Liquefied natural gas exporters, including Cheniere Energy, Royal Dutch Shell and Gas Natural Fenosa, are delivering significant volumes of LNG from Louisiana to Asia, profiting from surging demand in the region, particularly in China and Pakistan. About 12 LNG carriers left the US headed for Asia since December, including the first US shale gas cargo to South Korea.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has opened an investigation into Kinder Morgan units Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America and Wyoming Interstate to determine whether the rates charged by the two pipeline companies are too high. The commission said the companies' returns on equity in 2014 and 2015 were "unjust and unreasonable," but Kinder Morgan insists FERC's calculations and estimated returns on equity are wrong and exaggerated.
The Energy Information Administration reported US crude oil stockpiles grew by 2.3 million barrels in the week ended Jan. 13, a gain unexpected by analysts. "The crude build was due to a drop in refinery runs signaling the beginning of maintenance season, while imports corrected only modestly following the previous week's huge jump," said Societe Generale.
A pipeline operated by Kinetica Partners is leaking natural gas into the Gulf of Mexico 30 miles off the coast of Louisiana, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the US Coast Guard said. About 750 gallons of natural gas have been released so far near Platform West Cameron-165.
Oil and natural gas drillers are showing declining interest in federal lands, which accounted for 21% of output in 2015, a drop from 36% in 2010. Although President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to open more land to energy development and lift regulations that turned away drillers, the current price environment isn't working in favor of Trump's plan because companies prefer investing in safe, high-yielding projects that are less expensive and have energy infrastructure.
Norwegian oil company Statoil has deployed a new laser-based Internet of Things methane emissions detector at its Eagle Ford operations and is currently evaluating its efficiency. The technology, developed by Colorado startup Quanta3 as part of the Methane Detectors Challenge, uses cloud-based analytics, is solar-powered, works remotely and is more cost-efficient.
A subsidiary of Tulsa, Okla.-based Magellan Midstream Partners has agreed to pay a $2 million fine and spend an additional $16 million to improve its pipeline system to settle with federal officials over three pipeline ruptures. The incidents occurred in 2011 and 2015 in Texas, Nebraska and Kansas.
US crude stockpiles shrunk by 5 million barrels in the week ended Jan. 13, exceeding analysts' forecast for a 900,000-barrel drop, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Gasoline and distillates inventories rose by 9.8 million barrels and 1.2 million barrels, respectively.
The world's biggest oil companies, including ExxonMobil, BP and Noble Energy, accelerated investments in the past couple of months, striking a total of 11 deals for oil and natural gas fields worth a combined $31 billion in December alone, triple the amount recorded in November, according to consultancy Energy Market Square. The trend will likely persist into 2017 as oil prices rise and the oil supply glut eases.
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