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Oil and Gas Roundup — April 30

April 30, 2015
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

Governor rules out state plan for EPA carbon pollution regulations

Oklahoma will not formulate a state plan for upcoming federal rules regulating carbon dioxide from power plants under an executive order issued by Gov. Mary Fallin.

The order, issued Tuesday, sets up a legal battle with the Environmental Protection Agency, which expects to issue final rules for its Clean Power Plan this summer. EPA wants existing power plants to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Fallin called the upcoming rules an overreach and directed the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality not to work on any state plans in response to the rules. She also asked Attorney General Scott Pruitt to issue a legal analysis of any final Clean Power Plan rules.

“The development of such a SIP (state implementation plan) involves dozens of state and private entities and thousands of hours of study and negotiations,” Fallin said in the executive order. “It is a massive undertaking and requires the commitment of untold amounts of financial and time resources.”

Read more at NewsOk.

Study finds U.S. refining emissions fell over 2 decades

U.S. refining emissions dropped substantially in the last 2 decades as petroleum product production increased, research commissioned by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers found.

The study by Sage Environmental Consulting of US Environmental Protection Agency data revealed a significant reduction in both criteria air pollutant (CAP) emissions and hazardous air pollutants (HAP) emissions from 1990 to 2013, AFPM said Apr. 23 as it released the findings.

It said the analysis also found that primary CAP emissions—sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds—fell by 91%, 67%, and 69%, respectively, despite crude oil feedstocks’ density and sulfur content climbing more than 16% during the study period. Total US HAP emissions also declined by 66%, it added.

EPA has proposed new emissions control standards to reduce ground-level ozone from the current 75 ppb limit to 65-70 ppb, AFPM noted. The existing limit was enacted in 2008, but EPA did not finalize implementation regulations until February, AFPM said.

“The numbers don’t lie,” AFPM Pres. Charles T. Drevna said. “EPA’s data show US air quality continues to improve, despite arguments to the contrary, and domestic refiners have significantly contributed to that trend. The air is cleaner today than it ever has been, and so are fuel manufacturing operations.”

— Oil & Gas Journal

EIA: The U.S. will be a net natural gas exporter by 2040

The U.S. could export anywhere between 0.2 trillion cubic feet and 10.3 trillion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas annually by 2040, according to the latest government projection.

Where along that spectrum the actual figure lands will be determined by global energy prices and the availability of U.S. natural gas, the agency said in a Tuesday rehashing of projections made in the Annual Energy Outlook for 2015.

The wide range of outcomes hasn’t stopped U.S. companies from proposing dozens of new export facilities. While market watchers have said that it’s unlikely all of these facilities will come online, several are on track to begin shipping within the decade. Freeport LNG, near Houston, secured the final piece of financing for its $12.5 billion liquefied natural gas export terminal on Tuesday, placing the company on track to begin sending gas abroad within three years.

But while the EIA has said that the U.S. will become a net exporter of natural gas by 2017, the agency said that the scope of the total industry is uncertain.

Read more at FuelFix.

Study: HF boosted the economy during recession

Hydraulic fracturing through the shale gas revolution created an economic boost during a time the economy needed all the help it could get, according to a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Fracking boosted the economy by $48 billion per year between 2007-13, according to the study's authors: Catherine Hausman and Ryan Kellogg of the University of Michigan.

The boost of $48 billion was only a central estimate, with estimates ranging from $37 billion to $56 billion per year.

The gains from fracking have not only gone to natural gas producers, but manufacturers and consumers as well.

"Manufacturing sectors that are particularly gas intensive have expanded relative to other manufacturing sectors since the onset of the shale gas boom," Hausman and Kellogg wrote.

Thanks to low natural gas prices, fracking created 24,000-65,000 extra jobs in gas-intensive industries. In industries that are less gas-intensive, fracking still created between 280,000-610,000 jobs. The upper-bound estimate is significantly larger than all the jobs created in California in the last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Through cheaper gas bills for heating and cooking, United States households have benefited from fracking to the tune of $17 billion per year.

The paper also estimated the economic effects of exporting more liquid natural gas. The $11.5 billion loss to U.S. consumers would be offset by an approximately equal gain for U.S. natural gas producers.

Read more at The Washington Examiner.

Calif. moves to reduce greenhouse gases by 40% by 2030

California would aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 under an ambitious plan announced by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The governor issued an executive order Wednesday to set a target of reducing emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels over the next 15 years. The rules aim to curb global warming.

It goes further than a federal plan to cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2030, with 2005 levels as the starting point.

Brown's order aligns California's greenhouse-gas reduction targets with those of leading international governments ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year. The 28-nation European Union has set the same target for 2030.

Brown didn't lay out specifics on how to reach the goal but says climate change would factor into government planning.

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