Saturday, June 18, 2016

Happy Father's Day -- Nothing To Do With The Bakken -- June 19, 2016

This is for my one reader who cares nothing for the Bakken but likes to see what is going on with the family. So some family stuff and some other stuff.

Before I get started, Ms Veeder has a nice column this week. My dad could connect with that column.

It's going to be a busy Father's Day:
  • Grapevine coin show
  • bike ride
  • swimming pool
  • grill later this afternoon/early this evening
  • PGA golf tournament -- US Open: the 624th ranked player in the world is one stroke behind the lead
  • Game 7 -- NBA Championship -- on the heels of a game in which Steph Curry imploded; series tied
How Times Have Changed

This is Sophia (she will turn two years old in a few weeks) and her older sister in the background, ordering lunch off a tablet yesterday.

I learned later that her mother told the waitress to disregard anything that was ordered off that tablet, 
or as she told the waitress, "No, we really don't want 18 margueritas."


Talking to our older granddaughter yesterday, we decided that grilling would be nice for Father's Day -- it would be the first time this summer -- but because of the heat, I would like to grill "later, rather than earlier." By the time the meat comes off the grill, there will be a nice shadow over the patio; I am shooting for taking the meat off the grill at 7:00 p.m.. The shadow will give us the facade that things have cooled down but in fact the temperature will have fallen from 105 to about ... oh, let's say 103 degrees.

And, unfortunately, unlike Tuscon, it's not a dry heat.

By the way, I've found the best way to communicate the time for dinner for all concerned is to simply say what time the meat will come off the grill. Everything and everyone can then work around that one time. 

Yesterday's "Off Duty" section in the WSJ was actually pretty good. I normally don't even pull that section out to read, but I must have been bored yesterday. As I noted, that section was actually pretty good. It always contains an article on wine, but I lost my interest in wine years ago. I can't recall when I last had a glass of wine. There are way too many choices.

I always enjoy the featured recipe, but generally never actually try one myself. But today I plan to try the recipe that was featured yesterday but I will do it on the grill.

The recipe is by Sylvan Mishima Brackett, the chef and owner of Rintaro in downtown San Francisco.

His recipe: sake-simmered branzino with haricots verts.

It took me a long time to catch up with the world but I'm starting to figure these things out. "Sake-simmered branzino with haricots verts" is simply (in my case, grilled) fish with green beans.

The recipe calls for dashi which the chef makes from scratch. The dashi seemed complicated but it turns out dashi is nothing more than a Japanese version of chicken bullion. Dashi is simply fish/seaweed flavored broth (or stock) that is apparently used by the Japanese like we use chicken bullion. For those of you who have had miso soup in a Japanese restaurant, you've had dashi.

And although the chef made his dashi from scratch one can buy dashi in several different versions and several different brands at several different price points.

He adds sake, sugar, soy sauce, and mirin to his dashi to make the sauce.

After that, one simply sautées (I will try grilling) the fish while constantly basting it with the sauce until the sauce thickens, concentrates, and darkens, about 10 minutes.

Sake-Simmered Branzino With Haricots Verts

  • dashi, one cup
  • sake, 1.25 cup
  • water, 1/2 cup
  • sugar, 1 tbsp
  • soy sauce, 2 tbsp
  • mirin, 1 tbsp
  • ginger, 2 pieces; 1/2 - julienned; 1/2 - quarter coins
  • scallions, thinly sliced
  • branzion (European seabass): 3 incisions both sides
  • fish "tightly" in pan on top of ginger coins
  • pan (fish/ginger) over medium-to-high heat
  • baste constantly; sauce thickens, darkens, about 10 minutes
  • stretch sauce with extra dashi if necessary
  • haricots verts: in salted boiling water, until tender, about 1 minute; strain; unsalted butter in skillet over medium heat, salt (generally not), pepper
  • fish on top of rice
  • scallions over all
Dashi and Cooking Sake

Update On CBR From North Dakota -- June 18, 2016

I am surprised. I can't find a recent "million dollar way" post on ND CBR despite many, many stories in the national business media on less crude oil being transported by rail. I was going to add this story as an update to an earlier post, but without a recent earlier post to update, this will have to be a stand-alone post.

From The LaCrosse Tribune:
With lower crude oil prices, North Dakota drillers dramatically cut production over the past winter and spring, but trains continue to roll through Midwestern communities loaded with the volatile cargo.
Data released this week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that even as overall volumes of crude rail shipments fell last year, the amount of crude on the nation’s rails last year was still higher than in any year prior to 2014. The 325.8 million barrels was more than twice what was shipped in 2012 and 16 times the level in 2010.
In the first three months of this year, more than 33.6 million barrels of oil were shipped by rail from Midwestern rigs. That works out to more than five fully-loaded trains each day. At the peak of the Bakken oil boom it was about 12 trains per day.
Note to newbies: even if pipeline capacity exceeds supply in the Bakken, CBR won't go away anytime soon. RBN Energy has addressed that recently. 

Huge Political Story For ND Oil And Gas Industry -- Microsoft Executive Gets ND GOP Governor Nomination By Surprising Margin; Watford City Mayor On Ticket


Later, 11:59 a.m. Central Time: as big as the original post is, I think this story is even bigger. The GOP nominee for governor named the mayor of Watford City as his running mate, to be the lieutenant governor. Huge. 
Brent Sanford is a Watford City native and has served as mayor since 2010. Prior to that, he also held a City Council seat from 2006 to 2010.
Sanford also touts business experience as owner and president of S & S Motors in Watford City and past CFO of Transwest Trucks, a multi-location truck dealership, financing and manufacturing operation with more than 400 employees.
"I strongly believe North Dakotans are ready to send a business leader to Bismarck," Sanford said in a statement. "With our team, voters get two leaders who understand the changing economy and who will help increase the number of great jobs that keep young people and their families at home in North Dakota."
Sanford holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from UND and is a certified public accountant. He worked at Eide Bailly in Fargo for eight years before joining Transwest Trucks.

Original Post
A few days ago, a reader sent me a link to this New York Times article:
A decade ago, then-Microsoft executive Doug Burgum stood before a cheering crowd at a technology conference in Dallas and introduced his boss, company co-founder Bill Gates, by describing what makes entrepreneurs successful.
"Innovators are people who go against the grain" by taking risks and chasing dreams, said Burgum, who'd become a tech star in his own right after selling his North Dakota software company to Microsoft for more than $1 billion. "They've got the ability to think in a counterintuitive way."
Now Burgum is pursuing his most unlikely venture yet: becoming governor of North Dakota in his first shot at elected office and against his party's wishes.
It's not unusual anymore for wealthy business people to try to leap from the boardroom to the governor's office. Rick Snyder and Bruce Rauner did it in Michigan and Illinois, respectively, in recent years.
But Burgum's quest might be the biggest stretch yet: a player in a glitzy, fast-paced industry becoming leader of a state where the cattle outnumber people, only about a dozen towns have a population bigger than 6,000 and many families make their livelihood in agriculture and oil.
Though Burgum is a big name in tech hubs like Silicon Valley and Seattle, he isn't well known in North Dakota outside of Fargo, the state's largest city, where he lives. His opponent in the June 14 GOP primary election is a more typical fit for the job: low-key, longtime state legislator and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who's patiently climbed the political ladder and has the party's endorsement.
I did not post it; the likelihood of Burgum winning seemed too remote.

Today, from Ballotpedia:
North Dakota was one of five states to hold primary elections last Tuesday. Former Microsoft executive Doug Burgum (R) defeated North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (R) in the state's Republican primary for governor by a surprising 21-point margin.
Heading into the election, Stenehjem led in polls and was the party favorite, having won the GOP endorsement at the state convention on April 2. Though it is customary in North Dakota for candidates who lose at the convention to bow out of the primary election, Burgum announced he would run anyway and delivered a resounding win.
The race is currently rated “Safe Republican.” All major party candidates for other offices were unopposed in the primaries. North Dakota is one of 23 Republican trifectas.
It looks like there may be two new pictures on this page.

At age 59, Burgum is a young man; Stenehjem is 63. From the linked NYT article:
Burgum has infuriated the GOP-controlled Legislature with television ads that claim lawmakers squandered the state's oil bounty before the bust hit two years ago. He claims he's a proven job-creator who's uniquely qualified to help diversify the state economy.
Tea leaves: it looks like the "Legacy Fund" is back in play. Burgum says he does not favor tapping the Legacy Fund; his Democratic competitor is on record suggesting that tapping the fund for specific reasons for short periods of time makes sense.

Now look at "The Big Story" over at the AP today:
A North Dakota rainy-day fund that held more than $572 million in January is on the verge of being emptied due to lower-than-expected tax collections from depressed oil and farm commodity prices.

"There are no 'ifs,'" North Dakota Treasurer Kelly Schmidt said Friday. "We will drain it."

The Budget Stabilization Fund, established in 1987, was intended to stash extra tax money from industry booms to be used in leaner times to protect state programs from big budget cuts. The fund had only meager deposits initially but built up over the past decade largely from North Dakota's unprecedented oil activity that is now in decline.

The Legislature's record-high $14.4 billion two-year budget that began in July 2015 was built last year based on faulty economic assumptions for tax collections.

In February, faced with a $1.1 billion shortfall, Gov. Jack Dalrymple ordered a 4.05 percent cut to government agencies and a $497 million raid on the rainy-day fund. But state budget officials said this week that collections continue to fall and almost all of the fund's current $75 million balance will be needed to cover the additional shortfall.
It will be interesting to see Burgum's specifics on how ND "squandered" its oil money. Early on, the state kept its huge Legacy Fund entirely in cash, hesitating to invest it in "America."

Legacy Fund Update

From the AP article linked above:
North Dakota, the nation's second-ranked oil producer, also has been stockpiling oil revenues in its Legacy Fund that was approved by voters in 2010 to set aside 30 percent of oil and gas tax collections. The Legislature is barred from spending any of the fund's assets until June 2017. After that, a two-thirds vote of the North Dakota House and Senate is needed to spend any of the fund's principal, of which no more than 15 percent can be withdrawn every two years.
Schmidt said the Legacy Fund will hold $3.8 billion with the June transfer of $28.3 million.
North Dakota's Republican candidate for governor, former Microsoft Corp. executive Doug Burgum, has said he does not favor using the fund's principal. His Democratic opponent, State Rep. Marvin Nelson, has said he supports tapping the Legacy Fund's principal to offset budget shortfalls.
I track the Legacy Fund here.

Wayne Stenehjem In Good Company

After WWII, Winston Churchill was pretty much unceremoniously relieved of his leadership of Great Britain.

A few years after he orchestrated Greek's stunning sea victory over the Persians in 480 BC, Themistocles was ostracized from Athens, and never recovered politically.

Week 24: June 12, 2016 -- June 18, 2016

The week in review:
This past week there was still a lot of talk -- and it's just talk -- about supply and demand and when oil might re-balance. Here's the most recent IEA assessment. There was also a nice article explaining why Saudi Arabia may have to import natural gas.

US gasoline demand set a record for the "second week in June." It should be noted that US exports gasoline; it's hard to say to what extend gasoline exports are affecting this number. 

At the same time, the first new nuclear reactor in the US is about to come on-line; construction began in 1973. The EIA released a study on how expensive wind energy really is.

The Director's Cut for April, 2016, production data came out this week. Here are posts related to the Cut:
The Bakken 

Turning the corner? 12 new permits; 12 permits renewed 

Example of possible halo effect

Could Minnesota's dithering cost them the Sandpiper?
MDU to swing new natural gas pipeline around north side of Fargo, West Fargo 

North Dakota meets the target four years early
Unfortunately the Bakken flaring meme has gone wild

I'm not seeing DUCs being fracked, despite all the talk  

Bakken economy
Watford City golf course expansion 

Brent prices over the years 
North Dakota overturns law on corporate farming by a landslide; NoDak says "no" to corporate farming
Miss Oil Country is first runner-up to Miss North Dakota; pageant held in Williston

Bakken 101
Just how much oil might there be in the Bakken?
Mark-to-market and the SEC rule on "proved reserves"
The Bakken remains the "gold standard" when evaluating other shale plays
Shale vs sand: pretty basic stuff
A third play in the Appalachian: the Upper Devonian Burket/Geneseo, the poor stepsister to the Utica and the Marcellus