Appalachia looks to land petrochemical plant investments

The northern Appalachian states, already enriched by the natural gas boom, are hoping “the surge in fossil fuel production will help them feed the world's growing demand for plastics and chemicals,” CNBC reports. While Appalachia's share of the $181 billion in planned investments in petrochemical plants is relatively small at roughly $16 billion, the news network says the American Chemistry Council and regional boosters believe states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia “are positioned to capitalize on growing demand for plastics around the world.” For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Energy traders think U.S. shale production is here to stay

European energy trading houses such as Trafigura Group Pte., Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. and Vitol Group have invested in U.S. infrastructure and struck supply deals to secure flows of shale oil and natural gas, according to Bloomberg. The news service says the agreements show the traders “see long-term opportunities in an industry that has already upended global energy flows, particularly since the United States lifted a four-decade old ban on exports at the end of 2015.” For more, read the full story.

Global, National

Report: Oil and gas fund ‘worth essentially nothing’

A $2 billion private equity fund that borrowed heavily to buy oil and natural gas wells before energy prices fell is now “worth essentially nothing,” reports the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper says EnerVest Ltd., a Houston private equity firm that manages the fund, started investing money in it in 2013 when oil was trading at more than double the current price of about $45 a barrel. The Journal says the fund added $1.3 billion of borrowed money to boost its buying power, which “caused trouble when oil prices tumbled.” For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio

IEA says U.S. to challenge Australia, Qatar as top natural gas exporter

A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) says the United States is ready to challenge Australia and Qatar as the world's largest exporter of natural gas. According to CNBC, the report says the United States will challenge those two countries as the top gas exporter by 2022. For more, read the full story.

Global, National

Virginia court rules in favor of pipeline company in surveying dispute

The Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled in favor of the company developing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina in a lawsuit involving a landowner who sought to keep surveyors off her property, reports the Associated Press. The news service says that in Palmer v. Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC, property owner Hazel Palmer argued a Virginia law allowing surveying privileges shouldn't apply because the pipeline company is organized under Delaware law. The Court disagreed, ruling that Palmer's property rights don't allow her to exclude surveyors for the natural gas pipeline. For more, read the full story.

National, Oil & Gas Litigation, West Virginia

Interior secretary wants to streamline oil and gas permit process

Efforts to increase U.S. energy production have received a boost from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who wants to streamline the permitting process for oil and natural gas drilling and hold more frequent sales of drilling rights on federal lands, reports the Associated Press. The news service says Zinke recently signed an order calling for faster and more efficient oil and gas permitting to clear a backlog in U.S. Bureau of Land Management offices. Federal law requires permits to be decided within 30 days, Zinke said, but the average wait for oil and gas companies has grown to 257 days. For more, read the full story.


Energy CEOs push for Senate approval of FERC commissioners

Energy company CEOs say a lack of sitting commissioners at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has sidelined up to 15 energy infrastructure projects, including some natural gas pipelines, valued between $15 billion and $25 billion, according to CNBC. The news network says the CEOs are warning the private investment dollars for those projects might be gone if FERC, which only has one commissioner at this point, is not functional by Congress’ August recess. Two nominees, Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson, for vacant FERC seats are awaiting a confirmation vote by the full Senate, while President Donald Trump recently announced he intends to nominate Richard Glick to another open seat. For more, read the full story.


Consol outlines plans to separate natural gas, coal operations

Consol Energy Inc., which has operations in the Utica shale play, has laid out plans for splitting the company, including separation of its natural gas business, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. Citing details from a Consol filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the newspaper says a still-to-be-named company would hold the natural gas business. In addition, a spinoff company would own Consol’s three coal mines in Greene and Washington counties in Pennsylvania, its ownership interest in CNX Coal Resources LP and other coal-related assets. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

With export ban lifted, U.S. now shipping oil to dozens of countries

The New York Times reports that “in a twist that would have been unthinkable only two years ago,” an oil tanker arriving in China today may be carrying crude oil that left the port in Corpus Christi, Texas instead of Saudi Arabia. The newspaper says a rise in shipments of U.S. oil to dozens of countries after the end to a long-running export ban is “the latest chapter in a remarkable turnaround for the American oil and gas industry.” Oil exports grew slowly through most of 2016, according to the Times, but there has been a surge this year that reached 1.3 million barrels a day, or roughly 15% of domestic production. For more, read the full story.

Global, National

Ohio EPA seeks civil penalties against Rover pipeline builder

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has asked the state’s attorney general to pursue civil penalties against Rover pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners over a series of fluid spills and other alleged violations that could threaten local wetlands and water supplies, reports Columbus Business First. The newspaper says the agency has also issued a new order against the company, “flagging recent spills from its pipeline project, evidence of industrial waste dumping and certain permit violations.” For more, read the full story.

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