Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has signed an agreement with shipbuilder Meyer Turku for new vessels to be fueled with liquefied natural gas (LNG). The "Icon" ships would accommodate 5,000 passengers and are to be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024. In the meantime, the company said it would begin testing fuel cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017 and run progressively larger fuel cell projects on new Quantum class vessels being built in the next several years. The switch to LNG provides further momentum for the technology, which has begun making "significant inroads" in the maritime industry, Royal Caribbean said. "Increasing the commitment to LNG makes it easier for suppliers to make their own infrastructure commitments," said CEO Richard Fain. "As more ships are built for LNG, the number of ports that support it will grow." The Icon ships are expected to run primarily on LNG but also would able to run on distillate fuel to accommodate itineraries that call on ports without LNG infrastructure. Carnival Corp. is also developing its LNG fuel capabilities (see Daily GPIOct. 6) and also has an agreement with Meyer Turku for LNG ships (see Daily GPISept. 7).

Denver-based Carbon Natural Gas Co. has acquired 2,300 gas wells and more than 900 miles of gathering pipelines and associated compression facilities in West Virginia for $9 million. Carbon, which targets mostly shallower formations in the Appalachian and Illinois basins, said those wells are producing 9.3 MMcfe/d. In a regulatory filing, Carbon said it purchased the assets from Exco Resources Inc. subsidiaries and the BG Production Co. Carbon acquired a 95% working interest in the wells, boosting its position to 487,000 net acres company-wide. The company said its average production would increase to 15.3 MMcfe/d with the acquisition. Carbon is traded over-the-counter. It entered a new $100 million credit facility to fund the purchase.

Executives with Poland's state-controlled PGNiG SA and PKN Orlen SA said they will abandon shale gas development plans in the country after disappointing results. According to Reuters, PGNiG CEO Piotr Wozniak and Miroslaw Kochalski, deputy head of PKN Orlen, confirmed the projects would end. Since 2012, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Corp., Talisman Energy Inc. and France's Total SA have each abandoned similar plans to develop shale gas in Poland (see Shale DailyMarch 14, 2013June 19, 2012).

JAX LNG has the remaining engineering and procurement contracts required to begin construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) liquefaction and storage facility in Jacksonville, FL, at Dames Point near the Port of Jacksonville (see Daily GPIAug. 31). The facility is expected to be online during the fourth quarter of 2017. It will have a two million-gallon storage tank with capacity to produce more than 120,000 gallons of LNG per day. JAX said it will be the first small-scale coastal LNG facility in the country and will include marine distribution capabilities utilizing North America's first LNG bunker barge, Clean Jacksonville. In 2015 the JAX LNG joint venture was formed, which brought together Pivotal LNG, a unit of Southern Company Gas; and NorthStar Midstream LLC, a midstream transportation company backed by funds that are managed by Oaktree Capital Management LP and Clean Marine Energy LLC. JAX LNG is the supplier of LNG to the world's first LNG dual-fuel container ships, the Isla Bella and Perla del Caribe, operated by TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico (see Daily GPIOct. 16, 2015).

Belle Fourche Pipeline Co. and Bridger Pipeline LLC, two systems within the Casper, WY-based True Cos. portfolio, are holding an open season through Nov. 9 to offer crude oil transport from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota's Dunn and McKenzie counties to the Belle Fourche Guernsey Hub in Wyoming. Belle Fourche Pipeline gathers and transports oil from western North Dakota and the Powder River Basin of Wyoming, while Bridger owns and operates systems in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming. For details, contact Robert Stamp or call (307) 266-0345.

It's official: an overhaul of environmental regulations for shale gas drillers was published in the Pennsylvania Bulletinand went into effect on Saturday.The thick package of regulations is designed to reduce impacts on public resources, such as schools and parks, help prevent spills, strengthen waste management and require stronger well site restorations. The implementation follows approval by the Environmental Quality Board, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and the state Attorney General's office (see Shale DailyAug. 15). It took more than five years for the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to draft the regulations. Along the way there were legal battles and legislative fights that saw rules for legacy producers scrapped (see Shale Daily, Sept. 2; June 15). DEP has been instructed to restart the process for writing those. DEP officials have said many of the new regulations simply codify existing agency policies and require some practices that are already being employed by the state's shale drillers (see Shale DailySept. 23). The new regulations can be viewed on the Pennsylvania Bulletin website.