The Texas Transportation Commission has approved $225 million for work to repair roads damaged as a consequence of the state’s oil and gas boom. The funding, provided by the Texas Legislature (see Shale Daily, May 30), will allow the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)to begin repairing and rehabilitating roadways damaged by heavy trucks and increased traffic. It is estimated that energy sector traffic across the state has caused $400 million in immediate roadway safety concerns, such as severe edge damage on narrow roadways, deep rutting and pavement damage. Estimates show an additional $1 billion per year is needed to restore roadways heavily impacted by energy development to “good” or “better” conditions, the commission said. “Fatalities resulting from motor vehicle crashes in Texas rose by 11% in 2012 compared to the previous year,” said TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson. “We are pleased that our lawmakers saw fit to fund some of these safety-focused rehabilitation and repair projects, and we hope resources that enhance safety will continue to be a priority as our energy industry thrives.” With more than 80,000 miles of highway, Texas, home of the Eagle Ford and Barnett shales as well as the Permian Basin, has the largest highway system in the nation.
Articles from Work
The second version of the U.S. Department of Interior’s (DOE) proposed rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on public lands isn’t as bad as the first, but with a projected cost per well of $96,913, it still leaves much to be desired, industry groups said.
During an oversight hearing Wednesday by the House Natural Resources Committee on U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) operations, discussion frequently — and fractiously — turned to regulation of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), with Republicans calling for states-only oversight and Democrats complaining that proposed draft federal rules fall short.
Williams’ board has voted to approve the company’s Bluegrass Pipeline project. The company has been engaged in development work on the proposed natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline, which has a targeted in-service date of late 2015. The Bluegrass Pipeline will connect supply from the Marcellus and Utica shales to growing petrochemical and export markets in the U.S. Gulf Coast (see Shale Daily, May 30; March 7). The pipeline also will connect NGL supply with the developing petrochemical market in the U.S. Northeast. Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP in May formalized joint-venture agreements tied to the project and related fractionation, storage and export projects.
Natural gas prices trending up nationally were cited by Minnesota-based Xcel Energy for its latest higher retail gas charges at its Colorado combination utility as part of its quarterly price adjustments for retail electric and gas rates. Overall, Xcel said total utility bills in Colorado will be lower in the third quarter compared to the second quarter, but on an annual basis, “a national trend in higher natural gas commodity prices” will continue to put upward pressure on utility bills. Under the quarterly gas cost adjustment, the cost of natural gas in the third quarter will be slightly higher than the second quarter, but because of a “significant drop” in use expected in the summer quarter, residential bills will be about $8 lower/month, compared to the current quarter, Xcel said. Residential gas bills in the third quarter will still be $3.15 more than they were in the third quarter last year. “Much of 2012 was marked by historically low gas prices,” Xcel said. Typical monthly residential and small business gas bills during the third quarter are expected to be $21.98 and $81.73, respectively, compared to average bills of $18.83 and $68.81, respectively, in the third quarter of 2012.
Energy development and conservation/environmental mitigation can work together and are doing so in Wyoming, the nation’s most resource-intense state, Gov. Matt Mead told a symposium in Cheyenne Monday. Resource development does not have to mean “ruin,” Mead said.
Expanded use of combined heat and power (CHP) for making electricity could, under one scenario, boost natural gas demand in the United States by as much as 4.42 Tcf/year, according to a report commissioned by the American Gas Association (AGA).
TransCanada Corp. has been given unprecedented power to set prices for natural gas transportation and should try to make that work instead of seeking more concessions at the expense of shippers, according to filings with the National Energy Board (NEB).
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) last week conditionally authorized the export of up to 1.4 Bcf/d of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Freeport LNG Terminal on Quintana Island, TX, to non-Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries for 20 years. It is the second such approval the department has granted, and numerous other projects are in line to see if/when they will secure the same.