More good stuff on the Bakken – 5/19/14

Here’s a few quick notes on interesting news that I won’t cover in a separate post: infrastructure starting to catch up, regs won’t fix flaring, growth continues strong, interpreting the high count of wells awaiting completion.

5/3 – Million Dollar Way – Women in the Bakken – Just a Casual Observation – Bruce Oksol has a number of observations comparing Williston in 4/13 to his visit in 2011.

There still seems to be a severe imbalance in the ratio of women, but the number of women in stores is increasing. No longer 9,999 to 1; now more like 9,000 to 1 is his joking comment. Coffee shops don’t have as severe a wait time. There is more parking for company trucks and more roads, thus fewer trucks that are completely coated in mud. Increasing proportion of people are not northern European. He observes lots of Indians (from the subcontinent, not Natives) and Hispanics. It still feels like the wild west.

When I was in Williston in October 2013, it did have a feel of the wild west. I sense that is slowly changing as the infrastructure slowly catches up.

4/26 – Oil Patch Dispatch – Tioga pipeline spill cleanup estimate to top $11 million – Estimated cost is from $11M to $15M and will take around two years. A specialized treatment will be used to decontaminate the soil. The pipeline break in a field spilled an estimated 20,600 gallons of oil last September.

4/25 – Bismarck Tribune – Williston approves more than 2,000 housing units – City council approved a 535-acre development that will hold 1,340 apartments, 94 single family houses, and 176 duplex units. Article says the city approved 1,649 housing units in 2013.

4/29 – Oil Patch Dispatch – Bakken production hits 1 billion barrels – Very cool. That would be cumulative production from the Bakken field in North Dakota and Montana. Two-thirds of that is in the last three years.

5/10 – Say Anything Blog – More Regulation Won’t Fix a Flaring Problem That’s Caused by Over Regulation – Portion of natural gas flared from wells on tribal land is higher than on state land. Something like over 40% versus about 20%. Reason? There is a lot more bureaucratic oversight and paperwork and approvals and time and cost needed to put in pipeline to carry away the gas on tribal land than on state land. Thus, it is regulatory oversight that leads to higher flaring. The solution? Regulations that restrict the amount of flaring allowed. So, we have the situation that the solution to higher flaring caused by regulation and restrictions is more regulation and restrictions. The actual solution would be to build a lot of pipelines to transport the gas and build them quickly.

5/13 – Dickinson Press – Williston-Houston air service added – Starting August 19, United will add a fifth daily flight out of Williston. United started flying to & from Williston in November ’12 with three daily flights and added a fourth in November ’13.

5/15 – Million Dollar Way – Bruce Oksol points out not to worry about the high number of wells waiting to be fracked, currently about 635. Two reasons the number is high. First, spring road conditions slow down number of trucks on road, and fracking takes a lot of trucks. Second, pad drilling. Putting 8 or 16 wells on one site leads to making it easier to drill them to total depth first and then complete them all at once. More efficient that way. Result is the number of wells waiting for a fracking crew appears high.

5/16 – Dickinson Press – Bakken crude not the problem, industry-commissioned study finds: Refining group asked for study into volatility of crude’s characteristics – Analysis of 1,400 samples of crude from Bakken indicates the oil has less volatility that crude from Eagle Ford, the same as the DJ Bain and more than West Texas Intermediate. Crude from Bakken meets the requirements for transport in tank cars currently rated for hazardous material. The problem, as pointed out by Million Dollar Way, is when trains leave the track. Failing to set any brakes on a train or running over another already derailed train causes problems no matter what was loaded.

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