sue if it so chooses. By finalizing its decision, EPA has now
opened more opportunities for judicial review,” Valero said.
The American Petroleum Institute welcomed EPA’s latest
action. “Now, we need to turn our attention to repealing and
or significantly reforming the ethanol mandate which was
instituted when America’s energy picture was very different,”
API Downstream Group Director Frank Macchiarola said.
“Without real reform today, consumers could be forced
to pay more at the pump and at the repair shop because the
majority of vehicles on the road today were not designed
to use higher blends of ethanol in gasoline,” Macchiarola
warned. “We continue to urge Congress to pass legislation to
fix the ethanol mandate so that the consumers are provided
with real choice in the marketplace.”
Serica due BP stakes
in three fields off UK
Serica Energy PLC, London, has agreed to buy interests in
three natural gas and condensate fields in the northern UK
North Sea from BP PLC and become operator.
It will pay £ 12. 8 million, adjusted for working capital,
plus as much as £ 39. 1 million contingent on production and
prices for 36% of Bruce field, 34.83% of Keith field, and 50%
of Rhum field. BP also will receive a share of any positive
pretax net cash flow from the fields of 60% in 2018, 50% in
2019, and 40% each in 2020 and 2021.
BP retains liability for decommissioning costs, less 30% to
be paid by Serica net of tax relief. BP agreed to buy Serica’s
share of production from the acquired assets on market terms.
BP Gas Marketing Ltd. agreed to provide Serica a prepay-ment facility of up to £ 16 million to cover hedging instruments bought by Serica in conjunction with the agreement.
Serica estimates proved and probable reserves net to the
interests it is acquiring at 4.994 million bbl of oil and other
liquids and 264.258 bcf of natural gas.
According to the Oil and Gas Authority, Bruce field recently produced 2,250 b/d of oil and 73 MMscfd of gas gross.
It has three bridge-linked platforms and a subsea manifold
in 122 m of water 350 km northeast of Aberdeen. Production is from 21 wells.
Nonoperated Bruce interests after the acquisition will be
Total E&P UK Ltd., 43.25%; BHP Billiton Petroleum Great
Britain Ltd., 16%; Marubeni Oil & Gas (North Sea) Ltd.,
3.75%; and BP, 1%.
Keith field, recently producing 970 b/d of oil and 3
MMscfd of gas gross, is a single-well subsea development
in 120 m of water tied back to the Bruce complex 6. 8 km
to the northeast. It’s expected to cease production in 2019.
Other interests are Total, 25%; BHP Billiton, 31.83%; and
EPA rejects requests
to reconsider RFS
point of obligation
The US Environmental Protection Agency formally rejected
the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and several independent refiners’ requests that it reconsider their
suggestions to move the federal Renewable Fuels Standard’s
point of obligation farther downstream.
EPA’s action late on Nov. 22 was not a complete surprise
since it previously said it would consider denying the original petitions more than a year earlier (OGJ Online, Nov. 11,
2016). It also sought comments and AFPM and the refiners
asked the agency to reconsider its proposed denial. The latest action essentially made the rejection final.
“In evaluating this matter, EPA’s primary consideration
was whether or not a change in the point of obligation would
improve the effectiveness of the program to achieve Congress’s goals. EPA does not believe the petitioners or commenters on the matter have demonstrated that this would be
the case,” it said.
“At the same time, EPA believes that a change in the point
of obligation would unnecessarily increase the complexity
of the program and undermine the success of the RFS program, especially in the short term, as a result of increasing
instability and uncertainty in programmatic obligations,”
the agency said.
“We are disappointed with [EPA Administrator E. Scott
Pruitt’s] decision to maintain the status quo and perpetuate
a failed RFS policy that harms US refineries, threatens thousands of jobs, and raises fuel prices for consumers,” AFPM
Pres. Chet Thompson told OGJ.
“Moving the point of obligation is a commonsense adjustment that would make the RFS more equitable and benefit
consumers,” Thompson said. “AFPM calls on Congress to
take prompt action to address the chronic problems caused
by the failed RFS.”
Sees ‘numerous misstatements’
Valero Energy Corp., one of the downstream independents
that asked EPA to move the point of obligation, confirmed in
a statement that EPA’s Nov. 22 final denial was not surprising. “That said, the document’s numerous misstatements regarding implementation of the RFS, the dynamics of the fuel
market, and data and studies readily available to the agency
in its own administrative record, are of course disappointing,” it said.
“At least EPA acknowledges its ability to address the is-