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Daily Energy Post

Polar Vortex Spurs Catch-22 Workaround - Getting New England Gas Pipeline Capacity Built

This year’s polar vortex winter has once again demonstrated how New England power generators suffer from the region’s shortage of natural gas pipeline capacity during peak demand periods. The Catch-22 to-date has been that new pipelines won’t get built without firm, long-term commitments for pipeline capacity, which the New England power market doesn’t compensate generators for. Faced with rising demand and few alternatives to gas fired generation, the six state governments in the region are now proposing a novel fix: an electric-rate surcharge that would help guarantee pipeline developers the steady revenue they need to justify new projects.  Today we examine the states’ plan and its prospects.

Whole Lotta Splittin’ Going On – Gulf Coast Condensate Splitter Economics

Midstream companies are building or planning 400 Mb/d of new condensate splitter capacity to process Eagle Ford production by 2016. BASF/Total have been operating a 75 Mb/d splitter at Port Arthur since 2000. The new splitters are being built in response to a flood of condensate range material coming out of the Eagle Ford into Houston and Corpus Christi. So what’s the big deal with condensate splitters? Today we look at splitter economics.

Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue: How the US Shale Gas Boom Benefits Asian LNG Importers

Using the US natural gas production boom to promote the idea of a sustainable “global gas glut”, Asian importers have successfully managed to chip away at the longstanding oil-indexed pricing mechanism for liquefied natural gas (LNG) overthe past two years. While oil-indexation in LNG contracts will certainly not disappear overnight, the shale revolution has provided gas importers with significant negotiating leverage and a new degree of pricing flexibility. Today we examine the trend toward more US centric LNG pricing.

Kerrobert Humperdinck – Storing Western Canadian Conventional Crude Oil

Rapid growth of heavy oil sands crude production in Alberta is prompting considerable expansion of storage and pipeline infrastructure at Edmonton and Hardisty. Less well publicized is the growth in conventional Canadian crude oil production – in many cases using horizontal drilling technology. In Saskatchewan, crude volume passing though the Kerrobert hub is increasing and a large rail-loading terminal is planned to open there in 2015 to supplement existing takeaway capacity on the Enbridge Mainline. Today we conclude our analysis of Canadian storage hubs, focusing on Kerrobert.

The Night the Lights Almost Went out in Texas – Polar Vortex & Texas Power Markets

The “polar vortex” of 2014 dipped far south enough to impact power markets in Texas. On Monday January 6th, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) came dangerously close to initiating rolling blackouts as power demand increased due to record low temperatures and unexpected generation unit outages. Real time electricity prices spiked to over $5,000/ Megawatt Hour (MWH). The close call served as a sobering reminder for Texas regulators of the ongoing debate over how the State will meet future power generation requirements. Today we detail the “polar vortex” event and explain the implications for Texas power. 

Miami 2017—Marcellus Natural Gas Heading to Florida, Part 2

The idea of using natural gas produced in Pennsylvania to generate power in South Florida would have been considered implausible or even unthinkable just a few years ago. But now it seems likely that by mid-2017 Marcellus-sourced gas will, in fact, be moving deep into the Southeast. Williams’ planned Atlantic Sunrise project will make its Transco mainline bi-directional as far south as Station 85 in southwestern Alabama. From there, Spectra Energy and NextEra Energy’s Sabal Trail pipeline will move Marcellus and other gas into central Florida, and NextEra’s Florida Southeast Connection line will take gas still further south. Today In the second of a two part series, we conclude our analysis of the transformational Atlantic Sunrise project.

Rock The Boat - Don’t Rock the Boat - The Jones Act Coastal Trade OSG and the Alaska Fleet

Two companies that own Jones Act tankers went through bankruptcy in recent years as the charter business declined following the Great Recession. They are Overseas Shipping Group (OSG) that own two US flag tankers and manage another ten and the smaller US Shipping Corp that owns three Jones Act tankers. These days the surge in US crude production has created strong demand for Jones Act tankers and record charter rates for owners. Now tankers once dedicated to the Alaska trade between Valdez and the West Coast are being considered for crude shuttle duty around the Lower 48.  Today we continue our review of US Flag fleet owners.

You Crack Me Up. A Brief History of Hydraulic Fracturing

Many who write about hydraulic fracturing suggest, or state explicitly, that it is a new technology in the oil and gas industry. This can hardly be further from the truth. Indeed, it is probably the case that hydraulic fracturing is older than most of the people writing about it.  Today we begin a series on hydraulic fracturing and why it has had such a significant impact on gas and oil production over the past few years.

“You Never Give Me Your Money”—Some Common Oil & Gas Royalty Disputes

Natural gas and oil development, especially in shale plays that require a lot of wells and a lot of activity, can be inconvenient and noisy.  There are also, of course, various criticisms and protests around some of the processes used, such as hydraulic fracturing, and around the overall level of activity, such as truck traffic.  The gas and oil producing industry values strong relationships with the communities where it needs to work, and can use all the friends it can get as it takes the lead in developing the nation’s vast energy resource.  Bringing big economic benefits to those communities, which are often rural or industrial areas hard-hit by economic downturns, is clearly really important in the efforts to build those relationships and friendships.  There are a lot of different kinds of economic benefits deriving from supply development, but by far the most important to the affected landowners are the royalties resulting from private mineral rights.  Today we continue our examination of the inner workings of oil and mineral rights issues, this time considering some common oil and gas royalty disputes.

Sail Away – Propane Exports Exceed 400 Mb/d for the First Time

We’ve been talking a lot over the past year about the need for increasing exports to balance the U.S propane market as growth in production from gas processing plants outruns domestic demand.  U.S. propane production from gas processing has increased by over 100 Mb/d since January 2013, and there’s lots more to come.  For the first time U.S. propane exports exceeded 400 Mb/d in October 2013 thanks to growing U.S supply and infrastructure developments including dock expansions by Enterprise and Targa.  But just after exports ramped up, the propane market was hit by a couple of wild cards – a late and very heavy crop drying season and a series of record cold temperature events. In today’s blog, we continue our series covering the record setting 2014 NGL markets.