follow us Twitter Facebook
<< Back to News

Oil and Gas Roundup — July 22

July 22, 2013
TOPICS: In the news

A rundown of oil and natural gas news from around the state, nation and world:

Oklahoma Geological Survey working to reduce risk of alleged oil field-related earthquakes


The Oklahoma Geological Survey has started work on a set of "best practices" to reduce the risk of oil-field activity's causing earthquakes.


The Oklahoma Geological Survey has been skeptical of conclusions that oil-field activity produced a series of earthquakes in and around injection disposal wells in Lincoln County.


"Even though the risk of damaging induced earthquakes is very small, that risk can be mitigated by appropriate industry practices consistent with the current understanding of the science," says a summary of a meeting of environmental groups, state agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and oil and gas operators on Tuesday.


The meeting was "the first step toward developing a set of recommended best practices to address the issue of induced seismicity," the meeting summary says.


"These best practices are intended to provide guidelines primarily to the oil and gas industry concerning waste-water disposal wells but may be applicable in many other cases of fluid injection," the meeting summary says.


Once developed, the draft of recommended best practices will be made available for public comment.


Read the Tulsa World article:



Natural gas industry fixing Pennsylvania roads


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Natural gas companies fixed or are repairing at least 413 miles of state roads in Susquehanna, Wyoming and Wayne counties, mostly damaged by their heavy trucks, a Times-Tribune review of state Department of Transportation records show.


The industry spent more than $500 million statewide on repair and replacement projects on state roads since the natural gas boom began, said Kathryn Klaber, chief executive officer of the Marcellus Shale Coalition. That does not include nearly $406.7 million in impact fees the state Public Utility Commission said natural gas drillers were required to pay to counties over the same period, but critics say the industry still isn't paying its fair share.


"That's not something we should celebrate," said state Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Hughestown. "They're doing what they should be doing. That should be a given."

There have been some instances in which PennDOT has had trouble getting the companies to conduct repairs, said Terry McHenry, a PennDOT district inspection manager, but "by and large, they have been pretty darn good."


Before drillers can put their heavy trucks on many state roads, natural gas companies are required to take out insurance policies amounting to $12,500 per mile, McHenry said.


PennDOT conducts weekly inspections on bonded roads and requires natural gas companies to repair damage they caused.

When there is damage, McHenry said companies submit a maintenance repair plan to PennDOT and pay contractors to fix the roads.


In many cases, he said drillers leave the roads in better shape than they found them.

Read more:



Fracking films reflect twists in drilling debate


PITTSBURGH — The boom in natural gas drilling has cast two opposing documentary filmmakers in unlikely roles.


Josh Fox, a liberal environmental activist, finds himself at odds with President Barack Obama. Phelim McAleer, a free-market conservative, is echoing the Democratic president’s support for natural gas.


The two don’t see eye-to-eye on much of anything, especially each other.


“He’s a very skillful filmmaker,” McAleer said of Fox. “He’s one of the most trusted scientists in America at the moment, even though he has zero qualifications. I don’t accept that, but a lot of Americans do.”


Fox, in an email to The Associated Press, said McAleer “is not a credible source of information” and is “a climate change denier.”


Their dueling documentaries — the sequel to Fox’s Oscar-nominated “Gasland” aired July 8 on HBO and McAleer’s “FrackNation” aired the following night on AXS — have clear aims when it comes to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the gas drilling method by which chemical-laced fluid is injected into the earth to free natural gas trapped deep underground.


Experts say the pro- and anti-drilling movements represented by the filmmakers each have some good points — even though Fox claims the process is an environmental and public health disaster while McAleer says Fox distorts facts and ignores the benefits of drilling.


Jeff Frankel, an economics professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, said, “The fracking revolution is clearly good news from the national security and economic standpoint” since it reduces imports and generates jobs and investment in America. He said the most extreme fracking critics don’t seem to understand how much the gas boom is reducing pollution by cutting the amount of coal that gets burned in power plants.


Read more:



Oil above $108 on supplies drop, hot money influx


Oil added to gains to go above $108 a barrel Monday, underpinned by three weeks of declining U.S. stockpiles and a rush of speculative money into the crude futures market.


By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for September delivery was up 40 cents to $108.27 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The expiring August contract closed up 1 cent at $108.05 on Friday after trading as high as $109.32 earlier in the day.

American motorists, meanwhile, are bracing for further increases in gas pump prices this summer after average national prices rose 12 cents in the past week alone.


Sharp falls in U.S. inventories of crude oil have contributed to a 15 percent jump in the Nymex benchmark, also known as West Texas Intermediate crude, since June 21. Some analysts, however, say the fundamental rules of supply and demand alone do not justify the rise and say speculators are also pushing the price higher.


"While crude oil stocks have declined for three weeks in a row, fundamentals in the gasoline and distillates markets appear less supportive," said a report from JBC Energy in Vienna. "Stock levels for oil products are in line or above the 5-year average and domestic demand is anything but impressive."


Read more:

<< Back to news