EnergyWatch

News from the Houston Chronicle energy team
A Sikorsky model 76-D helicopter hovers over a runway during a demonstration of the new Sikorsky model 76-D helicopter designed for transporting offshore oil workers at West Houston Airport Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, in Houston. Sikorsky just opened a Houston office to focus on oil & gas support. 
( James Nielsen / Houston Chronicle )

Helicopter company opens Houston office to serve offshore workers

About 80 helicopters from Sikorsky’s S-76 model line are operating in the Gulf of Mexico, along with 50 in its S-92 line.  More »
Crews dig up land at a saltwater spill site near Blacktail Creek outside Williston, N.D. A North Dakota health official called the 70,000 barrel spill the state's largest during the state's current oil boom. (AP Photo/Williston Herald, Zack Nelson)

North Dakota saltwater spill reached Missouri River

But officials don’t expect harm to wildlife or drinking water supplies.  More »
(AP file photo/John Moore)

U.S. crude erases gains following Saudi king’s death

King Salman bin Abdulaziz, who succeeds Abdullah on the throne, said he would maintain his predecessor’s policies.  More »
(AP Photo/Mark Stehle)

Pennsylvania to pay $40K to anti-drilling group over terror listing

The coalition’s lawsuit said the bulletins characterized the group as a possible threat to infrastructure without evidence.  More »
An undated photo of Energy XXI's unmanned oil production platform in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico, which took damage early Friday.

Feds to inspect fire damage at Energy XXI oil platform

Federal regulators said Friday they will send personnel, weather permitting, to examine the damage at an oil production platform owned by Energy XXI in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico, about 5 miles south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana.  More »
(Getty Images)

Crude rigs at lowest level in two years after another decline

Drillers were slow to pare back the number of rigs working, but have now idled 258 crude oil rigs since a steady slide began seven weeks ago.  More »
A diver explores former offshore oil equipment  that has been turned into an artificial reef in the Gulf of Mexico under the states "rigs to reefs" program. (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

Video: Anadarko turns massive Gulf spar into marine habitat

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has turned a 7,200-ton cell spar hull into a dark cave-like habitat for fish, sea anemones and other deep-sea creatures 200 miles off the coast of Louisiana.  More »
(Jim Gehrz/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT)

Energy CEO: No need to spend capital until service costs come down

The CEO of U.S. oil explorer Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. told investors Friday the company won’t spend any more money on drilling or hydraulic fracturing until oil-field service costs come down.  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 to lay down five more Gulf rigs

Hercules has already cold-stacked four of the rigs this month and a fifth is scheduled to end its contract in March.  More »
Saudi King Abdullah (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool, File)

King Abdullah’s death not expected to change oil policy

No change in oil policy is expected.  More »
(AP Photo/Dirk Lammers, File)

Iowa ethanol lobby starts 2016 campaign to regain influence

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, backed by state corn-grower and renewable-fuels associations and the Washington-based biofuels lobby Growth Energy, on Thursday formed America’s Renewable Future, to make the Renewable Fuels Standard an issue in the 2016 race.  More »
Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan., in 2012. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)

Oil slips as U.S. crude stockpiles surge most in 14 years

Inventories rose 10.1 million barrels in the week ended Jan. 16, the biggest gain since March 2001, according to the Energy Information Administration.  More »
(Carolyn Mary Bauman /Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Texas wind cracks 10 percent threshold

The amount of wind power generated in the state cracked the 10 percent threshold last year for the first time as the industry continues to make strides in the western and Panhandle regions of Texas.  More »
The sun sets on a drilling rig in Frio County, Texas.  (Jerry Lara/San Antonio Express-News)

Report: U.S. land rig count could fall 30 percent

The number of onshore oil and gas wells in the U.S. will fall 26 percent this year to 27,000, research firm Wood Mackenzie said in a new report published Thursday.  More »
(AP Photo/The San Antonio Express-News, Bob Owen)

Crude, natural gas futures fall on storage report

Crude oil and natural gas futures fell on Thursday as traders grappled with inventory builds for both fuels.  More »
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