The Obama administration's decision to block the Dakota Access Pipeline is taking a toll not only on Energy Transfer Partners, but on North Dakota as its oil producers will need to ship more of their Bakken oil via rail, hurting their margins. Production in the state's Bakken Shale has already declined by a third in recent years because of a lack of pipeline infrastructure and low oil prices.
The strengthening US dollar is forcing Houston oil refiners, already hit by declining exports, to reduce prices on their petroleum products in a bid to stop customers from buying products from other countries. If the dollar continues to climb, this could cancel out any OPEC-related price gains, with small and midsize oil and natural gas companies being hit hardest because they're less protected against currency swings than oil majors such as BP, according to University of Houston Global Energy Management Institute Executive Director Praveen Kumar.
A study by Penn State researchers found hydraulic fracturing fluids with acids, oxidizers and high salinity raise the amount of metals in wastewater from natural gas wells and that some additives such as surfactants don't degrade downhole. "This could also have implications for managing the wastewater that returns to the surface or understanding downhole mineral transformations that could form precipitates, clog pores and reduce a well's gas productivity," said principal investigator Travis Tasker.
Belle Fourche Pipeline, the operator of a pipeline that spilled oil into the Ash Coulee Creek in North Dakota on Monday, is facing difficulties in cleaning up the oil because of harsh weather. The cause of the spill and the amount of oil leaked are unknown, but the incident has not affected drinking water sources.
Oil companies may reduce spending on oil and gas exploration next year because of a multiyear decline in oil prices, according to a report from Wood Mackenzie. The report added that lower costs, including for seismic imaging, should help profitability.
A magnitude 7.7 earthquake today in the Solomon Islands destroyed homes and caused small tsunami waves, but authorities canceled tsunami warnings for Hawaii and other Pacific islands. The earthquake struck about 120 miles southeast of the city of Honiara, the US Geological Survey reported.
The magnitude 6.5 earthquake Thursday in the Mendocino fracture zone off the California coast was normal for the region, said geophysicist Ole Kaven of the US Geological Survey. The Mendocino Triple Junction, a seismically active region of the San Andreas system, historically has about 80 earthquakes greater than magnitude 3.0 each year.
Oklahoma is expected to issue rules regarding hydraulic fracturing as well as tougher directives related to wastewater-disposal wells. Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman Matt Skinner says regulators want to address the prospect of earthquakes related to fracking in certain regions of the state.
Cenovus Energy announced it will increase capital spending next year by 24% and reactivate oilsands projects in Canada.
A meteorite that landed in Western Australia in October contains uncontaminated liquid water that could offer lessons on how Earth came to contain water. "If we can compare [the meteorite] to the kind of water that's in the Earth's oceans, the various trace elements and the mix of those trace elements and isotopes, we can see if the two line up," said Martin Towner of Curtin University's Department of Applied Geology.
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