Magnum Hunter Resources said it experienced a blowout of a well in Ohio. The company had previously drilled the Stadler 3UH wel, in the Utica shale, before temporarily plugging and abandoning it in preparation for the drilling of three additional Utica horizontal wells. However a spokesman said the it began to flow uncontrollably while recommencing operations.
The onshore hydrocarbon producer, IGas, has encountered signs of shale gas at its Ellesmere Port exploration well in the North West of England. The company spudded the well last month and reached total depth ahead of schedule two days ago. IGas said the vertical exploration well encountered a thick section of the coal measure interval as well as a shale sequence, before penetrating the key Dinantian limestone geophysical marker.
Oil extended losses below $60 a barrel amid speculation that OPEC’s biggest members will defend market share against US shale producers. Brent also slid after closing at the lowest price since July 2009. West Texas Intermediate futures fell as much as 1.9% in New York and are down 10% this week.
Local councils lack the expertise and resources to properly regulate the UK’s fledgling shale gas industry, according to a new study. Under 60% of those questioned for the report believe that local authorities cannot manage the environmental risks when considering planning applications for shale gas wells. Even among local government themselves, only 49% of respondents think that they have the skills to weigh up the environmental risks.
Labour is attempting to tighten the rules on fracking to prevent shale gas exploration in protected areas such as national parks and improve environmental safeguards. Shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex has tabled 11 amendments to the Infrastructure Bill to close what Labour describes as “key loopholes” in the environmental regulations governing extraction of the unconventional gas resource. The amendments include introducing a presumption against development in protected areas such as national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) and putting an obligation on operators to monitor and report “fugitive” emissions from sites.
West Texas Intermediate and Brent extended declines from the lowest close in more than five years amid speculation that US oil producers will fight OPEC for market share. Futures dropped as much as 1.8% in New York and 1.9% in London. Explorers in the U.S. increased the number of operating rigs last week, defying predictions of a drilling slowdown, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc. Brent’s 14-day relative strength index has been below 30 since November 27, a reading that signals crude is oversold. Oil is trading in a bear market amid signs that US output is expanding even after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries opted not to reduce its production target.
Collapsing crude prices have given oil producers a new argument for ending a 39-year-old US ban on exports. With US output at a 31-year high and imports at the lowest level since 1995, producers seeking the best possible price for crude are straining at having to keep sales at home. Removing the ban could erase an imbalance between US and foreign crude prices by expanding the market for shale oil.
Oil market analysts are debating if oil will fall to $50. In North Dakota, prices are already there. Crude sold at the wellhead in the Bakken shale region in North Dakota fell to $49.69 a barrel on November 28, according to the marketing arm of Plains All American (PAA) Pipeline LP. That’s down 47% from this year’s peak in June, and 29% less than the $70.15 paid for Brent, the global benchmark.
West Texas Intermediate crude fell, trimming the biggest rally since August 2012 as investors weighed OPEC’s decision to let the market curb a global supply glut. Brent slid in London. Futures dropped 0.7% in New York, decreasing for the fifth time in six days. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries may hold an emergency meeting in the first quarter of next year, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez said in an interview. The group’s failure to cut output at a gathering last week bodes well for US producers, according to billionaire wildcatter Harold Hamm, a founding father of the nation’s shale boom.
Last month at PETEX in London, the hunt for shale gas resources in the UK was a hot topic and among the companies offering their expertise and wares at the show was CGG, currently being stalked by fellow French group Technip, and US energy services giant Baker Hughes, which arch rival Halliburton ha made a $35billion bid for. While companies such as these cannot easily answer the social and political questions, or indeed even wish to engage that way, they can contribute to the debate on technical feasibility and potential. And both Baker and CGG are well equipped to do this. Firstly, and according to CGG, we in Europe and not just the UK have the opportunity to benefit from the latest developments in North America. Integrated workflows, which bring together a broad range of geoscience data, have shown great potential for the comprehensive reservoir characterisation required to optimise drilling and completion activities in heterogeneous unconventional resource plays.
The NFUS (National Farmers Union Scotland) has been informing its members about what fracking could mean for its industry. A meeting was held for 80 members from parts central Scotland where drilling for unconventional gas could occur in the next few years. Speakers from potential fracking developers including Ineos and environmental regulator SEPA spoke at the event.
Shale gas provided the largest share of American natural gas production last year, new figures have shown. The US Energy Information Administration said withdrawals reached a new high of 82billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) last year. Shale gas well withdrawals jumped from five bcf/d in 2007, to 33 bcf/d in 2013, representing a 40% increase in total gas production and surpassing production from non-shale gas wells.
The Scottish Government said a "cautious approach" should be taken to the announcement by Ineos that it plans to invest £640million in shale and gas exploration in the UK. The move by chemicals giant Ineos could make it the biggest player in the industry in the country. The company already has two licences near its plant at Grangemouth in Scotland but is applying for more in Scotland and the north of England. It plans to use the gas as a raw material for its chemicals plants, including Grangemouth in Stirlingshire.
Chemicals giant Ineos has announced plans to invest £640 million in shale gas exploration and appraisal in a move which could make it the biggest player in the industry in the UK. The company already has two licences near its plant at Grangemouth in Scotland but is applying for more in Scotland and the north of England. Chairman Jim Ratcliffe said he wanted Ineos to become the biggest company in the British shale gas industry.
Almost in line with falling global oil prices share value of oilfield service companies have slumped by around 25% over the past four months. These are the same companies that have benefited greatly from the US fracking boom that transformed the standing of the US as an oil and gas producer; its position as number one oil consumer has never been at risk. But the halcyon days of unfettered profits for US frackers and service companies look to be over.
One worker has been killed and two seriously injured in a fracking accident at an oil or gas well site in northern Colorado. Three men were trying to heat a frozen high-pressure water line when something went wrong and the line ruptured.
The proposal from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to establish a sovereign wealth fund based on future revenues from the extraction of shale gas, is, in principle a good idea. Many countries now have such a fund, turning current oil and gas revenues into a national asset for the long term. Norway's fund is most often quoted as an example; another lesser known example is the state of Texas in the US which has such a fund for its universities. The details of the proposal from DECC are yet to be released so its final shape and impact is unknown. Given the size of the UK economy, and our budget deficit, the idea that we can build a large financial fund of the type enjoyed by Norway is unrealistic. However, I would argue that there is still a great deal that could be done with a shale gas fund. Most sovereign wealth funds build financial capital taking revenues from the oil and gas industry and investing them in the stock exchange. I would propose DECC consider a fund for human capital, not financial capital.
Most countries in Europe look on Norway with envy. As the UK and other European countries struggle with reducing public spending, Norway benefits from a sovereign wealth fund worth around £500 billion. It has wisely invested the income from its oil and gas reserves, with its fund considered by many to be the world’s largest.
The regulations imposed on shale gas fracking are “unnecessarily restrictive”, according to research by two University of Glasgow academics. In a new paper, Dr Rob Westaway and Professor Paul Younger from the School of Engineering, claim widely applying restrictions similar to those in force on fracking would require a ban on heavy vehicles from passing houses or walking on wooden floors. The report also states that the threat of serious earthquakes caused by fracking activity is considerably lower than commonly feared.
Technology services company Applus RTD has opened a new office in Pennsylvania driven by its operations surrounding the Marcellus Shale formation. The new offices, based in Pennsylvania, are part of the company’s strategic growth plan following demand for its non-destructive (NDT) services in the area.
Rose Petroleum has pulled out from some of its German exploration licences, citing the current political situation, which it said remains “unclear” in regard to exploration for hydrocarbons. The company said its subsidiary Parkyn Energy has withdrawn from its Konstanz and Biberach exploration licences in Baden-Wurttemberg. It will now focus efforts on licences in the US.
Petrochemical company Ineos has bought its second licence for shale exploration just two months after acquiring land at Grangemouth. The acquisition means the company now has an 80% interest in a petroleum exploration and development licence for PEDL 162, which covers a 400 km2 are of the Scottish central belt.
Lee Tillman, chief executive officer of Marathon Oil told investors last month that the company was sitting on the equivalent of 4.3 billion barrels in its US shale acreage. That number was 5.5 times higher than the one Marathon reported to federal regulators. Such discrepancies are rife in the US shale industry. Drillers use bigger forecasts to sell the hydraulic fracturing boom to investors and to persuade lawmakers to lift the 39-year-old ban on crude exports. Sixty-two of 73 US shale drillers reported one estimate in mandatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission while citing higher potential figures to the public, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Pioneer Natural Resources' estimate was 13 times higher. Goodrich Petroleum's was 19 times. For Rice Energy it was almost 27-fold.
As shale gas exploitation proliferates, new research into the contents of the fluids involved in the process raises concerns about several ingredients.
Young people are much more in favour of renewables than fracking for shale, a poll suggests. The survey revealed that 18-24-year-olds who were aware of fracking wanted the Government to develop other sources of energy in the UK, with 44% backing solar as one of the technologies they most favoured, 41% for wind and 38% for tidal power.