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Oil and Gas Roundup — Jan. 23

January 23, 2014
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

Oklahoma tribe sees CNG as 'fuel of the future'

TULSA — The number of compressed natural gas stations is growing in Green Country and around Oklahoma.

The Muscogee-Creek Nation is looking to get into the clean fuel business.
With more than 90 compressed natural gas stations statewide, Muscogee Creek Nation Chief George Tiger thinks CNG may be the fuel of the future.

"You look at the oil industry and the gas industry, that's part of the Indian people's culture, here in Oklahoma especially, so I think we're kind of going back to what's been part of our culture as to use the natural resources that are available to us," Tiger said.

For the past year, the tribe has been working on plans to build several CNG stations throughout its 11 county jurisdiction.

"We have some property that's in some ideal locations; along Highway 75, along I-40 and along Highway 69," said Tiger.

But the first station would go up along Highway 51 in Mannford. Right now, the tribe is working out a partnership with the city so the two could split the profits.

The going rate for CNG is between $1.40 and $1.75 per gallon, and Tulsa Gas Technologies President, Tom Sewell said that cheap fuel will entice people, and businesses, to pack up and move out of the big city.

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Booming oil and gas production curbing inflation, consumer prices

The gas production boom in the United States stemming largely from hydraulic fracturing is causing beneficial ripples throughout the economy.

According to Labor Department data, consumer energy expenses have dropped in the last year more than any other living cost, helping to limit inflation. Economists expect consumer prices to rise less than 2 percent this year, the second straight year prices have risen so little.

Fracking is the process of pumping huge amounts of high-pressure water, sand and chemicals into shale rock formations to release the oil and natural gas trapped there. The development and pursuit of the technique in recent years has led to a huge boom in production -- meaning U.S. oil production recently surpassed 50 percent of domestic consumption. — Bloomberg News

Gulf Coast Project begins delivering crude oil to Nederland, Texas

NEDERLAND, Texas — TransCanada Corporation announced that at approximately 10:45 a.m. CST on Wednesday, the Gulf Coast Project began delivering crude oil to Texas refineries.

The completion of this $2.3 billion crude oil pipeline provides a safe and direct connection between the important oil hub in Cushing and delivery points on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

"This is a very important milestone for TransCanada, our shippers and Gulf Coast refiners who have been waiting for a pipeline to supply oil directly from Cushing," said Russ Girling, president and chief executive officer.

"This project is a critical, modern piece of American energy infrastructure that allows producers to safely connect growing production with the world's most efficient refiners on the U.S. Gulf Coast. It also provides those American refineries the opportunity to use more of the crude oil produced in both Canada and the United States for decades to come."

Construction of the 487-mile crude oil pipeline involved more than 11 million hours of labor completed by 4,844 workers in the United States of America, more than 50 contracts with manufacturers and companies building the pipeline and equipment from across the U.S. It also includes the addition of 2.25 million barrels of new oil storage capacity at Cushing, Oklahoma.

"The workers who helped build this project are in addition to 8,969 men and women who constructed the initial Keystone Pipeline system, and we are waiting for approval of Keystone XL so we can employ more than 9,000 more Americans who are waiting to put their skills and experience to work," added Girling.

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It's all boom, no gloom in near future for Utica Shale

As others have in the past, David Mustine of JobsOhio advised Ohioans to be patient as they wait for the Utica Shale boom to reach its full potential.

"We have something that is important, and it will take time to develop," he told members of the Tuscarawas County Community Improvement Corp.

"It's clear we're probably the fourth largest shale play in the U.S.," said Mustine, a senior managing director with the state's private economic development agency.

After the meeting, Mustine said it's hard to predict when the Utica Shale play will reach its peak. But he added, "It's reasonable to expect an increase in activity in the next couple of years."

During his presentation, Mustine provided some statistics for Ohio:
• 1,042 drilling permits have been issued.
• 679 wells have been drilled.
• 270 wells are producing.
• 35 drilling rigs are in the state.

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Energy Secretary Moniz brushes aside talk of lifting oil-export ban

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is downplaying speculation that the Obama administration is considering lifting the ban on most exports of crude oil.

Mr. Moniz, asked Wednesday if the U.S. could export oil without raising domestic gasoline prices, refused to confirm whether the administration is considering the ban, which has been called unnecessary, with the nation in the midst of the shale oil boom, by Republicans and oil producers.

“As far as the impacts, if it were allowed, and I’m not saying that there’s any consideration of it right now — and that would be with the Department of Commerce — as you know, economic analyses are all over the place in terms of the impact. That’s all I can say,” he told the Guardian.

His remarks were the first on the subject since suggesting at a Platts conference in December that a review of the ban may be appropriate. That comment to reporters sparked discussion about whether the Obama administration would take up the issue as part of a jobs and trade agenda.

The matter is due to get additional attention at a hearing on Jan. 30 before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

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Pickens criticizes push to lift ban on US crude exports

HOUSTON — T. Boone Pickens, one of the country’s biggest cheerleaders for natural gas, is unenthusiastic about the idea of removing bans of the export of crude oil, saying that the U.S. should instead focus on reducing its dependence on foreign oil, especially from the Middle East.

“I am not too keen on exporting when we are importing 9 to 10 million barrels a day,” Pickens said, speaking at World LNG Fuels 2014 conference in Houston on Wednesday afternoon.

The United States currently uses about 18 million barrels a day of oil and produces about 8 million barrels. About 4.5 million per day are imported from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, which includes Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and several other countries with whom the United States has had challenging relationships.

Pickens said the United States would be better served by reducing its imports from these countries, rather than beginning to export some of the crude that has created domestic bottlenecks.

“When you are buying from OPEC, some of that money gets in the hands of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda,” Pickens said.

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