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Briefs -- California RNG Study | Southern California Edison | GOM Shut-Ins | BLM Quarterly Auctions | Antero Wastewater | California Bills | Pennsylvania Power Plant

California is a major future source for renewable natural gas (RNG), with the potential to produce enough of the biogas to fuel 2.4 million homes, according to a recent study at the University of California Davis. Researchers concluded that the state could produce enough RNG to replace 75% of its diesel fuel consumption. Utility and renewable fuel representatives at a workshop in Sacramento indicated California could reduce its methane emissions by providing more incentives for RNG to be produced at dairies, landfills and wastewater treatment plants, all potential sources of RNG.

Two Southern California Edison Co. (SCE) natural gas-fired hybrid peaking generation plants with integrated battery storage were cited by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) for innovative clean air technology that has resulted in a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions. The hybrid system produces the reduction by allowing each turbine to operate in standby mode without combusting fuel. The battery storage allows for an immediate response to changing energy dispatch needs, according to the Rosemead, CA-based utility and SCAQMD. The result was attained through a three-way partnership among SCE, General Electric, and a selective catalytic reduction provider, Wellhead Power Solutions.

Nearly one-third of Gulf of Mexico (GOM) oil production and 20.5% of natural gas remained shut-in at midday Wednesday, according to to operator reports submitted to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. The federal agency estimated 32.68% of the current oil output, or 571,854 b/d, remained offline, while 660.55 MMcf/d of gas was still shut-in nearly four days after Hurricane Nate landed on the central Gulf Coast. Based on operator reports, personnel remained evacuated from 36 production platforms, or 4.88%. Personnel also remained evacuated from one non-dynamically positioned (DP) drilling rig, equivalent to 5% of the 20 total. None of the 18 DPs that work in the GOM remained off location.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said seven state offices collectively generated $170.7 million in bonus bids from oil and natural gas lease sales during 3Q2017. The sales covered 218 parcels consisting of more than 134,800 acres. New Mexico had the largest sale with more than $130 million, while Wyoming garnered $38.7 million. Other states generated under $1 million each. The 20 of 29 scheduled onshore lease sales in 2017 have brought in $316.2 million in bonus bids, versus 20 in 2016 that produced $192.5 million. BLM officials said oil and gas development on federally managed lands in the last fiscal year supported 201,000 jobs and $42 billion in economic output.

Antero Resources Corp. has awarded a 10-year, $70 million contract to the North American subsidiary of Paris-based Veolia Environment SA to handle sludge waste at the water treatment and reuse facility under construction in West Virginia. Veolia was selected in 2015 to build and operate the facility, set for service by the end of the year. The $275 million facility is designed to use Veolia’s evaporation and crystallization technology to treat flowback and produced water for reuse, with 95% of Antero’s wastewater to be treated at the 60,000 barrel/day facility in Ritchie County.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill (AB) 20 into law, directing boards of state public employee retirement systems to report by April 1 regarding any investments they have in the Dakota Access Pipeline, which carries crude oil from  North Dakota. The law does not mandate divesting holdings, but asks boards to "consider factors related to tribal sovereignty and indigenous tribal rights." Brown also signed AB 1197 into law, making it easier to authorize a spill management team for responses to oil spills, while AB 1649 requires the California Environmental Protection Agency to coordinate with federal, state and local agencies “to protect the public, fence-line communities and refinery workers from the risks associated with refinery operations."

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is hosting a public hearing on Nov. 2 regarding an air quality plan application for a proposed 620 MW natural gas-fired power plant in Greene County. New York-based Hill Top Energy Center LLC filed the application to build the facility in Cumberland Township at the site of a former coal mine, about 60 miles south of Pittsburgh. Dozens of gas-fired plants have been proposed/are under construction in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Hill Top’s proposal is one of the latest in Pennsylvania, where roughly 20 plants are in the works. Details about the hearing can be found on DEP’s website

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