Washington energy news with a Texas accent
A driver fills up his vehicle at a compressed natural gas station.  (AP file photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

Manufacturers ‘alarmed’ about surging natural gas demand

Manufacturers warned Congress today that they are worried the nationwide push to use more natural gas to generate electricity and fuel cars will leave them paying more for the fossil fuel they use to power plants and create other products.  More »
Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Western Gulf leases hit auction block in November

Oil and gas companies will have a chance to bid on drilling rights in the western Gulf of Mexico in a lease sale scheduled for Nov. 28. The auction of offshore drilling leases, which had been planned but not formally scheduled until today, is the first that will be conducted under the Obama administration’s new five-year plan governing offshore lease sales until June 30, 2017.  More »
Shell's Kulluk drilling unit is towed through Seattle's Elliott Bay in late June 2012, as it begins a long journey to Arctic waters north of Alaska. Shell plans to use the Kulluk and the Noble Discoverer drillship to search for oil in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas once ice clears this summer. (AP Photo/Donna Gordon Blankinship)

Shell wins Coast Guard OK on changes to Arctic-bound barge

The Coast Guard has approved Shell’s request to change the standards for evaluating an emergency response ship for the company’s planned Arctic oil drilling, but Shell is still rebounding from two setbacks in its Arctic quest.  More »
The guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon and the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz are shown during the "Great Green Fleet" demonstration part of the Rim of the Pacific 2012 exercise near Hawaii.  The Nimitz took on 200,000 gallons of biofuel in preparation for the demonstration. (Photo: U.S. Navy / Ryan J. Mayes)

Administration touts ‘Great Green Fleet’ test exercises with biofuels

The administration is pushing back against Republican attacks on a program to use biofuels in military equipment, after successful tests by the Navy this week.  More »
House Natural Resources Committee chairman Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash, leads a committee hearing. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

House sets showdown with Obama administration on drilling ban

House Republicans are demanding that Obama administration officials testify about how they justified a five-month ban on deep-water drilling imposed in the wake of the 2010 Gulf oil spill. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., says the administration has “stonewalled” the House Natural Resources Committee investigation into a 2010 Interior Department report that recommended a drilling ban in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.  More »
Cleanup worker Jeiner Foronda places fresh absorbent boom in the affected marshland of Terrebonne Parish, La., while cleaning up oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill. ( Smiley N. Pool / Chronicle )

Nuclear regulators & drilling experts to talk process safety

International drilling regulators and oil industry leaders will join representatives from the nuclear power sector in discussing workplace safety during a two day hearing in Houston next week.  More »
The South Texas Project nuclear power plant near Bay City can generate 2,700 megawatts of electricity.(John Davenport / San Antonio Express-News)

Feds invite public to check out South Texas nuclear plant renewal

Federal regulators will discuss the proposal to renew operating licenses for the South Texas Project nuclear plant during an open house next month in Bay City.  More »
A driver fills up his vehicle at a compressed natural gas station.  (AP file photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

Deputy Energy Secretary: Technology key to harnessing natural gas potential

Fresh off a visit to Houston, Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman touts the importance of developing new technology to expand the use of natural gas in vehicles.  More »
(Photo courtesy of Shell Oil Co.)

Shell hits snags in path to Arctic drilling

Shell’s plans to launch exploratory oil drilling in Arctic waters this summer have been hit by a series of setbacks in recent days.  More »
The liquefied natural gas tanker Inigo Tapias makes its way through Boston Harbor past downtown Boston on Jan. 24, 2004. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Natural gas glut a dilemma for Obama

The drilling boom that has led to a glut of natural gas and sent prices to 10-year lows is causing a quandary for the Obama administration, which is struggling to decide whether – and how much – the U.S. should share the bounty with foreign countries.  More »
A skiff runs alongside Greenpeace's Esperanza in June at Kodiak City. (AP Photo/James Brooks, Kodiak Daily Mirror)

Lawmakers ask feds to step up scrutiny of Arctic-bound Greenpeace ships

With Greenpeace protesters planning to shadow Shell’s drillships in the Arctic this summer, some lawmakers want to know why the environmentalists’ vessels aren’t getting as much scrutiny as the energy giant’s fleet.  More »
(Photo: Associated Press)

Debate underscores divide on energy policy

Surrogates for Barack Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns debated energy policy on Wednesday, revealing stark differences between their views of the federal government’s role in using taxpayer dollars to support still-developing energy technologies.  More »
Signs opposing the hydraulic fracturing process of drilling for gas, or "fracking"  are posted in Evans City, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

Industry analysis pokes holes in EPA hydraulic fracturing study

The Environmental Protection Agency’s multi-year investigation of the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water supplies is overbroad, underfunded and too ambitious, according to an analysis commissioned by two energy industry trade groups that was released Tuesday.  More »
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Environmentalists challenge Shell’s Arctic spill plans

Roughly a dozen environmental groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the government’s decision to sign off on Shell’s plans for cleaning up any oil spilled during Arctic drilling over the next two summers.  More »
Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

House Republicans push alternative offshore drilling plan

House Republicans are pushing back against the Obama administration’s just-unveiled plan for selling offshore drilling leases over the next five years by seeking to replace it with a more aggressive alternative.  More »