News from the Houston Chronicle energy team
Dan Patrick, Republican candidate for Lt. Governor addresses supporters during an election night watch party at the Norris Conference Center on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Houston. (Smiley N. Pool/Houston Chronicle)

Incoming Lt. Gov. Patrick vows tax relief despite oil prices

Patrick acknowledged Monday that the slowdown of the oil and gas industry is impacting sales tax collections that give lawmakers spending power.  More »
A rig works in the Marcellus Shale. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Texas, U.S. rig count declines

The number of rigs operating in North America declined by 29 last week to 1,811, marking the fourth consecutive weekly decrease for the count, published by oilfield service company Baker Hughes.  More »
(Brittany Sowacke/Bloomberg)

U.S. benchmark crude falls below $50 for first time in 5 1/2 years

Brent slumped 48 percent last year, the most since the 2008 financial crisis, as OPEC resisted calls to cut output amid a battle with U.S. shale producers for market share.  More »

ConocoPhillips sees first oil from Norwegian startup field

The company is pumping new barrels of oil in Norwegian waters as oil prices have fallen by more than half since June.  More »
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, file)

New Senate chairmen aim to undo Obama’s policies

The likely ascent of Oklahoma’s James Inhofe, 79, represents one of the biggest sea changes on a Senate committee with Republicans in charge.  More »
(LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

Libyan fighter jets bomb Greek tanker ship, killing 2

Libya is split between a United Nations-recognized government in the east and Islamists who control Tripoli in the west.  More »
(Jerry Lara/San Antonio Express-News)

Oil extends decline from 5 1/2-year low as glut persists

Brent slumped 48 percent last year, the most since the 2008 financial crisis, as OPEC resisted calls to cut output amid a battle with U.S. shale producers for market share.  More »
A photo of a proposed wilderness area in Southern Utah. Anadarko Petroleum Company's plan to drill new natural gas wells in an area of the Uintah basin has been praised by some environmentalists for its incorporation of feedback from concerned parties. (Ray Bloxham/Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance)

Utah gears up for lands fight as deadline passes

A Utah state report found that oil and gas leases would allow Utah to afford the $280 million annual cost of managing the land, but only if those prices remained high.  More »

Commentary: Protecting World Heritage sites should be oil industry resolution for 2015

Only Royal Dutch Shell and Total have publicly committed to not carry out or support extractive activities in World Heritage sites.  More »
A pumpjack operates at the Inglewood Oil field in Los Angeles. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Oil driller laying off 700 in California

Ensign Energy Services told state authorities the layoffs, expected to start Dec. 15, 2014, come because of circumstances beyond its control.  More »
(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Crude oil at 5 1/2-year low amid manufacturing weakness

West Texas Intermediate for February delivery fell 58 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $52.69 a barrel.  More »
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker delivers his inauguration speech Monday, Dec. 1, 2014 in Juneau, Alaska's Centennial Hall. (Photo by Flickr user James Brooks)

Alaska’s Walker bracing for budget crisis amid oil price crash

Politico wrote that Alaska’s state budget was based on oil remaining above $100 through 2015.  More »
(Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg)

Pemex bondholders bemoan $3.4 billion cash grab

The Finance Ministry said Dec. 26 that it took the money, reducing cash holdings at the company known as Pemex to a 12-year low of 48 billion pesos ($3.3 billion).  More »
(AP Photo/Ana Maria Otero, File)

Harvest’s deal to sell Venezuela oil field fails to win approval

The government and an affiliate of state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA said that approval of the sale was contingent upon Petroandina “guaranteeing an unspecified bonus payment” and $1.52 billion in financing, Houston-based Harvest said today in a statement.  More »
(AP Photo/The Bakersfield Californian, Casey Christie)

Low oil prices unlikely to hurt railroads much

Carloads of crude oil spiked well over 4000 percent between 2008 and last year — from 9,500 carloads to 435,560 — as production boomed and the cost for a barrel of oil soared into the triple digits.  More »