Daily Reports

News From The Oil Patch 8/11/2014

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A fire July 29th was expected to keep the CVR refinery in Coffeyville, Kansas shut down for four weeks.  Market analysts blamed the shutdown for a continuing downward trend in crude oil prices.   The 115,000 barrel per day facility buys light, sweet crude oil from Cushing, which is about 100 miles away.  Analysts expected reduced demand for the product as a result.  Four people were hurt in the fire in the facility’s isomerization unit.
 
Tulsa-based Casillas Petroleum joins G-E Energy Financial Services in the purchase of some 500 producing oil wells spread across 14 counties in southwest Kansas.  Terms of that deal were not disclosed.  The oil and gas sector of the General Electric subsidiary has 25 partnership investments in more than 3,000 wells, producing about 11,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Casillas will operate the properties and serve as the general partner.
 
Baker Hughes reported 1,909 active drilling rigs across the US Friday, 19 higher than last week.  That's above 19-hundred for the first time in two years.  Canada: down five at 387.  In Kansas there were 26 rigs actively drilling for oil and gas, down one from last week.  Independent Oil & Gas reported 124 total rigs across Kansas, 36 east of Wichita, down three, and 88 in western Kansas, up three.
 
Kansas operators completed 52 wells last week, 3,565 so far this year.  Independent Oil & Gas reports 11 of the 15 completions in western Kansas were dry holes.  37 new well completions were reported east of Wichita last week, and of those four were dry holes.
 
Independent reported 95 new permits across the state last week, which is 4,499 drilling permits so far this year.  There were 45 permits in new locations in eastern Kansas, and 50 west of Wichita, including 6 in Barton County, two in Ellis County, one in Russell County, and one new drilling permit in Stafford County.
 
Another company now wants to export lightly processed oil.  Plains All American Pipeline CEO Greg Armstrong said the only thing that might get in their way is "political arbitrariness.”  
 
Venezuela confirmed that it is considering the sale of its US refining and distribution network Citgo.  Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said Venezuela will sell Citgo for $10 billion, but says the government is not in a hurry to make a deal.
 
The SEC accuses a Texas oil and gas company of making fraudulent claims about oil reserves in Columbia, asserting they "lacked any reasonable basis."  Houston American Energy Corp. raised about $13 million in a public offering and saw its stock price jump from $5 per share to $20.  At last check that share price was about 40 cents.
 
North Dakota Tribal leaders in the heart of the Bakken boom are now demanding producers pay royalties for lost revenue, for the huge amounts of natural gas being burned off at oil well sites.  The Three Affiliated Tribes outlined the plan in a six-page document sent to oil companies, and obtained by the AP.
 
North Dakota officials are considering requiring energy companies to treat the crude they pump from the Bakken Shale to make it less volatile before it is loaded onto trains.  The Industrial Commission plans to hold a public hearing in the coming weeks on possible steps to reduce volatility at a well site before oil is stored or transported, according to a spokeswoman for North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple. The commission, the state's chief energy regulator, is considering issuing new standards for treating crude as well as monitoring requirements.
 
A U.S. oil industry group is recommending that all crude shipped by rail from North Dakota's Bakken fields be labeled as the most-dangerous type of oil cargo, a designation that could hasten the use of new or upgraded tank cars.  That, despie the final report on a study that showed Bakken crude was little different from other forms of light, sweet U.S. crude, and poses no greater threat than the other fuels when transported by rail. 
 
Oklahoma regulators reversed course and are now posting information about oil-by-rail shipments through the state, despite earlier efforts to block access to the information. The Oklahoma Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Commission is posting weekly, general reports, including how many trains carrying a million gallons of crude or more are passing through each county in the state.
 
EPA holds its second and final hearing on proposed new emission standards at oil refineries in a market that has eight of them.  The hearing Tuesday in suburban Houston is the result of a consent decree that resolved a lawsuit which argued the agency was more than a decade late in reviewing and updating toxic air standards at refineries.  Any new rules could be widely felt in Texas, where there are 27 oil refineries. 
 
Both sides claimed victory on last week after Colorado energy companies and environmentalists agreed to a truce brokered by the governor.  Instead of fighting it out at the ballot box, activists from both sides will form an 18-member task force to recommend solutions to the state legislature.  The Washington Post points out that the deal saves the state's Democrats a difficult choice between the two powerful Colorado interest groups, and the two groups' campaign contributions. 
 
Natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale hit another record: more than 15 billion cubic feet per day through July, according to the US EIA.  The shale formation in and around Pennsylvania and West Virginia now accounts for almost 40 percent of U.S. shale gas production.
 
Mexican lawmakers gave final approval to rules for awarding private oil contracts in the country for the first time since 1938.  The next step in the opening will come from the Energy Ministry, which will announce Sept. 17 the fields that the state-owned monopoly Pemex will retain. 
 
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners is expanding its plans for that crude oil rail terminal in Alberta, Canada. The terminal is now almost a year into construction. The Edmonton Rail Terminal capacity will increase at startup next year to over 210,000 barrels per day and potentially up to a quarter-million.
 
"Exploring for hydrocarbons in the Barents Sea takes time and stamina."  So says Statoil, after drilling three dry holes off their Arctic coast.  The Noregian government-controlled energy firm drilled three exploration wells more than 185 miles north of the mainland, the farthest north they've ever ventured.  A company statement said this summer's exploration campaign ended without any commercial oil or gas discoveries.

News From The Oil Patch 8/4/2014

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CVR Refining's Coffeyville, Kansas refinery was shut down for several days as the company launched an official investigation into the cause of a fire on July 29.  Four injured workers remained hospitalized.  The company has not disclosed a timetable for the restart of operations.  The shutdown impacted oil prices worldwide.
 
Baker Hughes reported 1,889 active drilling rigs across the US on Friday, up six from last week. There were 392 in Canada, down three, and 27 in Kansas, also down three.  Independent Oil & Gas Service reported 124 total rigs across Kansas, 39 east of Wichita, down one, and 85 in western Kansas, unchanged.
 
Independent Oil & Gas reported 163 new drilling permits across Kansas last week, or 4,404 so far this year.  There were 113 in the eastern half of the state and 51 west of Wichita, including two in Barton County, eight in Ellis County, no new permits in Russell County, and one in Stafford County.
 
There were 101 new well completions reported last week, for a year to date total of 3,513.  There were 25 new completions east of Wichita and 76 in western Kansas.
 
The KCC reported 609 intent-to-drill notices filed during the month of July, up from 473 in June and 566 a year ago July.  (Note: this number is from the summary on the KCC's intents page. Searches for the month within that page yield a number that is much higher.  We counted 703 new intent-to-drill notices last month.  See for yourself here:) 
 
Effective Friday the Oil & Gas Conservation Division of the KCC has moved out of the city-owned Finnesy State Office Building in Wichita.  The new address is 266 North Main Street, Suite 220.  The telephone numbers remain the same.
 
A referee was expected to submit a report to the Oklahoma Supreme Court after hearing from both sides last week in a dispute over the state's new energy tax law.  Attorney Jerry Fent told a state Supreme Court referee Tuesday the measure does not comply with constitutional guidelines for the passage of revenue bills.  Solicitor General Patrick Wyrick says the measure does not meet the definition of a revenue bill because it cuts tax rates. The new law taxes oil and gas wells at two percent for the first three years of production. The rate then jumps to the current seven percent. 
 
The cause of a major oil field spill just outside the town of Hennessey, Oklahoma is under investigation by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.  It's one of the biggest spills they've ever handled, about 19,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid from completion operations. 
 
A trading firm based in the British Virgin Islands has bought that Kurdish crude oil sitting off the coast of Texas in a kind of political limbo. According to CNBC, Talmay Trading hired a Dallas contractor to unload roughly 1 million barrels of crude from the tanker currently located in the Gulf near Galveston.  A federal magistrate judge ruled that U.S. Marshals will not be able to able to carry out her earlier order to seize the cargo.  Judge Nancy Johnson said that the tanker was not within the boundaries of the state or the court's authority. She also said that the matter of who owned the oil should be decided in Iraq, not the United States. 
 
Reuters reports part of another Kurdish oil cargo has been offloaded from one tanker to another in the South China Sea, but it's not clear who bought it or where the two tankers are headed.  The United Emblem is one of three tankers loaded with oil from the autonomous Kurdish region, which is trying to sell oil independently. 
 
And, the fifth cargo of crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan was loading at Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan on Thursday and was scheduled to set sail on Friday.  It's not known where the cargo is heading. 
 
The latest round of sanctions against Russia could hurt Russia's oil industry, but for that to work, they may have to hurt one of the most valuable companies in the U.S. The sanctions would also hit Russia's partner Exxon Mobil. 
 
A judge has approved a condemnation complaint against one landowner holding up operations of three existing pipelines that carry crude oil from Canada to the US.  Phillips 66 had negotiated new access agreements with about 600 landowners on the Blackfeet Reservation.  The original easements had expired but are now good for 47 years. The company says the cost of relocating the pipelines would have been $2 million.
 
Full-service lease broker Hammerhead Resources has creaated a "Lesser Prairie Chicken consulting and survey division."  The Wichita based outfit offers confidential consultation, preliminary reports and estimated costs to help companies decide how to move forward. 
 
The nation’s largest environmental group is earning money from an oil well on land it controls in Texas, despite pledging a decade ago not to permit new oil and gas drilling on land supposedly set aside for conservation.  That revelation is contained in a forthcoming book by the writer Naomi Klein, and was confirmed last week by the Nature Conservancy, the environmental group in question. 

News From The Oil Patch 7/28/2014

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Baker Hughes said on Friday the list of active drilling rigs nationwide increased by 12 to 1,883. The count in Canada was 395, up 14 rigs for the week.  In Kansas, there were 30 rigs actively drilling for oil and gas, unchanged from last week. Independent Oil & Gas reported 125 total rigs across Kansas, with 40 east of Wichita, up two, and 85 in the western range, one higher than last week.
 
Independent Oil & Gas Service reported 142 new well completions last week across Kansas.  That's 3,412 so far this year.  There were 57 completions noted in eastern Kansas, and 85 west of Wichita.
 
There were 133 new drilling permits issued in Kansas last week, for a year-to-date total of 4,241. There were 77 new permits listed east of Wichita, and 47 in the west, including five in Barton County, three in Ellis County, none in Russell County, and three new drilling permits in Stafford County. 
 
A milestone is coming this week: the first US oil shipments to another country that's not Canada. An undisclosed amount of ultra-light condensate could ship to South Korea's GS Caltex, and another shipment is set for October delivery to Cosmo Oil in Japan.  They are the first companies to purchase oil produced in the U.S. since Congress enacted the ban on exports in 1975.
 
The Obama administration is reopening the Eastern Seaboard to offshore oil and gas exploration, announcing final approval Friday of the controversial sonic cannons that can pinpoint energy deposits deep beneath the ocean floor. The cannons fill waters shared by whales and turtles with sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine. Saving endangered species was best hope of environmental groups to extend the ban. The approval opens the outer continental shelf from Delaware to Florida to exploration by energy companies preparing to apply for drilling leases in 2018, when the current congressional limits are set to expire.
 
The government will offer another 21 million acres off the Texas coast for oil and gas exploration in a sale in August in New Orleans.  The more than 4,000 lease blocks covering roughly 21.6 million acres in the western Gulf of Mexico could produce up to 200 million barrels of oil and up to 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
 
Kansas oil production through April of this year totalled 15.96 million barrels, according to the latest figures from the Kansas Geological Society. The state produced 4.06 million barrels in April from more than 47-thousand wells.  That's nearly 13,000 barrels less than last month, but 61,000 barrels more than the production in April of last year.  Barton County increased production to 197,000 barrels plus in April, Ellis County production was down from last month to just under 281,000 barrels.  Production was down from last month in Russell County at nearly 174,000, and Stafford County production was up to just over 117,000 barrels in April.
 
At a luncheon  for the Oklahoma City Geological Society last week, one of the biggest producers in the patch presented it's slant on the recent string of earthquakes in Oklahoma.   Continental Resources VP of Geology Glen Brown made several points, according to local television reports, among them, that "there's a remote chance that fracking creates seismic activity."  But Brown also pointed out that most of the wells in Oklahoma are not located near any recorded earthquakes and asserted there is nearly 10-thousand feet in depth between the oil wells and the quakes.  He noted that during the same period Mexico has seen a doubling of seismic activity in areas without any oil and gas production.
 
Inter Pipeline Ltd has completed a $1.03 billion conduit serving two northern Alberta oil sands projects.  Inter Pipe said the new line will deliver as much as 350,000 barrels per day of diluent from the hub in Alberta to the Foster Creek and Christina Lake projects co-owned by Cenovus and ConocoPhillips.  Diluent is the ultra light form of crude oil blended into the bitumen from the oil sands so it can flow on pipelines.
 
The U.S. Department of Transportation formally proposed those new rules governing the increased movement of flammable crude oil and other dangerous liquids by rail.  The regs seek to phase out older tanker cars, require carriers to notify states that crude oil is coming through, lower speed limits, and enforce new testing and classification efforts.  Officials earlier this year asked carriers to stop using the older DOT-111 tank cars and signed an emergency order on state notifications because of explosive derailments in Virginia, North Dakota, Quebec and elsewhere.
 
Two railroad companies are suing in Maryland to block national media organizations from learning about crude oil shipments by rail through the state.  Regulators are ramping up their scrutiny of oil-by-rail, and the feds have ordred such information be released to individual states.  Rail companies have asked state officials to sign confidentiality agreements, arguing that sharing the data with the public could threaten security and market share. The DOT found that no federal law protects the information from public disclosure, and several states – including California, Washington, Illinois and Florida – have fulfilled open records requests, according to reporting by the McClatchy News Service.
 
The US has signaled that it may stop actively discouraging potential buyers of Iraqi/Kurdish oil. Over the weekend, the oil-patch press exploded with coverage of a tanker filled with Kurdish crude on it's way to Galveston.  If the trend continues, the market could see a fresh supply of 500,000 barrels of oil a day by the end of 2014 and double that volume a year later. Kurdistan already operates under relative autonomy but such new oil money could accelerate its advance toward independence from Iraq.
 
Oil and gas production provides a LOT of money for the University of Texas and Texas A&M systems. The executive director of University Lands, which manages 2.1 million acres, says energy production has generated $968 million for the schools thus far this fiscal year with two months to go.  Jim Benson predicts they'll break one billion dollars for the year for the first time ever.  The San Antonio Express-News reports a lot of that real estate is situated in West Texas, an area booming with production activity right now.  The newspaper reports energy production on University Lands property nearly doubled in the last two years.

News From The Oil Patch 7/21/2014

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Independent Oil & Gas reports 95 drilling permits issued for new locations in Kansas for the week ending Friday.  That's 4,013 new drilling permits so far this year.  There were 38 east of Wichita, and 57 in the western range, including two in Barton County and two in Ellis County.  There were 66 new well completions across Kansas last week for a year-to-date total of 3,270.  49 of those were in eastern Kansas, and 49 were west of Wichita, including one completion in Ellis County.
 
Baker Hughes reported 1,871 active drilling rigs across the US Friday, that's four lower than a week earlier.  Canada had 57, up two.  One rig dropped off the list of 30 active rigs in Kansas.  Independent Oil & Gas Company reported 122 total drilling rigs across the state on Friday.  That's 38 in eastern Kansas, up one, and 84 west of Wichita, also up one.
 
Land men are buying up real estate in advance of what some are touting as the biggest oil & gas boom in US history.  The latest estimates for the Cline formation in the Texas Permian basin could reach an astounding 3.6 million barrels of recoverable oil per square mile.  That would give the Cline Shale 30 billion recoverable barrels.  So, even though it's smaller in area than the other big plays in Texas, it contains more oil than the top two US producers, the Bakken and Eagle Ford, combined.  The real estate is needed for a potentially huge influx of people.
 
North Dakota's top oil regulator says the state’s oil production rose 3.6 percent in May to a new record, nearly 40-thousand barrels higher than their recent milestone of one million barrels per day.  Lynn Helms, the director of the state's Department of Mineral Resources expects five to six percent production increases each month this year, which would double the increases reported in the last couple of months.
 
Two longtime competitors based in Denver are merging to become North Dakota's largest oil and gas player, producing about ten percent of the state's output at more than 107-thousand barrels per day.  The combined company will have 855,000 net acres and 3,460 drilling sites.  Whiting Petroleum is buying Kodiak Oil & Gas for $3.8 billion and will assume $2.2 billion of Kodiak's debt.
 
Regulators report a big drop in the volumes of oil shipped by rail out of North Dakota.  The North Dakota Pipeline Authority says about 59% of the state's more than one million barrels a day was shipped by rail in May. That’s the lowest rail percentage since November 2012. In April, 63 percent of the oil produced in North Dakota was shipped by rail, down from a peak of 75 percent in April 2013.  New pipelines are picking up that slack with more expected to go online soon. 
 
Supporters of a ballot initiative to give local communities in Colorado the right to ban fracking has hit a roadblock, and now admit the measure will not make the November ballot.  The coalition of volunteer groups now says it will not be able to gather the required signatures needed by the August 4th deadline.  Look for redoubled efforts in two years.  The organizers for two pro-industry initiatives are still working to put those questions to a vote this year.  Iniative 75 was strongly worded, going well beyond a fracking ban.  It would give cities and towns "the power to define or eliminate the rights and powers of corporations or business entities."
 
The City Council in Denton, Texas took eight hours of public testimony before voting down a petition to ban further hydraulic fracturing permits.  The 5-to-2 vote sends the proposal to a public ballot in November.  Tom Phillips, a former chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, representing the powerful Texas Oil and Gas Association, testified that some of its thousands of members would "undoubtedly sue" if the ban eventually passes.
 
Royal Dutch Shell announced the discovery of roughly 100 million barrels of oil equivalent in the Gulf of Mexico's Norphlet formation.  This marks the company's third discovery in that formation, which is roughly 75 miles off the Louisiana coast.   The company has announced similar findings at two nearby wells in recent years, and the area has the potential to become a major hub for Shell, which is already the biggest player in the Gulf.
 
The US welcomed a move by China to take that drilling rig out of disputed international waters in the South China Sea, but said the entire problem highlights the need for China and Vietnam to clarify their territorial claims in accordance with international law.  The state-run China National Petroleum Corporation announced Wednesday that the billion-dollar rig HD-981 will be relocated to an area closer to the Chinese mainland in waters that are apparently not in dispute.  The arrival of the drilling rig near the Paracel Islands in early May ramped up tensions with Vietnam, which also claims the waters, and sparked deadly riots in Hanoi. China could return to those disputed waters.  According to a release on World Oil Dot Com, the company locked the exploration targets and identified well locations, and the next phase of the project awaits a comprehensive assessment of what are described as "oil & gas shows."
 
The Obama administration is reopening the Eastern Seaboard to offshore oil and gas exploration, announcing final approval Friday of the controversial sonic cannons that can pinpoint energy deposits deep beneath the ocean floor.  The approval opens the outer continental shelf from Delaware to Florida to exploration on leases pending in 2018, when the current congressional limits expire.
 
The government will offer another 21 million acres off the Texas coast for oil and gas exploration in a sale next month in New Orleans.  The more than 4,000 lease blocks covering roughly 21.6 million acres in the western Gulf of Mexico could produce up to 200 million barrels of oil and up to 938 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
 
The dream of pollution-free coal plants is getting a boost from growing demand for carbon dioxide used to revive old oil fields.  Bloomberg reports one of the first major projects to harness CO2 at a coal plant to enhance oil recovery was expected to begin construction Tuesday.  NRG will retrofit its East Texas coal power plant and pump CO2 into a nearby oil field that it partially owns.  They'll spend one billion dollars on the project in hopes of loosining trapped crude deposits, while burying the increasingly regulated greenhouse gas.  They hope to pay for it will increased proceeds from the oil field.
 
Mexico on Friday put into effect an agreement signed in 2012 with the United States to allow companies to exploit deep water oil resources in the Gulf of Mexico that straddle the countries' maritime boundaries.  The deal lifts a moratorium and sets up a framework for companies to jointly develop any trans-boundary reservoirs.  The Mexican national Pemex is opening the country's oil & gas sector to private investment.  The Congress in Mexico is working through a series of bills needed to implement the energy reform.

News From The Oil Patch 7/14/2014

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U.S. crude production is likely next year to hit its highest level since 1972 according to a forecast Tuesday by the Energy Information Administration. U.S. production has already jumped from 5.0 million bpd in 2008 to 7.4 million last year.  The average is expected to surge to 8.5 million  this year and 9.3 million next year
 
Baker Hughes noted 1,875 active drilling rigs nationwide on Friday, July 11, up one from the week before.  Canada gained six rigs at 315, while the count in Kansas was 31 active rigs, up two.  Independent Oil & Gas Service reported 120 total drilling rigs across Kansas, 37 east of Wichita (up one), and 83 in western Kansas, unchanged from last week.
 
Independent Oil & Gas reported 94 new well completions across Kansas last week, which marks 3,204 completions year-to-date.  There were 38 east of Wichita, and 56 in the west, including one in Ellis County last week.  For the month of June there were 417 completions statewide, down 59 from May of this year and 48 lower than a year ago.  There was one completion in Stafford County, and one in Barton County in June.
 
The Kansas Corporation Commission issued 173 permits to drill in new locations, bringing the total for this year to 4,013.  There were 118 in eastern Kansas and 55 west of Wichita, including one new drilling permit in Barton County, four in Ellis County, none in Russell County and three in Stafford County.  For the month of June, there were 470 new drilling permits issued across Kansas, a dramatic drop from the 801 permits issued in May of this year, and more than 100 lower than the 573 issued in June of 2013.  
 
It now appears the state of Oklahoma might reverse course and release details of oil trains crossing the state on their way from North Dakota to the Gulf Coast.  The federal government in May ordered railroads to share with state authorities more information about some oil shipments. Oklahoma's Department of Environmental Quality has worked to keep those shipment details secret, citing concerns over terrorism.  But a spokewoman for the department tells the Daily Oklahoman that could change.  Skylar McElhaney says officials at first acted under guidance from the federal government.  But, now that DOT and the Federal Railroad Administration have affirmed that such details are not security sensitive, the staff at DEQ is looking into the validity of the non-disclosure agreements.
 
Platts Energy Week is coming soon to televisions in Oklahoma.  The statewide public television network OETA becomes the 17th Market to carry the program, joining TV stations in  other key energy-producing states.  By way of introduction to the new audience, Platts Energy Week Host Bill Loveless will interview Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague on the outlook for the state's oil, natural gas and renewable energy development
 
Canada's National Energy Board has agreed to give two big energy companies more clarity over their plans to deal with a potential well blowout in the Beaufort Sea.  Imperial Oil and Chevron Canada asked the board for more certainty before committing huge amounts of money to explore in Arctic waters.  Canada's top energy regulator reviewed its ARctic drilling rules after the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico four years ago.  The companies claim there are more feasible ways to kill a blown out well than the methods required under the new rules.  The NEB requires companies to show they can kill a ruptured oil well in the Arctic offshore with a relief well in the same season it's drilled — a difficult and costly proposition in that harsh environment.  According to the Calgary Herald, the NEB will look at Imperial and Chevron's alternatives before the companies are required to file a full regulatory application.
 
Backers of a proposed crude oil transfer terminal in Vancouver, Wash. are starting a public relations push ahead of a draft environmental impact statement, scheduled to come out in a few months.  Crude oil trains through the state could take a significant jump if the 360,000 barrel a day terminal is built.  The Puget Sound Business Journal cites backers of the $190 million terminal saying they will only use the new safer tank cars built with heavier steel, a standard called CPC-123.  The terminal is a joint venture between Utah-based Savage Companies, and the oil company Tesoro.

News From The Oil Patch 7/8/2014

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Baker Hughes reported 1,874 active drilling rigs last week across the US, one higher than the week before.  In Canada there were 309, up 73, and in Kansas there were 29, down one. Independent Oil & Gas Reported 119 total rigs across Kansas, with 36 east of Wichita, down one, and 83 in the western range, down three.
 
Independent Oil & Gas Service Inc. has introduced a new database feature on its Web site at www.iogsi.com.  You can now search for the most active operator or drilling contractor in Kansas over a specific period of time. We entered a search for the year ending Monday, and found that SandRidge E&P was the busiest operator drilling 204 wells over the last year.  Next were Murfin Drilling with 143, and R J Enterprises with 139.
 
There were 52 well completions in Kansas last week, which makes 3,110 so far this year.  There were just two in eastern Kansas and 50 reported west of Wichita.  
 
Independent Oil and Gas Service reported 111 new drilling permits in Kansas for the week ending July 3, for a year-to-date total of 3,840. There were 68 drilling permits in new locations in eastern Kansas, and 43 west of Wichita, including three in Russell County.
 
The Kansas Corporation Commission reports 473 new intent to drill notices across the state for June, 14 in Barton County, six in Ellis County, 12 in Russell County, and 10 in Stafford County
 
A lightning strike Monday afternoon caused an explosion, fire and spill at a Saltwater Disposal Well site in western North Dakota.  The spill released 167 barrels of oil, and 2,000 barrels of wastewater.
 
The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, from the Alberta Oil Sands to the Pacific Coast, is caught in a tug of war, receive final approval from the government, just as the Candian Supreme Court approached a ruling on a native tribe's claim to land along the proposed route.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper officially approved the project just days before justices wrap up deliberations on the claim of sovereignty over the property. 
 
A ruling from the New York State Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision that said state oil and gas law does not trump local governments' authority to control land use through zoning.  That effectively allows local governments to ban hydraulic fracturing.  The state already has a moratorium on fracking despite sitting atop the Marcellus Shale formation's natural gas deposits.
 
North Dakota operators that fail to meet the state’s flaring reduction targets may soon be forced to curtail oil production from wells targeting the Bakken and Three Forks formations, according to an order issued July 1 by state regulators.  The order is the enforcement mechanism for the state’s flaring reduction plan, which was approved in March by the North Dakota Industrial Commission.  Beginning Oct. 1, wells in the state could be subject to potential production curtailments if the amount of flared gas exceeds the state’s gas capture target. Speaking to a press conference on July 1, Lynn Helms, director of the state’s Oil and Gas Division, said most Bakken operators are already in compliance with the flaring reduction targets. But, “there’s some, a handful, that are really going to need a lot of wellsite technology.”  
 
We told you two years ago about Chinese hackers who were targeting the computer systems of US energy firms.  Now it appears the Russians are getting into the act.  Private cybersecurity researchers say Russian hackers have been systematically targeting hundreds of Western oil and gas companies, as well as energy investment firms.  The motive behind the attacks appears to be industrial espionage.  The Russian attacks have affected over 1,000 organizations in more than 84 countries.  According to the New York Times, they were first discovered in August 2012 by researchers at the security firm CrowdStrike.  Researchers believe the hackers were backed by the Russian government.  The computer security firm Symantec detailed similar conclusions and added a new element — a worldwide remote control capability, similar to that used by US and Israeli spies to destroy a fifth of Iran's uranium supply five years ago.