February 2016, Vol. 243, No. 2

Archive

Business Meetings & Events

Company & Association News

The National Energy Services Association and the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers have joined forces to better serve their members. The melding of the two organizations will push the Alliance’s membership to about 4,000. The Women’s Forum of New York honored Williams at the third biennial Breakfas..

Editor's Notebook

Notebook: Now for the Good News

I’m doing research for presentations I’ve been asked to give before some groups in coming months, including Pipeliners Association of Houston and the Tennessee Gas Association. Obviously everyone knows about the chaos that “The Great Unwinding” is causing as the price of crude continues its historic..

Features

Automated Pigging Systems Prove Proficient in Savings, Energy Efficiencies

Pigging systems are installed on pipeline systems for the purpose of inserting a pipeline pig into the pipe without interruption of the pipeline flow. Pipeline pigs are typically sized to the nominal pipeline diameter and configured of different designs and materials to serve the purpose of cleaning..

Canada’s Energy Industry, Part I: Changing Times, Shifting Opportunities

To feel the winds of change from the global crash of crude oil prices in 2015, go no farther away than Canada, the world’s fifth-largest energy-producing nation. On the verge of a transformation before the commodity price nosedive, the U.S. northern neighbor is even more unsettled as global and Nort..

CenterPoint Announces Possible Sale of Enable Midstream Partners

Natural gas and electric utility CenterPoint Energy said on Monday it will consider “strategic options” for its pipeline company, Enable Midstream Partners, including a spinoff or sale. “We believe that now is the right time to explore options for unlocking the value of our strategic investment, ref..

Cliff Meidl’s Personal Mission: Your Safety

It is near impossible to find a better representative speaking for the underground construction industry than Cliff Meidl, a kayaker whose heroic triumph over adversity brought him such acclaim that he was nominated to lead Team USA at the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Meidl is ..

Cybercrime and Utilities: Preparing for Attack

Cyber-crime is one of the biggest threats organizations face. Computers control almost everything we do, from the level of chlorine put into our water to the electricity supply into our town. Hackers are fully aware of this, and they understand if they infiltrate these systems or do anything to jeop..

Does Aligning Cybersecurity, Process Safety Approaches Reduce Risk?

Cyber-attacks are more hostile and frequent than ever. We’ve all heard news stories about how intellectual property and private information have been stolen by hackers. When this happens, it can be costly in some cases and embarrassing in others. However, for industrial operations, the stakes are mu..

EIA: High Inventories Push Crude Prices to Lowest Levels in 13 Years
Oil

Several factors have played a part in pushing U.S. crude oil prices below $30 per barrel , including high inventory levels of crude oil, uncertainty about global economic growth, volatility in equity and non-energy commodity markets, and the potential for additional crude oil supply to enter the mar..

Government: Senate Pipeline Safety Bill Contains Few New Safety Mandates

A full Senate vote is the next step for a pipeline safety bill which cleared a Senate committee in December. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved the Securing America’s Future Energy: Protecting Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (SAFE PIPES) Act (S. 2276)..

Heat Exchangers Certified for Pipeline Components Cooling

Owners and operators of fuel and other energy pipelines are well aware of the changed regulatory environment in the wake of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As the public’s fears escalated because of the environmental damage and loss of life that followed the rig blowou..

Importance of Management of Change in Alarm Modifications

For process plants and gas pipeline networks, it is essential to manage change when making modifications to alarms and alarm systems. Management of change (MoC) should, therefore, be a fundamental process within the alarm management lifecycle. It is widely recognized throughout the process industrie..

In the News: Heating Oil Prices May Rise Slightly with Exports

An impending flood of U.S. shale gas into the global market stands to lower the price of the heating fuel in Asia by almost 5% while marginally raising costs to customers at home, a study commissioned by the U.S. Energy Department shows. Exports of 20 Bcf of U.S. gas by 2025 may cut prices in the As..

INGAA Foundation Chairman Rob Riess Takes on Challenging Year

If there is one certainty about the energy business, it’s that you never know what tomorrow will bring. Chairing a prominent and influential organization such as the INGAA Foundation is much more than an honorary title. It is bestowed upon individuals with an astute knowledge of the natural gas tran..

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor: I read the article (December 2015 P&GJ p. 24) regarding Rich Worsinger and his role at APGA. I’m afraid Mr. Worsinger isn’t completely honest in his assessment of API RP 1173. APGA had a member on the committee who relentlessly argued against any requirements for APGA members. Their l..

Managing Risk Through Downturns

As a small business owner all too well of the struggles to manage overhead as we all struggle through sky rocketing health care costs and taxes and inability to raise prices due to economic conditions. Whether one is managing a small business or managing wealth, the top priority should be preserving..

Mobile Inspection Forms Cut Time, Maximize Accuracy of Audits

Recordkeeping increasingly is the linchpin for the safe, reliable construction and operation of energy pipeline systems. In both the aftermath of natural gas pipeline incidents and in the attempts to develop a more sophisticated safety culture that employs technology advances to expand preventive ma..

Natural Gas Use for Power Generation Higher this Winter

So far this winter, natural gas consumption in the electric power sector (gas burn) has been higher than in any previous winter. According to Bentek Energy, gas burn in the electric power sector has averaged 25 Bcf/d so far this winter (Nov. 1-Feb. 8), up 17% from last year’s average of 21.4 Bcf/d d..

New View on Oil and Gas Facilities

Spatial information – an object’s location, size, shape and relationship to other structures and objects – is an essential component in planning, constructing and operating energy facilities. In order to support efficient production and transport of oil and gas, energy producers must have accurate, ..

Production Rates in Tight Oil Formations Still Rising

Tight oil production in the United States increased from 2007 through April 2015, based on estimates in EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report (DPR), and accounted for more than half of total U.S. oil production in 2015. Tight oil growth has been driven by increasing initial production rates from tight ..

Shell Confirms 10,000 Job Cuts

Shell will lay off 10,000 staff and direct contractor positions as it merges with the BG Group while also dealing with the effects of falling oil prices. In a written statement early Thursday, CEO Ben Van Beurden said, “The completion of the BG transaction, which we are expecting in a matter of week..

Storage Site Leak Raises Environmental, Reliability Concerns

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) detected a major leak Oct. 23 at Aliso Canyon, an underground natural gas storage facility located 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Aliso Canyon storage facility, which has 115 wells, is the second-largest natural gas storage field in the western Unit..

Top 10 Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities for Oil and Gas

With the exploitation of new cost-effective operational concepts, use of digital technologies and increased dependence on cyber structures, the oil and gas industry is exposed to new sets of vulnerabilities and threats. Cyberattacks have grown in stature and sophistication, making them more difficul..

Ultrasonic Metering, Creative Insulation Engineering, Aid LNG Plant

A major East Coast storage facility for liquefied natural gas (LNG) had a flow metering challenge on one line.  The problem was directly related to the temperature of the product. LNG is liquefied to concentrate its volume for shipping and, as a result, the temperature of the liquid drops to a cryog..

Weatherford to Reduce Workforce Further in 1st Half of 2016

Oilfield services company Weatherford International will cut 6,000 positions in the first half of the year, which accounts for about 14% of its workforce. In a written statement, CEO Bernard Duroc-Danner said he believes oil prices will eventually respond to a realignment of supply and demand, but “..

Where There Is Oil, There Will Be Pipelines

“An Industry in Transition: Where There is Oil & Gas There Will Be Pipelines” was presented Monday night by Pipeline & Gas Journal Editor Jeff Share to members of the Pipelines Association Association.    Is this a crazy world or what? Would anyone disagree that it takes a strong stomach and nerves ..

Wireless Field Measurement Takes Next Step

For process monitoring applications, the wireless revolution has come of age. Particularly in the upstream sector, oil and gas operations have fully realized the value proposition advertised by manufacturers. Wireless transmitters are now commonly applied to measurements of level, pressure and tempe..

World News: Asian Leaders Laud TAPI Pipeline

Leaders from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India joined the president of Turkmenistan to discuss construction of a natural gas pipeline that could help ease energy deficits in South Asia: The 1,814-km Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline is expected to be operational by 20..

Product Showcase

What’s New in Products and Services

Inline Services Inline Services’ Pit Cleaning Pig® is built for heavy-duty cleaning.  The steel body is encompassed by steel wire pencil brushes and polyurethane discs that scrape along the pipeline and make for an aggressive circumferential cleaning. This mandrel-bodied pig is extremely efficient ..

Projects

Bibby Offshore to Replace North Sea Infrastructure  

Bibby Offshore is scheduled to take part in the $1 billion Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) Life Extension Project announced by BP last year. ETAP is one of the largest and most complex developments in the North Sea, comprising nine oil and gas reservoirs, six of which are operated by BP. The ETAP..

Enterprise Products Completes Aegis Pipeline

Enterprise Products Partners L.P. has completed construction, commissioned, and initiated operation of the remaining 162-mile portion of the Aegis ethane pipeline from Lake Charles to the Napoleonville, LA area. The 270-mile, 20-inch Aegis system originates at Mont Belvieu and is home to over 110 MM..

FERC Approves Sabal Trail’s $3.2 Billion Gas Pipeline

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in the US has issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity to Sabal Trail Transmission’s $3.2 billion interstate natural gas pipeline project. Sabal Trail Transmission is a joint venture between Spectra Energy Partners, NextEra Energy and D..

Fluor Awarded Sweet Gas Plant Project in Canada

Fluor Corporation has been chosen by the Cutbank Ridge Partnership to provide engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) for Saturn 15-27, Phase 2 Sweet Gas Plant Project near Dawson Creek, B.C.. Fluor booked the undisclosed contract value in the fourth quarter of 2015. The project ..

Lake Charles LNG Project Receives FERC Approval

The BG Group’s Lake Charles, LA, LNG export project has received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This was the key remaining regulatory consent for the Lake Charles LNG project, which BG Group is developing with Energy Transfer Equity LP and Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.  Ene..

Medallion Pipeline Launches Binding Open Season

IRVING, TX – Medallion Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Medallion Midstream , is soliciting long-term commitments from shippers for firm transportation capacity on the third major expansion of Medallion’s existing 320-mile crude oil pipeline system. The Howard Lateral would provide 45,000 bpd of bi..

Sandpiper Startup Delayed Until 2019

Enbridge Energy Partners plans to push back start-up dates for its proposed Sandpiper pipeline and a replacement for its existing Line 3 pipeline until 2019, because of a court-ordered environmental review. The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in August that Sandpiper requires a full environmental i..

Statoil Awards Johan Svedrup Pipeline Contracts

Statoil has, on behalf of the Johan Sverdrup partners, awarded contracts for the line pipe, coating and pipe installation of the Johan Sverdrup export pipelines. The total contract value is estimated at slightly less than 2.5 billion Norwegian Krone ($279 million). The three contracts cover both the..

Summit Starts Up Crude Pipeline Systems in Bakken Shale

THE WOODLANDS, TX – Summit Midstream Partners has begun operating the Stampede Lateral crude oil transmission pipeline in North Dakota and is in the final stages of completing the nearby Little Muddy crude oil transmission pipeline,  which includes an interconnect with Enbridge’s North Dakota Pipeli..

TransCanada Amends Filing for Energy East Pipeline

TransCanada filed an amendment to its existing application with the National Energy Board (NEB) to adjust the proposed route, scope and capital cost of the Energy East pipeline project based on extensive landowner, environmental, community and customer input. The original Energy East proposal called..

Vaquero Midstream Reaches Construction Milestone

In a sign of progress on its gas gathering and processing project in the southern Delaware Basin, Vaquero Midstream LLC took delivery of cryogenic equipment, and is continuing installation on its plant and pipeline network. Located in Pecos County near the Waha Hub and the Lone Star NGL pipeline, th..

Williams Partners Expanding Transco System for LNG Markets

Williams Partners has executed long-term contracts with two shippers for Gulf Connector, a 475,000 dekatherm per day expansion of the Transco pipeline system to connect U.S. natural gas supplies with global LNG markets. Gulf Connector will deliver gas for the Cheniere Energy Corpus Christi liquefact..

Web Exclusive

American Midstream Holding Open Season for Magnolia Interstate Extension

American Midstream began a non-binding open season for a proposed 45-mile extension of the Magnolia Intrastate pipeline to transport up to 500,000 dekatherms per day of natural gas for delivery to a major interstate pipeline beginning in 2019. The open season ends April 11. The proposed Magnolia Ext..

As Oil Slides, Many Determined to Stay Put in North Dakota

WILLISTON, ND (AP) — Kennedy Mugemuzi is done moving. After leaving Congo to live in Nashville for a few years and then coming to North Dakota for the opportunities of the oil boom, he is among the many staying put in Williston — even though depressed crude prices have spurred an exodus of thousands..

Biggest Natural Gas Discovery Of 2016 Just Got Bigger

International natural gas is shaping up as one of 2016’s most interesting spots in energy, given that prices in many world markets are still running high, even as valuations for E&Ps subside. And one of those markets is in Southeast Asia — where the year’s most interesting natural gas drilling disc..

California Declares Massive Natural Gas Leak Sealed

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A blowout at a natural gas well that spewed massive amounts of climate-changing methane for nearly four months and drove thousands of Los Angeles families from their homes has been permanently sealed, state officials declared Thursday. The announcement certifying that the rupture..

Canadian Oil Production Expected to Increase Despite Lower Prices

Despite lower crude oil prices, EIA expects Canadian oil production to continue increasing through 2017. Canadian oil sands projects that were already under construction when prices began to fall in 2014 and that are expected to begin production in the next two years are the main driver of productio..

Congress Cautiously Looks at Passing 1st Energy Bill since 2007

The U.S. Senate will kick off deliberations over a potentially bipartisan energy bill this week. Reaching consensus on energy legislation has been notoriously difficult, but the Republican lead on energy in the U.S. Senate believes that they could push something through for the first time in almost ..

Devon Energy to Lay Off 1,000 Workers, 700 in Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy has announced plans to lay off about 1,000 employees — including about 700 in Oklahoma City. The oil and natural gas company said in a statement Tuesday that the layoffs are due to “the current commodity price environment” and an effort to reduc..

Dominion Continues Coal-to-Gas Switch with $4.4 Billion Deal

Dominion Resources Inc., the power utility based in Richmond, VA, is the latest U.S. utility to expand its operations, reaching out west by offering to buy the gas company Questar Corp. of Salt Lake City, for about $4.4 billion in cash. Dominion announced the offer on Monday, the same day it repo..

Dominion Outlines New National Forest Route for Pipeline

RICHMOND, VA (AP) — Energy companies behind the Atlantic Coast Pipeline have carved a new proposed route through parts of West Virginia and Virginia in response to federal concerns about the national gas pipeline’s initial path through sensitive national forest areas. The alternate released Friday ..

Dominion Resources Buying Questar for $4.4 Billion

NEW YORK (AP) — Dominion Resources will spend approximately $4.4 billion to acquire Questar in a big reach to the West for the East Coast energy company. Dominion is a power producer in the mid-Atlantic region. Questar is in the Rockies and a principal source of gas supply to Western states. There ..

EIA Revision Boosts Oklahoma Oil Production by 100,000 bpd

EIA’s Petroleum Supply Monthly, published on Jan. 30, includes crude oil production estimates for Oklahoma based on EIA monthly survey data. The new estimates are roughly 100,000 bpd more than those generated by the previous EIA methodology, which was informed by state-reported data. For Oklahoma, t..

EIA: Gasoline to Average Less than $2 in 2016

For the first time since 2004, U.S. drivers are expected to pay an average of less than $2 a gallon for gasoline, the government said Tuesday. They can thank the huge glut of oil around the globe. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its monthly short-term energy outlook that re..

Energy Loans Likely to Cause Further Losses for Big Banks

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation’s six largest banks have hit an oil slick. They have tens of billions of dollars of exposure to risky energy loans that won’t all be paid back because low oil prices have sapped the profits of oil companies. The value of those loans will have to be written down even furth..

Game-Changer Leviathan Gas Field Sees Serious Delays
Oil

The massive Leviathan gas field, nestled deep inside the Levantine basin off Israel’s Mediterranean coast, is considered a game-changer for both Israel and Europe, but a wide range of roadblocks is threatening development, and now production will be delayed by at least a year. Political hurdles, reg..

Halliburton to Cut Another 5,000 Jobs Amid Oil Slump

HOUSTON (AP) — Halliburton Co., which provides well-drilling services for oil companies, is cutting 5,000 more jobs as the industry continues to struggle with slumping oil prices. A company spokeswoman said Thursday that the latest cuts will amount to about 8 percent of the Houston-based company’s g..

High Supplies Seen Capping Oil Price Until Early 2017
Oil

PARIS (AP) — A glut of oil will keep prices from rebounding until next year, much later than previously forecast, experts at the International Energy Agency said Monday. A year ago, the IEA, a Paris-based organization of 29 major oil importing nations, had forecast a “relatively swift” recovery. In..

Iran Balks at Doha Proposal, Won't Freeze Oil Output Levels
Oil

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran on Wednesday snubbed a proposal agreed to by four influential oil producers to cap their crude output if others do the same, with a senior Oil Ministry official saying Tehran has no intention of freezing oil output levels. Mahdi Asali, Iran’s OPEC envoy, said his country wi..

Iran Exports 1st Oil Shipment to Europe since Nuclear Deal
Oil

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran says it has exported its first crude oil shipment to Europe since it reached a landmark nuclear deal with world powers, the official IRNA news agency reported Sunday. IRNA quoted Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi as saying the shipment was the first in five years and mar..

Iraq is Second-Leading Contributor to Global Liquids Supply Growth in 2015

Iraq was the second-leading contributor to the growth in global oil supply in 2015, behind only the United States. Crude oil production in Iraq, including fields in the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq, averaged 4.0 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2015, almost 700,000 b/d above the 2014 level. Ira..

Lawmakers Mull Moratorium on SoCalGas Storage Facility

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers are considering legislation that would prevent a utility from resuming full operations at a facility that had a massive natural gas leak for nearly four months. The bill requiring testing of wells at the Southern California Gas Co. facility near Los An..

Los Angeles DA Charges Utility with Crimes for Gas Leak

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles prosecutors filed misdemeanor criminal charges Tuesday against a utility for failing to immediately report a natural gas leak that has been gushing nonstop for nearly 15 weeks. District Attorney Jackie Lacey said the charges aren’t a solution to the problem, but South..

Milestone LNG Export Shipment Set to Leave US for Brazil

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The first international shipment of liquefied natural gas in decades from the Lower 48 states is poised to leave for Brazil from Louisiana. Cheniere Energy Partners L.P. announced Wednesday that a ship bound for Brazil was being loaded with LNG at its Sabine Pass facility in south..

Oil Majors Converging Here Could Mean A New Hotspot
E&P

Even with oil at $30, the petroleum industry continues to see a few bright spots. Particularly when it comes to offshore activity — such as Shell this week announcing the first natural gas production from its ground-breaking Corrib field off the northwest coast of Ireland. And this week also saw an..

Oil Production in Federal GOM Expected to Hit Record High in '17

U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GOM) crude oil production is estimated to increase to record-high levels in 2017, even asprices remain low. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects GOM production will average 1.63 MMbpd in 2016 and 1.79 MMbpd in 2017, reaching 1.91 MMbpd in December 2017. GOM produ..

Pacific Northwest Could Become Hub for Methanol Production

SEATTLE (AP) — The Pacific Northwest could become a major hub for methanol production if three proposed refineries are built along the Columbia River and Puget Sound. A China-backed consortium, Northwest Innovation Works, has proposed two plants in Washington and a third in Oregon to convert natura..

PHMSA: Pipe Corrosion Led to Santa Barbara Oil Spill

LOS ANGELES (AP) — External corrosion on an oil pipeline was the root cause of a leak that spilled more than 140,000 gallons of crude on the Santa Barbara coast in May, federal regulators reported. The spill occurred after pumps on the Plains All American Pipeline were shut down and restarted, send..

Pipeline Opponents Ask Iowa Board to Consider New US Oil Exports

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Opponents of a proposed pipeline project in Iowa want the state utilities board to take additional evidence that crude oil produced in the United States is now being shipped overseas, which would bolster their argument that North Dakota oil to be shipped through the so-called..

Pipes, Tankers and Barges: Moving Fuels from Gulf to East Coast

In the United States, the East Coast and Gulf Coast are highly dependent on each other to balance supply and consumption of transportation fuels (mainly gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel). East Coast transportation fuels consumption is met through a number of supply sources, but none is more important ..

Russia, Saudis Tentatively Offer to Freeze Oil Output Levels

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Russia’s energy minister said Tuesday that his country has agreed with OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Venezuela to freeze oil production levels if other producers do the same. The ministry quoted Energy Minister Alexander Novak announcing the decision follow..

Saudi Oil Minister Says Market Should Handle Low Prices

HOUSTON (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s oil minister says production cuts to boost oil prices won’t work, and that instead the market should be allowed to work even if that forces some operators out of business. Ali Al-Naimi said Tuesday that production cuts by big, low-cost producers like Saudi Arabia would..

Shale Primed to Decline Substantially this Year
E&P

U.S. shale has weathered the oil crash better than many expected, but the stubborn persistence of low prices through 2016 could amount to the “straw breaking the camel’s back” for shale production. The International Energy Agency released its Medium Term Oil Market Report on Feb. 22 at the IHS CER..

SoCalGas Facility Must Pass Tougher Tests to Operate Again

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The gas storage facility that spewed methane uncontrollably for almost four months, driving thousands of families from their homes, won’t resume operations until it has undergone tougher tests than ever required before, a process that will take months and perhaps even longer. The..

Struggling Eagle Ford Still the Sweet Spot

If development in Eagle Ford from 2008 to 2014 felt like a drag racer flying down the track, then 2015 must have felt like skidding to a halt. This year will be like hitting a brick wall − or a shale wall, but it’s a wall that will eventually be torn down. For now, though, the bad news keeps piling ..

Study: California Leak Was Top Methane Release in US History

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A natural gas leak that sickened Los Angeles residents and forced thousands from their homes was the largest known release of climate-changing methane in U.S. history, scientists reported Thursday. The 16-week blowout from a well at a Southern California Gas Co. storage facility s..

Supreme Court Vacancy Leaves Energy Industry in Limbo

The death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will likely prove to be a turning point in U.S. history, and no one will be immune – not oil, not coal, not natural gas, and not renewable energy. The future of the entire energy industry, which was already upended by the Environmental Protecti..

TAP Awards EPC Contracts for Pipeline in Italy

Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG (TAP) awarded a contract for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the Pipeline Receiving Terminal (PRT) and the 8-km, 36-inch onshore pipeline in Italy. The joint venture of Enereco S.p.a. and Max Streicher S.p.a. has been awarded the contract, which will..

The Allure Of Shale Is Wearing Off

Investment in U.S. shale continues to dwindle, with several large companies raising eyebrows with plans to slow drilling plans much further than expected. Continental Resources, an Oklahoma-based shale company, has announced that it is largely zeroing out all plans to drill in North Dakota’s Bakken ..

Trucks to Move Oil Stored after California Pipeline Break

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Exxon Mobil Corp. won approval Monday for its plan to use trucks to move more than 17 million gallons of oil stranded in storage tanks after a California pipeline break in May, despite concerns from environmentalists that highway safety could be jeopardized. The Santa Barbara Coun..

UAE Backs Majors' Output Freeze Plan

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates on Thursday threw its support  behind a plan by major oil producers to freeze output levels in an attempt to halt a slide in crude prices that has pushed them to their lowest point in more than a decade. Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Ven..

US Report: Rail Safety Violations Should Be Prosecuted

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. regulators are failing to refer serious safety violations involving freight rail shipments of crude oil and other hazardous cargo for criminal prosecution, and are going lightly on civil fines, according to a report released Friday by a government investigator. The Federal Rai..

US Rig Count Down by 48 for Week to 571
Oil

HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States declined by 48 this week to 571. The Houston firm said Friday 467 rigs sought oil and 104 explored for natural gas amid depressed energy prices. A year ago, 1,45..

Utilities Declare War on Solar

Now that solar power is reaching prime time, the fossil fuel industry is doing all that it can to stop its growth. For many years solar was on the periphery, installed by early adopters and helped along by government subsidy. But over the last several years, solar has emphatically become mainstream...

Wall Street Won’t Give Up on Its Energy Bets

The oil and gas industry is suffering through its worst cycle in a generation, with most companies losing money at today’s prices. Debt is piling up and the losses are starting to become a concern for lenders. Shareholders are getting burned by plummeting share prices. Yet, major investors are still..

Washington State Considers Nation's 1st Carbon Emissions Tax

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington could become the first state in the nation to impose a direct tax on carbon emissions from fossil fuels such as coal, gasoline and natural gas. A ballot measure before the state Legislature would create a carbon tax of $25 per metric ton of fossil fuel emissions burned in W..

Western Gas Buys Springfield Pipeline from Anadarko

Anadarko Petroleum agreed to sell its Springfield Pipeline system for $750 million to its master limited partnership, Western Gas Partners. With the purchase the company will own 50.1% of the overall gathering system in the Eagle Ford shale. The 795 MMcf/d Springfield gas system consists of 548 mile..

Why Oil Booms and Busts Happen

What if I told you that there was a period in history where oil demand declined by 5 MMbpd  and non-OPEC supply increased by 5 MMbpd, yet oil price rallied more than 50%? Would you believe me? If your answer is yes, then you guessed right. This was the period from 1979 to 1985; it was a period durin..