In the News: EnLink Midstream Bags Coronado Midstream

March 2015, Vol. 242, No. 3

The EnLink Midstream companies, EnLink Midstream Partners LP and EnLink Midstream LLC, announced a definitive agreement to acquire Coronado Midstream Holdings LLC, which owns natural gas gathering and processing facilities in the Permian Basin.

Coronado operates three cryogenic gas processing plants and a gas gathering system in the North Midland Basin, including about 270 miles of gathering pipelines, 175 MMcf/d of processing capacity and 35,000 hp of compression. Construction of an additional 100 MMcf/d of processing capacity and gathering system expansions of the Coronado system are underway. Coronado’s key assets were all constructed within the past five years, and the system has inlet volumes of 100 MMcf/d. EnLink plans to connect the Coronado system with its Bearkat system to create a multi-county rich gas gathering and processing system.

Northeast Utilities Becomes Eversource Energy

Northeast Utilities, which operates New England’s largest energy delivery company, has become Eversource Energy. All of the company’s subsidiaries, including Connecticut Light and Power Co., NSTAR Electric, NSTAR Gas, Public Service Co. of New Hampshire, Western Massachusetts Electric Co. and Yankee Gas Services Co. have begun operating under the Eversource brand.

The company serves more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and employing a workforce of more than 8,000 New Englanders.

“Energy is what brings us all together and as Eversource, we will proudly continue to meet our promises to our customers,” said Tom May, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Eversource Energy. “Whether it’s heading out in the storm while others head home, or taking care of problems before they arise, with a new name our focus remains the same – powering our region’s homes, businesses, offices, families, neighbors and friends.”

DCP Midstream Closing OKC Office, Cutting Jobs

DCP Midstream lowered its payroll, affecting about 20% of its employees in corporate staff functions. With this corporate restructuring, DCP Midstream will close its Oklahoma City regional office and reduce the workforce in its Tulsa and Midland offices, relocating functions in those locations primarily to its Denver headquarters and Houston regional office.

“With a 90-year history, we are repositioning ourselves for the long term and ensuring we have a sustainable workforce that meets our future needs,” said Chairman and CEO Wouter van Kempen. “While this transition is difficult, we are establishing DCP for continued growth founded upon a culture of operational excellence.”

Tight Oil Producers’ Fate Dependent On Better Recovery

With oil prices dipping to $50 per barrel and new capital spending on upstream oil and gas expected to fall by nearly a third to $436 million in 2015, the future health of tight oil producers depends on their ability to improve recovery, according to Lux Research.

Optimizing recovery requires careful planning beginning with completions – choosing and inserting optimal equipment, designed to maximize production, into a fully evaluated oil well. Strategies include placing monitoring solutions downhole, monitoring fractures from the surface, and additives for improving the actual fractures, Lux found.

“Tight oil production in the United States has tripled since 2011 to 4.07 MMbpd, but recovery rates range between 1% and 9%, compared with up to 70% for conventional oil,” said Daniel Choi, Lux Research analyst and the lead author of the report, “Pushing Today’s Boundaries of Tight Oil Recovery.”

Lux Research analysts evaluated the short-term effect of falling oil prices and emerging technologies that can potentially raise recovery rates. Among their findings:

• Despite spending cuts, tight oil production will rise. Due to falling oil prices, Lux projects global capital spending to drop from $600 billion in 2014 to $436 billion in 2015. However, total production from key players like the United States and Canada will continue to increase as projects planned in past years come online.

• Microseismic, Ziebel and BaseTrace emerged as top companies to watch. A thorough understanding of the reservoir is key to improving recovery. Microseismic provides critical information about the completion process, such as stimulated reservoir volume and a fracture’s azimuth. Ziebel and BaseTrace allow operators to determine the productivity of different sections of the well.

• Early movers are poised to hold advantage. Many technologies designed to improve recovery rates are in the early stages. However, companies acting soon will enjoy first-mover advantage in an environment when simply drilling a new well has become unviable. Developers to watch include NaturaFrac, UT-Austin, Terves and Texas Tech.

Spectra Energy Lands Stake In BIG Pipeline

Spectra Energy agreed to acquire all equity interests in ConocoPhillips’ Brazoria Interconnector Gas Pipeline LLC (BIG), which owns the BIG Pipeline.

The BIG Pipeline is a 42-inch natural gas pipeline in Brazoria County, TX with a capacity of 1.8 Bcf/d. It extends 30.5 miles between Stratton Ridge on its south end to a point near Iowa Colony in northern Brazoria County.

The pipeline will be a component of the Stratton Ridge Project, an expansion of the Texas Eastern Transmission pipeline system to deliver up to 400,000 Dth/d of natural gas to Stratton Ridge, TX. The Stratton Ridge Project is expected in service during the first quarter of 2019.

Williams’ Transco Pipeline Delivers Record Volumes In January

Williams said it delivered a record amount of natural gas on its Transco interstate gas pipeline to meet demand driven by recent cold weather in markets on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. Two recently completed expansions of Transco, totaling 315,000 Dth/d of natural gas transportation capacity, contributed to the volume record in early January.

The nation’s largest-volume natural gas transmission system, Transco delivered a record-breaking 12.6 MMDth on Jan. 7 for its zones 4-6 market area stretching from Mississippi to New York City. The new peak-day mark surpasses the previous high of 11.9 MMDth set Jan. 7, 2014. Transco also set a three-day market area delivery record Jan. 7-9, averaging 12.2 MMDth. The Jan. 7, 2015 record amount represents enough gas to heat about 50 million homes.

In addition this year, total peak-day deliveries across the entire Transco system stretching from South Texas to New York City totaled 13.4 MMdth on Jan. 7. Williams expects deliveries to increase substantially in the coming years as additional planned Transco projects go into service.

“We fully expected to hit another record this year because natural gas demand for home heating and power generation continues to grow in new markets,” said Frank Ferazzi, vice president and general manager of Williams’ Transco pipeline. “In anticipation of this steady demand growth, we are continually expanding our Transco system to serve the fastest growing markets in the country in the Northeast and along the Eastern Seaboard.”