McMullen County, Texas, has become the richest in the US, with an average adjusted gross income of $303,717, thanks to hydraulic fracturing. County landowners make more money from oil and natural gas royalties than from their day jobs, while residents who don't own land also benefit because fracking creates stable jobs and has helped the county improve its infrastructure and services.
The Trump administration is seeking to sell half of the 688 million-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve over a 10-year period starting in October 2018, with proceeds estimated at $16.5 billion, according to the White House's budget proposal. Independent oil analyst and economist Anas Alhajji warned that the move could thwart OPEC's efforts to stabilize the oil market and raise oil prices through supply cuts.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke met with more than 20 officials at oil and natural gas companies, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, and BP America, as well as trade groups including the American Petroleum Institute, in March and April, according to his personal schedules made public last week. The discussions often revolved around Obama-era energy policies and efforts to overhaul them.
The Trump administration has picked Scott Angelle, former vice chairman of Louisiana's Public Service Commission, to lead the Interior Department's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. "Scott Angelle brings a wealth of experience to BSEE, having spent many years working for the safe and efficient energy production of both Louisiana's and our country's offshore resources," Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said.
Attorneys general from New York, California, Maine, Illinois, Maryland and Washington state are asking the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to create stricter rules for oil trains and set a limit of 9 pounds per square inch on crude vapor pressure. They argue that lower pressures would reduce the risk of accidents.
Researchers used cosmic muon radiography to map bedrock underneath glaciers at the Jungfrau railway tunnel in the Swiss Alps. After mapping the bedrock over a 4,000-square-meter area, researchers say they can predict more rock avalanches will occur as the ice melts.
BP has begun oil production from the revived Schiehallion field west of the Shetland Islands in the North Sea. The new drilling could recover an additional 450 million barrels of oil and natural gas at Schiehallion, which has produced 400 million barrels of oil since 1998.
Shale drillers in the Permian Basin's Midland area enjoy the lowest breakeven costs in the nation at $46 per barrel, followed by Oklahoma's SCOOP/STACK with $47 per barrel and the Eagle Ford with $48 per barrel, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The Midland also emerged as the cheapest play when it comes to operating expenses, with $24 per barrel, while the SCOOP/STACK and the Eagle Ford came in second and third with $27 and $29 per barrel, respectively.
The positive effect of the US shale rebound on oilfield service firms' bottom lines has so far been limited, but analysts have begun lifting their earnings estimates for oil service providers in the second half of the year as companies enjoy greater pricing power. One sign that the oilfield service industry is also poised for a rebound is the soaring demand for hydraulic fracturing sand, a crucial product for shale drillers.
Houston-based oilfield services company Keane Group has agreed to buy Denver-based hydraulic fracturing firm RockPile Energy Services in a cash-and-stock deal worth $285 million that will expand Keane's fracking fleet.
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