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Saturday, May 23, 2015

23
votes
U.S. oil drillers add rigs in Niobrara and Eagle Ford -Baker Hughes

Haynesville.com-Reuters -- Oil drillers added rigs in two U.S. shale basins this week, data showed on Friday, the strongest sign yet that higher crude prices are coaxing producers back to the well pad after a slump in activity of nearly six months.

Overall, U.S. drillers reduced the number of active rigs by just one this week, oil services company Baker Hughes Inc said. It was the 24th straight weekly decline, bringing the total down to 659, the lowest since August 2010.

In the latest week, drillers added three oil rigs in the Niobrara basin in Wyoming and Colorado and two in the Eagle Ford in South Texas, according to the closely followed report. That brought the total number of active rigs up to 22 in the Niobrara and 89 in the Eagle Ford.

The Eagle Ford is the nation’s second biggest shale oil field, while...  (read more)

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23
votes
Black Smoke Rises From Philadelphia Refinery Fire

NBC -- Heavy smoke could be seen pouring from a South Philadelphia refinery Friday evening.

The fire broke out at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery's Girard Point facility (commonly known as the Sunoco Refinery) along W Penrose Avenues around 5:40 p.m., said said refinery spokeswoman Cherice Corley.

"You see the big cloud of black smoke over hear in the skyline," said Jamie Shirley who lives nearby.

There were no reports of injuries in the one-alarm fire, said Philadelphia firefighters.

As SkyForce10 hovered overhead, crews could be seen dousing the flames, which burned along Schuylkill River. After about 20 minutes, crews appeared to have knocked down the flames and smoke seemed to recede. After an hour, the fire was declared under control.

Corley said the fire remained contained t  (read more)

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261 Comments

21
votes
Drop That Nozzle: New Jersey Resists Push for Self-Service at the Gas Pump

NY Times -- Perhaps no state in the nation is as defined by cars and car culture as quintessentially suburban New Jersey. The first drive-in movie theater, the sprawl of malls and highways — “What exit?” — and a very famous traffic jam.

But there is one thing New Jersey drivers don’t do that is second nature to drivers almost everywhere else: Pump their own gas.

And please don’t ask them to.

New Jersey has banned self-service gas stations for nearly 70 years, spawning boastful bumper decals (“Jersey Girls Don’t Pump Gas”) and at least one “how many Jersey blondes does it take to fill a tank of gas?” video on YouTube.

Since the 1970s, the only other state to do so has been Oregon. But it took the first steps to reverse that in April, when the House of Representatives passed a bill allowing ...  (read more)

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42 Comments

21
votes
Murray, Alpha notify West Virginia coal miners of layoffs Read more: http://triblive.com/business/h

TRIBLIVE -- More than 2,200 employees of coal mines in three states learned Friday they were losing their jobs as companies reacted to low prices and demand from the power sector that the government predicts will keep dropping.

Murray Energy Corp. said it was laying off 1,417 workers in West Virginia, including 588 employees of a Monongalia County mine that it bought from Cecil-based Consol Energy Inc. Murray idled that former Blacksville mine March 31, expecting it to be temporary, but told the state Friday in a mandated notice that the layoffs will be indefinite.

In addition to the West Virginia jobs, the St. Clairsville, Ohio-based company said it planned to lay off 162 workers in Illinois and 249 in Ohio. Murray had about 7,500 employees before the layoffs, CEO Robert Murray said this week.  (read more)

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12 Comments

21
votes
Choppy Slick Is Harder to Clean up; More Oily Animals Found

ABC News -- Los Angeles-A 10-square-mile oil slick off the coast of California is thinner than a coat of paint and it's becoming harder to skim from choppy waters, officials said Friday as more dead animals were discovered on the Santa Barbara coast.

There's no estimate to how much damage the spill caused, but a dead dolphin was found in Santa Barbara Harbor and three dead pelicans were recovered.

Two sea lions, an elephant seal and six pelicans have been rescued, said Michael Ziccardi, director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network.

Workers wearing yellow protective suits, rubber gloves and face masks scrubbed pelicans with toothbrushes in a soapy bath at the International Bird Rescue.

The disaster, which led officials to close Refugio and El Capitan state beaches just before Memorial Day weekend,  (read more)

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292 Comments

Friday, May 22, 2015

42
votes
OPEC Refuses to Yield in Battle for Oil-Market Share

BloombergBusiness -- OPEC will stick with the strategy of favoring market share over prices when it meets next month because rival producers are already starting to buckle.

All but one of the 34 analysts and traders surveyed by Bloomberg said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will maintain its daily production target of 30 million barrels when it meets in Vienna on June 5.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest of OPEC’s 12 members, shaped the strategy at the last meeting in November, arguing that the usual response of cutting output to boost prices would not address the threat from shale and other higher-cost suppliers. Prices rose 46 percent since mid-January as producers cut spending plans and the number of active U.S. drilling rigs fell by the most ever.

“Dramatic cuts in spending and drilling are...  (read more)

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1576 Comments

38
votes
Gas Prices Should Stay Low This Summer, And Could Hit $2 By Fall, Researchers Say

Forbes -- You’ve probably noticed that the price of unleaded gasoline has inched up over the past few weeks. That’s typical gas price behavior as Memorial Day approaches, and motorists set off on summer vacations.

The good news, according to a Purdue University researcher, is that gas prices this summer ought to be significantly lower than they were in summer, 2014.

Purdue energy economist Wally Tyner is predicting that gas prices will remain below $3 a gallon for unleaded, except in California and Hawaii where prices are normally higher than in the rest of the country.

The average price of unleaded fuel last week was $2.71 a gallon, according to AAA. Although the price has gone up steadily the past month, it’s still 94 cents a gallon cheaper than at this time a year ago.

One reason Purdue’s Tyn  (read more)

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1433 Comments

37
votes
Millions expected to travel for Memorial Day

wndu.com -- Mishawaka, Ind.-- The Memorial Day holiday travel period starts Thursday and will run through Monday, May 25. In that time, AAA Travel projects 37.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home.

That is a 4.7 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year and the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years.

AAA says more than 88 percent of travelers will get to their destination by car, air travel is expected to increase 2.5 percent, and travel by cruises, trains and buses is expected to decrease.

When it comes to gas prices, experts say they should peak for 2015 at about $2.75 per gallon in the next several days. Drivers should see slight declines through the summer. That’s barring any major refining incident, hurricane, or other disrupting facto  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1447 Comments

35
votes
BP Oil Spill Led to Biggest Gulf Dolphin Die-Off Recorded

Newsweek.com -- A study released by the federal government Wednesday adds certainty to the conclusion that the 2010 BP oil spill led to an ongoing spike in bottlenose dolphin deaths in the Gulf of Mexico.

Lesions discovered on the lungs and adrenal glands of dead dolphins found within the footprint of the Deepwater Horizon spill are clear indications of exposure to oil products, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers involved in the study.

“No feasible alternative causes remain,” Stephanie Venn-Watson, a veterinary epidemiologist who led the study, told reporters Wednesday. The lesions found by the researchers indicate that many of the dolphins had bacterial pneumonia and adrenal disorders that likely caused their deaths.
 (read more)

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280 Comments

35
votes
California DMV scrambles to write the rules for driverless cars

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..nypost.comAfter a year of testing its bubble-shaped driverless cars on the empty roads of a shuttered Central Valley military base, Google is about to deploy its fleet on the busy streets of Silicon Valley.According to the San Jose Mercury News, for now, the cars must have safety drivers ready to grab the wheel or hit the brakes if something goes wrong. But self-driving software could soon move from test cars to consumer vehicles as the California Department of Motor Vehicles puts finishing touches this month on new operational rules for autonomous cars, making it the first government in the world to create a detailed handbook for robots on the road.  Are you ready for this? ...  (read more)

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1856 Comments

Thursday, May 21, 2015

51
votes
State of Emergency Declared for Oil Spill Off Santa Barbara Coast

KNBC Los Angeles -- California Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday issued an emergency proclamation for Santa Barbara County due to the effects of an oil spill near Refugio State Beach.
Oil floating off the Southern California coast after a spill from a broken oil pipe now stretches about 9 miles, an overnight expansion that was "more than we anticipated last night," a U.S. Coast Guard captain said Wednesday.

"It's important to remember this stretch of California coastline is unique to the world. It’s beautiful and pristine," Santa Barbara County Supervisor Doreen Farr said. "This is more than an inconvenience. This is just a disaster. We are taking it very seriously."

The spill shut down popular El Capitan Beach and campground just days before the unofficial kick-off to the summer season, Memorial Day weeken  (read more)

Submitted May 21, 2015 By:
1764 Comments

42
votes
Oil Giants Band Together to Add Their Voice to Climate Debate

BloombergBusiness -- Europe’s largest oil companies are banding together to forge a joint strategy on climate change policy, alarmed they’ll be ignored as the world works toward a historic deal limiting greenhouse gases.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA, BP Plc, Statoil ASA and Eni SpA are among oil companies that plan to start a new industry body, or think tank, to develop common positions on the issues, according to people with knowledge of the matter. So far the largest U.S. companies -- Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. -- have decided not to participate, the people said, asking not be named before a public announcement expected as early as next month.

Efforts to reduce fossil fuel investments and spur renewables such as solar and wind power have gathered pace in the past two years with oil companies...  (read more)

Submitted May 21, 2015 By:
1690 Comments

41
votes
‘Shale-ionaires’ Suffering from Wave of Bankrupt Oil Drillers

BloombergBusiness -- At the height of the U.S. energy boom, Texas landowner John Baen received about $100,000 a month in royalty payments from companies producing oil and natural gas on his property.

Now the checks are much smaller, and when he opens his mailbox each day, he’s afraid he’ll find yet another bankruptcy notice. So far, four of the producers sending him checks have caved in to rising debts as oil prices slumped, seeking court protection from their creditors.

“I feel like crying because I know I’m going to get another 10 notices,” said Baen, 67, who owns 10,000 acres of land and mineral rights on other property.

A rebound in oil prices that bottomed near $44 a barrel in March has provided some relief to stronger companies that have been able to compensate with cost cuts and more efficient...  (read more)

Submitted May 21, 2015 By:
1689 Comments

36
votes
Arctic Drill Rig Sparks Outcry

Associated Press -- SEATTLE — Foes of Royal Dutch Shell’s use of a seaport terminal to prepare for exploratory oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean attacked on two fronts Monday as a few hundred protesters blocked port entrances and the City of Seattle declared that Shell and its maritime host lacked a proper permit.  (read more)

Submitted May 21, 2015 By:
119 Comments

34
votes
Takata Deflated: Airbag Recall America's Largest

GasBuddy Blog -- (c)IIHSThe National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has brought the hammer down on Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata. As news broke Tuesday, the agency, which had previously been criticized for being too soft on the automobile industry, announced the largest recall in American automotive history. The recall of Takata-made airbags in 34 million vehicles is said to affect 1 in 7 vehicles on the road today. 
The airbags in question were under investigation for sending shrapnel throughout the car’s compartment upon deployment. These bits of shrapnel could be lodged in passengers, with injuries similar to gunshot or stab wounds....  (read more)

Submitted May 21, 2015 By:
2413 Comments

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

45
votes
Gas prices this Memorial Day weekend

Media General -- (MEDIA GENERAL) — Getting ready to hit the road for Memorial Day? Gas may be more expensive than you’d prefer, but experts say the prices for the holiday weekend are expected to be the cheapest in several years.
A recent survey from GasBuddy showed Memorial Day tops the list as the most popular weekend to travel of all three major summer holidays. 150,000 members rated Independence Day next among warm weather travel holidays and Labor Day last.
The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas — which was $2.72 on Tuesday — is near the six-month high. Michigan’s average price for a gallon of gas was $2.86 and rising on Tuesday, according to GasBuddy.
>>Inside woodtv.com: Gas prices in West Michigan
But it’s not all bad news for Memorial Day drivers.
“Even with the current upt  (read more)

Submitted May 20, 2015 By:
1875 Comments

44
votes
Hickenlooper rejects GOP call to ignore EPA coal rules

Haynesville.com-AP -- Gov. John Hickenlooper rejected Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s call for states to defy new federal pollution controls on coal-burning power plants, saying Colorado has a long history of protecting its environment — despite its heavy reliance on coal.

In a letter to McConnell dated Thursday, Hickenlooper also disputed McConnell’s contention that the rules would cause electric rates to soar. Hickenlooper said Colorado is cutting pollution while keeping energy affordable.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules have become a target for McConnell and other Republicans now that the GOP controls the U.S. Senate as well as the House.

The rules, which aren’t yet final, would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels, and each state must develop a...  (read more)

Submitted May 20, 2015 By:
984 Comments

41
votes
U.S. House passes highway fund extension — again

Detroit Free Press -- WASHINGTON — Another looming crisis in Congress, another short-term extension.

On a vote of 387-35, the U.S. House passed on Tuesday a two-month extension to the existing authorization for the Highway Trust Fund, which was to expire May 31, and sent it the Senate, which is expected to pass it by the end of the week.

By doing so, Congress will once again forestall what, since 2009, has been a regularly scheduled harangue of doomsday headlines and dire predictions about what could happen if the trust fund — and the approximately $50 billion it provides each year to build and maintain roads and bridges — went belly-up.

It never happens, because just about no one in Congress regardless of party affiliation wants to be accused of contributing to potholes at home.

But it also gets them no cl  (read more)

Submitted May 20, 2015 By:
113 Comments

41
votes
Oil spills along California coast

CNN -- A pipeline leaked about 21,000 gallons of crude oil near a beach in California, authorities said, creating a dark sheen that stretched for miles.

The 24-inch pipeline ruptured along the Santa Barbara coast Tuesday, according to Capt. Jennifer Williams of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline, which owns it, said it shut down the flow of oil in the pipeline and is conducting an emergency response.

It said the leaked oil reached a culvert, which then spilled into the Pacific Ocean. The culvert was later blocked to stop the flow.

"Plains deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact," it said. "No injuries have been reported at this time."

The company said it found out about the oil Tuesday. The spill affec  (read more)

Submitted May 20, 2015 By:
132 Comments

39
votes
Big Oil Spill Along Refugio Coast UPDATE: Leak Contained, but Four Miles of Beach and Ocean are Fill

Santa Barbara Independent -- [UPDATE, 8:13 p.m.]: Plains All American Pipeline issued the following statement, which contradicts initial reports from the county's Office of Emergency Management that the broken pipeline was inoperative:

"Earlier today, Plains All American Pipeline, L.P., became aware of a crude oil release from its 24-inch Las Flores to Gaviota pipeline in Santa Barbara County. Initial reports indicate the released oil reached a culvert leading to the Pacific Ocean. As a result, the spill has impacted ocean water and the shoreline. At this time, the amount of released oil is unknown.

"Plains shut down the flow of oil in the pipeline and has initiated its emergency response plan. The culvert has been blocked so no additional oil is reaching the water. Plains is working with local officials and first r  (read more)

Submitted May 20, 2015 By:
1619 Comments

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

43
votes
I-Team: Drivers Say Insurance Device Put Them In Danger On The Road

WBZ-TV, CBS News local -- BOSTON (CBS) – You’ve probably seen the ads on TV for a device drivers plug into their cars to save money on insurance premiums. But the I-Team found a growing number of consumers have complained the popular program ended up costing them money, or even put them in danger on the road.
Massachusetts driver’s car suddenly shuts off
While shopping around for insurance in March, James Manning was intrigued by the potential insurance savings offered by Progressive Snapshot.
The company mailed Manning the small device that plugs into the diagnostic port beneath the steering wheel. For a month, Progressive would monitor Manning’s driving habits to see if he traveled late at night or was prone to sudden braking.
If the results were good, Manning hoped to save up to 30 percent on his monthly premium  (read more)

Submitted May 19, 2015 By:
1731 Comments

39
votes
Goldman Sees Oil at $45 by October After ‘Self-Defeating’ Rally

Bloomberg -- Oil is poised to slump to $45 a barrel by October as a surplus of crude and producers’ easy access to cash weigh on the market, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

A recovery in prices to near $60 a barrel from a six-year low in March is premature, analysts including Jeffrey Currie said in an e-mailed report dated May 18. The availability of cheap capital exacerbates the need for sustained low prices to keep U.S. producers from boosting output, according to the bank.

West Texas Intermediate oil has rebounded 37 percent since March amid speculation a drop in U.S. drilling rigs to the fewest since August 2010 will slow output and ease a supply glut. The backlog of drilled but uncompleted wells represents more than 100 million barrels of crude held in underground storage, Goldman said.

 (read more)

Submitted May 19, 2015 By:
308 Comments

39
votes
With Gas Prices Less of a Worry, Buyers Pass Hybrid Cars By

The New York Times -- Affordable gasoline is making hybrid car owners rethink their loyalty.

With bargain gasoline prices putting more money in the pockets of Americans, owners of hybrids and electric vehicles are defecting to sport utility vehicles and other conventional models powered only by gasoline, according to Edmunds.com, an auto research firm.

There are limits, it appears, to how far consumers will go to own a car that became a rolling statement of environmental concern. In 2012, with gas prices soaring, an owner could expect a hybrid to pay back its higher upfront costs in as little as five years. Now, that oft-calculated payback period can extend to 10 years or more.

“We’d all like to save the environment, but maybe not when it costs hundreds of dollars per year,” said Jessica Caldwell, director o  (read more)

Submitted May 19, 2015 By:
1603 Comments

37
votes
Summer 2015: Road Trips Reign Supreme, GasBuddy Survey Finds

GasBuddy Blog -- A new study by the award-winning travel app GasBuddy found that 73% of people will be traveling this summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with a majority (83%) planning to take at least two trips. Eighty-six percent of those traveling will be doing so by packing up the car and hitting the road.The survey of over 150,000 GasBuddy members revealed that Memorial Day tops the list as the most popular weekend to travel out of the three major holidays during summer, followed by Independence Day then Labor Day. Almost half, 45%, of travelers plan to take a road trip during non-holiday weekends.The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is currently $2.715, amongst the highest price in nearly six months. However, based on the survey, 58% of people responded that gas prices do not impact their vacations plans, while 17% say they plan to take advantage of the lower gas prices compared to recent years....  (read more)

Submitted May 19, 2015 By:
923 Comments

37
votes
Nebraska: Veto of Gas-Tax Increase Is Overridden

Associated Press -- Lawmakers on Thursday overrode Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto of a 6-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase to pay for road and bridge repairs. The proposal would raise Nebraska’s total gas tax over four years to 31.6 cents per gallon. The tax would generate an additional $25 million annually for the state and $51 million for cities and counties once fully implemented. Mr. Ricketts, a Republican, has said his new state roads director is planning to look at funding alternatives.  (read more)

Submitted May 19, 2015 By:
182 Comments