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(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Senators ask SEC to probe oil companies’ risk disclosure

A dozen Democrats insist oil companies aren’t telling shareholders the gritty reality of their crude pursuits, including the environmental and financial risks of drilling in the Arctic Ocean and other frontier areas.
U.S. Coast Guard image showing the Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig Kulluk aground off a small island near Kodiak Island on Jan. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard)

Feds rap Shell for poor planning in botched tow of 2012 Arctic drilling rig

The NTSB report comes at a pivotal time for Shell, which has asked federal regulators for permission to resume exploratory oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea as soon as July.
With the Olympic Mountains in the background, the Polar Pioneer drilling rig arrives in Port Angeles, Wash., aboard a heavy-lift transport ship in April. Shell Oil Co. hopes to use the rig for exploratory drilling during the summer open-water season in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast, if it can get the permits. (Daniella Beccaria/ via AP, File)

Obama administration gives thumbs up to Shell’s Arctic drilling plans

Shell moved one step closer to resuming its $6 billion quest for crude in the Arctic on Monday, with the Obama administration’s approval of its broad plan for exploratory oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska.
The drillship Noble Discoverer undergoes sea trials off Singapore in November 2014, following shipyard work and upgrades. Those improvements included a new main propulsion system, environmental controls and enhancements to the drilling systems. (Photo: Noble Corp.)

Noble pleads guilty to violations involving Arctic drillship

Noble Corp. pleaded guilty Monday to eight criminal charges tied to pollution, propulsion and record keeping problems with the two drilling rigs that bored Arctic oil wells for Shell in 2012.
This 2007 file photo shows the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy leaving Seattle for a scientific mission in the Arctic that included breaking ice well north of Barrow, Alaska. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

U.S. could press for international Arctic drilling standards

The United States may use its role heading the Arctic Council to push for standards governing oil drilling and development throughout the region, the Obama administration’s top Arctic envoy said Tuesday.
(AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard)

Coast Guard blames 2012 Arctic rig grounding on bad decisions

Coast Guard investigators on Thursday rapped Shell Oil Co. and its contractors for failing to heed the dangers of towing a drilling rig across stormy Alaska waters in late 2012 — a voyage that ended when it ran aground on New Year’s Eve.
An oil pump jacks sits on a Osage County ranch in Oklahoma. (Mayra Beltran/Houston Chronicle)

Top 10 energy stories of 2013

Check out which blockbuster energy stories the FuelFix staff ranked as the nation’s most important of 2013. Then vote for the news that you think rocked the industry enough to qualify as one of the year’s biggest moments.
Waves crash over the drilling unit Kulluk where it sat aground on the southeast side of Sitkalidak Island, Alaska, Jan. 1, 2013. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class/Jonathan Klingenberg.)

Shell announces return to Arctic in 2014 despite mishaps

Shell officials on Thursday said the oil company plans to make another, dramatically scaled-back bid to find crude in Arctic waters, following a headline-grabbing 2012 season that left the firm with a devastated drilling rig, air pollution fines and embarrassing equipment failures. But there are major hurdles for Shell to restart its Arctic drilling operations in 2014.
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoists crew members from the Shell's mobile drilling unit Kulluk in 15- to 20-foot seas 80 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. (Photo: Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis)

Shell responds to $1.1 million Arctic pollution deal

Shell’s troubled quest for Arctic oil in 2012 — now capped with a $1.1 million fine for environmental violations — will make the company better prepared to return to the region, a spokesman said Friday.
Shell used the drillship Noble Discoverer for its 2012 drilling in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska.  (Jennifer A. Dlouhy / The Houston Chronicle)

Shell to pay $1.1 million in fines to settle with EPA over Arctic drilling

In a settlement with the federal government announced late Thursday, Shell Oil Co. will pay $1.1 million in fines to settle claims that it violated air pollution permits while drilling in U.S. Arctic waters last year.