Fuel Fix

More oil rigs shut down this week

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Categories: Crude oil, featured, Markets
The number of U.S. rigs chasing oil fell to a total of 646 this week, according to a weekly tally by oil service company Baker Hughes.
Alan Sadler

Feds’ plan to boost biofuel targets draws fire from all sides

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In trying to balance the competing interests of oil companies and biofuel producers, the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed renewable fuel quotas for 2014, 2015 and 2016 have pleased almost no one.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

Oklahoma is latest state to prevent local fracking bans

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Pushed hard by the oil and gas industry, but fiercely opposed by municipalities and environmental groups, the bill specifically prohibits cities or towns from banning operations such as drilling, fracking, water disposal, recovery operations or pipeline infrastructure.
An Energy Department grant helped CenterPoint install smart meters in its entire service area two years ahead of schedule.  ( Melissa Phillip / Houston Chronicle )

CenterPoint eliminates smart meter surcharge

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The end of the smart meter surcharge, which is largely passed onto customers by the retail electricity companies, will eventually mean fewer charges for many homeowners and renters. The exact surcharges passed onto to customers vary based on the contracts with their electricity providers.

Seadrill's West Sirius semi-submersible rig (Seadrill)

Seadrill execs expect scrapping of deep-water rigs to accelerate

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U.S. oil companies may not be sidelining as many rigs at its big shale plays, but the fate of many deep-water machines around the world is far from certain.
Federal regulators cleared Cheniere Energy to expand Sabine Pass LNG, but the Sierra Club has asked for additional review. Work is ongoing on the first phase of that project. (Cheniere Energy)

Cheniere ready to start work on Sabine Pass expansion, urges feds to give full approval

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Cheniere Energy is ready to start construction on an expansion of its Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas export terminal, but it can’t start work until federal regulators dismiss an environmental group’s request to intervene.
Categories: LNG
Remnants of the latest corn crop rest in the shadow of an Ameren Corp. power plant outside of the 2,850-reisdent southern Illinois town of Newton. Newton, which touts its Jasper County connections to late singer and Academy Award-winning actor Burl Ives, also takes pride in the coal-fired plant, which many locals worry faces a clouded future as Illinois pollution-control regulators decide whether to give Texas-based Dynegy Inc. more time to install pollution controls on the Newton plant and four other Illinois ones it seeks to buy. Newton residents fear an unfavorable ruling could upend the Dynegy deal and perhaps force the power plant to close, posing a crippling loss of tax revenue. (AP Photo/Jim Suhr)

Dynegy accused of market manipulation to increase electricity rates

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Dynegy, which denies the claims, is accused of using a power auction by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator — a regional transmission organization in the Midwest — to push prices up for parts of Illinois from $16.75 per megawatt-day last year to $150 this year, an increase of 800 percent.
Clean up crews removed oil-laden sand on the beach at Refugio State Beach, site of an oil spill, north of Goleta, Calif.  (AP Photo/Michael A. Mariant)

Response by Plains on broken Calif. pipeline faces scrutiny

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U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California labeled the response to the spill “insufficient” in a letter Thursday to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The senators questioned why the line lacked an automatic shut-off valve and whether some workers were left on the sidelines while the leak spread.
Arctic OffShore Drilling

Oil industry takes aim at proposed Arctic drilling mandates

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The proposed requirements would unnecessarily shorten an already brief window for exploratory drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas while dramatically boosting the costs of those operations, dissuading companies from drilling in the region, industry representatives said in formal comments filed with the government.
Categories: Arctic, Politics/Policy