Thursday, September 26, 2013

Obama administration issues rules governing hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on public lands

As part of the Obama Administration’s comprehensive strategy to support safe and responsible domestic energy production, the US Department of the Interior announces the issuance of an updated safety standards proposal for hydraulic fracturing on public and Indian lands.

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This updated proposal was formulated based on feedback on the 2012 initial draft proposal. The highlights single out the importance of sticking to safety standards; enhancing coordination between tribal and federal safety, and upholding flexibility for oil and gas developers.

The New York Times says that under the updated rule, oil companies can keep some components of their drilling fluids secret. They can also run integrity tests on a representative well instead of all wells in a fluid wherein construction methods are the same.

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While the Obama administration’s intention is to promote responsible energy production and safety and environmental protection on public lands, some environmental advocacy groups and industry officials were critical of the proposed rules.

Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government affairs for Western Energy Alliance, an association of oil companies, remarks that the government fails to justify the economic and scientific aspects of the proposal. Rather, it outwits states and tribes, decreases job creation, and hampers economic advancement.

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No matter what the public speculates about the proposal, there is one thing that everyone must work on: working together with and toward best practices for drilling and protecting human health and the environment.

Dr. Ali Ghalambor has written several significant references on hydraulic fracturing. To access more resources about the topic, follow this Twitter account.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Livestock waste produces natural gas to power trucks and barns

How natural can natural gas be? Fair Oaks Farms, one of the largest dairy farms in the US, knows the extent. For several years now, a limitless supply of cow manure runs the farm’s equipment that milk 30,000 cows three times a day and power 10 barns, a cheese factory, a cafe, a gift shop, and other facilities, like a 4D movie theater.

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Not only that, Fair Oaks Farms turns its excess livestock waste into natural fuel used by its delivery trucks and tractor trailers on a daily basis. Furthermore, the farm has opened two fueling stations, making cleaner and safer gas available for the public.

Considering that natural gas costs almost half the price of diesel, the farm’s move—of using agricultural waste to run machines—is a game changer not just for the dairy industry, but also for the whole natural gas sector. The farm saves two million gallons of diesel each year.

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“As long as we keep milking cows, we never run out of gas,” says Gary Corbett, chief executive of Fair Oaks.

Sustainable energy solutions and more commercially viable natural gas projects such as this are valid environmental responses to growing concerns about climate change and worsening pollution. Keeping up these sustainable practices will power technologies and industries of future generations.

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Oil and gas expert Dr. Ali Ghalambor has authored and co-authored books that have contributed to the education of students and professionals worldwide to accomplish the efficient production of natural gas. To learn more about his expertise, follow this Twitter account.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A portable gas detector tracks and measures leaks boosting a fuel’s green qualities

Natural gas is known as the cleanest burning fossil fuel, and the least hazardous to the environment. It works best in regions where pollution undermines energy sources by improving the quality of air and water. It is also a factor in reducing the negative effects of climate change. However, The New York Times reports that its power to restrain climate change decreases because it’s prone to leak into the air.

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 Fortunately, Picarro, a manufacturer of scientific instruments, has built a gas detector designed to measure leaks. This laser technology is a crucial new tracking tool for engineers and scientists in energy research and monitoring..

This gas detection system is an advantage to the oil and gas sector as it can be used on public roads. Aside from that, the gas tracking measures gas leaks right away and prevents damage buildup.

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 How does natural gas leak in the atmosphere?

It breaks out into the air in two ways. One would be from natural sources, like marshes and swamps. Another source is manmade structures such as wells and pipelines.

With the deterioration of the environment, it is high time humans step up on greener initiatives. As Michael R. Woelk, President and chief executive of Picarro puts it:

“Natural gas is the new green energy, supposedly, but finding and fixing the leaks would make it greener.”

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Oil and gas expert Dr. Ali Ghalambor has received various technical awards from the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the American Petroleum Institute. To learn more about his professional background and industrial pursuits, visit this Facebook page.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Military action in Syria fuels Asian market anxiety and increases oil prices

As President Obama considers military action against Syria following suspicions of using chemical weapons during an August 21 massacre that claimed more than a thousand lives, costlier oil prices are expected to come in tidal waves in Asia. This market anxiety has caused worry among investors that rising oil prices could further weaken economic growth in the region.

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 The New York Times reports that benchmark crude oil price per barrel has leaped from $107 to more than $112 by the start of September.

The impact of this oil price hike will be felt in several Asian countries, since import bills are expected to increase. Other than that, the threat of fuel inflation complicates policy makers’ efforts in advancing economic reforms.

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 This slowdown gave the Indian rupee its steepest decline in years. While stocks in Hong Kong and Japan fell more than 1.5 percent, one of the leading performers in 2012—the Philippines—lost 3 percent of its benchmark index.

This slowdown in Asian economies has pushed many investors to shift focus on other business opportunities outside Asia, like the US and Europe.

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 “A lot of cash flowed into emerging markets in the last few years as investors searched for yield,” says Andrew Sullivan, the director of sales trading at Kim Eng Securities, Hong Kong.

“Now that Western economies are showing signs of turning around, these flows have been reversing. Investors are seeking the safety of returning their cash to nearer home,” Mr. Sullivan adds.

Dr. Ali Ghalambor’s ‘Frac-Packing Handbook’ is a useful reference about the many aspects of the oil and gas sector. To learn more industry-related topics, visit this Facebook page.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

BG looking to become largest seller of natural gas by purchasing Canadian gas fields

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BG Group Plc, a UK energy company seeking to become the world’s largest seller of liquid natural gas by 2017, is planning to purchase natural gas fields in Canada to supply a proposed liquefied natural gas plant on the nation’s Pacific Coast.

The plan to build a liquefied natural gas plant on British Columbia’s Ridley Island was made so the company can ship liquefied natural gas to growing markets in Asia. The company has already partnered with Spectra Energy Corp, one of the area’s largest natural gas producers in North America, to build a 525-mile (850 km) pipeline that will pump gas into the facility. It is currently looking for additional resources to fuel its growth.

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The proposed Prince Rupert plant foresees two production units with a combined capacity of 14 million metric tons annually. BG even plans to add another production unit should the need arise. Several terminals are planned for Canada’s Pacific Coast to liquefy natural gas for shipping to Asia via tanker, and the proposed terminal is just one of those.

BG is exploring options with promoters of other LNG companies to see if cooperation on the pipeline’s development can be found and expects to make a final decision on the proposed Prince Rupert plant venture in 2016.

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More updates on the natural gas and the petroleum industry can be found at this Twitter page for Ali Ghalambor.

Restoring South Sudan's maximum crude output will take three months

Map showing position of oilfileds in Sudan, source: Drilling info international
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South Sudan can restore maximum crude production output from its oilfields in three months. The reduced production output is due to the country’s recent dispute with neighboring Sudan that shut down oilfields.

Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said that an agreement had been forged between the two countries last week to enable the resumption of cross-border oil flows, which will restore South Sudan’s crude oil production back to its fullest capacity of 350,000 barrels a day.

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Data from the World Bank show that South Sudan is a sub-Saharan country with the third largest oil reserves, next to Nigeria and Angola. As the country is landlocked on all sides, the country exports its gas reserves through Sudan, and disputes over exports between the two countries last year halted all oil production, which effectively halved the size of South Sudan’s economy to just a little more than nine billion dollars.

Mr. Dau believes that in three months, South Sudan’s current crude production output of 170,000 barrels a day will increase to 300,000 barrels a day.

In 2011, South Sudan declared independence from Sudan and took with it three quarters of the previously united country’s crude oil output. Pumped mainly by India’s ONGC, Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd, and China National Petroleum Corporation, South Sudan’s crude oil has low sulfur content and are relatively clean-burning, so it is prized by Japanese power-generating companies.

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Ali Ghalambor is an expert in natural gas and petroleum production, and has released books that are highly regarded by both petroleum engineers and students. More updates on the petroleum industry can be found at this Facebook page.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Why the world needs more petroleum engineers

Many workers today are disillusioned with their jobs, thinking they exist as spectators and not movers or changers. Petroleum engineers might be exempt from this feeling—they impact people’s lives in a big way. They extract and refine hydrocarbons to turn them into energy, which fuels industrial, commercial, and domestic activity. Petroleum engineers are easily classified as “movers.”

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Energy is a big part of people’s lives, and with more sophisticated technology, it even forms an insatiable need. Workers in the energy sector are so indispensable in the industry that a shortage of them would be catastrophic. Petroleum engineers are highly skilled and difficult to replace without attendant reforms in tertiary educational systems. The high level of specialization in their line of work --- manifested in both their formation and on-the-job training --- makes their position unique and difficult to fill. At the core of the responsibility of a petroleum engineer is ensuring abundant energy production with little environmental impact. This is what makes petroleum engineering a career for the highly skilled.

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Becoming a petroleum engineer is easier said than done. A petroleum engineer should have ample knowledge from a wide range of disciplines ranging from mathematics, geology, physics, and chemistry to create better and more efficient systems of harnessing hydrocarbon energy to bring about a balance between cheap abundant energy and a clean and safe environment.

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More about petroleum engineers and how they make things work can be found in Ali Ghalambor’s book, Petroleum Production Engineering, A Computer-Assisted Approach. More information about the author can be found at this Twitter page.

Labor costs for petroleum engineers set to rise

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With less than stellar employment rates and a glut of underemployed workers paid inadequately in the US, it is a surprise that the oil and gas industry is having trouble hiring enough skilled workers and engineers to tap into the potentially lucrative and abundant shale rock hydrocarbons.

Wages are not even a problem, as in 2012, petroleum engineers and the like earned an average of $183,000 to $285,000 depending on their position and work experience. Those numbers were a 20 to 50 percent jump from those in the NES Global Talent data in 2009. Even starting salaries for the less experienced are at $98,000.

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In fact, those salaries are poised to rise, as more oil and gas companies compete for the dangerously low number of petroleum engineers and skilled workers, aggravated by the retirement of half of the current global energy workforce in 10 years.

As the current industry workforce approaches retirement age, companies are drilling at breakneck speed to take advantage of available manpower before the generational turnover. This means the time is now to secure jobs for skilled workers and petroleum engineers. The need is so great, in fact, that many companies are poaching engineering graduates from other fields like mechanical and civil engineering and developing programs to train them as petroleum engineers.

It seems the shale and natural gas boom is already underway, and those who take advantage of it could be at the cusp of success.

Dearth of Skilled Workers Imperils $100 Billion Projects
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Ali Ghalambor is one of the foremost experts in petroleum and natural gas engineering. You can find more updates on the oil and gas industry by visiting this Facebook page.