Natural gas roundtables to bring out diverse voices

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Natural gas roundtables to bring out diverse voices

The lineup of witnesses at the three natural gas roundtable forums starting next week before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee includes numerous industry, government and environmental group representatives.

The witnesses for the forums were announced Thursday by Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and ranking Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. The first forum is scheduled next Tuesday and is to focus on infrastructure, transportation, research and innovation.

Jewell: Interior fracking regs out soon

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Monday she plans to soon issue the department’s regulations governing natural gas hydraulic fracturing on public lands, ones she said will reflect differences in geology and proximity to groundwater.

“One thing that’s clear to me is that one size doesn’t fit all,” Jewell said during an online Earth Day web chat, her first since taking the post on April 12. “If you’re fracking in a formation that is well away from groundwater, thousands of feet away, as long as you have good well bore integrity, the risks should be low.”

Analysis: Wyden’s natural gas plan faces partisan roadblocks

Sen. Ron Wyden is making the most of his chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to promote a federal push into natural gas fracturing disclosure.

Yet the question remains: who wants his “above ground” policy?

Right now, it is hard to see any appetite among lawmakers or the White House, for even a modest national fracturing disclosure bill. Unless that changes, Wyden’s proposal could fall by the wayside with other energy proposals that have gone nowhere in the Senate.

Ukraine’s EU neighbors see US gas as Russian hedge

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four Central European nations are urging the United States to boost natural gas exports to Europe as a hedge against the risk that Russia could cut its supply of gas to Ukraine, but the White House says such a move would take more than a year.

Ambassadors from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic made their appeal Friday in a letter to John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. A similar letter was expected to be sent to Harry Reid, the Democratic leader of the Senate.

The letter from the four nations, known as the Visegrad Group, asks for Congress to support speedier approval of natural gas exports. It notes that the “presence of U.S. natural gas would be much welcome in Central and Eastern Europe.”

LNG export bill faces wait in Senate

The talks between a Republican senator and the Obama administration to set deadlines for Energy Department decisions on natural gas exports isn’t leading to fast action on Capitol Hill.

Bipartisan-backed legislation by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., reflecting discussions between Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. and Energy Secretary Earnest Moniz, would set a 45-day deadline for the department to rule on export applications following final project environmental reviews.

Exxon subsidiary XTO settles dumping case in W. Va.

Exxon Mobil subsidiary XTO Energy has settled federal allegations that it illegally dumped fill dirt and other materials at natural gas well sites into wetlands and streams in West Virginia, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday.

The Ft. Worth, Texas-based company will pay a $2.3 million civil penalty and spend $3 million to clean up eight sites in three counties where it dumped the fill without a Clean Water Act permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. EPA said the penalty is one of the largest levied to date for unauthorized dumping of fill or dredged materials under the law.

Cyprus: Initial offshore drilling finds no gas

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ Energy Ministry says initial exploratory drilling by an Italian-Korean consortium off Cyprus’ southern coast has failed to find significant quantities of gas.

The ministry said Friday that the SAIPEM 10000 rig belonging to the Eni-Kogas consortium drilled to a depth of 5,800 meters (19,000 feet) without success.