Pump prices:

A fractional story.

The biggest single component of retail gasoline prices is the cost of the raw material used to produce the gasoline – crude oil. That price has been between $80 and $120 a barrel, depending on the type of crude oil purchased. With crude oil at these prices a standard 42 gallon barrel translates to $1.90 to $2.85 a gallon at the pump. Excise taxes add another 49 cents a gallon on average nationwide. So the price for gasoline is already at $2.40 or more per gallon even before adding the cost of refining, transporting, and selling the gasoline at retail outlets. Crude oil costs account for about 68 percent of what people are paying at the pump. Excise taxes average 13 percent. That leaves just 19 percent for the refiners, distributors, and retailers.


Industrial and Agricultural Stock Photographer

Every year the popularity of online video is increasing, doesn’t matter the platform (tablet, smartphone, smart TV, or computer) or the length (while short videos are still most popular, there is a huge potential for long form video) by all measures, popularity heading straight up with no indication of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, the popularity of online video increasing so much that there are more advertisers who want to place ads in videos than there are videos to place the ads on. If you’re not planning on using video yet this year, here are 6 reasons why you will (or should) use video in 2013:

“User Curated Content Networks” Love Video

You can read “user curated content networks” as Pinterest right now, but Pinterest is just the first network of its kind, not the last. Pinterest users are adding more than just photos to their boards now and video is right up there with photos now in popularity. Now that brands and companies can have their own Pinterest accounts and boards (officially), using video to not only profile your company but to show off products, how tos, and demos is a great way to leverage user curated social sharing. Keep in mind, sites like Pinterest often let users cross-post to Facebook, so when your content is pinned on one network, it often jumps to other networks as well.


According to Marketing Profs, Google and YouTube aren’t just favoring sites that have video, but also sites and publishers who have videos that are watched more and watched longer:

Google and YouTube are always changing their search algorithms for video (and for everything else), seeking the best ways to present information that searchers will find relevant. In October, YouTube announced that it would rank videos based on “watch time,” giving prominence to videos that are watched for a longer stretch of time than those viewed for a few seconds.
-Via Marketing Profs

Creating a video that people watch all the way to the end can be tricky, but videos in the 3–5 minute range are the most watched videos and videos between 30–60 seconds have the best completion rates (watching the entire video).

More Than Just YouTube: Newsletters and Other Material

Vimeo and YouTube are the two leading sites for publishing your videos and both have excellent options for embedding your videos in places other than just your website. How about a video intro in your next e-newslettter? Providers like MailChimp make embedding videos as easy as copy and paste. Not a bad way to engage newsletter subscribers right off the bat.

eCommerce: Videos Help Sell More Stuff

Telling people about something is one thing. Showing them a picture is another. Showing a video of something is class of its own. Having video as part of your ecommerce strategy has shown to increase sales over 90% compared to not having video.

Product Videos Are Engaging and Sharable

When you see a product demonstrated in a video it makes more of an impact than if you just show a picture alone. Tied in with Pinterest-like sites and ecommerce, using video to show your product or service can have a tremendous impact on customers and clients. Don’t relegate “products” to just physical items either, think about a short video profiling your business as a “product video” as well. Engage and connect with people by telling them more than what words and pictures alone can say.

Mobile Video is Exploding

As mobile networks are getting faster and devices are getting more powerful, people are watching more and more video on their mobile devices. Almost 60% of all mobile data traffic in 2012 was for video and mobile comprised 13% of all Internet traffic last year…and it’s still growing. The amount of video consumed on “non-PC devices” grew 6 times from Q4 2011 to Q4 2012.

Bonus: It’s More Affordable

Maybe the biggest reason you’ll start using video this year is that it’s more affordable than ever. Don’t relegate having a video to the “nice to have” list, put it at the top of the “need to have” list in your marketing plans. Learn more about SoMedia’s ScalableVideo and VideoBuilder services and how they can help you use video in all the ways above, and save you money too.

Photo from Flickr by jsawkins.

What Opportunity Looks Like: Big Mountain meets the Bakken

“The Bakken has definitely been a huge help and a huge source of revenue to us.”

For many Montanans the Bakken boom has provided a plethora of opportunities. For the Gearhart family of Whitefish, the growth in the oil patch has meant growth in their family-owned business, Big Mountain Glass (BMG).

The company, owned by Chris and Kathy Gearheart, has been in Montana for 41 years and has provided commercial glazing on projects such as the Metra in Billings, the new UM Native American Studies Center in Missoula, the Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital in Hamilton, and the Whitefish Emergency Service Center, to name a few. BMG has twelve full time employees, including son and MSU graduate Scott Gearhart. Scott’s the Commercial Project Manager for the company. Scott’s wife is a full time nurse, and works part time at Big Mountain Glass as well. They also have a seven year old daughter.

With a degree in Construction and Engineering Technology from Bozeman, Scott explained that working for the family business was always part of the plan, saying that it only took a few years of working outside of Montana to realize it was where he wanted to return to work and raise his family.

Before the downturn in the local economy, says Scott, Big Mountain had twenty one full time employees. With the recent resurgence of job opportunities in North Dakota and Eastern Montana, however, he said, “The Bakken has definitely been a huge help and a huge source of revenue to us.”

The first Bakken project for Big Mountain Glass started three years ago. The Gearharts’ business has done everything from small glass instillation projects for schools, strip malls, and NAPA stores in Watford City and around Williston, to a couple of large scale projects in Dickinson and Bismarck.

“We were actually sought out to bid the penitentiary expansion job in Bismarck,” said Scott. Big Mountain not only bid the job, they won it. “This is a major project of over a million dollars in glass,” said Scott. Some of the other large scale projects they’ve worked on include housing complexes for Halliburton. Big Mountain is also waiting to hear back on a medical clinic job they bid recently in Dickinson.

Scott explains that compared to Montana, there is such a shortage of contractors bidding jobs in North Dakota that there’s almost no competition. New contractors are moving into North Dakota with no subcontractor base. The growth is outpacing the workforce, creating job opportunities for contractors, truckers, builders, skilled laborers, small businesses, and many others far beyond North Dakota.

Estimating revenue from the Bakken alone, Scott says oil patch projects account for 15% of his family’s business. Luckily for Scott, he only has to leave the Flathead about once every four months to check on jobs in North Dakota to make sure things are running smoothly. For Scott’s younger brother Tyler, however, the story is quite different.

Tyler Gearhart, like his brother, graduated from MSU in Bozeman where he lives today. He received his degree in Marketing and Entrepreneurship and now works as a MWD Field Technician for The Directional Drilling Company. He was recommended for the position by his uncle, who Tyler says has worked in the oil fields for the better part of two decades. Tyler’s main responsibilities include assembling tools for down hole monitoring, setting up surface gear, and taking surveys. Like most true blue Montanans, the Gearhart brothers spend their free time outdoors fishing and skiing (pictured above).
“It was always a goal of mine to stay in Montana after college,” said Tyler, who describes the worse part of his job as the long periods away from home. He says the best thing about his job is the people.

“Don’t make assumptions about what goes on in the oilfields,” said Tyler, “Come out and experience things before you jump to conclusions.”

Retrieved 27 February 2013. The Montana Petroleum Report. For more information contact: Jessica Sena, 590-8675

URTeC, 12-14 August 2013 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver

By CHIP BROWN Published: January 31, 2013
Long before the full frenzy of the boom, you could see its harbingers at the Mountrail County courthouse in Stanley, N.D. Geologists had pored over core samples and log signatures and had made their educated guesses, and now it was the hour of the “landmen,” the men and women whose job was to dig through courthouse books for the often-tangled history of mineral title and surface rights.

Apart from a few fanatics who sometimes turned up at midnight, the landmen would begin arriving at the courthouse around 6 a.m. In the dead of winter, it would still be dark and often 20 or 30 below zero, and because the courthouse didn’t open until 7:30, the landmen would leave their briefcases outside the entrance, on the steps, in the order they arrived. And then they would go back to their cars and trucks to wait with the engines running, their faces wreathed in coffee steam. Sometimes there were more than 20 briefcases filed on the courthouse steps. The former landman who told me this — Brent Brannan, now director of the North Dakota Oil and Gas Research Program — said he sometimes thought he could see the whole boom in that one image, briefcases waiting for the day to start, and it killed him a little that he never took a picture.

For many years North Dakota has been a frontier — not the classic 19th-century kind based on American avarice and the lure of opportunity in unsettled lands, but the kind that comes afterward, when a place has been stripped bare or just forgotten because it was a hard garden that no one wanted too much to begin with, and now it has reverted to the wilderness that widens around dying towns. In a way, of course, this kind of frontier is as much a state of mind as an actual place, a melancholy mood you can’t shake as you drive all day in a raw spring rain with nothing but fence posts and featureless cattle range for company thinking, Is this all there is? until finally you get out at some windswept intersection and gratefully fall on the fellowship of a dog-faced bar with a jukebox of songs about people on their way to somewhere else.

All of which may explain the shock of coming around a bend and suddenly finding a derrick illuminated at night, or a gas flare framed by stars, or dozens of neatly ranked trailers in a “man camp,” or a vast yard of drill pipe, or a herd of water trucks, or tracts of almost-finished single-family homes with Tyvek paper flapping in the wind of what just yesterday was a wheat field. North Dakota has had oil booms before but never one so big, never one that rivaled the land rush precipitated more than a century ago by the transcontinental railroads, never one that so radically changed the subtext of the Dakota frontier from the Bitter Past That Was to the Better Future That May Yet Be.

It’s hard to think of what oil hasn’t done to life in the small communities of western North Dakota, good and bad. It has minted millionaires, paid off mortgages, created businesses; it has raised rents, stressed roads, vexed planners and overwhelmed schools; it has polluted streams, spoiled fields and boosted crime. It has confounded kids running lemonade stands: 50 cents a cup but your customer has only hundreds in his payday wallet. Oil has financed multimillion-dollar recreation centers and new hospital wings. It has fitted highways with passing lanes and rumble strips. It has forced McDonald’s to offer bonuses and brought job seekers from all over the country — truck drivers, frack hands, pipe fitters, teachers, manicurists, strippers. It has ginned up an unreleased reality show called “Boomtown Girls,” which follows the lives of “five bold and brave sisters” in the formerly drowsy farm center of Williston, N.D. Williston, whose population has tripled in the past 10 years, lies in the middle of the 150,000-square-mile Williston Basin, a depression in the crust of the earth that geologists now believe contains one of the largest oil fields in the world.

In the fall of 2011 in Crosby, N.D., Continental Resources, the oil company with the most acreage leased in the basin, erected a self-congratulatory granite monument celebrating its work in the so-called Bakken Formation, the Williston Basin rocks that, as Continental put it, ushered in “a new era in the American oil industry.” The number of rigs drilling new wells in North Dakota’s part of the basin reached a record 218 last May. It has now leveled off at around 200, as thousands of wells have been completed under deadline pressure to secure expiring mineral leases. Many thousands more will be spudded in the next two years as the boom moves from discovery to production and crews drill “infill” wells, complete pipelines, fortify roads, enlarge refineries and build natural-gas pumping stations and oil-loading train yards.

North Dakota’s last oil boom, 30 years ago, collapsed so quickly when prices crashed that workers in the small city of Dickinson left the coffee in their cups when they quit their trailers. Apostles of “Bakken gold” insist that what’s different this time is that this time is different, the history of frontier avarice notwithstanding. This is the boom that is going to change everything without the remorse and misgivings that have marked the aftermath of so many past orgies of resource extraction. This is the boom that won’t leave the land trashed, won’t destroy communities, won’t afflict the state with the so-called Dutch Disease in which natural-resource development and the sugar rush of fast cash paradoxically make other parts of the economy less competitive and more difficult to sustain. This is the boom being managed by local people certain they know how to look after their interests and safeguard the land they live on. This is the Big One that North Dakota has been waiting for for more than a century. [… read more.]

Retrieved: 7 February 2013. The NY Times. Original Story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/magazine/north-dakota-went-boom.html?_r=1&