Chron energy items: 1.30.08

A few of the energy business related items in the Houston Chronicle or on
Behind closed doors: Judges set rare hearing for Iraq contractor cases: In an unusual closed session, a federal appeals court will hear arguments Wednesday in three cases alleging KBR knowingly sent civilian contractors along a dangerous route in Iraq, where they suffered a deadly attack.
Overseas work pushes Baker Hughes profits higher : Bloomberg News — Baker Hughes, the world’s third-largest oilfield-services provider, said fourth-quarter profit rose 23 percent as producers spent more drilling for oil in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Lawmakers accuse agency of abandoning green power plant: Associated Press — The U.S. Department of Energy, frustrated by ballooning costs for an ambitious plan to build a virtually emissions-free power plant, told federal lawmakers today that it expects to pull its support for the $1.8 billion project in Mattoon, Ill., lawmakers said. The site was chosen last month over Tuscola, Ill., and the Texas cities of Jewett and Odessa.
Crude prices slim profits for refinery leader Valero: Associated Press — Valero Energy Corp. reported fourth-quarter earnings of $567 million Tuesday, about half the profits earned during the same period last year, as margins were squeezed by higher crude prices.
Dow Chemical blames cost increases for profit decline: Associated Press — Dow Chemical Co. said today its fourth-quarter earnings fell 52 percent due to restructuring and a $1.7 billion rise in spending on materials and energy, the largest year-over-year cost increase in company history.