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Oil and Gas Roundup — Jan. 18

January 18, 2016
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

State rig count up 4

Oklahoma’s rig count went up by four last week to 87, down from 201 at this time last year, Baker Hughes reported.

Nationwide, the number of drilling rigs actively exploring for oil or natural gas fell by 14 to 650. The total is down 1,026 rigs from a year ago, when it was 1,676.

Of the rigs operating this week across the U.S., 515 were exploring for oil, the lowest number in years, and 135 were deployed for natural gas.

Of the other major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas fell seven to 301, Louisiana lost five to 54, North Dakota was off two to 47, New Mexico fell two to 32, Pennsylvania gained a rig to 26 and Colorado lost two to 20.


Under scrutiny, Stanford professor deletes data showing job loss from renewables transition

A Stanford professor who claims a transition to 100 percent renewables would be a major job creator has scrubbed his website of data showing significant long-term job losses from such a plan, according to a new review by Energy In Depth.

Online records show that the professor, Dr. Mark Jacobson, edited his documents just hours after an Energy In Depth report revealed how the transition to 100 percent renewables would cause a net loss of more than 1.2 million long-term jobs, based on data pulled directly from Dr. Jacobson’s website.

The decision to alter his own data could raise additional questions about Dr. Jacobson’s plan for a 100 percent renewables energy system, a plan that has already faced significant criticism from the scientific and environmental communities.

On his website, Dr. Jacobson houses a number of supporting documents for his research on a 100 percent renewables transition, including a Microsoft Excel file that shows everything from assumptions about levelized costs of electricity to jobs estimates and energy demand projections.

In Dr. Jacobson’s original spreadsheet, a tab entitled “Total Job Loss” included a two-column, highlighted chart describing “Net Long Term Jobs” and “Net Total Jobs.” The tables indicated a negative 1,284,030 net long term jobs, but a positive 4,031,629 net total jobs. As Energy In Depth observed last week, Jacobson’s data show a net job gain because “Construction” jobs created from a transition to 100 percent renewables would exceed the number of “Long Term Jobs” lost.

Many environmental activists who have promoted Jacobson’s plan have spent years denigrating construction work as being inferior to what they called “real jobs.”

Read more at Energy In Depth.


U.S. issues rules to protect bat threatened by fungal disease

Federal officials issued regulations last week designed to protect the northern long-eared bat, one of several types of bat that have suffered steep population declines because of a rapidly spreading fungal disease.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it had updated interim rules that accompanied a decision last April to designate the northern long-eared bat as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The final version is less restrictive toward timber harvesting, clearing land for wind turbines, houses or oil pipelines and other activities that might cause some bats deaths but have no significant effect on the overall population, agency director Dan Ashe said.

It drew praise from an industry group, but a lawsuit warning from environmentalists who said it would make things worse for a species whose numbers have fallen more than 90 percent in some places.

The policy will enable the government to focus its bat conservation efforts primarily on white-nose syndrome, which has killed some 5.7 million of the winged mammals since its discovery in a New York cave in 2006, Ashe said. The disease or the fungus that causes it have been detected in 30 states in the Northeast, South and Midwest and in five Canadian provinces. Seven bat species have been affected, and the northern long-eared is among those hardest hit.

Read more at ABC News.


American Energy Partners expands internationally

American Energy Partners LP last week signed a $500 million oil and natural gas development deal with Argentina state oil company YPF, marking the Oklahoma City energy firm's third such international contract.

As in Australia and Mexico, American Energy Partners plans to spent the next three years drilling for oil and natural gas wells in a shale play, using horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing and other techniques the domestic energy industry has developed over the past decade.

“We decided over a year ago that we should take the expertise we've developed to those countries around the world where the shale code hasn't been cracked yet,” Aubrey McClendon, CEO of American Energy Partners, told The Oklahoman on Friday. “It's been tried either by companies too big or too small. We think we have a high level of technical expertise and the ability to watch costs and be the prime mover in combining this world-class technology with world-class cost control.”

Shale and other dense rocks have been found worldwide to be the source rock that has provided the oil and natural gas for traditional development. Shale oil and natural gas reserves have been found in about 110 counties, but companies in recent years have faced challenges developing those resources outside of North America.

“It hasn't spread to more countries because the rocks aren't right or the deal terms aren't right or access is wrong or costs are too high,” McClendon said. “In the three countries we've targeted, we believe all of those things are coming together. They have great rock, rule of law, great commercial terms and you're close enough to civilization to where you can aspire to have costs not identical to the U.S., but close.”

Read more at NewsOK.


Pemex remains a tough challenge for reformers in Mexico

Mexico’s reformers found a measure of early success with energy reform in 2015, but ahead of them lies what might be their toughest challenge yet: turning around the country’s bloated national oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos.

Pemex is a stranger to competition, having enjoyed a 76-year monopoly over Mexico’s oil and gas industry that many experts say have eroded the company’s efficiency and saddled it with far flung investments.

Pemex has reported 12 consecutive quarterly losses, including a record $10.2 billion loss in the third quarter of 2015.

“Pemex today in many ways is a company that in the U.S. would be bankrupt,” said Jorge Piñon, who heads the University of Texas at Austin’s Latin American energy program, in a presentation.

Despite the company’s financial weakness, Mexico’s elected officials have insisted Pemex will play a large role in the country’s energy reform and help to revitalize the country’s energy business. Some of the reform will push Pemex to partner with international oil and gas companies to boost production.

Read more at FuelFix.



 
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