Washington

Washington energy news with a Texas accent
The blowout preventer stack used at BP's failed Macondo well is lifted out of the Gulf of Mexico in September 2010. (AP file photo/Patrick Semansky)

Feds lay out plans for new blowout preventer mandates

Obama administration officials today outlined their plans for new regulations designed to boost the reliability of crucial emergency equipment safeguarding offshore wells. Fundamentally, said Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes, blowout preventers “need to be able to cut whatever is in their way and completely sell off the well.”  More »
Lower marine riser package, left, and lower blowout preventer stack shown at National Oilwell Varco in August, 2010, Houston. (Chronicle/Melissa Phillip

Feds get advice from industry, engineers on beefing up blowout preventers

Federal regulators crafting new regulations to boost the reliability and power of emergency equipment used as a last line of defense against surging oil and gas at offshore wells will get feedback from energy companies, drilling engineers and other experts on Tuesday.  More »
Gulf of Mexico (Wikimedia Commons)

38.6 million Gulf acres will be up for grabs in June lease sale

Oil and gas companies will have until June 19 to file their bids for the government’s upcoming auction of drilling leases in the central Gulf of Mexico, the Interior Department announced today.  More »
Shell's Arctic-class drill ship, the Kulluk, is shown as it is towed near Alaska. Shell is moving the Kulluk drilling unit from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to a Seattle shipyard for ongoing maintenance and planned, technical upgrades. (Photo courtesy of Shell Oil Co.)

Environmental groups challenge Shell’s Arctic drilling permits

Environmental groups have launched a new legal challenge to Shell Oil Co.’s plans to begin exploratory drilling in Arctic waters near Alaska this summer.  More »
An American Apache gunship shown flying during Operation: Desert Shield. (AP Photo/Scott Applewhite)

House bill aims to curb Pentagon’s power to buy alternative fuels

The White House is threatening to veto a defense spending bill after complaining the measure would limit the military’s ability to power its planes, ships and tanks with alternative fuels.  More »
The new label mandated by the EPA is designed to make it clear to car owners which pumps are using 15% ethanol.

Report casts doubt on E15 use in cars & trucks

Automakers and the oil industry released a report today that casts doubt on the safety of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol and shows that at least some engines running the fuel suffered damage during recent testing.  More »
idlerig

Obama challenges oil companies to drill existing leases

The White House on Tuesday pushed back against the oil and gas industry’s claims that the Obama administration is blocking domestic energy development, releasing a new analysis showing that 46 million acres of federal lands and waters leased for drilling are sitting idle.  More »
API President Jack Gerard speaks in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

API pitches agenda for political parties: More drilling, more access

The oil and gas industry’s largest trade group on Tuesday implored the Democratic and Republican parties to embrace policies for boosting domestic energy development and streamlining environmental regulations. Not surprisingly, API is urging “pro-development policies” that it says can “create new jobs throughout all parts of the country,” not just in the oil patch.  More »
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Obama administration speaks with energy industry about gas drilling regulations

A top White House adviser on Monday said the Obama administration made a concerted effort to reach out to the oil and gas industry while crafting regulations governing natural gas drilling but insists the effort isn’t an election-year ploy.  More »
Money Roll

Democrats take aim at oil industry tax breaks, partnerships

Lawmakers are reviving plans to end tax breaks for oil, gas and coal companies — but this time, the campaign comes with a new twist.  More »
A deep-water drilling rig works in the South China Sea. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Jin Liangkuai)

Experts say U.S. should do more to thwart spill from Cuban drilling

As the Spanish company Repsol nears its target depth for an exploratory oil well in Cuban waters, experts told a forum in Washington that the U.S. hasn’t done enough to prevent an accident on the site, or respond to one if it occurs.  More »
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, hoists legislation during a news conference on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Quid pro quo? Texas Republican suggests feds went easy on BP

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert today suggested that the Obama administration turned a blind eye toward BP’s safety problems before the Gulf oil spill because the company promised to support White-House backed climate change legislation and the 2010 health care law.  More »