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Jim Noe

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Energy industry beginning to feel shutdown’s bite

As the federal government shutdown enters its 10th day with scant hope for a speedy resolution, the energy industry is just beginning to feel the pinch.
A fire ignited the Hercules 265 jack-up rig Tuesday after natural gas leaked from an uncontrolled natural gas well in the Gulf of Mexico, federal authorities reported. (U.S. Coast Guard)

Well plugging effort delays assessment of damaged Gulf rig

Hercules Offshore says it does not know yet how badly one of its Gulf of Mexico rigs was damaged in a blowout and fire last week, and cannot take a close look until a relief well permanently kills the one that blew out.
James Watson, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, speaks at the 2012 Offshore Technology Conference Tuesday, May 1, 2012, in Houston. ( Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle )

Top offshore drilling regulator stepping down

The nation’s top offshore drilling regulator is set to step down later this year, just as the federal government drafts new rules to boost the safety of coastal oil exploration.
Jim Noe

Guest Commentary: An energy vision for Interior Secretary Jewell

Jim Noe, executive vice president of Houston-based Hercules Offshore, hopes that under the new Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the federal agency will focus on increasing U.S. energy output by creating a more clear and dependable business environment that attracts investment Gulf of Mexico exploration.
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Republican wants answers about feds’ offshore drilling strike team

A top congressional Republican wants to know more about a new Interior Department “strike team” dedicated to rooting out wrongdoing by companies drilling offshore and the government officials who police them.
President Barack Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell speaks at the White House. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Obama taps business exec for Interior Dept. secretary

In a move surprising Washington insiders, Pres. Obama picks Sally Jewell — the CEO of REI and a former Mobil Oil Corp. engineer — for Interior secretary.
Commercial vessels spray water on the fire aboard the West Delta 32 production platform. (Coast Guard photo)

Feds advance plan stressing ‘safety culture’ values offshore

Federal offshore drilling regulators on Wednesday advanced a policy statement meant to prod oil and gas companies to adopt a “safety culture” following lethal accidents in the Gulf of Mexico. The move comes as regulators draw scrutiny for not conducting audits of newly mandated safety programs and weeks after a fatal fire on a production platform 18 miles from Louisiana’s coast.
Photo: Flickr/barkbud

Feds streamline system for vetting offshore permits *updated*

Federal regulators today revealed a new process for reviewing permits in response to complaints from oil and gas companies that say the government’s previous system was unwieldy. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement will also give oil and gas companies a peek at its checklist for examining whether permit applications are ready for prime time.
Sen. David Vitter, R-La. (AP file photo/Susan Walsh)

Senator blocks Interior official’s confirmation over drilling slowdown *updated*

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is blocking confirmation of a nominee to head the Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service in a bid to force federal regulators to speed up approvals of deep-water drilling projects. Vitter says he won’t back down until at least 15 new deep-water wells get the green light.
Ken Salazar

Industry reps say platitudes all that came out of drilling summit

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s summit with offshore drilling advocates today won’t lead to swift government action on permitting decisions, industry leaders said. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)