Tag Archives: drilling

Gas Industry Challenges New Drilling Rules in Pennsylvania

(AP) — The natural gas industry in Pennsylvania is challenging new state regulations that govern surface development of shale gas wells, saying they threaten jobs and investment by adding up to $2 million to the cost of drilling a well. Energy companies in the Marcellus Shale, the nation’s largest natural gas field, filed suit against the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the state’s Environmental Quality Board over rules that took effect last week, calling them financially burdensome, vague and unlawful. “The provisions we are challenging impose immediate harm to our industry because they affect […]

Judge: US Agency Lacks Authority to Set Rules on Fracking

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A judge ruled Tuesday that federal regulators lack the authority to set rules for hydraulic fracturing, dealing another setback to the Obama administration’s efforts to tighten how fossil fuels are mined. U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl said the Bureau of Land Management can’t set the rules because Congress has not authorized it to do so. The judge, who was nominated by Obama in 2011, wrote that the court’s role is not to decide whether hydraulic fracturing is good or bad for the environment, but to interpret whether Congress has given the […]

Why $50 Oil Is Here To Stay

May 2016, Vol. 243, No. 5

Now that oil prices have rebounded to $50 per barrel, will U.S. shale drillers turn the taps back on? That is the million dollar question that the oil markets still do not have a clear answer on. Last year, when oil prices rebounded from $44 per barrel in March to $60 in June, the rig count leveled off. Some drillers even redeployed some rigs, stepping up drilling ahead of what they believed would be a swift rebound in prices. The renewed drilling spooked the markets and crude plunged again, and since August of last year, […]

2015 Worst Year For Oil Discoveries Since 1952

May 2016, Vol. 243, No. 5

A report by Rystad Energy has revealed that new oil discoveries in 2015 totaled 12.1 billion barrels, which is the least amount of new oil discovered in a single year since 1952. Last year was also the fifth year in a row in which the amount of new reserves discovered was smaller than in the previous year. E&Ps have slashed their exploration budgets repeatedly in a bid to weather the effects of the oil price drop. They’ve laid off hundreds of thousands of staff and have focused on staying afloat, lacking not just the money, […]

U.S. Oil Rig Count Holds Fast, Breaks 8-Week Freefall Streak

May 2016, Vol. 243, No. 5

The total U.S. rig count (both oil and gas) fell again this week from 406 to 404. While the U.S. oil rig count held fast at 318 as reported by Baker Hughes’ latest oil rig count, the U.S. gas rig count fell from 87 to 85. Last week, it was the number of U.S. oil rigs that had fallen, with U.S. gas rigs up by one. This time, it’s the other way around. In normal times, an unchanged oil rig count would be so-so news. But even though the total oil rig count was stable […]

Crews Excavating North Dakota Land after Large Spill

May 2016, Vol. 243, No. 5

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Crews in North Dakota excavated pastureland after more than 120,000 gallons of oil and drilling wastewater overflowed from a tank, the state Health Department said Friday. The spill happened Wednesday morning near Marmarth in southwestern North Dakota at a site operated by Plano, Texas-based Denbury Onshore LLC, according to Bill Suess, an environmental scientist who heads spill investigations for the state Health Department. The company notified state regulators of the spill immediately, he said. About 17,000 gallons of oil and 105,000 gallons of what’s called produced water — a mixture of […]

Norway Offers New Offshore Drilling Licenses in Barents Sea

May 2016, Vol. 243, No. 5

TROMSOE, Norway (AP) — Norway awarded on Wednesday 10 new licenses for offshore oil and gas exploration in the Barents Sea, including three in previously untouched waters near the Russian border. The Oil Ministry said it is the first time new acreage has been opened for drilling in Norwegian waters in 20 years. “The potential is huge,” Oil Minister Tord Lien said. “If the companies are successful in their exploration, Northern Norway will enter a new era.” Thirteen companies were awarded 10 licenses consisting of 40 blocks in the Barents Sea, a portion of the […]

US Rig Count Drops 9 This Week to 406, Another All-Time Low

May 2016, Vol. 243, No. 5

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped by nine this week to 406, another all-time low amid depressed energy prices. A year ago, 888 rigs were active. Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday 328 rigs sought oil and 86 explored for natural gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas declined by seven rigs, Louisiana was down three and North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wyoming each fell by one. New Mexico gained two rigs and California one. Alaska, […]

Shell Relinquishes Offshore Leases in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea

May 2016, Vol. 243, No. 5

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The only company to drill an exploratory oil well in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea following a 2008 federal lease sale confirmed Tuesday it has relinquished nearly all of its leases. Royal Dutch Shell PLC formally relinquished all but one of its leases in the waters off Alaska’s northwest coast, spokesman Curtis Smith said Tuesday. The news was not a complete surprise. An exploratory well drilled in 2015 did not find commercial quantities of oil. Shell announced in September it was suspending exploration in Alaska waters. The decision also reflects the high cost […]

US Rig Count Drops 11 this Week to 420, Another All-Time Low

April 2016, Vol. 243, No. 4

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped by 11 this week to 420, again reaching an-time low amid depressed energy industry prices. A year ago, 905 rigs were active. Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday 332 rigs sought oil and 87 explored for natural gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. Among major oil- and gas-producing states, New Mexico and Oklahoma each lost three rigs. Kansas, Louisiana, Texas and West Virginia were down two apiece. Colorado declined by one. Alaska, Arkansas, California, North […]

Agency: New Rules Needed to Make Offshore Drilling Safer

April 2016, Vol. 243, No. 4

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Companies that drill for oil and gas in U.S. waters should be required to work more closely with rig workers and regulators, as they do in Norway and the United Kingdom, to reduce the risk of accidents, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) says. The board investigates major industrial accidents. It is concluding a long-running probe into the catastrophic blowout of a BP well six years ago in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers and injured many others. The out-of-control leak also dumped millions of gallons of oil into the […]

Romania Discusses Black Sea Drilling with Russia’s Lukoil

April 2016, Vol. 243, No. 4

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s energy minister has discussed a Russian-U.S.-Romanian drilling project in the Black Sea where more than 30 billion cubic meters (1,060 billion cubic feet) of natural gas have been discovered. The office of Energy Minister Victor Grigorescu said Thursday that he met this week with Vladimir Nekrasov, a senior official with Russia’s Lukoil, to discuss the site some 170 kilometers (105 miles) off Romania’s coast. Lukoil, Romanian company Romgaz and U.S. firm PanAtlantic Petroleum Ltd are partners in the project. The officials also discussed other Lukoil business in Romania. Its general […]