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Monday, January 26, 2015

25
votes
'Not Mayberry anymore': Oil patch cops scramble to keep up

CBS News -- WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) — Police chief Art Walgren knew how much the oil boom had changed this once-sleepy town when he spotted something that would have been unheard of not long ago: license plates from Sinaloa, Mexico, home to one of the world's most violent drug cartels.

Before, there was little chance police would see cars here from nearly 2,000 miles away. And little reason to worry about out-of-state plates. Now, though, police are scrambling to deal with new kinds of suspicious activity and threats that have cropped up along this frozen prairie.

The gusher of oil and money flowing from the Bakken fields has made policing more demanding and dangerous, forcing small-town officers, county sheriffs and federal agents to confront everything from bar fights to far-reaching methamphetami  (read more)

Submitted 3 hours ago By:
161 Comments

24
votes
Gas Prices Expected To Rise Again Soon, Say Experts

HNGN -- Despite the recent decline in gas prices across the country, experts expect them to rise due to the increase in crude oil prices.

The average gallon of gas in the United States dropped 13 cents in the past two weeks to $2.07 while crude oil prices have increased in the last 10 days, industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday, according to the Los Angeles Times. The price of gas is 37 percent lower than this time last year.

The Energy Department believes that the average U.S. family will spend $750 less on gas than in 2014 because the average price will decrease from $3.36 to $2.33. However, Lundberg said the increase in crude oil prices will eventually be seen at the pump, the Seattle Times reported.

The decrease in crude oil prices is a result of onshore oil fields in North Dakota  (read more)

Submitted 3 hours ago By:
177 Comments

21
votes
Is $5 a Gallon Gas on Its Way? This Expert Thinks So

DailySignal -- You might want to consider filling up your tanks, America. One expert is warning $5 per gallon gas is on its way.

John Hofmeister, the former president of Shell Oil, warns that we should “[e]njoy the price, because it’s going to go back up.”

“The next round of high prices is likely to start later this year, as crude rebounds to the $80s and $90s, perhaps pushing to the $100 level by late in the year or early next,” Hofmeister told USA Today.

Prices per barrel as high as Hofmeister projects would mean a significant hike in the price you pay at the pump.

 (read more)

Submitted 3 hours ago By:
223 Comments

20
votes
For Saudis, Falling Demand for Oil Is the Biggest Concern

Bloomberg -- As the world’s oil producers wring their hands over a global glut that’s pushing down prices, evidence is mounting that Saudi Arabia is more concerned about shrinking demand.

The world’s largest exporter has chosen not to cut production, counting instead on lower prices to stimulate consumption, said Mohammad Al Sabban, an adviser to Saudi Arabia’s petroleum minister from 1988 to 2013. The Saudis are keeping an eye on investments in fuel efficiency and renewable energy, according to Francisco Blanch, Bank of America Corp.’s head of global commodity research.

“Nobody should imagine the world will continue to demand oil as long as you have it in your fields” Al Sabban said in an interview. “We need to prepare ourselves for that stage.”

The U.S. shale revolution showed that forecasts of...  (read more)

Submitted 3 hours ago By:
35 Comments

19
votes
Price plunge aside, oil people look to next opport

The New Star -- Although oil prices have plunged aplenty over the past six months, from more than $100 a barrel to less than $50, today's oil business problems are light years away from what they were in Lafayette in the 1980s.

"We lost 146,000 jobs in the 1980s," former LSU economist Loren Scott said of Louisiana's oil downturn during a five-year stretch in that decade. "Lafayette lost right at 20 percent of their jobs; Houma, 24, percent. It was a bloodbath."

Times were so grim, said Steve Maley, Badger Oil Corp.'s manager of operations, that Charley G's restaurant linked its "lunch special" ticket to the price of a barrel of oil that day.

"I remember getting the lunch for $8.50," Maley recalled with a laugh.

Charlie Goodson, partner in Charley G's, said times weren't only tough on oil people. He  (read more)

Submitted 3 hours ago By:
43 Comments

Sunday, January 25, 2015

53
votes
Long-term solution for wastewater disposal eludes shale gas industry

TRIBLIVE -- Defining wastewater disposal in the Marcellus shale fields has been a moving target.

Drillers initially sent millions of gallons to public water treatment plants, until regulators said the plants were not equipped to properly clean the salt- and metal-laden water that comes from shale gas wells. The traditional method of injecting it back into deep wells is less feasible in Pennsylvania, which has few such wells, and Ohio is accepting less wastewater because of potential links between injection and earthquakes.

The search for a solution has spawned an industry of companies and innovators looking for ways to treat or reuse the wastewater that environmentalists feared would foul drinking supplies.

“They can barge all this water somewhere else or reuse it, which is what we're seeing now,”  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1377 Comments

51
votes
Minnesota drivers: Get ready for more roundabouts

Star Tribune -- Circle the (station) wagons — more roundabouts are on the way. Roundabouts are taking on a prominent role in Minnesota’s transportation planning. More than 140 have been built since the state’s first roundabout opened 20 years ago in Brooklyn Park, with the pace picking up rapidly in recent years. Another 40 are either under construction or in planning. There are dozens of roundabouts in the Twin Cities, but you’ll also find them in places like Fergus Falls, Grand Rapids, Rochester and Worthington. Blue Earth is getting three, and six are on the drawing board for Mankato. Studies have shown that roundabouts have significant advantages over four-way intersections controlled by traffic signals. Roundabouts have fewer accidents overall, and far fewer that result in death or serious injury. Th  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1547 Comments

46
votes
Why Oil Prices May Not Recover Anytime Soon

Motley Fool -- There is a sharp split among energy experts about the future direction of oil prices. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal recently stated that oil prices could keep falling for quite a while and opined that $100 a barrel oil will never come back. Earlier this month, investment bank Goldman Sachs weighed in by slashing its short-term oil price target from $80 a barrel all the way to $42 a barrel.

But there are still plenty of optimists like billionaire T. Boone Pickens, who has vocally argued that oil will bounce back to $100 a barrel within 12 months-18 months. Pickens thinks that Saudi Arabia will eventually give in and cut production. However, this may be wishful thinking. Supply and demand fundamentals point to more lean times ahead for oil producers.

Oil supply is comfortably ahead of de  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
60 Comments

46
votes
Canada Report: Collapse in oil prices prompts move to stabilize economy

Tampa Bay Times -- The rapid collapse of oil prices has prompted the Bank of Canada to cut its trendsetting interest rate to stabilize the economy.

"The drop in oil prices is unambiguously negative for the Canadian economy" central bank governor Stephen Poloz said as the rate fell to 0.75 percent from 1 percent, which it had been at for four years.

As an oil-producing nation — the U.S. buys more crude from Canada than from any other country — the economic impact of cheap fuel threatens Canada's economic rebound and a return to a balanced federal budget.

So far Canada's commercial banks have made no move to lower their prime-lending rate still at 3 percent.

The rate cut immediately caused the Canadian dollar to fall by about 3 cents from a week ago to the 80-cent U.S. range, but it boosted stock markets.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
206 Comments

44
votes
The Oil Price Tag That Investors Say Would Signal a Global Recession

Forbes -- The decline of oil prices to less than $50 a barrel has an undeniably positive effect on the global economy. From the U.S. to China, people are driving more and spending more, a much needed economic boost in generally glum times.

But to investors, a too-low oil price can also be a sign of trouble. The price of oil has certainly dropped because of an increase in supply – specifically, OPEC’s refusal to cut production and the vast amount of shale oil and gas being pumped in the United States. But the price of oil is also a product of slowing economic growth and declining demand, especially from China, Japan and the Eurozone.
...
So what exactly is too low when it comes to oil prices? According to a recent survey of investors, the tipping point may be around $30.

 (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
736 Comments

Saturday, January 24, 2015

58
votes
Some homes near Montana oil spill report dark ooze after flushing taps

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/24/us-usa-oilspill-montana-idUSKBN0KX04T20150124?rpc=401 -- Residents of a Montana town whose water supply was tainted by an oil pipeline rupture last week got the all-clear on Friday to turn taps back on, though some reported brown or black material spurting from faucets even after their pipes were flushed.

Drinking supplies for some 6,000 people in and around the community of Glendive became contaminated last Saturday when an estimated 1,200 barrels of crude oil was spilled into the Yellowstone River from a pipeline breach several miles upstream from the northeastern Montana town.

Initial testing of Glendive's water, which is drawn from the river, showed levels of benzene, a cancer-causing constituent of petroleum, well above levels considered safe for human health by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Results of subsequent testing...  (read more)

Submitted Jan 24, 2015 By:
1346 Comments

53
votes
Exxon gets $1 million penalty for Yellowstone River spill

CBS News -- BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal officials have issued a $1 million penalty against Exxon Mobil Corp. for safety violations stemming from a pipeline rupture in 2011 that spilled 63,000 gallons of crude into Montana's Yellowstone River.

The Department of Transportation order issued Friday reduces the penalty as originally proposed by about $700,000. That comes after the Irving, Texas-based oil company challenged some claims that it didn't do enough to prevent the accident.

The pipeline break during summer flooding near Laurel left oil along an 85-mile stretch of the Yellowstone, killing fish and wildlife and prompting a cleanup that took months.

Safety regulators said in part that Exxon Mobil had failed to adequately heed warnings that its 20-year-old Silvertip Pipeline was at risk.

The c  (read more)

Submitted Jan 24, 2015 By:
1454 Comments

50
votes
Oil Falls to Lowest Since '09 as Saudis Signal Continuity

Kazinform -- Oil fell to the lowest in almost six years on speculation the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia won't signal any change in strategy for the world's largest crude exporter.
U.S. benchmark oil futures slid 1.6 percent reversing an initial gain of as much as 3.1 percent. Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud who succeeds Abdullah on the throne, said he would maintain his predecessor's policies. The kingdom will not cut production to boost prices because other producers would fill in the gap, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud said. U.S. crude inventories rose the most since 2001 last week, according to a government report on Thursday.

"There already has been a pretty well established succession plan so it's not a big deal" said Kyle Cooper director of commodities research at IAF Advisors...  (read more)

Submitted Jan 24, 2015 By:
976 Comments

49
votes
$2 gasoline: Good times keep rolling at the pump

Detroit News -- At some point this will end, perhaps even soon. The price of gasoline will not fall to zero.

But for the first time since 2009, most Americans are paying less than $2 a gallon. Just three months ago, experts were shocked when it fell under $3.

According to fuel forecaster GasBuddy.com, motorists in Michigan are seeing the greatest savings nationwide; on average they’re paying $1.36 less today than they paid one year ago.

On Friday, the average price per gallon of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $1.93.

“It’s crazy,” said Michael Noel, an economics professor at Texas Tech University who studies oil and gasoline prices. “But for consumers it’s very, very good.”

Consumers and the economies of the U.S. and most of the rest of the world are basking in the lowest prices for  (read more)

Submitted Jan 24, 2015 By:
88 Comments

48
votes
TD expert tells Canadian oil producers to brace for a second shock

The Globe and Mail - OTTAWA -- Canada’s oil producers are being told to brace for more bad news, even as they struggle to cope with a collapse that has driven prices down by 60% from their peak last Jun
With global production continuing to exceed demand, crude prices are set to head lower and WTI should average just $41 in the 1st half of this year, TD economist said in a report Fri. She expects WTI prices to sink below $40 as bulging inventories weigh on the market in the next few months
“Oil prices are likely follow more of a U-shaped recovery pattern than the V-shaped pattern that typically follows such sharp price declines. The U.S. benchmark to average just $53 in the 2nd half of the year, and $65 next year
Crude prices fell another 70 cents Fri to $45.60 and lost more than $3 on the week amid further evidence that  (read more)

Submitted Jan 24, 2015 By:
50 Comments

Friday, January 23, 2015

48
votes
Alabama man ticketed in Georgia for 'eating while driving'

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..abc13.comAn Alabama man says he was cited by Cobb County police for “eating while driving” under the distracted driving law. Madison Turner said he ordered a double quarter pounder with cheese from McDonald’s last week, and a police officer pulled him over, along Canton Road in Marietta.“The officer explained to me that he observed me eating a burger for 2 miles,” Madison said. “He said specifically three times, you can’t just go down the road eating a hamburger.”According to the ticket, the officer wrote him up under Georgia’s distracted driving law, and under the comments sections wrote “eating while driving.” ...  (read more)

Submitted Jan 23, 2015 By:
1848 Comments

47
votes
Into thin air: Boston pipes leak $90 million in fuel yearly - study

reuters.com -- Boston's aging pipeline network leaks about $90 million worth of natural gas each year, marking a sizeable financial loss and a threat to the environment, according to a study released on Thursday by Harvard researchers.

The findings come as state energy officials struggle with a regional infrastructure shortfall that has left Massachusetts tight on winter heating fuel supplies during harsh cold snaps over the past three years.

"Some 2.7 percent of the gas that is brought to the Boston region never makes it to customers, it escapes into the atmosphere," according to the study, which will be published Thursday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Using sophisticated air monitoring equipment at locations around the city, researches from Harvard's School of Engineering

 (read more)

Submitted Jan 23, 2015 By:
1019 Comments

47
votes
US crude oil drops 3% to settle at $46.31

CNBC -- Crude oil futures tumbled on Thursday after the Energy Information Administration announced the largest build in U.S. crude stocks in at least 14 years.

U.S. crude settled at $46.31 per barrel, down 3.1 percent on the day, having reached a high of $49.09 earlier in the session. Brent crude futures last traded at $48.50 a barrel, down 44 cents, off a session peak of $50.45.

Crude stocks rose by 10.1 million barrels to a total of 397.9 million, the highest level for this time of year in at least 80 years, the EIA said. The increase was much greater than the 2.6 million barrel build traders predicted in a Reuters poll.

Read MoreOPEC Secretary General: Oil to remain at low levels for a month

The market was waiting for a catalyst like the EIA report to break out either positive or negative,  (read more)

Submitted Jan 23, 2015 By:
275 Comments

45
votes
Ford Diesel Trucks Are Subject Of US Investigation Over Stalling Problem

IBTimes -- The U.S. government is investigating whether Ford Motor’s recall of nearly 3,000 heavy-duty diesel trucks, used by ambulance services, should be expanded to all of the trucks the company sold from the 2011 and 2012 model years.

Ford Motor’s previous recall involved 2,951 F-350, F-450 and F-550 trucks, that were part of its “Ambulance Package” and are equipped with 6.7-liter diesel engines that would stall or fail to restart because of a malfunctioning sensor.  (read more)

Submitted Jan 23, 2015 By:
976 Comments

44
votes
What now for oil after Saudi king's death?

CNN -- Oil prices were 2% higher following the death of Saudi Arabia's king, a reaction that was muted by the widespread expectation of a smooth leadership transition and stable oil policy in the world's largest exporter of petroleum.

Crude oil is now trading just above $47 a barrel.

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud's health had been deteriorating in recent weeks, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency. He was king of Saudi Arabia since 2005 and celebrated his 90th birthday in August.

The transfer of power should be smooth. His half-brother Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud will assume the throne, Saudi state television reported.

"I don't anticipate the Kingdom to make any dramatic changes in its oil policy in the short term," said Fahad Nazer, a former political analyst at the Em  (read more)

Submitted Jan 23, 2015 By:
1523 Comments

Thursday, January 22, 2015

64
votes
Montana Oil Spill Renews Worries Over Pipeline Safety

abcnews.go.com(AP) -- A second large oil spill into Montana's Yellowstone River in less than four years is reviving questions about oversight of the nation's aging pipeline network.

Investigators and company officials on Wednesday were trying to determine the cause of the 40,000-gallon spill that contaminated downstream water supplies in the city of Glendive.

Sen. Jon Tester said Saturday's spill from the decades-old Poplar Pipeline was avoidable, but "we just didn't have the folks on the ground" to prevent it.

The Montana Democrat told The Associated Press more frequent inspections by regulators are needed, and older pipelines should face stricter safety standards.

"We need to take a look at some of these pipelines that have been in the ground for half a century and say, 'Are they still doing a good job?

 (read more)

Submitted Jan 22, 2015 By:
1319 Comments

55
votes
Kansas officials link earthquakes to fracking-related process

FoxNews -- Kansas officials for the first time have said a sharp increase in earthquakes may be tied to a process connected to fracking -- stoking debate in the state over the controversial drilling practice.

Reports of earthquakes in Kansas have shot up recently, particularly in the state's south-central region. Now, scientists are connecting them to the disposal of wastewater that is a byproduct of the oil-and-gas extraction process.

Rick Miller, geophysicist and senior scientist for the Kansas Geological Survey, told the Lawrence Journal-World, “we can say there is a strong correlation between the disposal of saltwater and the earthquakes.”

According to the Kansas Geological Survey, the state recorded more than 120 quakes in 2014, up from none in 2012.  (read more)

Submitted Jan 22, 2015 By:
1591 Comments

50
votes
Russia Presses Ahead With Plan for Gas Pipeline to Turkey

NYTimes -- LONDON — President Vladimir V. Putin surprised the world in December when he aborted long-laid plans for a natural gas pipeline under the Black Sea to Europe, saying Russia would run pipes to Turkey instead.

Many in the West thought it might be merely a bluff, to make the European Union reconsider its opposition to the pipeline project, known as South Stream. But in recent weeks, the Russian state-owned company Gazprom has shown signs that it is serious about proceeding with what it calls Turkish Stream.

Gazprom quickly bought out its European partners in South Stream Transport, the Amsterdam company that was to build the Black Sea leg of the pipeline. And the chief of that Dutch company has petitioned the Netherlands government to let it keep working with Gazprom, despite European sanct  (read more)

Submitted Jan 22, 2015 By:
354 Comments

50
votes
How did Americans spend their gas savings? We now know

CNBC -- Gas prices went down in 2014. We know that. In fact, the average national gas price in December 2014 was a slim $2.50, down significantly from $3.25 a year prior, in December 2013.
But did that drop in prices lead to fatter wallets, or did Americans spend more on everything else instead?
According to exclusive data provided to CNBC by Cardlytics, a card-linked marketing firm, we now know exactly how those savings were spent. Here's the quick answer:

Fast food and online shopping.
The numbers show that consumers increased their gas consumption by 6 percent, to 33 gallons from 31 gallons for the month on average. Even with that 2-gallon-per-month increase, the cost savings were real, resulting in an extra $18 per month per person. (Quick math shows the product of 31 gallons times $3.25 per  (read more)

Submitted Jan 22, 2015 By:
1328 Comments

47
votes
Low Gas Prices, Incentives Change Math For Electric Cars

AP -- Drivers trying to calculate whether it's practical to own an electric car are facing a new math.

U.S. gas prices have fallen more than $1 per gallon over the last 12 months to a national average of $2.06 according to AAA. That makes electric cars - with their higher prices tags - a tougher sell.

"Fuel savings are not top of mind to many consumers right now" says John Krafcik, president of the car shopping site TrueCar.com.

Automakers have responded by slashing thousands of dollars off the sticker price of electrics. Incentives averaged $4,159 per electric car last year up 68 percent from 2013 according to Kelley Blue Book. The average for all vehicles was $2,791.

Here's how the numbers break down:

PRICE: Even with automaker's incentives electric vehicles cost more than gas-powered...  (read more)

Submitted Jan 22, 2015 By:
261 Comments