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BP plc, which plans to sell up to $10 billion more in noncore assets over the next two years, is marketing the rights to about 280,000 gross acres of natural gas-rich properties in the Texas Panhandle's Sherman and Moore counties, which produce about 4,000 boe/d. The field is mature and better suited to operators specializing in late-life basin operations, a spokesman said. The decision is consistent with BP's strategy to manage its portfolio with a focus on "value over volume," he added. BP has around 500 wells now producing on the leases and still plans to continue to operate close to 1,700 wells in the Panhandle after the sale. The properties are expected to fetch up to $500 million.

A division of Royal Dutch Shell plc conducted two public meetings in Hopewell, PA, Wednesday to discuss plans for a proposed ethylene cracker in western Pennsylvania. Shell Chemical LP planned to answer questions and provide information to the public about its project, which is slated for a 300-acre site in Monaca, PA, in Beaver County. The cracker would process ethane produced in the Marcellus Shale for use in petrochemicals (see Shale DailyJune 7, 2011). Shell has signed three amended purchase agreements since the location was announced (see Shale DailyDec. 26, 2013).

An Ensco drilling platform preparing to work for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. in the deepwaters of the Gulf of Mexico will be assessed for damage after it was struck about 3:15 a.m. Tuesday by a large storm wave. None of the 116 crew members aboard the platform were injured and there were no evacuations. A U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman said crews for Ensco plan to inspect the semi-submersible Ensco 8506 rig, which is about 130 miles from Galveston, TX. The rig was knocked about 55 feet and began to take on water in one of the six flotation columns. The rig, in 3,000 feet of water, was stable. The rig is scheduled to begin operations in mid-July at a dayrate in the "high $540,000s," Ensco said. The dynamically positioned rig, built in 2012, is designed for water depths of 8,500-10,000 feet with a maximum drilling depth of 35,000 feet.

Idaho regulators recently approved Spokane, WA-based Avista Utilities' $25.17 million natural gas and electric efficiency programs. Expenses are allowed to be captured in gas and electric riders to retail utility charges, the Public Utilities Commission decided, although because wholesale gas prices have stayed low, the expense related to gas efficiency efforts was found to be less prudent. There will be no impact on gas rates as a result and a small increase (0.245 cents/kWh) for retail electric utility rates. The residential customer programs found to be prudent include various home weatherization offerings and electric-to-natural gas conversions.

The fourth defendant who was charged with violating the Clean Water Act for dumping oilfield waste into a storm drain that emptied into a river in Youngstown, OH, last year (see Shale DailyMarch 28), has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. Mark A. Goff, 46, will be sentenced on July 7. Hardrock Excavating LLCowner Ben W. Lupo previously pleaded guilty for directing Goff and Michael P. Guesman to dump the waste. Guesman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation and community service.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the addition of another gas-powered turbine compressor unit at Equitrans LP's Jefferson Compressor Station in Greene County, PA. The additional 12,913 hp of compression and appurtenant facilities will provide about 600 MMcf/d of additional capacity on Equitrans' Sunrise system to carry regional gas supply to local markets as well as to markets in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. The Equitrans Sunrise and Mainline systems are in northern West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has fined Range Resources Corp. $75,000 for a 3,066 gallon brine water spill that occurred in 2012 at one of the company's well pads in Lycoming County in northeast Pennsylvania. Although Range reported the spill to the DEP, the agency said the company did not properly remediate it for nearly one year. Range said the spill was caused by a leak in a manhole cover that was overwhelmed by a rainstorm. The brine water flowed off the well pad, over an access road and into an unnamed tributary that led into the Trout Run stream in Lewis Township, the DEP said. Range has agreed to the penalty and will pay the fine, the agency said.

Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED) has added a Spanish-language effort to its campaign against a ballot initiative for a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing. CRED's website ( now has a Spanish-language version. The English version was launched last January by CRED to provide studies and reports drawn from published academic, scientific and government research to answer common questions about fracking.


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