Republicans in Congress are working to pass legislation setting aside a new EPA and Army Corps of Engineers joint rule which makes it more expensive to build pipelines in areas containing streams and other small bodies of water. The rule would require pipelines - or anyone wanting to build in these tributaries and ponds - to first do site analysis and then, potentially, obtain a Clean Water Act permit. That is time-consuming and can be expensive. The EPA published the new so-called Waters of the U.S. – (WOTUS) rule in May which goes into effect Aug. 28.

I remember the last time I saw my late father-in-law, Rex Brassfield, who lived the quiet life with his lovely wife Verna in the southwestern Colorado town of Montrose. Rex was in his 80s, wracked by the painful arthritis that crippled his hands and left him in constant discomfort.

Research development organization Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI) officially opened its new Technology Development Center at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour Wednesday.

“We want you to think of this place as yours,” PRCI President Cliff Johnson told attendees, many of whom represented pipeline and service companies. “How would you use this space?”

The 30,000 square-foot facility broke ground July 7, 2014 on a 10-acre campus northwest of Houston with about half of the area earmarked for a state-of-the-art pull-test facility.

Mexico improved upon its disappointing July auction in its latest round; an improvement that could lead to deeper investment in the country’s oil sector.

In the second edition of Mexico’s “Round One” auction, the government successfully awarded three out of the five offshore production-sharing contracts on offer, a better outcome than the two blocks out of 14 that were awarded in July.

The disappointing exploration results in the Chukchi Sea for Royal Dutch Shell was a huge blow to the company, and will set back oil development in the Arctic indefinitely. After spending $7 billion and eight years, walking away with nothing is hard to stomach.

But, Shell can always go elsewhere. Shortly after Shell announced that it was scrapping its entire Arctic Alaska campaign, Reuters reported that Shell won a bid to explore for oil and gas in the Black Sea in Bulgarian waters. An exploration deal could be finalized in October.

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire's highest court upheld a record $236 million judgment Friday against Exxon Mobil for its use of a gasoline additive that contaminated groundwater in the state.

A jury reached the verdict in April 2013 after finding the company liable in a long-running lawsuit over contamination by the chemical MTBE. Lasting nearly four months, the trial was the longest and resulted in the largest jury award in New Hampshire history.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's state TV is reporting that Royal Dutch Shell and France's Total will be the first foreign companies to be allowed to operate gasoline stations inside Iran.

The Press TV English-language channel quotes the head of Iran's filling stations union, Bijan Haj Mohammadreza, as saying 100 new licenses have been issued to each company.

Until now, the only retail service stations belonged to the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — New federal rules proposed for pipelines that carry oil and other hazardous liquids could have prevented more than 200 accidents since 2010, including a Michigan rupture that ranks as the costliest onshore spill in U.S. history, federal officials said.

The U.S. Transportation Department proposal announced Thursday covers more than 200,000 miles of hazardous liquids pipelines that crisscross the nation — a network that expanded rapidly over the past decade as domestic oil production increased.

Decreases in the cost to drill shale gas wells and continued investment into domestic production have allowed China to increase its development of shale gas. Although reliance on natural gas imports has increased in the Chinese energy market, future shale gas production in China would help to meet natural gas demand as the country faces difficulties in developing other natural gas resources, including coalbed methane (CBM).

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The first batch of production records from a natural gas well in Idaho have been made public following a new rule approved by lawmakers.

The Idaho Department of Lands earlier this week released the monthly records that span from February 2013 to July for a well named State 1-17 in southwest Idaho and operated by Houston-based Alta Mesa.

Records show the well is producing a comparatively small amount of natural gas — 290,000 cubic feet in July. The gas is being sent to Intermountain Gas and used in the nearby town of New Plymouth.

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