Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Human trafficking – the dark side of life

Forum News Service has a seven part series on human trafficking in North Dakota dealing with multiple aspects of the prostitution issue. Shift in our cultural perceptions is focusing more on the issue of women getting sucked in and trapped by this destructive world.

The series is set in the Bakken oil field of North Dakota. The general issues apply all across the U.S. This is news because many sides of the downside of economic growth are visible in North Dakota. If the series were set in Los Angeles or New York area, this would be ancient, boring news.

In North Dakota we can easy watch as the reporters describe the devastation of prostitution. The scale of the issue is small enough and new enough in a relatively small state that the story can actually be covered in just seven parts.

One thing I’ve learned in the last few years of blogging is that certain names pop up regularly as authors of routinely superb writing. There is a short list of authors for whom I try to read everything they write. Ms. Dalrymple, who is also a very prolific writer, is one of those.

If you are deeply interested in either the Bakken or the trafficking issue, this is a series you will definitely want to read.

12/4 – Forum News Service in Bismarck Tribune – Trafficking in North Dakota is on the rise, and often the victims can’t escape – Seven part series on human trafficking in the state coauthored by Amy Dalrymple and Katherine Lymn.

First article in the series traces one man from looking on-line for an underage girl through his conviction and sentencing to a five-year prison sentence.

Read more…

More good stuff on the Bakken – some drilling expectations and netback prices

Some guesses on drilling activity for 2015. Astounding photos of the state. What it costs to get Bakken crude to market.

1/8 – Dickinson Press – N.D. oil regulator says lower oil prices spell gloom, not doom

Read more…

Graph of the certainty level of estimates for oil and gas reserves

Million Dollar Way pointed me to a great visual illustration of this idea, explained by the US EIA:

For many purposes, oil and natural gas resources are usefully classified into four categories:

  • Remaining oil and gas in-place (original oil and gas in-place minus cumulative production at a specific date)
  • Technically recoverable resources
  • Economically recoverable resources
  • Proved reserves

Check out this illustration, which is obviously not to scale:

reserves illustration

Illustration tells the story better than my words could.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration - Oil and natural gas resource categories reflect varying degrees of certainty.


More good stuff on Bakken – 1/7


(photo by Melisa Ulvog)

 Still lots of great stuff going on in the Bakken. Flaring is way down.

How would you cope with the population of your city increasing to ten times larger than it was a decade ago?

12/25 – Dickinson Press – Forward on flaring? Regulators say state has made progress; other claim it’s not enough – More info on flaring regs I’ve not seen before. Required flaring limits: Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 1/6

More articles on the open frontiers of technology and private space flight. But first, some downsides of tech misuse and letting the world pass you by.

Downside of tech revolution and change

Not everything is getting better. There is abuse of technology along with quantitative and qualitative decay:

1/2 – Schneier on Security – Doxing as an Attack – New terms you didn’t want to know, but really ought to: doxing –

Read more…

More on the downside of oil production in North Dakota

There are bad things that go along with any boom time or rapid growth. For that matter, there are bad things that go along with any good thing.

Here are a few articles on the downside from the huge increase in oil production in North Dakota: drugs, corruption, and human trafficking.

12/4 – Forum News Service in Bismarck Tribune – Trafficking in North Dakota is on the rise, and often the victims can’t escape – Seven part series on human trafficking in the state coauthored by Amy Dalrymple and Katherine Lymn.

Read more…

Million Dollar Way blog ends

The final post at Million Dollar Way on December 27, 2014, The End Of The Blog, is no available on-line.

Bruce Oksol has decided to close his blog. All of the thousands of posts have been removed. At issue is hacking risk. He is seeing some sort of indicators that his site is about to get trashed. Apparently he’s gone through this before and is calling it a day.

Thank you Mr. Oksol for your prolific writing on the Bakken.

Read more…

About those dropping oil prices #7 – two must-read articles

Here are two major, must-read articles on oil production and pricing for your consideration. One I’ve been holding a while and the other ran just this week.

First a few quick tidbits to keep in mind – 12/23 – Dickinson Press – Oil prices will affect fringe areas most: Break-even mark lower in heart of Bakken – Drilling at the margins of Bakken will be sharply reduced. In the four core counties, not so much.

For active wells, a price of $15 a barrel is sufficient to keep operating. Ponder that – $15 a barrel.

Keep that in the back of your mind as you read of Saudi officials who want to see current production in Bakken and Eagle Ford drop far enough to balance supply and demand of world oil.

The first big article:

12-22 – Wall Street Journal – Behind OPEC Decision, A Saudi Fear of U.S. Shale

Saudi Arabia’s surprise move to maintain production and let oil prices collapse

… is a story of a budding rivalry, driven by what Saudi Arabia views as a threat posed by American energy firm …

according to the deeply reported article.

Read more…

Wind farm owner settles criminal charges for killing 38 golden eagles and 298 other protected birds over 6 years

There was another settlement last week for a wind farm owner killing a bunch of birds.

The slaughter of eagles and other protected birds is the reason wind turbines have the well-earned title of slice-and-dicer. One pundit calls them Cuisinarts.

The Associated Press reports: Wind farm operator PacifiCorp Energy pleads guilty in bird deaths at wind farms in Wyoming.

The Seven Mile Hill and Glenrock/Rolling Hills projects in Wyoming are owned and run by PacifiCorp Energy. The owner has entered a guilty plea to two counts of breaking the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Officials have counted the dead birds at those two facilities since 2009. How high is the count of shredded birds? The article says:

  • 38 golden eagles
  • 336 other protected birds

I think that count is incorrect. According to the criminal information complaint filed in the case, which is available in the federal PACER system, the total bird count at the two facilities is 336, which includes the 38 golden eagles. The two counts consist of one count for each facility.

Read more…

New York State bans fracking and economic growth

The official position of New York State is to ban fracking for natural gas.

A December 19 editorial in the Wall Street Journal blasts the decision: Cuomo Bans Fracking – Editorial points out since regulators in New York State have decided that fracking possibly, perhaps, maybe, might have some danger that haven’t yet been established, they must ban fracking in the gas rich Marcellus Shale area of the state.

Ridicule alert

If you don’t like heaping helpings of ridicule poured on the heads of foolish leaders, you might want to skip the rest of this discussion. Might be better for you not to click the link to the WSJ editorial.

Okay, you’ve been warned. Read more…

More good stuff on the Bakken – 12/19



(photo by James Ulvog. If my city boy eyes are working right, there are 4 pumps, two of which are producing, along with a drilling rig and a workover rig on that one pad. Can you find 48 million dollars and 6 million barrels of oil in the picture?)

A few more articles that I found interesting on what’s going on in the rockin’ Bakken:

12/9 – Wall Street Journal – North Dakota Energy Regulator Mandates Steps to Reduce Oil Volatility- NDIC issued rules requiring oil be treated to reduce vapor pressure to 13.7 psi. Excess gas will be burned off by heater-treaters heating the crude to 110 degrees.

Read more…

Update on wind and solar plants in California and North Dakota – solar #34

A few updates on a few slice/dice/fry projects, as one observer calls them:


11/4 – ReWire – “Dead” Solar Plant May Rise From Grave – The joint owners of the Palen Solar Electric Generating System pulled their plan recently. One of the owners (Abengoa Solar) will buy out the other (Brightstar), revise the design, and resubmit their plan. That is the announced goal. The wing-toasting facility will be redesigned with one tower and the ability to store electricity using molten salt.

This would be Palen plan #3. The first was parabolic solar. The second was 3 warming towers. This will be only one solar collecting tower plus storage capacity.

10/30 – ReWire – Wind Project Pulled from San Bernardino MountainsRead more…

About those dropping oil prices – 6

Have a lot of articles to discuss about what’s going on in the energy area. Lots of turmoil and uncertainty at the moment. Here are a few articles, to help get caught up:

12/6 – Economist – Sheikh v Shale – Love the cover illustration! I’ll be rooting for the shale guy in the showdown.

Article gives credit to shale oil for the drop in gas prices and oil prices. Take a bow, all you frackers in Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian! A $40 drop in price moves $1.3 trillion a year from producers to consumers. That is a savings of around $800 a year for an average American, or equivalent to a 2% pay raise, according to the article

Read more…

About those dropping oil prices – Be careful what you wish for – 5

So much news about energy and oil prices and the damage caused by wind and solar power lately. Will try to get caught up in commenting on the fascinating news around us. In the meantime, here are a few articles about energy. By the way, one ought to be really careful when choosing to start a price war…

11/30 – The Telegraph; Ambrose Evans-Pritchard – Saudis risk playing with fire in shale-price showdown as crude crashes – Crude prices dropped to $66 in the wake of OPEC decided to maintain production levels. Rumors are the OPEC and Saudi goal is to cut the growth rate of US shale production from another million bopd to only a 500K bopd increase.

Check out the differing expectations for where the pricing vulnerability is in the U.S:

Read more…

More info from 12/14 Director’s Cut – Indicators for near term

For follow-up to my previous post on October oil production data in North Dakota, check out the Dickinson Press’ discussion of comments from Mr. Lynn Helms:  Prices could plateau production: Hems says 2015 could be tough for oil.

Here are a few tidbits that help me understand what is going on around us:

Mr. Helms, who is director of the ND Department of Mineral Resources, didn’t think oil prices would drop this far.

Article says that on Friday sweet crude prices were $41.75 a barrel in North Dakota and $57.81 on the New York Mercantile.

Graphic at the Bakken Magazine says on Friday the Brent price was $62.05 and Cushing was $57.99. I’m slowly catching on (but you already knew that), so that graphic tells me that the Cushing price is also called the West Texas Intermediate index.

Rig count

Read more…

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