Mexico Speeds Up Energy Overhaul

Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto took steps on Monday, August 10th, that will hasten by about a month the opening of his nation’s energy sector to foreign companies.

Peña Nieto said his government will specify this week which of Mexico’s oil and gas fields would be opened to bids by foreign companies, and which will be reserved for use by Pemex (Petroleos Mexicanos), the national oil company.

This move will enable foreign companies to obtain information a month earlier than expected so they can prepare their bids. The first round of bidding is set for early 2015.

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CIPA & WSPA Respond to Los Angeles Times Editorial

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, and Rock Zierman, chief executive officer of the California Independent Petroleum Association, wrote the following in response to an editorial in the Los Angeles Times.

As the leaders of California’s two largest petroleum-industry trade associations, we feel it is important to have an open and informed conversation about energy development in our state. This is especially important since more than 18 separate agencies regulate, permit, and inspect our operations, which can be very complex and not well understood by the public or media.

It is for this reason, we want to address a number of inaccuracies that appeared in a recent Los Angeles Times’ editorial entitled, “California needs to overhaul its protection of groundwater,” which focused on the process of produced water injection in the oil and gas development process.

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Mexico Opens Up To Foreign Oil Companies

Mexico’s vast reserves of oil and natural gas will be open to exploration by foreign companies beginning in 2015, thanks to a historic change proposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto and approved by Mexico’s Congress on August 6.

The change, which required a revision to Mexico’s constitution, opens the way for global oil companies to access untapped oil reserves that state-owned Pemex (Petroleos Mexicanos) has estimated at 113 billion barrels worth $11 trillion.

In addition, Pemex estimates that five shale fields it has identified hold 460 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, worth $2.2 trillion. One of those fields is just across the border from the richly productive Eagle Ford field in Texas.

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Breitburn Energy To Acquire QR Energy

breitburn_logoBreitburn Energy Partners LP (NASDAQ:BBEP) of Los Angeles announced on July 24th that it will acquire Houston-based QR Energy, LP (NYSE: QRE) in a transaction valued at $3 billion.

The merger will make Breitburn the nation’s largest oil-weighted upstream oil and gas master limited partnership, with an enterprise value of $7.8 billion and daily production of approximately 57,300 boe/d (barrels of oil equivalent per day), 67% of it liquids. Continue reading

DOGGR To Review Waste Water Injection Rules, Shuts Some Kern County Disposal Wells

The Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) said on July 18th that it will conduct a full review of the state’s Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program to ensure it complies with requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The announcement came two weeks after DOGGR issued emergency orders to shut down 11 Kern County waste water injection wells. It later lifted two of those orders.

The review, which will be conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will take 12 to 18 months, said DOGGR.

The review will examine both previously approved UIC wells as well as current approval practices, to ensure that they are consistent across the state and that injections comply with state and federal laws and regulations. Continue reading

Oxy Names California Leadership

Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY) on July 17th announced the leadership team for its new California Resources Corporation (CRC) subsidiary. Todd A. Stevens will be President and Chief Executive Officer, and William E. Albrecht will be Executive Chairman of the Board.

In February Occidental announced plans to move its headquarters from Los Angeles to Houston and establish CRC as an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company operating exclusively in California.

Stephen I. Chazen, Occidental’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said the two men “bring proven leadership abilities and more than 50 years of combined industry experience. Both have played an important part in building and managing our California operations for over 15 years.” Continue reading