View by Date
Printable Version of This Page

September 20, 2017

Texas Energy Report Closing Top Texas Energy Stocks

WTI up 0.93 to close at $50.41 - change 1.88%

Brent up 1.06 to close at $56.20 - change 1.92%

Natural gas down 0.04 at $3.08 - change 1.28%

---------------

CLOSING OIL & GAS STOCKS

Anadarko (APC)  up 1.05 at 44.81 - change 2.40%

Apache (APA) up 1.30 at 43.05 - change 3.11%

Chevron (CVX) up 0.03 at 116.37 - change 0.03%

ConocoPhillips (COP) up 0.78 at 48.33 - change 1.64%

Devon (DVN) up 1.12 at 34.89 - change 3.32%

Energy Transfer (ETP) up 0.07 at 18.56 - change 0.38%

EOG Resources (EOG) up 1.05 at 94.18 - change 1.13%

ExxonMobil (XOM) up 0.33 at 80.55 - change 0.41%

Halcon (HK) up 0.30 at 6.53 - change 4.82%

Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO) up 0.42 at 12.42 - change 3.50%

Noble Energy (NBL) up 0.42 at 26.84 - change 1.59%

Occidental Petroleum (OXY) up 0.63 at 62.49 - change 1.02%

Parsley Energy (PE) up 1.18 at 26.41 - change 4.68%

Phillips 66 (PSX) down 0.02 at 89.07 - change 0.02%

Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) up 4.18 at 141.27 - change 3.05%

Valero (VLO) up 0.47 at 73.18 - change 0.65%

---------------

CLOSING TOP UTILITY STOCKS

American Electric Power (AEP) down 0.30 at 71.68 - change 0.42%

Calpine (CPN) down 0.01 at 14.71 - change 0.01%

CenterPoint (CNP) down 0.27 at 29.70 - change 0.90%

Entergy (ETR) down 0.25 to close at 77.80 - change 0.32%

Exelon Generation (EXC) down 0.37 at 36.91 - change 0.99%

NRG (NRG) down 0.48 at 24.14 - change 1.95%

Vistra Energy (VST) up 0.34 at 18.22 - change 1.90%

By Mike Shiloh

September 20, 2017

Chairman Craddick: Panhandle Producers are Essential to Texas' Economic Success: RRC

AMARILLO - Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick today addressed RRC's emphasis on common sense energy regulation at the Panhandle Producers and Royalty Owners Association (PPROA) 88thConvention and Annual Meeting in Amarillo.

"Thank you to all of you who invest in the business of energy development, an industry that is critical to the economic success of our state and our country," Craddick said. "Thanks to your efforts, our state's energy producers, big and small, are setting the standard for American energy production, and Texas' Panhandle producers play an important role.

"Even through the recent downturn, the Texas oil and gas industry has shown extraordinary resilience," Craddick said. "When times were tough, the industry did what it does best - innovate. Because of your ingenuity, we're seeing industry growth today despite the price of oil. I will ensure our rules at the Railroad Commission will allow you to continue to safely find ways to grow and thrive."

PPROA was founded in 1929 as an industry association advocating on behalf of oil and gas producers, mineral royalty owners and industry support companies in the Texas Panhandle, Western Oklahoma and Southwestern Kansas. 

By Railroad Commission of Texas

September 20, 2017

Crude Stockpiles Up Far More Than API Estimate: EIA

US commercial crude oil storage jumped by 4.6 million barrels last week, according to Wednesday's estimate from the Energy Information Administraton, to a total of nearly 473 million barrels.

Gasoline stockpiles dropped by 2.1 million barrels and distillates were down by 5.7 million, with propane inventories off by 1.4 million.

Crude stockpiles were up by nearly six million barrels the previous week, with gasoline inventories down 8.4 million barrels.

The American Petroleum Institute Tuesday reported an increase of 1.4 million barrels in crude.

Refinery utilization gained 5.5%, rising to 83.2 percent of total capacity while crude runs were up by 1.1 million bpd, the EIA said.

Just before Hurricane Harvey, refinery utilization was at 96.6%, the highest in 12 years.

By Mike Shiloh

September 19, 2017

Hurricanes Present Huge Challenges To Petroleum Industry

By Alex Mills

Hurricane Harvey has challenged to the petroleum industry to continue to providing consumers with a safe, reliable, and affordable product during extremely difficult circumstances.  Even though the 50 inches of rain along the Gulf Coast has caused some 13 refineries to temporarily cease operations, many are now back on line.

When Hurricane Harvey hit shore near Corpus Christi on Aug. 24, crude oil prices on NYMEX closed at $47.43 per barrel and RBOB gasoline closed at $1.6641 per gallon.  A week later on Aug. 31, crude oil prices had dropped $0.20 to $47.43, but gasoline rose $0.4758 to $2.1399 because of the decline in refined products.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that on Sept. 4 the average retail price of gasoline was $2.68 for the U.S. an increase of $0.28 from the previous week.

The largest fuel price increases occurred in Texas, which averaged increases of about $0.40 per gallon.

EIA reported that southern states (Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida) experienced increases from $0.35 to $0.39 per gallon.

Western states had the smallest increase, which was in the $0.10 to $0.15 per gallon range.

Some service stations in Texas experienced shortages, but the shortages were temporary and spotty.

One report from Merrill Lynch said the peak outage was 4.4 million barrels per day from Corpus Christi to Houston to Beaumont/Port Arthur.  Refineries in Corpus Christi, which were the first hit, are back operational.  Many of the Houston refineries are back in partial operation.  Beaumont/Port Arthur refineries have not come back on line, yet.

Getting the refineries back into production is a part of the equation of getting more gasoline to consumers.  Another key piece of the puzzle involves the distribution network of pipelines and trucks, which are slowly coming back to full strength.

Prices seem to have settled.  Gasoline closed at $1.6733 on Sept. 7.

Just as the challenge of Harvey appears to be waning, another challenge named of Hurricane Irma is on the horizon and headed for Florida.

The damage created by Harvey is legendary. Irma’s powerful winds have been recorded at a steady 185 miles per hour, which will undoubtedly create a new set of challenges.

Alex Mills is President of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.  The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

By Alex Mills

September 19, 2017

Railroad Commission Meeting Confrontation Over Executive Director

Commissioner Ryan Sitton indignant, implies that RRC executive director has been given "quit or be fired" choice

Railroad Commission of Texas commissioner Ryan Sitton confronted chairman Christi Craddick and commissioner Wayne Christian about a personnel matter in an open meeting Tuesday, saying the commission has "effectively terminated the executive director," Kimberly Corley.

Sitton seemed surprised that Corley was not present for a planned discussion at the meeting, then said he had "heard" that Corley was asked to resign Monday.

Craddick, and then Christian, refused to talk about the matter in the open meeting "out of respect to her and this agency," adding that personnel matters are reserved for closed executive session.

Craddick said she met with Corley and the commission's general counsel on Monday.

Sitton said he didn't know about a decision being made regarding the executive director.

Craddick would only confirm that she had a meeting with Corley.

Sitton said if there was a termination then it was a "bad move" and vowed to ask the attorney general for an opinion on whether it was a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

Craddick told Ryan, "you know what happened yesterday, you could have called my staff and we would have advised you of what the conversation was after the fact."

"I think that is exactly what people of this state don't like about politics," Sitton said "a sense of backroom things done instead of following due process."

Sitton twice stated that "this is not a dictatorship," apparently referring to the commission.

Christian said "I feel a little uncomfortable discussing this for her sake," referring to Corley.

Corley has held the executive director post since early 2016.

The meeting was live streamed and the Texas Tribune has posted a portion  on YouTube.

By Mike Shiloh

September 19, 2017

Crude Inventory Up 1.4 Million Barrels, Gasoline Down By 5 Million: API

US crude stockpiles were up less than expected according to data Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute, climbing by 1.4 million barrels last week.

The API report indicated gasoline supplies were down by more than five million barrels, with distillates down by more than six million barrels.

The increase in crude supplies was less than some analysts expected, with S&P Global Platts said by MarketWatch to be expecting a climb of 2.4 million and a decline in gasoline of 800,000 barrels and one million barrels for distillates.

Those expectations will be measured against tomorrow's inventory report from the Energy Information Agency.

By Mike Shiloh

September 19, 2017

Fire at Port Arthur Valero Plant Under Control

A shelter in place order for schools near Valero's refinery in Port Arthur has been lifted as a fire that appears confined to a heavy oil tank is under control, according to the company.

Valero's emergency response team has been working with the Port Arthur Fire Department to put out the blaze, which began before noon with what witnesses call an explosion.

No injuries are reported and all plant employees are accounted for.

The shelter in place order (meaning residents are advised to stay indoors) was given shortly after the fire broke out.

The refinery has been operating at about half capacity since restart efforts began about a week ago after the plant was shut down because of Hurricane Harvey.

By Mike Shiloh

September 19, 2017

Ohio PUC Chair now API Gas Marketing Head

The former chairman of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission is the new head of the American Petroleum Institute's market development department.

Todd Snitchler's new responsibilities will include working with industry, regulatory agencies and government entities promoting natural gas development.

Snitchler is a Republican who served as an Ohio state representative from 2009 to 2011.

By Mike Shiloh

September 18, 2017

Associated Press: Evidence of Spills at Houston-area Toxic Site During Floods

There are reports of three spills at one of Houston’s dirtiest Superfund toxic waste sites in the days after the rains from Hurricane Harvey stopped, according to the Associated Press.

Aerial photos reviewed by AP show "dark-colored water surrounding the site as the floods receded, flowing through Vince Bayou and into the city’s ship channel.

"The reported spills, which have been not publicly detailed, occurred at U.S. Oil Recovery, a former petroleum industry waste processing plant contaminated with a dangerous brew of cancer-causing chemicals.

"On Aug. 29, the day Harvey’s remnants cleared out, a county pollution control team sent photos to the Environmental Protection Agency of three large concrete tanks flooded with water."

U.S. Oil Recovery was closed in 2010 following a determination by regulators that the company's operations posed an environmental threat to Vince Bayou, which flows nearby and empties into the San Jacinto River and then into the Houston Ship Channel.

By Associated Press

September 18, 2017

Industry-Consumer Nonprofit Is Now Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative

The Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative is the new name for the electricity industry's consumer research nonprofit.

The group has more than 140 members from the commercial electricity industry as well as regulated utilities and consumer advocacy groups, with the name change intended to reflect the changes in the power industry to include electric cars, smart grids, time-of-use rates and residential and consumer solar.

The name has been changed from the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative following a board vote early in the year and culminating in a re-branding of the group's logo, with input from CenterPoint Energy and the Texas Office of Public Utility Counsel.

"The consumer is arguably playing a greater role than ever before in the energy sector, and the need for accurate consumer research on today's energy issues is more crucial now than ever," said Mark Brown, Senior Customer Programs Officer, Fayetteville Public Works Commission, and Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.

By Mike Shiloh

September 18, 2017

Schatzman New President at NextDecade

Matt Schatzman is the new president of liquified natural gas developer NextDecade Corporation.

The LNG exporter said the position was recently created, and Schatzman will report to CEO and Chairman Kathleen Eisbrenner as the company continues development of the Rio Grande LNG and Rio Bravo Pipeline projects.

Schatzman is a 29-year energy industry veteran, was formerly with BG Group, and before joining NextDecade was president of energy consultancy MKS Energy LLC, the company said.

By Mike Shiloh

September 18, 2017

GulfSlope, Texas South Energy In Offshore Drilling Agreement

GulfSlope Energy joins Texas South Energy in a letter of intent with an undisclosed international oil and gas firm for the drilling of prospects in Gulf of Mexico.

Under the arrangement the partnership between the two Houston companies will jointly drill and develop the Farmors oil and gas prospects situated offshore Gulf of Mexico according to Energy Business Review.

"The undisclosed oil and gas firm will drill at least three exploratory wells with an option to take part in additional three-well phases on the same basis.

"The oil and gas firm can secure a 75% working interest in each prospect through paying 90% of the exploratory costs and cash payment of $1.5m that will be divided by Farmors on a 73% and 27% basis."

GulfSlope is to be the initial operator and will hold a 20% working interest for the subsalt prospects included in the first phase.

Texas South will hold a 5% working interest for the subsalt prospects included in the first phase.

By Mike Shiloh

September 18, 2017

MP2 Now Subsidiary of Shell Energy North America

Woodlands-based MP2 has been acquired by Shell Enery North America.

The deal announced in late June closed last week, Shell said, with the power plant management and Demand Response company to be brought into Shell as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The management team will remain in their Woodlands offices, the company said.

Shell called the acquisition a combination of strengths, with Shell's marketing expertise now allowing MP2 to "compete with the largest and most sophisticated energy providers delivering electricity across the US.

By Mike Shiloh

September 18, 2017

Callon Produced Water Agreement with Goodnight Midstream

Midland Basin operator Callon Petroleum Co. has contracted with fluids management firm  Goodnight Midstream to provide pipeline water disposal service in the southern Delaware Basin.

Dallas-based Goodnight said the multi-year deal requires the company to build, own and operate a produced water line connecting Callon's operations in Ward County aimed at disposing of the water at porous and shallow saltwater disposal wells in the Central Basin Platform.

The company added that the agreement will lower considerably Houston-based Callon's costs in transporting produced water; Goonight already operates ten produced water gathering facilities in the Permian Basin.

By Mike Shiloh

September 18, 2017

Enterprise Products Investigating Friday Mont Belvieu Fire

There was an explosion and resulting petrochemical fire at a brine pit in an Enterprise Products Partners LP plant at Mont Belieu, east of Houston, Friday evening about 7:15, but the blaze was quickly brought under control and no injuries were reported.

Officials said the fire was mostly out by 9:30 pm.

Plant managers are working Monday to find the cause of the explosion, which began with natural gas liquids at the plant along FM 1942, according to spokesman Rick Rainey.

Chambers county emergency management officials Friday described the cause as excessive pressure at a hydrocarbon well that sent petrochemicals into the flare stack.

Injections of salt water were used to remove oil and gas from some caverns at the 400-acre site following the eruption and the company says there was never a danger from the fire to the general public.

By Mike Shiloh

September 15, 2017

Rig Count Down By Eight: Baker Hughes

The commercial US oil and gas rig count was down by eight last week -- two in the Permian Basin alone -- in data released Friday by Baker Hughes GE.

The drop in number is the largest since January.

Oil rigs were down seven to a total of 749; natural gas rigs dropped by one to 186 total.

The offshore rig count was up one compared to the previous week, down three year-over-year.

By Mike Shiloh

September 15, 2017

Texas Oil and Gas Companies Help In Harvey Recovery: Staples

By Todd Staples, Texas Oil & Gas Association

We are very thankful the impact of the most catastrophic rain event in Texas history was no worse than it was. Texans helped Texans in their most difficult time of need.  

Texas oil and natural gas companies are playing an amazing role in the relief and recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey. As of September 2017, oil and natural gas companies have committed more than $30.3 million to aid their fellow Texans, and it keeps growing.

Texans have displayed the best part of humanity in the face of this historic storm. It is such an honor to work with an industry that is so heavily invested in areas where they operate and to see them step up in such a significant way to rebuild these communities.

Many TXOGA member companies have set up hotlines to help their employees and families impacted by Hurricane Harvey. They have helped to coordinate rescue, relocation and other logistical support for families and will continue to do so.

In addition to corporate support, it’s been humbling to see the bravery and selflessness of volunteers and first responders. If this storm was a test of the compassion Texans have for one another, we passed with flying colors.

Here is a partial list of pledged support from Texas oil and natural gas companies, as of September 14, 2017:

Apache
Apache announced $250,000 to the American Red Cross.

Anadarko
Anadarko contributed $1 million to United Way’s Disaster Relief Fund for Harris and Montgomery counties.

BHP Billiton
The BHP Billiton Foundation will donate $1.25 million to the American Red Cross.

BP
BP contributed $750,000 total. $250,000 to Red Cross, $250,000 to United Way and $250,000 to the Greater Houston Community Foundation. They have also announced donations of hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel to Harris County and Houston first responders.

Cheniere Energy
Cheniere Energy will make a $1 million donation to the American Red Cross.

Chevron
Chevron donated $1 million to the American Red Cross and Chevron employees can make a direct donation, which will be matched by the company up to $10,000 per employee per year.

Cimarex
Cimares has contributed $500,000 in relief efforts through the Tulsa Community Foundation.

ConocoPhillips
ConocoPhillips will donate $5 million: $2.5 million to the United Way and $2.5 million to the American Red Cross. ConocoPhillips is also addressing employee needs and supporting their individual outreach efforts, including matching employees’ and retirees’ personal donations to eligible relief organizations.

EOG Resources
EOG Resources will contribute an initial $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. In addition, EOG will provide an unlimited 2-for-1 match on employee contributions to charitable organizations providing Hurricane Harvey relief as well as to an EOG Employee Disaster Assistance Fund. Our goal with these efforts is to contribute at least $2 million.

Exxon Mobil Corporation
Exxon Mobil Corporation increased its financial commitment for Hurricane Harvey relief to up to $10.3 million, which includes an employee and retiree donation match program and in-kind donations to the American Red Cross. The increased support builds on $1 million in previous contributions to the American Red Cross and United Way of Greater Houston.

Koch
Koch Industries will donate more than $1 million to the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, along with the long-term support needed to rebuild communities through the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. As part of the overall efforts, $250,000 will be used to establish the Koch Employee Assistance Fund with the Emergency Assistance Foundation to aid its employees who have suffered losses.

Motiva
Motiva pledged $500,000 to organizations such as the Houston mayor's Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund and the American Red Cross. In addition, the company will match employee contributions as part of the company’s internal-giving programs.

PDC Energy
PDC Energy has pledged $25,000 to CO-WY Red Cross earmarked for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief efforts. They also donated $6,000 to the Houston Food Bank.

Pioneer Natural Resources
Pioneer Natural Resources, an Irving-based oil and gas exploration company, donated $100,000 to the Red Cross and announced it would match the donations of Pioneer employees. The company is also collecting supplies to send to Houston and made one of its facilities in Victoria available for Texas Department of Public Safety, and first responders.

Phillips 66
Phillips 66 announced it will contribute an additional $3 million to assist Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in southeast Texas. The donation will be shared equally by the Rebuild Texas Fund, United Way of Greater Houston and the American Red Cross and will bring Phillips 66’s total contributions to $4 million since the storm. Phillips 66 has also donated 5 truckloads of fuel to the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

Range Resources
Range Resources announced a $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross.

SM Energy Company
SM Energy Company has donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross and is also matching all employee’s donation 1:1 for disaster relief.

Shell Oil Company
Shell pledged $1 million to American Red Cross.

Sunoco Foundation and Energy Transfer Partners
Sunoco Foundation and Energy Transfer Partners have donated $500,000 to the American Red Cross. They are also coordinating opportunities for employees in Dallas and San Antonio to donate and volunteer in their communities.

Valero
Valero Energy Corporation is contributing $1 million to the American Red Cross.

I know I couldn't possibly capture all that is being done.  Aren't you proud to be a Texan?

Thank you for your support of Texas and your support of Texas oil and natural gas. 

Sincerely,

By Todd Staples, Texas Oil & Gas Association

September 15, 2017

Venezuela Prices Oil In Yuan As US Sanctions Avoidance

As Veneuela's state oil company faces bankruptcy, the nation for the first time published its oil and fuel in Chinese currency on Friday in an apparent attempt to bypass US sanctions.

This, in addition to telling oil traders that it will no longer accept oil payments in the form of dollars, the usual international oil trade currency.

The Venezuelan oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA said in a Friday statement that it intends to use "a basket of currencies" to avoid the [US] economic blockade."

The nation on Wednesday temporarily suspended the sale of dollars while attempting to include other currencies.

President Trump is set to meet with three Latin American leaders next week in a political outreach that also is intended to address the economic and humanitarian crisis in Veneuela.

Recent US sanctions against Venezuela have squeezed it's US unit, Houston-based Citgo Petroleum, which now cannot obtain the credit it needs to purchase imported crude oil cargoes, with dealers now demanding prepayment or bank letters of credit from the cash-starved nation.

China is expected in the near future to launch its own crude oil futures contract to be priced in its own currency, the yuan, but also convertible to gold in an attempt to make it the most-important Asian-based fuel currency.

That move is expected to be accepted by nations under US-led sanctions such as Russia, Iran and Venezuela.

By Mike Shiloh

September 14, 2017

Oil Industry Celebrates Anniversary Of Oil Discovery

By Alex Mills

America’s petroleum industry celebrates its 158th anniversary on Sunday. 

The American Oil and Gas Historical Society (AOGHS) reports that Seneca Oil Company hired former railroad conductor Edwin L. Drake to drill an oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania, which produced oil on Aug. 27, 1859.

The well was drilled to a depth of 69.5 feet, and it initially produced 25 barrels a day, the first well to produce oil in commercial quantities.

Although earlier “spring pole” and cable-tool drillers of brine wells had found small amounts of oil – an unwanted byproduct – Drake specifically drilled for it. His investors wanted to refine the oil into a highly demanded new product, kerosene, according to AOGHS web site.

“Drilling at Oil Creek, Drake pioneered new drilling technologies, including a method of driving an iron pipe down to protect the bore’s integrity,” according to AOGHS.

“But after five months of financial setbacks and drilling problems, the locals called the well ‘Drake’s Folly.’ To improve his reputation, Connecticut investors addressed their letters to ‘Colonel’ Edwin Drake,” according to AOGHS.

The Drake Well inspired more people to take the risk to drill for oil, which led to more discoveries and more oil production.  The result was more business ventures in drilling and production, transportation of crude oil from the well to locations where it could be refined, and later marketed to consumers.

The Drake Well is located in northwestern Pennsylvania, Venango County, on the east bank of Oil Creek, which got its name because of natural seeps of the shallow deposits of oil that frequently flowed in the water.

Drake hired a blacksmith and salt-well driller, William Smith, to help with the drilling.  An engine house and derrick were constructed, and Drake purchased a steam engine, which was used to ram the drill through the soil.

Drilling was slow, expensive, and challenging. The drilling rate was only three feet per day.  As drilling deepened, groundwater was encountered, which caused the walls of the well to collapse.  Drake placed cast iron pipe down the hole.  Drake investors in Connecticut became frustrated and decided to pull their financial support in April 1859.  Drake had to borrow $500 to keep drilling, which culminated on August 27.

Problems continued.  The structure caught fire in October 1859.  It was totally destroyed, but Drake rebuilt it a month later. 

The financial success of the well was questionable.  After initially producing a reported 25 barrels per day, production declined 12 to 20 barrels per day.  The well ceased production in 1861, and the property sold in 1864.

A museum was constructed to commemorate Drake’s endeavor, and it sits on 22 acres surrounding the location of the Drake well.

AOGHS also noted that the Texas oil industry celebrated an anniversary recently. The University of Texas received it’s first oil royalty payment ($516.53) on Aug. 24, 1937 three months after the Santa Rita No. 1 well discovered an oilfield on university-owned land in the Permian Basin.

After 21 months of difficult drilling, the Texon Oil and Land Company’s well had revealed the 4.5-square-mile Big Lake field. Within three years of the discovery, petroleum royalties endowed the university with $4 million.

In 1958, the university moved the Santa Rita well’s walking beam and other equipment to the Austin campus. A student newspaper described the historic well as “one that made the difference between pine-shack classrooms and modern buildings.”

            Royalties from oil and gas on state owned lands in West Texas fund the Permanent University Fund for the University of Texas and Texas A&M systems and the Permanent School Fund for public schools with assets of more than $30 billion.

Alex Mills is President of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.  The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.  For more interesting information about the oil and gas industry, go to the American Oil and Gas Historical Society’s web page, www.aoghs.org.

By Alex Mills

September 13, 2017

Crude Oil Inventories Up 6 Million Barrels: EIA

US crude oil inventories were up by nearly 6 million barrels last week according to the latest figures Wednesday from the US Energy Information Administration, nearly equal to the American Petroleum Institute's estimate released Tuesday of a 6.2 millon barrel increase.

The EIA estimate is of 468.2 million commercial crude barrels in storage, up 5.9 million this week versus 4.6 million last week; that's a decline of 2.5% year-over-year.

The EIA estimated a record decrease in gasoline stockpiles of 8.4 million barrels, a 4.4% decline over last year.

API reported gasoline supplies down by nearly 8 million barrels, distillate inventories down by 1.8 million.

The Wall St. Journal said Wednesday there was a consensus that oil increases should be up by 3.7 million barrels, gasoline down 3 million and distillates down by 1.3 million.

Gasoline stockpiles were down, of course, because of refinery and pipeline shutdowns following Hurricane Harvey.

By Mike Shiloh

September 12, 2017

Taylor, Kolkhorst Named to Legislature's "Ike Dike" Committee

Friendswood state Senator Larry Taylor and Brenham state Senator Lois Kolkhorst, both Republicans, have been named by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick to the Texas Joint Interim Committee to Study a Coastal Barrier System.

The committee was created by the state legislature to study the feasability of building a barrier -- sometimes called the "Ike Dike" because of extensive damage from Hurricane Ike in 2008 -- at the Gulf Coast to protect from some effects of hurricanes

In making the announcement Tuesday, Patrick said, "In recent days we have seen how important it is that Texas has the best possible systems and infrastructure in place, not only for day-to-day operations, but also for unexpected and sometimes disastrous events.

"I know that Senator Taylor and Senator Kolkhorst are committed to ensuring Texas will continue to lead in every way."

By Mike Shiloh

September 12, 2017

Court Won't Stop Exxon Subpoena: The Hill

New York's top appeals court declined Tuesday to stop the state's attorney general from subpoenaing Exxon Mobil Corp.'s auditing firm, The Hill reported Tuesday.

The case means Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) can carry on with his demands that PriceWaterhouseCoopers hand over decades of documents as part of his probe into whether Exxon committed fraud or other crimes in how it told the public and investors about climate change risks.

"Exxon had no legal basis to interfere with PwC's production," Schneiderman said in a statement. "Our fraud investigation continues to move full speed ahead, despite Exxon's continued strategy of delay."

Exxon has been using numerous means to fight investigations by Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D).

Schneiderman has said he found "significant evidence" that Exxon misled the public on climate, a claim that the company denies.

By Mike Shiloh

September 12, 2017

Denton Plan For More Renewables Looks Good: DRC

Denton's Public Utilities Board received presentations from Denton Municipal Electric consultants Monday, saying the city can purchase more renewable energy at a competitive price and DME’s trading group is saving money for ratepayers, according to the Denton Record Chronicle.

Analysts with Austin-based consulting company Enterprise Risk Consulting said DME is in "a good position to buy more wind and solar energy that would complement what the city has now.

"In addition, the city can buy a special kind of market hedge that will insure DME doesn’t pay too much for electricity when it needs to buy more from the Texas grid."

By Mike Shiloh

September 12, 2017

Largest American Refinery, Motiva Restarts

The largest U.S. refinery was restarting production on Monday for the first time since being shut nearly two weeks ago by Hurricane Harvey, said sources familiar with plant operations, according to Reuters, citing unnamed sources.

Motiva Enterprises restored the 325,000 barrel per day (bpd) VPS-5 crude distillation unit at its 603,000 bpd Port Arthur, Texas, refinery to minimum production levels early in the day, the sources said.

By Mike Shiloh

September 11, 2017

Former AEP Exec Joins Federal Electricity Advisory Committee

Onetime American Electric Power Senior Vice President Michael Heyeck is Energy Secretary Rick Perry's choice to chair his office's Electricity Advisory Committee.

Heyeck retired from AEP in 2013 to found The Grid Group LLC providing electricity services for executives in the utility industry, according to his LinkedIn page, and serves on a number of boards, including the CIGRE International Council on Large Electric Systems.

On his page, Heyeck commented Monday that "I am proud to serve..." in reference to news that appeared in EE.

By Mike Shiloh

September 11, 2017

Adding Northeast Ethane Infrastructure Makes Sense After Harvey: Officials

A new northeast hub would help ensure supply in the event of another Harvey, locals told

Officials interested in building a new ethane storage hub in the northeastern US say the impact of Hurricane Harvey helps make their case, especially from a national security point of view.

Texas produces about 75% of the nation's supply and some experts say about 61% of capacity was temporarily shut down by Harvey's effects.

A federal proposal for an Appalachian storage hub in the West Virginia-Ohio-Western Pennsylvania area would be aimed at adding to supply, not replacing Texas capacity.

At a recent Pennsylvania workshop a US Department of Energy researcher suggested that the proposal makes a lot of sense because so much natural gas is being produced in the region at Marcellus and Utica sites.

Much of the ethane extracted from natural gas in the area is going to Mont Belvieu, east of Houston, for processing; creating a Northeast hub could create more efficiency and a new center for spot pricing, while easing the load at Mont Belvieu and ensuring supply in the event of another crippling hurricane in Texas.

Cost of the proposed hub is pegged at about $10 billion, but Washington County, PA-area residents were told August 28th that a resulting influx of manufacturers would likely bring $36 billion in development and create as many as 100,000 jobs in a relatively depressed area.

While the hub is most likely to be built in Ohio or West Virginia, officials told the Washington County Observer-Reporter that it would be good for the economies of the entire area.

Also see: Ethylene production crushed by Hurricane Harvey

And: Harvey Has Made the World's Most Important Chemical a Rare Commodity

By Mike Shiloh

September 11, 2017

Agencies' 'Unified Command' Checking Drinking Water, Dams and Flooding

Refinery processing and fuel distribution augmented; 15 dams report damage; air monitoring systems being repaired; most drinking water systems are functional but 52 still shut down

As part of a coordinated effort for cleanup after Hurricane Harvey, regulatory agencies are cooperating in what they call a "unified command," with three branches set up in Port Arthur, Houston and Corpus Christi.

The agencies attempting to synchronize their work at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), The Texas General Land Office, the US Enviornmental Protection Agency and the US Coast Guard, working with several other related agencies such as the Texas National Guard, the 6th Civil Support Team and the Texas State Guard Engineering Group, along with some out of state agencies.

The aim is to as quickly as possible cover the wide area that's suffered since the hurricane, according to the TCEQ, sampling water for contaminants and specific chemicals, while keeping tabs on air quality, especially in areas near refineries and chemical plants.

In its most recent report, the TCEQ said its air monitoring network is fully functional in the Corpus Christi area, while 88% of it is working in the Houston area and 71% in Beaumont.

While the systems are expected to be functioning fully be end of this week, there have been no reports of health concerns by pollutants in the air as a result of the storm.

Regarding refineries, the Unified Command said that in addition to gasoline waivers for 38 states and D.C. and diesel waivers for Texas, the EPA has now signed three No Action Assurance letters on Sept. 1 to help address fuel shortages. The NAA letters will help expedite the distribution of existing gasoline supplies to both Texas and Louisiana, while the refineries work to re-start and resume normal operations.

"The diesel waivers and NAA letters are effective until Sept. 15 and should allow for the distribution of fuel to consumers in Texas. The EPA recently reissued the gasoline waivers for the maximum time allowed under the Clean Air Act through late September, and the TCEQ will work with the EPA to extend these waivers through October 1st. The TCEQ is currently evaluating whether the NAA letters and diesel waivers need to be reissued and has discussed possible reissuance with the EPA."

The TCEQ does call for precautions to be taken by those attempting to clean any property that may have been exposed to flood waters because of possible contaminants.

The TCEQ says it's still assessing the shape of dams, with 15 of the 340 dams in areas affected by Harvey reporting at least some damage.

The Unified Command team said Friday that most of the 2,238 drinking water systems affected by the hurricane are back to operational status, but 52 are still closed down and 161 are still on boil-water status.

By Mike Shiloh

September 11, 2017

Seasonal Forecasts Show Sufficient Generation for Fall and Winter: ERCOT

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) anticipates there will be sufficient installed generating capacity available to serve systemwide forecasted peak demand this fall and winter.

ERCOT has released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) report for the upcoming fall season(October – November 2017) and its preliminary assessment for the winter season (December 2017 – February 2018).>

“We studied multiple scenarios that could impact the availability of generation resources on the ERCOT system and do not currently anticipate any systemwide issues,” said Manager of Resource Adequacy Pete Warnken. “Even in the most extreme scenarios considered, there were ample operating reserves.”

The SARA report is based on an assessment of generation availability and expected peak demand conditions at the time it was prepared. Based on currently available information, ERCOT does not expect Hurricane Harvey impacts to affect generation resource availability this fall and winter.>

The assessment takes into account expected generation outages that typically occur during fall for routine maintenance, as well as a range of generation outage scenarios and weather conditions that could affect seasonal demand.

The fall report includes a 56,097 MW fall peak demand forecast, which is unchanged from the preliminary fall forecast released in May 2017. The forecast is based on normal weather conditions during peak periods for the past 14 years, from 2002 through 2015.

Nearly 86,000 MW of total generation resource capacity is expected to be available for peak demand. ERCOT will enter the fall season with approximately 3,000 MW of new generation capacity that has been added since the preliminary fall SARA report was released in May. This includes two gas-fired combined-cycle units totaling 2,200 MW.

Additional planned resources for the fall season include more than 1,500 MW of new capacity. That includes 837 MW of new wind and solar resources that are expected to contribute 374 MW to the fall peak.

Based on expected winter peak weather conditions, the preliminary SARA report for winter 2017-18 anticipates a seasonal peak of more than 61,000 MW, which would surpass the all-time winter peak record of 59,650 MW set on Jan. 6, 2017, between 6 and 7 p.m.

ERCOT currently expects to have sufficient generation available to meet systemwide demand this winter. The final winter SARA report will be released in early November.

By ERCOT

September 11, 2017

RRC Reminds Texans to Call 811 Before Rebuilding After Harvey: News Release

AUSTIN - As Texans begin to recover from damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, it is an important time to remind the public they must call 811 before digging and follow safe practices to help prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages. The 811 call to one-call notification centers prompts pipeline operators to mark their underground pipelines in a requested area, making building projects safe.

The top cause of pipeline accidents in Texas is failure to call 811 so underground utilities can be marked before digging or excavating. Nearly 25 percent of pipeline damage is caused by people digging with hand tools, such as shovels.

"Don't gamble with your safety; call 811 so you don't have to call 911," said Jamie Renard, Pipeline Damage Prevention Manager. "The depth of pipelines can vary due to a number of factors, including possible erosion caused by Harvey. The vast majority of these incidents are minor and do not cause injuries, but we want to keep families and neighborhoods safe as Texas begins to rebuild."

With almost 440,000 miles of active pipelines to support the state's energy needs, Texas has more miles of pipeline than any other state. It is critical that all Texans are aware of this vital underground infrastructure and the importance of calling 811 before digging to reduce the risk of striking a pipeline.

The call to 811 is free and must be made at least two business days before digging. Homeowners, excavators and contractors who call 811 are connected to one of the two state One-Call Centers operating in Texas. The One-Call Center then notifies underground facility operators, including pipelines. Locator personnel are dispatched to the digging site to mark the locations of underground pipelines and utilities with flags, spray paint or both.

More information can be found on the Commission's website at this link.

By Railroad Commission of Texas

September 11, 2017

Public Schools, Universities Benefit From Oil, Gas Production

By Alex Mills

Crude oil and natural gas production in Texas has increased dramatically, bringing a flood of new dollars into the Permanent University Fund (PUF) and the Permanent School Fund (PSF).

Both funds were established by the Texas Constitution in 1876, and encompass state owned lands in West Texas. 

Any revenue earned from the land was designated to the PUF to fund the University of Texas and public schools.

The value of the land was small with most of the revenue coming from grazing leases for cattle.

A few years later, oil was discovered in Texas, and the gusher at Spindletop in Beaumont in 1901 changed everything.  The Texas Legislature authorized the sale or lease mineral rights, and in 1923 the first production came in with the completion of the Santa Rita No. 1 in Reagan County.

As the PUF began to grow, a battle developed between groups that wanted to use the funds directly for the operation of UT and others who wanted to keep the funds in an endowment which restricted the use.

Eventually, the legislature settled the dispute by allowing the creation of Available University Fund Fund (AUF), the account where the earnings from the PUF are held, to be used for such items as building construction and purchase of equipment.

The legislature also decided to split the allocation of funds with two-thirds going to UT and one-third to Texas A&M.

            The management and distribution of the PUF has changes several times.  Both universities have developed a line of other universities in the UT System and A&M System, which us part of the funding.  Additionally, the UT System includes the Southwestern Medical School, Health Science Center at Houston, and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, which have access to AUF funds also.

            The decline in oil prices in the 1980s and 1990s and increased needs put more stress on the system.  One solution was the creation of the University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO) to manage the UT System assets, including all of the PUF.

UT Board of Regents allows 5 percent of the PUF to be distributed to the AUF.

Today, the PUF has $17.9 billion in assets.  The portfolio includes U.S. and global equities, fixed income investments, real estate, private equity, venture capital, and hedge funds.

UTIMCO manages the PUF and General Endowment Fund (GEF), which earned 3.9 percent and 4 percent, respectively, in 2016.

Permanent School Fund

Crude oil and natural gas production from state lands provides some $16.8 billion in an endowment to the Permanent School Fund, which is managed by the General Land Office, and is separate from the PUF.

Money earned through the investment of the fund is distributed to public school districts, but no money can be spent from the fund itself.

In addition to the royalties and lease bonuses earned on state lands in West Texas, the fund also earns money for operations in the Gulf of Mexico in state-owned waters, which extend out 10.35 miles from the coastline of Texas.

The PUF and PSF do not include any taxes or fees paid by the oil and gas industry.  In fiscal year 2014, the industry paid $15.7 billion in oil and gas production taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and a variety of other taxes.

The industry also funds virtually all of the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which had $9.7 billion in 2016.

Alex Mills is President of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.  The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

By Alex Mills

September 11, 2017

Entergy Restores Power to Majority of Customers After Historic Flooding: News Release

Restoration times unknown for those with severe structure damage

BEAUMONT, Texas – Power has been restored to all of the customers who can safely receive it, ending a 14-day restoration effort by more than 3,300 Entergy employees and contractors from four states.

While the majority of houses who can safely take power have been restored, many homes and businesses across the region cannot be restored due to high water or severe flood damage. 

It may take some time to re-energize an estimated 4,000 customers whose flood damage was so severe they cannot yet be re-connected. Entergy will continue working with these customers on an individual basis until their power can be restored.

Entergy Texas has restored service to nearly all 192,000 customers that lost power during Hurricane Harvey. All customers who can safely accept electrical service should be restored.

For areas that flooded, Entergy is inspecting meters, then repairing and replacing them as is necessary. Customers may need to make repairs to property and obtain inspections before Entergy is able to safely restore power to these locations.  For more information please visit entergy.com/harvey.

Work remains to be done to rebuild the electrical system, which was damaged and reconfigured to restore power using mobile substations. Entergy Texas will spend the next few weeks rebuilding it, adding back in some contingencies and redundancies to ensure reliability, and replacing temporary and damaged equipment with new, upgraded assets.

“Hurricane Harvey caused destruction across our state like we haven’t seen before,” said Sallie Rainer, president and CEO of Entergy Texas.

“It is always our pleasure to serve our customers, and their support throughout this restoration was inspiring to our employees working to get the lights on.  I would like to thank our customers for their patience as we worked to recover from this historic event. With the lights back on, we will turn to supporting our communities as we work to rebuild.”

The flooding event caused by Hurricane Harvey brought record-breaking rainfall and unprecedented crests of local rivers, lakes and waterways.

The flooding began when Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25 and continued pounding Southeast Texas with torrential rainfall.

The flooding began in Entergy Texas’ western territory. For six days, Harvey moved at a snail’s pace across the Entergy Texas footprint, dropping more than 30 inches of rain in some areas, flooding neighborhoods and businesses. Entergy wasn’t immune from Harvey’s wrath, as 17 substations and miles of transmission lines were damaged.

Four mobile substations were brought in to bypass damaged substations, while additional equipment was added to other substations to restore power to those locations that could receive it.

“I also want to recognize our employees.  Many employees left behind families and damaged homes to work night and day to safely get the lights back on for our customers,” said Rainer. “Additionally, we would like to thank the Governor’s office as well as state and local agencies for working together with us to restore power as quickly as possible.”

More than 3,000 workers from Entergy’s four-state service territory of Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana assisted in the restoration process. Crews worked tirelessly with customers, local officials, emergency responders and partnering utilities to get power restored.

Other workers are walking through neighborhoods across southeast Texas, going door to door to inspect meters and electrical equipment. They are energizing lines where it was safe to do so.

As customers remove water-soaked walls and flooring and prepare to rebuild their homes and businesses, Entergy will work with them to get their power safely restored. The amount of water that entered their structures will determine the actions customers may need to take. Details on this process can be found at www.entergy.com/harvey.

By Entergy Texas

September 11, 2017

Wind Farms Withstand Hurricane Harvey, But the Test Is Yet to Come

Reports so far indicate wind farms near the Texas coast have weathered their first hurricane very well.

As more wind farms are being built across the state, the question of whether they could withstand hurricane-force winds was on the minds of electric providers, and while the wind experienced in Hurricane Harvey were somewhat mild, little or no damage was reported at farms near the coast.

Pattern Energy Group's Gulf Wind Farm not far from Corpus Christi stayed in service as Harvey moved in August 26th and no problems were reported, though the farm was on what meteorologists call the "clean side" of the storm, meaning the southwest side that doesn't push as much wind and rain during landfall as does the northeast side of the storm.

According to Pattern, Gulf Wind received winds up to 50 miles an hour, just below the 55 mph maximum that turbines are designed to withstand, and according to the American Wind Energy Association a number of South Texas farms were shut down as a precautionary measure, and all are back online.

E.ON SE's Papalote Creek farm near Corpus Christi was shut down for the storm and returned to full power production last Friday, with a delay only for inspection and because nearby power lines were down.

The Wall St. Journal notes that the Papalote Creek site withstood winds up to 90 miles an hour, the eqivalent of a milder Category One hurricane.

At higher wind speeds, turbines are designed to shut down at maximum rated speeds and turn their blades parallel to the wind to prevent damage.

Experts would expect damage to wind farms in stronger Category Three and higher hurricanes, a situation not yet seen in the modern era of wind power.

A 2013 Category Three storm did extensive damage to a wind farm in China 

Can wind farms survive the blunt hurricane force of stronger winds? Experts say we'll have to wait until the situation arises, but as the Journal reports, offshore wind farms are another story.

The first offshore farms have only recently gone into production off Rhode Island, and one researcher has found them likely not able to withstand hurricane force winds.

By Mike Shiloh

September 11, 2017

EPA Ends Crosby Plant Investigation, TCEQ Continues Probe

There were no life-threatening chemical runoffs or air pollutants found as a result of the post-Hurricane Harvey crisis at the Arkema chemical plant early this month, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, but investigations by state regulators and the US Chemical Safety Board continue.

The agency says it took samples of smoke from fires that resulted from the improper storage of chemicals at the plant near the Texas town of Crosby, but there were no chemicals found that exceeded federal standards for safety.

Six samples of runoff water also indicated no federal safety violations.

A Texas Commission on Environmental Quality investigation into the hurricane-related failure of refrigerations systems and the resulting fires at the plant continues.

In a statement, the EPA said "Each flood water sample was analyzed for volatile organic chemicals and semi-volatile organic chemicals likely to come from the Arkema plant. No volatile organic chemicals or semi-volatile organic chemicals were detected in the surface water runoff samples.

"Non-quantifiable and compounds not definitively identified are not reported. It is important to note that chemical analysis alone cannot be used as an indication of water safety. In a flood situation, there are multiple risk factors that can cause harm, industrial chemicals are only one of those risk factors."

In the meantime, "The TCEQ has an open investigation into the Arkema incident that will include an evaluation of any impacts due to the fires at the site. Additionally, after the final notifications are received, the TCEQ will evaluate the reported emissions events to determine compliance with applicable rules, permit provisions, and notification and reporting requirements," the statement added.

The TCEQ and Harris County Pollution Control are coordinating post-event monitoring, sampling, and complaint response activities.

"EPA has ordered Arkema to provide a detailed timeline of events and to respond within 10 days to questions about the handling of organic peroxides, which are combustible if not kept refrigerated, the amount of chemical materials, and the measures taken in advance to guard against flooding and loss of electricity. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has initiated an investigation at the Arkema plant in Crosby."

The EPA said it's report was in support of first responders at the fires, some of whom have filed suit against the French company that owns the Crosby plant, claiming fumes from the chemical fires made them ill.

By Mike Shiloh

September 10, 2017

The Loss of Coal Mining Jobs is Not a Recent Development: Chart

With 1985 as a baseline, job losses have been significant in most years since, with a plateau beginning in 2001, but losses continuing since 2012

By Mike Shiloh

September 8, 2017

Dallas' Shot Hollow Gets Shot of Cash

Oil and gas independent Shot Hollow Partners LLC says it has a new equity agreement with a Houston-based investment partner.

Dallas' Shot Hollow has been working on north and south Texas acquisitions, and has recently closed an equity agreement with Carnelian Energy Capital Management, LP for an undisclosed sum.

Shot Hollow was co-founded by Clark Pitzer and Daniel Kimes.

Carnelian Partner Daniel Goodman noted the long-standing relationship between the two companies: “Daniel and Clark’s relationships and unique optimization skill set, paired with their geographic and strategic focus, position Shot Hollow for success. It is a treat to partner with such talented individuals that we have known and worked alongside for years.”

By Mike Shiloh

September 8, 2017

New Regulations Suggested to Protect People from Oil and Gas Operations: Study

One recent study that didn't get much news coverage has unique interest for Texans -- the finding that more than 17 million Americans live within a mile of an active oil and gas well.

But the study is not of the traditional Texas "If you don't have an oil well, get one!" variety; the results of the peer-reviewed research are seen from the perspective of human environmental health, and are presented as proof that new policies and protective regulations should be considered by lawmakers.

"Our study [published in Environmental Health Perspectives] was specifically designed to determine how many Americans have increased health risks from potential exposure to pollutants emitted from oil and gas development," said Eliza Czolowski, a research associate at PSE Healthy Energy; she was the lead author in the study.

PSE, a non-profit research institute, joined Harvey Mudd College and the University of California, Berkeley for the study, billed as the first peer-reviewed nationwide measurement taking into account the proximity of oil and gas operations to people.

In addition to calculating a national population total, researchers produced a state-by-state comparison that revealed several states with especially high percentages of their population living near active wells, according to EurekAlert

"West Virginia topped the list, with roughly half -- 50 percent -- of residents living near an active oil or gas well.

"Oklahoma was close behind, at 47 percent of residents living near active wells.

"When one in two members of a population are potentially exposed to a health risk, that's a significant public-health concern," Czolowski said.

About a quarter of Ohioans -- 24 percent -- reside near active wells.

Texas had 4.5 million -- the highest number of residents -- living near active wells, though the state's population and size reduced the percentage of them to well below that of West Virginia.

Children age 5 or younger were considered a notable study subgroup based on vulnerability to environmental exposures; they number 1.4 million living near active US wells.

The study found little difference in the health effects among conventional and unconventional oil production, with many air pollutants emitted during use of all production techniques.

It mentions benzene, formaldehyde and particulate matter among the hazards.

Among the study recommendations for lawmakers are minimum distance requirements between people and oil and gas operations, and use of high-quality air pollution reduction equipment.

It should be added that PSE Healthy Energy has been involved in previous studies citing the danger of oil and gas operations, including one late last year  of which Grist noted:  “According to a recent study from nonprofit research institute PSE Healthy Energy and West Virginia University, the noise caused by fracking — which takes place both night and day — is connected to an array of health problems associated with sleep disturbance and cardiovascular health, including elevated blood pressure, hypertension, and heart disease.”

By Mike Shiloh

September 8, 2017

E.ON Adds New Storage to West Texas Wind Farms

Construction is underway on two energy storage projects by E.ON SE at its existing West Texas wind farms.

The Germany-based electric services holding company says this latest endeavor is part of the Texas Waves project -- in this case, two 9.9 megawatt short duration storage groups -- to be completed by the end of the year at the Pyron and Inadale wind farms near Roscoe, Texas, about 35 miles west of Abilene.

E.ON says they'll use lithium-iron battery technology for power storage to be integrated into the farms' output.

It's the second and third in the company's series of storage projects that began with a grid connected 10 megawatt battery system that joins with a solar array southeast of Tucson, Arizona, tied into the Tucson Electric Power system.

By Mike Shiloh

September 8, 2017

Adams Resources President and CEO to Step Down

Houston crude oil marketer and transportation company Adams Resources & Energy Inc. is announcing the retirement of its president and CEO effective September 30th.

Thomas S. Smith will also retire as chairman of the board, which has named board member Townes G. Pressler to chairman.

Pressler has been an independent director of the company since 2011 and vice chairman, and the company says it's forming a new position called Office of the Chairman for Mr. Pressler.

By Mike Shiloh

September 8, 2017

Valero, Magellan in $380 Million Central Texas-Bound Gasoline Pipeline

Valero Energy Corp. says it's partnering with Magellan Midsream Partners LLP to build a pipeline system from the Houston area that will carry gasoline to Williamson County north of Austin.

The San Antonio-based independent Valero says the proposed 16-inch line is to carry refined products from its refinery south of downtown Houston to a Robertson County facility that will include a storage terminal just outside the city of Hearne, northwest of Bryan-College Station.

Another facility is to be built in Williamson County, where a 12-inch pipeline will connect over 70 miles from the Hearne property for 136 total miles.

Valero says the pipeline will be of great benefit to booming Central Texas markets.

The $380 million agreement announced this week is between Valero subsidiary V-Tex Logistics LLC and Magellan subsidiary Magellan Pipeline Co. LP for joint consruction, which is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

By Mike Shiloh

September 8, 2017

US Active Crude Rig Count Down By 3, Nat Gas Up by 4: BHGE

One drilling rig was added last week to the US oil and gas active rig count, according to Baker Hughes GE (BHGE), but natural gas was the driver with four rigs added while crude oil rigs dropped by three.

Total rigs in use are now 944 overall.

Texas was flat with no new rigs added; two were taken out of service in Alaska and one taken out in each of Louisiana, Arkansas and Colorado.

This, while oil prouction in the lower 48 states dipped massively by 800,000 barrels per day, according to the US Energy Information Administration

Moody's Investor Service Inc. said Thursday that about 45% of Gulf Coast refining capacity that was affected by Hurricane Harvey is back online.

The worldwide rig count for August 2017 was 2,116, up 6 from the 2,110 counted in July 2017, and up 569 from the 1,547 counted in August 2016.

The international offshore rig count for August 2017 was 201, down 3 from the 204 counted in July 2017, and down 27 from the 228 counted in August 2016., BHGE said Friday.

Refinery inputs dropped by 3.3 million barrels per day for the week as refiners operated at 79.9% of their operable capacity nationwide, according to TheStreet.

By Mike Shiloh

September 6, 2017

EPA says Houston-area oil spill cleaned up: AP

A spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency says a 2,500-gallon oil spill linked to Harvey's strike on the Houston area has been cleaned up, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said the agency had closely coordinated with the U.S. Coast Guard, which reported the cleanup was completed Tuesday.

An EPA news release sent Wednesday night did not include details about the spill, including whether it endangered drinking water or forced evacuations.

By Mike Shiloh