Home » May 1st, 2012 Entries posted on “May, 2012”

Lancashire schoolgirl wins chance to address MEPs with anti-fracking video

An 11-year-old schoolgirl from Lancashire recently returned from Brussels where she addressed MEPs on the controversial subject of shale gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking“, as it is now more popularly known.

Tara Choudhury, a pupil at Millfield Science and Performing Arts College in Thornton-Cleveleys, won the chance to visit the European parliament after posting a video on YouTube in which she explained why fracking should not be allowed to proceed in her local area. She was chosen as one of five winners of the “Have Your Say on Sustainability” contest being jointly run by Eurostar and the Young People’s Trust for the Environment (YPTE), a charity which “encourages young people’s understanding of the environment”. The competition was open to 10-18 year olds and asked entrants to record a video of “you telling us your views on protecting the environment”.

In an interview with the Blackpool Gazette published today, she said:

I first heard about fracking when I spotted the equipment being built in the fields near my house. I wondered what it was all about and asked my teacher at school. He gave me a video explaining about fracking and the effect it had over in America. It really concerned me so when I heard about this competition I decided to make a short film about the prospect of shale gas mining and the impact it could have on the local community…The Committee on Climate Change said the consumption and extraction of shale gas go against our world climate goals – can we break a promise as important as that? Most of the UK is in drought – won’t this process put pressure on our precious water supply, as well as potentially contaminating it with toxic chemicals?

YPTE has posted a video of all five winners travelling to Brussels and addressing MEPs. It has also posted videos of Tara’s fellow competition winners; Alana Muis, 12, talking about food miles; Abbie Barnes, 15, on palm oil; Liam Kelly, 13, on sustainable travel; and Simon Winchcombe, 13, on water use.

It is interesting to see that fracking, in particular, has already become a debating point in schools. In the US, where fracking has been commonplace in some regions for a decade or more, a battle for young hearts and minds has been raging for a while. Last year, for example, it was revealed that a gas extraction company was giving out colouring books to schools which extolled the virtues of fracking via the friendly face of “Talisman Terry, your friendly Fracosaurus”. Cuadrilla Resources, the company which is seeking to frack for shale gas in Lancashire, says on its website that it is already conducting “school information sessions” in the local area.

“To frack, or not to frack?” is becoming one of the defining environmental debates of our age. It is good to see, therefore, Tara Choudhury leading the youthful vanguard of those opposed to shale gas extraction. But will we now see a class mate step forward and defend the technology with equal passion?

(NB: Let’s all remember that Tara is just 11 years old, so please can we keep this debate respectful and mature? Many thanks in advance.)

Article source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/may/01/shale-gas-fracking-school-girl?newsfeed=true

May 1st, 2012 | Posted in Headlines | Read More »

China posed for more investment in shale?

BEIJING, May 1 (UPI) — China invested $222 million in its shale gas sector last year, a government official said.

Yet China’s investment in shale gas exploration and development is “very small” in proportion to the country’s overall oil and natural gas exploration and development, which totaled more than $9.5 billion last year, Wang Min, vice minister of China’s Ministry of Land and Resources said in a ministry report.

“Further measures and investment are needed [for shale gas],” he said.

Wang reiterated a March ministry announcement that China’s shale resource potential could reach 25 trillion cubic meters, nearly as much as the country’s conventional gas resources. By comparison, the United States has shale gas resources of 24 trillion cubic meters, he said.

As part of its latest 5-year economic plan, China aims to produce 6.5 billion cubic meters of shale gas a year by the end of 2015.

But experts have said that Beijing’s goal is too lofty.

Noting that China is “way behind” in well drilling and infrastructure construction for the extraction of shale reserves, Chris Faulkner, chief executive officer of Texas company Breitling Oil and Gas Corp. recently told Bloomberg News that “having reserves is one thing and turning them into a real product is quite another.”

In the past year, he said, China has drilled 50 shale gas wells, compared with 1,300 a month in the United States.

Faulkner said it takes 3-5 years for a shale gas discovery to start commercial production.

And compared to shale reserves in the United States, drilling in China will be “at least three times more expensive” because of different geological structures, Faulkner said.

But Shell, which signed a joint venture agreement in March with PetroChina, a Hong Kong subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corp. to explore, develop and produce shale gas in the Sichuan Basin, said it doesn’t foresee a problem with China’s geology.

“We’ve taken to China what we’ve learned in shale fracking in the United States,” Royal Dutch Shell Plc CEO Peter Voser told The Dallas Morning News. “The geology’s pretty similar. We can use the same skills and equipment.”

PetroChina is getting full access to the technology, Voser added, noting that instead of the usual industry practice of contracting out the drilling work to service companies, the two companies will drill wells with their own rigs.

Wang of China’s Ministry of Land and Resources said China was getting ready to launch a second bidding round for shale gas, although he provided no timetable. The first shale-gas auction was last July.

Finding investors isn’t likely to be a problem for China.

The Dallas newspaper reports that Chevron Corp. is near an agreement with an unnamed Chinese company to explore for shale gas in Guizhou province and last year, Exxon Mobil Corp. carried out a study of Sichuan shale gas with Petrochemical Corp.

Despite his qualms about China’s shale sector, Faulkner said his company has been looking for a shale gas partnership in China.

Article source: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2012/05/01/China-posed-for-more-investment-in-shale/UPI-93471335871715/?spt=hs&or=er

May 1st, 2012 | Posted in Headlines | Read More »

Oil worker Gordon Gray sues over Dolphin Drilling kidnapping

An oil worker kidnapped in Nigeria is suing his former employers for £250,000 over claims he was left traumatised by the experience.

Gordon Gray, from Crieff, underwent a five-day ordeal after being abducted from the Bulford Dolphin in 2007.

Mr Gray is now seeking damages from Aberdeen-based Dolphin Drilling.

A hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh is expected to take place in the summer. Dolphin Drilling have been unavailable for comment.

Father-of-three Mr Gray was taken by a gang of armed men from the rig in the Niger Delta in March 2007.

He was eventually handed over to Nigerian government officials. It is not know if any ransom was paid.

Experienced company

Mr Gray suffered only minor injuries but his lawyer, George Clark of Quantum Claims in Aberdeen, said he was left traumatised by the whole experience.

Mr Clark said: “The action is based on the fact that his employers, an experienced company working in that area of the world, are aware that there has been security issues in Africa for a number of years.

“Particularly just preceding this event there had been warnings of security issues, breaches etcetera, and therefore they had a general duty of care to the employee to ensure his safety as far it is reasonably possible to do.”

Mr Gray’s action alleges Dolphin Drilling failed to take standard security measures which could have prevented the incident.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-17907184

May 1st, 2012 | Posted in Drilling & Production | Read More »

Turkey stokes tensions with oil drilling

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PRESIDENT Demetris Christofias has slammed Ankara for stoking tensions in the Mediterranean after Turkey made official its plans for offshore hydrocarbon exploration in areas overlapping Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

On Saturday, maps published in Turkey’s government gazette showed that oil drilling permits included areas near Rhodes and southwest of Cyprus.

The licences were issued to the Turkey’s national oil and gas company TPAO and cover areas offshore from Adana, Antalya, Antioch and Mougla, all outside Turkey’s territorial waters.

The maps show that the permits stretch as far as the Greek island of Rhodes as well as plots 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7 as delineated by the Republic of Cyprus, south and south-west of the island.

“Turkish threats shall not bring us to heel,” Christofias told newsmen yesterday.

“Turkey is a country which operates in a bizarre way,” he added. “Despite knowing that we shall not succumb to threats – and we shall not – at the same time it shows that it does not understand where its own interests lie in the matter.”

If, instead, Turkey opted to work with Cyprus toward solving the island’s political problem, then the two nations could become commercial partners in peacetime.

In fact, energy collaboration in the Mediterranean would be inevitable, Christofias said.

“Geography cannot be altered. Cyprus and Turkey – provided there is a viable and just solution of the Cyprus problem, withdrawal of [Turkish] troops, settlers, and the cessation by Turkey of any attempts at controlling Cyprus and holding it hostage – are doomed to work together,” he added.

The government has lodged verbal demarches protesting and denouncing Turkey’s action. Written demarches will be given to the UN Security Council, the President of the European Council and other EU bodies.

Turkey does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, or its right to explore or exploit hydrocarbon reserves prior to reunification. It says the island’s natural wealth belongs to Greek and Turkish Cypriot alike.

Speaking from the UN headquarters last year, Christofias made a vague offer to share any gas proceeds with the Turkish Cypriots.

Responding to the start of exploratory drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ late last year, Ankara deployed warships in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan had warned that his country would “retaliate even more strongly” to any further mineral exploration around the island.

The publication of the Turkish maps comes days before the deadline for the government’s second offshore licensing round. Energy analysts say this latest Turkish move aims to pre-empt Cyprus’ own plans for gas drilling by creating fait accomplis in the island’s EEZ.

Experts speculate that Turkish actions are also intended to put pressure on oil majors – some of whom have contracts with Turkey – to keep away from Cypriot gas prospects. The move is seen as purely political, as experts doubt that Turkey currently has the know-how or the means to conduct drilling.

On September 21 last year, Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis  Eroglu signed in New York an agreement on the delineation of the continental shelf between Turkey and the breakaway regime.

The following day, the north’s “Council of Ministers” gave an exploration license to TPAO to explore for oil and natural gas around the island.

Only last week TPAO launched onshore exploratory drilling for oil and gas in the occupied village of Singrasi in Famagusta.

Article source: http://www.cyprus-mail.com/cyprus/turkey-stokes-tensions-oil-drilling/20120501

May 1st, 2012 | Posted in Exploration | Read More »

Consortium of Energy Producers Announces Recommended Standards and Practices …


WILLIAMSPORT, PA, May 01, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) –
The Appalachian Shale Recommended Practices Group (ASRPG), a
consortium of 11 of the Appalachian Basin’s largest natural gas and
oil producers, today announced the creation of the Recommended
Standards and Practices for Exploration and Production of Natural Gas
and Oil from Appalachian Shales.

The ASRPG’s Recommended Standards and Practices for Exploration and
Production of Natural Gas and Oil from Appalachian Shales were
developed to promote effective safety, environmental and health
practices consistent with the key recommendations of both the U.S.
Secretary of Energy Advisory Board’s (SEAB) final report issued in
November 2011, and the National Petroleum Council’s (NPC) Prudent
Development report issued in September 2011.

Both reports acknowledge regional differences in geology, land use,
water resources and regulation. Consistent with these findings, the
Recommended Standards and Practices for Exploration and Production of
Natural Gas and Oil from Appalachian Shales reflect existing primacy
of state regulation in the areas it addresses, which encompass each
phase of the life cycle of a well. The entire document may be viewed
in the attached .pdf file.

In conjunction with the Recommended Standards and Practices document,
the ASRPG issued the following statement:

“As producers in the Appalachian Basin, we strive to be responsible
operators that conduct business in a transparent and sustainable
manner, and openly communicate with stakeholders. ASRPG’s members are
committed to conducting operations in compliance with all applicable
federal, state and local laws, regulations and ordinances, and
implementing standards, practices and procedures that meet or exceed
regulatory requirements. The continuous evolution of technology used
by the oil and natural gas industry has improved economic
opportunities in the Appalachian region, energy security and the
ability to conduct operations in a safe and environmentally
responsible manner. ASRPG’s goal is to encourage operators to
implement today’s technologies that enhance safety and environmental
performance. We also recognize it is essential for all operators to
continuously improve and adopt effective practices as technology
evolves.”

The ASRPG’s consensus-based approach to developing the recommended
standards and practices for Appalachian Shales provides a roadmap to
enhance transparency and regulatory compliance, as well as empowers
workers to stop work that is potentially unsafe, emphasizes the
importance of optimizing local content and encourages the use of
clean-burning natural gas. The ASRPG plans to submit the recommended
standards and practices document to State regulators and legislators
in the Appalachian areas of operations, as well as the Interstate Oil
Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), and the State Review of Oil and
Natural Gas Environmental Regulations (STRONGER) to inform state
regulatory frameworks and reviews. Additionally, the group plans to
disseminate the document to important producer organizations such as
the Marcellus Shale Coalition, America’s Natural Gas Alliance, the
American Petroleum Institute, West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas
Association, Independent Petroleum Association of America,
Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia, Ohio Oil and
Gas Association, and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas
Association.

ASRPG’s members are assessing options to periodically review and
update the recommendations to reflect improvements in practices and
technologies, and to effectively and systematically disseminate the
recommendations to producers and stakeholders in the Appalachian
region.

About the ASRPG:

ASRPG’s mission is to identify and disseminate responsible standards
and practices for effective environmental, health and safety
practices utilized in shale natural gas and oil development
operations in the Appalachian region. The ASRPG consists of the
following participating companies:

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation


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-0.79%



: Anadarko’s mission is to
deliver a competitive and sustainable rate of return to shareholders
by exploring for, acquiring and developing oil and natural gas
resources vital to the world’s health and welfare. As of year-end
2011, the company had approximately 2.54 billion barrels-equivalent
of proved reserves, making it one of the world’s largest independent
exploration and production companies. For more information about
Anadarko, please visit
www.anadarko.com .

Cabot Oil Gas Corporation


/quotes/zigman/221094/quotes/nls/cog COG
+4.00%



: Cabot Oil Gas,
headquartered in Houston, Texas is a leading independent natural gas
producer with its entire resource base located in the continental
United States. For additional information, visit the Company’s
Internet homepage at
www.cabotog.com .

Chesapeake Energy Corporation


/quotes/zigman/126832/quotes/nls/chk CHK
+4.06%



: Chesapeake is the
second-largest producer of natural gas, a Top 15 producer of oil and
natural gas liquids and the most active driller of new wells in the
U.S. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the company’s operations are
focused on discovering and developing unconventional natural gas and
oil fields onshore in the U.S.. Further information is available at

www.chk.com where Chesapeake routinely posts announcements, updates,
events, investor information, presentations and press releases.

Chevron


/quotes/zigman/289939/quotes/nls/cvx CVX
+0.34%



: Chevron is one of the world’s leading integrated
energy companies, with subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide.
The company is involved in virtually every facet of the energy
industry. Chevron explores for, produces and transports crude oil and
natural gas; refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels
and lubricants; manufactures and sells petrochemical products;
generates power and produces geothermal energy; provides energy
efficiency solutions; and develops the energy resources of the
future, including biofuels. Chevron is based in San Ramon, Calif.
More information about Chevron is available at

http://www.chevron.com .

About EQT Corporation: EQT Corporation is an integrated energy
company with emphasis on Appalachian area natural gas production,
gathering, transmission, and distribution. With more than 120 years
of experience, EQT continues to be a leader in the use of advanced
horizontal drilling technology — designed to minimize the potential
impact of drilling-related activities and reduce the overall
environmental footprint. Through safe and responsible operations, the
Company is committed to meeting the country’s growing demand for
clean-burning energy, while continuing to provide a rewarding
workplace and enrich the communities where its employees live and
work. Company shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange as
EQT. Visit EQT Corporation at
www.eqt.com .

Seneca Resources Corporation: Seneca, the exploration and production
segment of National Fuel Gas Company


/quotes/zigman/235219/quotes/nls/nfg NFG
+1.68%



, explores for,
develops, and purchases natural gas and oil reserves in California
and Appalachia. Additional information about Seneca and National Fuel
Gas Company is available at
www.nationalfuelgas.com .

Shell Oil Company: Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of Royal Dutch
Shell plc and part of a global group of energy and petrochemical
companies with 93,000 employees in more than 90 countries. In the
U.S., Shell operates in 50 states and employs nearly 20,000 people
working to help tackle the challenges of the new energy future. Shell
is a leading oil and gas producer in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, a
recognized pioneer in oil and gas exploration and production
technology, and one of America’s leading oil and natural gas
producers, gasoline and natural gas marketers and petrochemical
manufacturers. Learn more about Shell in the U.S. at
www.shellus.com .

Southwestern Energy Company


/quotes/zigman/241523/quotes/nls/swn SWN
+3.51%



: Southwestern Energy Company
is an integrated company whose wholly-owned subsidiaries are engaged
in oil and gas exploration and production, natural gas gathering and
marketing. Additional information on the company can be found on the
Internet at
http://www.swn.com .

Talisman Energy Inc.


/quotes/zigman/11290 CA:TLM
-1.22%






/quotes/zigman/11276/quotes/nls/tlm TLM
-2.17%



: Talisman is a global,
diversified, upstream oil and gas company, headquartered in Canada.
Talisman’s three main operating areas are North America, the North
Sea and Southeast Asia. The company also has a portfolio of
international exploration opportunities. Talisman is committed to
conducting business safely, in a socially and environmentally
responsible manner, and is included in the Dow Jones Sustainability
(North America) Index. Please visit our Web site at

www.talisman-energy.com .

About WPX Energy, Inc. WPX Energy —


/quotes/zigman/7648245/quotes/nls/wpx WPX
+2.15%



WPX Energy is an
independent natural gas and oil exploration and production company
specializing in producing natural gas, natural gas liquids and oil.
The company has nearly three decades of experience in the industry
and produces enough natural gas to meet the energy needs of 6 million
homes per day. The company has a geographically diverse portfolio,
with primary operations in the Piceance Basin, Bakken Shale and
Marcellus Shale. To learn more about WPX, please visit

www.wpxenergy.com

XTO Energy Inc. — An affiliate of ExxonMobil, XTO Energy has
interests in more than 40,000 oil and natural gas wells and 6.1
million acres of leasehold across the country. XTO has operations in
many of the most prolific unconventional plays of the United States
– including the Bakken, Barnett, Eagle Ford, Fayetteville,
Haynesville, Marcellus, and Woodford Shales. Bringing together XTO’s
experience and expertise in natural gas development with ExxonMobil’s
advanced technologies, financial strength, and leadership in the
global energy industry has resulted in a truly exceptional
organization. Learn more at
www.aboutnaturalgas.com .

Attachment Available:

http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame_mw?attachid=1966382

SOURCE: Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

Copyright 2012 Marketwire, Inc., All rights reserved.

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Article source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/consortium-of-energy-producers-announces-recommended-standards-and-practices-for-exploration-and-production-of-natural-gas-and-oil-from-appalachian-shales-2012-05-01?reflink=MW_news_stmp

May 1st, 2012 | Posted in Exploration | Read More »

Record Fuel Output Returning Exmar’s Tankers to Profit: Freight


Enlarge image
Record Fuel Output Returning Exmar’s Tankers to Profit

Record Fuel Output Returning Exmar’s Tankers to Profit

Record Fuel Output Returning Exmar’s Tankers to Profit

Stephen Shaver/Bloomberg

Trade in LPG will rise 3.9 percent to 62 million metric tons this year, compared with no more than 2 percent fleet growth, according to Lorentzen Stemoco A/S, an industry consultant in Oslo.

Trade in LPG will rise 3.9 percent to 62 million metric tons this year, compared with no more than 2 percent fleet growth, according to Lorentzen Stemoco A/S, an industry consultant in Oslo. Photographer: Stephen Shaver/Bloomberg

The world is refining and extracting
so much oil and natural gas that record amounts of byproducts
are being generated, creating a flood of liquefied petroleum gas
for the ships carrying the fuel used in stoves and lighters.

Trade in LPG will rise 3.9 percent to 62 million metric
tons this year, compared with no more than 2 percent fleet
growth, according to Lorentzen Stemoco A/S, an industry
consultant in Oslo. Charter rates will rise 8 percent, the most
since 2008, investment bank Fearnley Fonds ASA predicts. Exmar
NV (EXM)
, which operates 29 of the vessels, will return to profit this
year and its shares will jump 38 percent in 12 months, according
to as many as five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Global refinery capacity rose 11 percent and natural-gas
consumption 31 percent in the past decade, increasing the need
for Exmar and closely held BW Group Ltd.’s LPG ships. The Middle
East is the biggest exporter and Asia the largest buyer. The
rebound in costs is a consequence of owners failing to order
enough new vessels after rates fell 40 percent from 2006 to
2010, in contrast to oil tankers and dry-bulk commodity
carriers, where there is now a glut of capacity.

“This market was in the doldrums for years, but now there
are not many new ships and volumes are increasing,” said Steve Engelen, the manager of research and projects at Joachim Grieg
Co., an Oslo-based broker serving the largest owners. “The
additional volumes of LPG in the Middle East are so big they
have to export, rather than consume them domestically.”

Gas Cylinders

The monthly cost of hiring a mid-size carrier will average
$720,000 in 2012, from $666,000 in 2011, according to Rikard Vabo, an analyst at Fearnley in Oslo. Exmar is the biggest
publicly traded operator of mid-sized vessels, each holding
35,000 cubic meters (1.24 million cubic feet) of LPG, enough to
fill about 1.6 million 20-pound gas cylinders.

Exmar, which also operates vessels hauling liquefied
natural gas and storing fuel, expects monthly rates for mid-
sized carriers to reach $1 million by the end of the year, Chief
Financial Officer Miguel de Potter said by phone on April 25.
That would be the most since December 2006, he said.

The Antwerp-based company will report net income of $36.7
million for this year, compared with a loss of $45.4 million in
2011, according to the median of five analyst estimates compiled
by Bloomberg. Shares of Exmar rose 1.9 percent to 5.86 euros
($7.75) in Brussels trading this year and will reach 8.10 euros
in 12 months, the average of three estimates shows.

The biggest owner of LPG carriers is BW Group, according to
data from London-based Clarkson Plc, the world’s largest
shipbroker. The Hamilton, Bermuda-based company’s bonds maturing
in 2017 are trading at 99.15 cents on the dollar, from 75 cents
in October, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Ships Moving

Global LPG demand will advance 1.4 percent to an all-time
high of about 232 million tons this year, according to JBC
Energy. Asia, the biggest consuming region, will use 3.4 percent
more as shipments from the Middle East, the largest exporter,
rise 4.2 percent, the Vienna-based consultant estimates. The
Middle East will account for 29 percent of growth in production
and Asia 90 percent of the additional buying, bolstering
charters for ships moving supply to where it’s needed.

The expansion in energy production may weaken on signs of
slowing economic growth, diminishing the amount of LPG available
for export. The U.K. fell into a double-dip recession in the
first quarter and the International Monetary Fund is predicting
a contraction in the 17-nation euro region. Chinese Premier Wen
Jiabao
cut the nation’s growth target to 7.5 percent last month,
the lowest since 2004, and the U.S. economy expanded 2.2 percent
in the first quarter, less than economists had forecast.

Petrochemicals Industry

Energy consumption fell 1.5 percent in 2009 as the global
economy endured its worst recession since World War II,
according to data from London-based BP Plc. Natural-gas output
slumped 2.8 percent, the most since at least 1970, and oil
refining slipped 2.6 percent, the steepest drop since 1981.

Slower growth also may curb demand for chemicals used in
everything from plastics to paints, created using LPG as a
feedstock. European production of ethylene, the largest starting
product made in the region, fell 6 percent in 2009, according to
Nexant Inc., a White Plains, New York-based consultant to the
petrochemicals industry. The chemical industry accounted for 27
percent of LPG demand in 2010, according to a report from the
Paris-based World LP Gas Association.

Weaker demand growth wouldn’t necessarily reverse the
advance in charter rates because there is already little spare
capacity. The fleet expanded 10 percent since the end of 2008
and outstanding orders at shipyards will add another 10 percent,
the least of any tanker class, data from IHS Inc. show.

Energy Agency

That compares with growth of 23 percent for Suezmaxes, each
holding 1 million barrels of oil, and outstanding orders equal
to 24 percent of existing capacity. Rates for Suezmaxes fell 68
percent this year, according to the Baltic Exchange in London,
which publishes daily rates along more than 50 maritime routes.
About 90 percent of world trade goes by sea, the Round Table of
International Shipping Associations estimates.

World oil output rose 2.6 percent from a year earlier to
90.6 million barrels a day last quarter, the International
Energy Agency estimates. Refineries processed 74.1 million
barrels a day on average in 2011, the most since at least 2004,
according to the Paris-based group. Natural-gas production rose
to a record 112.1 trillion cubic feet in 2010, according to the
most recent data from the U.S. Energy Department.

Extracting natural gas yields about 10 percent LPG and
represents 60 percent of supply, according to the gas
association. The remainder comes from refining crude, with about
10 percent of each barrel of oil consisting of propane, ethane
and butane, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“A lot of LPG will be shifted overseas from countries that
don’t have consumption,” Exmar’s De Potter said. “Investors
are just starting to get interested in LPG, but most of them are
not there yet. It’s below the radar screen.”

To contact the reporter on this story:
Isaac Arnsdorf in London at
iarnsdorf@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Alaric Nightingale at
anightingal1@bloomberg.net

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Article source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-30/record-fuel-output-returning-exmar-s-tankers-to-profit-freight.html

May 1st, 2012 | Posted in Companies | Read More »

Valero Energy Reports First Quarter 2012 Results

SAN ANTONIO, May 1, 2012 – Valero Energy Corporation (“Valero,” NYSE: VLO) today reported a loss from continuing operations of $432 million, or $0.78 per share, for the first quarter of 2012, compared to income from continuing operations of $104 million, or $0.18 per share, for the first quarter of 2011.  Included in the first quarter 2012 results was a non-cash asset impairment loss of $605 million after taxes, or $1.09 per share, predominately related to the Aruba refinery.  Included in the first quarter 2011 results was an after-tax loss of $352 million, or $0.62 per share, on derivative contracts related to the forward sales of refined products.

The first quarter 2012 operating loss was $244 million versus $244 million of operating income in the first quarter of 2011.  Excluding the items noted above, first quarter 2012 operating income was $367 million, compared to $786 million of operating income in the first quarter of 2011.  The decrease in operating income was primarily due to lower discounts on crude oils and feedstocks plus lower margins for other products such as petrochemical feedstocks and petroleum coke.  Partially offsetting the decrease in operating income were higher margins for gasoline and diesel.

Refining throughput volumes in the first quarter of 2012 were 2,555,000 barrels per day, an increase of 449,000 barrels per day versus the first quarter of 2011.  The increase was mainly due to the acquisitions of the Pembroke and Meraux refineries.  During the first quarter of 2012, significant turnaround and maintenance activity occurred in three of Valero’s four refining regions, including plant-wide shutdowns at the Wilmington and St. Charles refineries.

“Given the high level of turnarounds and maintenance in the first quarter, we performed well and continued to execute our strategy,” said Valero Chairman and CEO Bill Klesse. “We improved our refining system by starting the two hydrogen plants at McKee and Memphis, and we continued to advance our large projects.  We also continued to work on our reliability with the extensive turnarounds that occurred in the first quarter, the recent replacement of the coker drums at St. Charles, and the McKee cat-cracker turnaround that is in progress.  

“2012 continues to look favorable for Valero.  Our major hydrocracker projects continue on-budget and on-schedule with start-up of the Port Arthur unit planned in the third quarter and completion of the St. Charles unit planned in the fourth quarter.  Also, the export market continues to be robust, and Valero has been exporting products on strong demand from international markets that have been paying a higher value than local markets.  These export volumes have helped to offset weak domestic demand and contributed to higher operating rates at our refineries.”

Valero’s ethanol segment reported $9 million of operating income for the first quarter of 2012 versus $44 million in the first quarter of 2011.  The decrease in ethanol operating income was mainly due to lower gross margins as ethanol prices were pressured by excess industry supplies, reflecting weak U.S. gasoline demand.  Ethanol production volumes in the first quarter of 2012 set a record-high quarterly average of 3.48 million gallons per day, narrowly beating the previous high of 3.46 million gallons per day set in the fourth quarter of 2011 and significantly higher than the 3.28 million gallons per day achieved in the first quarter of 2011.

Valero’s retail segment reported $40 million of operating income for the first quarter of 2012 versus $66 million of operating income for the first quarter of 2011.  The decrease in operating income was mainly due to lower fuel margins in both U.S. and Canadian operations.  U.S. retail fuel volumes achieved a first-quarter record at 5,046 gallons per day per site compared to 4,895 gallons per day per site in the first quarter of 2011, contrary to U.S. national demand numbers.

Regarding cash flows in the first quarter of 2012, capital spending was $884 million, of which $158 million was for turnaround and catalyst expenditures.  Valero returned cash to shareholders with payments of $83 million in dividends on its common stock and $106 million to purchase 4.5 million of Valero’s shares.  Valero ended the first quarter with $1.6 billion in cash and temporary cash investments.

For the full-year 2012, Valero’s estimate for total capital spending, including turnaround and catalyst expenditures, is unchanged from prior guidance of approximately $3.5 billion.  Valero expects total capital spending for 2013 to fall into a range of $2 billion to $2.5 billion, for a significant decrease of $1 billion to $1.5 billion versus the 2012 estimate.

“Our strategic priorities to grow long-term shareholder value remain intact,” Klesse concluded. “We have a constant focus on safety and improving the performance of our refineries.  We will continue to evaluate opportunities to optimize our portfolio with attractively priced assets that are exposed to favorable macro trends and have synergies with our portfolio.  We also plan to maintain our investment grade credit rating while returning more cash to shareholders through regular dividends and stock buybacks.  In fact, our goal is to have one of the highest cash yields among our peers.”

Valero’s senior management will hold a conference call at 11 a.m. ET (10 a.m. CT) today to discuss this earnings release and provide an update on company operations.  A live broadcast of the conference call will be available on the company’s web site at www.valero.com.

About Valero

Valero Energy Corporation, through its subsidiaries, is an international manufacturer and marketer of transportation fuels, other petrochemical products and power. Valero subsidiaries employ approximately 22,000 people, and assets include 16 petroleum refineries with a combined throughput capacity of approximately 3 million barrels per day, 10 ethanol plants with a combined production capacity of 1.2 billion gallons per year, and a 50-megawatt wind farm. Approximately 6,800 retail and branded wholesale outlets carry the Valero, Diamond Shamrock, Shamrock and Beacon brands in the United States and the Caribbean; Ultramar in Canada; and Texaco in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Valero is a Fortune 500 company based in San Antonio. Please visit www.valero.com for more information.

Safe-Harbor Statement
Statements contained in this release that state the company’s or management’s expectations or predictions of the future are forward-looking statements intended to be covered by the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The words “believe,” “expect,” “should,” “estimates,” and other similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. It is important to note that actual results could differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements. For more information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed or forecasted, see Valero’s annual reports on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and on Valero’s website at www.valero.com.

Contacts
Investors: Ashley Smith, Vice President – Investor Relations, 210-345-2744
Media: Bill Day, Executive Director – Corporate Communications, 210-345-2928

VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
EARNINGS RELEASE
(Millions of Dollars, Except per Share, per Barrel, and per Gallon Amounts)
(Unaudited)

Three Months Ended

March 31,

2012

2011

Statement of Income Data (a) (b):

Operating revenues (1)
$ 35,167

$ 26,308
Costs and expenses:

Cost of sales (c)
33,035

24,568
Operating expenses:

Refining
964

744
Retail
166

162
Ethanol
87

95
General and administrative expenses
164

130
Depreciation and amortization expense
384

365
Asset impairment loss (d)
611


Total costs and expenses
35,411

26,064
Operating income (loss)
(244 )
244
Other income, net
6

17
Interest and debt expense, net of capitalized interest
(99 )
(117 ) Income (loss) from continuing operations before income tax expense
(337 )
144
Income tax expense
95

40
Income (loss) from continuing operations
(432 )
104
Loss from discontinued operations, net of income taxes

(6 ) Net income (loss)
(432 )
98
Less: Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest (e)


Net income (loss) attributable to Valero Energy Corporation stockholders
$ (432 )
$ 98

Net income (loss) attributable to Valero Energy Corporation stockholders (e):

Continuing operations
$ (432 )
$ 104
Discontinued operations

(6 ) Total
$ (432 )
$ 98

Earnings per common share:

Continuing operations
$ (0.78 )
$ 0.18
Discontinued operations

(0.01 ) Total
$ (0.78 )
$ 0.17
Weighted average common shares outstanding (in millions)
551

566

Earnings per common share – assuming dilution:

Continuing operations
$ (0.78 )
$ 0.18
Discontinued operations

(0.01 ) Total
$ (0.78 )
$ 0.17
Weighted average common shares outstanding – assuming dilution (in millions)
551

573

Dividends per common share

$ 0.15

$ 0.05

Supplemental information:

(1) Includes excise taxes on sales by our U.S. retail system
$ 234

$ 214

VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
EARNINGS RELEASE
(Millions of Dollars, Except per Share, per Barrel, and per Gallon Amounts)
(Unaudited)

VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
EARNINGS RELEASE
(Millions of Dollars, Except per Share, per Barrel, and per Gallon Amounts)
(Unaudited)

VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
EARNINGS RELEASE
(Millions of Dollars, Except per Share, per Barrel, and per Gallon Amounts)
(Unaudited)

VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
EARNINGS RELEASE
(Millions of Dollars, Except per Share, per Barrel, and per Gallon Amounts)
(Unaudited)

Three Months Ended

March 31,

2012

2011

Retail – U.S.:

Operating income
$ 11

$ 19
Company-operated fuel sites (average)
997

993
Fuel volumes (gallons per day per site)
5,046

4,895
Fuel margin per gallon
$ 0.050

$ 0.076
Merchandise sales
$ 288

$ 283
Merchandise margin (percentage of sales)
29.5 %
28.3 % Margin on miscellaneous sales
$ 24

$ 22
Operating expenses
$ 104

$ 98
Depreciation and amortization expense
$ 18

$ 19

Retail – Canada:

Operating income
$ 29

$ 47
Fuel volumes (thousand gallons per day)
3,097

3,234
Fuel margin per gallon
$ 0.258

$ 0.317
Merchandise sales
$ 58

$ 57
Merchandise margin (percentage of sales)
29.3 %
29.7 % Margin on miscellaneous sales
$ 11

$ 11
Operating expenses
$ 62

$ 64
Depreciation and amortization expense
$ 9

$ 9

Ethanol:

Operating income
$ 9

$ 44
Production (thousand gallons per day)
3,478

3,282
Gross margin per gallon of production
$ 0.34

$ 0.50
Operating costs per gallon of production:

Operating expenses
0.28

0.32
Depreciation and amortization expense
0.03

0.03
Total operating costs per gallon of production
0.31

0.35
Operating income per gallon of production
$ 0.03

$ 0.15

March 31,

December 31,

2012

2011

Balance Sheet Data:

Cash and temporary cash investments
$ 1,559

$ 1,024
Total debt
7,603

7,741

VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
NOTES TO EARNINGS RELEASE

  1. The statement of income data and operating highlights for the refining segment and U.S. Gulf Coast region reflect the results of operations of our refinery in Meraux, Louisiana (Meraux Refinery), including related logistics assets, from the date of its acquisition on October 1, 2011. We acquired this refinery, inventories, and offsite logistics assets from Murphy Oil Corporation for $547 million. 

  1. The statement of income data and operating highlights for the refining segment and North Atlantic region reflect the results of operations of our refinery in Wales, United Kingdom (Pembroke Refinery), including the related marketing and logistics business, from the date of its acquisition on August 1, 2011. We acquired this business from a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation for $1.7 billion, net of cash acquired.  

  1. Cost of sales for the three months ended March 31, 2011 includes a loss of $542 million ($352 million after taxes) on derivative contracts related to the forward sales of refined product. These contracts were closed and realized during the first quarter of 2011. This loss is reflected in refining segment operating income for the three months ended March 31, 2011, but throughput margin per barrel for the refining segment has been restated from the amount previously presented to exclude this $542 million loss ($2.86 per barrel). In addition, operating income (loss) and throughput margin per barrel for the U.S. Gulf Coast, the U.S. Mid-Continent and the U.S. West Coast regions for the three months ended March 31, 2011 have been restated from the amounts previously presented to exclude the portion of this loss that had been allocated to them of $372 million ($3.18 per barrel), $122 million ($3.36 per barrel) and $48 million ($2.71 per barrel), respectively.  

  1. In March 2012, we concluded our evaluation of strategic alternatives for our refinery in Aruba (Aruba Refinery) and announced that we would temporarily suspend the refinery’s operations by the end of March. Because of this decision, we analyzed the Aruba Refinery for potential impairment and concluded that the refinery’s net book value (carrying amount) of $945 million  was not recoverable through the future operations and disposition of the refinery. We determined that the fair value of the Aruba Refinery was $350 million; therefore, we recognized an asset impairment loss of $595 million. In addition, we recognized an asset impairment loss of $16 million related to equipment associated with a permanently cancelled capital project at another refinery. The total asset impairment loss of $611 million ($605 million after taxes) is reflected in refining segment operating loss for the three months ended March 31, 2012, but it is excluded from operating costs per barrel and operating income per barrel for the refining segment and U.S. Gulf Coast region. 

  1. We own a 50 percent interest in Diamond Green Diesel Holdings LLC (DGD) and have agreed to lend DGD up to $221 million in order to finance 60 percent of the construction costs of the plant, as described below.  We consolidate the financial statements of DGD due to our controlling financial interest in this entity.  The losses incurred by DGD that are attributable to the owner of the remaining interest are added back to net income (loss) to arrive at net income (loss) attributable to Valero, but these losses are insignificant for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011. DGD is currently building a plant that will process animal fats, used cooking oils, and other vegetable oils into renewable green diesel. The plant is located next to our refinery in Norco, Louisiana (St. Charles Refinery).  

  1. Primarily includes petrochemicals, gas oils, No. 6 fuel oil, petroleum coke, and asphalt.   

  1. The regions reflected herein contain the following refineries: U.S. Gulf Coast- Corpus Christi East, Corpus Christi West, Texas City, Houston, Three Rivers, St. Charles, Aruba, Port Arthur, and Meraux Refineries; U.S. Mid-Continent- McKee, Ardmore, and Memphis Refineries; North Atlantic- Pembroke and Quebec City Refineries; and U.S.
    West Coast-  Benicia and Wilmington Refineries.  

  1. Average market reference prices for Brent crude oil, along with price differentials between the price of Brent crude oil and other types of crude oil, have been included in the table of Average Market Reference Prices and Differentials. The table also includes price differentials by region between the prices of certain products and the benchmark crude oil that provides a relevant indicator of product margins for each region. We previously provided feedstock and product differentials based on the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil. However, the price of WTI crude oil no longer provides a reasonable benchmark price of crude oil for all regions. Beginning in late 2010, WTI crude oil began to price at a discount to benchmark sweet crude oils, such as Brent and Louisiana Light Sweet (LLS), because of increased WTI supplies resulting from greater U.S. production and increased deliveries of crude oil from Canada into the U.S. Mid-Continent region. We utilize Brent crude oil for price differentials because we believe it represents sweet crude oil prices for marginal refineries in the Atlantic Basin, and thus sets refined-product prices. 


This announcement is distributed by Thomson Reuters on behalf of Thomson Reuters clients.

The owner of this announcement warrants that:
(i) the releases contained herein are protected by copyright and other applicable laws; and
(ii) they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the
information contained therein.

Source: Valero Services Inc via Thomson Reuters ONE

Article source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/01/idUS89652+01-May-2012+HUG20120501

May 1st, 2012 | Posted in Companies | Read More »

Marathon Petroleum 1Q Rises 13% On Refining, Retail Margins

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s (MPC) first-quarter earnings rose 13% as the refining and pipeline company benefited from differentials between crudes and stronger merchandising margins at its Speedway gasoline stations.

The company’s board authorized and directed a team to further explore spinning off Marathon’s pipeline operations into a master-limited partnership through an initial public offering. If the company decides to go with an IPO, it expects to file its plans with the Securities and Exchange …

Article source: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120501-705737.html

May 1st, 2012 | Posted in Companies | Read More »

Landowners: Know Your Mineral Rights

There is money to be made, but Texas landowners must understand their rights when leasing their land to oil and gas companies, so as to avoid an oil lease dispute’

SAN ANTONIO, TX, May 01, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ — Oil and gas are the fuels that drive the world economy. And the state of Texas is a significant contributor to that economy, with giants like the Eagle Ford Shale and the Barnett Shale covering large swaths of Texas.

There is money to be made, but Texas landowners must understand their rights when leasing their land to oil and gas companies, so as to avoid an oil lease dispute.

As Dianna Wray reports for the Victoria Advocate, Judon Fambrough is a long-time professor of oil and gas law at Texas AM University. Whether you’ve already entered into a lease, or you’re about to, here are some of Fambrough’s points to keep in mind:

- Make it specific. The language in the oil lease should be specific and precise. According to Fambrough, you can “put anything you want the company to do, or not to do, into the lease.” You get problems with vague language.

- Negotiate. Fambrough says that everything in the lease is up for negotiation. This goes for prior to entering into a new oil lease, to the point at which the oil lease should be renewed (a “re-lease” should occur every three years).

- Shop around. If one company does not agree to the terms of a lease, chances are another company will. Do not rush into signing an oil lease.

- Hire a lawyer. Fambrough is right: the first offer isn’t usually the best offer you can get. A lawyer can help you determine whether an oil lease, as written, will benefit your best interests.

Consider getting some legal advice.

Ultimately, the oil boom should benefit all who are involved – not just the oil and gas companies. If you’re a landowner, do what you can to understand your rights and protect them.

Source: Judon Fambrough’s 10 Things to know when leasing

Based in San Antonio, the Law Offices of Tyler Peery serves seriously injured individuals and their families throughout Texas, including people in Dallas, Fort Worth, Corpus Christi, and beyond.

The Law Offices of Tyler Peery

5822 W Interstate 10

San Antonio TX 78201

Website: http://www.tylerandpeery.com

Toll Free: 866-798-0737

www.tylerandpeery.com

Press release service and press release distribution provided by http://www.24-7pressrelease.com

Article source: http://uspolitics.einnews.com/247pr/277408

May 1st, 2012 | Posted in Headlines | Read More »

Range Resources provides quarterly activities report

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Article source: http://feeds.oilvoice.com/~r/OilvoiceHeadlines/~3/CQc8uqNj6H8/5dc53c1af0a0.aspx

May 1st, 2012 | Posted in Headlines | Read More »

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