Houston-based Sanchez Energy Corp. is buying producing acreage in the Eagle Ford Shale for $265 million that will more than double current company-wide production and increase proved reserves by 63%.
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Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy Inc.’s Colorado combination utility said Thursday that it has reached a settlement with WildEarth Guardians on a four-year-old lawsuit by the environmental group involving emissions at the Cherokee Generating Station north of Denver. Under the agreement, Xcel’s Public Service Company of Colorado will fund several environmental and community projects in the area impacted by the 611 MW coal-fired generation plant. The settlement will not be final until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department have reviewed it and made comments, an Xcel spokesperson said. Since the 2009 lawsuit, Xcel has decided to convert the Cherokee plant by 2018 as part of the Colorado Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act, which has prompted more renewables, efficiency and natural gas-fired generation in the state. Cherokee will remain a “vital resource,” but as a natural gas-fired plant. The conversion process began last October, the spokesperson said.
Tony Hayward, who resigned as BP plc Group CEO following the turbulence that followed the the Macondo well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico’s deepwater, has taken over as chairman of UK-based CompactGTL, which has pioneered a modular gas-to-liquids (GTL) system for flared natural gas. Hayward has been running Genel Energy plc, an Anglo-Turkish explorer. He also participated in Vallares plc, an energy fund vehicle backed by a group of investors. Royal Dutch Shell plc is the dominant leader in giant global GTL technology; CompactGTL is on the other end of the spectrum. The smaller plants are designed to harness flared gas from oilfields.
Crosstex Energy Inc. and former management of Enerven Compression Services are forming a company called E2 that will serve Utica Shale producers with natural gas compression and condensate stabilization facilities for their liquids-rich production.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead submitted his slate of agency, board and commission appointments to his state Senate, including 10 that impact the energy sector. Mead reappointed Todd Parfitt as head of the state Department of Environmental Quality and Bill Russell as one of the three-member Public Service Commission (PSC), along with adding a new PSC nominee, Kara Brighton. For the 12-member Energy Resource Council at the University of Wyoming, he reappointed Carl Bauer, a private-sector consultant; resubmitted two earlier appointments from last year, Martha Wyrsch from Vestas American Wind; and Jeane Hull from Peabody Energy; and added two industry representatives, Tom Botts, a retired Shell Oil executive, and David Emery, CEO at Rapid City, SD-based Black Hills Corp. Among the other agency/commission appointments are Mark Doelger to the Oil/Gas Commission, and Bill Hawks who was reappointed to the Wyoming Pipeline Authority. The state Senate has five days to approve or reject the appointments.
California air quality officials reported that for the fourth consecutive year carbon emissions from power plants in the state have declined dramatically. A full-year figure for 2012 is still being calculated, according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which is the lead agency implementing the state’s precedent-setting 2006 climate change law (AB 32). As measured by CARB, power plant carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions in 2011 totaled 34.9 million metric tons of CO2e (MTCO2e), compared to 52.3 million MTCO2e four years earlier. Subsequently, the totals dropped to 49.3 million MTCO2e in 2009 and down further to 44.6 million MTCO2e in 2010. Power plants are the biggest stationary source of MTCO2e emissions, followed by refineries and hydrogen plants, whose total emissions are also down compared to 2008 but have steadily risen during the last three recorded years (2009-2011).
Investor groups for the fourth year in a row are urging some of the largest natural gas and oil producers in the United States to disclose information about how the risks involved with unconventional drilling operations are managed and measured. Some explorers also have been called on to disclose fugitive emissions from natural gas transmission.
The city of Dallas Plan Commission on Thursday voted to reconsider the application by Trinity East Energy LLC for three zoning permits that would allow it to drill within the city limits. The commission previously voted against granting the permits (see Shale Daily, Jan. 8). The commission now is expected to hold a hearing on the permits Feb. 17. If the specific use permits ultimately receive the commission’s blessing, Trinity East will have an easier time gaining the ultimate approval it needs to drill from Dallas City Council. Some drilling opponents in attendance at the commission meeting chanted “shame” following the vote to reconsider; some wept, and one activist was led from the chamber, according to an online report by TheDallas Morning News.