Gas Lines

UGI gas rates increase in local area

UGI Utilities Inc. — Gas Division announced its purchased gas cost rates increased effective March 1. As a result, the average residential heating customer’s bill will rise 1.4 percent, from $63.74 per month to $64.62 per month.

“Even with this increase, UGI’s residential heating bills remain significantly lower than in the recent past, thanks to locally produced shale gas,” Paul Szykman, UGI’s vice president of rates, said in a news release. “Shale gas currently makes up approximately 90 percent of UGI’s natural gas supply.”

Driller’s groundwater pollution draws $1.2M fine

HARRISBURG — A Tulsa, Oklahoma-based oil and natural gas exploration company is paying $1.2 million for polluting groundwater supplying five households in southwestern Pennsylvania in 2012.

The state Department of Environmental Protection announced the fine Feb. 27 against WPX Energy, which agreed to it in a December consent agreement.

Officials say that a leak from a wastewater pit polluted groundwater below WPX’s Kalp wellsite in Westmoreland County.

WPX says no individual’s health was ever at risk.

WPX has sold of much of its holdings in the Marcellus Shale natural gas reservoir, and now operates just a handful of wells there.

Peoples Natural Gas to buy Kentucky utility

NEW YORK — Peoples Natural Gas, the North Shore-based gas utility, is expanding its footprint in Kentucky by acquiring Delta Natural Gas.

The deal would give shareholders of publicly-traded Delta $30.50 for each share they own, amounting to a $270 million purchase price for Peoples.

Peoples dipped its toe into Kentucky with its acquisition of Equitable Gas in 2013, which came with some 1,500 customers in the Appalachian state.

Peoples serves some 700,000 customers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky and is controlled by SteelRiver Infrastructure Fund North America LP.

US rig count increases 2 to 756; Texas up 6

HOUSTON — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased to 756.

A year ago, 489 rigs were active.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said March 3 that 609 rigs sought oil and 146 explored for natural gas last week. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Texas increased by six rigs, North Dakota was up three, Louisiana gained two and Utah one.

Oklahoma declined by three, Pennsylvania and Wyoming each dropped two and Alaska, Colorado and New Mexico were off one apiece.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out last May at 404.

Williams appoints Micheal Dunn as COO

TULSA, Okla. — The Williams Companies Inc. announced Feb. 14 that Micheal G. Dunn has been appointed executive vice president, chief operating officer of Williams, effective Feb. 27. In the newly created role, Dunn will focus on optimizing operations to enhance Williams’ competitive advantage and advance the execution of the company’s long-term growth strategy. Dunn will report to Alan Armstrong, president and chief executive officer of Williams.

Dunn is a proven executive and energy industry veteran. He most recently served as president of Questar Pipeline and executive vice president of Questar Corp. From 2010 to 2015, Dunn served as president and CEO of PacifiCorp Energy, a multi-state regulated electric power generating company and a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Armstrong stated, “We are very excited that Mike is joining the Williams management team as chief operating officer. He is an outstanding leader with extensive engineering, project management and operating experience in our industry, including more than 25 years in technical and executive management positions. …”

— Associated Press

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