Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Political Page, T+8 -- March 8, 2018

For the archives. Nothing here about the Bakken. The Trump era: 24/7 news, it never quits, and never ceases to surprise.

President Obama completed his first year as president shortly after the end of December, 2017. The numbers are now in: US household net worth pushes further into record territory -- The WSJ. Data points for the archives:
  • US household wealth rose more than $2 trillion in 4Q17
  • now, near the $100 trillion mark
  • at a record $98.746 trillion and three cents
  • US households also saw their net worth rise to nearly seven times their disposable income in 2017, swelling past earlier pre-recession peaks
  • Obama is taking a bow; this is all his he says; it takes a ten years to turn the US ship of wealth around
  • JPMorgan: the ratio of wealth to income is at pretty dizzying levels right  now
Much more at the link.

Meanwhile, President Trump will meet one-on-one (or is it mano-a-mano?) with Kim Jong Un -- first item on the agenda: haircuts --
The NY Times has already said this is not the way to start a dialogue -- seriously. The NY Times would prefer missiles? Seriously. No links; easy to find. I wonder how the staff at NY Times would start a dialogue with North Korea? Remember: this was an invitation from South Korea to POTUS. An invitation.

Six months ago, the NY Times said we were five minutes from a nuclear confrontation with NOK -- now dialogue.

When seconds count, the police will be there in minutes. In the Florida shooting -- you know, the one where gun laws would have prevented the massacre -- law enforcement took eleven (11) minutes to enter Parkland school. The sheriff still has his job. No links; will be reported everywhere.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, Toys "R" Us is considering closing all its stores.

ObamaCare dead? Hardly. The Trump administration -- you know, the administration that said it would kill ObamaCare -- tells Idaho it will enforce ObamaCare if the state refuses.

Back to Trump and Kim:

Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Pat Benatar

What's Wrong With This Picture? -- March 8, 2018


March 9, 2018: See comments and links in the comments below.

Original Post

Uneventful Day For The Bakken Based On Daily Activity Report -- March 8, 2018

"Arctic" rigs:

Active Rigs594433114191

Four new permits:
  • Operators: MRO
  • Field: Jim Creek (Dunn County)
  • Comments: MRO has permits for a 4-well pad (Barber, Northrop, Veddy, Drake) pad in NWNE 21-145-96
No producing wells (DUCs) reported as completed.

No permits renewed.

No permits canceled.

Operator transfer: from Petro Harvester Operating to 31 Operating
  • about 44 wells
  • all "old" wells
  • oldest permit:
  • newest permit: 21777 but most of them before 15000
  • oldest permit: 02455
  • with the except of one or two in Renville County or Burke Count, all were in Bottineau County

Oh-Oh! Could WTI Fall Below $60? -- March 8, 2018

At $60.33 right now.

Saudi Aramco IPO

I've long been skeptical of the IPO. I'm not sure we'll ever see it on a "legitimate" trading platform (NYSE, NASDAQ, etc) but if we do, I've always said it would be delayed.

Now, there are hints that it will be delayed to 2019. In fact, I don't think anyone worth his salt, as they say, thought there would be any legitimate chance the IPO would be launched in 2018. I'll post the link, but I don't think it's news(worthy). More clickbait. I read the headline. That's all.

Later, another story suggesting listing Saudi Aramco on the NYSE would be very, very risky. The big question: legitimate stories or simply clickbait?

Back to Black, Amy Winehouse

Shale Oil Still Defeating Its Skeptics -- Richard Zeits -- March 8, 2018

Well done, Mr Zeits. Over at SeekingAlpha:
  • macro models are finally catching up with unconventional oil realities: U.S. shales are competitive at low oil prices and volumes grew much faster in 2017 than many skeptics had anticipated
  • in recognition of the operational trends, in the last three months alone, the EIA's STEO forecast for U.S. production was revised higher three times
  • the production estimate for Q4 2018 was increased by a staggering 1.0 million barrels per day
  • 2hile the agency's 2018 estimates for U.S. production are now not unreasonable, the 2019 projections are puzzling and face the risk of major upward revisions
With regard to the last bullet (the 2019 projections are puzzling and face the risk of major upward revisions), two comments:
  • bureaucracies are by their very nature, very conservative; they would rather be wrong on the low side than the high side
  • shale production is very, very sensitive to price swings and consumer demand

Random Update Of A Whiting P Evitt Well In Truax Field -- March 8, 2018

P Evitt wells are tracked here, but have not been updated in quite some time.

Another with no FracFocus data to suggest it was re-fracked, but neighboring fracking recently completed (see also, #25511):
  • 25581, 2,667, Whiting, P Evitt 154-98-15-12-19-16H, Truax, API No: 33-105-03083, t11/13; cum 327K 8/18; recent production --
PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

Fanning The Flames Of Discord -- March 8, 2018

I've thought about "this" for the past six months or so. I just don't have the energy to post on this subject. But if folks think the Russians limited their meddling to US politics, folks are incredibly naive.

There are only two countries that have the resources and existential reasons to meddle in US politics: Russia and Saudi Arabia.

I always thought it was Saudi Arabia that was the money behind the puppeteer pulling the anti-fracking and anti-pipeline strings.

Now, without a doubt it was the Russians all along. Again, if folks think the only thing the Russians are interested in is US presidential campaigns, they are very, very naive.

Link here to Detroit Free Press:
At about the same time they were interjecting themselves in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, online trolls from Russia were also tweeting and posting about controversial U.S. energy issues — including Enbridge's Line 5 oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac, a Republican report from a U.S. House committee found.
The report, released Thursday by the Republican majority on the U.S. House's Committee on Science, Space and Technology, reviewed evidence provided by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that the social media giants had identified as Russian accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company based in St. Petersburg "established by the Russian government for the purpose of deceptively using various social and traditional media platforms to advance Russian propaganda," the report states.
The trolls targeted controversial fossil fuel transportation projects between 2015 and 2017, including the Dakota Access Pipeline, a proposed oil transmission line from North Dakota to southern Illinois that prompted national debate amid protests involving American Indians and others in 2016.
On Another Note

Had President Obama placed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, something the unions have been begging for, for years, the mainstream media would have give the president much support.

Tariffs on steel and aluminum: good for US workers; bad for Wall Street.

Mainstream media: the silence is deafening.

Notes to the Granddaughters

Mary Shelley: Romance and Reality, Emily W. Sunstein, c. 1989.

Author says this if the first complete or definitive biography of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley -- the only stellar English Romantic author for whom there is no complete or definitive biography.

1780 - 1830: the age of Romanticism.

Namesake daughter of the pioneer feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, died giving her birth in 1797; father was philosopher and novelist William Godwin; she was the lover and wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley; she literally embodies the English Romantic movement.

Romanticism: among its many definitions or qualities, this one -- an intensity not merely in love and sex but in all the passions; expressiveness, imagination, innovation, risk, exploration, exoticism, glory; ordeal and woe.

What distinguishes Mary Shelley is her love of justice, learning, wisdom, and freedom.

Wrote Frankenstein at the age of 19.

Born during the 8th year of the French Revolution.
"At 16 she ran away to live with 21-y/o Shelley, the unhappily married radical heir to a wealthy baronetcy, who personified the genius and dedication to human betterment she passionately admired all her life. Although she was cast out even by her father, the dynamism of this liaison produced her masterpiece, Frankenstein, which she conceived during one of the most famous house parties in literary history with Shelley and [Lord] Byron on Lake Geneva, and wrote while being battered by a series of calamities. The worse of these was the suicide of Shelley's wife. Albeit reluctantly, the lovers married, but fierce public hostility drove them to Italy. Here their two children died, a trauma from which Mary Shelley never entirely recovered. Nevertheless, Shelley empowered her to live as she wished: to enjoy intellectual and artistic growth, love, freedom, and a 'wild, picturesque mode of living ... ' When she was 24, he drowned, leaving her penniless with with a 2-y/o son.
She lived for another 29 years.

Invalided at the age of 48; died of a brain tumor in 1851; poetic timing, just as Prince Albert opened the Great Exhibition, a showcase of technological progress against which she had warned in her most famous book.

Looking For A Handout -- GM -- March 8, 2018; I Need A Hero -- A Hercules To Fight The Rising Odds

Back on February 24, 2018, I predicted that US automobile companies would ask for an extension of tax credits for EVs (I suspect Trump will support the extension if he is concerned about putting Americans to work).

Well, here we go: in The WSJ yesterday, "GM CEO pushes for renewed tax breaks on electric vehicles. She's right to ask for a renewal/extension/expansion but for the wrong reasons.
General Motors Co. Chief Executive Mary Barra is pressing Washington for an expansion of electric-vehicle tax credits, a plea that would help the company and rivals like Tesla Inc. sell battery-powered cars in an era of cheap gasoline and skepticism about alternative vehicles.
A handful of auto makers face the expiration of $7,500 income-tax credit that has applied to hundreds of thousands of electric-vehicle purchases since the Obama administration established the offer. GM has used the incentive to bring the tab of its electric Chevrolet Bolt to under $30,000.
GM is expanding production of the Bolt, but it will soon hit a sales cap that triggers the gradual expiration of the incentive for individual car companies that have sold 200,000 electric cars since the credit’s inception in 2009. 
I've already posted my 30-second elevator speech at the linked post above. I won't repeat.

Maybe some elevator music instead. No, I won't go that far.

Speaking of EVs, the February scorecard is complete. Note Nissan Leaf. I still think Chevy Volt/Bolt is going to be the short-term winner (short-term: 2016 - 2021); after that it's anyone's guess but either GM or Ford in the US; Volvo/Daimler worldwide (think Asia).

Looking For A Handout? Looking For A Hero

Something tells me this song was not considered the theme song for the 90th Oscars presentation the other night.
Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods? Where's the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds? Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed? Late at night I toss and I turn and I dream of what I need. I need a hero. I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night. He's gotta be strong and he's gotta be fast.
Perhaps something for the US presidential campaign in 2020.

I Need A Hero, Bonnie Tyler

Small Spat Upending Europe's Power Grid -- AP -- March 8, 2018

It sounds like this article/story was written to some extent, "tongue-in-cheek." But I am absolutely astounded how "fragile" the European electricity grip appears to be.

When you read the linked article, imagine if an MDU/REC spat involving Tioga and Williston affected utility customers in New York City and Los Angeles, but apparently that's an appropriate analogy for what we are seeing in Europe.

The AP is reporting that European clocks slowed down, reported the wrong time, due to "a lag in the continent's power grid:
Millions of Europeans who arrived late to work or school Wednesday had a good excuse — an unprecedented lag in the continent’s electricity grid that’s slowing down some clocks.
The problem is caused by a political dispute between Serbia and Kosovo that’s sapping a small amount of energy from the local grid, causing a domino effect across the 25-nation network spanning the continent from Portugal to Poland and Greece to Germany.
“Since the European system is interconnected ... when there is an imbalance somewhere the frequency slightly drops,” said Claire Camus, a spokeswoman for the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity.
I love the spin from Claire Camus: "....since the European system is interconnected ..."

Claire, hellooooo...interconnection is not the problem. Hellooooo. It's all those ill-conceived policy decisions in the EU.

And the farther you read into this story, the worse it gets:
  • first time it's ever occurred
  • won't be solved for weeks
  • lack of energy in Kosovo's system
  • needs to be solved politically and then technically
How this all happened, apparently:
Serbia’s power grid company EMS blamed the problem on Kosovo, claiming that in January and February the country “was uninterruptedly withdrawing, in an unauthorized manner, uncontracted electric energy from the Continental Europe synchronous area.”
Kadri Kadriu, deputy manager of Kosovo’s grid operator KOSTT, acknowledged that electricity from elsewhere was diverted to the Serb minority in the north, but said consumers there hadn’t paid for their electricity, causing considerable financial burden to the company.
 This is so incredibly ridiculous -- a spat in Kosovo and Serbia causing grid problems thorughout Europe.

Something tells me that it isn't just clocks that are being affected.

Huge thanks to Don for alerting me to the article.

The Growing Role of VLCCs in U.S. Crude Oil Exports -- RBN Energy -- March 8, 2018

Winter heating season over:

Jobless claims: link here --
  • previous: 210K
  • forecast: 220K 
  • actual: 231K
Hmmm....combine this with 1Q18 GDP forecast lower to 2.8 (from 3.5); leveling off of gasoline demand; tariff talk; chaos in the White House; and, now the jobless claims report, and one might say we are starting to "see" a narrative develop.

Total now second largest producer in the North Sea: completes acquisition of Maersk Oil.

Devon downsizes: agrees to sell southern Barnett. $533 million deal. Nice background to shale revolution in the linked article.

Top story, from The WSJ today -- Trump putting Americans back to work -- 
Some steel and aluminum makers to restart plant operations amid tariff plans. U.S. Steel and Century plan to fire up idle furnaces and increase their workforces.
Some U.S. steel and aluminum makers are restarting idle mills and boosting capacity to make up for imports that face being priced out of the market if President Donald Trump’s proposed import tariffs take hold.
United States Steel Corp. on Wednesday said it would fire up a blast furnace in Granite City, Ill., and call back 500 workers. Century Aluminum Co. aid last week it will restart lines at a smelter in Kentucky that have been curtailed since 2015, doubling its workforce there to 600.

Back to the Bakken

"Arctic" rigs:

Active Rigs604433114191

RBN Energy: the growing role of VLCC's in US crude oil exports.
U.S. crude oil exports from the Gulf Coast remain at a high level, as does interest in transporting crude to Asia and Europe in Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) capable of carrying as much as 2 million barrels (MMbbl) each. The catch is that only one Gulf port — the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) — can send out fully loaded VLCCs, and so far LOOP has loaded only one; other Gulf ports need to fill or top off the gargantuan tankers in open waters using reverse lightering. Plans are afoot to allow greater use of VLCCs, but how long will they take to implement?
Today, we discuss the economic benefits of exporting crude on supertankers, the growing use of VLCCs for Gulf Coast exports and the challenges exporters face in utilizing them even more this year and next.
VLCCs are giants. The supertankers have an average length of about 1,100 feet — longer than Houston’s 75-story JPMorgan Chase Tower is tall — with an average beam (or width) of nearly 200 feet and an average fully loaded draft of 72 feet. There are about 800 VLCCs operating in the world today and, as we’ll get to, an increasing number of these behemoths are being filled with U.S. crude along the Gulf Coast and sent to faraway ports in Europe and Asia.
Which reminds me: where is Shaden? Unfortunately the site says the "Shaden is out of range." There have been no position updates since late February.