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Russia’s Turkey pipeline deal possibly may keep door to Europe ajar

Russia’s memorandum of understanding to build a natural gas pipeline to Turkey after canceling its South Stream project could help keep the door open for it to eventually sell more gas to Europe, two Washington-based observers suggested.

Moody’s: Mid-term elections dim federal fracing regulation prospects

Results of 2014’s congressional elections have reduced the prospect of the federal government enacting its own hydraulic fracturing regulations, Moody’s said in a Dec. 17 report. It noted that Republicans, who generally have taken the position that state regulations are sufficient, will assume control of the US Senate in addition to the House in January.

Apache awarded Western Australia offshore permit

A day after reporting its planned divestment of Western Australian and Canadian assets to Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Apache Corp. has been awarded a new exploration permit in the latest round of the Australian Government’s offshore licensing.

Thirty-one House Democrats ask Jewell to bar leasing in Arctic Ocean

US Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and 30 other House Democrats urged US Interior Sec. Sally Jewell to reject the second supplemental environmental impact statement for OCS Lease Sale 193 and bar oil and gas leasing in the Arctic Ocean.

Obama makes Alaska’s Bristol Bay off-limits for oil, gas activity

US President Barack Obama placed Bristol Bay off-limits for future oil and gas leasing, extending a temporary withdrawal he imposed in 2010 that was due to expire in 2017. The Dec. 16 announcement effectively excludes the entire North Aleutian Basin from consideration in the new 5-year Outer Continental Shelf program the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has begun to prepare.

Severance tax would backfire, Pennsylvania association leaders warn

Enacting a severance tax aimed at Pennsylvania’s unconventional natural gas activity would substantially harm the commonwealth beyond the industry itself, three oil and gas trade association officials warned.

New York state moves to ban hydraulic fracturing

High-volume hydraulic fracturing will be banned in the state of New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced Dec. 17, citing health risks and concerns about possible contamination of air and water. The state has had a temporary moratorium on fracturing in the Marcellus shale for years.

BPC report examines 40 possible options to reform RFS

The Bipartisan Policy Center issued a report outlining 40 possible options for reforming the federal Renewable Fuels Standard in an effort to move discussion of the controversial program beyond simply preserving or scrapping it.

Senate passes Defense bill with BLM drilling permit program provision

The US Senate approved a Department of Defense appropriations bill on Dec. 13 containing a provision extending and making permanent a drilling permit processing pilot program the 2005 Energy Policy Act established in several Rocky Mountain US Bureau of Land Management field offices. The measure now heads to the White House, where it is expected to be signed.

Study finds small subset of wells accounts for most methane emissions

A small subset of natural gas wells are responsible for most methane emissions from US natural gas production, said a study from the University of Texas at Austin.

API: Producers reducing methane emissions already

US oil and gas producers are reducing wellhead methane emissions already and don't need ill-conceived, overly prescriptive federal regulations, American Petroleum Institute officials said.

Speakers say methane controls just part of complete climate strategy

Reducing oil and gas operations' methane emissions is an essential, but far from the only, part of a comprehensive climate strategy, speakers at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event agreed.

Mitigating methane

Among greenhouse gases, methane should be particularly amenable to deliberate cuts in emissions.

Falling prices may pose new test for China oil policies, speakers say

China, which successfully revised its oil strategy in response to new technologies since 2008, could face fresh tests if prices stay low for a prolonged period, speakers at a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace forum suggested.

EPA approves Magellan’s Corpus Christi splitter project

The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final greenhouse gas prevention of significant deterioration construction permit to Magellan Processing LP, a wholly owned subsidiary of Magellan Midstream Partners LP, for a $400 million condensate splitter project to be located at the company’s existing bulk petroleum storage terminal in Corpus Christi, Tex.

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