Waste dumping in the Gulf sparks lawsuit from environmental group

The Center for Biological Diversity has filed notice that it intends to sue the Trump administration for allowing oil companies to dump waste into the Gulf of Mexico.

The group, in a document filed in federal court Thursday (Dec. 7), says a permit approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allows companies operating offshore oil and gas platforms to dump unlimited amounts of waste fluid, including harmful chemicals used in fracking, into the Gulf.

The dumping could potentially harm threatened populations of whales, sea turtles and other marine species, the filing said…


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Cheniere boosts LNG tanker fleet amid Asian demand boom Save to read list

Reuters are reporting that US LNG producer Cheniere Energy has expanded its shipping fleet with a flurry of spot vessel charters to keep up with Asian winter demand growth as spot prices LNG-AS hit three-year highs.

Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana pumped out 22 cargoes last month and more are expected as it ramps up its fourth production unit, or train, with more than half of all November volumes sold to China, Japan or South Korea, according to ship-tracking data.

An 82% surge in Asian spot LNG prices this year, driven by robust Chinese demand, rising oil and coal prices and nuclear supply shortfalls in South Korea and Taiwan, has left producers chasing to lock in sales…


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LABI and LOGA Endorse President Trump’s Nominations for the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

In September 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Kyle S. Duncan and Judge Kurt Engelhardt to the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Duncan is currently a partner at Schaeer Duncan LLP in Washington D.C. while Judge Engelhardt serves as the Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Just recently, two industry groups in Louisiana approved of President Trump’s nominees.  The Louisiana Association of Business Industry (“LABI”) and the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (“LOGA”) officially endorsed Duncan and Chief Judge Engelhardt in November 2017.  Both LABI and LOGA are strong advocates for developing incentives and legislation that support economic growth in Louisiana, especially through the production of oil and gas.

LOGA President Don Briggs provided his opinion regarding President Trump’s nominees by stating, “The leadership, experience, and knowledge that Mr. Duncan and Judge Engelhardt possess cannot be overstated.  As the business and industry community looks to clean up the legal environment in order to attract more jobs and investment in Louisiana, it is imperative that we confirm fair and impartial judges that realize the value that businesses bring to our great state”…


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With new refinery manager, four women now leading ExxonMobil Louisiana operations

The ExxonMobil Baton Rouge refinery will have its first-ever female manager at the start of the new year when Gloria Moncada takes on the role, which will add yet another woman to the top ranks of ExxonMobil’s Louisiana facilities.

Moncada—who returns to the Baton Rouge refinery where she began her career in 1992 as an engineer—will replace Mark Northcutt, who ran the facility for five years. The Baton Rouge refinery is the fourth largest in the nation with more than 3,700 employees and contractors.

“Out of our five major ExxonMobil Baton Rouge facilities and the ExxonMobil Pipeline Company’s southeast operations, we now have four women in top leadership roles: new Refinery Manager Gloria Moncada, Polyolefins Plant Manager Angela Zeringue, Plastics Plant Manager Jennifer Dunphy and ExxonMobil Pipeline Company Southeast Area Manager Shonta Greenwood,” says spokesperson Stephanie Cargile…


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Senate and House tax plans: What you need to know

Highlights of Senate, House GOP bills to overhaul tax code

The Senate and the House seek to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code but go about it in different ways. With the Senate bill passed Saturday and the House bill passed two weeks ago, congressional Republicans now will work quickly on a compromise measure to send to President Donald Trump by Christmas.

A comparison of the Senate and House bills, each coming in at nearly $1.5 trillion…

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Natural Gas Shale In The Haynesville Ripe For Dealmaking

About 10 years ago, the Haynesville Shale in East Texas and northwest Louisiana was hopping with operators looking to plumb for natural gas. But when natural gas prices sank to new lows about five years ago, companies began shunning it for more promising gas prospects in the Marcellus and Utica Shales in Appalachia – and to pursue oil riches in West Texas’ and New Mexico’s Permian Basin.

Now the Haynesville is back with rig counts trebling and production hitting four-year highs, thanks to rising natural gas prices and new petrochemical, fertilizer and export facilities popping up along the Gulf Coast. And that leads some observers to think the region could be ripe for some dealmaking.

David Beard, a senior analyst for exploration and production at research and trading firm Coker Palmer Institutional, said newfracking techniques have driven some impressive well results in the basin, which has the pipeline capacity to get supplies to the petrochemical demand centers along the Gulf Coast…


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Changing Headlines

Don Briggs, President of the Louisiana Oil and Association 

It is not uncommon to hear people all across Louisiana talking about the Permian Basin and for a good reason. The west Texas formation saw its first commercial oil well completed in 1921, and since then, the basin continues to be a predominant supplier of United States oil and gas. Some even say that an oil and gas recovery begins and ends in this portion of West Texas.

The Lone Star state has benefitted tremendously from the exploration, production, and transportation of oil and gas. Recently, Texas Tech University conducted a report looking at the current and future impacts of the oil and gas pipeline industry on Texas’ bottom line. The report found that between 2014 and 2024, the pipeline industry’s economic impact will generate around $374 billion in economic output, $212 billion in additional gross state product, and contribute $19.5 billion in state and local government revenues, as well as sustain an average of 171,000 jobs. Who wouldn’t be eager to talk about these numbers?

In Louisiana, when we see an increase in oil and gas activity, it’s the Haynesville shale formation.  For many years, people wrote off the Haynesville as a place that was just too expensive to produce. So the Haynesville was forgotten and companies headed northeast to the Marcellus and Utica formations in search of lower cost oil and gas production. But years of shut-in production due to a lack of pipeline infrastructure are causing companies and investors to return to what some have called a natural gas giant in North Louisiana. This turn of events is very welcomed news.

From the 30,000 foot view, it would look as though Louisiana is making a recovery, and the town of Lafayette, which relies heavily on the oil and gas industry, should be getting back on their feet. That is just not the case; the vast majority of oil and gas activity is above I-10. The truth is that many oil and gas companies in south Louisiana, especially oilfield service companies, are moving away from southern Louisiana and in many cases, walking across the border to Texas where there is opportunity and willingness to invest. According to those who do business in West Texas, it is not uncommon to see many Louisiana license plates at various Texas restaurants and gas stations.

So what is the issue with oil and gas activity in south Louisiana? It’s not that this part of Louisiana is void of oil and gas to be produced or has a lack of pipeline infrastructure…it’s not that we aren’t strategically located on the Gulf of Mexico with some of the busiest ports in the U.S. The reason that investors aren’t willing to invest in south Louisiana is due to the multiple lawsuits against oil and gas companies. What smart investor would spend hard earned capital in a place where he or she is almost all but promised to get sued decades later? The issue of a toxic legal environment was recognized by the United States Chamber for Legal Reform. The group ranked Louisiana as having the worst legal system in the nation.

It is time that the people of Louisiana see for themselves why south Louisiana isn’t thriving and why south of I-10 hasn’t kept up the influx of oil and gas activity in Louisiana. Trial lawyers and frivolous ligation are destroying our industry and hurting Louisiana’s financial footing. It is time we stop reading headlines about jobs leaving south Louisiana and start making headlines about bringing jobs back home.

Shell Midstream acquires stakes in Gulf corridor pipelines as part of $825 million deal

Houston-based Shell Midstream Partners L.P. will pay Shell $825 million for stakes in pipelines that serve the Gulf of Mexico and connect Gulf Coast refineries to the Midwest and LOOP’s Louisiana storage facility to the oil trading hub in St. James.

The deal announced late Tuesday includes a 22.9 percent interest in Mars Oil Pipeline Co.  and 22 percent of Odyssey Pipeline LLC, which serve high-growth areas in the Gulf. Those stakes will result in Shell Midstream owning 71.5 percent of Mars and 71 percent of Odyssey.

Shell Midstream also acquired 10 percent of Explorer Pipeline Co. and 41.5 percent of LOCAP LLC. Explorer owns a 1,830-mile products pipeline extending from Gulf Coast refineries to the upper Midwest. LOCAP owns a 55-mile crude pipeline from the Louisiana offshore oil port’s Clovelly Salt Dome facility to the St. James trading hub…


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Houma-Thibodaux jobless rate drops as more leave workforce

Houma-Thibodaux gained 300 jobs last month but lost 1,700 since last October amid a lingering offshore oil bust, new figures show.

The report, released today by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, reflects the first job gains since June.

The metro area, comprised of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, posted a 4.5 percent unemployment rate in October, down from 5.5 percent in September and 6.6 percent a year ago…


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ExxonMobil touts $340 million in project investments in Baton Roiuge in 2017

Project investments by ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge in 2017 totaled about $340 million and included projects at all five local facilities, the company said Monday.

“We are experiencing a narrow window of increased capital investment opportunity,” said ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Chemicals Sites Manager Dave Luecke. “With the low cost of natural gas in the U.S. and the growing demand for plastics and polymers across the world, we are investing more in new projects along the Gulf Coast. Hopefully, we will be able to bring some of this increased investment to Baton Rouge.”

The 2017 projects include upgrades that help position ExxonMobil Baton Rouge to compete in the worldwide marketplace, and do not include investments to meet regulatory requirements, the company said. The investments resulted in more than $30.6 million in local sales and use taxes…


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