Saturday, January 16, 2021

Notes From A Different Planet -- The Portland, OR, Edition -- January 16, 2021

Portland, OR: actually I don't have any local news from Portland. I'm visiting, it's my second visit in less than thirty days to see the 10-month-old grandsons. 

Stimulus checks: my daughter tells me they just received their $600 stimulus checks -- one each for her and Tim. They will get the checks for their boys when she and Tim file their income taxes later this spring, this round of checks plus checks from the initial round, which seems so long ago. And they will get another $1,400 each later this spring, and again, something for the boys. 

Amazon Prime: my wife told me she doesn't watch Amazon Prime videos because she doesn't want to "take advantage of Amazon." Say what? We pay an annual subscription for Amazon Prime which includes a number of perks including a pretty extensive library of movie and television programs. My wife, Mayumi, thinks she is taking advantage of the "system" if she logs on to our account when she is in Portland, OR, and I am logged in while in Grapevine, TX. LOL. I told Mayumi that Jeff Bezos is the second richest man in the world. She should not be worried about taking advantage of the "system." 

PSA: during that conversation I learned from our daughter/son-in-law, that not only is my wife, Mayumi, NOT taking advantage of Amazon but Amazon actually encourages all family members to log onto their Amazon Prime account. They now allow two adults and two children (or something like that) to set up individual sub-accounts on the main Amazon Prime account. Separate billing accounts are  set up and no one can see what the others are doing. So, Mayumi can use our Amazon Prime account to shop for things for me (or others) without me knowing what she is buying. She also pays for those things with her own credit card so I'm not hit for unforeseen credit card charges. I can watch R-rated movies on Amazon Prime without Mayumi knowing what I'm watching. Maybe Amazon has done this all along and I simply did not know. But I find it amazing that we can have several sub-accounts -- completely separate and "secret" -- under the one Amazon Prime account. I assume the way Amazon controls this is requiring identical billing addresses on the various credit cards. 

The Book Page

A reader sent me this item from The [Minneapolis] StarTribune: Dakota Attitude: Interviews from Every Town in North Dakota, Jim Puppe. The tag: a North Dakota man traveled 113,000 miles in 14 years to gather stories from elders in every town in the state. The author, Jim Puppe, recorded 617 stories, every town in North Dakota, from Abercrombie to Zeeland, from the Red River to the Badlands. 

My favorite story from the StarTribune article: the story of WWII POW Maurice Bonemeyer. 

And on the day he was freed, Bonemeyer said, "Here comes this Sherman tank. That was the greatest sight I ever say."

The Book Page

Over the past week or so I've been re-reading The Los Alamos Primer: The First Lectures on How to Build an Atomic Bomb, Robert Serber, c. 1992.

This was a real find for me. I bought it at a small museum in Los Alamos when we visited last winter while on a ski vacation. It's a thin little book, only 63 pages, not including end notes, an appendix, index, etc. I think I've talked about it before on the blog; I don't remember.

As the title says, it is a transcript, along with explanatory notes, of the first five lectures given to every scientist arriving at Los Alamos in 1943 working on development of the "gadget."

It's amazing how little these scientists actually knew when they began this process and how fast and how far they advanced. The physicists who were there, who were involved is simply mind-boggling.

For anyone with a high degree of interest in this story, who already have three or four biographies of the men and women involved and another two or three books on the Manhattan Project, this book is must-have. It was very, very expensive at the museum; I assume it can found for much less on line. 

On another note, from The New York Times, October 11, 2014: transcripts kept secret for 60 years bolster defense of Oppenheimer's loyalty. It certainly appears that Edward Teller was incredibly angry, vindictive, and petty. That certainly concurs with what was said in The Los Alamos Primer.


Of the Soviet spies not caught during the war, one of the most valuable was the British physicist Klaus Fuchs. Fuchs first offered his services to Soviet intelligence in late 1941. Soon thereafter, he began passing information regarding British atomic research. 
Soviet intelligence lost contact with him in early 1944 but eventually found out that Fuchs had been reassigned to the bomb research and development laboratory at Los Alamos as part of the newly-arrived contingent of British scientists. 
Fuchs worked in the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos, and from there he passed to his Soviet handlers detailed information regarding atomic weapons design. Returning home to begin work on the British atomic program in 1946, he continued to pass secret information to the Soviet Union intermittently until he was finally caught (largely due to VENONA), and in January 1950 he confessed everything.

For over four decades, Klaus Fuchs was thought to be the only spy who was a physicist at Los Alamos. In the mid-1990s, release of the VENONA intercepts revealed an alleged second scientist-spy: Theodore Hall
Like Fuchs, a long-time communist who volunteered his services, Hall made contact with Soviet intelligence in November 1944 while at Los Alamos. Although not as detailed or voluminous as that provided by Fuchs, the data supplied by Hall on implosion and other aspects of atomic weapons design served as an important supplement and confirmation of Fuchs's material. 
The FBI learned of Hall's espionage in the early 1950s. Unlike Fuchs, however, under questioning Hall refused to admit anything. The American government was unwilling to expose the VENONA secret in open court. Hall's espionage activities had apparently ended by then, so the matter was quietly dropped.

The most famous "atomic spies," Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, never worked for the Manhattan Project. 
Julius Rosenberg was an American engineer who by the end of the war had been heavily involved in industrial espionage for years, both as a source himself and as the "ringleader" of a network of like-minded engineers dispersed throughout the country. 
Julius's wife, the former Ethel Greenglass, was also a devoted communist, as was her brother David. 
David Greenglass was an Army machinist, and in the summer of 1944 he was briefly assigned to Oak Ridge. After a few weeks, he was transferred to Los Alamos, where he worked on implosion as a member of the Special Engineering Detachment. Using his wife Ruth as the conduit, Greenglass soon began funneling information regarding the atomic bomb to his brother-in-law, Julius Rosenberg, who then turned it over to Soviet intelligence. As Greenglass later explained, "I was young, stupid, and immature, but I was a good Communist."

In March 1946, Greenglass left the Army. Soviet intelligence maintained contact with him, urging him to enroll at the University of Chicago in order to re-enter atomic research. The NKGB (the People's Commissary for State Security and the predecessor to the KGB) offered to pay his tuition, but Greenglass's application to Chicago was rejected. In 1950, the confession of Klaus Fuchs led the FBI to his handler, Harry Gold, who in turn led the FBI to David Greenglass. When confronted, Greenglass confessed, implicating his wife Ruth and his brother-in-law, Julius Rosenberg. 
This was soon confirmed through VENONA intercepts (Rosenberg was codenamed ANTENNA and LIBERAL, Ethel was WASP, Greenglass was BUMBLEBEE and CALIBER, and his wife Ruth was OSA). The "rolling up" of the espionage ring stopped, however, with the Rosenbergs. Julius and Ethel (who knew of her husband's activities and at times assisted him) both maintained their innocence and refused to cooperate with authorities in order to lessen their sentences. 
Because of his cooperation, Greenglass received only 15 years, and his wife, Ruth, was never formally charged. The Rosenbergs were sentenced to death. Authorities apparently hoped to use the death sentences as leverage to get them to name names, but the Rosenbergs maintained their silence. Despite a worldwide campaign for clemency, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed on June 19, 1953.

The Daily Activity Report From Yesterday, Friday, January 15, 2021

Active rigs:

Active Rigs1256685736

Marathon still at three, and CLR is back up to two -- both CLR rigs drilling Gale wells in Dunn County.

No new permits.

Nine permits renewed:

  • CLR (5): two Thronson permits and a Sorenson permit, all in Mountrail County; a Tanager and a Nuthatch permit, both in Divide County;
  • Lime Rock Resources (4): a State, Kary, Emil Veverka, and Schneider permit, all four in Dunn County:

Two producing wells completed:

  • 37459, loc/A, Petro-Hunt, USA 153-95-13D-12-5H, 33-053-09361, Phelps Bay, Three Forks, no production data, fracked 11/15/20 - 12/1/20; 8.7 million gallons of water; 89.9% water by mass; 960-acre; section 13 and SW/2 of section 12; (shouldn't this be "S/2 of section 12?)
  • 37460, loc/A, Petro-Hunt, USA 153-95-13C-12-4H, 33-053-09362, Phelps Bay, middle Bakken; no production data, fracked 11/15/20 - 12/1/20; ; 12.6 million gallons of water; 91.8% water by mass; 960-acre; section 13 and SW/2 of section 12; (shouldn't this be "S/2 of section 12?)


  • there are five wells on that pad; the other three: #37461, #37458, and #37457; these wells have been fracked but no production data;

However, look at this: the nearest well to the west of these wells:

  • 33817, 683, Petro-Hut, USA 153-95-23D-14-1HS (a line section well), Charlson, t7/18; cum 563K 11/20; note that this well was taken off line when the wells to the east were fracked; note the jump in production after the well was brought back on line; see full production profile here:
PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

Notes From All Over -- The Saturday Edition -- January 16, 2021

ICYMI: top stories of the week have been posted



Mostly I'm posting this out of boredom. Not much going on. 

Over at SeekingAlpha. Nice map at the site.  On average, from oil well to end user, America's natural gas, oil, and petrochemicals traverse six – six! – of Enterprise's mission-critical services. 

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

North Dakota Budget Talk -- 2021 - 2023 Biennium

I normally don't pay much attention to North Dakota legislative activity, but a four-hour flight from Grapevine, TX, to Seattle, WA, gave me an opportunity to spend some time doing just that. 

I was surprised how interesting this all was.

Some data points from Geoff Simon's top ND energy news for the week:

  • ND legislative appropriations committee adopted an interim revenue forecast for the 2021 - 2023 biennium;
    • income forecast:
      • $40 / bbl through the biennium
      • production to decline to 1.1 million bpd (2021-2022)
      • production to decline to 1.0 million bopd (2022-2023)
      • this would add just under $3 billion in oil tax collections over the coming biennium;
      • compares to $3.5 billion expected in the current biennium (2019 - 2021)
    • expenditures:
      • $434 million to western North Dakota (formulaic)
      • that would be down about 16% from the $518 million in the current biennium
  • Legacy Fund: would realize $780 million in deposits
    • from that $780 million:
      • Common Schools Trust Fund: $127 million
      • Foundation Aid Stabilization Fund: $127 million
      • Three Affiliated Tribes: $373 million
  • other income:
    • sales tax revenue: $1.74 billion
    • personal income tax: $816 million
    • corporate income tax: $260 million
    • motor vehicle excise tax: $260 million

Director's comments with release of Director's Cut:

  • monthly crude oil production held steady due in part of 74 new well completions in November
  • look at this: in December, 44 wells were completed, most of which were credited to the state's CARES Act frack incentive -- Helms said the number of completed wells in December would have likely dropped to zero without that incentive
  • unlikely to see an increase in drilling activity unless prices stabilize above $55/bbl
  • the industry continues to meet the natural gas capture target, 93%
  • slightly slower on the reservation due to difficulty obtaining right-of-way for construction of gating pipelines (flaring will become less of a problem on federal land if the DAPL is shut down)
  • mentioned the completion of Outrigger Energ's Sanderson NGL processing plant 15 miles west of Williston; capacity: 250 million cubic feet of gas per day (42,000 BOEPD?)


  • proposed budget: $1.8 billion for new biennium
    • about $400 million more than current biennium
    • that $400 increase possible if bonding (Legacy Fund) proposal accepted
  • widening US Highway 85 from Watford City to I-94
    • 2021 - 2023 budget includes $50 million to widen US Highway 85 from Watford City south to Long X Bridge
    • requires US Congressional support
    • phase 2: US Highway 85 from Long X Bridge to state highway 200
    • phase 3: US Highway 85 from state highway 200 to I-94