EnergyWatch

News from the Houston Chronicle energy team
(Victor Dubreuil)

EnCap raises $6.5 billion to pour into North American oil firms

Private equity firm EnCap Investments has closed its tenth energy fund with $6.5 billion to back North American oil and gas producers, the latest firm to collect billions to pump into the shale business.  More »
(AP Photo/Diamond Offshore)

Houston oil company among five caught in legal battle over new U.K.-Argentina Falkland Islands fight

Argentina filed criminal charges Thursday at the general prosecutor’s office in Buenos Aires against five U.K. and U.S. oil companies.  More »
(Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)

The Atlantic Ocean could have one of its quietest hurricane seasons in years

About 4 percent of U.S. natural gas and 17 percent of oil production is centered in the Gulf.  More »
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Energy Department to spend $200 million on new supercomputer

The goal is to build a supercomputer that will help the U.S. compete internationally with other next-generation computing efforts and ensure the United States’ economic and national security, agency officials said.  More »
(Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

Shell deal brings relief to Dutch companies used to being prey

Ten benchmark Dutch stocks, or just under half the 25 spots that make up the Amsterdam Exchanges Index, have been acquired since 2007, when ABN Amro Holding NV was snapped up for $100 billion by a consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland Plc.  More »
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei (Bloomberg News/ILNA/document IRAN)

Iran’s supreme leader refrains from endorsing nuclear deal

In his first public comments addressing the April 2 pact was outlined in Lausanne, Switzerland, Khamenei said on Thursday he was “neither for it, nor against it,” according to a report by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.  More »
Original byline: Jim Blecha/

The oil industry’s $26 billion life raft

The swift decline in U.S. oil prices — $107.26 on June 20, $46.39 seven months later — caught market participants by surprise.  More »
The Apache-operated Varanus Island Gas hub is located in western Australia (Apache Corp.)

Apache Corp. is exiting Australia with a $2.1 billion asset sale

The assets produced the equivalent of about 49,000 barrels of oil a day in March.  More »
SHELL STRATEGIC OIL

Will an M&A wave follow Shell-BG? Investors hope, dealmakers doubt

Corporate dealmakers and analysts say they doubt it’s a sign that a new wave of oil and gas deals like the spending spree of the late-1990s is just around the corner, especially among financially healthy U.S. oil producers.  More »
BG Group CEO Helge Lund (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

The CEO of BG just arrived in February, and could walk with $43 million

Lund, who joined BG on Feb. 9 after heading Norway’s Statoil ASA, is entitled to liquidated damages equal to a year’s gross salary and 30 percent of base pay, the Reading, England-based company’s annual report showed.  More »
(Kristian Helgesen/Bloomberg)

Shell’s BG deal adds to North Sea job concern after oil collapse

Shell, employing about 2,400 across the North Sea, targets $2.5 billion of pretax “synergies” a year across the globe from the deal, including staff cuts.  More »
Saudi Arabian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Ibrahim al-Naimi. (AFP PHOTO)

Saudi Arabia sees crude price rising as it boosts oil production

OPEC kept output targets steady at its meeting in November, focusing on maintaining market share rather than supporting prices. The group meets next in June.  More »
(AFP/Getty Images)

Buying BG will ease Shell’s struggles with scandle-plagued Petrobras

With Petrobras engulfed in Brazil’s largest ever corruption scandal, BG and other partners are struggling to communicate with the state-controlled producer’s management to address delays to development plans.  More »
(Paul O'Driscoll/Bloomberg News)

Shell sets $70 billion deal to buy BG Group

Shell said that bringing the two companies together would produce financial gains of about $2.5 billion a year.  More »
An Energy Department grant helped CenterPoint install smart meters in its entire service area two years ahead of schedule.  ( Melissa Phillip / Houston Chronicle )

Feds say CenterPoint was smart with grid grants

Energy Department grants funded more than a fourth of CenterPoint’s $750 million project to reduce the duration of power outages and provide customers timely information about their electricity use.  More »