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If you are lucky enough to have grown up in Texas, you are all too familiar with how popular culture, particularly Hollywood, has glamorized the life of a wildcatter or roughneck. The movie Giant depicts James Dean on a windswept Texas countryside, sopping head to toe in newly discovered oil. While maybe a compelling drama, as a Texas Railroad Commissioner, I can tell you this is far from reality.

The Texas Railroad Commission adopted new rules in December concerning pipeline permit applications involving 16 Texas Administrative Code §3.70. It has been three years since the state Supreme Court’s opinion in Denbury Green, which took a dim view of the commission’s “check the box” rules regarding Form T-4 pipeline permit application which automatically created common carrier status to the pipeline operator.

Crude from the Canadian oil sands deposits gained an additional major outlet in the U.S. when the joint venture of Enbridge, Inc. and Enterprise Products Partners L.P. completed construction of its Cushing-to-Texas pipeline and started deliveries in December to Gulf Coast refineries.

The new pipeline’s operations and routes are very similar to TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline project for bringing oil sands crude to the Gulf Coast.

Recently EnLink Midstream invited me out to West Texas to see my first pipeline spread – the Martin County Extension Pipeline. On the way to the line we stopped by the Deadwood gas plant where I met Chris Coleman, EnLink Midstream’s senior landman. He was amiable, genuine and welcoming, even letting me ride shotgun in his work truck, which I had to jump to get into. As we drove across the flat Texas land, kicking up a flurry of red dirt, he began telling me about his job.

Perhaps one of the most important safe guards put in place to maintain the long-term integrity of buried pipelines is a cathodic protection system. Cathodic protection (CP) is an anti- corrosion technique used to prevent the corrosion of metals such as steel and iron in electrolytically conducting environments such as seawater and soils containing water.

Global consulting company Wood Mackenzie has drawn on the knowledge and expertise of senior analysts in compiling a new report, Horizons: What To Look For In 2015.

In discussing the report, Paul McConnell, principal analyst for Global Trends at Wood Mackenzie, pointed out that oil market concerns will be inescapable in 2015. “With no sign that OPEC is reconsidering its decision to leave production targets unchanged, the impetus falls on non-OPEC producers to limit supply growth and bring the market back into balance,” he said.

In summer 2011, executives at super-major ExxonMobil were telling financial analysts during a quarterly earnings conference call about an amazing 70% boost in a year’s time of the energy giant’s unconventional natural gas-weighted portfolio to 76 Tcfe. The reason was simple, according to David Rosenthal, the current controller at ExxonMobil and at the time its investor relations chief. He summed it up in three letters, X-T-O.

The price of oil may have fallen to its lowest level in six years, but this “price shock” is different than the 2008-’09 variety, according to analysts at Pace Global.

“The current low-price situation is likely to persist for several years unless geopolitical events shift the market psychology from one of surplus to one of shortage,” Jim Diemer, vice president and head Pace Global-Siemens’ Energy Consulting Company, told PG&J.

Northeast Utilities, which operates New England’s largest energy delivery company, has become Eversource Energy. All of the company’s subsidiaries, including Connecticut Light and Power Co., NSTAR Electric, NSTAR Gas, Public Service Co. of New Hampshire, Western Massachusetts Electric Co. and Yankee Gas Services Co. have begun operating under the Eversource brand.

The company serves more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and employing a workforce of more than 8,000 New Englanders.

You already know that Houston is the energy capital of the nation, most likely the world. But did you know that Houston is also the violent bank robbery capital of the nation with no close second?

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