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ZaZa Energy Corp. and an affiliate of private equity firm Quantum Energy Partners has struck an East Texas joint venture (JV) agreement that includes acreage in Walker, Grimes, Madison, Trinity and Houston counties. ZaZa is to receive about $17 million, consisting of cash and a right to receive Quantum's interest in the next 15 East Texas JV wells. ZaZa is to assign to Quantum 6,000 net acres in undeveloped leases within its East Texas JV and is to retain its interest in all existing wells and the right to participate with respect to Quantum's working interest in reserved wells. Following the assignment, ZaZa will have about 30,000 net acres in its East Texas JV and about 10,000 net acres in its East Texas focus area. Closing is subject to the approval of ZaZa's existing East Texas JV partner. "ZaZa has been meeting with Quantum for more than a year to lay the groundwork for this new relationship," said CEO Todd Brooks. "Our new partnership validates the progress ZaZa has made, and we look forward to working with Quantum as we move forward with our East Texas acquisition and development plans."

Consol Energy Inc. officially started horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations at the Pittsburgh International Airport on Monday, with a ceremony that featured top company officials, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald. Consol has already constructed one of six well pads on more than 9,000 acres of county-owned land at the airport where it plans to drill up to 45 Marcellus Shale wells through 2018. Drilling at the airport began earlier this month. The project, which cleared a series of local, state and federal regulatory hurdles beginning in February 2013 (see Shale DailyApril 25Feb. 21, 2013), is expected to generate more than $1 billion in capital spending and revenue for the county over the next 20 years, including a $50 million signing bonus delivered to the airport authority last year, according to Consol. CEO Nick Deluliis said drilling operations at the airport could eventually be expanded to target the Upper Devonian and Utica shales.

Organizers of the Oil & Gas Awards announced Monday that the 2014 finalists have been picked. Judged by more than 110 senior executives from midstream and exploration and production companies, the Oil & Gas Awards saw more than 400 companies participate across multiple categories this year. "The Awards champion companies that display best practice in the key areas of operational excellence, environmental stewardship, corporate social responsibility and excellence in health and safety. All key areas of public interest where misinformation dissipated by industry critics has been a thorn in the industry's side." The Oil & Gas Awards take place regionally throughout North America in the Gulf Coast, Midcontinent, Northeast, Rocky Mountains, Southwest and West Coast. Winners of the Oil & Gas Awards will be announced at the Oil & Gas Awards Gala Dinner in the relevant region. Each gala dinner will be preceded by a regional Oil & Gas Awards Industry Summit held for participating companies and organizations that have an interest in networking and learning about challenges faced in the region. The West Coast event is being held on Oct. 21 in Bakersfield, CA, while the Southwest event will be held on Oct. 23 in Dallas, TX, and the Midcontinent one on Oct. 29 in Oklahoma City, OK. For a full list of West Coast, Southwest and Midcontinent finalists for 2014, visit http://www.oilandgasawards.com/2014-finalists/. For more information on the Industry Summit and Awards Dinner, contact info@oilandgasawards.com, or call (210) 591-8471.

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has opened an office and central equipment yard in Odessa, TX, in order to keep up with demand for its construction and maintenance services in the Permian Basin, the company said. The new location serves as the company's central hub for Permian activities. Jacobs is in the process of selecting locations for satellite yards in the region to further support its clients on West Texas construction and maintenance projects.

Calpine Corp. has agreed to buy the 809 MW combined-cycle Fore River Generating Station in North Weymouth, MA, from Exelon Corp. for $530 million. Built in 2003, the plant features two Mitsubishi 501G combustion turbines, two heat-recovery steam generators and one Mitsubishi steam turbine. The plant's dual-fuel capability enables it to run on either natural gas or fuel oil, depending on market conditions. Calpine expects the transaction to close in the fourth quarter and intends to fund the deal with cash on hand. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, antitrust review and Federal Energy Regulatory Commissionapproval.

In a forecast with significant implications for the energy industry, the Farmers' Almanac said it expects a "super-cold" winter for the eastern United States this year. Modern meteorology and a host of decidedly rural indicators - heavy fogs in August, an abundance of acorns, spiders spinning larger-than-normal webs - have Farmers' Almanac Editor Peter Geiger anticipating a cold and snowy winter for the eastern two-thirds of the nation. The West will average warmer than normal, according to the forecast. In a long-range forecast issued last month, Weather Services International (WSI) Chief Meteorologist Todd Crawford said initial analysis suggested that "another cold winter may be favored this year, although there are still many other drivers of the winter pattern that will reveal themselves in the coming months" (see Daily GPIJuly 21). Confidence in such an early winter forecast was "very low," Crawford said. AccuWeather.com has said it expects a preview of winter to hit the Northeast in September in the form of yet another polar vortex (see Daily GPIAug. 6).

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