Natural Gas

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FERC: Carbon rule to pose challenge for natural gas system

The Obama administration's proposed carbon rule for existing power plants will require more natural gas pipelines to ensure reliable electricity service, federal energy regulators warned lawmakers on Tuesday.

Members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission told a House subcommittee that it is too soon to know the exact impacts of the rule, because states will be left to draw up their own implementation plans.

Yet, Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur said the rule's expectation of greater gas use, to about 30 percent of U.S. generation, poses transmission challenges in the coming years.

City: Emails show 'cozy' ties of PG&E, regulator

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Top California regulators communicated often and enthusiastically with executives at Pacific Gas & Electric Co., even offering unsolicited advice on handling the media while they presided over a case to decide how much the utility should pay for a deadly explosion in a San Francisco Bay Area suburb, according to a trove of emails released Monday.

The 7,000 pages of emails between leaders at PG&E and California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey and his staff were released as the result of a lawsuit filed by the city of San Bruno.


Britain reopens way for fracking

LONDON (AP) — The British government has reopened the way for energy firms to explore for shale gas, three years after seismic tremors led to the suspension of fracking.

Business and Energy Minister Matthew Hancock says shale gas has the potential to improve energy security but stresses national parks will be protected.

UK pushing shale, to sell more oil and gas drilling rights

The New York Times

The British government is making another push to encourage shale oil and gas exploration, making more land available to be licensed for drilling, The New York Times reports.

Elkins: EPA should weigh rules to curb local natural gas leaks

The Environmental Protection Agency's voluntary program to reduce leaks of the potent greenhouse gas methane from natural gas systems has had limited success in cutting emissions from aging local distribution systems, and officials should consider direct regulation, its internal watchdog reported Friday.

EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins, Jr. said in the report that the Natural Gas STAR program has been held back by factors at the distribution stage, including market disincentives for companies to fix leaks that are costing consumers an estimated $192 million annually.

The problems have the potential to undercut President Barack Obama's climate action plan, which seeks to curb methane as well as carbon dioxide.


US rig count up 12 to 1,883

HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose 12 this week to 1,883.

The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,562 rigs were exploring for oil and 318 for gas. Three were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.

Accelerating natgas pipeline replacement would provide boost


At the current rate of work, it would take 30 years to repair and replace utilities’ aging natural gas pipelines around the country, but compressing that to 10 years would create more than 300,000 jobs and slash methane emissions, according to a report from the BlueGreen Alliance, FuelFix reports.

Sales climb but profits drop in 2Q for Noble Energy


A 20 percent increase in revenue for Noble Energy in the second quarter on higher shale production wasn’t enough to sustain last year's profits, which fell 49 percent compared to the year-ago period, to $192 million, FuelFix reports, noting the company dropped $187 million on commodity derivatives.

Breitburn buying QR Energy in $1.46 billion deal

HOUSTON (AP) — Breitburn Energy is buying QR Energy LP in a deal worth about $1.46 billion.

QR unitholders will receive approximately 72 million common units of Breitburn Energy Partners LP, or 0.9856 of a Breitburn unit, for each unit of QR Energy that they own. The consideration to be received by QR unitholders is valued at $22.48 per unit, a 19 percent premium to Wednesday's closing price of $18.87.

Shares of Houston's QR Energy were up more than 8 percent Thursday in premarket trading.

Japan record $75B trade deficit in 1st half; LNG, oil imports increase

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's trade deficit surged to a record 7.6 trillion yen ($74.9 billion) in the first half of the year as exports failed to keep pace with surging imports, the Finance Ministry reported Thursday.

Japan's bulging import bill was partly due to a jump in demand as businesses and consumers stepped up purchases ahead of an April 1 increase in the sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent.

Imports for the six months jumped 10 percent to 42.6 trillion yen ($420 billion) while exports rose 3.2 percent to 35.1 trillion yen ($346 billion), the preliminary data show.


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