EnergyWatch

News from the Houston Chronicle energy team
Michael Schonberg, partner at Thompson&  Knight.

Commentary: Key energy industry lessons in billion-dollar trade secret case

The year’s biggest news in oil and gas litigation came last week when Fort Worth-based Moncrief Oil International voluntarily abandoned a billion-dollar trade secret lawsuit in the middle of trial against Russian energy giant OAO Gazprom, says one Texas energy attorney.  More »
Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser (Getty Images)

Siemens bid for Dresser-Rand faces in-depth EU investigation

The proposed deal may reduce competition for equipment used by companies active throughout the oil and gas distribution chain, including exploration, storage and refining, the European Commission said in an e-mailed statement today.  More »
(AP Photo/Matthew Brown)

North Dakota daily oil production sets record, but rig count dropping

The state’s Mineral Resources Department estimated December production at slightly more than 38 million barrels, or about 1.23 million barrels per day. That broke the November record of 1.19 million barrels per day.  More »
(Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

TransCanada profit beats estimates as Keystone leg comes online

TransCanada’s oil shipments climbed as the company started deliveries last year from Oklahoma to Texas on its Gulf Coast line, the southern leg of the original Keystone XL proposal.  More »
Targa Resources is provider of midstream natural gas and NGL services. Targa employees are working at the Galena Park terminal. Photo: NA / HC

Targa could add workers amid downturn, CEO says

Pipeline and storage terminal operator Targa Resources Partners saw profits edged down slightly in the fourth quarter as operating margins stayed relatively flat.  More »
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Calpine generates quarterly profit increase

Power generator Calpine Corp. reported a $210 million fourth-quarter profit, as it benefited from a decrease in the price of natural gas that fuels its power plants.  More »
(Photographer: Eddie Seal, Bloomberg)

U.S. rigs are being idled, but the oil boom is not ending

The industry has become better at blasting crude out of deep underground layers of rock, according to productivity data tracked by the EIA in the major shale prospects.  More »
Sen. John Hoeven (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Congress to postpone sending Keystone-pipeline bill to Obama

Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota, the chief Republican sponsor, told reporters Thursday it would be better if Congress was in town when President Barack Obama vetoes the bill “so attention is brought to it.”  More »
A Tour Of The TransCanada Houston Lateral Project Pipe Yard

TransCanada suspends efforts to seize Nebraska land for Keystone

A Holt County District judge issued a temporary injunction Thursday, keeping TransCanada from invoking eminent domain along the proposed Keystone Pipeline route in northern Nebraska.  More »
oil tanker that spilled 450,000 gallons into intracoastal waterway in January 2010 (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Death toll of Brazilian oil ship explosion rises to 5

According to the Unified Oil Workers Federation, Brazil’s biggest oil industry union, the blast was caused by a gas leak in the vessel’s engine room.  More »
(Photo by Eddie Seal for Bloomberg News)

C&J Energy cutting costs but sees opportunity amid oil crunch, CEO says

C&J Energy Services executives say the company’s deal to acquire Nabors Industries’ hydraulic fracturing fleets should help stem the losses from the industry downturn, but that it’s planning input and labor cost cuts to brace for a tough year  More »
(Photo courtesy of Shell Oil Co.)

Commentary: Port of Seattle and Shell quietly sign deal to house company’s Arctic drilling fleet

With rapid authorization, negotiation and signing of the lease — reminiscent of how decisions on the waterfront used to be greased — the port has secured a $13.17 million deal and forestalled efforts by the region’s environmental groups to stop it.  More »
(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Natural gas prices fall as withdraws stay low

Natural gas futures traded down Thursday morning as the weekly inventories report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed a weaker-than-expected withdraw for the third consecutive week.8.4 cents to $2.713  More »
A group of idle rigs is seen behind James Noe, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for Hercules Offshore while aboard the Hercules 251 a shallow water drilling rig owned by on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010, near Port Fourchon, La. (Smiley N. Pool /Chronicle)

Hercules Offshore lays off 30 percent of workforce

Offshore driller Hercules Offshore has laid off 30 percent of its workforce since October, company officials said on a conference call with analysts Thursday.  More »
Workers walk by the two amylene treaters (dark gray) and the demethanizer tower (right) as construction continues at the Anadarko Brasada Gas Plant in La Salle County south of Cotulla in March 2013.  (Jerry Lara/San Antonio Express-News)

1,100 natural gas utility workers on Long Island eye walkout

A union spokesman says Thursday that contract talks are ongoing with National Grid in an effort to avoid a walkout.  More »