Moran said Galena fire crews responded to reports of a derailment early this afternoon.
"The report that came back to me from them is that eight tanker cars had left the track," he said. "Two of those were still upright, the other six were not. They observied at least one of those tankers smoking." 
"I did confirm that the train crew was safely removed from the scene without injury," he said. 
BNSF has released two statements regarding the derailment, but has not confirmed reports of burning crude oil at the crash site. A company spokesman did not respond to questions about the type of tanker cars and oil being transported.
Speaking Of Trainwrecks

The ObamaCare case is now being written by the Supreme Court.

ObamaCare will survive, 5 - 4 or 6 - 3, and even possibly more lopsided.

The clue at The Washington Post:
Boiled down, it says that when a law is ambiguous, judges should defer to the agency designated to implement it so long as the agency’s decision is reasonable.
This will be the "out" the Chief Justice needs. He wanted a "united" court and it looks like he's working hard to build that consensus.

And that's why these guys get paid the big bucks.

Mortgage-Backed Securities At Risk In The Bakken -- March 5, 2015

Fuel Fix is reporting: Oil bust threatens mortgage-backed securities in Wall Street-funded shale towns.
One such community is Williston, North Dakota.
Wall Street banks bundled debt on a dozen properties in Williston with other commercial mortgages into bond offerings sold in 2013 and 2014, according to Morgan Stanley. The majority of the loans are secured by apartment complexes and hotels built during the last five years as more than 200 oilfield-service firms moved into the town, according to Richard Hill, a real estate debt analyst at Morgan Stanley.
“There is increased risk that vacancies rise at these properties, bringing into question their long-term viability,” Hill said in an e-mail. The risk of being on the wrong end of a boom-and-bust cycle is easy to spot in a recent prospectus for commercial-mortgage bond buyers.
At Sand Creek Estates, a mobile-home park in Williston, about 179 of 225 pads are leased to corporate tenants, with the two largest being oil-service providers, according to documents provided to potential investors in a $1 billion CMBS offering issued in December.

A Random Update Of the CLR Hartman Wells In Chimney Butte -- March 5, 2015


May 4, 2019: in general, it looks like the production from the Hartman wells -- not good. 

July 8, 2018: production data as been updated; the graphic of this area has not changed.

July 26, 2016: a reader who follows these wells closely provided a comment at this post:
There hasn't been much news about benches 2 and 3 lately. Note that Hartman wells in Dunn county as part of a density test by CLR where they placed 6 new wells next to 2 existing wells. The two 3rd bench wells represent the last time I looked: a total bust with one and the second 3rd bench well was the most productive of the 6 new wells with the other. Go figure?
That third bench well that was "a bust" has been abandoned. There is nothing in the file report to explain why it might have been a bust. Doesn't make sense. 

March 13, 2015: a reader, Dan, who follows these wells very closely sent me the original information below. Today, he follows up on those initial thoughts:
 I looked at CLR's most recent presentation and saw the graphic of update on enhanced recovery techniques in McKenzie and Williams counties (slide 10) so I was curious how the Hartman MB wells along with the two Bice wells stacked up after 90 days of production.
I was surprised to see the older wells with less frac effort as pretty comparable with the baseline wells in the graphic.
The 3-28H and 10-28 exceeded the slick water comparison which especially with the 3-28 surprised me.
You can see in the attached file I listed the 5 MB wells in the order they were drilled in a spreadsheet. Some interesting decline curves with these wells. Interesting production rates based on frac effort. Clearly the well that stands out the most is the Hartman 10-28. Its peak production month was less than 3-28H but when you look at the last month of the 90 day calculation the daily average was way above any of the others.
In the next couple months it will be very interesting to see what the decline rate does. The obvious difference with 10-28 is the frac effort. The more subtle difference is the fact that 10-28 is sitting atop an irregular pyramid of lower bench wells with an H1, H3, and H2 within 477' to the left and an H2 and H3 within 318' to the right (based on your distance shown previously and I averaged).
So, with that, a question: is all the extra production due to the frac effort or is part of the extra production due to the "composite effect" of a number of wells so close?
I see CLR has taken out another stand-alone MB permit for the Hartman unit. I wonder if that well will be drilled as a mirror frac effort of the 10-28 to try get a feel for how much impact the "composite effect" is having?
One last thought, if the two new wells remain as hardly worth pumping I wonder if it would be a good time for CLR to turn these wells into injection wells and attempt to replicate their success of fire flood secondary recover which they have perfected in the Cedar Hills field in Bowman County? Some years ago I can remember hearing the officers making the comment in a conference call that they intended to use their Red River success in Cedar Hills as a model for their efforts in the Bakken. 
Original Note 

A reader was kind enough to send a production update of the CLR Hartman wells in Chimney Butte, section 28-146-95:

The reader noted:
  • Of the six most recently completed Hartman wells, a 3rd bench Three Forks wells was the second best (only the most recent middle Bakken well was better).
  • The other 3rd bench Three Forks well looks like a total bust at this point.
The Hartman wells in section 28-146-95:
  • 23212, 1,656, CLR, Hartman 4-28H, 30 stages; 2.7 million lbs, t12/12; cum 182K 12/19; -- needs to be re-fracked; cum 184K 5/21;
  • 23213, 1,703, CLR, Hartman 3-28H, 30 stages; 2.8 million lbs, t12/12; cum 218K 12/19; -- needs to be re-fracked; cum 220K 5/21;
  • 27452, 829, CLR, Hartman 10-28H, 30 stages; 6.6 million lbs, t10/14; cum 244K 12/19;
    small jump in production, 12/19; cum 263K 5/21;
  • 27450, 348,CLR, Hartman 8-28H1, 30 stages; 6.2 million lbs, t10/14; cum 214K 12/19; cum 237K 5/21;
  • 27454, 450, CLR, Hartman 6-28H2, 30 stages; 6.1 million lbs, t10/14; cum 171K 5/21;
  • 27451, 254, CLR, Hartman 9-28H2, 30 stages; 6 million lbs, t10/14; cum 144K 12/19; cum 150K 5/21;
  • 27453, PA/AB/IAW/AB/54, CLR, Hartman 5-28H3, 30 stages; 2.9 million lbs, t1/15; cum 1K 1/15; abandoned after 8 months of minimal production; nothing in the file report to suggest why;
  • 27455, AB/426, CLR, Hartman 7-28H3, 30 stages; 5.5 million bls, t11/14; cum 186K 12/19; -- definitely needs to be re-fracked;
Other Hartman wells to the east in the same section:
  • 21524, 732, CLR, Hartman2-28H, 35 stages; 3.6 million lbs, t5/12; cum 302K 12/19; cum 310K 5/21;
  • 17530, 780, CLR, Hartman1-28H, a Three Forks well, a cased hole, 2.1 million lbs, t11/09; cum 335K 12/19; cum 353K 5/21;
  • 30668, PNC, CLR, Hartman11-28H, no production data, PNC date: 1/19; -- interesting.
Production profiles (production data will be update above, and not necessarily repeated below):
  • 27453, PA/IAW/54, CLR, Hartman 5-28H3, 30 stages; 2.9 million lbs, t1/15; cum 1K 1/15:
PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare
  • 27455, 426, CLR, Hartman 7-28H3, 30 stages; 5.5 million bls, t11/14; cum 186K 12/19;
PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

  • 27451, 254, CLR, Hartman 9-28H2, 30 stages; 6 million lbs, t10/14; cum 144K 12/19;
PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

  • One of the wells, a third bench Three Forks well, #27453 stands out: remarkably low IP and poor production.
  • It looks like the earlier two Hartman wells were fracked with around 3 million lbs of proppant, while the most recent six Hartman wells (file numbers in bold were fracked with about double that amount, about 6 million lbs. The exception, of course, was that TF3 well, #27453, fracked with about 3 million lbs. I did not look at the geology reports. I did not see an obvious reason why this particular well was fracked with only 3 million lbs (I did not look very hard and may have missed something).
  • Note also the production profile of this poorly performing well (#27453), paying particular attention to the very few days it has actually been producing. Obviously this well is having its challenges.  
  • Note that the wells on these two pads were fracked with 30 stages. An older middle Bakken well, #21524, was fracked in 35 stages but with only 3.6. million lbs of proppant.
General comments, mostly for newbies (these are my opinions; they may be completely off-base; maybe no one agrees; I have no background or formal training in the oil and gas industry; take these opinions for what they are worth; they are free, so perhaps worth about that much) :
  • I was initially excited by the lower benches but when the numbers started coming in, perhaps not as good as expected. 
  • the middle Bakken is well-delineated; operators know where the best spots are
  • the Three Forks upper bench is somewhat delineated but certainly not as well delineated as the middle Bakken
  • the lower benches are not delineated at all. If it weren't for the fact that the lower benches are part of the Bakken play, most lower bench Three Forks wells would be considered wildcats at this point
  • right now, there are some great lower bench Three Forks wells, but it's certainly "iffy." With the pullback in prices, I've seen several permits for lower bench wells be changed to middle Bakken wells or TF1
  • I doubt we will see much new lower bench drilling with prices below $75
Having said that, the majority of new permits being issued during this period of severe drop in oil prices are for 6 - 8 wells in the same location which may include more than just the MB and TF1.

Williston Wire Headlines -- March 5, 2015

  • New FBI office in Williston will be located in the Badlands Town Center
  • Qdoba celebrates grand opening in Williston "Boomtown" North Dakota
  • JLG architects provide new details about new Williston High School
  • Nancy Kapp, Chicago-based developer, broke ground on a $15 millionfour-story, multi-use project in downtown Wilstion; 30 apartments with 15 designated for essential workers
  • First annual Manufacturing and Logistics Conference to be held in Williston, March 25 - 26, 2015

Our youngest granddaughter is being encouraged to submit her electronics experience resume to MDU in the Bakken:

She is working on a remote sensor to test the static pressure of volatile gases inside tank cars carrying crude oil. This is the "alarm module."

Satellite Screen Shot Of The Alexander Bypass; The Watford City Bypass -- March 5, 2015

See related post.

Satellite screen shot of the Alexander bypass:

While we're at it, here's the screen shot of the bypass that goes southwest of Watford City:

By the way, Google maps labels US Highway 85 in this area as the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway:
The Theodore Roosevelt Expressway (TRE) is the Northern third of the Ports to Plains Alliance. It runs from Rapid City, SD to Canada through the Port of Raymond in Montana.

Natural Gas Fill Rate -- Dropping Below The Five-Year Mean -- March 5, 2015

Natural gas fill rate (a dynamic link): -228.

Again, at the link, scroll to the bottom of the page, and look at the graph. I find this absolutely incredible. You really have to zoom in, but the current curve is very, very slightly below the 5-year average this week (compare with last week). See screenshot below.

Obviously a tough winter.

Active Rigs Down To 113 -- March 5, 2015

Active rigs:

Active Rigs113192186206172

RBN Energy: Northeast NGL.
Northeast natural gas prices have been flipped upside down over the last couple of years and have shown unprecedented weakness relative to Henry Hub due to capacity constraints preventing booming production reaching new demand markets.  New infrastructure projects should relieve this congestion in the next two years but as we explain today, the current market view – expressed in the forward curve - does not appear to reflect that reality.
This is Part 5 in our natural gas forward curve blog series. In Part 1 we defined the forward curves, reviewed their mechanics and examined the fundamental factors underlying the U.S. natural gas forwards markets:  supply, demand, storage, transportation/infrastructure and weather. In Part 2 and Part 3 we looked at how the forward curves in two Northeast gas markets – Transco Zone 6 in New York and Dominion South in Appalachia -- have been completely reshaped by the shale revolution and resulting production growth in the Northeast. Northeast gas prices have gone from being the highest in the country to some of the lowest as the region has transformed in the last few years from being a demand-heavy market to a major producing region on the verge of becoming a net gas supplier to the U.S. In Part 4, we previewed the fundamental drivers influencing the Northeast forward curves for the next several years as new infrastructure comes online to connect production to markets outside the region.
Today, we look more closely at the timing of these fundamental changes and how they correlate to current Northeast forward curves. Our analysis of a recent Dominion South Point (Dom S) forward curve suggests a possible disconnect between the current market view and the expected timing of infrastructure changes. 

Unemployment Claims Surge To Highest Level In Nearly A Year; Nothing To See Here -- Analyst; It's Just Global Warming -- March 5, 2015; And That's The Way It Was, 1972, Walter Cronkite


Later, 8:23 p.m. CT: and tomorrow, Friday, we will get the monthly jobs report; one analyst's prediction:
He expects the addition of 228,000 jobs and the unemployment rate unchanged at 5.7 percent. The big data point for the week is the February U.S. jobs report, released before the bell on Friday. Analysts expect about 240,000 nonfarm payrolls, below last month's 257,000. Hourly earnings and unemployment will be key indicators for investors seeking insight on the Fed's timing of an interest rate hike.
Later, 6:30 p.m. CT: the jobs recovery (what recovery?) is not as good as it seems --Yahoo!Finance. the article does not mention the 800-lb gorilla (ObamaCare) or the other 600-lb gorilla (the anti-business President, vetoed Keystone XL). 

Later, 2:00 p.m. CT: It appears Bloomberg continue to try to protect this administration.
Headline over at Bloomberg today: stronger dollar is hurting your job prospects.

Talk about spin.

For all those welders and construction workers, President Obama's recent veto of the Keystone XL pipeline did a lot more to hurt your job prospects than the "strong dollar."

ObamaCare is clearly hurting your job prospects.

All things being equal, the strong dollar is the least of our concerns.

Original Post

It's going to be fun to see the spin today. And here it is:
“It’s really the weather, I wouldn’t go crazy about it,” said Brian Jones, a senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York, who forecast 325,000 claims. “There were some storms in the second half of February that hit a variety of areas in the United States, and if people can’t work, they file. Anybody who’s involved in doing anything outdoors and they’re unable to work, they’re going to file paperwork.”  
Yeah, "I wouldn't go crazy about it." Nothing to see. LOL. Except, according to Bloomberg (the linked site):
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level in more than nine months, a sign harsh winter weather may be stalling the job market’s progress.
Jobless claims increased by 7,000 to 320,000 in the week ended Feb. 28, the most since May, from 313,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington. The median forecast of 52 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected claims of 295,000. 
Yeah, "I wouldn't go crazy about it." It's just the highest level in almost a year. And completely unexpected.

The four week moving average of claims rose 10,250 from the previous week to 304,750.

And, actually, the news is even worse. Not only did unemployment surge, but productivity for the fourth quarter was even worse than originally reported. Productivity fell 2.2% vs just 1.8% reported earlier.

Stock market? Up today. Janet Yellen isn't going to raise rates in 2015 (or 2016) with numbers like this, and even if she raises rates a quarter percent, will it even matter?

Global Warming
Climate Change
Ice Age Now

I got a late start today. Our city of Grapevine (suburb of Ft Worth - Dallas, just west of DFW airport), had the record amount of snow in the area overnight: 7 inches. It was also a record for the city of Grapevine. We slept in late; everything was shut down. The 7 inches must have been on the north side of the lake or around the west, south, and east side of the lake, because in our immediate area it was barely 3 inches. I easily rode my bike over to the granddaughters' home where they were celebrating another day off from school.

Don sent me the following:
On September 11, 1972, Walter Cronkite cited scientists’ predictions that there was a “new ice age” coming.
He called that prediction from British scientist Hubert Lamb “a bit of bad news.”
“But then there is some good news,” Cronkite continued. “That while the weather may be just a little colder in the immediate years to come, the full extent of the new ice age won’t be reached for 10,000 years. And if you can stand any more good news, even then it won’t be as bad as the last ice age 60,000 years ago.
Then New York, Cincinnati, St. Louis, were under 5,000 feet of ice. Presumably no traffic moved and school was let out for the day. And that’s the way it is, Monday September 11, 1972.”
And that's the way it was: when there was still a bit of sanity in the world.