Houston Chronicle Energy News

Reporting from the daily edition.
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Oil prices settle 60 cents higher at $97.28 per barrel

The Libyan rebellion has all but shut down exports from there, and traders say it’s hard to gauge how much world supplies – and prices – will be affected.  More »

Flaw in blowout preventer’s gaskets suspected

Giant metal shears successfully sliced and closed pipe full of runaway crude in the early moments of last April’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, but the oil blasted through rubber gaskets around the blades and unleashed the nation’s largest spill, accordi…  More »

An empty feeling as drivers fill up

Drivers across the Houston area steeled their nerves Thursday as they pulled up to gas pumps. Prices for gasoline have surged with unrest in the Middle East unleashing fears over oil supplies. A typical 14-gallon fill-up now costs nearly $8 more than it did a year ago, AAA said.  More »
(Photo: Hilary/Flickr)

Oil trade group will back political candidates

The American Petroleum Institute, the largest oil and natural gas industry trade group, will start backing political candidates this year as the Obama administration seeks to repeal $46 billion in subsidies and impose pollution rules.  More »
A polar bear in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (AP file photo/Subhankar Banerjee)

Arctic offshore study sees big job growth

Shell Oil is touting a report it commissioned that says outer continental shelf petroleum development off Alaska’s northern shores could create 54,700 new jobs that could be sustained for 50 years. The study was released a day before the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement conducts a meeting in Anchorage to take public testimony on its five-year plan for offshore drilling.  More »
Wade Youngblood, a production team leader, walks up a set of steps on the Helix Producer 1 in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011(Photo: Rusty Costanza/ The Times-Picayune)

Ship is ready to deploy if spill duty calls

Houston-based Helix Energy Solutions Group says its Helix Producer I floating production facility, which responded after the Deepwater Horizon disaster last year, is ready for double duty as part of a rapid-response team that could be dispatched to any Gulf disaster and contain it in a fraction of the time.  More »
The bottom of the blowout preventer stack pulled from the site of BP's Macondo well. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

BOP closed but failed to stop oil flow

Rubber packers around the blades designed to cut through drill pipe and seal the well appear to have been washed away, allowing oil to flow, according to sources familiar with an investigation of the Deepwater Horizon’s blowout preventer.  More »
Map of Magellan Midstream Partners' assets in Texas. Green dots represent pipeline terminals. Blue dots represent marine terminals. Green lines are petroleum products pipelines. (Image: Magellan Midstream Partners)

‘Worst case’ in Texas City gas leak is tens of thousands of gallons

Work crews continued their efforts to recover gasoline that spilled from a ruptured pipeline in Texas City early Thursday, forcing the evacuation of about 15 homes and the closure of Texas 146. Pipeline owner Magellan Midstream Partners reported a “worse-case scenario” release of 6,000 barrels of gasoline, or 252,000 gallons, to federal authorities.  More »

Oil prices fall as Libya production fears ease

NEW YORK  — Oil prices dropped today for the first time in nine days after the International Energy Agency said the rebellion in Libya may have cut oil production less than originally feared. The International Energy Agency said that the violent…  More »

West may rue close ties to Libya’s Gadhafi

Questions are being raised about whether Britain, the United States, and others were too quick to embrace a volatile despot linked to terrorism and oppression as they sought lucrative business deals.  More »

CenterPoint meter project moves along smartly

CenterPoint Energy has installed smart meters for nearly half its Houston-area customers, and all of them may get a break on the cost of the project. Partly because a federal grant shaved a couple of years off the time it will take to add the devices s…  More »

Q&A: Oil aplenty, so why is it at nearly $100?

Oil briefly topped $100 on Wednesday, a reflection of the turmoil in the North African oil-producing nation of Libya, where some of the country’s output of 1.6 million barrels per day has been cut back and may soon be turned off completely. Prices ende…  More »