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Oil and Gas Roundup — Sept. 18

September 18, 2013
TOPICS: In the news
GE taking ‘CNG in a Box’ to China

General Electric is going global with its system to make it faster, easier and cheaper for fleet operators to fuel up their natural gas vehicles.

GE on Tuesday announced a deal with China’s Endurance Industry, which will buy 260 “CNG in a Box” units over the next three years.

The collaboration is expected to help spread natural gas fueling infrastructure across China. The country’s rapid urbanization has resulted increased demand for fuel for vehicles and industrial uses.

The move to natural gas fueling stations falls in line with China’s current trend toward converting its fueling efforts from gasoline and diesel to cleaner, more economical natural gas.

“China’s vast reserves of natural gas, shallow coal-bed methane and recoverable shale gas allow it to gradually transition from traditional fuel sources to efficient and environmentally friendly natural gas options, enabling the country to lessen its dependence on foreign fuel supplies,” said Lin Chaoyang, chairman of Endurance Industry.

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Australia, not China, the next great shale gas hope, columnist says

LAUNCESTON, Australia — China may boast the world’s largest potential reserves of shale gas but is likely to lose to Australia in the race to be second behind the United States in bringing significant production on line.

While it's clear that the United States has gained, and will continue to enjoy, first-mover advantage, it's also likely that the next shale gas producer stands to reap substantial benefits.

For China, boosting domestic natural gas output would reduce dependency on expensive imports in the form of liquefied natural gas or pipelines from Russia and central Asia.

For Australia, developing significant shale output could underpin a new round of LNG projects, either at existing plants or greenfield sites, that would give the nation an unassailable global lead in the market for the super-chilled fuel.

But to be clear, both countries' shale gas plans are in their infancy and face significant challenges that have largely been overcome already in the United States.

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Obama’s former energy secretary says HF can be done safely

Drilling for shale gas can be done safely, and at least one prominent study about the risks is not credible, said Steven Chu, until recently the U.S. secretary of energy, speaking in Columbus, Ohio, this week.

The availability of natural gas from shale, including from Ohio, likely will lead to decades of low gas prices, Chu said. He also thinks the energy can be extracted in an environmentally responsible way.

“You can have your cake and eat it, too,” he said.

Chu was the keynote speaker at a conference put on by America’s Natural Gas Alliance, a trade group. He is now teaching at Stanford University, after leading the Department of Energy from 2009 until earlier this year.

He gave critics more fodder later in his speech, when he dismissed a 2011 study that raised concerns about methane leakage from gas production.

“There was a very famous Cornell report which we looked at and decided it was not as credible as it — well, we didn’t think it was credible. I’ll just put it that way,” he said.

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Hydraulic fracturing proponents say New York missing out

The Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York, frustrated over the state’s moratorium on natural gas drilling of the Marcellus Shale, has created a “Natural Gas Number” series designed to remind the public and Albany decision makers about the impact that inactivity has had on New York.

The series will highlight data points that demonstrate what New York has lost, and what other states have gained, since the American natural gas boom began.

The first Natural Gas Number is 1,882 — the number of days that have passed since then-Gov. David Paterson placed a moratorium on the permitting of high-volume, hydraulic fracturing — a technology that supporters say is being safely and responsibly used in all other states that harvest natural gas.

“The consensus among all credible scientific sources, including the federal government, leading universities and independent researchers is that well-regulated natural gas production is safe, is creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, and is benefitting the economy and, yes, the environment,” said Brad Gill, executive director of IOGA. “Today’s number, 1,882, represents more than five years of political indecision. The science is settled on this issue. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous and ignores reality.”

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Report: Federal oil, gas policies cost West billions of dollars, thousands of jobs

Utah and other energy-producing states in the West are besieged by federal regulations controlling oil and gas production, a barrier that is costing economies billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

Those findings were detailed Tuesday in a report released by the newly created Sutherland Institute Center for Self Government in the West, which looked at three scenarios of development on federal land for fossil fuels, as well as renewable energy.

“There is a lot more potential for development on public lands than we are able to achieve,” said Carl Graham, the center’s director. “We're leaving an awfully lot on the table by not being able to responsibly develop the resources on public lands at the same pace as private lands.”

In Utah, the hit at the high end is $6.7 billion and 58,000 jobs.

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IHS: Shale oil boom could go global

The shale oil boom that has led to resurgence in U.S. production could be replicated internationally, according to a new study from research firm IHS Global Insight.

Oil is recovered from shale formations using a combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. The process has also allowed for a significant increase in gas production, particularly at the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.

Domestic oil production recently hit its highest level since May 1989, driven by shale plays like North Dakota’s Bakken and Eagle Ford in Texas. Previous studies by IHS have shown North America has about 43 billion barrels of commercially recoverable oil.

The group’s latest report suggests global shale formations potentially hold seven times the amount of technically recoverable oil located in North America.

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