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Oil and Gas Roundup — Oct. 24

October 23, 2013
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

Devon, Crosstex form giant U.S. midstreamer

Devon Energy Corp. has agreed to throw in an estimated $4.8 billion of U.S. midstream assets in Texas and Oklahoma and 800,000 net acres to form a partnership with Crosstex Energy Inc.'s assets in the Marcellus, Utica, Barnett, Eagle Ford and Haynesville shales, Permian Basin and the Gulf Coast, to create a fee-based service that initially would extend 7,300 miles and offer 3.3 Bcf/d net capacity.

The new master limited partnership (MLP) and general partner (GP), to date unnamed, intends to grow over time. It would start with 13 processing plants, six fractionators and 165,000 b/d net processing capacity, barge and rail terminals, product storage facilities, brine disposal wells and a crude oil trucking fleet.

Devon would be the partnership's largest customer and hold controlling interest in the new entity. The producer would dedicate the acreage to the new company in areas where it expects to develop liquids-driven upstream opportunities.

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New data shows carbon emissions falling as shale gas debate is rising

Debate rages as to whether natural gas is facilitating or blocking the path to a cleaner energy future. The answer, of course, depends on whom is asked and what variables that they are using to arrive at their conclusions. Heat-trapping emissions are falling. But why, and how does natural gas figure into this?

By all accounts, the level of carbon dioxide emissions is declining in the United States, namely because of the transition from coal to natural gas used for electric generation as well as the fact that economic output here has suffered since the Great Recession of 2008. Meantime, warmer winters have also helped. But the switch from coal-to-gas is not without its critics, especially those who say that the shale-gas boom is preventing the escalation of much cleaner fuels such as wind, solar and even nuclear energy.

“The gas industry should support innovation beyond natural gas to include support for innovation in renewables, nuclear and other environmentally important technologies,” says Michael Shellenberger, president of the Breakthrough Institute. “Getting our energy from a diversity of sources is in the national interest and gas will thrive for a long time regardless of the energy mix. Moreover, until we have cheap utility scale storage, renewables need cheap gas for backup.”

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Midstates Petroleum CEO John Crum focused on Oklahoma projection

Midstates Petroleum Co. is a relatively new name in Tulsa, but one that likely will be familiar soon.

The Houston-based oil and gas company is on a growth spurt, and a good amount of that expansion is occurring in Oklahoma. Midstates opened a Tulsa office this year in the Kennedy Building, 321 S. Boston Ave., and plans to add 130 people statewide to its current staff of about 50.

CEO and Chairman John Crum outlined the company's operations Tuesday at a meeting of the Friends of Finance on the University of Tulsa campus.

Crum told a capacity crowd of 400 that Midstates is enjoying success with the properties it acquired from two Tulsa companies, Eagle Energy and Panther Energy. The many drilling targets picked up in the deals have been keeping Midstates busy.

Read the Tulsa World story:

Number of new Eagle Ford wells has jumped in 2013

Eagle Ford Shale drillers have started 3,266 new wells so far this year, according to the latest Baker Hughes Well Count.

The numbers show the shale field continuing to pick up steam. Operators have drilled 15.3 percent more wells this year than in the same time period last year.

Last year, there were 3,806 wells started in the Eagle Ford (2,832 in the first three quarters of the year), according to Baker Hughes.

Baker Hughes said that compared to the second quarter, Eagle Ford well count was up by 44 wells, or 4 percent.

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Higher oil, gas output caused by more efficient wells, Energy report says

More efficient and productive wells were largely responsible for an uptick in U.S. oil and gas output this year, the Energy Department’s statistics arm said in a report released Tuesday.

That means drillers are getting more out of new wells rather than boosting production by adding more rigs, the Energy Information Administration said.

“Increases in drilling efficiency and new well productivity, rather than an increase in the number of active rigs, have been the main drivers of recent growth in domestic oil and natural gas production,” the EIA said.

Much of that production bump comes from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a drilling method that involves injecting a high-pressure cocktail of water, sand and chemicals into tight rock formations to tap hydrocarbons buried deep underground.

Oil production at the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota and Montana grew the fastest in the past month, rising by 26,000 barrels per day — good for a 2.8 percent increase. The Eagle Ford shale formation in southern Texas followed by pumping out 24,000 more barrels — a 2.2 percent jump, the EIA said.

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