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Oil and Gas Roundup — Feb. 3

February 03, 2014
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

State rig count dips by two to 185

The number of drilling rigs actively exploring for oil or natural gas in Oklahoma fell by two this week to 185, Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

The tally is down 11 from a year ago, when it was 196.

Nationwide, the net number of active drilling rigs rose by eight this week to 1,785, said Houston-based Baker Hughes. That's up 21 rigs from a year ago.

Of the rigs operating this week across the country, 1,422 were exploring for oil, 358 for gas and five were listed as miscellaneous.

Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, benchmark U.S. crude oil for March delivery fell 74 cents to close at $97.49 a barrel.

Natural gas futures lost 7 cents to finish the week at $4.94 per 1,000 cubic feet. The price gained 17 percent in January, hitting a four-year high of $5.56 on Wednesday amid cold weather across much of the nation.

Keystone XL clears State Dept. hurdle; Obama awaits more reviews

President Barack Obama still wants to hear from other federal agencies before deciding whether to accept the State Department's finding that the Keystone XL pipeline would have no major impact on climate change, his top aide said on Sunday.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said Obama would decide once the Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Department and other federal experts offer their assessments of the State Department review, as well as their own analysis.

But McDonough offered no word how soon Obama may rule.

Pressure on Obama to approve the project mounted on Friday with the release of the State Department report, which concluded the pipeline's impact on climate change would not be significant.

Backers argue that the State Department's findings should clear the way for prompt approval of a bid by TransCanada Corp to build the $5.4 billion project, which would transport crude from Alberta's oil sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Read more:

American Energy builds leading position in Utica Shale

An affiliate of American Energy Partner LP has amassed an industry-leading 260,000 net acres in the southern Utica Shale, the Oklahoma City-based company announced Monday.

American Energy-Utica LLC’s has agreed to acquire about 130,000 acres from affiliates of Hess Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and privately held Paloma Partners LLC.

Terms of those deals were not disclosed, although Hess last week announced the sale of 74,000 net Utica acres to an unnamed buyer for $924 million.

American Energy’s holdings are centered in the core of the Utica, where it plans to drill 2,700 gross wells over the next decade.

Read The Oklahoman story:

ONEOK completes spinoff of utility business

ONE Gas Inc. is here.

The company, which includes three natural gas utilities, split from parent company ONEOK Inc. The transaction was completed at the close of business Friday, with ONEOK shareholders receiving one share of the new company’s stock for each four ONEOK shares they owned.

ONE Gas is now trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “OGS.”

“As a stand-alone, 100 percent regulated natural gas distribution business, we will be able to sharpen our focus on our distinct strategic goals and continue to invest in capital projects that improve safety, reliability and efficiency to better meet the expectations of our stakeholders,” CEO Pierce Norton II said.

Read The Oklahoman story:

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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