Christopher Smith, acting assistant secretary for fossil energy at the the Department of Energy, speaks on current government research on oil and gas during the Offshore Technology Conference in May 2013. President Barack Obama has nominated him to take the high-ranking Energy Department post permanently. ( Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle )

Obama taps industry veteran for top Energy Dept. post

An oil industry veteran is set to formally take the driver’s seat steering the administration’s policy on exporting natural gas, with President Barack Obama’s decision to nominate Christopher Smith for a high-ranking Energy Department post.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Senate energy efficiency debate becomes battleground

The Senate on Wednesday plunged into its biggest debate on energy policy in years, by taking up a modest, bipartisan bill that aims to boost the efficiency of buildings nationwide. But despite the measure’s wide popularity and narrow scope, the Senate debate on the bill is poised to become a battleground for fighting out an array of controversial energy issues, including whether the Obama administration should approve TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
(Nick De La Torre / Houston Chronicle)

LNG export critics call on Energy Dept. for time out

With the Obama administration on Wednesday approving a fourth company’s plans to sell natural gas overseas, some lawmakers and manufacturers said it’s time for the federal government to reassess the economic risks of those export approvals.
The "Norman Lady" delivers liquefied natural gas to the Dominion Natural Gas Plant's offshore docking facility in Cove Point, Md., in 2003.  (AP Photo/ Matt Houston)

Obama administration authorizes more natural gas exports

The Obama administration on Wednesday authorized a fourth company to broadly export U.S. natural gas, giving Dominion conditional approval to sell the fossil fuel abroad after processing it at a Maryland facility.
A worker uses a headset and microphone to communicate with coworkers over the din of pump trucks, at the site of a natural gas hydraulic fracturing and extraction operation run by the Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., outside Rifle, in western Colorado. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Anadarko, Noble launch campaign to tout fracking to wary Westerners

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Noble Energy have teamed up to tout the benefits of oil and gas development in Colorado, amid mounting opposition to hydraulic fracturing in the state.

Oil industry challenges government’s carbon price tag

Oil industry and business groups are asking the Obama administration to rescind its new calculation of the social costs tied to emitting carbon dioxide, amid fears the estimate will broadly be used to justify controversial proposed environmental regulations.
Jack Gerard, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, speaks at a Houston Chronicle editorial board meeting June 18, 2013.

Oil industry touts $81B in carbon-cutting efforts

The oil and gas industry’s largest trade group on Tuesday touted the sector’s investments in cleaning up greenhouse gas emissions, saying energy companies are doing more than the federal government to rein in the climate pollution.
Image from Growth Energy advertisement.

Ethanol group: Don’t believe ‘slick’ oil industry (video)

The nation’s largest ethanol trade group is launching a new television commercial and flooding Washington, D.C. in a three-day lobbying blitz aimed at warding off changes to an eight-year-old renewable fuel mandate.
Supporters of former presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador cheer as they listen to Lopez Obrador during an act to protest against the government's proposed energy reforms. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Thousands protest Mexico oil reform

Thousands of people rallied Sunday in Mexico City to oppose President Enrique Pena Nieto’s plan to open the state-owned oil sector to profit-sharing contracts with private firms.
(AP file photo/Southeast Missourian, Aaron Eisenhauer)

Renewable fuel pays off for some oil refiners

The rising cost of renewable fuel credits turned out to be good economic news for some oil companies, especially those who are producing biofuels and have blending capacity.