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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

BMW Goes Solar at CES

January 9, 2015 10:09 am | by Reuters Plus | Videos | Comments

Carmaker BMW showed off its vision for charging electric cars at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The concept, which the company hopes to have on the market in the near future, is a solar powered carport system capable of generating and storing energy that can power the carmaker's electric vehicles.

How Lower Oil Prices Could Fuel More Hiring In The U.S.

January 8, 2015 4:43 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | Articles | Comments

In June, when oil cost $107 a barrel, U.S. employers added a healthy number of jobs — 267,000. Now, with oil below $50,  hopes are rising that hiring in the United States is poised to intensify. Goldman Sachs forecasts that if oil stays near its current price, the economy will add 300,000 more jobs this year than if the price had remained at its June level.

California Governor Toughens Climate-Change Goals

January 6, 2015 10:18 am | by JUDY LIN, Associated Press | News | Comments

As he was sworn in for a record fourth term, Gov. Jerry Brown charted an ambitious new goal on Monday for California in its fight against climate change, challenging the nation's most populous state to increase renewable energy use to 50 percent in the next 15 years.

Regulators Weigh Proposal to Close Part of New Mexico Plant

January 5, 2015 5:58 pm | by SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press | News | Comments

New Mexico regulators began taking testimony Monday on a plan that calls for shutting down part of an aging coal-fired power plant that provides electricity to more than 2 million people in the Southwest. Dozens braved frigid temperatures to talk about asthma, cancer and other health concerns.

2 Missouri Cities Consider Solar Energy Farms

January 5, 2015 9:59 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Two cities near Kansas City are considering making more use of solar energy, a trend that energy industry experts say is growing in the Midwest as costs to install facilities decline. If plans move forward, the two cities would join a number of Missouri municipalities that have opened solar farms.  

In 83 Speeches, Senator Pushes For Climate Change

December 29, 2014 9:49 am | by JENNIFER McDERMOTT, Associated Press | Articles | Comments

Like he did 82 times before, Sheldon Whitehouse stood on the Senate floor and preached the dangers of climate change. In his last speech before Congress adjourned, the senator warned that 2014 is on track to be the hottest year on record.

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