Under a portrait of the late Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, left, talks with Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega during the 8th Petrocaribe Summit in Managua, Nicaragua. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix, File)

U.S-Venezuela talks began at Maduro’s request, official says

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Relations between the countries have been tense since the late President Hugo Chavez, a socialist who regularly blamed the U.S. for plotting against his country, took office in 1999.
(AP Photo/U.S. Geological Survey, S.A. Sonsthagen)

Obama administration delivers big blow to Shell’s Arctic drilling plans

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The Fish and Wildlife Service said it could not authorize sound from Shell’s planned drilling of wells roughly nine miles apart to disturb walruses in the Chukchi Sea, because a 2013 requirement mandates a 15-mile buffer zone.
Shell used the drillship Noble Discoverer for its 2012 drilling in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska.  (Jennifer A. Dlouhy / The Houston Chronicle)

Shell’s Arctic drillship heads to Alaska

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The trip moves Shell physically closer to resuming exploratory oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean next month, even though the company is still seeking four essential federal approvals to launch the work.
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)

Sea ice could keep Shell away from the Arctic until mid July

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Even if Shell wins all federal permits to drill in the Chukchi Sea this summer, sea ice could block it from launching the work until late July.
Tar is removed from the coastline that remained closed on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Long Beach, Calif., after tar balls washed ashore. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Plains All American lab tests show oil from pipeline spill spread along hundreds of miles of California coastline

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Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline released a summary of the lab tests on Friday, as state and federal lawmakers intensified their scrutiny of the company’s ruptured Line 901 and the oil spill near Santa Barbara last month.
(AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)

House votes to block Obama’s climate plan amid veto threat

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Lawmakers voted 247-180 to support a bill allowing states to opt out of the Obama administration’s plan to limit carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants if the state’s governor determines it would cause significant rate hikes for electricity or harm reliability of service.
(StockMonkeys.com/Flickr)

Seeking more information, judge stays federal oil, gas rules

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The stay issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl means new rules for the practice of hydraulic fracturing on federal lands now won’t take effect until at least mid-August.
(AP Photo/Matthew Brown)

Oil industry launches 2016 campaign

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The American Petroleum Institute launched its “Vote 4 Energy” with a pledge to stay above the partisan fray while ensuring that energy policy is part of the political discussion leading up to the November 2016 elections.
API President and CEO Jack Gerard at CERAWeek in March 2014 (Photographer: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg)

Oil export boosters have votes to prevail on Capitol Hill, industry leader boasts

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American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said there are enough votes in the House and Senate to overturn the United States’ longstanding ban on crude exports. But a former Navy commander urged caution.
Seattle's skyline provides the backdrop for the Transocean Polar Pioneer, while it is being loaded with supplies in the city's port in May 2015. Shell plans to use the rig this summer to bore an exploratory oil well at its Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea, about 70 miles northwest of the Alaska coast. A separate drillship, the Noble Discoverer, is set to work on another Burger well at the same time. (Jennifer A. Dlouhy / The Houston Chronicle)

Shell’s Arctic drilling plans may hit permitting snag

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It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether the restriction highlighted by environmentalists opposed to Shell’s Arctic drilling campaign would derail the company’s plans, but it could be a major stumbling block.