Thursday, June 4, 2015

From The Williston Wire -- June 4, 2015

Williston's job market continues to grow. In 2013, the City surpassed Minot to become the fourth largest in the state and last year it moved up to number three surpassing Grand Forks County.
Williams County had the highest average weekly wage at $1,593 followed by McKenzie County at $1,498. In other 2014 labor market totals: employment rose by 4.2 percent, an increase of 17,549 jobs and weekly wages were up 6.4 percent, an increase of $978.

North Dakota's labor market is beginning to feel effects from the recent downturn in crude oil prices, but the impact may be less than initially feared. The March unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, was 3.8 percent compared to 3.4 percent for March of the previous year. And while there are some job losses in the energy sector, other occupational groups in the state are showing employment gains.

With oil rigs in North Dakota hitting a new low Monday at 80, skies may seem dark for airline prospects with a recent statewide drop in passenger departures. Still, officials in Williston are pushing onward with the $250 million airport relocation project, sending the city's final environmental assessment during the week to the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is expected to approve the plan in August, which places the city into a position to sell the current 800-acre Sloulin Field International Airport and purchase 1,500-acres of land set northwest of the city truck reliever route to build -up the recently named Williston Basin International Airport by 2017. 

Despite some wet weather, the road construction at the intersection of Main Street and Broadway is scheduled to be completed on Wednesday, June 10, 2015. The announcement was made by Knife River officials during their weekly public meeting regarding the Main Street Reconstruction project in downtown Williston.  

Eight (8) New Permits -- North Dakota, USA -- June 4, 2015

Active rigs:

Active Rigs81193189214171

Eight (8) new permits --
  • Operators: Crescent Point (5), EOG (3),
  • Fields: Dublin (Williams), Parshall (Mountrail)
  • Comments:  I track the Dublin oil field here; it looks like the new wells might be pad drilling; see below. 
General area of proposed Crescent Point wells. This is my guess but I could be way wrong; if this information is important to you, go to the source.

Four (4) producing wells completed:
  • 24791, 708, Whiting, Smokey 16-7-19-16H3M, Pembroke, t8/13; cum 37K 4/15;
  • 24792, 1,445, Whiting, Smokey 16-7-19-16HA, Pembroke, t8/13; cum 86K 4/14;
  • 28592, 2,024, Zavanna, Simmental 2-11 2TFH, Long Creek, t5/15; cum --
  • 29816, 1,354, Hess, SC-Norma-154-98-0706H-7, Truax, t5/15; cum --
Comments: I have no idea why #24791 was reported today; 
 it seems to have been around "forever." I bet the same for #24792. Long Creek is south of Stockyard Creek, east of Williston, and just north of the river; it's obviously going to be a great field, but it's location (near the river) and the size (very small) will minimize activity.
Hess renewed four (4) permits, all in McKenzie County: HA-Sanford wells.

Wells coming off the confidential list Friday:
  • 27460, 2,056, HRC, Fort Berthold 148-95-26B-35-5H, Eagle Nest, t12/14; cum 84K 4/15;
  • 28961, drl, Newfield, Skaar Federal 153-96-29-10H, Sand Creek, no production data,
  • 29368, 1,130, CLR, Gjorven Federal 2-21H, Brooklyn, 30 stages, 3.4 million lbs; t5/15; cum 3K 4/15;
  • 29425, SI/NC, BR, Kings Canyon 5-8-34UTFH,  Camel Butte, no production data,
  • 29581, 2,204, BR, Aiden 3-3-13UTFH,  Haystack Butte, t4/15; cum 14K 4/15;
  • 29996, 401, Slawson, Shakafox 5-28-21TFH, Big Bend, t3/15; cum --
  • 30063, drl/NC, Statoil, Enderud 9-4 5H, Banks, no production data,
  • 30064, drl/NC, Statoil, Enderud 9-4 8TFH, Banks, no production data,

Natural Gas Fill Rate -- Evidence Of Huge Switch From Coal To Natural Gas -- June 4, 2015

NG fill rate: 132 (a dynamic link).

Working gas in storage was 2,233 Bcf as of Friday, May 29, 2015, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 132 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 751 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 22 Bcf above the 5-year average of 2,211 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 115 Bcf below the 5-year average following net injections of 73 Bcf.

Two comments:
  • yes, the US natural gas stocks are slightly -- but very slightly -- higher than the 5-year average, and this is occurring despite huge production; it simply shows how fast the industry is switching from coal to natural gas
  • second, it's the northeast region that is most concerning; they need a huge positive number going into winter, particularly if it's a cold winter or a prolonged winter, and right now the East Region is below their 5-year average

Graphing The Bakken Phenomenon; NOAA Fudges The Data -- June 4, 2015

I find these two graphs fascinating. The first graph is the amount of crude oil stores in the US (not including the Strategic Petroleum Reserve). The Bakken boom began in 2007; the Eagle Ford came along a bit later; the Permian, one time a declining, aging field, came along even later. So, the US is puttering along, but then, look at that spike that occurred at the end of 2014 and in early 2015. The increase between 2007 and 2014 was subtle, not much more than background noise, and then suddenly, in November, 2014, and continuing until March, 2015, an unprecedented spike:

The second graph is the number of days of US crude oil supply, jumping from 22 days to 29 days, almost an entire full week of additional supply. Again, what is most fascinating is the sudden jump noted in the oval, occurring seven years after the North Dakota Bakken boom began:

You can see the first graph without the annotations at this link.

Apple Page

Apple retains its ranking at #5 based on revenues. Macrumors is reporting:
Fortune has released its annual Fortune 500 list of the top U.S. corporations based on gross revenue, which together accounted for $12.5 trillion in revenues, $945 billion in profits and $17 trillion in market value. Apple maintained the 5th spot in the rankings for the second consecutive year after steadily rising from 6th place in 2013, 17th place in 2012, 35th place in 2011 and 56th place in 2010. 
Walmart, Exxon, Chevron, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple. 
Apple recorded operating revenue of $182.79 billion during the 2014 fiscal year, a 7% year-over-year increase. Walmart, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Berkshire Hathaway topped the list with between $194.6 and $485.6 billion revenue, although it's worth noting that Apple finished ahead of all four of those companies with $39.5 billion in profit and recently posted two record-breaking quarters.
Global Warming

Wow, talk about incredible. A US government agency "fixing" the data. The Daily Caller is reporting:All that work and we're talking 0.012 degrees.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists have found a solution to the 15-year “pause” in global warming: They “adjusted” the hiatus in warming out of the temperature record.
New climate data by NOAA scientists doubles the warming trend since the late 1990s by adjusting pre-hiatus temperatures downward and inflating temperatures in more recent years. “Newly corrected and updated global surface temperature data from NOAA’s [National Centers for Environmental Information] do not support the notion of a global warming ‘hiatus,'” wrote NOAA scientists in their study presenting newly adjusted climate data.
To increase the rate in warming, NOAA scientists put more weight on certain ocean buoy arrays, adjusted ship-based temperature readings upward, and slightly raised land-based temperatures as well.
Scientists said adjusted ship-based temperature data “had the largest impact on trends for the 2000-2014 time period, accounting for 0.030°C of the 0.064°C trend difference.” They added that the “buoy offset correction contributed 0.014°C… to the difference, and the additional weight given to the buoys because of their greater accuracy contributed 0.012°C.”
We used to to the same thing in college biology and chemistry when our experimental results did not meet our expectations -- it was called a fudge factor. It's quite incredible the NOAA would do this. If the original data had fit their story, would they have gone back and re-jiggered the data. If they had and the re-jiggered data did not fit their story, would they have published the study. LOL.

0.03 degrees; 0.064 degrees; and, then, the 0.012 degrees. Not reproducible. Not by a long shot. Nor statistically significant. Anthropogenic global warming is a cult or a religion; it is not science.

Regular readers can see through this. First, of all, this is all relative. If they're going to change data from sites in 2014, they need to change data from sites going all the way back to 1 million BC; probably not doing to happen.

What I find most comical: the researchers got exactly the number they were looking for. If one knows what "number" one wants, it's not all that difficult to change the data until the number comes out exactly as "predicted." This study will be met with derision, except by Bill Nye, the science guy. And Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the First. 

Updating Top Ten List Of Fracking Companies; Looking For Companies Requiring Source Of Guar -- June 4, 2015

Some years ago I posted a list of the fracking companies in the Bakken. That list has seldom been updated and is likely to be grossly out of date, but it is what it is. I generally do not "correct" previous posts; I leave them "as is," and then provide updates.

Having said that, two requests for readers. The first request: if there are "glaring" changes that need to be made on that fracking company list, please feel free to let me know.

Second, and much more interesting, perhaps, is a request from readers who know of companies operating anywhere in the US -- not just the Bakken -- who are in need of guar powder.

We obviously know the names of the big companies, the big operators, but I am looking for names of medium size companies, small companies, and even mom-and-pop companies that use guar powder. (No, I have no guar powder production plant in the back yard, and no monetary interest whatsoever in guar.)

If you have any information but want to keep your name confidential, I will do so. I think there are ways to send comments to the blog "anonymously," but that may be difficult. More easily done, perhaps is a note to my e-mail address which is posted at this site, at the sidebar. Also, there is a discussion group site available.

One of the great things about the blog: I end up reviewing old posts, seeing things I did not see before or maybe missed before. One of the stories I posted, but did not think about (or "see") until now was the one on Frak Tech Services, which is listed as #17 at the post linked above, the list of fracking companies in the Bakken.

Fracking Has No Widespread Impact On Drinking Water -- EPA, After Comprehensive Four-Year Study -- June 4. 2015


June 5, 2015: at 10:36 p.m. last night (June 4), The Dickinson Press reported the story: EPA says fracking no "widespread" risk to drinking water. 

Later, 7:44 p.m. CT: this is also the top story, the headline story on the front page of The Los Angeles Times:
Fracking has had no 'systemic' impact on drinking water -- but it's not risk-free, EPA says.   
The Dickinson Press, as far as I can tell, has not yet printed the story, perhaps the biggest story of the year with regards to fracking. Remember, we have seen nothing but concerns about water and fracking in The Dickinson Press for years.
Original Post
I may reprint this link and this headline every day for the next 30 days. Do not say I did not warn you.  The Wall Street Journal is reporting:
Fracking Has Had No ‘Widespread’ Impact on Drinking Water, EPA Finds ‘Potential vulnerabilities’ should be addressed to prevent water contamination, EPA says after four-year study.
The lede:
A decade into an energy boom led by hydraulic fracturing, the Environmental Protection Agency has concluded there is no evidence the practice has had a “widespread, systemic impact on drinking water.”
The report is the federal government’s most comprehensive examination of the issue of fracking and drinking water, and it bolsters the position staked out by the energy industry and its supporters: that fracking can be carried out safely and doesn’t need to pose a threat to water.
While there have been some cases involving spills and leaking wells, the spread of fracking didn’t cause extensive damage to groundwater resources, the EPA found.
The four-year study noted that there were certain “potential vulnerabilities” to water supplies that needed to be addressed, including ensuring wells are well-built and wastewater is disposed of properly.
I did not read the rest, yada, yada, yada.

And, yes, this will be the #1 post in this week's list of top stories.

It's a huge story but it's even bigger than folks might realize when they they consider that it came out of the current administration. If President Obama did not agree with releasing the study, he would have found a way to delay releasing it. The study puts a lot of pressure on New York state deniers.

By the way, do a google search: dickinson press epa fracking. Many, many stories on concerns about fracking and water, but at this moment, no hits on the front page of the google search (7:29 p.m. June 4, 2015) with The Dickinson Press reporting this EPA study and finding. This is such a huge story, it begs the question, why The Dickinson Press has not yet reported it. It is also not at the on-line Dickinson Press either, although this story is: natural gas odorant passes through Dickinson, prompting phone calls...I can't make this stuff up. 

Gasoline Demand Failed To Hit Record Over Memorial Day Driving Weekend -- June 4, 2015

Tyler formation oil note: a reader tells me that Marathon is plugging both of its wells in Slope county. The paperwork has been filed and there is currently a plugging rig on the Powell right now with the plan to move to the Rundle well next.  Marathon still has one well permitted in Slope. We can watch the daily activity report to see if that last permit is canceled.

Now back to gasoline demand.

I was wrong. I thought gasoline demand would hit a record over the Memorial Day weekend, exceeding 9.5 million bbls/day, what with relatively low gasoline prices and a recovering economy, but surprisingly, the number failed to even go over 9 million bbls. The previous week gasoline supplied average 9.734 million bbls.

So, it looks like we will have to wait until August to see if we hit new records.

Meanwhile, over at the second link, gasoline demand shows a slightly higher demand in 2015 than last year (2104).

Growing up in North Dakota, I always thought summer began during third or fourth week of May, and that the driving season would begin in June. But when one looks at the second link, it's amazing to see gasoline demand drop off in June. I assume a lot of that has to do with the fact that schools are still in session in June on both the east coast and the west coast. Here in Texas, today is the last day fo school for the students, and it's a half-day at that. Tomorrow is a school day but only for teachers.

I'm still looking for 10 million bbls of gasoline/day in August.

AAA's take on gasoline demand, this summer, dated June 1, 2015.

From AAA's fuel gauge report, note that diesel is significantly cheaper than "regular" gasoline.

If I had to come up with one data point to reflect the state of the US economy, it would be the price of diesel relative to the price of gasoline.

By the way, compare the California diesel/gasoline prices with similar numbers from North Dakota, New York, and Florida. Remember, Florida is not exactly a major farming or manufacturing state, at least compared to California. The numbers are startling.

Energy Cookie

Today's EIA energy cookie:
EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO2015) projects that U.S. supply of lighter API gravity crude oil from formations in regions such as the Bakken, Permian Basin, and Eagle Ford continues to outpace that of medium and heavier crudes. Although the rate of growth in light sweet crude slows after 2015 in the Reference case, 56% of EIA's projected production growth between 2014 and 2020 consists of sweet grades with an API gravity of 40 or above. Another 33% of the growth is attributable to an increase in Lower 48 states offshore production, which is categorized as medium sour with an API gravity between 27 and 35. --- EIA
US refiners along the gulf were optimized for heavy oil, and that's why US light oil swaps for non-US heavy oil makes all kinds of sense.

Nothing About The Bakken -- June 4, 2015

I don't know if folks are aware of this yet, but Amazon will now ship "most" items that weigh less than eight (8) ounces for free. There are restrictions, but not many (e.g., free shipping through 3rd party sellers is not guaranteed). So, what can one get for under eight ounces? CDs and DVDs; maybe soft cover books. But individual DVDs and CDs definitely weigh less than 8 ounces. And if you order more than a few DVDs, CDs, books at one time, you will be over the $35 minimum for free shipping anyway. This is huge. I know I often put items in my "cart" waiting until I hit the $35 minimum; now, the CD or DVD can be ordered immediately with free shipping. Amazing.

By the way, Amazon is really, really busy today. I am having a devil of a time getting on to the site this morning. 


It certainly appears "push will come to shove" with regard to health care premiums, deductibles, and co-pays in 2016. My hunch is that the US Supreme Court will find a way to extricate itself from this mess and put it back in the collective laps of Congress. It won't be pretty. Even under the best of circumstances, ObamaCare premiums are going to increase significantly.

Global Warming

More than half of the Manitoba (Canada) canola harvest damaged by frost. Similar problems in North Dakota with freeze damaging the corn crop according to Don.

A Note to the Granddaughters

We were a little behind in getting Sophia, the youngest granddaughter into the pool. There were some extenuating circumstances: moving into a new house and 15 days of rain in northern Texas. So, that put us behind by about four months. She will soon celebrate her first birthday; I had hoped she would be comfortable with the water by six months. But it was not to be. Her mom had taken her weekly to the indoor pool during the winter for "Mommy and Me" swim dates.

Two days ago, I was finally able to have Sophia alone in the outdoor pool. She was timid at first, but after about 45 minutes she was really enjoying it. As long as she felt secure in being held tightly.

Then last night, another 45 minutes alone with Sophia. The oldest granddaughter was studying for final exams and the middle granddaughter was playing indoor soccer (she should have been outside, but the outdoor soccer fields are all under water). Wow, Sophia has made great strides. As soon as she saw me come in the door, she appeared eager to get going. Usually I have her sit on the edge of the pool with her feet dangling in the water until she feels comfortable; last night she did not want to sit on the edge; she wanted to get right in. And surprisingly, she did not want me to hold her upright; she wanted to be on her stomach, kick with her feet, and "swim" with her hands. She is not quite ready to go underwater. The diving reflex is still solid at six months, but I'm not so sure at one year of age. So, I won't "dunk" her though her mother says may be she might put her underwater this weekend. We'll see. I think she's a bit too fragile (timid of the water) to do that.

On another note, I started reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise and Oscar Wilde's A Picture of Dorian Gray at the same time. I found Paradise a bit tedious after the first two chapters but will eventually finish it, slog through it. On the other hand, I found Dorian Gray incredibly good, on so many levels. I'm re-reading it now to pick up some of the things I missed the first time through.

Interestingly enough, coincidentally, I am also reading a biography of the Duveens, perhaps the biggest art dealers in the early 20th century. It is amazing how much the Dorian Gray makes the Duveen biography that much more interesting, or vice versa. If one is interested in the history of early 20th century art dealing, Meryle Secrest's biography of the Duveens is simply superb. I picked up my copy of the book at the Norton Simon museum in Pasadena last summer; Norton Simon bought the entire Duveen collection years ago for his museum.

They Already Proved Themselves

Lots of talk today about the women who did not graduate from US Army Ranger School.

Just talk. 

They already proved themselves.

Thursday; ObamaCare Premiums Increase 10% In Texas; Expect 20% Increase Request For 2016 -- June 4, 2015

Here we go again. US productivity fell 3% in first quarter while labor costs rose at 7% rate (rounded).

Jobless claims plummet 8,000 to 276,000 from a revised 284,000 the prior week. The revision was 2,000 more than previously reported. The four-week average of applications, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, increased to 274,750 from 272,000 in the prior week. Bottom line: we're in a "zone." It's all background noise. But it is interesting: the 276,000 reported today is still higher than the four-week average of 274,750 which was a pretty big jump from 272,000. Just saying. With productivity falling 3% in first quarter and labor costs rising, it's not a pretty picture economically.

Pickens picking on princes. I agree with Pickens; the Saudis are bluffing. However, it should be noted that Pickens quietly reduced his end-of-year projection. A few months ago, in a similar interview, he suggested $80 by the end of the year (if I recall correctly, but could be wrong). In this interview, he suggested $70 by the end of the year.

Active rigs:

Active Rigs81193189214171

RBN Energy: capital spending and profitability of gas in free fall.
RBN analysis of 31 exploration and production (E&P) companies shows sharp differences between two groups of gas-weighted firms. The US diversified group is struggling to increase production, and slashing capital spending in light of weak profitability. Meanwhile, the Appalachian group is flying high as the most profitable classification in our analysis – largely as a result of slashing costs in response to weak natural gas prices. Today we wrap up our three-part analysis of U.S. E&P company’s 2015 outlook.
For those paying attention, here's another state facing huge ObamaCare premium increases: Texas. CNBC is reporting:
A major Texas health insurer is feeling "blue" from some steep losses and now wants sharply higher prices for Obamacare plans next year. 
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas last year took up to a $400 million loss on its individual, Obamacare-compliant plans, according to filings disclosed earlier this week by the federal government.
BCBS cited that loss, which represents a 20 percent loss of premium on the insurers' Affordable Care Act-related plans, in requesting an average rate hike of 19.97 percent for individual plans next year, including those sold on the federal Obamacare exchange
That increase would come on top of the 9.09 percent premium increase BCBS got approved for its plans in 2015.
Greece: says "no." It's going to be interesting to see who blinks first. My hunch: Ms Merkel. She's the swing vote. Or the one who will make it unanimous, 5 - 0 to extend the deadline another three months.