Biden jeopardizes Keystone XL project on first day in office
HOUSTON – President Joe Biden signed 15 executive orders and actions within his first few hours in office. But the one catching the attention of Houstonians and the energy industry targets the Keystone XL pipeline. “In Houston, I have a lot of people in the energy industry,” said Congressman Mike McCaul. He notes that Congress previously has authorized the pipeline and believes the project is good for the country and oil and gas industry. “Cancellation of the Keystone pipeline really doesn’t mean anything for the Houston area,” he said.
Houston company hopes to pump new life into the oil and gas industry after state loses 40K jobs amid pandemic
The heart and soul of Houston’s economy, the oil and gas industry, has been hit especially hard. According to the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association, the state had nearly 361,000 oil and gas jobs in 2019. One company’s visionA Houston company is launching a program it hopes will pump new life, and jobs, into the energy industry and the local economy. Workers on edgeFor oil and gas workers and their families, there is still a lot of uncertainty. The Texas Workforce Commission also lists more than 500 oil and gas industry jobs on its website.
Houston company hopes to pump new life into Oil and Gas industry that’s been crushed by COVID-19
Houston company hopes to pump new life into Oil and Gas industry that’s been crushed by COVID-19Published: September 28, 2020, 6:39 pmIt’s no secret that COVID-19 has put the U.S. economy in a serious crunch. And the heart and soul of Houston’s economy, the oil and gas industry, has been especially hard it.
8M pounds of pollutants released before and after Hurricane Laura but air quality monitors were taken offline
HOUSTON – As Hurricane Laura barreled toward the Gulf Coast a few weeks ago, in and around Houston, plants and refineries scrambled to shut down. During the shutdown and restart process surrounding Hurricane Laura, energy companies reported to TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) that 8 million pounds of emissions were released in Harris, Brazoria, Jefferson and Orange counties. There’s some opinion there but here’s a fact:During that exact same period that refineries shut down for Hurricane Laura, the state of Texas unplugged its air quality monitors in the storm’s path. Our state’s version of the Environmental Protection Agency is the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). See what TCEQ did in response to Hurricane Laura.
Member of Citgo 6 oil executives jailed in Venezuela is feared to be sick with coronavirus
MIAMI An American oil executive jailed in Venezuela has been out of contact with relatives and attorneys for nearly a week and his family fears he could be suffering from the coronavirus. Since then, his lawyers and family have been unable to obtain information about his whereabouts, said John Pereira. His fellow cellmates who worked under Pereira at Citgo told loved ones that guards on Wednesday removed Pereira's clothes and medicine from the Caracas prison where the men are being held. The other men who remain jailed in Caracas' famed Helicoide prison are Tomeu Vadell and brothers Alirio and Jose Luis Zambrano. The Maduro government in June released photos and video of the men in orange prison garb exercising and appearing in otherwise good health.
Drilling, mines, other projects hastened by Trump order
More than 60 projects targeted for expedited environmental reviews were detailed in an attachment to a July 15 letter from Assistant Interior Secretary Katherine MacGregor to White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow. Environmentalist Brett Hartl said the move to expedite major projects represents a giveaway" to industries that curried favor with Trump. Building an LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant is not going to solve the problem that's happening in the country," said Hartl, government affairs director with the Center for Biological Diversity. Interior Department officials did not answer questions from the AP on how the environmental reviews are being expedited and whether any rules were being waived. The bid to speed up reviews is in line with the Trump administrations greater emphasis on reduced regulatory burdens for corporations.
Oil and gas industry assesses damage at refineries, plants
Oil and gas producers evacuated platforms and rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and companies shut down refineries in the storm's path. More than 900,000 customers were without power in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, according to the website PowerOutage.Us, which tracks utility reports. The oil industry has been hammered since the start of the year, struggling with low prices after the coronavirus decimated demand. At the same time, OPEC was flooding the market with crude, aiming with success to put American oil producers out of business. Producers shut in 84% of the oil produced in the region, taking about 1.6 million barrels per day off the market.
Pres. Trump rallies oil-and-gas workers in Permian Basin against Dems ahead of election
President Donald Trump sought to give a morale boost to the beleaguered Texas energy industry during a visit Wednesday to the Permian Basian, while also rallying oil-and-gas workers against Democrats ahead of the November election. "We were very close to losing a very powerful, great industry," Trump said, "and now we're back and we're just gonna keep expanding." While Texas officials welcomed Trump to Texas by endorsing his "support of Texas energy producers, the industry across the state has been harshly disrupted in 2020. The trip was Trump's 16th visit to Texas as president but first to the Midland-Odessa area, a Republican stronghold. The Texas Democratic Party held a news conference ahead of Trump's visit to highlight how the pandemic has disproportionately impacted Latino Texans.
Chevron acquires Noble Energy for $5 billion, biggest purchase since beginning of pandemic
SAN RAMON, California Chevron announced Monday morning that the company plans to acquire Noble Energy for $5 billion, making it the biggest energy deal since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement Monday, the total enterprise value and transaction was $13 billion, which included pending debts from Noble Energy. The acquisition is subject to approval from Noble Energy shareholders. Noble Energys multi-asset, high-quality portfolio will enhance geographic diversity, increase capital flexibility, and improve our ability to generate strong cash flow.According to CNN Business, Noble Energys debt and proven undeveloped reserves became an attractive and cheap buy for Chevron. Noble Energy will own 3% of the combined company, according to Chevron in a statement.
More than 26,000 workers in Texas’ oil and gas industry lost jobs in April
More than 26,000 employees working in the Texas oil and gas industry lost their jobs in April as the coronavirus outbreak has shuttered global oil demand, the Houston Chronicle first reported. Workers out in the field — including drilling rig operators and equipment manufacturers — were affected most, with the oilfield service sector accounting for more than 22,000 of the industry’s jobs lost in April, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The loss of jobs and revenues have hurt the oil and gas industry, but the losses will be felt across the state. Many local budgets, as well as the state budget, receive various sources of funding from oil and gas taxes. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen have already ordered state agencies to cut budgets by 5%.
Halliburton shuts Texas sites, lays off 240 Oklahoma workers
HOUSTON – Oilfield services giant Halliburton has closed down two sites in Texas and laid off 240 employees in Oklahoma in response to reduced customer activity due to plummeting oil prices. But a Texas Workforce Commission notice says 233 workers have been laid off at the Kilgore facility. On Tuesday, Halliburton laid off 240 employees from a service center in Duncan, Oklahoma, according to the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development. The company laid off 350 personnel at the same facility earlier this month. The company has laid off nearly 1,500 employees from Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Louisiana in April, filings with state officials show.
Trump could tariff foreign oil. That won’t end the oil crisis
If anything, it could backfire on US refineries that rely on a healthy dose of foreign crude to go full blast. "We're independent now; we have our own oil," Trump said Sunday. The United States has certainly made huge strides towards weaning itself off foreign oil. More than 6 million barrels of foreign crude is still imported everyday, most of that from neighbors Canada and Mexico. That means blanket tariffs against all foreign oil, or even just ones imposed against countries outside North America, could be disastrous for US refineries.
2020 Offshore Technology Conference canceled in Houston
HOUSTON – The 2020 Offshore Technology Conference has been canceled in Houston due to the coronavirus pandemic. The conference, which has been in Houston since 1969, is a huge event that attracts thousands. The conference features energy professionals, who discuss scientistic and technical advancements for offshore resources and environmental matters. Cindy Yeilding, OTC chairperson released the following statement:“As we navigate these difficult and uncertain times, it is with a heavy heart that the OTC Board of Directors has determined that it is in our best interest to cancel OTC 2020. OTC plans on holding their 2021 conference May 3-6.
Halliburton ‘significantly reducing’ workforce amid falling oil prices, coronavirus pandemic
HOUSTON – Top U.S. oilfield services provider Halliburton confirmed to KPRC 2 Tuesday that the company will be laying off several workers. The company issued a statement that said:Halliburton confirms we are significantly reducing our workforce. As we make workforce reductions, we are taking numerous other actions to reduce our costs, including reducing the salaries of the Halliburton Executive Committee. When the coronavirus pandemic first broke out and oil prices saw a dramatic drop, the company told KPRC 2 it would furlough 3,500 employees in Houston for 60 days as shale producers slash spending amid falling oil prices. Non-conventional producers are expected to reduce their investments by 25-50% of planned spending this year, according to a report by Oil and Gas Magazine.
Crude oil spill in Tabbs Bay spread to Bayland Marina in Baytown, officials say
HOUSTON – Oil spilled in Tabbs Bay near Baytown earlier this month has spread to Bayland Marina as the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies continue to try and clean up the spill, officials said Tuesday. Officials said the Bayland Marina is a natural collection point for the bay, which means currents carry debris and oil residue to that location. Coast Guard officials were alert by the Texas General Land Office about the amount of emulsified oil. Officials said an oil spill response team along with other agencies are at the scene cleaning it up. READ: Nearly 840 gallons of ‘oily water’ collected from Tabbs Bay after crude oil spill over the weekendCoast Guard officials said an estimated 630 gallons of oil were spilled from an out-of-service wellhead on Feb. 3, which impacted a mile of the shoreline.
Fire crews in Corpus Christi battle 150-feet flames after gas line rupture, officials say
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Corpus Christi police and fire officials are at the scene of a gas line rupture that has caused flames as high as 150-feet, officials said Monday. The Corpus Christi Police Department posted on Facebook at 8:51 a.m. that officials were responding to the fire in the area of Interstate Highway 37 and Buddy Lawrence Drive. Corpus Christi Deputy Fire Chief Richie Quintero said flames coming from the ruptured gas line were nearly 150-feet high. At 9:41 a.m., police asked residents near the area to shelter in place. Officials do not know who the line belongs but are working to confirm, Quintero said.
Texas oil and ranching heiress Anne Marion dies at 81
DALLAS – Texas oil and ranching heiress Anne Marion, who founded the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has died. Cody Hartley, director of the O'Keeffe museum, said in a statement that Marion died Tuesday in California. He called her a “passionate arts patron, determined leader, and generous philanthropist.”Marion and her husband, John Marion, established the museum in 1997. In an interview when the museum opened, Anne Marion said, "I've always loved her work. Under Marion’s leadership, the museum grew to also include O’Keeffe’s two historic homes and studios in northern New Mexico, at Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch.
5 accused of trying to trade in sanctioned Iranian oil, violating U.S. trade sanctions
DALLAS – Five men have been arrested and charged with trying to trade in Iranian oil in violation of U.S. trade sanctions. The criminal complaint alleges that since last July, the five had tried to buy oil illegally from Iran to sell to a refinery in China. The complaint alleges that they planned to make two shipments of oil per month with an expected profit of $28 million per month. U.S. Attorney William McSwain said in a statement that the sanctions violations would jeopardize U.S. security. It was unclear from federal records where the five were being detained or if they had attorneys to speak for them.
Report: Six Texas oil refineries spewing cancer-causing pollutant above federal threshold
It found that 10 of them had reported benzene levels above the established threshold over a one-year period that ended in September. “EPA in 2015 imposed regulations to better monitor benzene and protect people living near refineries, often in working-class neighborhoods. Some stressed that the fence line monitoring data isn't necessarily indicative of public health risks and described the report as misleading. Kansas-based Flint Hills Resources said that the fence-line monitoring data it reported to the EPA isn't necessarily indicative of benzene levels in communities near its facility. In a one-sentence statement, Valero pointed out that its current benzene monitoring averages are below the threshold.
Experts warn Houston’s oil and gas industry vulnerable to cyber attacks
HOUSTON – Dayna Hickman, her husband and two young kids live in the shadows of some of the largest refineries in the world. “If there’s an explosion, if there’s a power outage, what am I going to do? “Our town has an alarm system set in case there is an issue in any of the plants or refineries,” Hickman said. “The threats are real and they are happening,” said Eddie Habibi, founder and CEO of PAS Global, a leading cybersecurity firm. Agents are very aware of threats against the oil and gas industry, but they don’t think a “doomsday” type of attack is likely here.