California regulators are facing increased scrutiny on their response to stepping up natural gas pipeline safety oversight following a 2010 explosion in San Bruno on a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) line.
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Kathryn Klaber, who has helmed the industry-led Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) as CEO for almost four years, is stepping down. She was selected to lead the newly formed organization in late 2009 and is expected to help in the transition over the next few months. “Pennsylvania is now producing nearly 10% of the nation’s natural gas,” Klaber said. “Our industry’s work has been described as ‘revolutionary’ and ‘game-changing.’ The work of the MSC, collaborating with public officials, has helped create the climate for growth of an industry that has delivered on its promises to create American jobs, increase our energy security, while holding safety and environmental performance as paramount.” The oil and gas industry over the past few years “has faced and collectively overcome a host of challenges,” said MSC Chair Dave Spigelmyer, who is Chesapeake Energy Corp. vice president of government affairs. “Katie’s results-oriented leadership and proven ability to identify and collaboratively tackle these challenges has brought incredible value to our industry.”
By building positions in the Eagle Ford Shale and the Permian Basin, Comstock Resources Inc. has been Texas two-stepping away from nearly all dry gas production to oil, but the dance hasn’t always been graceful, as fourth quarter results show.
Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu is stepping down, following several other key energy and environmental officials, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson. “I informed the president of my decision a few days after the election that [my wife] and I were eager to return to California. I would like to return to an academic life of teaching and research but will still work to advance the missions that we have been working on together for the last four years,” he said. Chu in a letter to his employees highlighted some of the progress made while serving in the administration, including forming a $45 million inter-agency effort last year by Interior, DOE and EPA o research hydraulic fracturing (fracking) during fiscal 2013. He also cited DOE’s role in capping BP plc’s blown Macondo oil well in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Salazar, who oversaw a moratorium on offshore drilling after the BP oil spill and the restructuring of the agency, will step down in March (see NGI, Jan. 21). Jackson resigning following President Obama’s State of the Union speech on Feb. 12, bringing to an end a sometimes tumultuous four-year tenure (see NGI, Jan. 7).
Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Marc Spitzer said Monday he will be stepping down from his post Wednesday after completing a five-year term on the Commission. Spitzer’s term expired on June 30, but in the absence of a replacement he is empowered to continue in the post until Congress goes into recess at the end of the year.
Michael C. Linn, who founded Linn Energy LLC in 2003, is retiring from the company and is stepping down as executive chairman at the end of the year. Linn is to continue to serve as a director. Linn President and CEO Mark E. Ellis is to add the role of chairman to his responsibilities. Under Linn’s leadership, the Houston-based producer became the first publicly traded exploration and production (E&P) limited liability company in 2006 (see Daily GPI, March 9, 2007). The company now has an enterprise value of close to $10 billion with focus areas in the Midcontinent and Permian and Williston basins, as well as Michigan and California — “far more successful than I ever envisioned,” said Linn. Linn Energy grew from a “small company in Pittsburgh, with a few natural gas wells and three employees, to a company that ranks among the largest independent E&P companies in the U.S. and has 800 employees across the nation. Throughout that growth, we have increased our quarterly cash distribution to unitholders by more than 70%,” Linn said.
With the announcement late Wednesday that Oregon’s chief regulator was stepping down early, several western states are left with new regulatory slots to fill in the new year, including California and Arizona. In most cases, the state regulatory panels will enter 2011 with vacant seats.
Two lawsuits were filed in Dallas Wednesday alleging that units of Devon Energy Corp., Encana Corp. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. contaminated water wells in the Barnett Shale with hydraulic fracturing and the storage of drilling waste.
U.S. safety and environmental concerns are spreading north across the border into Canada, where the National Energy Board (NEB) is stepping up scrutiny of natural gas and oil operations from exploration to transportation.