Tammany residents turn out once again to oppose fracking well

Posted in: frac, fracking, Oilfield Business Financing, Oilfield News- May 13, 2014 No Comments

HELIS FAILS TO ATTEND COMMUNITY MEETING

For the fourth time in a month, St. Tammany Parish residents packed a public meeting Monday night to express their opposition to a proposed oil well near Lakeshore High School. As at the previous meetings, many residents came carrying signs and wearing shirts stating their feelings about the subject.

Monday’s meeting, sponsored by Parish Councilman Jake Groby at Pelican Park’s Castine Center, drew several hundred people to hear a brief talk by Groby, a lengthy presentation by environmentalist Wilma Subra and a talk about coastal issues by John Barry.

As at the other meetings, Helis Oil & Gas, the company that plans to drill a hydraulic fracturing well north of Interstate 12 and east of La. 1088, was absent.

Much of the opposition has centered on Helis’ plans to use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a method in which water, sand and chemicals are injected into the ground to create fissures in rock more than two miles deep. Oil and natural gas can move through the fissures and then can be pumped out of the well.

The technology is relatively new, and even though several wells have been drilled in St. Tammany Parish over the past several decades, none employed fracking as the method of extraction.

In other parts of the country, however, fracking has been blamed for issues with drinking water, mini-earthquakes and other health, air and water quality problems. Subra recounted a number of these, telling the crowd that she personally studied health effects from fracking wells in Texas and Wyoming.

Problems there included numerous health issues such as chronic indigestion, forgetfulness, memory loss, mood swings and worse, she said. She also warned that processing facilities, pipelines and other hazards could be placed close to homes because there are no regulatory preventions in place.

“These things could be coming to your community,” Subra said.

The crowd — already on her side — gave her a long ovation when she concluded.

Many of Subra’s concerns have been echoed by St. Tammany residents at earlier meetings and on Facebook pages such as Fracking Free St. Tammany and Keep Your Fracking Drills Out of St. Tammany.

Much of the opposition has been focused on potential damage to the Southern Hills Aquifer, the underground source from which all of St. Tammany Parish draws its drinking water, and which Groby said could be at risk from a well.

Helis had been asked to send a representative to Monday’s meeting, Groby said, but the company instead sent a statement from President David Kerstein that read in part, “We will continue to communicate with the St. Tammany community through mechanisms and venues that do justice to this important subject in a way that is both respectful and cooperative.”

A May 1 statement from Helis also attempted to allay residents’ fears about the project, saying that several of the company’s employees reside in St. Tammany and that the company has safely drilled hundreds of wells in Louisiana and approximately 60 fracking wells to the same depth as the one planned for St. Tammany, with no “significant environmentally related incident.”

To many in the crowd, however, such assurances didn’t seem to matter. Hunter Montgomery and Stephanie Houston Grey, who started the two Facebook pages opposing the proposed well, said they felt the company isn’t being completely forthcoming.

“They are still only talking about one site,” Montgomery said — not the numerous additional wells that likely would follow if the first one proves productive.

Helis has applied to the state’s commissioner of conservation for a “unitization hearing,” a hearing that sets the boundaries of a drilling unit, a key step that must be taken before the company can apply for a permit to actually drill the well. The company has identified a 960-acre tract on which it wishes to put one well on a 10-acre site.

Helis originally asked for that hearing to be held Tuesday, but parish leaders asked for a delay. Last week, Parish President Pat Brister and Council Chairman Reid Falconer announced that the company had agreed to delay the hearing by 30 days.

That announcement capped a frenzied month in which residents and officials scrambled for ways to delay or stop Helis’ plans in the face of rising public discontent. On May 1, the Parish Council passed a resolution — sponsored by Groby — to hire an attorney to safeguard parish interests; it set a $25,000 spending cap for the first month.

source-http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/news/politics/9156332-171/tammany-residents-turn-out-once

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Bill would ban treating waste from fracking

Posted in: frac, fracking, Labor News- May 13, 2014 No Comments

The state Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill Monday designed to ban the treatment and disposal of waste generated by hydraulic fracturing – a bill very similar to one that Governor Christie had vetoed in 2012.

Environmentalists say this time the politics around fracking has changed and they are hopeful they would have enough votes to override any Christie veto.

Fracking is a controversial process to extract natural gas from deep fissures in bedrock. It involves pumping large amounts of water and chemicals into the ground to break up the bedrock and release the trapped gas. The process is used to tap into natural gas deposits in the Marcellus Shale formation beneath Pennsylvania. The gas gets shipped to the lucrative New York market in pipelines that crisscross New Jersey.

But critics have argued that the chemicals used in the process can seep into groundwater and contaminate drinking water supplies. The process produces wastewater, which is often shipped to Ohio and pumped into the ground for disposal. Some fracking waste was sent to a facility in Kearny in 2011 operated by Clean Earth, a Pennsylvania-based soil cleaning company, but the state has not accepted fracking waste recently.

Still, proponents of the ban worry that New Jersey could become a prime destination for the fracking waste generated in Pennsylvania.

“Kudos to the New Jersey Senate for taking the right action to protect our clean water,” said Dave Pringle, campaign manager for Clean Water Action. “Now it’s the Assembly’s turn. We can’t move fast enough.”

Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, agreed. “Dumping fracking waste in New Jersey waterways is still legal, and that’s why today’s bipartisan Senate majority to ban fracking waste is so needed,” he said.

The Senate bill’s primary sponsors are Sen. Robert Gordon, D-Fair Lawn and Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman, R-Somerset. The Assembly bill was introduced by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer, and Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Englewood, and Marlene Caride, D-Ridgefield.

The Assembly has not yet acted on the bill, but is expected to hold a hearing next month.

The legislature had passed a similar ban in 2012, but Christie vetoed it, and the legislature did not hold a vote on overriding the veto.

When he vetoed the ban in 2012, Christie argued that the measure was unconstitutional, since fracking waste would be coming from other states and New Jersey can’t regulate interstate commerce.

The ban’s supporters had cited an opinion from the state Office of Legislative Services that said the bill was constitutional since it did not discriminate against any particular state.

Jeff Tittel of the Sierra Club’s New Jersey chapter said that this time the ban’s supporters started with the Senate rather than the Assembly, since they think they have more than enough votes to override a Christie veto. “That would give us momentum going into the Assembly for a veto override vote there,” he said.

“The politics around fracking has changed in the last two years,” Tittel said. “People have become more aware of the issue.”

source- http://www.northjersey.com/news/nj-state-news/bill-would-ban-treating-waste-from-fracking-1.1014841#sthash.9HGDz6tj.dpuf

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WATCH: Anti-Fracking Protesters Interrupt Pennsylvania Democratic Governor’s Debate at Drexel

Posted in: frac, fracking, Labor News, Oilfield Business Financing, Oilfield News- May 13, 2014 No Comments

About halfway into last night’s Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial primary debate at Drexel University, a protester jumped on stage to criticize the four candidates — Rob McCord, Kathleen McGinty, Allyson Schwartz, and Tom Wolf — for failing to support a moratorium on fracking, the controversial mining technique.

 

The protester was Liz Arnold, who has been working with Pennsylvania Voters Against Fracking. The group held a rally against the process outside the gubernatorial debate at Drexel — but were rebuffed from entering the debate, says Food & Water Watch Fund Senior Pennsylvania organizer Sam Bernhardt. FWW Fund is the political arm of the D.C.-based Food & Water Watch, and is coordinating Pennsylvania Voters Against Fracking’s advocacy this election season. The group supports a moratorium on fracking in the state.

Bernhardt says the decision to interrupt the debate was not the first step, noting they began by hand-delivering reasons to support a moratorium on fracking to the candidates and eventually progressed to holding up signs during a debate earlier this year. The group attended about 10 candidate forums and debates and 10 individual candidate rallies this year, Bernhardt said. He said the group would liked to have jumped in on a question about fracking, but “we knew that fracking itself was probably not going to be asked [about] during the debate.”

 

“We hadn’t done anything as bold or disruptive as what Liz did last night,” Bernhardt said. “We felt it was time to do something that bold because the candidates clearly haven’t been hearing our message. We weren’t expecting that, knowing the party leadership on both the statewide level and the city level has tried to sweep this issue under the rug, we weren’t expecting that we would get a question specifically along those lines.”

Arnold actually did a fantastic job sliding in. She jumped on stage as Schwartz responded to a question from Daily News columnist John Baer over her criticism of Tom Wolf’s “failed leadership.” The protester opens with, “The candidates all fail the leadership test!” As the crowd booed and moderator Larry Kane asked for someone to “please come up,” the protester noted that Pennsylvania’s Democratic party supports a ban on fracking and waved a list of 1,700 state landowners who say they’ve been affected by fracking. After a diversion to school funding, as she was escorted off stage she said fracking is “poisoning our state and ruining our chance for a strong economic future.”

“We didn’t want to be perceived just as disruptors, we wanted to be perceived as responders,” Bernhardt said. “Fracking has been talked about during debates pretty frequently — just not on the terms that we think it deserves to be talked about.” At the debates, candidates have primarily talked about of their support of a continued moratorium on fracking in the Delaware River Basin, and of the taxes that should be applied to fracking (slang for induced hydraulic fracturing).

After Arnold was taken off the stage — and someone near a microphone let out a fantastic laugh — Pennsylvania “fracktivist” Craig Stevens begins to speak before being booed down by the crowd.

larrykane-protester

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to continue this debate,” moderator Larry Kane then says. “Free expression is one thing, inappropriate behavior is another.”

Schwartz says she appreciates the strong feelings the protesters had toward fracking and the health concerns over the process. Kane then tells her she’s almost out of time, and she goes on to answer the much less interesting question about “leadership” and whether she’ll support Tom Wolf in the general election if he is to win the primary.

Report: Air Quality to Worsen in Eagle Ford Shale

Posted in: Bakken Labor Staffing News, Bakken Oilfield Financing News, Corpus Christi Financing News, Eagle Ford Shale News, Eagle Ford Shale Staffing Fianncing News, Factoring Companies, frac, fracking- Apr 15, 2014 No Comments

What might the oil- and gas-rich Eagle Ford Shale region of South Texas look like in 2018?

A newly released but largely unnoticed study commissioned by the state of Texas makes some striking projections:

* The number of wells drilled in the 20,000-square-mile region could quadruple, from about 8,000 today to 32,000.

* Oil production could leap from 363 million barrels per year to as much as 761 million.

* Airborne releases of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) could increase 281 percent during the peak ozone season compared to 2012 emissions. VOCs, commonly found at oil and gas production sites, can cause respiratory and neurological problems. Some, like benzene, can cause cancer.

* Nitrogen oxides—which react with VOCs in sunlight to create ground-level ozone, the main component of smog—could increase 69 percent during the peak ozone season.

These projections are included in a study prepared by scientists with the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) in San Antonio and paid for by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The study was designed to determine the extent to which oil and gas development in the Eagle Ford region is contributing to rising ozone levels in the San Antonio metropolitan area, which lies north of much of the drilling. San Antonio’s ozone readings have violated federal air quality standards since August 2012, making the city vulnerable to sanctions under the Clean Air Act.

The study’s findings also have implications beyond San Antonio.

In February, the Center for Public Integrity, InsideClimate News and The Weather Channel produced a series of reports about air quality in the Eagle Ford and found that the Texas regulatory system does more to protect the gas and oil industry than the public. The TCEQ has installed only five permanent air monitors in the region, which is nearly twice the size of Massachusetts, and all of them are on the fringes of the shale play, far from the heavy drilling areas where emissions are highest.

Peter Bella, AACOG’s natural resources director, said in a telephone interview that the San Antonio project has two components: a 260-page emission inventory that was posted without fanfare on the AACOG website April 4, and a photochemical model that uses numbers from the inventory and meteorological data to project how the Eagle Ford’s pollutants will influence ozone in San Antonio.

Findings from the photochemical model were given to the TCEQ more than two months ago and the agency is reviewing AACOG’s methodology. Bella said he did not know when the results would be released.

The TCEQ did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

The emission inventory catalogs air pollutants from a range of oil and gas operations using three scenarios: low, moderate and aggressive development. (The numbers cited above assume aggressive development.) It was prepared with technical assistance from, and was reviewed by, the TCEQ.

State Rep. Lon Burnam, a Fort Worth Democrat, said the growth predictions are bad news for people who live in the Eagle Ford and surrounding cities, especially San Antonio. Burnam has tried unsuccessfully for years to pass legislation that would protect people from pollution associated with oil and gas production.

“The numbers are mind-boggling,” said Burnam, who recently lost a primary election for a tenth term. “Welcome to an increasingly dirty and unhealthy environment in a state wholly unsympathetic to the health and welfare of its people and wholly beholden to the industry.”

Omar Garcia, president of the South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable, said Friday morning that he did not have the time to talk about the implications of the report. In previous interviews Garcia has stressed the economic benefits of the Eagle Ford boom. His organization, which represents major operators in the region, says on its website that in 2012 the boom generated $61 billion in spending and more than 116,000 full-time jobs.

“I would love to engage,” Garcia told a reporter, explaining that he couldn’t spare even a few minutes. “We’ll get you on the next one.”

Drilling for Decades to Come

Documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity and InsideClimate News under the Texas Public Information Act show that the AACOG study has generated intense scrutiny. In an email last May, for example, Bella told TCEQ scientists he had “recently been fielding questions on a weekly basis” about it from the media, local officials and academic researchers.

The results of the report, plus a separate inventory of non-Eagle Ford pollution sources, would help the fast-growing San Antonio metropolitan area prepare for future development, Bella wrote.

“We can’t afford to work through this critical juncture in San Antonio’s air quality history without comprehensive, accurate ozone data … including a comprehensive, accurate ozone precursor” emission inventory for the Eagle Ford, he wrote.

A final draft of the inventory was submitted to the TCEQ for review in December and released publicly a week ago, at the same time the agency was compelled to provide documents related to the report to the Center for Public Integrity and InsideClimate News under the Public Information Act.

The report relies heavily on industry publications and input from Eagle Ford operators with on-the-ground expertise. The document paints a picture of massive production growth over the next four years in a largely rural area already impacted by air pollution and other problems associated with five years of drilling.

Between 2008 and 2012, for example, 835 oil and gas wells were drilled in La Salle County—about one well for every 9 residents. In neighboring McMullen County — population 730 — the ratio is 1 well per 5 residents.

Parts of the Eagle Ford could see active drilling through 2035, the report says, and wells could be more tightly packed. That could lead to more concentrated air emissions. Most of the growth is expected to occur in four counties — Webb, Dimmit, Karnes and La Salle. These counties were responsible for more than half of the Eagle Ford’s VOC and nitrogen oxide emissions in 2012.

Devine, Tex., lawyer Tomas Ramirez represents two Karnes County families in lawsuits against oil companies that claim emissions are sickening his clients. He called the AACOG projections “staggering.”

“It’s already dangerous if you live in close proximity to these sources of emissions,” Ramirez said. “So what does the future hold when you see such a huge increase? I think that the quality of life will substantially deteriorate for the people.”

Ramirez said he recognizes the vital role oil and gas plays in the Texas economy and that energy is a critical element in the overall stability of the country.

But the industry has to be more responsible, he said. Pollution controls “cost money and the oil companies don’t want to spend it. There is a way it can be done but the oil companies are not going to want to spend the money to do it.”

Extent of Future Emissions Debated

Midstream operations – gas processing plants, compressor stations, storage tanks – will far surpass drilling rigs and well hydraulic engines as sources of ozone-forming pollutants, the AACOG scientists forecast. If the area develops as fast as some predict, midstream facilities could be producing 64 tons of VOCs and 49 tons of nitrogen oxides per ozone season day by 2018. That’s more than twice what was emitted in 2012. (In San Antonio, the ozone season runs from April through October.)

Email exchanges between AACOG and TCEQ scientists show cordial discussions of the methods used to calculate pollution levels in the Eagle Ford.  The emails also reveal the unique challenge of estimating emissions from a fast-developing industry where technologies are constantly evolving.

In an email on Feb. 24, for example, the TCEQ’s Michael Ege noted that AACOG’s numbers for emissions from pump engines were higher than estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, while AACOG’s emission calculations from oil and condensate tanks were lower than those used by the TCEQ.

The scientists met two days later to discuss the numbers, and AACOG’s Steven Smeltzer sent Ege an email on Feb. 27 to explain the discrepancies. Smeltzer said the EPA’s numbers were outdated, and that AACOG had used data from local industry sources and environmental consultants. AACOG also got its storage tank information from local operators.

Such disagreements aside, it’s clear the Eagle Ford is headed for explosive growth. The report notes that David Porter, a member of the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates drilling, said it will take nearly three decades to “fully develop” the Eagle Ford.

Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of the Texas chapter of Public Citizen, a nonprofit public-interest advocacy organization, said that kind of growth would exhaust the resources of the region’s counties and cities in terms of maintaining roads and providing services.

“The economic devastation to the communities will be extraordinary,” he said. “The demands for infrastructure will increase proportionally to the increase in activity.  The tax base will struggle to pay the debt and clean up the mess made for decades.”

Amber Lyssy, who lives with her husband and three children on an organic farm in Wilson County, said their land is already surrounded by drilling rigs, flares, storage tanks and waste pits.

“Now, to think it’s going to get worse is scary,” she said

This story is part of a project by InsideClimate News, the Center for Public Integrity and The Weather Channel. Jim Morris is a senior reporter with the Center for Public Integrity. Lisa Song and David Hasemyer report for InsideClimate News.

source-https://www.texastribune.org/2014/04/11/report-air-quality-worsen-eagle-ford-shale/

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Oil production up slightly, possible bumps ahead

Posted in: Bakken Labor Staffing News, Bakken Oilfield Financing News, Eagle Ford Shale News, Eagle Ford Shale Staffing Fianncing News, Factoring Companies, frac, fracking- Apr 15, 2014 No Comments

North Dakota oil production saw an increase of approximately 16,000 barrels per day during the month of February fueled by improving weather conditions.

Preliminary oil production figures released by the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources put February production at 951,340 barrels per day. This was up from the final January figure of 935,126 barrels per day.

With weather improving Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said he’s expecting the state to reach the 1 million barrels daily mark sometime in the next couple of months.

“It’s a pretty exclusive club,” Helms said.

One potential speed bump for production figures in the coming months could stem from a hearing on the North Dakota Industrial Commission’s new natural gas flaring policy.

The meeting is set for 9 a.m. April 22 at the Mineral Resources office in Bismarck. Testimony will be taken on the potential impacts of changes made to the department’s rules on restricting production in order to rein in natural gas flaring.

New rules were approved by the Industrial Commission earlier this year as the result of the work of a natural gas flaring task force.

A number of task force recommendations are intended to be implemented by June 1 and are expected to reduce flaring to 15 percent within two years and 10 percent within six. As of this month the percentage of gas being flared remained at a record 36 percent.

Companies now need to begin providing gas capture plans starting June 1.

Helms said the department is looking to gather information from industry and interested parties on issues including how long wells should be able to produce at maximum effective rate before flaring needs to be curtailed and at what rate should they be reined in.

Currently wells are allowed to produce at their maximum efficient rate for 30-60 days. After this period a series of reductions in daily production are mandated until the well is connected to a gas-gathering system.

Helms said these rules were created in the 1980s and the size of the play in western North Dakota has made these rules obsolete.

“We would … like to hear from people what the economics would be … under different restrictions,” Helms said.

Helms said implementing the new restrictions could reduce daily production by by tens of thousands of barrels per day. He said the short term reduction in production through restrictions, expected to impact hundreds of wells, would be outweighed by the long-term benefits of reducing flaring.

“We’re expecting that’s going to be necessary to modify the flaring curve,” Helms said.

Preliminary February numbers had the total wells in production once again reaching record highs with a total of 10,186 wells. This was up from 10,114 in January.

Natural gas production jumped from 1.013 billion cubic feet per day in January to 1.063 billion cubic feet per day in February.

The number of wells waiting on completion from hydraulic fracturing saw a small decline from 660 in January to 650 in February.

For the month, preliminary numbers put total February oil production at about 26.6 million barrels. Being a shorter month this was down from 29 million barrels in January.

source-http://bismarcktribune.com/bakken/oil-production-up-slightly-possible-bumps-ahead/article_9d0a08d2-c1b3-11e3-953b-001a4bcf887a.html

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Coast Guard aims to reopen channel after Texas oil spill

Posted in: Bakken Labor Staffing News, Bakken Oilfield Financing News, Corpus Christi Financing News, Eagle Ford Shale News, Eagle Ford Shale Staffing Fianncing News, Factoring Companies, frac, fracking, Invoice factoring, Labor News, Oilfield Business Financing, Oilfield News, Permian Basin Financing News, Staffing Factoring, Staffing Financing News- Mar 25, 2014 No Comments

GALVESTON, Texas —— As workers in bright yellow suits picked quarter-sized “tar balls” out of the sand along Galveston Bay on Monday, strong incoming tides kept washing more ashore.

Elsewhere, crews lined up miles of oil booms to keep oil away from the shoreline and bird habitats, two days after a collision in the Houston Ship Channel dumped as much as 170,000 gallons of oil from a barge into the water along the Gulf Coast and shut down one of the nation’s busiest seaports.

With cleanup well underway, the Coast Guard said it hoped to have the channel open to barge traffic as quickly as possible but that more tests were needed to confirm the water and the vessels traveling through the channel were free of oil.

The closure stranded some 80 vessels on both sides of the channel. Traffic through the channel includes ships serving refineries key to American oil production.

Officials believe most of the oil that spilled Saturday is drifting out of the Houston Ship Channel into the Gulf of Mexico, which should limit the impact on bird habitats around Galveston Bay as well as beaches and fisheries important to tourists.

“This spill —— I think if we keep our fingers crossed —— is not going to have the negative impact that it could have had,” said Jerry Patterson, commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, the lead state agency on the response to the spill.

The best-case scenario is for most of the slick to remain in the Gulf for at least several days and congeal into small tar balls that wash up further south on the Texas coast, where they could be picked up and removed, Patterson said. Crews from the General Land Office are monitoring water currents and the movement of the oil, he said.

Parts of Galveston Island, a popular tourist destination due to its beaches and parks, were closed to the public Monday. Crews have laid booms around environmentally sensitive areas.

Some black, tar-like globs, along with a dark line of a sticky, oily substance, were seen along the shoreline of the Texas City dike, a 5-mile jetty that juts into Galveston Bay across from a tip of Galveston Island.

Seawolf Park in Galveston, a popular spot for fishermen and tourists, was closed Monday after small amounts of oil were spotted in the water, manager John McMichael said.

“Anytime you shut down the park, it’s going to have an economic impact,” McMichael said.

In Texas City, near several refineries, crews picked up tar balls out of the sand and set up cannons that boomed every few minutes to scare off birds from the oil-slicked beach.

At Galveston’s East Beach, workers set up metal posts to hang lines of absorbent material to collect tar balls as they washed up. On the other side of a jetty, crews were scooping oil from the sand and pouring it into plastic bags.

Jim Guidry, executive vice president of Houston-based Kirby Inland Marine Corp., which owned the barge, has said the company —— the nation’s largest operator of inland barges —— would pay for the cleanup.

“We’re very concerned. We’re focused on cleaning up,” he said.

Refineries in Texas City appeared to have enough crude oil on hand to continue operating until the ship channel can re-open, Patterson said.

At least 50 birds of six species have needed treatment due to the oil, said Richard Gibbons, conservation director of the Houston Audubon Society.

 

Article Source :http://www.tulsaworld.com/business/energy/coast-guard-aims-to-reopen-channel-after-texas-oil-spill/article_d9f90ce3-a8e0-520f-b0ad-6ae92ce220dc.html

 

 

5 things to know about the Texas oil spill

Posted in: Bakken Labor Staffing News, Bakken Oilfield Financing News, Eagle Ford Shale News, Eagle Ford Shale Staffing Fianncing News, Factoring Companies, frac, fracking, Invoice factoring, Labor News, Oilfield Business Financing, Oilfield News, Permian Basin Financing News, Staffing Factoring, Staffing Financing News- Mar 25, 2014 No Comments

TEXAS CITY, Texas (AP) — WHAT HAPPENED?

The Coast Guard says a barge carrying about 900,000 gallons of heavy oil collided with a ship Saturday in the Houston Ship Channel, spilling as much as 168,000 gallons into one of the world’s busiest waterways. Oil has been detected 12 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.

___

HOW ARE AUTHORITIES RESPONDING?

The barge and the unaffected oil tanks have been moved. The Coast Guard has shut down the channel while cleanup continues, forcing more than 80 ships to wait to enter or leave the bay. Twenty-four vessels are working to skim the oil, and containment booms have been deployed. Authorities say part of the channel could be opened sometime Monday.

___

WHAT ARE THE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS?

Authorities and environmental groups are still assessing how the oil spill has affected the environment and wildlife. The channel in Texas City has important shorebird habitat on both sides, and tens of thousands of wintering birds are still in the area. Richard Gibbons of the Houston Audubon Society says at least 50 birds of six species have needed treatment due to the oil. The Texas General Land Office has also deployed a bird-rehabilitation trailer in the area.

___

WHAT IS THE ECONOMIC IMPACT?

A prolonged closure of the ship channel could push up fuel prices briefly, said Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Jim Ritterbusch and Associates in Chicago. If the bottleneck eases soon, fuel prices probably won’t change much.

___

WHO’S AT FAULT?

The Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating. Coast Guard Capt. Brian Penoyer says the investigation will take a while because of the complexity of the vessels and the busy channel.

Article Source : http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2014/mar/25/5-things-to-know-about-the-texas-oil-spill/

 

 

Whiting’s production skyrocketing with new Bakken frack design

Posted in: Bakken Labor Staffing News, Bakken Oilfield Financing News, Corpus Christi Financing News, Eagle Ford Shale News, Eagle Ford Shale Staffing Fianncing News, Factoring Companies, frac, fracking, Invoice factoring, Labor News, Oilfield Business Financing, Oilfield News- Dec 02, 2013 No Comments

Whiting Petroleum Corp. has proven a new completion design for the Williston Basin. “This is an exciting time for Whiting and our shareholders,” said James Volker, Whiting’s chairman and CEO. During the company’s third-quarter investors call, Volker explained that the Denver-based exploration and production firm has found great success using a cemented liner, plug and perf completion technique in its recent Williston Basin wells.

The design utilizes cemented liners and higher volumes of frack sand. Cemented liners encase the horizontal section of the wellbore creating better stability and control of fracture initiation. “The new frack design appears to significantly improve production rates,” the company said. In August, Whiting completed the Sundheim 21-27-1H well using the new approach. The initial production rate of the well was 75 percent better than the offset well completed by another operator using a different technology, according to Whiting.

In its Missouri Breaks acreage area, the last eight wells were completed using the new fracture approach. Results of the wells show a 60 percent or better production increase over the previous 31 wells in the same area completed using uncemented liners and sliding sleeves.

In its Hidden Bench Prospect, Whiting reported results from two different wells. For the well completed using the cemented liner approach, the IP rate totaled 3,795 barrels of oil per day. For the well completed using an uncemented liner, the IP rate reached only 2,715 bopd. Both wells were completed on October 1, 2013. “Our new completion design using cemented liners and plug and perf technology is working throughout the Williston Basin,” Volker said.

In its Southern Williston Basin acreage, the company also said it is testing the potential to drill six or seven wells per drilling spacing unit versus a prior plan that would only drill three wells per spacing unit.

source-http://www.thebakken.com/articles/401/whitings-production-skyrocketing-with-new-bakken-frack-design

Bakken operator releases documentary on fracking, oil production

Posted in: Bakken Labor Staffing News, Bakken Oilfield Financing News, frac, fracking, Oilfield Business Financing, Oilfield News- Dec 02, 2013 No Comments

WPX Energy has announced that it is launching a website to help clear up controversy and misinformation surrounding hydraulic fracturing and the process of exploring for, drilling and producing oil and natural gas.

The site—www.downdeep.com—serves as a platform for delivering an approximately 30-minute video commissioned by WPX Energy. The video is titled, Down Deep: Unearthing the Truth About Hydraulic Fracturing, and features conversations with experts, landowners, neighbors and WPX executives.

Using genuine facts and interviews with third parties, Down Deep, takes on the dishonest politicking and misguided environmentalism that has become entangled with the public’s image of “fracking.”

WPX Energy believes U.S. citizens all have the right to be informed of the facts surrounding any vital issue—and the right to be involved in the decisions that shape America’s energy future.

Down Deep gives Americans the facts they need to make their own informed decisions, and it provides a route for them to easily reach out to their government representatives and make their voices heard.

WPX Energy is a leader in responsible energy development, having earned nearly 40 national, state, local and industry awards for technology, innovation, efficiency, reclamation, water management, best practices and community involvement.

Additionally, WPX has registered more than 1,100 wells in the FracFocus chemical disclosure database. The company operates in several shale plays, including the Williston Basin.

source-http://www.thebakken.com/articles/426/bakken-operator-releases-documentary-on-fracking-oil-production

Crime continues to gush in oil-rich Bakken

Posted in: Bakken Labor Staffing News, Bakken Oilfield Financing News, Factoring Companies, frac, fracking, Oilfield Business Financing, Oilfield News- Dec 02, 2013 No Comments

SIDNEY — One cold morning last year, a math teacher jogging through her hometown in eastern Montana was abducted, strangled and buried in a shallow grave. Charged in her death were two drifters from Colorado, drawn to the region by the allure of easy money in the oil fields.

One-hundred fifty miles away, in a bustling oil town in North Dakota, a 30-year-old man disappeared one afternoon from the street where he had been putting in water and sewer pipes, leaving behind a lunchbox with his paycheck inside, and a family grasping for answers. After months of searching, his mother said she now believes her son is gone, buried somewhere on the high plains.

Stories like these, once rare, have become as common as drilling rigs in rural towns at the heart of one of the nation’s richest oil booms. Crime has soared as thousands of workers and rivers of cash have flowed into towns, straining police departments and shattering residents’ sense of safety.

“It just feels like the modern-day Wild West,” said Sgt. Kylan Klauzer, an investigator in Dickinson, in western North Dakota. The Dickinson police handled 41 violent crimes last year, up from seven only five years ago.

To the police and residents, the violence shows how a modern-day gold rush is transforming the rolling plains and farm towns where people once fretted about a population drain. Today, four-story chain hotels are rising, and small apartments rent for $2,000 a month. Two-lane roads are jammed with tractor-trailers. Fast-food restaurants offer $300 signing bonuses for new employees, and jobs as gas-station attendants can pay $50,000 a year. Workers flush with cash are snapping up ATVs, and hotel menus offer crab-artichoke dip and bacon-wrapped dates.

Amid all of that new money, reports of assault and theft have doubled or even tripled, and police say they are rushing from call to call, grappling with everything from bar brawls and shoplifting to kidnappings and attempted murders. Traffic stops for drunken or reckless driving have skyrocketed; local jails are spilling over with drug suspects.

Last year, a study by officials in Montana and North Dakota found that crime had risen by 32 percent since 2005 in communities at the center of the boom. In Watford City, N.D., where mile-long chains of tractor-trailers stack up at the town’s main traffic light, arrests increased 565 percent during that time. In Roosevelt County in Montana, arrests were up 855 percent, and the sheriff, Freedom Crawford, said his jail was so full that he was ticketing and releasing offenders for minor crimes like disorderly conduct.

“I don’t have nowhere to put them,” Crawford said.

Officials say most of new arrivals are hard workers who are simply looking for better lives, and that much of the increase in crime has resulted from population growth: Waves of new residents inevitably mean more traffic crashes and calls to 911.

Police and sheriff’s departments are responding by hiring more officers, in part with new tax revenue, but often not fast enough to keep pace with their booming populations. In Dickinson, for example, the population has surged to an estimated 25,000 from 16,000 in 2000, with new hotels, condominiums and extended-stay inns being built every week. The city’s police department has 38 officers, but Klauzer said it would need to add 12 more to keep up with the growth. Each detective’s caseload has doubled.

‘Living nightmare’

Once a month, Klauzer receives a phone call from a mother looking for news about her son, Eric Haider, a 30-year-old pipe layer who vanished in May 2012, one of several disappearances in the region. Haider hated the tiring three-hour commute to his job in Dickinson, but the town’s breakneck growth meant steady work and money to support his daughter, said his mother, Maryellen Suchan.

The family has made buttons and printed fliers with Haider’s brown-bearded face, and silk-screened T-shirts with the words “Have You Seen My Son?” The police dug up the streets and searched with dogs. As hopes dimmed, Haider’s family began asking hunters and oil workers to look out for shallow graves. Not a trace has been found.

“It’s a living nightmare,” Suchan said. “There isn’t a single day that we don’t think of him, talk of him. I don’t have an end.”

Drug trafficking

Federal prosecutors say the boom’s riches have attracted opportunists and criminals. Mexican cartels and regional methamphetamine and heroin traffickers have proliferated, hoping to tap the same sources of wealth that have turned farmers into millionaires and shaved unemployment rates to as low as 0.7 percent.

“It’s following the money,” said Michael W. Cotter, the U.S. attorney for Montana. “I hate to call the cartels entrepreneurs, but they’re in the business to make money. There’s a lot of money flying around that part of Montana and North Dakota.”

Over the last year, the police and prosecutors in North Dakota, Montana and Canada have tried to crack down on drug traffickers and the most violent offenders systematically with an effort they call Project Safe Bakken, named for the rich oil formation under the plains. The FBI is adding a handful of agents to the region. Federal officials have charged more than two-dozen people they say were trafficking drugs into the Bakken region.

Domestic violence

As more families arrive, domestic-violence shelters are also filling up, often with similar stories of troubled migrations: Families arrived hoping for $20-an-hour jobs, but discovered that modest homes rent for $2,000 and everything from gasoline to dinner costs more. The stresses of life piled up. Alcohol and drugs added to the problem. Old patterns of domestic abuse crossed state lines.

In Dickinson, mothers in the shelter sleep on couches with their children. In Williston, the small Family Crisis Shelter has added four sets of bunk beds and turned its living room into a bedroom to accommodate more people. The executive director, Lana Bonnet, said 83 percent of her clients were from out of town, and many had sought refuge after being choked, threatened with a gun or beaten up until bones broke or teeth fell out.

Rape, murder

While the raw numbers of murders and rapes remain low, every few months seem to bring an act of violence that flares like a gas flame on the dark prairie, shaking a community and underscoring how much life here is changing.

In Dickinson, it was the rape of an 83-year-old woman, who police say was attacked inside her home by a 24-year-old man who had come to town looking for work. In Culbertson, Mont., it was a man who was beaten with brass knuckles by a group of drug dealers and left for dead along the side of a road. In Sidney, it was the January 2012 murder of Sherry Arnold, the 43-year-old schoolteacher abducted during her Sunday morning jog.

Hundreds of people searched for Arnold in frozen fields, residential neighborhoods and ditches until her body was found in North Dakota, near a line of trees planted as a windbreak by farmers. After receiving a tip, the police arrested two men, Lester Van Waters Jr. and Michael Spell. Van Waters has pleaded guilty, and Spell is expected to go to trial in January. His lawyer has said that Spell is mentally disabled.

After Arnold’s killing, there was a run on pepper spray and stun guns in Sidney, and the town offered martial arts classes to women. Mayor Bret Smelser, who attended the same Lutheran church as Arnold, said his wife had bought a small handgun to feel safer when he was away.

“Nobody knew anybody anymore,” he said. “We were a community that never locked our doors. That’s all changed.”

source-http://helenair.com/news/local/state-and-regional/crime-continues-to-gush-in-oil-rich-bakken/article_7055908a-5b16-11e3-a6f9-0019bb2963f4.html