Features

Oil is not the only energy source that is seeing a glut. Growing supplies of natural gas could soon result in a similar phenomenon.

It was only a year and a half ago that the United States, and the northeast in particular, saw supplies dwindle to exceptionally low levels, forcing prices to temporarily spike. The Northeast experienced a freezing winter, leading to high levels of consumption as millions of people tried to keep warm. Natural gas storage levels plummeted to lows not seen in years.

While U.S. crude oil production increased by nearly 3.2 MMbpd from 2010 to 2014, production in the West Coast region decreased by 100,000 bpd, continuing a long-term decline, EIA data showed. With no major crude oil pipelines connecting the West Coast to other parts of the country, refineries on the West Coast adjusted by increasing imports of foreign crude oil, reaching an average of 1.1 MMbpd over the past five years.

Energy Transfer Partners has entered into long-term gas gathering, processing, and fractionation agreements with EdgeMarc Energy. To facilitate these agreements, ETP has purchased 20 miles of high-pressure pipeline from EdgeMarc and will build a new cryogenic gas processing plant, a new fractionator and additional gas gathering pipelines.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Texas company whose ruptured pipeline created the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years had assured the government that a break in the line while possible was "extremely unlikely" and state-of-the-art monitoring could quickly detect possible leaks and alert operators, documents show.

Nearly 1,200 pages of records, filed with state regulators by Plains All American Pipeline, detail a range of defenses the company established to guard against crude oil spills and, at the same time, prepare for the worst should a spill occur.

Three of North America’s largest pipeline operators - Enbridge Pipelines Inc., TransCanada Corporation, and Kinder Morgan Canada - have signed a Joint Industry Partnership (JIP) agreement to conduct research into aerial-based leak detection technologies, in the interest of enhancing across-the-board pipeline safety.

Evaluating pipeline anomalies remains a vital task in the pipeline industry. Properly identifying, assessing, and repairing defects is crucial in ensuring public and environmental safety. Recent technological advancements have automated this process and drastically increased its overall efficiency.

Association News

The Society of Petroleum Engineers, Aberdeen, Scotland section, named Shankar Bhukya chairman, replacing Ross Lowdon who left due to re-location to Houston.

The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) Board of Directors elected Cindy B. Taylor chair and Kevin McEvoy vice chairman for 2015-16 at the annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Personnel Changes

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a new final rule amending the pipeline safety regulations for both gas (§192) and liquid (§195) in multiple subject areas. The final rule also made several editorial changes in the regulations. The changes are effective Oct. 1.

The need for major changes to the nation’s energy infrastructure is why President Obama initiated a quadrennial cycle of energy reviews to provide a multiyear roadmap for U.S. energy policy. The result is the recent release of the initial installment of the first-ever Quadrennial Energy Review 2015 (QER) prepared by the White House task force.

The Caspian region of Central Asia is one of the world’s most important oil and gas-producing regions. Until recently, Caspian gas traveled thousands of miles via largely Soviet-built pipelines to eastern Russia where a portion of it was re-exported to Europe at two and even three times the purchase price.

Since 2010, however, newly built pipelines have carried natural gas east to China, which receives about 50% of Caspian gas exports, surpassing Russia and Europe’s share 26% and Iran and Turkey take of 24%.

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