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Briefs -- Basin Energy Group, WV Pipe, Rail Aid, Railroad Commission of Texas, Amec Foster Wheeler, Cheniere Energy, PennTex Midstream, CME Group

Basin Energy Group has made its second acquisition since forming last year, this time acquiring Starett's Well Service, which is based in Harrison County, WV, for an undisclosed price. Starett's is a locally-owned company founded in 2002. It has since grown to provide well maintenance, equipment, containment and roustabout services for the Marcellus and Utica shale industries as well as the region's conventional oil and gas industry. Starett's founder will continue to lead day-to-day operations and business development. Basin Energy was founded in mid-2014 with the backing of the Richmond, VA-based private equity firm Turning Basin Capital to identify opportunities in the shale gas market. It first acquired West Virginia-based ProActive Services, which is focused on natural gas gathering systems and maintenance.

West Virginia is set to receive nearly $800,000 in federal aid to help improve the state's response to disasters involving oil and natural gas pipelines and crude-by-rail shipments. West Virginia Sens. Joe Manchin (D) and Shelley Moore Capito (R) announced the grants earlier this month after a review of Bakken Shale crude shipments through the state following a fiery oil train derailment in in February Fayette County (see Shale Daily, Feb. 17). The state is expected to receive $198,828 from the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) emergency preparedness grant program to develop/revise emergency plans and training activities for incidents involving energy products shipped by rail or road. It would also allow the state to conduct flow studies to determine the frequency and quantity of hazardous materials, such as crude oil, that are being shipped through local communities. The state would also receive two PHMSA grants totaling $584,021 to support its oil and gas pipeline safety programs. "Our state has experienced a crude-by-rail accident firsthand, and we realize the importance of making sure our first responders have the resources they need to prepare for and respond to these kinds of incidents," Manchin said. "The oil train that derailed and exploded in Fayette County last February was not an isolated incident, and we need to do more to protect our citizens from damaging accidents while also ensuring the flow of energy products to those who need them." A 109-car CSX Corp. train carrying Bakken Shale crude oil derailed Feb. 16 on its way to an oil depot in Yorktown, VA (see Shale Daily, Feb. 20). While no one was hurt, 1,000 people were temporarily evacuated. 

The Railroad Commission of Texas will host two one-day sessions of the "Spraberry (Trend Area) Forum and Discussion" in Midland on Wednesday, Oct. 7 and Thursday, Oct. 8. The forum is intended toeducate and train oil and gas industry representatives on drilling permits, completions, production reporting, stacked laterals, Statewide Rule 13, Statewide Rule 32, and website queries for proration. Registration is $150 per person. The meetings will be at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 117 West Mall in Midland. Group rates are available until Tuesday, Sept. 22, when making hotel reservations. For information, visit www.rrc.texas.gov/oil-gas/oil-gas-workshops-and-seminars.

Amec Foster Wheeler was awarded a contract by Yuhuang Chemical Inc., a US-based subsidiary of Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co. Co. Ltd., for its world-scale methanol facility proposed to be sited on the Mississippi River in St.James Parish, LA. Amec Foster Wheeler is to provide engineering, project management, procurement and early construction services. The intention is to extend the agreement into a full engineering, procurement and construction contract during 2016. Construction is expected to begin this year, with the first phase of the methanol project beginning operation by 2018. The facility will use natural gas as its primary feedstock (see Daily GPIJuly 18, 2014).

Activist investor Carl Icahn has raised his stake in Cheniere Energy Inc. to 9.6% from a previously disclosed 8.2%. The move follows the recent addition of two Icahn associates to the Cheniere board of directors (see Daily GPIAug. 24) after Icahn disclosed his 8.2% stake in the company (see Daily GPIAug. 7). At the time, a regulatory filing said Icahn expected to have talks with Cheniere on company operations, capital spending, financing and executive compensation. Meanwhile, short-seller Jim Chanos has a significant short position in Cheniere shares and recently said on CNBC that the company is a "looming disaster" because its shares are overvalued, debt is high and there is glut of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on the global market. "LNG demand isn't growing anymore. We already have excess capacity, and we're about to pretty much almost double the capacity globally over the next four years," Chaos said.

PennTex Midstream Partners LP's Mt. Olive natural gas processing plant and related residue gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) pipelines at the Terryville Complex in northern Louisiana near Ruston have been completed and placed into service, increasing processing capacity to 400 MMcf/d. The facility consists of a 200 MMcf/d cryogenic processing plant with on-site liquids-handling facilities for inlet gas, additional residue gas and NGL pipelines. The 14-mile residue gas pipeline has throughput capacity of 400 MMcf/d and provides market access from the partnership's processing plants. The 41-mile NGL pipeline has throughput capacity of more than 36,000 b/d and provides transportation to downstream markets for NGLs produced from the partnership's plants. The second phase of the complex is now completed. The first phase was completed in May and included the Lincoln Parish plant, a 200 MMcf/d cryogenic processing plant, and 31 miles of related gas gathering and residue gas pipelines. Services are provided under long-term, fee-based agreements.

CME Group said it will develop and clear energy derivatives based on the Rim Intelligence DES (delivered ex ship) Japan LNG Assessment to be available via the Japan over the counter (OTC) exchange and through OTC brokers. Rim Intelligence is an energy price information provider for Japan and has agreed to license its assessment to CME. CME is hoping to attract market participants that want to mitigate price risk while building liquidity in the contracts. "Thanks to the clearing service provided by CME Group, the safety of LNG transactions on Japan OTC Exchange will be greatly enhanced and will allow our members to trade with a high level of comfort, which I believe would lead to the further development of the LNG markets in Asia," said Takamichi Hamada, CEO of Tokyo Commodity Exchange.

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