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An El Paso Corp.-operated well in North Louisiana is the first gas-producing well to be completed using all three of Halliburton's proprietary CleanSuite production enhancement technologies for both hydraulic fracturing and water treatment, the companies said. More than four million gallons of an ecofriendly CleanStim fracture fluid system, which was first introduced by Halliburton last year (see Daily GPI, Nov. 16, 2010), was used to enhance the well, they said. CleanStim is a food-based fracking solution. Halliburton's CleanStream process was used to treat nearly 4.8 million gallons of water and another one million gallons of produced water was prepared for recycling in the well through the CleanWave system.

Minneapolis, MN-based Xcel Energy's senior officials told financial analysts that the eight-state, multi-utility holding company will be refunded all of its investment in a 150 MW wind project in North Dakota that it terminated last month with California-based renewable developer enXco. COO Ben Fowke said enXco failed to close the $400 million deal on time for the Merricourt Project, one of two that Xcel embarked on two years ago with enXco in Minnesota and North Dakota (see Daily GPI, Sept. 1, 2009). Merricourt was slated to go into commercial operations late this year, "but we terminated the agreements because the project did not close by contractual closing date and certain conditions of closing were not satisfied," said Fowke, noting that the conditions dealt with endangered species and a site compatibility permit. As a result, Xcel has revised its capital expenditure forecast for this year to about $2 billion, Fowke said. The other wind project with enXco, the 201 MW Nobles project, was completed late last year (see Daily GPI, Dec. 30, 2010).

Venture capital kept flowing to clean tech investments in the first quarter, although the number of new deals dropped from 1Q2010. Total monies raised, however, increased quarter over quarter ($1.1 billion in 1Q2011 compared with $743.3 million in 1Q2010), according to a report from Ernst & Young and data from Dow Jones Venture-Source. A solar thin film photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer in Silicon Valley, MiaSole, attracted $106 million in February, and the majority of the new clean tech deals took place in California, attracting $637 million collectively. The energy generation sector nationally pulled in the most new investment -- $458 million in 1Q2011, compared with $158 million in 1Q2010. Energy storage, including natural gas, was also "hot," according to the report, attracting $262 million in 1Q2011, a 670% increase quarter over quarter. There was $50 million invested in gas-related projects in 1Q2011, compared with a $40 million investment in similar projects for all of last year.

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