Community & Environment

Mexico Oil Sector Sees Most Successful Auction So Far

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's third auction to open oil and gas blocks to private investment was the most successful yet, with all 25 blocks drawing bids Tuesday. Officials awarded exploration and production rights to mostly Mexican companies, as well as one Canadian firm plus consortiums involving U.S. and Dutch investments. No major multinational oil companies participated in the bidding.

AP Analysis: Why US Will Export Oil for 1st Time in Decades

NEW YORK — The United States, seemingly awash in crude oil after an energy boom sent thousands of workers scurrying to the plains of Texas and North Dakota, will begin exporting oil for the first time since the 1973 oil embargo. The lifting of the embargo is part of a spending deal expected to be pushed through the House and Senate by the end of the week. Here's a brief look at why the ban was in place, and the reasons why that ban is now being lifted after four decades.

Mr. Mayeaux, You Left Your Company in the Right Hands

Justin Harvey knows he has an industrial-sized pair of shoes to fill as he takes the helm at A+ Corporation, a family-owned and operated gas sample conditioning system service company in Gonzales, LA. The 30-year-old Harvey was just a toddler when his legendary grandfather Donald Mayeaux founded the company in 1989. Mayeaux earned his reputation for developing product concepts that changed the manner in which natural gas was sampled.

Robot Works Below Iconic Scotland Street to Repair Pipeline

ULC Robotics, a leading robotics, energy services and research/development company focused on the energy and utility industries, deployed its Cast Iron Joint Sealing Robot (CISBOT) for the first time in Scotland on busy George Street in Edinburgh this past summer. Similar to Fifth Avenue in New York City, the visitors and high-end shop owners along George Street had minimal disturbance to their normal routines because CISBOT because is virtually invisible.

Editor's Notebook: Winners, Losers and Keystone XL Debacle

I have some final thoughts about the Keystone XL debacle, because that’s what it was. That project never should have been the line in the sand in the debate over climate change, because as we all know, any environmental effect would have been negligible at worst.

Waters of the United States Defined and Your Next Pipeline

<em>Editor’s note: The EPA’s proposed rule changes could considerably expand the jurisdiction of the federal government. Here are some proactive steps that pipeline owners and operators should consider to prepare for unprecedented expansion of the Clean Water Act.</em> The proposed Rule 33 CFR, Part 328, developed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) and in review with the White House, will redefine and clarify the reach of EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

APGA Determined to Have Its Voice Heard on Capitol Hill

Leading a natural gas distribution company is always a challenge because there are few businesses that deal so directly with their customer base, be it residential, commercial or industrial, as well as safety regulators, equipment and service providers, not to mention the city council or utility board that approves rates.

Judge Rejects Bid to Block Alberta Clipper Pipeline Upgrade

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge rejected the key parts of a lawsuit brought by tribal and environmental groups that sought to block a capacity expansion on the Alberta Clipper crude oil pipeline, saying the courts don't have the authority to intervene at this stage. U.S. District Judge Michael Davis concluded Wednesday that the letters the State Department sent to Canadian-based Enbridge Energy weren't the kinds of final decisions that courts have jurisdiction to review.

EPA Proposes New Methane Regulations for Midstream Operations

The federal Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed new regulations for methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from the oil and gas sector that place time-consuming and expensive new requirements on midstream businesses. These regulations would not apply to pipelines, but would require ongoing emissions monitoring and equipment replacements at compressor stations and natural gas processing plants built, “modified,” or “reconstructed” after Sept. 18, 2015.

Companies Asking Oklahoma Judge to Toss Earthquake Lawsuit

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Two energy companies are asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit by an Oklahoma woman who claims she was injured in an earthquake caused by the injection of wastewater deep into the ground — a method used for decades by the industry to dispose of the chemical-laced byproduct of oil and gas production.

Los Angeles Sues Gas Company over 6-Week-Old Leak (1)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles city attorney sued the Southern California Gas Co. on Monday over a 6-week-old natural gas leak that has sparked complaints of illness and forced hundreds of families out of a San Fernando Valley neighborhood. The Superior Court lawsuit alleges unfair competition and creation of a public nuisance.

2 Natural Gas Facilities Proposed for Louisiana 'Alternative Hub'

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two companies are looking at building large facilities along the Mississippi River south of New Orleans where they can export natural gas to the world market, another sign of the expanding footprint of the natural gas industry in Louisiana.

Pipeline Rush in Upper Midwest: Gas to Replace Coal

Nine- and even 12-figure numbers don’t phase Paul Copello, a petroleum engineer and president of IIR Energy, a capital projects tracking company that globally compiles and analyzes information for over 95,000 energy projects worldwide, collectively representing potential capital investment of $13.7 trillion. Among those projects, the natural gas pipeline sector is one of the surest bets for consistent increased capital spending, Copello told an energy meeting in Chicago last September.

Improving Lost and Unaccounted for Levels by Embracing Innovation

Across many industries, companies showing a reluctance to embrace new technology are in danger of losing any competitive edge. In the oil and gas industry, where even the smallest error can have a major long-term effect, embracing innovation in the form of data analytics has become a necessity for companies striving to reach the highest levels.

Oil Sands Producers Can Live with Albertas New Carbon Taxes

If business is good at anything, it is pragmatism. Take a hostile takeover for example. After weeks or months of trading insults and accusations in and out of the media, a deal is struck and the warring CEO’s shake hands and call the final deal a stroke of genius. Whatever they may really feel, they put the past behind them and move forward, ostensibly in the best interests of shareholders. After all, it’s just business.

TGP Seeks FERC Approval to Upgrade NED Capacity

Tennessee Gas Pipeline, a Kinder Morgan company, filed with FERC to increase capacity of the proposed Northeast Energy Direct (NED) project to 1.2 Bcf/d, an increase from 1 Bcf/d as submitted in earlier documents. TGP plans several route modifications on both the mainline and delivery laterals. The anticipated in-service date for the NED project remains Nov. 1, 2018.

Paris Climate Talks Point to Boon for Energy Storage

As the world leaders come together in Paris to tackle the hot issue of climate change, there is one market that not only remains crucial for growth of renewable energy sources; but also remains the most talked about market in the global investment circles: the energy storage market.

Manslaughter Charges Dropped for BP Supervisors in Oil Spill

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Justice Department launched a sweeping and costly criminal investigation after BP's rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and caused the nation's worst offshore oil disaster. For roughly two years, a task force of FBI agents and prosecutors occupied an entire floor of a high-rise building across from the federal courthouse in New Orleans.

South Dakota Regulators Grant Dakota Access Pipeline Permit

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota regulators approved a construction permit Monday for a pipeline that will cross through the state as it carries North Dakota oil to Illinois. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission voted 2-1 to approve the permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline, and construction on the roughly 270-mile leg could begin early next year.

EPA Boosts Amount of Ethanol in Gasoline Supply

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is boosting the amount of corn-based ethanol and other renewable fuels in the U.S. gasoline supply despite sustained opposition by an unusual alliance of oil companies, environmentalists and some GOP presidential candidates. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Monday issued a final rule designed to increase production of ethanol to be blended with gasoline through 2016, a decision that could reverberate in Iowa's crucial presidential caucuses.

Steel Factory Gas Leak Kills 10, Injures 7 in Eastern China

BEIJING (AP) — A gas leak at a steel parts factory in eastern China killed 10 people and left seven others hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning in the latest deadly industrial accident to hit China, officials said Monday. The leak occurred late Saturday and poisoned 17 people, five of whom died immediately, the Zouping County government said on its official microblog. It said five more died early Sunday, and the cause of the leak was under investigation.

Prince Rupert Project Receives Construction/Operation Permits

TransCanada has final permits from the BC Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC), giving regulatory approval for construction and operation of the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline project (PRGT). “Receiving the full complement of 11 pipeline and facility permits is a major milestone for the project, and concludes an exhaustive regulatory process that we embarked on more than two years ago,” said Tony Palmer, PRGT president.

U.S. High Court Rejects Mexican States' Lawsuit over Gulf Spill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from three Mexican states seeking damages from BP and other companies over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that said the states of Veracruz, Tamaulipas and Quintana Roo can't bring a lawsuit because Mexico's federal government owns the affected property. The Mexican federal government filed a similar lawsuit in 2013, which is progressing through the court system.

Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Fall in Nearly Every State from 2005 to 2013

The United States has a diverse energy landscape that is reflected in differences in state-level emissions profiles. Since 2005, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fell in 48 states, including the District of Columbia, on a per capita basis.

TransCanadas New Contracts Lead to $570 Million NGTL System Expansion

In the aftermath of the Keystone XL decision, TransCanada announced its subsidiary, NOVA Gas Transmission (NGTL) has signed contracts for 2.7 Bcf/d of new firm natural gas transportation service that will require a $570 million system expansion for 2018. Significant growth in unconventional natural gas supplies in northwestern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia are the primary driver for these new contracts, coupled with continued growth in market demand, the company said.

Pilgrim Pipeline Submits Use and Occupancy Permit Application in New York

Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings announced it has filed a use and occupancy permit application in New York to construct the Pilgrim Pipeline. The proposed 178-mile pipeline project consists of two separate, parallel underground lines running between supply and distribution terminals in Albany and Linden, New Jersey.

United States, China Advance Policies to Limit CO2 Emissions

China and the United States are the two countries with the most energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, together accounting for about 40% of global emissions in 2012. Late last year, China and the United States each announced intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) to mitigate their respective greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but there is still uncertainty in each country's ability to meet those targets. Further efforts to reduce GHG emissions will be discussed at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

EPA Intends Tougher Downwind Air-Pollution Rule in 23 States

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency proposed tougher new limits on Tuesday on smokestack emissions from nearly two dozen states that burden downwind areas with air pollution from power plants they can't control. At the same time, the EPA moved to remove two states — South Carolina and Florida — from the "good neighbor" rules, saying they don't contribute significant amounts of smog to other states. The EPA proposal came as Republicans in Congress moved to block President Barack Obama's plan to force steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants.

New Jersey Mayor: No One Called to Report Gas Smell

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — Tenants at a house that exploded, killing one person and injuring several others, noticed an "overwhelming" gas smell the day before but didn't call any emergency agencies, though it remains unclear whether that was because they thought the owner knew about it. More details about the Wednesday morning incident also emerged, including that the ground floor of the building was being used as an illegal apartment with its gas and electricity supply apparently off the books, Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage said.

Retrofitting Customized Valves, Actuators for Pipeline Monitoring Stations

Oil and gas engineers face a major problem in accurately and reliably measuring and monitoring the various fluids that are introduced into oil pipelines from well site pumping stations. A thorough understanding of both the oil separation process and the properties of valves and actuators is required to correctly specify a system that will sufficiently measure and monitor these various types of fluids. Also, the conditions downstream from each well are different, requiring valves and actuators to be highly customized to their specific role in the process.