More good stuff on Bakken – 2-24-14

I often seen a news article related to the topics discussed on my blogs but the article doesn’t warrant a full post. Or, I don’t have time to develop a full discussion. Those articles are described briefly in “more good stuff” discussions.

Here’s a few quick notes on interesting news that I won’t cover in a separate post: housing prices, pad drilling, and improper disposal of radioactive filters.

2/17 – Dickinson Press – Williston tops list of most expensive places to rent in U.S., Dickinson ranks fourth Most expensive place in the U.S. to rent a one bedroom apartment with 700 square feet is Williston at $2,394. Fourth on the list is Dickinson. San Jose is #2, with San Francisco #3. Reason? Simple supply and demand.

2/21 – Oil Patch Dispatch – Williston rent still high, but early signs show competition – Amy Dalrymple reports her rent is going down $250 starting next month. She will still be paying $2,250 for two bedrooms. She is starting to see the impact of an increased housing stock. Some rents are softening. Smaller security deposits are needed. When she move in, she paid first month, last month, and security deposit of one month. At the higher end, there is competition for tenants, which tells me there is finally some availability.

She reports there are much less expensive units in town, but they are 100% full and new tenants arrive by word-of-mouth instead of advertising. Those apartments weren’t visible to the data searches that feed the news in the above mentioned article.  The 3,895 apartment units newly permitted over the last three years (according to the article) are having an impact.

The full RV parks tell a better story, she says, of there still being a severe shortage of housing.

2/16 – Minot Daily News – Pad Drilling and 2/18 – Million Dollar Way – Pad Drilling in the Bakken Article from Minot paper says regulators report that in 2013 pad drilling was used for two-thirds of the permits. That means a huge portion of wells are on multi-well sites.

Why? It reduces costs and time to drill. Biggest factors is rigs can ‘walk’ a bit to the side and start drilling, which saves a huge amount of costs for rig-up and rig-down. It takes a lot of time, effort, and trips by truck to move a drilling rig from one site to another.

Spokesman for Continental says pad drilling allows a company to do different stages of drilling in a batch mode. First, all the surface drilling, then the intermediate drilling for all the wells on a site, then all the production drilling.

Article says Continental has a 14 well pad that will soon have the first few wells in production.

Three related articles, of interest not only to Bakken news, but journalism in general:

2/22 – Bismarck Tribune – Potentially radioactive material spilling out of trailers near Watford City – Article reports that ‘socks’ used to filter fluids pulled out of wells are sitting on two pickups and dripping water. Those socks filter out the naturally occurring radioactive material that is located deep underground.  Radiation level in the socks is at or over 1,000 picocuries. Oh horror! Cutoff for application of regulatory rules is 5 picocuries. Radioactive leaks! Sounds like bad news, but you don’t get any context until you read…

2/22 – Million Dollar Way – Going Bananas Over Radiation – Turns out that some foods have more natural radiation than others. A single banana, for example, naturally has 520 picocuries of radiation. Eat three bananas a day for a year and you have absorbed radiation equal to one chest x-ray. The horrid socks have detectable radiation equal to two bananas each. I don’t know if that is from each sock or from the whole truck. Yes, that’s an issue, but not something to get too worked up about.

The Bismarck Tribune article says the state regulates radiation levels above 5 picocuries as hazardous. That means that if you divided a banana into 100 parts and had radiation equal to that, you would be in the range where the state has something to say about how you handle that radiation equal to that 1/100th of a banana. I’m not complaining about regulations, but let’s keep them in perspective.

The MDW article has a good link to a site that explains the radioactivity load in bananas.

Mr. Oksol’s conclusion on the behavior of the company involved?

…it’s inappropriate; the state will fine the guilty; and life will go on.

12/22 – Dickinson Press – Radioactive waste “stockpiled” on trailers near Watford City: State officials are investigating, county officials are mad – Article doesn’t have the “pegged out” comment about radioactivity detectors or the comparison of having 200 times the regulated limit of radiation. Focus is on proper disposal and the companies that don’t seem to quite know what they are doing. Go back to Mr. Oksol’s conclusion.  Next steps in the story will be a hefty fine for the company and close monitoring until they dispose of these ‘socks’ properly and can prove they did so while complying with state regs.

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