EnergyWatch

News from the Houston Chronicle energy team
(Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

Shell announces Utica gas discovery

Shell Oil Co. announced two successful new discovery wells in the northern, central part of Pennsylvania in a move that may suggest the sweet spot of the Utica formation extends further than previously thought, company officials said.  More »
Most of Israel’s gas is contained in two offshore fields in the Mediterranean Sea: Tamar, seen here, and Leviathan.
 (Albatross via Getty Images)

Noble Energy to supply Israeli gas to Jordan’s power company

Noble and Jordan’s national power company signed a non-binding letter of intent that would provide Jordan with 1.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over 15 years from the Leviathan field in the Eastern Mediterranean sea. That’s equal to 300 million cubic feet per day.  More »
Power lines, owned by Energy Future Holdings, near the Lake Hubbard Power Plant near Dallas. (Allison V. Smith/The New York Times)

Texas grid operator says it will be able to keep up with fall, winter electricity demand

Officials with the organization that manages most of the Texas power grid said they expect to have sufficient electricity to meet peak demand during the upcoming fall and winter seasons.  More »
(James Nielsen/Houston Chronicle)

Halliburton reaches $1.1 billion Gulf spill settlement

Halliburton said Tuesday it reached a $1.1 billion settlement with a majority of plaintiffs who sued the Houston oil field service company in the wake of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.  More »
(Source/World Resources Institute)

Water resources a problem for energy extraction worldwide, report finds

According to the analysis by the World Resources Institute, 38 percent of the earth’s shale gas and tight oil resources are in areas that are either arid or under high levels of water stress already _ a scenario that does not mesh with the high water demands of today’s extraction techniques.  More »
Minsu Cha, research professor, Department of Civil Engineering and Petroleum Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines, works to set up an experiment to test the use of liquid nitrogen for hydraulic fracturing on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Golden, Colo. ( Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle )

Researchers at work on using liquid nitrogen instead of water in fracturing

Petroleum engineers in Colorado are working on a process called cryogenic fracturing, which replaces water with searing cold liquid nitrogen or liquid carbon dioxide.  More »
Rail tank cars are seen on tracks behind new homes under construction in the Cottage Grove area on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Houston. Transport of crude oil by rail has become increasingly common, raising safety concerns after a series of derailments around the country. ( Smiley N. Pool / Houston Chronicle )

Crude oil rides Texas’ rails with little tracking

For generations of producers drillers in Texas, where a vast pipeline system has grown with the fits and starts of the oil industry’s notorious business cycle, railroads provided little more than a relatively expensive last resort. But in the boom associated with the hydraulic fracturing, producers increasingly enlist trains to handle the glut.  More »
(martinluff/Flickr)

Colorado finds itself an earthquake lab amid gas boom

In an area peppered with wells pulling energy resources from below ground — and many pumping wastewater from the process back into it through injection wells — an old question resurfaced: Could the same geological tinkering that has revved a formidable economic engine also trigger potentially damaging earthquakes?  More »
A natural gas drilling site in the Barnett Shale. (AP file photo/Donna McWilliam)

Study finds more arsenic in north Texas water wells near drilling

In the study, University of Texas at Arlington biochemists measured 100 wells across the Barnett Shale, believed to hold one of the largest natural gas reserves in the U.S., and compared the results to a similar study undertaken before hydraulic fracturing technology and higher natural gas prices opened the area to drilling.  More »

Hilcorp drops bid to force drilling on holdouts

The Houston-based company had sought to use a 1961 Pennsylvania law to drill under the property of a few holdout landowners in New Bedford, near the Ohio border north of Pittsburgh.  More »
A crane stands next to Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) signage displayed on the company's La Muralla IV deep sea crude oil platform in the waters off Veracruz, Mexico, on Friday, Aug.30, 2013.  (Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg)

Mexico’s Pemex says production to increase in 2015

Mexico’s state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos estimates its crude production will increase to 2.4 million barrels per day in 2015, compared with the 2.35 million barrels per day it expects to produce this year, a company official said.  More »
“We see welders making six figures in a lot of cases,” says William Hill, managing director at  FMI Capital Advisors

Gaining the right expertise may mean buying a company

Oil companies want top-notch engineers for their massive projects, and engineering companies that want to compete for the jobs usually need a track record.  More »
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