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Northern Gas Pipelines is your public service 1-stop-shop for Alaska and Canadian Arctic energy commentary, news, history, projects and people. It is informal and rich with new information, updated daily. Here is the most timely and complete Arctic gas pipeline and northern energy archive available anywhere—used by media, academia, government and industry officials throughout the world. Northern Gas Pipelines may be the oldest Alaska blog; we invite readers to suggest others existing before 2001.  -dh

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3-22-15 Cruz Announces - Obama Targets Fracking With More Regs - Alaska and Alberta Face Oil Price Challenges With Similar Diversification Temptations

23 March 2015 5:40pm

National Commentary: After watching the Ted Cruz speech a few minutes ago, many might agree that he is qualified to lead the country into the sunshine -- away from our current maladies, years of malaise and dark path toward economic and social chaos--for two main reasons.

First, he understands the rule-of-law and jurisdictionally overreaching abuses of the current administration affecting energy production which, in turn,  underpins the historical and future wealth of America.

Second, he articulated virtually all of the values which many of us believe are required to sustain the economy, security and national faith of the country and, indirectly, the wellbeing of entire free world.  

Before the speech this viewer had considered Cruz to be smart and dedicated but  too young, too inexperienced, too "extreme" for a presidential role.  

With this speech, Cruz may have convinced some of us that he has the Dedication of Washington, the Wisdom of Jefferson, the Courage of Lincoln and the attractive Nature and Faith of Reagan--a tall order.
But if another candidate shows himself to be superior, more power to him or her.  God knows the country needs a uniquely exceptional person to take on the challenge. 
One only hopes the republic can survive the next couple years with most of our freedoms still intact -- however soiled, tattered and threatened they may now appear to be.
Meanwhile, Cruz appears to be of such value and important future impact that the faithful might do well to pray for his protection during this demanding and fragile period.  -dh  

Alaska/Canadian Economic News

National Commentary: The overreaching Obama Administration once again seeks to further restrict energy access to federal lands through onerous and duplicative fracking regulations (i.e. possibly guided by environmental activists receiving foreign money to thwart the U.S. fracking phenomenon.  More below....  -dh)

House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop, said the variance provision “will create an entanglement of bureaucracy previously unseen in our nation’s energy history.”  See more....  -dh

See other Energy-In-Depth Fracking responses below:

Interior unveils new hydraulic fracturing rulesUSA Today. Industry groups immediately filed suit against the new regulations, calling them an overreaction to unsubstantiated environmental concerns about fracking. "At a time when the oil and natural gas industry faces incredible cost uncertainties, these so-called baseline standards will threaten America's economic upturn, while further deterring energy development on federal lands," said Barry Russell, president and CEO of the Independent Petroleum Association of AmericaNOTE: IPAA also quoted in the Washington PostThe Hill,BloombergNew York TimesWashington TimesLA TimesOil and Gas Journal,Houston Chronicle/Fuel FixPOLITICOUPIAssociated PressReutersNational Journal,Washington ExaminerE&E News, and the Durango Herald. Read IPAA’s full comments on the new rules and the lawsuit IPAA and the Western Energy Alliance have filed against the BLM HERE.
Dems say they want to regulate HF, not ban itE&E News (sub req’d). Industry groups contend that no matter what the lawmakers say, the long-term goal of the environmentalists pushing the bills is to end domestic oil and gas production. "It's part of a two-step strategy: Give the federal government the power to shut down oil and gas development across the country, and then lobby the federal government to shut down oil and gas development across the country," said Simon Lomax of Energy In Depth.
Industry Challenges First Federal HF RulesBloomberg. U.S. drillers already reeling from a six-month drop in oil prices denounced new U.S. fracking regulations as costly and unnecessary, and quickly met them with a lawsuit. After three years of debate, the U.S. Interior Department said Friday that drillers on federal land must reveal the chemicals they use, meet construction standards for wells and safely dispose of contaminated water.
New HF rules too onerous, say firmsWall Street Journal. The Obama administration has issued comprehensive rules on hydraulic fracturing, trying to set a national standard for controversial drilling practices that have helped fuel the US oil and natural-gas boom. The weekend move sparked immediate criticism from energy companies that claimed the rules were too onerous. Two industry groups filed a lawsuit minutes after the announcement, seeking to block the rules in a federal court. Environmental groups said the rules didn’t go far enough.
Do new federal rules duplicate existing state laws? Associated Press. Fracking chemical disclosure is among the federal rules announced Friday by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. That raised speculation the federal rules might duplicate what Wyoming — a top state for oil and gas production from federal lands — already has in place. Non-necessary, duplicative rules add time and cost to oil and gas projects, said John Robitaille with the Petroleum Association of Wyoming. "Any time we add additional regulation, especially in the pricing environment we're in now, it's going to impact whether projects get implemented or not," Robitaille said Friday.
Pump the Brakes on Shale RegulationsNational Review, editorial. In yet another Obama-administration Friday-afternoon news dump, the Bureau of Land Management announced that it is issuing broad and cumbrous new regulations on certain techniques of drilling for natural gas and oil — hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a. “fracking” — on land under its control.​

Alaska Economic Update- Part 1 

Alberta is also dependent on oil income, though not to the degree of Alaska's dependency.  Just as Alaska seeks to 'diversify' its economy via government subsidies, loans and even socialized, direct investment, so has Alberta tested those waters.

Here, a Calgary University study identifies the flaws in government investments in the private sector, bought to us by Petroleum News Alaska's Gary Park: "University report says government backing for refineries distorts allocation of capital, lowers GDP; Alberta may play larger role"

Subscribe to Petroleum News and read more....


We include this Economic Update because 90% of Alaska's state operating budget depends on oil production-- which also sustains over a third of the state's entire economy!  Because of its dependence on oil revenue, Alaska's tax and regulatory policies affecting oil and gas also have a significant effect on the industry we feature here.    -dh

By Mark Edwards (NGP Photo), Economist

Each year, Northrim Bank publishes the Alaska Economic Update. It is an opportunity to review the past year as well as look forward to the current year in regards to oil prices, jobs and housing. We will break the report into four sections and will post the full report in our ‘Resources’ section for your convenience.

2015 is generally predicted to be a flat year for the Alaska economy.  Some segments like government, construction and professional services are likely to shrink, but these losses will be offset by gains in tourism, health care and retail.  This will result in no growth in the job market and population will likely remain at its current levels.  Historically low long-term interest rates and low levels of building activity are expected to keep the housing market stable.

Alaska Journal of Commerce by DJ Summers.  Alaska’s banks had a healthy 2014 ....

The largest issue looming is the dramatic fall in oil prices.  The current low price environment has many people rightfully concerned about the possible impacts on Alaska’s economy.  After averaging over $100 a barrel for three and a half years, Alaska has been experiencing prices as low as $45.  As of March 17, 2015, it is at $47.50. However, based on currently available information and analysts’ estimates, prices should begin to increase this year.  The over-supply of oil that led to the recent price drop should moderate as higher cost producers are not able to operate profitably.  Continued global demand for energy is expected to move prices higher by this summer when excess inventories are consumed.  Prices in the $60 to $80 range should keep long-run capital investments from the energy industry stable.  Oil production levels are expected to be stable through 2017.

Graph 1
State government will have to make prudent spending cuts - Arguably, the most impacted sector from a decline in the price of oil is the State of Alaska government.  We are the most structurally imbalanced government in the country in terms of the diversification of revenue sources.  In fiscal year 2014, 88% of the state’s unrestricted spending came from oil taxes and royalties.  On a positive note, this does not include the $11.5 billion in revenues from other sources such as Federal government contributions to the state and returns from our investment portfolios. 

Over $52 billion has been saved in the Permanent Fund and it grows despite the roughly $800 million a year spent on dividends for residents due to investment returns and continued deposits from ongoing natural resource projects in Alaska.

Additionally, the state has over $50 billion saved in other investment accounts.  The largest portion, $28 billion, is reserved for the retirement system obligations for state employees.  Other funds are dedicated to specific department operations, such as $1 billion for airport bonds, $1 billion in the power cost equalization endowment fund to subsidize rural energy costs, $586 million in the public school trust fund and many others.  To balance an estimated $3 billion budget deficit this year the Legislature can draw from the $11 billion Constitutional Budget Reserve, $3 billion in the Statutory Budget Reserve, and $5 billion was in the General Fund at year end 2014.

The current budget deficit is expected to force the Governor and Legislature to freeze the growth in the operating budget and cut the capital budget.  Research from UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) has confirmed the widely held belief that the state government has been spending in excess of its long-term sustainable levels.  The Gross State Product in Alaska is $51 billion.  A $1 billion reduction in state spending would reduce aggregate demand in our economy by about 2%.  A positive way to look at this would be despite government cuts we would still have a $50 billion economy.  Most analysts predict the reduction in state spending will be lower, in the $500 million range. The new Governor has signaled he is taking the issue seriously, and will proceed with a measured approach, so as not to exacerbate the problem.    

Stay tuned for future posts. The next post will include updates on jobs, unemployment rates, and population.

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop, said the variance provision “will create an entanglement of bureaucracy previously unseen in our nation’s energy history.”

Obama administration unveils fracking rules for federal lands (San Francisco Chronicle)

By Jennifer A. Dlouhy

(Contrast this new Obama administration, abusive attack on states' rights and energy technology with today's Cruz speech, inserted here.   Also, read Energy-In-Depth reactions to new, restrictive fracking rules.      -dh) 
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration issued the first federal mandates governing hydraulic fracturing on public land Friday, triggering an immediate lawsuit from oil industry groups and a pledge by congressional Republicans to undo the regulation.


22 March 2015 2:17pm

Fairbanks News Miner Editorial.  Other than the state’s budget deficit, the state’s most important decision with regard to its future is the path it will take to a natural gas pipeline. After many years of stagnation under the failed Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, there have been signs of progress in the state’s goal of developing a large-diameter natural gas pipeline that would both supply the state’s gas needs and provide for substantial export. More....



21 March 2015 4:16pm

Petroleum News.  In early February Ben van Beurden, CEO of Shell, confirmed that his company was moving ahead with plans to restart its exploration drilling in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea during the 2015 summer open water season. In apparent confirmation of that statement notices relating to requests from Shell for some go....


3-20-15 Alaskan and Canadian Energy Investors Face a Competitive New World

20 March 2015 7:46am

See this week's Petroleum News, just released.

Compared to Russian and Canadian Arctic energy initiatives, U.S. efforts are pathetic.  Russia's Arctic power could well influence competitive factors discussed below in ways detrimental to the world's democracies.  Read more....    -dh 

Decision makers: look below, and ignore the competitive, new, worldwide oil & gas market at your own peril and at the risk of removing opportunities from your succeeding generation of young, hopeful, ambitious children that you and your friends enjoyed.  -dh

Today, an energy analyst friend privately opines on natural gas pricing, which should be of some interest to potential investors in a $40 - 60 billion Alaska natural gas pipeline--as well as Canadian project participants.  Read below.

We hasten to add that natural gas supply and pricing is still not as "world-wide fungible" as oil.  

Until now, the North American gas market has focused almost completely on North American supply/demand factors...unlike oil which has traded within a fairly narrow worldwide price range--offsetting U.S. prices somewhat because of the multi-decade crude oil export ban.  

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski yesterday stressed the economic and national security benefits of ending the 1975 federal ban on exporting domestically produced crude oil at a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  See the video, also featuring ConocoPhillips Chairman & CEO Ryan Lance (NGP Photo).  

However, because of extensive, competing world-wide LNG export projects, the continuing expansion of world-wide shale technology, and the increasing attraction of natural gas for power generation it is probably only a matter of time before we approach a worldwide pricing range and supply balance for natural gas.  

Investors must absorb and interpret these rapidly changing and multi-dimensional factors as they consider different lease sale bidding strategies and varied projects in different jurisdictions with wide-ranging rules and risks.  This reality makes it essential that Alaska's and Canada's energy decision makers (i.e. our readership base) retreat from unpredictable, greedy and provincial tax, royalty, regulatory policies and lavish spending practices--which affect tax policies.  

Everywhere, those blessed with oil and gas supply should keep one eye on the competition and one eye on reducing public spending to sustainable, essential levels.   See yesterday's examples, "Lessons For Alaska From Canada".    -dh

Our energy analyst friend writes, "Natural gas has seemingly had a lot going for it in the past year:

  • The US came out of last winter at record low inventories
  • Pipelines keep getting added and redirected to distribute natural gas to hungry markets (although slowly)
  • The weather has been brutal east of the Rockies, all the way into the South
  • More gas keeps displacing coalmoving to Mexico, and benefiting slightly from a modestly improving economy
  • The number of gas (and especially oil) rigs has dropped off big-time

"Despite it all, natural gas is in the doldrums  price-wise. The HH is $2.83, and some recent negative basis-priced gas has sold for 99 cents.  The worst of it all, however, is that it is hard to see the end of the “tunnel”. There is no futures monthly price that hits $4 until 2022."

For our Alaskan and Canadian decision maker friends: here is the face of worldwide oil & gas competition from Energypedia:

GoM: Statoil adds acreage in the Gulf of Mexico Central Lease Sale

Brazil: Petrobras breaks record for well drilling depth in Sergipe-Alagoas Basin http://www.energy-pedia.com/news/brazil/new-162960?editionid=101595

Ophir Energy announces full year results - updates operations  http://www.energy-pedia.com/news/general/new-162959?editionid=101595

Tower Resources announces corporate update

Trinidad: Range Resources announces Trinidad operational update 

Iran upstream could be open for business this year

Colombia: Anadarko awards CGG the largest proprietary 3D marine seismic survey in Colombia
Bulgaria’s Mizia Oil and Gas awarded four exploration blocks in Bulgaria  <http://www.energy-pedia.com/news/bulgaria/new-162955?editionid=101595>

UK: Britain hands lifeline to North Sea oil industry with tax cuts  http://www.energy-pedia.com/news/united-kingdom/new-162954?editionid=101595

UK: Grangemouth operator INEOS begins fracking consultation  http://www.energy-pedia.com/news/united-kingdom/new-162953?editionid=101595

Australia: Gardline CGG to acquire Gippsland 2D infill seismic survey for Geoscience Australia  http://www.energy-pedia.com/news/australia/new-162952?editionid=101595

US shale oil firms brace for more pain as crude resumes slide  http://www.energy-pedia.com/news/usa/new-162951?editionid=101595  

UK Budget lays strong foundations for regeneration of the UK North Sea  http://www.energy-pedia.com/news/united-kingdom/new-162950?editionid=101595
Oil & Gas UK welcomes the Chancellor’s decisive move to restructure the North Sea tax regime ....

GoM: Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 235 yields $539 million in high bids on nearly one million acres in Central Planning Area http://www.energy-pedia.com/news/gulf-of-mexico/new-162949?editionid=101595

Canada: Conoco to cut 7 percent of Canadian workforce
http://www.energy-pedia.com/news/canada/new-162948?editionid=101595  ConocoPhillips plans to cut about 7 percent ... as tumbling oil prices have made its operations in the country less profitable.

Israel's Tamar group to sell gas to Egypt via pipeline
http://www.energy-pedia.com/news/israel/new-162947?editionid=101595.  A group of private customers in Egypt has agreed to buy at least $1.2
billion of natural gas from Israel's ....

Iraq: Gulf Keystone ramping up Shaikan production

Morocco: Mubadala Petroleum signs geological study agreement with Morocco  http://www.energy-pedia.com/news/morocco/new-162945?editionid=101595

Indonesia: Statoil awarded new licence offshore Indonesia  http://www.energy-pedia.com/news/indonesia/new-162944?editionid=101595

While the U.S. administration characteristically fumbles with global warming and Arctic regulatory issues, Russia -- and to a similar but smaller degree, Canada -- moves out smartly to take the initiative while establishing and enforcing jurisdiction -- and sovereignty.  More below....  -dh

Barents Observer by Atle Staalesen.  As Russia is unfolding a major combat alert drill in its Northern Fleet, the country’s government approves the setup of a new federal Arctic Commission. Headed by hardline Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, the Commission will coordinate all government authorities involved in regional developments.

Included in the Commission mandate are issues of social, economic, political, as well as military, importance, newspaper Kommersant reports.


Rogozin will have five Commission deputies to his disposal: Minister of Natural Resources Sergey Donskoy, Minister of Energy Aleksandr Novak, Minister of Economic Development Aleksey Ulyukaev, Minister of Transport Maksim Sokolov and Deputy Secretary of the national Security Council Vladimir Nazarov. A total of 60 people will be included in the new structure, among them representatives of the oil and gas industry, the ministry of Defence, the FSB, the Presidential Administration and regional governors.


3-19-15 Lessons For Alaska From Canada

19 March 2015 4:39am


Lessons For Alaska From Canada:

Investors Can Go Anywhere.  Get "your act together".  You're not the "only game in town!"      -dh

CBC News.  ConocoPhillips says it doesn't plan to do any more exploration work on its parcel in the N.W.T.'s Canol shale oil play for the foreseeable future.


"Although a significant discovery declaration and subsequent significant discovery licence is a positive indication for a play, it does not indicate commercial viability," said Kristen Ashcroft, a spokesperson for ConocoPhillips.

The company says it will return to the site next winter, but only to suspend a well — "a common industry practice to verify the secure condition of a well for the long term," said Ashcroft.

The company would not confirm whether its discovery is oil or natural gas or both.

CBC News.  The sixth annual Yukon First Nations Resource Conference brings together First Nations and mining companies ....

"I see some very, very encouraging signs and I also see some extreme negativity with the bureaucracy in place and some of the regulation and some of the bickering,” says Steve McAlister, director of Sepro Mineral Systems Corp, a company that provides equipment to the mining industry. 


"Mining companies can go anywhere in the world, and they're going to go where the risk is least and the projects are most lucrative,” he says.


He says companies need certainty when they’re considering investing, and says he, personally, is feeling “ambivalent” about spending his company’s money here.   

His advice for all governments?  "Make sure you have your act together because the Yukon isn't the only game in town."

McAlister adds companies do not like surprises … such as court cases.

Point of personal privilege: Nephew Dave Harbour of Lamar, Colorado makes the clan proud yet again!  Lamar Ledger by Chris Frost.  

Southeastern Developmental Services had a special morning Thursday, March 12, as the American Legion Post 71 stopped by to present the organization with a new American Flag.


Post Financial Officer and Adjutant Jesse Herrera said SDS was ready for a new flag.

"What a better day could you have for doing this," he said. "There are so many great people here and this is what we do."


Dave Harbour called the gesture a cool time.

"We sure do appreciate Jesse and the guys from the American legion coming down and bringing a new flag to us," he said. "It sure meant a lot to all the clients down here."



18 March 2015 6:24am

Today's Energy In Depth Energy Links.  (More coming)


New HF rules coming in ‘days’Houston Chronicle. The Obama administration is poised to impose new rules for hydraulic fracturing on public lands. The mandates are aimed at boosting the integrity of wells on public lands to ensure oil, gas and other fluids are contained within them. The rules will also require recovered water and other fluids to be safely stored at the sites. The Bureau of Land Management is set to release the final regulation “in the next few days,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told reporters, following a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. NOTE: U.S. News & World Report also reports.
Production eases back in key U.S. oil regionsHouston Chronicle. The shale drilling juggernaut that has flooded the market with oil and forced prices to their lowest levels in years is starting to show signs of weakening in the nation's biggest oil patches. Oil output in three of the largest shale plays will shrink for the first time in six years, the government reported Tuesday, offering one of the first signs that widespread corporate cutbacks are making their mark in the remote fields that drove the dramatic and rapid surge in U.S. production.
Dems to reintroduce 'Frac Act,' other drilling billsE&E News (sub req’d). Democrats are reintroducing four bills that would increase federal regulation of oil and gas drilling, though passage remains unlikely. House Democrats are calling the bills the "Frack Pack." They would increase federal regulation of the effects of drilling and hydraulic fracturing on water and air. On the other side of the Capitol today, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is to reintroduce one of the four bills, called the "Frac Act." It would repeal a provision environmentalists call the "Halliburton Loophole" and allow U.S. EPA to regulate hydraulic fracturing. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) is introducing the bill in the House.
Natural Gas Output Has BofA Bracing for Sub-$2 PricesBloomberg. Relentless U.S. production gains that caught many natural gas traders by surprise have triggered a 30 percent plunge in prices since November. Bank of America Corp. says the selloff isn’t over and is telling clients to brace for the possibility of sub-$2 prices for the first time in three years. Gas output will climb to an all-time high of 78.39 billion cubic feet a day this year, an increase of 50 percent over 2005, led by shale reservoirs in Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Texas, government data show.
Report: Oil firms' rising debts add downward price pressureBloomberg. The oil and gas industry’s $2.5 trillion of debt may compound the drop in crude prices, as companies maximize output to meet their financial obligations, according to the Bank for International Settlements.
U.S. working to cut flaring of natural gasUPI. The U.S. government will roll out new standards in the coming months to cut the amount of shale natural gas wasted through flaring, the interior secretary said. Much of the natural gas associated with shale oil deposits is burned off, or flared, because of a lack of infrastructure needed to utilize the resource.
HF law opens North Carolina to drillingAssociated Press. Rules governing the hydraulic fracturing method for drilling natural gas are expected to take effect Tuesday, creating the potential for drilling to start later in the year. The set of 120 rules that govern issues including well construction, water testing and buffer zones was developed by the state Mining and Energy Commission over nearly two years and approved in December by a separate state panel.
Are the good times over for growth in US shale gas? Reuters. U.S. natural gas production could decline in 2016 for the first time in 10 years, driven by low oil prices after a decade of gangbusters growth from shale plays. While most analysts forecast gas production will continue growing year-over-year, albeit at a slower pace, a couple of outlier analysts believe low oil and gas prices will prompt drillers to cut spending enough to reduce gas production next year.
Cnooc's North American Unit Slashes 13% of WorkforceWall Street Journal. The North American headquarters of China National Offshore Oil Corp. said Tuesday it would cut about 13% of its workforce due to the slump in global oil prices, raising questions about terms of the Chinese state-owned company’s accord with the Canadian government.
Feds: Market forces pushing offshore rig counts downHouston Chronicle/Fuel Fix. The government’s top offshore energy overseers on Tuesday defended the Obama administration’s approach to oil and gas drilling along the nation’s coastlines, insisting that market forces — not federal regulations — were discouraging the activity. About 46 rigs were working in the Gulf of Mexico as of March 13, according to Baker Hughes — down from 55 on average last year.
Oil company Quicksilver Resources files for bankruptcy protectionReuters. Quicksilver Resources and its U.S. units filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, adding to a list of oil and gas producers who have folded amid low oil prices. The company listed assets of $1.21 billion and liabilities of $1.35 billion in its bankruptcy petition in a Delaware court.


Ineos seeks to convince Scots over shaleFinancial Times. A charm offensive has been launched to convince Scots of the benefits of shale gas “fracking”, with chemicals group Ineos promising to pump hundreds of millions of pounds into communities where the controversial technology is used. The campaign underscores the company’s determination to tap unconventional gas to secure the future of its Grangemouth refinery complex despite a fracking moratorium announced by the Scottish government in January.
Northern Territory shale gas potential more than hot airABC Online. The Northern Territory's shale oil and gas potential has geologists excited. The shale industry is in its infancy in the Territory, with only a handful of gas wells drilled so far, however a reserve known as the Beetaloo Sub-basin, within the McArthur Basin, has encouraged further exploration.
Korean, U.S. experts discuss shale gas technology cooperationKorea Herald. The Korea Gas Corp. and New Mexico-based research center Sandia National Laboratories jointly hosted the “2015 Korea-U.S. Shale Gas Technology Cooperation Symposium” as a follow-up measure after the two countries signed a pact on close collaboration in the energy sector in 2013. Sandia National Laboratories is a contractor to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.
Shell, Petronas, Statoil among winners of 11 Indonesian oil, shale gas blocksPlatts. Indonesia has awarded 11 blocks -- eight conventional and three shale gas blocks -- with major oil and gas companies Shell, Statoil and Petronas among the winners, Naryanto Wagimin, upstream director at the Energy and Mines Ministry, said Wednesday.
SA must take the long view on shaleBusiness Day, Editorial. LEAD times are long in the oil and gas industry. It is therefore doubtful that government tardiness in creating a legislative and regulatory framework for shale gas exploration in the Karoo had anything to do with Shell’s decision to scale back its investment in hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
Oil glut: 116 firms cut $120bn from 2015 budgetNational Mirror. About 116 companies have cut their 2015 capital budgets by 24 per cent, amounting to $120bn, as a result of continued crash in the prices of crude oil in the international market. Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who disclosed this at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas conference in Abuja yesterday, said the cut may go up to 40 per cent as prices continue to slide.

Temporary HF ban rejected by Monterey County supervisors. Monterey County Herald. Arguing there’s no evidence of an immediate threat to public health, a split Board of Supervisors declined on Tuesday to move ahead with a temporary ban on the controversial oil extraction technique known as fracking, at least until the state finalizes its own rules. NOTE: KCBX Radio also reports. 


Brighton adopts new oil and gas development codeDenver Post. After three years of negotiations, the Brighton City Council on Tuesday night unanimously adopted new rules and safety policies for oil and gas development sites in the city. Brighton's old land use and development code was a decade old and did not meet state requirements for hydraulic fracturing sites.


Shell certified as environmentally conscious drillerTribune-Review. A partnership between environmentalists and shale gas producers awarded its second certification to an energy company for meeting the group's voluntary standards for environmentally conscious drilling in Appalachia, signaling progress in an effort some critics complained was slow to develop. Royal Dutch Shell and the Center for Sustainable Shale Development planned to announce Wednesday that the company met the partnership's 15 standards for protecting air and water during gas drilling and production. In September, Chevron became the first company to gain certification.
Industry says Wolf's severance tax would force them to overpayAssociated Press. David Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry trade group, said the floor would make the effective tax rate 13 percent. Wolf's proposal "totally ignores what's going on in the marketplace in Pennsylvania," Spigelmyer said. "You're talking excessive tax rates that are well above any other shale producing region in the U.S." Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, likened it to an income tax that assumes every worker earns $100,000 per year. "It makes no sense whatsoever," he said.
Wyoming County resident appointed to DEP oil and gas boardScranton Times-Tribune. Emily Krafjack’s voice may not be the loudest on the subject of shale gas, but it has earned her a seat at the table where major decisions on drilling regulations are made. Last week, the Wyoming County native became one of the first nonvoting appointees to the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board, where members tinker with fine details of proposed regulations.
Pennsylvania nears end of royalties investigationTribune-Review. Pennsylvania state investigators are close to wrapping up an investigation into complaints that landowners in northeastern Pennsylvania are being cheated out of royalties by natural gas companies exploring the Marcellus shale, Attorney General Kathleen Kane said Tuesday.


Ohio State planning $2.5M CNG station in Kenny Road areaColumbus Business First. Ohio State University wants to build a compressed natural gas station and have it running by next year. The university issued a request for qualifications Tuesday to design and build a $2.5 million CNG station in the Kenny Road area.
Utica Shale: Weak vs. Strong is comingShale News Media. Chris Doyle, the executive vice president of operations for Chesapeake Energy Corp., believes that over the next few years it will be clear who the weak and strong are in the Utica shale. Doyle’s experience in the Utica Shale started back in 2011 while managing the Appalachian division of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. At the time, the company had acquired about 400,000 acres in the Utica Shale located in Ohio and drilled its first well. Doyle left Anadarko in mid-2013 for a similar job with Chesapeake. Doyle soon learned that the Utica wasn’t as oil rich as many had hoped, but the region’s natural gas and natural gas liquids were ample.
Number of drilling rigs in Ohio continues to dropAkron Beacon Journal. The number of drilling rigs in Ohio’s Utica Shale region continues to drop. There are 27 rigs drilling in Ohio, as of March 14, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said. That’s down from 37 rigs Feb. 28 and from 49 rigs Jan. 3, according to state records.
Despite falling prices, Ohio oil production increasesColumbus Dispatch. Oil and natural-gas prices might be low, but production in Ohio’s Utica shale region next month is expected to continue rising. The forecast, issued by the Energy Information Administration, shows the Utica is one of two shale regions in which oil production is on track to grow, while the country’s other five regions are projected to have reductions or flat growth.
HF-tax ballot issue? Columbus Dispatch. Maybe Ohio’s Republican lawmakers and the oil-and-gas interests who command their loyalty don’t believe Gov. John Kasich when he hints at a possible statewide ballot issue to hike the state’s puny severance tax. They should, because a ballot issue is possible and would appeal to voters.
Lawmakers Scrap Plan To Allow Fracking In State ParksWOSU Public Media. Plans to allow fracking in Ohio state parks appear to be dead for now after lawmakers removed the provision from a bill making its way through the state legislature. Democratic State Representative David Leland says he is pleased that lawmakers have struck out part of a bill being considered by the Ohio House that would allow fracking in state parks – though backers said it would have been thousands of feet underground.


Denton fracturing ban tees up local control fightMidland Reporter-Telegram. As policy dilemmas go, the one triggered when Denton voters decided last fall to ban hydraulic fracturing in their city looked like a whopper: The oil and gas industry versus local control — two things Texas holds dear — in intractable opposition. There seemed little doubt lawmakers would weigh in upon their return to Austin. But four months after the North Texas city’s historic vote, top state lawmakers don’t appear to be scratching their heads. Petroleum is winning hands down, and local control appears headed for a beating.
Devon shows off new digsSan Angelo Standard Times. A green beacon flashed in Devon Energy’s San Angelo control room, indicating all systems were a go on a production well miles away in Sweetwater. Three desks held computers hooked up to a dozen monitors and four wall-mounted TVs, scanning about 600 wells peppered around San Angelo and Ozona, checking oil and water levels and incoming production figures.
Small Business Forum highlights opportunities in the Eagle Ford ShaleSan Antonio Business Journal. Crude oil may be at six-year low prices but small businesses in the Eagle Ford shale region just south of San Antonio are not sitting idle. The Texas Governor's Office held a Small Business Forum at the La Vernia High School auditorium on Tuesday morning.
Natural Gas Facility Closer to Breaking GroundKRGV. Texas LNG announced they are preparing to file their last application needed for federal approval before they can start building. The company plans to build a facility along the Brownsville ship channel that will convert natural gas into liquid form. The liquid natural gas will then be shipped by boat across the world.

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