In one of the first hearings of the 2012 session, House Republicans Wednesday called for a delay in the implementation or total repeal of a proposed regulation restricting trading by banks, known as the “Volcker Rule.”
Articles from Session
February natural gas closed modestly higher Tuesday as prices generally ignored soaring oil and equity markets and posted an ominous new low during the session. Traders suggested that further price declines were likely. At the close February had risen 0.4 cent to $2.993 and March had inched higher 0.6 cent to $3.022. February crude oil bounded higher by $4.13 to $102.96/bbl.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed a landmark Marcellus Shale regulatory reform bill — also known as the Natural Gas Horizontal Wells Control Act — into law on Thursday.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted unanimously against House Bill 1950 on Tuesday, its last day in session for the year, setting the stage for ongoing debates about the matter when lawmakers return from their recess in January.
The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) has adopted a rule for the disclosure of chemicals in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) fluids used to stimulate oil and gas wells in the state. Earlier this year state lawmakers passed legislation requiring such disclosure.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has called the state legislature into a special session scheduled to begin Sunday (Dec. 11) to discuss, and possibly pass, a compromise Marcellus Shale regulatory reform bill as early as this week. The Joint Select Committee on Marcellus Shale (JSCMS), a 10-member bipartisan committee, has been working on legislation informally known as the Marcellus Draft Bill (MDB) for weeks. The JSCMS used a failed bill called the Natural Gas Horizontal Well Control Act, also known as SB 424, as the bill’s foundation (see NGI, Aug. 15). The shale gas industry is concerned by an amendment calling for operators to pay a $10,000 permitting fee for the first well drilled on a pad and $5,000 for each additional well well (see NGI, Nov. 28; Sept. 19). The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection also has proposed increasing horizontal drilling fees to $10,000 — up from the current $650 paid by all drillers — to fund additional inspectors (see NGI, Feb. 14).
December natural gas futures rose Wednesday in a quiet session punctuated more by trader anticipation of the extended holiday weekend than the release of bullish storage data or options expiration. At the close December had risen 4.5 cents to $3.460 and January had added 4.7 cents to $3.608. Oil and equity markets faltered. January crude oil dropped $1.84 to $96.17/bbl and with 45 minutes to the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 163 points to 11,330.
The co-chairs of a West Virginia panel trying to reach a consensus on Marcellus Shale regulatory reform testified Monday that they believe compromise legislation is within reach and could be enacted in the near future.
November natural gas futures eased Monday in a lackluster session showing no interest in following through on Friday’s hefty 17.2-cent jump. At the close November had lost 1.5 cents to $3.688 and December had given up 5.7 cents to $3.903. November crude oil fell 42 cents to $86.38/bbl.
California Gov. Jerry Brown is unleashing what may be a major political battle in the waning days of the state legislative session over whether to extend an energy surcharge that provides up to $400 million for research and development (R&D) in energy saving and alternative energy. Brown is trying to make the case that the $1-2 monthly charge on residential utility bills is a job-creating mechanism.