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A small conventional oil and gas company in Ohio recently settled a lawsuit with two individuals opposed to hydraulic fracturing (fracking) who allegedly referred to a road deicer and dust suppressant it manufactures as frack waste or frack water. The product, called AquaSalina, is processed from brine water produced during oil and gas drilling. The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court ruled against Tish O'Dell and Michelle Aini, members of a group opposed to oil and gas drilling, and issued an injunction preventing them from further defaming Duck Creek Energy, of Brecksville, Ohio. Duck Creek filed the lawsuit in 2012. It was settled in September and the company announced the outcome earlier this month.

Texas Gas Transmission is holding a binding open season through Jan. 13 for primary firm natural gas backhaul transportation service from Ohio's Marcellus and Utica shales into Lebanon, OH, pipeline interconnects, with an ultimate destination to serve utilities in the Midwest and South. The Ohio-Louisiana Access Project would work with previously announced Gulf Coast industrial plants and liquefied natural gas export projects, the company said. The open season is for primary firm north-to-south service from mutually agreeable receipts in Zones 4, 3, 2 and 1 for deliveries into Zones SL, 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Summit Natural Gas of Maine announced Monday its plan to go forward with a $110 million expansion next year that will extend natural gas service to the towns of Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth -- all near Portland, ME. in the southern part of the state. Summit's expansion plan also calls for a phase two build-out of its $350 million Kennebec Valley transmission and distribution project. The Maine Public Utilities Commission approved that project in January (see Daily GPI, Jan. 14). At the time, Summit said the lines would serve 15,000 residential and industrial customers in 17 municipalities by its third year of operations.

Statoil and the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) have formed a partnership to explore how technologies and knowledge from the space and oil and natural gas industries can be relevant to one another, the Norway-based company said. The contract, which is expected to run through 2018 (with an option of contract extension), will focus on supercomputing, materials, robotics, development of new tools and communication optionality. The partnership will assist Statoil in the search for oil and gas exploration and production efforts, which are increasingly moving into frontier regions, Statoil said.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said it plans to reissue the right-of-way (ROW) for Kinder Morgan Inc.'s Ruby Pipeline after determining through a court-ordered review that the original mitigation measures required to protect wildlife in the project area were "adequate." In October 2012, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the BLM and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had violated the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act when they approved the Ruby Pipeline, a 678-mile natural gas pipeline that is in service from Wyoming to Oregon (see Daily GPI,Oct. 24, 2012).

Compressed natural gas (CNG) is being studied regarding for it performs in sub-freezing temperatures and for how its fueling procedures can be accelerated to be more in line with that of liquid fuels. In regard to winter performance, a Canadian study has found CNG does fine in severe cold winter weather with a number of common-sense precautions that apply to other fuels, such as diesel, as well. The Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance (CNGVA) is circulating a recent "Evaluation of Winter Performance of CNG Refuse Trucks," completed by Ontario-based consultants Alex Lawson and Neil Cooke, chairman of the transportation, math and science school at Red River College in Manitoba.

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