Last updateFri, 21 Oct 2016 3pm


First New U.S. Nuclear Reactor in 20 Years Starts Operation

The nation’s first new nuclear generation in 20 years has officially entered commercial operation after the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Watts Bar Unit 2 successfully completed an extensive series of power ascension tests and reliably operated at full power for more than three weeks.

The $4.7 billion capital construction project was completed on budget. The unit now moves to working asset status.

Watts Bar Unit 2 now joins six other operating TVA nuclear units to supply more than one third of the region’s generating capacity, and meeting the electric needs of more than 4.5 million homes. 

Task Force Issues Recommendations to Curtail Natural Gas Blowouts

The Interagency Task Force on Natural Gas Storage Safety, established in the wake of last year's massive natural gas leak at California's Aliso Canyon site, just issued a new report intended to help reduce the risk of future such incidents. The report chronicles lessons learned from the Aliso Canyon leak and analyzes the nation's more than 400 underground natural gas storage wells. It provides 44 recommendations to industry, federal, state, and local regulators and governments to reduce the likelihood of future leaks and minimize the impacts of any that occur.

Overall, the report finds that "while incidents at U.S. underground natural gas storage facilities are rare, the potential consequences of those incidents can be significant and require additional actions to ensure safe and reliable operation over the long term." 

Mountain States Using Less Coal for Power Generation

Coal has long been the dominant source of electricity generation in the Mountain Census division. In the eight Mountain states, coal-fired power generation made up almost 50% of the region’s total generation in 2015, compared to the national average of 33%. A decade ago, per the Energy Information Administration (EIA), coal’s share in Mountain states was even higher, at 63%. Since then, other electricity generation fuels, such as natural gas, renewables and nuclear, have gained generation share.

In the past decade, the share of electricity generated from natural gas has increased in all Mountain states except Colorado. Natural gas accounted for 26% of the total electricity generation in the region in 2015, up from 19% in 2005. 

BLM Finalizes New Oil and Gas Measurement Rules

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced the finalization of three rules designed to ensure the accurate measurement, proper reporting and accurate recordkeeping of oil and gas produced.

While all three of the rules address changing technologies and industry practices, the final rules will also contribute to oil field safety, by expressly recognizing automatic tank gauging as a permissible means to measure oil and prepare end-of-month inventories. This change gives operators the opportunity to deploy a technology more broadly that protects workers and reduces the need for workers to enter storage tanks and to open hatches that may expose them to potentially lethal fumes. 

IoT Technology to Reduce Need for Offshore Oil, Gas Workers

“Internet of Things (IoT) technology will change the daily life of oil and gas workers by enabling more of them to conduct offshore work from an onshore monitoring facility or even from home,” said Mark Stevens, director of global data solutions at Oceaneering, in an interview with Rigzone.

“The trend of reducing the number of workers needed offshore is partly due to the age gap between older offshore workers who are leaving industry, and younger workers just starting their careers, Stevens said. Younger workers need access to the Internet and connectivity; this makes recruiting younger workers to go offshore difficult.” 


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