Houston Chronicle Energy News

Reporting from the daily edition.

Shell halts plans for Arctic project this summer

WASHINGTON — Royal Dutch Shell is scrapping plans to drill an exploratory well in the Beaufort Sea near Alaska this summer, after failing to secure key permits for the project. Shell CEO Peter Voser confirmed Thursday the work will now be postponed u…  More »
A vehicle drives past frozen plants along South Blue Bell Road Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Brenham, Texas. (Photo: Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle)

Cold could still knock out power

Ice and snow storms forecast for late Thursday and into Friday morning could lead to further power plant failures, state officials caution, while local power providers warned customers that ice buildup on power lines or nearby tree branches can lead to outages.  More »
(Photo: Flickr/Jhy Turley)

Natural gas prices fall more than 2 percent

The drop helped homeowners and businesses pay for heat and energy during the recession, but natural gas is starting to rise again, according to a government survey of utilities and municipal gas providers.  More »
(AP file photo/Marco Garci)

Tesoro narrows loss in fourth quarter

The San Antonio-based refiner Tesoro posted a quarterly loss of $19 million, or 13 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $136 million, or 99 cents a share, for the final quarter of 2009. Revenue rose 17 percent in the quarter to $5.5 billion from $4.7 billion.  More »
Wayne Bowman with Clayton Lee Plumbing thaws frozen pipes with a torch at a home in the 1600 block of Oxford in Houston on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (Photo: James Neilsen/Houston Chronicle)

Unexpected rolling blackouts add to Houstonians’ misery

Houston-area residents who dutifully covered plants and wrapped pipes in advance of freezing weather this week found themselves blind-sided by rolling blackouts that snuffed out traffic signals and unsettled daily routines at restaurants, offices, schools and homes on Wednesday.  More »

Marathon’s profit rises as energy demand revives

Marathon Oil Corp., the U.S. oil and natural gas producer that plans to spin off its refining operations this year, said its fourth-quarter profit increased as recovering energy demand helped to boost crude prices. Net income climbed to $706 million, o…  More »

EPA close to launching hydraulic fracturing study

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency is close to launching a broad study on hydraulic fracturing, but the probe doesn’t guarantee that the federal government will step in and regulate the drilling technique, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson…  More »
A shopper walks down a darkened grocery store aisle in Plano, Texas, during blackouts throughout the state on Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Providers hope to avoid more blackouts as freeze sets in

Frigid weather across the state caused up to 50 electric generating units to go out of service unexpectedly Wednesday morning, knocking out some 7,000 megawatts of generating capacity. In the Houston area as many as 330,000 customers at a time experienced blackouts.  More »

Oil prices waiver as supplies grow

NEW YORK — Oil prices today settled not far from where they opened, as investors kept an eye on unrest in Egypt, and the U.S. Energy Department reported gasoline supplies have ballooned to the highest level in 27 years. West Texas Intermediate crude …  More »
Cynthia and Tony Petrello in 2006 at their home, 10 Remington Lane. (Gary Fountain/For the Houston Chronicle)

Houston federal judge slams door on drilling exec’s housing lawsuit

Nabors Industries chief operating officer Anthony Petrello was incensed that a neighbor would not sell him a house near Rice University out of concern over architectural changes that would have been made to it.  More »

Chevron uses racketeering law in Ecuador case

Using a law written to prosecute organized crime, Chevron Corp. filed a lawsuit against a team of lawyers who have been fighting the company over oil field pollution in Ecuador. Chevron accused them and their clients of conspiring to extort up to $113 billion from the oil company.  More »
BP's Andrew production platform in the U.K.'s North Sea (BP Photo)

Retooled strategy at BP emphasizes exploration

The oil giant’s post-Macondo goals: downshift on refining and put its energy toward exploration in the developing world, including five new areas – Libya, Jordan, Brazil, the South China Sea and Australia.  More »