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Crosstex Energy LP plans to build a natural gas processing complex and rich gas gathering system to serve the Permian Basin. The initial investment of $140 million would include treating, processing and gas takeaway solutions for regional producers. The Bearkat project is to be fully owned by the partnership and is supported by long-term, fee-based contracts, Crosstex said. The complex would be near the partnership's existing Deadwood joint venture assets in Glasscock County, TX, with an initial capacity of 60 MMcf/d, increasing the partnership's total operated processing capacity in the Permian to 115 MMcf/d. The partnership also is building a 30-mile high-pressure gathering system upstream of Bearkat to serve Glasscock and Reagan counties. The entire project is scheduled to be operational in summer 2014.

Denver-based Elk Meadows Resources LLC, flush with an undisclosed amount of private equity backing by TPH Partners, the private equity arm of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., is making a run at acquiring and developing onshore oil and natural gas properties in the Permian Basin and Rocky Mountains. Elk Meadows is led by President and CEO Terry Dobkins, former operations chief of Petro Harvester Operating Co. LLC, CEO and president of Rimrock Energy Co. LLC and former Vice President of Production Antero Resources Corp. from August 2002 to July 2007. He served in the same capacity at Pennaco Energy Co. LLC from July 1998 to September 2001. Tony Martin was named CFO and Gary Alsobrook is to serve as vice president of Land and Business Development. Pat O'Brien, former CEO of American Oil & Gas LLC, is to serve as an adviser and a member of the board. TPH Partners Managing Partner George McCormick also is to serve as a member of the board.

Signaling stepped up future activity in the Powder River Basin, a unit of Meritage Midstream Services II LLC launched a 30-day open season Wednesday through Nov. 29 for an interstate natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline in Wyoming with possibly two connection points in Colorado. Thunder Creek NGL Pipeline LLC is conducting the open season, which if successful, would carry NGLs from the Power River Basin with potential delivery points on the Overland Pass Pipeline near the Colorado-Wyoming border and the Front Range NGL Pipeline near Lucerne, CO. The new pipeline would have a 40,000 b/d capacity and could begin commercial operations in the second quarter of 2015, offering producers multiple points of origin and options for delivering NGLs to markets at Mont Belvieu, TX and/or Conway, KS, a spokesperson said.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead has called on FERC to reject Trailblazer Pipeline Co. LLC's proposed natural gas quality standards, saying they would be not only harmful to the state but the rest of the nation. "I urge the Commission to reject Trailblazer's proposed limitations on total inert gases and on cricondentherm hydrocarbon dewpoint," Mead wrote in a letter last Friday to outgoing Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Jon Wellinghoff [RP13-1031]. In comments following a technical conference on Trailblazer's proposed changes, the Wyoming Pipeline Authority (WPA), which was established to promote and defend the country's access to gas produced in Wyoming, cited Trailblazer's lack of technical support for its gas quality proposals, the pipeline's failure to follow FERC policy in the design and development of those proposals, and the harm the proposals would visit on Wyoming and the rest of the country, Mead noted.

President Obama Wednesday sent three energy-related nominations -- one for the Department of Interior and two for the Department of Energy (DOE) -- to the Senate for consideration, and formally withdrew the nomination of Ron Binz to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Obama nominated Jonathan Elkind of Maryland to be an assistant secretary of DOE's International Affairs, succeeding David B. Sandalow, who recently resigned; Joseph S. Hezir of Virginia as CFO of DOE, replacing Steven Jeffrey Isakowitz, who also resigned; and Rhea Sun Suh to be assistant secretary for Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife, succeeding Thomas L. Strickland. The nominations will be considered by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over most energy issues on Capitol Hill.

Under a program backed by Georgia state regulators, AGL Resources' Atlanta Gas Light utility said Monday its has signed agreements to open two more in a network of compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations in the state. The latest will be public access stations in Decatur and Oglethorpe, GA. The Atlanta-based utility will construct the stations under a program approved two year ago by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), and DeKalb County and Flint River Fuel Center will operate the respective stations.

Recent deals in the midstream master limited partnership (MLP) arena have moved activist shareholder Sandell Asset Management to press harder for a new strategy for DCP Midstream LLC (DCP) that he recently proposed. Earlier this month, CEO Thomas E. Sandell wrote to the board of directors of DCP, which is a joint venture of Spectra Energy Corp. (SE) and Phillips 66 (PSX). Sandell is a significant shareholder in SE and PSX and thinks DCP would be a better fit with PSX than with SE. "...[W]e believe that DCP's assets are more naturally aligned with PSX," Sandell said in the letter. "Furthermore, under PSX, DCP would be more integrated strategically with its partners and therefore more likely to derive more operational synergies and exhibit better earnings stability and growth.

A House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Tuesday will hold a hearing on bipartisan legislation aimed at reforming cross-border energy trade between the United States, Canada and Mexico. Significantly, the bill (HR 3301) would remove the "redundant" requirement that the Department of Energy (DOE) approve the import/export of natural gas to and from Canada and Mexico. The bill, which was drafted by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), would require interstate natural gas pipelines to follow the current process and receive their certificate approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, oil pipelines to obtain approval from the Secretary of the Department of Commerce, and electric transmission facilities to get clearance from the DOE.

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