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Oil and Gas Roundup — August 7

August 07, 2014
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

Oklahoma company's pipeline to move stranded oil from Eaglebine

HOUSTON – An Oklahoma firm is planning a pipeline to carry crude docked at the ancient meeting place of shale and sandstone formations in East Texas to Houston’s oil refining hub.

The $300 million pipe will cut across 160 miles of Texas farmland to Houston’s eastern rim, where it will unload at a terminal on the Houston Ship Channel, pipeline operator Blueknight Energy Partners said Wednesday. The pipeline will bear daily payloads of 100,000 barrels of oil out of the so-called Eaglebine, the northeastern tip of the Eagle Ford Shale.

Midstream firms haven’t built any new pipeline systems there in years, but oil producers have been moving back into area around Madison County since 2011, searching for once-unreachable layers of oil. Much of the oil is now stranded in the Eaglebine, surrounded by smaller pipelines systems that were in service decades ago.

“Essentially all of the crude is shipped out by truck. That’s a lot more expensive than a pipeline, and that’s why there’s great demand for one,” said Mark Hurley, CEO of Blueknight, in an interview with Fuelfix. “We’re trying to build it big enough to serve all the producers in the area.”

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Colorado methane compromise could be model for other states

DENVER — Oil companies and environmentalists can find common ground, Noble Energy CEO Chuck Davidson said Tuesday, pointing to first-of-their-kind regulations in Colorado aimed at corralling methane emissions from drilling.

State regulators approved the methane mandates in February, after Noble, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Encana Corp., the Environmental Defense Fund and other conservation groups reached agreement on the approach.

The air quality measure — now considered a model for federal regulators also looking to rein in emission of the potent greenhouse gas — forces oil and gas companies to do more to routinely search out methane leaks and gives them timelines for sealing them. Companies also will have to install emissions-control devices at new wells and on compressors, storage tanks and other equipment.

Methane, the main component of natural gas, is 28 to 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide over 100 years, even though it dissipates much more quickly in the atmosphere.

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Anti-fracking activists attack shale gas worker’s Ireland home

Anti-fracking activists hurled homemade bombs at the private Northern Ireland home of a shale gas worker — the industry’s first “terrorist-type” attack in Britain.

Police are looking for the suspects responsible for hurling two gas bombs at the home, belonging to a security guard at the Belcoo shale site in County Fermanagh, The Independent reported.

“This was an orchestrated and abhorrent attack on a local family in the middle of the night. We condemn this latest attack that follows a number of unlawful incidents at our Belcoo site and threats that have been made to security staff,” said a spokesman for Tamboran Resources, the fracking company running the site.

Nobody was hurt in the attack, and the company said it wouldn’t be deterred from pursuing its plans in the region.

Donal O’Cofaigh, spokesman for the anti-fracking group Belcoo Frack Free, condemned the attack.

“There is a lot of anger, concern and fear here about fracking. But there is no doubt that this action will have put back our campaign,” he said, The Independent reported. “This attack is wrong and we condemn it. Such actions only undermine our goal of putting a halt to shale gas exploration. We ask those responsible to desist immediately. This action is not in our name.”

Ulster Unionist Stormont assembly member Tom Elliott said: “While many people, including myself, have concerns about the proposals to carry out fracking in Fermanagh, it does not justify terrorist-type campaigns against the process and those involved in it.”

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Mexico's Senate approves rules for opening energy industry

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s plan to radically expand its energy sector passed its final legislative hurdle Wednesday, leaving behind 76 years of state monopoly for an uncertain future driven by competition.

The Mexican Senate voted 90-27 to pass the so-called secondary rules outlining the framework under which foreign companies will drill for oil and natural gas in Mexico. A cornerstone of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s ambitious economic overhaul, the law is expected to open the door to what some believe could be more than $1 trillion in investment and create a new energy paradigm for North America.

“Mexico will now join the energy revolution that is taking place in North America by opening the industry to national and international private investment under strict and transparent regulation,” said Javier Treviño, a congressman from the northern state of Nuevo León who played a key role in negotiating the legislation. “Energy reform and its secondary laws represent a historic leap forward for Mexico.”

With the law, experts see a dramatic change looming. Within five years, North America could surpass the Middle East as the largest oil and gas producer in the world, said Bernard Weinstein, associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University.

“When we add Canada, United States and Mexico, we’ll be so much bigger than OPEC,” Weinstein said. “We’ll be an energy colossus.”

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