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Oil and Gas Roundup — Dec. 26

December 26, 2013
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

Norman teachers latest on OERB's gift list

Two Norman teachers, Cindy Pennington and Vanna Owens, recently attended teacher-training workshops in Mustang and Owasso, hosted by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board, and walked away with hundreds of dollars in free classroom supplies.

OERB workshops instruct teachers how to use one of the OERB’s eight energy and science curricula in their classrooms. The curricula provide teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade hands-on science lessons to educate their students about the oil and natural gas industry. The high school curricula also incorporate language arts and social studies.

“We wanted to provide teachers with a program that engages their students, while also meeting the new Oklahoma Academic Standards,” OERB Education Director Carla Schaeperkoetter said. “We used oil and natural gas industry professionals and teamed them up with Oklahoma teachers to write the lessons. This way we know the lessons are not only well designed, but meet state requirements and engage the students in a meaningful way.”

Read the Norman Transcript story:

Post-Baucus energy shuffle could boost Landrieu

The Washington parlor guessing game is intensifying over what would happen to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee if Sen. Max Baucus gets confirmed as ambassador to China after New Year and leaves the Senate, creating various openings.

Over the weekend, members of the energy industry in Washington and the environmental lobby speculated about the likely fallout on a couple of major and controversial energy issues – including the pending presidential decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, which is due to be announced in the next couple months.

Mr. Baucus, a Montana Democrat, isn’t expected to have trouble being confirmed. If he steps down from the chairmanship of the powerful Finance Committee, his role will likely be assumed by the current leader of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Ron Wyden (D., Ore.).

Who gets the Energy chairman post if Mr. Wyden takes over Finance? Probably Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, an advocate for the oil-and-gas industry that supports the economy of her state, and a strong proponent of approving the building of the Keystone pipeline from Canada through the U.S.

Currently up for re-election, Ms. Landrieu has been targeted by Republicans and conservatives and is considered vulnerable.

Read more:

Is methane hydrate the energy source of the future?

Shale has the spotlight for now. But there's another, lesser-known substance with the potential to yield even greater quantities of natural gas: methane hydrate.

Hydrates consist of a lattice-like structure of frozen water molecules and methane. On the surface, they look like an ordinary block of ice. But when you hold a match to them, they burn—a visual cue signaling methane release.

"A lot of geoscientists are fascinated by hydrates because of how odd it is that you can take methane gas and add water and have it result in something with such a concentrated store of energy," said Peter Flemings, a member of the Energy Department's methane hydrate advisory committee and professor at the department of geological sciences at the University of Texas (Austin).

Hydrates form when methane and water combine under cold temperatures in a relatively high-pressure environment and are commonly found in arctic regions or in shallow sediments below relatively deep water along the outer continental shelf.

The Energy Information Administration estimates that hydrates contain more carbon than every fossil fuel available on Earth combined. EIA also reports that these ice-like structures could hold anywhere from 10,000 trillion to more than 100,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. By way of comparison, the administration, which acts as the independent statistical arm of the Energy Department, said in 2013 that there are just over 7,000 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas deposits throughout the world.

All this potential isn't lost on the administration.

Read more:

Primary Natural Resources III reaches $336M deal to sell Anadarko Basin acreage

Quantum Energy Partners said Tuesday one of its portfolio companies has closed a $336 million deal to sell land in the Anadarko Basin that primarily produces oil and natural gas liquids.

The Houston private equity firm Tulsa-based Primary Natural Resources III sold 10,000 net acres that produced 2,650 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the Western Oklahoma basin. Quantum did not disclose the buyer.

Though the Anadarko Basin typically is known as a natural gas-heavy region, oil and natural gas liquids made up the bulk of Primary’s assets, at more than 70 percent. Quantum was not immediately available for comment.

Primary has other assets in Western Oklahoma that it plans to develop with backing from Quantum, said Primary CEO Rich Talley in a written statement.


Britain to launch shale licensing round next summer

Britain's latest licensing round to allow companies to explore for shale gas will be launched in early summer, the government said, forecasting a high number of awards as part of a plan to kick-start the sector. Geological studies show Britain to have large shale reserves which could reverse a rising dependency on energy imports, but more drilling is needed to see whether the deposits are economic as gas has not yet been proved to flow from the rocks.

Unveiling an environmental assessment on the impact of further shale drilling in Britain, Energy Minister Michael Fallon told reporters on Tuesday he expected strong demand for the licensing round scheduled for mid-2014. "We could be doubling the amount of onshore licences in this round," Fallon said, adding the government expects to issue 50-150 licences.

The round, Britain's 14th tender for onshore areas, has been delayed by around four years after the licensing process was suspended following earth tremors caused by shale gas exploration in Lancashire, north-west England. The government's support for shale development comes despite strong local and environmental opposition to the controversial extraction practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, used to develop shale and unconventional gas blocks.

Read more:

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