Employees of Houston-based CenterPoint Energy Inc. are among the hundreds of out-of-state utility workers helping restore power in the wake of this week’s deadly tornadoes.
CenterPoint has about 100 employees in Moore and south Oklahoma City assisting Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. with repairs. While the utilities have worked together on storms before, this week’s restoration has added significance for the two utilities since their parent companies decided to form a master limited partnership for their midstream operations. The deal closed May 1 and will combine OG&E’s Enogex division and CenterPoint’s pipelines and operations into an $11 billion company.
Bruce Baxter, operations manager for CenterPoint, said the utility has several crews in the area, including about 40 workers doing high-line work. Most of the workers left Houston early Tuesday and arrived that evening to a staging area at Crossroads Mall. The high-line workers came in on Wednesday.
CenterPoint has been concentrating on repairs around Briarwood Elementary School in Moore, Baxter said. Most of the high-line work has been near Southmoore High School. They are working 16-hour days to restore service and expect to be here five to seven days.
“We’re helping rebuild the infrastructure around the most damaged areas so they’ll have power when they’re ready to rebuild,” Baxter said.
Baxter said CenterPoint has plenty of experience restoring power after hurricanes, but tornadoes aren’t as frequent in the Houston area as they are in Oklahoma. Hurricanes typically inflict damage over a widespread area. He said tornado damage is limited to a smaller area but can be very intense, like the the devastation in Moore and south Oklahoma City.
Outside of the new ties between their parent companies, CenterPoint and OG&E crews get to see some old friends when they team up for power restoration following disasters.
“We’ve worked other storms with OG&E and over the years had a good relationship,” Baxter said. “You get used to seeing some of the same faces.”
Chesapeake Energy Corp. on Monday announced it would donate $1 million to the American Red Cross to add in rescue and recovery efforts after the Moore tornado.
The Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas company also is organizing hundreds of employee volunteers to help tornado victims as part of Operation Blue, Chesapeake’s annual campaign to encourage volunteerism.
“Our hearts go out to the victims of these terrible storms, and Chesapeake and our employees are doing all we can to aid in the disaster recovery efforts in our hometown community,” Chesapeake Chairman Archie Dunham said. “We are providing all possible assistance using Chesapeake equipment, machinery and resources and many of our people are already mobilized under the Operation Blue banner and assisting in the rescue efforts.
“We urge other local businesses and citizens to pitch in to help during our community’s hour of need.”
Operation Blue, which allows Chesapeake employees to volunteer on company time, is being expanded to help the community after this week’s deadly tornadoes.
Chesapeake employees have contributed more than 100,000 volunteer hours in the company’s operating areas over the past three summers.
Company spokesman Michael Kehs said Chesapeake is working with Red Cross to determine the best way for its employees and equipment to aid recovery efforts after the Moore tornado.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. has named Anadarko Petroleum vice president Robert Douglas Lawler as its new CEO, the Oklahoma City company said Monday.
Lawler, 46, will begin at Chesapeake on June 17.
Lawler is senior vice president of international and deepwater operations for the Houston-based energy company that in 2006 bought Oklahoma City-based Kerr-McGee Corp.
“I am honored and excited to be joining Chesapeake Energy with its unparalleled asset portfolio, focused management team and very talented and dedicated employees,” Lawler said in a statement Monday. “There is significant value in Chesapeake’s asset base and the growth potential of the company is tremendous. I look forward to accelerating the momentum that the Chesapeake team has built to generate value for our shareholders in the years ahead.”
Lawler is a petroleum engineer with 25 years of experience in the upstream exploration and production industry.
“Doug is a talented and proven executive with the ideal skill set to lead Chesapeake forward and capitalize fully on our world-class assets,” Chesapeake Chairman Archie Dunham said. “Throughout his 25 years in the upstream E&P industry, Doug has earned a reputation as a highly engaged and knowledgeable leader who delivers superior operational performance and capital efficiency. The Board is confident that Doug’s deep technical upstream and engineering expertise as well as his strategic and financial skills will serve Chesapeake well. We look forward to working with him to create value for Chesapeake shareholders.”
With Lawler assuming the CEO position at Chesapeake, the Office of the Chairman will be discontinued, and Dunham, Steve Dixon and Nick Dell’Osso will continue to serve in their roles as non-executive chairman, executive vice president of operations and geosciences and chief operating officer, and executive vice president and chief financial officer, respectively.
“We thank Steve and Nick for the key roles they played in this transition and for their exemplary service as members of the Office of the Chairman during our CEO search,” Dunham said. “The company did not miss a beat during this interim period, and their effective collaboration reflects their strong leadership skills and teamwork ethic. Steve, Nick, and the rest of the executive group, under Doug’s leadership, will form a highly talented and experienced management team that will lead Chesapeake into its next phase of success and prosperity.”
Oklahoma City reached a costly milestone Sunday as gas prices reached their highest point ever at $3.963 a gallon, according to AAA Oklahoma.
The previous high was July 16, 2008, when the city’s average price was $3.909.
“The good news for the Oklahoma City motorist in all this, if there is any, is that it appears over the last eight hours, gas prices have dropped just a bit,” AAA Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai said Sunday morning. “Whether this is a trend or just a blip is anybody’s guess.”
Oklahoma’s statewide average continues to inch upward, now at $3.904 but the Tulsa average actually dropped three-tenths of a cent overnight to $3.846 this morning.
The state’s all-time high of $3.955 was set on July 16, 2008. Tulsa’s record high was also set that day: $3.927.
“It appears at least part of the reason for these breathtaking price spikes is limited gas supplies caused by a couple of refineries in the upper Midwest going offline,” said Mai. “But these shortages have only impacted selected locations.
“For example, the average price for regular gasoline in Texas today is $3.43, which is 47 cents below that of Oklahoma. And Arkansas’ average today is 48 cents below Oklahoma’s.”
In the contiguous 48 states, six have gas price averages today above $4 per gallon: Minnesota, $4.272; North Dakota, $4.204; California, $4.057; Illinois, $4.05; Nebraska, $4.031; and Iowa, $4.002.
Craig Wright was one of the most ardent advocates for compressed natural gas I’ve ever met.
CNG Interstate got its start in Utah, but quickly established a foothold in Edmond. Last year, Wright told me the business had grown by about 500 percent in less than a year.
We’ve talked a number of times since then, each time making it clear that Wright truly believed natural gas was a viable alternative to gasoline and diesel.
Nothing proves that more than our last visit, when Wright showed off a 23-foot ski boat he had modified to run on natural gas.
He had hoped to get the Malibu Wakesetter on the water shortly after our visit in late March, but he was confident it would meet expectations.
Wright also talked excitedly about his plans to use CNG in recreational vehicles to create a fuel-efficient rental fleet for adventure-seeking travelers.
It sounds like a workable plan, but someone else will have to make it work now.
I hope it happens.
I’d like to take a trip in CNG-fueled RV someday.
ALSO: Wright is survived by his wife and five children, with one more on the way. Friends are raising money to help support the family as it copes with its loss.
As debate over Keystone XL pipeline continues, one group opposed to the transcontinental pipeline is claiming the project will cost up to $100 billion a year in damages to health, property, ecosystems and the climate.
Oil Change International, which is dedicated to facilitating the transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy, on Tuesday released its study on the actual cost of the pipeline, which would move diluted bitumen and crude oil from Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast. Read the full report here.
“Americans are fed up with footing the bill for corporate pollution. The Keystone XL Pipeline will cause billions of dollars in damages every year that no one wants to pay,” said Lorne Stockman, research director for Oil Change International.
“TransCanada is proposing a massive wealth transfer from our own pockets to Big Oil — we will pay in hospital visits, rebuilding after super storms, and in clean up efforts in communities like Mayflower and Kalamazoo.
That’s outrageous, and President Obama should reject this pipeline immediately as a lose-lose gamble.”
Supporters contend it will be a boon to the economy and North American energy security, while opponents fear future ecological disasters and other climate impacts, citing past pipeline spills in Michigan and Arkansas.
The southern leg of the project, dubbed the Gulf Coast Project, is nearing completion in Oklahoma and Texas, despite scores of protests by opponents. The 485-mile pipeline between the oil storage hub at Cushing and Houston-area refineries is expected to be in operation by the end of the year.
I have stumbled across websites for two more new companies that former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon has formed, Arcadia Capital LLC, and McClendon Energy Partners LP. You can read more here about about McClendon’s new exploration and production company American Energy Partners LP, which is now hiring.
On its website, Arcadia Capital describes itself as a “family office that manages investments in oil and natural gas, real estate development and venture capital.”
Will McClendon will use Arcadia Capital to manage his personal investments? You can read more here about family offices.
McClendon’s personal holdings are extensive, including a 283-acre tree farm in Arcadia, a $70 million stake in ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc., a 19 percent interest in the Oklahoma City Thunder, as well as several restaurants and real estate development projects.
McClendon Energy Partners remains something of an enigma. There’s nothing to see on the website but a blurry shot of McClendon’s torso and gesturing hands.
Somebody out there knows more. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oklahoma City oilman Harold Hamm still thinks the number is far too low.
The government now says the world’s fastest-growing oilfield likely holds about 7.4 billion barrels of undiscovered oil that can be recovered with today’s technology.
The number is 49 times more than its 1995 forecast of 151 million barrels of recoverable oil. By 2008 the geological survey revised its estimate to 3.7 million barrels.
Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources Inc. was one of the first developers in the area and now has a hand in about 20 percent of the wells drilled so far.
Continental Resources in 2010 estimated the field contains 24 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil out of 577 billion barrels of total oil in place.
Last year, the company bumped up its total oil estimate by 56 percent to 903 billion barrels.
Continental Resources and other producers in the area are now producing oil from at four different rock layers and continue to improve drilling techniques in the area.
“The Bakken continues to get bigger, as large fields around the world have always done,” Rick Bott, Continental’s president and chief operating officer, said at the company’s investors day in October.
Domestic crude oil production has increased rapidly over the past five years, reversing half a century of declines.
At the same time, there has been increasing discussion about the country’s renewable energy potential.
“Our US of Energy map is intended to be a conversation starter — an opportunity to begin telling the awesome, positive story of America’s domestic energy revival,” Blake Jackson, vice president of digital at Saxum, said on the company’s blog.
A Saxum team spent five weeks researching and crafting the design before putting everything together.
“What began as a simple graphic showcasing America’s energy riches quickly grew into a two-sided, folded map concept displaying thousands of individual data points,” Jackson said.
Oklahoma State University held its 7th Annual Energy Conference on Tuesday in Oklahoma City, and our man Jay F. Marks (@okenergybeat) was a tweeting machine. You can read his dispatches below and check out Energy Editor Adam Wilmoth’s recap of the conference here. For the speaker presentations, go here.