Washington

Washington energy news with a Texas accent
American Petroleum Institute chief economist John Felmy. (Mayra Beltran / Houston Chronicle)

SEC rejects industry’s bid for exemptions in foreign payments rule

Federal regulators on Wednesday voted to require U.S. companies to disclose what they pay to harvest crude, natural gas and minerals from other countries, delivering a big blow to oil companies that say the mandate will force them to shut down drilling in some areas.  More »
(Photo: Fotolia)

Industry makes last-ditch appeal against SEC disclosure rule

The oil industry today made a final plea for exceptions to proposed reporting rules that U.S. businesses say would give foreign competitors an unfair advantage while forcing them to stop drilling in Qatar, Cameroon and other countries. The Securities and Exchange Commission is set to vote Wednesday on whether to force U.S. oil, gas and mining companies to disclose what they pay to foreign nations in exchange for extracting natural resources from the countries.  More »
Shell's Kulluk conical drilling unit departs Seattle for Dutch Harbor, Alaska in 2012. (Shell Oil Co.)

Shell’s drilling rig begins two-week trek to Arctic sea

Shell’s Kulluk drilling rig began a two-week journey to the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska on Monday, marking a major step forward in the company’s slow march toward a new era of oil exploration in the region. Environmental critics also ramped up their criticism of Shell’s plans, as federal regulators move closer to approving drilling permits for some of the company’s planned Arctic wells.  More »
Chevron's Genesis platform is shown in the Gulf of Mexico.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Feds put contractors on notice: Violate offshore regs & you’ll face fines too

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement today affirmed that it will not back down from a year-old plan to punish oil field service firms, rig suppliers and other contractors for running afoul of offshore drilling rules. In a policy document released this morning, the agency laid out its plans for policing offshore contractors — not just oil companies — for those violations.  More »
A deep-water drilling rig works in the South China Sea. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Jin Liangkuai)

Feds tweak drilling safety mandates after hearing from industry

Federal regulators on Wednesday issued a final set of standards meant to boost the design, cementing and safety of offshore wells in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster two years ago. The measure responds to industry concerns that the first version of the rule — imposed on an emergency basis in October 2010 — was muddled and riddled with conflicting requirements.  More »
Allison MacFarlane (Official photo)

NRC’s new chair determined to examine earthquake risks

Allison MacFarlane, the new chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is a geologist — the first to lead the commission. And she views that as a fortunate thing for the commission and the industry.  More »
The Chevron Genesis in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Survey says voters back offshore drilling

Roughly seven out of 10 voters support changing U.S. policy to allow more oil and natural gas development along the nation’s coastline, according to a new Harris Interactive poll released today.  More »
A oil transit pipeline runs across the tundra on Alaska's North Slope. (AP Photo/Al Grillo, File)

Industry jeers administration’s plan for NPR-A oil development

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said a new plan for managing wildlife and oil production in the 23-million-acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska strikes a balance between conservation and energy development. But industry representatives and their allies in Congress weren’t cheering the program Monday.  More »
The Kulluk conical drilling rig, shown in a Seattle shipyard earlier this year, has begun drilling in Alaska's Beaufort Sea.  (Jennifer A. Dlouhy / The Houston Chronicle)

Salazar: Shell responsible for Arctic drilling delays

Neither thick Arctic ice nor government red tape is holding back Shell’s plans to search for oil in waters north of Alaska this summer, a top Obama administration official said Monday. Instead, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters, the delays are Shell’s own making.  More »
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speak to a crowd at a rally in Virginia in August 2012. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Romney’s VP pick backed ending oil tax breaks

The budget-cutting zeal that made Republican Rep. Paul Ryan a Tea Party darling and helped land him a spot as Mitt Romney’s running mate doesn’t extend just to defense spending and Medicaid. Oil and gas tax incentives have also been in his crosshairs.  More »
Commercial fishermen from St. Bernard Parish, La., hired by BP lay oil retention booms around New Harbor Island in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Feds give new guidelines for offshore oil spill response plans

Federal regulators on Friday gave offshore drilling operators the most specific instructions yet for how the companies should prove they are ready to respond to oil spills.  More »
A section of land inside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.  (AP Photo)

Report: GOP plan to allow drilling for dollars not lucrative in short term

A Republican plan to open up ANWR, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic waters for oil and gas drilling wouldn’t be nearly as lucrative as its backers suggest, according to a new analysis.  More »