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From: jrhana1/10/2011 6:04:13 PM
   of 6158
America's Natural Gas Alliance Appoints Tom Hassenboehler Vice President of Policy Development and Legislative Affairs

Posted : Mon, 10 Jan 2011 15:56:50 GMT
Author : America's Natural Gas Alliance
Category : Press Release

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) has named Tom Hassenboehler as Vice President of Policy Development and Legislative Affairs. Hassenboehler comes to ANGA with a strong background in energy and environmental policy and political affairs.

In this role, Hassenboehler will help develop policy recommendations to put to greater use the nation's vast domestic natural gas supplies to create jobs, reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and improve air quality.

"Tom's knowledge of energy and environmental policy, coupled with his deep understanding of Congress and the many benefits of natural gas, will be a tremendous asset to ANGA's efforts to promote greater utilization of this clean, domestic energy source," said ANGA President and CEO Regina Hopper.

Hassenboehler joins ANGA after nearly a decade on Capitol Hill, serving as Minority Counsel to the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, and as Counsel on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In these roles, he helped develop floor strategies for the consideration of several key energy and environmental bills. Hassenboehler previously worked in the offices of former Reps. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and Bob Riley (R-AL).

"Natural gas offers an important opportunity to drive our economy forward while improving energy security," Hassenboehler said. "I am convinced that policies that take full advantage of our abundant and affordable domestic natural gas resource can make a positive difference in our energy future, and I look forward to working to make these policies a reality."

Hassenboehler earned a bachelor's degree and juris doctorate from Louisiana State University.

America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) represents 31 of the nation's leading independent natural gas exploration and production companies. ANGA members are dedicated to increasing the appreciation of the environmental, economic and national security benefits of clean, abundant, American natural gas. Learn more about ANGA at

SOURCE America's Natural Gas Alliance

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From: jrhana1/10/2011 6:13:44 PM
   of 6158
Shale Oil Drillers Move From Gas and Strike High Cost
January 10, 2011, 12:30 PM EST

By Mike Lee and Jim Polson

(Updates with Moody’s comment in fourth paragraph.)

Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. natural-gas companies are getting hit with the highest costs in four years as they shift more production to oil to escape low gas prices.

EOG Resources Inc., Chesapeake Energy Corp. and SandRidge Energy Inc. each have announced $1 billion transactions in the past year to ramp up onshore production of higher-profit oil and other petroleum liquids as booming gas production deflated prices.

The new oil rush is focused on dense rock formations that require the same mix of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing as the fields that created today’s gas glut. Surging competition for these drilling-related services has pushed costs up 16 percent, and are expected to continue rising at least through the first half of 2011, analysts said.

A report today by Moody’s Investors Services predicted that the trend will continue through 2011. Costs will increase “not just because of strong oil prices, but also because natural-gas producers will have to keep working their plays amid unfavorable economic conditions,” the report said.

Prices are “outrageous,” Gary Evans, chief executive officer of Magnum Hunter Resources Inc., told analysts Dec. 27 after buying liquids-rich shale gas fields in West Virginia and Kentucky. “It’s the pumping services and completion costs that keep us all awake at night.”

Those include hydraulic fracturing that frees oil and gas from untapped reservoirs by pumping in millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to crack the rock.

Gas producers opted for oil-soaked rock deposits as crude prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 15 percent to $91.38 a barrel in 2010. Natural gas fell 21 percent to $4.41 a million British thermal units in 2010.

Reward and Punishment

Investors in 2010 initially snapped up energy producers that increased their crude output and punished those who didn’t. They proved willing to shed stock of companies that missed budget or production targets.

EOG shares closed at a yearly high April 23 after the company predicted April 2 that about two-thirds of its 2011 revenue will come from oil and petroleum liquids, compared with a fourth in 2010. The stock fell 9 percent on Nov. 3 after it forecast lower production and higher costs than expected. The shares ended the year down 6.7 percent.

“You’re dealing with a liquid that doesn’t flow as freely as gas,” Kurt Hallead, an Austin, Texas-based analyst for RBC Capital Markets, said in an interview. “Some investors view oil wells as less complex, and that is not absolutely the case.”

Early Bird Advantage

Southwestern Energy Co. stuck to its focus on gas and trailed the 13 other companies in Standard & Poor’s 500 Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Index with a 22 percent drop in 2010. Pioneer Natural Resources Co., one of the first gas producers to focus on oil drilling, lead the index with an 80 percent gain.

Companies that got into oil early benefit as rising crude prices yield more cash to accelerate drilling, Michael Bodino, director of energy research at Global Hunter Securities, said in a Jan. 4 interview.

Though oil remains more valuable than gas, the higher costs are cooling investor interest. Moody’s Investors Service said Nov. 17 it may lower EOG’s debt rating of A3, the fourth-lowest, citing the cost of switching to oil.

Price Effects

Argus Research Corp. cut its rating on shares of Chesapeake, the largest U.S. gas producer after Exxon Mobil Corp., to “sell” from “hold” on Nov. 30, citing “profligate spending.” Chesapeake said its cost for new wells may rise 11 percent to $5 billion next year as it accelerates shale-oil exploration.

SandRidge, based in Oklahoma City, fell by as much as half after announcing the $1.55 billion purchase of Arena Resources Inc., an owner of Texas oil fields. The shares rebounded after the company announced a $110 million asset sale to help fund 2011 drilling. SandRidge shares lost 22 percent last year.

Gas production from dense rock such as shale helped drive down the price of natural gas to about $4.41 per million British thermal units at year end from a high of $13.58 in 2008.

At the same time, average prices for fracturing in the first half of 2010 rose 16 percent from a year earlier and will rise further in 2011 on shortages of equipment, Hallead, the RBC analyst, wrote in a Dec. 1 note to clients.

Oil dominates production in three of the four most expensive rock deposits currently being fractured, the Eagle Ford, Permian and Bakken, RBC Capital said. The Haynesville Shale gas field in Louisiana is the other.

Average well cost in the Eagle Ford surged 49 percent in the past two years to $8.2 million, Halliburton Co., a drilling service provider, told investors in a Nov. 10 presentation.

Longer Waits

Rising demand led to a two-month wait on equipment and services, Hallead said. A record 762 rigs were drilling for oil on land in the U.S. as of Dec. 24, a 90 percent increase in a year, with almost all the added rigs in basins that require horizontal drilling, service company Baker Hughes Inc. reported.

Baker Hughes shares rose 41 percent in 2010 while larger competitor Halliburton rose 36 percent. Carbo Ceramics Inc., a maker of beads used to prop open cracks in oil-bearing rock, rose 52 percent.

Costs may begin moderating in the second half of 2011 as more equipment becomes available, Scott Gruber, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein Limited, said in a Jan. 6 note to clients.

High Costs

EOG signed long-term contracts for fracturing services to control costs. Pioneer formed two in-house fracturing crews, saving $300,000 a well, Chief Operating Officer Timothy Dove told investors Dec. 7.

Chesapeake sold a third of its Eagle Ford holdings to Cnooc Ltd. for $1.08 billion. Southwestern is selling acreage in the Haynesville Shale. EOG planned to sell $1 billion of gas fields to raise cash for drilling, though its first announced sale, for $405 million, fell through Dec. 22.

Many dense-rock oil deposits may prove to be too expensive to produce with current fracturing technology, said Bruce H. Vincent, President of Swift Energy Co., which has begun pumping oil from wells in the Eagle Ford.

“We’re all learning and anybody who says they know it all or has the magic bullet is deceiving themselves,” Vincent said.

For more news and information: Five-year oil, gas price: {NG1 <Comdty> CL1 <Comdty> HSN W <GO>} U.S. rig count, five-year graph: {BAKETOT <Index> GP W <GO>} Oil and gas producers: {BI NGAS <GO>} U.S. oil supply and storage data: {DOE <GO>}

--Editors: Susan Warren, Tina Davis.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mike Lee in Dallas at; Jim Polson in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at
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From: jrhana1/10/2011 10:33:15 PM
   of 6158
Honda to offer natural gas, hybrid versions of 2012 Civic

By Dee-Ann Durbin

Associated Press
Posted: 01/10/2011 03:49:21 PM PST
Updated: 01/10/2011 05:09:24 PM PST

DETROIT -- Honda Motor said Monday it plans to sell a nearly emission-free, natural gas-powered version of its new Civic sedan in all 50 states starting this year.

The company also plans to release a hybrid version of the 2012 Civic, which it debuted at the Detroit auto show. The Civic is set to go on sale later this spring.

The 2012 Civic is the ninth generation of the popular sedan, which first went on sale in 1972. It has a more sophisticated look than its predecessor, with chiseled lines in the sides and on the hood and a more aerodynamic roof.

Honda will offer two-door and four-door versions. It wouldn't reveal a price, but the current Civic starts at $15,805.

The last generation of the Civic, which went on sale in late 2005 as a 2006 model, has been a perennial best-seller in the U.S. But sales began to taper off as newer competitors like the redesigned Toyota Corolla came on the market. Honda Civic sales were flat last year compared to the year before.

The small-car segment is expected to heat up in 2011 as gas prices rise and more new models come on the market, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra. John Mendel, executive vice president for sales for Honda in the U.S., said he welcomes the competition.

"It's a great time to be a consumer in the marketplace," Mendel said.

Mendel dismissed concerns about the pace of Honda's U.S. sales in 2010. Honda's sales were up 7 percent over 2009, but the overall industry's sales were up 11 percent. He said Honda's sales didn't dip as far as some other companies in 2009, and it relied less on sales to daily-rental and commercial fleets in 2010 than some of its competitors.

"If you're looking for long, consistent, continual growth, you have to look at Honda," he said.

Honda currently sells around 1,500 natural-gas Civics each year, mostly to government fleets. Until now, it only sold natural-gas Civics to individual buyers in California, Oklahoma, New York and Utah.

But the company wants to widen access to the vehicle, which has a traditional internal combustion engine but produces almost no emissions. Ninety-eight percent of natural gas used in the U.S. also comes from North America, which advocates say lessens dependence on foreign oil. There are around 1,000 natural gas fueling stations in the U.S., and 500 of them are open to the public, according to Natural Gas Vehicles for America, a lobbying group.

The traditional gas-powered Civic will get around 40 miles per gallon, according to Mendel.

For the hybrid version, Honda will use a lithium-ion battery for the first time. Previously, it used a nickel-metal hydride battery, similar to the one used in the Toyota Prius.

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From: jrhana1/11/2011 10:12:40 AM
   of 6158
Marcellus Shale fuels small town's reawakening; Booming natural gas development has helped Towanda, Pa., shed its 'ghost town' image

Buffalo News (New York)
January 9, 2011

Not so long ago, this town was just the seat of Bradford County. Now, it lies at the epicenter of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale region.

It used to be a sleepy little place on the Susquehanna River, 190 miles southeast of Buffalo. Now, it's a boom town.

Help-wanted signs plead for waitresses, mechanics, truck drivers. Once-empty storefronts are now occupied in this hilly borough, population 3,000.

Towanda has morning and midday rush hours, thanks to the columns of trucks bearing water, sand and drill pipe. A banner hangs outside First Liberty Bank & Trust: "Gas Rights? We can help."

"People used to call Towanda a ghost town," said Shannon Clark, a Borough Council member and real estate agent. "No more."

Across the county, unemployment is down. But crime, mostly alcohol-related, is up, said Sheriff Clinton Walters. There was even a shooting at a Towanda tavern a few months back.

"We didn't have shootings in this area unless it's family members," said Jim Meehan, regional housing coordinator for Futures Community Support Services.

So many title researchers have descended on the Bradford County Courthouse to examine deeds for gas leases that the county extended office hours and installed tables in the hallways to accommodate the crowds. The rotunda looks like a college library during finals.

"Hey, this was a dead area, so the excitement is mostly good," said Shirley Rockefeller, the county's registrar and recorder of deeds. Her office has even recorded several marriages of local women to Gulf Coast roughnecks, she said.

According to the state Department of Environmental Protection, 355 of the 1,368 Marcellus wells drilled in Pennsylvania this year were drilled in this rural county on the New York border. Bradford County also leads the state in gas production.

Suddenly, in an agricultural region of 62,000 people that had been suffering long-term population decline, decent housing is in short supply.

So many outsiders have flooded in that rents have doubled. Despite the expansion of mobile-home and RV parks, longtime tenants are priced out of the market.

Gas operators have booked most of the motel rooms here and across the border 20 miles north in New York, where the state has a temporary ban on drilling so it can study the controversial extraction process called hydraulic fracturing.

Even modest lodgings are pricey, and social-service agencies that relied on motels for emergency shelter are out of luck.

"We had to turn homeless people away because there wasn't any room," said Meehan, who coordinates low-income housing in several northern counties.

Chesapeake Energy Corp., the largest leaseholder in Bradford County, opened a 276-bed dormitory and training complex last month in Athens Township. Chesapeake previously leased virtually every room in five motels.

"This will take some of the pressure off the local housing market," said Brian Grove, Chesapeake's senior director of corporate development.

The $7 million Chesapeake facility is the latest proof the boom in natural gas is here for the long haul. Industry officials project that so much natural gas is contained in the mile-deep Marcellus Shale that intense drilling activity will be sustained for at least a decade.

These days, Chesapeake employs about 1,100 people in Pennsylvania, 500 of them state residents. It took over a vacant Ames department store south of Towanda as its regional headquarters, and has 22 drill rigs operating on 1.5 million leased Marcellus acres.

Chesapeake plans to employ more local rig workers as quickly as they can be trained at the new Athens Township complex, Grove said. After the first year, rig workers make about $60,000.

The housing complex "gives the employees a chance to relax and think about something other than drilling," said Mark Guerkink, a manager.

But natural gas is never completely out of mind. Framed photos in each room depict drill-rig scenes. Pennants remind workers to practice safe work habits.

Local businessman Nick Hurley runs the cafeteria at the complex, serving 700 meals a day, including lunches that workers grab on their way out the door. Hurley also provides janitorial and laundry services for the facility.

He can't believe his good fortune. His family owns two grocery stores, but business was suffering before the gas boom hit last year.

"Our backs were against the wall," said Hurley, 36.

He started catering to gas rigs, and the business kept growing. His family's companies now employ 160 people, up from 90 before the boom, including 35 at the Man Camp alone.

"This is wonderful," he said. "We grew up in kind of a repressed area. There is no way we could have built this up without natural gas."

Unemployment is dropping faster here than in any other county in Pennsylvania -- the jobless rate was 6.8 percent in October, fourth best in the state, down from 8.1 percent a year ago.

Yet not all is harmonious.

Traffic is getting on the locals' nerves -- aggressive driving is a new experience. And overloaded trucks are destroying roads, despite drilling operators' efforts to repair the damage. "Our roads are not built for this," said Mark W. Smith, chairman of the Bradford County Board of Commissioners.

The county also has experienced some environmental problems linked to gas drilling. State officials blamed Chesapeake for tainting at least six residential water wells with methane in Wilmot Township. The company now is supplying the residents with clean water.

Smith said he believed other contamination cases were being quietly resolved by the drillers and landowners.

"It's not all good, and not all bad," he said. "It's already reshaping the social structure. Some people are winners, some are losers."
Copyright 2011 The Buffalo NewsAll Rights Reserved
Buffalo News (New York)

Wire News provided by

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From: jrhana1/11/2011 10:15:16 AM
   of 6158
EOG sells Marcellus Shale properties to Seneca for $23 million

Seneca Resources Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Company, said Jan. 10 it would acquire oil and gas properties in the Covington Township area of Tioga County, Pa., from EOG Resources Inc. for $23 million. The properties are producing natural gas from the Marcellus Shale and are also prospective for additional Marcellus reserves.

EOG had contributed this acreage to the Marcellus joint venture between Seneca and EOG that was formed in 2006. Seneca has been the operating partner on this portion of the joint venture acreage and has acquired EOG’s interest in these properties, continuing to act as the operator of all existing and future wells. The Seneca/EOG joint venture will continue, and EOG will continue to act as operator in the joint venture acreage west of Tioga County. As a result of this transaction, Seneca will add approximately 42 bcfe of proved natural gas reserves.

“The acquisition of EOG’s position in our Tioga County operations is another step in our Marcellus Shale growth plan,” said Matthew D. Cabell, president of Seneca. “This transaction will have an immediate positive impact on our production and proved reserves, and it provides us with additional upside in an area where we continue to have great success.”

With this transaction, the company’s production forecast for the entire 2011 fiscal year has been increased to a range between 65 and 75 bcfe, up from the previously announced range between 60 and 70 bcfe. In addition, the company’s capital spending in the E&P segment for fiscal 2011 is now expected to be in the range of $485 to $560 million, up from the previously announced range of $425 to $500 million.

Seneca explores for, develops and purchases natural gas and oil reserves in California, the Appalachian region, and in the Gulf Coast region of Texas and Louisiana. Currently, Seneca’s efforts are focused on evaluating, exploring, and developing reserves in the Appalachian Basin, economically producing reserves in California, and exploiting opportunities in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

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From: jrhana1/11/2011 10:24:00 AM
   of 6158
Calif. utility stops planned natural gas pipeline spikes that may have weakened San Bruno line

Associated Press

Last update: January 11, 2011 - 9:09 AM

SAN BRUNO, Calif. - A California utility said it will no longer do planned pipeline pressure spikes, which reportedly might have contributed to a fatal explosion.

Pacific Gas & Electric made the announcement Monday, a day after the San Francisco Chronicle reported pressure increases to the legal limit may have weakened the San Bruno pipeline before it ruptured on Sept. 9.

Eight people were killed and 38 homes were destroyed in the explosion and fire.

PG&E has acknowledged that it briefly raised the pressure on the pipeline two years before the pipeline explosion.

Experts told the Chronicle that the pressure spikes could have placed a strain on the pipeline and made it vulnerable to failure.


Information from: San Francisco Chronicle,

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To: jrhana who wrote (4557)1/11/2011 11:10:09 AM
From: Ditchdigger
   of 6158
Kind of an back door play on the shales, but I bought a few shares of HEK yesterday. I noticed while doing a bit of DD that HEK has a 50/50 joint venture with ETP addressing water and frac water issues. A pick and shovel type play.

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To: Ditchdigger who wrote (4933)1/11/2011 11:17:53 AM
From: jrhana
   of 6158
Any intelligently thought out suggestions are welcome. Thanks for the idea and thanks for posting.

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To: Ditchdigger who wrote (4933)1/11/2011 11:21:47 AM
From: jrhana
   of 6158
HEK definitely sounds interesting.

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To: jrhana who wrote (4935)1/11/2011 11:31:04 AM
From: Ditchdigger
   of 6158
A bit more info on HEK if your interested in this spec play.

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