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Oil and Gas Roundup — Sept. 11

September 11, 2014
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

Payne County to bill oil companies for road damage

Payne County Commissioner Zach Cavett says over the past two years, there have been around 170 wells drilled around the county for oil and natural gas.

He says during that time, county roads between Stillwater and Cushing have been torn up and cracked. Cavett says he's gotten calls from constituents complaining about the road quality, with some telling him their cars have had front-end issues.

Cavett says a sales tax for road projects isn't enough to fix the roughly $250,000 in damages. He says instead, he's planning on searching which companies have wells in the area through the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, and bill them for damages on roads they travel.

"I'm not anti-oil or anti-drilling, I realize it has become a necessity but I would just like for the damages being done to be placed upon the people that done it and not the taxpayers of this county," Cavett says.

Oklahoma state law allows counties to bill companies for roadway damages. So far, Cavett says companies like Devon have been cooperative. But Cavett says if a company were not in compliance, he could go the District Attorney.

The county is still in the process of calculating the costs of the damages and how companies would divide the payments.

A statement from Devon says they've worked closely with Payne County officials throughout the process.


Fake grassroots group hijacks 10-year-old cystic fibrosis patient's photo for use in anti-HF campaign

Supporters of an innovative oil and gas extraction technique are crying foul after an environmentalist group with ties to a U.S. congressman used photos of a young girl with an unrelated genetic disorder to tout the dangers of the practice.

Sarah Murnaghan suffers from cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects proteins that produce mucus, sweat, and digestive fluid. Murnaghan was the subject of national controversy last year when she was denied a lung transplant due to her age.

A petition on the website demanding that she be granted an exemption to that requirement (which she eventually was) featured a photo of her in the hospital.

That photo appeared in a Craigslist ad posted in June asking for petitioners to gather signatures for a pair of anti-fracking ballot measures in Colorado.

“Colorado law allows fracking just 501 ft. from homes, schools, playgrounds, and hospitals,” declares text laid over the photo of Murnaghan and a suburban skyline with a pair of drilling rigs behind it.

The ad was posted by Democracy Resources (DR), an Oregon-based company that gathers petition signatures for its clients. The group did not respond to a request for comment.

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Oil and gas industry may have new tool to treat HF water

San Antonio researchers may have cracked the code on what could be a low-cost, effective method of treating water laced with fracking solution.

Researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio and Southwest Research Institute have found that biochar, a substance produced from plant matter, is a safe and inexpensive method of treating flowback water during the hydraulic fracturing process.

Using biochar could help oil and gas companies save money and responsibly treat frac water, according to UTSA officials.

UTSA Mechanical Engineering Professor Zhigang Feng, SwRI senior research engineer Maoqi Feng and UTSA students Steven Cooks, Carlos Mendez, Joshua Moran and Silvia Briseño Murguia spent the past year developing biochar and testing it on various water samples.

Biochar is made from materials like wood chips, paper, leaves, soybean oil, corn oil and other types of agricultural waste and then is heated to high temperatures in an oxygen-deprived environment. The charcoal-like substance absorbs impurities from water like hydrocarbons and other pollutants. The researchers’ next step is to find ways to commercialize it.


Long supply chain keeps oil industry pumping

America’s energy renaissance isn’t brought to you by Big Oil.
That’s the message the American Petroleum Institute sent Tuesday, as it released a report documenting the nearly 30,000 businesses across the nation that supply the oil and gas industry with equipment and services.

Erik Milito, API’s upstream director, said the report illustrates “the true breadth and scope of the industry’s positive impact throughout the country.”

“What we’re trying to show is more of the teamwork approach that goes to energy, where it’s not just an operator or a producer that is involved in safe and responsible development,” Milito added. “It’s a larger team of companies and individuals spread across the country, all linked together by a tight chain that gives us the oil and gas we depend on every day to fuel our quality of life.”

Companies represented in the document run the gamut, from accountants and information technology assistants to uniform manufacturers, portable restroom providers and restoration firms.

Three states with big oil and gas production — Texas, Oklahoma and California — led the survey with the largest number of vendors supplying the industry. In the Lone Star State, oil and gas companies said they relied on 11,033 businesses, more than four times the roughly 2,500 cited in Oklahoma and the nearly 2,000 in California.

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Koch's Invista says new nylon pipe an alternative for oil industry

A unit of Koch Industries said on Wednesday it was introducing a new type of pipe made from nylon, as surging oil and gas output drives demand for new pipelines and concerns mount about the safety of older ones across North America.

Koch's Invista unit said the nylon pipe was designed to withstand tough oilfield conditions, including corrosive liquids, abrasions, considerable pressure and high temperatures.

"We discovered a strong market signal for a line pipe that was tough enough to handle the oil patch and perform daily under rugged conditions, but could be installed quickly," Vikram Gopal, Invista's vice president of technology, said in a statement.

The company said the nylon pipe could outperform ones made of steel, composites and high-density polyethylene.
Pipelines are in short supply in many U.S. shale oil patches, especially North Dakota's burgeoning Bakken field.

Invista said at this point its nylon pipe is geared toward gathering systems in oilfields instead of larger transmission lines, but that the nylon pipe could potentially be used to rehabilitate deteriorating lines.

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DOE approves Cameron, Carib applications to export LNG

The U.S. Department of Energy approved Cameron Energy LLC and Carib Energy LLC’s requests for authorization to export LNG to countries that do not have a free-trade agreement with the U.S. Both applicants had completed reviews required under the National Environmental Policy Act, DOE said.

It gave the Cameron facility in Cameron Parish, La., permission to export LNG up to an equivalent of 1.7 bcfd of gas for 20 years. Carib Energy, a Crowley Maritime Corp. subsidiary, received approval to export up to an equivalent 0.04 bcfd for 20 years from its proposed Martin County, Fla., facility in International Standardization Organization approved containers, DOE said on Sept. 10.

The decision marked the last regulatory hurdle for the Cameron LNG facility and cleared the way for execution of the largest capital project in the history of its sponsor, San Diego-based Sempra Energy, Sempra Chair Debra L. Reed said.

“This landmark project will create thousands of jobs and economic benefits for Louisiana and the US for decades to come, while delivering natural gas to America's trading partners in Europe and Asia,” she said.

Reed said Cameron LNG received US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval earlier this year to site, construct, and operate the three-train liquefaction and export facilities. The liquefaction and export project is expected to create 3,000 on-site jobs, 200 full-time positions, and several hundred support jobs in fabrication, engineering, and operations.

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