Halliburton Co. has reached an agreement with BP Exploration & Production Inc. to resolve remaining issues regarding the April 2010 Macondo well blowout in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. No financial details were announced. Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar called BP a "valued customer," and the "amicable resolution...allows us to close another chapter in the Deepwater Horizon case..." The agreement "allows Halliburton to strengthen its relationship with BP by negotiating a global master services agreement between the companies." Halliburton previously agreed to settle punitive damages claims brought by a class of plaintiffs arising from incident, and all claims that BP assigned to the settlement class in BP's April 2012 settlement with the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (see Daily GPI, Sept. 2, 2014).
Units of European energy giants Royal Dutch Shell and Spain's Iberdrola are included in the 13-year-old crusade by California officials to obtain more than $3 billion that state electricity consumers paid in 2001-2002 for excess charges following manipulation of western wholesale energy markets. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and a coalition of utility companies and state agencies filed testimony at the FERC as part of an ongoing case against Shell Energy, formerly Coral Power LLC, and Iberdrola, formerly a PacifiCorp unit. The parties are seeking reimbursement of power charges with interest. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has set the matter for an evidentiary hearing.
Four U.S. states -- California, Oregon, Vermont and Washington -- as well as two Canadian provinces and two Mexican states are among the signatories of an international cooperative memorandum of understanding (MOU) pledging to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 80-95% of 1990 levels by 2050. California Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered a 40% reduction in his state's GHG emissions by 2030 (see Daily GPI, April 30). The agreement, Under 2 MOU, aims to contain a rise in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, "the warming threshold at which scientists say there will probably be catastrophic climate disruptions," Brown said. The MOU is considered a template for the United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled this year in Paris. Signatories include Canadian provinces Ontario and British Columbia; Mexican states Baja California and Jalisco; Acre, Brazil; Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany; Catalonia, Spain; and Wales, UK.
Bechtel has gotten the go-ahead from Cheniere Energy Inc. to begin construction of two liquefaction trains that are the beginning of the Corpus Christi Liquefaction project in Texas (see Daily GPI, May 12). "We have initiated construction on our second LNG [liquefied natural gas] export facility, the Corpus Christi liquefaction project, located on the Coastal Bend of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico. Including our LNG export facility at Sabine Pass [see Daily GPI, April 28; Oct. 30, 2014], we now have six trains under construction, with first LNG expected at Sabine Pass from Train 1 by year end," said Cheniere CEO Charif Souki. Corpus Christi project is designed for up to three trains with expected aggregate nominal production capacity of 13.5 million tonnes per annum; three LNG storage tanks with capacity of 10.1 Bcfe; two LNG carrier docks and a 22-mile, 48-inch diameter natural gas supply pipeline. The first train is expected to start operations as early as 2018, with the second train expected to commence operations six to nine months thereafter.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law HB 40, legislation affirming the state's jurisdiction to regulate oil and natural gas drilling activities. Provisions were to take effect immediately. The bill allows for some local oversight of aboveground drilling-related activities and provides a safe harbor for some existing local regulations as long as they don't impede industry activity. The bill was introduced in response to a ban on hydraulic fracturing enacted by voters in 2014 in Barnett Shale town Denton. HB 40's adoption puts to an end Denton's ban on fracking (see Shale Daily, May 4; March 31). The city has been working on revisions to its drilling ordinance, an effort that has been stalled while the mayor and city council waited to see what would happen in the Texas legislature with regard to energy regulation (see Shale Daily, April 15). "This is a balanced approach that protects the ability of municipalities to reasonably regulate surface activity related to oil and gas development, while offering the regulatory certainty necessary for our industry operations," said Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association President Ed Longanecker.
Tom Steyer, a billionaire climate change activist and founder of NextGen Climate Change, attended a meeting of the California Democratic Party to gauge interest for a pair of ballot proposals for a state extraction tax on oil and more stringent reporting requirements for companies on gasoline supplies and prices. The group issued results of an opinion poll that found broad support for the ballot measures. Steyer contends that California is the only one of 22 oil-producing states not to have an oil extraction tax, and said the poll showed a majority agreeing the added revenue from an extraction tax should be diverted to higher education to lower tuition costs. California assesses a small, per barrel tax on oil production to fund the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. The state also assesses property taxes that are based on the present value of oil in the ground, according to a spokesperson for the Western States Petroleum Association.