December 2014, Vol. 241, No. 12

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's oil industry is coming in even lower than the targets set by new rules that require reducing the amount of natural gas burned off as a byproduct of oil production, the state's top energy regulator said Friday.

December 2014, Vol. 241, No. 12

It’s just a few days before Thanksgiving, so let’s talk turkey and football. The Keystone pipeline has never really been about energy. It’s been a political football almost since the day TransCanada proposed a pipeline to bring Canadian oil sands product to Gulf Coast refineries.

December 2014, Vol. 241, No. 12

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — The Canadian company responsible for a 2010 oil spill in southwestern Michigan has agreed to pay about $6.8 million to settle a class-action lawsuit.

December 2014, Vol. 241, No. 12

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Summit Natural Gas has agreed to pay a $25,000 fine to resolve safety violations found by the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

November 2014, Vol. 241, No. 11

A study has pinpointed the likely source of most natural gas contamination in drinking-water wells associated with hydraulic fracturing, and it’s not the source many people may have feared. What’s more, the problem may be fixable: improved construction standards for cement well linings and casings at hydraulic fracturing sites.

November 2014, Vol. 241, No. 11

One top federal pipeline regulator left her job and a prominent state regulator is coming to Washington to fill a second high-profile pipeline job. Cynthia Quarterman left as administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Oct. 3. No replacement has been named. Meanwhile, the White House nominated Colette Honorable as a commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). When confirmed, which is likely, she would probably be appointed chairman. Honorable is chair of the Public Service Commission in Arkansas.

October 2014, Vol. 241, No. 10

When global business consulting giant Accenture finished a recent treatise on shale oil and natural gas development, it identified eight key factors needed to make exploitation of shale viable, and the first three are found in abundance in successful U.S. shale plays from North Dakota’s Bakken to Texas’ Eagle Ford. They are geology, land considerations and the existence of an unconventional energy resource service sector.

October 2014, Vol. 241, No. 10

$3.25. Remember that number.

These days I avoid watching the evening news. ISIS, Ebola, Ukraine, Putin, Iraq, Gaza, Boko Haram, the Khorasan Group, Ferguson, etc. Some days I wish I could just stay in bed.

September 2014, Vol. 241, No. 9
Special To Pipeline & Gas Journal

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently unveiled interactive online maps showing natural gas leaks beneath the streets of Boston, Indianapolis and New York City’s Staten Island. Leaks like these rarely pose an immediate safety threat, but the leaking natural gas – which is mostly methane – has a powerful effect on the global climate, carrying 120 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide.

September 2014, Vol. 241, No. 9

Aggressive efforts are underway to reduce methane emissions from the natural gas sector and the industry is working on technologies and approaches for mitigating emissions. But it also must improve the way emissions are quantified. By establishing reasonable baselines, utilities will be able to provide more accurate reports about their emissions profiles and implement mitigation and reduction programs. GTI and its industry partners are working to update those baselines now.

September 2014, Vol. 241, No. 9

There is at least one raised eyebrow at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over the EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan, the subject of a proposed rule issued on June 2. The plan would force electric utilities to reduce carbon emissions to advance President Obama's Climate Action Plan, which seeks to lower air emissions of the six greenhouse gases, of which carbon dioxide is the major member. The plan foresees individual states devising separate, and perhaps different, plans for reducing carbon emissions from electric utilities.

August 2014, Vol. 241, No. 8

I’ve never been to North Dakota; in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone from that state. Now, one of the great oil discoveries of recent years, the immense Bakken Shale, has put the upper Plains state on the map for all to see.

August 2014, Vol. 241, No. 8

Recent events in West Virginia have shown that our water supply is in jeopardy of contamination from leaks or overfills of storage and processing tanks (Figure 1) at chemical, petroleum and water/wastewater facilities.

August 2014, Vol. 241, No. 8
Special To Pipeline & Gas Journal

Like most stories about Texas, the one that’s being written in the Eagle Ford shale is full of big dreams, big dollars, and big results.

The play itself is huge, covering an area of 20,000 square miles, it spans 25 south-central Texas counties and is roughly the size of Croatia. Capital expenditures there by energy companies are sky-high, reaching $28 billion through the end of 2013, if predictions by global consultants Wood Mackenzie held true.

August 2014, Vol. 241, No. 8

Pipeline safety is back on the congressional agenda, in part because of a recent Department of Transportation Inspector General's report, in part because of PHMSA'S failure to finish rulemakings mandated by the 2011 pipeline safety bill. PHMSA's foot-dragging has irritated the industry and the major pipeline safety advocacy group equally.

July 2014, Vol. 241, No. 7
Special To Pipeline & Gas Journal

Rice University scientists have created an earth-friendly way to separate carbon dioxide from natural gas at wellheads.

A porous material invented by the Rice laboratory of chemist James Tour sequesters carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, at ambient temperature – with pressure provided by the wellhead – and lets it go once the pressure is released. The material shows promise as a replacement for more costly and energy-intensive processes.

July 2014, Vol. 241, No. 7
Special To Pipeline & Gas Journal

The growth in U.S. imports of Canadian oil sands in recent years has not impacted the overall greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of the U.S. supply mix, according to a new study by IHS, a leading global source of critical information and insight. The growth of oil sands imports were offset by substitution for similar sources of supply and by increase in lower-carbon tight oil displacing relatively higher carbon imports from Africa and elsewhere, the study says.

July 2014, Vol. 241, No. 7

Spectra Energy’s 20-mile expansion of the Texas Eastern and Algonquin Gas Transmission pipelines from Linden, NJ to Manhattan cost $60 million per mile, but the money is just the beginning.

June 2014, Vol. 241, No. 6

Just as onshore production methods change and evolve over time, so too do environmental regulations. On Aug. 16, 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published final regulatory updates specific to onshore oil and natural gas production that span from well completion to transmission. Deciphering and gaining a better understanding of these regulations will remove costly compliance pitfalls during normal operations.

June 2014, Vol. 241, No. 6
Execs at INGAA Foundation Meeting Outline Construction Risks

Faced with a study projecting that the pipeline industry will need an average of $30 billion per year worth of new infrastructure to satisfy oil, gas and liquids transportation needs between 2014 and 2035, pipeline operators foresee struggle and risk as well as opportunity.