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Business Highlights for April 28

Nation and world business briefs for April 28, 2012
Published: April 28, 2012

Business briefs


Blown well capped

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

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

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.

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.

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