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WATCHING WASHINGTON WETLANDS POLICY

With Patrick Crow The Environmental Protection Agency and Corps of Engineers have forged a wetlands preservation policy that signals there are realistic limits to President Bush's dedication to the environment. When Bush entered the White House, amid his baggage of campaign pledges was one declaring there would be "no net loss" of wetlands. Wetlands are the water-bogged marshes and swamps that are of little use to humans but are important wildlife habitats. Environmentalists say development

HOW TO SLOW U.S. ABANDONMENTS

"...If we don't slow abandonments and improve production rates in this decade, there won't be much of a domestic industry left in the next one to benefit from basic research. " That statement comes not from independent producers, who have been saying similar things for some time, but from U.S. Deputy Energy Sec. W. Henson Moore. It correctly recognizes a serious problem-a "sobering reality"-and accompanies fitting remedies.

U.S. BRIEFS

NEW YORK MERCANTILE EXCHANGE reduced futures contract minimum margins on crude oil to $2,000 from $3,000 for customers and to $1,500 from $2,100 for clearing members. It cut minimum margins on heating oil and unleaded gasoline to $2,500 from $4,000 for customers and to $2,000 from $3,000 for clearing members. AMOCO PRODUCTION CO. let an $11.5 million contract to Davy McKee Corp. Process Group USA, Houston, to build compressor stations at the Florida River site near Durango, Colo., and near

INTEGRATED PETROLEUM EXPLORATION PROGRAM EP-20 UNDER WAY IN AUSTRALIA'S N.T. AMADEUS BASIN

Donald F. Saunders, C. Keith Thompson Recon Exploration (Australia) Pty. Ltd. Glenelg, S. Australia EP-20 is located in the east-central portion of the Amadeus basin. Petroleum in the basin has been found mainly in structural fold-related traps within Late Proterozoic to Late Ordovician marine to marginal-marine clastic and evaporate sequences.

U.S. INDUSTRY HIKES BUDGET FOR DOMESTIC OPERATIONS

Robert J. Beck Economics Editor G. Alan Petzet Senior Staff Writer U.S. oil and gas companies plan to boost domestic capital and exploration spending in 1990 following a drop in outlays in 1989. Oil & Gas Journal's annual survey shows the industry plans to spend a total of $31.4 billion on U.S. projects in 1990, up 13.1% from estimated 1989 spending. OGJ figures indicate that downstream spending will exceed upstream spending for the first time since 1971, even though higher oil and gas

INTERNATIONAL BRIEFS

IMPERIAL OIL LTD. received final regulatory approval for its $4.9 billion takeover of Texaco Canada Inc., 1 year after the companies announced a deal. Approval came from Ottawa's Competition Tribunal after Imperial agreed to meet tribunal requirements for sale of Texaco properties (OGJ, Feb. 12, p ' 26), Imperial will sell 638 service stations and provide gasoline supply guarantees to independent retailers in Ontario and Quebec to ensure competition.

OFFSHORE AREA BOOSTS WYTCH FARM RESERVES

BP Exploration has confirmed a 100 million bbl offshore extension of Wytch Farm oil field on the south coast of England. The offshore extension of western Europe's largest onshore reservoir boosts Wytch Farm reserves to about 300 million bbl. Options to develop the added reserves have been proposed, and BP now has the task of winning approval for the project in an environmentally sensitive area. BP is in the final stages of a major expansion of the onshore portion of the field, about 20

BRITTLE FRACTURE OF OLD STORAGE TANKS CAN BE PREVENTED

Johannes de Wit The Hague Brittle fracture of older storage tanks, that can lead to catastrophic spills of hydrocarbon materials, can be reduced by applying preventive measures based on good knowledge of the critical properties of the tanks, and the critical conditions in which the tanks are used. Some preventive measures include: insulating the tank, not filling the tank to maximum level during lowest temperatures, fully water-testing the tank, repairing serious corrosion, releveling the tank,

HYDROTESTING EFFECTS-CONCLUSION TESTS SUPPORT EFFECT OF LINE PIPE TESTING ON CRACK GROWTH

B. N. Leis, F. W. Brust Battelle Columbus Division Columbus, Ohio Full-scale tests of line pipe with patched through-wall flaws and part-through-wall flaws indicate that significant crack growth is possible as a result of repeated pipeline hydrotesting. These test results show that such growth may involve a significant fraction of time-dependent cracking and can cause failure at pressures well below those predicted by current methods.

BARRIER ISOLATES SECTION OF SUBSEA LINE

A 3 year research program in the U.K. has led to development of equipment to isolate sections of subsea pipelines-equipment said to be useful for installing emergency shutdown valves. The isolation system uses basic hot tapping and plugging techniques with certain differences. Comex U.K. Ltd. completed the research program with support from the U.K. Offshore Supplies Office and seven major oil companies.

CALIFORNIA CLEANUP PROGRESSES, POLITICAL FALLOUT ACCELERATING

Bob Williams Senior Staff Writer Cleanup continued last week of a Feb. 7 spill of about 9,458 bbl of Alaskan North Slope crude off the southern California coast amid renewed furor over the U.S. petroleum industry's ability to work safely offshore. BP America, which took responsibility, expected to have most of the gross contamination cleaned up by the end of this week. At presstime, the focus was shifting to second phase cleanup.

OGJ NEWSLETTER

The oil spill off California should have no bearing on whether to hold offshore lease sales, says President George Bush (see story, p. 30). He has read a task force's report on controversial California and Florida lease sales and should decide "fairly soon" on their future. Bush said, "The tanker had a hole punched in it, and I see a bunch of guys jumping up and down saying this proves you can't have any offshore drilling...I'm not sure I understand the connection (with) tankers.

CANADIANS BRACED FOR FEDERAL TAX INCREASE

Major Canadian oil companies are bracing themselves for an expected increase in a new corporate tax in a federal budget. The large corporations tax introduced Jan. 1 at a rate of 0.175% of assets, is set to rise in June to 0.2% of assets. The tax is based on a formula used to assess the worth of corporate assets.

SOVIET FUEL OUTPUT SHOWS FIRST DECLINE OF POSTWAR YEARS

Soviet primary fuel production, including oil, gas, and coal, fell in 1989 for the first year since the end of World War 11. Oil and coal production declined, more than offsetting a smaller than expected increase in gas flow. Outlook for a substantial rebound in oil production during 1990 is not good. Moscow officials say they will be satisfied if crude and condensate flow stabilizes at last year's level. Soviet gas production most likely will rise through the 1990's. But yearly gains

WATCHING WASHINGTON WASHINGTON QUOTEBOOK

With Patrick Crow To the dismay of Oil & Gas Journal writer/editors, not all we write is printed. And the first things cut are quotes that may be unusual or funny but don't add anything to a story. However, they can add up to an occasional column. For example: Ted Eck, chief economist for Amoco Corp., opened his testimony at an energy security hearing with this explanation: "I'm sorry I'm late. I got lost. Economists do that frequently."

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