Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Seven New Permits -- Have We Turned The Corner? -- May 31, 2016

One well coming off the confidential list Wednesday:
  • 32200, SI/NC, Hess, BB-Budahn-LS-150-95-0506H-1, Blue Buttes, no production data,
Active rigs:

Active Rigs2880189187214

Seven (7) new permits --
  • Operators: Newfield (4), Whiting (3)
  • Fields: Lost Bridge (Dunn), Truax (Williams)
  • Comments:
Three (3) producing wells completed:
  • 31753, 950, CLR, Maryland 2-16H, Catwalk, t5/16; cum --
  • 31984, 800, EOG, Austin 439-2326H, Parshall, t5/16; cum --
  • 32120, 871, EOG, Asutin 438-2635H, Parshall, t5/16; cum --

Homeland Security And UND Partner On Drone Research -- May 31, 2016

Officer.com is reporting:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the University of North Dakota (UND) announced today they have signed a three-year cooperative research and development agreement to both examine the beneficial use of unmanned aerial systems/ unmanned aerial vehicles (UAS/UAV) and to mitigate their use for nefarious purposes.

“Through this agreement, we will develop a better understanding of the capabilities and vulnerabilities of UAS/UAVs and spur the development of technologies to counter the potential threats based upon their use,” said DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers. “A better understanding will spur innovative ideas and approaches to reduce this new threat facing our homeland.”
Over at "Big Stories/The Next Big Thing," I track the North Dakota drone story

Saudi Missteps Continue -- May 31, 2016

This is one of those huge stories that anyone following the oil and gas industry already knows ... but I was late. I didn't figure it out until just a few minutes ago. Graphs are worth a thousand words, and some 140-characters tweets are worth a picture.

Quick, what did Prince Salman call his "strategic plan" for his country?

Vision 2030.

Quick, what does Prince Salman want to do?

Diversify his country's economy.

Quick, what is Saudi Arabia really good at?

Almost anything that has to do with oil and can be run by contractors (US, Indian, predominantly).

Quick, what has Prince Salman recommended for diversifying his economy?

Build refineries.


Everyone pretty much agrees that Saudi Arabia, at some point in the future, will become a net importer of oil.

Quick: "on the street," when is it being said that Saudi Arabia will become a net importer of oil?

2030. There are many, many links for this issue; here is one: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-09-04/saudi-arabia-may-become-oil-importer-by-2030-citigroup-says-1-.

Again, quick, what did Prince Salman call his "strategic plan" for his country?

Yup: Vision 2030.

I don't think that Citigroup suggesting that Saudi will be a net importer of oil by 2030 and Prince Salman calling his strategic plan Vision 2030 were coincidental.

Saudi Arabia may be in more trouble than we realize.


This is where I got it wrong. I had assumed Prince Salman was going to build refineries in his home country to export refined products. He will build refineries in other countries, notably the US and Vietnam, he has said. I don't recall if he has also said India. Hold that thought.

Prince Salman is not going to build refineries in his home country to export refined products. Those refined products will be needed for his own population. And that does not bring revenue into state coffers. In fact, if he follows the Venezuelan example, his kingdom will step into even deeper doo-doo.

As far as building refineries in other countries:
  • Vietnam: okay; perhaps not a bad choice; not great, but not bad
  • India: not going to happen (see Apple's experience)
  • US: Saudi Aramco can expand their one refinery in the US; buy others (subject to regulatory approval); but build more? In this politically correct / green environment? LOL.
So, we now have another misstep by Saudi Arabia: Vision 2030's emphais on building more refineries around the world. It won't be that easy. With US refineries operating at less than 100% capacity, I just don't see the need for more refineries.

But, hey, what about all that diesel and gasoline that China and India will need? Helloooo? I don't know about India, but China is now exporting (as is Japan) refined products (see earlier posts this morning). It turns out that Saudi Arabia does not have a monopoly on knowing how to refine oil.

Now the third Saudi misstep and this is a doozy. This misstep is bigger than Vision 2030 that calls for diversifying into refineries.

In October, 2014, Saudi agreed to open the crude oil taps. The price of oil plummeted. What did China do? It appears that China doubled down, tripled down, quadrupled down on refining.

I remember all those posts about Saudi "giving away their oil," and China buying it; folks wondered what China was doing with all that oil. I guess we now know.  They were refining it and exporting it.

Know what is so amazing about that graph? Two things. One you can see on the graph. One, you can't.

The "thing" you can see on the graph is how fast this happened. In less than a year! Only a couple of years ago, China was a net importer of diesel. The more one looks at that graph, the more incredible it looks. The first question one asks: who bought that Chinese diesel and at whose expense?

China's domestic consumption didn't decrease this past year; if anything it went up. So, China had to have increased utilization of existing refineries or completed new ones.

The thing one does not see in this graph: China's domestic demand for refined products.

Saudi's Missteps
By letting oil go to $100 or more per bbl, Saudi opened the door for US shale revolution. US shale operators needed that kind of incentive to "crack the code." Now that US frackers have cracked the code, $60 oil is just fine. Not great, but fine.

Then, in an attempt to bankrupt US frackers, they said they would flood the market; oil price plummeted; and Saudi has a "trillion-dollar mistake" to remedy.

This incredibly cheap oil AND the global glut of oil gave Chinese entrepreneurs (like US frackers) the incentive to expand refining operations. In one year, China has made strides that simply amaze me. I would assume if oil stays this cheap AND this plentiful, China will continue to increase its refining capacity.

Saudi Arabia won't even have it's Vision 2030 finalized and presented to the Supreme Council until 2017? 2018? Later?  How much diesel and gasoline will China be exporting in 2020, ten years before 2030?

When China becomes a net exporter of diesel it speaks volumes.

In An Attempt To Crush The US Shale Oil Revolution, Saudi Crushed OPEC

A couple things to get out of the way.

First, as I've often said, there never was any OPEC. It was always Saudi Arabia.

Second, I don't recall if I've blogged about this before, but over the past year or so, I've thought about the huge turmoil Saudi's action would cause in Africa because of its decision to open the spigots. And now we're seeing it. CNBC is reporting that Saudi's attempts to crush the US shale revolution backfired:
Saudi Arabia engineered OPEC's policy to kill off U.S. shale oil production. The plan was straightforward: Keep pumping oil, maintain market share and outlast the Americans.

But the plan is also producing casualties within the cartel itself: Angola, Nigeria and a Venezuela that's on the verge of implosion.

Six months after OPEC left its high-production policy in place, some of the cartel members who called loudest for output cuts are feeling the most pain. Inflation is soaring and currencies have plummeted in lesser petro states, as top exporter Saudi Arabia continues to dictate policy.

Huge Unexpected Treat For Everyone: New Batch Of Vern Whitten Western North Dakota Photos -- May 31, 2016

Enjoy and visit Vern Whitten's website. These are, again, incredibly great images of western North Dakota.

Link here: http://www.vernwhittenphotography.net/wes516/.

Forty-five (45) photographs in this "Back to the Bakken" portfolio, spring, 2016. Highlights for me:
  • new road through New Town, ND (#4)
  • Williston High School, June, 2015 (#17)
  • Williston High School, one year later (#18)
  • bike and pedestrian underpass, State Highway 23, Watford City (#19)
  • Watford City High School, June, 2015 (#20)
  • Watford City High School, one year later (#21) -- words cannot describe this one!
  • landscape -- what a beautiful state (#24)
  • I've never seen Eagle's Nest Butte -- now I have (#26, #27)
  • the "Hill" (#31)
  • the landslide, before and after (#33, #34)
  • plant construction north of Killdeer (#36)
  • rig storage, Dickinson (#38)

Tuesday Morning Notes -- Catching Up On The News -- May 31, 2016

Venezuela -- tic, tic, tic -- Lufthansa suspends flights to Venezuela. I was wondering when this would start to happen. I'm sure it's costing them a gazillion dollars to refuel in Caracas just to get out of the country. And if they don't pay, the Venezuelan government will take possession of the planes on the tarmac. And finally, as things start to implode, security becomes a very real issue.

Two Stories On Dante's Inferno 

From Forbes: is ObamaCare failing on purpose?  One of the dumbest questions I've seen posed, ever. A program doesn't fail on purpose. The folks driving it might be working to make it fail, but the program itself doesn't fail on purpose. Whatever.

How ObamaCare has affected the 57 US states.

The GOP needs to run, not walk, away from this debacle. Let the Dems solve this one.

Trump: "Let's Make America Great Again."

Hillary: "Let's Re-Visit ObamaCare."

Gary Johnson: "Let's Elect Hillary."

Idle Rambling: Where We Will Be In 2020 -- May 31, 2016; China, Japan Will Compete With Prince Salman For Refined Exports; Look At Australian, Asian Demand

A reader sent in a nice link on "how low oil prices are easing the glut" with a lookback of the past few years. I've added the link at this post because it seems to fit pretty well here.

Big picture: with regard to the oil and gas industry, I think we are in a "valley" of inactivity, with minor ebb and flow among the upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors. We will be in this valley for about two years. It will take all the "energy" I have to remain interested in following the story, but if I quit for even a day, I start to lose track of what is going on. Even in a "valley" of inactivity, there is enough stuff going on that that behooves folks to follow it, if for no other reason than to try to read the tea leaves.

Less than five years from now, in 2020, the excitement and activity in the oil and gas sector will be at levels I have seen only a few times in my lifetime. The only question is whether "we" get to that level of activity through slow and steady progress, or whether we see some shocks to the system, resulting in short term spikes, taking us to this new level of activity.

My hunch is that we reach the new level of activity in 2020 with sharp spikes upward. Probably in 2018.

Unrelated Rambling

At this post, I have added this:
Update: Bloomberg has a long, long article on Saudi financing US debt through Treasury bonds going back to Richard M. Nixon. This is one more reason why I think Saudi's Supreme Council will be hesitant to go through with the IPO: the kingdom is going to have to divulge a lot of information in exchange for a few billion dollars. 
Prince Salman's Vision 2030 includes building more refineries in an attempt to diversify Saudi Aramaco which is predominantly an upstream company. It looks like Prince Salman will have some competition. It appears China is already beating him at his own game. This also explains why China has been such a huge importer of oil over the past few years. China may be a "Communist" country but it sure acts like a western company when it comes to oil and gas:

Meanwhile, it's being reported that Japan's import of Saudi Arabian crude oil hit a new record in April: 1.42 million bopd.

In addition, Japan will be exporting refined products at new levels.
Japan's largest refiner, JX Nippon Oil & Energy, plans to process 769,452 bopd of crude oil in June for the domestic market, down 6% from a year ago.
But JX plans to export an all-time high of 220,143 b/d of oil products in June, mainly to Asia and Australia, up 72% from a year ago amid supportive overseas demand.
JX's monthly oil product exports will rise to more than 210,000 bopd for the first time next month. The boost in exports comes after JX had said on April 27 that it will start exporting gasoil from its 145,000 bopd Sendai refinery in May, following the start of gasoline exports from the Mizushima plant, which has a combined refining capacity of 380,200 bopd, in April.

Big Butte Update -- May 31, 2016

A reader asked about the Big Butte oil field. 

I track the Big Butte oil field in North Dakota here

No new permits in Big Butte so far in 2016.

No Big Butte permits in 2015.

Only four Big Butte permits in 2014:
  • 25-Jun-14 28719 Hess Mountrail Big Butte loc EN-Neset-156-94-0706H-5 
  • 25-Jun-14 28720 Hess Mountrail Big Butte loc EN-Neset-156-94-0706H-4 
  • 25-Jun-14 28721 Hess Mountrail Big Butte loc EN-Neset-156-94-0706H-3 
  • 25-Jun-14 28722 Hess Mountrail Big Butte loc EN-Neset-156-94-0706H-2 
Like all operators, Hess moved quickly early in the boom to hold leases by production. See graphic below. Most drilling units in this area have at least one producing well.

Hess seems to be a "steady Eddy" in the Bakken. Nothing flashy, just going about its business. Hess appears to have five rigs in the Bakken, three in McKenzie County, two in Mountrail. Back in October, 2013, Hess had 16 rigs in North Dakota.

I can't imagine Hess going back into Big Butte until we see oil significantly higher. But eventually, there will be no less than 12 wells on every 1280-acre drilling unit in Big Butte. That, of course, is complete conjecture on my part based on what I've seen in the Bakken over the years. Holding minerals in the Bakken is "money in the bank."

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, travel, relationship, or job decision based on what you read here.

Starting The Day With 28 Active Rigs -- May 31, 2016

Great Plains will buy utility Westar for almost $9 billion. Bloomberg story here. Data points:
  • Westar: largest utility in Kansas
  • power companies across the US facing weak demand and rising operational costs, looking to consolidate
  • Great Plans will pay $51 per share in cash; $9 per share in stock
  • obviously needs regulatory approval
Active rigs:

Active Rigs2880189187214

RBN Energy: easing crude pipeline constraints to St James.
The reversal of Shell’s Zydeco Pipeline (formerly Ho-Ho) in 2013 was a big deal. It enabled eastbound flows of a wide range of crude streams from the Houston area to the storage and distribution hub at St. James, LA and from there to a dozen nearby refineries. Soon, though, Zydeco (named for the region’s Creole music) was running full and shippers were competing for space, spurring midstream companies to consider further enhancements. New pipeline capacity being developed is planned to come online later this year and in 2017, but—with ever-changing market dynamics—will it all be necessary? In today’s blog, “Take the Long Way Home—Easing Crude Pipeline Constraints to St. James,” Housley Carr begins a series on new pipeline capacity to St. James, and whether it will meet (or exceed) market needs.
Since the Golden Oldies days of the RBN blogosphere, we’ve paid a lot of attention to how crude oil gets from where it’s produced to where it’s stored and (ultimately) refined because—to put it bluntly—there are few things more important in the world of U.S. hydrocarbons. And, thanks to geology, history and the grace of God, the epicenter of that world is the central Gulf Coast between Houston and New Orleans. As we first discussed three and a half years ago, the flow-reversals of the Houston-to-Houma (LA) pipeline and a connecting pipeline between Houma and the mammoth crude storage complex in Clovelly, LA, was part of a wholesale change in Gulf Coast pipeline infrastructure aimed at facilitating the flow of domestic crude to market from growing shale production basins in the Bakken, the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford to Houston and from there, to the hub at St. James.
As we said more recently in, St. James (located on the Mississippi 60 miles upriver from the Big Easy) serves as a critical storage and distribution hub. It receives crude by pipeline, by barge and tanker, and by rail; it has more than 30 MMbbl of storage capacity; and it sends crude out to area refineries with a combined capacity of 2.6 MMb/d. St. James also feeds the 1.2 MMb/d Capline pipeline, which transports crude and condensates north to Patoka, IL (but which has been running at far less than full-capacity). Much as Taylor Swift, The Eagles and Dolly Parton each draw a wide range of fans, the St. James hub serves as an oil mixing bowl, receiving regionally produced crudes such as the Gulf Coast benchmark Light Louisiana Sweet (LLS), Heavy Louisiana Sweet (HLS), medium sour crude Mars (produced offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, or GOM), and West Texas Intermediate (WTI), as well as ultra light crude from the Eagle Ford (condensate) that is piped north through Capline, connecting through other Canadian pipes to Alberta for use as a diluent in heavy Western Canadian oil sands.

Monday, May 30, 2016

QEP Reorts A Number Of Nice Wells; Other Operators With Three More DUCs -- May 30, 2016

Tuesday, May 31, 2016
  • None. November was six months ago and there is no "31st" day in November.
Monday, May 30, 2016
  • 30709, 991, QEP, State 8-25-24BH, Spotted Horn, 4 sections, t2/16; cum 14K 3/16; only 23 days in 3/16;
  • 30710, 139, QEP, State 4-25-24T2H, Spotted Horn, 4 sections, t2/16; cum --
  • 30711, 670, QEP, Stte 9-25-24BH, Spotted Horn, 4 sections, t2/16; cum --
  • 30712, 817, QEP, State 5-25-24TH, Spotted Horn, 4 sections, t2/16; cum --
  • 30904, 2,024, QEP, State 5-36-1TH, Spotted Horn, 4 sections, t2/16; cum 32K 3/16;
  • 30905, 2,385, QEP, State 9-36-1BH, Spotted Horn, 4 sections, t3/16; cum 27K in 31 days;
  • 32202, SI/NC, SM Energy, Antelope 2B-28HS, Ambrose, no production data,
Sunday, May 29, 2016
  • 31080, 2,088, HRC, Fort Berthold 147-94-2B-11-9H, McGregory Buttes, t12/15; cum 63K 4/16;
  • 32223, SI/NC, Hess, EN-Uran A-LE-154-93-2215H-1, Robinson Lake, no production data,
  • 32289, SI/NC, Statoil, Cheryl 17-20 1H-R, Banks, no production data,
Saturday, May 28, 2016


30904, see above, QEP, State 5-36-1TH, Spotted Horn:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

30905, see below, QEP, State 9-36-1BH, Spotted Horn:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

31080, see below, HRC, Fort Berthold 147-94-2B-11-9H, McGregory Buttes:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

Halibut Steak and Asparagus

New recipe for asparagus.

  • Asparagus, diced onions, olive oil: in oven, 425 degrees, 10 minutes
  • While baking asparagus in oven, reduce balsamic vinegar and salt on stove top
  • When asparagus comes out of oven, drizzle reduced balsamic vinegar/salt over asparagus
  • marinade for several hours
  • really, really hot skillet
  • burner down to medium just before placing halibut in skillet
  • two minutes on each side, and that's it -- two minutes on a side --halibut about an inch thick 
  • leave halibut in warm skillet (take skillet off burner) until everything else complete (martini, broccoli, asparagus on plate)
I never buy halibut unless it's on sale; otherwise way too expensive.

Endless Summer

Pipeline, The Ventures

Update On Number Of Wells In North Dakota -- May 30, 2016

From last week's oil conference in Bismarck, a reader sent a photo of a slide updating wells in the Bakken.
Total wells (active, inactive, permitted, increased density approved): 30,974
  • Active: 13,024
    • Bakken/Three Forks: 10,970
    • conventional: 2,054
  • Inactive: 1,523
    • +$40 for 90 days
    • as of 4/11/16: 45 days to go
  • Waiting to be completed: 920
    • +$50 for 90 days
    • NYMEX November, 2016
  • Permitted: 1,988
    • +$60 for 90 days
    • NYMEX $58 max
  • Increased density approved: 13,519
Estimated ultimate number of wells: 55,000 - 65,000.

60,000 - 15,000 = 45,000 wells to be drilled/completed

At 1,500 wells/year = 30 years of drilling.

In 1Q16, 281 wells were reported. 281 x 4 = about 1,200 wells for the year. For 2Q16, it looks about the same. 45,000/1,200 = almost 40 years. It looks like the Saudis helped North Dakota stretch out the manufacturing stage for the Bakken. In the short term that caused incalculable harm to some operators, to many roughnecks, and to the financial coffers of the state, but in the long run, one wonders if this was not good for the state and particularly the cities in western North Dakota. I don't know. Just rambling.

Maybe that would be a great poll. Was the Saudi Surge good, bad, indifferent for the state of North Dakota?

When I first started blogging, some folks thought I was nuts to suggest that drilling would continue through 2030. Now it is 2016 and adding 40 years to 2016, one gets us out to 2056. And, of course, the last well drilled will continue to produce for another 30 years. That gets us out to about where the original estimates for the Bakken were: 2100. A nice round number.

Sea Levels Actually Decreasing On The East Coast

Watts Up With That is reporting:
Since December 2009, the sea levels have declined in both Washington DC and The Battery NY.
In Washington, DC, the decline has been -3.3 mm/year; and, in The Battery, NY, the decline has been more than three times greater, at a rate of -10.7 mm/year.
Well, that's good news. Ten millimeters/year = one centimeter/year. The length of an average popsicle stick is 4.5 inches or 11.43 centimeters. I place my popsicle sticks 2.5  inches into the sand, leaving 2.0 inches showing. At this rate, my popsicle sticks will last longer than expected. I thought by now I would have to invest in longer sticks. 

Perhaps not.


It was after this issue came out that I never subscribed to National Geographic again. "Journalism" at its worse.

UPS Delivers Amazon On Memorial Day -- What A Great Country -- May 30, 2016; 101 Days Of Summer Begin

Wow, what a great county. While completing the previous post on this overcast Memorial Day in north Texas -- we had a huge thunderstorm overnight -- second night in a row -- spring seems to be lasting a lot longer than usual -- I was finally able to get into the apartment complex swimming pool yesterday but it will probably be too cool to get in today --- what was I saying? Oh, yes, what a great country. While posting the previous note on the Bakken, UPS delivered the DVD I ordered from Amazon awhile ago: The Endless Summer: A Film By Bruce Brown, according to the "jacket," a "brilliant, a perfect movie, a great movie." -- The New Yorker. We'll see. From the back:
They call it The Endless Summer, the ultimate surfing adventure, crossing the globe in search of the perfect wave. From the uncharted waters of West Africa, to the shark-filled seas of Australia.....two California surfers, Robert August and Mike Hynson, accomplish in a few months what most people never do in a lifetime --- they live their dream.
When it first played in theaters, audiences lined up to see it again and again, spellbound by its thrilling excitement and awesome photography.
But in fact, what's most compelling about the film is the sport of surfing itself, and once you've ween it, you'll never forget why.
So, we'll see. Later.

Much, Much More Important

Over the past two days I have received notes from close family friends that their loved ones have returned safely from Iraq or Afghanistan after completing their commitments there. In one case, an Air Force officer -- about 32 years old, I assume -- had completed a full year in Afghanistan or somewhere in that region. A full year. It's hard to comprehend.

One-year tours in a combat zone take us all the way back to the Vietnam era.

When I first entered active duty, back in the mid-70s, temporary duty assignments (TDY) for officers were usually training missions and usually lasted two weeks. With the Gulf wars, the Mideast commitments for Army boots-on-the-ground broke the six-month limit and extended for a full year. The USAF held off as long as possible, but to maintain "peace in the Pentagon" the USAF finally relented and agreed to matching one year combat assignments for its personnel, officers, enlisted, men, women.

It was with great relief to hear that that a close friend's son, after a year in a combat location, had returned safely.

A Note To The Granddaughters

Sophia visited the aquarium yesterday. 

So, How Is TSA Doing Today? Not So Well, Thank You

The Washington Post is reporting:
The threatened summer of discontent for American travelers got underway Memorial Day weekend as the understaffed Transportation Security Administration struggled to keep its security lines moving in the nation’s airports.
The backups happened at most big airports and some smaller ones, particularly at the choice hours when passengers prefer to fly, and they seemed to occur most often when a particular flight was drawing hundreds of passengers to a single checkpoint.
At Chicago’s O’Hare International that was Terminal 3, surprisingly, at 7 a.m. Sunday. At Boston’s Logan International the crush at B1 came at 4:40 p.m. Saturday. The checkpoint at 4B in New York’s John F. Kennedy International was moving with painful slowness at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Crunch time came at Atlanta’s north checkpoint at 3:15 p.m. Sunday.

A Reader's Note From The Field Regarding The Bakken -- May 30, 2016

From a reader who follows the Bridger wells and the Dvirnak wells (and I assume other wells in the area) pretty closely sent some notes and comments. There are two Dvirnak pads: one is completed and producing (two wells) and the other pad has three Dvirnak wells on DRL status.

The reader writes, the most recent Dvirnak pad had gone from TA (temporary abandon) status on January 27, 2016; followed by a notice on February 19 to reclaim the pit; and, then, a new pit request on May 13; and is now back to drilling as of May 25, 2016.

To some, it may seem like a lot of unnecessary activity.

The reader wonders whether all this activity was related to NDIC rules requiring drilling to commence within a reasonable period after first spud, or whether the changes were due to economics and/or other reasons.
  • 30139, drl, CLR, Dvirnak 4-7H2, a Three Forks second bench well, permit dated 12/4/2014. 
A sundry form received February 10, 2016, has the [boiler plate] request that I see frequently when I visit EOG file reports: "[The named operator] respectfully requests permission to temporarily abandon [the named] well. [The named operator] plans to complete the well once commodity prices improve." This is done after the spud, and after casing was set and cemented and then tested for any leakage.

And as the reader noted, the reserve pit was reclaimed and re-seeded.

This particular well was originally spud 10/30/2015. Now, in May, 2016, they have brought the "big" rig into drill this well, and I assume the others as well. 

A sundry form received May 18, 2016, suggests that drilling was ready to resume on this 6-well pad. Once drilled to depth, the operator has two years to complete the well, during which time the well is referred to as a DUC (drilled, uncompleted).

The reader noted the incurred costs that must be associated with reclaiming a pit, only to repeat the process a few months later. There would be many story lines here, many opinions, many thoughts, but it is what it is (at least for now) and the benefits of requiring this "digging a ditch only to refill it" mentality probably outweighs the alternative. Just my two cents worth.


On another note, the reader writes:
In the next unit to the west [of the Dvirn pads noted above] the Weydahl 4-36H1 has been on production with new enhanced completion technology? With just over 10 months production I would think CLR is happy with that result? 
From the NDIC:
  • 29555, 1,497, CLR, State Weydahl 4-36H1, Corral Creek, Three Forks, 17 total drilling days, gas exceeded 4,000 units, 29 swell packers, sundry form says IP was 2,238, 30 stimulation stages, 5.8 million lbs, t7/15 (sundry form says 6/15), cum 186K 4/16; (note: the file report also copy of frack data for #29955, which was probably placed here by mistake).
Production profile:

PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare


The reader also noted:
In most recent CLR quarterly earnings conference call Oklahoma activities were the main topics, they didn’t say much about the Bakken. But I did hear the comment that enhanced well completions in the Bakken were turning out better than expected. Proppant for Weydahl works out to about 615# per foot of perforations. When they talk about Scoop completions they talk about proppant in pounds per foot. Like now they are using 2,500# per foot in the Scoop. Four times as much as the  North Dakota Bakken Weydahl frac job. 
That was my impression, also: not much said about the Bakken. A summary was posted here. That's a nice 30-second fracking data point: 650 pounds per foot in the Bakken vs 2,500 pounds per foot in Oklahoma.

The reader also noted:
Another comment I have heard about SCOOP is that infrastructure and take away capacity is a non-issue. There are several refineries in the state, much gas collection/processing due to a mature environment from previous activity, and they have Cushing. In the SCOOP operators can go balls to the walls in terms of production and not have to worry about over whelming infrastructure. 
In the current pricing environment, I doubt there are takeaway constraints in the Bakken, but if oil ever gets back to $100+, all bets are off. 

Back to the Weydahl and the Bridger wells in the Bakken with regard to natural gas production:
Weydahl went on line in June I believe, a few months later the Bridger 4,5,&6 which is a few miles SW went on line (using CLR enhanced completion technology?). There was a big surge of new gas in the pipeline system in that immediate area at that time. If you look a couple miles to the west at the Whitman 2-34H which is still flowing and has produced 1.44 million barrels to date, during September the amount of gas flared was almost ½ the gas produced. So there was a big spike in gas flared for a few months from Whitman at that time.

Which leads me to this rambling point. Even just a few years ago when companies like OneOK were trying to figure out where to put gas collection lines, size them, build/size booster stations, and build/size processing plants to handle gas production they ended up under sizing based on where potential production rates are today
If you look at each generation of production output in areas that have been producing for 10 years, each new pad and updated completion technology far surpasses the previous generation it appears to me.
The early productivity of the new Bridger wells are blowing away the first and second generation wells of the same time frame. Another interesting point about the last generation of Bridger wells is that the early leader in production was the H1 well but since then the MB and H2 production have passed it.
Wow, there is so much incredible information in those last three paragraphs. I was aware of some of the story lines, but not all. It would behoove readers to read closely those last three paragraphs to get a good feeling for the Bakken.

Some notes for newbies:
  • this takes me back to the very beginning; I think folks often forget how incredible the Bakken is
  • the Bakken is considered an oil field; 94%+ of hydrocarbon produced is oil, but the amount of natural gas produced is not trivial
  • the technology keeps getting better and better; the completion processes keep improving
  • technology and skill of the roughnecks and geologists: drilling times dropped from 60+ days to 10 days or less
  • completion techniques (fracking) keep improving
  • although the middle Bakken will probably be bigger than the Three Forks when all is said and done, there are some who suggest Three Forks wells may actually be better than middle Bakken wells
  • there are indications that the second bench and the third bench of the Three Forks will turn out to be quite nice
  • the halo effect may or may not be in play in some situations
  • "we're" gonna need more natural gas processing plants
  • the Bakken may be landlocked (keystoned, and CBR-restricted) but at the present, but it is incredibly compact: the entire ND Bakken takes up less than a third of the state (surface area); for the most part it is concentrated in four counties; and, even in those four counties, has a small number of sweet spots, conveniently located around Watford City, Williston, and Tioga. 
A huge "thank you" to the reader for sending such a long note from the field. Much appreciated. 

The Legacy: Banner Year For Gun Sales; Banner Year For Flag Sales -- May 30, 2016

From USA Today:
Eder Flag Manufacturing Co. in Oak Creek says it’s having a banner year. Sales are up 15% from a year ago, partly from 2016 being a national election year and political events needing flags.
From FreeBeacon:
The FBI processed a record number of firearms-related background checks last year, indicating that more guns were sold in 2015 than in any previous year in American history. 
From The Wall Street Journal:
U.S. car sales in 2015 jumped to a record, clearing a peak last reached 15 years ago as cheap gasoline, employment gains and low interest rates spurred Americans to snap up new vehicles.
From Fortune, another banner year for hot dogs:
Los Angeles residents consume more hot dogs than any other U.S. city, the NHDSC claims, and ballparks sell over 20 million hot dogs throughout their season. Because baseball fans love hot dogs so much, the top ten hot dog consuming cities all host a Major League Baseball team.
From National Geographic, record bottled water being sold:
It seems that Americans love their bottled water. According to data recently released by Beverage Marketing Inc., the amount of bottled water sold rose 7.9 percent in 2015. That’s on top of a 7 percent increase in 2014.
Later, when I get back from the grocery store where I now need to go to get a newspaper for May, we will post the most important sales statistics for the US. Some readers have probably already guessed what that category is. 

And We're Back

The final category: beer.
On the way to finding those statistics, we found these statistics:

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Wow! Another Great Race! Martin Truex Leads 392 Of 400 Laps -- May 29, 2016

Announcers suggest Truex ran the most dominating race ever. He led 392 laps of a 400-lap race. He led 588 miles of a 600-mile race. Wow! So thrilling. Amazing. Coca-Cola 600. Amazing to see all the iPhones come out to document the victory.

  • my ham bone/bean soup came out perfectly (okay, not quite perfect; needs a bit more chili); first time try
  • Martin Truex dominates the Coca-Cola 600
  • a rookie  -- Alexander Rossi -- wins the Indy 500
  • Jordan Spieth claims first Texas victory in PGA; stunning performance
What a great day!

Harold Hamm Suggests CLR And South Korea Have A Deal For Bakken Crude Oil -- May 29, 2016

From ArgusMedia: Harold Hamm has announced a deal to sell Bakken crude oil to South Korea. Some data points:
  • Harold Hamm, CEO of CLR
  • Donald Trump's energy advisor
  • unclear whether deal has been finalized
  • CLR already partners with South Korea's SK Group on gas production in Oklahoma
  • there is no westbound crude oil pipeline across the mountains (my hunch: Gulf Coast, and then through the Panama Canal; see RBN Energy) 
  • transportation costs? South Korea offers refiners special incentives to import crude from sources other than in the Middle East in an effort to diversify its crude slate
Regular readers can probably figure out what Harold Hamm's plans are.

An Incredible Indy 500

A rookie wins.

First time at the Indy 500.

An American.

A Californian.

Nevada City, CA.

Alexander Rossi now has his own wiki page.

Took a chance and did not refuel ... he ran out of fuel just after he crossed the finish line -- needed to be towed to victory lane.


SR-71, RAF Mildenhall, 1989

Syrian-Lebanese History In Williams County, North Dakota -- May 29, 2016

From page 160 and following, from chapter thirteen, "Syrian Enclaves," from The Syrian-Lebanese in North Dakota:
The Williams County Syrian community was not the first of its kind in North Dakota, nor was it the largest in total numbers, but it can be classed as the most enduring and self-conscious of all such groups. To this day, an ethnic celebration rarely takes place without Lebanese representation in Williston, the area's major city.
Wonder of Williston, the remarkably complete history of Williams County, tells the story of some, but not all, of the area's first Syrian settlers. According to their family accounts, in 1903 David Kalil, Alex Aboud, Joe Albert, and Abraham Abdo arrived to take up free land. One long-time Williston resident says that David Kalil was working out of Duluth as a peddler. Traveling through, he looked over the Williston area in the later part of the 1890s and subsequently returned to take up a homestead. 
The date, 1903, coincides very well with naturalization records ... the list of citizenship applicants reveals a number of things that make the Williams County Syrians unique:
  • the rapidity with which such a great number of newcomers sought the status of full-fledged Americans. They filed first papers almost immediately as soon as they reached the Williams County region. This hardly fits the "get rich and return home" generalization found in publications concerning other parts of the nation;
  • the presence of such a sizeable number of women, eight out of the total twenty-one. Indeed, several of the women appear to be wives who applied at the same time as their husbands. Again, this does not fit the standard first arrival expectations;
  • without exception, the 1903 applicants in Williams County were Christian; and,
  • the most famous of all Lebanese North Dakota religious leaders, the pastor of St George's Church near Rubgy, Fr. Seraphim Roumie is on the list of applicants.
The list also included "William Eattol," a surname that would be changed slightly later on and would be a very, very familiar name in Williams County when I was growing up.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend -- May 29, 2016

Nothing about the Bakken in this post; purely a personal post for the granddaughters. If you came here for the Bakken, scroll down or check out the sidebar at the right.


Yes, she did this all by herself.

Memorial Day Cooking


May 30, 2016: Today, Memorial Day, I biked to HEB's Central Market in Southlake, an upscale "foodie" market. Ham imported from France: $14.98/lb. The 10-lb ham below would have cost about $150. I guess pork from France is really, really flavorful.

Original Post
I went to our grocery store early this morning to get a newspaper for May. I walked to the back of the store to see what the butcher was up to. He took me to his specials he had just placed in the display case. He was particularly proud of a 10-pound spiral ham for 99 cents/pound, telling me if I did not grab it then, it would be "gone" in half an hour.

For the archives: a ham like this would normally be about $30 in this particular grocery store and upwards of $50+ at specialty shops.

It was the only one. I took it home, cut it up to freeze. From the 10-lb 10 ounce spiral ham with bone, I "recovered" 8 pounds 2 ounces.

I then took the meat/bone that was left and made bean/ham soup. I had never done this before but always wanted to try it.

Basic recipe but other vegetables, herbs can be added:
  • 3 tablespoons each: Dijon mustard, lemon juice, Worcesterhire sauce 
  • 2 teaspoons: pepper
  • 1 tablespoon: chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon: salt (I tend to use less)
  • 1 whole onion
And so, all the work is done, the soup is simmering for the next eight hours, and I'm watching the Indy 500, reading The Syrian-Lebanese In North Dakota (previously discussed), and, catching up on a bit of blogging.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Road To New England -- Update -- May 28, 2016


June 9, 2016: The state of Maine's PUC released a report suggesting that more natural gas pipelines are not economically worthwhile. is reporting: The Portland (Maine) Press Herald is reporting:
The staff of the Maine Public Utilities Commission concluded Wednesday that the state’s electricity and gas customers won’t benefit from a plan to spend up to $75 million a year to help expand natural gas pipeline capacity in New England.
The conclusion of a long-awaited report stemming from 2013 legislation was welcomed by clean-energy advocates, who are pushing renewable energy over fossil fuels in order to fight climate change. It was denounced by businesses that use a lot of electricity and natural gas and are desperate to lower their operating costs.
The PUC staff concluded that low oil and gas prices, new pipelines under construction or being permitted, and other factors could temper winter price spikes in wholesale natural gas without ratepayers getting involved.
The report said, in part: “The record in this proceeding does not support a finding that (a pipeline contract) is reasonably likely to provide net benefits for Maine electricity and natural gas consumers under a sufficiently broad spectrum of future scenarios. Moreover, regional market conditions, rule changes and other events suggest that the price and volatility concerns that led to the (2013 law) may be addressed without (a contract).”
And so it goes. We'll see how it all works out. 

Original Post
CAVE dwellers kill the Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project which would have brought northeast natural gas to New England. With the loss of that source of natural gas, the local natural gas utility had no choice but to suspend new natural gas hook-ups; they couldn't guarantee enough natural gas if they didn't have additional natural gas.

Having killed the Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline, now those same folks want the local utility to lift the moratorium on new hook-ups. I can't make this stuff up.

The Recorder has the story here but additional googling will provide a more complete story. My understanding is that the Massachusetts Senate president demanding that the moratorium be lifted is among the most liberal in the state and would have been with the group to kill the pipeline.

I may have the story wrong, but that's how I read it.

From May 2, 2016:
RBN Energy: New England gas pipeline update.
More than 3,000 MW of new, natural gas-fired generating capacity is either under construction in New England or will be soon, but some of the gas pipeline projects that would ease long-standing constraints into and through the six-state region have hit rough patches. Kinder Morgan in mid-April suspended plans for its Northeast Energy Direct project, a “greenfield” pipeline across Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, and a few days later the state of New York denied the co-developers of the already-delayed Constitution Pipeline—a key link between the Marcellus and New England--a needed water quality permit.
The fates of some other major projects in the Northeast are uncertain too. Today, we provide an update on pipelines in the land of Yankees and Red Sox.
We’ve written often about gas pipeline constraints to and through New England, a region with less than one-third the area of Texas but nearly 15 million people, the vast majority of whom believe that Fenway Park is heaven on earth.
New England has been adding a lot of new gas-fired generating capacity, but only modest enhancements have been made to the gas pipeline network that serves the region.
In the unusually cold winter of 2013-14, the lack of sufficient pipeline capacity to meet demand during periods of very high demand sent natural gas prices soaring as local distribution companies (LDCs) with firm transportation contracts took most of the gas and owners of many gas-fired power plants either scrambled for deliverable, high-priced gas or switched to firing their units with fuel oil.
The good folks in western Massachusetts and, for that matter, all of New England might want to read how their comrades in Venezuela are faring. This is from The New York Times published today:
CARACAS, Venezuela — The courts? Closed most days. The bureau to start a business? Same thing. The public defender’s office? That’s been converted into a food bank for government employees.
Step by step, Venezuela has been shutting down.
This country has long been accustomed to painful shortages, even of basic foods. But Venezuela keeps drifting further into uncharted territory.
In recent weeks, the government has taken what may be one of the most desperate measures ever by a country to save electricity: A shutdown of many of its offices for all but two half-days each week.
But that is only the start of the country’s woes. Electricity and water are being rationed, and huge areas of the country have spent months with little of either.
Many people cannot make international calls from their phones because of a dispute between the government and phone companies over currency regulations and rates.
Coca-Cola Femsa, the Mexican company that bottles Coke in the country, has even said it was halting production of sugary soft drinks because it was running out of sugar.
Last week, protests turned violent in parts of the country where demonstrators demanded empty supermarkets be resupplied. And on Friday, the government said it would continue its truncated workweek for an additional 15 days.
Wait till they run out of beer.
War Stories

Not being reported much in mainstream media right now, but we should be getting reports of unbelievable war atrocities and horror stories in the next 72 hours or so as the Fallujah story plays out. 50,000 non-combatants being used as human shields by ISIS.

Meanwhile, the president is golfing this weekend, based on video being show on local television stations.

As his former SecState would say: what does it matter?

A Note for the Granddaughters

Life could not be much better.

Our older daughter, happily married, and living and loving "let's keep Portland weird." Two conservatives -- his idol is John Wayne -- living in the most liberal city in the union.

Our older daughter is in north Texas watching our middle granddaughter play "club-level" soccer. She is in fourth grade. My wife is up there watching them.

Our son-in-law is in Austin, TX, with our older granddaughter, where the latter is in a statewide two-day water polo tournament. She is 13 years old and playing on the high school team.

Meanwhile, I'm with Sophia. Sophia, not quite two years old, is washing dishes. She is easily entertained and the easiest two-year-old I've ever seen to take care of. Let her play in the water at the sink and she can occupy herself for "hours" on end. Right now, she's on the sofa with me waiting for the NBA finals to begin, game 6, OKC Thunder vs Golden State.

She has her raisins and ice water; I have my chips and Coke, and we are just chillin'.

My Girl, The Temptations

Fool Me Once, Shame On You; Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me -- May 28, 2016

This may one reason why companies are not rushing to "activate" idle rigs. Yahoo!Finance is reporting:
So what’s ahead for crude and gasoline as we head into the summer driving season? Scott Shellady, SVP of Derivatives at TJM Investments, told Yahoo Finance’s Seana Smith that he thinks low prices are here to stay.

“The story is lower for a lot longer,” said Shellady. “We’re starting to see some cracks in Saudi Arabia. They might start to unleash more oil on the market… If they really need to start raising some capital and they really start flooding the market, I think that oil up around the $48 to $50 per barrel level is going to be hard to continue.
I expect prices to be around $40 per barrel in August, and I think the new level we’re going to be between is $35 and $50 per barrel.”
First Mosque In The US Was Built In North Dakota

A reader sent me this New York Times story:
ROSS, N.D. — Richard Omar drove his pickup truck through the cemetery gate and pulled to a stop in sight of the scattered headstones. As he walked toward a low granite monument, his running shoes crunched the dry prairie grass and he tilted forward into an unrelenting west wind.

“These are my parents,” he said beside a carved granite marker. Then he fixed bouquets of fabric flowers into place with metal stakes, hoping they would last until next spring.

Mr. Omar, a retired electrician, was engaged in an act of filial obligation and something larger, as well: the consecration of a piece of American religious history. This cemetery, with the star-crescent symbol on its gate and on many of its gravestones, held the remains of a Muslim community that dated back nearly 120 years. Up a slight hill stood the oldest mosque in the United States.

The original mosque, erected by pioneers from what are now Syria and Lebanon, had been built in 1929. After it fell into disuse and ruin, the descendants of its founders and the Christian friends they had made over the generations raised money to put up a replacement in 2005.

It is a modest square of cinder blocks, perhaps 15 feet on each side, topped with an aluminum dome and minarets. Several hundred yards off the main highway, on the outskirts of a town with barely 200 residents about 60 miles west of Minot, the mosque and cemetery exist much as they always have, surrounded by fields of wheat and corn and grazing lands. In this spot, all the industrial clamor of North Dakota’s fracking boom feels immeasurably distant.
At the sidebar at the right, way down at the bottom, under "Trivia," I have a link to a VOA story about this mosque. It was one of the first links I ever put up on the blog. 

Everyone in Williston, or North Dakota, for that matter, should have a copy of Prairie Peddlers: They Syrian-Lebanese in North Dakota in their library. Copyright 2002, authors William C. Sherman, Paul L. Whitney, and John Guerrero is an incredible book on the subject. And yes, there is quite a lot written about the mosque. If you don't have a copy, run, don't walk, to Chuck Wilder's "Books on Broadway," in Williston. Tell him I sent you.

Reason #23 Why I Love To Blog -- May 28, 2016

From today's Wall Street Journal: Russia's Long Road to the Middle East.

Over at "The Big Stories" (linked at the sidebar at the right), I have a link to: Putin: Re-Establishing The "Old" Soviet Union.

From today's WSJ story, which in the print edition takes up the entire front page of the "Review" section and the entire second page (with the exception of a regular columnist's essay on the sidebar). Early in the article:
Russia’s long history of involvement—and warfare—in the [Middle East] is largely unknown to Westerners, but it helps to explain President Vladimir Putin’s decision last fall to intervene in Syria’s civil war. Mr. Putin’s gambit on behalf of the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad caught many in the West by surprise. Critics have assailed it as a miscalculated bid to replace the U.S. as the dominant outside power in the region.
But when viewed from Moscow, Mr. Putin’s Middle Eastern adventure looks like something very different: an overdue return to geopolitical aspirations that stretch back not only to the Soviet era but to centuries of czarist rule. “The Middle East is a way to showcase that the period of Russia’s absence from the international scene as a first-rate state has ended,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, the head of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy in Moscow, which advises the Kremlin and other government institutions.

Spicks And Specks; Some Memorial Day Weekend Reading -- May 28, 2016

Some folks have memories like a steel trap or memories like an elephant, as they say.

I don't.

When I look at this graph, I am blown away by two things:
  • the 2009 - 2010 spike; and, 
  • the remarkable decline after 2010.
I think I understand the reason for the decline after 2009 (well, duh -- it's called a) shale; b) stagnating global demand), but I look at the 2009 - 2010 spike and ask, "Why?"

This is where google took me:
Additional links added later, from readers:

A Few Of My Favorite Things -- May 28, 2016

From today's Wall Street Journal, "Heard On The Street":
Oil-supply outages are at their highest level in more than a decade, bolstering the “fear premium” that has helped push crude prices to $50 a barrel.
About 3.5 million barrels a day worth of production is off line because of disruptions such as militant attacks in Nigeria, wildfires in Canada and political unrest in Libya—more than 3% of the global total. That is likely the highest since the Iraq war hit output there in 2003.
At the same time, there is less slack to fill supply gaps. Unused production capacity that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries can bring on quickly has dwindled, and the glut of output from other producers, including U.S. shale companies, has ebbed as companies cut back amid lower prices.
“There isn’t a lot of extra supply out there,” said Ann-Louise Hittle, lead oil-market analyst at energy-consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. “That’s when you start to get a risk premium back in the market. It is absolutely to be expected and it is, in our opinion, just the beginning.”
My favorite graphs:

Purple arrow: Russia crude oil production.
Green arrow: Saudi Arabia crude oil production.

Bette Davis Eyes, Kim Carnes

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Nothing about the Bakken. If you came here for the Bakken, scroll down or slide right to the sidebar.

Illinois budget standoff nears one-year mark. Illinois faces $7 billion in unpaid bills, nation's lowest credit rating, and little to show for lengthy negotiations. This is what will happen at the last minute in the dead of night: increased taxes on "millionaires," motorists, and soda. And property owners, raising real-estate taxes. A one-cent increase in the state sales tax. California solved all their problems back in 2008 with new taxes; Illinois will follow suit. Too bad the Dakota Access pipeline is't providing a bit of revenue for Illinois; blame it on Iowa.

Mitt Romney: a voice in the wilderness. Romney is on the same list where I put Colin.

UN rejects call to postpone Rio Olympics. The tea leaves suggest that Rio will delay the games one year -- they will blame Zika, but the games will be delayed due to security concerns and lack of facilities.

The JV team seizes territory near Turkish border. The story uses these words: "string of villages'; "rapid advances"; "tens of thousands"; "heavy fighting"; "hospital evacuation"; "within two miles"; "demonstrated Islamic State's ability to stage major offensives and capture new areas despite a string of recent losses in Syria and Iraq.

Verizon, unions reach labor pact.

Cosmos Sapiens, John Hands

I continue to enjoy the book. I've completed it, but now it's rewarding to go back and re-read portions of it.  He begins the book with "I was born and raised a Catholic. I became an atheist. Now I'm agnostic."

His lament: science can't explain everything.

For example: with regard to the "Big Bang," the author says that everything that happened earlier than 10-43 second(s) after the "Big Bang" is "conjecture. Actually, he says that is true until about   10-10 second(s), but then after that, the theory appears to be "pretty good."

Had he written the book one year ago, he would have noted that gravitational waves had not been detected.

Had he written the book two years ago, he would have noted that the Higgs boson had not been detected.

Had he written the book seventy-five years ago, he would not have had an explanation for the radioactivity.

Had he written the book before 1650, he would not have Newton's Laws.

And so it goes. It's an incredibly good book to "bring" everything together in one book, in an easily understood writing style, but, wow, talk about pessimistic. I think I would end up severely depressed if I had to spend an evening with him over a pint of ale.

One could turn the book inside out, upside down, and re-write it to highlight how incredibly fast physics moved in the early 20th century.

What I get a kick out of is all the "coincidences" that had to occur to get from the Big Bang to Starbucks.

I love to read novels by Virginia Woolf -- her novels read like prose poems, but re-reading Richard Feynman is almost the same.

By the way, the current issue of New York Review of Books is particularly good this time around. There's a new book out there on the discovery of the DNA model. Of course, James Watson wrote the first book on the subject, and that has become the "gold standard" against which all new books on that subject are concerned. I have absolutely no interest in buying this new book but I have to admit that I hope to be able to thumb through it at Barnes and Noble sometime. The article: DNA: The Power of the Beautiful Experiment, H. Allen Orr. The book: Life’s Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic Code by Matthew Cobb Basic Books, 2016, 434 pp., $29.99. From the linked article:
Matthew Cobb tells this story in his latest book, Life’s Greatest Secret. Cobb, a professor of zoology at the University of Manchester, is a working geneticist. He is also a student of the history of science who has written several previous books on the history of biology.
Life’s Greatest Secret is aimed at the general reader who may have only a passing familiarity with biology, much less with the detailed molecular mechanics of how DNA does what it does. The book serves as a useful primer for those interested in the brave new world of genetic intervention made possible by the rise of biotechnology.
But Cobb’s book will also be of interest to professional scientists as it recounts events in one of the most transformative periods in the history of science: the rise of a molecular understanding of life.
I would read it, not for the science of DNA, but for the author's history of the race to describe it. It would be interesting to see how it compares to how James Watson saw it.