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Pipeline: Energy news in brief



PIPELINES

Two deals signed by Rex

State College-based driller Rex Energy has signed two deals to send Marcellus Shale natural gas to the higher priced markets in the Midwest and Gulf Coast.

One pipeline deal with Richmond, Va.-based Dominion Transmission Inc. will expand capacity on about 235 miles of existing pipeline, known as the Lebanon West II Project, between Butler County and Warren County, Ohio. Under the agreement, Rex has secured firm transportation for 130,000 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas for 20 years beginning in 2016. 

Rex also struck a deal with Texas Gas Transmission to expand capacity on 690 miles of existing pipeline, known as the Ohio-Louisiana Access Project, from Warren County, Ohio, to Perryville, Louisiana. Under the agreement, Rex has secured firm transportation for 100,000 MMcf/d for 20 years beginning in 2016. When the pipeline expansion is complete, Rex will be able to transport gas to Gulf Coast markets, including future LNG export facilities constructed in the Gulf of Mexico.

GASOLINE

Prices at $3.84 per gallon

Average retail gasoline prices in Pittsburgh have risen 7.6 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.84 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 731 gas outlets in Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, the national average has fallen 1.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.64 per gallon.

In Pittsburgh, prices were 28.9 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 18.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 9.2 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 13.4 cents per gallon higher than last year.

"For now, the national average has peaked," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "Since Feb. 7, gasoline prices have been on an upward trajectory in a majority of the U.S., and at least for now, prices have broken that upward trend and have stabilized."

He said in the next couple weeks gasoline prices are likely to begin seeing more downward momentum "By Memorial Day, if there aren't major refinery kinks that develop, we could see the national average dropping into the $3.50s, or perhaps even lower."

DRILLING

Number of active rigs down

The number of active drilling rigs operating in Pennsylvania fell by three last week, according to Baker Hughes Inc. The rig count in Pennsylvania, which along with West Virginia and Ohio overlies the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, stood at 58 on Friday. Last year, Pennsylvania’s rig count was slightly higher at 60 rigs, the Houston-based oilfield service company said in its weekly rig count.

West Virginia’s rig count was 28 as of Friday, after the state gained a single rig during the week. That’s higher than last year’s count of 24 rigs. Ohio’s rig count remained unchanged last week at 35 rigs. Last year, Ohio had 32 rigs, Baker Hughes said.

The total count of land-based rigs in the U.S. fell to 1,786 after shedding seven rigs during the week, according to Baker Hughes data.

From staff reports

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