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.

Archive for the category “Energy”

Lots of good news for consumers about oil. Not so good news for OPEC.

How much oil to pump?   Oil pump jacks in the desert of Bahrain, Middle East. Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Lots of articles lately describing what is going on in the oil market. If you are a consumer, the news is rather good. If you are a part of OPEC, the news is quite grim. If you are a U.S. producer, there is a lot of opportunity.

5/17/17 – Daniel Yergin at Wall Street Journal – The Struggle Behind Oil’s Ups and Downs – Another must read, but then anything Mr. Yergin writes is in that category.

Here is my feeble try at a summary:

Mr. Yergin sees two forces at play in the oil market.

First is the pressure to balance supply and demand. US shale producers increased production a lot in 2014 which created an imbalance in the supply, which pushed prices down. Instead of dropping production to maintain prices, Saudi Arabia increased production, which further oversupplied the market and caused prices to collapse.

When prices dropped further than expected, the Saudis worked out a deal to cut production last November. That brought prices up.

In turn, that motivated shale producers to increase drilling, which is increasing US production, which will put more US shale oil on the market than expected, which will put substantial downward pressure on prices later this year.

Second is the recalibration of technology and internal pricing to reduce the cost of production.  The innovation and efficiency gains in the last two years are remarkable.

Read more…

More explanation of the serious downside of wind power

Part of the cost of wind power is externalized with great force on the wings and torsos of critters like this. Image of Golden Eagle in flight courtesy of Dollar Photo Club before their merger into Adobe Stock.

Two recent articles point out the serious limits and negative consequences of wind power.

5/13/17 – Matt Ridley at The Spectator – Wind turbines are neither clean nor green and they provide zero global energy – There are many economic, ecological, and environmental problems with wind power. Author focuses on three issues:

  • Tiny portion of total energy consumption provided by wind
  • The massive number of new turbines needed just to keep up with growth in energy use, let alone reduce the amount of fossil fuels consumed
  • The massive amount of natural resources needed to manufacture that many new turbines

I will summarize the article with my expansion on select points.

Amount of wind production worldwide

Close up of following view. Compare the size of the turbines to the roads. Photo by James Ulvog.

How much of the total consumption of energy across entire planet do you think came from wind during 2014?

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Various updates from Bakken

Another dozen reasons OPEC is in distress. Two reasons are quite visible. Another 10 reasons are the open spaces on that large pad where additional wells are going to be drilled someday. Notice the large number of storage tanks, which is far more than what’s needed for just 2 wells. Photo by James Ulvog.

Here is a variety of news tidbits I’ve noticed lately from Bakken:

  • airport construction underway
  • lots more jobs opening up
  • EURs now in range of a million barrels of oil
  • oil starts flowing through DAPL
  • frac sand mines running full steam ahead

4/14/17 – The Million Dollar Way – New Airport Work to Begin Next Week – Official groundbreaking ceremony was in October 2016. The start of massive grading and site work starts the week of April 17, 2017.

4/14/17 – Amy Dalrymple at Oil Patch Dispatch – ND Oil Production Up 5 Percent; Bakken Needs 1,000 Workers to Fill Oil Jobs, Regulator Says – Mr. Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources was surprised by the 5% increase in production in February.

He expects aggressive drilling in the summer, after a lull in the spring due to load restrictions.

Read more…

OPEC asks US frackers to curtail production

Three more reasons OPEC is in distress. Eventually there will likely be 6 or 15 wells on that site. Photo by James Ulvog.

Pressures on OPEC continue.  Several recent articles point to OPEC’s request that the US cut back its oil production. Creating financial distress didn’t work to take out US producers, so OPEC will instead try asking frackers nicely to curtail production.

Anyone want to guess how that will turn out?

Another article explains that the reversal of austerity moves by Saudi Arabia is due to internal political maneuvering.

5/11 – CNN Money – OPEC to U.S.: Please don’t pump so much oil! – How do you think this will work: In their monthly report, OPEC said that all oil producers need to work together to reduce the oversupply (hint so they can all make more money) and dropped a strong hint that producers in the US should cut back production.

Yeah, that’s a great plan! OPEC can bank on that working.

5/12 – Daily Caller – Saudi Arabia Whines US Has Too Much Control Over World’s Oil – One commentator observes the Saudis have realized they don’t have as much control as they did a decade ago.

America imported 60% of its oil in 2007 but only 27% in 2014. That is a massive loss in market for OPEC.

There is a lot of pressure on Saudi Arabia, both internally and externally.

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North Dakota oil production steady in March ’17

Average daily oil production dropped 0.83% in March, from 1,034,248 bopd (revised) to 1,025,638 bopd (preliminary). Director’s report for the month is not out as of the time of posting this discussion. This month, I’ll just show two graphs of production:

 

 

Here is a longer term view:

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OPEC is still in a jam and a few of the reasons why.

14 wells on one pad. That would be 14 of the thousands of reasons OPEC is in distress. Photo by James Ulvog.

The scheduled production cuts from OPEC are nearing the expiration date as oil prices drop further. Why are they in such a difficult position? Photo above illustrates 12 specific things contributing to their discomfort.

Some articles describing their troubles and why the troubles won’t be going away anytime soon:

5/3/17 – Wall Street Journal – Oil Forecast to Fall Sharply if OPEC Doesn’t Extend Production Cuts – Article says the oil market has priced in an extension of the OPEC production cut. If correct, that means oil prices will fall if the production cut is not extended during meetings this month.

Article has a graph showing forecasts from 14 banks of their guesses on oil prices through the end of the year. For 4th quarter, the estimates range from mid-$40s to almost $70, with most of the estimates in the high $50s or very low $60s.

Article speculates that without an extension, price could drop into $40s.

5/5/17 – Bloomberg – OPEC Runs Out of Options as Bid to Boost Oil Price Fizzles – Article says the OPEC producers have kept to their agreed upon production cuts. That pushed prices up for a while but now prices are back to where they were when the cuts were announced.

Read more…

Saudi Arabia still in financial trouble, reverses salary and benefit cuts

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Saudi Arabia and OPEC are still in trouble.

Just a few of the articles making that point lately:

  • Is OPEC near an end?
  • Saudi Arabia reverses course on salary and subsidy cuts
  • Continued drain of foreign reserves

3/31/17 – Oil Price – The End of OPEC is Near – Author Rakesh Upadhyay defines a cartel as:

…a group of like-minded producers, who act in concert—or collusion—to achieve a shared goal of increasing their profits by means of restricting supply, fixing prices, or destroying their competition by illegal means.

Article provides a history of OPEC’s efforts to control oil prices over the decades and then gives a recap of last few years.

OPEC tried to take out American shale drillers in 2014. Prices dropped further than they expected. Over 100 US producers went BK. US output dropped from 9.7M bopd to 8.9M bopd.

However, the drillers that survived developed more economical, more productive, and more effective techniques. Huge numbers of driller survived.

So, taking out US shale drillers didn’t work.

Thier next step? (Which also didn’t work?)

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Graph of daily rig count in North Dakota

Training rig in Williston. September 2015 photo by James Ulvog.

I’ve been watching the tally of daily rig count for a while. When I think about it, I jot down the count listed at The Million Dollar Way blog.  Occasionally, as in every few months, I post my tallies.

By the way, if you have even the slightest interest in my comments on my blog you really, really, really need to read MDW.

Decided to put all that data into a graph to help me see the trends from another direction. So, I combined all the data that has been accumulated haphazardly over time and put it in a graph.

If it helps you see some patterns, I’ll share my graph.

Keep a few things in mind:

  • The data is accumulated when I think of jotting it down, so this is not a complete database
  • Don’t read anything in to the gaps in data
  • Data hasn’t been double-checked, so there are likely inaccuracies
  • This shows general trends
  • The efficiency of drilling and total output from a well has improved radically in the last few years so data is not comparable over long terms

 

Having undercut my data and graph, here is a picture of the rig count in the state:

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An illustration of the horrible economics of residential rooftop solar power

Wealth transfer to wealthy under construction. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Robert Bryce explains in an editorial at the Wall Street Journal on 4/18/17 the lousy economics of rooftop solar panels: Thanks for Giving Me Your Tax Money.

Mr. Bryce appreciates each of us for giving him our money. Of course, it was done through the tax system so it wasn’t much of a gift. Anyone who did not go along with funding his lark would have to spend some time in jail.

He explains he installed a 8,540 watt solar system on his roof. That means the 28 panels generate 301 watts each.

I have been wanting to see financial results from an actual rooftop installation. Mr. Bryce provides a set of actual numbers.

Here is the breakdown of the actual cost:

  • $7,758 – federal tax subsidy
  •   6,593 – subsidy from city owned utility
  • 18,100 – his out-of-pocket costs
  • 32,451 – total cost

That means you and I covered 44% of the cost.

He says his system is generating about 12 mWh MWh of electricity a year.

Hmm. That would be about 32.9 kWh a day. For a system with 8,540 watt capacity, the potential, or faceplate capacity is 205.0 kWh each day. So what’s the capacity production on his system?

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Volume and value of oil production in North Dakota for the last several years

Where you see one well today, eventually there will be 4 or 8 or 12. That concept and the above photo are yet more illustration of why Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian Basin, are strategic threats to OPEC. October 2013 photo by James Ulvog.

Let’s look at some longer term graphs of oil production in North Dakota and the value of that production. Here is a view of the annual oil production in the state:

The fascinating insight from that graph is production did not drop in 2015.

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Swings in oil prices and rig count in North Dakota

There is enough untapped oil under the ground for a whole bunch more of those rigs to work in North Dakota. October 2013 photo by James Ulvog.

If  you want to see one graph that explains the swings of drilling and oil production in North Dakota, take a look at this:

The price of oil for producers in the state collapsed in late 2014 due to the OPEC decision to increase production. The price recovered a bit in mid-2015 but continued to drop into the 20 something range.

The price has been steadily trending up, albeit slowly, since mid-2016.

That graph can then explain a lot of other trends.

For example, look at the count of average rigs in operation. The tally dropped dramatically in 2015. It has slowly been recovering since fall of 2016.

Read more…

Oil production in North Dakota up 5% in February 2017

Illustration why Bakken and Eagle Ford are a strategic threat to OPEC. Photo by James Ulvog.

Oil production in North Dakota increased 5.38% in February to 1,034,168 bopd (preliminary). This follows a 4.14% increase in January. Two large changes in earlier months were an 8.91% drop in December 2016 and a 7.31% increase in October 2016.

I’ve not posted my usual graphs for a few months. Will get caught up in the next few days.

Here is a graph of average daily production, both state-wide and Bakken-only:

 

Here is a longer term view, with average daily production since 2004:

Read more…

Initial reports for solar panels embedded in road. Well, actually, a walkway. Output worth around a nickel per day.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A prototype of solar panels installed in roads is being tested. Results are not particularly promising. (Similar story could be told of two projects in Europe, but will have to cover that another day.)

10/18/16 – Daily Caller News Foundation – Solar Road is “Total and Epic” Failure, 83% Of Its Panels Break in a Week – The test project is in Idaho. The concept is that 30 panels installed in a street (actually a walkway so the panels are not actually getting the wear of being in a road) will provide enough power to run a water fountain and the lights in a restroom.

Eighteen panels were DOA. Another five panels failed after a rain shower. Not a hail storm. Not an unseasonal torrential rain. Not a blizzard, as happens often in northern locations. Like Idaho.

A shower.

Article says only 5 of the 30 panels were working at the time.

Read more…

Recent counts of drilling rigs in North Dakota

Drilling rig at dawn. Photo by James Ulvog.

The count of drilling rigs in operation across the state has shown strong increase since fall ’16.

Here is a recap of the North Dakota rig count, all from Million Dollar Way. It has been a while since I posted an update.

Keep in mind that the dramatic increase in productivity and production per well means that the number of rigs isn’t anywhere near as important as it was several years ago. At the same time, the count of rigs is still one indicator of activity. Perhaps the long-term trends aren’t important while the shorter term trends are.

Keep in mind I gather data when I think to make notes on the count. Also, I haven’t double checked the numbers, so there very well could be some errors.

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Updates on Bakken

Gotta’ get that well back in production. Crew on workover rig working well after dark. Photo by James Ulvog.

Here are four articles providing a bit of background on what’s going on in Bakken.

You have likely noticed I have long relied on The Million Dollar Way for my education on oil in general and Bakken in particular. Just look at the source for the following four articles. That makes it sorta’ cool when on 3/22 MDW recommended my post Scratching my head at the geopolitical impact of fracking. Thanks for the mention!

2/19/17 – The Million Dollar Way – EURs – Bakken 2.0 – EUR means Estimated Ultimate Recovery, which is the total amount of oil expected to be extracted from one specific well.  Article says the EURs in Bakken were 300K early on. At the point I started paying attention, the EURs were in the 500K range with possibilities of 1,000K.

Article says Mike Filloon has been talking about 1.5M instead of 1.0M.

Now the article lists 14 wells with EURs of 1.5M up to 2.0M EURs.

Read more…

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