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Oil and Gas Roundup Dec. 31

December 31, 2013
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

Okla. pipeline to Gulf Coast to crank up Jan. 22

The operator of a $2.3 billion pipeline between Cushing and the Gulf Coast expects to begin shipping oil Jan. 22.

TransCanada began injecting crude oil into the 485-mile, 36-inch pipeline in early December. Spokesman Davis Sheremata said the process involves injecting about 3 million barrels of oil into the system at Cushing and moving it to the Houston area.

"Once line-fill is complete, TransCanada's team will move into the final phase of commissioning for our meters, pump stations and other related facilities," Sheremata said in an email to The Associated Press.

Regulatory filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have set Jan. 3 as the date for rates, rules and regulations to become effective to commence transportation services to the Gulf Coast, Sheremata said Tuesday.

"We are required to provide at least 30 days' notice to FERC regarding the effective date for our tariffs and tolls," he said. "The Gulf Coast pipeline will have the initial capacity to transport up to 700,000 barrels of oil per day with the potential to transport up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day to Gulf Coast refineries."

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Train collision in North Dakota sets oil rail cars ablaze

A BNSF train carrying crude oil in North Dakota collided with another train on Monday setting off a series of explosions that left at least 10 cars ablaze, the latest in a string of incidents that have raised alarms over growing oil-by-rail traffic.

Local residents heard five powerful explosions just a mile outside of the small town of Casselton after a westbound train carrying soybeans derailed, and an eastbound 104-car train hauling crude oil ran into it just after 2 p.m. CST, local officials said. There were no reports of any injuries.

Half of the oil cars have been separated from the train, but another 56 cars remain in danger, said Cecily Fong, the public information officer with the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services. The collision destroyed both engines on the oil train. Both trains were operated by BNSF Railway Co, which is owned by Warren Buffett's Bershire Hathaway Inc.

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EIA: U.S. crude imports drop for 20th straight month

NEW YORK--U.S. crude-oil imports fell year-on-year for a 20th straight month in October, as domestic crude output climbed to its highest level for the month since 1988, government data released Monday show.

Imports dropped 7.8% from a year earlier to 7.475 million barrels a day in October, the lowest level for the month since 1995, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The drop of 633,000 barrels a day came as domestic crude-oil output jumped by 12% from a year earlier to 7.753 million barrels a day.
Among major sources of imports, Canada maintained the rank of top supplier as it has since March 2006.

Imports from Canada averaged 2.622 million barrels a day, 17% above a year earlier.

Crude-oil imports from Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, rose 8.5% from a year earlier to 1.36 million barrels a day.

Crude imports from the Persian Gulf fell 9.6% from a year earlier to 1.921 million barrels a day. Gulf countries accounted for 26% of imports.

Supplies from Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries fell 12% in the month and were 19% below the year-earlier level, at 3.234 million barrels a day. OPEC accounted for 43% of total crude imports.

The Wall Street Journal

Shale boom to push pump prices down next year

HOUSTON Barring bad weather and major disruptions in the global oil supply, market forces may curb unbridled U.S. gasoline prices next year more than any year since the country emerged from economic recession.

Unforeseen incidents still have power to galvanize prices at the pump, and some parts of the U.S. may see prices swing 75 cents in either direction markets are still volatile on a weekly basis but the average price of gasoline could fall by 10 cents next year, according to the consumer gasoline information website

Booming oil production at U.S. shale plays shielded the country from big spikes in crude prices this year, even as international conflicts in the Middle East slowed the flow of oil several times. That, GasBuddy said in a recent report, could drive gas prices lower next year, as well.

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Shale operators turn to recycling

Range Resources pioneered flow-back water recycling in 2009, and today uses recycled water in most of its completion operations, says Dennis Degner, director of operations for Range's Southern Marcellus Shale Division. "Reusing flow back and produced water accounts for 30 to 40 per cent of Range's overall water usage in Pennsylvania," he reports.

When additional freshwater sourcing is needed, Degner says the company uses approved surface water withdrawals as well as municipal water sources. Typically, these are rivers and reservoirs that are resistant to drought.

The majority of Range's core operating area is serviced largely by withdrawing and recycling water from the Ohio River, states Degner. The company transports the water through its own infrastructure to well sites throughout its core operating area in southwestern Pennsylvania.

"The infrastructure from the Ohio River is sized so that we can push enough water from the river at the flow rate needed for the frac job, and have essentially no impact on the river," he says.

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A look at 2013′s biggest energy stories

Robert Rapier, author of "The Energy Letter," a regular column that appears on, takes a look back at the year's biggest stories in energy, including a rollback of the Renewable Fuel Standard, the Canada rail accident, plummeting carbon emissions and the continued expansion of U.S. oil production.

Read it here:


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