Storage

US, States Finalize $20 Billion Settlement with BP over Gulf Oil Spill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department and five states have finalized a settlement worth more than $20 billion arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, federal officials announced Monday. The deal resolves all civil claims against BP and ends five years of legal fighting over the nearly 134 million-gallon spill. It requires the company to commit to a widespread cleanup project in the Gulf Coast area aimed at restoring wildlife, habitat, water quality and recreation.

World News: Polarled to Take Norwegian Gas Infrastructure Across the Arctic Circle

Work has begun on the Polarled project – the first pipeline crossing the Arctic Circle – for a consortium of Statoil-led companies. The 482-km, 36-inch pipeline will run from Nyhamna in western Norway to the Aasta Hansteen field, creating a new "gas highway" from the Norwegian Sea to Europe. The world’s largest pipelaying vessel, Solitaire from Allseas, is carrying out the job, In July, Pipelines International reported work was advancing with crews working around the clock.

In the News: Phillips 66, Spectra Energy Bail Out Troubled DCP Midstream

Phillips 66 and Spectra Energy, 50/50 joint venture owners in DCP Midstream, LLC, have entered into a nonbinding letter of intent for contributing assets to strengthen DCP Midstream. This transaction is expected to provide DCP Midstream with a stronger balance sheet and increased financial flexibility, and positions DCP to grow through commodity price cycles.

Feds: Proposed Pipeline Rules could Have Prevented Accidents

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — New federal rules proposed for pipelines that carry oil and other hazardous liquids could have prevented more than 200 accidents since 2010, including a Michigan rupture that ranks as the costliest onshore spill in U.S. history, federal officials said. The U.S. Transportation Department proposal announced Thursday covers more than 200,000 miles of hazardous liquids pipelines that crisscross the nation — a network that expanded rapidly over the past decade as domestic oil production increased.

Phillips 66, partners begin open season on Bayou Bridge Pipeline

Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP) launched a binding expansion open season to assess additional interest in service from Nederland, TX to refining markets in Louisiana. Bayou Bridge is jointly owned by subsidiaries of Phillips 66, Energy Transfer Partners, and Sunoco Logistics Partners.

New Pipeline Safety Rule Pending after Increase in Accidents

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A long-delayed rule to strengthen safety requirements for pipelines that move oil and other hazardous liquids will be unveiled this month following a recent surge in accidents, the U.S. government's pipeline safety administrator said. More than five years in the making, the rule will determine if extra safety measures that are required in environmentally sensitive and populated areas should be expanded to new locations.

EIA Finds U.S. Propane Inventories Reach All-Time High

U.S. inventories of propane and propylene reached 97.7 million barrels as of September 11, the highest level in the 22 years that EIA has collected weekly propane inventory statistics. In the first six months of 2015, U.S. propane and propylene inventories were 24.3 million barrels higher on average compared to the same period in 2014. In the past year, nearly all of the increase in inventories occurred in the Gulf Coast region (PADD3).

Debt Service Using Rising Share of U.S. Onshore Oil Producers Operating Cash Flow

Results from second-quarter 2015 financial statements of a number of U.S. companies with onshore oil operations suggest continued financial strain for some companies. Low oil prices have significantly reduced cash flow for U.S. oil producers, and to adjust to lower cash flows, companies have reduced capital expenditures and raised more cash from debt and equity.

Colorado's High Court to Decide if Cities Can Ban Fracking

DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether cities can ban hydraulic fracturing, stepping into a high-stakes battle over whether local governments can impose tougher oil and gas rules than the state. The court will hear cases from Longmont, where voters banned hydraulic fracturing in 2012, and Fort Collins, where voters approved a 5-year moratorium in 2013.

Does OPEC Have An Ace Up Its Sleeve?

OPEC has been the most talked about organization in the oil and gas circuit in the last year as the cartel pursues market share, and any move by OPEC comes under intense scrutiny and analysis. Back in June 2015, it was reported that Indonesia, which was previously a member of OPEC, was looking to re-join the cartel as soon as possible. And now, it is confirmed that the most populous country in Southeast Asia will indeed be rejoining the cartel.

Key House Panel Votes to Lift 40-Year-Old US Ban on Oil Exports

WASHINGTON (AP) — A key House committee endorsed a bill Thursday to lift the four-decade-old ban on crude oil exports, setting up a likely vote by the full House on a bill President Barack Obama opposes. The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the legislation, 31-19, with three Democrats joining 28 Republicans to back the bill. The White House opposes the bill, arguing that a decision on whether to end the ban should be made by the Commerce Department, not Congress.

White House Opposes GOP Bill to Lift Oil Export Ban

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House said Tuesday it opposes a House Republican bill to lift the four-decade-old ban on crude oil exports. A decision on whether to end the ban should be made by the Commerce Department, not Congress, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. Earnest also took a shot at House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans pushing to end the oil export ban, which was imposed in the 1970s as the United States responded to an Arab oil embargo that sparked inflation and prompted long lines at gas stations.

Kevin Bodenhamer Sets Lofty Standard for Engineers

What more can you say about Kevin Bodenhamer other than he has had a career that most people in the pipeline business can only dream of having. His professional accomplishments can fill a whole page so let’s start with the resume: • 1979-1993, engineer, supervising manager for Cities Service/Occidental Petroleum/Trident NGL. • 1993-1998, manager, Mid-America Pipeline Co. • 1998-2002, director, Williams Cos. • 2002-2013, vice president, senior vice president, Enterprise Products. • 2013-2015, vice president, chief engineer, Willbros Engineers Inc.

Pragmatic Approach to Understand Indian Natural Gas Market

A Pragmatic Approach to Understand Indian Natural Gas Market Historically, India has relied on coal to generate power, liquid fuels as feedstock and oil for its transport sector. But for environmental reasons India needs to focus on cleaner fuels. Natural gas has emerged as the fuel of choice for many industries in India owing to its environmental benefits and higher economic efficiency. However, India’s natural gas market is seeing a supply deficit due to its low domestic production.

Interior Dept.: High-Risk Oil, Gas Wells Checks Lack Funding for Inspections

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management lacks sufficient resources to inspect high-risk oil and gas wells on federal land as a drilling boom continues in Wyoming, Colorado and other states, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Tuesday. The Obama administration has proposed a fee on oil and gas drillers that would allow the land management agency to hire more than 60 inspectors, but the proposal has not gained traction in Congress.

Job Market, Automotive Sales Trends Point to Growing Gasoline Use

U.S. motor gasoline product supplied, a proxy for gasoline use in the United States, has been rising after reaching an 11-year low in 2012. Although lower gasoline prices have been an important factor in the increase in gasoline use so far in 2015, changes in the labor market and in the vehicle sales mix over the past few years also have contributed to the rise in gasoline use.

Feds Cite Poor record-keeping in 2013 West Coast Oil Spill

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The pipeline company responsible for an oil spill that blackened California beaches kept shoddy records on emergency training and how it would protect pristine coastline in the event of a break, federal regulators said Friday. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) proposed six violations from inspections begun in 2013 — about 20 months before the May pipeline rupture near Santa Barbara — but imposed no fines.

Court: Environmental Study Still Required for Sandpiper Oil Pipeline Certificate

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has reversed regulators' decision to grant a certificate of need for the proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline, saying Monday that state regulators must complete an environmental impact statement before the certificate can be issued. The appeals court sent the issue back to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to conduct an environmental review and reconsider whether a certificate should be granted.

OPEC Winning Price War, According to IEA

Oil markets may not balance until late 2016, but supply is finally contracting in a big way. Early last week the EIA confirmed that U.S. oil production was down sharply since peaking in April at 9.6 MMbpd. The agency estimates that U.S. output fell by 140,000 barrels per day in August, a steeper decline than in previous months. In its latest weekly estimate (which is less accurate than monthly retrospective estimates), U.S. oil production is now down to just 9.1 MMbpd.

Basin Energy Acquires Starett Well Service

BRIDGEPORT, WV (AP) — Bridgeport-based Basin Energy Group has acquired Starett Well Service, a specialty roustabout services firm focusing on well site and midstream natural gas infrastructure in the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions. Joe Starett and his wife, Gina Starett, founded the company, which began operations in Jane Lew in 2002. Basin Energy said Joe Starett will continue to lead the company's day-to-day operations, while also will focusing on business development.

World News: Algeria Reforms Laws to Attract Foreign Investment

A Today in Energy brief from the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Algeria is reforming its laws to attract foreign investment in hydrocarbons. Algeria is the third-largest oil producer in Africa, after Nigeria and Angola, and the largest natural gas producer in Africa. However, production of both oil and natural gas has declined over the past decade.

California Oil Bill Defeated at Least for Time Being

A landmark energy bill in California was watered down after facing significant opposition from the oil and gas industry. The California legislature was considering a bill that would have slashed the state’s petroleum use by 50% by 2030, but the Democrats decided to drop the provision in order to keep the larger bill alive. After seeing the bill pass the State Senate earlier this year, the legislation ran up against a deadline this week for the end of session. However, with strong opposition from the oil and gas industry, the State Assembly could not gather enough votes.

Natural Gas Use: A Tale of 2 Peak Seasons

Use of natural gas has two seasonal peaks, with consumption patterns predominantly driven by weather. The largest peak occurs during the winter, when cold weather increases the demand for natural gas space heating in the residential and commercial sectors. A second, smaller peak occurs in the summer when air conditioning use increases demand for electric power, an increasing portion of which is provided by natural gas-fired generators.

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.

Sunoco Logistics Holding Open Season for Mariner East 2 Expansion

Sunoco Logistics Partners has begun a binding open season for its Mariner East 2 Expansion Project, which will transport petroleum products, including natural gas liquids and condensate, from processing facilities built in the liquid-rich Marcellus and Utica shale areas to Sunoco Logistics’ Marcus Hook Industrial Complex on the Delaware River. The open season offers service for ethane, propane, butane, C3+, natural gasoline and condensate. Refined product movements will be considered if there is sufficient interest. The prjoect is expected to begin operations in 2017.

Pipeline Reversals and Conversions: Case Studies, Best Practices

The boom in U.S. shale plays and Canadian oil sands has provided North America with a huge new source of petrochemical and energy-generation feedstock. For the most part, the results of this “shale boom” have been quite positive. But the sudden abundance of oil and natural gas is putting pressure on North America’s existing pipeline infrastructure, which simply cannot cope with this additional demand. This pressure is compounded by the fact that most of this new oil and gas production is happening in regions not currently served by the existing pipeline infrastructure (Figure 1).

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.

Editor's Notebook: Cheap Energy Brings Jobs Where There Were None

OK, I’m a sucker for natural gas. Maybe I’ve learned something these past 25 years that George Mitchell tried to explain: natural gas is the fuel of the future and can revitalize America. After I read this story off the Reuters news wire, can you blame me?

Cleanup of 2013 North Dakota Oil Spill Slowed by Lack of Natural Gas

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A state regulator said cleanup of a massive 2013 oil spill in northwestern North Dakota is being slowed due to the lack of natural gas needed to power equipment at the site. State environmental scientist Bill Suess said workers will be at the site near Tioga at least another two years baking oil from the soil using a process called thermal desorption.

Saudi Arabia Maintained Crude Market Share in Asia in First Half of 2015

In the first half of 2015, Saudi Arabia exported on average 4.4 MMbpd of crude oil to seven major trading partners in Asia, making up more than half of Saudi Arabia's total crude oil exports over that period. Even as global crude oil prices fell in 2014 and 2015, Saudi Arabia increased production and kept its export levels high, enabling it to maintain its market share in these countries. However, long-term trends within Saudi Arabia's energy sector may reduce its global crude oil market share.