Shale ///

Oil holds above $50 as Saudis signal demand before supplies data

Oil held above $50/bbl as investors weighed Saudi Arabia’s signal that demand is improving against data forecast to show U.S. inventories expanded from a record.

Oil exports could sustain benefits of U.S. energy renaissance, ConocoPhillips CEO says

ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance delivered an energy policy speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tuesday that appealed to the congressional and executive branches of federal government to lift the outdated and economically constraining national ban on crude oil exports.

U.S. oil drilling retreat slows as fewest rigs shut in eight weeks

HOUSTON -- The tide may be turning in the retreat of the U.S. oil explorers. Rigs targeting oil fell by 33 to 986, the smallest decline since Jan. 2, according to Baker Hughes. Rigs in the Permian basin dropped by seven to 355 after dropping by as much as 49 earlier in the month. The Eagle Ford in Texas lost three rigs.

Gazprom Neft drilling unconventional targets in Bazhenov formation

Gazprom Neft has completed testing of four directional wells to investigate reserves within the Bazhenov formation within the southern area of Priobskoye field.

Petronas turns to $2.7 billion fourth-quarter loss on oil slump

KUALA LUMPUR (Bloomberg) -- Petroliam Nasional, the Malaysian state oil company preparing for a leadership transition in April, reported a loss in the fourth quarter following crude’s plunge.

Oil bargains for Asia stretch to Mexico as ships set sail

Ships carrying oil from Mexico are sailing to South Korea for the first time in more than two decades as the U.S. shale boom brings bargains from around the globe.

German beer brewers win hydraulic fracturing protection for water wells

German brewers have won the backing of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to protect the springs they use from hydraulic fracturing, which they say could taint the purity of their beer.

New packer technology for fast, but controlled swell rates

TAM International has introduced a new swellable packer technology that alters the geometric design of the elastomer to provide ultra-fast, but predictable and controlled swell rates.

Magnum Hunter completes testing of WVDNR Pad wells in West Virginia; initiates production

Magnum Hunter Resources has announced that the company's four new wholly owned WVDNR Pad wells (#1410, #1411, #1412 and #1413), located in Wetzel County, West Virginia, have been recently placed on production after several weeks of testing.

Alberta fracing quake fears prompt tougher rules for shale area

Shale producers in Alberta’s Duvernay region are being asked to monitor and prevent earthquakes after regulators linked a series of seismic events over the last two months to hydraulic fracturing.

Canada to reduce taxes for LNG plants

Canada is cutting taxes on LNG projects in an effort to spur the industry.

Marathon Oil cuts spending by another 20%

Marathon Oil has announced a $3.5 billion capital, investment and exploration budget for 2015, a further 20% decrease since the Company's December capital budget update.

Eni profit falls more than 60% on lower oil prices

Eni reported a 64% decline in profit caused by falling oil prices and losses on the fair-value interests in Galp and Snam.

Oil halts rising streak as U.S. stockpiles seen worsening glut

Oil fell for the first time in four days before U.S. government data forecast to show crude inventories increased further last week from a record level.

Bakken oil train derails, ignites forcing West Virginia evacuations

U.S. regulators joined the investigation into a fiery CSX Corp. oil-train derailment in West Virginia that forced residents to flee their homes in frigid weather and threatened drinking water.

Sanctions don’t bar oil-service giants bidding in Arctic

U.S. and European suppliers to the oil industry are still able to seek work in Russia’s Arctic despite sanctions designed to limit their involvement because the rules don’t apply to foreign subsidiaries.

Chem Rock’s OmegaStim completes 4,000th fracking stage, marks milestone

Chem Rock has announced that its premier fluid system, OmegaStim, has successfully completed its 4,000th stage.

North Dakota output rose nearly 7% in December, State says as rigs drop

North Dakota’s oil production rose by nearly 2.4 MMbbl in December, but the state’s rig count has now fallen to its lowest level in nearly five years.

ShaleTech: Marcellus/Utica

Jim Redden, Contributing Editor

Near-term uncertainties reign in low-cost play

WPX Energy slashes spending, cuts rigs

WPX Energy has announced a 2015 capital investment plan of approximately $725 million (midpoint), in line with the company’s projected operating cash flow.