Group plans to explore enhanced oil recovery options

Montana Tech Petroleum Engineering Department members are conducting a pilot project to assess enhanced oil recovery options for the Elm Coulee oilfield in eastern Montana, according to department officials in a press release on June 24.

Horizontal drilling and other conventional production methods in Montana’s Bakken formation extract 9 to 15 percent of available oil with the remainder going untouched.

The plan, funded by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, through the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation, involves restoring underground pressure in and around depleted wells to the level that existed when the wells were first drilled. The pilot project will inject either CO2 or natural gas into the shale surrounding the original wells to try to get the unrecovered oil to break free from the rock.

Related: Blog: Gas and Oil Fuel North Dakota’s Rise

Enterprise wants pipeline from Bakken to Oklahoma

Enterprise Products Partners LP proposed on June 24 to build the first direct pipeline moving shale oil from the Bakken formation to the Cushing, Okla., storage hub.

The 1,200-mile pipeline will have a 340,000 bpd capacity. The company plans to have the pipeline up and running by the end of 2016.

However, out of five projects proposed in the past two years by Enterprise, Enbridge, ONEOK Partners LP, Koch Pipeline Co LP and Energy Transfer Partners, only Enbridge’s 225,000-375,000 bpd Sandpiper pipeline is going ahead, and that runs eastward to Clearbrook, Minn.

Related: Editor's Notebook: Shifting Focus

Devon to sell properties to Linn Energy

Devon Energy Corp announced June 30 that it will sell all of its non-core U.S. oil and gas properties to Linn Energy for $2.3 billion.

The deal includes properties in the Rockies, onshore Gulf Coast and Mid-Continent regions, which produces 275 million cubic feet of gas equivalent per day, Devon said in a news release.

About 80 percent of these assets are natural gas.

Related: Editor's Notebook: Big Gains on the Big Stage

Quantum Energy plans for micro refineries

A handful of small refineries in North Dakota could remove dangerous gas from oil train cargoes and make shipments from the Bakken Shale formation safer on the tracks, according to Quantum Energy Inc.

The company has pitched the idea to state regulators. The refineries would strip propane and other volatile gas from Bakken crude and send much of the remaining fuel to distant refineries.

Quantum Energy, based in Williston, N.D., hopes to build five “micro refineries” near railheads already handling Bakken crude to strip about 100,000 barrels a day of fuel from that stream. The company expects each processing center would cost about $500 million.

PetroQuest, Midstates Petroleum strike deal to explore oilfield in central Louisiana

Two Gulf Coast oil and gas companies are partnering in a $24 million deal to drill some of Louisiana’s oldest oilfields, according to a press release from PetroQuest Energy Inc.

The companies plan to use new drilling technology to tap oil and gas reserves they say larger companies left behind decades ago.

PetroQuest Energy said on June 30 that it has agreed to pay $10 million in cash upfront and $14 million in future drilling costs to acquire half of the interests in one of Midstates Petroleum’s drilling projects in central Louisiana.

The project, known as Fleetwood, spans about 30,000 acres total in an area west of Baton Rouge.

Honeywell selected to provide systems for new facility

Honeywell Process Solutions has been selected by Suncor Energy to provide automation systems for a new multibillion-dollar Fort Hills oil sands project in Alberta.

Suncor Energy officials say Honeywell will supply technology to integrate the site’s control and safety systems, manage alarms and provide advanced simulation software that enables critical operations planning and operator training.

The facility is expected to be operational in late 2017.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers forecasts production from the Canadian oil sands to exceed 5 million barrels a day by 2030, up from 1.8 million barrels a day in 2012.

Pipeline to the Pacific Coast OK’d by Canada

Canada’s government on June 17 approved a pipeline proposal that would bring oil to the Pacific Coast for shipment to Asia, a major step in the country’s efforts to diversify its oil exports.

Approval for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project was expected since Canada needs infrastructure in place to export its growing oil sands production. The project’s importance has only grown since the U.S. delayed a decision on TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline that would take oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The northern Alberta region has the world’s third largest oil reserves, with 170 billion barrels of proven reserves. Enbridge’s pipeline would transport 525,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta’s oil sands to the Pacific.

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