News from the Houston Chronicle energy team

Chron Energy Newslinks | 04.20.10 | Mess with electric rates, risk revolution. Lining up for LEAF.

• High gasoline prices could crimp recovery, said Exxon Mobil’s Tillerson. • Same for low nat gas prices, says Halliburton’s Lesar, but he expects a rebound. • Qatar inks tie with Houston Community College. • Landrieau says no offshore drilling without revenue sharing. • FERC says grid employees who schedule outages can’t be shared with […]  More »

Can a pipeline be green? It can try.

Siemens Energy has been granted a $180 million contract to provide 108 pumps and motors for TransCanada’s 2,000 mile long Keystone XL pipeline, which will bring oil from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The contract, one of the largest for the energy arm of the German engineering giant, would cover all the equipment […]  More »

Exxon Mobil's Tillerson to Gov't: Get out of the way

Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson had some advice today for Washington as it tries to help the economy recover from the worst recession in decades: Butt out. “If the private sector knows that the government will stay the course and resist the temptation to over-regulate, it can invest with confidence,” he said during a […]  More »

Texas "Clean coal" project gets enviromentalists OK

A major environmental group said it will withdraw opposition to plans for a new $3.5 billion coal fired power plant in Sweetwater, Texas, in exchange for the project planners making a number of concessions. Under the agreement with The Environmental Defense Fund, Omaha-based Tenaska said its 600-megawatt project will capture at least 85 percent of […]  More »

Gas for coal bill to be signed in Colo. today

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter is expected today to sign a clean-air bill that will upgrade that state’s older coal-fired power plants in favor of natural gas-fueled units. The bill went through the state legislature exceptionally quickly — 17 days — according to the Denver Post: Under House Bill 1365, Xcel Energy will be required to […]  More »

Halliburton increased workforce thanks to onshore exploration

Despite a 46 percent drop in first-quarter profit, Houston-based oilfield services firm Halliburton Co. upped its workforce by about 1,200 in the first quarter — the first increase since 2008 — thanks to gains from onshore exploration that helped boost company profits above analyst expectations, according to Bloomberg. Last year, 6,000 jobs were cut because […]  More »

BREAKING: One dead in Motiva refinery accident — update

Update 2: The contract worker, who was killed early today at the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, worked for Becon Construction Co., a subsidiary of Bechtel Corp., the Beaumont Enterprise reported. Bechtel is currently trying to contact the worker’s family, a Motiva spokeswoman said. Authorities suspect a falling crane counterweight is the cause of the […]  More »

Drilling breakthroughs awaken sleeping Texas panhandle field

Horizontal drilling techniques are unlocking gas and oil in tight-sand formations thousands of feet below the Granite Wash reservoir in the Texas panhandle and western Oklahoma, Bloomberg reported today. Apache Corp, Forest Oil Corp and Newfield Exploration Co. are some of the leaseholders in the Granite Wash, which began output in 1954, that are benefiting […]  More »

Kinder Morgan to pay $205 million for rate challenges

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners has agreed to pay $205 million in a settlement agreement with 11 shippers regarding rate challenges filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The settlement resolves 31 challenges dating back as early as 1992 to rates Kinder Morgan subsidiary SFPP charged shippers to use its pipelines, Bloomberg reported. Two of the […]  More »

Constellation Energy to buy Texas plants for $365 million

Baltimore-based utility company Constellation Energy Group has inked a deal with Houston’s Navasota Holdings to buy two Texas natural-gas fired power plants for $365 million or $332 per kilowatt. Constellation is buying the Colorado Bend Energy Center near Wharton and the Quail Run Energy Center, near Odessa, the news release said. Both plants are 550-megawatt […]  More »

Ecuador says 'pay up' for oil operations

Venezuela’s drive to get a bigger piece of the oil exploration pie is rubbing off on its neighbors reports the Wall Street Journal: President Rafael Correa said Saturday that his government will submit legislation to congress to facilitate the expropriation of private oil operations if companies refuse to sign new services-based contracts. Companies at risk […]  More »

Wind farm or enemy jet? The Pentagon's not sure.

We’ve known for years wind farms can be deadly to birds. More recently some have claimed those spinning blades may be bad for your health. And now they may be bad for national defense, reports The Washington Post: The Pentagon is threatening to scuttle what promises to be the world’s largest wind farm, in eastern […]  More »

Chron Energy Newslinks | 04.19.10 | More mergers ahoy, coal could be cleaner than gas and clean air = global warming.

• Big E (and small E) fires up the deal-making machine. • Shell’s Perdido platform makes moon shot look easy. • Seismic surveyors waiting for the next big boom. • Gas industry approach would undermine Barnett Shale air quality study says columnist. • Ethanol: boondoggle or sacred cow. • Oil still a good buy if […]  More »

This week's energy industry events

Monday, April 19 Dispute Resolution in the International Oil and Gas Business and Boundary Disputes in the Energy Sector: Through April 21. Renaissance Houston Hotel Greenway Plaza, 6 East Greenway Plaza. The International Centre for Dispute Resolution and the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators jointly present a panel of international corporate counsel and arbitration experts […]  More »

Eni to fold New Orleans office

About 80 employees of Italian oil giant Eni will be invited to relocate to the company’s U.S. headquarters in Houston after it shutters its New Orleans office in order to increase efficiency and “synergies between businesses,” a spokeswoman said today. The New Orleans office currently employs 146 people. About half will be let go. UpstreamOnline […]  More »