Major environmental groups leading opposition to the northern portion of the proposed $7 billion, 1,700-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline project from Alberta to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico region lashed out at the U.S. State Department last Friday for not making public the comments being collected on the project’s draft supplemental environmental impact statement (see Shale Daily, March 4). Effectively, the only way to hear and respond to public comments on the draft study will be at a hearing scheduled for April 18 in Grand Island, NB, said a Friends of the Earth spokesperson, calling the move “unusual.” This is prompting the foes of Keystone XL to claim the State Department is violating public transparency practices followed by other federal agencies regarding draft environmental studies. The stakeholders are in the middle of a 45-day comment period on the proposed northern portion of TransCanada Corp.’s controversial tar sands oil pipeline from Western Canada to Cushing, OK.

Bri-Chem Corp., a wholesale distributor and manufacturer of oil and gas drilling fluids and steel pipe has further expanded its footprint in the U.S. drilling fluids market with a new warehouse for distribution of drilling fluid products and stimulation additives in Big Spring, TX. Operations are targeting activity in the Cline Shale formation within the Permian Basin in Texas. The warehouse is 45 minutes east of Midland, TX, off of Interstate 20 and is in the yard of Bri-Chem’s transportation partner, which will handle delivery of drilling fluid products. In the East, Bri-Chem has moved out of its Ulster, PA, warehouse as drilling activity has shifted to the central and southern part of the state and can now be serviced out of its Leetsdale, PA, warehouse.