Community & Environment

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.

North Dakota Flaring Targets Challenged by Rapid Production Growth

Increases in North Dakota's crude oil production have resulted in increased associated natural gas production from oil reservoirs, especially in the Bakken region. Because of insufficient infrastructure to collect, gather, and transport this natural gas, about one-fifth of North Dakota's natural gas production is flared rather than marketed.

Blast Levels New Jersey Duplex; 1 Reported Dead

ELIZABETH, NJ (AP) — An explosion in northern New Jersey that leveled a duplex Wednesday, knocking a next-door neighbor out of bed, killing one resident and leaving two other people in critical condition with severe burns, officials said. In all, 14 people were taken to hospitals, including an 11-year-old who was one of the critically injured in the Elizabeth explosion, Mayor Chris Bollwage said. The names and ages of the victims weren't immediately released.

Ending Ban on Oil Exports Looms as Biggest Hurdle for Oil Industry

As President Obama smugly twiddles his thumbs and decides when he’ll put Keystone out of its misery, sides are being taken, mostly along political lines, in the real debate that will decide the fate of the domestic oil industry: ending the outdated 1975 ban on crude oil exports. Obama, of course, sees no need to lift the ban, though he says he might reconsider IF the oil industry gives up its tax breaks. As one expected, Hillary Clinton, presumptive Democratic nominee for president, also opposes ending the ban.

Appalachian Midstream Operators Face Myriad of Challenges

This has been a busy year of new challenges and issues facing the Appalachian oil and gas industry as rig count in the Appalachian Basin and elsewhere is down substantially compared to the previous two years. A significant challenge ahead for shale developers in a lower price environment is to continue to be active in finding land, drilling wells and getting the natural resource to market. This article concerns our most recent report, published in May, on the issues and challenges facing midstream operators in the Appalachian Basin.

Feds Want Tougher Rules for Pipelines after Series of Spills

Federal officials want tighter safety rules for pipelines carrying crude oil, gasoline and other hazardous liquids after a series of ruptures that included the costliest onshore oil spill in the nation’s history in Michigan.

Study: Dispersants Failed to Help Oil Degrade in BP Spill

WASHINGTON — The chemical sprayed on the 2010 BP oil spill may not have helped crucial petroleum-munching microbes get rid of the slick, a new study suggested. And that leads to more questions about where much of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill went. If the new results are true, up to half the oil can't be accounted for, said the author of a new study on the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Analysis: Polarized Politics Dictated Obama Keystone Call

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's decision to block the Keystone XL oil pipeline has exposed an endlessly polarized Washington, and likely hardened its divides. Obama is now being praised to the skies by environmentalists and most Democrats, and denounced in apocalyptic terms by Republicans and the business community. And although environmental issues once produced bipartisan agreement in Congress, consensus on action to increase energy production or deal with climate change looks farther away than ever.

North Dakota Losing Appeal Among Drillers, Refiners

The performance of <em>Blood & Oil,</em> a soap opera based on the North Dakota oil boom, is not going well. The show saw its episodes trimmed by ABC amid tepid viewer interest. But the real life Bakken is also suffering from a lack of interest, a development that doesn’t bode well for the oil-producing region. The Bakken had been a key part of the U.S. shale boom over the past half-decade. But production peaked at 1.22 MMbpd in December 2014. Since then production has bounced around, with month-to-month fluctuations, but is slightly down from that high point reached almost a year ago.

1,000 Barrels of Crude Spill from Pipeline in Rural Oklahoma

BILLINGS, Okla. (AP) — A Tulsa-based pipeline company says about 1,000 barrels of crude oil has spilled from a pipeline in rural Oklahoma. Bruce Heine, a spokesman for Magellan Midstream Partners, said in an email Friday the oil was released about 6 p.m. Thursday from a Magellan pipeline that stretches from Enid to Ponca City. He said the spill occurred in a rural area near Billings and no injuries occurred.

Killing Keystone XL, Obama Says Pipeline Not in US Interests

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama rejected an application to build the Keystone XL pipeline Friday after 7 years of federal review, declaring the proposed project wouldn't serve U.S. national interests and would have undercut America's global leadership on climate change.

State Dept. Rejects TransCanada Request for Keystone Delay

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said Wednesday it is continuing a review of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, despite a request by the project's developer to suspend the review. If granted, a delay could have put off a decision on the high-profile project until the next president takes office in 2017. President Barack Obama has yet to say whether he would approve or reject the pipeline, but the Democrats running for president have all said they oppose it while Republican candidates support it.

Combating Noise in Gas Pipeline Transmission

Pipelines have been established for many years as the simplest and most economical way to transport high quantities of natural gas over long distances, moving gas from new shale fields and other production sources to LNG stations, local utilities, industrial plants and natural gas–fired electric power plants. Natural gas pipelines only consume an average of 2-3% of the gas’s potential energy to overcome frictional losses along the route, making them more cost-effective than the use of road or rail transport.

Keystone Backers Look to Obama's Successor to Make the Call

WASHINGTON (AP) — The company pleading for permission to build the Keystone XL pipeline looked beyond President Barack Obama on Tuesday in apparent hopes a future Republican president would green-light the project. But the administration signaled it was in no mood to hand off the decision to the winner of the 2016 election.

Why Carbon Capture, Storage not Taken Off Yet

For all of the talk about green energy one fact still remains clear: fossil fuels are going to continue to be used in enormous quantities for decades to come. From China and India to the United States and Canada, the world is flooded with growing markets looking for new sources of fossil fuels and developed markets coming up with new ways to extract those fossil fuels. India, for instance, is on track to double its use of coal as a main source of energy over the next 20 years.

ILI Offers Technology that Will Continue to Advance

There are about 3.5 million kilometers of oil and gas pipelines worldwide needing regular cleaning, inspection and maintenance, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA).

TransCanada Asks US to Suspend Pipeline Application Review

TORONTO (AP) — After waiting seven years for a decision, the company behind the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas has asked the U.S. State Department to suspend its review of the project. The move comes as the Obama administration increasingly appeared likely to reject the pipeline permit application. TransCanada said Monday it had sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting that the State Department suspend its review of the pipeline application. Until recently, it would have been unimaginable for the Calgary, Alberta-based company to ask for a delay.

In the News: California Tightens Responses to Future Energy Spills

Just months after a pipeline rupture dumped 20,000 gallons of oil into the ocean on Oct. 8 near Santa Barbara, CA, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of bills aimed at preventing and better responding to future spills. Brown said he signed the bills “in order to more fully protect our inland and coastal communities and environments from the harm of oil spills.”

Government: Senate Hears Criticism of Upcoming Gas Transmission Proposal

INGAA CEO Don Santa showed increasing frustration with PHMSA’s continued failure to move forward with important pipeline safety regulations. At Senate hearings Sept. 29, he said gas transmission pipelines are hesitant to make extensive safety investments now since those investments could be proved inadequate or wrong-headed once PHMSA finally publishes an upcoming safety rule containing numerous changes dictated by the 2011 Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act.