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Oil and Gas Roundup — Feb. 23

February 23, 2015
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

State rig count falls by 16

The number of drilling rigs actively exploring for oil or natural gas this week in Oklahoma dropped by 16 to 155, Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday. The tally is down 26 rigs from a year ago, when it was 181.

Nationwide, the net number of active drilling units decreased by 48 this week to 1,310, said Houston-based Baker Hughes. The total is down 461 rigs from a year ago, when it was 1,771.

Of the major oil-producing states, Texas fell by 22, North Dakota was down four, Wyoming fell by four and Colorado lost two.

New Mexico gained six and Louisiana was up one. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kansas and West Virginia were unchanged.

Of the rigs operating this week across the U.S., 1,019 rigs were exploring for oil, the lowest number in several years, while 289 were deployed for natural gas and two for miscellaneous.

The formation suffering the biggest drop was the Permian Basin of west Texas, where 125 fewer rigs are performing than a year ago, according to Baker Hughes.

Lockheed testing nanotech filters for oil industry wastewater

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp is developing filters using nanotechnology to help solve a problem facing the booming U.S. oil and gas industry: 18 billion gallons of wastewater each year.

Lockheed's patented Perforene is a one-atom thick membrane of graphene, made of pure carbon. The sheets can be produced with precisely sized holes as small as 1 nanometer, or a billionth of a meter, and the company's goal is to eventually use it for desalination.

In the meantime, Lockheed is looking at other commercial applications, including the oil and gas industry and medical care, which are not as technically challenging, Daniel Heller, Lockheed vice president for sustainability technologies, said in an interview this week.

"Ultimately desalinization is the Holy Grail," Heller said.

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White House report: States best positioned to regulate shale development

A new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) demonstrates that states, not the federal government, are best suited to regulate shale development. The report counters a common criticism from “ban fracking” groups, who have pushed for the U.S. EPA to regulate development.

As the report states, “The regulatory structure for addressing local environmental concerns, especially around land and water use, exists primarily at the state and local level.”

This complements the findings of the Groundwater Protection Council, which concluded last year that states are “on the forefront of regulating oil and gas.” As EID reported recently, states like Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, California and Colorado are also leading the way on regulations for wastewater disposal wells.

The regulatory actions by these states are far more advanced than what EPA would require – and, because they have the flexibility to implement their own programs, they can easily update and strengthen their regulations whenever improvements are needed, without having to navigate through a lengthy federal bureaucracy.

In fact, the conclusions from the CEA report join a long list of experts and regulators who understand states are best equipped to regulate shale development.

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Gas discovery confirmed in Moroccan shale

Test results from drilling activities in northern Moroccan shale indicated a gas discovery for Gulfsands Petroleum, the company announced Monday.

The company said results from an exploration well dubbed DOB-1 in the Rharb permit area of northern Morocco indicated a discovery after a test-flow rate of 10 million cubic feet of gas per day was achieved.

DOB-1 is the third such success for the company in the permit area, Chief Executive Officer Mahdi Sajjad said in a statement.

Morocco is one of the West African countries that have drawn interest from international energy companies eager to tap into unexploited reserves. Onshore, the country holds an estimated 20 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale oil and natural gas reserves.

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