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Fracking Press Clips: March 24, 2017

TOP STORY

  • California air regulators have adopted a new strategy for curbing methane leaks from oil and gas facilities. The California Air Resources Board said in a statement Thursday night that the new guidelines are the most comprehensive of their kind in the country. (CBS Los Angeles)

 

CALIFORNIA 

State air board OKs Southern California smog clean-up plan
The Orange County Register | David Danelski

The California Air Resources Board voted to approve Southern California’s smog clean-up plan during its meeting in Riverside on Thursday, March 23. Board officials said that low- and zero-polluting trucks are essential if the plan is to succeed.

Strict Methane-Leak Guidelines Approved For California
CBS Los Angeles

California air regulators have adopted a new strategy for curbing methane leaks from oil and gas facilities. The California Air Resources Board said in a statement Thursday night that the new guidelines are the most comprehensive of their kind in the country, and come as the Donald Trump administration has backed away from pushing federal rules on methane.

PBF Energy explores bid for second California refinery as hedge against more troubles in Torrance
Daily Breeze | Nick Green

The owner of the Torrance refinery is seeking to acquire a second West Coast plant to make gasoline as a hedge against any future production disruptions at its troubled South Bay facility. A profit motive could be at the core of the move as well, because gas prices in California typically spike when any refineries in the state experience production problems. Thus, if the Torrance refinery was offline, another facility would allow PBF to sell gasoline at temporarily inflated prices.

 

OPINION, REPORT, & PRESS RELEASE

Scientists Question Risks Of Using Oilfield Wastewater On Food Crops
Breaking Energy | Dan Mueller

The engineers and scientists who study the oil and gas industry’s wastewater know the term “beneficial reuse” well. It’s the seldom-used technique of taking wastewater produced from an oil or gas well, treating it, and then using it for other purposes — like watering crops (including organic crops) or feeding livestock. It’s a rare practice that drought-stricken areas like California have used for a number of years, although little is known about associated health or safety risks since, usually, about 98% of wastewater is injected into disposal wells deep underground.

View from Porter Ranch: Metro must go electric to avoid more natural-gas risk: Guest commentary
Los Angeles Daily News | Patricia Larcara

The debate between gas and electric has been going on for decades. But for me, the choice is simple. As a resident of Porter Ranch for 28 years, the methane leak at the Aliso Canyon storage facility left me shaken on many levels. Besides my health and my livelihood, what was most shaken was my faith that oil and gas companies would protect the neighborhoods where they operate, and put community health and safety above their bottom lines.

 

NATIONAL

North Dakota oil spill 3 times larger than first estimated
Associated Press | Blake Nicholson

A December oil pipeline spill in western North Dakota might have been three times larger than first estimated and among the biggest in state history, a state environmental expert said Friday. About 530,000 gallons of oil is now believed to have spilled from the Belle Fourche Pipeline that was likely ruptured by a slumping hillside about 16 miles northwest of Belfield in Billings County, Health Department environmental scientist Bill Seuss said. The earlier estimate was about 176,000 gallons.

Researchers Scour Urban Methane Leaks Via Google Street View Cars
Tech Times | Katrina Pascual

In a show of synergy between technology and environmental science, Google’s Street View program is now helping reveal leaks in urban natural gas pipelines to help reduce unintended emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. A set of specially equipped Google Street View cars lets researchers from the Colorado State University detect invisible methane leaks lurking in natural gas lines beneath streets.

Court rejects green group’s claim of pro-pipeline bias at regulator
The Hill | Timothy Cama

A federal court has rejected arguments that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has an unacceptable bias in favor of natural gas pipelines. The lawsuit in the District Court for the District of Columbia was brought by Delaware Riverkeeper Network. It is the latest attempt by environmental groups to crack down on FERC, which has wide-ranging authority over interstate oil and natural gas pipelines.

Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer tells Trump not to withdraw from Paris climate deal
Washington Examiner | John Sicilian

Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, a confidant to President Trump on energy policy, is advising the White House not to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement, but to use the U.S. standing under the accord to bolster its own economic and political interests. The lawmaker from the oil-rich state of North Dakota sent a letter to Trump Thursday advising him to change the U.S.’s pledge under the agreement instead of pulling out altogether.

Keystone Pipeline Gets Trump Approval as New Roadblocks Loom
Bloomberg | Meenal Vamburkar

The Keystone XL oil pipeline running from Canada to America’s heartland has been approved by President Donald Trump, with a promise from TransCanada Corp. to increase the amount of U.S. steel used in its construction. TransCanada, which has faced 8 years of political haggling over the pipeline’s future and its benefits, will buy 200 miles of pipe made with American steel, according to Terry Cunha, a spokesman. The new pipe replaces material repurposed to other projects, he said.

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Fracking Press Clips: March 23, 2017

TOP STORY

  • California’s air pollution regulator is due to hold a vote on Thursday on methane emission regulations that it says would be the strictest in the United States in controlling the second-most prevalent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. (Reuters)

 

CALIFORNIA 

California Regulator to Vote on United States’ Strictest Methane Rule
Reuters | Tom James

California’s air pollution regulator is due to hold a vote on Thursday on methane emission regulations that it says would be the strictest in the United States in controlling the second-most prevalent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. The new standards, proposed by the California Air Resources Board, would tighten efficiency requirements in the production and transportation of natural gas, and also for some oil-handling equipment, and would mandate prompt repair of discovered leaks, said Dave Clegern, a spokesman for the board.

Shell reluctant to part with California refinery amid asset sale
Reuters | Jessica Resnick-Ault and Ron Bousso

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) is in talks with several potential buyers for its refinery outside of San Francisco, but the Anglo-Dutch oil giant is reluctant to part with its last asset in California, three people familiar with the process say. The company is in the midst of a massive asset sale, shedding properties from Thailand to the North Sea to pay down debt following its $54 billion purchase of smaller British rival BG Group last year.

California Could Be the Default Destination for Trans Mountain Oil
Alberta Oil Magazine

When the Trans Mountain pipeline expands from 300,000 b/d to 890,000 b/d at full capacity, along with crude oil from Alberta to the B.C. coast it also will carry the hopes of many in the industry that Albertan heavy crude will finally earn an Asian market premium, having broken free of North American pricing. However, the biggest vessels that the oil terminal port of Burnaby, near Vancouver, can handle are Aframax carriers. These are not cost-competitive on the open seas against the Middle Eastern suppliers’ ULCCs and VLCCs. So Albertan producers will have to absorb that transport cost or find another market, such as California.

Aliso Canyon bill hits road block in state Legislature, and not everyone is happy about it
Los Angeles Daily News | Susan Abram

A state bill aimed at temporarily keeping the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility temporarily shut down until an investigation is completed remained in limbo Wednesday after it was pulled from a key committee hearing at the last minute. Some residents who went up to Sacramento for the hearing expressed anger and disappointment that State Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, Chair of Senate Energy Committee, pulled the bill during a committee hearing late Monday night.

California about to go its own way on methane
San Diego Union Tribune | Rob Nikolewski

While Congress and the Trump administration may roll back a just-enacted federal rule regarding methane emissions, California is on the verge of going in a much different direction. On Thursday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is expected to pass what is considered the nation’s strictest rule aimed at curbing emissions from the potent greenhouse gas.

Oil and gas drilling in cities puts people of color at risk.
Grist

For years, oil and gas companies have plumbed the earth beneath Los Angeles. And in most cases the companies and city — surprise! — allegedly sidestepped environmental laws in the process. Poor communities of color have suffered the most. “The city disproportionately exposed people of color to greater health and safety impacts,” says attorney Gladys Limón of the environmental justice nonprofit Communities for a Better Environment.

 

OPINION, REPORT, & PRESS RELEASE

Don’t reopen Aliso Canyon until we know what caused the worst methane leak in history
Los Angeles Times | The Times Editorial Board

In the wake of the Aliso Canyon methane leak — the largest such leak in U.S. history, which temporarily displaced 8,000 families from their homes — what’s wrong with using some common-sense caution before reopening the natural gas storage facility? Sen. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) has proposed doing just that. His bill — Senate Bill 57 — would not allow the Southern California Gas Co. to start reinjecting gas into its underground natural gas storage field until an independent study determines exactly what caused the well failure and massive leak in the first place.

Zero-Emissions Natural Gas Engine Now Operating at Ports of Long Beach/Los Angeles
Business Wire

Total Transportation Services, Inc. (TTSI), one of largest drayage trucking companies in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, has begun using one of the first Cummins Westport (CWI) ISX12 G low NOx natural gas engines for their trucking operations. Available for order later this year, the 12 liter engine’s emissions will be certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to produce 90 percent less NOx than the current EPA standard for heavy duty engines, and are equivalent to that of a truck powered by electricity from the electrical grid.

 

NATIONAL

As Trump targets energy rules, oil companies downplay their impact
Reuters | Richard Valdmanis

President Donald Trump’s White House has said his plans to slash environmental regulations will trigger a new energy boom and help the United States drill its way to independence from foreign oil. But the top U.S. oil and gas companies have been telling their shareholders that regulations have little impact on their business, according to a Reuters review of U.S. securities filings from the top producers.

Texas tries to join fight against BLM methane regulations
Fuel Fix | Ryan Handy

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has asked a Wyoming court for permission to join a lawsuit protesting the Bureau of Land Management’s new rules regulating methane leaks and flaring from oil and gas operations. If granted, Texas would join Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota in their request to stay enforcement of the rule, which were passed in November of last year. Wyoming initiated the lawsuit, which is opposed by California, New Mexico and several environmental advocacy groups.

Google Street View Cars Are Mapping Gas Leaks in US Cities
Seeker | Dave Roos

Four feet below the streets of major American cities like Boston and Chicago lie tens of thousands of miles of cast iron and steel pipelines dating back to the end of the 19th century. Originally built to transport “town gas,” an early coal-based heating and cooking fuel, the same pipelines are now used to distribute natural gas (methane) to millions of homes. The problem is that many of those century-old pipelines are heavily corroded, creating widespread methane leaks in urban areas. Now a innovative collaboration between environmentalists, scientists, and Google is providing utilities with a new tool to combat the most polluting methane leaks. Researchers at Colorado State University have equipped Google Street View cars with special methane sensors that can not only map the precise location of leaks, but also gauge their severity.

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Fracking Press Clips: March 22, 2017

TOP STORY

  • State Senator Henry Stern’s bill to stop natural gas injections from being resumed at Aliso Canyon was not heard as scheduled Tuesday morning. The Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee Chair Senator Ben Hueso pulled Senate Bill 57 from the agenda, therefore preventing it from moving forward by refusing to hear or vote on it. (The Signal)

 

CALIFORNIA 

Aliso Canyon senate bill pulled from hearing
The Signal | Gina Ender

State Senator Henry Stern’s bill to stop natural gas injections from being resumed at Aliso Canyon, site of the massive natural gas leak in 2015, was not heard as scheduled Tuesday morning. The Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee Chair Senator Ben Hueso pulled Senate Bill 57 from the agenda, therefore preventing it from moving forward by refusing to hear or vote on it.

Crude sounds? Far from it, professor says of oil
Bakersfield Californian | Susan Scaffidi

Do you listen to the sounds a pump jack makes? If you are a long-time resident of Bakersfield, you have probably tuned out the squeaks, whines and grinding sounds of those ubiquitous machines, along with the rumbles and roars that also make up the sounds of Kern County’s petroleum industry and much of our Kern County way of life. Bakersfield College music professor Josh Ottum, who moved to Bakersfield in 2015, is fascinated by the very sounds — and the culture they signify — that many of us have learned to ignore. Ottum will discuss the connection he has made between those sounds and Kern County culture Thursday night in his presentation “Listening to Oil.”

 

OPINION, REPORT, & PRESS RELEASE

Kern County Judge Halts California Plan to Stop Oil Waste Injections Into Protected Aquifers
Center for Biological Diversity

In response to a lawsuit by several oil industry trade groups, a Kern County judge yesterday temporarily halted efforts by California oil regulators to shut down hundreds of oil company injection wells dumping toxic fluid into aquifers that should be protected under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The wells affected by the ruling are in at least six California counties: Fresno, Kern, Monterey, Orange, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

 

NATIONAL

Big Oil’s Plan to Buy Into the Shale Boom
Bloomberg | Javier Blas

Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Chevron Corp., are jumping into American shale with gusto, planning to spend a combined $10 billion this year, up from next to nothing only a few years ago. The giants are gaining a foothold in West Texas with such projects as Bongo 76-43, a well which is being drilled 10,000 feet beneath the table-flat, sage-scented desert, and which then extends horizontally for a mile, blasting through rock to capture light crude from the sprawling Permian Basin.

New projects, shale boom could trigger oil oversupply by 2018-19: Goldman
Reuters

New production projects and a fresh shale boom could boost oil output by a million barrels per year and result in an oversupply in the next couple of years, according to Goldman Sachs. “2017-19 is likely to see the largest increase in mega projects’ production in history, as the record 2011-13 capex commitment yields fruit,” the U.S. investment bank said in a research note on Tuesday.

Why rust belt states are tackling methane when Trump won’t
Environmental Defense Fund | Dan Grossman

Nobody raises an eyebrow when California takes steps to rein in air pollution – but what’s going on when conservative-leaning rust belt states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania are doing the same? At a time when the Trump administration and Congress seek to scale back federal rules targeting methane emissions from energy production, a growing number of states that swung in favor of Trump in 2016 are heading in the opposite direction.

Watchdog piles on criticism of offshore drilling regulator
The Hill | Timothy Cama

A watchdog is alleging numerous problems at the federal government’s offshore drilling regulator, including in its inspection and environmental stewardship programs. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the latest on the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) from Congress’s watchdog, which previously identified problems ranging from revenue collection to employee retention and organizational restructuring.

Companies promise Trump a fight over his plan to scrap energy-efficiency program
Washington Examiner | John Siciliano

Proponents of the federal Energy Star program for energy efficient appliances are promising President Trump a fight if he maintains his deep cuts to the program in his final budget in May. “This is a destructive proposal that walks away from decades of bipartisan support for energy efficiency going back to the Reagan administration and beyond,” said Kateri Callahan, the president of the Alliance to Save Energy, a group that advocates for policies to boost efficiency.

Trump Lays Plans to Reverse Obama’s Climate Change Legacy
The New York Times | Coral Davenport

President Trump is poised in the coming days to announce his plans to dismantle the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s climate change legacy, while also gutting several smaller but significant policies aimed at curbing global warming. The moves are intended to send an unmistakable signal to the nation and the world that Mr. Trump intends to follow through on his campaign vows to rip apart every element of what the president has called Mr. Obama’s “stupid” policies to address climate change.

Trump’s Environmental Spending Cuts Could Cost Republican Districts Billions
Bloomberg | Christopher Flavelle, Blacki Migliozzi and Paul Murphy

President Donald Trump’s cuts to environmental programs may face resistance from members of his own party due to an Obama administration practice that spread billions of dollars in contracts to Republican as well as Democratic congressional districts. A Bloomberg analysis of federal contract data shows that spending related to the environment reached 423 congressional districts in fiscal year 2016 and totaled $5.9 billion. Almost half that spending—47 percent—went to districts represented by Republicans.

Electric cars pose little threat to oil demand ($)
Financial Times | Cuneyt Kazokoglu

The popular claim that a surge in electric cars will hasten the arrival of peak oil demand is undermined by the data. The majority of the world’s cars will remain powered by petrol, also commonly known as gasoline, for at least the next two decades and this will drive oil demand, according to data from Facts Global Energy.

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Fracking Press Clips: March 21, 2017

TOP STORY

  • Oil producers who had been facing fines of $25,000 per day if they didn’t shut down injection well operations by Feb. 15 got a reprieve Monday when a Kern County judge issued a preliminary injunction barring the state from carrying out those enforcement actions. (Bakersfield Californian)

 

CALIFORNIA 

Plugging, Disclosing Leaks Becoming Routine at Aliso Canyon
Natural Gas Intel | Richard Nemec

In the past three months, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has reported various leaks at its closed Aliso Canyon underground natural gas storage complex. The latest incident, albeit small, happened Friday with a “minor leak” in an eight-inch diameter above-ground pipeline. Last Friday’s incident was not connected to any of the 86 Bcf capacity, 3,600-acre underground storage facility’s 114 storage wells, all of which have been undergoing testing and upgrades. A large methane leak was plugged at the the facility in February 2016.

Judge stops arbitrary state action against oilfield injection wells
Bakersfield Californian | Lois Henry

Oil producers who had been facing fines of $25,000 per day if they didn’t shut down injection well operations by Feb. 15 got a reprieve Monday when a Kern County judge issued a preliminary injunction barring the state from carrying out those enforcement actions. Superior Court Judge Tom Clark found the state Division of Oil Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) had put the cart before the horse, so to speak, in its emergency regulations regarding the continued operation of about 460 so-called injection wells. The state has to find some actual harm is being caused by the wells and go through a hearing process before it can issue fines or shut down operations.

 

NATIONAL

Energy storage is America’s industry to lose
Energy Wire | David Ferris

Julie Blunden is a former solar executive who sees a market that is strapping on its boots for a steep and inexorable climb. Blunden and a growing number of experts believe that energy storage will be worth tens of billions of dollars in revenue within a decade, regardless of what the Trump administration does to harm or help. Batteries will start showing up everywhere, sending shock waves through the auto industry, the electric grid, the petroleum industry and the broader power sector, adding tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs to the economy.

Shell’s Titanic Bet: Can Deep-Water Drilling Be Done on the Cheap? ($)
Wall Street Journal | Lynn Cook, Sarah Kent, and Paul Kiernan

Facing low oil prices for the foreseeable future, Royal Dutch Shell is learning to rein in costs and squeeze more production out of big offshore platforms by using drilling techniques from onshore.

Plenty of Cash Lies Buried on Canada’s Oil Sands ($)
The Wall Street Journal | Spencer Jakab

Earlier this month, Marathon Oil agreed to spend more than $1 billion on acreage in the Permian Basin, the very hottest place on the planet to drill for oil. On the same day, it announced the sale of other properties 2,000 miles due north in Canada’s oil sands, a significantly less popular place to invest right now.

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Fracking Press Clips: March 20, 2017

TOP STORY

  • Southern California Gas Co. officials said Friday they were working to stop a methane leak discovered on an above-ground pipeline at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility near Porter Ranch — though a county fire official said the leak didn’t happen. (Los Angeles Daily News, CBS Los Angeles)

 

CALIFORNIA 

SoCalGas reports gas leak on pipeline at Aliso Canyon, fire official calls it ‘false alarm’
Los Angeles Daily News | Ryan Fonseca

Southern California Gas Co. officials said Friday they were working to stop a methane leak discovered on an above-ground pipeline at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility near Porter Ranch — though a county fire official said the leak didn’t happen. “Crews are in the process of isolating the pipeline to stop the release of natural gas,” utility officials wrote in a community notification sent to residents via email just before 6:30 p.m., adding that the pipeline is not in a well.

Porter Ranch Residents Uneasy After Latest Aliso Canyon Gas Leak
CBS Los Angeles

A new leak discovered in an above-ground pipeline at the Aliso Canyon storage facility had nearby Porter Ranch residents again very concerned. “Doesn’t make me happy, I want them to shut it down,” Porter Ranch resident Diane Sabitz told KCAL9 Saturday. In an email sent out to nearby residents, the Southern California Gas Company said crews discovered the natural gas leak Friday afternoon in an 8-inch pipe during a routine inspection. A SoCalGas spokesperson confirmed to KCAL9 the leak was capped at 7:40 p.m Friday.

Fracking opponents, BLM talk future oil and gas leases in county
Benito Link | John Chadwell

While a mild-mannered band of fracking protesters congregated outside San Juan Oaks Golf Club on March 15, inside, a far larger group of uniformed and non-uniformed Bureau of Land Management (BLM) personnel were preparing to give their third presentation to lay out potential oil and gas leasing scenarios for more than 793,000 acres of public lands. Previously, they gave the same presentation in Coalinga and at Ft. Ord.

 

OPINION, REPORT, & PRESS RELEASE

Low oil prices prove how wrong Obama was yet again
New York Post | Post Editorial Board

With oil prices struggling to rebound after hitting a three-month low last week, Americans are getting yet another reminder of just how wrong President Barack Obama was about drilling. “The American people aren’t stupid,” he said back in 2012 — when the price of oil was above $100 a barrel and gas was $3.50-plus a gallon at the pump. They know “we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.” Well, he was right about one thing: Americans aren’t stupid. They wisely ignored him and drilled anyway. Guess what? Supplies rose and drove down prices. They haven’t come back since.

 

NATIONAL

Republican green groups seek to temper Trump on climate change
Reuters | Emily Flitter

President Donald Trump’s outspoken doubts about climate change and his administration’s efforts to roll back regulation to combat it have stirred a sleepy faction in U.S. politics: the Republican environmental movement. The various groups represent conservatives, Catholics and the younger generation of Republicans who, unlike Trump, not only recognize the science of climate change but want to see their party wrest the initiative from Democrats and lead efforts to combat global warming.

Oil Drops as U.S. Drilling Growth Threatens to Counter OPEC Cuts
Bloomberg | Mark Shenk and Rakteem Katakey

Oil fell as U.S. drilling continues to climb and Libyan crude ports prepare to reopen, undermining the potential for OPEC output curbs to rebalance the market, even if extended into the second half of the year. U.S. oil this month dipped below $50 a barrel for the first time in 2017 as near-record U.S. stockpiles and rising output weighed on the production reductions by OPEC and its allies.

Trump took the first steps to make it easier for frackers to pollute on public lands
ThinkProgress | Mary Ellen Kustin

The Trump administration announced this week, via a court filing, that it intends to roll back a rule meant to safeguard human health and the environment from the effects of fracking on public and tribal lands. In a motion filed Wednesday in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Trump administration indicated that it will begin a process to rewrite the fracking rule, which was put in place by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2015.

Governor calls for ban on fracking in Maryland
The Washington Post | Josh Hicks and Ovetta Wiggins

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) called Friday for a ban on hydraulic fracturing in the state, adding a new twist to a legislative debate over whether to prohibit the controversial gas-extraction method or extend a moratorium on it for another two years.

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Fracking Press Clips: March 17, 2017

TOP STORY

  • The Trump administration’s move to shelve aggressive vehicle fuel economy standards raises the possibility of a confrontation over what for decades has been at the core of California’s fight against air pollution: the state’s power to set its own stricter emissions rules. (Los Angeles Times)

 

CALIFORNIA 

Trump’s push to ease vehicle emissions rules takes aim at the foundation of California’s air pollution fight
Los Angeles Times | Tony Barboza

The Trump administration’s move to shelve aggressive vehicle fuel economy standards raises the possibility of a confrontation over what for decades has been at the core of California’s fight against air pollution: the state’s power to set its own stricter emissions rules. California officials have moved swiftly to defend that unique authority under the Clean Air Act because it underpins the dramatic reduction in Los Angeles’ smog, one of the nation’s biggest environmental health success stories.

Tesoro Refinery Integration Plans Stir More Southern California Air Debates
Natural Gas Intel | Richard Nemec

Tesoro Corp. plans to integrate its two major Southern California refineries are stirring debate about what the proposed $460 million project means to longstanding efforts to curb air pollution throughout the Los Angeles Basin. On Wednesday, attorneys for the City of Carson, in which one of the two refineries is located, sent a letter to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) outlining local objections to the draft environmental review now being completed by the air quality regulators.

New Reports Call For More Transparency Among California Oil Companies
Valley Public Radio | Ezra David Romero

Midway Sunset is the oldest oil field in California and according to a study by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace its also one of the most productive. With that comes a lot of emissions of things like fine particulate matter and carbon dioxide. The reports look at emissions from more than 150 oils in the state and the group says more needs to be done to better regulate the state’s oil resources. “By knowing more about its oil California has the opportunity to transform a critical sector and the oil sector is definitely going to have to respond to a warming world,” says Deborah Gordon, the group’s Energy and Climate Program. “California has a leadership role to play here.”

BLM opens oil lease hearings
The Californian

An orderly audience of about 50 people attended a rally and hearing on Thursday regarding the Bureau of Land Management’s effort to resume leasing public land in California to oil companies. “The BLM has not held a single oil-lease sale in the state since 2013,” a news release from the Center for Biological Diversity states, “when a federal judge ruled that the agency violated the law by issuing oil leases in Monterey County without considering the environmental risks of fracking.”

Policy Paper Seeks Info on California Oil Industry
Courthouse News Service | Rebekah Kearn

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace released a study this week calling for more transparency in the oil industry, and nominating California as the leader in the fight for clean air. “Need to Know: The Case for Oil Transparency in California,” details information about the oil and natural gas industry and its greenhouse gas emissions. Deborah Gordon, the author, told Courthouse News the study should help California, the nation’s third-largest oil-producing state, protect climate, health, and public safety by identifying the worst offenders. It also shows how California can lead innovation to reduce emissions.

What’s In Your Oil?: Report Suggests Oil Composition Data Can Help State Continue Leading on Climate Change
Long Beach Post | Jason Ruiz

Two new publications calling for greater transparency when it comes to the composition of oils being refined in California facilities were released Wednesday, revealing that the state’s varying types of oil have led to inconsistencies in pollution types and levels. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a global network of policy research, published Need to Know: The Case for Oil Transparency in California and Drilling Down On Oil: the Case of California’s Complex Midway Sunset Field, which focus on the challenges and opportunities the state has in developing a more open-data approach to its oil sources.

EDF Targeting California Oilfield Pollution
Natural Gas Intel | Richard Nemec

With one of its guns trained on the statenatural gas storage and delivery systems, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) this week aimed another one at oil and natural gas fields in California, targeting alleged public health problems for populations living in and around production areas in a state that has several urban-located drill sites.

 

OPINION, REPORT, & PRESS RELEASE

California must fight Trump on the environment
Record-Bee

The Legislature should join with Gov. Jerry Brown to build a Green Wall around California. It’s the only way to preserve the environmental protections Californians value as President Donald Trump sets about dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency. A package of bills introduced by California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and three Southern California lawmakers would make the existing federal clean water, clean air and endangered species protections state law.

Nurses Applaud SLO Board of Supervisors’ Vote to Uphold Rejection of Phillips 66 Oil Train Project
Tri County Sentry

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United welcomed the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors vote to uphold the Planning Commission’s rejection of a controversial proposal by Phillip 66 to transport millions of gallons of crude tar sands oil through the county by rail every week. “This community has sent a decisive message to Phillips 66 that we strongly oppose this proposal. These oil trains are a danger to this community, and we ask Phillips 66 to respect the wishes of the people here, and not appeal this decision any further,” said Sydnee Raphael, RN, French Hospital.

 

NATIONAL

White House: Climate funding is ‘a waste of your money’
The Hill | Devin Henry

The White House on Thursday defended a proposal to slash federal funding for climate change programs, calling it “a waste of your money.” “I think the president was fairly straightforward on that: We’re not spending money on that anymore,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said at a White House briefing on Thursday.

Enviros attack Trump team’s plan to scrap fracking rule
EnergyWire | Ellen Gilmer

Supporters of an Obama-era hydraulic fracturing rule are mobilizing to oppose the Trump administration’s newly announced effort to scrap the regulation. Hours after government officials notified a federal court yesterday that they are working to rescind the fracking rule, a filing by environmental groups urged a panel of judges to allow litigation to move forward as scheduled.

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Fracking Press Clips: March 16, 2017

TOP STORY

  • California is home to some of the world’s dirtiest oil, according to a study from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The report looked at the entire life cycle of oil, from production to end use, and found some oils emit as much or more greenhouse gases as Canada’s oil tar sands. (Capital Public Radio)

 

CALIFORNIA 

Acosta requests $2 million for Aliso Canyon study
The Signal | Gina Ender

Over a year has passed and there has yet to be a health study conducted for the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak, so Assemblyman Dante Acosta is trying to speed up the process. According to an announcement from Acosta’s office on Tuesday, the assemblyman put in a request to the budget committee to triple the money already designated to conduct the study in Porter Ranch.

Trump’s war on California cars: Outraged LA Mayor Garcetti fights back
My News LA | Jackie Fernandez

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Wednesday opposed President Donald Trump’s move to cancel new vehicle fuel economy standards put in place by the Obama administration. The standards would require all new passenger vehicles to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. “Climate change is the single greatest threat to humanity’s future. Reducing emissions through federal fuel economy standards is key to making America more competitive, and to meeting our commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement,” Garcetti said.

Study: California Has Some Of The World’s Dirtiest Oil
Capital Public Radio | Amy Quinton

California is home to some of the world’s dirtiest oil. That’s according to a study from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington, D.C. based think tank. The report looked at the entire life cycle of oil, from production to end use, and found some oils emit as much or more greenhouse gases as Canada’s oil tar sands. The study also found California has some of the cleanest oils. Carnegie’s Deborah Gordon says that’s because an oil’s chemical composition can vary.

AUDIO: California’s riskiest oil fields examined in new reports
Central Valley Business Times

Midway Sunset, which is the oldest and most productive oil field in California and which essentially started the oil industry in the state, also happens to be one of the dirtiest, according to a study by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “We don’t know enough about oil in general, and California in particular,” says Deborah Gordon, a chemical engineer by education and director of the organization’s Energy and Climate Program. “The Midway Sunset Field exemplifies all that we don’t really know and understand,” says Ms. Gordon. “It’s hugely complex. What is it producing and is it being well managed and are their protections in place?”

California gas prices could rise if the state’s cap-and-trade program is extended, legislative analyst says
Los Angeles Times | Chris Megerian

As California lawmakers debate the future of the state’s battle against global warming, there’s one politically sensitive issue they’ll have to consider: gas prices. Gov. Jerry Brown wants lawmakers to extend the cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gas emissions. Right now, the price of permits sold in state-run auctions is less than $14.

Green projects face scrutiny as California lawmakers debate cap and trade
Los Angeles Times | Chris Megerian

Since Gov. Jerry Brown asked lawmakers to extend California’s cap-and-trade program, a broad cross-section of state policies on climate change are coming under the microscope. One of the most controversial issues is carbon offsets, which are environmentally friendly projects that polluters can financially support to meet requirements to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

 

NATIONAL

Enviros attack Trump team’s plan to scrap fracking rule ($)
Energy Wire | Ellen M. Gilmer

Supporters of an Obama-era hydraulic fracturing rule are mobilizing to oppose the Trump administration’s newly announced effort to scrap the regulation.

After intense public anger, Republicans waver over slashing Obama-era action on methane gas
Los Angeles Times | Evan Halper

As Republican lawmakers consider how closely to align with the climate skepticism and fossil fuel fervor radiating from the White House, a nascent clean air initiative that energy firms want scrapped is fast testing their comfort zone. Weighing on them is 41 billion cubic feet of methane, a greenhouse gas leaking from many of the nearly 100,000 oil and gas wells on federally owned land. Methane is among the most potent accelerators of global warming, 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

Interior Department to withdraw Obama-era fracking rule, filings reveal
The Washington Post | Juliet Eilperin

The Trump administration plans to withdraw and rewrite a 2015 rule aimed at limiting hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” on public lands, the Interior Department indicated in court filings Wednesday. The move to rescind the 2015 regulation, which has been stayed in federal court, represents the latest effort by the new administration to ease restraints on oil and gas production in the United States.

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Fracking Press Clips: March 15, 2017

TOP STORY

  • Anti-fracking activists are gearing up to fight the Bureau of Land Management over its plans to lease nearly 800,000 acres of land for oil and gas extraction in 12 Californian countries. (Monterey Herald, Center for Biological Diversity)

 

CALIFORNIA 

Activists to protest plans for potential expansion of fracking
Monterey Herald | Claudia Melendez Salinas

Anti-fracking activists are gearing up to continue fighting against the potential expansion of the oil extraction method, this time against the federal government. The Bureau of Land Management is hosting meetings this week to discuss plans to lease nearly 800,000 acres of land for oil and gas extraction in 12 California counties, including San Benito. It’s an old plan that’s returning after the BLM completed a new environmental report that addresses issues challenged with a lawsuit against the agency’s previous plan.

Methane Cuts Coming to California Despite Federal Rollback
Bloomberg BNA | Carolyn Whetzel

California’s oil and gas facilities and storage sites would have to tighten up their operations to meet tough requirements proposed to control methane emissions even as federal rules are expected to be rolled back. The California Air Resources Board will vote at the end of the month on whether to approve proposed rules that would slash methane releases at crude oil and natural gas facilities by as much 45 percent, or 2.5 million tons, over the next nine years.

Report: A dozen groups give Gov. Brown failing green grade
Blasting News | Thomas Richard

A coalition of green and public interest groups has published a report that says Gov. #Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) was living up to his surname: he’s more ‘Brown’ than green. It accuses him of promoting the use of fossil-fueled power plants, allowing toxic emissions, and not limiting the state’s oil drilling. The 56-page report, written by 12 groups, pointed out #California now gets 60 percent of its electricity from fossil fuel facilities, a jump of seven percent since 2012.

 

OPINION, REPORT, & PRESS RELEASE

Fracking Foes to Target Hollister Hearing on Leasing Public Lands to Oil Industry
Center for Biological Diversity

Dozens of anti-fracking activists will attend a public hearing Wednesday afternoon in Hollister to oppose the Trump administration’s plan to open hundreds of thousands of acres of public land in California to oil drilling and fracking. The hearing is part of the Bureau of Land Management’s effort to resume leasing public land in California to oil companies. The BLM has not held an oil-lease sale in the state since 2013, when a federal judge ruled that the agency violated the law by issuing oil leases in Monterey County without considering the environmental risks of fracking.

Budget Request Continues the Fight for Porter Ranch Safety
SCV News

The long-term health study in the wake of the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak is receiving a boost in funding from Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) in the form of a request to the budget committee to triple the existing money allocated for the study to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD).

Remember when Rick Perry tried to poach Tesla? California is returning the favor with his climate scientists
Los Angeles Times | Mariel Garza

Rick Perry famously visited California to poach jobs in 2013, encouraging businesses to dump the Golden State’s red tape for Texas. But maybe Brown was taking notes, because Michael Picker — his appointee to head the Public Utilities Commission — seems to have pulled a move right out of the Rick Perry poaching playbook. Picker will be passing out fliers in front of Perry’s new place of employment, the U.S. Department of Energy, listing job openings in various state agencies that work on climate change. On Thursday, he will head to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, offering a ray of hope to beleaguered climate change scientists that there’s a place that still cares about greenhouse gas emissions. “If climate scientists and experts want the opportunity to continuing doing important work for the good of our planet, my message is simple: Come West, California is hiring,” Picker said in a statement posted on Twitter.

 

NATIONAL

Amid public backlash, Republicans balk at killing a rule loathed by oil and gas firms
Los Angeles Times | Evan Halper

As Republican lawmakers consider how closely to align with the climate skepticism and fossil fuel fervor radiating from the White House, a nascent clean air initiative that energy firms want scrapped is fast testing their comfort zone. Weighing on them is 41 billion cubic feet of methane, a greenhouse gas leaking from many of the nearly 100,000 oil and gas wells on federally owned land. Methane is among the most potent accelerators of global warming, 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

Trump is poised to issue a sweeping order dismantling Obama’s climate plan this week

The Washington Post | Juliet Eilperin

President Trump could issue a sweeping executive order within days aimed at reversing his predecessor’s climate policies, a measure that energy industry officials and environmentalists have been anticipating for weeks. The directive will instruct members of the Cabinet to rewrite regulation restricting carbon emissions from both new and existing power plants, lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing and revise the way climate change is factored into federal decision-making — all key elements of the Obama administration’s effort to address climate change.

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Fracking Press Clips: March 14, 2017

TOP STORY

  • More than 150 people packed the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday for the first day of a hearing on Phillips 66 Co.’s proposal to build a rail spur so it can haul 6.6 million gallons of crude oil per week by rail to its Nipomo Mesa refinery. (San Luis Obispo)

 

CALIFORNIA 

Opponents speak out against Phillips 66’s Nipomo oil-by-rail project at SLO hearing
San Luis Obispo | Monica Vaughan

More than 150 people packed the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday for the first day of a hearing on Phillips 66 Co.’s proposal to build a rail spur so it can haul 6.6 million gallons of crude oil per week by rail to its Nipomo Mesa refinery. The crowd that overflowed into the lobby and adjacent conference room was overwhelmingly made up of local and statewide residents opposed to what some called “bomb trains,” a point punctuated by visual acts such as the unfurling of a spool of paper that allegedly contained the signatures of 5,000 opponents to the plan.

New Reports Raise Health Concerns About Emissions From California’s Oil and Gas Industry
Environmental Defense Fund | Irene Burga

For decades communities in California who live close to oil and gas facilities have reported experiencing unbearable odors of gas, headaches, nausea, respiratory problems, and even cardiac complications as a result of the industry’s emissions. The health impacts of oil and gas pollution were made crystal clear last year after a massive gas leak at a Southern California storage facility led to mass hospitalizations and forced hundreds of families to evacuate their homes. But massive gas leaks like the one at Aliso Canyon aren’t the only cause for alarm. A string of new reports confirm what many concerned communities have known for years: oil and gas emissions from across the entire supply chain can wreak havoc on our health, and are often higher than experts previously thought.

From the Archives: 1929 oil discovery closes Venice school
Los Angeles Times | Scott Harrison

The fall 1929, discovery of oil in Venice unleashed a rush to drill. A story in the March 31, 1930, Los Angeles Times reported that, “nearly sixty Venice property owners have been granted drilling permits by the Los Angeles City Council upon approval of the City Planning Commission. “ Many of the new oil derricks rose up next to Florence Nightingale School forcing closure of the school.

 

NATIONAL

Scientists Link Fracking to Explosion That Severely Injured Texas Family
EcoWatch | Lorraine Chow

Scientists have determined that methane from a fracked well contaminated a Texas family’s water supply and triggered an explosion that nearly killed four members of the family. The family’s ranch in Palo Pinto County is located only a few thousand feet away from a natural gas well.

Big Oil’s Big Climate Divide
Bloomberg | Liam Denning

Among other things, carbon dioxide contributes enormously to cognitive dissonance.Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, demonstrated as much last week when he expressed doubts about the role of carbon dioxide emissions in fostering climate change.Only in January, the then-unconfirmed Pruitt was telling senators that “human activity” had a role in climate change and that the EPA has “an important role” in regulating carbon dioxide.

Trump’s Climate Agenda: Do Less, With Less
The Atlantic | Robinson Meyer

Scott Pruitt, the new administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seems like a refined and intelligent man. Speaking in public, he has an easy manner, a winsome smirk, and a pleasant drawl. Even though Senator Susan Collins opposed his nomination to lead the agency, the Republican senator made sure to note that he is bright and enjoyable, and that she might support him elsewhere in government. Yet on Thursday, Pruitt let slip an opinion that was ugly, and false, and ugly in its falsehood. Carbon dioxide, he said, is not a “primary contributor” to global warming. In his opinion, the topic requires more study and debate.

Coal industry urges Trump to protect fossil fuel research
The Hill | Devin Henry

A group of coal-mining firms, labor unions and energy-industry associations is asking the Trump administration to spare a critical research office from budget cuts this year. In a letter to President Trump released on Monday, the groups said the White House should protect the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy from funding cuts. The office studies fossil fuel technologies such as capturing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. In its letter, the group said the office “yields significant benefits” for the industry.

Can California Go 100 Percent Green?
Scientific American | Anne C. Mulkern

California’s Senate leader wants the Golden State to shift to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045, pushing it to lead the country in grabbing that green power goal. Environmentalists are cheering California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León’s (D) plan to double, and accelerate, the state’s current renewables mandate of 50 percent by 2050. Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio even tweeted his thanks to de León among his 17 million followers. The nation’s most populous state switching to fully renewable electricity sounds idealistic. But several experts said it can be done — with a lot depending on definitions, technological advancements and acceptable price tags.

The Monumentally Expensive Quest to Pull Off an Alaskan Oil Miracle
Bloomberg | Alex Nussbaum

In the subzero twilight, when the Arctic winds snarl, snow and cloud stretch to every horizon in a seamless vault of spectral white. Beyond the tundra, five miles out on the frozen sea, oil workers from a tiny outfit called Caelus Energy have welded the drilling rig shut against trespassing polar bears. This is where Jim Musselman hopes to save Alaska, or at least make a fortune trying. In a shallow estuary called Smith Bay, Musselman’s flyspeck company will work to extract an astonishing 6 billion barrels of crude. The nearby tundra, Caelus says, could yield 4 billion more.

Tillerson Used ‘Alias’ Email for Climate Messages, Schneiderman Says
Bloomberg | Erik Larson

New York says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used an email alias to discuss climate change while he was Exxon Mobil Corp.’s chief executive: Wayne Tracker. Tillerson sent messages from the account to discuss the risks posed by climate change, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a court filing about his office’s fraud investigation of the company. Tillerson, whose middle name is Wayne, used the Wayne Tracker account on the Exxon system from at least 2008 through 2015, Schneiderman said.

New plant uses artificial intelligence to treat oil field waste
Central Valley Business

A regional water treatment facility near Wasco operated by Sweetwater Tech Resources LLC is using artificial intelligence to clean wastewater from nearby oil and gas fields. The treatment plant uses artificial intelligence software made by Water Planet Inc. of Los Angeles. Water Planet says this means wastewater can be more efficiently treated for reuse giving oil producers a cost-competitive option to trucking it to third party disposal wells.

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Fracking Press Clips: March 13, 2017

TOP STORY

  • In an op-ed, NC Warn’s Jim Warren asserts that reducing methane emissions, a key driver of climate change, from fracking is crucial to averting a climate crisis. (The News & Observer)

 

CALIFORNIA 

CSUN geology professor digs into Aliso Canyon fault
Los Angeles Daily News | Gregory J. Wilcox

The Santa Susana Fault runs under Aliso Canyon at a depth of more than 19,000 feet, according to the Southern California Earthquake Data Center. And the natural gas well at the heart of the blowout runs 8,000 deep. So, when the leak pumped nearly 100,000 metric tons of gas into the atmosphere during the 112 days it took to plug the well – the discussion quickly shifted for d’Alessio. What had been an emphasis on concerns about fracking – the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas – turned into a new focus that included seismic scrutiny and the possibility of earthquakes.

“Very real” threat of earthquakes prompts Los Angeles County to sue oil and gas regulators
Temblor | David Jacobson

In a move prompted by the “very real” threat of earthquakes, Los Angeles County sued state regulators yesterday to keep the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility closed. The facility was closed after a massive leak was discovered on October 23, 2015, and lasted four months, in the process releasing nearly 100,000 tons of methane. This made it the worst natural gas leak in U.S. history. Additionally, people became sick, and thousands were forced to leave their homes.

California Wants to Go Even Greener, in Defiance of Trump
The Energy Collective | Fereidoon Sionshansi

Delivering his state of the state address 4 days after President Trump’s inauguration, California Governor Jerry Brown delivered a defiant message that the Golden State is intent on following a different vision and a radically different path to the one coming out of the nation’s capital. Climate change was mentioned third on Brown’s list of priorities for California: “Whatever they do in Washington, they can’t change the facts. And these are the facts: the climate is changing, the temperatures are rising and so are the oceans. Natural habitats everywhere are under increasing stress. The world knows this.”

 

OPINION, REPORT, & PRESS RELEASE

Ending fracking’s methane releases is crucial to averting a climate crisis
The News & Observer | Jim Warren

Climate change has been in the news lately, partly due to Donald Trump’s attacks on science. Still, there’s little mention of the extreme urgency or the key drivers of the crisis. And nobody’s telling us the very hopeful news that scientists recently learned how to lower the risk of total chaos: reduce methane emissions from fracking.

How Can You Most Effectively Defeat Trump’s Oil & Gas Cronies? #DropPollution #DropCorruption
Clean Technica | Zarchary Shahan

No, oil & gas isn’t all Trump’s team is about, but his top people (and the people reportedly pulling his strings) have been so thoroughly dipped in oil that each of them could probably fuel a Range Rover by squeezing out their socks. These oil & gas men (they are all men, aren’t they?) now have some powerful buttons to press to propel this country and world forward … or slam on the brakes. However, as powerful as they are, their efforts to fight renewables & EVs while subsidizing oil & gas could be absolutely nullified by consumers getting political with their pocketbooks. If you’ve been waiting for that final push to go solar or go electric or drop the car and take the bike instead, this is something to take very seriously.

 

NATIONAL

Scott Pruitt’s office deluged with angry callers after he questions the science of global warming
The Washington Post | Juliet Eilperin & Brady Dennis

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s phones have been ringing off the hook — literally — since he questioned the link between human activity and climate change. The calls to Pruitt’s main line, 202-564-4700, reached such a high volume by Friday that agency officials created an impromptu call center, according to three agency employees. The officials asked for anonymity out of fear of retaliation.

What’s at stake as the GOP moves to slash regulations? For starters, clean air
Los Angeles Times | Evan Halper

Amid the Republican backlash against federal scientists who write rules governing everything from movie theater popcorn to offshore oil drilling, stories abound of overburdened businesses, heavy-handed civil servants and crushing paperwork. But another story, one involving a deadly household material, offers a lesson in what can go wrong when government experts are shackled, as currently envisioned under a sweeping regulatory revision bill gliding toward President Trump’s desk.

Maryland delegates pass bill to ban fracking
Cumberland Times News

A bill that would ban hydraulic fracturing statewide passed the Maryland House of Delegates Friday, but its fate remained unclear in the Senate. The bill passed the Democratic-majority House 97-40 — 12 more votes than needed to override a possible veto by Gov. Larry Hogan. The legislation was also supported by eight Republicans.

Repsol announces largest U.S. oil discovery in 30 years
Bakken | Mary Schimke

Spanish oil company Repsol announced what it is calling “the largest U.S. onshore discovery in 30 years,” according to a March 9 press release. Repsol, and its partner Armstrong Energy discovered what they believe is approximately 1.2 billion barrels of recoverable light oil from Alaska’s North Slope in the Nanushuk play.

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