• Utility estimates LA-area gas leak to cost at least $250M

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the gas leak near Los Angeles that was stopped for the first time in nearly four months (all times local): 2:47 p.m. The utility that had a natural gas well leaking nearly four months says it expects the incident will cost at least $250 million to $300 million. Southern California Gas Co. said Thursday that the cost estimates don't include potential damages from more than two dozen lawsuits, penalties from government agencies and expenses to mitigate pollution. SoCalGas says the estimate is for the costs of relocating as many as 6,400 families for many weeks and paying to have the leak stopped and the old well sealed. The company says it got the leak under control earlier i

  • Obama says climate rule on 'strong legal footing'

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    ATHERTON, Calif. (AP) — President Barack Obama says he is very confident his administration is on "strong legal footing" in its defense of a key piece of his climate-change agenda. Obama is telling political donors in California that the Supreme Court's decision to freeze a new rule reducing power plant emissions is only a temporary setback. The power plant rule would aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at existing power plants by about one-third by 2030. But the court this week put it on hold until after legal challenges are resolved. The decision signaled that the justices believe opponents have made strong arguments against it. Speaking at a fundraiser, Obama told donors not to "despair.

  • Eminent domain possible issue in pipeline's passage in Iowa

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa utilities regulators are considering whether to allow a Texas company to bury 346 miles of a crude oil pipeline under farmland and give it authority to use eminent domain to force unwilling landowners to sign easements. Iowa is the only state yet to approve the permit for the $3.78 billion Bakken pipeline, which will carry about a half-million barrels of oil per day from North Dakota to Illinois, crossing through Iowa and South Dakota. The pipeline, to be built by Dakota Access, would stretch diagonally across 1,300 parcels of land and 18 counties in Iowa at a cost of $1 billion. Thursday was the fourth day of meetings for the three-member Iowa Utilities Board, and it has set additional meetings

  • Utility says it has stopped natural gas leak near Los Angeles after nearly 4 months

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Utility says it has stopped natural gas leak near Los Angeles after nearly 4 months.

  • Alaska adopts new rules for dispersant use in oil spills

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska oil spill responders have adopted new rules for the rapid use of chemical dispersant but say dispersant will continue to be considered only rarely when mechanical cleanup is not practical. Chemical dispersant has been used on an oil spill just once in Alaska in the last 40 years — in tests during the 11-million gallon crude oil spill that followed the 1989 grounding of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker. The preferred method of cleanup is mechanical, usually using boom to corral oil and skimmers to lift it from the water. Chemical dispersant does not remove oil but breaks it into small droplets that spread throughout the water column, making it more available to natural degradation by oil-eating m

  • Oklahoma budget hole jumps to $1.3 billion amid downturn

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma finance officials say the hole in next year's budget has increased to $1.3 billion, or nearly 20 percent of last year's spending, amid depressed oil prices. The Office of Management and Enterprise Services announced Thursday that plunging revenue collections have widened the shortfall from the original projection of $900 million in December. A state panel led by Gov. Mary Fallin will meet next week to certify how much legislators can spend in the fiscal year that begins July 1. Fallin's Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger (DOR'-fling-ur) says since the board's December certification, oil prices fell 21 percent and the state's economy has continued to contract.

  • The Latest: Taylor has no problem letting voters decide pot

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest from a forum for journalists organized by The Associated Press (all times local): 2:50 p.m. Ohio's Republican lieutenant governor says she's not thought a lot about whether Ohio should legalize medical marijuana through legislative action or by ballot initiative. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor told reporters Thursday at a forum sponsored by The Associated Press that she has no problem letting Ohioans vote on the issue. But as a former legislator, she said she doesn't want to take away the ability of the General Assembly to have its say. Taylor said Ohio must gather input on the issue from medical professionals.

  • Meetings on EPA's Clean Power Plan canceled for now

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The state Department of Environmental and Natural Resources is cancelling public meetings on the EPA's Clean Power Plan in light of the U.S. Supreme Court issuing a stay this week. The meetings had been scheduled to fulfil EPA's public participation requirements on its plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power plants. The first South Dakota meeting was to be held at the Milbank Visitor Center in Milbank on Feb. 23. A coalition of 29 states including South Dakota challenged the plan in October. The states argue that the EPA exceeded its authority by double-regulating coal-fired power plants and forcing states to shift their energy portfolios away from coal-fired generation. The

  • Gasoline prices in Arizona now at $1.71 per gallon

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    PHOENIX (AP) — Gasoline prices around Arizona are down again at the pumps this week. Officials with Triple-A Arizona said Thursday that the average statewide price for unleaded regular gasoline is $1.71 a gallon. That's a decrease of 7 cents from last week. This week's national average is $1.70 per gallon, also down by 7 cents from last week. Tucson currently has Arizona's lowest average gasoline price at $1.50 a gallon and Flagstaff the highest at $1.97. Oklahoma has the lowest average gas price among states in the continental U.S. at $1.35 a gallon with California the highest at $2.45.

  • Treasury sanctions key Islamic State leaders

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department is sanctioning three leaders of the Islamic State, including a senior oil official, who are instrumental in the group's finances and recruitment. Thursday's action is another step in the Treasury's efforts to disrupt the group's ability to profit from illicit oil sales in Iraq and Syria and hamper its access the international financial system. The sanctions come ahead of a meeting Sunday in Paris of officials from around the world who are working to stem the flow of money to the militant group. The action freezes any property or interest in property the three have within U.S. jurisdiction and bans Americans from doing transactions with them.

  • Brazil police arrest ex-president of construction company

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian police have arrested the former president of construction giant Andrade Gutierrez for his suspected role in a bribery scandal involving the state-owned company that operates Brazil's two nuclear power plants. Police arrested Otavio Marques de Azevedo on Wednesday, less than a week after he was placed under house arrest for his involvement in the corruption-kickback scheme engulfing state owned oil company Petrobras. He was arrested in June 2015 and released into house arrest on Feb. 5. Prosecutors have said that Andrade Gutierrez and other construction companies paid more than $1 million to Eletronuclear directors for contracts involving the construction of the Angra 3 nuclear plant.

  • Gas prices down nickel in Texas to average $1.53 per gallon

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    COPPELL, Texas (AP) — Texas retail gasoline prices continue to slide by dropping a nickel this week. AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price at the pump statewide was $1.53 per gallon. Nationwide gasoline prices fell 7 cents this week to reach $1.70 per gallon. Amarillo has the cheapest gasoline this week across Texas at an average $1.34 per gallon. Drivers in El Paso have the most expensive gasoline statewide at an average $1.56 per gallon. Domestic crude oil inventories remain at high levels. Association experts say gasoline demand typically begins to increase starting in February, reaching its peak in August. February also marks the beginning of the spring refinery maintenance season.

  • US markets dive amid global selloff

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    U.S. stocks opened sharply lower following steep market declines all around the world as concerns about global economic weakness intensified. Bank stocks were hit hard Thursday as investors worried that interest rates in the U.S. and elsewhere would remain low. Citigroup and Bank of America both dropped 5 percent. Oil prices fell below $27 for the second time this year and dragged down shares of energy companies. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 245 points, or 1.5 percent, to 15,669 as of 9:35 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 26 points, or 1.44 percent, to 1,825. The Nasdaq composite fell 56 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,226. Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell

  • Survey: Solar workforce grows in New Mexico

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State energy officials say the solar industry's workforce is growing in New Mexico. The state Energy Conservation and Management Division teamed up with the nonprofit Solar Foundation to develop the solar jobs census for 2015. They found 299 jobs were added to the solar workforce last year. As of November, a total of 1,899 workers were employed by the industry and solar companies said they expected to hire another 234 workers this year. State Energy Secretary Dave Martin said job growth in the solar workforce is a signal that the state is diversifying its economy and its energy supply.

  • Oil price drop pushes Total profit down 26 percent

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    PARIS (AP) — Total says its fourth quarter earnings skidded 26 percent as the collapse in oil prices hit another global energy giant. The French company said Thursday that profit adjusted for changes in the value of inventories and one-time items dropped to $2.1 billion from $2.8 billion in the same period a year earlier. Oil prices have been falling for over a year. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil, hit a 12-year low of $27.10 a barrel in January. Total has been cutting costs and investment in response. In 2016, Total will cut capital investment by $4 billion to about $19 billion, and will cuts costs by $2.4 billion after $1.5 billion savings in 2015. Total's production rose 9 percent to 2.35 mi

  • Louisiana's current budget woes mirror 1988 financial gaps

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A new Louisiana governor inherits a massive budget mess, a state struggling with years of red ink that his predecessor patched through rather than fixing. Now, government services are on the chopping block, threatened with hefty reductions. Sound familiar? That was the scene when Buddy Roemer took over as Louisiana's governor in March 1988. And it's the same landscape 28 years later, as Gov. John Bel Edwards, in office since January, readies for a special legislative session he called to try to repair the state's seemingly never-ending financial morass. As Edwards and lawmakers try to solve the budget problems and stabilize state finances, long-termers at the Louisiana Capitol repeatedly refere

  • Rio Tinto posts $866M loss, blames deteriorating economy

    Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    SYDNEY (AP) — Mining company Rio Tinto says it suffered an annual loss of $866 million as deteriorating economic conditions around the world pressured prices of commodities such as iron ore and coal. The mining giant on Thursday reported 2015 revenue slumped to $34.8 billion from $47.6 billion the year before. It is planning to reduce its capital expenditure to $4 billion in 2016 and $5 billion in 2017, which is $3 billion less than its previous plan.

  • Oklahoma City-based Continental's production rises, proved reserves drop

    By Adam Wilmoth Energy Editor awilmoth@oklahoman.com | Published: Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    Continental Energy saw its oil and natural gas production rise 27 percent in 2015. But the Oklahoma City companies' proved reserves slipped by 9 percent, it said.

  • Hong Kong, Seoul stocks sharply lower after holidays

    Updated: Wed, Feb 10, 2016

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stocks shuddered again Thursday, led by sharp drops in Hong Kong and South Korea, which were catching up to global market turmoil after being shut for Lunar New Year holidays. KEEPING SCORE: Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 4 percent to 18,526.03 after opening as much as 5 percent lower. South Korea's Kospi dropped 2.8 percent to 1,863.32. The Hong Kong and South Korean markets opened for the first time this week after Lunar New Year holidays. China and Taiwan will reopen on Monday. Japan was closed Thursday for a separate public holiday. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.7 percent to 4,806.60. Singapore and New Zealand fell while benchmarks in the Philippines and Indonesia rose.

  • WPX Energy to close OKC office, lay off 60 employees

    By Adam Wilmoth Energy Editor awilmoth@oklahoman.com | Updated: Wed, Feb 10, 2016

    Company said 35 other WPX employees will be relocated.