Blown well capped
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Workers at a blown oil well in eastern Wyoming have capped an eruption of potentially explosive natural gas by pumping mud into the well. The plugging operation began about 9:30 a.m. Friday. By 11 a.m. the flow of gas had ceased, although mud continued to be pumped underground. The newly drilled well owned by Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy blew out Tuesday afternoon. Potentially explosive methane gas roared from the ground at the site five miles northeast of the town of Douglas. An evacuation advisory was issued to 67 people living within 2½ miles. Workers staged equipment Wednesday to plug the well but shifting winds blew gas over the equipment Thursday. Westerly winds Friday enabled them to safely approach the well and begin plugging.
Resin substitute reported
DEARBORN, Mich. — The auto industry may have steered its way around another crisis, avoiding a second major disruption of its supply chain in a year. Just last week, automakers and parts companies feared that factories could be forced to close due to a shortage of a key plastic resin. Supplies are low because a March explosion and fire knocked out a German factory that makes much of the world's PA-12, a unique resin used to manufacture fuel lines and other parts. Friday, Ford's chief financial officer said he doesn't expect any Ford factories to be stalled because of the shortage. That is largely because the company has substitutes for PA-12.
Yahoo challenges Facebook
SAN FRANCISCO — Yahoo is bringing out more artillery in its patent battle with Facebook. It is adding new allegations of intellectual property theft to its six-week-old lawsuit against Facebook. In court papers filed Friday, Yahoo Inc. now says Facebook's online social network infringes on 12 of its Internet patents, up from 10. Yahoo also denied allegations that it has been infringing on 10 of Facebook's patents and accused its rival of engaging in shady behavior. Yahoo says Facebook violated an agreement between the two companies to notify each other of possible patent infringements before filing a court claim.
Rig count down for U.S.
HOUSTON — The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. is down 27 this week to 1,945. Houston-based oil field services company Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday that 1,328 rigs were exploring for oil and 613 were looking for gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago this week, Baker Hughes reported 1,818 rigs. Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, only North Dakota increased its total, gaining one rig. Louisiana lost five rigs, Pennsylvania and Texas each lost four while Arkansas and Oklahoma each lost three. Alaska, California and New Mexico lost two apiece and Colorado and Wyoming each lost one. West Virginia was unchanged. The rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.
Judge questions paper's secrecy
WASHINGTON — The government has appealed a judge's order that it must turn over a classified position paper prepared during free-trade negotiations. It's rare for a court to order that a classified document be revealed. But in February, U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts ruled there were no plausible explanations to justify the document's secrecy. The paper had been prepared during negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, conducted in the 1990s and 2000s, which never resulted in a deal. The judge sided with the Center for International Environmental Law, which had sought the paper from the U.S. Trade Representative under the Freedom of Information Act. The Justice Department says it will appeal the decision.
Boeing unveils new jetliner
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Boeing rolled out the first jetliner made in the American South on Friday amid fireworks and the cheers of thousands of blue-clad workers shouting “We build jets.” The white Boeing 787, which has been purchased by Air India, was slowly pulled onto the tarmac as machines poured smoke from behind the massive doors of the company's final assembly building. The aircraft is the first completed at the $750 million plant that opened last year. The company employs about 6,000 people in North Charleston. The plant should turn out four completed aircraft by year's end. By the end of 2013, the plant should be producing about 3½ of the speedy, light aircraft made half of composite material of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic.
Spain's economic troubles rise
MADRID — The hole in Spain's economy is getting deeper. The government reported Friday that unemployment rose to 24.4 percent in the first quarter — compared with 22.9 percent in the fourth quarter — and that more than half of Spaniards under age 25 are now without jobs. The bleak employment news came one day after ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the country's debt. The Spanish economy is in recession for the second time in three years. Foreclosures are rising, Spain's banks are in worse financial shape, and the government's deficit is hitting worrisome levels. The first-quarter employment data showed that 365,900 people lost their jobs, bringing the number of unemployed Spaniards to 5.6 million. The unemployment rate for people under 25 climbed to 52 percent.
Mexico to change truck rules
MEXICO CITY — The Mexican government said Friday it will tighten inspections and lower maximum allowed weights for freight trucks after protests over a string of deadly accidents involving double-trailer trucks. Independent truckers partially blocked highways leading into Mexico City on Friday to protest rules allowing extremely heavy and very long trucks. “No to the double trailers that cause accidents,” read one sign held up by protesting truckers north of Mexico City.
From wire reports