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Research planes to study Western gas emissions

NOAA_LogoBy Gloria Dickie – Daily Camera – March 23, 2015

BOULDER — Boulder-based scientists will launch a study Monday to determine how gas emissions from shale oil and natural gas basins in the western United States affect air quality.

Using more than a dozen state-of-the-art chemical instruments, a team of seven scientists will measure trace gas emissions as they fly a research aircraft over production sites in various stages of development located across the West. The project, dubbed SONGNEX 2015, is expected to conduct 15 research flights out of Colorado and Texas between March and May.

The collaborative study is a joint project of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Sites of interest in the study include the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota, the Niobrara shale formation of northern Colorado, Wyoming and the Four Corners area.

Continue reading story at the Daily Camera

Rockpick says - Told ya  – Also Read: Don’t Be Fooled – NASA’s Front Range Ozone Test Is Really All About Oil


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Obama cracks down on fracking

Presidential_SealBy Timothy Cama -The Hill –  March 20th, 2015

The Obama administration is setting new standards for the controversial hydraulic fracturing process, the first major federal effort to crack down on the practice that has largely been behind the nation’s oil and natural gas boom.

The fracking standards only apply to drilling on leased federal land and land owned by American Indian tribes, which account for less than a quarter of the country’s oil production and 17 percent of its gas. The vast majority of fracking happens off federal land, regulators said.

The long-awaited rules from the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are meant, in part, to ease public fears about a practice that involves pumping fluids miles underground to extract oil and gas from small pockets in rock.

“This rule will move our nation forward as we ensure responsible development while protecting public land resources,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told reporters. “That’s good for the public; it’s good for industry; it’s good government.”

Jewell said the Interior Department’s current rules for oil and gas drilling do not sufficiently account for modern advances in fracking.congc

“We need to update our regulations to make sure they can keep up with evolving technologies and innovation by industry,” she said.

BLM Director Neil Kornze said environmental responsibility is an essential component of managing federal and Indian land.

Continue reading story at The

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Brighton adopts new oil and gas development code

Brighton_LogoBy Megan Mitchell – YourHub Reporter – March 17, 2015

BRIGHTON — After three years of negotiations, the Brighton City Council on Tuesday night unanimously adopted new rules and safety policies for oil and gas development sites in the city.

Brighton’s old land use and development code was a decade old and did not meet state requirements for hydraulic fracturing sites.

Since 2012, city staff worked with oil and gas industry representatives to find middle-ground on regulations that would comply with standards set by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and also meet the city’s higher standards for health and safety.

“Over (discussions had during) the last month, I believe we have achieved that balance,” said Matt Sura, special counsel to Brighton and a member of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s oil and gas task force.

Continue reading story at The Denver Post

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Half of Colorado’s drilling rigs have gone idle in last five months

Picture of ConocoPhillips Drill Rig drilling in the Niobrara Play - Image Credit ConocoPhillps

Picture of ConocoPhillips Drill Rig drilling in the Niobrara Play – Image Credit ConocoPhillps

By Aldo Svaldi – The Denver Post – March 23, 2015

Half of Colorado’s drilling rigs have gone idle since the end of October, the sharpest percentage decline among the country’s major oil producing states, according to a report Monday from IHS, a data analysis firm based in Douglas County.

IHS, however, is only calling for a 26 percent cut in capital spending by oil and gas companies active in the state this year, which lines up with the percentage drops forecast in North Dakota, New Mexico and Texas.

“What happens is you idle the least productive and most costly rigs,” said Philip Verleger, president of the Carbondale-based energy consulting firm PKVerleger LLC. “Its like how an airline will ground its older, less efficient planes first.”

Colorado’s rig count fell from 75 on Oct. 31 to 39 on March 6, a 48 percent decline. IHS predictscapital expenditures on oil and gas wells in the state will fall from $7.4 billion last year to $5.5 billion this year.

“The falling rig counts are too recent to show up yet in the state economic data, but their impacts will appear as the year progresses,” IHS said.

North Dakota will take the hardest hit, with its economy shrinking 1 percent, a sharp reversal from growth rates for 2015 approaching 3.5 percent that IHS had forecast for the state last fall.

Continue reading story at The Denver Post

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Colorado’s Rig Count Continues Downward Spiral

DJ Basin Oil Drilling Rig - Image Credit - Encana Inc.

DJ Basin Oil Drilling Rig – Image Credit – Encana Inc.

Colorado’s latest rig count as reported by Baker Hughes fell to a new post boom low of 39 in the week ending March 20th, 2015.  The rig count in Colorado for the same week in 2014 was 61 rigs.  The majority of rigs drilling in Colorado are located in the DJ Basin and are primarily focused on the Niobrara Play. View historical drilling activity at Baker Hughes.

Read earlier story: Colorado Rig Count Surrenders to National Trend

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Itemizing The Oil Bust: 75,000 Layoffs And Counting

oil-drop-dollarsignChristopher Helman – Forbes Staff – March 16, 2015

The Oil Bust of 2015 is making it cheaper to fill up our tanks at the gas station, but it is decimating our nation’s oil and gas workforce as companies slash spending in hopes of surviving the downturn. Just this week Talisman Energy has cut about 200 workers in Calgary, while Nexen Energy (a division of China’s Cnooc) slashed 400 jobs. On Tuesday, Quicksilver Resources filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

I received a very thorough spreadsheet from some well placed friends in the industry; it tabulates with more precision than I’ve seen anywhere else which companies have cut jobs, and how many. You can find the full list below. The conclusion: the worldwide oil and gas industry, including oilfield services companies, parts manufacturers and steel pipe makers, has laid off at least 75,000 so far. Continue reading “Itemizing The Oil Bust: 75,000 Layoffs And Counting” »

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Bills on Colorado ski-area water, mineral rights do a face plant in Legislature

Colorado State Capitol

Colorado State Capitol

 – Reporter – Denver Business Journal – March 17th, 2015

Two more bills attempting to address disputes between environmentalists and environmentally-minded government agencies on the one hand and property-rights owners on the other have bitten the dust in the Colorado Legislature.

Democrats on the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on Monday killed Senate Bills 64 and 93, both sponsored by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, on party-line votes.

SB 93 would have required local governments to compensate mineral-rights owners for imposing new regulations that limited the use of their land, while SB 64 would have banned the federal governmentfrom requiring ski resorts to hand over their water rights in exchange for permits to use federal land.

Continue reading story at the Denver Business Journal

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Get Ready for Oil Deals: Shale Is Going on Sale

'Whiting_Petroleum_Corporation_Logo(Bloomberg) — A decision by Whiting Petroleum Corp., the largest producer in North Dakota’s Bakken shale basin, to put itself up for sale looks to be the first tremor in a potential wave of consolidation as $50-a-barrel prices undercut companies with heavy debt and high costs.

For the first time since wildcatters such as Harold Hamm of Continental Resources Inc. began extracting significant amounts of oil from shale formations, acquisition prospects from Texas to the Great Plains are looking less expensive.

Buyers are ultimately after reserves, the amount of oil a company has in the ground based on its drilling acreage. The value of about 75 shale-focused U.S. producers based on their reserves fell by a median of 25 percent by the end of 2014 compared to 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s opening up new opportunities for bigger companies with a better handle on their debt, said William Arnold, a former executive at Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

“In this market, there are whales and there are fishes, and the whales are well armed,” said Arnold, who also worked as an energy-industry banker and now teaches at Rice University in Houston. “There are some very vulnerable little fishes out there trying to survive any way they can.”

Continue reading story at Bloomberg

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