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Shell Set to Use Crane Ship Named After Nazi

February 6, 2015 5:21 pm | by Sam Neylon, Chem.Info | News | Comments

The ship is named after convicted Nazi war criminal Pieter Schelte Heerema — which has prompted a chorus of outrage among the Jewish community and others. Shell said that it supports a change in the name, but that the ship’s owner — Swiss-based group Allseas Group SA — has refused.

Fracking Puts California Governor, Environmentalists at Odds

February 6, 2015 10:59 am | by JULIET WILLIAMS, Associated Press | Articles | Comments

In the 1970s, the environmental movement had no bigger political hero than California Gov. Jerry Brown. He cracked down on polluters, ended tax breaks for oil companies and promoted solar energy. Forty years later, in his second go-around as governor, conservationists are among his harshest critics.

Texas Startup Plans $2B La. Natural Gas Liquification Plant

February 6, 2015 10:47 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

The news came six days after the collapse in world oil prices prompted Sasol, of South Africa, to announce a delay in final investment plans for a $14 billion plant in the same area to convert natural gas to diesel and other liquid fuels.

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Japan Readies First Robot to Probe Melted Fukushima Reactor

February 6, 2015 9:41 am | by MIKI TODA, Associated Press | News | Comments

Assessing the damage inside the reactors is a crucial step in the decommissioning of the plant, which was badly damaged by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Use of a remote-controlled robot is essential because no humans can go close to the reactor chambers because of their fatally high radiation levels.

Ca. Allows Oilfield Dumping Into Drinking Water

February 5, 2015 5:19 pm | by Associated Press | Videos | Comments

State records show that California's oil and gas regulators improperly allowed oil companies to inject drilling fluids into federally-protected water aquifers more than 2,500 times. The oil industry says the permits were valid and that the scrutiny comes from heightened sensitivity to wastewater issues. 

The Wild World of Predicting Oil Prices

February 5, 2015 3:32 pm | by Meagan Parrish, Editor, Chem.Info | Videos | Comments

Oil prices yo-yoed this week, giving analysts whip lash as they hurried to decide what it all means, and forecast what the future holds. On Wednesday the price of a barrel had fallen to about $48, but by Thursday was back up to $52. And as quickly as some were to determine that prices were rallying, other chimed in to point out that it likely won’t last.

North Dakota Oil Industry Avoids Layoffs

February 5, 2015 11:43 am | by Andy Szal, Chem.Info | News | Comments

The months-long slide in crude oil prices has resulted in thousands of layoffs in Texas, the nation's top oil-producing state. In second-place North Dakota, however, the burgeoning shale oil and natural gas sector will apparently be spared mass job cuts in the short term.

Washington Lawmakers Pushing Electric Car Ownership

February 5, 2015 9:28 am | by DERRICK NUNNALLY, Associated Press | News | Comments

Even with gas prices hovering around $2 per gallon, Washington state lawmakers are considering a raft of bills to encourage more drivers to turn to electric cars in the name of reducing pollution. Plug-in-and-charge automobiles are gaining popularity in the state. Washington records show there were nearly 12,000 registered electric cars by the end of last year.

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Spain Nuclear Plant Shuts Down Amid Gale-Force Winds

February 4, 2015 9:30 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

The Nuclear Security Council said in a statement that the Vandellos II plant in northeastern Spain shut down automatically at 3 p.m. (1400 gmt) Tuesday after there was electricity line disruption. The council said the incident represented no threat to workers at the plant, the public or the environment.

Burning Oilfields After Fighting in Iraq

February 3, 2015 5:19 pm | by Meagan Parrish, Editor, Chem.Info | Videos | Comments

After a dramatic weekend of clashes between Islamic State (ISIS) fighters and Kurdish forces, an oilfield in Iraq has been left burning and damaged. As of Monday, service from the oilfield was still halted, potentially putting a dent in revenue from the country’s key export.

More Oil Industry Layoffs Hit Texas

February 3, 2015 3:14 pm | by Andy Szal, Chem.Info | News | Comments

The rapid increase in domestic oil production in recent years helped fuel a banner year for Texas' economy in 2014. As the price of oil has plummeted to less than half its summer value, however, the industry continues to bear the brunt of job cuts.  

Report: Offshoring, Federal Policy Haven Taken Toll on U.S. Industry

February 3, 2015 10:50 am | by Andy Szal, Chem.Info | News | Comments

The report, titled "America’s Advanced Industries: What They Are, Where They Are, and Why They Matter," analyzed 50 high-technology industries, from aerospace to foundries to pharmaceuticals. Those sectors employed more than 12 million Americans directly and more than one-quarter of all U.S. jobs when indirect positions were factored in.

Obama's Budget Includes Billions For Coal States

February 3, 2015 10:34 am | by ADAM BEAM, Associated Press | News | Comments

The new Republican-controlled Congress appeared skeptical of the president's outreach to the heart of the nation's coal country, with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing Monday that he would personally oversee the budget of Obama's Environmental Protection Agency.

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BP Reports Loss of $4.4 Billion in 4th Quarter of 2014

February 3, 2015 10:26 am | by DANICA KIRKA, Associated Press | News | Comments

The net income figure includes a $5 billion writedown on the value of BP's inventories, after the price of Brent crude, the benchmark for North Sea oil, dropped almost 50 percent last year. BP posted a profit of $1.04 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013.

State Drilling Panel Weighs Disclosure of Fracking Chemicals

February 3, 2015 9:13 am | by DAN ELLIOTT, Associated Press | News | Comments

Gov. John Hickenlooper's task force on oil and gas discussed proposals Monday that would force energy companies to disclose all the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing and give local governments more of a say on where wells can be drilled.

Report: Governments Should Phase Out Emphasis on Bioenergy

January 29, 2015 4:58 pm | by Andy Szal, Chem.Info | News | Comments

A report released by a global research group recommends that governments cease most attempts to bolster bioenergy production, arguing they "undercut efforts to combat climate change and to achieve a sustainable food future."

Pipeline Ruptures Plague Oil and Gas Industry

January 29, 2015 2:20 pm | by Andy Szal, Chem.Info | Articles | Comments

It's been a rough start to 2015 for safety concerns at pipelines transporting oil, natural gas or their byproducts throughout the country. This week, a pipe in West Virginia became at least the fifth to rupture so far this year, exacerbating concerns about structural weaknesses and lax oversight in the industry.

FACT CHECK: Both Sides in Keystone XL Debate Bend Facts

January 28, 2015 4:58 pm | by DINA CAPPIELLO, Associated Press | Articles | Comments

Critics claim it will disastrously increase the pollution blamed for global warming and put communities along its 1,179-mile route at risk for a damaging spill, all for oil and products that will be exported anyway. Which is it? A check of some of the claims about the pipeline as a bill approving it heads toward likely passage...

Utility Changes Seek to Decrease Hawaii's Reliance on Petroleum

January 28, 2015 12:16 pm | by Andy Szal, Chem.info | News | Comments

Oil accounts for a tiny fraction of electricity for the U.S. as a whole, but it powered more than 70 percent of Hawaii's electrical needs as of late 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration — and all of it had to cross an ocean to get there.

Photo of The Day: Toxic Skies Over India

January 26, 2015 4:55 pm | by Meagan Parrish, Editor, Chem.info | News | Comments

A thick layer of smog and exhaust was the backdrop for some of President Obama’s recent trip to India. The toxic mix provided a visual reminder of what’s at stake for those hoping to improve air quality in India and reduce the globe’s overall emissions from fossil fuels.

Policing The Patch: It's 'Not Mayberry Anymore'

January 26, 2015 9:55 am | by SHARON COHEN, AP National Writer | Articles | Comments

Police chief Art Walgren knew how much the oil boom had changed this once-sleepy town when he spotted something that would have been unheard of not long ago: license plates from Sinaloa, Mexico, home to one of the world's most violent drug cartels.

Senate Republicans Changing Their Stance on Global Warming? Not Quite.

January 22, 2015 4:41 pm | by Meagan Parrish, Editor, Chem.info | Videos | Comments

In a move that shocked many Democrats and environmentalists, the Senate overwhelmingly voted 98-1 on Wednesday to approve an amendment stating that climate change is “real and not a hoax.” Even one of the most notorious global warming deniers, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, signed on to the amendment, which was offered during a debate over the Keystone XL Pipeline bill.

OPEC: Shale Producers Need to "Learn a Lesson"

January 15, 2015 10:41 am | by Meagan Parrish, Editor, Chem.info | Videos | Comments

There's been a lot of noise about OPEC's role in the current decline of oil prices — but UAE Energy Minister, Suhail al-Mazrouei says shale producers should be "rational" about their output and that the market may not be suitable for them. 

We Burn 2.7 Million Gallons a Minute, so Why's Oil so Cheap?

January 15, 2015 10:03 am | by JONATHAN FAHEY, AP Energy Writer | Articles | Comments

The world burns enough oil-derived fuels to drain an Olympic-sized swimming pool four times every minute. Global consumption has never been higher — and is rising. Yet the price of a barrel of oil has fallen by more than half over the past six months because the globe, experts say, is awash in oil.  

Obama Moves to Create First Methane Limits For Gas Drilling

January 14, 2015 9:37 am | by JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Obama administration laid out designs Wednesday to issue the first regulations to cut down on methane emissions from new natural gas wells, aiming to curb the discharge of a potent greenhouse gas by roughly half. Obama's intention to eventually force industry to cut methane emissions has long been part of his broader strategy on climate change.

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