Houston-based Plains Exploration & Production Co. (PXP) has completed the sale of its remaining interests in some properties located in the Permian and Piceance basins to Occidental Petroleum Corp. (Oxy) and to some undisclosed companies with contractual preferential purchase rights for a total of $1.25 billion in cash. Oxy in September agreed to acquire the stakes (see Daily GPI, Sept. 26). In late 2007 Oxy paid PXP a total of $1.55 billion for a 50% stake in PXP’s Permian and Piceance leaseholds (see Daily GPI, Dec. 18, 2007). The Permian and Piceance basin assets have net production of around 52 MMcf/d of gas and 4,300 b/d of liquids, or 13,000 boe/d. The properties also have about 92 million boe of proved reserves, 45% developed and 69% weighted to gas. PXP is expected to use the proceeds to develop a joint venture with Chesapeake Energy Corp. in the Haynesville Shale (see Daily GPI, July 2).

A preliminary injunction was filed to keep the city of Grand Prairie, TX, from enforcing portions of its unified development code against Texas Midstream Gas Services LLC (TMGS), which is building a natural gas compressor station in the city. TMGS, a subsidiary of Chesapeake Energy Marketing, sought the injunction after the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled that the code did not violate the federal Pipeline Safety Act or a Texas state law which allows gas companies the power of eminent domain, and said Grand Prairie could regulate design and construction aesthetics of compressor stations. The court’s order held that the city’s code, which was enacted in July and regulates building materials, roof pitch, setbacks, noise reduction and more, survived all but one of TMGS’s challenges. The injunction restrains the city from enforcing a portion of the code stipulating the height of a security fence to enclose the compressor station.

The effective date of the Department of Transportation‘s final rule that will allow certain natural gas pipelines to operate at higher maximum allowable operating pressures than those permitted under existing pipeline safety regulations has been postponed by more than a month. The effective date initially was Nov. 17, but it has been moved to Dec. 22, according to the Federal Register. Under the new rule, pipeline operators will no longer have to apply for special permits to operate at higher pressures, as is currently required (see Daily GPI, Nov. 3).

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