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The Ukraine Crisis Is Bolstering America’s Oil And Gas Boom

Oil and gas industry - LNG tankerBy Christopher Helman

The hand-wringing over what to do to help Ukraine has had a very positive impact on the U.S. oil and gas industry. Politicians like Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) are seizing on the crisis to call for a lifting of the ban on U.S. oil exports — the better to counterbalance Russia’s petro-influence. While the Wall Street Journal this morning wrote that western politicians are working on a variety of options to help “loosen Russia’s energy stranglehold on Ukraine” including “larger exports of U.S.-made natural gas.”

Nevermind that the U.S. currently exports no natural gas in the form of LNG because new liquefaction plants won’t be completed until late 2015. The bigger point was made by economist Ed Yardeni in his morning note today: “By invading Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin may have succeeded in resolving the debate in the U.S. about whether or not we should export natural gas and crude oil.”

Yardeni noted this New York Times editorial over the weekend as proof positive that the Obama administration (and the rest of the left-leaning side of the political class) now embraces U.S. energy exports as a potentially powerful political tool. When even the New York Times editorial board defies the anti-fracking lobby to conclude that “natural gas exports could serve American foreign-policy interests in Europe” it indicates that LNG exports are something we can all agree on.

And get this, another Times story reveals that Hillary Rodham Clinton has for years been in favor of “channeling the domestic energy boom into a geopolitical tool to advance American interests around the world.” The former Secretary of State supposedly set up an 85-person bureau at the State Department in 2011, for the purpose of doing just that.

Read more:http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2014/03/10/the-ukraine-crisis-is-bolstering-americas-oil-and-gas-boom/

 
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Local rail projects receive state aid

rail tracksBy Rachel Morgan

DARLINGTON — A Beaver County railroad project will receive $339,500 in state aid, one of 33 rail freight improvement projects that were approved Tuesday for additional funding.

“Pennsylvania has more operating railroads than any other state, and investing in our rail freight network keeps these invaluable assets in prime position to generate economic growth and jobs,” said Gov. Tom Corbett. “Improving rail networks not only spurs our economy, it also increases safety by helping to ease traffic on our highways.”

The State Transportation Commission approved $33.4 million for 15 projects through the Rail Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) and 14 projects through the Rail Freight Assistance Program (RFAP). RTAP is a capital budget grant program funded with bonds and RFAP is underwritten through the new Multi-Modal Fund, created by Act 89, officials said in a release.

The development of Marcellus shale also helped raise funds.

Read more: http://www.timesonline.com/news/transportation/local-rail-projects-receive-state-aid/article_087877c6-0730-59d4-a4e2-26fa1d2606e3.html

 
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Driller tapping both Utica and Marcellus shale from same well pad

drilling_rigby:

An energy company is planning to drill into rock from the Utica and Marcellus plays on the same well pad in Ohio. That means wells just feet apart will capture dry gas from Utica shale and oil and natural gas liquids from Marcellus shale. Magnum Hunter Resources Corp.’s first Utica dry gas well on its Stalder well pad in Monroe County began producing Feb. 9, and tested at a peak rate of 32.5 million cubic feet per day, a high initial production level. That well, dubbed No. 3UH, was drilled to a depth of 10,653 feet. Another well, No. 2MH, is expected to begin production this month. It was drilled 6,070 feet deep.

“We expect the production from this well to be very liquids-rich,” the company said in its fourth-quarter earnings report. There is far less activity on the Marcellus play inside Ohio’s border than the Utica. The state Department of Natural Resources reports 36 permits to horizontally drill the Marcellus, while the Utica play has drawn 1,123 permits. Drilling two plays from a single well pad makes economic sense. Once a well is drilled, a rig doesn’t have to move far to drill the next one, and less equipment is needed at different locations.

Read more: http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/blog/2014/03/driller-tapping-both-utica-and.html

 
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CONSOL Energy Announces Plans to Supply European Cracker Facilities with Ethane from the Marcellus Shale in Western Pennsylvania

Consol Energy logoPITTSBURGH, Feb. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) announced today that it has entered into agreement with Ineos Europe AG, part of the Ineos Group, to export ethane via Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East infrastructure and the Marcus Hook Delaware River port for use in Ineos’ European cracker complexes.

The agreement builds on plans to transport high-value propane and ethane by pipeline from Western Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook, where the materials will be processed and shipped by sea to domestic and export markets. This is the second ethane transaction that CONSOL Energy has recently announced, while the first transaction was with Royal Dutch Shell to supply ethane to its planned cracker facility in Beaver County, Pennsylvania.

“This agreement, and others like it, signify a vote of confidence that the Marcellus Shale resource base represents a long-term, reliable energy supply for industrial users both at home and abroad,” commented Nick DeIuliis, President of CONSOL Energy. “We are pleased to partner with Ineos as we continue to expand upon opportunities to diversify end-user markets for our region’s natural gas products.”

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20140213-913879.html

 
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Turns out the Loup Power District’s excess sand is perfect for fracking – and worth millions

sandBy Cole Epley

GENOA, Neb. — Few people would have guessed over the years that the massive expanse of sand surrounding Loup Power District’s canal near here would one day be worth untold millions of dollars, or that it would eventually be responsible for up to 150 jobs.

The source of the sand, the Loup River, presents James Reeg a never-ending challenge. As dredge foreman for the public power district, Reeg is charged with removing anywhere from 1 million to 2 million tons of sand and sediment from the utility’s settlement basin every year.

It’s a task that takes about three months in the spring and about three months in the fall to keep water flowing to the district’s two hydroelectric power plants at Monroe and Columbus. And every year since 1937, that sand was pumped to either side of a two-mile-long canal, requiring the district to purchase additional land for storage.

As it turns out, the sand covering thousands of acres of land just west of Genoa happens to match the type of sand used to extract oil and gas in a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Advances in the controversial technique helped create a domestic oil and gas boom. And that’s been a boon for this little town of about 1,000 people west of Columbus.

“Anywhere they’re drilling for natural gas in the U.S., sand from Genoa has been used,” said T.J. Doyle, executive vice president of business operations for Preferred Sands.

Read more: http://www.omaha.com/article/20140218/MONEY/140218799

 
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