• Committee approves bill dividing BP settlement

    Updated: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama would use settlement money from the 2010 BP oil spill to pay off state debts and pay for road projects in coastal counties, under a last-minute compromise approved Wednesday by a budget committee. The proposal could also stave off cuts in Medicaid services by closing $55 million of a projected $85 million gap in next year's Medicaid budget. The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee approved the legislation, which would let the state get money up front — instead of yearly installments — by selling bonds secured by the revenue stream. Much of the money, nearly $450 million, would pay back money borrowed during past budget shortfalls. An estimated $191 million would go for road proje

  • LePage vetoes Maine solar bill as backers push for override

    Updated: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed a bill that sought to modernize the state's policies on solar power. The bill would change how solar customers are paid for their surplus power. Utilities would pay rates set by regulators instead of paying retail price. The Republican governor has been skeptical of the bill but said earlier this week that he was working with Democrats on a potential bid to save it. He released a veto message on Wednesday that says the legislation would increase energy costs for Maine businesses and households that can't afford solar panels. Supporters of the bill say they will push for an override of the governor's veto.

  • Dems block spending bill in dispute over Iran nuclear deal

    Updated: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats on Wednesday blocked the Senate's first spending bill of the year in a last-minute fight over a Republican effort to undercut the Iran nuclear deal and scuttle U.S. plans to buy Iranian "heavy water." Still seething over last year's international pact, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., offered an amendment to the energy and water bill that would thwart the Obama administration if it tries to buy more heavy water from Iran. The administration completed an $8.6 million deal to buy 32 metric tons of heavy water from Iran last Friday. The sale will help Iran meet the terms of last year's landmark deal in which Iran agreed to curb its atomic program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

  • Hurdles exist using CO2 to boost oil output in North Dakota.

    Updated: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Significant barriers exist in using carbon dioxide to enhance oil recovery in North Dakota but the "long-term prize" could be billions of extra barrels of oil, a consultant told lawmakers Wednesday. Curtis Smith, a geologist with Houston-based IHS Inc., told the North Dakota Legislature's interim Taxation Committee that the technology to pump CO2 underground to bring more oil to the surface in North Dakota is presently unproven and expensive. There also may not be enough CO2 available in the state to be used for all oil wells, he said. The price of oil also would have to be more than $80 a barrel — about twice what North Dakota sweet crude was fetching Wednesday — "for this to work," he said.

  • Anchorage police investigate 3 east-side robberies in 3 days

    Updated: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police are investigating three robberies in three days of small businesses on the city's northeast side, including two at the same gas station and convenience store. Authorities have not yet determined if all three incidents are connected, police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said. The first and third robberies took place at a Holiday gas station near Mountain View Lions Club Park. In the latest incident early Wednesday, a man entered a convenience store, pulled out a handgun and demanded money from a cashier. He then fled on foot with cash. The suspect was described as a 6-foot, 2-inch black man. On Tuesday evening, a suspect walked behind the counter of a Subway restaurant less

  • USGS records 4.1 magnitude earthquake in central Oklahoma

    Updated: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    LUTHER, Okla. (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded at 4.1 magnitude earthquake in the Oklahoma City area. The quake struck at 10:44 a.m. Wednesday near Luther, about 30 miles north of Oklahoma City. No injuries or damage have been reported, but the USGS website shows the earthquake was felt 135 miles away in Wichita, Kansas. The USGS also recorded a 2.8 magnitude quake at 6:31 a.m. near Harrah, about 25 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. The number of magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes in Oklahoma has risen from a few dozen in 2012 to more than 900 last year. Scientists have linked the increase to underground disposal of wastewater from oil-and-gas production.

  • Apple concerns, Fed meeting keep lid on global stocks

    Updated: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    LONDON (AP) — Global stock markets were trading in narrow ranges Wednesday as investors awaited the outcome of policy meetings by the U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan. Disappointing earnings results from Apple have also kept a lid on stock prices around the world. KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.1 percent at 6,290 while Germany's DAX advanced 0.4 percent to 10,298. The CAC-40 in France was 0.3 percent higher at 4,545. Wall Street was poised for a lower opening, with the Dow and S&P futures both down 0.3 percent. CENTRAL BANKS: The Fed will later announce its latest policy verdict. Though no interest rate increase is anticipated, investors will be interested to see if there's any indication that b

  • Hess 1st-quarter loss widens, but tops Wall Street's view

    Updated: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    NEW YORK (AP) — Hess Corp.'s first-quarter loss widened, as the oil and gas producer dealt with lower realized selling prices and a decline in production. Still, its performance beat analysts' estimates. For the three months ended March 31, Hess lost $509 million, or $1.72 per share. A year earlier the New York-based company lost $389 million, or $1.37 per share. The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for a loss of $1.81 per share. Revenue declined to $993 million from $1.55 billion.

  • Thailand is used to hot Aprils, but not this hot!

    Updated: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    BANGKOK (AP) — Animals at Bangkok's zoo are being fed special frozen fruit pops. People are flocking to shopping malls just to soak up the air-conditioning. Authorities are telling people to stay out of the blazing sun to avoid heat stroke. April in Thailand is typically hot and sweaty, but this year's scorching weather has set a record for the longest heat wave in at least 65 years. The average peak temperature each day this month has been above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), with the mercury spiking one day to 44.3 degrees C (111.7 F) — just short of the all-time record.

  • Statoil swings to Q1 profit partly offset by cost cuts

    Updated: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil ASA has swung to a profit of $611 million in the first quarter as reduced costs helped offset low crude prices. The figure reported Wednesday compares with a loss of $4.57 billion in the same period last year, when Norway's biggest oil producer had large write-downs. Revenue at the partly government-owned company dropped 34 percent to $10.1 billion. CEO Eldar Saetre said the industry "is facing challenges," adding Statoil was "radically improving our project break-evens and we are on track to reset costs." The company has been stepping up its cost-cutting program and reining in spending in recent months. Statoil's average production in the quarter

  • Oil prices lower profit at France's Total despite cost cuts

    Updated: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    PARIS (AP) — Lagging oil prices pushed first quarter profits down 40 percent at France's Total SA, though cuts in costs and investments cushioned the blow. The energy company on Wednesday announced net income of $1.6 billion in the quarter, down from $2.66 billion in the same period last year. Sales fell to $32.8 billion from $42.3 billion in the first quarter of 2015. Total sold off assets in the North Sea and announced a sale of its stake in Russia's Kharyaga field during the quarter as part of overall plans to reduce activities in Europe and Russia. The profit drop echoes the pattern at oil companies worldwide over the past year and a half. Prices have recovered slightly since January to the $45 range but remain mu

  • Biofuel manufacturing plant catches fire in southern India

    Updated: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    HYDERABAD, India (AP) — A biofuel manufacturing plant caught fire in southern India, triggering explosions in biodiesel tanks and forcing around 150 workers to flee the facility, officials said Wednesday. As flames rose and a giant column of black smoke filled the air, dozens of navy firefighters joined civil authorities to try to douse the fire, which started Tuesday night, said Rajesh Shetty, an Indian navy officer. Shetty said the fire was under control, but that it would take several hours for it to be extinguished. Yuva Raj, a local administrator, said six tanks of biodiesel fuel that caught fire have burned out, but that six others were still burning at the Biomax Fuels Ltd. plant near Vishakhapatnam, a port cit

  • Oklahoma Corporation Commission to review OG&E coal scrubber plan 3rd time

    By Paul Monies Business Writer pmonies@oklahoman.com | Published: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    The Oklahoma Corporation Commission will deliberate at 1:30 p.m. Thursday on Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co.'s third try to get approval for a $500 million coal scrubber plan.

  • Profits keep shrinking for Oklahoma-based Alliance

    By Adam Wilmoth Energy Editor awilmoth@oklahoman.com | Published: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    Oklahoma-based Alliance Resource Partners LP recorded lower profits as the demand for coal continued to dwindle.


    Published: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    OIL AND GAS PRICES Oklahoma crude oil prices as of 5 p.m. Tuesday: Oklahoma Sweet: Sunoco Inc. — $40.75 Oklahoma Sour: Sunoco Inc. — $28.75 Oklahoma oil and gas drilling activity posted April 14: COMPLETION Dewey: Reeder Energy Operating LLC; Minton No. 1-20 Well; C W1/2 NW1/4 NE1/4 of 20-16N-14W; 165 barrels oil per day, 300,000 cu-ft gas per day; TD 10,800. Major: SandRidge Exploration & Production LLC; Case Trust 2215 No. 3-35 Well; NW1/4 NE1/4 NW1/4 NW1/4 (SL) of 35-22N-15W; 26 barrels oil per day, 41,000 cu-ft gas per day; TD 12,239. Woodward: Tapstone Energy LLC; White 8-20-19 No. 1H Well; SE1/4 SW1/4 SW1/4 SE1/4 (SL) of 08-20N-19W; 2,240,000 cu-ft gas per day, 40

  • Markets Right Now: Asian shares mixed as oil rallies

    Updated: Tue, Apr 26, 2016

    NEW YORK (AP) — All times local. 12:30 a.m. Asian stocks are mixed after an overnight surge in oil prices raised questions about the outlook for the energy sector. Investors also are watching for the outcome of policy meetings by the U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.4 percent to 17,276.52. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.2 percent to 21,356.43. The Shanghai Composite index was nearly flat at 2,965.61. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2 percent to 5,295.80. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 44 cents to $44.48 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose $1.40, or 3.3 percent, to $44.04 a barrel on Tuesday.

  • Asian stocks mixed on oil price rally, central banks watch

    Updated: Tue, Apr 26, 2016

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday after an overnight surge in oil prices raised questions about the outlook for the energy sector. Investors are watching for the outcome of policy meetings by the U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.4 percent to 17,276.52. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.2 percent to 21,356.43. The Shanghai Composite index was nearly flat at 2,965.61. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2 percent to 5,295.80. South Korea's KOSPI edged 0.2 percent lower to 2,015.28. Southeast Asian markets were mixed. WALL STREET: Stocks finished mostly higher Tuesday as energy companies climbed in tandem with the price of oil, but technology companie

  • NY conservation officials say waste oil dumped in Hudson

    Updated: Tue, Apr 26, 2016

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York conservation officials say a ship dumped about 20 gallons of waste oil in the Hudson River on Earth Day. The Department of Environmental Conservation says it was called Friday about an oil sheen in the water around the Marshall Islands-based South Wind, docked at Grimmel Industries in the Port of Rensselaer. Investigators say the ship's captain described a buildup of pressure from the engine's waste oil tanks, which backed up through the vent pipes and caused oil to spill onto the deck. They say the crew collected oil and poured at least 20 gallons into its drain ports, which discharged into the river. The captain and South Wind Shipping Corp. were cited for violations.

  • Trump wins across demographic groups in Pennsylvania

    Updated: Tue, Apr 26, 2016

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Donald Trump dominated the Republican presidential primary in Pennsylvania across demographic groups as Ted Cruz and John Kasich split support among the minority of GOP voters who said they preferred a political insider. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton won despite Bernie Sanders' strong support among voters under 30, results from an exit poll conducted for The Associated Press and television networks showed. Trump had the support of the majority of men and women, voters with incomes over $100,000 and under $50,000 and Republicans in cities, suburbs and rural areas. He also won among voters in every age category and both moderates and conservatives.

  • Report: Indiana's solar power policies among nation's worst

    Updated: Tue, Apr 26, 2016

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A new report by a conservation group says Indiana has one of the nation's worst regulatory atmospheres for fostering the development of the rooftop solar power industry. Tuesday's report from the Center for Biological Diversity ranks Indiana among 10 states, including Michigan and Wisconsin, which essentially discourage solar-rooftop development. Indiana and the nine other states received an "F'' in the nonprofit group's assessment of policies and regulations that could help boost their solar-rooftop industries. Report author Greer Ryan says those 10 states' weak or nonexistent policies mean their distributed solar markets "have never been given a chance to shine.