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Oil and Gas Roundup — August 29

August 29, 2016
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

State rig count flat; U.S. count down 2

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in Oklahoma was flat at 62 last week, as the national count dropped by two to 489, the first time in eight weeks that the U.S. number saw a decline.

The national rig count is down 388 year-over-year and off 75 percent from the recent high of 1,929 in November of 2014.

Of the national total, 406 rigs were exploring for oil and 81 for gas, with two listed as miscellaneous.

Of the other major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas (237), Louisiana (42) and Colorado (20) each lost one rig, New Mexico (30) and North Dakota (27) were unchanged, and Pennsylvania (19) gained two rigs.

The Canadian rig count jumped to 146 last week as 25 rigs came on line, as recovery continues from the recent fires in that nation's oil-producing regions.

Can natural gas save lives?

A new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) examines the relationship between an increase in natural gas use and adult and elderly mortality rates. The study focuses on Turkey due to the fact that the country has experienced a large shift towards natural gas use in the last few decades.

The researchers conclude, “The results indicated that the expansion of natural gas services has caused significant reductions in the both the adult and the elderly mortality rates.”

EID contacted one of the authors of the study, Erdal Tekin, professor of public policy at American University, to ask him what implications his work has for the United States where natural gas production and use for electricity generation is soaring.  Here’s what he had to say:

Energy In Depth: Your research suggests a link between increased natural gas use and positive health outcomes. Can you explain why those are connected?

Erdal Tekin: Compared with other fossil fuels, natural gas is much less pollutant. For example, it virtually emits no sulfur oxides and particulates, and releases about one-fifth of the nitrogen oxides emitted by coal. Therefore, we argue that any development that leads to a widespread displacement of coal by natural gas as a source of commercial and domestic fuel could reduce the average carbon intensity in the atmosphere, which would then improve health outcomes.

Read more at Energy In Depth.

U. of Mich. study: Biofuels worse than gasoline in causing climate change

A new study from University of Michigan researchers challenges the widely held assumption that biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel are inherently carbon neutral.

Contrary to popular belief, the heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas emitted when biofuels are burned is not fully balanced by the CO2 uptake that occurs as the plants grow, according to a study by research professor John DeCicco and co-authors at the U-M Energy Institute.

Funding for the study was provided by the American Petroleum Institute and the U-M Energy Institute.

The study, based on U.S. Department of Agriculture crop-production data, shows that during the period when U.S. biofuel production rapidly ramped up, the increased carbon dioxide uptake by the crops was only enough to offset 37 percent of the CO2 emissions due to biofuel combustion.

The researchers conclude that rising biofuel use has been associated with a net increase -- rather than a net decrease, as many have claimed -- in the carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming. The findings, "Carbon balance effects of U.S. biofuel production and use," are published online in the journal Climatic Change.

Read more at Michigan Live.

Biden: Europe needs diverse sources of gas

With U.S. Vice President Joe Biden touting diversity in the European energy market, an industry group said exports from U.S. ports could be a strategic interest.

"America's growth in natural gas production means that through liquefied natural gas exports we can give our allies stability and security in the global natural gas market," Marty Durbin, a marketing director with the American Petroleum Institute, said in a statement.

For U.S. allies in Europe, the abundance of natural gas from domestic shale basins could be used as a tool to break the Russian grip on the European economy. European leaders said last year LNG sourced from U.S. shale basins may present a source of diversity with the right infrastructure in place.

A special permit is needed to send natural gas to countries without a U.S. free trade agreement, a scenario that could present roadblocks for LNG exports to the European market.

Speaking this week in Latvia, Biden said giving regional allies access to natural gas reserves from outlets outside of Russia was vital to European energy security.

"Europe needs diverse sources of gas, not new pipelines that lock in greater reliance on Russia," he said in a statement. "Russian gas can and should be part of the European market, but that market needs to be open and competitive."

Read more at UPI.
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