Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Kemper Mississippi Plant Will Take An Additional Month To Complete; Another $62 Million -- October 4, 2016

This debacle, recently described by The New York Times as Obama's energy centerpiece, is tracked here

Update on the Kemper Mississippi River plant, from Penn Energy:
  • Mississippi Power Co to add another month to the construction schedule
  • delay will add another $62 million to the cost of the power plant
  • new completion date: November 30, 2016
  • total price is now nearly $6.9 billion -- let's call it $7 billion, and move on
  • original cost estimate: $2.9 billion -- let's call it $3 billion, and move on
  • stockholders have absorbed $2.6 billion in losses 
Note To The Granddaughters

Our younger daughter lives in Portland. She is more conservative than I am and lives in one of the most liberal towns in America. She loves Portland, and she loves the city's motto: "Keep Portland weird."

I say all that to say this, Todd Snider is originally from Portland. I assume his picture accompanies an occasional T-shirt with the words, "Keep Portland Weird."

This is a twenty-minute video. Not less than fifteen minutes is spent by Todd telling the story of how he started singing this song. It is truly worth a listen for folks who like Mr Bojangles and Jerry Jeff Walker.

Mr Bojangles, Todd Snider

Peak Oil! What Peak Oil! Islands In The Stream -- October 4, 2016

I would love to make a few comments about the American public and the oil industry, but it's late. Regardless, I don't have time. There's too much to do, and not enough time to do it all.

Is this cool or what? Caelus Energy says it discovered a major Alaskan oil field. And everyone said there were no more elephants to find. From The WSJ:
  • 2 billion bbls of recoverable oil
  • found in shallow waters of Smith Bay, about 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle
  • a world-class oil discovery that could breathe new life into Alaska's declining North Slope
  • could use barges built along the Gulf Coast (Texas, Louisiana); towed to Alaska; permanently sunk in the bay to create man-made drilling islands
  • if initial estimates turn out to be correct: this would be larger than Exxon Mobil's 2015 discovery off the coast of Guyana in South America
  • two Caelus wells, six miles apart, suggest as much as six billion bbls under Smith Bay
  • will drill a third well in January, 2018
  • requires Federal permits. And that's where this story will end. If the project requires Federal permits, it won't be drilled in my lifetime. The Native Americans will make sure of that. But at least we know it's there if we ever need it. 
How big a deal is this? This discovery may have increased Alaska's oil reserves by 80%.
The light-oil reserves were found in the company’s Smith Bay leases between Prudhoe Bay and Barrow along the Arctic shore. As much as 40 percent of the find, or 2.4 billion barrels, is estimated as recoverable.
That compares with the state’s proved reserves of 2.86 billion barrels in 2014, almost 8 percent of the U.S. total.
Rush Was Ahead Of This Years Ago


October 28, 2016; Folks come to NFL games to be entertained, not to be reminded of Kaepernick. Now, CBS Boston confirms that national anthem protests #1 cause for NFL ratings drop. I'm still not convinced but it is a "turn-off" to see multi-millionaires protesting the awful treatment they've received in the US.

October 14, 2016: The Washington Post weighs in. Doesn't add much to the discussion. The comments are better than the article.

October 6, 2016: the WSJ weighs in. Doesn't add much to the discussion. I agree that if the ratings do continue to fall (and level off, of course, at some new "normal") it will be due to a combination of factors. But I don't think one can underestimate the impact of the beginning of the broadcast when patriots are subject to kneeling, fists, #BlackLivesMatter, etc. Folks come to NFL games to be entertained, not to be reminded of Kaepernick. See my comment in comments below. 

Original Post
I don't get to listen to Rush as much as I would like. But I am aware of his prescient observations about the NFL and ratings, something he started talking about years ago. This year, his predictions have turned out to come true: NFL ratings are in the tank -- comparatively speaking. NFL football games still beat anything else that might be on TV but ratings are dropping.

Forbes has now caught up with Rush on this story.
We’re barely a year removed from the NFL setting all-time records in viewership, yet now the league is on pace for its lowest ratings in years. That’s a sharp and unexpectedly sudden turn.
Last night’s Monday Night Football matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants drew a 9.1 overnight rating, an 8% drop from last year’s comparable Week 4 game between the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks. The New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs game in 2014 earned a 9.6 rating.
Overall, MNF‘s ratings are down a whopping 19% this year.

Two Predictions Before I Go To Bed -- October 4, 2016

Two predictions before I go to bed:
  • President Obama will get 100% support from Congress to close GITMO if the prison gets a direct hit by Hurricane Matthew and the winds are sustained in excess of 139 mph. [Update: I barely scraped by. The winds hit Cuba at 130 mph and there was no mention of GITMO and almost no mention of Cuba.]

  • The Dakota Access Pipeline project will end in a very surprising way, in which the oil industry comes out on top, with the protesters having achieved nothing.

The GITMO blues, "sinkin' soon" --

Sinkin' Soon, Norah Jones

This is just such an incredible song -- on all levels. When I first heard this song, I was sure it was a traditional blues song that Norah had simply covered. Boy, was I wrong. From wiki:
"Sinkin' Soon" is a song written by Norah Jones and Lee Alexander, and is the second single from Jones's third solo album, Not Too Late (2007). It was released in the United States on March 26, 2007.

Alexander wrote most of the song, with Norah Jones composing the bridge.
According to Jones, they couldn't play the whole song before they recorded it, so they went out for dinner and drank beer.
"I guess we needed a little bit of that drunken sailor vibe because we came back and recorded this on the first take", Jones said.
Jones's old friend J. Walter Hawkes contributed a trombone solo, and M. Ward performed backing vocals.

BR Reports Two Huge Williston Basin Wells In North Fork Oil Field; Both DUCs -- October 4, 2016

Active rigs:

Active Rigs3268190183189

One well coming off confidential list Wednesday:
  • 32322, 1,638, Hess, EN-Freda-154-94-2635H-10, Alkali Creek, t9/6; cum --
Three new permits:
Eight permits renewed:
  • WPX (5): five Arikara well permits, in Mountrail County
  • Slawson (3): three Wolverine well permits, all in McKenzie County
Six permits canceled:
  • Whiting (3): two Chameleon State and one P Bibler permit; the Chameleon permits in McKenzie County; the Bibler permit in Williams County
  • Enerplus (2): a Bugle and a Trumpet permit, both in Dunn County
  • Crescent Point Energy (2): two CPEUSC Paopao permits, both in Williams County
Three producing wells (DUCs) reported as completed:
  • 25202, 1,536, BR, Jerome 21-15TFH, North Fork, t9/16; cum 7K in first 19 days;
  • 30281, 3,487, BR, Merton 21-15MBH, North Fork, t9/16; cum 2K over first 13 days;
  • 31139, 1,979, Statoil, Cheryl 17-20 6TFH, Banks, t9/16; cum 3K over first 31 days;

Update On Natural Gas Processing Plants In North Dakota; Three Coming On Line By End Of 2016 -- October 4, 2016

Most recent update I could find on North Dakota natural gas processing plants coming on line by the end of the year (2016), from Big Sky Business Journal, data points, August 9, 2016 (note: there may be some errors in volume; the original story may have had some typos and I'm not sure I made the right corrections; if you note errors, send me the right numbers):
  • three natural gas plants in ND are expected to come on line by the end of the year
  • will add 180 MMcfpd to overall processing in ND (180 million cubic feet per day)
  • currently 27 plants in operation; processing 2,015 MMcf a day (2 thousand million cubic feet per day)
The three new plants. The one near Tioga is the latest. I drove by it last week. 
  • Williams County
    • Tioga, five miles northwest of Tioga
    • $3 million
    • Liberty Resources of Denver
    • 20 million cubic feet per day
  • Bear Creek -- completed in August, 2016; see Dickinson Press story dated October 13, 2016
    • Dunn County
    • ONEOK Partners
    • 80 million cubic feet
    • $265 million to $375 million
  • Oasis Petroleum: Wild Basin, McKenzie County 
    • $160 million
    • 80 million cubic feet
  • Currently, the state captures 89% of natural gas; the goal was 85%
  • ONEOK Partners posted a $253 million profit in natural gas in May, 2016 -- a 74% increase over the previous year
A North Dakota database of natural gas processing plants is at this link but I'm not sure it is up to date. I did not see the Liberty Resources plant, unless I missed it.

Cooking For One, Or Two -- October 4, 2016


October 5, 2016: a quick google search reveals many cooks use an apple in their chili. I did not know that until now. Very, very interesting. 

Later, 9:44 p.m. Central Time: a reader was kind enough to send a chili recipe that sounds about as easy as it can get. See first comment. I brought the recipe up here so it could be googled:
Seems everyone has their own personal chili recipe...mine is based on one of everything; 1 lb ground beef, 1 qt cooked tomatoes, 1 large onion, 1 cup chopped chili peppers, 1 tblspoon fresh basil, 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, 1 large apple, 1 small garlic, and one can of chili beans...

Meat is cooked with onions first, and then everything else simmers an hour before the beans are added last...at this time of year, everything except the meat and beans are fresh and comes right from my garden...
The apple is obviously the "secret" ingredient. In cooking it is interesting that certain fruits, vegetables, or herbs have a way of bringing out the flavor of other ingredients, and my hunch the apple has something in it that makes this chili particularly interesting. Sugar? I assume the apple is "cored and diced."
Original Post
I've mentioned this before. The secret for living alone or with just one significant other is to have "dishes" made up ahead of time that can be heated quickly and enjoyed at a moment's notice. I learned this from Robert Rodriguez and his ten-minute cooking schools.

Along that line, I always have a bowl of pasta -- a spaghetti of some sort -- in the refrigerator. Whenever hungry for lunch, a snack, and sometimes even, the evening meal, I simply take out a "portion" of spaghetti -- heat it up, and add any number of sauces, some prepared ahead of time, some simply out of the bottle or the can.

May and I also like to keep a bowl of chili in the refrigerator.  This is incredibly easy to make.
Except for the hamburger and a bit of water, the ingredients are shown in the first photograph below.
  • brown a quarter pound of hamburger or however much you want on top of the stove
  • add the ingredients in the first photo below; note the strainer
  • add a third-cup of water, and maybe a bit more if necessary, but don't let it turn into soup
  • bring to a "boil" on top of the stove; with so little liquid, you won't see much of a "boil"
  • as soon as it "boils," -- maybe two minutes -- turn the heat down to lowest setting and let simmer for a total of maybe 10 minutes
  • ready to eat, or refrigerate
  • as many "cut-in-half" green and red peppers as you want
  • on aluminum foil on cookie pan in over: broil at low setting for 20 minutes
  • total additional broiling time up to you; just don't let the peppers burn
  • place peppers in a brown paper bag for at least ten minutes to continue cooking
  • remove from paper bag; remove the skin; don't worry about getting all the skin off
  • ready to eat, or refrigerate
So here it is, in photographs:

Along with a quarter pound of hamburger, or however much you want, the ingredients (with a third cup of water) for the chili:

"Boil" but as soon as you see it start to bubble, turn to lowest heat and simmer for at least ten minutes. 

Meanwhile, four sliced peppers -- or as many as you want (or can afford); broil - low for at least 20 minutes; check then and decide if you want to broil longer, but don't let them burn. The skin should turn a dark (burned) color but the pulp should not be burned.


Once out of the oven, place in a brown paper bag, close tightly, and let the peppers continue to cook for another 10 minutes (even longer if you wish). Then remove the skin: kind of sticky; have some running water to get this off your fingers; don't worry about getting all the skin off. The skin is fine to eat; it just sticks to the roof of your mouth.

Spoon hot chili over the peppers and enjoy. Libation of choice, of course. If it's wine or Scotch or a craft beer, be sure to annotate your diary with the drink and score it for future reference.

Winds -- October 4, 2016

Wow, be sure to check out the hurricane: https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/1000hPa/orthographic=-78.37,19.01,764.

Wanna Get Away?

Twice a year, Southwest Airlines has a sale that can't be beat. We have reasons to fly often between Dallas and Los Angeles. A screenshot taken moments ago -- Dallas to Los Angeles as low as $59, roundtrip. The taxi from our hovel to the airport will cost more than that.

North Dakota's Autumn Colors -- October 4, 2016

The video may not do justice to the incredible autumn colors of North Dakota, but it will have to do. The video was take about two weeks ago when I was driving north to the Bakken, I was almost "blown away" by the bright yellow as I drew closer to the north unit of the Teddy Roosevelt National Park just south of Watford City. It was incredible. I never understood artists talking about "fire" leaping out at them when painting some landscapes, but now I understood. This was truly incredible.

I don't think I am exaggerating when I say this is even better than what I remember seeing in New England.

In New England, at least for me, all the foliage and all the forests, is claustrophobic. And, too much. It's almost as if the painter should have quite earlier, but for some reason kept painting more trees, and more red, and more yellow, so it became kitschy and overwhelming.

But not in North Dakota. Not overdone at all. The painter knew exactly when to quit. And to make those bright yellows leap out at you and surprise you, he/she surrounded the yellow blaze with drab (in a positive way) brown geologic formations offset with evergreens.

The video cannot possibly show you how incredible the scenery was, but it will give you an idea. This is on US Highway 85, going north, just south of the Long X bridge, just before one enters the long descent into the valley carved out by the Little Missouri River.

Interestingly enough, the formations and the scenery outside the park to the south and to the west seem even better than what one sees inside the park, and my hunch is the ranchers will keep it that way.

Going south, I happened to catch a semi carrying part of a wind tower to be raised at the wind farm near Hebron, North Dakota. The components for that wind farm, and I hazard to bet, the components for all wind farms in western North Dakota, including the one four miles north of Tioga, are staged and will be staged out of Red River Oilfield Services east of Williston.


Outrun Change -- October 4, 2016

October 5, 2016: my youngest sister must have read the blog (LOL). She wrote she has Echo/Alexa and loves it:
We have Alexa. She is a hoot. I use her for my grocery list. We bought her on that Prime sale day. I also can have her read me a motivational or bible verse to start my day. She is my friend cuz no one else talks to me and responds so positive at my house!
Later, 12:39 p.m. Central Time: wow, talk about the impossibility of outrunning change. Less than 30 minutes after writing the note below, Yahoo!Finance headline story is: Google launches Home, its answer to Amazon's Echo. "Names" are as important as "price points", and my first thought: "Home" is a weak choice for names. Echo may or may not be a great name, but it's a bit outside the box. "Home" couldn't be more, well ... homely.

Having said that, the write-up suggests Google's "Home" may be a much better choice than "Echo." I assume Best Buy is the best brick-and-mortar store to test / compare the two.
Original Post
Wow, talk about an impossible task -- keeping up with "change." The "Outrun Change" blog does a great job and it's worth checking out that site periodically. The reason that particular blog came to mind was the story today that Sweden's Ericsson (no "k"; one too many "esses") is laying off 3,000 people because .... it can't outrun change. Reading between the lines of that story, one can pretty much figure out which companies are out-competing Ericsson.

But what caught my attention was the technology mentioned and where consumers are headed:
  • 5G (I don't think I'm much past 3G yet; 4G certainly didn't stick around long);
  • the Cloud; and, 
  • the Internet of Things (which George Bush would call the Internets of Things).
I don't quite understand the Internet of Things, yet.

I do understand the Cloud, and I'm somewhat surprised that perhaps the initial adopter, Apple, Inc., seems to have lost their lead to Amazon. I wonder if Amazon hasn't even surpassed the acknowledged leader in Cloud technology, Google?

I tell my granddaughters if they don't understand something, a) follow the money; or, b) google it. In this case googling "Internet of Things" was the way to go.

In some dictionaries, if you look up "the Internet of Things" you will see an Apple Watch icon or an Echo icon.

Amazon's Echo is simply amazing. I'm not sure if it's much more than a "toy" for now, but it sure is fun. For Echo to work in your home, you must subscribe to Amazon Prime for about $99 a year. Amazon keeps throwing in new perks for Prime members. It's much than free, quick shipping.

Apple has Siri. Amazon's Echo has Alexa.

Two hours ago -- talk about the challenge of outrunning change -- Ford announced that it will integrate Amazon's Alexa:
Let's face it -- sooner or later, everything we use is going to be connected in some way. Getting ahead of the curve will only set you up for later success. On the heels of several other automakers, Ford is nearly ready to roll out Amazon Echo and Alexa integration.
To start, only three Ford models will feature this integration: the Focus Electric, the Fusion Energi plug-in and the C-Max Energi plug-in. The connection between Amazon's voice assistant and Ford's cars should be ready by the end of the year.
When you're inside the car, you'll be able to use the voice recognition button to activate Alexa. You can send smart-home instructions through the car, whether it's dimming the lights, drawing the blinds or checking the security system. In the house, an Amazon Echo can be used to start, lock or pre-warm the car after entering a security code.
One can look up the etymology of Alexa, but I don't think you will find the answer to why Amazon gave that name to the voice of Echo.

I think it's a play on Alice B. Toklas. Alice. Alice. Alexa.

When one is having a one-on-one conversation with a friend in a dimly lit bungalow, sipping a bit of wine, just as if Gertrude Stein were to ask Alice to turn on some jazz music, all one has to do with Echo in the room is, say, "Alexa, jazz music."

Seriously, it's as easy as that. The device sits there as unobtrusively as Alice B. Tolklas and when asked, by name (Alexa), it responds.

It is simply incredible.

It's my understanding that Apple is coming out with its own Siri speaker to compete with Echo but it may not be for a year or so. By that time, Apple, again, will be behind the curve. With Steve, he was always skating to where the puck would be. It aggravates me that Apple, with all its money, all its human resources, seems to be locked into the smart phone and the smart watch and the driverless EV and is missing the low-hanging fruit. As connected as I am to Apple emotionally, I prefer Alexa. I guess it's a triangle love affair? (But to be fair to Tim Cook, Apple did remove the 3.5 mm headphone jack.)

When you are having a quite conversation with another individual in a dimly lit bungalow, sipping a bit of wine, one does not want to talk into a wrist watch, nor does one want to pull out a smart phone, when one can simply say, with one's normal "inside" voice, "Alice, some jazz music, please."

"And, Alice, have Alexa up in the baby's room, read a night-time story, and then play some lullabies."

Ah, Yes, The Insanity Of Wind Energy -- October 4, 2016

Normally I don't devote a single stand-alone post on a non-Bakken story, but this is too good to pass up.

This is a story about the recent blackout in one of Australia's six states due to:
  • over-reliance on wind energy;
  • sudden volatility in wind energy production; and,
  • resulting grid chaos.
It is also a great lesson for those who do not understand macro-electricity grids.

This was sent to me be a reader, which is much appreciated. One can google the issue and find numerous examples of this craziness. For example: another statewide blackout -- South Australia's wind power disaster continues.
The state of South Australia is more dependent on wind and solar than any other state in Australia. It has about 1,580 MW installed wind capacity. Shortly after 1500 (local time) on September 28, wind energy production went to zero and South Australia suffered from a state-wide black out. The finger-pointing continues. As Paul Homewood (based in England) relates:

“SA’s 18 wind farms have a combined (notional) capacity of 1,580MW.

On 28 September (aka ‘Black Wednesday’), as the wind picked up, output surges by around 900MW, from a trifling 300MW (or 19% of installed capacity) to around 1,200MW.

As we explain below, electricity grids were never designed to tolerate that kind of chaos, but it’s what occurs in the hour before the collapse that matters.

From a peak near 1,200MW, there are drops and surges in output of around 250-300MW (equivalent to having the Pelican Point Combined Cycle Gas plant switched on and off in an instant).

At about 2:30pm there is an almost instantaneous drop of 150MW (1,050 to 900MW), followed by a rapid surge of around 250MW, to hit a momentary peak of about 1,150MW.

Then, in the instant before the blackout, wind power output plummets to around 890MW: a grid killing collapse of 260MW, that occurs in a matter of minutes (it’s all happened before, as we detail below). That 260MW collapse was the deliberate result of an automatic shutdown of the wind farms based in SA’s mid-North, located in the path of the storm front: the final and total collapse in SA’s power supply follows immediately thereafter.”

Will those who advocated wind production stand up?
South Australia's population is about 1.7 million (wiki); it's capital is Adelaide. With about 400,000 square miles, the population density of this state is 4.5 people / square mile. (Compare to North Dakota: 10.7 people per square mile -- this does not include the ever-growing population at Standing Rock Reservation now living in teepees). With only 4.5 people per square mile this state-wide blackout -- if it included Adelaide -- was, at most, I assume, a nuisance, similar to the earthquakes in Oklahoma. 

The interesting thing is that if this occurred during a natural and a national emergency, this is when electricity might be needed most -- like recharging cell phones for emergency personnel responders, and electricity needs for hospitals handling the casualties. If you are on vacation and camping, maybe you don't need electricity, but during natural and national emergencies, in the 21st century, it would be nice to have dependable electricity.

[I did not realize it, but I have a tag for "wind-Australia" suggesting we've covered the Australian wind experience before. LOL.]

Global Inflation Falls To Seven-Year Low -- October 4, 2016

Global inflation falls to seven-year low. WSJ. Data points:
  • global inflation rates fell for the second straight month in August
  • lowest level in almost seven years
  • seven years ago: global economy in the throes of a downtown that followed the financial crisis (mark-to-market mayhem -- see below)
  • inflation rate now at 2.1% (down from 2.2% in July)
  • smallest rise in consumer prices since October, 2009, when they increased by 1.7%
Perhaps Krugman was correct.

Back to the Bakken

Active rigs:

Active Rigs3268190183189

RBN Energy: Colonial leak's impact minimized by imports, use of line 2. The big story here is how one interruption in the nation's energy pipeline system can become such a huge story. Perhaps President Obama should shut down all pipelines until they figure out what caused the Colonial leak.
The increase in waterborne flows to the East Coast in response to the recent Colonial Pipeline outage illustrated the flexibility of supply in the U.S. motor gasoline market. At the same time, the lack of a lasting impact from the loss of 8.3 million barrels of gasoline to a key U.S. demand region highlighted the degree of oversupply in the market. Today we look at how waterborne flows helped to mitigate the effects of the Colonial Pipeline outage, and how flexibility in the East Coast motor gasoline market enabled it to handle unexpected supply constraints with minimal disruption.
Colonial Pipeline is the largest source of refined product supply for the U.S. East Coast. Colonial’s primary route (from Houston to Linden, NJ) consists of four distinct segments, which, like the “arms” and “legs” of an X, meet at Greensboro, NC. One of the two Houston-to-Greensboro lines is dedicated to moving motor gasoline (Line 1, capacity, 1.37 MMb/d), and the other line (Line 2; capacity, 1.16 MMb/d) can be used to ship either distillate (diesel and heating oil) or gasoline, each of which can be move sequentially through Line 2 in “batches”.
At Greensboro, these products go into breakout tanks; from there, gasoline and distillates are sent further north (again in batches) on two mainline pipes. Line 3 (capacity, 885 Mb/d) runs from Greensboro to Linden––where it connects with the Intra Harbor Transfer (IHT) system, which facilitates deliveries to terminals across the New York and New Jersey area. Line 4 is a 32-inch-diameter pipe (capacity, ~700 Mb/d) that runs from Greensboro to Colonial’s Dorsey Junction terminal near Baltimore, MD.
US Propane Exports Now 2nd Largest US Petroleum Product Export

From the EIA:
In the first half of 2016, the United States exported 4.7 million barrels per day (b/d) of petroleum products, an increase of 500,000 b/d over the first half of 2015 and almost 10 times the crude oil export volume. While U.S. exports of distillate and gasoline increased by 50,000 b/d and nearly 140,000 b/d, respectively, propane exports increased by more than 230,000 b/d. Propane surpassed motor gasoline to become the second-largest U.S. petroleum product export, after distillate. --- EIA
That Phony Cut
  • OPEC is pumping at record levels even after end of summer surge
  • Nigeria, Libya are exempt from OPEC's "agreement" (Bloomberg story here)
  • Russia is not part of the deal
Mark to Market and Boeing

Mark to market mayhem: Investopedia.
Boeing's unique accounting method helps improve profit picture: WSJ.

President Obama's Foreign Policy Successes

What President Bill Really Thinks Of ObamaCare

ObamaCare is a "crazy system": Bill Clinton.
The Demise Of The Big Box Stores

The Market

Late morning: flat; Dow 30 up about 5 points. Oil up five cents at $49.45. NYSE:
  • new highs: 55 -- CLR, another big whoop; Encana;
  • new lows: 13
Opening: Dow 30 up about 50 points, if I remember correctly.

Construction In Watford City -- October 4, 2016

Last week when I visited the Bakken, instead of taking the bypass around Watford City, I took the "main road" through the city. This was what I saw, all the way from the south end of the city to the main intersection in the "center" of town.

By the length of each video, you can get an idea of just how big a project this is. There is about four minutes of video and I stopped filming well short of getting to the "center" of Watford. I think I stopped filming just before I got to the traffic signal at the "old" ND State Highway 22 turnoff but I could be wrong; things have changed so much with the bypass, I did not recognize old landmarks.

Something else: throughout the boom, DOT and commercial operators did absolutely everything to keep traffic moving. Note: there are no flagmen on this entire stretch; there are no detours; there are no temporary traffic lights; there is nothing to slow traffic down. This is inside city limits and vehicular traffic was traveling at almost the posted speed limit despite construction, heavy equipment, and heavy traffic. When we lived in Boston, there were no less than three uniformed policemen and two cruisers for any road project, no matter how minor, including painting a crosswalk.

 This is heading north:




Because of download constraints, my videos have to be short, otherwise I would have tried to do this in one continuous shot.

Some Say Watford City's Population Could Surpass Williston's

One of the things that struck me while in Williston was the number of folks still coming from out-of-state. One of the first men I talked to was working on a city construction project. He was from Florida and had never seen snow. He hoped the project he was working on would be complete before winter so he could return home before it began snowing.

The vast majority, it seems, of the "contract" workers at Bethel Home where my 95-year-old dad lives were out-of-staters. A lot came from foreign countries, particularly South Africa.

If folks were still coming to North Dakota to find work, it made me wonder just how bad the economy was in other parts of the US. Don wondered the same question when he sent me the link to this Dickinson Press article about workers still coming to Williston and Watford City to find work.

Don noted this in the article:
In Watford City, which some real estate experts say is on pace to surpass Williston's population in coming years, the story is much the same.
I think that's a bunch of "real estate hype." I can't imagine Watford City's population surpassing Williston's population, ever.  But it does emphasize how fast things continue to develop in Williston and Watford City.

The story does not mention the price of new homes or rental costs. They have come way, way down. Man-camps used to run upwards of $200 a night are now advertised as $24.99/night, but I think those were "old" signs -- it appears most man-camps in Williams County have closed. I don't know for sure, but there was no sign of life at any of the ones I drove by, including the big one west of Tioga.

I would be surprised if one couldn't find incredibly inexpensive lodging, and although it wasn't particularly noticeable, there were a fair number of houses on the east side (the "old" Williston) up for sale.