Fuel Fix

Undated aerial image released by Royal Dutch Shell PLC of the Gannet Alpha platform in the North Sea, around 110 miles east of Aberdeen, Scotland. (AP Photo/Ken Taylor/Shell/PA Wire)

UK minister hears industry gripes at OTC; says tax relief is coming

An oil executive complained that inconsistency in the United Kingdom’s tax policy impedes investment in North Sea oil and gas; a British official said tax relief is in this year’s budget.  More »
The Noble Explorer drilled offshore in Alaska for Shell in 2012, and Shell's CEO says the company may try to return to the icy waters next summer. (Photo courtesy of Shell Oil Co.)

Feds reviewing Shell’s 10 Arctic drilling permit proposals

Federal regulators are vetting Shell’s plans to drill 10 wells in Arctic waters near Alaska ahead of planned testing of oil spill response equipment later this year. Shell still has to convince regulators that it can contain oil and gas in case of a blown out well in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.  More »
A gas pipe ejects a flame at a gas deposit, known as Kashi in Japan and Tianwaitian in China, that sits near a median line in the countries' overlapping exclusive economic zones in the East China Sea on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012. China rejected Japanese protests over alleged improper exploration of the gas deposits on Feb. 3, 2012 as the Foreign Ministry said the recent activity had taken place within Chinese-controlled waters and was completely normal. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

China’s growing demand will fuel offshore investments

China’s growing demand for oil will fuel investments in offshore fossil fuel production and lead to growth in the country’s own related industries, speakers at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston said Tuesday morning.  More »
Fire boat response crews spray water on the blazing remnants of the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig. (AP Photo/US Coast Guard, File)

OTC: When ethical introspection becomes preaching to the choir

Wander the halls of OTC, and you quickly gain a feel for how insular the oil industry can be. It tends to view outside critiques, and especially criticism, with disdain. That may be why a breakfast discussion Tuesday started with introductions that included a note that the speakers had engineering degrees, which should “satisfy the room.”  More »

A beauty queen, Scots in kilts & OTC virgins

One of the first big parties of OTC was Monday night’s UK Energy Excellence reception at the Hilton Post Oak. OTC vets know the Brits like a good party, and OTC virgins (or newbies) are just happy to be invited.  More »
BSEE Director James Watson. (Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle)

Follow live as BSEE Director James Watson talks new regulations

BSEE Director James Watson talks about new rules aimed at improve safety.  More »
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar officiates as Retired Rear Adm. James Watson is sworn in as director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, with his wife Anne Watson, holding a Bible. (Photo: Tami Heilemann/Interior Department)

Offshore drilling regulator lays out agenda for OTC

The nation’s top offshore drilling regulator today laid out an ambitious agenda for his agency, including plans to issue new mandates for emergency equipment and update decades-old regulations governing oil and gas production safety systems.  More »
Aubrey McClendon, co-founder of Chesapeake Energy Corp., is pictured during an interview in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2005. (AP Photo)

Chesapeake to strip CEO of chairmanship, halt well deals

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) will name an independent chairman to replace Aubrey McClendon and halt an incentive program that allowed the chief executive officer to amass personal stakes in thousands of company-operated wells.  More »

OTC winner: New technology keeps water and gas at bay

When Halliburton acquired Norwegian downhole technology company Easy Well Solutions AS in 2005, it also acquired an abandoned idea for a density-based oil-selector technology that would help keep water and gas at bay in oil-well pipes.  More »
(Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle)

Steffy: OTC wheeling and dealing in the Nomads Lounge

OTC is where the trade mission meets the trade show.  More »
Shell's new Perdido oil and natural gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico.  ( Melissa Phillip / Houston Chronicle )

Q&A: Shell executive talks Perdido and safety

Robert Patterson, vice president of offshore projects in the Americas for Shell, has overseen several key developments in his career, including the world’s deepest producing deepwater well.  More »
James Watson, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, speaks at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. (The Houston Chronicle)

Feds will move faster to update safety equipment rules

The Obama administration will get on a faster track in imposing new rules that aim to boost the reliability of crucial emergency equipment used at offshore oil and gas wells, a top federal regulator is set to announce Tuesday at the Offshore Technology Conference.  More »