Regulators

Colorado Drilling Water Tests Draw Mixed Reviews

Colorado on Monday established new mandatory water sampling requirements for oil and natural gas drilling drawing criticism from industry and environmental groups. Sampling of multiple water wells before and after drilling is now required.

January 10, 2013

People

After serving 11 years as one of three regulators on the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC), Patrick Oshie stepped down last Friday. A successor will be appointed by Washington’s Gov.-elect, Jay Inslee. Oshie was a partner in a Yakima, WA law firm when then-Gov. Gary Locke appointed him to the UTC in 2001; he was subsequently appointed to a second six-year term by Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2006. Oshie previously had served as an assistant city attorney in Seattle and an assistant attorney general in Utah, where he also was a law professor.

January 8, 2013

Industry Brief

Idaho regulators last Friday gave Intermountain Gas Co. emergency authority to sell up to 100,000 gallons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its Nampa, ID, liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility to aid residents at nearby West Yellowstone, MT, where LNG shortages are anticipated due to a power outage that could leave residents without heating fuel, a spokesperson for the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) said. West Yellowstone’s natural gas supplier, Energy West, notified Intermountain last Thursday that its chief supplier had been shut down because of a power outage in southwest Wyoming. The power outage, combined with a cold snap, left Energy West in a tough position for finding alternative LNG sources, the PUC spokesperson said. Intermountain, which isn’t authorized to sell LNG, said it had adequate LNG supplies in storage, and Energy West has a truck-trailer it can use to transport the emergency fuel. Charges for the emergency supplies will be determined after Intermountain files an LNG tariff schedule with the PUC.

January 8, 2013

Alaska Taking Public Comments on Proposed Frack Rules

Regulators in Alaska are proposing a comprehensive set of rules to govern hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the state, and will accept public comments on the proposals through early February, when a public hearing is also scheduled.

January 3, 2013

Pangea Taking ‘Bite-Sized’ Approach to LNG Export

Pangea LNG (North America) Holdings LLC, a relative latecomer to the North American liquefied natural gas (LNG) export race, is approaching regulators, and the market, with a smaller, more scalable project on the Texas Gulf Coast that the company’s CEO, an LNG veteran, says has better odds of coming to fruition than some mega project competitors.

December 24, 2012

California Regulators Unveil Draft Fracking Rules

Preliminary draft rules for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) were unveiled Tuesday by California’s state oil and natural gas drilling regulators who indicated the development process will take at least all of next year.

December 21, 2012

Pangea Taking ‘Bite-Sized’ Approach to LNG Export

Pangea LNG (North America) Holdings LLC, a relative latecomer to the North American liquefied natural gas (LNG) export race, is approaching regulators, and the market, with a smaller, more scalable project on the Texas Gulf Coast that the company’s CEO, an LNG veteran, says has better odds of coming to fruition than some mega project competitors.

December 20, 2012

Industry Brief

Xcel Energy’s combination Colorado utility filed quarterly rate changes with state regulators that could result in monthly retail natural gas utility bills dropping by up to 8% compared to the first quarter this year. The rate for residential natural gas customers would drop 6.9% from 52.06 cents/therm in1Q2012 to 45.17 cents/therm in 1Q2013; for small businesses, rates would drop 8% from 52.28 cents/therm to 44.82 cents/therm. The Denver-based utility is asking the Colorado Public Utilities Commission for the changes to be effective Jan. 1.

December 17, 2012

PG&E Tells California Regulators Penalties Too Harsh

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) has asked California regulators to reject a proposed list of penalties by the state safety staff for the utility’s shortcomings prior to the San Bruno, CA, pipeline explosion.

December 13, 2012

Industry Brief

Colorado regulators have approved a settlement for Rapid City, SD-based Black Hills Corp.’s natural gas utility operations in the state, allowing a small rate increase amounting to less than 1% annually. Black Hills/Colorado Gas Utility Co. put the recommended rate hike into effect Monday, the first base rate increase for the utility since April 2009. Although the increase amounts to only $174,000 more in revenue annually, or an 0.83% increase, Black Hills officials said the approved rates allow it to recover the nearly $30 million the utility has invested in its infrastructure since 2008, along with a 9.6% return on equity. The increase was hammered out in a settlement earlier this year among the utility, Colorado Public Utilities Commission staff and the state Consumer Counsel Office.

December 12, 2012