Top Stories


  • What happens if the Keystone XL Pipeline isn't built?

    Published: Mon, Mar 24, 2014

    After five years, it appears the Obama administration will soon issue a decision on whether to build the long-delayed and controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would cross an environmentally sensitive area of the Great Plains and move nearly a million gallons of oil a day to Gulf Coast refineries, reports NBC News. Backers of the project say it would stimulate the U.S. economy and enhance energy security, stressing that a new pipeline is the cheapest, safest way to transport dirty tar-sands crude from Canada’s booming oil fields to U.S. refineries. Environmentalists, who earlier this month chained themselves to the White House fence in protest, counter that it would endanger the water supply in several states and exacerbate climate change. They want to stop or slow the exploitation of an energy source the Sierra Club calls “the most toxic fossil fuel on the planet.” But what happens if, after all the shouting, the pipeline isn’t built?

  • SandRidge to let its oil leases expire on much of its acreage in Oklahoma, Kansas

    Published: Sat, Mar 22, 2014

    A lot of land will hit the oil-lease market this year, the Wichita Eagle reports. SandRidge Energy has said it will allow leases on about 700,000 gross acres of land in Kansas and Oklahoma to expire this year, and hundreds of thousands of acres more in 2015, 2016 and 2017. It said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month that it has 1,026,000 gross acres set to expire this year in northern Oklahoma and southern and western Kansas. The company said it expects to hold on to about 30 percent of that by either paying to exercise the options or by holding them by producing oil and gas.

  • Rising energy demand a threat to strained water supplies, UN report says

    Published: Fri, Mar 21, 2014

    Rising demand for energy, from biofuels to shale gas, is a threat to freshwater supplies that are already under strain from climate change, the United Nations said in a report on Friday, according to Reuters. It urged energy companies to do more to limit use of water in everything from cooling coal-fired power plants to irrigation for crops grown to produce biofuels. "Demand for energy and freshwater will increase significantly in the coming decades," U.N. agencies said in the World Water Development Report. "This increase will present big challenges and strain resources in nearly all regions."

  • U.S. risks national blackout from small-scale attack

    Published: Thu, Mar 13, 2014

    The U.S. could suffer a coast-to-coast blackout if saboteurs knocked out nine of the country's 55,000 electric-transmission substations on a scorching summer day, according to a previously unreported federal analysis, the Wall Street Journal reports. The study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded that coordinated attacks in each of the nation's three separate electric systems could cause the entire power network to collapse, people familiar with the research said.

  • Chesapeake accused of underpaying gas royalties

    Published: Wed, Mar 12, 2014

    Some property owners in Pennsylvania, one of the states caught up in a natural-gas drilling boom, are accusing Chesapeake Energy of shortchanging them on royalty payments for pumping oil and gas from their land, the Wall Street Journal reports. The public outcry has grown so loud that Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, a longtime industry supporter who has received campaign contributions from the company, wrote an open letter last month asking the state attorney general to investigate. Chesapeake declined to comment on the royalty disputes, but said in a recent letter to the governor that it is abiding by the terms of its contracts with landowners.

  • Hundreds arrested at White House Keystone protest

    Published: Mon, Mar 3, 2014

    More than 300 anti-Keystone XL protesters were arrested Sunday afternoon outside the White House in the latest push by environmentalists to convince the Obama administration to reject the Canadian oil pipeline, according to Politico.com. The student-led protest, organized by XL Dissent, started with a rally at Georgetown University. The students marched from there to the White House — with a stop at Secretary of State John Kerry’s house along the way.

  • Chesapeake, Encana near settlements on Michigan collusion probe

    Published: Wed, Feb 26, 2014

    Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Encana Corp. are negotiating civil settlements with the state of Michigan to try to end its criminal investigation into whether the energy companies colluded to keep oil and gas lease prices artificially low in the state, Reuters reports. Encana and Chesapeake have been the subject of state and U.S. Department of Justice antitrust probes since 2012, when Reuters published an investigation showing the companies' executives exchanged emails to discuss how they could cooperate to suppress lease prices in the state.

  • Ousted CEO McClendon tries to force Chesapeake into new drilling

    Published: Tue, Feb 25, 2014

    Chesapeake Energy Corp. ousted its former chief executive Aubrey McClendon last April after a governance scandal and a liquidity crisis. But the former boss retains financial ties to the second-largest U.S. natural gas company, and he is using them to try to change company plans, Reuters reports. A firm run by McClendon is attempting to force Chesapeake to drill 12 multi-million dollar wells in Louisiana's Haynesville Shale at a time when Chesapeake is trying to rein in spending and cut debt to focus on other shales, according to a lawyer for Chesapeake.

  • GE to spend another $10 billion on energy research by 2020

    Published: Mon, Feb 24, 2014

    General Electric Co plans to intensify research focusing on complex energy projects such as waterless fracking and gas turbine efficiency by earmarking an additional $10 billion through 2020 for its "ecoimagination" budget, Reuters reports. The company is building an oil and natural gas research center in Oklahoma City. Its research budget shows how reliant GE has become on the energy industry, its fastest growth area, as it works to become a dominant supplier of equipment and services to oil, natural gas and alternative power companies at a time when the United States undergoes an unprecedented energy boom.

  • ConocoPhillips CEO: Skeptics warnings of shale bubble are unfounded

    Published: Fri, Feb 21, 2014

    ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance targeted shale boom skeptics Friday, refuting arguments that the surge in oil and gas production will be short-lived, the Houston Chronicle reported. Speaking at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Lance said he believes the country’s shale revolution is only in the “first inning of a nine inning game,” and critics shouldn’t assume growing shale production will stop any time soon.

  • News 9: New Chesapeake CEO discusses challenges, vision for future

    Published: Thu, Feb 20, 2014

    "A little bit uncomfortable," that's how the CEO of Chesapeake Energy says it felt taking the reins of the oil and gas company from Aubrey McClendon last spring," reports News 9. Not only was Doug Lawler assuming control of a company that was struggling with both performance and governance issues, he was stepping into the shoes of a man he calls ...

  • Chevron gives residents near fracking explosion free pizza

    Published: Wed, Feb 19, 2014

    After a Chevron hydraulic fracturing well exploded in rural Dunkard Township, Pennsylvania, last Tuesday, and burned for four days straight, the energy company knew just the way to soothe nearby residents: free pizza. The flames that billowed out of the Marcellus Shale natural gas well were so hot they caused a nearby propane truck to explode, and first responders were forced to retreat to avoid injury. The fire burned for four days, and Chevron currently has tanks of water standing by in case it reignites. Of the twenty contractors on the well site, one is still missing, and is presumed dead. Seconds before the explosion, John Kuis, 57, who lives less than a half-mile away in Dilliner, said he felt rumbling.

  • Pennsylvania governor calls for investigation into Chesapeake's royalty payments

    Published: Fri, Feb 14, 2014

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is calling for an investigation into allegations of fraud against Pennsylvania’s biggest natural gas driller, Chesapeake Energy Corp., StateImpactPA reports. Corbett sent a letter to Chesapeake’s CEO Doug Lawler, saying he has asked the state's attorney general to investigate allegations the company is shortchanging landowners on natural gas royalty payments. “I have received complaints from my constituents and your leaseholders regarding practices of Chesapeake Energy which strike many as unfair and perhaps illegal.” Corbett wrote. ”I remain disappointed that the complaints continue to go unheeded.”

  • Assault on California power station raises alarm on potential for terrorism

    Published: Wed, Feb 5, 2014

    A sniper attack in April that knocked out an electrical substation near San Jose, Calif., has raised fears that the country's power grid is vulnerable to terrorism, the Wall Street Journal reports. Nobody has been arrested or charged in the attack at PG&E Corp.'s Metcalf transmission substation. It is an incident of which few Americans are aware. But one former federal regulator is calling it a terrorist act that, if it were widely replicated across the country, could take down the U.S. electric grid and black out much of the country.

  • Report: Keystone XL pipeline would save 6 lives a year

    Published: Tue, Feb 4, 2014

    Replacing the Keystone XL pipeline with oil-laden freight trains from Canada may result in an average of six additional rail-related deaths per year, according to a U.S.State Department and Reuters reports. The Association of American Railroads suggested that the report had painted an unfair comparison.

  • Foundations band together to get rid of fossil-fuel investments

    Published: Thu, Jan 30, 2014

    Seventeen foundations controlling nearly $1.8 billion in investments have united to commit to pulling their money out of companies that do business in fossil fuels, the group plans to announce on Thursday, the New York Times reports. The move is a victory for a developing divestiture campaign that has found success largely among small colleges and environmentally conscious cities, but has not yet won over the wealthiest institutions like Harvard, Brown and Swarthmore.

  • Boone Pickens-backed company hopes natural gas-powered autos fuel its first profit

    Published: Mon, Jan 27, 2014

    Clean Energy Fuels Corp., the California company that builds and operates natural gas filling stations for some of the nation's biggest bus and truck fleets, is banking on corporate customers to buy more clean-energy vehicles this year, the Los Angeles Times reports. Executives hope that a growing fleet will boost sales of natural gas and propel Clean Energy to its first annual profit since its 1997 founding by Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, the onetime oil baron and corporate raider, and the company's chief executive, Andrew Littlefair. Clean Energy has become one of the biggest players in the industry with customers such as Frito-Lay North America Inc., Proctor & Gamble Co., United Parcel Service Inc., Ryder System Inc. and home improvement chain Lowe's Cos.

  • Chesapeake, ex-CEO fighting over Louisiana drilling program

    Published: Thu, Jan 23, 2014

    Nine months after being ousted at Chesapeake Energy Corp., former CEO Aubrey McClendon is fighting the company over its drilling program in northwest Louisiana’s Haynesville Shale, The Advocate newspaper reports. McClendon’s Larchmont Resources LLC has asked the state Office of Conservation to approve 12 alternate-unit wells on four units — each around 640 acres — in Bossier Parish. Chesapeake already operates a well on each of those units. Larchmont says the current wells are leaving the bulk of the produceable natural gas in the ground. Cheseapeake has asked the state to reject those applications, saying among other things that Chesapeake and the firms that own 80 percent or more of those leases don’t want Larchmont, which owns 2.5 percent, deciding when and where drilling will take place.

  • Analysis: Oil drillers in Oklahoma hope to 'SCOOP' competitors

    Updated: Sat, Jan 18, 2014

    A handful of energy firms are rushing their rigs to several counties in southern Oklahoma, convinced they've found the next shale play to expand America's oil boom, Reuters reports. While the number of rigs is leveling off in places like the North Dakota Bakken, oil drilling by companies including Continental Resources and Marathon Oil is quickening in what is known as the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province, or SCOOP, analysts and officials say.

  • Harold Hamm fires back after call to slow oil development in North Dakota

    Published: Thu, Jan 9, 2014

    Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm fired back this week to comments made by the chairman of North Dakota’s Republican party calling for the oil industry to take a “moderated approach” to development. Hamm, whose company was a pioneer in the use of horizontal drilling that fueled the Bakken oil boom, said he felt compelled to respond to statements made by Robert Harms in news coverage in the aftermath of the explosive train derailment near Casselton. “It looks to me like he’s saying we shouldn’t overreact to these situations, but that’s exactly what he’s doing,” Hamm said in an interview with Forum News Service this week.