Sunday, February 28, 2021

Idle Rambling -- Sunday Night -- Eagerly Awaiting A New Week -- Sunday, February 28, 2021

Apple: Holy mackerel! Microsoft has dropped the price of the new 2021 Surface Pro 7 by $200, from around $900 to around $700. I happened to catch that on a television ad during the race today -- I was blown away -- that speaks volumes -- sounds like Microsoft is going to have trouble giving these things away. Verified the accuracy by checking an internet ad just now


Family Heirlooms

Just Published: A First-Hand Account Of The Boom, 2013

A reader brought this book to my attention: The Good Hand: A Memoir of Work, Brotherhood, and Transformation in an American Boomtown, Michael Patrick F. Smith, c. (released), February 16, 2021, 464 pages. 

It's currently the #1 book over at Amazon in "Fossil Fuels."

From the LA Times, reviewed/published yesterday, February 27, 2021:

In the summer of 2012, Michael Patrick F. Smith read an article in Men’s Journal about the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota. At the time, he was working a white-collar job in lower Manhattan, living in Brooklyn, engaging in the drug- and alcohol-soaked bacchanal of “postadolescent” life available to any steadily employed white man in New York City. He was, it should come as no surprise, bored. So he sublet the apartment, bought a Chevy and drove to the site of the biggest oil boom in a century. 
The Good Hand is in part a meditation on how central oil is to our lives, but it is just as much about the gruesome work of actually extracting that oil. Why the Bakken? “Advances in drilling technology — horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing — have turned this massive though previously unrecoverable shale deposit into a river of sweet crude grease.” The influx of workers was like a “modern Grapes of Wrath,” Smith writes. “Desperate for bodies to work the rigs,” he explains, “North Dakota’s oil field companies gained a reputation for offering good pay, benefits, signing bonuses, per diems, and housing to any dude who could make the trek to town and swing a hammer when he got there.” Smith arrives with $3,000 in cash and $2,500 in credit. Can he swing a hammer? 
This book could have been as unsurprising as the privileged life Smith left behind. Man is bored, does hard thing, emerges with lessons. What makes Smith’s book matter is the wealth of world-building detail, as well as the journey through pain both physical and psychological. 
The first thing Smith has to do is find a place to live — a surprising obstacle from the start. Rents in northwest North Dakota are higher than Manhattan’s. Then he has to find a job. At a library, “Big-boned white men sit alone at scattered tables like lonesome rhinoceroses, poring over job applications and hunting-and-pecking online forms.” Then he has to survive. “A few years of felon-friendly, no-questions-asked hiring by oil companies has gifted Williston, North Dakota, with the highest concentration of rapists and child molesters in the world.” 
After spending 10 nights in his Chevy, Smith locates a mattress for rent on the floor of a flophouse. Upstairs live a woman and her son, both with Tourette’s syndrome. The Jamaicans in another bedroom hide out from the racism rampant in the camp. A crew of drunks and psychopaths shares the cramped townhouse. Fights are common. 
“I lived among them like a friendly ghost,” Smith says, with characteristically poetic understatement. Life in the flop is like jail — “killing time, watching TV, maybe reading, trying to not let the other guys get on your nerves too bad. So you can get back to sleep. So you can wake up. So you can go back to work.” 
Work: the simplicity of getting it and then trying not to die if you screw up. Or kill someone else. Or both. Smith’s triumph in securing the oil job is fleeting. The work really is that hard and that dangerous. “Even after lunch,” he writes, “my stomach feels empty and alert as if, instead of a ham sandwich, I had swallowed an exclamation point.”

And more at the link.

I haven't bought it yet. 

More from the linked review:

There are about 600 chapters in this book. All are quite short. They jump around chronologically with astonishing success. From the first time Smith fits hooks and chains under a heavy piece of equipment to his sad attempts to make friends, from his first glimmers of self-doubt to his what-was-I-thinking agonies, what carries us along is imagery ripped from There Will Be Blood and replanted in striking prose.

Most interesting. Over at, one-hundred percent of the reviews gave the book five stars on a rating scale of one to five. I don't think I've ever seen that before. Even if only his friends and family wrote the reviews, certainly there would be some non-family reviewer who might not be as generous. Ten out of ten perfect ratings is suspect, but then I assume a very particular audience would read this book. 

Records, Records, And More Records -- Focus On Fracking -- February 28, 2021

Awesome! Focus on Fracking is posted early.

The individual who puts together Focus on Fracking says he may have missed a few "records," but thinks he has caught the most important ones.

He says that if it were not for this spring's Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns, "it" would be the worst since Hurricane Harvey, and possibly worse than Harvey.


Let's see the lede. 

  • record drops in:
    • US oil output,
    • US oil exports
    • distillate outputss
  • second largest natural gas supply drop on record;
  • oil prices highest since 2019

Then this:

  • natural gas supplies see second largest drop on record as US burns 15% of inventories in one week:
  • oil prices hit highest since 2019 as US oil exports drop most on record;
  • oil production drop matches record;
  • distillate output drops most on record to an eleven-year low;
  • oil refining and distillate exports drop most since Hurricane Harvey;
  • refinery utilization at a 40-month low;
  • gasoline output falls by most in 46 weeks to lowest in 38 weeks;
  • gasoline demand falls most in 43 weeks to a 39-week low;
The draw could have been a lot worse if we had been exporting LNG .... most, if not all, of the LNG trains were down too ... looking at the dashboard, it appears there were 4 days that week when this year's gas exports fell 10 bcf below last years.

Think about that. The cold snap lasted less then a couple of days, and the US burned through 15% of natural gas inventories. 

Imagine if the cold spell had lasted a week or so, or if there had been seven cold spells in succession.

The "warmists" better hope that global warming is real, because if we're really facing "global cooling" we're in deep doo-doo. 

Much, much more at the linked blog. Re-posting because it seems to fit so well:

For The Archives -- Bloomberg Opinion -- Truly Ridiculous -- Internally Inconsistent -- February 28, 2021

Later: The folks who wrote that Bloomberg article are millennials who did not live through the OPEC embargo. I remember that embargo vividly and the long, long lines. That won't happen again. That to me means "energy independent." Obviously the Bloomberg writers in this case don't get it.

Later: see first comment. I've moved that comment up to the main body of the blog for easier access -- 

It wasn't four dot oh, but it was really one of the better pieces on this sort of thing that I've seen in a while. Smart and well written.

I think you commonly make the mistake of thinking source A to buyer B is important (something many article writers do in error also). However, what really matters is world supply and demand. I.e. the total in/out. Not who gets from who. This is because oil is "fungible". So we feel a price impact regardless of if an outage is from a direct supplier or not.

The reason the article is not perfect is that it does not really discuss product sales enough. A substantial portion of the "products" is propane sales. And propane is really economically more related to natural gas, both supply and consumption. So, if you looked at liquid fuels, we're not even really a net exporter, yet. [But this is a nuance. His main point, how we feel outages REGARDLESS of if they are DIRECT suppliers, is critical. And still important to say it. As so many people, don't get it. 

Tiger update: finally some adult forensics analysis. We've all been there.  

Original Post

Link here.

Physical flows of crude from the Persian Gulf to U.S. shores have dwindled to a trickle, suggesting that a total halt wouldn’t have a dramatic impact and could be offset by increasing purchases form elsewhere or slowly drawing down strategic stockpiles. 
But events in the region that still pumps close a third of the world’s crude can still roil markets, generating huge swings in oil prices that affect everyone from shale frackers to car drivers.

Ho-hum. Must have been a struggle to come up with a topic for an opinion piece. LOL.  

For The Archives

Oldest granddaughter accepted to Vanderbilt. Nine percent acceptance rate. UT-Austin: a 38 percent acceptance rate. Will double major in nuclear engineering and bio-molecular technology with a minor in computer programming.  Just joking. I have no idea what her subject interest will be. But she's going to love the ambience of Nashville, TN. Wow, I envy her. 

One area of the country I would love to spend more time exploring: Tennessee. 

Tennessee played a bigger role in my life than most folks know. 

Texas Freeze

Bitcoin Energy -- CO2 Emissions -- February 28, 2021

This is not a story about CO2 emissions -- of which I could / could not care less. I have no interest in CO2 emissions except to help put the Bakken in perspective. 

This is a story about how much energy demand will increase going forward.

So, we get this. 

Link here

So, we have:
  • China coal plants; and,
  • bitcoin mining in Iceland; and,
  • Bill Gates ignoring the CO2 emissions from those sources. LOL.

Family Heirlooms

Rig Counts In Saudi Arabia -- February 28, 2021

A reader alerted me to this. I will post it now without comment, might come back to it later:

Link here.


At the time the kingdom cut the number of rigs, back in the October time-frame, Saudi suggested it was maintaining constraints on oil production.

So, now we see that dramatic increase, month-over-month.

Let's assume Saudi is telling the truth, that the kingdom will hold the line and not increase production. What does the graph tell you? OMG! The Saudi oil fields have a decline rate greater than Bakken shale! LOL. They need to increase the rig count by 20% to maintain production.

Let's assume Saudi is lying. The graph ... this is not rocket science.

Idle Thoughts Regarding The Bakken And Shale In 2021 -- February 28, 2021

This might be one of the most interesting years for the Bakken in quite some time.

  • across the board, operators in the Bakken say they are going to grow free cash flow; not grow production;
  • analysts suggest WTI will finish the year at $75; some suggest triple digit (hope springs eternal);
  • active rigs in the Bakken have bottomed out at 15 and remained there for quite some time;
  • there weren't many deals in the Bakken in 2020
  • Saudi, OPEC+, Russia: seem confused about what to do next
  • some analysts suggest supply won't meet demand as we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns
  • the future of the DAPL?
  • middle Bakken permits still appear to be about 3:1 vs first bench;

So, some questions:

  • more mergers, acquisitions, deals in the Bakken in 2021?
  • will weget a chance to see if the Bakken can be a swing producer -- if demand exceeds supply will the Bakken surprise?
  • will we get a chance to see how Bakken operators manage their assets?
  • with minimal new drilling; some increase in fracking; will this impact production?
  • will we see change in that 3:1 ratio (new permits, middle Bakken vs first bench)?
  • will there be enough changes in the Bakken to justify a move to "Bakken 5.0"?
  • will average production trend toward 100 bbls/day/well (we got there during the boom; dropped to the low 70s; now about 78, if I recall correctly.

On another note: earlier the question was asked -- has the King had enough of MBS? It's a "fun" question to ask, but there's no way MBS is not the next King of Saudi Arabia. If MBS suddenly disappears, it will make England's War of Roses look like child's play. But we can dream, can't we?

Most surprising development in 2020:

  • increased interest in the Powder River Basin
  • both EOG and CLR made news in the PRB

Two CLR Morris Wells Coming Off Confidential List This Next Week -- February 28, 2021

This page will not be updated.

A couple of CLR Morris wells will be coming off confidential list this next week. The wells:

  • 37713, conf, Morris 12-26H1, Oakdale, no production data,
  • 37793, conf, CLR, Morris 14-26HSL2, Corral Creek, no production data,

The CLR Morris wells are tracked here.

Current graphic of the Morris wells:

Those wells in the southeast quadrant still on confidential:

  • 37713, conf, CLR, Morris 12-26H1,
  • 37714, conf, CLR, Morris 13-26H,
  • 37793, conf, CLR, Morris 14-26HSL2,
  • 37715, drl, CLR, Carson Peak 11-35H2,
  • 37716, conf, CLR, Carson Peak 12-35H1,
  • 37794, conf, CLR, Carson Peak 13-35H,
  • 37795, conf, CLR, Morris 14-35HSL2,

Some observations regarding those most recent permits:

  • added three more second bench Three Forks wells;
  • chronologic numbers are up to 14, but that's 2x = 28

Initial Production Data For Wells Coming Off The Confidential List This Next Week -- February 28, 2021

The wells:

  • 37713, conf, Morris 12-26H1, Oakdale, no production data,
  • 37672, conf, Minnkota Power Cooperative, J-ROC1 1, wildcat, no production data,
  • 36206, conf, CLR, Polk Federal 13-33HSL, Banks,
DateOil RunsMCF Sold
  • 35712, conf, Whiting, Renbarger 24-34HU, Banks,
DateOil RunsMCF Sold
  • 37793, conf, CLR, Morris 14-26HSL2, Corral Creek, no production data, 
  • 37308, conf, WPX, Crosby Chase 2-1HC, Spotted Horn, no production data, 
  • 36245, conf, BR, Maverick 2D MBH, 
  • 37704, conf, Petro-Hunt, USA 153-95-11C-2-1HS, Dimmick Lake, no production data, 
  • 37307, conf, WPX, Crosby Chase 2-1HY,
  • 37306, conf, WPX, Crosby Chase 2-1HG, Spotted Horn, no production data, 
  • 37639, conf, BR, Cherry Ice Cream 1V TFH, Haystack Butte, no production data, 
  • 37305, conf, WPX, Crosby Chase 2-1HZ, Spotted Horn, no production data, 
  • 35952, conf, Whiting, Renbarger Federal 34-33-2TFH, Banks,
DateOil RunsMCF Sold
  • 37715, drl/NC, CLR, Carson Peak 11-35H2, Oakdale, 
  • 37638, drl/drl, BR, Cherry Daquiri 1W MBH, Haystack Butte, no production data, 
  • 37637, drl/drl, BR, Cherry Margarita 1X TFH, Haystack Butte, no production data, 
  • 37636, drl/drl, BR, Cherry Claire 1Y MBH, Haystack Butte, no production data, 
  • 37635, drl/drl, BR, Cherry Tree 1Z TFH, Haystack Butte, no production data, 
  • 37304, drl/NC, WPX, Crosby Chase 2-1HIL, Spotted Horn, no production data, 
  • 37097, A/F, Hess, BW-Spring Creek-149-99-1201H-6, Cherry Creek, first production, 8/20; t--; cum 84K 12/20;
PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

Wells Coming Off The Confidential List This Next Week -- February 28, 2021

Monday, March 8, 2021: 13 for the month, 69 for the quarter, 69 for the year.
37713, conf, Moris 12-26H1,
37672, conf, Minnkota Power Cooperative, J-ROC1 1
36206, conf, CLR, Polk Federal 13-33HSL,

Sunday, March 7, 2021: 10 for the month, 66 for the quarter, 66 for the year.
35712, conf, Whiting, Renbarger 24-34HU,

Saturday, March 6, 2021: 9 for the month, 65 for the quarter, 65 for the year.
37793, conf, CLR, Morris 14-26HSL2,

Friday, March 5, 2021: 8 for the month, 64 for the quarter, 64 for the year.
37789, conf, K T Enterprises,

Thursday, March 4, 2021: 8 for the month, 64 for the quarter, 64 for the year.
37308, conf, WPX, Crosby Chase 2-1HC,
36245, conf, BR, Maverick 2D MBH,

Wednesday, March 3, 2021: 6 for the month, 62 for the quarter, 62 for the year.
37704, conf, Petro-Hunt, USA 153-95-11C-2-1HS,
37307, conf, WPX, Crosby Chase 2-1HY,

Tuesday, March 2, 2021: 4 for the month, 60 for the quarter, 60 for the year.
37306, conf, WPX, Crosby Chase 2-1HG,

Monday, March 1, 2021: 3 for the month, 59 for the quarter, 59 for the year.

  • 37639, conf, BR, Cherry Ice Cream 1V TFH,
  • 37305, conf, WPX, Crosby Chase 2-1HZ,
  • 35952, conf, Whiting, Renbarger Federal 34-33-2TFH,

Sunday, February 28, 2021: 23 for the month, 56 for the quarter, 56 for the year.

  • 37715, conf,  CLR, Carson Peak 11-35H2,
  • 37638, conf, BR, Cherry Daquiri 1W MBH,
  • 37637, conf, BR, Cherry Margarita 1X TFH,
  • 37636, conf, BR, Cherry Claire 1Y MBH,
  • 37635, conf, BR, Cherry Tree 1Z TFH,
  • 37304, conf, WPX, Crosby Chase 2-1HIL,
  • 37097, conf, Hess, BW-Spring Creek-149-99-1201H-6,

Saturday, February 27, 2021: 16 for the month, 49 for the quarter, 49 for the year.

  • None.

Covid Vaccine And EVs -- February 28, 2021

If one wants any more proof that what's holding back America, one doesn't have to look any farther than federal bureaucratic regulations and the Covid-19 vaccine story. In less than a year, three US vaccines have reached the market. Under normal circumstances, two of the three may have never seen the light of day, and none of the three would have come to market in less than five years, again, under normal circumstances.

Trump will get no credit. 

This was Trump's JFK moonshot.

This was Trump's Eisenhower's June 6, 1944.

This was Trump's Groves' / Oppenheimer's Manhattan Project. 

Overnight it was announced that the FDA had authorized emergency use of J&J's single-dose Covid-19 vaccine. Link here to Barron's and the paywall.  Shares of JNJ:

  • up 1.6% in after-hours trading on Friday
  • up 18% from a year ago

World Trade Center, the twin towers:

  • architects selected: September 20, 1962
  • the Port Authority begins acquiring property: March, 1965
  • construction began: March 21, 1966
  • ribbon cutting ceremony: April 4, 1973

Boston's Big Dig:

  • planning began: 1982
  • construction began: 1991
  • construction (considered) complete: 2006
  • project concluded on December 31, 2007, with dissolution of the partnership


Two really good articles on EV -- neither with good news for EV enthusiasts -- in today's WSJ:
how Europe became the world's biggest EV market, and why it might not last;
what's missing in the electric vehicle revolution: enough places to plug in;

I'm too busy to provide many excerpts. I may come back to these articles.

  • Tesla: in deep doo-doo. It wins in three areas:
    • marketing;
    • luxury car market;
    • charging stations.
  • but this is where Tesla will lose: in the trenches:
    • 65 new EV models launched in Europe last year;
      • another 99 are slated to come to market this year in Europe
    • 30-some new EV models launched in China last year;
    • North America: 15 new launches last year (2020)
      • 2021: 64 are planned
  • luxury car market:
    • Tesla
    • BWM AG, Mercedes and Audi launched high-end EVs
      • this year Mercedes is set to launch the EQS -- a highly automated successor to the flagship S-class


I am truly humbled. 

I share my thoughts on the Bakken on a blog simply because it was the easiest way for me to follow the Bakken. It was one of the best things I ever did. The blog has a lot of shortcomings, most of which won't improve over time. 

I am blown away -- and humbled -- to see the names of some of the analysts that follow my blog. Yes, there are ways to do that using social media. 

But I am truly humbled. It makes me want to get more serious about blogging about the Bakken. But wow, that would get boring. 

More On Buffett -- February 28, 2021

Before I get started, and before I forget:

  • F-150 crew cab lease: $450/month
  • Mercedes Benz GLA 250 SUV lease: $400/month


Later, 8:39 a.m.: I highly recommend investors sign up forYahoo!Finance Morning Brief. This is today's web version. After reading the two WSJ articles linked below, this article on WB appeared in my "Morning Brief": no such thing as 'too much': Warren Buffett quotes Mae West in defense of stock buybacks. It turns out: that link takes you to six more linked stories. Let's look at just one excerpt regarding buybacks:

According to Buffett’s logic, the buybacks were conducted to “enhance the intrinsic value per share for continuing shareholders and would leave Berkshire with more than ample funds for any opportunities or problems it might encounter.”

He blasted companies who repurchase stock “at simply any price,” calling that strategy “embarrassing” and just the opposite of what Berkshire likes to do.

He cited Apple’s stock — which he first purchased in late 2016 at a cost of $36 billion — as an example where his approach paid literal dividends. By July 2018, Berkshire held over a billion split-adjusted shares of the iPhone maker, or 5.2%, at a cost of $36 billion.

“Since then, we have both enjoyed regular dividends, averaging about $775 million annually, and have also — in 2020 — pocketed an additional $11 billion by selling a small portion of our position,” he wrote.

“Despite that sale — voila! — Berkshire now owns 5.4% of Apple,” Buffett declared. And because Apple continually bought back its own stock, that’s increased the value of Berkshire’s holdings, and helped boost shareholder value.

“Because we also repurchased Berkshire shares during the 21⁄2 years, you now indirectly own a full 10% more of Apple’s assets and future earnings than you did in July 2018,” the investor said.

“The math of repurchases grinds away slowly, but can be powerful over time. The process offers a simple way for investors to own an ever-expanding portion of exceptional businesses,” he added.

Original Post 

More -- but the same -- on Berkshire.

See this note from yesterday.

Now, today, these notes from The WSJ article on Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway today.


  • Warren Buffett consistently and routinely chastises other companies for stock buybacks. This past year, BRK bought back a record $25 billion in its own shares; he defends. Fell on deaf ears. Mine.
  • again, the adulation Buffett gets: this was a very, very long article, but it wasn't until the penultimate paragraph that we read that BRK-A shares appreciated 2.3% in 2020; compare to the S&P 500: 16% in a booming stock market;
    •  the fact that BRK-A did so poorly speaks volumes about where investors/traders are putting their money; not in BRK
  • one does have to wonder; his fourth-quarter profits rose nearly 23% and his shares languish; without question, these are shares every investor should accumulate for the long haul
  • 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.
  • He admits he blew it on Precision Parts; he is too hard on himself; I was too hard on Buffett for blowing it on Precision Parts; this was related more to Covid-19 than anything else and completely unpredictable; a "black swan"; I take back my comments regarding Buffett and Precision Parts
  • I started out this note with a negative tone; after going through the article, and thinking about it, again, I apologize. I now appreciate Buffett more than ever. Seriously. I'm not being sarcastic.
  • Any "fund" that can increase its profits by almost 25% quarter-over-quarter and yet not attract buyers? The losers are the investors who don't accumulate shares in BRK; over time this will take care of itself
  • BRK-A's P/E: 16
    • most recent price: 368K
    • one-year target: 404K
  • BRK-B's P/E: --
    • most recent price: 240
    • one-year target: 260