Storage

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.

Some Small But Welcome Relief For WTI

BP’s Whiting refinery, the largest refinery in the Midwest, made a quicker-than-expected return to action this week. BP released a statement saying that the large crude distillation tower that went offline and caused gasoline prices to spike in the Midwest has “safely restarted,” and that output would ramp up over time.

US Crude Flirts with Close of Under $40 a barrel

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices are continuing to slide on fears of a slowdown in the world economy, with U.S. crude on pace to close at under $40 a barrel for the first time since the days of the global economic crisis. Already trading around six-year lows on a prolonged slump, U.S. crude fell $1.48, or 3.7%, to $38.97 per barrel Monday afternoon. Earlier it dropped to $37.75. Oil hadn't closed below $40 a barrel since February 2009, although it briefly traded below that level on Friday.

First US Tar Sands Mine Set to Open for Business

BOOK CLIFFS, Utah (AP) — A Canadian company is about to embark on something never before done commercially in the United States: digging sticky, black, tar-soaked sand from the ground and extracting the petroleum. The impending opening of the nation's first tar sands mine has become another front in the battle across the West between preservationists and the energy industry. U.S. Oil Sands has invested nearly $100 million over the last decade to acquire rights to about 50 square miles, obtain permits and develop what it says is a brand-new, non-toxic method of separating out the oil.

Oil Markets Coming to Grips with Prices Remaining 'Lower for Longer'

“Lower for longer” is on everyone’s lips in the oil industry. A survey by the <em>Wall Street Journal</em> of investment banks found a growing consensus that oil prices not only won’t rebound soon, but could remain at today’s low levels through much of next year. The average of the 10 oil price forecasts surveyed by <em>WSJ</em> predicted that oil prices would not rise above $70 per barrel until late next year, with WTI averaging just $63.40 for 2016.

Are Big Oils Dividends Sustainable?

Most investors have been attracted to the oil and energy industry due to its history of paying out large dividends. Blue Chip oil stocks have been known to possess management teams that are financially prudent, and shareholder friendly. This is why companies such as Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil, have garnered much attention in the investment community. But, due to the large decline in the oil price, most investors are now wondering whether or not these dividends are sustainable.

US Oil, Natural Gas rig Count Stands at 885

HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States this week increased by one to 885. Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday 674 rigs were seeking oil and 211 explored for natural gas. A year ago, 1,896 rigs were active. Among major oil- and gas-producing states, North Dakota and Oklahoma each gained three rigs and Alaska, California, Kansas and Wyoming each gained one. Texas lost six rigs, Pennsylvania declined by two and Colorado, Louisiana and West Virginia each lost one.

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.

Low Oil Prices Could Break The 'Fragile 5' Producing Nations

Persistently low oil prices have already inflicted economic pain on oil-producing countries. But with crude sticking near six-year lows, the risk of political turmoil is starting to rise. There are several countries in which the risks are the greatest – Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, and Venezuela – and RBC Capital Markets has labeled them the “Fragile Five.”

Oil Lease Sale Western Gulf's Lowest Ever in Bids, Money

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The smallest oil lease sale ever in the western Gulf of Mexico and one of the smallest in the entire Gulf brought only five bidders Wednesday, with low oil prices limiting interest in the prospects. Most seats in a Superdome meeting room were empty as a federal energy official read the 33 bids for tracts off the Texas coast. Each tract drew a single bid, for a total of $22.7 million. Not all bids wind up as leases: over the years, nearly 3% of all bids have been rejected or withdrawn.

Today's the Day: Oil Lease Sale Starts for Tracts Off of Texas Coast

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The federal government today will offer 21.9 million acres off the Texas coast to oil and gas developers, though low oil prices are likely to limit interest. The last two comparable lease sales in the western Gulf of Mexico brought $109.1 million last year and $100.1 million in 2012. A March 18 sale in the far more popular central Gulf of Mexico brought the lowest number of bids since 1986. Officials said low oil prices were the reason. Since then, the price of U.S. crude has dropped $1.44 a barrel.

EIA Lowers Crude Oil Price Forecast Through 2016

Amid high uncertainty in the global oil market, EIA has lowered crude oil price forecasts in the Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), expecting West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices to average $49 per barrel (/b)in 2015 and $54/b in 2016, $6/b and $8/b lower than forecast in last month's STEO, respectively. Concerns over the pace of economic growth in emerging markets, slowing supply growth, increases in global liquids inventories and the possibility of increasing volumes of Iranian crude oil entering the market contributed to the changed forecast.

Powder River Crude Gathering System Begins Operations

Outrigger Energy began operating its crude oil gathering system in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. The company has received a long-term dedication from Devon Energy Corporation covering leasehold acres located in Campbell, Converse, and Johnson Counties.

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.

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.

Ohio Elections Chief Rules Against Fracking Proposals

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's elections chief has moved to invalidate ballot proposals in three counties related to fracking. Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO-sted) ruled Thursday on protests filed with his office that questioned the validity of county charter ballot proposals in Athens, Fulton and Medina (meh-DY'-nuh) counties. Husted upheld the protests invalidating the proposals and said they wouldn't appear on Nov. 3 ballots. He says in a statement that each proposal attempts to circumvent state law in a way that the courts have ruled violates the Ohio Constitution.

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.

Nuclear Accord Could Boost Crude Oil Production from Iran

The P5+1 nations agreement with Iran on nuclear-related sanctions could result in relief for United States and European Union in the form of more oil production. If the agreement, which include some oil-related sanctions, it will put additional Iranian oil supplies on a global market that has already seen oil inventories rise significantly over the past year.

Analyst: China's Devalued Yuan Tied to Foreign Oil Consumption

Earlier this week, China surprisingly opted to devalue its currency, the yuan, forcing many in the oil and gas industry to ponder how the decision will affect their market. “In recent days, we’ve seen China look to devalue the yuan in hopes of gaining some ground as the U.S. dollar continues its upward move,” said Carl Larry, director of business development with consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. “The move has caused a bit of uneasiness in the marketplace and stock markets around the world are a bit shaky.”

Oil Price Slumps to Lowest Level Since March 2009

The price of U.S. crude oil has tumbled to its lowest level in more than six years. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.88, or 4%, to settle at $43.08 a barrel in New York on Tuesday, its lowest close since March of 2009. The latest slide came as OPEC said its production rose to a three-year high. China also devalued its currency, suggesting economic growth there was softer and could cause lower crude demand. U.S. crude has been declining since reaching a high this year of $61.43 on June 10.

Keystone XL Review Drags on 5 Times Longer than Average

WASHINGTON (AP) — For six and a half years, the White House has had a quick comeback to questions about its yet-to-be-announced decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline: Talk to the State Department.

BNSF Manager Named Inspector for ND Rail Safety Program

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A longtime manager of a railroad responsible for some fiery oil train crashes in North Dakota has been hired as an inspector for the state's new rail safety program. Karl Carson, a 23-year employee of BNSF Railway and a manager for the railroad since 2004, starts the $90,000-a-year state job next week conducting track and worker safety inspections.

Pemex Awards Offshore Engineering Contracts to Wood Group

Wood Group has been awarded a three-year offshore engineering blanket order by Pemex for field development in Mexico’s Gulf of Mexico waters. The $28 million agreement encompasses deepwater and complex shallow water concept and basic engineering, and owner engineer services. Work will be performed by Wood Group Kenny and Wood Group Mustang and will include field development planning and engineering of topsides facilities, subsea umbilicals, risers and flowlines (SURF), and floating systems.

Key Issues Taken on at Pipeline Conference

Pipeline & Gas Journal’s 11th annual Pipeline Opportunities Conference brought in 400 attendees from throughout North America, all focused on getting the most up-to-date information regarding the oil and natural gas industry. In addition to a full day’s worth of conference presentations and roundtables, guests had ample time to network during the even held March 24 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Houston’s Galleria district.

NACE President Seeks to Diversify Services for Rapidly Growing Membership

Raised in Pittsburgh, Jim Feather, NACE International’s 2015 president, says he grew up “not only with the steel metallurgy industry in my blood but also in my nostrils.” And while Feather did work directly in the steel industry as a sophomore through a co-op program at Carnegie-Mellon University, even then he could see “the writing on the wall” concerning steel’s long-term future in the United States.

ROSEN Sponsors Roundtable on Linear Threats

The ROSEN Group brought key industry stakeholders together for a roundtable on the topic of “Linear Threats in Pipelines” on May 28. The event attracted over 100 attendees from throughout North America and Europe who were hosted at the ROSEN facility in Gahanna, OH. The roundtable began with an official welcome by ROSEN Executive Vice President Chris F. Yoxall, who emphasized the importance of “why we are here.” He addressed the goal and set the tone for the day – bringing together all stakeholders to collectively work on common topics of interest.

FERC Issues Pair of Oil Pipeline Audits

On June 17, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Division of Audits and Accounting, Office of Enforcement (DAA), issued two audit reports involving oil pipelines, the Colonial Pipeline Company Docket No. FA14-4 and Enterprise Products Partners, L.P., Docket No. FA14-1. The Enterprise audit focused on Mid-American Pipeline Company, LLC (MAPL), a subsidiary of Enterprise. These reports are significant because they demonstrate that the FERC audit staff is taking a comprehensive look at oil pipeline accounting and rate issues along with enhanced scrutiny of affiliate issues.