Houston Chronicle Energy News

Reporting from the daily edition.

More voices urge large-scale use of green power

DAVOS, Switzerland — With repercussions of the global financial crisis straining government budgets and energy costs rising in many countries, the search has intensified for green energy that is widely available and widely accessible at low cost. Ern…  More »
A BP mobile claims center in Dulac, La., on 20 July 2010. (BP Photo)

Potential scams top 7,000 in BP spill compensation claims

The $20 billion fund responsible for compensating victims of BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill has received 7,575 potentially fraudulent claims, many of which have been referred to the Justice Department for criminal investigation.  More »

Exxon Mobil sees bigger role for natural gas by 2030

Global demand for energy will increase 35 percent by 2030, with natural gas surpassing coal as the world’s second-most used fuel behind oil, Exxon Mobil Corp. said in an internal forecast made public Thursday. The growth will come primarily from develo…  More »

3 giants launch venture to fund energy tech startups

GE, Conoco­Phillips and NRG Energy have partnered to create a venture to invest $300 million in early-stage energy technology firms. The partnership, Energy Technology Ventures, will help fund 30 companies over the next four years, focusing on inve…  More »

Natural gas prices fall on ample supplies

  Natural gas prices fell today as winter headed into its final months with plenty of gas still on hand across the country. Natural gas futures for March gave up 18.2 cents, or 4 percent, to settle at $4.319 per 1,000 cubic feet on the New York M…  More »
(Photo: Fotolia)

Texas broker under scrutiny agrees to refund some investors’ money

Brian Keith Alfaro and his Pinnacle Partners Financial Corp. were accused of raising more than $10 million from more than 100 investors by misrepresenting returns and cash flows and selling unregistered securities. (Image: Fotolia)  More »
Photo of U.S. Capitol building

Spill panel urges Congress to act fast on safety

Leaders of the presidential commission that investigated the Gulf of Mexico oil spill asked Congress to quickly boost the safety of offshore drilling, even as lawmakers plotted a cautious, slow response. (Photo: Kevin Dooley/Flickr)  More »

National earnings: Refinery loss a drag on Valero

A loss on the sale of its New Jersey refinery contributed to a fourth-quarter loss for San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp. in the fourth quarter, but the company’s fortunes are improving because of higher margins and deeper discounts on the crude oil…  More »

In a tough sell, Russian calls for investment

DAVOS, Switzerland – Russia will not be brought to its knees by a deadly airport explosion, President Dmitry Medvedev told the world’s leading business gathering Wednesday. And he insisted that the bombing shouldn’t make foreign investors cower in fear…  More »
Netherlands Nigeria Shell

Dutch lawmakers grill Shell on Nigerian work

Shell is the largest foreign operator in Nigeria’s ecologically sensitive Niger Delta, despite attacks by local rebels. The oil giant says it pollutes less than in the past and blames spills on thieves breaking into pipelines. Environmentalists say Shell exaggerates the extent of the sabotage to avoid liability for cleanup. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)  More »
Wall street

ConocoPhillips profit likely bodes well for other oil majors

ConocoPhillips’ fourth-quarter profit was right on target with Wall Street expectations and is a likely indicator of year-end earnings other oil majors will report over the next week. Chevron reports on Friday, Exxon Mobil on Monday, BP on Tuesday and Royal Dutch Shell on Wednesday.  More »

Oil prices settle higher, above $87 per barrel

Oil prices rose past $87 a barrel today as investors focused on President Obama’s ideas for more jobs and overhaul corporate taxes. Benchmark oil for February delivery rose $1.14 to settle at $87.33 a barrel in afternoon trading on the New York Mercant…  More »