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.

Oil production in May 2018 for North Dakota hits new record level

Multiple pumpjacks on a well pad is a normal thing in North Dakota. Photo by James Ulvog.

In May the crude oil production in the state hit an average of 1,244,629 barrels of oil per day (bopd). As always, that is the preliminary tally, which will change a bit over the next two months as a few late reports arrive.

That is 15,057 bopd higher than the previous record of 1,229,572 bopd in December 2014.

Here is my graph of production state-wide and Bakken only (including Sanish, Three Forks, and Bakken/Three Forks levels):

For a longer term perspective, here is the total monthly production since 1990:

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Value of monthly oil production in North Dakota through April 2018

Fourteen wells are on that pad, which is on the south side of Williston near the Missouri River. Photo by James Ulvog.

Previously discussed the near-record level of oil production in the state during April. Here is the graph of average daily production since 2004:

What is the value of that oil? Multiply those average daily production levels by days in the month and then multiply by the following average sweet crude prices in the state:

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Oil production for April 2018 in North Dakota getting close to record level

There is space for more than 6 pumps on that site. Might be as many as a dozen when fully drilled. Photo by James Ulvog.

In April crude oil production in the state hit an average of 1,224,948 barrels of oil per day (bopd). That is the preliminary tally, which will change a bit in the next report as a few late reports arrive.

That is really close to the record high of an average 1,229,572 bopd in December 2014. Another 4,624 per day would get the state to a new record. That could be achieved for April by late reports from the field. Or, since production increased 42,112 bopd since December, the May data will likely break the record.

Here is my graph of production state-wide and Bakken only (including Sanish, Three Forks, and Bakken/Three Forks levels):

For more background, here is the total monthly production since 2004:

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Operating costs of military aircraft using reimbursement rates as an approximation

An F-16 Fighting Falcon joins in formation with a P-40 Warhawk (front), P-51 Mustang (bottom), and an F-86 Sabre (top) during the Heritage Flight Training Course March 2, 2014, over Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.  (U.S Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau)

The Department of Defense has established reimbursement rates for the airplanes and helicopters in the military inventory. If I’m reading this right, these are the hourly rates for reimbursement when an aircraft or helicopter is loaned out.

This seems to be usable as an estimate for the operating costs of airplanes. I previously discussed Operating costs per hour for USAF planes. This post provides more detailed descriptions.

There are separate rates for loans to another US military organization, other federal agencies, and two other categories I don’t understand (FMS and All Other).

Sure would be fun to put together a tongue-in-cheek conversation for which these rates would be used (Short outline: British Defense Minister: “Say old chap, we’re putting together a strike in our little squabble and we’d like to borrow two flights of Strike Eagles and a half-dozen tankers for a couple of days. Can you do that and what’ll the tab be?” U.S. Secretary of Defense: “Sure, for you, no problem. Um, yeah, we have the resources available. Hold on a second while I look up the list price.”)

More seriously, I’m guessing this provides a simple way to calculate the dollar amount of assistance we provide our allies, say the French need air transport to land a brigade of troops in Africa to deal with a new round of shooting in a civil war, like in Mali or Central African Republic. Or, say we provide refueling for the superb fighters of our French and British allies while all three of us launch a coordinated air strike in Syria.

Anyone care to share your guesses on how these reimbursement rates would actually be used?

B-52D at March Field museum. Photo by James Ulvog.

Reimbursement rates

On a practical basis, this reimbursement table provides a frame of reference for the operating costs of U.S. airborne resources. The rates are broken out between operating and maintenance (O&M) and personnel costs (MilPers) on tab F2. That likely approximates the hourly operating costs and the hourly compensation for a standard crew.

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Volume and value of 2017 oil production in North Dakota

Notice all the empty space on that pad? Notice the disproportionately high number of storage tanks for the number of pumpjacks on site? One day there will be a lot more wells in operation. Photo by James Ulvog.

Before showing the average daily production, annual production, and value of that production, just a note on December 2017 production.

Average daily production dropped from 1,196,976 bopd (revised) in November to 1,181,319 bopd (preliminary) in December, a decline of 15,657 bopd, or 1.31%.

Here is what the average daily production by year looks like. Notice the recovery in 2017?

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More cool pictures of the successfully Falcon Heavy test

Image in public domain, courtesy of SpaceX

Here are a few more pix of the successful test of SpaceX’s brand new Falcon Heavy and its payload.

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Sounds from the Falcon Heavy launch

Behind the Black points us to a report of What the Falcon Heavy launch sounded like.

What a treat it must have been to watch from miles away.

Using special stereo mikes, the recording catches the clicks of many nearby cameras before being overwhelmed by the rocket sounds.

Listen carefully for the multiple sonic booms from the boosters returning to earth. Each booster gives off a boom from the engines, then the landing legs, and then the directional control arms. So 6 booms expected. Sound track wave form shows echos, but one overlapped, so there were 5 booms from each booster.

Astounding, all the way around.

Also Behind the Black provided Update on Falcon Heavy core stage landing failure.  Turns out that two of the three engines scheduled to fire, slowing the descent, did not do so. Core booster missed the landing barge by around 300 feet.

BtB says this is why one runs experiments. Find out what doesn’t work, figure out the reason, and fix it.

Successful test of Falcon Heavy

Image in public domain, courtesy of SpaceX

SpaceX’s test of their three booster, 27 engine rocket was an astounding success. The three side-by-side Falcon 9 boosters worked perfectly together. The two side boosters successfully separated, which I think is the highlight of the test.

Both of the side boosters were recovered. See astounding photo above.

Image in public domain, courtesy of SpaceX

The payload was successfully lifted into the Van Allen radiation belt and continued to operate. Apparently that is a major milestone (my little brain doesn’t understand why that was a tremendous deal to NASA).

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Abundance of food today compared with routine scarcity of food earlier than 150 years ago.

Abundance of refrigerated fresh meet at your conveniently available grocery store. Not an option for anyone on the planet 200 years ago, to say nothing of the 10,000 years prior. Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Johan Norberg describes the tremendous progress in the last several hundred years in so many areas, such as life expectancy, health, sanitation, liberty, education, and equality in his book Progress: 10 Reasons to Look Forward to the Future. Here are a few more tidbits I found fascinating.

Consider the scarcity of food in the past and the drop in cost to feed a family in the last 150 years.


Look at just a few of the statistics on availability of food:

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Most of the improvement in life expectancy in the last 10,000 years has taken place in the last 100 years.

Johan Norberg describes the tremendous progress in the last several hundred years in so many areas: life expectancy, health, sanitation, liberty, education, and equality. He discusses these wonderfully delightful trends in his book Progress: 10 Reasons to Look Forward to the Future. I will highlight merely a few of the many things I found fascinating in the book.

Life expectancy

Book provides the following estimates of life expectancy, which I graph above:

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Gross World Product over last 27,000 years

Gross World Product, according to Wikipedia is

the combined gross national product of all the countries in the world. Because imports and exports balance exactly when considering the whole world, this also equals the total global gross domestic product (GDP).

I got curious about the world-wide GDP after thinking about two previous posts:

What would happen if you multiplied the drastic increase in  population with the radical increase in per capita income? I made a feeble effort to multiple the two data sets and quickly realized that wouldn’t work. Poked around a bit on the ol’ internet thingie and found the answer at Wikipedia – gross world product is what I was looking for.

27,000 year time horizon – Check out the graph at top of this post for the estimated gross world product on a very long time horizon, specifically from estimates back in 25,000 B.C. through 2014 A.D.

Copyright notice:  Graphs in this post are based on data in an article titled “Gross world product” by Wikipedia, which is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.  As a result the following tables which are derived from this information are licensed for use by anyone under the same CC BY-SA 3.0 license. Any use of these graphs must in turn be distributed under the same license.

I will show the raw data at the end of this post.

With that 27,000 year time horizon, there is a radical turn in the 1900s, at which point the graph appears to goes from horizontal to straight up vertical.

That is too long of a time horizon to understand, so I broke it out into smaller blocks.

Last 2,000 years – To remove the many earlier millenniums of slow growth, time horizon was revised to 1 AD through now. Notice there is still a radical change in the 1900s. With the dramatic changes in the last 200 years, the line from earlier looks like it is flat, but it isn’t.

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Growth in world population

Our World in Data, the web site of Max Roser, visualizes data in amazing ways. Check out this graph of world population:

World Population over the last 12,000 years and UN projection until 2100” by Our World in Data is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.  The graphs which follow are derived from this information and are licensed for use by others under the same CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

Very cool. The dramatic expansion in the number of people is amazing.

The graph includes projections through 2100. I pulled out the projections and developed the following graph:

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Oil production in North Dakota increases 1.0% in November 2017; getting close to record output

Production of crude oil increased 12,110 bopd in November, or 1.02%, going from 1,182,810 (revised October) to 1,194,920 (preliminary November).

The record high production was 1,227,529 average bopd in December 2014. Production in November 2017 is 32,609 bopd below the high in December 2014. It will only take another 2.7% increase in average production to clear the previous record. I’ll guess that will happen in December 2017 or January 2018, before the winter start to cut into production. (That is not a very bold prediction since Mr. Helms thinks the record production level will easily be surpassed regularly in later 2018.)

Above is a graph of average production in the state since 2004.

Check out the following graph for production from only Bakken formations and total for the state since 2008:

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Photos of aircraft on display at USS Midway Museum

Above video shows many of the aircraft on display at the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum in San Diego.

Why did I make the video? Several reasons.

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Crude production during October 2017 in North Dakota rises 7%, to 1.18 million barrels a day

The big increase of 78,154 bopd to 1,185,499 bopd follows 4 months of over 1.5% increase each month. That is a 14.8% runup in fourth months.

The record high production was 1,211,330 bopd in June 2015. There have only been four months when the average daily production was higher than in October 2017.

Another 27K bopd increase would put the state at a new record for production. With November and December production stats to go before the weather turns really nasty, that level of increase is likely. (Notice how lame that prediction is? A forecast two months out that is a mere 2% increase, when 8 of the 13 months have seen greater than 1.5% increase and 5 months saw a decline.) For perspective, at mid-December the couple of snow falls received so far haven’t outlasted the sunshine.

In my next post I will scratch my head wondering why the production jumped so much in one month.

Here is the monthly production, with a breakout of oil from the Bakken formation (which also includes the Sanish, Three Forks, and Bakken/Three Forks Pools formations):


For a longer term perspective, here is the total production in the state since 1990:

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