• Equipment malfunction causes explosion at Washington dam


    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — An electrical equipment malfunction caused an explosion at a hydroelectric dam on Washington's Columbia River that injured six workers, utility officials said Friday. The explosion occurred Thursday afternoon at one of 10 electricity generating units at the Priest Rapids Dam near the central Washington city of Mattawa, Grant County Public Utility District spokesman Chuck Allen said. "There was no structural damage to the facility and no resulting threats to public safety related to this incident," he said. "The dam is being operated safely at this time." Five workers were being treated at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

  • 2 of 3 workers killed in pipeline explosion identified


    GIBSON, La. (AP) — A maintenance company has released the names of two of the three people killed in a pipeline explosion in Terrebonne Parish. Danos, an oil and gas service company, says two of their contract employees, 40-year-old Samuel Brinlee, of Berwick, and 36-year-old Casey Ordoyne, of Larose, died in Thursday's accident at the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co. facility in Gibson. Transcontinental is a subsidiary of major natural gas supplier Williams Partners. Danos CEO and President Hank Dano identified the workers in a news release on Friday. The third victim, a contract employee for Furmanite, an oilfield maintenance company, has not been identified. Danos says eight of his employees were working at

  • Judge denies environmentalists' intervention in Exxon case


    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A Democratic state senator and environmental groups cannot intervene in the state's $225 million settlement with Exxon Mobil over contaminated gas stations and other sites, a New Jersey judge ruled Friday. Superior Court Judge Michael Hogan said Friday he denied the request from state Sen. Raymond Lesniak and the four groups because they did not have standing to bring the lawsuit in the first place. It's the second time Hogan has denied their petition in a case that stretches back to 2004. The groups — Clean Water Action, Delaware Riverkeeper, Environment New Jersey and New Jersey Sierra Club — plan further appeals. "Judge Hogan was wrong," New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said.

  • New Mexico grants approval for Xcel solar purchase


    ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico utility regulators have cleared the way for Xcel Energy to buy solar power from two generating stations that will be built near Roswell. Xcel announced Thursday that the state Public Regulation Commission approved the purchase of 140 megawatts of solar capacity from NextEra Energy Resources, which is developing the two solar farms. Officials say the solar farms will be the largest in New Mexico to date. Xcel will pay NextEra 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2017. The utility says that's cheaper than the cost of generating electricity at some of Xcel's older natural gas-fueled plants in Texas and New Mexico.

  • Shamrock Proppants shuts down indefinitely in mid-Missouri


    MEXICO, Mo. (AP) — Operations have been shut down at a central Missouri plant that makes materials used in fracking. The Mexico Ledger reports (http://bit.ly/1VJ0Gnq ) the Shamrock Proppant plant in Mexico shut down indefinitely Thursday in the wake of the recent downturn in oil prices and a pullback in fracking operations. Proppants are a treated sand or ceramic gravel mixture used in the fracking industry to open cracks in deep-rock formations to help release oil. The Energy Information Administration says U.S. oil production decreased by 120,000 barrels per day in September from August. Frank O'Brien Jr., Shamrock's president, says he hopes to bring the plant back up as soon as the industry begins faring bett

  • US wholesale stockpiles rise in August, but sales fall


    WASHINGTON (AP) — Cheaper oil and less demand for autos and machinery weighed on wholesalers in August, as their inventories edged up just slightly while sales dropped. The Commerce Department said Friday that wholesale stockpiles rose 0.1 percent, and sales fell 1 percent. Sales have slid 4.7 percent over the past 12 months. Inventories have increased 4.1 percent. Falling oil prices account for much of the declining sales. Oil inventories — which are measured in dollars — plummeted 4.6 percent in August and 36.6 percent over the past 12 months. Sales of autos and machinery also slipped. But rising inventories for equipment, pharmaceuticals and chemicals suggest that wholesalers still see ongoing demand heading in

  • Johnston power plant sells for $490M


    JOHNSTON, R.I. (AP) — A natural gas-fired power plant in Johnston has been sold to a private equity firm for nearly half a billion dollars. The Carlyle Group announced Thursday it acquired the 583 megawatt Rhode Island State Energy Center from Entergy Corp. for $490 million. Carlyle officials said in a statement that the plant "is among the most efficient combined cycle facilities in New England and is well-positioned to capitalize on strong regional market dynamics" and "New England represents an attractive market for investment due to its transparency and incentives for reliable generation." The plant began commercial operations in 2002. Entergy purchased the plant for $346 million in December 2011. Entergy ex

  • Gas pipeline from Romania to Moldova to be built in 2016


    CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — A Moldovan government official says work on a pipeline that will transport natural gas from Romania to the Moldovan capital will begin next year. The pipeline, which is expected to become operational in May 2018, will help lessen the former Soviet republic's dependency on Russia. It is an extension of one running from the northern Romanian city of Iasi to Ungheni, a Moldovan town near the Romanian border. Valeriu Triboi, Moldova's deputy economy minister said Friday construction of the pipeline from Ungheni to Moldova's capital Chisinau, a city of one million, will begin next spring. Moldova, which is hoping to join the European Union, hopes to get financial help from the EU.

  • 6 workers injured in explosion at dam in Washington state


    SEATTLE (AP) — An explosion at a hydroelectric dam on Washington's Columbia River injured six workers, but it did not compromise the dam's structure and posed no risk to the public, officials said. The utility workers were hurt in an electrical explosion at about 4:15 p.m. Thursday at the Priest Rapids Dam near the central Washington city of Mattawa, Grant Public Utility District spokesman Thomas Stredwick said. "The stability of the dam was never compromised," Grant County Sheriff's Office spokesman Kyle Foreman said. "There's no reason for people living around the dam to be worried." Three of the six injured arrived at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle Thursday night for burn treatment, according to spokeswoman S


    Published: Fri, Oct 9, 2015

    OIL AND GAS PRICES Oklahoma crude oil prices as of 5 p.m. Thursday: Oklahoma Sweet: Sunoco Inc. — $46 Oklahoma Sour: Sunoco Inc. — $34 Oklahoma oil and gas drilling activity posted Sept. 24: COMPLETION Canadian: Devon Energy Production Co. LP; Williamson No. 1-2 SWD Well; NW1/4 NE1/4 SE1/4 SE1/4 of 02-12N-09W; TD 7,580. Kay: International Energy Co. LLC; Wyckoff No. 29-7 Well; SE1/4 NW1/4 SE1/4 SE1/4 of 29-25N-01E; 25 barrels oil per day, 40,000 cu-ft gas per day; TD 4,656. Logan: Devon Energy Production Co. LP; Crossfield A 21-19N-3W No. 2MH Well; S1/2 NW1/4 NE1/4 NW1/4 (SL) of 21-19N-03W; 524 barrels oil per day, 486,000 cu-ft gas per day; TD 10,698. Devon Energy

  • Asian stocks gain on hopes Fed won't hike rates this year

    Updated: Thu, Oct 8, 2015

    TOKYO (AP) — Asian stock markets rose Friday on expectations the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates at a record low for several more months. Energy stocks advanced with the price of oil. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index added 0.8 percent to 18,282.85 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.9 percent to 22,767.44. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.7 percent to 2,019.53 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.9 percent at 5,251.90. China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6 percent to 3,160.67. Southeast Asian stock markets also rose. FED FACTOR: Minutes from the Federal Reserve's September policy meeting showed officials expressing confidence that the U.S. economy was improving.

  • California to phase out microbeads used in soaps, toothpaste

    Updated: Thu, Oct 8, 2015

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Thursday requiring California to phase out the use of microscopic exfoliating beads in personal care products sold in the state starting in 2020 to protect fish and wildlife. The tiny plastic beads found in soap, toothpaste and body washes are so small that they are showing up in the bodies of fish and other wildlife after passing through water filtration systems without disintegrating. Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, said his bill, AB888, seeks to drastically restrict all use of the non-biodegradable beads, which can contain various toxins. "AB888 was carefully crafted to avoid any loopholes that would allow for use of potentially harmful substi

  • California oil regulators acknowledge oversight failings

    Updated: Thu, Oct 8, 2015

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Oil and gas regulators in and around Los Angeles routinely failed to carry out much of the oversight required to keep federally protected drinking-water aquifers from oilfield contamination, an internal review by those state regulators concluded Thursday. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's San Francisco office, in an email from spokesman Bill Keener, called the findings "significant and troubling." The EPA will consider placing additional requirements on state oil and gas regulators to ensure California, which is the country's No. 3 oil-producing state, comes into compliance with the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act and other state and federal standards, the EPA said.

  • Governor signs bills in aftermath of Santa Barbara oil spill

    Updated: Thu, Oct 8, 2015

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown signed three bills Thursday aimed at preventing oil spills, minimizing the damage they cause and speeding cleanups in the wake of a pipeline rupture that poured more than 100,000 gallons of crude on the Santa Barbara coast in May. The bills introduced by Santa Barbara County Democrats include requirements that the state fire marshal inspect pipelines annually and that pipeline operators install the best spill-control technology, such as automatic shut-off valves. Those bills address criticisms that arose after a badly corroded section of the Plains All American Pipeline ruptured underground and spilled oil onto Refugio State Beach and into the Pacific Ocean.

  • Energy briefs for Oct. 8, 2015

    Published: Thu, Oct 8, 2015

    Energy briefs for Oct. 8, 2015

  • Walker makes pitch for opening ANWR to Obama administration

    Updated: Thu, Oct 8, 2015

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker has lobbied members of President Barack Obama's administration on opening up parts of an Alaska refuge to oil drilling. Walker met with reporters Thursday after returning from Washington, D.C. Walker told Interior Secretary Sally Jewell his hopes of filling the trans-Alaska pipeline with oil drilled from a small section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He says both Jewell and the president have told him the proposal would be met with a lot of pushback. The governor acknowledges it will be a challenge, but it was important for him to get his plan on the administration's radar. He says he might be able to craft a strategy from the pushback he heard.

  • NY governor: Denying global warming isn't a survival plan

    Updated: Thu, Oct 8, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday joined government leaders worldwide in signing an agreement to help combat global warming and keep the Earth's average temperature from rising dangerously. The Under Two MOU, a memorandum of understanding signed by more than three dozen government leaders, affirmed New York's commitment to helping keep the Earth's average temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius and committed the state to working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions about 40 percent by 2030. Cuomo said he hoped New York would be able to generate 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by then. "Climate change is an issue of society's sustainability. To deny that climate chan

  • Officials: Gas facility explosion leaves 3 workers dead

    Updated: Thu, Oct 8, 2015

    GIBSON, La. (AP) — An explosion at a Louisiana natural gas facility Thursday left three workers dead and two seriously injured, police said. The explosion happened about 11 a.m. at a facility owned by the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of major natural gas supplier Williams Partners, authorities said. The facility is located on a small highway near the oil and gas city of Houma. The workers killed and injured were contractors doing maintenance work when the explosion occurred, Williams Partners said in a statement. The names of the victims and the company or companies they worked for were not released immediately. Williams Partners said its 13 workers at the facility were unharmed.

  • Gubernatorial candidates make pitches to coal group

    Updated: Thu, Oct 8, 2015

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway tried to reinforce his friend-of-coal credentials Thursday, pledging to promote the industry and look for tax incentives to boost production as he distanced himself from a president routinely blamed for coal's downturn. Conway boasted of the multiple lawsuits that he has joined as Kentucky's two-term attorney general, challenging federal environmental regulators. Meanwhile, Conway's Republican opponent, Matt Bevin, said Kentucky should defend its constitutionally protected sovereignty to resist anti-coal federal regulations. "What can be done?" Bevin said.

  • California grooms utility giants to compete against Big Oil

    Updated: Thu, Oct 8, 2015

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California wants more drivers to dump the pump. Under new climate change legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed Wednesday, the most populous state in the nation is encouraging major utilities to compete as an alternative transportation fuel source by installing thousands of charging stations where people live, work and play. The new law, SB350, requires the state to boost renewable electricity use to 50 percent and double the energy efficiency of existing buildings by 2030, although Democratic leaders were forced to drop a key provision that would have pushed the state to cut oil use by half.