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Augusta signs contract with Summit Natural Gas
Summit Natural Gas of Maine and city officials have signed a contract allowing Summit to provide natural gas service to city buildings, including schools. The contract is expected to save the city an estimated $641,464 a year over the cost of heating with oil and propane, according to city and company officials. Those savings are based on estimates the city would use $392,465 worth of natural gas a year.
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Sales tax increase hits Mainers
The state sales tax goes up Oct. 1 — The result of the state budget passed by the 126th Maine State Legislature, but vetoed by Governor Paul R. LePage earlier this summer. Mainers will be subjected to a state sales tax rate increase of 10 percent. Additionally, the tax on alcoholic beverages and meals at restaurants and lodging costs will increase by 14 percent.
Oil and gas leases, national parks to be hit by government shutdown
The Daily Caller
Agencies charged with crafting energy and environmental regulations will be forced to lay off thousands of employees and halt key functions, including issuing oil and gas drilling permits and maintaining national parks, under the government shutdown. For the first time in seventeen years, some federal agencies will have to close their doors if Republicans and Democrats can't cobble a deal together that continues to fund the government. In particular, energy and environmental regulators will be affected by a failure to cut a deal.
Taxpayer and industry-funded review of DEP praises its oil and gas regulations
State Impact Pennsylvania
A review of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's oil and gas regulations has given the agency high marks. This was the fifth such evaluation of the DEP, conducted by the nonprofit organization, STRONGER Inc. "Pennsylvanians can be assured that DEP is protecting their health and environment while oil and gas operations continue to grow," Secretary Chris Abruzzo said in a statement.
Obama energy nominee stopped in his tracks
The Daily Caller
A bipartisan Senate coalition has arisen to halt the nomination of President Barack Obama's pick to be the country's top energy regulator. Now with no hope of getting support from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, the Obama administration is considering other candidates. Democrats and Republicans have banded together over concerns that Ron Binz, Obama's choice to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will use his position as a platform to push renewable energy use and anti-fossil fuel policies.
Tar sands issue divides commiunity
South Portland Sentry
The proposed Waterfront Protection Ordinance has divided South Portland residents into opposing sides which, if not exactly equal in numbers, are equal in passion and fervor. Supporters say the proposed ordinance is the best recourse for the city to prevent oil companies from piping in toxic tar sands oil to the docks of South Portland, preserving clean air and clean drinking water for generations to come.
A city divided
Keep Me Current
At dueling press conferences, groups who have made it their business to influence public opinion on a comprehensive zoning change aimed at binding "big oil" in South Portland took a new tack, arguing its impact on small businesses in the area. How the local economy might be affected depends entirely on how one interprets the proposed Waterfront Protection Ordinance, but the debate has also blossomed into a battle over competing visions for South Portland and whether it's worth sacrificing some jobs today for the presumption of a greener tomorrow.
Maine retailer's rapid transformation puts it back on the map
The reputation of Midnight Energy, a 12-year-old propane and heating oil company in Newcastle, Maine, had crumbled. Customer reports on Midnight Energy's reputation and service in the field were disappointing, and the company's owner, Casey Pratt, realized he was partly to blame. "I had been an absentee owner," Pratt says. "It was partially my own fault for not keeping a close enough eye on my company. We had some issues retaining employees, and we needed to do something different."
Where on Earth is our propane going?
The Motley Fool
The natural gas export debate remains pretty heated, especially with new export facilities being approved at a more rapid pace. At the same time, propane exports continue to slip out of the country with little fanfare. Where is all the propane going?
Slowly, Democrats embrace fracking
The Washington Post
If any state emerged from a decade of economic recession in strong shape, it was North Dakota. A booming oil industry that's taken shape on the western side of the state, fueled by the process known as hydraulic fracturing, has kept North Dakota's unemployment rate at a level less than half the national average while injecting millions in tax revenue into state coffers.
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Good returns depend on companies with the right oil and gas combination
The industry is focusing on liquid-rich plays, but some gassier regions offer solid returns, asserts Joel Musante, senior research analyst for oil and gas exploration and production with Euro Pacific Capital. With oil trading over $100 per barrel, liquids-rich plays are most attractive. Prices may pull back, even though the surge in merger and acquisition activity suggests that some companies might believe that these price levels are here to stay. Ultimately, producers must consider development costs as well as product types and margins to enhance returns. In this interview with The Energy Report, Musante discusses oil and gas companies with the right combinations.
Horizontal drilling, fracking begin in shallow oil and gas fields
The Buffalo News
If we could take a tiny glass elevator down the trajectory of a Marcellus Shale well, we would see slabs of coal, sandstone, shale and siltstone alternating and colliding with one another for thousands of feet until we finally reach the target rock. Today, half a dozen local oil and gas companies are forgoing the full ride. They're getting off the elevator halfway down, before the Elk Sandstone formation that separates the conventional oil and gas reservoirs from the deeper, unconventional plays across the old oil and gas fields of Pennsylvania.
Buried treasure: Finding safer ways to tap into oil and gas from our oceans
If anything good is to come from the devastation caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and Australia's Montara oil and gas leak the year before, it is that we learn from our mistakes. It's now more than three years since the April 2010 explosion and oil spill at the BP drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, considered the world's largest marine oil spill. Its effects are still being felt today — and there is still too much that we don't yet know about its long-term costs.
OSHA forms alliance to protect oil and gas workers
In Dallas, OSHA has formed a region-wide alliance with the Association of Energy Service Companies aimed at protecting workers in the oil and gas well industry. The goal, according to OSHA, is to promote understanding of workplace safety and health and the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers by increasing access to material and knowledge.
Maine joins push for tight regulation of e-cigarettes
The Portland Press Herald
Forty attorneys general, including Maine's, sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration urging the agency to meet its own deadline and regulate electronic cigarettes in the same way it regulates tobacco products. The letter, co-sponsored by Massachusetts Attorney Martha Coakley and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, says e-cigarettes are being marketed to children through cartoon-like advertising characters and by offering fruit and candy flavors, much like cigarettes were once marketed to hook new smokers.
Oil and fuel prices continue recent declines
The price of oil keeps edging toward going back below the $100 per barrel mark, bringing fuel prices along for the ride. Crude lost 54 cents in trading in New York, settling at $102.33 per barrel, hitting near a three-month low. It's also just over a dollar lower than where it closed a week ago. Lower prices are being attributed to lessening tensions in the Middle East and concerns a federal government shutdown will slow the American economy and demand for oil and fuel.
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