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Sempra LNG, a unit of Sempra Energy, and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. have a nonbinding agreement to explore developing Sempra LNG's proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Port Arthur, TX. The project would be at a site previously permitted for an LNG regasification terminal and designed to include two liquefaction trains with a total export capability of about 10 million tonnes per annum, or 1.4 Bcf/d, as well as LNG storage tanks and marine facilities for ship berthing and loading. In March Sempra LNG affiliate Port Arthur LNG LLC began the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission pre-filing review for the facility and filed its permit application with the U.S. Department of Energy for authorization to export LNG to all current and future free trade agreement countries (see Daily GPIMarch 23).

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's approval for Royal Dutch Shell plc to drill in Alaska's Chukchi Sea is being challenged by a group of organizations that claim the Department of Interior agency inadequately assessed the "threats and effects" associated with the exploration. The petition was filed by Earthjustice with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The revised exploration plan conditionally approved in May for Shell Gulf Gulf Mexico Inc. proposes to pick up where the operator left off in 2012 by drilling six wells in the Burger prospect (seeDaily GPIMay 15April 10). Groups protesting the drilling include the Alaska Wilderness LeagueCenter for Biological DiversityFriends of the EarthNational Audubon SocietyNatural Resources Defense CouncilNorthern Alaska Environmental CenterPacific EnvironmentResisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous LandsSierra Club and The Wilderness Society.

Venture Global Calcasieu Pass LLC is securing an additional 432 acres for its proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Cameron Parish, LA, parent company Venture Global LNG Inc. said. The project now has 938 acres available to it. "By nearly doubling the size of its land footprint, the Calcasieu Pass terminal and ancillary facilities have more flexibility in terms of access, buffer zone and construction laydown," said William Wicker, CEO of Venture Global LNG. "This expansion also accesses excellent ship berthing, parking and office facilities, as well as land for other activities that will support project development." The terminal could enter service as early as late 2019 (see Daily GPIDec. 10, 2014Oct. 22, 2013).

Chevron Corp. has agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed last year by the family of a subcontractor killed in an explosion and fire at a three-well pad in southwest Pennsylvania, according to documents filed in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. Under the settlement, which was approved by a judge, Chevron would pay $5 million, most of which would go toward a trust for the worker's son. In February 2014, a natural gas leak at a Chevron site in Greene County caused an explosion and fire that raged for days (see Shale DailyFeb. 11, 2014). The blast killed Ian McKee, 27, of Morgantown, WV, who was working on site for Cameron International. An investigation later revealed that human error likely caused the leak after it was discovered that a gland nut and lock screw assembly were ejected from the wellhead. The leaking gas caught fire when it reached hot equipment on the pad (see Shale DailyAug. 7, 2014).

Remnants of a May 19 oil spill from a Plains All American pipeline in Santa Barbara County, CA, spread over the weekend to beaches in Ventura and Los Angeles counties to the south as company officials reported progress in recovery efforts. A "unified command" involving federal, state, local and company representative has been working for two weeks on clean-up efforts deploying more than 1,400 people, more than a dozen marine vessels, several aircraft, and 10,600 feet of booms surveying more than 50 miles of shoreline, 40.3 miles of which have been impacted by the pipeline spill. Thus far, the recovery has netted 11,915 gallons of oily water mixture; 510 cubic yards of oiled vegetation; 540 cubic yards of oiled sand; and 3,840 cubic yards of oiled soil.

Texas has earmarked $4.5 million in a supplemental budget bill approved by the House of Representatives for the study of seismic activity. The money is to go to the University of Texas at Austin Bureau of Economic Geology, which will investigate seismicity that is thought to be related to oil and natural gas development activities. Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) sought the money for the distribution of seismic monitoring equipment. The Barnett Shale region of North Texas has experienced numerous small earthquakes in recent years, and these are thought to be related to drilling waste injection wells (see Shale DailyApril 24).

A Youngstown, OH-based company has pleaded guilty for its role in dumping tens of thousands of gallons of oilfield waste down a storm drain that emptied into a major river running through the city. A U.S. District Court judge ordered Hardrock Excavating LLC to pay $100,000 toFriends of the Mahoning River and the Midwest Environmental Enforcement Association after the company pleaded guilty to a federal charge of making an unpermitted discharge. The company's owner, Ben W. Lupo, was sentenced in August to 28 months in prison for his role in ordering the 33 illegal dumps between October 2012 and January 2013, according to court documents (see Shale DailyAug. 6, 2014Feb. 19, 2013).

Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and BlackRock have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to accelerate financing of energy-related infrastructure projects. BlackRock will provide industry expertise, risk management capabilities and sources of financing to Pemex. "We believe that Mexican infrastructure presents a substantial investment opportunity for our clients and builds on BlackRock's long-standing presence in Mexico while demonstrating the firm's ongoing commitment to the region," said Armando Senra, BlackRock head of Latin America and Iberia. In March, BlackRock and First Reserve agreed to take a 45% stake in the phase two segments of Pemex's Los Ramones Pipeline Project. The pipelines to carry U.S. gas to Mexico would be the first major midstream assets built with foreign capital since the recent reform of Mexico's energy sector, the partners said at the time (see Daily GPIMarch 27).

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