Houston Chronicle Energy News

Reporting from the daily edition.
The Polar Pioneer, a drilling rig contracted by Shell for Chukchi Sea exploration in 2015, is transported across the Pacific on the heavy-lift vessel Blue Marlin. (Photo: Vincenzo Floramo / Greenpeace)

Feds says Shell’s spill containment system works as company seeks Arctic drilling approval

Exercises this week gave Shell a chance to demonstrate the equipment for Coast Guard officials and federal regulators at the Interior Department who will decide whether the company gets critical permits enabling a new round of Chukchi Sea oil exploration this summer.  More »
Oil Boom Shifts The Landscape Of Rural North Dakota

Moody’s downgrades Sabine amid financial woes

Moody’s Investors Service said $1.85 billion of the Houston oil producer’s debt is at higher risk of default after financial disclosures in its annual report Tuesday indicated it has an “unsustainable capital structure.”  More »
(Photographer: Patrick Semansky/Bloomberg)

The petrochemical industry has billions in projects on tap, but not enough workers to build them

Craft laborers require years of training, but the industry has failed to consistently invest in developing that workforce, leading to a worker shortage plaguing the petrochemical building spree.  More »
Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg

The crash in U.S. oil rigs is finally slowing down

Six of the oil rigs were idled in Texas. The slight dip – compared to the past four months of steep drops in active U.S. rigs – brought the nation’s oil-rig count to 802.  More »
(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Natural gas prices rise on larger-than-expected withdraw

Natural gas inventories fell by 18 billion cubic feet to 1.46 trillion cubic feet for the week ending Friday, March 27.  More »
(Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg)

AAA: Cheap summer gasoline on the way

The average price for gasoline in March was $2.43 per gallon, the cheapest for the month in six years.  More »
Transocean's ultra-deepwater drillship the Discoverer Inspiration works on an exploration well in Chevron's Moccasin Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico (Photo: Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle)

Transocean to scrap two more offshore rigs

The Swiss driller said it’ll take a non-cash charge up to $110 million in the first quarter.  More »
(Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

Odessa coal-to-gas power plant to break ground this year

A new power plant in West Texas that essentially transforms coal into cleaner-burning natural gas is poised to break ground later this, an executive in charge of it said at a conference in Houston Wednesday.  More »
A group of idle rigs is seen behind James Noe, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for Hercules Offshore while aboard the Hercules 251 a shallow water drilling rig owned by on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010, near Port Fourchon, La. (Smiley N. Pool /Chronicle)

Moody’s predicts tough year for oil field services firms

Even if oil prices rebound, oil field services firms still have a tough year ahead as producers squeeze them for deeper discounts, Moody’s Investors Services said in a new analysis.  More »
(Shane Bevel/Bloomberg News)

Crude prices are jumping as production falls

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that stocks of crude oil in commercial storage had grown to 471 .4 million barrels, the highest level seen in the last 80 years.  More »
Screen grab from a video released by Diario Campeche Hoy of the Abkatun A-Permanente platform  on the Gulf of Mexico's Campeche Sound on fire on April 1, 2015.  An explosion and a fire erupted on an offshore oil platform operated by Mexico's Pemex on Wednesday, killing at least four workers, injuring 16 and forcing 300 to be evacuated. (AFP photo/Diario Campeche Hoy)

Pemex platform fire kills four workers, injures 16

A fire at a shallow-water oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico has killed four workers, injured 16 and forced the evacuation of 300, Mexico’s state-owned oil company said Wednesday.  More »
Kinder Morgan's Edmonton and North 40 Terminals in Canada. (Kinder Morgan)

Kinder Morgan and Keyera are building crude oil storage for 4.8 million barrels in Alberta

The project, called the Base Line Terminal, will include 12 tanks that are expected to be commissioned by the second half of 2017.  More »
Chet Thompson is set to take over as president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers trade group in May 2015.

A former EPA lawyer has been tapped to lead U.S. refiners’ top lobbying group

The hire suggests the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers trade association is preparing for big battles on biofuel mandates, crude-by-rail rules and oil exports.  More »
A Frank's International crew works on a rig. (Frank's International handout photo)

Frank’s International says it will cut up to 600 jobs

Job cuts at Frank’s International follow tens of thousands of job cuts in the oil field service industry, a labor-intensive business that has been hammered by falling oil prices since June.  More »
Oil flows out of the top of the transition spool, which was placed into the gushing Macondo wellhead at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in July 2010. AP Photo/BP PLC, File)

Judge says jury can decide Alabama’s Gulf-oil-spill claims

BP had moved to block a jury trial for the state.  More »