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Oil and Gas Roundup — Oct. 9

October 09, 2013
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas news from around the state, nation and world:

Oklahoman sits down with Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler for Q&A

The following is an excerpt from The Oklahoman's exclusive interview with Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler on Tuesday:

Q: What positions were cut today? Can you provide any information on the average salary of those positions?

A: It was across the organization in several different groups. These were principally staff positions. Many of the reductions that have taken place up to this point in time have been managerial or senior level employees.

Q: It's been a difficult 18 months for Chesapeake. How do you move forward with everyone who is still at the company and improve the morale?

A: Chesapeake has all the necessary resources to be a top performing E&P company. I sense it in the people that they all know that. I sense it in the assets. I believe everyone knows the capability and the leadership position this company can achieve.

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Business groups tell EPA to leave HF regulation to the states

Radical environmentalists are urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to heavily regulate or ban hydraulic fracturing, the process employed to extract shale oil and natural gas from underground sources, which could undermine a thriving part of the post-recession economy.

The hydraulic fracturing boom has been one of the success stories in an otherwise tepid American economy, which is still trying to recover five years after a deep recession. Just last month Bloomberg Businessweek covered a recent study by IHS CERA that showed the significant economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing.

“In 2012, the energy boom supported 2.1 million jobs, added almost $75 billion in federal and state revenues, contributed $283 billion to the gross domestic product and lifted household income by more than $1,200,” noted Bloomberg Businessweek.

“The competitive advantage for U.S. manufacturers from lower fuel prices will raise industrial production by 3.5 percent by the end of the decade, said the report from CERA, which provides business advice for energy companies.”

The Wall Street Journal noted last week that the United States is “overtaking Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas,” producing the “equivalent of about 22 million barrels a day of oil, natural gas and related fuels in July” compared to the 21.8 million barrels produced by our former Cold War foe.

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Analyst predicts growing North American production unless oil falls to $60

North American oil production is showing no signs of slowing down and will likely continue growing even if prices fall to around $60 a barrel, more than $40 below today’s price, an analyst said at a Houston conference Tuesday.

Tony Scott, manager of oil and gas analysis for Bentek Energy, said the $100-plus price means high returns for oil companies. With companies cutting their costs and improving their production methods, their work probably will remain lucrative at far lower prices, he said.

U.S. benchmark light, sweet crude ended up 46 cents at $103.49 a barrel Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“We’ll see a slowdown at $80, but it’s not going to be a dramatic slowdown,” Scott said at the Platts Commodity Week conference held at the Hilton Americas in downtown Houston.

Scott said that production is likely to continue growing unless prices fall to as low as $60 a barrel.

“It takes really low prices to really slow this engine down,” he said.

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Industry sues EPA over Renewable Fuel Standard

The American Petroleum Institute filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday challenging Obama administration regulations requiring biofuel to be mixed with conventional gas. 

The suit, filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, drew immediate criticism from the renewable fuels industry, which derided the action as “frivolous” and “slavish.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Renewable Fuel Standard in August, long after the agency’s statutory deadline in November of last year. The industry has repeatedly called the standards unworkable.

“EPA’s unrealistic ethanol mandates for 2013 are simply bad public policy,” said Harry Ng, American Petroleum Institute (API) vice president and general counsel. “EPA issued this year’s requirements nine months late and has once again mandated significantly more cellulosic ethanol than is available in the marketplace.”

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U.S.-Canada collaboration needed to expand gas use, association exec says

The U.S. and Canada should work more collaboratively on expanding the use of natural gas across North America, Canadian Gas Association President and CEO Timothy Egan said at the North American Gas Forum in Washington, D.C.

Given the abundance of shale gas plays in North America and the integrated nature of the U.S. and Canadian natural gas markets, Egan said, the opportunity to increase natural gas consumption should be on a continental basis. "We think both governments can come together and advance in a manner that will grow demand and deliver greater economic benefits for both countries," he said.

Shale gas production is forecast to grow to 40% of the North American gas supply by 2020 from just 10% in 2009, Egan noted in his presentation. "The movement of supply is changing dramatically due to the economics of shale. Production levels from Marcellus Shale and other formations are causing all kinds of discussions of the most commercial route to move gas across the continent," he added.

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