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Oil and Gas Roundup — March 14

March 14, 2014
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

Corporation Commission eyes new injection well rules

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Thursday approved new rules that could help determine whether oil and natural gas operations are connected to the state’s earthquake swarm.

The commissioners unanimously approved rules requiring water injection well operators throughout the state to collect daily information on injection volume and pressure. The operators must be able to provide the information if the commission asks for it.

Previously, operators were required to collect the data monthly and report it annually, although the commissioners have said many operators have collected data more often than required and have provided it when needed.

The rules are designed in part to provide more information more quickly after an earthquake, providing scientists more data to help them determine whether nearby injection wells could have contributed to a quake.

“These rules were a big part of a collaboration effort with the industry, the (Oklahoma) Geological Survey and the commission,” Commissioner Dana Murphy said. “I think it’s important to target the areas where maybe the higher risks are and focus on that first and see what can be done with that data.”

Read The Oklahoman story:

Obama administration is last man standing on LNG exports

The crisis in Ukraine has fueled mounting pressure on the White House to take action on liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. But when given the opportunity to show leadership on expediting LNG exports, the White House deflected, with press secretary Jay Carney simply stating, “The Department of Energy has regulatory authority over liquefied natural gas exports.”

The Department of Energy (DOE) determines whether LNG export license applications are “in the public interest” and approves them on a “case-by-case” basis.  A Wall Street Journal editorial aptly remarked that “‘case by case’… is the bureaucratic term for forever.”

Indeed, more than 20 export license applications are pending at the DOE, with the longest application sitting in the queue for over 800 days.

Read more:

Security official: Rejecting Keystone pipeline would embolden Putin

Supporters of the giant Keystone XL pipeline, including a longtime top military adviser to President Obama, said Thursday that approval of the stalled Canada-to-Texas project would strengthen the U.S. position in the standoff with Russia over Ukraine and send a clear signal of American support to European allies.

Retired Gen. James Jones, who served as Mr. Obama’s national security adviser during the president’s first term, said Russian President Vladimir Putin will be emboldened if Mr. Obama refuses to approve the $7 billion project.

“[Putin] wields energy as a weapon,” Mr. Jones told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “If we want to make Mr. Putin’s day and strengthen his hand, we should reject Keystone.”

Some in Congress, including House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, are also pushing for the U.S. to increase its natural gas exports to Europe in order to undercut any attempt by Mr. Putin to cut off energy supplies to Ukraine and other European customers. Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic also made such an appeal last week.

The national security pitch comes as Capitol Hill Republicans — and many Democrats — continue to urge Mr. Obama to swiftly approve the project, saying it would create thousands of jobs.

Read more:

New Shell CEO: reducing U.S. investment, exiting Texas’ Eagle Ford

Shell's Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden says the company will cut capital spending in the U.S. by 20 percent in 2014 after setbacks in its shale gas operations and in Alaska.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Van Beurden said Thursday that Shell plans to exit its investments in the Eagle Ford shale formations in Southern Texas, where the company took a $2.1 billion write-down last summer. Van Beurden didn't rule out further charges.

Shell has mothballed plans to explore for oil in the Arctic circle off Alaska's coast for at least a year, after spending $2 billion in 2011-2013 without payoff.

He said operations in Russia and in Ukraine — where Shell plans to explore for shale gas —have so far not been affected by political turmoil.

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