Chron Energy Items: 02.14.08

A few of the energy related items in today’s Houston Chronicle or on chron.com:
Expert says Chavez is in over his head: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez doesn’t have the tactical advantage he thinks he does when it comes to controlling his oil-rich country’s resources, an energy security consultant told oil and gas executives Wednesday.
Power plant costs soar, hampering projects:The cost of building power plants in the U.S. has risen 76 percent in the last three years but 80 to 110 gigawatts of new generation capacity still will come online by 2012, according to a report set for release today.
Storm watch: Shell to put weather sensors on platforms: As hurricanes pass through the Gulf of Mexico in coming years, seven Shell Oil Co. offshore platforms will have eyes on the storms.
Judge grants Exxon Mobil asset request: Exxon Mobil Corp. won a court order Wednesday extending a freeze on as much as $315 million that would have been transferred to Venezuela’s state-owned oil company.
Rice says State Department to appoint energy envoy: Associated Press – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said today she will appoint a special envoy for energy issues to deal with the use of oil and gas for political means, particularly in Central Asia
Regional Briefs: Foes get more time on nuclear plant.
Rig oversupply slows Patterson-UTI’s earnings: Patterson-UTI Energy, a leading land-based oil and gas well driller, said fourth-quarter profit dropped by 45 percent to $85.1 million as an oversupply of rigs continues.
Brazil’s oil company is bright spot in region: Los Angeles Times – For most of Latin America’s state oil companies, these are hardly halcyon days: Although high global prices have lifted revenue, crude oil production is either in decline or moving sideways. Then there’s Brazil’s go-go Petrobras.