EnergyWatch

News from the Houston Chronicle energy team
Original byline: Jim Blecha/

Experts: New Mexico oil patch could lose 2,000 jobs

The number of drill rigs operating in the San Juan and Permian basins has dropped from 85 to 60 over the past year, and state energy Secretary David Martin said each rig directly employs 50 workers and another 50 to 70 in support jobs.  More »
Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Shell sells Nigerian oil lease for $1.7 billion to local company

The divestment is part of Shell’s strategic review of its onshore portfolio in the West African nation and “is in line with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s aim of developing Nigerian companies in the country’s upstream oil and gas business,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.  More »
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei (Bloomberg News/ILNA/document IRAN)

Iran is waiting to flood the market with as much as 35 million barrels of crude

If a deal on its nuclear program is reached, the Persian Gulf nation could add its stockpiles into an oversupplied oil market where prices have fallen more than 50 percent since June.  More »
Kurdistan needs oil revenue to mobilize its peshmerga fighters in the battle against the Islamic State. (PHOTO: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraq’s February oil exports below planned level for Islamic State fight

Crude exports in February averaged 2.596 million barrels a day — almost a million barrels less than planned.  More »
Jeff Allyn, a derrick hand with Raven Drilling, cleans equipment with a high pressure hose while drilling for oil in the Bakken shale formation on July 23, 2013 outside Watford City, North Dakota.(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

North Dakota might challenge new federal fracking rule

The Obama administration is requiring companies that drill for oil and gas on federal lands to disclose chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing drilling technique.  More »
A 40-year-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports means oil tankers in U.S. waters usually are bringing the cargo into U.S. ports. (Michael Stravato/The New York Times)

Analyst sees little chance oil export ban will end soon

An energy analyst says the U.S. prohibition on most crude oil exports probably will remain in place because policymakers have more pressing concerns than lifting the ban.  More »
(AP file photo/Reed Saxon)

Occidental searching for Chazen’s replacement

Occidental Petroleum Corp. is searching for candidates to succeed Stephen I. Chazen as chief executive officer when he steps down in 2016.  More »
(RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Maryland House, Senate pass fracking bills

Senators and delegates voted Tuesday in favor of their chamber’s respective bills to hold drilling companies more responsible for damages and place a three-year moratorium on the natural gas drilling method.  More »
Duke Energy employees work on power lines in Charlotte, N.C.  AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

Duke Energy to appeal $25.1M fine by NC regulators

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources previously called the penalty the state’s largest for environmental damages.  More »
Former Massey Energy Co. CEO Don Blankenship (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Ex-W.Va. coal boss pleads not guilty in mine safety case

Blankenship entered his plea on Tuesday at an arraignment hearing in U.S. District Court in Beckley.  More »
The head office of Statoil in Stavanger, Norway.  (AP Photo / Kent Skibstad, NTB scanpix, File)

Statoil, West Virginia agree on deal for drilling under Ohio River

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register reports that Norway-based Statoil plans to drill on about 474 acres of state-owned land under the river in Marshall and Wetzel counties.  More »
(AP Photo/Reed Saxon, file)

Americans drove more than 3 trillion miles last year

The 33 percent slide at U.S. pumps, combined with an improving job market, touched off a national spending spree on sport utility vehicles, vacations and Christmas presents.  More »
(AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Asia readies for Iran oil bargains on potential nuclear deal

As world leaders seek an accord on Iran’s nuclear program, at least six Asian refiners including are anticipating more supply from the Middle East producer if sanctions are lifted.  More »
(Jim Wilson/The New York Times)

Fracking moratorium bill fends off amendments, heads to vote

On Monday, the Protect Our Health and Communities Act dodged attempts by House Republicans to change the legislation and make it easier for fracking to start in western Maryland.  More »
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation CEO Al Walker, gives a speech after his company won top ranked large employer during the Houston Chronicle's Top Workplaces Awards Gala, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, in Houston. (Nick de la Torre/Houston Chronicle)

Anadarko paid executives $127,252 for club memberships in 2014

Anadarko Petroleum Corp., an oil and gas exploration and production company, paid its five named executives $127,252 in fees for club memberships in 2014, a benefit provided by only two of the 12 peers it uses to benchmark compensation.  More »