Thursday, July 22, 2021

Dickinson Oil Refinery Converted To Renewable Diesel Plant -- Bismarck Tribune -- July 22, 2021

I can't recall if I posted this story earlier.

Marathon Petroleum has converted its Dickinson Refinery into a plant that turns soybean and corn oil into renewable diesel, and soon the facility will run in part on wind power.

Plans to convert the refinery west of Dickinson have been in the works for years after it opened in 2015 and struggled financially. The facility stopped processing oil in April 2020. The transition took place a few months earlier than planned after the coronavirus pandemic hit and caused demand to fall for motor fuels made at the refinery.

Heat and hydrogen are used to process soybean and corn oil into renewable diesel. The fuel differs from biodiesel, which usually made from vegetable oils but is blended into petroleum diesel for use in certain vehicles. Biodiesel can gel up inside a vehicle when the temperature drops in winter, so it tends to make up a smaller fraction of the fuel into which it’s blended.

Renewable diesel, on the other hand, flows well even when it’s cold and can be used alone in diesel engines, though it too is often blended.

The Dickinson plant began producing renewable diesel late last year and has ramped up to its full capacity in recent weeks. It has the ability to produce 12,000 barrels per day of the biofuel.

California is the primary consumer of renewable diesel in the United States. To get its oil there, Marathon is shipping fuel from the Dickinson facility to the West Coast via train. It’s then loaded onto ships that take it south.

Much more at the link. Incredible photo at the link. Original article by Amy R. Sisk, May 18, 2021.

This refinery conversion was also mentioned in US News back on August 27, 2020.

Great Investment

A CLR Kukla Well In Chimney Butte Goes Over 500K Bbls Crude Oil -- July 22, 2021

The well:

PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

Never a great well; just another "steady Eddie."

A Marathon Ostlund Well Goes Over 500K Bbls Crude Oil -- July 22, 2021

The well:

  • 21351, 1,774, Marathon, Ostlund 11-14H, Reunion Bay, t2/12; cum 536K 5/21; recent production:
PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

Never a great well. Just a "steady Eddie."

A Zavanna Panther Well Near Williston Goes Over 550K Bbls Crude Oil -- July 22, 2021

The well:

  • 21226, 996, Zavanna, Panther 16-21H, Stony Creek, t4/12; cum 399K 5/18; 535K 5/21; recent production:
PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

Look at the production profile just prior to the above:


You don't see this in conventional wells, I'm told. I don't know. I never followed conventional oil plays. But I know Dr Hubbert said this does not happen. 

A Bruin Antelope Field Well Goes Over 600K Bbls Crude Oil -- July 22, 2021

The well;

  • 20088, 1,390, Bruin/HRC/Petro-Hunt, Fort Berthold 151-94-34C-27-1H, Sanish, s10/11; t1/12; cum 515K 5/18; cum 604K 5/21; recent production:
PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

Re-Posting Data From The Bakken Today -- July 22, 2021

Natural gas: the big story today -- all over twitter -- natural gas is solidly at $4.00. Most of us remember, not so long ago, $1.75 or thereabouts. Perhaps that's a bit on the low side, but ... whatever ....

I'm re-posting this. This is the report from the Bakken today but because of so much other stuff that was posted, this might have gotten lost in the clutter. 

Back to the Bakken

Active rigs:

Active Rigs2311556758

No new permits.

Seven permits renewed:

  • XTO (3): three Edwards Trust Federal permits in McKenzie County.
  • BR (3): two George permits and one Bailey-George permit, all in McKenzie County.
  • CLR: a Juneau permit in Williams County.

One permit canceled:

  • XTO: a Prairie Federal permit in McKenzie County.

Two producing wells (DUCs) reported as completed:

  • 35807, drl/NC, Petro-Hunt, Little Knife, Billings County, no production data,
  • 36313, loc/NC, BR, State Dodge 1B MBH, Dimmick Lake, first production, 3/21; t--; cum 74K 5/21; 33-053-09019; fracked 11/1/20 - 11/8/20; and 1/2/21 - 1/6/21; first frack, 9.4 million gallons of water; 88.1% water by mass; second frack, 1/2/21 - 1/6/21; 4.5 million gallons of water; 87.5% water by mass; the BR Dodge wells in Dimmick Lake are tracked here; production:
PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

Notes From All Over -- Evening Edition -- July 22, 2021

Jim Cramer: like him, or hate him, you have to listen to him. Tonight's opening monologue on today's market and Covid-19 was excellent. I think he's got it right. Too long for me to paraphrase, but bottom line (my takeaway, not Jim's words):

  • the market is being held back by those who fear the "delta variant";
  • the delta variant won't affect the economy to the degree many fear;
    • the CEOs are either talking their book or are inappropriately exuberant, but after seeing earnings reports today, I don't think these CEOs are inappropriately exuberant; 
    • these CEOs are looking out one year, not one month
  • the fear of the delta variant explains the "money market fund" graphic I've now posted several times (and posting again below); and,
  • the market will do just fine.

This leads me to suggest: I've said a gazillion times, the gap between investors and non-investors will continue to widen. 

However, there is a new wrinkle. Within the "investor"group, there have always been two major groups: bulls and bears. Both can make money. But now there's a third group -- some would suggest they are bears but they are not "traditional" bears. These are the folks that are so afraid -- so terrified -- of the delta variant they can be neither bears nor bulls. They are frozen in time. Their feet are held in cement. They are parking their money in money market funds rather than investing. Folks have always done this, but clearly it's now excessive. This graphic blows me away; all that money not working, sitting in money market accounts doing nothing. [But I guess it's better than the negative returns in Europe. Don't get me started.]

Below this graphic is a graphic of the Dow for the past year, the year in which the money market funds surged.

The Dow -- ONE YEAR

Graphic above

  • A: trajectory when folks thought we were coming out of the pandemic; extend line A and we're easily at 36,000 for the Dow;
  • B: trajectory when vaccinations slowed down; and delta variant emerged.

Back to Reality

Natural gas fill rate, FWIW
, link here.

Oh-oh-OPEC: link here.

No New Permits; Seven Permits Renewed; BR Reports A Nice DUC -- Late Afternoon Edition -- July 22, 2021

The market is on a tear:

  • Twitter: beats on earnings. Soars seven percent.
  • Snap: soars nine percent; also beats on earnings. EPS at ten cents when analysts forecast a one-cent loss. 
  • CSX: also beats; share jump. Pulls UNP along. 
  • Skechers: beats on revenues; shares surge seven percent.  
  • Boston Beer: huge miss on both revenue and earnings. Shares drop fifteen percent. Markets Truly Hard Selzter and Samuel Adams. Put too much guidance on seltzer; did not do as well as expected. That's interesting. Anecdotally, "everyone" drinks Truly in the pools at our apartment complex (not me).
  • INTC: beat on other upper and lower lines, but shares fall. Implied guidance 2H21 spooks traders.

WTI: up over 2%; up almost $1.50; trading at $71.76. "Everyone" says they are looking for $80-oil by the end of the year. They never specifiy WTI or Brent when they say "oil" generically. I assume they generally mean Brent, as long as Brent is trading at a premium to WTI.

NOG: will report 2Q21 earnings before the market opens on August 5, 2021; conference call will be held same day, a few hours later, at 10:00 a.m. CT. 

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

NFL Releases "Rules" Re: Covid-19

Link here

High points:

  • 18-game season; no 19th game under any circumstances
  • games not played: if due to Covid-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players -- the team forced to forfeit will take an "L" for playoff seeding;
  • if a game is canceled and cannot be re-scheduled, players will not be paid on either team, regardless of which team forfeited
    • a grey area?
  • vaccinated players who test positive can return to the team immediately following two negative tests;
  • unvaccinated players who test positive will be required to isolate for ten days

Semi-Pro Football

SEC / Big 12: Texas, Oklahoma have apparently reached out to the SEC to move to a different conference. Winners and losers.

It's been almost 10 years since the SEC expanded to 14 teams with the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri — both castoffs from the Big 12.

Back to the Bakken

Active rigs:

Active Rigs2311556758

No new permits.

Seven permits renewed:

  • XTO (3): three Edwards Trust Federal permits in McKenzie County.
  • BR (3): two George permits and one Bailey-George permit, all in McKenzie County.
  • CLR: a Juneau permit in Williams County.

One permit canceled:

  • XTO: a Prairie Federal permit in McKenzie County.

Two producing wells (DUCs) reported as completed:

  • 35807, drl/NC, Petro-Hunt, Little Knife, Billings County, no production data,
  • 36313, loc/NC, BR, State Dodge 1B MBH, Dimmick Lake, first production, 3/21; t--; cum 74K 5/21; 33-053-09019; fracked 11/1/20 - 11/8/20; and 1/2/21 - 1/6/21; first frack, 9.4 million gallons of water; 88.1% water by mass; second frack, 1/2/21 - 1/6/21; 4.5 million gallons of water; 87.5% water by mass; the BR Dodge wells in Dimmick Lake are tracked here; production:
PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare

Portland, Oregon, Lowe's -- July 22, 2021

Sent to me by a trusted reader: 

Rambling About One-Offs. Not All One-Offs Are One-Offs -- July 22, 2021

Take a look at this graphic which I've now posted three times:

Hold that "visual."

The other day, the CDC reported an almost unbelievable low number of vaccinations given in the previous twenty-four hours. A reader suggested that a number that was so far off the "norm" suggesting a "reporting" error or some other similar error. I agreed.

But thinking about that, I took another look at the graphic above. Can you imagine what folks thought when overnight night money market funds jumped from less than $4 trillion to over $5 trillion? A lot of folks probably thought there must be some kind of error -- but that would never have gained any credibility -- "money" numbers are tracked too closely and these kind of errors don't occur. 

So, not in all cases, does an unusual change in date suggest an error. 

Having said that, the CDC data was certainly suspect when it was reported less than 250,000 vaccinations were given.

And with that, I'm going biking.


I think my current HP printer has been with me for ten years, maybe longer. No problems. It works like a champ. It requires a cable; no wireless. 

Some time ago, I updated my operating system on one of my laptop computers. The HP printer driver for this printer no longer works with this updated operating system. Many folks have written about that on social media; greatly upset, but HP and/or Apple refuse to budge. The driver for this 10-year-old printer will not be updated.

I resisted forever, but finally broke down and bought a new printer. I had little choice to buy anything other than HP. The Brother brand was a possibility but I just didn't find anything on Amazon that caught my interest. 

So, after many days of thinking and reading many reviews, I finally bought an HP Envy 6055e from Target. On sale. Better price than Amazon at the time. 

That was about six months ago. My wife has been nagging me to set it up but I read all the reviews suggesting how difficult it was to set up -- being wireless, and all. I was not interested in another headache especially when my current 10+ year-old printer/scanner works fine.

But to keep peace in the family, I finally opened the new HP Envy and set it up yesterday.

Set-up: easy as could be. I cannot imagine anyone with any "tech sense" having any trouble setting it up. There were a few challenges that would have stopped a "non-techie" in her tracks but in the big scheme of things, incredibly easy. One needs to remember one's old HP account password or establish a new one. 

It works flawlessly, it appears. 

However, scanning is a disappointment. The dialogue box for the "old" system (on my 10+ year-old printer) works fine and is absolutely excellent for scanning. I'm not happy with the new scanning drop-down menu but I assume I will get used to it. 

The good news: I will still use my old HP printer as long as it works. My wife is thrilled with her wireless printing and she doesn't scan anything. For her, a screenshot and / or a smartphone photo work just as well as scanning. Smart woman.

Internet Is Down -- CNBC

CNBC now reporting key websites are down.

Including Fidelity and Schwab.


UPS, Delta Airlines. Avis. 

I've not been affected yet on Schwab.
This has nothing to do with hackers or ransomware. 
This is a cloud issue. It would be interesting to see "whose Cloud" was involved: AWS (Amazon)? MSFT (Microsoft)? GOOG (Alphabet)? CSCO (Cisco)? Is there anyone else of note running Cloud services to match those of Amazon? 

Later: Akamai "admits" to problem. Says problem has been solved. Unofficial response: "shit happens."

Covid-19 -- Ramblings -- Not Ready For Prime Time -- July 22, 2021

Louisiana today and Covid-19:

Running through the headlines; listening to interviews on CNBC; looking at the equity markets, some random thoughts, not ready for prime time.

First, it will be interesting how the vaccine story changes when the vaccines are fully approved. I assume the delay in getting full approval for these vaccines is due to two things (bureaucracy and really, really tough issues):

  • bureaucracy and the way things have always been done;
  • the tough issues, the major points of contention:
    • full approval for all US-made vaccines, or just one or two of them (Moderna, Pfizer, JNJ);
    • required Black Box warnings?
    • required non-Black Box warnings?
    • approved for what ages?
    • approved for pregnant women?
    • "woke" ssues?

Second, one wonders if this were "smallpox," and we brought back the "smallpox vaccine" which was so much worse on so many levels, would folks resist the "smallpox vaccine" to the same extent?

  • if one's answer is no: they would not resist -- it suggests to me that folks are really not concerned about being infected with Covid-19; that is corroborated by stories coming out of Louisiana; counter-intuitive, I know;
  • if one's answer is yes, they would still resists -- it simply suggests Americans trust in government has changed significantly between 1951 and 2021

Which leads to a third question: when/why did trust in the US federal government change? Thoughts?

  • it never changed; it's always been there; perhaps just not as visible;
  • how can one even ask when / why trust in the US federal government change?
    • there were concerns even during the Revolutionary War and while the US Constitution was being written about a federal government;
    • for heaven's sake, wasn't that what the US Civil War was all about? trust, no trust in the federal government in Washington, DC?
  • Vietnam War?
  • Jimmy "wear a cardigan sweater" Carter?
  • the Clintons? 

Politics: will any of the US Covid-19 vaccines be approved before the mid-term elections? I bet Schumer / Pelosi are in close contact with FDA on this one as they watch the polls.

Center of gravity: every two to four weeks there seems to be a "center of gravitas" with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic in the US. A few weeks ago it was Arkansas, and although it's no longer a front page story, Arkansas is still experiencing a surge. But this week, the new "center of gravitas" seems to be Louisiana. Of all the big pandemic stories in the past two months, Louisiana seems to be the most interesting. This state seems to be a great social experiment. Things are getting so bad with regard to Covid-19 in Louisiana that it becomes fascinating to watch to see if vaccinations pick up in that state.

If not, if vaccinations do not pick up in Louisiana, it speaks volumes about how deep the lack of trust runs with regard to the federal government. Sort of makes me think of the US Civil War and the reasons that led up to that war.

If not, if vaccinations do not pick up in Louisiana, it will be incredibly interesting to see how the state fares. The original reason for the US lockdown in 2020 was to "flatten the curve," to prevent the US health sector from becoming overwhelmed. Of course, that reason ("to flatten the curve") was quickly forgotten when New York state re-wrote the narrative and the mainstream media started reporting body counts with an obvious political agenda. But I digress. 

To repeat, if the vaccinations do not pick up in Louisiana, it will be incredibly interesting to see how the state fares. Some people suggest the delta variant is highly contagious but fairly innocuous as a disease. Some suggest that this is a sign of a virus "burning itself out." I'm not sure if that's accurate, but who's to say that as the virus becomes more and more contagious but yet less and less lethal, is it nothing more than the common cold? If so, can we now say, finally, after fifty years of looking for a "cold" vaccine we finally have not one, but at least three in the US: Moderna, Pfizer, and JNJ. And, if so, will people really want to get a vaccine for the "common cold"?  By the way, just as a reminder, the "common cold" is caused by the same family of viruses that is responsible for the current pandemic. I could be wrong on this one, fact-check please.

Turning that observation around, it now appears, there will never be any more successful vaccines except against really, really terrible diseases. It raises the question whether pharmaceutical companies should even bother with vaccination research any more. 

Is there even any reason for HIV vaccine research to continue? Who in their right mind would take such a vaccine in this environment. It's important to remember why the "woke" crowd resists the Covid-19 vaccines.

Legacy Fund -- July 2021 Deposits Posted -- Nice Uptick

Link here.

July, 2021, deposit: $50,263,160.68.

For those paying attention, on a "percentage basis," North Dakota is doing way better than Saudi Arabia.

Notes From All Over -- Another Huge Day For The Market -- July 22, 2021

Wells Fargo: watching the CNBC interview with former Wells Fargo CEO was incredibly painful. What a doofus. I now understand why Wells Fargo had so many problems in the past decade or so. It begs the question: what did Warren Buffett see in this guy to hold all that Wells Fargo stock so long. The CNBC talking heads were absolutely incredulous.

It's no wonder that an all-female Wells Fargo Advisors team managing almost $1 billion in assets left to join Insigneo, an independent broker-dealer and registered investment advisory firm. Link here to Barron's

The departing team adds to the exodus of international advisors leaving Wells Fargo after the bank announced in April it was exiting the international segment to focus on its core business.

Covid-19: Louisiana in deep doo-doo. What Louisiana can teach us.

The Olympics:

  • Dr Jill Biden has just arrived in Tokyo;
  • thoroughly on edge; The WSJ


  • China and the US are shipping goods to each other at the briskest pace in year; link here;

UNP: simply incredible. Will get back to this later, if I have time.

  • on top of everything else, the recent flooding in China wiped out a gazillion bushels of wheat harvest this year in China;
  • quote: up $5.58 at 10:00 a.m. CT, July 22, 2021, after 2Q21 earnings announced;
  • stock jumps after earnings reported;
  • press release;
  • remember: UNP recently slowed trains from West Coast to Illinois to allow infrastructure to catch up;


  • strong 2Q21; link here;
  • JNJ has some significant headwinds; not sure where I stand on JNJ as an investment;



  • poised for earnings drop; link to The WSJ;


  • today?
  • big jump today; up 1.42% up $2.07 /share; trading at $147.48

Target - Ulta: "store-within-a-store"

  • big story; link here;
  • I first mentioned Ulta months ago;
  • list of first 50 Target stores to "get" Ulta; link here;
  • by the way, this is another great example of why paywalls are detrimental: I saw the headline story, but the story was behind a paywall; I found the story elsewhere; I didn't see any ads at the story where there was a paywall; I saw a lot of ads at the sites with the same story and no paywall;


  • global warming (think air conditioning) and cold snaps (think natural gas heating) will drive energy;
  • British Gas profits more than double after cold snap; link here;
  • large cap energy stocks poised for short squeeze (much higher prices) -- JPMorgan via oilprice;
  • US crude oil exports reached record levels in 2020 -- wasn't 2020 the year of the global lockdown? -- and US crude oil exports remain high in 2021; remember: Saudi Arabia is exporting only 5 million bopd; link here;
  • vehicle miles driven on US highways in week ending July 18, 2021, was one percent above the same week in 2019 (pre-Covid-19); link here;
  • Pacific Northwest: June 2021 heatwave resulted in more demand for electricity; link here;


  • PSXP: history; 87.5 cents; announces increase in dividend: link here;
  • DFS: increased dividend, also; previously reported;
  • BK: increased dividend, also; previously reported;

Late Night Ramblings -- The Olympic Games Edition -- July 21, 2021

Flashback: 1979

Why was there a gas shortage in 1979?
Higher prices and concerns about supplies led to panic buying in the gasoline market. Crude oil prices nearly doubled to almost $40 per barrel in twelve months. The energy crisis of 1979 led to the development of smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Link here
The 1979 energy crisis, the second of two oil price shocks in the '70s, resulted in a widespread panic about potential gasoline shortages, and far higher prices for both crude oil and refined products. Oil output declined by only 7% or less, but the short-term supply disruption led to a spike in prices, panic buying, and long lines at gas stations.


Pandemonium, confusion, and hysteria: days before the Olympics, more athletes test positive for Covid-19. The challenge of staging the world's biggest sporting event during a pandemic is becoming clear as a stream of athletes and others test positive for the virus after entering Japan. This won't make the old folks happy. Link here

Sturgis Rally: remember how much grief the South Dakota governor received for allowing this rally to go forward --- and here we have the Japanese 202One Oympics just as "the delta variant" -- the most virulent variant yet -- surges.

Missing from the Olympics this year: the "running part." Link to The WSJ.

Summer Travel

From The WSJ:

It’s been an especially strange summer-travel surge: The fifth-busiest airport in the world is now in Charlotte, N.C., according to aviation-data firm Cirium. Charlotte hosted more June flights than Los Angeles International or Beijing Capital International.

The Queen City had 21,192 flights in June, down only 6.7% from June 2019. LAX was down 29%; Beijing Capital was down even more because a second major airport opened in that city in late 2019.

The crowded terminals in the once-sleepy southern airport known for its rocking chairs and barbecue reflect the U.S. domestic-travel surge—there’s still not a lot of international traffic—and a move by American Airlines to concentrate its flying at two hubs: Dallas-Fort Worth and Charlotte.

The High Cost of Electricity in California Just Got More Expensive

I don't think folks know the real reason for those high voltage transmission lines in California ... it's a long story ... conveniently forgotten ...

From The WSJ:

PG&E Corp. said Wednesday that it plans to bury 10,000 miles of power lines to reduce wildfire risk throughout Northern California at an estimated cost of up to $20 billion, reversing its earlier stance that doing so would be prohibitively expensive.

The utility company, which serves about 16 million customers in northern and central California, said the effort will substantially reduce the likelihood of its power lines sparking wildfires as drought and climate change heighten the risk of large, fast-moving blazes.

“We know that we have long argued that undergrounding was too expensive,” Chief Executive Patti Poppe said. “This is where we say it’s too expensive not to underground. Lives are on the line.”

Inflation Likely Isn't The Biggest Problem Facing The US

From The WSJ:

The monthslong decline in bond yields exemplifies investors’ belief that inflation likely isn’t the biggest problem facing the U.S. and global economy.

Monday’s sharp selloff in major U.S. stock indexes highlighted investors’ mounting concern that the biggest risk to markets right now is underwhelming growth, rather than the runaway price increases feared earlier in the year. At the same time, many investors think inflation readings may run hot for some period, then subside on their own or lead the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates and slow the economy.

Investors are still expecting a decent economic recovery. Both stocks and bond yields climbed Wednesday, extending their previous-day rebound. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 286.01 points, or 0.8%, to 34798.00, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite registered similar gains. All three major indexes remain near records.