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Oil and Gas Roundup — Dec. 1

December 01, 2013
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

Shale success sparks midstream mania for Tulsa energy industry

The shale revolution nationwide has given birth to midstream mania in Tulsa.

The explosion in U.S. oil and gas production is due to the overflowing plays such as the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Marcellus and Niobrara shales. Closer to home, the same combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling is yielding bigger results in the Mississippi Lime.

So much energy, so few ways to get it to market.

Into that gap step numerous Tulsa pipeline companies — known in the industry as part of the "midstream" sector — which are willing to spend billions of dollars on expanding their carrying capacities.

"The midstream energy sector has certainly been exciting," said SemGroup Corp. CEO Norm Szydlowski. "We've struggled to keep pace."

Read the Tulsa World story:

New, local technology improves data and efficiency in oil patch

When oil-field equipment breaks down in rural Oklahoma, operators and service companies could lose many thousands of dollars in downtime if they have to hunt throughout the region for replacement parts.

Tulsa-based startup technology company Equip Advantage executives hope to save companies money — and earn a bit themselves — by connecting people who need parts or services with companies in the area that can meet those needs.

Equip Advantage and other companies like it are building on a trend sweeping throughout the country's oil patch by using technology to transform a century-old industry.

“There wasn't any innovation for decades, but new innovations have opened a door,” Kirk Willard, a managing partner at Equip Advantage, told The Oklahoman on Wednesday. “The oil field in general has latched onto that and has started to take hold of these new innovations that can make life easier for everyone.”

Read the Oklahoman story:

Column: Fracking is 'greener' than environmentalists want to admit

A constant, mild hiss.

That was my chief observation when I returned to Anadarko Petroleum's Landon Pad A, a natural-gas site in Lycoming County, Pa. October's quietude was totally unlike the cyclone of equipment, personnel and activity that dominated this spot last June, when Anadarko and the American Petroleum Institute hosted journalists and policy analysts here.

Back then, engineers used a pressurized blend of 90 percent water, 9.5 percent sand and 0.5 percent chemicals to shake subterranean shale deposits and awaken natural gas that has slumbered since the dinosaurs died. This hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" occurs some 6,000 feet underground. This is 5,000 feet beneath the water table — deep enough to bury three Empire State Buildings.

This spot now resembles the scene of a once-raging party that has been cleared out and cleaned up. The trucks have driven off. Dozens of workers have moved on. The cranes are gone. What remains are three acres of gravel-covered farmland, five completed wells and a steady, low-volume whoosh.

This is the sound of natural gas being captured, counted by a "cash register" gauge that measures output and, thus, royalties and conveyed via yellow pipes into the broader natural-gas market. The result? Warm bedrooms on crisp nights and hot showers on cold mornings.

Despite the shrill complaints of fracking foes, this productive but tranquil patch demonstrates how much greener fracking is than other power sources — even "green" ones.

Read more:

U.S. oil producers rise in ranking of world’s largest

State-owned energy giants and international majors continue to top lists of the world’s largest oil companies. But the U.S. shale revolution is beginning to make a mark, as U.S. independent oil and gas producers rise in the ranks.

Energy Intelligence has released its list of the world’s 100 largest oil and gas companies, with several independents — including  Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum and Apache Corp. — making among the biggest gains. The annual ranking is based on the prior year’s reserves, production, refined product sales and refinery distillation capacity.

Anadarko jumped two spots to No. 44 and Apache rose one spot to No. 40. Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy broke into the top 50 for the first time, ranking No. 47, as it shifts its focus from natural gas to higher-value oil and liquids production.

Devon Energy, also based in Oklahoma City, rose three places to No. 41.

Meanwhile, the nation’s largest independent oil and gas company ConocoPhillips took a dive, falling 19 spots to No. 31, following the spinoff of its refining arm, Phillips 66, last year.

Click here for a slideshow of which companies hold the top 20 spots, and how their ranks have changed.

Shift to liquids fails to stem U.S. drillers' natural gas output

Dozens of US independents have decided to slow or halt their drilling for natural gas, but the gas just keeps coming.

A Platts analysis shows that while independent exploration-and-production companies cut their ratio of gas to oil and liquids by an average of 14 percentage points between the third quarters of 2008 and 2013, their overall gas production grew 68%.

Platts examined the results of 32 drillers included in the basket of stocks making up the Standard & Poor's Oil & Gas Exploration and Production Index, the bulk of which were once gas-focused independents.

Twenty-six of the 32 firms saw a decline in the percentage of gas in their overall supply mix. Yet US gas output soared by about 12 Bcf/d during that time, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Six independents were responsible for more than half that growth, or 6.4 Bcf/d: Marcellus Shale producers Range Resources, EQT and Cabot Oil & Gas; Fayetteville Shale pioneer Southwestern Energy; multinational Apache; and the nation's top shale driller, Chesapeake Energy.

Read more:

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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