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Japan's first commercial production of shale oil began this month at the Onnagawa tight oil formation in the Ayukawa oil and gas field in the country’s northern Akita Prefecture, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. (Japex) said Monday. Production has been about 220 b/d of crude oil. Japex had been conducting demonstration experiments of acid treatments and several flow tests, beginning in 2012, utilizing an existing well, Japex said. The Onnagawa Formation "is distributed widely in Akita Prefecture," Japex said. Late next month the company plans to begin horizontal drilling in the Onnagawa shale oil formation, which is to include Japan's first demonstration experiment of tight formation multistage hydraulic fracturing, the company said.

Houston-based Memorial Resource Development Corp. has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) of up to $700 million, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The number of shares to be offered, IPO price and estimated proceeds were not disclosed. Once complete, the company, which includes publicly traded master limited partnership Memorial Production Partners LP (MEMP) plans to list common stock on Nasdaq under "MRD." Most of MEMP’s exploration activities are in East Texas and North Louisiana in the Terryville complex, where it is targeting natural gas and liquids in the Cotton Valley formation. It also has acreage in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas.

Williams Partners LP is investigating a 12-inch diameter natural gas gathering pipeline fire that occurred Saturday in Marshall County, WV, near the Oak Grove processing facility, which is under construction.The pipeline was not in operation, authorities said. Production from three locations was impacted temporarily. No one was injured. The partnership isolated, drained and inspected a separate four-inch diameter gas liquids line as a precaution because it is in the same right-of-way.

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