Veteran Takes Honor Flight

Largent visits the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial while in DC.
By Ken Gjerde
Special to the Fairfield Sun Times,

To Remember . . .

Simms resident Howard Largent 86, recently enjoyed the third Big Sky Honor Flight for Veterans, a tour of Washington, D.C. with focus on the War Memorials and Arlington National Cemetery.   The flights honor our war dead who made the supreme sacrifice, and pay tribute to surviving Montana veterans.  Those senior in age and veterans with terminal illness receive priority for selection to the flights.   Sponsored by Big Sky Honor Flight Committee, which funds the flights, eighty-one male and five women WWII veterans departed Billings Logan International Airport Sunday, April 21st, 2013.  This honor culminated what began in 1944 when eighteen year old Howard was drafted.  His induction, oath and assignment to a branch of service was in Salt Lake City on 10 January, 1945.   Alone from Ulm, he made friends with a Great Falls kid who wanted to be a marine so Howard signed up with him.   He got in but his new found friend didn’t, “so there I was all by myself again.”   He says he made it through boot camp at the Marine Recruit Depot in San Diego, “On the skin of my teeth.  It was six weeks of hell.  They treated everyone like dogs, called you names, and beat you on the head.   The kill or be killed idea kind of screwed with my mind.”   Elwood Richards of Simms had boot camp at the same time.  Howard was home ten days at Easter and then idle at Camp Pendleton for two weeks before sailing for Pearl Harbor, then to Okinawa via Guam where they expected more training, but received none.  “All we knew how to do was close order drill and marching.”   So in June, 1945, minimally prepared for war, he found himself in the Sixth Marine Division on Okinawa, in the last Pacific Island battle and final battle of WWII.   The trip to Washington aroused things he’d forgotten and he was glad he could focus on the good.

His daughter Marlene, a registered nurse, joined him on the flight to share the experience and assist him with walker and wheelchair.  Others assisting were seven emergency medical response staff and other helpers, and members of the all volunteer Big Sky Honor Flight Committee.   After their 5:45 a.m. arrival at the airport and 7:30 a.m. departure he found himself thinking about sleep as well as his gratitude.  He knew no one but found people with whom he had mutual friends.  There were a few “Seabees” (combat engineers) and six ex-marines on the flight, the rest being army, navy and air corps veterans.   Arriving at Dulles International Airport at 1:15 p.m., their plane was showered from both sides by fire truck water cannons as it approached the gate.   Greeting them were a band playing patriotic numbers, veteran supporters with welcome and thank you signs, various political dignitaries and a group of Vietnam Veterans with shiny Harley Davidson motorcycles ready for their afternoon escort.   The Montana veterans became a center of attention for a group of New Hampshire middle school students who questioned them about the war and what it was like.

The Honor Veterans were assigned to three tour buses, and a van for those needing special assistance, and departed at 3:00 p.m. for three memorials.  The Korean War Memorial was striking with its nineteen ten foot high stainless steel statues of armed infantrymen posed maneuvering in a field of grass.  One veteran saw it as so real he felt he was moving right among them, knowing what they were doing and feeling.  The massiveness of the Lincoln Memorial surprised some as did the length, height and stark vividness of the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

Montana’s Lt. Governor, John Walsh, a veteran of 2004-2005 Iraq, is the  Honorary State Chairman for the Honor Flights and was the lead person on Howard’s bus and counted heads for each boarding.   Howard liked getting to know him, found him to be down to earth enjoyable company, had the privilege of him pushing his wheel chair at the WWII memorial and sat beside him at the banquet later in the evening.  Following an hour’s stop to settle into their hotel rooms, the hotel’s Potomac Ball Room was the site for their reception and banquet featuring delicious Prime Rib and a program of greetings.

Breakfast Monday morning was early and delicious with time for meeting members of the flight for conversation, reminiscing and recounting experiences.   They boarded buses at 8:15 a.m. to tour the city and arrive at the World War II Memorial at 9:30 a.m.   A police escort kept the group moving on schedule.  The cherry blossoms weren’t their usual dominating attraction, due to frost, as they viewed the U.S. Capitol areas and the 9/11/01 terrorist attack damaged Pentagon.   A group picture was taken at the WWII Memorial with a large rectangular concrete pillar and arch in the background.  Smaller pillars, named for each state, form a circle boundary to the Memorial.

The WWII Memorial offered time for individual pictures and time to reflect on the veteran’s own experiences.   For Howard this was being one of 11,000 marine replacements.  The First and Sixth Marine Divisions had cleared the northern portion of Okinawa and the Sixth was joining the battle for the southern portion when he was assigned to its Fourth Marine Regiment, Second Battalion, George Company.   “I came in the last part of it.   I was an assistant BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) man and a stretcher bearer.  We had to go up in the lines and get the wounded.  A lot of kids with me as replacements were killed.”  The night before Howard landed on Okinawa the marines were fed all they could eat of steak, mashed potatoes and all the trimmings, evoking the usual jokes about it being their “last meal” before the “execution”.   The core of his Fourth Marine Regiment was the men of the renowned Carlson’s Marine Raider Battalion.    He remembers times when his squad leader was a PFC instead of the normal Sgt. or Cpl., so rapidly were marines being killed and wounded.   He says it was a place where you “grew up fast.”   Moving up, a man was shot right in front of him, but with the shot fired from behind he guessed he had been the target.  Elements of the Sixth Division participated with others in some of the fighting for Sugar Loaf, a key hill closely supported by two other hills giving   each hill triangulated fire support.   It took ten days to win the hills and clear the caves with 7,547 killed and wounded.   He and Gene Converse, who was in the Navy aboard ship in support of the Okinawa battle, were friends.  Gene lived in Fairfield from late childhood until his death in 2001 and they had talked about seeing an ammunition ship blown up by a kamikaze plane in the harbor off Naha.  Readers may remember that Ross Peace was also aboard ship at Okinawa at the same time.   Howard was on Okinawa until 8 July, 1945.

After Okinawa the Fourth Marines were based on Guam preparing for the invasion of Japan which included digging a long latrine trench between Quonset huts being readied for barracks.   At a movie it was announced that the U.S. had dropped the atomic bomb on Japan and “we didn’t even know what it was.”  After the Japanese surrender the Fourth Marines went to Japan with Task Force 31 occupation group at Yokosuka Naval Base. They docked beside the USS Missouri.  A big sign, “U.S. Navy welcomes U.S. Marines to Japan” greeted them.  Howard said he was the nineteenth Marine to set foot on the Japanese homeland.   One job he had was supervising a group of Japanese in a boiler room (See photo).   His eleven months in Japan included much Military Police duty with time in Sasebo and Yokohama.   He toured Nagasaki and found the devastation hard to believe.   At Yokohama he saw Japanese in American clothing and learned they had been born in the U.S. and had asked to be returned to Japan.    He remembers racism where a USO show with a minority performer, was boycotted.   He endured seven troop ship ocean voyages and was seasick on every one except the last one home to San Diego where he was discharged on 26 August, 1946.

General Simon B. Buckner, overall commander of the four Army and three  Marine divisions in the Okinawa Battle, was killed by artillery fire while observing the fighting on 18 June, 1945.    By 21 June, the official end of the battle, 8,277 Sixth Marine Division marines were killed or wounded, with total U.S. military casualties of 49,151 killed and wounded in the 82 day battle for Okinawa.   These numbers accent the enduring meaning of Arlington National Cemetery to our nation.   The ceremonial changing of the guard at Arlington impressed all with its uniformity of participants in size, slow pace, dress uniforms, crispness and precision of movements.   The presentation of arms also reminded Howard of “M-1 Thumb”, a condition where the bearer of the standard issue WWII M-1 Rifle gets his thumb caught in the breech as the bolt action snaps closed.   From the cemetery at Arlington he could see General Robert E. Lee’s memorial residence as the cemetery lies within the boundary of General Lee’s original plantation.

After a very good lunch on the bus they set foot at the Iwo Jima Memorial.  This very large bronze monument depicting the marines raising the American Flag on Mount Surubaci moved them, but no monument can tell the story of the dying suffered by the 25,851 killed and wounded marines in the battle for Iwo.   However, the symbolism in the flag raising scene evokes a tribute to all who have fought in all our nation’s wars, fighting for the freedom our flag represents.

The Memorial to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, built featuring large white blocks of granite from South Dakota, displays famous quotes of FDR.  It includes scenes of the depression era with life-size statues of farmers, bread lines and other scenes.

Air traffic at Dulles International is stopped when Air Force One or foreign leaders are landing or taking off.  The same discipline, privilege and tribute was accorded the Honor Flight.  No other planes moved on their landing, taxiing and takeoff.   Senators Max Baucus and John Tester and Representative Steve Daines each made at least one appearance to the tour and addressed the Honored Veterans.  Representatives of their Washington and Billings staffs saw the veterans off and welcomed them at the Dulles and Logan airports.   Thank you and welcome back signs adorned Logan International upon their return.

This past April eleventh, Howard and his wife Jean celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.   They live in Simms and have three daughters, Marlene Largent and Sharon Wheeler of Simms and Carol Graves of Missoula; and one son Jim Largent of Simms.  Howard grew up in the Cascade and Ulm areas and spent many years in county road maintenance.   He was not allowed to keep a diary or have a camera on Okinawa and he regrets forgetting so much.   Jean, nee Speer, was raised in Conrad.  She managed the Sun River Truck Stop for thirteen years and cooked many years at the Cozy Corner in Fairfield and the Lazy B in Augusta.  Howard was one of many veterans featured in the Simms High School English and U.S. History Classes Heritage Project a few years ago.  We extend our appreciation for information for his story, to Howard and his family and to the Simms Public School and the Heritage Project for their gracious willingness to grant access to their interview with Howard.


Slawson Completes Well Into Upper Bakken Member: Weekly Oil Report

A Bakken well being drilled in Richland County. Sun Times photo by Darryl L. Flowers

Compiled by Darryl L. Flowers

New Locations

In Fallon County’s Cabin Creek Field,  Denbury Onshore, LLC was approved to drill the Unit 11X-03, located at NW NW 3-9N-58E (307 FNL/743 FWL). The well will reach the Red River Formation with a Proposed Depth of 9,400 feet.

In Glacier County’s Cut Bank Field,  Montalban Oil & Gas Operations, Inc. was greenlighted to drill the Kruger 12, located at NW SW 13-37N-5W (1650 FSL/990 FWL), reaching the Madison Formation with a Proposed Depth of 2,900 feet.

In Musselshell County, Antelope Resources, Inc. was approved to drill the Lida Kluzek 2, located at NW NW 20-11N-28E (616 FNL/659 FWL) and targeting the Amsden Formation at 3,300 feet.

New Locations – Horizontal Wells

There were eight new horizontal wells approved during the reporting period. All eight wells will target the Bakken Formation in Richland County and fly the Continental Resources Inc. banner.

The Mufflin 1-30H has a Surface Hole Location (SHL) at NW NE 30-23N-54E (260 FNL/1780 FEL) and a Probable Bottom Hole Location (PBHL) of 14,369 feet at SW SE 30-23N-54E (200 FSL/1980 FEL); the McHenry 1-35H has an SHL at NE NW 35-24N-52E (295 FNL/1553 FWL) and a PBHL of 14,030 feet at SW SW 35-24N-52E (200 FSL/660 FWL); the McHenry 2-35H has an SHL at NE NW 35-24N-52E (295 FNL/1598 FWL) and a PBHL of 13,818 feet at SE SW 35-24N-52E (200 FSL/1980 FWL); the McHenry 3-35H has an SHL at NW NE 35-24N-52E (270 FNL/1343 FEL) and a PBHL of 13,953 feet at SW SE 35-24N-52E (200 FSL/1980 FEL); the McHenry 4-35H has an SHL at NE NE 35-24N-52E (270 FNL/1298 FEL) and a PBHL of 13,957 feet at SE SE 35-24N-52E (200 FSL/660 FEL); the Charlotte Federal 3-11H has an SHL at NW NE 11-25N-52E (260 FNL/2390 FEL) and a PBHL of 19,007 feet at SW SE 14-25N-52E (200 FSL/2200 FEL); the Parsons Federal 1-6H has an SHL at NE NW 6-26N-53E (359 FNL/2098 FWL) and a PBHL of 18,461 feet at SE SW 7-26N-53E (200 FSL/1980 FWL) and the Mulholland Federal 1-32H, with an SHL at SE SW 32-27N-56E (260 FSL/1345 FWL) and a PBHL of 19,973 feet at NE NW 29-27N-56E (200 FNL/1980 FWL).

Re-Issued Locations

In Carbon County, J.J. Bunkirt Oil & Gas Corp. has been approved for two wells.

The Federal 22-26, located in the South Clark’s Fork Field at SE NW 26-9S-22E (1955 FNL/2086 FWL) will target the Greybull Formation at a Proposed Depth of 8,300 feet.

The Summit 21-26, located at NW NE 26-9S-22E (1109 FNL/2473 FEL), has a Proposed Depth of 5,800 feet, aiming for the Colorado Shale.


In Powder River County’s Bell Creek Field, Denbury Onshore, LLC filed a completion report for the Bell Creek Consolidated 33-09R. The well has an SHL at NE SE 33-8S-54E (1900 FSL/661 FEL) and a Bottom Hole Location (BHL) of 4,635 feet at NE SE 33-8S-54E (1841 FSL/940 FEL), reaching the Skull Creek Formation.

The remainder of the completions were in Richland County.

Slawson Exploration Company Inc. filed a completion report for the Boomerang 3-4H. Geologists had been watching this well closely, calling it a “significant completion.” The Boomerang is situated far south of the Elm Coulee Field, with an SHL at NE NW 4-20N-60E (240 FNL/2225 FWL) and a BHL of 15,226 feet at SE SW 4-20N-60E (255 FSL/2596 FEL). At this location, the middle layer of the Bakken System disappears as it is “pinched out.” The Boomerang was drilled into the upper layer of the Bakken. The well reported an Initial Potential of 414 Barrels of Oil Per Day (BOPD), 124 Thousand Cubic Feet of gas Per Day (MCFPD) and 903 Barrels of Water Per Day.

Slawson filed completion reports on three other Bakken wells.

The Archer (Federal) 1-26H has an SHL at NW NW 26-24N-52E (300 FNL/660 FWL) and three laterals: 13,720 feet at SW SW 26-24N-52E (259 FSL/741 FWL); 13,187 feet at NE NE 26-24N-52E (746 FNL/535 FEL) and 13,882 feet at SE NE 26-24N-52E (2450 FNL/313 FEL), the reported IP was 490 BOPD, 539 MCFPD and 275 BWPD. The Android 1-6H has an SHL at SE SE 6-23N-53E (540 FSL/850 FEL) and a BHL of 13,049 feet at NE NE 6-23N-53E (767 FNL/771 FEL) and turned in an IP of 180 BOPD, 210 MCFPD and 136 BWPD. The Rustler 1-4H has an SHL at NE NE 4-23N-52E (200 FNL/700 FEL) and a BHL of 13,948 feet at SE SE 4-23N-52E (250 FSL/780 FEL) and reported an IP of 247 BOPD, 272 MCFPD and 455 BWPD.

Continental Resources Inc. reported the completion of the Candee 3-18H. The Bakken well has an SHL at NE NE 18-24N-53E (145 FNL/380 FEL) and a BHL of 19,274 feet at SE SE 19-24N-53E (208 FSL/784 FEL) and reported an IP of 109 BOPD and 64 MCFPD.

Whiting Oil and Gas Corporation reported the completion of the Simmers 4 21-30-1H, with an SHL at

NE NW 30-25N-57E (375 FNL/1600 FWL) and a BHL of 20,461 feet at SW SW 31-25N-57E (243 FSL/721 FWL). The Simmers reported an IP of 470 BOPD, 256 MCFPD and 1,080 BWPD.

Oasis Petroleum North America LLC filed a completion report for the Sherri 2658 43-9H, with an SHL at SW SE 9-26N-58E (225 FSL/2000 FEL) and a BHL of 20,460 feet at SW SE 21-26N-58E (303 FSL/1456 FEL). The well turned in an IP of 860 BOPD, 644 MCFPD and 186 BWPD.

Expired Permits

All three expired permits for the reporting period were located in Roosevelt County: EOG Resources, Incorporated’s NBB 3-3031H, located at NE NW 30-30N-59E (250 FNL/2425 FWL) and two G3 Operating, LLC wells: the McCabe 1-2-11H, located at NE NW 2-29N-56E (250 FNL/2020 FWL) and the KDW 1-26-35H, located at NE NW 26-30N-56E (250 FNL/1980 FWL).

Abandoned Wells

In Big Horn County’s CX Field, the permits for six wells operated by Fidelity Exploration & Production Co. expired: the Consol Federal 2399 43D, located at NE SE 23-9S-39E (1800 FSL/990 FEL); the Consol Federal 2699 44D, located at SE SE 26-9S-39E (833 FSL/644 FEL); the Consol Federal 2699 44C, located at SE SE 26-9S-39E (795 FSL/733 FEL); the Consol Federal 2399 43C, located at NE SE 23-9S-39E (1785 FSL/1072 FEL); the Consol Federal 2399 43M, located at NE SE 23-9S-39E (1807 FSL/1032 FEL) and the Consol Federal 2699 44M, located at SE SE 26-9S-39E (815 FSL/685 FEL).

In Glacier County’s Cut Bank Field, the permits for two wells operated by Quicksilver Resources, Inc. expired: the Jacobsen-Lee 3, located at C NE SW 23-37N-5W (1980 FSL/1980 FWL) and the Jacobsen Lee 1, located at C NW NW 23-37N-5W (660 FNL/660 FWL).

Also in Glacier County, the permit for the Gage 3606-19-01, operated by Rosetta Resources Operating LP expired. The Gage was located at NE NE 19-36N-6W (390 FNL/660 FEL).

In Toole County, the permit for Keesun Corporation’s Leuck 6-13, located at SE NW 13-34N-3W (2420 FNL/1650 FWL), expired.

Darryl L. Flowers is the Publisher of the Sun Times in Fairfield, Montana, Darryl can be reached at

Norstra Closing in on First Drill Location

A comparison of the Krone Well, located near the proposed Norstra drill site south of Augusta, and a well located in Elm Coulee in eastern Montana.
Published: Monday, May 20, 2013 2:02 PM CDT

SOUTHLAKE, Texas — Norstra Energy today announced that the company is finalizing the evaluation of technical data this week for the first drill location on its South Sun River Prospect. “We received the first seismic interpretation from our geophysical team in Denver and are reviewing the proposed first drill location internally. Once we have evaluated and cross-referenced the proposed location with the actual surface conditions for the drilling operations we will send our surveying team out to stake the location and design the drilling pad,” stated Glen Landry, the CEO & President of Norstra. He further said: “We are also very excited about the quality of the seismic lines.”

Central to the viability of Norstra’s South Sun River Prospect are the subsurface well logs in the area. Norstra is fortunate to have acreage that is near wells that show the likelihood of commercial oil in the Bakken Oil Formation.

There are three key wells in the immediate vicinity of the first potential Norstra drill site.

• Krone #3132 drilled by Shell Oil Company. This well demonstrates those essential parameters for a commercial well in the Bakken Oil Formation. There are 24 feet of Bakken middle member present. The middle member of the Bakken Oil Formation produces most of the oil today. The reservoir rock displays a resistivity of 200 ohms suggesting oil and gas is present. The well is less than 2.5 miles away from the first proposed Norstra drill site.

• Steinbach #1 drilled by Arco. The Steinbach # 1 well is around 3,000 feet deeper than the Krone well.  The same reservoir is present, but with deeper buried shales that are heated at a higher temperature resulting in higher resistivities from the generations of oil and gas.  The resistivity here is over 2,000 ohms.  The well is less than 5 miles south of the first proposed drill site.

• Soap Creek Cattle Co. #1331 drilled by Flying J Oil and Gas.  The well is not studied much because it did not penetrate the Bakken Oil Formation. It still has some very significant information for our project. The well stopped in the middle member of the Blackleaf Oil Formation at a depth of 5,480 feet. The Bakken is perhaps 3,000 feet deeper. What is of interest is that in one of the many faults present, there is oil described by the geologist, M.K. Jones. The oil is described from 4,928 to 4,994 feet.  It is in a fractured member of the Taft Hill and the oil has been biodegraded to a heavy crude due to the presence of the water in the fractures. This oil has migrated up the thrust from deeper formations. The source for the oil could be the Bakken Oil Formation. This well is less than 0.75 miles from the proposed first drillsite away. Just the fact that oil is present so close to the Company’s proposed well site is extremely significant.

We anticipate that the Bakken Oil Formation on the Norstra drill site may be very similar to the Krone well or Steinbach well. A comparison has been made by the Company’s technical consultants between the Krone well and the Balcron 44-24 Vaira well located in the Elm Coulee field of Eastern Montana. Elm Coulee (2007) was the highest producing onshore oil field in the United States, and it is Bakken Oil. This field is expected to exceed 270 million barrels of production from the Bakken Oil Formation at depths of 8,500-10,000 feet. This is exactly the depth range around the proposed Norstra drill location and in the Krone and Steinbach.

The comparisons do not stop there. (See photo accompanying story)

The Vaira 44-24 well has produced over 159,000 barrels of oil and was completed in 1989 when new fracking and drilling technologies were in their infancy. A series of upgrades have been applied to this well but in today’s world one would expect this well to exceed these figures. The Company plans to employ all of the latest completion technologies to drill the Norstra #1 well. Production is anyone’s estimate but just based upon the increased thickness of the Bakken Oil Formation at the proposed Norstra location, the recoverable reserves may compare favorably to those found in nearby wells.

Limited production start-up at In Amenas

Photo: Kjetil Alsvik / Statoil

Algerian facility was target of terrorism…

Published: Saturday, February 23, 2013 9:55 AM CST

On Friday, the In Aménas gas facilities in Algeria operated by the Joint Venture partners Sonatrach, BP and Statoil, initiated a limited production start-up. The news came in a press release issued by Statoil.

Production from the plant’s train 1 was started-up following a detailed review of technical integrity, security, and other conditions, and after the partners had concluded that the criteria required to ensure a safe restart of train 1 had been met. The remaining two production trains were damaged during the terror attack, and will not be put on stream until it is safe to do so.

The physical inspection of train 1 was conducted by Sonatrach on behalf of the Joint Venture, and the documentation has been fully reviewed by both Statoil and BP.

“The Joint Venture has initiated a limited production start-up at In Amenas. We thank Sonatrach for the work they have done and continue to do on behalf of the Joint Venture, during this difficult time for everyone involved”, says Lars Christian Bacher, executive vice president for Development and Production International in Statoil.

During the production start-up phase, the facilities will be operated by Sonatrach on behalf of the Joint Venture. Statoil and BP staff will not yet be redeployed but technical specialists will provide support when needed, in line with strict security procedures established for short-term visits.

Statoil is currently in a close dialogue with Algerian authorities, Sonatrach and BP about the necessary conditions for full production and a redeployment of staff.

“The safety and security of our people is our utmost priority. We will take whatever time needed to conduct all required assessments and reviews and take all necessary precautions before we consider a re-entry of Statoil personnel,” says Bacher.

Coinciding with production start-up, Sonatrach will hold a commemoration ceremony at the In Amenas facilities Sunday 24 February in connection with the Algerian Day of Nationalisation of Hydrocarbons. A memorial monument with the names of the victims of the terror attack will also be unveiled.

A Rig is Down

Sun Times file photo by Darryl L. Flowers
By Rachel E. Kelley
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 2:41 PM CST

A shrill ring invades the quiet of our bedroom. Just barely on the edge of sleep, I hear one side of a mumbled conversation, and then my husband says to me, “A rig is down.” A fairly common phrase from him, I know what it means. An oil rig engine needs a part. Rigs can’t run without engines, and just one hour down costs tens of thousands of dollars.  Despite the seduction of sleep, he’ll go save the day like an oilfield superhero. I think of him like that at times like these.

I see oil rigs every day. Similar to the Eiffel Tower, they are a massive construction of steel beams, cables, and our country’s flag fluttering at the top as if they represent something inherently American. Perhaps they do. After all, the oil rig has a reputation. The rig, whipping boy of environmentalists everywhere, has become something more than just a means to get oil; it embodies many things: greed, abuse, capitalism, rape of the earth, pillaging of natural resources, money, power, inequality, pollution.

But to some of us saving a rig is a big deal. Like saving Freddie-Mac. Or Lehman Brothers before its crash in ‘08. Or the auto industry. Like saving the California Grey Whales in Barrow, Alaska in 1988. How ironic.

I’m no stranger to irony. When I drive by an oil rig at night, and the thing is lit up like some kind of heavenly beacon of hope, I inevitably measure the angles of my reasoning and find them incongruent. The uninvited feeling of pride I get when seeing a rig still hangs decidedly under ‘need to reconcile’ in the orderly convictions of my mind.

Many times I’ve examined the conflicted feelings whose origins belong to the oil rig. Aside from its sheer size, the oil rig is not so amazing in-and-of itself. However, the bright lights and heavenly luminescence only make the feeling that much stronger like dramatic music does for movies. Oil rigs are dirty and dangerous up-close.

I often wonder if I’m the only one that sees a rig this way, but I realize the irony has nothing to do with how others see a rig. The paradox lies with me, the avid proponent of clean energy and technology, who admonishes her children to never neglect the sanctity of life, even if such life resides in a caterpillar or housefly. “We respect the earth. We respect all God’s creations,” I tell them. My son stepped mercilessly on a beetle once, and I nearly lost it. How do I remain in awe of the oil rig yet stand so avidly on the side of my earthly home?

I suppose, in my mind, hope trumps the realities of oil. The hope inspired by a rig is bigger than anything the rig may mechanically do. The rig saved us: my husband, my children, and me. Even that wouldn’t be enough for me to revere the rig this way, but it didn’t just save us. The rig saved that dirt and grease-clad man in front of me at the post office whose hands bear the evidence of manual drudgery. He’s mailing his son a Transformer toy for his birthday because he can’t be there. He’s here, in North American Siberia to save his family.

The rig saved the guy and his daughter who slept in the church parking lot under some bushes while they looked for jobs to save the rest of their family back in Washington. It saved the man lugging his meager belongings in a backpack down the side of the road on his way to find the well-springs of hope promised by the rig. His rolled-up sleeping bag slaps the back of his legs as he walks, urging him onward toward his goal.

The artist from Arizona, who custom designed welded architecture, came here too. The housing bubble devoured his dream and his livelihood as if they never were. But the rig saved him and his family.

The rig saved the guy who lost his job—there are so many of those guys. Hundreds of thousands the rig has saved. Perhaps millions. The rig has the power to save every person that comes here.

So when a rig is down, we have to fix it. The rig has lives to save.

Rachel E. Kelley “blogs” under the name “Zealous Mom” at Kelley lives in Williston, ND which she describes as “… the happiest place on earth (Sorry Disney World) where everyone has a job and makes plenty of money thanks to that fantastic industry you all depend on to run your cars.  Seriously, this place is like Mecca and I love it.” The post was sent to the Sun Times by Montana Petroleum Association.

Wyoming’s True Oil, LLC Greenlighted For Richland County Well: Weekly Oil Report

Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 2:41 PM CST

Compiled by Darryl L. Flowers

New Locations – Horizontal Wells

In Daniels County, Sagebrush Resources II, LLC has been approved for the Gunderson 1-8H. The well has a Surface Hole Location (SHL) at NW SW 8-35N-51E (2417 FSL/320 FWL) and a Probable Bottom Hole Location (PBHL) of 13,659 feet at SE NE 17-35N-51E (1980 FNL/660 FEL). The well targets the Bakken Formation.

In Richland County, two Bakken wells were greenlighted. XTO Energy Inc. was approved for the Dige 41X-29DXA, with an SHL at NE NE 29-23N-59E (230 FNL/1170 FEL) and a PBHL of 20,587 feet at SW SE 33-23N-59E (250 FSL/50 FWL). True Oil, LLC was issued a permit for the Anvick 21-3 3-10H. The Anvick has an SHL at NE NW 3-25N-58E (250 FNL/2400 FWL) and a PBHL of 20,490 feet at SE SW 10-25N-58E (200 FSL/1320 FWL).

In Roosevelt County, Oasis Petroleum North America LLC was OK’d for three wells. The Romo Bro Louise 2759 43-9B has an SHL at SW SE 9-27N-59E (255 FSL/1570 FEL) and a PBHL of 20,444 feet at NW NE 4-27N-59E (250 FNL/1960 FEL); the Romo Bro Margaret 2759 43-9B has an SHL at SW SE 9-27N-59E (255 FSL/1520 FEL) and a PBHL of 20,413 feet at NW NW 4-27N-59E (200 FNL/1280 FEL) and the Romo Bro Ray 2759 43-9B has an SHL at SW SE 9-27N-59E (255 FSL/1470 FEL) and a PBHL of 20,574 feet at NE NE 4-27N-59E (250 FNL/600 FEL). All three Roosevelt County wells will aim for the Bakken Formation.

Re-Issued Locations

Thirteen wells were approved for Fidelity Exploration & Production Co.,.

The wells are, in Phillips County (Bowdoin Field, targeting the Mowry Shale): the Federal 1548, with an SHL at NW NE 30-31N-34E (766 FNL/2526 FEL); the Fee 1539, with an SHL at NE NW 4-31N-34E (580 FNL/1822 FWL); the Fee 1546, with an SHL at NW NW 6-31N-34E (660 FNL/321 FWL; the State 1540, with an SHL at SE SW 16-31N-34E (672 FSL/1764 FWL); the Fee 1530, with an SHL at SE SE 34-32N-34E (762 FSL/669 FEL) and the Fee 1526, with an SHL at NE NW 19-31N-34E (394 FNL/2018 FWL); in Rosebud County (Wildcat, targeting the Heath Formation): the Nefsy 44-2H, with an SHL at SE SE 2-11N-33E (328 FSL/568 FEL). In the Valley County portion of the Bowdoin Field, these wells will target the Mowry Shale: the Federal 1549, with an SHL at NW SW 19-31N-35E (2428 FSL/1049 FWL); the Fee 1536 with an SHL at NW NW 2-31N-34E (1046 FNL/681 FWL); the Fee 1538, with an SHL at SE SE 2-31N-34E (756 FSL/1280 FEL); the Fee 1544, with an SHL at NW NW 26-31N-34E (390 FNL/143 FWL); the Fee 1524, with an SHL at NW NW 27-31N-34E (1255 FNL/428 FWL) and the Fee 1542, with an SHL at SE NE 10-31N-34E (1548 FNL/915 FEL).


In Glacier County, Newfield Production Company reported the completion of two wells. The Tribal Buffalo Jump 1-28, has an SHL at NE NE 28-35N-11W (244 FNL/255 FEL) and a Bottom Hole Location (BHL) of 10,975 feet at NE NE 28-35N-11W (711 FNL/710 FEL); the Tribal Rumney 1-21H has an SHL at SE SE 21-37N-11W (264 FSL/818 FEL) and a depth of 10,283 feet.

In Richland County, Whiting Oil and Gas Corporation reported the completion of the Hackley 21-30H. The well has an SHL at NE NW 30-26N-57E (270 FNL/2370 FWL) and two laterals, with a BHL of 12,038 feet at SE NW 30-26N-57E (2328 FNL/1886 FWL) and a BHL of 19,600 feet at SE SW 31-26N-57E (690 FSL/2030 FWL), with both laterals in the Bakken Formation. The well turned in an Initial Potential (IP) of 235 Barrels of Oil Per Day (BOPD); 211 Thousand Cubic Feet of Gas Per Day (MCFPD) and 692 Barrels of Water Per Day (BWPD).

In Roosevelt County, EOG Resources, Inc. reported the completion of two Bakken Formation Wells. The Highline 1-2833H has an SHL at NW NE 28-29N-59E (380 FNL/880 FEL) and a BHL of 19,774 feet at SW SE 33-29N-59E (710 FSL/807 FEL). The Highline reported an IP of 600 BOPD; 300 MCFPD and 3,360 BWPD. The Stateline 12-2932H has an SHL at NW NW 29-28N-59E (325 FNL/1070 FWL) and a BHL of 19,959 feet at SE SW 32-28N-59E (370 FSL/1608 FWL). The Stateline reported an IP of 528 BOPD; 320 MCFPD and 2,352 BWPD.

In Rosebud County, Central Montana Resources, LLC reported the completion of two wells:  the Zeus 1H-13, which has an SHL at SE SW 13-11N-34E (383 FSL/2419 FWL) and a depth of 5,280 and the Poseidon 1H-5, with an SHL at S2 S2 5-12N-35E (480 FSL/2640 FWL) and a depth of 4,600 feet.

Abandoned Wells

In Glacier County, Newfield Production Company was approved to abandon the Tribal Buffalo Jump 1-28. The well has an SHL at NE NE 28-35N-11W (244 FNL/255 FEL), tapping into the Nisku Formation.

In Toole County, Sonkar, Inc. was approved to abandon the I.H. Baker 2. The well has an SHL at SW SW SE 4-35N-2W (220 FSL/2420 FEL).

Darryl L. Flowers is the Publisher of the Sun Times in Fairfield, Montana,, and can be reached at

Can America Really be the Planet’s Top Energy Producer?

Chris Faulkner Photo courtesy Breitling Oil & Gas

CEO of Breitling Oil & Gas asks…

By Chris Faulkner
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 2:41 PM CST

For decades, Americans have lamented their dependence on foreign energy, especially Middle East oil. Now, however, the tables are turning. Growing numbers of analysts are concluding that within a decade, America could become the world’s top energy producer.

That would certainly be desirable. Substantial expansion of domestic energy would generate tens of thousands of jobs, lower everyday energy expenses, and eliminate our dependence on unstable Middle East governments.

But that future is far from guaranteed. We have the entrepreneurship and technological innovation we need. The question is whether we’ll have the smart public policies that allow them to flourish. While America’s energy prospects have never been brighter, regulators have never been more vehement in their push for restrictive controls on development of new projects.

Of course, we must protect the environment and ensure worker safety. But lawmakers have gone well beyond that, and they need to scale back the needless and costly rules if we are to have any hope of reaching our full potential.

There are three obvious places to start with reform.

First, regulators need to ease restrictions on hydraulic fracturing.

“Fracking” uses water pressure to extract oil and natural gas from shale formations buried deep under the earth’s crust. This technique is already in widespread use in the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. The energy boom in that state has led to astonishing economic growth and three percent unemployment.

The massive shale deposits in America could, if fully developed, profoundly change our energy landscape. But so far, oppressive state and federal rules have prevented firms realizing this potential.

Most of the environmental concerns over fracking, which turn on possible groundwater contamination, are based on misinformation or a misunderstanding of the process. This technique has been around since the 1940s. Over 1.2 million wells have been successfully fracked. The shale formations disrupted by the process are separated from water aquifers by up to two miles of rock, limestone, sand and earth. And over 99 percent of the standard fracking liquid mixture is simply water.

In other words, fracking presents very little environmental risk — and massive potential for economic gains. By some estimates, natural gas development in the Marcellus alone would create over 100,000 new jobs.

The second major way federal regulators can promote American energy is to open up off-shore energy reserves for drilling. After the tragic Deepwater Horizon spill, the Interior Department instituted a rigid drilling moratorium that effectively halted offshore development. Eventually, the courts forced regulators to ease the ban, but there is still a great deal of uncertainty and delay surrounding the offshore permit process.

Since the moratorium was announced, eleven major ocean drilling operations have closed shop, destroying an estimated 91,000 jobs.

The Deepwater disaster certainly justifies targeted safety standards for offshore drilling. But the status quo is overkill — imagine if federal aviation officials grounded all flights forever after a single crash.

Finally, the Obama administration needs to grant full approval for the construction of Keystone XL — a planned $7 billion, 2,000-mile pipeline that would carry oil from Canadian shales to refineries in Texas.

Extensive environmental analysis by the State Department and others shows Keystone will have minimal adverse effects on surrounding areas. The Constructing and maintaining the pipeline will create 130,000 new jobs.

It is indeed possible for the United States to become the world’s premier energy producer by 2020. But reaching that goal requires policymakers to identify and eliminate regulatory barriers that are now keeping America from achieving its astounding energy potential.

Chris Faulkner is the CEO of Breitling Oil & Gas.