Update: Use of Fracking for Oil & Gas Development Expands, Boosting Manufacturing & US Domestic Investment, While Reducing Utility Bills

HBW Resources: Ollison Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Below is a summary prepared by Bo Ollison, HBW Resources’ Senior Director of Policy, of publicly available activities currently underway at the federal, state and international levels that could impact the use of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas extraction.  HBW Resources is monitoring these activities to ensure that responsible and feasible policies based on sound science are advanced.

Highlights

  • The Broomfield, CO the recount related to Question 300 is underway and the CO Sec. of State has raised concerns over a multitude of irregularities
  • In Massachusetts, the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture passed H 3796, that would ban hydraulic fracturing until Dec. 31, 2024 in the State
  • Jobs in core industries developing Ohio’s oil and natural gas shale play have risen by over 30% over the past two years
  • In Pennsylvania, UGI Gas Utilities announced a 6.3% price cut to customers in Berks County, effective this past Sunday. The cut reduces the average residential gas bill from $92.36 to $86.55. The cut was due to the abundance of local natural gas from the Marcellus Shale gas fields within the state
  • National Park Service withdrew its written comments on DOI’s proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations on public lands due to their being “inappropriate”
  • IEA stated that the share of natural gas in the global energy mix would approach 25% by 2035
  • The National Energy Board will soon request that companies regulated under the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act to publicly disclose information on the fluids used in hydraulic fracturing operations
  • Egypt is looking at the viability of shale gas development in the Western Desert
  • Poland-focused shale explorer San Leon Energy said results from one of its test wells had been much better than expected
  • Water UK signed an MOU with the UK Onshore Operators Group that would ensure respective members cooperate throughout the shale gas exploration process and minimize any risks to the environment

States 

State Legislative Update: Please see linked spreadsheet for an updated listing of state legislation dealing with hydraulic fracturing.

Colorado
recount of Broomfield’s fracking vote got underway this week amid criticism from Secretary of State Scott Gessler about how the city handled the state’s new voter registration law. Question 300 is an amendment to the Broomfield Home Rule Charter to prohibit for five years the use of hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas extractions and prohibit the disposal or open pit storage of solid or liquid wastes connected to hydraulic fracturing.  The initial count showed Question 300 failing by 13 votes. After military, overseas and other ballots were included, the tally showed the measure passing by 17 votes, close enough to trigger a recount. Last week, Gessler said the city counted ballots from people who were ineligible to vote and rejected ballots from legitimate voters. For more information, please contact us.

Election watchdog groups scrutinizing a bevy of significant irregularities are questioning whether a key leader of the initiative to ban hydraulic fracturing should also be allowed to play a leading role in determining which votes do and don’t get counted in the razor thin election contest. Joan Murahata, co-chair of the Broomfield Democrats and a leading advocate for Our Broomfield – the local chapter of a nationally funded network trying to ban hydraulic fracturing locally – also has another role.  She also serves on Broomfield’s Canvassing Board, the body charged with making key determinations about which votes are and aren’t counted in the hotly contested recount. An October 21 Facebook post by the Sierra Club highlighted Murahata’s participation in the fracking ban campaign’s organizational and fundraising efforts. “Denver Metro folks, please help support Broomfield Ballot Measure 300 however you can – volunteer, donate, or just help spread the word…” read the Facebook message.  “Contact Joan Murahata of the local group Our Broomfield to volunteer.” That seeming conflict of interest – and what some see as an effort to keep aspects of the recount out of public view – has raised eyebrows among many observers, given that the Canvassing Board is the final arbiter and certifier of the election. News of Murahata’s connection to the green lobby comes just days after local officials were forced into the position of conceding that they disenfranchised some voters after citizen watchers’ complaints were independently analyzed by the Secretary of State.

Massachusetts
The Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture passed, H 3796, that would ban hydraulic fracturing until December 31, 2024 in the state of Massachusetts. The bill would also prohibit the process of collecting, storing, treating or disposing of wastewater hydraulic fracturing fluids through December 31, 2024. The bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. For more information, please contact HBW Resources.

Missouri
A 30-inch natural gas pipeline ruptured in a rural area in western Missouri causing an explosion and fire that could be seen for several miles. No injuries were reported, authorities said. The Pettis County Sheriff’s Department said the pipeline, owned by Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Co., ruptured outside Hughesville, about 75 miles east of Kansas City. The rupture and explosion set fire to several hog barns, farm outbuildings, equipment and hay bales, Pettis County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Egbert said. Panhandle Energy spokeswoman Vicki Anderson Granado also said in a statement no injuries were reported and the company has rerouted gas from the area so deliveries wouldn’t be affected.

New Jersey
Middletown Township officials are moving forward on a multi-year initiative that will transition much of the municipal vehicle fleet to natural gas and bring a new, 24/7 natural gas station to the heart of Middletown. The Township Committee unanimously approved on Nov. 18 a joint program with New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG), which has agreed to build a publicly available natural gas station near Middletown’s recycling center on Kane’s Lane in the coming year. In return, Middletown will have to add an estimated 14 natural gas vehicles to its fleet within four years. Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger said the program is a win-win for Middletown, as it will cut costs and make township vehicles more environmentally friendly at the same time. The multi-year plan — which still must be approved by the township Planning Board — is part of a pilot program that was approved by the state Board of Public Utilities in June 2012. NJNG will fund the installation and maintenance of the natural gas station, which would be open to township employees and the general public 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Middletown, which acquired two natural gas garbage trucks using federal funds last year, will have to establish a three-year “fleet acquisition plan” and ultimately use an estimated 50,000 gallons of compressed natural gas a year.

North Dakota
Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) and Enbridge Energy Partners have announced that MPC will serve as an anchor shipper for the Sandpiper Project. MPC will fund 37.5 percent of the construction of the Sandpiper Project, which will become part of Enbridge Energy Partners’ North Dakota System when it is completed. Sandpiper is targeted to be operational in early 2016. The Sandpiper Project is the next phase of crude oil pipeline expansion that will provide a safe and reliable transportation corridor from Beaver Lodge, ND to Superior, WI. It will expand and extend the Bakken takeaway capacity of the North Dakota System by 225,000 barrels per day (bpd) to a total of 580,000 bpd. The Sandpiper pipeline is currently estimated to cost approximately $2.6 billion. For more information, please contact us.

Ohio
Jobs in core industries developing Ohio’s oil and natural gas shale play have risen by 30 percent over a two-year period tracked by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The department reported that employment in core industries such as well drilling and pipeline construction stood at 8,192 jobs in the first quarter of 2013, the most recent quarter measured. That was up from 6,263 for the same period in 2011 – the year Job and Family Services uses as the base for comparisons in its quarterly shale reports. Core shale-related industries employed 7,329 in the first quarter of 2012, so this year’s total still represents a 12 percent increase on a year-to-year basis, according to state data. Employment has also increased in ancillary industries such as trucking, engineering services and environmental consulting. It rose to 161,043 jobs in first quarter 2013, a 0.66 percent increase compared with the prior-year period, and was 3.8 percent higher than in 2011. For more information, please contact HBW Resources.

Pennsylvania
UGI Gas Utilities officials said the company has cut the price it charges to its gas customers in most of Berks County by 6.3 percent. The cut, which took effect Sunday, lowers the average residential gas bill from $92.36 to $86.55 per month. Company officials credit the price cut to an abundance of local natural gas from the Marcellus shale gas fields in Pennsylvania.

Two York County projects will get funding through state impact fees charged to natural gas drillers in the state’s Marcellus Shale formation, with more than $200,000 headed to Dillsburg and Stewartstown. The state announced the allocations as part of about $16 million being distributed to ensure a portion of the money collected from the fees goes to local communities to support environmental and conservation programs, Gov. Tom Corbett said in a press release. This round of money is being used to develop and improve public recreation areas. Dillsburg will get $193,566 to help it create a community park, and Stewartstown has been allocated $30,400 for its borough’s fairgrounds. At the same time, $303,000 will be allocated towards two park projects in Chester County. West Pikeland Township will receive $250,000 for the acquisition of property at 803 Walnut Street, also known as “Opperman’s Corner,” for the development of a 67-acre community park for passive and active recreation. The French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust will receive $53,000 for the development of an ADA-accessible park and fishing pier on an 8.7-acre wooded parcel at the site of the former Tri Town Sportsmen’s Club property in East Vincent Township.

Three Robert Morris University professors are using a mathematical model to figure out the best places to build natural gas filling stations — and the answer is more complicated than the rationale for building conventional petroleum gasoline stations. Conventional gas stations have decades of history and the market behind them. Most everyone has a car run by gas. It’s rarer for an electric car, rarer still among the general population to have a private vehicle that runs on natural gas. There are only a handful of natural gas fueling stations in the Pittsburgh region. Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Tony Kerzmann, Associate Professor of Physics Gavin Buxton and Assistant Professor of Mathematics Jonathan Preisser wanted to see if math and science could help determine the best places for natural gas filling stations in the Pittsburgh region. The model successfully accomplished the task, although the authors acknowledge it’s still a work in progress. The model has been described in an article approved for publication in the March volume of Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments. For more information, please contact us.

Clean Water Action and the Sierra Club sent out a questionnaire from Steve Hvozdovich, Elections Coordinator of Clean Water Action – Pennsylvania, to candidates for Governor as a first step in the organization’s endorsement process. Of particular interest, is question 9 related to Conditional Drilling Moratorium. The question states, “The growth of oil and gas industry has outpaced Pennsylvania’s ability to adequately update its laws, regulations, and oversight. Unlike Pennsylvania, states like New York and Maryland are conducting comprehensive studies that assess the cumulative impact of all industry operations before determining how best to proceed. Pennsylvania is already feeling the ramifications of not doing its due diligence. Negative impacts to air and water quality are occurring across the Commonwealth, with DEP documenting over 161 cases of water contamination caused by gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. Recently, legislation was introduced which would create a moratorium on the issuance of permits for drilling unconventional gas wells until studies could be conducted on water source protection, air quality regulations, disclosure of chemicals used in fracking, the permitting process, and more. Do you support or oppose legislation that would create a moratorium on issuing new drilling permits, until the state has fully conducted studies meant to protect our health and environment? Regardless of your position on a moratorium, what additional safeguards if any do you believe are needed in order to better protect our health and environment from the dangers of natural gas drilling?” Also of interest is Question 12, related to the Delaware River Basin Commission and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. The question states, “Pennsylvania is part of two compacts with other states that created the Delaware River Basin Commission and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. The commissions are tasked in their respective basin with acting on applications for projects using water, adopting regulations, and direct planning and management activities affecting the basin’s water resources. Since 2011, the Delaware River Basin Commission has maintained a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the watershed, which is the source of drinking water for 15 million people. Do you support or oppose maintaining the moratorium until the full impact of drilling in the watershed is understood and until state and federal regulations exist to adequately protect this crucial source of drinking water? Do you support or oppose having the Susquehanna River Basin Commission conduct a comprehensive study of how gas drilling is impacting water resources in the Susquehanna watershed? What additional steps do you think the SRBC can take to protect fisheries and reduce nutrient and sediment pollution in the basin? Mr. Hvozdovich ends the letter with a request for completed questionnaires by Monday, December 2, 2013. For more information, please contact HBW Resources.

Texas
CGG has successfully completed a multi-client high-resolution airborne magnetic gradiometer survey in the Eagle Ford shale play. Deliverables from the survey will be available by the end of 2013. The magnetic data will assist shale exploration and development companies by detecting changes in magnetite content in the sedimentary section and hence allowing the mapping of basement and sedimentary anomalies, faults and structures. Benoît Ribadeau-Dumas, Senior Executive Vice President of CGG’s Acquisition Division, said, “the addition of high-resolution airborne magnetic gradiometer data in the Eagle Ford shale play underlines CGG’s strategy to offer the industry the very latest technology to support growing demand for shale exploration, production and development. We are currently preparing to undertake similar projects in other shale play areas as we regard the US domestic shale play as an important region for the expansion of our multi-client data offering.”

National
National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis says his agency’s written comments on the Interior Department’s proposed regulations for fracking on public land were “inappropriate” and should be withdrawn from the record. Jarvis’ comments come in response to concerns raised by Rep. Rob Bishop (R, UT 1) about NPS’s comments on the Bureau of Land Management rules. Bishop, in a September letter to Jarvis, slammed NPS for citing in the comments a New York Times opinion piece about methane leaks from oil and gas development, arguing that the move violated the agency’s policy on the Integrity of Scientific and Scholarly Activities. Jarvis, in a Nov. 13 letter to Bishop that the lawmaker released publicly, agreed that the comments did not meet NPS’ standards.

The Energy Department approved two more liquefied natural gas export applications. Eos LNG and Barca LNG are both authorized to export up to 1.6 billion cubic feet per day to Free Trade Agreement nations from proposed terminals in Brownsville, Texas, for 25 years. The projects are notable as some of the first approvals for floating LNG projects – waterborne facilities that can be moored to offshore gas fields (in these cases, sources at the Port of Brownsville) and can process, liquefy and store gas for transport by tanker to market. Floating LNG, still a nascent technology, would make extracting gas from more offshore fields simpler and cheaper than piping it to onshore facilities. For more information, please contact us.

Ample supplies boosted by the U.S. shale oil revolution and anaemic demand growth are expected to pressure crude oil prices next year, a Reuters poll of analysts forecast. The monthly survey of 27 analysts projected Brent crude oil would average $104.10 a barrel in 2014, down from this year’s closing average price of $108.50. Last month’s poll saw Brent averaging $105.40 in 2014. The poll expects Brent to average $102.60 in 2015. The poll forecast U.S. light crude, also known as West Texas Intermediate or WTI, would average $97.30 a barrel in 2014, down from $99.80 in last month’s survey. Analysts said the boom in U.S. shale oil production would be the single biggest factor impacting oil prices in 2014. Even analysts projecting substantial growth in global oil demand expected supply to outpace consumption.

The student campaign to press colleges and universities to divest from fossil fuels is entering a new phase, now that administrators at several top schools have said no. Students say the refusals from schools including Harvard, Brown and Cornell have been both a shock and a motivation for the campaign, which is active at more than 200 schools. The Fossil Free campaign argues that it’s wrong to put pollution into the air and contribute to climate change, so it’s also wrong to profit from it. The strategy aims to limit the flow of capital to fossil fuel companies by making their stocks morally and financially unattractive. In theory, that could lead to a slowdown in how much fossil fuel is burned and more investments in renewable energy. Most schools haven’t formally taken a position yet, but Fossil Free says about 15 have said no, including Boston College, Middlebury College and Vassar. At least eight schools have voted to divest: San Francisco State University; Foothill-De Anza Community College in Los Altos Hills, Calif.; Unity College and College of the Atlantic, both in Maine; Hampshire College in Massachusetts; and Sterling College and Green Mountain College, both in Vermont. For more information, please contact us.

International
The International Energy Agency sees a central role for natural gas in the next 20 years, with the unconventional resources accounting for about a third of the natural gas produced worldwide. “Out of all the fossil fuels, natural gas has the highest absolute growth. The global demand for natural gas increases by half over the period to 2035,” Keisuke Sadamori from the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in occasion of the conference European Formula 2013 in Oslo. According to a note released by Wintershall, this means that the share of natural gas in the global energy mix would approach 25% by 2035. Unconventional natural gas resources, such as shale gas, will account for about a third of the natural gas produced worldwide in 2035. The IEA sees a 13% increase in European gas consumption in the period 2011-2035 and a sharp rise in demand in Asia. China, India and the Middle East are expected to surge by 60%.

Argentina
Argentina said that a pending deal with Spanish oil major Repsol is aimed at kick-starting shale drilling in the South American country, putting an end to the long stand-off between energy investors and President Cristina Fernandez. Nineteen months after seizing control of Argentina’s main oil company YPF from Repsol, Fernandez’s government announced a preliminary deal to pay Repsol for its nationalized shares. Shares of both companies soared on reports that the pact involved a proposal by Spain’s government that Repsol receive $5 billion in compensation from the Argentine state for the 51 percent stake it grabbed in YPF last year. The deal could set the stage for a radical increase in unconventional energy exploration and help repair a relationship with global investors left in tatters after Argentina’s massive 2002 sovereign default. Tapping its vast shale reserves would also bolster central bank reserves drained in part by expensive oil and gas imports. Argentina’s new cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich, himself a possible 2015 presidential candidate, said the government was out to attract investment in the country’s massive Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas formation. “We are building a path that will allow for an increase in hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation,” he told a press conference, adding that Argentina has a “very ambitious” energy program scheduled for the years ahead. For more information, please contact HBW Resources.

Australia
Researchers at the University of Sydney are in the process of formulating mathematical models that would reduce rock fracturing and soil liquefactionThe study’s chief investigator, Dr. Luming Shen, said albeit being in the initial stages of studying the behavior of unsaturated porous media under heavy loading, he believes that it is breaking new ground in geotechnical engineering. The three year study will work in collaboration with the University of Adelaide.

Brazil
Brazil moved to tap the global shale oil and natural gas boom that revolutionized the U.S. energy market–by offering 240 exploration concessions at an auction that lacked the presence of many major companies. Brazilian state-run energy giant Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR), or Petrobras, dominated the early bidding. The auction featured both new areas in remote regions that are little explored and areas that already have produced oil and gas. There was lukewarm interest from major oil companies as Petrobras, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) and France’s Total SA (TOT) were the only major players out of the 21 firms that registered to participate. The modest turnout mirrored last month’s sale of the giant Libra offshore field, when heavyweights such as Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), Chevron Corp. (CVX) and BP PLC (BP) sat out the sale of Brazil’s largest offshore oil discovery. For more information, please contact HBW Resources.

Canada
Members of a First Nation in northern Alberta are occupying an access road to an oil lease site on their territory where a company intends to horizontally drill using hydraulic fracturing without their consent. The traditional chief and council of Lubicon Lake Cree Nation along with approximately 20 members began peacefully blockading an access road to a Penn West Petroleum Ltd. site after they discovered the company bringing equipment and workers into the area without notice. Chief Bernard Ominayak said the Lubicon Nation requires industry to obtain free, prior and informed consent prior to developing on their territory, which has not happened. Instead, members were notified by the arrival of the company on their territory. Lubicon leaders then passed a council resolution and order indicating that Penn West was trespassing on Lubicon Land and had to vacate immediately. Members of the Peace River RCMP detachment visited the blockade site three times, once with Richard Goy from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD), who delivered an order to remove protesters from the road under the Public Lands Act. For more information, please contact us.

The National Energy Board (NEB) will soon request companies regulated under the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (COGOA) to publicly disclose information on the fluids used in hydraulic fracturing operations. NEB signed an agreement with the BC Oil and Gas Commission, and the US-based Ground Water Protection Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission to participate in the Fracfocus.ca website. “We understand that Canadians demand that hydraulic fracturing be done safely, responsibly and transparently,” said Gaétan Caron, the Chair and CEO of the National Energy Board. “Joining FracFocus.ca is another step in making sure Canadians have ready access to important information on the process and understand how the NEB promotes safety and environmental protection for these types of activities.” The NEB will request regulated companies to disclose information on the hydraulic fracturing practices and fluids they use in their operations on the FracFocus.ca website 30 days after the hydraulic fracturing operation has been completed. Under the Canada Petroleum Resources Act (CPRA), certain information is protected by privilege for up to two years. NEB-regulated companies will be asked to sign a waiver allowing disclosure of an operator’s hydraulic fracturing chemicals on the FracFocus.ca website prior to the end of the privilege period.

The Standing Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Energy for the Government of Prince Edward Island has supported a moratorium on high volume hydraulic fracturing in the waters off the province.  In a report tabled during the fall session of the legislature, Committee Chair Paula Biggar said “Your committee is very concerned that hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” for shale gas extraction has not been shown to be safe and is in fact a significant threat to health and the environment.” The committee cautioned hydraulic fracturing also uses volumes of fresh water on par with the weekly usage of a city like Charlottetown just to pump one well. The committee went a step further, calling for a moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling in Prince Edward Island’s territorial waters. Currently, there is no such exploration taking place, but the committee recommends the Robert Ghiz government collaborate New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Quebec and the federal government to develop a comprehensive management plan for the Gulf of St. Lawrence that puts a priority on protection of the marine ecosystem.

Nova Scotia won’t be accepting waste water from hydraulic fracturing done outside the province under legislation that was recently introduced. Environment Minister Randy Delorey said the proposed ban is appropriate given there is a moratorium on fracking in Nova Scotia while an independent review of the process is underway. The review is being led by Cape Breton University president David Wheeler and findings are expected to be released in the spring. Delorey said the legislation shouldn’t have to be amended once it’s passed, regardless of whether the province decides to allow fracking. “If other jurisdictions want to proceed with hydraulic fracturing and the waste byproduct, we believe it is their responsibility to deal with that waste themselves,” said Delorey. He said Nova Scotia would be responsible for dealing with its own waste. For more information, please contact us.

Egypt
Egypt has said it will be looking at the viability of explore shale gas in the Western Desert. Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) is one of the companies looking into shale gas in the region with energy companies Shell and Apache Corp. Mahfouz El Bony, EGAS Vice Chairman for Agreements and Exploration, said, “There are some layers in the Western Desert that could be considered as a source for unconventional gas… We are working with Shell and Apache to study the potential of these resources.” Egypt is seeking to increase its production of oil and gas in order to meet rising energy demands.

France
eCORP Stimulation Technologies (ecorpStim) has welcomed the conclusions of the French Parliamentary Office for Scientific and Technological Choices (OPECST) which considers propane stimulation a genuine alternative to hydraulic fracturing for the extraction of shale oil and gas. ecorpStim was created in 2012 to provide European countries, as well as those with limited water resources, with alternatives to hydraulic fracturing, based on pure home grade propane and without the use of chemicals. OPECST released its report titled ‘Alternative techniques to hydraulic fracturing for the exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbons’, which results from one year of investigation, hearings and study trips in the field in France and abroad. Contrary to popular belief, the authors note that “alternative technologies are more developed than currently believed in France” starting with propane stimulation, qualified as an “operational and promising alternative technique. Developed by ecorpStim, pure propane stimulation (PPS) is currently the only operational technique for extracting unconventional hydrocarbons without any water or chemical additives. The environmental impact of the extraction process is thereby profoundly reduced. For more information, please contact HBW Resources.

French Environment Minister Philippe Martin reiterated his government’s strong opposition to the exploitation of shale gas, despite a parliamentary report advocating more flexibility towards unconventional gas. The French government says it will not issue the permits for shale gas exploitation requested by the U.S. company Hess Oil, Martin, the energy and ecology minister, announced. Hess oil brought the seven permits from the company Toreador, which had secured them in 2010. The oil covered by the permits is located in the Parisian basin. The permits were never clearly cancelled after the government set a law in 2011 prohibiting hydraulic fracturing. The decision of the minister confirms the categorical opposition of the French government to shale gas exploitation, a position not shared by all. A French parliamentary expert office, OPECST, presented a report which suggests that France should take a more flexible stance on the use of hydraulic fracturing. Drafted by two MPs from left and right, respectively Christian Bataille (PS) and Jean-Claude Lenoir (UMP), the report on “alternative techniques to the hydraulic fracturing for the exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbons” singles out the “demonisation of shale gas in France.” The two MPs call for experimental drilling which would allow testing new techniques derived from hydraulic fracturing. In their opinion, this is justified by the fast progress on extraction techniques since the 2011 legislation.

India
The oil ministry may soon move a Cabinet note allowing exploration of shale resources by private firms in blocks held by them, a move that comes at a time when it is also preparing the ground for launching the fifth round of bidding for coal bed methane blocks after a gap of more than three years. The government also plans to extend, albeit with a few stringent conditions, the recently approved shale exploration policy which allows only state-run ONGC and Oil India to explore shale resources in their existing oil and gas blocks, officials said. For more information, please contact us.

With an aim to tap shale energy resources of Cambay basin, the Gujarat government plans to set up an international center of excellence in shale resources. The new center is being promoted through Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU) at Gandhinagar. The aim of the proposed center is to create awareness, provide education, training, innovation and entrepreneurship in shale resources and provide platform for overseas technologists, research and development institutes, industries, investors and venture capitalists to establish and expand shale resources commercialization facilities in India. The initial estimated investment by the government for setting up the center will be around Rs.40 crore.

Mexico
A new study related to the Mexican Shale Gas Market, was released by Prost & Sullivan. The study covers the timeframe of 2010-2017. The market is strictly associated with investments for new exploration/exploitation of shale gas and analyzed according to international benchmarks. An investment forecast along with key market trends and expected scenarios are provided. According to the Executive Summary, Mexico is estimated to have the world’s sixth-highest shale gas reserves, investment in the sector is expected to increase, and Mexico’s new administration is advancing an energy reform that focuses on the modernization of the electricity market and the hydrocarbon industry. For more information, please contact HBW Resources.

Poland
Poland-focused shale explorer San Leon Energy said results from one of its test wells had been much better than expected, an important boost for the country’s shale ambitions. San Leon said the hydraulic fracturing – fracking – of the Lewino-1G2 well in Poland’s northern Baltic Basin had been successful. A prolonged flow test to quantify the flow rate of the gas and the well’s ultimate potential now needs to be done.

3Legs Resources and ConocoPhillips will continue their joint pursuit of Polish shale gas after encouraging Baltic Basin test results, reviving the country’s hopes of reducing its reliance on Russian gas. 3Legs Resources, whose biggest shareholders include BlackRock and JPMorgan Chase, said it plans, with ConocoPhillips, further testing wells at western Baltic Basin concessions in 2014. “We remain firm believers in the potential for a successful shale gas project in Poland,” said Chief Executive Kamlesh Parmar, citing promising acreage and results. 3Legs Resources estimate the cost of the exploration program at $63 million.

Romania
Chevron has once more resumed its search for shale gas in eastern Romania. October saw the company win approval to drill exploratory wells in Pungesti, a small town in the impoverished eastern county of Vaslui but had to pause in their efforts as local residents began blocking the sites due to the environmental risks associated with fracking. A statement released by the company explained: “Chevron can confirm that it has resumed operations,” the company said in a statement.

Spain
Spain’s parliament passed an environmental impact law that could open the door to hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting shale gas that has not been used up to now in the country. The government said it would evaluate hydraulic fracturing, the first mention in a Spanish law of the technology, which has been banned in France and Bulgaria. Lawmakers in the northern region of Cantabria had unanimously voted in April to ban fracking on environmental grounds, dashing the centre-right government’s hopes to develop a region believed to be rich in shale gas. Spain, in the grips of a severe economic downturn marked by high unemployment, imports around three-quarters of its energy needs and fracking could help relieve its dependence on foreign sources of fuel. For more information, please contact us.

United Kingdom
Britain’s developing shale gas industry will not put undue pressure on water supplies and environmental risks will be minimized, says a new report by a group that works on behalf of the water sector. Water UK has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Kingdom Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG), to ensure respective members will cooperate throughout the shale gas exploration and extraction process and minimize any risks to the environment. “This agreement with Water UK should give reassurance to local communities that the development of shale gas in the UK can proceed with minimal impact upon the local water and waste services,” said Ken Cronin, chief executive of UKOOG. Under the MOU, members of UKOOG and Water UK will work together to identify and resolve risks around water or waste water including:
•Baseline monitoring requirements to assess impacts of onshore oil and gas development on the quality and quantity of local water resources;
•Plans relating to site water management, especially water reuse, to improve understanding of local impacts;
•Onshore oil and gas company development plans, including scenarios for expansion of exploration and development within a local area and what this means for short and long-term demand for water at specific locations;
•The expected volumes and chemical and biological composition of waste water as well as preferred disposal routes.

More people are in favor of fracking for shale gas in the northwest than opposed, a BBC survey suggests. The poll of 1,941 people indicated 44% of those who know about fracking support it, while 34% are against. The poll found 22% are undecided. Seventy-three per cent of those in favor said they still had concerns about the process. Energy firm Igas said the results were “encouraging” but protesters said fracking would be “disastrous.” Market research company TNS asked a cross-section of people from across the northwest aged 16 or above for their views on fracking in a four-week survey beginning 30 October. The survey – commissioned by BBC North West Tonight – revealed that 529 people had not heard of the process. Another 10 people did not know if they had heard of it. Of the 1,402 participants who had, 610 (44%) said they supported fracking in the northwest, 482 (34%) were against and 310 (22%) said they did not know. For more information, please contact HBW Resources.

Shareholders in UK shale developer Dart Energy backed a boardroom coup, voting out the chairman and his allies despite his warning that the move was an attempt to acquire the company on the cheap. New Hope Coal, leader of the coup, cited years of poor performance. The move comes amid intense investor scrutiny of Britain’s shale oil and gas drilling scene. Britain is seen as a European test bed for the controversial extraction practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The ousting of Chairman Nicholas Davies and his allies also comes while Australian-listed Dart, one of a handful of bets on a successful UK shale industry, aims to close a cooperation deal with GDF-Suez under which the French utility would provide cash and funding. A statement announcing Davies’ resignation and his replacement by Robert Neale, the managing director of 16 percent shareholder New Hope Coal, made no reference to the future of the GDF deal. However, a Nov 19 letter from Davies to shareholders urging them to reject the coup on Nov 19 warned: “It should come as no surprise to you if I told you that the international oil and gas majors who we are negotiating with in the UK were bewildered by New Hope’s tactics.”

Britain is to see its first deliveries of US shale-derived gas in 2016 when Ineos completes a £300m investment program at its Grangemouth plant in Scotland. The chemicals giant that had threatened to close Grangemouth in October after a bitter industrial dispute, has revealed a plan that will transform the economics of the loss-making site, making it almost instantly profitable. Central to the plan is the construction of new shipping and storage facilities to handle imports of ethane, which is 75pc cheaper in America due to the shale gas revolution. Ineos has agreed a long-term supply deal, spanning 15 years, with US oil and gas group Range Resources. The import of cheap ethane will allow Ineos to run its KG chemical cracker at full capacity of 700,000 tons a year – twice the rate currently possible due to the decline in gas feedstocks coming out of the North Sea.

Additional Information

For additional information, please contact Bo Ollison with HBW Resources.  His contact information is below.

Bo Ollison
HBW Resources
2211 Norfolk Street, #410
Houston, TX 77098
Tel: 713-337-8810
E-mail: bollison@hbwresources.com
Web: http://www.hbwresources.com
Twitter: @BoOllison

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