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Star Witness Arrested in Oilfield Services Case Involving Sen. Uresti

November 22, 2017


A woman said to be the star witness in a January 2018 oil and gas-related fraud trial against a Texas state senator is being reportedly charged with armed robbery.

Denise Gina Cantu is expected to testify against state Senator Carlos Uresti and two others, who prosecutors say were involved in a Ponzi scheme related to FourWinds Logistics, a now closed oil field services company.

The San Antonio Express News reports Cantu was arrested Tuesday at her home by Harlingen police on aggravated robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges.

Cantu said she was an investor in FourWinds, losing about $800,000 of $900,000 invested from a wrongful death settlement she received in 2010.

Police say Cantu and another woman assaulted and stole a phone from a woman on a Harlingen street on Monday night.

Uresti and two others were indicted on felony charges relating to FourWinds in May; he has denied the charges.

Former US Congress Energy Committee Chair Says He’s Sorry About Nude Photo

November 22, 2017


Former US House Energy and Commerce committee chairman Joe Barton publicly apologized Wednesday after a nude photo of the congressman showed up on social media this week.

In a nod to the number of women who have been coming forward to speak about sexual misconduct in politics, the media and Hollywood, Barton placed emphasis on his contention that the photo was part of “sexting” with women he was dating who were above the age of consent and the relationships, conducted after his divorce, were consensual.

“While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women,” Barton said in a statement Wednesday.

“Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down,” he continued.

The photo reportedly appeared on an anonymous Twitter account.

The story was first reported by the Texas Tribune.

The Ennis-area Republican had announced his intention to seek re-election to his 6th Congressional district, which includes four counties south of Dallas and a part of Tarrant County.

Oil Rigs Up, Gas Down; Permian Rigs and DUCs Way Up Over Year

November 22, 2017


US commercial oil drilling rigs were up by nine this week to reach 747 when compared to a week ago, according to Wednesday figures from Baker Hughes GE, rising for the first time on a monthly basis since July.

The number of rigs is still much higher than the 474 that were active a year ago at this time.

There were two new rigs in the Permian Basin this week; there are now 165 more Permian rigs than there were last year at this time.

The natural gas rig count was down by one to reach 176, the release, which came two days early because of the Thanksgiving holiday, said.

There were 923 oil and natural gas rigs active on Nov. 22nd.

The offshore US rig count was up by one from last week, totaling 22.


NOTE: The number of Drilled But Uncompleted (DUC) wells in the Permian has surged over 114% the past 12 months, according to Forge River Research, to a total of 2,533 as of October statistics.

Walle to Seek Re-Election, Drop Bid for Refinery-Area Gene Green Seat

November 22, 2017


Houston-area Texas Representative Armando Walle says he’s decided not to run for the US Congressional seat being vacated by Gene Green.

He now says he will stay on to seek re-election for his District 140 post.

Walle had, just a week ago, been part of the throng of likely candidates for the Houston-area 29th District seat that included Rep. Sylvia Garcia, with Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia and State Representative Carol Alverado also likely contenders.

The 29th includes a number of oil and gas properties.

On Wednesday, Walle said in a statement simply that “after much consultation and consideration with my family, friends, and community, I have decided to run for re-election to the Texas House to represent House District 140 for my sixth term.”

In the recent legislative session, Walle co-authored a bill to transfer money remaining in the used oil recycling account to the water resource management account also abolishing the used oil recycling account, but the bill died in committee.

Largest Harvey Wastewater Spill Was from Jefferson County BASF Total Site: Chronicle

November 22, 2017


A Houston Chronicle investigation indicates more than 200 wastewater spills in the Houston area during Hurricane Harvey, with a BASF Total Petrochemicals facility responsible for the biggest spill.

The newspaper noted the release of more than 100 million gallons in Jefferson County while combing through state records.

But the release at the Port Arthur facility did not harm the environment, company spokesman Bob Nelson said in a written statement.

 “Our process water systems were not compromised – no process chemicals in the water,” Nelson said in an email.
“The release was mostly rainfall, and some flood waters.”
Harmful chemical stored at the plant, such as Ethylene, Propylene and Butadiene, were not in the water that overflowed at the plant, Nelson said.
The facility is a joint venture between BASF SE and French petroleum refiner Total.SA.

Dynegy Selling Power Station

November 21, 2017


Dynegy is selling a Massachusetts power station that it shut down earlier in the year.

The Houston company said Thursday it’s reached an agreement for Commercial Development Co. Inc. of St. Louis to buy the 307-acre site of the Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, Massachusetts for an undisclosed price.

Dynegy purchased the station in 2015, one of ten plants in a more than $3 billion deal with New Jersey’s Energy Capital Partners.

Dynegy said the deal should close next month.

Nebraska Gives Keystone XL Alternate Route Nod

November 20, 2017


The final hurdle to routing the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline was jumped by builder and owner TransCanada on Monday when the Nebraska Public Service Commission gave its okay for the line to cut through the state west of the city of Lincoln.

It’s the culmination of a long permitting process that will likely draw further scrutiny and at least one lawsuit.

It’s been just a few days since a 210,000 gallon oil spill on agricultural land in South Dakota, just south of its border with North Dakota.

Following the Thursday morning spill, Transcanada shut down the pipeline and sent a crew of 75 to assess damage and repairs.

Dallas Wind Energy Developer Tops In Texas: Trade Association

November 18, 2017


Eight-year-old Tri Global Energy, a Dallas wind energy developer, is already one of the leaders in the fast-growing market, and was recently recognized in the U.S. Wind Industry’s Third Quarter 2017 Market Report.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the industry trade association, said Tri Global held onto the position it had last year as the top wind energy developer in Texas, with project work underway totaling 3,464 MW as measured in generating capacity, it has nearly 67% of the megawatts of all Texas wind-power projects under construction or in planning.

The company said it’s not only celebrating its trade position, but takes pride that globally, “Texas is the sixth-biggest producer of wind electricity, following India and just ahead of the UK.

“Texas has nearly 5,184 MW of wind projects currently under construction, a 38% share of total construction activity in the U.S.”

Oil & Gas Interests Partner with Government, Conservation Groups for Permian Basin Initiative

November 19, 2017


Six big oil and gas companies are putting their money where their clout is by forming a partnership to support Permian Basin conservation efforts.

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Chevron, Noble Energy, Occidental PetroleumExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy Inc., and Shell Oil have together committed more than $3.5 million over three years to pay for on-the-ground conservation as part of the Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative.

The group intends to provide project grants aimed at protecting wildlife and retaining the quality of life for those in the basin of Texas and New Mexico, according to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which is joining in the partnership along with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The Wildlife Foundation says it will match the contributions by the oil and gas companies, giving the initiative a $7 million fund for grants, cooperative agreements with conservation groups and arrangements with local communities.

The states of Texas and New Mexico will also take part in the initiative, the foundation said, and a business plan is being formulated.

Click here for more information.

Chevron Phillips JV On Revised Track for $6 Billion 2018 Southeast Texas Startup

November 18, 2017


Even Hurricane Harvey couldn’t stop the opening of The Woodlands-based Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.‘s two new polyethylene units in Old Ocean, part of Chevron‘s $6 billion plan that includes a new pipeline and a new ethane cracker.

Chevron Phillips is a joint venture between Chevron and Phillips 66 of Houston.

The company recently celebrated the successful startup of the Texas Gulf Coast plant that’s now expected to turn out 500,000 metric tons of polyethylene pellets a year, manufacturing made cost effective by the abundance of cheap natural gas and its component, ethane.

Chevron didn’t want premature celebration of the plant’s full operation, as even as the startup began, Hurricane Harvey pummeled the area southwest of Houston, near the Phillips 66 Sweeny complex, with rain and exceptionally strong winds.

And while the hurricane barely slowed down the opening of the Old Ocean plant, it’s delayed until next year the completion of the U.S. Gulf Coast Petrochemicals Project, which includes a pipeline from Old Ocean to Baytown, which will be the site of a new ethane cracker.

That portion of the project might have been completed by now, but delays that included hurricane flooding have put off completion until probably March of 2018, according to a Chevron Phillips statement, with full production expected by mid-year.

By then, the new cracker will connect via pipeline to the polyethylene units in Old Ocean and supply ethylene to the units.

The project is creating hundreds of jobs in Baytown, Old Ocean’s Brazoria County vicinity and elsewhere, the company said.

Houston Company Offers Artificial Intelligence for Oil & Gas Drilling Efficiency

November 18, 2017


Houston-based Quantico Energy Solutions has a new oil & gas drilling computer program aimed at reducing drilling costs by analyzing how efficiently a well is being drilled so far.

It’s artificial intelligence (AI), without the use of sonic tools.

Quantico calls it Q-Opt, a program that collects data during the drilling process and measures penetration, comparing mechanical specific energy, identifying the misapplication of energy even as the process continues.

The company says QOpt keeps an efficient drilling window by identifying the differences in drilling formations, setting optimal drilling parameters.

This AI allows for identification and warning of mechanical misapplications that lead to what the company calls “drilling dysfunctions.”

It would allow real-time formation tops to keep the drilling efficient.

And the company says the real-time computer analysis can be adjusted to read drilling properties information at the bit or even ahead of the bit, giving engineers time to make decisions without pausing the process.

Chalk up another one for AI.

Houston Firm Makes Haynesville Deal While Commissioning Bechtel Contract for New Gulf Coast LNG Facility

November 18, 2017


A Tellurian Inc. subsidiary has closed on the purchase of natural gas producing land and some undeveloped land in Louisiana with Rockcliffe Energy LLC, as part of an ambitious and unique plan for building a new Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) facility along the Gulf Coast.

The two Houston companies agreed to the $85 million sale earlier this year, which includes about four million cubic feet per day of natural gas production, approximately 1.3 Tcf of gas resource, and about 138 drilling locations in the northern Louisiana Haynesville play.

Tellurian (NASDAQ: TELL) said the sale allows the company to expect production of LNG for a cost of $3.00 per mmBtu.

Tellurian’s CEO Meg Gentle said it’s part of a long term plan that includes the company’s development of the Driftwood LNG project, a proposed LNG liquefaction plant near Lake Charles, Louisiana, that’s expected to begin construction next year.

The company entered into a $15 billion contract with Bechtel on November 12th to build Driftwood, which is to include 20 liquefaction units, three storage tanks and three marine loading berths.

Bechtel will design and build the facility in a four-phased, turnkey agreement.

Tellurian’s plan also includes dropping the company’s construction costs on the project by relying on potential buyers such as large utility companies to share those costs, giving investors — which can include future customers —  up to 75% ownership in the terminal, a pipeline for delivery to Lake Charles and a natural gas production company, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate.

Former Abbott General Counsel Joins Texas Public Utility Commission

November 19, 2017


A crucial seat on the Texas Public Utility Commission has been filled during an important time for the agency.

Arthur D’Andrea was appointed to the commission by Governor Greg Abbott this past week for a term that expires in September 2023.

He takes the PUC‘s third seat as the commission considers a bid by San Diego’s Sempra Energy to buy Texas’ largest power transmission company Oncor out of bankruptcy proceedings with parent company, Dallas’ Energy Future Holdings.

The seat was held by commissioner Kenneth Anderson, whose term expired August 31st.

A bankruptcy court has already okayed the merger, leaving the PUC to take decisive action on whether the merger would be in the best interest of Texas electricity consumers.

Sempra is offering $9.45 billion for EFH and Oncor.

The PUC is also considering a request by Lubbock Power & Light to join the ERCOT network, as well as the pending sale of Dynegy to electricity provider Vistra Energy in a $1.7 billion all-stock deal that would create a merged company with a market value of more than $10 billion.

D’Andrea is a UT alumus, and was an assistant general counsel for the governor’s office.

He also served as an assistant solicitor general for the Office of the Attorney General of Texas.

Crosswind Acquires Oil & Gas PR Agency

November 18, 2017


Austin-based communications agency Crosswind Media & Public Relations has acquired ATX energy, oil and gas PR shop Carmichael Communications & Consulting.

The acquisition, the financial terms of which were not publicly disclosed, becomes official on December 31, O’Dwyers, the PR website, reports.

CC&C, which was founded in 2014, represents associations, non-governmental organizations and clients in energy exploration and development.

Principal Katie Carmichael previously served as public affairs director to Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter.

Earlier in her career she was stationed in the House Committee on Culture, Recreation and Tourism in the Texas House of Representatives.

Texas-based Fluor Restores Electrical Line in Puerto Rico

November 18, 2017


Irving-based Fluor Corporation has completed a high-priority power line near San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The company has been working with the US Army Corps of Engineers in the island’s recovery from Hurricane Maria, which ravaged the Puerto Rico starting with its approach on September 19th.

The island has been without electricity since the storm moved through, with only a spotty return to power in some areas over the past several weeks.

The 38 KV power line restored by Fluor is part of a larger effort to bring back electrical power beginning on the east side of Puerto Rico by replacing structures and equipment.

Fluor said it was able to work fast because the company has had offices and equipment on the island for more than 50 years, and is also working on several other projects to restore power there.

Executive program director for the Puerto Rico project, Matt Hunt, said the company has “crews working power line segments in both isolated and urban areas.

“Our crew mix includes two of Puerto Rico’s largest electrical contractors in addition to two major national electrical contractors.

“Additionally, we have hired a local earth works firm that is performing the critical task of clearing debris and other obstructions. They are also cutting access paths through the mountains so we can get to damaged lines and substations in remote areas.”

Former Homeland Security Secretary and Energy Supporter In Critical Condition at Austin Hospital: Spokesman

November 16, 2017

Former US Homeland Security Secretary and energy industry supporter Tom Ridge is in critical condition at Del Seton Medical Center at UT in Austin after undergoing a heart procedure.

The onetime governor of Pennsylvania, 72, was attending the Republican Governors Association Conference at Austin’s Marriott when he felt ill and called on hotel employees for assistance, according to a statement from one of Ridge’s staff.

Paramedics attended Ridge as he was rushed to the medical center Thursday morning, after which he underwent a heart catheterization.

Ridge was Homeland Security Secretary from 2003 until 2005, and sometimes referred to natural gas as a major way to help US independence from imported oil.

In 2013, Ridge called natural gas a “transformational energy” with a bright future that was good for his home state of Pennsylvania and good for the nation.

Noted Texas Democrat and Political Donor Steve Mostyn Dies

November 16, 2017


Longtime political donor, prominent Houston lawyer and staunch Democrat Steve Mostyn, 46, has died.

His wife Amber, in a statement on Thursday, confirmed that he passed away Wednesday after a short battle with an unnamed “mental health issue.”

Mostyn and his wife have been considered among the most generous givers to causes and candidates favored by Democrats, notably their 2014 contributions to aid the election of Wendy Davis, who failed in her run for governor against Greg Abbott, and others.

In addition to his wife, Mostyn is survived by daughter Ava, son Mitch and a nephew the Mostyn’s raised, Skyler Anderson.

Amber Mostyn suggested donations as a tribute to Steve to a favored charity, the Mostyn Moreno Education Foundation to help special needs children, or to Special Olympics of Texas.

Oil Inventories Up Almost 2 M Barrels: EIA

November 15, 2017

US commercial crude oil stockpiles increased almost 1.9 million barrels last week when compared to the previous week, the US Department of Energy said Wednesday.

Wall St. Journal analysts said they had expected a decrease of 1.4 million.

Inventories are, at 459 million barrels, in the upper half of the season average range for the year.

Gasoline inventories were up by 900,000 barrels, while distillates were down 800.000 barrels.

Propane and propylene stockpiles were down 2.5 million barrels.

The Energy Information Agency said US crude imports averaged nearly eight million barrels per day, up more than half a million a day when compared to the previous week.

Refineries were operating at 91% of capacity.

The American Petroleum Institute said Tuesday that crude inventories were up a surprising 6.5 million barrels.

API also said gasoline stockpiles were up 2.4 million barrels.

The Texas Energy Report NEWSCLIPS

November 17, 2017
Lead Stories

Texas Standard

November 15, 2017

Untapped — The New West Texas

The Permian Basin in west Texas leads the nation in oil and gas production. Midland and Odessa have long been the heart of this industrialized desert. But oil and gas development is expanding outward. In the past year, drilling operations have moved south and west into a region long written off as undevelopable. That’s where we begin a series of reports examining what all this means for the region and the state. Untapped: The New West Texas explores the impact of new energy exploration on the economy, the water table and the environment.

click here for more


November 16, 2017

New Demand, Same Old Story: West Texans And Their Water

Jeff Williams manages his family’s 18,000-acre farm outside Fort Stockton. Their land sits on top of five different prolific aquifers on the southeastern edge of the Permian Basin. Standing by an irrigation ditch, shooting water to a fish pond, he acknowledges that his family isn’t the most popular in the neighborhood. They’re the biggest consumers of water in Pecos County. His grandfather, Clayton Williams Sr., is notorious for pumping nearby Comanche Springs dry in the ’50s. In Texas, according to the long-standing rule of capture, the water beneath your land is yours to do with as you please. “If you’re property owner in Texas, you hold that right very near and dear to your heart,” Williams says. “That goes up there with god, country, family, and your property.” Just last summer, after another drawn-out legal battle, Jeff Williams and his father secured a controversial permit to pump and export up to 25 million gallons of water a day. Eventually that water may go to the city of Odessa but for now,they’re selling to an oil and gas company in the Permian Basin.

click here for more

San Francisco Chronicle

November 16, 2017

Ex-Oklahoma seismologist felt pressured in earthquake work

Oklahoma’s former lead seismologist says he felt pressured by a University of Oklahoma official to not link the state’s surge in earthquakes to oil and gas production. Austin Holland’s sworn testimony came last month as part of a lawsuit filed in 2015 by Prague resident Jennifer Cooper against two oil companies for damages sustained during an earthquake in 2011, the Tulsa World reported . The 5.7 magnitude quake that hit the Prague area, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Oklahoma City, was the largest in state history. University President David Boren disputed Holland was ever pressured by the school.

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The Hill

November 16, 2017

Keystone pipeline shut down after spilling 5,000 barrels of oil in South Dakota

The Keystone oil pipeline spilled more than 5,000 barrels of oil on Thursday before workers took it offline, a large spill that comes days before operators hope to secure a key permit for a sister project. A TransCanada crew shut down the Keystone pipeline at 6 a.m. Thursday morning after detecting an oil leak along the line, the company said in a statement. The leak was detected along a stretch of pipeline about 35 miles south of a pumping station in Marshall County, South Dakota.

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San Antonio Express-News

November 16, 2017

Dallas Fed says U.S. crude oil exports hit record in October

U.S. crude oil exports reached record levels in October almost two years after a crude oil export ban was lifted, according to a new report. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported in its November Energy Indicators report that crude oil exports had reached 1.8 million barrels a day in October, an all-time high and a significant increase from 1.3 million barrels a day in September. The increase in crude exports is making the U.S. an “up and comer” in the international energy market, said Kunal Patel, a senior research analysts at the Dallas Fed.

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November 16, 2017

Geopolitics is the wildcard for oil right now, says Energy Aspects’ chief oil analyst

Iran-Saudi Arabia tensions, a potential debt default in Venezuela and a territorial dispute in Iraq — those are just some of the reasons that geopolitics matters to the price of oil right now, according to the chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects. Speaking to CNBC on Thursday, Amrita Sen said that there were a number of issues that could affect the oil price, with a particular concern being the lack of “inventory buffer” — a cushion of oil supply — if production was to fall from major oil producers for economic or political reasons.

click here for more

Oil & Gas Stories


November 16, 2017

The U.S. Flooded One of Houston’s Richest Neighborhoods to Save Everyone Else

“Next contestant, come on down.” On Oct. 6, in a bright courtroom in downtown Houston, Susan Braden, chief justice of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, opens a preliminary hearing with a joke, beckoning a lawyer forward. Braden has flown in from Washington to oversee disputes involving the homes and businesses flooded in West Houston after Hurricane Harvey made landfall over Texas in late August. She has summoned attorneys interested in suing, to get their thoughts on how the proceedings should unfold. Almost 100 lawyers are present, combed and buzzing in anticipation of what promises to be some of the most complex and expensive litigation ever brought against the federal government. Observers speculate that thousands of plaintiffs could eventually join in, and that the total damages claimed could reach $10 billion or more, especially if the big energy and oil companies—whose presence in one section of West Houston gave it the nickname the Energy Corridor—sue over their flooded headquarters.

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November 16, 2017

Anadarko Petroleum sees 11 percent rise in 2018 sales volumes

Anadarko Petroleum Corp on Thursday forecast an 11 percent rise in sales volumes for 2018, as shale producers boost oil output aggressively, taking advantage of recovering oil prices. The Woodlands, Texas-based oil and gas producer said it expects to sell 245-255 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBOE) in 2018, higher than the 224-228 MMBOE it forecast for 2017. The company expects to spend $4.2 billion to $4.6 billion in 2018, with about 80 percent for the Delaware and DJ basins, including its midstream and deepwater assets in the Gulf of Mexico. That will result in about 14 percent oil growth year-over-year.

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Houston Chronicle

November 16, 2017

Q&A: Banker sees oil lending thaw as industry prospects improve

Paul Murphy’s $10 billion bank, with a footprint in Houston and a hand in energy lending for the past few years, didn’t come out of the oil bust unscathed. Houston’s Cadence Bancorporation lost money on some of its oil company borrowers and for the bulk of the downturn stopped issuing new loans to oil explorers. But it didn’t face anything like the losses that put hundreds of Texas lenders out of business in the 1980s bust. And as crude prices stabilize, more than eight out of 10 oil companies with loans considered nonperforming are paying the bank back on time.  Now, Murphy says, the bank has begun lending to oil producers again – but there are higher standards that borrowers must meet.

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November 15, 2017

BHP eyes two-year exit from shale; also selling nickel

BHP Billiton said on Thursday it hopes to fully divest its troubled U.S. onshore shale business in around two years and is also seeking a buyer for its nickel business in Australia. The renewed push to unload both sets of assets, which the world’s biggest mining company no longer deems strategic, comes as prices for oil and nickel enjoy a price resurgence. “Nickel West is non-core, shale is non-core,” Mackenzie told reporters following the company’s annual general meeting in Melbourne. Nickel prices are up around 16 percent from January percent this year, while oil has risen about 9 percent.

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Houston Chronicle

November 16, 2017

Tenaris’ new Bay City mill starts rolling pipe for oil wells

Global steel pipe giant Tenaris commenced full operations Wednesday at its new $1.8 billion mill southwest of Houston in Bay City to start churning out piping for shale oil and gas wells in Texas, Oklahoma and beyond. The state-of-the-art mill is designed to bring pipe manufacturing close to the oil and gas wells and compete with Asian imports. Tenaris, an Argentinian company with its roots in Italy, opted to build its most modern and robotically automated mill in Texas to serve the ongoing shale boom in West Texas’ Permian Basin and other regions.

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Kallanish Energy

November 16, 2017

Texas drilling permits up 16.6% in October

The Railroad Commission of Texas issued 997 original drilling permits in October, up 16.6% from the 855 permits approved in October 2016, Kallanish Energy reports. The October total included 885 permits to drill new oil or gas wells, five to re-enter plugged well bores and 107 for re-completions of existing well bores, the state agency said. The breakdown of well types for those permits issued in October 2017 included 236 for oil, 46 for natural gas, 646 for oil or gas, 48 injection wells, and 21 other permits.

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Ft. Worth Star-Telegram

November 15, 2017

Baker: Texas oil patch ‘bloodbath’ is over as jobs and rigs return

Hiring in Texas oil and gas fields is rising sharply as the industry steadily recovers from its most recent downturn. The number of workers exploring for oil and gas in Texas hit more than 222,000 in September, nearly 31,000 more than a year ago, according to the Texas Petroleum Index, a measure of oil and gas drilling activity. It marked the 10th straight month that employment has improved, the report said. “After a two-year oil bloodbath where prices dropped 80 percent, rig count was down 75 percent, drilling permits were down 70 percent and 300,000 plus jobs were lost, this is a much brighter day,” said Karr Ingham, an Amarillo-based economist who compiles the report for the Texas Alliance of Energy producers.

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Daily Mail (UK)

November 16, 2017

Saudi Arabia king to step down and hand over the crown to his 32-year-old son

The King of Saudi Arabia plans to step down and announce his son as his successor next week, a source close to the country’s royal family has exclusively told DailyMail.com. The move is seen as the final step in 32-year-old Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s power grab, which began earlier this month with the arrests of more than 40 princes and government ministers in a corruption probe. The source said King Salman will continue only as a ceremonial figurehead, handing over official leadership of the country to his son – often referred to as MBS. ‘Unless something dramatic happens, King Salman will announce the appointment of MBS as King of Saudi Arabia next week,’ said the source.

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The Guardian (UK)

November 16, 2017

Saudi offer in corruption crackdown: ‘cough up the cash and go home’

Authorities in Saudi Arabia are offering businessmen and members of the royal family detained on allegations of corruption an opportunity to pay for their freedom, according to media reports. Around 200 princes, ministers, senior military officers and wealthy businessmen have been held in five-star hotels across the country since last week, many of them at the opulent Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh. Quoting “people briefed on the discussions”, the Financial Times reported that the Saudi government was demanding up to 70% of the individuals’ wealth in return for their freedom.

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November 15, 2017

Construction begins on 650-mile long natural gas pipeline

Construction has begun for what’s being called the “natural gas super-highway.” The 650-mile long pipeline called the EPIC NGL Pipeline spans from New Mexico through Texas to Corpus Christi. The natural gas pipeline is expected to produce 375,000 barrels per day and will be run by EPIC Y Grade Pipeline in connection with BP Energy.

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November 16, 2017

New US gas pipelines fall short of ‘last mile’ to LNG demand

The Southeast natural gas market has a problem. Gas demand from LNG exports is expected to grow 10 Bcf/d the next five years, and in a high case, as much as 15 Bcf/d. To supply that growing demand, a massive buildout of pipeline capacity has been undertaken recently to move Northeast gas to the Southeast, with further capacity planned through 2019. However, the actual new capacity from the Northeast that reaches these demand centers, specifically in Louisiana and East Texas, falls well short of the new demand.

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November 15, 2017

Robotics and Automation: The Oil, Gas Skillsets of the Future

“We’ve been working on a strategy for four to five years on adopting a much higher degree of automation in the rigs and automating surface equipment, developing a manless floor and automating directional drilling,” Dennis Smith, vice president of corporate development and investor relations for Nabors Industries Ltd., told Rigzone. Nabors acquired Robotic Drilling System AS (RDS) Sept. 5, in a move that Smith called “strategically valuable.” “We’ve been working with RBS for several years on developing a system for some of our rigs,” said Smith. “If you look back 40 years ago in the automotive industry, the first robots were doing welding on cars … the majority of the employees at RBS come from the automotive industry.”

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November 16, 2017

Shale King Hamm Wants to Give Oil Forecasters a Reality Check

The boom in U.S. shale-oil production requires “more sophisticated” forecasting than ever, billionaire oilman Harold Hamm said in an interview. Hamm, who is set to speak Thursday during a U.S. Energy Information Administration event, blames overly optimistic government production predictions for depressing U.S. oil prices. “It just disadvantages the U.S. market,” said Hamm, the founder and chairman of Continental Resources Inc. The EIA is “a very powerful market mover, and so it’s necessary they understand all of these things.”

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November 16, 2017

Ecuador drops plan to request exemption from OPEC cut – oil minister

Ecuador has abandoned for now a plan to ask OPEC for an exemption from its share of the organisation’s oil production cut as crude prices are reacting positively to the group’s measures, the country’s oil minister said on Thursday. Ecuador, one of the smallest producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said last month that it would request an exemption from the joint output cut when the group meets in Vienna later this month. It said then that it could even consider leaving the cartel for two years to avoid reducing its production. “For now we are not going to submit the request. We’ll analyse along with OPEC’s members which alternatives they can offer. To sustain prices, we have to support OPEC’s measures, which are so far succeeding,” minister Carlos Perez said during a press conference.

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Associated Press

November 16, 2017

Lawsuit filed by Dakota Access protesters to proceed

An appeals court ruled Tuesday that a federal judge in North Dakota was correct in not barring police from using harsh methods against Dakota Access pipeline protesters. There have been no protests since February, but the decision will allow a lawsuit to proceed in which pipeline opponents allege they were subjected to police brutality and their civil rights were violated. The plaintiffs sued last November seeking to stop police from using tactics against protesters such as chemical agents and water cannons. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland refused the request and they appealed, putting on hold the rest of their lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages for alleged police brutality and rights violations.

This article appeared in the Houston Chronicle

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San Francisco Chronicle

November 15, 2017

Kelly: Why meeting the Paris climate goals is an existential threat to fossil fuel industries

Attacks on climate policies are not really about the science. They’re about the future of fossil fuels. Any program with a reasonable chance of meeting the goals embraced by the 2016 Paris accords (holding global temperature increases below 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius compared to preindustrial levels) is likely to mean drastic changes in fossil energy markets. And the task is only getting harder. After three years of leveling off, global greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels are projected to grow 2 percent in 2017 to a new record high.

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November 16, 2017

Mexico Seeks Diesel Around the World Before Price Limits End

Mexico is scouring the earth to stock up on diesel fuel before market-liberalization measures take effect. Petroleos Mexicanos, the country’s state-run oil company, has been on a buying spree of about a tanker load of diesel a day from the U.S. alone this year and recently purchased it as far afield as the United Arab Emirates and China. Mexico is set to lift price limits on the fuel, used to run heavy trucks and generate electricity, making 2018 prices uncertain.

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Oil Price

November 15, 2017

Brew: Why Saudi Arabia Should Fear U.S. Oil Dominance

One of the more important recent developments in global energy is the resurgence of U.S. energy production, thanks in large part to the shale revolution. Now, after half a century as a net importer, the U.S. is poised in the coming decade to become a net exporter, as imports from historic sources decline and demand for U.S. energy products abroad grows. According to the IEA’s World Energy Outlook, the U.S. is set to be a dominant force in energy production for the foreseeable future, as the surge from shale triggers the biggest boom in production in more than 50 years.

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New York Times

November 16, 2017

Norway’s Wealth Fund Considers Divesting From Oil Shares

Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund is considering a divestment of holdings in international petroleum companies, a sign that even Europe’s dominant producer does not have full confidence in oil’s future. The recommendation on Thursday by the Norwegian Central Bank, which manages the fund, is potentially the biggest advance yet for a global fossil-fuel divestment campaign that has been promoted on college campuses and by environmental activists. It could also be a setback for the proposed initial public offering of the Saudi national oil company, known as Aramco, since the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, would be a potentially large investor.

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Utilities Stories

Fox News

November 16, 2017

California government mandates send electricity prices skyrocketing, but Texas free market policies keep prices low

California’s rush to impose harsh government mandates cutting carbon dioxide emissions in the generation of electricity is raising the electricity bills of families and businesses across the state. Poor families are suffering the most. In sharp contrast, Texas is successfully taking a free-market approach that is increasing the use of clean renewable energy and lowering electricity bills in the state. The far-left Democrats who control state government in California have doubled down on their extremist campaign to cut carbon dioxide emissions – regardless of the cost and the pain they inflict on Californians, who are already struggling to pay some of the highest electricity bills in the nation.

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November 14, 2017

A Helium-Resistant Material Could Finally Usher in The Age of Nuclear Fusion

A collaboration of engineers and researchers has found a way to prevent helium, a byproduct of the fusion reaction, from weakening nuclear fusion reactors. The secret is in building the reactors using nanocomposite solids that create channels through which the helium can escape. Researchers from Texas A&M University, working with a team from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, have tested a new method for creating the materials used in nuclear fusion reactors and found that it could eliminate one of the obstacles preventing humanity from harnessing the power of fusion energy.

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Alternatives & Renewables Stories


November 16, 2017

Talk Of Tariffs Is Already Costing Solar Jobs In Texas

Scott Canada says his company had big plans this year for a 100-megawatt solar farm outside Fort Stockton, Texas. “It would have been built over the next 18 months,” says Canada, senior vice president of renewable energy for McCarthy Building Companies. “It generally would have probably employed 300 to 400 people at its peak, depending on how tight the schedule was being compressed.” That project has been put on hold, and will likely be canceled, if the Trump administration decides to impose tariffs on cheaper panels made in China.

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Regulatory Stories

San Antonio Express-News

November 15, 2017

Chasnoff: #MeToo descends on state Capitol

As more harassed men and women speak out across the country, exposing sexual predators from Hollywood to Capitol Hill, the state Legislature is finally having its own overdue “#MeToo” moment — and the reckoning has snared at least one local lawmaker. On Tuesday, both Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called for a review of sexual harassment policies at the state Capitol. The move followed a report by the Texas Tribune that found “pervasive” and “unchecked” sexual harassment under the Pink Dome, as well as a report last week in the Daily Beast that revealed the existence of an anonymous, crowdsourced spreadsheet that has circulated among women at the state Capitol for the past year and warns of alleged transgressions by male lawmakers, campaign workers and legislative staffers. The document, titled “Burn Book of Bad Men in progressive spaces,” includes two entries on embattled Democratic state Sen. Carlos Uresti — not the first time the San Antonio lawmaker has been accused of sexual misdeeds.

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Texas Monthly

November 15, 2017

Important Offshore Safety Measure May Be Lost in Zeal to Repeal Regulations

Offshore drilling doesn’t get a lot of attention these days. With weaker oil prices, the more expensive deepwater projects have slowed. Last week, only 18 rigs were active in the Gulf of Mexico, compared with 48 just five years ago. The Trump administration has vowed to change that, despite the economic limitations of oil prices, and it’s targeted one of its favorite villains: Obama-era regulations. Specifically, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which oversees offshore drilling regulations, wants to re-examine the so-called well-control rule. That rule set new requirements in the wake of BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed eleven men and unleashed the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history.

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November 15, 2017

U.S. biofuels policy contributes to global warming: study

U.S. renewable fuel mandates are contributing to global warming, boosting carbon emissions as farmers turn carbon-rich areas like wetlands and forests into cropland to grow corn, soy and wheat for biofuels production, a study presented on Wednesday said. Three scientists from the University of Wisconsin presented their findings in Fort Worth, Texas, at a conference hosted by the National Wildlife Federation, an environmental group that opposes U.S. biofuels mandates in their current form.

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E&E News

November 14, 2017

DOE’s resilience proposal: The looming legal assault

Troves of recent comments from supporters and critics of a Trump administration plan to support coal and nuclear power generation are just the beginning of what promises to be a bitter battle over the future of electricity markets. As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sifts through arguments over a Department of Energy proposal to prop up “fuel-secure” generators to boost the grid’s resilience, one thing is clear: The embrace of any approach that appears to favor coal and nuclear over other fuel sources will spark a mad dash to the courtroom. Critics of the plan are ready to file challenges if FERC adopts anything close to Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s vision. For now, it’s a waiting game to see exactly how the commission moves forward.

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Houston Chronicle

November 16, 2017

After Arkema plans, safety board urges industry to rethink emergency plans

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board, concerned about the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters, is warning the chemical industry to rethink its emergency plans in light of the Arkema fires in Crosby. Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 6 feet of water on the Arkema plant. Floodwaters caused the site to lose the ability to keep volatile organic peroxides cool, leading to massive fires over multiple days.

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November 16, 2017

Cruz wants a meeting on the RFS, but will it happen?

Senator Ted Cruz has gotten headlines for placing a hold on Bill Northey’s USDA undersecretary nomination, but the Texas Republican hasn’t gotten what he really wants: a meeting at the White House and substantive changes in renewable fuel policy. The hold was placed after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt offered a list of assurances – including rejecting a proposed RFS point of obligation change and a pledge to increase biofuel blending requirements – to Midwestern senators that allowed for the nomination of Bill Wehrum as an EPA official to move forward. Sen. Joni Ernst had held up Wehrum at the committee level after the Iowa Republican said she wasn’t satisfied with his responses to questions related to governance of the Renewable Fuel Standard.

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The Atlantic

November 16, 2017

Meyer: Democrats Are Shockingly Unprepared to Fight Climate Change

There’s a wrinkle in how the United States talks about climate change in 2017, a tension fundamental to the issue’s politics but widely ignored. On the one hand, Democrats are the party of climate change. Since the 1990s, as public belief in global warming has become strongly polarized, the Democratic Party has emerged as the advocate of more aggressive climate action. The most recent Democratic president made climate policy a centerpiece of his second term, and the party’s national politicians now lament and oppose the undoing of his work. Concern for the climate isn’t just an elite issue, either: Rank-and-file Democrats are more likely to worry about global warming than the median voter. On the other hand, the Democratic Party does not have a plan to address climate change.

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November 22, 2017

WTI up 0.95 to close at $58.01 – change 0.02%


Brent up 0.75 to close at $63.32 – change 1.20%


Natural gas down 0.05 to close at $2.96 – change 1.61%




Anadarko (APC) up 0.33 at 48.35 – change 0.69%


Apache (APA) up 0.10 at 41.54 – change 0.24%


Chevron (CVX) up 0.74 at 115.91 – change 0.64%


ConocoPhillips (COP) up 0.21 at 50.22 – change 0.42%


Devon (DVN) up 0.44 at 37.99 – change 1.17%


Energy Transfer (ETP) down 0.02 at 16.31 – change 0.12%


EOG Resources (EOG) down 0.07 at 101.59 – change 0.07%


ExxonMobil (XOM) up 0.23 at 81.10 – change 0.28%


Halcon (HK) down 0.01 at 6.94 – change 0.14%


Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO) up 0.36 at 14.88 – change 2.48%


Noble Energy (NBL) up 0.31 at 25.88 – change 1.21%


Occidental Petroleum (OXY) up 0.35 at 68.23 – change 0.52%


Parsley Energy (PE) up 0.21 at 26.54 – change 0.80%


Phillips 66 (PSX) down 0.33 at 93.29 – change 0.35%


Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) up 1.85 at 154.08 – change 1.22%


Valero (VLO) down 1.45 at 82.35 – change 1.73%





American Electric Power (AEP) down 0.18 at 76.59 – change 0.23%


Calpine (CPN) unchanged at 15.02 – change 0.00%


CenterPoint (CNP) up 0.06 at 29.15 – change 0.21%


Dynegy (DYN) up 0.30 at 12.49 – change 2.46%


Entergy (ETR) down 0.10 at 85.51 – change 0.12%


Exelon Corp. (EXC) up 0.11 at 41.50 – change 0.27%


NRG (NRG) down 0.25 at 29.22 – change 0.85%


Vistra Energy (VST) up 0.54 at 19.44 – change 2.86%