Fuel Fix

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 »
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)

Bromwich: The Arctic drilling conundrum

The wells that Shell proposes to start drilling in the Arctic’s Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in the next few weeks are almost surely the most widely litigated, hotly debated, and heavily scrutinized proposed offshore wells in this country’s history.  More »
Halliburton Technology Director Ron Hyden points out key processes in a oil/gas well finishing operation at a well site near Poth, Texas. (Photo: Timothy C. Baker for the Houston Chronicle)

Halliburton quarterly profit falls on inflated fracking costs

Halliburton Co. (HAL), the world’s largest provider of hydraulic fracturing, said second-quarter profit decreased as the business of fracking grew more costly in the U.S.  More »
(Photo: Flickr, Caston_Corporate)

CNOOC to buy Canada’s Nexen for $15.1 billion

Chinese offshore oil and gas giant CNOOC Ltd. said Monday it has agreed to buy Canadian producer Nexen Inc. for $15.1 billion in China’s biggest-ever overseas energy acquisition.  More »
(Image: Fotolia)

Steffy: As consumers face higher prices, NRG buys GenOn

NRG Energy, already one of the biggest generators in Texas, plans to buy Houston-based GenOn Energy for $1.7 billion.  More »
(Photo: BFS Man)

Steffy: Utility commission forgets the public

We need a better name for the Public Utility Commission.  More »
A worker walks through pipes connecting storage tanks and pumps in the hydraulic fracturing process. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

Natural gas liquids hit dry patch as prices sink

Not long ago, a class of hydrocarbons with a paradoxical name helped draw eager drillers to shale formations nationwide.  More »
Growing concern about water use during hydraulic fracturing prompted the Railroad Commission to adopt new rules for water recycling.  Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Drought helps fracking foes build momentum for recycling

The worst U.S. drought in a half century is putting pressure on natural-gas drillers to conserve the millions of gallons of water used in hydraulic fracturing to free trapped gas and oil from underground rock.  More »
(AP Photo/Mike Groll, File) As Denton considers fracking ban, the state's oil and gas regulator weighs in, calling the attempt "extremely misguided."

Experts: Some fracking critics use bad science

In the debate over natural gas drilling, the companies are often the ones accused of twisting the facts. But scientists say opponents sometimes mislead the public, too.  More »
The sun shines over a Range Resources well site in Washington, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

Frackers fund university research that proves their case

Pennsylvania remains the largest U.S. state without a tax on natural gas production, thanks in part to a study released under the banner of the Pennsylvania State University.  More »
Joe Maurin of Derek Engineering in Cincinnati, Ohio, works on a new prototype Taco Bell in Kenova, W. Va.  Green initiatives at the 3,000-square-foot eatery, ranging from LED lamps inside and out to a recirculating waterfall in the drive-thru, are being tested at the location. The goal is to minimize everything from water flow to energy use in a modern, unobtrusive atmosphere.   (AP Photo/The Hearld-Dispatch, Mark Webb)

W.Va. Taco Bell testing green initiatives

Taco Bell has long since replaced its one-time slogan, “Make a run for the border,” but its newest location in Kenova, at the I-64 border of West Virginia and Kentucky, is one they hope everyone will head for. In fact, company representatives said this Taco Bell isn’t like any you’ve ever experienced.  More »
The tsunami-stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan. (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

Gov’t probe of Japan nuke crisis criticizes TEPCO

Experts investigating Japan’s nuclear disaster said Monday that the operator of the crippled plant continues to drag its feet in investigations and has tried to understate the true amount of damage at the complex.  More »