Sunday, August 12, 2018

It's Hot In The Bakken! -- August 12, 2018

Tiger Woods Is Back

Wow! This will make the sponsors happy -- and it probably really boosted ratings today. I was flipping back and forth between the NASCAR race today and the PGA tournament. Tiger almost pulled it off -- but not to be. But it was exciting.

Later: CBSSports saw the same thing I saw. Exciting tournament. 

The Katie Ledecky Page

Pan Pacs championship. Link here. And here.

1500 meter freestyle: as expected, Katie won easily. She clocked in at just under 15 minutes, 39 seconds. Second place clocked in twenty-one second later.

400 meter freestyle: as expected, Katie won, but it was slightly closer, winning by 1.16 second.

The Washington Post had a long feature story on Katie Ledecky (same link as above):
Katie Ledecky breezed to victory in her final race of the Pan Pacific championships, an event that was to serve as a preview of sorts not just for next year’s world championships but also the 2020 Olympics. And it was an eye-opener in more ways than one, as Ledecky reminded the world of her aqua supremacy, and the world showed her that some capable challengers just might be coming of age.

Ledecky’s blowout win in the 1,500-meter race Sunday meant she finished the year’s biggest meet with three individual gold medals (400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyle races) and a bronze (200), plus a silver with the United States’ 4×200 relay team.
But perhaps most noteworthy, the Pan Pacs event in Tokyo featured some of the stiffest competition – and closest races – that Ledecky has seen on an international stage.
On Saturday, Ledecky won the 400 with a blistering time of 3:58.50, the sixth fastest in history. It was also the closest 400 she’s ever raced internationally, as Ariarne Titmus, a 17-year-old Australian, touched the wall just 1.16 seconds later.
For the sake of comparison, when Ledecky first broke the 400 world record four years ago at the Pan Pacs, her margin of victory was 6.18 seconds, and two years ago at the Rio Olympics she won by 4.77 seconds. Titmus became just the third female swimmer to break the vaunted four-minute barrier.
Two days earlier, Ledecky, 21, suffered her first third-place finish on an international stage, trailing a pair of 18-year-old swimmers to the wall in the 200-meter freestyle race. Canada’s Taylor Ruck set a meet record, finishing in 1:54.44, which was 0.41 seconds ahead of Japan’s Rikako Ikee and 0.71 better than Ledecky.
It was the nightcap on a grueling 800-200 double on the meet’s opening day, and Ledecky fared better in the 4×200 relay the next night. Even though the Americans settled for silver, Ledecky almost reeled in Australia’s Maddie Groves, posting a 1:53.84 split on her anchor leg.
A new generation of swimmers might be trying to announce themselves, but in Tokyo Ledecky showed that at the longer distances she is as dominant as ever. She posted a 8:09.13 finish in her 800 win – the fifth fastest ever and 7.94 seconds better than anyone else in the Pan Pacs pool. And in Sunday’s 1,500, she won with a time of 15:38.97, more than 21 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, Kiah Melverton of Australia. It was well short of the world record Ledecky set in May (15:20.48) but still stands as the 10th-best time ever posted in the event.
The Book Page

The book for this week: Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America, Craig Childs, c. 2018.

Introduction starts with the Pleistocene epoch, not so long ago.

First little bit of trivia. I had just finished a book on Darwin's fossils. That book led off with the giant mammals in southern South American (Argentina). They were true giants. I never gave them much thought except to occasionally wonder why there were so huge and why they are not with us any more. In Craig Childs' book, p. xii:
Gigantism among mammals is associated with the cold. This is known as Bermann's Rule, after the 19th-century German biologist Carl Bergmann, who noticed that the larger examples of most species tend to occupy colder climates, wile the smaller tend to be found in warmer places. Warmth produces smaller bodies that expel heat, while cold encourages extra layers of big bones, muscle, fat, and fur, resulting in bodies with a smaller ratio of surface area to volume and a greater ability to hold in heat.

Glacial periods -- long cold spells that often lasted one hundred thousand years at a time -- were frequent in the Pleistocene, when the earth on average dropped 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit below temperatures we experience today. This gave rise to animals with large bodies and Ice Age megafauna weighing a a ton or more. The largest American mammoths came in at around ten tens, three tons more than the largest African elephants.
Thinks cetaceans and which species spend the most time in the coldest water. We don't see many dolphins in the Arctic, do we?

Re-Look At An Old Financial Times Article Asking Whether The US Shale Revolution Has Peaked? -- August 12, 2018

I had some time so I went back to look at this post: from the Financial Times, October 18, 2017, has the US shale revolution peaked?

To get to this article which is behind a paywall, google ft in charts has us shale peaked. Fortunately, the article is still available. For myself, I have archived the article in case it disappears.

The first graphic in the article tracks rig count, which as readers know, is highly irrelevant when tracking productivity in unconventional oil plays. 

This is the second graphic in the article:

The writer completely misinterpreted the graphic. Something tells me he/she was asking the wrong question, mislead by the sharp decline in "rig productivity" in the Eagle Ford. I may be wrong on this, but I'm starting to get the feeling that a lot of folks are not aware that shale operators "manage their assets" very, very well.

Now that we are aware of how severe the takeaway capacity in the Permian is, and the price differentials, the above graphic makes a lot more sense.

Catching Up On Southern Corporation -- August 12, 2018

These guys are making Elon Musk look good.

I lost the bubble on Southern Corporation's Kemper project. Apparently the last time I posted a note about the Kemper "clean-coal" project was October 18, 2017, about a year ago, when I thought the project was still underway. I was wrong. See below. [I really did lose the bubble on this one: I actually noted in June - July 2017 that the Kemper "clean coal" project was shut down; the plant would be natural gas only.]

From a post dated October 16, 2015 (about three years ago):

More Sticker Shock 
Southern Company / Kemper
Who was it that said, "a sucker is born every minute"?
Just when I thought it could get no more ridiculous, I was sent this story by a reader. First, for background, re-read the Kemper story, the cost of "clean coal" in the US:
Note: at $6.1 billion this was three times more than expected; now it's up to $6.3 billion.

This is a 582-megawatt plant. So, $6.3 billion (and still rising) / 582 MW = $11 million /MW. Remember, even the most expensive solar energy / wind energy project seldom gets above $3 million / MW and even at $3 million / MW, that's outrageous -- in the US.
So, what is the status of the Southern Company / Kemper project? It was shut down -- according to a June 28, 2017, article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Southern Company is suspending efforts to get a troubled Mississippi plant running properly that had been touted as the future for “clean coal” power plants.
The Atlanta utility company said Wednesday it is “immediately suspending start-up and operations activities” for the coal gasification unit at its Mississippi Power subsidiary’s Kemper plant.
The power plant, which also burns natural gas, will continue operating using that fuel.
The decision marks a huge reversal for the first-of-its kind plant, which aimed to burn cheap lignite coal more cleanly than conventional plants. But the $7.5 billion plant was billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule, and still not working properly.
Southern’s action follows a decision last week by the Mississippi Public Service Commission to order the company to pull the plug on the project and absorb billions in costs. 
But we certainly haven't heard the last of Southern Corporation boondoggles. 

A reader noted this today, from oilprice: Southern Corporation now estimates it will cost $28 billion to complete a Georgia nuclear project, twice the original estimate of $14 billion. From the story:
Southern Company's Georgia Power subsidiary announced yet another increase in the estimated cost to complete the Vogtle 3 and 4 nuclear units.
At this moment this is the only ongoing nuclear construction project in the United States. Georgia Power has raised its cost to complete the nuclear project by 15 percent.
This pushes the final cost estimate for these units to almost $28 billion.
Perhaps more significant for investors, Southern's management agreed to write off almost $1.1 billion of Vogtle costs, rather than attempt to charge ratepayers for the expenditures.
Later this fall, all owners will vote on whether to continue the project.
These revised cost estimates indicate that total cost of the two units could approach $28 billion upon completion. Back in 2012, when the Georgia Public Service Commission regulators approved them, the cost estimate was $14 billion. This is a 100 percent cost increase over initial estimates and represents incremental financial risk for investors.
Wow, there certainly seems to be a pattern here.

For the Kemper (Mississippi) "clean-coal" project: 
  • triple the original price estimate, $6 billion vs $2 billion
  • then the "clean-coal" project shut down
For the Vogtle  (Georgia) "nuclear" project:
  • from $14 billion to $28 billion
  • later this fall, owners will vote whether to continue this project
One wonders if Robert Mueller's time would be better spent looking at Southern Company's track record on megaprojects.

I was surprised and dismayed that the writer of the oilprice article failed to mention the Kemper project. He is obviously wearing blinders and only looking at this story as an "expensive" nuclear power plant story.

For The Archives -- Flashback -- Dallas Morning News -- June, 2013

Link here.