The U.S. Supreme Court took away a small piece of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permit program to control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources such as power plants. The justices said EPA lacked authority in some cases to force companies to evaluate ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, a rule that is used in permitting expansions or new facilities that may increase carbon dioxide emissions. "EPA is getting almost everything it wanted in this case," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia. EPA, he said, wanted to regulate 86% of all GHG emitted from plants across the country. Under the ruling, EPA would be able to regulate 83% of the emissions. Not affected by the high court's ruling are some EPA proposals for new and existing power plants that would require, among other things, a 30% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 (see Daily GPI, June 2). Those rules would not take effect for at least two years. Also preserved is EPA's authority over facilities' emissions that already are regulated, other than GHG.
GE Oil & Gasis joining with BP plc and Denmark's Maersk Drilling to build the industry's first 20,000 psi-rated deepwater blowout preventer (BOP) stack and riser system. The equipment, expected to enter service in 2018, is being supplied for BP's Project 20K program, a multi-year initiative launched in 2012 to develop next-generation systems and tools to unlock frontier deepwater resources (see Daily GPI, Nov. 13, 2012). Maersk came aboard in early 2013 to develop conceptual engineering designs for advanced drilling rigs. GE would design, test and manufacture the BOPs and risers at the recently expanded Houston Technology Center.
Magnum Hunter Resources Corp.announced its third joint venture (JV), agreeing to further develop acreage in the southernmost tip of Ohio's Utica Shale with privately held EdgeMarc (EM) Energy Ohio LLC. Under a joint operating agreement, EM Energy has already started drilling a Utica/Point Pleasant Shale well at the Merlin pad in Washington County in which it would have an 86% working interest (WI) to Magnum's 14%. Later this year, Magnum would assume an 89% WI at the Haynes pad and start work on two wells targeting the Utica and another targeting the Marcellus Shale. In all, the agreement would help both companies develop 1,080 net acres in Washington County. The Merlin pad is just south of Magnum's Farley pad and east of PDC Energy Inc.'s Garvin pad in the wet gas window of Washington County. The Haynes pad is to be situated at the northern edge of the county, where a dry-gas trend stretches north through Monroe County and up into Belmont County. Those areas are home to some of the best dry gas results yet reported in the Utica, with Magnum, Gulfport Energy Corp. and Rice Energy Inc. exceeding initial production rates of more than 30 MMcf/d (see Shale Daily, June 2; Feb. 14; Nov. 8, 2013).
STW Resources Holding Corp.announced that it has launched a subsidiary to focus on water management solutions for the oil and gas industry and other customers, primarily servicing Texas and eastern New Mexico. Midland, TX-based STW said subsidiary STW Water Process & Technologies would offer a turnkey solution for customers' water issues, with technology to process produced and flowback water from drilling. STW Water would also process brackish water for oilfield use, eliminating the need for fresh water for drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations. STW Water is to be headed by President Alan Murphy, who has more than 20 years of experience working in engineering, design, operations, management, project oversight and construction at municipal, industrial and commercial wastewater treatment facilities throughout Texas.
GreenHunter Resources Inc.has formed a hydrocarbons division to provide producers in the Appalachian Basin with logistical solutions for handling oil, condensate and natural gas liquids (NGL) as volumes continue to rise. Since it first moved into the region in 2011 to provide water and waste management services to operators, GreenHunter has sold many its other assets to capitalize on growth in the Marcellus and Utica shales (see Shale Daily, Feb. 6). At the same time, as the midstream focus gradually switches from gathering and processing capacity to handling and marketing dry/wet gas and oil, NGLs and condensate, producers have searched for more ways to move their products from the basin.GreenHunter Hydrocarbons LLC is to focus on storage, transportation, processing and marketing through the parent company's existing asset base, including six barge terminals along the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuetteadded 12 more charges to a racketeering and fraud complaint filed earlier this month against Chesapeake Energy Corp. The amended complaint includes 12 "additional victims" of Chesapeake, resulting in a 20-count indictment on charges of false presences and one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, said spokeswoman Joy Yearout. The complaint is in connection with leasing activity through leasing agents OIL Niagaran and shell corporation Northern Michigan Exploration in the state four years ago (see Daily GPI, June 5). Schuette alleges that the Oklahoma City-based operator directed its agents to recruit "multiple landowners across Northern Michigan to lease their land" in the summer of 2010. Allegedly, landowners often notified the agents of existing mortgages on the land to be leased, and the agents allegedly indicated the mortgages would not be an obstacle. Nearly all of lease agreements allegedly were canceled, with the agents claiming that mortgages were the purported basis. Chesapeake is alleged to have signed leases with as many as 800 landowners, honoring fewer than 30 of the agreements (People v. Chesapeake Energy Corp., No. 2014-0076935-B).