Economists expect New Mexico to log a $797 million budget surplus in the coming fiscal year in large part thanks to surging oil and natural gas production that has boosted taxes, fees and royalties collected by the state. "This latest forecast reflects a second straight year of unprecedented revenue levels and opportunities for the state, but it is also a reminder that we are heavily dependent on volatile oil production and prices," said Taxation and Revenue Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke.
Fiber optic cables can detect thunderquakes, loud thunderclaps that cause the Earth to shake, the Journal of Geophysical Research reports. A distributed acoustic sensing array, or DAS array, can be used to detect tiny changes in pressure, and has the potential to be used to explore the Earth's mantle and crust.
China is launching the second phase of a cross-country water diversion project to shift water from the flood-prone south to the arid north. The project will increase capacity from 8.77 billion cubic meters to 16.5 billion cubic meters and will use existing infrastructure to reduce cost and environmental impact.
Norway's oil sector, which was experiencing decline, is looking at a new field that at its peak could produce 25 to 30% of the region's total oil production. Production began in October and the field is already pumping 350,000 barrels a day.
Strategic Elements has begun drilling a test hole at a possible meteor impact site in Australia that may contain rare earths, gold and copper. Alternatively, the site could be the remains of an old volcano, which could offer minerals as well.
Interest in mapping the remaining 80% of seafloor is growing, according to Vicki Ferrini, a marine geophysicist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y. Several factors are contributing to the push, including advancements in technology, more collaboration in the mapping community and various initiatives that promote the effort, such as the Seabed 2030 Project.
The Pacific seafloor off Big Sur, Calif., is pitted with thousands of micro-depressions averaging about 36 feet across and three feet deep in an area under consideration for a windfarm. Similar pits have been found around the world and are believed to be linked to the release of methane gas.
The Energy Information Administration expects US oil production to increase by 930,000 barrels per day to an all-time high of 13.18 million bpd next year, lower than EIA's previous forecast of one-million-barrel-per-day growth. The US is also poised to become a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products in 2020, with exports exceeding imports by 570,000 bpd on average, the agency said.
US crude inventories climbed unexpectedly by 1.4 million barrels last week, as did gasoline and distillate supplies, adding 4.9 million barrels and 3.2 million barrels, respectively, the American Petroleum Institute reported.
Simon Ayat will step down from his role as Schlumberger's executive vice president and chief financial officer after more than a decade in the position, and will be succeeded by vice president of finance Stephane Biguet. "Stephane brings an in-depth knowledge of the financial function, has developed a close relationship with the executive leadership team and has critically contributed to the new Performance strategy, leading in particular the capital stewardship program," said Schlumberger CEO Olivier Le Peuch.