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General Interest

The US Fish & Wildlife Service intends to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement to evaluate possible steps for reducing accidental migratory bird deaths from oil and gas and other industrial activities.

Posted: May 22, 2015, 7:28 pm

Crude oil prices for front-month delivery climbed back above $60/bbl on May 21 on the New York market while July crude oil prices on the London market topped $66/bbl.

Posted: May 22, 2015, 4:37 pm

Crude oil prices are still about half their value compared with a year ago, but the now prolonged slump is unfolding such that another rise could be on the horizon, a panel of industry observers agreed on May 20 during the XXIV La Jolla Energy Conference in La Jolla, Calif.

Posted: May 22, 2015, 3:17 pm

The US Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comments on Rosewood Resources Inc.’s proposal to develop an oil and natural gas field in the Atchee area 40 miles south of Vernal, Utah.

Posted: May 22, 2015, 2:50 pm

According to data from the American Petroleum Institute, total US petroleum deliveries, a measure of demand, gained 0.7% in April from the same period last year to average 18.9 million b/d. These were the highest April deliveries since 2010.

Posted: May 22, 2015, 2:43 pm

Mexican multinational conglomerate Alfa SAB de CV and British energy firm Harbour Energy Ltd. have collaborated to acquire the stock of Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp., Toronto, not already owned by Alfa in a deal valued at about $1.7 billion, excluding debt.

Posted: May 21, 2015, 9:12 pm

Statoil ASA said a Feb. 18 condensate leak at its Gudrun platform in the North Sea could have been much worse, even fatal, if anyone would have been present at the time.

Posted: May 21, 2015, 4:54 pm

US net imports of natural gas totaled 1,171 bcf in 2014, down 9% from the level in 2013 and continuing an 8-year decline, according to the US Energy Information Administration. This was the lowest level since 1987.

Posted: May 21, 2015, 4:40 pm

Crude oil prices on the New York and London markets regained some ground May 20 with US light, sweet crude oil prices for July climbing nearly $1/bbl to close at just under $59/bbl on the heels of a government report that US oil inventories dropped for a third consecutive week.

Posted: May 21, 2015, 3:12 pm

Esso Exploration & Production Guyana Ltd., a unit of ExxonMobil Corp., reported an oil discovery on Stabroek block 120 miles offshore Guyana.

Posted: May 20, 2015, 9:10 pm

Ending the US crude oil export ban will produce such significant energy, economic, and geopolitical benefits that it appears likely to come to a Senate vote during 2015, Energy and Commerce Committee member John Hoeven (R-ND) predicted.

Posted: May 20, 2015, 6:17 pm

Wintershall Holding GMBH is leaving Qatar, effective May 25, because of lack of access to local infrastructure, the company said.

Posted: May 20, 2015, 6:11 pm

The Obama administration opposes a trio of US Senate bills that propose establishing or increasing states’ shares of federal oil and gas revenue from leasing and development off their shores, US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Abigail Ross Hopper told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Posted: May 20, 2015, 6:02 pm

Marathon Petroleum Corp. agreed to pay a $2.9 million fine, retire 5.5 billion sulfur credits worth $200,000, and spend more than $2.8 million to install pollution controls on facilities in three states to resolve charges that it violated the Clean Air Act (CAA), the US Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency jointly announced.

Posted: May 20, 2015, 5:39 pm

Gasoline crack spreads in the US, especially on the East Coast, have reached several-year highs in recent months, according to a recent report from the US Energy Information Administration.

Posted: May 20, 2015, 5:23 pm

Crude oil prices on the New York and London markets plummeted more than $2/bbl May 19 upon a strengthening dollar, which analysts attributed to positive US and European economic indicators. Meanwhile, US oil inventories declined last week, a government report showed.

Posted: May 20, 2015, 5:01 pm

Plains All American Pipeline LP’s Coastal Line crude pipeline ruptured May 19 in Santa Barbara, Calif., spilling more than 500 bbl into the Pacific Ocean, according to Governor’s Office of Emergency Services estimates.

Posted: May 20, 2015, 4:44 pm

Officials from three Rocky Mountain state governments and a major national sports conservation partnership urged both the Obama administration and the 114th Congress to not interfere with what could become very successful federal-state collaborations to preserve the greater sage grouse’s habitat and keep it from being listed as an endangered species.

Posted: May 19, 2015, 9:24 pm

CNOOC Ltd. has appointed Yang Hua, vice-chairman since 2010, to the position of chairman. He succeeds Wang Yilin, who has resigned.

Posted: May 19, 2015, 5:25 pm

MOL Group has made a commercial discovery with its Mardan Khel-1 exploration well on TAL block in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The company also has signed a farm-in agreement for Pakistan’s DG Khan block, taking 30% non-operating interest from Pakistan Oil Fields Ltd (POFL).

Posted: May 19, 2015, 5:23 pm

Compania Espanola de Petroleos SA (CEPSA) has implemented new gas turbine technology from GE to help meet Europe’s more stringent environmental emissions standards without reducing efficiency or increasing operating costs at its 12 million-tonne/year Gibraltar-San Roque refinery near Cadiz in southern Spain.

Posted: May 19, 2015, 5:05 pm

Utah will ask to join Wyoming, North Dakota, and Colorado in a lawsuit challenging the US Bureau of Land Management’s recently issued hydraulic fracturing regulations, Gov. Gary R. Herbert (R) reported. The new federal rule unlawfully interferes with state regulations that already address the process, the action contends.

Posted: May 19, 2015, 4:29 pm

Crude oil prices on the New York and London markets declined May 18 and early May 19 as the US dollar gained 1% vs. a basket of major currencies and reports indicated that oil exports from Saudi Arabia in March reached their highest level since 2005.

Posted: May 19, 2015, 3:27 pm

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill to prevent municipalities from banning hydraulic fracturing in a move that was expected after the city of Denton last year approved a referendum to prohibit fracturing in its city limits.

Posted: May 18, 2015, 9:16 pm

Petroleo Brasilierio SA (Petrobras) reported net income of $1.76 billion during this year’s first quarter, down only 1% from the same period in 2014.

Posted: May 18, 2015, 8:41 pm

Petitions to federally list species as endangered will need to show that state wildlife agencies have been contacted beforehand and include relevant information about what those agencies are doing, the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) said as they jointly proposed reforms to the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) process.

Posted: May 18, 2015, 7:35 pm

DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG has farmed out its stake in the West Nile Delta project in Egypt to its joint venture partner (and operator) BP PLC “in order to better balance its portfolio,” the company reported.

Posted: May 18, 2015, 5:02 pm

US senators introduced a trio of bills on May 11 to establish or increase shares of federal revenue with states that have federal oil and gas leases off their coasts. Measures sponsored by Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) will be discussed with 23 others dealing with energy supplies during a May 19 committee hearing.

Posted: May 18, 2015, 3:58 pm

Crude oil prices on the New York and London markets ended last week with light movement, and prices remained mixed in early trading on May 18 on reports of more unrest in Iraq and Yemen.

Posted: May 18, 2015, 3:39 pm

A US Forest Service official has rejected most objections raised by the Western Energy Alliance, West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association, and Public Lands Advocacy to USFS’s draft oil and gas leasing decision for the White River National Forest in western Colorado.

Posted: May 18, 2015, 3:33 pm

The Australian government has released a total of 29 areas for bidding in the 2015 offshore acreage release across eight basins in the Northern Territory, Ashmore Cartier Islands region, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania.

Posted: May 18, 2015, 3:27 pm

Alberta's voters sent a strong message on May 5 when they ended decades of Conservative rule and elected Rachel Notley, the New Democratic Party's candidate, as their new premier in a special election.

Posted: May 18, 2015, 9:00 am

International news for oil and gas professionals

Posted: May 18, 2015, 5:00 am

The US Bureau of Land Management's final hydraulic fracturing rule allows states with their own requirements to seek a variance under which their rules would apply if they were more stringent, BLM Director Neil Kornze told a US Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee.

Posted: May 18, 2015, 5:00 am

Overseas competitors who were caught off-guard initially by rising US unconventional crude oil production have increased their own outputs now and can be expected to try and keep prices low to protect their global market shares, speakers at a May 12 Atlantic Council discussion said.

Posted: May 18, 2015, 5:00 am

Erin Energy Corp., Houston, has received a 2-year extension until Dec. 31, 2018, for Blocks A2 and A5 offshore Gambia. The company holds 100% interest in both blocks, which lie 30 miles offshore.

Posted: May 15, 2015, 9:03 pm

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on May 11 conditionally approved Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc.'s revised multiyear exploration plan (EP) that proposes the drilling of as many as six wells on the Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea.

Posted: May 15, 2015, 6:38 pm

Representatives from the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) assessed the progress of the agency's Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS) initiative at an Offshore Technology Conference breakfast in Houston on May 7.

Posted: May 15, 2015, 6:31 pm

North American businesses and governments must work together toward the collective goal of advancing the continent's energy aspirations.

Posted: May 15, 2015, 6:30 pm

Timor Leste’s petroleum authority Autoirdade Nacional do Petroleo (ANP) has lodged a notice of intent to terminate Timor Gap permit JPDA 06-103 PSC, operated by Perth-based Oilex Ltd.

Posted: May 15, 2015, 3:57 pm

US light, sweet crude oil prices settled below $60/bbl on the New York market May 14 to end a volatile week while natural gas prices gained momentum.

Posted: May 15, 2015, 2:57 pm

A growing public outcry from their constituents against mid-winter price spikes may be necessary to convince some public officials that supporting natural gas pipeline construction is in their own best interests, speakers agreed at a May 14 Infrastructure Week discussion hosted by America’s Natural Gas Alliance.

Posted: May 15, 2015, 2:44 pm

Tag Oil Ltd., Vancouver, BC, has appointed Frank Jacobs to the post of chief operating officer.

Posted: May 14, 2015, 5:24 pm

Reforms should be considered to ease delays that have developed for interstate natural gas pipeline projects requiring federal permits, two witnesses told a US House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. But a third warned that trying to facilitate approvals is unnecessary and could jeopardize protections for states under three major federal statutes.

Posted: May 14, 2015, 3:13 pm

US light, sweet crude oil prices ended down slightly during the May 13 trading session after a switch in direction, yet the settlement price stayed above $60/bbl on the New York market, and analysts said the market clearly lacked direction given various government and agency reports.

Posted: May 14, 2015, 3:01 pm

Despite persistently high global supply and continued stock builds, oil prices rallied in April and early May, likely sparked by signs of slowing US light, tight oil (LTO) output, according to the most recent Oil Market Report from the International Energy Agency.

Posted: May 13, 2015, 4:42 pm

US Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) jointly introduced legislation that would end a 40-year ban on exports of crude oil produced in the US. Eleven more Senate Republicans cosponsored the measure.

Posted: May 13, 2015, 4:09 pm

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association has appointed Malcolm Roberts as its chief executive officer, following the resignation of David Byers earlier this year to take up a senior role in public policy and government affairs with BHP Billiton.

Posted: May 13, 2015, 3:47 pm

US light, sweet crude oil prices rose more than $1/bbl to settle above $60/bbl on the New York market while Brent crude oil settled above $66/bbl on the London market on May 12 as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries increased its global oil demand forecast and as oil traders awaited weekly US government inventory numbers.

Posted: May 13, 2015, 3:36 pm

US voters strongly support developing resources on public lands, giving states more control over regulating such activities, and lifting the ban on exporting crude oil produced in the US, concluded a survey commissioned by the Western Energy Alliance.

Posted: May 13, 2015, 3:27 pm

Panoro Energy ASA, Oslo, has named John Hamilton as its chief executive officer. Nishant Dighe, who has served as interim chief executive officer, will continue as president and chief operating officer.

Posted: May 13, 2015, 3:23 pm

In its most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the US Energy Information Administration expects global oil consumption to rise by 1.2 million b/d in 2015 and by 1.3 million b/d in 2016, upward from last month’s STEO by an average of 200,000 b/d in both 2015 and 2016, as lower oil prices stimulate demand growth more than previously expected.

Posted: May 12, 2015, 9:13 pm

An investigation is under way into the cause of an early May fire at Hellenic Petroleum SA’s 148,000-b/d refinery in Aspropyrgos, Greece, that left several workers injured.

Posted: May 12, 2015, 9:08 pm

Encana Corp. posted a first-quarter net loss of $1.7 billion primarily due to a noncash, aftertax ceiling test impairment and a non-operating foreign exchange loss.

Posted: May 12, 2015, 5:08 pm

An estimated 3.8 million b/d of new supply by 2025 of heavy, sweet crude from large developments offshore Brazil and Norway will help European refiners, says Wood Mackenzie.

Posted: May 12, 2015, 5:01 pm

Overseas competitors who were caught off-guard initially by rising US unconventional crude oil production have increased their own outputs now and can be expected to try and keep prices low to protect their global market shares, speakers at a May 12 Atlantic Council discussion said.

Posted: May 12, 2015, 3:00 pm

The light, sweet crude oil futures contract for June delivery fell slightly as the dollar strengthened but front-month oil prices held above $59/bbl by settlement May 11 on the New York market.

Posted: May 12, 2015, 2:50 pm

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on May 11 conditionally approved Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc.’s revised multiyear exploration plan (EP) that proposes the drilling of as many as six wells on the Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 9:37 pm

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the oil and gas industry took a hit in value and volume during the first quarter compared with fourth-quarter 2014, as the drop in oil prices continued to impact companies’ growth strategies, according to a report from PwC US.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 5:49 pm

The Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA) and the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas (CLNG) reported their intent to combine.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 5:43 pm

Royal Dutch Shell PLC has extinguished a fire that occurred at its Shell Deutschland Oil GMBH–operated petrochemicals plant at Wesseling, Germany, which together with the Godorf refinery near Cologne-Godorf, comprise Shell’s 325,000-b/d integrated Rheinland refinery, Germany’s largest.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 5:25 pm

The diversified Seven Group Holdings, Perth, media combine has taken another bite of Beach Energy Ltd., Adelaide. It has increased its interest in Beach from 16.24% up to 18.29% following the acquisition of an extra 26.6 million shares at prices of about $1.12 (Aus.)/share.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 5:03 pm

OAO Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp. signed a heads of agreement for gas supply via the western route from Western Siberia to China. The companies had signed a framework agreement on the western route last November.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 4:54 pm

Noble Energy Inc., Houston, has agreed to acquire Rosetta Resources Inc., Houston, in an all-stock transaction valued at $2.1 billion, plus the assumption of Rosetta’s net debt of $1.8 billion as of Mar. 31. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 3:15 pm

The light, sweet crude oil futures contract for June delivery rose slightly to settle above $59/bbl on the New York market May 8 after Baker Hughes Inc. reported the US rig count fell to 894 rigs, but it was the smallest drop since early April.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 2:42 pm

Legislation to accelerate the phase-out of older rail tank cars to reduce accidental crude oil spills has been introduced by Finance Committee Ranking Minority Member Ronald L. Wyden (D-Ore.) and six other US Senate Democrats.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 7:29 am

The US and Canada simultaneously issued new regulations governing transportation of crude oil and other hazardous materials by rail.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 7:26 am

The Canadian province of Nova Scotia reported the addition of seven new offshore blocks in its deepwater region May 5 at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 7:21 am

Indonesia is working to change the way it develops its oil and gas resources, according to Ir. I Gusti Nyoman Wiratmaja, Indonesia's acting director general of oil and gas.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 7:14 am

Brazil will use a concession model rather than a production-sharing model in the country's 13th bid round later this year.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 7:00 am

Industry must cooperate and collaborate with a number of international stakeholders to achieve the highest safety standards offshore, Brian Salerno, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, told an Offshore Technology Conference breakfast May 6 in Houston.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 6:53 am

Operators are changing their approach to offshore technology development because of its increasing scale and pace, said James Dupree, BP's chief operating officer, reservoir development technology.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 6:49 am

Despite numerous regulatory hurdles and impassioned resistance from environmentalists, Royal Dutch Shell PLC maintains that it is on track to drill two wells in the Chukchi Sea during drilling season this summer.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 6:44 am

US coastal states and the federal government will need to continue having an open and honest dialogue about the safe and reliable exploration and development of offshore oil and gas resources, panelists agreed May 5 in an opening session at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 6:37 am

Amid a violent contraction of the oil and gas industry, as companies jettison work and workers to confine spending to diminished cash flow, one function must escape the blade.

Posted: May 11, 2015, 6:34 am

International news for oil and gas professionals

Posted: May 11, 2015, 5:00 am

Brightoil Petroleum (Holdings) Ltd., Hong Kong, reported that Wang Wei has been appointed as executive director.

Posted: May 8, 2015, 5:51 pm

BG Group Chief Executive Officer Helge Lund commented on the pending acquisition of his company by Royal Dutch Shell PLC during the company’s first-quarter earnings webcast.

Posted: May 8, 2015, 3:53 pm

Crude oil prices slumped on New York and London markets on May 7, with US light, sweet crude oil for June delivery recording its biggest drop in a month. The closing price was down nearly $2/bbl, and the slump came 1 day after a decline in the oil inventory prompted a sharp oil price rally.

Posted: May 8, 2015, 2:17 pm

US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) introduced legislation aimed at modernizing and improving the timeframe for proposed oil and gas pipelines to get federal approval.

Posted: May 7, 2015, 9:10 pm

A proposed natural gas severance tax in Pennsylvania would have negative economic consecutives for the state, according to a Natural Resource Economics Inc. study released May 7 by the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania (API-PA).

Posted: May 7, 2015, 7:22 pm

Chesapeake Energy Corp., Oklahoma City, reported a first-quarter net loss of $3.782 billion, down from a net income of $374 million in first-quarter 2014.

Posted: May 7, 2015, 5:35 pm

The US Department of Energy reported that that it has issued a final authorization for Dominion Cove Point LNG LP to export US-produced LNG to countries that do not have a free-trade agreement with the US from its Cove Point LNG terminal in Calvert County, Md.

Posted: May 7, 2015, 5:30 pm

Apache Corp. reported a first-quarter net loss of $4.7 billion, including an aftertax ceiling-test write down of $4.7 billion due to “substantially lower commodity prices.”

Posted: May 7, 2015, 5:01 pm

The US Department of Energy will seek authority to act earlier in an emergency release of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as part of a comprehensive review of the 40-year-old system, said Christopher A. Smith, assistant US Energy secretary for fossil energy.

Posted: May 7, 2015, 4:28 pm

Representatives from the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) assessed the progress of the agency’s Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS) initiative at an Offshore Technology Conference breakfast in Houston on May 7.

Posted: May 7, 2015, 4:19 pm

Light, sweet crude oil prices briefly jumped to near 5-month highs during the trading session May 6 after a weekly government report showed US oil supplies fell for the first time since last year. Although prices retreated somewhat, the settlement price still marked a modest gain.

Posted: May 7, 2015, 4:10 pm

BNSF reported that fires have been extinguished in Heimdal, ND, following the May 6 derailment of a train carrying crude oil.

Posted: May 7, 2015, 3:36 pm

North American businesses and governments must work together toward the collective goal of advancing the continent’s energy aspirations. That was the message delivered by producers and government officials during a May 5 panel discussion at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

Posted: May 6, 2015, 9:48 pm

The plunge in crude oil prices since last summer is creating adverse impacts sooner than expected, and could endanger the economic renaissance the US has undergone from its dramatically increased production if crude exports are not authorized soon, Encana Corp. Chief Executive Officer Douglas J. Suttles warned.

Posted: May 6, 2015, 9:41 pm

DNO ASA reported it has doubled to 200,000 bo/d the production capacity from Tawke field in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Posted: May 6, 2015, 5:11 pm

US Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) said he would introduce legislation requiring US railroads to replace tank cars carrying crude oil and other hazardous substances more quickly than new US Department of Transportation rules require. His announcement came 2 days after US and Canadian railway transportation regulators jointly announced the regulations.

Posted: May 6, 2015, 5:06 pm

Occidental Petroleum Corp. has approved a plan in which Vicki A. Hollub will succeed Stephen I. Chazen as the company’s chief executive officer following “a thorough transition period.” Chazen has served in the position since 2011.

Posted: May 6, 2015, 5:03 pm

Husky Energy Inc. reported first-quarter net earnings of $191 million (Can.) compared with a loss of $603 million in the previous quarter and year-ago earnings of $662 million.

Posted: May 6, 2015, 4:20 pm

An industry-wide collaboration enabled the International Association of Drilling Contractors to develop a new well-control training and assessment program that is targeted toward an individual’s actual job, IADC executives told an Offshore Technology Conference news briefing May 6 in Houston.

Posted: May 6, 2015, 4:07 pm

Industry must cooperate and collaborate with a number of international stakeholders to achieve the highest safety standards offshore, Brian Salerno, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, told an Offshore Technology Conference breakfast May 6 in Houston.

Posted: May 6, 2015, 3:24 pm

Crude oil prices for June delivery topped $60/bbl on the New York market May 5, and the upward momentum continued in early trading May 6 when prices reached $62/bbl for the first time since December 2014.

Posted: May 6, 2015, 2:53 pm

Despite numerous regulatory hurdles and impassioned resistance from environmentalists, Royal Dutch Shell PLC maintains that it is on track to drill two wells in the Chukchi Sea during drilling season this summer.

Posted: May 6, 2015, 2:18 pm

A major challenge ahead for the offshore oil and gas industry will be figuring out how to fill the 50 million-b/d gap in liquids production that will be needed to match rising demand by 2040, IHS Energy Chief Upstream Strategist Bob Fryklund told attendees May 4 at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

Posted: May 5, 2015, 9:34 pm

The Canadian province of Nova Scotia reported the addition of seven new offshore blocks in its deepwater region May 5 at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

Posted: May 5, 2015, 7:55 pm
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