Saturday, June 19, 2021

Off The Net For Awhile -- June 19, 2021

Going swimming. Got my second of two Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine(s) earlier today. 

If I drown in the pool, blame it on the vaccine.  

Later: procrastinating. I hate doing "top stories" of the week.

Listening to Brenda Lee.

Lee's total of nine consecutive top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits from "That's All You Gotta Do" in 1960 through "All Alone Am I" in 1962 set a record for a female solo artist that was not equaled until 1986 by Madonna.

Teresa Wright. [Later, this was posted June 19, 2021. I did not "know" her. My wife did. Today, June 21, 2021, Ms Teresa Wright is being featured on TCM. LOL.]

Mercedes McCambridge.

Something very charming and refreshing in this.


Week 24: June 13, 2021 -- June 19, 2021

Top story of the week:

  • Joe Biden is still president.

Top international non-energy story:

Top international energy story:

  • Volatility in price of oil;

Top national non-energy story:

Top national energy story:

Top North Dakota non-energy story:

Top North Dakota energy story:

Geoff Simon's top North Dakota energy stories:






Bakken economy:


We're Being Played -- Best Video Of The Day -- Juneteenth, 2021

Every one of these wind turbines needs natural gas back-up. LOL. 

Notes From All Over -- Is The Dickinson Meridian Davis Refinery Dead? - Early Saturday Afternoon, Part 2 -- Juneteenth, 2021

Back with a vengeance: US crude oil exports surge / bounce back / now above three million b/d.

  • number to follow, for US exports, crude oil: three million bbls
  • most recent data: April, 2021
  • destinations:
  • the Netherlands, #1; where all the refineries are; they are optimized for Brent:
  • FoB WTI hit an 18-month high against Ice Brent; quick link here;
  • remember: a lot of WTI is blended with Brent;
  • India, #2
  • full Argus Media article here;

Top three ArgusMedia stories today, link here (this is likely to be a dynamic link)

  • Vitol sees 2021 oil at $70 - $80/bbl;
  • Argentina shale oil beckons
  • Johan Sverdrup: potential benchmark savior;

But, is the story of the day? Is the Meridian Davis refinery dead? If so, died from a thousand cuts? Regulators give the developers three more months to begin construction ... otherwise, sayonara. Link here.  Also, here, no paywall.

Notes From All Over - Early Saturday Afternoon, Part 1 -- Juneteenth, 2021

Reminder: y'all with a joint income less than $150,000 and at least one child: a $600 check / child each month through the end of the year, six months. At a minimum: $3,600 for the last half of the year. If y'all three children, $1,800 / month. And with six kids, yes, it's a lottery -- $3,600/month. What a great country.

Iran: quality of its key crude grades, link here

The exodus: only one US city saw a bigger pandemic exodus than San Francisco. San Jose, across the bay. Link here.

While Seattle was the fastest-growing city in 2020, San Francisco’s population shrank by 1.39% between July of 2019, and 2020, U.S. Census data shows. Before that, San Francisco’s population had been growing modestly since 2010. Baltimore, meanwhile, declined by 1.42%.

Meanwhile, back in Baltimore:

  • back in March, 2020: Baltimore population dropped below 600,000, the lowest total in a century; but it was bad even before the pandemic;
  • back in April, 2019, a year earlier and before the pandemic: Baltimore notes the biggest population loss in a single year since 2001;
  • it took awhile for folks to finally get the message, money, and move; it was several years earlier, April, 2015, when the Baltimore mayor famously said, "Give those who want to destroy space to do that."

On the way to zero:

  • US 30-year yield falls to 2.002%; lowest since February, 2021;
  • and just yesterday everyone was worried about hyperinflation;
  • this story has not yet played out
    • it seems about a week ago, the split was 80 - 20, steep inflation vs stagflation, on business talk show and in print media;
    • now, the shift seems to have become 20 - 80.

Now Tesla


  • from social media: fantasy, Elon will sell twenty million cars a year; reality, Elon can't sell a single plant's worth of cars domestically in China, there's no need to talk of a second plant there, and he is already forced to export excess production to the EU, where he has 6% "BEV" market share.  
  • BEV is dead -- look at the graphic carefully;
    it was reported earlier that US EV owners, to the tune of 20% or more, would not buy another EV, even to replace their first one;

Notes From All Over -- Saturday Morning Edition, Part 2 -- Juneteenth, 2021

Does it matter? Even those with the most inside information can't always call the market lows. Bloomberg, which seems to delight in such stories, especially when it concerns oil, and even more so when it concerns the Bakken, reports that Harold Hamm "plowed" $10 million into Continental Resources before the market “fell.”

  • let's see. Harold Hamm is a billionaire. That's at least $1,000,000,000.
  • dividing into $10 million: 0.01 or one percent. 
  • and that's a headline? 
  • let's re-visit the story a year from now. 


  • 52-week high at this time: $39
  • price of CLR on Friday, June 18, 2021: $34
  • price of CLR on Friday, June 25, 2021: $39


June 29, 2021: update.

Original Post

Danaher to acquire Aldevron, from a reader, link here:

  • Danaher, DHR
  • Aldevron: privately-held
  • $10 billion; cash-on-hand and proceeds from the issuance of commercial paper
    • for comparison, MDU, a Fortune 500 company, has a market value of $6 billion
  • Aldevron:
    • founded in 1998
    • Fargo, ND
    • 600 people
    • manufactures plasmid DNA, mRNA, proteins
  • Aldevron will operate as a stand-alone operating company and brand within Danaher's Life Sciences segment

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


Bakken radioactive waste has a home: TENORM disposal in ND.

  • KT Enterprises was the second company in North Dakota to seek permission to try this new approach to disposal of TENORM wastes in North Dakota, but it was first to cross the finish line and receive all its permits. It began operating in April on a 40-acre site one-half mille south of Johnson’s Corner, which is the intersection of Highway 73 and 23.
  • radioactive slurry is injected thousands of feet underground in McKenzie County
  • is this scalable? I believe there's a railroad that runs from the Hanford Site to North Dakota.
  • by the way, if radioactivity in the oil patch bothers you, search "bananas" in the blog.

Missed an opportunity:

  • Juneteenth: in hindsight it was inevitable. Trump should have "done it."

Word For The Day

Have we done this one yet? I've had it on the desktop for so long, I've honestly forgotten.

Tannoy and tannoy.

Like Xerox and xerox.

Like Google and google.

Tannoy Ltd is a British manufacturer of loudspeakers and public-address systems, founded in 1926. Somewhere along the line Tannoy became a household name, apparently as a result of supplying PA systems to the armed forces during WWII. 

Tannoy is notable for its "Dual Concentric" speak design, which places the tweeter behind the center of the medium or bass driver. "Dual Concentric" is a trademark although Tannoy is not the only speaker manufacturer to design coaxial speakers. 

The name Tannoy is a syllabic abbreviation of tantalum alloy which was developed by the company. 

I first saw the word "tannoy" in Bettany Hughes' biography of Helen of Troy. She used the word once and I missed it the first three times reading her book. I finally caught it the fourth time reading.

The term "tannoy" is used in British English for any public-address system, and as a very, to "tannoy," for making an announcement in a public place. Although the word is a registered trademark, it is often used generically.

So, next time you visit Europe, and you board the ferry to cross the English Channel, you can earn a brownie point or two by using the word in conversation. Buying a round of drinks for  your party will earn you even more brownie points. 

By the way, I had a devil of a time running down the meaning of "tannoy" but in hindsight, easy peasy.


Okay, how many readers actually knew what TENORM means (from the story above).

Briefly: technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material. Would this be a word Iran could use?

Is there a difference between NORM and TENORM? Yup.

Wow, this could go on forever, but we will stop here.

Notes From All Over -- Saturday Morning Edition, Part 1 -- Juneteenth, 2021

Coal is dead! Long live coal! Wow, how many times have I posted those six words? From social media: US year-to-date coal production totaled 261.5 million shorts tons, 8.7% higher than the comparable year-to-date coal production in 2020. Or go directly to EIA's "weekly coal production" site.

Bakken natural gas -- year-long high: Canadian gas exports on Northern Border reach five-month high despite Bakken growth. Link at S&P Global Platts. Wow, it looks like Platts didn't know which story line to headline. Data points:

  • Bakken production reaches year-long high (with 16 active rigs, just saying);
  • Bakken gas flaring remains under 7% (how's the Permian doing?)
  • Canadian natural gas exports on the North Border Pipeline increased by an average of more than 200 million cfpd over the past seven days (article published June 14, 2021)
  • Bakken supply on the pipeline: 1.68 billion cfpd
  • lowest amount of Bakken supply on that line since the severe winter storm in mid-February
  • freeze-offs dropped it to 1.64 billion cfpd
  • okay: 1.68 billion vs 1.64 billion, and that's a headline
  • Bakken rigs have climbed nearly 40% since January 1, 2021 (previously posted)

Bloomberg on shale: I had seen this link some time ago, debated whether to post it. Then a reader sent it to me. So it's linked/posted, FWIW. "After blowing $300 billion, US shale finally makes money." Way too many story lines to even begin. All I know is this: a lot of mom-and-pop mineral owners in North Dakota don't mind one bit, smiling all the way to the bank. Which reminds me, the data for the June, 2021, North Dakota Legacy Fund will be posted this next week. Link is here. Currently about $40 million is added each month to the coffers. 

Natural gas reclassification: I understand this not at all but will post the link for the archives. Maybe some day it will make sense.

China: considers lifting all childbirth restrictions by 2025. Link at The WSJ

There are so many story lines, I cannot even begin. However, from an energy point of view, and that's all I really care about any more with regard to a blog focused on the Bakken: this tells me all I need to know about China's energy situation. Any decision to drop childbirth restrictions has to be done lock-step with regard to energy requirements. This suggests to me that China feels very comfortable meeting its energy needs going forward. 

That's huge. 

China: I've followed this story for years, mostly from an environmental point of view, but now it's history -- that massive Chinese hydropower plant on the Yaangtze River has begun full operation. Huge. Link here to Charles Kennedy.

  • seventh-largest hydropower facility in the world
  • 12-generators
  • $19 billion
  • installed capacity of 10.2 GW
  • first started generating electricity one year ago, but now all generators on line
  • Wudongde plant aka the "who-done-it" plant
  • displaces 12.2 million tons of standard coal and eliminates 30.5 million tons of CO2 annually (FWIF)
  • global hydropower capacity:
  • China, #1: 1.302 terawatt-hours as of 2019
  • Canada, a distant #2: 398 TWh
  • China with four of the world's largest hydropower plants, including the massive Three Gorges dam with a capacity of 22.5 GW and Xiluodo aka Xanadu, 13.86 GW

Gasoline demand: the EIA data does not seem to corroborate this story, but Reuters is reporting that US motor vehicle travel jumped by 55% in April, 2021, over 2020 levels. 

Trending on social media: HBO Max releases "Integration test Email #1." 

Exxon feeling pretty good these days? The company rejects union proposal to end Texas refinery lock out. Link here. Seven weeks so far.

And why not? If they were cheap a week ago, they're really cheap now. Three cheap energy stocks to buy right now, from The Motley Fool. By the way, what three things to these three companies have in common?

  • Enbridge
  • EPD
  • OKE

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.

Answer to quiz:

  • they're all pipeline companies;
  • they're all making a gazillion dollars in the Bakken;
  • they all pay a great dividend

Energy: This Is Not Going To Turn Out Well -- Juneteenth, 2021

It's too late: it's too late to avoid a major oil supply crisis. Link here. I really respect this writer/analyst, but how many times have we seen "woe is me, not enough CAPEX." Oh, give me a break. If oil hits $100, every shale basin in the US -- and there are scores of them -- will be booming.

Blackouts in the west: drought reducing hydroelectric power. From The WSJ.

  • We've seen this movie before.

Oil bulls are dancing in the dark, FT, behind a paywall but easy to get around. 

  • A typical FT story, reporting what most of us already know but offering no new insight.

Cuba or Venezuela: video at 9:00 p.m. 

  • Gasoline lines now stretch for more than two miles, last longer than four days and four nights.

And it's just begun, from social media:

  • a single Tesla battery weighs about 1,000 pounds; requires the removal of about 500,000 pounds of various ores from the earth.
  • the BEVs in North American (one million cars) have as much cobalt in them as one billion iPhones
  • and then, of course, there's always the Anaconda copper mine;

From a reader, California and diesel:

"A major retailer told me if that engine [the Cummins Westport 15-liter-natural-gas engine launched in China a few months ago] was available here today, they would pull all of their trucks out of California tomorrow - the diesel trucks - and replace them with natural gas."

The above statement came from a Commercial Carrier Journal article from 3 days ago titled 'Nat gas trucks enjoying great interest ...". 
About a 10 minute read focusing on RNG ... Renewable Natural Gas, with a scathing highlight on one of [the blog's] favorite topics - the gross inadequacy of infrastructure to 'power' Electric vehicles.

While I personally think the entire RNG world is silly, it appears that I may be mistaken from an investment/financial perspective. (The RBN Energy post today touches upon this topic). 
With California punishing diesel while simultaneously giving money to dairy farmers, landfill operators and municipal waste water facilities, the switch away from diesel might occur more rapidly than I would have anticipated. (See above quote).
My quick reply: From an investor's point of view, betting against "California craziness" could be costly.

A Reader Comments On Covid-19: The Experiences Of The Dakotas Vs New Mexico -- Juneteenth, 2021

From a reader with minimal editing:

Remember, South Dakota's Governor Noem was the only governor who enacted no COVID mandates - none.  People said that the Sturgis biker rally was going to bring about an apocalypse.  They were wrong.  Actually, dead wrong.

Look at how well South Dakota fared - no masks, no quarantines, no shelter-at- home, no business closures, no silly spacing, nada, nothing, zilch.  [Well, she did close public school classrooms from mid March thru the end of May.  But only two states (Montana and Wyoming) were willing to NOT deprive kids of classroom education and reopened their classrooms in early May 2020.]


Contrast that with the governor of New Mexico who shut down everything she could and frightened people into the most illogical lifestyles.


A new report from Emily Burns at The Smile Project places New Mexico 7th-worst overall. The data used are below and include death rates, unemployment, and lost schooling. There are other ways to rate overall COVID performance, but the chart below does a solid job.
By those standards, New Mexico’s governor is hardly doing a good job on COVID 19.

Another comparison that fascinates me is the North-Dakota-to-South-Dakota comparison. 
Start with the fact they both states are very similar: climate, lifestyle, nature AND nurture.  
South Dakota's Governor Noem took a courageous stand.  North Dakota's Burgum isn't as tough, so he enacted a lot of the restrictions promulgated by 'science".  Shouldn't there have been a lot more difference?  Actually, since ND was "safer", shouldn't the results have been reversed? Both states did almost as equally well, but the "less safe" state with the Sturgic rally was 8th best in the country. North Dakota came in tenth, but still incredibly respectable.

The two states which kicked kids off their home computers and made them go back to school in early May (Montana and Wyoming) didn't listen to the national teachers' union, did they?  And look how well their populations fared.  
Remember, these numbers are adjusted to statistics per million, so it's not just because they're thinly populated ... Again NM is quite thinly populated, but the governor's policies sure ruined any advantage that would have given that state.

PCs Have Become The New Telephone -- Compressing 2020 - 2035 Into 2020 - 2025 -- Juneteenth, 2021

Before we get started, this breaking news: Apple maintains 5G market lead in 1Q21 despite Vivo and Samsung gains. Link here.  

Apple shipped an estimated 40.4 million iPhone 12 devices during the first quarter of 2021. The figure suggests Apple has maintained its grip on the global 5G smartphone market, despite indicating a 23% dip compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, when Apple shipped 52.2 million units.

Now, back to what I had planned to write about.

For background and where I track this story.

Apple may have just pivoted from a fashion company to a semiconductor/tech company. If not, Apple now has a new division.

  • fashion
  • streaming
  • semiconductors

Where we are today with regard to semiconductors:

  • Intel is struggling with 10 nm chips
  • Apple made news with the 7 nm chips -- that was about seven months ago
  • Apple made news with the 5 nm chips -- that was about five weeks ago
  • now, Apple is making news with the 3 nm chip

Intel processor marker share may fall to new low next year due to Apple silicon. Link here

Apple supplier TSMC readies 3nm chip production for 2H22, link here:

Apple supplier TSMC is preparing to produce 3nm chips in the second half of 2022, and in the coming months, the supplier will begin production of 4nm chips. 
Apple had previously booked the initial capacity of TSMC's 4nm chip production for future Macs and more recently ordered TSMC to begin production of the A15 chip for the upcoming iPhone 13, based on an enhanced 5nm process. 
Today's report outlines a more long-term plan for TSMC, stating that the new 3nm chip process will offer 15% performance boost alongside 30% improved energy efficiency and will enter mass production late next year.

Laptops Will (Have?) Become The New Telephones

From The WSJ: why PCs are turning in to giant phones. Apple is dragging Microsoft, Google and the entire PC industry into the 21st century. A story we won't see on Microsoft-NBC. From the story:

Longer battery life is directly related to squeezing more computing power out of fewer watts of electricity, and Apple is leading the way there, says Geoff Blaber, chief executive of CCS Insight, a technology consulting firm. Apple has spent years amassing in-house chip-design expertise while designing its own processors, first for the iPhone. These processors are based on the instructions used by chips from U.K.-based microchip-design company Arm and compete with Intel’s x86 technology, which dominates the PC and data-center industries, and until recently powered Apple’s Mac computers. Apple used the same expertise to develop its M1 processors for the Mac.Mr. Blaber says Apple’s chip performance “has got the rest of the industry very, very concerned,” adding that the company is “orders of magnitude ahead of the competition today.”

For Apple, this translates into record-breaking performance on many benchmarks for its MacBook Air and Pro laptops, but also its iPad Pro, which uses the same M1 processor and has 5G connectivity. The M1 chip is also now in iMac, but Apple has yet to give any of its notebooks a touch screen, something found on many competing PCs.

Apple’s tight control of hardware and software means that the company has in some ways pioneered—and hastened the industrywide adoption of—microchip customization, to better run the software we use most often, says Miguel Nunes, senior director of product management at microchip giant Qualcomm. Such customization at the hardware level makes software faster than it would be if it were just running on general-purpose chips, such as the ones that for decades formed the core of Intel’s business.

And You Thought It Was Bad In North Dakota -- Juneteenth, 2021

Earlier this week a reader sent me a note suggesting it was either his imagination or the mosquitoes in Dallas, TX, really were a bigger problem the year. Our soccer-playing granddaughter has suggested the same thing. Now this, from Powerline:

By the way, from the same source:

 ... and we don't know about the escape for months ....