Houston Chronicle Energy News

Reporting from the daily edition.

BP has a history of ‘flying close to the wind’

The following is an excerpt from Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit by Houston Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy, published this month by McGraw-Hill.  More »
Gulf Oil Spill Investigation

Response by rig crew was late, BP executive says

Steve Robinson, a BP vice president, told government investigators that the company has not reached a definitive conclusion about the delayed response, but it may have been because of distractions to effective well monitoring.  More »

Oil down as supplies of gasoline, other fuels grow

Oil prices fell today after the government said supplies of gasoline and other energy products rose last week as refineries increased production. International issues also affected oil prices amid lingering speculation about Europe’s financial crisis a…  More »

EPA hikes stakes on air permits, increasing tensions with Texas

The federal agency threatens dozens of Texas refiners and chemical and plastic makers with penalties, while Texas argues the regulator is abusive.  More »

TransCanada still negotiating on Alaska pipeline

JUNEAU, Alaska — TransCanada Corp. says it may not meet its target of securing binding agreements by year’s end for a major natural gas pipeline in Alaska, but the company remains optimistic about the prospects for its project. TransCanada spokesman …  More »

Report says more surprise rig inspections needed

WASHINGTON — The federal agency that polices offshore oil and gas development needs to hire more employees to process a backlog of permits and should conduct more surprise inspections of drilling rigs, according to a report obtained Tuesday by the Ch…  More »

Houston spill hearing focuses on drilling mud work

The engineer watching the flow of drilling mud from BP’s Macondo well was on a coffee and smoke break when the well showed signs of its imminent blowout, according to testimony Tuesday before a panel investigating the accident. Joseph Keith, a mud log…  More »

Oil prices hit $90 before settling below $89

NEW YORK — Oil prices today jumped above $90 a barrel for the first time in more than two years, a key milestone for Wall Street analysts who say tightening supplies will eventually drive prices above the $100 mark next year. The recent surge in oil …  More »
(Photo: Fotolia)

El Paso and KKR form midstream joint venture

Under the agreement, KKR will pay $125 million to acquire a 50-percent stake in El Paso’s gathering and processing assets at the Altamont field and each partner will invest $500 million in future projects. (Image: Fotolia)  More »

Renewable power heats up fast in California

California’s electric utilities have spent the last four years scrambling to meet a state goal of 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by the end of 2010. The process of trying to reach that goal has helped make California the center of renewable power development in the United States. (Photo: Brightsourceenergy.com)  More »

Panel says National Oilwell Varco not cooperating

WASHINGTON — Investigators leading a presidential panel’s inquiry into the Deepwater Horizon disaster on Monday said National Oilwell Varco is stalling their probe. The commission’s chief counsel, Fred Bartlit, called the Houston-based oil field ser…  More »
Workboats operate near the Transocean Development Driller II at the site of the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP file photo/Dave Martin)

Coast Guard spill hearings resume today in Houston

The joint investigation into the Deepwater Horizon disaster resumes in Houston today with testimony on data from the well’s final minutes and a possible defense to claims that one of the panel’s co-chairs is biased. (AP Photo)  More »
(AP file photo/Bob Edme)

U.S. retail pump prices hit 26-month high

Americans are getting a sour holiday surprise at the gas pump, where prices are at the highest they’ve been in more than two years. (AP File Photo/Bob Edme)  More »
(Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP)

Deep-water drilling shows signs of a global rebound

After dual setbacks of a recession and the BP spill, the oil and gas industry is seeing signs of a global rebound in deep-water drilling, even as the outlook remains cloudy in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP File Photo)  More »

The Well energy briefs

Camac Energy announced the start of a well intervention program designed to stem the flow of natural gas and boost oil production from the Oyo No. 5 well off Nigeria. The Transocean Marianas semisubmersible drilling unit has been mobilized for the proj…  More »