Natural Gas

California calls gas leak a state of emergency

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Wednesday over a massive natural-gas leak that has been spewing methane and other gases into a Los Angeles neighborhood for months, sickening residents and forcing thousands to evacuate.

In a statement, Brown said he acted based on the requests of people in the community of Porter Ranch and the "prolonged and continuing" nature of the gas blowout at the underground storage facility.

The well, owned by Southern California Gas Co., has been gushing up to 1,200 tons of climate-changing methane daily, along with other gases, since it was first reported in October. It will be months before workers can stem the leak, experts say.


Frack leases on W. Va. lands yield $18M; none from production

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia has brought in $18 million by leasing the right to drill for oil and natural gas deep below state wildlife management areas and waterways, including beneath the Ohio River.

But as natural gas prices stay low, no companies with the state leases have begun extracting gas, as far as state Department of Commerce officials know. As a result, officials say they have received up-front checks, but no royalties from the unearthing of resources from the deep shale deposits, a process generally known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The department first put horizontal drilling opportunities out to bid in the fall of 2014 and has since struck leases in the northern counties of Marshall, Tyler and Wetzel. They include parts of wildlife management areas at Conaway Run Lake, The Jug, Underwood, Burches Run Lake and Lewis Wetzel; Fish Creek and Middle Island Creek; and a few miles of the Ohio River.


Oklahoma oil, gas regulators order changes after earthquakes

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The state commission that regulates Oklahoma's oil and natural gas industry ordered some injection well operators to reduce wastewater disposal volumes on Monday after at least a dozen earthquakes hit an area north of Oklahoma City in less than a week.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission said it was implementing a plan that affects five wastewater injection wells operating within 10 miles of the center of earthquake activity near Edmond, a northeast suburb of Oklahoma City. Among the recent quakes to hit the area was a 4.2 magnitude temblor on New Year's Day that caused minor damage but no injuries.

"We are working with researchers on the entire area of the state involved in the latest seismic activity to plot out where we should go from here," Oil and Gas Conservation Division Director Tim Baker said, adding that responding to the swarm of earthquakes in the region was an ongoing process.

AP Photo

Huge natural gas leak in Los Angeles still months from fix

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The escape of tons of natural gas from storage under a Los Angeles neighborhood is not likely to be fixed for at least another two months because of the specific dynamics of the leak, according to officials.

The leak at Porter Ranch, already several months old, has forced the relocation of several thousand residents who said the stench made them sick.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that the leak persists because workers were unable to plug it and instead have the painstaking task of drilling two relief wells.

equipment at SoCalGas Aliso Canyon field
Dean Musgrove/Los Angeles Daily News via AP, Pool

Utility agrees to faster resident relocation amid gas leak

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California Gas Co. on Wednesday agreed to speed up the relocation of residents affected by a now 2-month-old gas leak in Los Angeles.

Under an agreement approved by a county judge, the utility has agreed to pay for up to three retired judges to oversee the ongoing relocation and for security to protect residents' empty homes.


U.S. rig count down 9 to 700, 3 oil rigs idled

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by nine this week to 700, said oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc.

The Houston firm said Wednesday 538 rigs sought oil -- a decline of three -- and 162 explored for natural gas amid depressed energy prices. A year ago, 1,840 rigs were active.

Turkmenistan launches new gas pipeline

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan has launched a new $2.5 billion natural gas pipeline that would boost the energy-rich nation's export capacity.

The 480-mile pipeline links gas fields in the east of the country to its Caspian Sea coast.

Lower prices depressing natgas production in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Natural gas production in Pennsylvania declined in October, according to figures provided by the state Department of Environmental Protection, with an analyst telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that many operators are “waiting for better demand, better prices to bump it out again.”

USGS Director Suzette Kimball stands with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and a USGS geologist
DOI - Tami Heilemann

USGS gets a Senate confirmed boss, ups estimate of Barnett Shale reserves

For the first time in nearly three years, the agency that estimates the amount of fuels and minerals trapped below the earth has a Senate-confirmed leader.

Suzette Kimball, who has been acting director of the U.S. Geological Survey since February 2013, was formally confirmed as the full director in one of the final acts before Congress left town for the Christmas holiday recess.

Green group wants do-over on Pennsylvania radioactivity study

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is demanding that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to re-do study released in January that found little risk of increased surface radioactivity from shale gas drilling, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.


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