Community & Environment

Pipe Staged Ahead of Permits for ND Oil Pipeline

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Pipe is being staged in four states for a proposed $3.8 billion pipeline from western North Dakota to Illinois. The piles of pipe are being placed in anticipation of permits for the project by regulators in the Dakotas, Iowa and Illinois. Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners is proposing the pipeline that would move about 450,000 bbls of North Dakota crude daily. Officials say it's the biggest-capacity pipeline proposed to date to move North Dakota crude.

Crude Oil Swaps with Mexico Could Provide Economic, Environmental Benefits

U.S.-Mexico crude oil swaps approved last month by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security will likely involve exchanges of U.S. light sweet crude for Mexican heavy sour crude that is already being exported to the United States.

Ensuring Quality Contractor Workforce Through Standardized Training

At the first-of-its-kind Distribution Contractors Association/American Gas Association (DCA/AGA) Utility Contractor Workshop in Chicago, presenters and attendees were single-minded in their focus on one goal: to ensure the growing contractor workforce has the requisite knowledge to safely build the nation’s gas distribution infrastructure while expanding the contractor workforce to meet the needs of utility main replacement and expansion programs. With plans at many utilities to accelerate programs aimed at replacing aging pipeline systems, meeting this goal is more important than ever.

Strategy Report Points to Improved Safety, Smart Pigs

With liquids pipeline incidents down by half since 1999, even as their use to transport crude oil pipeline has increased, there is little doubt among experts about what has led to this success on the safety front – preventive maintenance and integrity management programs.

Ex-Exxon Executive Discusses Lauch of 'Clean' Oil Sands Project

After decades of exhaustive attempts to overcome the dirty reputation of oil sands, we finally have an environmentally-friendly and low cost method to tap into these vast resources in the state of Utah – good news both for Mother Nature and all oil and gas investors. MCW Energy Group’s CEO, former Exxon president of the Arabian Gulf region, R. Gerald Bailey, talks about his hunt for an innovative technology that simultaneously makes money and cleans up the environment, and the race to capitalize on Utah’s vast oil sands resources.

Big Cities Scramble in Preparation for Possible Oil Train Disaster

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — They rumble past schools, homes and businesses in dozens of cities around the country — 100-car trains loaded with crude oil from the Upper Midwest. While railroads have long carried hazardous materials through congested urban areas, cities are now scrambling to formulate emergency plans and to train firefighters amid the latest safety threat: a fiftyfold increase in crude shipments that critics say has put millions of people living or working near the tracks at heightened risk of derailment, fire and explosion.

Canadas Oilfield Service Sector Battered by Low Prices

In some ways the numbers don’t look that bad. For a group of 25 diversified, publicly traded Canadian oilfield service (OFS) companies, combined revenue of nearly $9 billion in the first six months of 2015 was only 22.1% lower than $11.53 billion for the same period in 2014. With oil prices down 50 percent for the first half of 2015, a revenue decline of 22.1% looks misleadingly attractive.

Clean Up of Mississippi River to Begin after Tow Boat Collision Spills Oil

COLUMBUS, Ky. (AP) — Clean up crews planned to go into the Mississippi River on Friday in Kentucky after a collision between two tow boats caused an oil spill that prompted the closure of that part of the river. The collision Wednesday evening near Columbus, KY, damaged at least one barge carrying clarified slurry oil. The cargo tank ruptured, causing thousands of gallons of oil to spill into the river, the U.S. Coast Guard said. No injuries were reported. The river was closed Thursday from mile-markers 938 to 922, Petty Officer Lora Ratliff said.

EIA Says Effects of Removing Crude Export Limits Depend on Price, Resource Assumptions

A new study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on the potential implications of allowing more crude oil exports finds that effects on domestic crude oil production are key to determining the other effects of a policy change. Gasoline prices would be either unchanged or slightly reduced. Trade in crude oil and petroleum products would also be affected.

In the News: Crude Oil Prices Poised to Drop Further

Since the oil price collapse, global oil production has risen, not fallen. Since the fateful Nov. 27, 2014 OPEC meeting, aggregate production from the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Iraq is up 2 MMbop/d – far more than demand. November is also when the U.S. inadvertently became the swing oil producer. Prices have not yet fallen far enough or for long enough for an appreciable U.S. supply adjustment to occur. It may not be far off, especially if oil prices fall further with new Iranian supplies, says a study from IHS Energy that notes:

Texas Regulator Clears XTO Energy of Causing Quakes

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A state inquiry has found that an oil and gas company's disposal well operations likely did not cause a series of North Texas earthquakes. Examiners with the Railroad Commission, Texas' oil and gas regulator, released preliminary findings Monday. They said a well where ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy pumps millions of gallons of briny water produced by hydraulic fracturing did not cause the seismic activity that shook Reno, TX, in 2013 and 2014.

Cost, Length of Exxon's Cleanup Still Unclear after Deal

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The $225 million settlement between ExxonMobil and New Jersey reached this week confirms the oil giant must clean up more than 1,500 contaminated properties from gas stations to refineries — but exactly how much they'll spend or how long it'll take remains murky.

Government: PHMSA Sets Standards for State Excavation Policies

House members of both parties drubbed the latest top PHMSA official to appear before Congress to answer questions about lagging pipeline safety rule implementation.

Beyond Compliance: Reducing Major Incidents, Creating Business Value

In the five years since the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, operators have undergone progressively tighter regulatory restrictions in both offshore and onshore environments. Along with restructuring the Department of the Interior to include the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), more than seventeen reforms have been implemented since the 2010 accident, targeting everything from well-design to maintenance reviews to safety culture.

3 Contract Workers Injured after Pipeline Ruptures in Gulf

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Three workers were injured after a natural gas pipeline ruptured in the Gulf of Mexico about 25 miles south of Marsh Island. Petty Officer Ryan Tippets said the rupture caused the pipeline to catch fire. He said the injured crew members were taken to a hospital in Houma, LA with minor injuries. He said the Coast Guard received notification of the rupture at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Settlement Reached in Lawsuit over Decade-Old Gulf Oil Leak

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Environmental groups and a New Orleans energy company have reached a settlement agreement in a lawsuit stemming from the company's failed efforts to stop a decade-old, slow-motion oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Economic Uncertainties in US Keeping CFOs Up at Night, Survey Says

(Business Wire) – The nation’s finance chiefs are relatively optimistic about the future, but remain cautious in the face of domestic uncertainties like Congressional inaction on tax reform. This according to the latest edition of Grant Thornton LLP’s CFO Survey, which reflects the insights of more than 900 chief financial officers and other senior financial executives across the United States. “Lawmakers need to agree on at least a two-year retroactive extension of nearly all the provisions, with a one-year extension as an absolute fallback.”

NJ Judge Approves Christie's $225 Million Settlement with Exxon

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey judge approved a $225 million deal Tuesday between Gov. Chris Christie's administration and ExxonMobil over dozens of polluted sites and nearly 2,000 retail gas stations. Superior Court Judge Michael Hogan ruled that while the deal is much less than the $8.9 billion the state originally sought, it is a "reasonable compromise" considering "substantial litigation risks" faced by the state in the 11-year-old case that spanned Democratic and Republican governors.

NAPCA Workshop Looks at Changing Energy Environment

</em>NAPCA held its annual one-day workshop Thursday in Houston as the industry struggles to find solutions amid market conditions that can be characterized as anything but certain. As one speaker, Dolty Cheramie, president of Pipe Exchange, put it, ““No CEO or anyone else has one single minute of experience in the market we are in today.” During his presentation, “A Look at the Oilpatch,” Cheramie didn’t pull any punches in what he saw a rough sledding for at least the next couple of years.

White House Proposes Cutting Methane from Oil, Gas by Nearly Half

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed cutting methane emissions from U.S. oil and gas production by nearly half over the next decade, part of an effort by President Barack Obama to curb climate change.

Local Fracking Bans Could Go Before Colorado High Court Soon

DENVER (AP) — Colorado's battle over who should regulate fracking could be on the fast track to the state Supreme Court. The Colorado Court of Appeals on Monday asked to bow out of lawsuits over Longmont's ban on fracking and a 5-year-moratorium in Fort Collins. The move would allow the Supreme Court to take the cases immediately, without waiting for the appeals court to hear arguments and make rulings. The higher court hasn't said if it will take the cases.

Feds Allow Shell to Drill for Oil in Arctic Ocean off Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The federal government on Monday gave Royal Dutch Shell the final permit it needs to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska's northwest coast for the first time in more than two decades. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement announced that it approved the permit to drill below the ocean floor after the oil giant brought in a required piece of equipment to stop a possible well blowout.

Embattled South Jersey Gas Pipeline Plan Clears Hurdle

A contentious plan to build a natural gas pipeline has received a boost as it goes for a second time before the commission that regulates development in the New Jersey Pinelands. The Pinelands Commission staff on Friday gave the project a certificate of filing, which shows that the application from South Jersey Gas is complete and consistent with rules for developments in the protected area of the state.

Buzz on Drones: Theyre Coming to the Energy Sector

Few trends have been bigger or more exciting to watch in the last decade than the rise of drones. From serious applications like warfare to more quirky ones like pizza delivery, the world is still clearly just starting to figure out how drones can profitably be used. That background makes the recent chatter about the opportunity for drone use in commercial oil and gas applications an extremely interesting trend to watch.

Pipeline Expert Peter Lidiak Ready for New Challenge

At the American Petroleum Institute’s spring pipeline conference in Savannah, GA one bit of news in particular grabbed attendees’ attention when it was announced that Pipeline Director Peter T. Lidiak was leaving his post after serving as API’s go-to pipeline executive since 2005. Lidiak, who joined API in 2000, is one of the nation’s leading experts on crude oil pipelines, testifying before countless congressional and agency hearings in Washington, D.C. and having a hand in practically any issue involving pipelines.

Pipeline Expert Peter Lidiak Ready for New Challenge (1)

At the American Petroleum Institute’s spring pipeline conference in Savannah, GA one bit of news in particular grabbed attendees’ attention when it was announced that Pipeline Director Peter T. Lidiak was leaving his post after serving as API’s go-to pipeline executive since 2005. Lidiak, who joined API in 2000, is one of the nation’s leading experts on crude oil pipelines, testifying before countless congressional and agency hearings in Washington, D.C. and having a hand in practically any issue involving pipelines.

Survey: IT Experts Confident of Ability to Detect Critical Attacks

A new survey of over 400 energy executives and IT professionals in the energy, oil, gas and utility industries found that most energy security professionals were extremely confident in their ability to detect a cyber-attack on critical systems, with 86% stating they could detect a breach in less than one week.

PG&E Pays California $300 Million Toward Penalty for Pipeline Incident

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California's biggest power utility says it's paid a $300 million penalty to the state's general fund for a 2010 gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed more than three dozen homes in suburban San Francisco. The payment announced Thursday by is part of a larger $1.6 billion penalty levied against Pacific Gas & Electric earlier this year for the blast in San Bruno.

World News: China and Russia Begin Work On Power of Serbia Pipeline

Russia’s Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) have confirmed that construction is underway on the 4,000-km Power of Serbia Pipeline that will deliver up to 38 Bcma of gas to China. The first joint of pipe for the Chinese sector of the project was recently welded near the city of Heibe in the northern Heilongjiang Province bordering Russia, according to CNPC. Russia started building its section of the 2,500-mile eastern route last year. The pipeline is due to become fully operational in late 2017.

ExxonMobil Fined Following Probe into Refinery Incident

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The California agency that investigates workplace accidents has cited and fined ExxonMobil more than $560,000 for workplace safety and health violations following a probe into February's explosion at a Los Angeles-area refinery.