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

Think oil sands and Alberta comes to mind. Don’t tell that to Canadian oilmen in Utah, though, who expect to begin production at the first commercial oil sands mine in the United States by year’s end.

On June 24, U.S. Oil Sands Inc., based in Calgary, got approval from the Utah Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil, Gas and Mining for changes to the PR Spring project being built about 200 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. The company has agreed to submit a plan by Nov. 1 for monitoring the quality of air and water at the project.

NEW YORK — As drivers, shippers and airlines continue to enjoy lower fuel prices, the oil industry is responding to much lower profits with sharp cuts in spending and employment that are hurting economic growth.

Low oil and gas prices are good for the overall economy because they reduce costs for consumers and business. U.S. economic growth was higher in the second quarter, and economists say that was partly fueled by consumers spending some of their savings on gasoline at stores and restaurants.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Coast Guard officials were still trying to determine the source of a mysterious miles-long oil slick off California's Santa Barbara County shoreline, but a scientist said Thursday that it's likely the result of naturally occurring seepage from the sea floor.

Authorities said the 3-mile sheen was harmless to people and beaches remained open — in contrast to the mass closure that occurred in May when a broken pipeline spilled 100,000 gallons of crude oil, fouling sands, seabirds and fishing areas in the same general area.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate panel has approved energy legislation that would lift the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports and open some areas of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas exploration.

Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, chairman of the panel, championed the plan to lift the restrictions. It passed by a party-line vote of 12-10.

Murkowski said lifting the ban would turn the United States into an energy superpower.

Democrat Maria Cantwell of Washington, who opposes lifting the ban, describes the votes as an important first step in a long journey.

The Saddlehorn Pipeline Company added a 50-mile extension to its planned 550-mile pipeline to transport various grades of crude oil from the DJ Basin, and potentially the broader Rocky Mountain and Bakken area resource plays, to storage facilities in Cushing, OK owned by Magellan Midstream Partners and Plains All American Pipeline, L.P.

Wood Group secured a contract to carry out front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the Woodside-operated Browse Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) Development, offshore Western Australia.

Wood Group Kenny (WGK) will perform all design engineering for the insulated production flowline system required for the asset’s offshore gas-condensate fields - Brecknock, Calliance and Torosa – located 300 km from the Kimberly coast. The 12-month contract, which is valued at US$6 million and effective immediately, will be delivered from WGK’s Perth office.

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Opposing sides in the debate over the Keystone XL oil pipeline faced off Monday in front of the state regulatory panel that is considering for the second time in just over five years whether to approve the construction of the South Dakota portion of the long-delayed project.

A Kinder Morgan subsidiary scheduled a binding open season for incremental firm natural gas transportation service on its Mier-Monterrey pipeline, which would expand capacity to 1.34 Bcfd.

The project, planned for completion by the fourth quarter of 2017, will loop the existing Mier-Monterrey pipeline system from the Mexico-United States border to Huinalá, Nuevo León, Mexico, adding a lateral from Pesquería, Nuevo León, to Escobedo, Nuevo León.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — State officials say Florida Fuel Connection will make a $75 million capital investment to build a petroleum terminal and rail transportation facility in East Feliciana Parish, near the Mississippi River.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and Florida Fuel Connection CEO John H. Armbrust announced the plans Tuesday.

Jindal, in a news release, said the complex will provide a starting point for the shipment of fuel via rail to Florida, which lacks pipeline connections to regional oil refineries.

The project will create 50 new direct jobs at an average annual salary of $70,000.