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Europe ups energy security ante
Daniel J. GraeberBUDAPEST, Hungary, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- European energy leaders in Budapest signed off on grants to help bolster energy diversity schemes they said Friday were already having tangible results.
8 points by UPI | European Union United Press International Natural gas International News Service News World Communications United States William Randolph Hearst Shale gas
Pennsylvania correlates natural gas fracking with quakes
Pennsylvania environmental regulators have found a likely correlation between a natural gas company's fracking operation and a series of tiny earthquakes in western Pennsylvania last year.
-2 points by The Philadelphia Inquirer | Natural gas Oil well Shale gas Petroleum Earthquake United States Hydraulic fracturing U.S. state
DEP links Lawrence County earthquakes to fracking
A series of small earthquakes in Lawrence County last year appear to have been linked to fracking operations at nearby Utica Shale wells, Pennsylvania regulators said today.
-2 points by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Lawrence County Pennsylvania Seismology Conclusion Oil well Petroleum Shale gas Natural gas Beaver County Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania lawmaker invites Trump to 'destroy' career
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Pennsylvania state senator has used a profanity-laced tweet to defend a fellow state lawmaker in Texas after President Donald Trump joked about destroying the unnamed lawmaker's career.
-2 points by Arizona Daily Star | Shale gas White House Pennsylvania Donald Trump President of the United States Washington D.C. Natural gas United States Capitol
Energy prices expected to creep higher, says U.S. Energy Information Administration
The U.S. Energy Information Administration is forecasting small price increases for natural gas, gasoline and electricity this year despite its parallel forecast that the USA will produce more crude oil and more natural gas than it does currently. CLEVELAND, Ohio -- You'll pay more, on average, for gasoline, natural gas and electricity this year than you did last year and even more in the next couple of years, say federal forecasters. The higher prices -- and these are increases in average prices -- shouldn't break most household budgets, but they should serve as a reminder that cheap energy is not necessarily permanent. The U.S. Energy Information's monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook, issued today, is forecasting a U.S. average gasoline price of $2.39 a gallon this year and $2.44 in 2018, which is about what the average price was in 2015 and still at least $1-a-gallon below average prices from 2012 through 2014. The average price in Cleveland today, reports GasBuddy, is just $2.02, well below the national average of $2.26. The average Ohio gas price is $2.04. The highest Ohio average prices occurred in May 2011 when prices peaked at $4.16 a gallon, according to the AAA.  Highest Cleveland average price was $4.15 a gallon in May 2011. The interplay between U.S. shale oil producers and OPEC's effort to cut back production through June of this year, as well as global demand and global supplies are the main players in what gasoline costs. The EIA now sees U.S oil production recovering as more rigs are deployed every week in response to oil prices remaining above $50 a barrel. Contracts for the  best grades of U.S. oil were running at just over $52 a barrel Tuesday, down almost $1 from Monday's run-up. Future contracts into this summer were trading at more than $54 a barrel. Natural gas production is now expected to increase this year and again next year, which is a significant reversal of the EIA's recent past forecasts that mirrored declining production as most gas producers parked their drilling rigs as prices fell. But along with expected increases in gas production this year and next, new demand driven by new power plants and export terminals is expected to push prices slightly higher through next year. Several gas power plants are under construction in Ohio, for example, and will significantly increase demand for gas -- while pushing power prices down. The EIA sees "spot" prices, what a gas supplier would pay without a contract, increasing this year by almost $1 per 1,000 cubic feet to an average of $3.54 per Mcf and increasing in 2018 to an average of $3.81 per Mcf. In Ohio, where Utica shale gas has driven down prices in the eastern side of the state to below national prices, suppliers continue to expect a discount because of oversupply.  But that discount has already fallen compared with previous years and is expected to continue to shrink. The discount affects Dominion East Ohio customers who are receiving the Utica gas.   Columbia Gas of Ohio's standard price more reflects the national contract prices and is therefore significantly higher than Dominion consumer prices. Electricity prices in Ohio are another story and the state's two largest utilities, FirstEnergy and American Electric Power, prepare a full lobbying effort to persuade lawmakers to change the state's 16-year de-regulation rules that have given customers the ability to shop for their power suppliers.  Both companies have also managed to increase prices on the delivery side of the bill. The EIA expects U.S. residential electricity prices to average 12.93 cents per kilowatt-hour this year and 13.24 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2018. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio estimated the average Ohio price for electricity in December 2016 was 13 cents per kilowatt-hour and that the average consumption was 750 kilowatt-hours per month. 
15 points by The Plain Dealer | Petroleum Shale gas Natural gas Energy Oil shale Coal Peak oil Hydrocarbon
Wolf proposes a familiar shale gas tax and gets a familiarly cold response
Gov. Tom Wolf is again trying to raise revenue for the state budget by proposing a tax on shale gas production identical to the one he pitched and eventually dropped from budget negotiations last year.
1529 points by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Taxation Shale gas Natural gas Petroleum Public finance
The Latest: Wolf seeks cuts, shale tax to plug budget gap
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Latest on Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's budget proposal for Pennsylvania's 2017-18 fiscal year (all times local): ___ 11:25 a.m. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is gambling he can balance next year's state budget by saving huge sums in human services programs and persuading the Republican-controlled Legislature ...
-2 points by The Washington Times | Taxation Income tax Public finance Shale gas Tax Proposal Natural gas United States
Big budget mystery: Where will Wolf get $2B in cuts, savings
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The $2 billion question in Gov. Tom Wolf's forthcoming budget proposal will be how he arrives at that amount in cuts and savings to help wipe out a huge deficit. That figure would theoretically allow Wolf to balance the budget without needing a major tax increase ...
-2 points by The Washington Times | Tax Income tax Party leaders of the United States Senate Government Taxation in the United States Public finance Shale gas Tax refund
Fracking ban bill introduced in Maryland Senate
Opponents of the natural gas extraction method known as fracking introduced a bill in the Maryland Senate Friday to ban the practice. The effort to forbid hydraulic fracturing is expected to become one of the most heavily contested environmental battles of the 2017 General Assembly session. A moratorium...
-2 points by Baltimore Sun | Maryland United States Democratic Party United States Senate United States House of Representatives Shale gas Natural environment Garrett County Maryland
Ohio oil production down, gas up only slightly as fewer wells are drilled
When the bottom began dropping out of regional oil and gas prices more than a year ago, producing companies began drilling fewer wells. And that is now showing up in production numbers. COLUMBUS -- Ohio's latest shale oil and gas production numbers are in, and they don't look like good news. In a release issued just hours before the Labor Day weekend began, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources released the production numbers for the second quarter and first half of the year.   The agency noted that of the 1,415 Ohio horizontally-drilled shale wells in the state, only 1,362 reported production. A year earlier, the agency reported 978 of the 1,020 shale wells reported production. Oil production has fallen dramatically below year-ago levels, from 5.9 million barrels during the second quarter of  last year to 4.8 million barrels during the same period this year. Gas production is actually higher compared to year-ago quarterly output levels, but it's clear that the roaring quarter-to-quarter increases in gas production that created so much optimism over the last couple of years have ended. Ohio may be the "Saudi Arabia of gas," as many producers joked as early as 2009, but gas that sells for about half the already-low national prices is not going to be produced for long. The evidence of a gas slowdown can be seen in the increase, which is only slight, from the first three months of the year to the second three-month period and then comparing that increase to last year. In the first quarter of this year, shale gas production totaled 329.4 billion cubic feet. Production edged slightly higher during the second three months, coming in at 334.3 billion cubic feet. ODNR, Oil & Gas Division Compare that to the difference between the first and second quarters of 2015, when production zoomed from 183 billion cubic feet to 222 billion cubic feet, then jumped to 247.5 billion cubic feet  in the third quarter and to 302.4 billion cubic feet in the last three months of 2015. The oil situation is even more dramatic,especially comparing year-over-year totals. Oil production in the second quarter was down almost 20 percent from production during the same time in 2015.   Ohio shale wells produced 4.84 million barrels of oil in April, May and June, down from 5.95 during the same period in 2015. With these second quarter production numbers, there is nothing to brag about," said Shawn Bennett, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. "Production of natural gas is leveling off. And oil production within the Utica [play] has fallen dramatically," he said. There are currently about a dozen rigs drilling horizontal wells in Ohio's Utica shale. Bennett said the slight increase in gas production quarter over quarter, is the result of well operators completing wells they drilled but did not fracture in previous years because they were waiting either for pipelines to be built or prices to increase. The few rigs now working are in extreme eastern portions of the state, in Belmont and Monroe counties, where the shale yield natural gas but little oil, he said. Producers in those counties are now able, at extra cost, to lease space on pipelines and move their gas out of the region to areas where prices are much higher. "There is always a lag time, Bennett said of the time between a drilling slowdown or uptick and the production results.  "The production growth just isn't there. And the decline rate is beginning to kick in." The situation is not likely to change, he added, until more pipelines are built to diminish the glut of gas here, and until the national prices of oil and gas move higher. The construction of one or more  ethane refineries, or "crackers," in the region, will also create demand for more Ohio gas production, he said. Shell Chemical has committed to building a cracker in Beaver County, Pa., near Youngstown.  An Asian consortium is planning to build a cracker on the site of FirstEnergy's old  R.E. Burger coal-burning power plant. "What you are seeing today in production reflects the current economy.  Lower prices have created lower production.  Until prices rebound we will not see growth like we did in 2014," he said. "The entire industry has slowed down." Whenever national and global prices do increase, re-starting the industry here will likely lag other states, especially those that produce a lot of oil, because Ohio's shale gas industry was in its infancy when prices fell. "This is not just a pause button. This is actually almost a re-set button," Bennett said.
13 points by The Plain Dealer | Petroleum Shale gas Natural gas Imperial units Oil shale Hydrocarbon Vice president International System of Units