Natural Gas

Moody's report finds Marcellus strategy benefitting early comers


Moody's said in a new report that natural gas companies that made early investment in the Marcellus Shale are seeing profits due to the region's proximity to high-demand areas in the Midwest and Northeast, FuelFix reports.

Kerry denounces use of energy as weapon

BRUSSELS (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday denounced the use of energy as a weapon, a day after Russia sharply hiked the price for natural gas to Ukraine.

Kerry told a meeting of the US-EU Energy Council at European Union headquarters in Brussels that supplies of oil and gas have to be secured throughout the world to prevent their being used as political leverage or tools of aggression. He also urged the council to move forward with efforts to promote the diversification of energy supplies so that no country is overly dependent on one particular supplier.

"It really boils down to this: No nation should use energy to stymie a people's aspirations," Kerry said. "It should not be used as a weapon. It's in the interest of all of us to be able to have adequate energy supplies critical to our economies, critical to our security, critical to the prosperity of our people. And we can't allow it to be used as a political weapon or as an instrument for aggression."

Gazprom hiked gas prices amid Ukraine negotiations

The New York Times

As U.S. and Russian officials looked to forge a settlement to limit future Russian encroachment into Ukraine, Russian gas exporter Gazprom hiked the price of 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas to $385, a 44-percent increase, The New York Times reports.

Company head says UK could produce shale gas in four years


Cuadrilla Resources Chief Executive Franics Egan suggested the United Kingdom could produce shale gas within four years if the crisis in Ukraine prompts a national state of emergency and constraints on drilling were lifted, Reuters reports.

EU, US vow to help Ukraine on energy independence

BRUSSELS (AP) — The United States and the European Union have vowed to help Ukraine reduce its dependence on Russia for energy supplies.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that they will seek to provide Ukraine gas through Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. At the same time, both sides are working to get more gas from Asia to Europe through Azerbeijan and Turkey instead of over Russian soil.

In the wake of Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula, Europe's energy dependency has come to be a political liability which could undermine a strong joint response to Moscow.


Oil down slightly ahead of US inventories report

The price of oil was steady Wednesday after a big fall the day before as traders waited for a report on U.S. crude stockpiles.

Benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery was down 2 cents to $99.71 a barrel at 0720 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slid $1.84 to $99.74 on Tuesday, dented by soft Chinese manufacturing figures and expectations of another increase in U.S. crude stockpiles.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of oil, was up 6 cents to $105.68 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

PG&E criminally charged in fatal pipeline blast

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas and Electric Co. was charged on Tuesday with federal felony counts involving safety violations linked to a deadly 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The indictment charges the utility with 12 felony violations of federal pipeline safety laws, which could carry a total possible fine of $6 million, or more if the court decides it somehow benefited financially from the disaster.

Federal prosecutors allege that PG&E knowingly relied on erroneous and incomplete information when assessing the safety of the pipeline that eventually ruptured, sparked a fireball and leveled 38 homes in San Bruno.

Officials seek clues in natural gas facility blast

State and federal regulators looking for what caused an explosion at a liquefied natural gas facility on the Washington-Oregon border began interviewing injured workers Tuesday as an evacuation order covering hundreds of nearby residents was lifted.

Also Tuesday, a team of firefighters and plant employees went inside the Williams Northwest Pipeline storage facility and found no lingering fire. The safety check came after the blast Monday injured five employees and ruptured a huge liquefied natural gas storage tank.

The Benton County Sheriff's Department ended the evacuation order that affected an estimated 300 people living in the tiny town of Plymouth, Wash., as well as the area within a 1-mile radius of the plant. The explosion and fire initially prompted the evacuation of about 400 residents from the town and those in a 2-mile radius of the plant.

Congress sends Obama bill to aid Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress sent President Barack Obama a bill on Tuesday to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to cash-poor Ukraine and punish Russia for its bold annexation of part of the former Soviet republic.

Russia's incursion into Crimea caused a deep rift between Moscow and Washington and the bill, passed with bipartisan support, was a way for Congress to denounce Russia's move and express support for Kiev.

The House voted 378 to 34 for the bill, which also is aimed at discouraging any further actions that President Vladimir Putin might be contemplating in the region.

Gazprom head meets with EU energy chief

The Wall Street Journal

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller met with European Union Energy Chief Günther Oettinger to discuss the security of the EU's natural gas supply amid increased tensions stemming from the crisis in Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal reports.


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