Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Spring Tour, 2019 -- Aerial Tour Of North Dakota -- Vern Whitten

Wow, what an incredible treat!

An aerial tour of North Dakota -- photographs by Vern Whitten.

I will link the photographs now and comment on them later.

Link here.

I'm sure  Vern Whitten would enjoy hearing from you. For more Vern Whitten's photographs from previous posts, click on the tag, "Whitten."
But feel free to send a "thank you" note to Mr Whitten.

Vern Whitten Photography
(701) 261-7658

Another "Surprise" Build -- API -- May 21, 2019

Another "surprise" build, from the API and oilprice;
  • forecast: 2.53 million bbl drawdown
  • acutal: a 2.4 million bbl build
  • a swing of: almost 5 million bbls
  • narrative: Including this week’s data, the net build is now 31.92 million barrels for the 21-week reporting period so far this year, using API data.
Twitter reaction: pending

EIA: data to be released tomorrow, Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Back to the Bakken

Active rigs:

Active Rigs6561512582

Six new permits:
  • Operator: Hess
  • Field: Tioga (Williams)
  • Comments: Hess has permits for a 6-well TI-Stenbak pad in Tioga oil field, section 25-158-95
Wells coming off confidential list today:
  • 35582, SI/NC,  XTO, Halverson 13X-33H, Capa, no production data,
  • 35269, SI/NC, Petroshale, Bear Chase 1MBH, Spotted Horn, no production data,
  • 35150, SI/NC, XTO, Bullberry Federal 24X-2H2, Lost Bridge, no production data,
  • 31562, SI/NC, Slawson, Submariner Federal 3-23-20H, Big Bend, no production data,
Two producing wells (DUCs) reported as completed:
  • 35166, 1,042, Kraken, Sutton 3-10 4H, Oliver, t4/19; cum --;
  • 35168, 889, Kraken, Cass 4-9 3H, Oliver, t4/19; cum --; 
    • neighboring wells:
      • 21639, 464, Kraken, Sutton 1-3H, Oliver, t3/12; cum 159K 2/19; offline as of 2/19;
      • 21778, 328, Kraken, Cass 1-9H, Oliver, t7/12; cum 138K 2/19; offline as of 2/19;

McKenzie County -- #1 Crude Oil Producing County In The Entire United States -- May 21, 2019

Link here.

This is pretty cool.

I wonder if Jane Nielson has seen this? She's the one who famously said there might be some oil in the Bakken but it won't be much.

Now, about ten years later, McKenzie County, in the heart of the Bakken, is the #1 crude oil producing county in the entire United States.


As much as I like to brag on the Bakken, the real story this time is New Mexico. This is huge for New Mexico. New Mexico is not a rich state by any stretch of the imagination. If they manage their newfound wealth well, their citizens will do very, very well.

By the way, the other three major oil producing counties in North Dakota each produce around seven (7) million bbls/month.  I could imagine of those three eventually moving into the top ten, although before it's all over, counties in New Mexico and Texas many more spots in the top 10.

USGS Releases Latest Edition Of The National Land Cover Database -- May 21, 2019

From a reader, thank you.

New maps, and who doesn't love maps!

Link here.
Today, the U.S. Geological Survey released the latest edition of the National Land Cover Database for the U.S. – the most comprehensive land cover database that the USGS has ever produced.
The NLCD 2016 documents land cover change in the Lower 48 states from 2001 to 2016. During this 15-year period, 7.6 percent of the conterminous U.S. changed land cover at least once.

The database includes seven maps that portray the nation’s land cover and class change for 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2016.
The maps sort each 30-meter plot of land across the country into 16 thematic classes such as pasture/hay, deciduous forest or cultivated crops. The NLCD 2016 also characterizes the fractional proportion of urban imperviousness and tree canopy, and for the first time, shrub, bare ground and grassland areas in the Western U.S.
Now, if the USGS would just around to publishing a new survey of the Bakken/Three Forks. LOL or should it be a frown? Whatever. When we do see a new survey of the Bakken/Three Forks, we will see a lot of tears of joy.

The Book Page

My books for the next two weeks:

Mrs Moreau's Warbler: How Birds Got Their Names, Stephen Moss, c. 2018. Brand new! The author is a Brit, living in England. Why does that not surprise me?

Washington Crossing, David Hackett Fischer, c. 2004. Part of the "Pivotal Moments in American History." This is a 564-page book on a single event, the crossing of the Delaware. Wow.
  • maps: 19
  • text: 379 pages
  • appendices, A - X: 44 pages
  • historiography: 35 pages
  • bibliography: 29 pages
  • abbreviations: 2
  • notes: 56
  • sources for maps:2
  • acknowledgments: 3
  • index: 14
Why Does E=MC2? (and why should we care), Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw, c. 2009

Natural Gas Watch; Russian Oil Sales To The US On Steroids -- Bloomberg -- May 21, 2019

From twitter today:
SP Global Platts: natural gas inventories for week ending May 17-2019 expected Thursday to show a 103-billion cubic feet injection; if so, it would exceed the 93-Bcf build in the same week a year ago and exceed the 5-yr average injection of 88 Bcf.
Russian Oil Sales To The US On Steroids

Putin will be writing a "thank you" letter to President Obama for killing the Keystone XL.

Link here to Bloomberg via Rigzone.

Blackstone, Whiting, Callon Mulling Bids for QEP -- May 21, 2019

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, job, travel, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or think you may have read here.

Link here to Bloomberg via Rigzone.
QEP Resources Inc. has attracted takeover interest from private equity giant Blackstone Group LP, as well as drillers Whiting Petroleum Corp. and Callon Petroleum Co., according to people familiar with the matter.
The Denver-based natural gas and oil explorer and producer said in February that it would explore a sale after activist investor Elliott Management Corp. made a $2 billion proposal to acquire the company. Elliott remains in the bidding for the company.
The process could draw to a close as soon as next month, the people said. A final decision hasn’t been made and QEP’s plans could still change.
Elliott, which is run by billionaire Paul Singer, owns about 5% of QEP. It said in January that it backed QEP’s plan to become focused on the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico and to sell other assets.

Breakeven Prices -- What It Means For Shale -- Research -- May 21, 2019.

Link here.


Data points:
  • in the Permian: ranged from $23 to $70/bbl
  • not all basins are created equal
  • there is a very close and interesting connection between average breakeven prices and the long-dated West Texas Intermediate futures contract
  • larger quantities of oil are economical to produce at much lower prices than would have been possible before
  • shale production means there is a much larger amount of supply that can be called into action given a much smaller price increase than in the past
  • strong forces should keep long-dated futures prices from rising too high or falling too low
  • shale production is likely to be a major driver over the next five years
How should we interpret the long-dated futures price of oil? In theory, if the oil market were perfectly competitive, the long-dated futures price should equal the marginal cost of supply—the cost of producing one additional unit—needed to meet long-run demand.
In reality, while it is true that most producers in the oil market are price takers—they produce a small amount of oil relative to global supply and their product has minimal differentiation—the oil market is not perfectly competitive: OPEC can add or withhold production because it operates with spare capacity. Nonetheless, there is still good reason to believe the long-dated futures price will have a close connection with the marginal cost of supply. Rising U.S. shale production—likely to be a major source of incremental supply in coming years—has significantly affected the marginal cost of supply, providing a plausible link between the Dallas Fed average breakeven price and the long-dated futures price.
Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have made accessible significant amounts of oil reserves previously considered uneconomical to develop. Moreover, production costs for those reserves have declined dramatically over the past 10 years. More generally, companies have sought to lower costs associated with other, more traditional onshore and offshore oil holdings. As a result, larger quantities of oil are economical to produce at much lower prices than would have been possible before.
Over the past 10 years, oil cost curves have moved from being very steep to having a long, flat portion between $50 and $60 as the industry has added resources and as costs have declined . In other words, shale production means there is a much larger amount of supply that can be called into action given a much smaller price increase than in the past.
While market participants may differ on how much oil is available at a given price, they are all aware of the overall trends. These represent strong forces that should keep long-dated futures prices from rising too high or falling too low. Similarly, breakeven prices reported by Dallas Fed Energy Survey participants reflect the principal trends involving the marginal cost of supply in the oil market.
Given current market prices, U.S. shale production will continue growing this year. Indeed, a recent report by the International Energy Agency highlighted that shale production is likely to be a major driver over the next five years. This does not rule out the possibility of major oil price movements, but it does point to a strong tendency that oil prices will be range bound in the near future.

Making America Great! US Corporations Raising Dividends -- May 21, 2019

See this note from May 16, 2019, for background.

Dividends, through the month of May only, selected examples:
  • Cardinal Health: ups dividend, from 47.63 cents to 48.11 cents/share.
  • Tractor Supply: huge dividend increase, from 31 cents to 35 cents/share.
Who says shale companies aren't making money? FANG ups dividend from 12.5 cents/share to 18.75 cents/share. Wow.
  • Phillips 66: huge dividend increase. From 80 cents/share to 90 cents/share. Wow. Is that a 12.5% increase in its dividend.
  • Oasis Midstream Partners: from 45 cents/share to 47 cents/share.
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, job, travel, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or think you may have read here.
  • Baxter: from 19 cents to 22 cents/share.
  • Look at this, CAT: from 86 cents/share to $1.03/share.
  • EOG: from 22 cents to 28.75 cents/share.
  • AAPL: from 73 cents/share to 77 cents/share.
  • XLNX: from 36 cents to 37 cents/share (announced at the end of April). 
  • XOM: from 82 cents to 85 cents/share (announced at the end of April).
Comment: for young investors, I would never recommend investing in individual equities. There are much better ways of investing. However, having said that, it has been incredibly rewarding to invest for the long term. It is amazing to the degree that dividends can grow after forty years. My hunch is that millennials could see dividend income exceed their social security income forty years from now.

The Book Page

He has a sequel (and a little cottage industry) -- In The Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown, Nathaniel Philbrick, c. 2018. This book begins where Valiant Ambition, c. 2016, left off.

I hate to say this but after reading the biography of Alexander the Great, and the biography of George Washington as a military officer, there's no comparison between the two.

By the spring of 1778, when France entered the war on the side of the patriots, the Revolutionary War had evolved into a stalemate. The rebels' land army could not defeat the Tory's navy. From the preface, page xiii:
All that changed in December, 1780, when [British General and CinC] Sir Henry Clinton sent his newest brigadier general, the traitor Benedict Arnold, to Virginia. Having already dispatched the Rhode Islander Nathaniel Greene to do battle with Cornwallis in the Carolinas, Washington sent the young French nobleman whom he regarded as a surrogate son, the Marquis de Lafayette in pursuit of Arnold.
Thus began the movement of troops that resulted nine months later in Cornwallis's entrapment at the shoreside hamlet of Yorktown, when a large fleet of French warships arrived from the Caribbean. As Washington had long since learned, coordinating his army's movements with those of a fleet of sail-powered men-of-war based two thousand miles away was virtually impossible. But in the late summer of 1781, the impossible happened.
And, then, just a few days later, a fleet of British warships appeared.
And the game is afoot.

From the same page:
The Battle of the Chesapeake has been called the most important naval engagement in the history of the world. Fought outside the entrance of the bay between French admiral Comte de Grasse's twenty-four ships of the line and a slightly smaller British fleet commanded by Rear Admiral Thomas Graves, the battle inflicted severe enough damage on the Empire's ships that Graves returned to New York for repairs. 
By preventing the rescue of seven thousand British and German soldiers under the command of General Cornwallis, de Grasse's victory on September 5, 1781, made Washington's subsequent triump at Yorktown a virtual fait accompli.
Peace would not be officially declared for another two years, but that does not change the fact that a naval battle fought between the French and the British was largely responsible for the independences of the United States.
There's a backstory to this but we will talk about that later.

Miscellaneous News -- May 21, 2019


May 25, 2019: with regard to the Baltimore cybersecurity debacle, now we know. The same folks who brought us the false "Steele dossier," brought us this. This is being reported by The New York Times, behind a paywall, but available via google:
For nearly three weeks, Baltimore has struggled with a cyberattack by digital extortionists that has frozen thousands of computers, shut down email and disrupted real estate sales, water bills, health alerts and many other services.
But here is what frustrated city employees and residents do not know: A key component of the malware that cybercriminals used in the attack was developed at taxpayer expense a short drive down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at the National Security Agency, according to security experts briefed on the case.
Since 2017, when the N.S.A. lost control of the tool, EternalBlue, it has been picked up by state hackers in North Korea, Russia and, more recently, China, to cut a path of a destruction around the world, leaving billions of dollars in damage. But over the past year, the cyberweapon has boomeranged back and is now showing up in the N.S.A.’s own backyard.
Original Post

Medical for all: California has already decided to provide free health care for immigrants. The only question is "how much?" The governor wants to cover only those under 26, while legislators want to provide Medicaid to all. Wow, that California governor is a really conservative wacko hardliner. Meanwhile, all those Californians paying $2,500/month for family medical insurance can get in line behind the new folks. What a great state.  I assume it's just a matter of time before California driver's licenses will be available through vending machines. Just enter your identifying data, "verify" that you have taken a driver's education course and have car insurance, insert a dollar, and get your driver's license. A commercial driver's license -- a CDL -- the ones required to drive the big rigs would cost $2.

Isonomy: a new word for me.

USPS: testing driverless trucks on the 1,000-mile stretch between Phoenix and Dallas. Link here.  What could possibly go wrong? Why did "Kramer" and "Newman" just flash across my mind?

Baltimore: still hobbled after two weeks. Cyberattack. It could be worse. It could have been a "Mars" attack.

Making NYC great again: New York City's economy grew at a blistering 3% rate in 1Q19.
Unemployment declined for the fifth straight quarter, with the average unemployment claims decreasing 6.4% since the previous quarter, the report shows. The city’s lowest unemployment numbers are in Queens, with a rate of 4%. The Bronx has the city’s highest unemployment rate, at 6.2%, while unemployment is at 4.7% in Brooklyn, 4.1% in Manhattan and 4.5% on Staten Island.
The average hourly earnings were up 4.5%, compared with the same time last year, from $35.84 to $37.43. Venture-capital investment also hit a record high, with $4.46 billion in investments in the first quarter.
Boom! Edith Wharton's oceanfront Newport mansion sells for almost $12 million.

Boom! Not to be outdone, Saudi buyer snaps up two -- count 'em, two -- Bel-Air homes to create a $52-million compound. And this, folks, is why millennials are driven to socialism. I assume the second home is for the harem.

When Rick Perry Morphed Into Occasional-Cortex -- When The Ridiculous Becomes The Ludicrous -- May 21, 2019

From twitter today:

Isn't 49 MW like one giant Xcel Energy wind turbine in a farm field outside Tioga, ND?



Later, 4:28 p.m. CT: apparently after I looked at the polling data earlier this morning, another set of numbers came out.

Biden is at 37.6 and Bernie is at 18.2.

Most interesting: Pocahontas creeps slowly toward 10%. I guess she's hoping she's on the dream ticket: Plugs / Pocahontas.

Meanwhile, both Buttigieg and Beto are flailing. Buttigieg's recent burst of excitement appears to have tempered, down to 6.6%, which is really pretty awful for someone who thought he was doing so well. But look at Beto, down to 3.2. None of this is statistically significant, of course, but the downward trend for Beto and the flailing of Buttigieg are noteworthy.

Most recently Buttigieg was unable to say he was against late, third-trimester abortions and even unable to come out against post-birth "abortions." A lot of Catholics vote Democratic and one wonders if he mis-stepped on this one.  It should be noted he is an anti-vaxxer -- although now he says he made a "huge mistake" with how he answered that question. Doesn't matter; we know where he stands. I wonder if he will come out and say he made a "really huge mistake" when he was unable to disavow post-birth "abortions."

Original Post

Means absolutely nothing but fun to watch.

Most recent polling.

Biden's lead over Bernie right at 20 points.

Bernie pulling below 20%. Biden polling just under 40%.

Beto drops a bit, from 3.8 to 3.5. Not statistically significant but the trend must be significant. I don't know. This is the first poll after Beto re-set, re-launched.

Hard to believe that Pocahontas is pulling just under 9%. Amy Klobucher is also fading. 

The Fashion Page

Sophia sporting her new Kentucky Derby hat? Or maybe her Preakness hat?

Western Natural Resources, KKR Team To Buy Williston Assets -- Rigzone -- May 21, 2019

Link here.

The article said absolutely almost nothing -- this was the only data point:
Western Natural Resources, LLC and global investment firm KKR have teamed up to acquire producing and undeveloped oil and gas assets in the Williston Basin.
Location within the Bakken? Net acres? Number of producing wells? Seller? Price? Yada, yada, yada. 

The Physics Page

A fun chapter on quantum physics to read is chapter 12, "A Quantum Quintet," in Why Beauty Is Truth: A History of Symmetry, Ian Stewart, c. 2007, DDS 539.725 STE.

Stewart is also the author of Nature's Numbers and Does God Play Dice?

The quintet:
  • Max Planck
  • Erwin Schrödinger
  • Werner Heisenberg
  • Paul Dirac
  • Jenõ Pál Wigner
In one chapter, the author present five vignettes, or five short biographies, of those physicists and how quantum physics / quantum mechanics developed.

It is always interesting to see how different authors trace the history of that development. 

Minor Notes -- May 21, 2019

Tedious: wow, I think I see a similar headline every day -- "global crude oil supplies will tighten" due to some issue somewhere .... today it's the North Sea ... link here --
Crude and lease condensate production in the North Sea is set for lower levels in the summer months, further tightening the global oil market which is already grappling with production declines in Iran and Venezuela, OPEC’s cuts, and a contamination issue that shut some Russian pipeline supplies to Europe, according to Rystad Energy.
Current unplanned outages at Oseberg and Flotta in the North Sea restrict a total of 160,000 bpd of North Sea production, the energy research firm said on Friday.
Rystad has estimated that outages in the North Sea in May will be 185,000 bpd. Yet, the biggest disruption is expected next month, when North Sea oil production is seen down to its lowest level since August 2014 because of scheduled maintenance at Ekofisk.
185,000 bbls -- really -- that's the concern?


Venezuela's military will oversee gasoline rationing. Link here.

Global Warming? Say What? Winter Lingers -- May 21, 2019

From twitter and google today:

... And The Journalist's Educational Background?

From a news story today:

Yes, as my daughter say, Oprah has ESPN.

Four Wells Coming Off The Confidential List Today -- May 21, 2019

Export terminal, Texas: firm asks for fast-track approval for a new US crude export facility that could fully load supertankers. Link at Reuters Data points:
  • Lone Star Ports, LLC
  • backed by the Carlyle Group LP
  • $400 million project to dredge a portion of the Corpus Christi, TX, ship channel to 75 feet 
  • $625 million for the entire project
  • VLCC: 2 million bbls of crude oil
  • will file paperwork with the administration’s Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council to join a list of infrastructure projects that U.S. officials hope to ease through federal, state and local reviews 
  • looking to file an environmental assessment in lieu of an environmental impact statement, the "assessment" can take as little as a few months vs years for an EIS
WTI: pre-market trading, $63.70.

Back to the Bakken

Wells coming off the confidential list today -- Tuesday, May 21, 2019:
35582, conf,  XTO, Halverson 13X-33H, Capa,
35269, conf, Petroshale, Bear Chase 1MBH, Spotted Horn,
35150, conf, XTO, Bullberry Federal 24X-2H2, Lost Bridge,
31562, conf, Slawson, Submariner Federal 3-23-20H, Big Bend,
Active rigs:

Active Rigs6661512582

RBN Energy: is the next crude oil bottleneck at the Gulf coast? Archived.
When it comes to getting crude oil to market, bottlenecks have always existed. Back in 2013-15, producers and shippers in the Rockies faced a serious lack of takeaway options. Midstreamers saw the problem and the money to be made, and quickly built more crude-by-rail capacity — and, over time, pipeline capacity — to fix things. Recently, major takeaway constraints emerged in the Permian, much to the detriment of netbacks at the wellhead. There was real concern for a few months that some producers might need to shut in production as there wasn’t any way to get incremental barrels out of the basin. Again, traders and midstream operators got savvy, restarted some dormant crude-by-rail options, initiated long-haul trucking out of Midland, and added more pipe capacity. But what if the next big bottleneck isn’t between two land-based trading hubs? What if there’s not enough export capacity at terminals along the Gulf Coast, the gateway to international markets? In today’s blog, we examine recent export and production trends, and discuss what those could mean for export infrastructure and logistics over the next five years.
See related analysis at this post from yesterday.