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Oil and Gas Roundup — Sept. 20

September 20, 2013
TOPICS: In the news

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

Republicans to push for action on Keystone pipeline in debt-ceiling bill


House GOP leaders will seek to advance the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline in legislation to raise the debt ceiling, lawmakers said Wednesday.


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told reporters the bill would provide a “path forward” on the Keystone pipeline, but the specifics of the GOP Keystone plan were uncertain Wednesday.


“In the coming week, we will unveil a plan to extend our nation’s ability to borrow, while delaying ObamaCare and protecting working middle class families from its horrific effects,” Cantor said in a statement.


“Those discussions will also focus on a path forward on tax reform and the Keystone pipeline, and a variety of other measures designed to lower energy prices, simplify our tax system, and get our economy going for the middle class, working people of this country.”


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LNG fuels consortium to build plants in Texas, other states


A group of alternative fuel and financial firms are planning to develop liquefied natural gas projects in Texas and five other states, aiming to sell cleaner and cheaper fuel to transportation, mining and oil and gas sectors.


California natural gas fuels company Clean Energy Fuels will build and operate micro-LNG plants for various regional projects in Florida, Washington, Colorado, North Dakota, Ohio and Texas. The company is the development and construction arm of the consortium, called Eagle LNG Partners, which also includes Canada’s Ferus Natural Gas Fuels and two GE-owned energy investment firms.


In South Texas, the group is looking into building a plant in the Eagle Ford Shale, where it would serve the local exploration and production sector, said Gary Foster, a spokesman for Clean Energy Fuels, which has a customer base that operates more than 30,000 natural gas-powered vehicles.


Eagle LNG Partners emerges as natural gas accounts for only 0.1 percent of the transportation fuel used in the U.S., a figure that would jump to only 3 percent if the country did nothing else to expand its use of natural gas fuel, according to consulting firm McKinsey and Co.


Diesel fuel makers scoff at the claim that natural gas could replace diesel products as the fuel of choice for the country’s thirstiest engines, but big players like Royal Dutch Shell are moving into the market with plans for LNG plants.


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Eagle Ford, Permian Basin on Track to Surpass 2 million barrels a day in 2013


Texas oil production from just two fields, the Eagle Ford shale and the Permian Basin, is likely to total well over 2 million barrels of oil per day (MMbopd) this year, if recent output trends continue, and could approach 2.5 MMbopd sometime in 2014, according to analysts.


The Eagle Ford has been front and center in energy news, and has stolen some of the limelight from the Permian Basin. However, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have rejuvenated production in the Permian Basin in recent years, and many of the same players who are drilling in the Eagle Ford are also drilling in the Permian Basin.


Production in the Eagle Ford play was about 599,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) during the first six months of 2013, according to figures from the Texas Railroad Commission. Projections by the Wall Street Journal are that output will reach 930,000 bopd sometime this year. The Eagle Ford is expected to move well past the 1-million barrels-of-oil-per-day threshold by mid-2014.


Meanwhile, output in the Permian Basin, which contains both shale plays and conventional plays, was about 890,000 bopd during the first half of 2013. Output is projected reach as high as 1.4 million bopd sometime in 2013, according to Stephen Shepherd for investment banking firm Simmons & Co. International.


The Eagle Ford play, which stretches 11 million acres from the Texas border with Mexico in the south to near Louisiana in East Texas, contains sandstone, shale and limestone. The Permian Basin is made of carbonate and sandstone.





Halliburton unveils new 150-acre San Antonio center


Oil field services giant Halliburton Co. officially opened the doors Wednesday of its $70 million local operations center that will serve clients in the Eagle Ford Shale and South Texas.


The 150-acre center at 4375 S. Loop 1604 East in Southeast Bexar County houses structures that total 400,000 square feet, including an administration building, a 10,000-square-foot laboratory and a 112,000-square-foot truck maintenance shop.


“It's probably the largest center that we have started from scratch in the U.S. — the largest built from the ground up,” said Paul Sheppard, vice president for Halliburton's Southeast service area.


Halliburton employs 750 at the new center and expects its local workforce will total 1,000 by year's end, Sheppard said. The facility is designed to support 1,500 employees.


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Ten oil spills detected in flood-hit Colorado


Political and environmental pressure mounted on energy companies in Colorado on Thursday, as officials tried to assess the damage from oil and gas spills that followed last week's heavy flooding.


Regulators were tracking 10 oil spills in the north-central portion of the state, where eight people have died and thousands have been displaced, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) said in a statement on Thursday.


The COGCC described two spills as "notable", the rest as "minor."


The full extent of the damage was still unclear as workers struggled to gain access to some of the worst-hit areas, but leaks were beginning to be reported from well sites ravaged by torrential rains.


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The Weekly Oil & Gas Follies


Each week, Forbes and Energy In Depth columnist David Blackmon will “briefly chronicle the week’s silliness, foibles, fake news and real news related to the oil and natural gas industry.”


Check out this week’s here:

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