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Oil and Gas Roundup — April 28

April 28, 2014
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

State rig count gains five to 192

The number of drilling rigs actively exploring for oil or natural gas in Oklahoma rose by five this week to 192, Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

The tally is up nine from a year ago, when it was 183.

Nationwide, the net number of active drilling units rose by 30 this week to 1,861, according to Houston-based Baker Hughes. The total is up 107 rigs from a year ago.

Of the rigs operating this week across the U.S., 1,534 were exploring for oil, 323 for gas and four were listed as miscellaneous.

Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, benchmark U.S. crude oil for June delivery shed $1.34 to close at $100.60 a barrel. Oil fell $3.70 a barrel this week, or 3.5 percent.

Natural gas fell 6 cents Friday to end the week at $4.65 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Surveys on drilling taxes show that framing of issues affects responses

Surveys can be powerful tools to help understand the public mindset and attitude. They also can be used to create and shape public opinion.

If the goal is accuracy, survey writers must watch out for how they craft a survey, being careful to avoid leading questions.

“It’s pretty incredible how the way a question is framed will change the way a person responds to it,” said Brett Sharp, a political science professor at the University of Central Oklahoma. “Even the same person could respond differently to the same questions if they are asked differently.”

Such discretion is especially important when the topic is complicated and generally not fully understood. In that case, the researcher must first explain the issue, which also lends itself to possible swaying.

“I’m not sure it’s always intentional, although sometimes it is,” Sharp said. “If you lean a certain way, you can lead people in that direction, even if you’re trying to be fair.”

I received dueling surveys over the past 10 days. They cover the same topic, but reach opposite conclusions.

At issue is the state’s gross production tax on horizontal drilling.

Read Adam Wilmoth's blog on NewsOK:

Low stockpile raises worries over U.S. natural gas supplies

The United States faces a natural gas supply shortfall this year despite the country's fracking boom, threatening more price spikes as energy companies struggle to replenish stockpiles drained to critically low levels after a brutal winter.

As the coldest winter in 30 years thaws across North America, some experts worry that stockpiles will not be refilled to levels high enough to meet demand next winter, causing supply disruptions and sudden price surges of the kind that have dented power company earnings and raised residential bills in recent months.

The concerns center on a set of extraordinary circumstances: stocks are at 11-year lows; flat futures prices make it uneconomic for utilities to hold onto gas and burn it later, and a fractured network of pipelines means gas in big producing regions, including the country's biggest Marcellus Shale play centered in Pennsylvania, is stranded away from storage caverns.

Forecasts of a hotter-than-average summer have raised worries that higher demand could add further strain on stockpiles.

Read more:

Rich nations' greenhouse gas emissions fall in 2012, led by U.S

Industrialized nations' greenhouse gas emissions fell by 1.3 percent in 2012, led by a U.S. decline to the lowest in almost two decades with a shift to natural gas from dirtier coal, official statistics show.

Emissions from more than 40 nations were 10 percent below 1990 levels in 2012, according to a Reuters compilation of national data submitted to the United Nations in recent days that are the main gauge of efforts to tackle global warming.

Still, with emissions rising elsewhere, experts said the rate of decline was too slow to limit average world temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, a ceiling set by almost 200 nations to avert droughts, heatwaves and rising seas.

In 2012 "the success story is the declining emissions in the United States," said Glen Peters, of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo. "Europe is a mix with slow GDP growth offset by a shift to coal in some countries."

Read more:

The Weekly Oil and Gas Follies

Each week Forbes contributor David Blackmon outlines the week's silliness, shenanigans, fake news and real news related to the oil and natural gas industry.

Read this week's here:
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