Levying the largest civil penalty ever — $1.5 million — for an oil and natural gas violation, the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) last Wednesday found a small operator, Halek Operating ND LLC, guilty of violating state standards for disposing of salt water, a byproduct of oil production, in an injection well.
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FERC Monday ordered BP America Inc. and affiliates to show cause in a long-running case [IN13-15] involving the alleged gaming of the physical and financial markets at the Houston Ship Channel (HSC). The Commission proposed a near-$29 million penalty for transactions taking place from mid-September 2008 through Nov. 30, 2008.
ExxonMobil Corp. subsidiary XTO Energy Inc. will pay a $100,000 penalty and spend an estimated $20 million on a plan to improve wastewater management practices following a settlement with federal authorities to resolve an alleged violation of the Clean Water Act related to the discharge of hydraulic fracturing wastewater at a Lycoming County, PA, facility.
Confronted with the possibility of having to pay the largest penalty ever imposed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for market manipultaion, Barclays Bank PLC Friday attempted to lay out its case that it had neither the intent nor the ability to manipulate prices in the wholesale electric power markets.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) settled a Clean Water Act (CWA) case for wetlands violations, requiring PDC Mountaineer (PDCM) to pay a penalty of $177,500 to resolve violations involving construction activities at Marcellus Shale gas extraction facilities in northern West Virginia. According to EPA, Bridgeport, WV-based PDCM failed to apply for necessary permits to discharge fill materials into wetlands or streams in Harrison County, WV. PDCM, which also agreed to restore and/or complete mitigation projects at four sites in the state pursuant to separate CWA orders, did not admit to violating the CWA. Earlier this month, PDC Energy reported that PDCM, a joint venture of PDC and Lime Rock Partners V LP, completed three horizontal Marcellus wells since mid-September. The wells were expected to be turned-in-line by year’s end, once a permit for a gathering line river crossing is received, PDC said.
Washington’s Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) on Wednesday slapped a $104,300 penalty on Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) for violating an order directing it to correct the use of its “refusal of service” requirements. The UTC action alleges that PSE in October 2010 provided “inaccurate or misleading information” to some of its customers, including low-income people, regarding how much they were required to pay to reconnect their gas and electric utility service. In addition, the regulators alleged that the combination utility misled or inaccurately informed customers who had been disconnected for nonpayment. UTC ordered the utility to correct the mishandling of 26 customer accounts, all of which were part of a random sampling of hundreds of disconnected customer accounts. The state regulatory panel said a UTC staff investigation subsequently found that PSE had “failed to correct its mishandling” of the accounts, and alleged that the utility committed 515 violations.
Southern Natural Gas will implement an OFO Type 6 for short imbalances effective Friday until further notice. No penalty will apply to short imbalances up to 2% or 200 Dth, whichever is greater; tiered penalties were set for larger imbalances. Saying forecasts indicated “significantly colder weather” in its service area from Wednesday evening through Saturday, Southern told customers that “based on current supplies and anticipated demand,” it expected its storage withdrawal capability to be exceeded “by approximately 540 MMcf” for Thursday’s gas day. It also said that based on supply patterns from recent high-throughput days, it will be evaluating and potentially allocating receipt points west of Enterprise Compressor Station, which is on its south mainline in southern Mississippi. Fifteen receipt groups (see the bulletin board for a list) could be impacted, Southern said. It combined them into “newly defined parent group” 181-West of Enterprise Supply Group.
Aaristo Commodities and Futures DMCC of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, paid a $100,000 civil penalty for engaging in illegal trading in the U.S. natural gas, oil, copper and gold markets, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said Wednesday.