Saturday, October 24, 2015

"Normal" Winters Returning To Europe -- October 24, 2015; Atmospheric CO2 Below 400 PPM; And The "Coalition Of The Ignorant"

Reuters/Rigzone is reporting:
Gas demand across the European Union is expected to increase by 7 percent in 2015 following years of decline.
Gas demand in the EU in the first half of 2015 was up by about 9 percent.
Other data points:
  • natural gas forecast for EU/Switzerland: 4,760 terawatt-hours 
  • 4,760 terawatt-hours = 441 billion cubic meters
  • low-price coal will limit upside for gas demand 
  • gas demand fell by more than 11 percent in 2014 due to an exceptionally warm winter
If We Can Just Hold At This Level

It looks like all those wind towers in Texas and North Dakota are working. Most recent atmospheric CO2 measurement shows we are again below 400. In the very, very small print in the screenshot below (dynamic link), you might be able to read that Scripps first measured an atmospheric level of CO2 above 400 over two years ago, back on May 10, 2013. Since then, not so much. Perhaps not only has atmospheric CO2 leveled off, but it's starting to decrease. There has been no global warming in 19 years.

Coalition Of The Ignorant

European Energy became a big story on May 18, 2013, when the EU Council President predicted that  Europe might become the only continent in the world to depend on imported energy.

Now it looks like Europe is working on becoming the only continent in the world that will depend on imported food. The New York Times is reporting:
Call it the “Coalition of the Ignorant.”
By the first week of October, 17 European countries — including Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland — had used new European Union rules to announce bans on the cultivation of genetically modified crops.

These prohibitions expose the worrying reality of how far Europe has gone in setting itself against modern science. True, the bans do not apply directly to scientific research, and a few countries — led by England — have declared themselves open to cultivation of genetically modified organisms, or G.M.O.s. But the chilling effect on biotech science in Europe will be dramatic: Why would anyone spend years developing genetically modified crops in the knowledge that they will most likely be outlawed by government fiat?

In effect, the Continent is shutting up shop for an entire field of human scientific and technological endeavor. This is analogous to America’s declaring an automobile boycott in 1910, or Europe’s prohibiting the printing press in the 15th century. [They've shut up shop for all climate study also.]

Beginning with Scotland’s prohibition on domestic genetically modified crop cultivation on Aug. 9, Europe’s scientists and farmers watched with mounting dismay as other countries followed suit. Following the Scottish decision, signatories from numerous scientific organizations and academic institutions wrote to the Scottish government to express grave concern “about the potential negative effect on science in Scotland.”
So much more at the linked story. A must read. Meanwhile, the Europeans need to read How the Scots Invented the World: The True Story of How Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World And Everything In It,  Arthur Herman, c. 2002, a reprint edition. This is perhaps one of the best books I've ever read.

By the way, we've seen this "anti-science" movement before. In the 19th century, in response to the Industrial Revolution, the Romantic Period in art and literature developed and flourished. The Industrial Revolution, according to wiki, about 1760 to 1840 at the latest. The Romantic Period, according to wiki, was at its peak from 1800 - 1850. It may have been at its peak in the first half of the 19th century, but I think it evolved and found footing in the modern era (Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Woolf, et al).

[Random note: Alexander the Great came about 250 years after the golden age of Greece -- defeat the Persians, Pericles, the three great Greek tragedians. Putin 2015 - 250 years brings us to 1765 -- what was Russian doing in 1765? Imperial Russia (1721 - 1917): Peter the Great ((1672–1725); his wife, Catherine I (1725–1727); in succession, a minor grandson, a niece, and then finally his daughter; followed by Catherine II, the Great (ruled, 1762 until her death in 1796). I imagine Putin is a great reader of history; a Russian -- not a globalist like Clinton, Bush, Obama; and, a megalomaniac in the eyes of some.]

Muckbusters -- October 24, 2015

This is another incredible story coming out of the Bakken. Our older granddaughter is taking a class in "Global Problem Solving." Currently they are leaning about "Disappearing Languages" but next week they start "Natural Disasters." She was talking to me about ideas on how to find, rescue, and clean-up after major flooding. And then this story in The Dickinson Press appears.

Apparently Company C, operating in the Bakken, sent a team down to help clean up South Carolina after major flooding. From the story:
Flood waters had completely engulfed the church from rooftop to floor.
As these waters receded, they left behind the typical slime and muck, scattered with random debris, that might have taken weeks to clean by conventional methods.
But sometimes there isn’t weeks to save a building. As seen during Hurricane Katrina, it doesn’t take long for the cruddy material to plant molds in a building that make it forevermore uninhabitable.
With a hydrovac, however, a project that might have taken weeks and weeks with the hands of many volunteers was accomplished in a couple hours with a team of just four.
Church said a few C Company employees are from the South Carolina area. With oil prices being down, they knew the company could spare a truck. The technology is ideal for helping in the cleanup, so they asked to take some equipment down to help out, and the company gave its blessing.
Some background:
A team of hydroexcavators from C Company in Williston are among hundreds of volunteers who have poured into South Carolina to help with cleanup as flood waters recede by using the hydrovacs that use a combination of water jets followed by high-power vacuum to pull material up or away quickly and efficiently. It can even be used underground without harming anything buried.
The technology is often used in the Oil Patch of North Dakota  for cleaning up oil spills, pipeline inspections, slot trenching, frozen ground excavation, telephone line repair and pit cleaning. With this equipment, the crews have turned many cleanup jobs that might have taken weeks into just hours.
The Williston company’s highly specialized equipment  is uncommon in the South, and really anywhere outside of oil patches.
Very, very impressive. Much, much more at the link. A great story to read. 

I think I have a story for my granddaughter for "Global Problem Solving." Jeb Bush should visit South Carolina and help out. Isn't South Carolina one of the early primary states?

Idle Rambling On Global Crude Oil, Natural Gas Production -- October 24, 2015; ObamaCare Premiums To Be Released Monday, Minnesota Up As Much As 49%

Don sent an EIA link regarding crude oil and natural gas production coming out of the United Arab Emirates.

The "thing" that struck me was the graph showing the top ten global oil producers: US, at the top of the list producing 14 million bopd, Saudi Arabia, at #2 (12 million bopd), and Russia, at #3 (11 million bopd). The rest of the list does not matter.

For natural gas, Russia, with 1,700 trillion cubic feet) is #1 in natural gas reserves by a wide margin over #2, Iran (1,200); and, #3, Qatar (900). The rest of the top ten do not matter except for #4, the United States, currently estimated to have about 300 trillion cubic feet.

Two immediate thoughts:
  • my hunch, based on what I've "learned" about the USGS and the Bakken, is that both natural gas reserves and oil reserves are greatly underestimated for the US, if not the world
  • I never thought I would see the day when the US would be #1 in crude oil production and more than self-sufficient in natural gas, to become a huge exporter of same
I mentioned that to Don. He agreed, reminding me of the "gloom and doom" of 1973 - 1975 and then again in 1978 - 89. Things were so bad that there was serious talk of a 48-inch natural gas pipeline from the Alaskan North Slope to the Northwest Territory (Canada), and from there to the continental US.

As recently as 2005, MDU customers were being charged $14 / Mcft natural gas; this last billing period, MDU natural gas was down to $4.39 / Mcft.

$14 (2005) adjusts to almost $17 in 2014 dollars; and MDU is charging less than $5.00.

Likewise, gasoline at 40 cents/gallon in 1973 adjusts to $2.10 in 2014 dollars/gallon, about what we see today.

Oh, by the way, two other energy stories made the news in the past few days. I don't have the energy to spend much time on them (it took a lot of energy just to read them) but here are the links:
I was really depressed after reading those articles. Depressed because of the schadenfreude tone of the East Coast press. After reading those two articles, I was under the impression that the world had finally quit using fossil fuel and would switch back to wood and buffalo chips. I still don't understand the hand-wringing about the glut of oil and natural gas. Would one rather have $200 oil, $30 natural gas? 

As I posted some weeks ago, I only see blue skies from now on. Affordable energy will not be an issue in my lifetime, the lifetime of my daughters, and probably not in the lifetime of my granddaughters.

Time To Go?

The [London] Independent] is reporting that 8 of King Salman's eleven (11) surviving brothers want him ousted. Considering the younger brother that would replace him is 73 years old, doesn't sound like much of a change, but any royal intrigue at this time (Iran, Yemen, ISIS, Russia) is not a good omen for Saudia Arabia.

Monday Morning Blahs? 
Check Out President Obama's Health Care Premiums For 2016


October 27, 2015: the numbers have been posted:
The federal government says the cost of a benchmark plan on will increase 7.5 percent for 2016 coverage, but most people will still be able to buy a plan for less than $100 a month, after tax credits.
Monday was the first day people could see 2016 prices on the website established under President Barack Obama's health care law. A new sign-up season starts Sunday, and consumers can start browsing now as they prepare to buy.
Rates increased by double digits in some states using the federal marketplace, but other states are seeing lower prices.
Insurers in many states had underpriced their plans and are raising rates because of medical inflation and higher claims than expected. Insurers are trying to find the right prices in the new marketplace.

Original Post

Most states won't be like Minnesota, where all five carriers selling individual policies on the insurance exchange have posted double-digit increases, from 14 percent to 49 percent.
They're not likely to be like southern California either, where officials forecast an average rise of 1.8 percent for consumers who stay with their current plan.
For more than 8 in 10 customers, premium increases will be cushioned by taxpayer subsidies. That will absorb most of the cost, but it still may pay to shop around.
Premium increases will be as much as 49% -- if one's monthly premium is $500, that means a new premium of $750/month. Per adult. Thank goodness for two things:
  • ObamaCare slowed down the rate of health care costs
  • subsidies paid for by the wealthy middle class
I'm not aware of any premiums going down. As predicted, the major health care insurers are going to be reporting nice quarterly earnings in 1Q16, when the premiums start rolling in and the bills have not yet been "adjudicated" for payment.

Hasn't Even Left The Station, But ...

Speaking of "trainwrecks," The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the $68-billion California bullet train will likely cost way more and come in way late.
The monumental task of building California's bullet train will require punching 36 miles of tunnels through the geologically complex mountains north of Los Angeles.
Crews will have to cross the tectonic boundary that separates the North American and Pacific plates, boring through a jumble of fractured rock formations and a maze of earthquake faults, some of which are not mapped.
It will be the most ambitious tunneling project in the nation's history.
State officials say the tunnels will be finished by 2022 — along with 300 miles of track, dozens of bridges or viaducts, high-voltage electrical systems, a maintenance plant and as many as six stations. Doing so will meet a commitment to begin carrying passengers between Burbank and Merced in the first phase of the $68-billion high-speed rail link between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
However, a Times analysis of project documents, as well as interviews with scientists, engineers and construction experts, indicates that the deadline and budget targets will almost certainly be missed — and that the state has underestimated the challenges ahead, particularly completing the tunneling on time. I don't even want to see the new estimates.
But let's look, anyway.

Oh, that's not bad. Only 5% over-budget. LOL.

Let's go back a few years:
Public opinion polls taken over the years have shown that support for the project has ebbed as costs have risen — and at $68 billion, the budget is already more than double the $33-billion estimate made by the rail authority before California voters approved bonds for the project seven years ago.
Oh, there it is, at the very end of the article:
Flyvbjerg's research found that high-speed rail projects around the world experience an average of 45% cost growth, though 100% increases occur in some cases.
First phase, Burbank to Merced. In 2020, one will be able to leave Burbank at 6:00 a.m. and arrive in time for breakfast at McDonalds in Merced in a self-driving car, and still have a car to tool around in. The bullet train leaves you without a car in Merced. Okay. Why anyone would be going to Merced in the first place is the real question.

Oh, That Storm!

Billed as the largest (or near-largest) hurricane ever, Hurricane Patricia resulted in no deaths, minimal damage, and de-escalated to a tropical storm within hours of hitting landfall. Extreme weather.

Week 42: October 18, 2015 -- October 24, 2015

I think the big stories this past week have been outside the Bakken. The biggest story was that Great Britain has finally said "no" to intermittent energy. China will be partnering with Great Britain to build three new nuclear plants in England. (The US has a new nuclear reactor, also.) The other big story had to do with the "deep Utica" -- the US is drowning in natural gas, and a new record was set in the amount of natural gas the US exported to Mexico. The announcement that XOM has exited California is noteworthy.

But that doesn't mean there weren't some big stories in the Bakken. The top Bakken story was probably the NDIC's decision to relax a number of rules regarding fracking and flaring.

Clarks Creek and increased density drilling 
Another nice Madison well in Chatfield oil field 
DUCs continue to increase; and here;
Random look at interesting way to drill a 1280-acre unit 

The Keystone: why the US needs Canadian heavy crude oil
Enbridge Line 9 reversal and how it will affect the Bakken

Bakken economy
North Dakota #1 in economic development -- US Chamber of Commerce
UND-EERC: three-year, $3.5 million methanol research project 

Using boiling water from oil wells to generate geothermal energy
Bakken blowout largely contained
Blog housekkeeping: list of Bakken deals consolidated