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An absence of proportion

Hand-wringing over failure by the US Senate to pass bipartisan energy legislation focuses on the wrong problem. Political pundits mourn the death of bipartisanship and condemn "dysfunction" of the government.

Chesapeake to spinoff oil field services unit, divest $4 billion in assets

Chesapeake Energy Corp., Oklahoma City, has decided to proceed with spinning off its oil field services business, currently conducted through its wholly owned subsidiary Chesapeake Oilfield Operating LLC (COO), almost 3 months after reporting that a spinoff or outright sale of the business was under consideration (OGJ Online, Feb. 24, 2014). COO will also convert into a corporation and change its name to Seventy Seven Energy Inc.

EPA gives nod for ExxonMobil’s Texas ethylene cracker project

The Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) for the US Environmental Protection Agency has approved a permit granted to ExxonMobil Chemical Co. to proceed with plans to build a natural gas-fired ethylene production unit at its existing olefins plant in Baytown, Tex., just east of Houston.

Norway’s PSA cites Statoil for January leak at Hammerfest LNG plant

An investigation into a Jan. 5 hydrocarbon leak at Statoil ASA’s Hammerfest LNG facility in northern Norway found that the event “had a big accident potential and could have led to loss of life,” according to a May 15 report from the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA).

MARKET WATCH: Crude oil futures prices maintain buoyancy above $101/bbl

The New York Mercantile Exchange June crude oil contract price dropped 87¢ on May 15, closing at $101.50/bbl. The July contract fell 61¢ to $101.13/bbl.

EIA: Norway supplied 21% of Europe’s natural gas in 2013

Norway, the world's third-largest natural gas exporter after Russia and Qatar, supplied 21% of total European gas needs in 2013, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration.

Mayer Brown: Mexico’s Congress trying to enact energy reform amid falling production rates

It easily could take longer than many might expect before state-run Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and other companies are able to unlock Mexico’s vast oil and gas resources, said Jordy Herrera, the nation’s immediate past secretary of energy, told a Meyer Brown energy conference in Houston on May 15.

IEA: Downside risk presents on non-OPEC oil production outlook

In April, continued tensions between Russia and Ukraine, supply outages in Libya and northern Iraq, and increased crude buying as refiners come out of maintenance turnarounds combined to offset the impact of seasonally weaker demand and pushed up oil prices marginally, the International Energy Agency said in its most recent Oil Market Report.

State error delays permitting for Montana refinery project

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is reopening the public comment period for a preliminary decision to approve an air quality permit for Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP’s low-sulfur fuels expansion project at its 10,000-b/d refinery along the Missouri River in Great Falls, Mont., following a notification oversight by the state agency.

Ramnarine: Easing of tight gas supplies in Trinidad and Tobago might take years

Trinidad and Tobago’s Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine is now saying that it could take as long as 2 years before there is any easing in the tight supply-demand relationship of natural gas in the Caribbean twin-island nation.

Mayer Brown: Brazil reexamines its presalt policies

Brazil’s government is considering proposals to open operatorship of its presalt projects to companies other than state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras), and this change might be made, Mayer Brown partner Alexandre R. Chequer told the law’s firm’s annual energy conference in Houston on May 15.

FERC issues EA for Cove Point LNG export project

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued its environmental assessment (EA) for the Cove Point LNG liquefaction and export project. The project is proposed by Dominion Cove Point LNG LP (DCP).

EPA proposes air emissions requirements for refineries

The US Environmental Protection Agency proposed making refiners measure benzene emissions around their facilities’ fences and make the results publicly available.

GlobalData: High Asia-Pacific LNG prices could soon erode

Although high LNG prices in the Asia-Pacific region are expected to persist in the near term, there are increasing signs they will erode as a result of rising Asia-Pacific LNG production, US exports, and the region’s diversification of energy supplies, according to a forecast from an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

Bakken crude within rail car safety design standards, AFPM study says

Bakken crude oil is well within the safety standards for current rail car designs, an American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers report concluded. The crude is comparable to other light grades and does not pose risks that are significantly different than other crudes or flammable liquids authorized for rail transport, it added.

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