• Natural gas demand expected to meet surging production

    By Adam Wilmoth, Energy Editor | Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    Despite relatively low natural gas prices over the past six years, domestic production continues to rise and is expected to surge over the next two decades. While the market has struggled to keep up with current demand, industry analyst Greg Haas said coming market changes will be enough to handle demand well into the future.

  • Governor: Oil, gas rules must protect mineral owners' rights

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    DENVER (AP) — Any attempt to give local governments more control over oil and gas drilling in Colorado must protect the rights of people who own underground mineral rights, Gov. John Hickenlooper said Friday. Some people have owned or leased those rights for decades, long before Colorado's growing cities spread onto land above rich oil and gas deposits, Hickenlooper said in an interview with The Associated Press. "What right does government have to take that person's lease away from them?" he said. "Through no fault of their own, the march of suburbanization, suddenly their lease is worth less than it was." Surface owners' property rights should also be protected, Hickenlooper said, adding that energy companies are re

  • Stocks slip after weaker growth, end best month since 2011

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    February proved to be a strong month for U.S. stocks, even though it ended in downbeat fashion. Major stock indexes closed lower on Friday, capping a week of subdued trading that still delivered a couple of new highs for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index. It also brought the Nasdaq composite within striking distance of its March 2000 high. The Nasdaq notched the biggest monthly gain at 7.1 percent. But the S&P 500's 5.5 percent performance marked its best monthly increase since October 2011, and a turnaround from its 3.1 percent slide in January. The Dow rose 5.6 percent for the month. Trading was listless for much of Friday as investors balanced encouraging reports on housing and consumer

  • J.C. Penney and Gap are big market movers

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Friday on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market: NYSE J.C. Penney Co., down 62 cents to $8.50 The department store operator reported a surprise fourth-quarter loss amid increasing expenses and a disappointing sales outlook. Weight Watchers International Inc., down $6.23 to $11.33 The weight-loss program operator issued an outlook for this year's profits that fell far below Wall Street's expectations. Infoblox Inc., up $2.02 to $23.25 The network automation company reported a quarterly loss, but its results adjusted for one-time gains and costs beat Wall Street expectations. Tetra Technologies Inc., up 99 c

  • Vermont House endorses renewable energy package

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont House has advanced a wide-ranging bill that pushes utilities beyond electricity to help customers save on heat and could resolve criticism that the current state program to promote renewable energy double counts its results. Supporters say the bill would move Vermont from the back of the pack — the five other New England states already have the renewable energy requirements the bills calls for — to the front, by adding language calling for utilities to help customers cut consumption of home heating oil and other carbon-emitting fuels.

  • US rig count decreases 43 to 1,267

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. fell by 43 this week to 1,267 amid depressed oil prices. The Houston-based company said Friday in its weekly report that 86 rigs were exploring for oil and 280 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago 1,769 rigs were active. Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, North Dakota's count fell by 11, Oklahoma lost nine, Louisiana seven, Texas six, New Mexico four, Colorado three and Wyoming two. West Virginia, Ohio and Kansas dropped one each. Alaska increased by five. Arkansas, California, Pennsylvania and Utah were all unchanged. The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 i

  • Hundreds of illicit oil wastewater pits found in Kern County

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Inspections by water officials have found numerous oil-industry wastewater pits operating without permits across Central California. Oil producers have been dumping chemical-laden wastewater into as many as 300 unlined, shallow troughs in Kern County, according to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. More than one-third of the region's active disposal pits are operating without permission, officials said. The pits are a common sight on the west side of Bakersfield's oil patch. In some cases, waste facilities contain 40 or more pits, arranged in neat rows. Kern County, which is heavily agricultural, accounts for at least 80 percent of California's oil production.

  • W.Va. lawmakers clears bill touted by state's coal industry

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia lawmakers have approved a proposal lauded by the struggling coal industry and criticized as dangerous for worker safety by the miners' union. House delegates voted 73-25 Friday to approve the bill changing coal mine safety and environmental standards. Senators cleared a slightly different version earlier this month. Bill proponents said the industry needs all the help it can get. Diminishing coal seams, competition from other states and natural gas, federal regulations and lousy markets are hurting Central Appalachian coal. Opponents say it's wrong to reduce protections in a state defined by deadly mining accidents. Environmental groups warned the legislation could weaken w

  • Cash-strapped Ukraine struggles to keep Russia gas supplies

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    MOSCOW (AP) — Cash-strapped Ukraine sought to buy time in its effort to ensure continued gas supplies from Russia, making a $15 million payment Friday to Moscow as it waits for international rescue loans to arrive. But Moscow says the sum will cover only an additional day, leaving a potential gas cutoff looming Tuesday. That increases the pressure on Ukraine to strike a deal at a meeting Monday with Russian officials in Brussels — a showdown that comes amid rising fears in Europe that energy supplies could be threatened by a shutdown to Ukraine. With Ukraine's economy on the brink of collapse and money from a 15.5 billion-euro ($17.

  • Southern Co. unit suing manager from Kemper power plant

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Southern Co. is suing a key employee who worked on the troubled Kemper County power plant, asking a judge to order him to not talk about the project. Southern Company Services, an arm of Atlanta-based Southern, will be in court Friday against Brett Wingo, who was a project manager at the $6.2 billion power plant being built by Mississippi Power Co., another Southern unit. The utility sued Wingo in Alabama state court on Feb. 19, alleging Wingo had improperly reneged on an initial agreement to terminate his employment. Wingo said that while his lawyer negotiated certain terms by Dec. 31, he rejected them in January when he saw them fully laid out in writing for the first time. Then he fired his lawyer,

  • House speaker says surplus douses Dayton gas-tax proposal

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota House Republicans are using news of a $1.87 billion budget surplus to douse Gov. Mark Dayton's call for increased gasoline taxes for road work. House Speaker Kurt Daudt reacted Friday to the forecast by saying his caucus would push for tax cuts and to apply some of the money to transportation projects. Daudt says the surplus shows Minnesota government is collecting too much and should lower rates. Dayton wants lawmakers to approve a 10-year transportation funding plan that includes a new 6.5 percent wholesale tax on fuel. Republicans have been resistant to that approach. Daudt says the extra money in the general treasury is partly due to low gas prices, which freed up discretionary inc

  • School of Mines raises $1.4M toward oil, gas industry effort

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology has raised $1.4 million for an effort to help meet the demand for workers in the region's oil and gas industry. The public university in Rapid City is now launching a search for a director for its Energy Resources Initiative, an effort announced last summer that includes the addition of a minor degree in petroleum systems. The first students in that program enrolled last fall, school President Heather Wilson said.

  • State nears decision on proposed eastern Illinois coal mine

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    ALLERTON, Ill. (AP) — The state Department of Natural Resources says it is nearing a decision on a mining permit sought by an Indiana company that wants to build a new coal mine in eastern Illinois. Sunrise Coal of Carlisle, Indiana is seeking DNR approval for its Bulldog Mine near the village of Allerton in Champaign and Vermilion counties. The company submitted its application in June 2012. The company says the mine would generate 300 jobs paying an average of $76,000 annually. Environmental groups opposed to the project cite potential threats to water quality and the region's fertile farmland. The DNR had expected to announce its decision on Friday. An agency spokesman says an announcement is now likely by the end

  • Oil train wrecks increase pressure for tougher safety rules

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Fiery wrecks of trains hauling crude oil have intensified pressure on the Obama administration to approve tougher standards for railroads and tank cars despite industry complaints that it could cost billions and slow freight deliveries. On Feb. 5, the Transportation Department sent the White House draft rules that would require oil trains to use stronger tank cars and make other safety improvements. Nine days later a 100-car train hauling crude oil and petroleum distillates derailed and caught fire in a remote part of Ontario, Canada. Less than 48 hours later, a 109-car oil train derailed and caught fire in West Virginia, leaking oil into a Kanawha River tributary and burning a house to its foundation.

  • Thousands still without electricity after NC storm

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — More than 35,000 customers are still without electric service after a winter storm that affected virtually all of North Carolina. Duke Energy reports the biggest problem Friday is still in Wake County, where more than 11,000 customers are without service. There are also problems in Durham County and in Mitchell County on the Tennessee state line. A winter weather advisory is in effect for the mountains and central parts of the state. Forecasters say there is a risk of black ice on the roads as snow and ice froze again in the early morning cold Friday. Freezing fog is also a possibility. The National Weather Service reported light snow around Boone. Freezing fog was reported in Greensboro, Greenvil

  • Japan data signal slow recovery despite lower energy costs

    Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    TOKYO (AP) — Japanese factories churned out more machinery and electronic devices in January as export shipments rose, but lower energy costs due to cheaper crude oil failed to provide a boost to consumer spending. Weak retail sales and a cooling of already slow inflation underscored the fragility of the recovery of the world's third-largest economy. It also raised the potential for further monetary stimulus from the central bank. Core inflation, excluding volatile food prices, was 2.2 percent, compared with 2.5 percent the month before and the lowest in 10 months. Excluding energy costs and food, the consumer price index rose 2.1 percent, level with the previous two months.

  • Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. faces big year before Oklahoma regulators

    By Paul Monies, Business Writer | Updated: Thu, Feb 26, 2015

    Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. customers could see big changes in their bills if Oklahoma regulators grant the utility’s request to recover $1.1 billion in costs for environmental compliance and to replace an aging natural gas plant in western Oklahoma City. The utility also expects to file a rate case by this summer to recover additional costs.

  • Growing wind industry in Oklahoma needs greater transparency, community involvement, panel says

    By Paul Monies, Business Writer | Published: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    The University of Tulsa College of Law held a roundtable on wind energy regulation, with presentations about siting, tax incentives and the effects on nearby landowners and wildlife. The panel comes as Oklahoma lawmakers consider more than a dozen bills targeting the wind industry.

  • Oil and gas prices for Feb. 27

    Published: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    OIL AND GAS PRICES Oklahoma crude oil prices as of 5 p.m. Thursday: Oklahoma Sweet: Sunoco Inc. — $44.75 Oklahoma Sour: Sunoco Inc. — $32.75 Oklahoma oil and gas drilling activity posted Feb. 12: COMPLETION Jackson: Fulcrum Exploration LLC; Canam No. 9 Well; NW1/4 NW1/4 SE1/4 SE1/4 of 30-01N-19W; 13 barrels oil per day; TD 2,600. Woods: Samson Resources Co.; Shawna No. 3-34H Well; SW1/4 SE1/4 SE1/4 SE1/4 (SL) of 34-24N-13W; 352 barrels oil per day 361,000 cu-ft gas per day; TD 11,655. INTENT TO DRILL Cleveland: United Production Co. LLC; Berry Trust No. 1-1 Well; NE1/4 SW1/4 SW1/4 SE1/4 of 01-07N-02W; TD 7,900. Creek: Texas Energy Mutual LLC; Thunder Head No.

  • Oklahoma City property could dodge a hard slam from oil price slide

    BY RICHARD MIZE, Real Estate Editor | Updated: Thu, Feb 26, 2015

    Office and industrial landlords expect reduced leasing activity in Oklahoma City but no drastic kick back of space onto the markets for leasable space, according to brokers at an annual commercial realty conference.