Blue Planet: Seas of Life premieres Sunday Jan. 27 on the Discovery Channel.    HOUCHRON CAPTION  (01/24/2002):  Scarred beluga whales are caught in a small hole in the ice in the Arctic on Blue Planet. Twenty miles of ice lies between the whales and the open ocean, so they must use the hole to breathe for two months. The scars are from polar bears attacking the whales as they surface for air every 20 minutes.

Shell nabs critical animal disturbance permit for Arctic drilling venture

The incidental harassment authorization, issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, further lowers the number of federal permits Shell Oil Co. must win before it is able to resume exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean.
Screengrab of an infrared image captured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico, June 15, 2015. (NOAA)

Enterprise Products Partners evacuates three offshore platforms; other companies watching tropical storm closely

Oil companies and refiners are keeping a close eye on a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico, but the storm hasn’t shut down operations or triggered evacuations of essential personnel.
Helix Well Containment Group equipment was deployed in a drill at a Noble Energy test well in May, with federal regulators and industry representatives looking on. (Photo: Noble Energy)

Despite new discoveries, deep water’s a bit still

Marshall Adkins, director of energy research at Raymond James in Houston, said the moves show there is reason for optimism, but that the deepwater oil and gas sector might be 18 months away from seeing a rebound, as opposed to the quicker recoveries expected in U.S. shale.
A crew cleans oil from the beach at Refugio State Beach on May 20, 2015 north of Goleta, Calif.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

California officials deny Exxon’s request to truck crude stranded after Plains pipeline breach

Exxon Mobil estimates it will fill onsite storage at a stranded processing plant in less than one month and need to cease both natural gas and crude production in the area.
The hull of Chevron's Big Foot oil platform arrived in Texas in March 2013, after a three-month journey from Korea. It is scheduled to begin production in early 2014, 225 miles south of New Orleans, floating in 5,200 feet of water. (Chevron)

Additional tethering failures add to problems plaguing Chevron’s Big Foot project

Three more tendons sank to the ocean floor, adding to the problems that Chevron has been working for more than a week to assess. In addition, all six of the massive buoys holding the tendons in place have also sank, including the portion of one that was adrift.
Deepwater Horizon

Midnight deadline approaches for oil spill settlement claims

Claims administrator Patrick Juneau says there has been an uptick in the number of filings as the deadline approached. He said claims centers in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas will be open until midnight to handle claims.
In this May 21, 2015 file photo, workers prepare an oil containment boom at Refugio State Beach, north of Goleta, Calif..(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Pipeline firm said California oil spill ‘extremely unlikely’

Nearly 1,200 pages of records, filed with state regulators by Plains All American Pipeline, detail a range of defenses the company established to guard against crude oil spills and, at the same time, prepare for the worst should a spill occur.
Amedeo Marcotulli is the new Xodus Subsea general manager in Houston. (Xodus)

Xodus Subsea adds new Houston leadership, but slows growth plans

Xodus Subsea launched in October as a global energy engineering firm with plans to quickly establish a North American headquarters in Houston and grow.

But then the collapse in oil prices sped up. Fast forward a few months and London-based Xodus Subsea has a new Houston leadership team in place, although the growth plans have slowed along with the overall energy market.

In a Nov. 28, 2012 file photo, David  Rainey, center, a former BP vice president during the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, leaves Federal Court in New Orleans. Rainey was acquitted of one charge of lying to federal investigators on June 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton, File)

Ex-BP executive Rainey found not guilty of making false statement

A federal jury has found a former BP executive not guilty of making false statements to investigators in connection with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
(Eddie Seal/Bloomberg News)

Energy companies grew “lazy” and “flabby” while oil prices were high, executive says

Energy companies grew a little too fat and happy during time of $100 a barrel oil prices, but they have quickly turned a corner to become much more efficient, energy executives said at a Calvetti Ferguson law firm forum.