Aug. 5, 2013
for oil and gas professionals
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GENERAL INTEREST QUICK TAKES
Houston oilman George P. Mitchell dead at 94 George P. Mitchell, oil businessman and philanthropist, died July 26 at the age of 94, according to a statement from the Mitchell family. Mitchell, born in Galveston, Tex., was a petroleum engineer with geology training from Texas A&M University and founder of Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. He long believed that natural gas could be extracted from shale—well before anyone lse ever thought it possible. Mitchell, known as the pioneer of hydraulic fracturing and rilling technologies that created the shale gas revolution, was honored with Gas Technology Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Mitchell is well-known in Houston and beyond for his vari- ous philanthropic endeavors. He developed the master-planned community in The Woodlands, Tex., north of Houston, as well as the popular event venue, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion, which was named after his wife, who passed away in 2009.
Republicans ask about EPA fracing investigations
The US House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Republican
leaders asked US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy how site-specific water quality investigations in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Texas are shaping its
continuing hydraulic fracturing study.
The agency announced last month that it was withdrawing
from its 4-year study of well-water contamination in Pavillion,
Wyo., the lawmakers said in a July 30 letter to McCarthy. This
withdrawal followed similar retreats in Parker County, Tex.,
and Dimock, Pa., they noted in an accompanying statement.
“In all three cases, EPA asserted its jurisdiction to investigate
alleged water contamination only to later abandon the investigation and let the states take control,” the committee Republicans said.
They said they want to better understand EPA’s decisions “to
insert itself and then later close these inquiries, how these cases
are informing the broader hydraulic fracturing study, and the
current status of the comprehensive study.”
The letter from committee Chairman Fred Upton (Mich.),
Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (Tex.), Vice-Chairman Marsha
Blackburn (Tenn.), and the chairmen of three of the committee’s subcommittees requested answers to 13 questions by Aug.
EIA: NGL prices down since early 2012
Daily spot prices for natural gas liquids, including ethane, propane, normal butane, isobutane, and natural gasoline, have
moderated since early 2012, according to US Energy Information Administration. The moderation in NGL prices was attributed to “a combination of ample supply, flat or moderating
demand, export constraints, and domestic infrastructure constraints,” EIA said.
Ethane prices averaged 27¢/gal in this year’s first half, down
more than 45% from the first 6 months of 2012. Net ethane
production was down 9% through April vs. the same period in
2012, due to low ethane prices and the corresponding “ethane
rejection” phenomenon in gas processing. The US does not currently export any ethane.
Propane spot prices have been relatively flat since July
2012, averaging at about 89¢/gal for second-half 2012 as well
as this year’s first half. Propane exports, primarily going to
Latin America, are up 42% in this year’s first 4 months vs. the
same period last year. The increase in exports mitigated the
downward price effect bought by production, which was up 8%
through April this year vs. the first four months of 2012.
Normal butane and isobutene spot prices were down 22%
and 23%, respectively, in this year’s first half compared with
first-half 2012, due to lower-than-usual gasoline demand. Production levels of both products were up 9% and 12%, respectively, for this year’s first 4 months compared with the same
period in 2012.
Natural gasoline prices averaged $2.14/gal in this year’s first
half, down 8% from $2.34/gal in the same period last year. Production is up 8% so far compared with first-half 2012.
CNPC completes buy of stake off Mozambique
China National Petroleum Corp. has completed its purchase
from Eni SPA of a 20% indirect participation in Area 4 offshore
Mozambique, where the Italian company is considering development of its Mamba Complex natural gas discoveries (OGJ
Online, Mar. 14, 2013).
CNPC acquired the interest through the purchase for $4.21