Fuel Fix

Crude oil rides Texas’ rails with little tracking

Rail tank cars are seen on tracks behind new homes under construction in the Cottage Grove area on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Houston. Transport of crude oil by rail has become increasingly common, raising safety concerns after a series of derailments around the country. ( Smiley N. Pool / Houston Chronicle )
For generations of producers drillers in Texas, where a vast pipeline system has grown with the fits and starts of the oil industry’s notorious business cycle, railroads provided little more than a relatively expensive last resort. But in the boom associated with the hydraulic fracturing, producers increasingly enlist trains to handle the glut. More »
Minsu Cha, research professor, Department of Civil Engineering and Petroleum Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines, works to set up an experiment to test the use of liquid nitrogen for hydraulic fracturing on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Golden, Colo. ( Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle )

Researchers at work on using liquid nitrogen instead of water in fracturing

Petroleum engineers in Colorado are working on a process called cryogenic fracturing, which replaces water with searing cold liquid nitrogen or liquid carbon dioxide.  More »
(martinluff/Flickr)

Colorado finds itself an earthquake lab amid gas boom

In an area peppered with wells pulling energy resources from below ground — and many pumping wastewater from the process back into it through injection wells — an old question resurfaced: Could the same geological tinkering that has revved a formidable economic engine also trigger potentially damaging earthquakes?  More »
A natural gas drilling site in the Barnett Shale. (AP file photo/Donna McWilliam)

Study finds more arsenic in north Texas water wells near drilling

In the study, University of Texas at Arlington biochemists measured 100 wells across the Barnett Shale, believed to hold one of the largest natural gas reserves in the U.S., and compared the results to a similar study undertaken before hydraulic fracturing technology and higher natural gas prices opened the area to drilling.  More »

Hilcorp drops bid to force drilling on holdouts

The Houston-based company had sought to use a 1961 Pennsylvania law to drill under the property of a few holdout landowners in New Bedford, near the Ohio border north of Pittsburgh.  More »
A crane stands next to Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) signage displayed on the company's La Muralla IV deep sea crude oil platform in the waters off Veracruz, Mexico, on Friday, Aug.30, 2013.  (Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg)

Mexico’s Pemex says production to increase in 2015

Mexico’s state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos estimates its crude production will increase to 2.4 million barrels per day in 2015, compared with the 2.35 million barrels per day it expects to produce this year, a company official said.  More »
“We see welders making six figures in a lot of cases,” says William Hill, managing director at  FMI Capital Advisors

Gaining the right expertise may mean buying a company

Oil companies want top-notch engineers for their massive projects, and engineering companies that want to compete for the jobs usually need a track record.  More »
(Image: Fotolia)

Houston crude-by-rail company files for $150 million IPO

Houston rail terminal operator USD Partners told regulators Friday it plans to make a $150 million Wall Street debut later this year as U.S. oil companies turn to trains to transport crude.  More »
Pictured is a hydraulic fracturing operation in the Permian Basin that took place on Oct. 1, 2012. Apache is an active driller in the Permian Basin and during the quarter averaged 35 rigs drilling 201 wells of which 26 were horizontal. (Apache)

Feds advance hydraulic fracturing rule

The Obama administration is on track to impose new mandates governing hydraulic fracturing on public land by the end of the year, a move that threatens to topple the White House’s delicate balancing act assuaging worried environmentalists while still sustaining a domestic drilling boom that is bolstering the U.S. economy.  More »

Illinois state agency issues fracturing rules

he lengthy report follows months of delays and complaints over the process to draft rules governing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Illinois. Industry officials say southern Illinois has rich deposits of natural gas, but a final draft of the rules — initially touted as a national model of both sides working together — has taken months for the agency to produce as industry groups warned the state was losing business.  More »
The Stripes convenience on Southmore Blvd. on Monday, April 28, 2014, in Houston. ( J. Patric Schneider / For the Chronicle )

Energy Transfer Partners completes $1.8 billion Susser deal

Dallas-based pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners completed a deal to acquire Corpus Christi’s Susser Holdings Corp. in a transaction that will ultimately bring the Stripes and Sunoco convenience stores under the same umbrella, the companies announced Friday.  More »
conocophillipslogobig

Green Dragon Gas settles with ConocoPhillips for $40 million

Green Dragon Gas Ltd., a Chinese producer of coal-bed methane gas, has agreed to pay ConocoPhillips a $40 million arbitration settlement to end a contract dispute.  More »
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