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Oil and Gas Roundup — March 3

March 03, 2015
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

State rig count down by nine; U.S. count falls by 42

There were 146 rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in Oklahoma at the end of February, nine fewer than the previous week and, according to Baker Hughes.

The nationwide number of 1,267 was down 42 from the previous week and 189 fewer than the first of the month.

Of the other major oil-producing states, Texas was down five, North Dakota fell by 11, Louisiana lost seven, New Mexico was down four, Colorado lost three, Ohio fell by one and Wyoming was off two. Pennsylvania was unchanged.

Democrats' climate probe brings ‘witch hunt’ accusations

Now conservatives are the ones complaining about being the victims in a politically motivated “war on science.”

In a turnabout from years of debate about intrusion into scientific research, Democratic lawmakers launched investigations this week into the funding sources of several scientists whose work is popular with skeptics of manmade climate change.

And that’s bringing a furious counterattack from congressional Republicans and right-wing pundits — including some who cheered on a past probe by former Republican Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli into a leading scientist whose research pointed to man-made causes of climate change.

Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, sparked the latest dispute by asking universities to turn over documents about grants, congressional testimony and other activities involving seven scientists who have testified at congressional climate hearings.

Grijalva was following up on a New York Times story reporting that Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, had gotten $1.25 million in undisclosed money from fossil fuel companies.

Three Democratic senators then took up the case, asking more than 100 energy companies and trade groups to provide details on their research spending.

Read more:

Dow Chemical bets $6B that shale boom will last another decade

Dow Chemical is investing $6 billion to enlarge its manufacturing facilities in the United States by 40 percent, based on a wager that low natural gas prices here will persist into the middle of the next decade, a Dow executive said in Chicago this week.

The investment reverses Dow’s vocal exodus from manufacturing in the United States, said Doug May, Dow’s business president of olefins, aromatics, and alternatives, during the Kellogg Energy Conference Wednesday at Northwestern University.

“We’re putting $6 billion here in the U.S. Gulf Coast, betting that the gas advantage maintains for us to get a suitable return on that investment, which is into the next decade,” May told about 125 people, mostly graduate students, assembled at the management school.

Firms like Dow are emboldened by the news that U.S. natural gas production increased by 4 percent last year, even during a glut that caused low prices that discourage new drilling.

Read more:

Magellan Midstream gains new partner for Colorado-Cushing pipeline

Tulsa-based Magellan Midstream Partners LP will partner with Plains All American Pipeline LP to build and operate a 550-mile pipeline to bring crude oil from Colorado’s Denver Julesberg Basin to the Cushing hub in central Oklahoma.

The deal with Plains All American pushes the Saddlehorn Pipeline project forward with an expected operational date of mid-2016. Magellan originally was going to partner with Saddle Butte Pipeline II LLC as announced in October 2014, but that group allowed its option to expire, a company spokesman said Friday.

The Saddlehorn Pipeline will cost between $800 million and $850 million to build. Together Magellan and Plains have formed Saddlehorn Pipeline Co., a 50-50 limited liability company to jointly build, own and operate the system.

Read the Tulsa World story:

Oklahoma company sets sights on ending flaring in Bakken

Jack Kelley and Skip Bennett are an unassuming duo with a big idea.

The entrepreneurs, together with a Taiwanese inventor and engineer, have a plan to capture natural gas, eliminate flaring at the wellhead, create a viable commodity from that gas, and pay both energy companies and royalty owners for their share.

B&A Global Energy, a small company based in Tulsa, has acquired the rights to the Energy Capturing Operating System (ECOS), a portable refinery able to be placed at a well site. The ECOS captures and processes methane gas produced in the hydraulic fracturing process into liquefied natural gas (LNG).

“This is a game-changing technology to the oil and gas business,” said Kelley, B&A Global’s president and CEO and a 25-year veteran of the energy industry who is also a retired U.S. Air Force pilot and a licensed architect.

B&A Global wants to bring its ECOS technology to the U.S. -- specifically to North Dakota’s Bakken and Texas’ Eagle Ford shale formations -- after witnessing the technology work in Asia.

“We have chosen the Bakken as our focus,” said Bennett, B&A Global’s board chairman and founder.

Read more:
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