Commercial vessels spray water on the fire aboard the West Delta 32 production platform. (Coast Guard photo)

Houston’s Black Elk Energy facing criminal charges for fatal Gulf explosion

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Houston-based Black Elk Energy faces six criminal counts for a blast at a Gulf of Mexico production platform that killed three workers and injured others.
Texas Flooding

Texas Flooding Reveals Deficient Infrastructure

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Over 37.3 trillion gallons of water fell in Texas this past spring after heavy precipitation resulted in substantial flooding. While years of drought were literally washed away, the state experienced significant consequences of the flooding, including 21 deaths according to a report by NPR. The recent weather patterns exposed vital shortcomings in the state’s flood […]
Brian Salerno, director of the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement   at the Offshore Technology Conference at the NRG Center Thursday, May 7, 2015.  Gary Coronado / Houston Chronicle )

OTC: Offshore drilling regulators want industry input on ‘next steps’ for safety management programs

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The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement will hold a workshop on the issue on July 29 in Houston aimed at getting ideas for how to strengthen the safety and environmental management systems required of companies operating offshore.
OTC-Models

OTC: Feds could soon take a closer look at who is, and who isn’t, fit to operate offshore

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The nation’s offshore drilling overseers are considering adopting a page out of Norway and Brazil’s playbooks — with a potential analysis of oil and gas firms’ “fitness to operate” on coastal waters.
In June, GE tested this prototype 20,000 psi ram blowout preventer at its Houston Technology Center. The 20ksi program also includes new wellheads, connectors, control systems, and riser systems. (GE Oil & Gas)

Feds unveil plan for keeping offshore oil wells in check five years after Gulf spill

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The measure codifies many of the steps that companies have already taken to better keep offshore wells in check, including more rigorous maintenance and testing of the blowout preventers that act as a last line of defense against uncontrolled surges of oil and gas.
A Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. natural gas drilling rig in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. (Cabot)

Study finds radon in Pennsylvania homes on the rise while Marcellus drilling surges

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Buildings in counties where natural gas is most actively being extracted from the Marcellus shale have in the past decade had much higher measurements of radioactive radon than buildings in low-activity areas, according to the new research.
A heavy duty jack-up rig drills over the Forties Echo platform (Apache Corp.)

Supply vessel hits Apache platform; company says no injuries or spills

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Apache said the platform has been shut down but there hasn’t been any leak of oil or gas. It’s unclear when production will resume.
(AP Photo via militant video)

U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia warns of kidnapping plot against Western oil workers

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Affiliates of terrorist groups may be planning to kidnap Western oil workers in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia warned over the weekend.
(Rovanto/Flickr)

Volatile Bakken crude expected to keep flowing through Texas

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AUSTIN – Despite falling oil prices, production cutbacks and persistent safety concerns, rail officials plan to continue shipping millions of gallons of volatile crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota through Texas, according to updated records provided by state officials on Wednesday. Average weekly volumes reflect little change from a first batch of […]
Derailed oil tanker train cars burn near Mount Carbon, W.Va., Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. A CSX train carrying more than 100 tankers of crude oil derailed in a snowstorm, sending a fireball into the sky and threatening the water supply of nearby residents, authorities and residents said Tuesday. (AP Photo/The Daily Mail, Marcus Constantino)

Fuel-hauling trains could derail at 10 a year

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The federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and possibly killing hundreds of people if an accident happens in a den…