Biodegradable polymers are a tiny slice of the broader bioplastics market, but they could offer a means for oil and gas drillers to go greener in hydraulic fracturing operations.
It is almost common knowledge these days that advancements in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, both decades-old techniques, have been the keys to unlocking vast gas and oil deposits in recent years that were previously considered too costly to develop. As hydraulic fracturing has become commonplace across large swaths of the United States – sometimes in areas in which oil and gas drilling is a relatively new phenomenon – it has sparked a range of environmental concerns. These include fears that the materials injected into the ground in the process, which include chemicals and proppants, may contaminate water supplies. Keep reading →
The Senate Energy Committee’s natural gas forums, scheduled for May 2013, will assess several issues surrounding natural gas development to ensure that upcoming policies will maximize economic benefits while maintaining environmental safety.
On April 3, 2013, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore) and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) announced the committee’s plan to hold three natural gas forums in May. The forums will address topics including a scrutiny of estimates of domestic supply, and potential benefits and consequences resulting from expansion of exports. Keep reading →
The promise of remarkably abundant natural gas in the US appears to be as real as the industry has claimed, with the latest estimates from the country’s scientific body charged with evaluating recoverable gas reserves issuing a blockbuster upgrade.
The new recoverable reserves number is the highest in the 48 years the Potential Gas Committee, a nonprofit organization of sector experts hosted by the Colorado School of Mines, has been issuing its evaluations. The last record number was issued in 2010 as the full scale of the impact of hydraulic fracturing technology was just making itself felt across the entire economy, and the Committee’s perceived uncertainty about how accessible reserves would actually be following the issuance of that record number caused consternation that industry had been overselling the potential of the fuel. Keep reading →
EPA’s Science Advisory Board will form an independent panel to provide transparent feedback on its 2014 draft report on hydraulic fracturing and its impact on drinking water resources.
On March 25, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) independent Science Advisory Board announced formation of a panel of independent experts to review the agency’s hydraulic fracturing research report,which is to be completed in 2014. The 31-member Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory Panel will review and provide scientific research on the EPA’s Congressionally-mandated draft report on the potential impacts of fracturing on drinking water. Keep reading →
Rising oil and gas prices have brought big oil, plenty of workers and lots of housing headaches to the nation’s fastest-growing boomtowns. The small city of Williston, N.D., was once a sleepy farm town — until oil companies discovered ways to tap the vast Bakken formation believed to hold as many as 24 billion barrels of oil. “It’s a game-changer, a bonanza,” said Tom Rolfstad, executive director for the city economic development department.
The NY State Assembly voted to enact legislation that would extend the moratorium on high volume hydraulic fracturing until 2015, aiming to facilitate additional health and environmental impact assessments.
On March 6, 2013, the New York State Assembly passed a bill to further suspend issuance of permits for high volume hydraulic fracturing until May 15, 2015. The bill passed with a vote of 95-40 and marks the Assembly’s third moratorium, following similar measures in 2010 and 2011. The industry currently awaits the release of DEC’s Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) and a subsequent ruling for permit issuance. Keep reading →
If the sky isn’t falling when it comes to energy availability, what does that mean for your portfolio?
After years of forecasts – part of a long tradition – that oil supplies were close to running out with the potential for immense supply shocks for the global economy, Wall Street analysts are beginning to build a new consensus around the potential for an unexpected and still-emerging demand-side shock. Keep reading →
The largest energy services companies are set to benefit from a focus on oil drilling in the US as the shale oil boom in North America continues, analysts at Barclays claim, even as drilling for natural gas in shale – largely an “efficiency game” – becomes commoditized.
Much has been made of the boom in development of both oil and natural gas fields in the US, stemming from advances in the efficiency and deployment of hydraulic fracturing. That technological advance has created a price dynamic that weighs on the very industry that has taken advantage of it, while comparatively high global oil prices have made drilling for crude – a more complicated business – more attractive. Keep reading →
California is sitting on a massive amount of shale oil and could become the next oil boom state. But only if the industry can get the stuff out of the ground without upsetting the state’s powerful environmental lobby. Running from Los Angeles to San Francisco, California’s Monterey Shale is thought to contain more oil than North Dakota’s Bakken and Texas’s Eagle Ford — both scenes of an oil boom that’s created thousands of jobs and boosted U.S. oil production to the highest rate in over a decade.
California regulators released the state’s first draft regulations for hydraulic fracturing. The industry views the move as a positive start to drive oil and gas development in California, which has some of the strictest well safety regulations. The move could result in dramatic expansion of drilling activities in the state’s Monterey Shale, a major oil play that could substantially contribute to the domestic energy supply.
On December 18, 2012, California’s Department of Conservation released preliminary regulations for hydraulic fracturing, after a series of public discussions held this year to address environmental concerns. The draft rules, if passed, would require drilling companies to test well integrity and report test results to regulators before beginning fracturing operations. The proposal also seeks to require companies to maintain an online database of fracturing locations and chemical composition of fracturing fluids. It would however, provide an exemption for operators seeking protection for proprietary chemical composition information. The formal rulemaking process, expected to begin in early 2013 with further public hearings, could be finalized in about one year. Keep reading →