Interior Dept. to issue offshore oil, gas drilling rule, feds say | Shell-BG Group deal shows industry's effort to replace coal with gas | Analysts: ExxonMobil takeover could be next after Shell-BG Group merger
April 13, 2015
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Interior Dept. to issue offshore oil, gas drilling rule, feds say
The Interior Department is expected to release as early as today a regulation governing offshore oil and natural gas drilling in the U.S. to prevent future well explosions similar to what caused the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, federal officials said last week. American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard said the industry had a strong safety record before the accident happened and its offshore operations have become safer than before, as attested by leaders of the federal national spill commission. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (4/10)
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Bloomberg BNA's free report will help position your organization for legislative and regulatory changes to come in 2015, including: EPA's upcoming carbon emissions for power plants guidelines, final rule clarifying waters of the U.S, decisions on ozone standards, updated regulations on oil and gas drilling and production, and much more. Download the free report now.
Industry News
Shell-BG Group deal shows industry's effort to replace coal with gas
Royal Dutch Shell's big bet on natural gas, through its acquisition of BG Group, shows the petroleum industry is increasingly focusing on gas at the expense of coal to meet other countries' energy demands and help them meet their emissions-reduction goals. However, such moves are at risk with low prices of liquefied natural gas, uncertainty in the outcome of climate change deals and the need to restrain project construction costs. Bloomberg (4/10)
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Analysts: ExxonMobil takeover could be next after Shell-BG Group merger
ExxonMobil, considering its financial position, is likely the only major oil company that can strike a big acquisition deal after Royal Dutch Shell's purchase of BG Group, analysts from Morgan Stanley said in a note last week. A possible target could be a company that has offshore operations, instead of shale operations, they said. The analysts added that since ExxonMobil seems to be reaching a major deal every five to 10 years, the company could then be heading toward another deal. (4/10)
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Trans Energy to sell Marcellus Shale assets for $71.3M
Trans Energy said last week that it entered into a deal with an undisclosed buyer to sell some of its assets in the Marcellus Shale for $71.3 million. The assets include 12 operating wells and 5,159 acres in Wetzel County, W.Va., which is about one-third of the company's acreage in the play. American City Business Journals/Pittsburgh/Energy Inc. blog (4/10)
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Other News
Exploration & Production
Repsol looks to develop North Slope oilfield
Repsol is preparing to develop an oilfield in Alaska's North Slope near the Colville River Delta by analyzing data from its drilled wells and planning to apply for state and federal permits in June, said Bill Hardham, Alaska project manager at the company. Submitting applications for required permits is "a great step, but there are still questions out there," Hardham said. State Senate President Kevin Meyer, a Republican, said last week that the company has already expressed plans to carry out the project, which he believes would likely produce up to 50,000 barrels per day beginning in 2019. Alaska Dispatch News (Anchorage) (4/10)
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Policy Watch
EPA commits to finalize delayed ethanol mandates this year
The Environmental Protection Agency last week pledged to release drafts of the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014 and 2015 by June 1 and finalize them by Nov. 30 under a deal settling a lawsuit filed by the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers. The agency also committed to finalize the mandate for 2016 using the same timeline. Stacy Linden, vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at API, said, "The only long-term solution is for Congress to repeal the program and let consumers -- not the federal government -- choose the best fuel to put in their vehicles." Bloomberg (4/10), (4/10)
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BOEM starts review of Shell's Chukchi Sea exploration plan
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management last week deemed Royal Dutch Shell's Chukchi Sea exploration plan complete, starting a 30-day decision process for the company's drilling program in the region. The agency has also asked for public comments on the environmental impact of the activity until April 20 and on the revised plan until May 1. Shell said in a statement that it continues "to work on securing the final permits needed to continue exploration." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/The Associated Press (4/10), Alaska Dispatch News (Anchorage) (4/10)
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PHMSA offers $2M for pipeline safety research, Hoeven says
Gas Pipeline
(Stefan Swalander / EyeEm)
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., last week touted $2 million in funding from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to support university studies on pipeline safety. "We must ensure that our infrastructure is reliable, safe and efficient, and this grant will enable universities to do the innovative research that will do just that," Hoeven said. He added that constructing "the right kind of infrastructure" will help the U.S. achieve long-term energy security. United Press International (4/10)
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Senators call on panel to consider fair revenue sharing for coastal states
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee should consider allowing Southern Mid-Atlantic states to take part in a fair sharing of revenue from offshore energy production in federal waters "alongside Gulf Coast states," eight senators wrote last week in a letter to the panel. The senators from four states noted that as the Interior Department has included the Mid-Atlantic in its draft offshore lease plan, they "strongly believe that offshore energy and revenue sharing go hand-in-hand, and that any legislation considered by the committee should reflect that view." Oil & Gas Journal (4/10)
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API News
Strategic Financial Skills, April 27 to May 1, Dallas
Presented by the SMU Cox School of Business, this comprehensive week-long program uses a hands-on approach to help you understand and master the energy sector's financial essentials. Your instructors are senior teachers with significant experience in executive development, business, consulting and energy industry financial management. In a series of information-packed class sessions, you'll learn the essentials of the business side of the energy industry. By the end of the week, you'll have a working knowledge of the key areas of financial management. View the API-U Calendar.
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81st Annual API Federal Tax Forum, April 27 to 28
The forum is one of the only legal conferences focusing on federal oil and gas taxation and is consistently praised by participants as an excellent learning opportunity. It is open to private lawyers and accountants interested in this area and attracts speakers who are leading authorities in their fields. The topics covered at the forum are usually selected to address both basic and advanced issues on the U.S. taxation of domestic and international oil and gas operations. Learn more.
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