follow us Twitter Facebook
<< Back to News

Oil and Gas Roundup — Dec. 24

December 12, 2014
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

New York says no to fracking jobs and any fracking money

Politics and Energy are hardly strange or unusual bedfellows. We know they’ve been under the covers with each other for a very long time, which is why when politicians act as though they didn’t know it really is irritating.

While President Obama was announcing his decision to open talks with Cuba, New York State declared itself to be “Frack Free Zone.”  It is a decision and a move that I disagree with and I thought I’d put that right on the table at the start of this piece.

I don’t live in New York and the state can do whatever New York wants to do but Governor, Come On Man!. Governor Cuomo says he backs the decision but it wasn’t his decision to ban fracking. uhh?? No, the credit and the blame goes to New York’s Environmental Commissioner Joseph Martens according to the Governor himself.

What a nifty move. Cuomo gets to be hailed by environmentalists for being a leader and for making New York only the second state to ban fracking behind Vermont. But, how can Cuomo be a leader when he’s hiding behind the shadow of his Environmental Commissioner? He can’t be.

It seems that the Governor wants the credit and he wants to escape the blame should he decide to do what political pundits have been speculating for awhile now, make a run for the Democratic Presidential nomination. It is a very risky gamble.  Taking the credit for turning down potentially hundreds of jobs, hundreds of millions in state tax revenue and a little private sector stimulus of the state economy probably won’t play too well nationally. (and yes, I am being purposely very conservative on those estimates. I’ll have more on that in a moment)

Read more:

Oil prices likely to rebound in second half of 2015: Reuters poll

Crude oil prices are likely to bottom out in the first half of 2015, until a possible slowdown in U.S. shale production counters a supply glut exacerbated by OPEC's decision not to cut output, a Reuters monthly survey showed.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' agreement last month to stand pat on output meant the onus for any supply cutbacks was now on non-OPEC producers, primarily led by U.S. shale oil, analysts said.

"Oil prices will be lower, making shale oil production less attractive for investments, which are necessary to keep shale oil production growing," Commerzbank's Carsten Fritsch said.

Oil is seen recovering in the second half as non-OPEC production responds to lower prices, while demand picks up in the course of the year, the poll showed.

The survey of 30 economists and analysts projected Brent to average $74.00 a barrel next year and $80.30 in 2016.

The forecast for 2015 is $8.50 below the average projection in the previous Reuters poll. The November poll number was down $11.20 from October, marking the biggest downgrade in average forecasts since the 2008 economic downturn.

Read more:

Moody’s: Mid-term elections dim federal HF regulation prospects

Results of 2014’s congressional elections have reduced the prospect of the federal government enacting its own hydraulic fracturing regulations, Moody’s said in a Dec. 17 report. It noted that Republicans, who generally have taken the position that state regulations are sufficient, will assume control of the US Senate in addition to the House in January.

This change in Washington’s political climate means oil and gas producers can avoid the consequences of higher costs from federal regulation, the New York credit rating service said. It cited an Independent Petroleum Association of America estimate that one proposal could raise costs per well by up to $100,000.

“However, the biggest benefit of not having federal regulation is the time to receive permits, which likely would have slowed,” the report added.

Operators face growing regulations of their exploration and development of unconventional resources on state and local levels, it continued. Courts in Pennsylvania and New York have upheld communities’ rights to ban fracing even if state law allows it, and new local restrictions face legal challenges in Colorado and Texas, Moody’s report said.

It also pointed out that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) banned the technology’s use within the state following a 3-year study.

Obama administration crams more than 1,200 new regulations just before the New Year

The Obama administration is cramming like a college student trying to study for a final exam, publishing more than 1,200 new regulations in the last 15 days alone, according to data from

Energy and environment rules are the biggest category, with 139 published by the federal government in the last 15 days, according to

One of the most contentious new regulations is the EPA’s coal ash rule. The rule has been criticized by the coal industry and environmental groups — though for entirely different reasons — and has a price tag of up to $20.3 billion. The rule was finalized last Friday.

Before that, the Obama administration finalized a new ozone standard that could become the costliest rule ever proposed by the EPA. The EPA released the rule while millions of Americans were getting ready to eat some turkey and pie for Thanksgiving.

Regulations listed on include “Notices from the Federal Register; Proposed Rules; Final Rules.” The government website shows that 309 rules were proposed or finalized in the last 15 days and 892 notices from the federal register were received — some of which could lead to new rulemakings.

Read more:

Greens go way off-track in crude-by-rail comments

Last week, EID carved out some time to sort through each public comment that was submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) as part of its proposed rule-making on new crude-by-rail guidelines.

As we know, environmental groups were quick to blast out big press releases on the day the comment period expired, boasting of individual comment submissions in the hundreds of thousands. In fact, a search of the Federal Register actually reveals that just 3,306 comments were registered, 60 percent of which were form submissions.

So, boiling it all down: how many unique letters were sent into the agency in opposition to crude-by rail transport? Barely 350.
But, to their credit, the environmental groups themselves ended up filing something that sort of came close to resembling substantive comments – kind of. So we thought we’d take a moment today to give those a closer look.

In its submissions, the Sierra Club, along with 15 other environmental groups, made a series of sweeping asks of DOT, largely basing those requests and recommendations on recycled claims they’ve made over the past 18 months. Many of these requests, though, are simply not feasible — given rail-yard capacity and the proposed timetable. If implemented, these requests would also have far-reaching negative impacts that would translate into fewer barrels of oil being delivered to North American refineries, and, ultimately, higher costs for the consumer – which is exactly what the Sierra Club wants.

Read more:

<< Back to news