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In summer 2011, executives at super-major ExxonMobil were telling financial analysts during a quarterly earnings conference call about an amazing 70% boost in a year’s time of the energy giant’s unconventional natural gas-weighted portfolio to 76 Tcfe. The reason was simple, according to David Rosenthal, the current controller at ExxonMobil and at the time its investor relations chief. He summed it up in three letters, X-T-O.

With a name like Steele in Pennsylvania, you’d expect Steele Construction, Inc. owner Bill Steele to specialize in structural steel building or own a foundry. Instead, he’s one of the premier builders of timber-framed homes in the state.

As things changed and housing starts dipped during the recession beginning in 2007, Steele expanded his business on the strength of the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom.

“We were lucky enough to get into a gas contract, and now our company is pretty much evenly split between the building of heavy timber frame and moving dirt,” said Steele.

The price of oil may have fallen to its lowest level in six years, but this “price shock” is different than the 2008-’09 variety, according to analysts at Pace Global.

“The current low-price situation is likely to persist for several years unless geopolitical events shift the market psychology from one of surplus to one of shortage,” Jim Diemer, vice president and head Pace Global-Siemens’ Energy Consulting Company, told PG&J.

Northeast Utilities, which operates New England’s largest energy delivery company, has become Eversource Energy. All of the company’s subsidiaries, including Connecticut Light and Power Co., NSTAR Electric, NSTAR Gas, Public Service Co. of New Hampshire, Western Massachusetts Electric Co. and Yankee Gas Services Co. have begun operating under the Eversource brand.

The company serves more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and employing a workforce of more than 8,000 New Englanders.

You already know that Houston is the energy capital of the nation, most likely the world. But did you know that Houston is also the violent bank robbery capital of the nation with no close second?

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania has begun transporting natural gas to Moldova, as the former Soviet republic moves toward the European Union and becomes less dependent on Russia.

"It is the first time that gas goes from West to East," said Moldova Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman during a visit to Bucharest.

Moldova gets most of its gas from Russia but wants to import more from Romania. The joint pipeline began pumping a small amount of Romanian gas Wednesday.

Gherman says the government installed last month, which is backed by communists, is committed to joining the EU.

A new National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) study calls for major changes to integrity management (IM) programs of gas transmission pipelines in high-consequence areas (HCAs).

Southampton, NJ-based Point Integrity Solutions has been issued a patent for the pipeline probe tool known as the Point Guard. This enhances the ability of pipeline technicians to detect the pipe before damaging the coating or pipe itself.

Typically, field engineers and technicians rely on mapping, pipe locators and standard probe rods to determine the location of a pipeline before excavation begins. This allows for a chance of pipe or coating damage if a probe rod is applied with too much force or a probe mistakes a rock or hard surface for a pipeline.

In the last several decades, there has been a rapid rise in the use of pipeline risk assessment for managing pipeline safety. It has become an important part of pipeline integrity management, but risk assessment is not an absolute science.

Russia is the second-largest producer of dry natural gas and the third-largest liquid fuels producer in the world, and these products are inextricably intertwined with its government. State-controlled company Rosneft dominates oil production while Transneft owns and operates Russia’s oil pipelines.

Gazprom is the country’s dominant gas producer and pipeline operator, and the Ministry of Finance admitted in February that oil and gas royalties, taxes and dividends account for at least 50% of the Russian government’s revenue.