Sunday, February 14, 2016

Platts Announces New Assessments To Reflect Oil Exports -- February 14, 2016

Platts announces five new US crude assessments to reflect oil exports:
  • AAYAR00, Eagle Ford Condensate Corpus Christi, API 55 degrees; max sulfur less than 0.1%;
  • AAYBB00, Eagle Ford Condensate Houston, API 55 degrees; max sulfur less than 0.1%;
  • AAYAT00, Eagle Ford Crude Corpus Christi, API 45 degrees; max sulfur less than 0.2%;
  • AAYAV00, Eagle Ford Crude Houston, API 45 degrees; max sulfur less than 0.2%;
  • AAYBA00, WTI Houston (FOB),  Midland spec WTI for loading from terminals in the Houston area.
All assessments reflect product loading one month forward.

For the archives.

Short-Term Energy Outlook

Dynamic link.

Global Crude Oil Reserves

Also for the archives, from the EIA. Compare these numbers with the numbers that were being bandied about by the blog back when the Bakken boom was hitting its stride:

Just for the fun of it, total the reserves of the top ten countries in the graphic above.

Now divide by global consumption of 90 million bopd.

Now divide that number by 365, the number of years in a day.

Rounding is okay.

It Could Be Worse
A Note to the Granddaughters

I came across the following; it reminded me of the "fallout" from the natural gas well in southern California that had been leaking methane for the past four months, until it was finally capped this past week. 

From introductory notes to The New Yorker's The 50s: The Story of a Decade, pages 4 - 5:
"Fallout," by Daniel Lang, tells the story of an H-bomb code-named Shrimp. Shrimp was detonated by the United States on Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1954, and, as Lang observes, it was "the shot that made the world fallout-conscious."

Calculations performed at Los Alamos had predicted Shrimp would have a yield of five megatons. Instead the yield turned out to be three times as great. The firing crew was stationed in a concrete bunker on Enyu, an island twenty miles from the test site. A few seconds after the blast, the bunker started to shake, one of the men later recalled, as if "it was resting on a bowl of jelly." The explosion pulverized billions of pounds of coral reef and seafloor; much of this debris was sucked into the atmosphere by the rising fireball. When the radioactive dust settled, some of it fell on a Japanese fishing vessel, inaptly named Lucky Dragon, and some floated down on the residents of Rongelap, a tiny speck in the Marshall Islands. The crew members of the Lucky Dragon arrived back at port nauseated, feverish, and covered with blisters. The Rongelap Islanders suffered radiation burns and their hair fell out.

The title of "Fallout' refers both to the radioactive dust and to the awkward situation it created for the US government. Lang's piece appeared more than a year after the "shot," and the Atomic Energy Commission was still trying to allay public fears The AEC's scientists pooh-poohed the burns and the hair loss and treated the Rongelap Islanders' forced evacuation as a sort of extended vacation. Lang seems, in large part, to accept the official line; for instance, he notes that the exiled Rongelapers ahve "been shown their first Wild West motion pictures, which they think are terrific." But doubt creeps in, anyway. The Second World War is a decade in the past, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution a decade into the future, and Lang, in 1955, seems to be positioned, uncomfortably, in the middle. Reading "Fallout," you sense a writer holding back, and the world rushing forward.
Death Do Us Part

I may come back to this. Confusion reigned. Judge makes decision over the phone. I see the possibility of a grand deal here. Loretta Lynch agrees to indict Hillary in exchange for a promise to be nominated by Obama for Supreme Court justice to replace Mr Scalia.

Will Loretta Lynch stand by her man?

A Musical Interlude -- Song Of The Year

I can't remember if I've posted this. I came across this during my trip back to the Bakken. My favorite "part" of the video may be the drummer. I think this is worthy of a  Leonard Cohen comparison.

Girl Crush, Little Big Town

Gasoline Demand Picking Up -- Do Two Data Points Make A Trend? -- February 14, 2016

On February 3, 2016, I pointed out some really, really good news. As I've said before, if I was (were?) allowed only one data point to track the health of the US economy, I would select "gasoline demand."

Most recent data, released February 10, 2016, while I was traveling:

Three things to note:
  • the trend
  • how steep the trend is
  • how wide the delta is, year-over-year

Putin Rising -- February 14, 2016 -- He Can Speak French In Russian

Regular readers know my fascination with Putin. The contrasts between Putin and Obama have become legendary. One draws lines in the sand; the other builds air bases in the sand.

Coincidentally, there are two articles in the past week from two very different sources that paint an interesting picture.

First, Nietzsche's original line:
From life's school of war: what which does not kill me, makes me stronger.
A reader sent me an interesting Platts article while I was traveling this past week which suggests just that. In a nutshell:
  • Obama placed economic sanctions on Russia in 2014
  • those sanctions forced Russia to "drill smart"
  • Russia continues to produce crude oil at record levels.
That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. 

From the linked article:
When sanctions were implemented targeting the Russian oil sector’s access to Western financing and key Arctic, shale and deepwater technology, analysts saw them as major blow.
Forecasters speculated that Russian oil companies would run into problems trying to maintain drill rates, service loans in foreign currencies, and could struggle to maintain output. At the time the International Energy Agency estimated Russia’s crude production would fall by 80,000 b/d in 2015. And these forecasts came when oil was still trading at over $100/b.
Things haven’t quite panned out as predicted — Russia increased crude output in 2015 by 147,222 b/d year on year, to 10.73 million b/d, and energy ministry data for January indicates this trend is continuing into 2016.
That's enough for now. I may "cut and paste" more from the linked article later. I will archive it, regardless. It's an article anyone interested in the Bakken should read closely.

Now, the second article, the headline, in today's The [London] Guardian:
Russia’s grip on Syria tightens as brittle ceasefire deal leaves US out in the cold. At the peace talks in Munich and on the ground in Aleppo, two things became clear last week: Moscow was running the show and Assad’s opponents felt abandoned by Washington.
This is an incredibly interesting turn of events. Chess. Putin. Obama. Kerry. Iran.

From The Guardian:
Russia’s economy may be stumbling as oil prices fall, but in a week of extraordinary military and diplomatic turmoil over the war in Syria, President Vladimir Putin has proved that his global influence and ambitions have only been sharpened by financial troubles.
For now he seems to be calling all the shots in Syria’s civil war. Russian jets allowed Syrian government troops to break out of a stalemate in Aleppo, cutting supply routes into a city that has been a rebel stronghold for years.
With hundreds of thousands of people facing siege in the ruins of Aleppo, and Europe fearful that thousands more fleeing to the border could trigger a new influx of refugees, top diplomats gathered to agree a flimsy ceasefire deal.
Russia wrung so many concessions out of others around the table that the deal seemed more an endorsement of its role in Syria than a challenge to it. Hostilities would not stop for about two weeks and, even when they did, bombing campaigns against “terrorists” could continue.
That effectively allows Russia to continue bombing as before, since it has always claimed only to target extremists, while focusing more of its bombs on President Bashar al-Assad’s opposition than on Isis or al-Qaida’s Syrian operation, Jabhat al-Nusra.
And more:
Critics warned from the day the ceasefire was announced that Moscow had outmanoeuvred Washington and was simply using the negotiations and the deal to consolidate gains, a tactic honed by Russian forces in Ukraine.
The US may have lost more than political capital. The ceasefire risks costing them the trust of the few moderate opposition groups left on the ground, who feel abandoned by a country that promised support.
“The people that the Americans had been trying to sponsor are now targets of an enemy that bombs without mercy or discretion, and the Americans don’t have a problem with that?” said one Free Syrian Army member in Aleppo, who declined to be named. “They never deserved our trust.”
Russia, by contrast, has doubled down on Assad. Around the time Lavrov was handing down his grim prognosis for the ceasefire, a missile cruiser left the naval base in Sevastopol in Crimea. It was heading towards the Mediterranean to join the Russian fleet there, a public shoring up of an already strong military presence.
Refugees who had recently fled Isis rule said that the failure to challenge Assad and Russia could even put the west’s main goal in Syria – the routing of Isis – at risk. If other opposition groups are driven out, it will shore up the claim of Isis to be champions of the country’s Sunnis
ISIS. Sunnis. Saudi Arabia.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to read these tea leaves.

There is so much more in that Guardian article but that's enough for now.

Except one more thing.

The article does not mention what Putin's bombing is doing to Turkey, Greece, Italy, or Germany. Ask Angela Merkel. She knows. [Update: just days after writing that last line, The Washington Post reports another swarm of refugees to hit Europe this spring and Europe is not ready:
After an unparalleled tide of asylum seekers washed onto European shores last summer and fall, the continent’s leaders vowed to use the relative calm of winter to bring order to a process marked by chaos.

But with only weeks to go before more favorable spring currents are expected to trigger a fresh surge of arrivals, the continent is no better prepared. And in critical respects, the situation is even worse.
Ideas that were touted as answers to the crisis last year have failed or remain stuck in limbo. Continental unity lies in tatters, with countries striking out to forge their own solutions — often involving a razor-wire fence. And even the nations that have been the most welcoming toward refugees say they are desperately close to their breaking point or already well past it.
The result, analysts say, is a continent fundamentally unequipped to handle the predictable resurgence of a crisis that is greater than any Europe has faced in its post-Cold War history.]

At the end of the day, Platts argues that ObamaSanctions on Russia only helped them prepare for the Saudi Surge/Slump. The Guardian argues that ObamaPolicies in the Mideast have only strengthened Russia's position.

He can speak French in Russian:

The Most Interesting Man In The World

From the WHS locker room when I was a wrestler in high school:
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.  
Almost as good as Nietzsche.


Later, 4:22 p.m. Central Time: literally, less than two minutes after first posting the above post, I came across this Bloomberg view: Europe's Convinced U.S. Won't Solve Its Problems.
Europe is facing a convergence of the worst crises since World War II, and the overwhelming consensus among officials and experts here is that the U.S. no longer has the will or the ability to play an influential role in solving them.
At the Munich Security Conference, the prime topics are the refugee crisis, the Syrian conflict, Russian aggression and the potential dissolution of the European Union's very structure. Top European leaders repeatedly lamented that 2015 saw all of Europe’s problems deepen, and unanimously predicted that in 2016 they would get even worse.
“The question of war and peace has returned to the continent,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the audience, indirectly referring to Russian military interventions. “We had thought that peace had returned to Europe for good."
What was missing from the conference speeches and even the many private discussions in the hallways, compared to previous years, was the discussion of what Europe wanted or even expected the U.S. to do.
Several European officials told me that there was little expectation that President Barack Obama, in his last year in office, would make any significant policy changes to address what European governments see an existential set of crises that can’t wait for a new administration in Washington.

Week 6: February 7, 2016 -- February 13, 2016

On February 9, 2016, just three or four days before his death, I posted this: 
This Is Why The November, 2016, Election Is Important -- The Next Supreme Court Justice Likely To Tip Balance -- February 9, 2016.
Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly and unexpectedly, yesterday, September 13, 2016.

Mike Filloon's update on the Bakken
Random video of CLR's 14-well Atlanta pad southwest of Williston
Storage capacity at Cushing -- RBN Energy
Active rigs: post-boom low hits 40 

Update on Bakken CBR -- RBN Energy

Bakken pipeline approval through Iowa in doubt

Natural gas / coal
Random update on the lignite (coal) to natural gas story in North Dakota 

Bakken economy
US Highway 1804 east of Williston to be widened this summer 
Trenton casino under construction (same link)
Update on Williston's new high school
Update on the new Missouri River bridge southwest of Williston (same link)  
Lindahl wind farm north of Tioga, northeast Williston

Random video of the Hess SC-Norma / SC-Barney / SC-Gene pads east of Williston
The Red Queen refuses to get off the treadmill; shale oil maintains
Video: one hitch at a time
I-98: the eighth episode

Sunday, February 14, 2016 -- Back Home In Texas

Note: this is not a travel site. Do not make any travel plans based on what you read here or think you may have read here. This could have all been a dream. Much of it was written days after the event. If this information is important to you, go to another source. 

My last travelogue note was on Thursday, this past week, the day I departed the Bakken. This will be the final post regarding the trip. It's possible I will write one additional note after I have time to think about the Bakken.

As noted on Thursday,  I got a late start leaving Williston because I spent more time with a couple of Bakken acquaintances over coffee than planned. I then spent a short time with Dad at Bethel Home and then started south.

As noted earlier, there was light snow but I made it to Bowman fine where I stayed overnight with another "Bakken colleague."

I got a mid-morning start on Friday.

The drive was incredible. Incredibly wonderful. The drive itself was a mini-vacation within a vacation. I stopped at a McDonald's in Sturgis with every intention to continue blogging about the trip and the Bakken. But I was in such a "pleasant state of mind" that I simply lost all interest in blogging, and resolved I would not blog until I got home. Not only that, but I resolved not to even check the internet the entire trip back, and instead, read more of the books I had brought along.

I cheated a bit during the latter part of the trip, checking the internet for e-mail, but pretty much stayed off the net. I did post a few items but almost nothing. When I travel, I also turn off my Samsung clam shell cell phone which I probably got back in 2007 or thereabouts. I turn on the cell phone when in a major urban area to check for messages.

I finally did what I had always wanted to do: get the exact mileage between Newell, South Dakota, where my dad went to high school, and the family farm south of Newell, where he was born and grew up. With that mileage and a few other mileage markers between Newell and South Dakota, I finally have the markers I had always forgotten to get.

One mile south of Newell High School, a cemetery on the right. Two miles south of the high school, a open, gulllied pasture. Three miles south, the new highway junction to Belle Fourche. And almost exactly four miles south, the family farm on the right.

Dad always said it was five miles, but I think it's four miles. He rode his bike to high school until it generally broke down halfway there, and then he hitched the rest of the way into town, but for four years, he woke up every wintery morning looking forward to a 4-mile hike (one-way or another to high school). In elementary and middle school, he had a horse. I never asked why he didn't take the horse when he was in high school. Maybe hitching a car ride was faster, and just as reliable in those days. I don't know. 

I took a slightly different route this time through South Dakota and Nebraska. I have no real alternate route options in the other states (North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas). I have a few options in Kansas but generally take the same route through Kansas every trip.

In South Dakota I drove east on I-90. Somewhere east of Wall Drug I thought I was going to see one of the most horrendous car accidents in real time. It was going to be quite "exciting" to see how this played out. I'm not quite sure when I first became aware of what was happening.

Two 18-wheelers were in front of me, one trying to pass the other, cab-side-by-side, trailer-by-trailer, probably cruising about 75 mph. In such situations, I drop quite a way back -- I don't need stones hitting my windshield. Absolutely unanticipated, the truck on the left started to cross the white hyphenated line in what appeared to be an aggressive move by that driver to put the truck on the right unto the far right shoulder, or worse, into the ditch.

Then, I saw the reason. A white four-door sedan, driving at high speed, in the wrong direction, had been heading head-on toward the fast-moving truck in the left lane. I assume the truck driver did not sort this out until the last moment -- first he/she had to realize the car was coming toward them, rather than what he/she probably initially thought -- that he was bearing down on a slow-moving car.

The sedan hit the soft dirt shoulder and the grass at the top of the ditch but even at 60 mph, I assume, was able to maintain control. The driver was a 60-ish year old white male who appeared to be fighting, successfully, to control his vehicle. He continued on past me and in my rear-view mirror he was still high-tailing it in the wrong direction. I grabbed my cell phone, turned it on, dialed 9-1-1 but no response. [I later learned one does something different on a 2007 Samsung clam shell cell phone to reach a "911 operator."]

Both semis went through unscathed. I was quite impressed. At 75 mph, both truck drivers realized that there was not much they could do; the worse thing they could do was over-react. They barreled through and some time later, I lost sight of them.


I drove farther east than usual on I-90, past Kadoka, and then to Murdo, where I turned south on US Highway 83. I do not recall ever having been on this road before. The scenery was incredible. Rolling hills, deep gulches, buttes on either side to the east and to the west as far as one could see. It reminded me of the North Dakota Badlands, but so much more extensive. I was also impressed by the number of cattle, particularly on the east side of the highway, all black Angus.

The few houses I saw on the reservation were the typical houses often seen on reservations in this part of the United States. If anything, everything looked a bit better than what I might have thought, but I did not go deep into the reservation.

The gas station / casino  -- Rosebud Casino -- is located almost right on the state line. I stopped to get gasoline. It was the first service station in South Dakota that clearly had an option that did not include 10% ethanol, which I took. It costs 10 cents/gallon more but I get better mileage and the car seems more responsive, though that's probably all in my mind. The casino service station, by the way, was one of the cleanest and most welcoming station I had visited. The tall, American Native male, unfortunately, appeared, incredibly bored. I don't blame him. I doubt he has much traffic.

Just before departing the state, or was it in Nebraska -- I think the latter -- was a highway patrolman on the side of the road waiting for speeders ... or drunk drivers returning from the casino. I seldom drive very fast .. and never drunk ...  so not a problem for me.


Valentine, O'Neill, and on to Grand Island, where I stayed the night. I'm always negatively impressed how far off the interstate some of the larger towns in Nebraska sit. That's particularly true of Grand Island. I have no idea why they sited the interstate so far south of the city, and/or why the city has not grown on the south side to get nearer the interstate.

The Travelodge was fine though I wouldn't recommend it. I'm sure there are better places along the way, and there were many choices on that same road I saw the next morning on my way out of town. But the price was fine. [I expected more of a Travelodge. Except that it offered the standard breakfast, it was no better than the less expensive motel I stayed in, in Salina, on the northbound trip when snowed in by Kayla.]


Grand Island and then to York, where I turned south to Salina, Kansas, and then the same route as I always take. Interestingly, somewhere between Grand Island and York, on I-80 this time, there was another white sedan with a 60-ish year-old male driving down the divided highway on the wrong side. In this case, it was just me and him, and I was far to the right. He was aware of his mistake, and pulled to the shoulder, and then crossed over the ditch to the correct side of the interstate. About a half-mile down the road, I saw how he might have gotten confused. The interstate entrance was different than most, allowing one to enter the wrong direction if not paying close attention, or distracted.

Or maybe 60-ish year-old males in the midwest love the thrill of driving 70 mph down the wrong side of the interstate. Whatever.


The trip from Salina to Oklahoma City to Grapevine (Dallas-Ft Worth area) was uneventful. I filled up one last time south of Oklahoma City where gasoline cost $1.39/gallon. Back in Texas, slightly higher. I was temporarily delayed on the west side of OKC due to a fender bender that had occurred some minutes earlier; the two fire trucks were just arriving as I was coming up to the accident.

From the state line to the Texas Motor Speedway, the speed limit is 75 mph before the Denton area where it hits 70 mph. The traffic moved much faster than the posted 75 mph but really moving nicely. No problems. If I were to drive that stretch again, I would drive ten mph more slowly, but the car felt good, the traffic was moving nicely, only a few trucks, and I was not that far from home.

500 Miles, 山本潤子


In the big scheme of things, a non-eventful trip, but incredibly enjoyable. If I didn't have Sophia -- 18 months old -- to take care of -- I would be back on the road tomorrow. Okay, maybe Tuesday.


I occasionally happened upon radio stations that I enjoyed, but not often. I listened mostly to my CDs, mostly Lana Del Rey, Roy Orbison, and Woodie Guthrie. The best radio stations were the classic western music stations in South Dakota and Nebraska.


I passed a stopped convoy of three trucks hauling wind turbine blades, and they later passed me at fairly high speed. Because of their length and width they are about as terrifying as anything one sees passing on the left, especially at 75 mph. I think the blade overhangs the rear of the truck by a good 20 feet. This particular convoy was north of OKC, if I recall correctly.

I am told that that the blades that will be on the Tioga (North Dakota) wind farm that will go up this summer are 180 feet long. Add twenty feet for the tractor/cab upfront and the total length of the tractor-trailer-overhang will be approaching 220 feet. That gets close to the length of a city block. Later this summer and autumn there will be 75 of these turbines off-loaded on the east side of Williston, which will convoy through the center of Williston (because US Highway 1804 is scheduled to be torn up for widening) and then north around Williston to Tioga.


And as they say, one thing leads to another:

The Ketchup Song, Las Ketchup 
The only question is whether this song charts again during the 2016 Olympics. Yes, there is a Portuguese version.