The total pipeline network for US crude oil, liquefied natural gas and refined products grew by 3.5% in 2014 to reach over 190,000 miles, according to data reported by the American Petroleum Institute and the Association of Oil Pipe Lines. The crude oil pipeline network grew by over 5,000 miles, representing a 9.1% year-over-year mileage increase.
The Environmental Protection Agency has increased the final blending volumes required under the Renewable Fuel Standard. "Today's announcement makes clear that, in order to protect consumers, Congress must step in to repeal or significantly reform the RFS," American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard said. "Members on both sides of the aisle agree this program is a failure, and we are stepping up our call for Congress to act." Gerard also cited the tardiness of EPA's quotas, which reflect fiscal 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Some of the provisions included in the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement's well control rule may "actually serve to increase risk and reduce safety," writes American Petroleum Institute Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito. "Our goal is to constantly improve operations integrity and decrease risk, but many of the requirements proposed in this rule could create unintended consequences that would shift risk rather than decrease it." Furthermore, the oil and natural gas industry has offered its expertise to help create a more "effective set of rules," Milito writes.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' decision a year ago to keep drilling output at a ceiling of 30 million barrels per day has not affected the US shale industry as expected, writes analyst Matthew DiLallo. While shale production has scaled back, developments such as enhanced drilling techniques and increased sand volumes being pumped into wells have led to returns competitive with higher oil prices.
Mexico will require a pretax profit of 1% from any winning bids in its upcoming December onshore oil auction, according to the nation's Finance Ministry. ExxonMobil and Statoil have begun prequalifying for the auction, while several Mexican oil companies are planning on participating.
A planned expansion to Shell Chemical's Geismar, La., petrochemical complex will make the facility the world's largest alpha olefin producer. The $717 million expansion project will add approximately 468,000 tons of annual capacity to the Shell Geismar Chemical Plant.
An effective state tax incentive system and high-quality rock structure have helped make Alaska a popular location for small and mid-sized oil and natural gas companies, according to experts. "We believe the North Slope is the oiliest place on earth," said Caelus Energy President and CEO Jim Musselman. State officials believe that while major oil firms have not found large enough targets to sustain their interest within the state, many prospects in Alaska are suitable for smaller companies.
An amendment to the House Energy and Commerce Committee's energy bill that would repeal the decades-long crude oil export ban has been filed by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas. Meanwhile, Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, has proposed an amendment that would provide the Commerce Department with the ability to restrain exports until they pass a test of "national interest."
US District Judge Carl Barbier has issued a $159.5 million fine to Anadarko Petroleum for being a part owner of a well that blew out in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. However, the fine represents "only 4.5% of the maximum penalty," noted Barbier, who said that Anadarko did not do anything to cause the spill. "The court finds this amount strikes the appropriate balance between Anadarko's lack of culpability and the extreme seriousness of this spill," Barbier said.
A ban on new oil and natural gas drilling leases in Pennsylvania state parks and forests does not affect lands owned by the state's Game Commission, according to a spokesman for Gov. Tom Wolf. "Because the Game Commission is an independent agency, we could not bind them to an executive order," spokesman Jeff Sheridan said. The Pennsylvania Game Commission increased its lease revenue to $22.1 million during the fiscal year ended June 30.
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