California Halts Drilling Permits to Intensify Scrutiny of Oil, Gas Operations

The California Department of Conservation halted approval of new permits for wells that use high-pressure steam to extract oil from underground formations and instituted a scientific review of pending applications to conduct hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation practices, according to a Nov. 19 news release. The new measures stem from legislation enacted last month…

ExxonMobil Granted Lease of U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve Facility

The U.S. Energy Department awarded a 20-year contract to ExxonMobil Pipeline Company to operate the Strategic Petroleum Reserve’s two-million-barrel capacity St. James marine terminal and Bayou Choctaw 36-Inch Pipeline, according to an Oct. 28 news release. The new lease, effective Jan. 1, 2020, ends Shell Pipeline Company LP’s 22-year control of the facilities. The St.…

Biofuel Industry Says U.S. EPA Failed to Ensure Integrity of Renewable Fuel Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Oct. 15 proposed to calculate the small refinery exemptions for 2020 under the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, program based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the Energy Department. The biofuel industry criticized the proposal for failing to meet the Oct. 4 agreement with the Trump…

Fossil Fuels Continue to Dominate U.S. Energy Production and Consumption Despite Growth in Renewables: EIA

Fossil fuels continue to account for the largest share of energy consumption in the United States. Last year, about 79 percent of domestic energy production was from fossil fuels, and 80 percent of domestic energy consumption originated from fossil fuels, according to the Energy Information Administration. The share of U.S. total energy production from fossil…

Enbridge’s $2.9 Billion Oil Pipeline Wins Minnesota Court Challenge

The Minnesota Supreme Court on Sept. 17 declined to hear challenges by tribal and conservation groups to the environmental review of Enbridge Inc.’s proposal for replacing its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota. In a June ruling, the Minnesota Court of Appeals found that the project’s environmental review failed to consider the…

New Hampshire Enacts Ban on Offshore Drilling to Block Trump’s Expansion Plan

Republican Governor Christopher Sununu signed legislation on Sept. 11 prohibiting offshore oil and natural gas exploration in state waters. New Hampshire joins California, New Jersey, Maine, and Oregon that have enacted similar measures in response to the Trump administration’s plan to open vast amounts of coastal waters to drilling activities. The bill bans the lease…

U.S. EPA Proposes to Repeal Obama-Era Methane Limits on Oil, Gas Industry

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Aug. 29 proposed to reverse regulations put into place in 2016 to limit the emissions of methane, a potent global warming pollutant, during oil and natural gas drilling operations. The move follows a sweeping executive order that President Trump issued in 2017 to undo the prior administration’s climate regulations…

U.S. Gulf of Mexico Oil, Gas Lease Sale Yields $160 Million in Bids

The U.S. Interior Department announced that its Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale held on Aug. 21 generated $159.4 million in high bids for 151 tracts covering about 835,000 acres, down from the previous sale, which drew about $244.3 million. The region-wide lease sale offered 77.8 million acres, including all available unleased areas…

U.S. Achieves Oil and Natural Gas Production World Record in 2018

U.S. petroleum and natural gas production increased by 16% and by 12%, respectively, in 2018, and these totals combined established a new production record, according to the Energy Information Administration. In 2011, the country overtook Russia to become the world’s largest producer of natural gas and just last year surpassed Saudi Arabia in the production…

U.S. EPA’s Proposed Renewable Fuel Requirements Draw Criticism For Failing to Address Refinery Exemptions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on July 5 proposed set a blending volume of 20.04 billion gallons for 2020 under the Renewable Fuel Standard, up from the current level of 19.92 billion gallons. The proposal would keep the target for conventional biofuel, mainly corn-based ethanol, at 15 billion gallons. However, proposal drew criticism for failing…

Minnesota Agencies Delay Permits for Enbridge’s $2.9 Billion Oil Pipeline, Await Revised Environmental Review

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources said they may not take final action on Enbridge Inc.’s permit applications for its Line 3 replacement project until the deficiency in the environmental review of the proposed oil pipeline is addressed, according to a June 18 news release. The announcement follows a recent ruling…