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Royal Dutch Shell plc's patented PurePlus Technology, a first-of-its-kind base oil formulated from natural gas as the main component of motor oil, went on the market last week, the company said. PurePlus Technology, one development within Shell's gas-to-liquids (GTL) arm, is being used to create motor oils for U.S. customers through Pennzoil products, also owned by the company (see Daily GPI, March 7). Shell manufactures the base oil at Pearl GTL in Ras Laffan, Qatar, a partnership with Qatar Petroleum (see Daily GPI, March 25, 2011). Shell's GTL process dates back to the 1970s and PurePlus base oil has been in large-scale commercial development since late 2011. The company claims to be the only manufacturer to have produced base oils from natural gas on a commercial scale. Shell's lubricants division accounted for about one-quarter of company earnings in 2013. The United States in 2012 accounted for close to one-quarter of the entire global lubricants market.

Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. announced a definitive agreement to sell subsidiary Williston Hunter Canada Inc. and its last remaining oil and gas properties in Canada for $67.5 million as part of a strategy to dump more capital into its core assets in the Appalachian Basin. The sale, to an undisclosed private Canadian company, is expected to close next month. The properties being sold include 49,470 net acres in the province of Saskatchewan with 84 gross wells producing 630 boe/d in the Tableland Field. Magnum said it would use the proceeds to pay down outstanding debt under its senior revolving credit facility, which will free up more capital for existing and future assets in the Utica and Marcellus shales in Ohio and West Virginia, where the company's drilling program is gaining momentum.

San Antonio, TX-based RiverRock Energy LLC has received $125 million in equity commitments from EnCap Flatrock Midstreamand RiverRock management. RiverRock said it will develop midstream infrastructure for producers and others needing crude oil logistics services to gather, store and transport crude oil by pipeline and rail. It also will provide infrastructure to handle condensate, fresh and produced water, natural gas liquids and natural gas. "The company is pursuing greenfield and acquisition opportunities in emerging resource plays and other producing basins experiencing rapid growth," it said.

Reasoning that development of the Monterey Shale can wait, the Los Angeles Timeson Sunday editorialized in favor of a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) while a comprehensive study of the drilling practice's impacts is completed. The Timesendorsed a bill (SB 1132) that recently moved out of its first California Senatecommittee as a means of imposing a halt to the practice (see Shale Daily, April 9). The editorial focused on possible seismic ties to fracking, which is a concern in earthquake-prone California. It said the state "should have better answers" before it allows large-scale fracking in the Monterey. "The oil locked within the Monterey Shale isn't going away; it will still be valuable after the state has completed its study," the editorial said.

After months of negotiations, a lease that would provide Antero Resources Corp. with limited surface rights and access to nearly 7,000 acres of prime land in Belmont and Harrison counties, OH, was approved by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District's (MWCD) board of directors. The MWCD covers more than 8,000 square miles and spans five counties along with portions of 22 others. It acts as a political subdivision and collects property taxes from landowners in 18 Ohio counties to support a system of reservoirs and dams that help reduce floods and preserve water. The board approved a lease to Antero for 6,300 acres of property under and around Piedmont Lake. Earlier this month, the MWCD said it was negotiating with Antero for 6,700 acres (see Shale Daily, April 3). MWCD said the terms for another 300 acres in the area are being finalized to add to the lease at a later date. Under the deal, the MWCD will receive a $15,000/acre signing bonus and 20% in royalties from production in a nod to the growing value of prime acreage in southeast Ohio, where operators are scooping up what little mineral rights are left in the Utica Shale.

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