follow us Twitter Facebook
<< Back to News

Oil and Gas Roundup — Sept. 30

September 30, 2013
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

Unit Corp.’s high-tech rig offers design, technology for the future

In its 50th year, Tulsa-based Unit Corp. is looking to boost its drilling rig operations with a new, high-tech rig that will be assembled at its Oklahoma City manufacturing center

“We went 20 years in this industry with no new technology, but in the last 10 years everything's changed,” Unit CEO Larry Pinkston said.

Pinkston and other Unit executives and employees were in Oklahoma City this week to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary.

The new drilling gear is known as a BOSS rig, which is short for a box-on-box self-stacking rig.

“It will be the only rig in the industry with this type of design,” Pinkston said.

Read The Oklahoman story:

Cleveland County becomes first county in Oklahoma to buy CNG pickups

Cleveland County commissioners welcomed a visit from Gov. Mary Fallin on Thursday by parking two new, compressed natural gas pickups front and center on the courthouse lawn.

The trucks are the county's first CNG-powered vehicles, purchased through a factory contract secured by Fallin as part of the governor's initiative to convert the state fleet to compressed natural gas.

With the purchase, Cleveland County becomes the state's first county to buy CNG vehicles, although Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan said his county is not far behind. He expects to get two new CNG trucks delivered by November.

Read The Oklahoman story:

Shell to sell stake in Eagle Ford Shale

Royal Dutch Shell PLC plans to sell its stake in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, following a $2 billion write-down of North American assets that the company announced in August.

Shell's sale of leases on 106,000 acres in the oil-and-gas-rich region illustrates the struggles major oil companies have had in places where smaller energy firms have thrived.

Shell said the Eagle Ford holdings didn't meet the company's targets for size and profitability.

The stake "offers a valuable growth opportunity for another experienced operator," said Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh. The company will continue to operate its 150 production wells in the shale while allowing potential buyers to review technical data on the holdings. The possible value of the assets wasn't clear.
Read more:

Marcellus Shale pipeline to Philadelphia pondered

A group of Philadelphia business and political leaders wants to develop an ambitious Marcellus Shale natural gas pipeline to the city to fuel the growth of energy-intensive industries.

The informal group is in the early stages of exploring a project that would connect Pennsylvania's booming natural gas fields directly to Philadelphia.

The project would involve uniting a consortium of big industrial buyers with Marcellus gas producers to agree to long-term commitments that would guarantee financing for the pipeline's construction.

It would face enormous political and regulatory challenges, including threading a pipeline of more than 3 feet in diameter through Philadelphia's densely populated suburbs.

One route under discussion would avoid populated areas by burying the pipeline in the bed of the Delaware River, connecting underused waterfront properties to an energy superhighway.

Read more:

Eagle Ford producers shift gears on well spacing

The space between Eagle Ford wells is shrinking.

The idea of “spacing” is a favorite topic of the oil and gas industry, which is agonizing over how closely it can place wells without having them cannibalize each other.

Scott Sheffield, chairman and CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, said the first three years in the field for the company was about “defining the sweet spots.” Now the company — and others in South Texas — are shifting gears, looking beyond exploration and appraisal.

“It’s all about execution now. And the key to that is understanding how much more oil and condensate we’re going to get out, and really down-spacing,” said Sheffield, one of several executives who touched on the topic of well spacing the recent Hart Energy DUG Eagle Ford Conference in San Antonio.

“The focus of most of us now: Can we down-space to 40 acres?” he asked. “Several operators including Pioneer are in the process of developing the play on 40 acres, and that’s what’s going to take the play to next step, is the 40-acre spacing over the next several years until we decide what’s going to happen to the gas side of the business.”

Read more:

U.S. rig count falls to 1,744

Energy rigs in the U.S. fell to the lowest level since April as rapid growth driven by the initial exploration of U.S. shale basins moderated and drillers became more efficient.

Total rigs slid by 17 to 1,744 this week, Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI:US), a Houston-based field-services company, said on its website. Oil rigs declined by seven to 1,362. Gas rigs dropped by 10 to 376. The miscellaneous rig count was unchanged at six.

“The U.S. onshore market is taking a breather in 2013” after three years of rapid growth, James West, an oilfield services analyst for Barclays Plc in New York, wrote in a Sept. 23 research note.

Read more:

As U.S. gas production soars, sellers look south to Mexico

U.S. energy companies are turning to Mexico as they struggle to find uses for the glut of natural gas that has depressed domestic prices for the fuel.

Pipelines are carrying twice as much natural gas to Mexico as they did in 2010, according to federal data, helping to push U.S. gas exports to the highest level since the Energy Information Administration began tracking them in 1973.

The U.S. still imports more gas than it exports, and its shipments to Mexico account for a little less than 3% of U.S. production. But rising exports to Mexico are bringing the U.S. closer to becoming a net exporter of natural gas, and could provide a meaningful boost to domestic gas prices, some analysts say.

"To some extent it is functioning as a relief valve," Ed Kelly, a managing director at consulting firm IHS CERA, said of Mexico's impact on U.S. gas supplies.

Biliana Pehlivanova, an analyst at Barclays, projects that U.S. gas exports to Mexico will double by 2017 as new pipelines cross the southern border. That, she estimates, could add 25 cents to the price of a million British thermal units of gas, which currently trades at about $3.50 a million BTUs.

Read more:

<< Back to news