The State Department approved a construction permit for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline project on Friday after being first proposed in 2008. TransCanada still needs to secure approvals from states, where it might encounter legal hurdles.
US shale producers are leaving thousands of wells unfinished in the Permian Basin, with the number of drilled but uncompleted wells hitting a record of 1,764 in February, government data show. This suggests that rig count data is not a reliable indicator of production as many companies drill wells just because they are forced to do so to retain their leases.
Canadian oilfield service provider Trican Well Service plans to acquire competitor Canyon Services Group in a $478 million all-share deal that will give rise to the largest independent provider of hydraulic fracturing services in Canada. "Our customers live with $50 [US]-a-barrel oil, and $3 gas -- or whatever it may be now -- and, in order for them to make money, and for us to make money, we have to run very efficient organizations," said Trican President and CEO Dale Dusterhoft, underscoring the importance of scaling.
Arctic oil exploration is unjustifiable and infeasible in the current price environment, especially in areas not easily accessible such as Alaska, said Goldman Sachs commodities analyst Michele Della Vigna. "Overall, the idea that we have to go into the Arctic to find new resources I think has been dispelled by the enormous cheap, easier to produce and quicker time-to-market resources in the Permian onshore US," he added.
The oil industry's recent slide is mostly to thank for US shale drillers' improved efficiency and productivity, because the downturn has forced oilfield service companies to slash prices by as much as 40%, driving break-even costs for producers down 25% on average, writes petroleum geologist Arthur Berman. He writes that 90% of shale drillers' cost savings are due to the industry slump, while the remaining 10% can be attributed to technological advances.
US oil and natural gas companies doubt that President Donald Trump's energy policy will lead to much positive or negative change within the industry, a Reuters analysis of Securities and Exchange Commission reports shows. According to the filings, 13 of the 15 biggest US oil and gas producers say that the current regulatory environment is not affecting their operations or finances.
The 14-member California Air Resources Board on Thursday voted unanimously in favor of adopting new methane emissions rules that are considered the strictest in the US. The regulations establish new efficiency guidelines for natural gas transportation and production and oil-handling equipment, and also introduce tougher gas leak monitoring and reporting requirements.
The Maryland Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee voted 8-3 Wednesday in favor of a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing, advancing the measure to the full state Senate. The vote comes after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared his full support for a fracking ban last week.
The government of Canada's Saskatchewan province plans to re-evaluate its regulations and engineering standards for pipelines around water sources in the wake of a July 2016 oil spill into the North Saskatchewan River. Saskatchewan also intends to hire more oil and natural gas industry inspectors as part of its 2017/2018 budget.
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