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Safety risks prompt Dutch court to order cuts at Groningen gas field

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Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 09.13.40Sectors | Wed Nov 18, 2015 4:33pm IST

By Anthony Deutsch and Toby Sterling

A Dutch court on Wednesday ordered more cuts in gas production at Groningen, Europe’s largest gas field, saying the government had given too little consideration to the stronger and more frequent earthquakes extraction had caused.

Output at the field, the world’s 10th largest, will now be capped at 27 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year from 33 bcm, the court said, adding that the government had failed to sufficiently weigh public safety risks. read more

Exxon’s Dutch Gas Gag

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Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 09.13.40Liam Denning: November 18, 2015

If you’ve never been to Groningen, it’s a pleasant college town in the northern Netherlands. It also happens to share its name with one of the world’s largest natural gas fields. Tourists are best advised to focus on the scenic bicycling routes. Exxon Mobil is more attuned to what lies beneath.

The region around Groningen has a problem that is becoming familiar in places like Oklahoma: earthquakes brought on by gas production. On Wednesday, a Dutch court ruled that the production cap on the giant field should be reduced temporarily by another 18 percent, to about 950 billion cubic feet for the year that started October 1. Altogether, the cap has been cut by about a third since 2014. read more

Arctic Drilling: A Giant Gamble for the Planet and Shell’s Bottom Line

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Kieran Cooke, Climate News Network | August 31, 201

Shell is betting on finding the oil industry’s Holy Grail: according to 2008 estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Arctic contains more than 20 percent of the world’s remaining hydrocarbon resources—including at least 90 billion barrels of oil.

If Shell does strike oil in big quantities maybe its gamble will pay off—and its anxious shareholders can look forward to handsome payouts.

But the whole venture is a high-risk business. The decision by the U.S. administration to allow Shell to start drilling in the Chukchi Sea, off the coast of Alaska, is highly controversial. read more

More and bigger drilling-linked earthquakes rattle Oklahoma

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Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 22.24.59By Heide Brandes: 28 July 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) – Several earthquakes shook Oklahoma on Monday as the state experiences a sharp increase in the frequency of tremors linked to wastewater disposal from gas and oil drilling, including from fracking, state and federal officials said.

Three of Monday’s quakes measured above a magnitude 4.0, with a 4.5 earthquake centered just north of Crescent, roughly 45 miles (72 km) north of Oklahoma City, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said. read more

UK fracking application rejected

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An application to start fracking at a site on the Fylde coast in Lancashire has been rejected by councillors.

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Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to extract shale gas at the Little Plumpton site between Preston and Blackpool.

Lancashire County Council rejected the bid on the grounds of “unacceptable noise impact” and the “adverse urbanising effect on the landscape”.

Cuadrilla said it was “surprised and disappointed” and would consider its “options” regarding an appeal.

A spokesman added: “We remain committed to the responsible exploration of the huge quantity of natural gas locked up in the shale rock deep underneath Lancashire.” read more

U.S. Ousts Russia as Top World Oil, Gas Producer

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Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 23.24.56Article by Rakteem Katakey published 10 June 2015 by Bloomberg.com

The U.S. has taken Russia’s crown as the biggest oil and natural-gas producer in a demonstration of the seismic shifts in the world energy landscape emanating from America’s shale fields.

U.S. oil production rose to a record last year, gaining 1.6 million barrels a day, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review of World Energy released on Wednesday. Gas output also climbed, putting America ahead of Russia as a producer of the hydrocarbons combined.

The data showing the U.S.’s emergence as the top driller confirms a trend that’s helped the world’s largest economy reduce imports, caused a slump in global energy prices and shifted the country’s foreign policy priorities. read more

Saudi Arabia Lets The World Drown In Oil

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Article by Nathan Vardi: Forbes Staff: Friday 5 June 2015

To the surprise of nobody, Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC member states decided in Vienna on Friday to maintain production targets of 30 million barrels a day, making sure the world remains flooded with oil. The fact that OPEC—particularly the core countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates—have refused to play their traditional stabilizing role and cut oil production makes it less likely that oil prices will rebound to the $115 a barrel level that was reached about one year ago. read more

OPEC Seen Backing Saudi Arabia’s Plan to Keep Supplies Elevated

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by Grant Smith and Maher Chmaytelli: Bloomberg.com: 27 May 2015

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When Saudi Arabia argues next week that OPEC should keep up production to fight the rise in U.S. shale oil, prices will be on its side.

Crude plunged for eight of nine weeks prior to the group’s November gathering, when the kingdom faced down opposition from the majority of fellow members, who advocated output reductions to tackle a global glut. With oil companies around the world cutting investment, U.S. output peaking and prices up, Saudi Arabia’s strategy will be extended at OPEC’s semiannual meeting on June 5, say Societe Generale SA and Bank of America Corp. read more

No Shell Arctic Oil Until 2030’s

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By: MICHEAL KAUFMANPublished: May 26, 2015 

Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) head of oil and gas production in Americas, Marvin Odum has told the Financial Times (FT) in an interview that the company’s Arctic drilling operations would take at least a decade to extract oil reserves, which would then be sent to production.

The leading executives dealing with this particular exploration project stated that there are enormous difficulties that the company is facing during the process of securing environmental approvals. Amid strong opposition from environmental groups, to obtain the needed approvals is taking longer than the expected time. read more

Shell’s Arctic voyage marks beginning of peak oil era

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Anglo-Dutch company’s search for resources in the Arctic is a sign that the world is running out of options for new oil reserves

By Andrew Critchlow, Commodities editor

In his critically acclaimed 2005 book ‘Twilight in the Desert’, the prominent oil economist Matthew R. Simmons predicted that Saudi Arabia’s oil wells would soon run dry.

His argument was based on the age of the seven main fields, which the kingdom still to this day depends upon to pump the bulk of its 10m barrels per day (bpd) of crude. These fields in the main have been producing for over a generation and, despite official figures placing Saudi Arabia’s proven reserves at over 260bn barrels, Mr Simmons argued that the kingdom would struggle to increase its output to keep pace with the projected increases in the demand over the next half century marking the beginning of a period known as “peak oil”. read more

Fracking lobby calls the tune on commission shale-gas panel

An article by PASCOE SABIDO, PUBLISHED BRUSSELS, TODAY, BY EUOBSERVER.COM

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2015 is a big year for climate in Europe: the UN talks in Paris, this December; the implementation of the EU’s 2030 climate targets; mapping out the Energy Union.
Judging by the European Commission’s public statements, one would think the EU was firmly on its way to transforming our energy system towards efficient and renewable energy.

But in reality, its recently-established advisory group for the evaluation of shale gas development is opening the back door to this harmful and polluting technology across Europe, despite massive public opposition. read more

U.S. Maps Pinpoint Earthquakes Linked to Quest for Oil and Gas

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Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 07.46.46“Predicting risk is also hard, the report noted, because there is no scientific consensus on just how powerful such quakes can be. The report estimated the effects of shocks up to magnitudes 6 and 7, while noting that some scientists have speculated that the catastrophic 7.9-magnitude earthquake in China in 2008 was caused by human activity.”

Article bBy RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA PUBLISHED APRIL 23, 2015 BY THE NEW YORK TIMES

The United States Geological Survey on Thursday released its first comprehensive assessment of the link between thousands of earthquakes and oil and gas operations, identifying and mapping 17 regions where quakes have occurred.

The report was the agency’s broadest statement yet on a danger that has grown along with the nation’s energy production.

By far the hardest-hit state, the report said, is Oklahoma, where earthquakes are hundreds of times more common than they were until a few years ago because of the disposal of wastewater left over from extracting fuels and from drilling wells by injecting water into the earth. But the report also mapped parts of eight other states, from Lake Erie to the Rocky Mountains, where that practice has caused quakes, and said most of them were at risk for more significant shaking in the future. read more

Shell’s Huge Gas Bet Underscores Big Oil’s Push to Replace Coal

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Article by Javier Blas and Rakteem Katakey published 10 April 2015 by Bloomberg.com

BP Plc coined the slogan “Beyond Petroleum.” The new industry mantra might be “Beyond Oil and Into Gas.” Oh, and while we’re at it, “Down With Coal.”

Consider Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s recent $70 billion acquisition of BG Group Plc — clearly a huge bet that natural gas will prove to be its cash cow of the future.

The petroleum industry’s move toward gas is hardly new — the hydraulic fracturing shale revolution is in its second decade, after all. Still, Shell’s move is an emphatic confirmation that some among the Big Oil family firmly believe gas will play a growing role in meeting the energy demand of emerging countries such as China and India that are trying to move away from dirtier coal. read more

As Quakes Rattle Oklahoma, Fingers Point to Oil and Gas Industry

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 11.37.11Article by Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Michael Wines published by The New York Times:

As Quakes Rattle Oklahoma, Fingers Point to Oil and Gas Industry

A version of this article appears in print on April 4, 2015, on page A1 of the New York edition

PRAGUE, Okla. — Yanked without warning from a deep sleep, Jennifer Lin Cooper, whose family has lived near here for more than a half-century, could think only that the clamor enveloping her house was coming from a helicopter landing on her roof. She was wrong.

A 5.0-magnitude earthquake — the first of three as strong or stronger over several days in November 2011 — had peeled the brick facade from the $117,000 home she bought the year before. Ms. Cooper, 36, could not get out until her father pried a stuck storm door off the front entrance. Repairs have so far cost $12,000 and forced her to take a second job, at night, to pay the bill. read more

New Federal Rules Are Set for Fracking

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 09.12.24FROM AN ARTICLE BY CORAL DAVENPORT PUBLISHED IN THE NEW YORK EDITION OF THE NEW YORK TIMES ON 21 MARCH 2015

New Federal Rules Are Set for Fracking

Extracts

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday unveiled the nation’s first major federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing, a technique for oil and gas drilling that has led to a significant increase in American energy production but has also raised concerns about health and safety risks.

The Interior Department began drafting the rules, focused on drilling safety, in Mr. Obama’s first term after breakthroughs in the technology, also known as fracking, led to a surge in the production of oil and gas. read more

Non-U.S. Shales Prove Difficult to Crack

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By JUSTIN SCHECK and SELINA WILLIAMS: WALL STREET JOURNAL

March 18, 2015 11:20 p.m. ET

Exxon, Shell and others are pulling back from once-promising shale finds in Europe, Asia

After spending more than five years and billions of dollars trying to re-create the U.S. shale boom overseas, some of the world’s biggest oil companies are starting to give up amid a world-wide collapse in crude prices.

Chevron Corp. , Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC have packed up nearly all of their hydraulic fracturing wildcatting in Europe, Russia and China. 

“The pace of development outside North America is slower everywhere than people thought it would be,” Simon Henry, Shell’s chief financial officer, said in a recent interview. read more

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