In this week's news update, the Florida House of Representatives approves bill to allow fracking, and the rig count drops again to 619.

The number of rigs seeking oil and natural gas declined by 18 last week to 619, according to data released by oilfield services company Baker Hughes on Jan. 29.

The Houston-based company says 498 rigs were seeking oil and 121 for natural gas. A year ago, 1,543 rigs were active.

Texas declined by 13 rigs, New Mexico was down four, Louisiana dropped three and Kansas, North Dakota and Pennsylvania were down by one.

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Alaska and Colorado each increased by two rigs, while Oklahoma was up one. Arkansas, California, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming were all unchanged.

First Continuous-Duty Frac Pump Enters Canadian Market
Weir Oil & Gas is partnering with Calgary, Alberta-based Canyon Services Group to take its SPM QEM 3000 frac pump to the field, becoming Canada’s first continuous-duty frac pump.

The SPM QEM 3000 is the industry’s first high-horsepower frac pump designed for continuous-duty pressure pumping operations at a sustained 275,000-pound rod load, 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

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Weir says the pump will reduce total cost of ownership by 17 percent.

Canyon’s upcoming field run will operate for at least 4,000 hours and include deployment of SPM QEM 3000 to a production site for fracking operations in western Canada.

Florida House Approves Bill to Allow Fracking After Impact Study
The Florida House of Representatives approved a bill last week that would allow fracking in the state as early as 2017, following an environmental and health impact study. The bill does not require fracking companies to disclose the chemicals used in the process, and would prohibit local communities from banning fracking.

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Proposed amendments that included more local government regulation, required testing of water used in the fracking process and more analyzing of the impact of fracking chemicals were struck down.

The bill calls for a $1 million study to be conducted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to examine the potential impact of fracking on Florida’s geology and water supply and the impact on human health.

A similar bill passed in the Florida House in April 2015 eventually died in the Senate. 

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