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Russian exports could be the next biggest threat to global crude oil prices

Houston Chronicle -- The next big threat to oil prices isn’t from OPEC or Bakken shale. It’s Russian samovars, or teapots.

Simple refineries that process crude into fuel oil are scaling back, because when oil prices slump, the government reduces the discount that these refiners — known as teapots to those in the industry — get for exporting fuel. They use less crude, freeing it up for sale abroad, which in turn adds to the global glut.

Russia may increase oil exports by as much as 250,000 barrels a day this year, according to James Henderson, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies who’s followed the country’s energy industry for more than 20 years. That would equate to 5 percent growth in shipments, the most in at least a decade.

“The pain Russia is feeling from low oil prices h  (go to article)

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U.S Crude Production Sets Record in 2014

Houston Chronicle -- U.S. oil companies set a record last year when they pulled 1.2 million more barrels of crude per day from the ground than in 2013, the most dramatic increase in volume since the government began keeping track more than a century ago.

Crude production surged to 8.7 million barrels per day in 2014. That’s 16 percent higher than the year prior, marking the highest growth rate since 1940, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  (go to article)

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Rickers expands electric car charging

GasBuddy Blog -- Over the weekend we reported on Atlanta and Detroit among the nation's leading markets for electric vehicle compatibility... add Indiana to the mix!

Ricker’s, a chain of 50 Indiana convenience stores, has announced a new partnership with Nissan to help bring the auto manufacturer's “No Charge to Charge” program to Indianapolis, providing two years of no-cost, public charging to Indianapolis-area Nissan LEAF buyers.

The Indianapolis-based convenience store operator will install fast-charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) at nine Ricker fueling stations across Central Indiana, the largest city-wide deployment of EV chargers at a chain of fueling stations in the U.S....  (go to article)

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Exclusive: Exxon eyes 850,000 bpd goal for Beaumont refinery expansion - sources

Reuters -- Exxon Mobil Corp is considering scaling up plans for a multibillion-dollar expansion of its Beaumont, Texas, oil refinery to make it one of the largest in the world, according to sources familiar with the plans.

Since at least last summer, Exxon has been quietly contemplating a major project to expand Beaumont in what would be the biggest U.S. refinery investment since the shale revolution, which has transformed the country into a growing producer and handed refiners a profit windfall of cheap crude.
 (go to article)

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Texas oil town boom deflates as drilling slows

National Post -- Sales tax receipts in the thriving oil town of Midland, Texas, fell this month, only the third decline in five years and one of the first signs of how low oil prices are beginning to ripple beyond oil company bottom lines and into the wider economy.

At the heart of the Permian Basin, one of the biggest oil deposits in the country, Midland experienced lightning fast growth over the past five years as energy companies flocked in, bringing jobs, investment and large construction projects.

Now, a 50% drop in oil prices since June to below US$50 a barrel, the biggest decline since the recession, has forced drillers to cut their workforces, slow drilling and halt investments.

The city’s overheated housing market has also shown signs of easing. The 514 unsold houses on the market in Midland Co  (go to article)

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Popular Google search: 'Why are gas prices so low?'

CNNMoney -- The dramatic crash in oil prices is a mystery to many Americans.

If you type "why are" into Google search, the top two auto-complete results are: "gas prices so low" and "oil prices falling." The next most popular forms of this question: "why are gmos bad" and "why are gas prices going up."

The uncertainty -- and rush to Google for answers -- is understandable. Even the smartest people on Wall Street didn't predict the massive supply glut that caused oil to collapse from $107 a barrel in June to just $49 today.
 (go to article)

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Mexico and U.S. agree to co-operate on greenhouse gas cuts — leaving Canada on the sidelines

Canadian Press - OTTAWA -- The Harper government is temporarily standing on the sidelines as international negotiations ramp up for a UN climate conference at the end of this year.

The conference scheduled for Paris in December is supposed to result in a post-2020 global agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions — a successor to the Copenhagen accord signed in 2009.

To help the negotiations, countries that are ready have been asked to submit their emissions targets and climate plans by March 31, a Tuesday deadline Environment Canada says it won’t meet.

The U.S. is expected to announce its post-2020 emissions targets today or Tuesday, but had already broadly laid out its goals in announcing a climate deal with China last November.

In the meantime, the U.S. and Mexico agreed to a joint task force on climate p  (go to article)

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‘There is a burning platform here': Energy service CEO says oilsands operators must cut the ‘fat’

Financial Post -- Canadian oil and natural gas producers need to focus on “standardizing” construction solutions to cut costs in the current commodity price environment, according to the chief executive officer of an energy-service and project management company.

“When oil was at $10, operators were making 10%, and when it rose to $100 they were still making 10%,” said Samir Brikho, chief CEO of AMC Foster Wheeler. “The reason is that supply costs are going up. Once you start to harmonize and modularize, you have a totally different cost.”

Foster Wheeler was the engineering, procurement and construction management contractor for Imperial Oil on the Kearl oilsands project, which saw its costs rise $2B to reach $12.9B for the 110Kbpd project.

Since the last oil price crash of 2009, oilsands producers have  (go to article)

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Nation's Biggest Nuclear Firm Makes a Play for Green Money

ABC-AP -- The biggest player in the beleaguered nuclear power industry wants a place alongside solar, wind and hydroelectric power collecting extra money for producing carbon-free electricity.

Exelon Corp. operator of the largest fleet of U.S. nuclear plants, says it could have to close three of them if Illinois rejects the company's pitch to let it recoup more from consumers since the plants do not produce greenhouse gases.

Chicago-based Exelon essentially wants to change the rules of the state's power market as the nuclear industry competes with historically low prices for natural gas. Dominion Resources Inc. recently closed the Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin for financial reasons, and Entergy Corp. likewise shuttered its Vermont Yankee plant.

Plans for a new wave of U.S. nuclear plants...  (go to article)

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Iran riches coveted by Big Oil after decades of conflict

Fuel Fix -- Outside the boardroom of BP Plc’s headquarters on London’s swanky St. James’s Square, a display case houses the geological data from Masjid-i-Solaiman, Iran’s first oil well.

The discovery of crude in 1908 laid the foundations for the company that would become British Petroleum and opened one of the richest opportunities that Western oil companies have ever enjoyed in the turbulent Middle East. Since then, the industry’s history in Iran is intertwined with CIA-backed coups, colonial exploitation and the anti-Western resentment surrounding the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Now, as Iran and the U.S. enter 11th-hour negotiations to reach a nuclear deal and ease sanctions, the Middle Eastern country is emerging again as a potential prize for Western oil companies such as BP, Royal Dutch Shell Plc  (go to article)

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Big Oil Pressured Scientists Over Fracking Wastewater's Link to Quakes

Yahoo -- In November 2013, Austin Holland, Oklahoma’s state seismologist, got a request that made him nervous. It was from David Boren, president of the University of Oklahoma, which houses the Oklahoma Geological Survey where Holland works. Boren, a former U.S. senator, asked Holland to his office for coffee with Harold Hamm, the billionaire founder of Continental Resources, one of Oklahoma’s largest oil and gas operators. Boren sits on the board of Continental, and Hamm is a big donor to the university, giving $20 million in 2011 for a new diabetes center. Says Holland: “It was just a little bit intimidating.”

Holland had been studying possible links between a rise in seismic activity in Oklahoma and the rapid increase in oil and gas production, the state’s largest industry. During the meeting,  (go to article)

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Geopolitical risk could offset Iran deal's oil impact: Strategist

CNBC -- Traders are worried that Iran will put pressure on crude if it begins selling oil into an already oversupplied market, but rising geopolitical risks could push prices higher, Helima Croft, chief commodities strategist at RBC Capital Markets, said on Monday.  (go to article)

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Oil prices will remain 'choppy': Chevron CEO

CNBC -- Expect oil prices to remain low and "choppy" this year, Chevron CEO John Watson said Friday.

"I believe prices will respond to physical things that are happening in the marketplace and political events all around the world," he said in an interview with "Closing Bell."
 (go to article)

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U.S. oil production growth in 2014 was largest in more than 100 years

EIA -- U.S. crude oil production (including lease condensate) increased during 2014 by 1.2 million barrels per day (bbl/d) to 8.7 million bbl/d, the largest volume increase since recordkeeping began in 1900. On a percentage basis, output in 2014 increased by 16.2%, the highest growth rate since 1940. Most of the increase during 2014 came from tight oil plays in North Dakota, Texas, and New Mexico where hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling were used to produce oil from shale formations.  (go to article)

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A mixed bag at the gas pump, relative quiet

GasBuddy Blog -- It's been a quiet week at the pump for many Americans filling their tanks with the national average declining just 0.2c/gal over the last 168 hours (week).

Yet one thing seems constant in this world aside from death and taxes, and that's gas price fluctuations. Last week, many areas didn't see much fluctuation, but there certainly were some outliers last week. Florida, Ohio and Indiana saw notable jumps at the pump, while Michigan, California and Oregon saw the largest declines.

Overall, the national average paints a quiet picture with prices virtually unchanged. And while three of four number one seeds proceed to the NCAA Final Four- perhaps not a surprise- I'd say there still could be some unexpected surprises at the pump in the weeks ahead....  (go to article)

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Driving without insurance? Police in Michigan can now tell just by running your plate

Mlive -- Police now have an easier way of telling if you are riding dirty on the streets of Michigan.

As of mid-September, police throughout the state can determine if a motor vehicle is properly insured simply by running its license plate.

"When they run a license plate on an in-car computer, it will tell them if the driver of the vehicle has insurance that's valid or not," said Bay County Undersheriff Troy Cunningham. "It doesn't apply to motorcycles or commercial vehicles at this time."

Michigan State Police 1st Lt. David Simon, commander of the Tri-City Post in Bay County's Williams Township, also said the new technology has led to his troopers issuing more tickets with greater ease.

"It is convenient and it's nice for the officers to verify if someone's got insurance or not.  (go to article)

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Atlanta puts roads and bridges on its to-do list

Marketplace -- In next year’s budget, President Barack Obama is asking for nearly $500 billion to fix up the country’s transportation infrastructure. But some cities are starting to spend their own money on roads and bridges, after putting it off during the Great Recession.

Take Atlanta. With crumbling sidewalks and potholed streets, that city needs work. Now it’s actually going to get some. Voters recently approved a quarter of a billion dollar infrastructure bond package.

A couple weeks ago, before the vote, about 40 people who wanted to add their concerns to the list of the city’s infrastructure needs gathered in a community center.

“We never got our final paving,” says Jerry Hicks. He lives in a subdivision that the developer didn’t finish building. “All of the manholes are above the ground.  (go to article)

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Drivers with long commutes pay the toll

Detroit News -- They say you need real drive to succeed in your chosen career, but these days you just need to drive. And according to a new study, that commute is getting longer and longer.

Between 2000 and 2012, the number of jobs within the typical commuting distance of major metropolitan areas dropped by 7 percent, according to a Brookings Institution analysis based on Census Bureau data. Metro Detroit was particularly hard-hit, with a 26.5 percent drop in jobs with decent commutes.

You’d think this has big implications for low-wage workers and people who can’t afford to drive from the city out to the beckoning ex-urbs, but it’s actually suburban residents who are hit the worst. The number of jobs located a typical commute away for city residents dropped by 3 percent, but they declined by 7 percent  (go to article)

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U.S. to unveil highway funding, reform bill

Detroit News -- Washington — The U.S. Transportation Department on Monday will unveil its $478 billion proposal to fund surface transportation repairs over the next six years — less than two months before funding is set to run out again — and call for significant additional auto safety reforms.

The new 361-page bill obtained by The Detroit News on Sunday is a revised version of a multiyear highway bill first introduced last year.

It makes significant additional proposals designed to get unrepaired vehicles off the roads faster — including seeking to require all new car dealers to check for uncompleted recalls when owners take their vehicles in for service.

It would require tire purchases to be registered with the manufacturer — and give the government the power to set new electronics safety standards a  (go to article)

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Ford's big Lincoln Continental is coming back

CNN -- The Lincoln Motor Company, Ford's luxury division, unveiled a big, richly-appointed, luxury car called the Continental in New York City Monday.

This car has a big job: To regain for Lincoln the respect it once had, decades ago, as a luxury car brand.

In recent years, Lincoln has mostly sold upgraded versions of Ford cars with little difference beyond the design and some added features.

The Continental is, officially, a concept vehicle but something very much like it will go on sale next year, according to Ford (F). And the production car will also be called the Lincoln Continental, making it one of only two Lincoln models, along with the Navigator SUV, to have a name instead of letters like MKZ or MKC.

The Continental is about the same length as a Mercedes-Benz S-class or long-wheelbas  (go to article)

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Oil prices drop on weak demand, potential Iran deal

Reuters -- SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Monday as the market focused on whether Iran and six world powers would reach a deal that could add fuel to an already oversupplied market if sanctions against Tehran are lifted.
The two sides tried to break an impasse in nuclear negotiations on Sunday ahead of a deadline to find a preliminary agreement by Tuesday, exploring compromises in a number of areas.

"Any relaxation of Iran oil sanctions could see increased exports adding to swelling global supplies and further pressuring prices," ANZ said on Monday.  (go to article)

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Northeast, Despite Highest Gas Costs, Resists More Pipelines

AP -- There is near universal agreement that the Northeast has to expand its energy supply to rein in the nation's highest costs and that cheap, abundant, relatively clean natural gas could be at least a short-term answer. But heels dig deep when it comes to those thorniest of questions: how and where?

Proposals to build or expand natural gas pipelines are met with an upswell of citizen discontent. At the end of last year, a Massachusetts route selected by Texas-based Kinder Morgan generated so much venom that the company nudged it north into New Hampshire - where the venom is also flowing freely. During this winter's town meetings, a centuries-old staple of local governance in New England, people in the nine towns touched by the route voted to oppose the project.

 (go to article)

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U.S. Oil Glut Story Grossly Exaggerated

Yahoo -- Recently, I have noticed that oil storage & production data (and media hype for that matter) has disconnected from hard data. This has been occurring for many quarters now with the US economy statistics as well and appears to be the new world order where facts can be spun or massaged to any one’s wishes.

It’s called the “age of propaganda” where truth matters little and comes out later in so called revisions. Take the recent spate of economic data points from the Kansas City Fed which said that economic activity not only stalled but was negative at -4 vs expectations of +1. The recent durable goods statistics also show contraction as well.

Yet we see the services PMI at a 6 month high. How can these divergences be possible? Well for one, some statistics are hard while others are estimate  (go to article)

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Oil prices fall as Iran, world powers seek nuclear deal

Yahoo -- Oil prices fell on Monday, extending steep losses from the previous session, as Iran and six world powers tried to reach a deal that could add oil to the market if sanctions against Tehran are lifted.

The two sides tried to break an impasse in nuclear negotiations on Sunday ahead of a deadline to find a preliminary agreement by Tuesday, exploring compromises in a number of areas.

Benchmark Brent crude futures (LCOc1) had dropped to $56.04 by 0320 GMT, down 37 cents after falling 5 percent on Friday as the market began to price in the possibility of a deal with Iran. Front-month U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures (CLc1) were down 76 cents to $48.11 a barrel.  (go to article)

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New Nontoxic Antifreeze

UPI -- POMONA, Calif., March 25 (UPI) -- Every year, some 90,000 pets and wild animals are poisoned by antifreeze. In 2012, 6,000 people were poisoned by the substance, many of them children.
In unsuspecting hands, the sweet taste and smell of the toxic liquid can entice one to imbibe. And that's bad news.

"Ethylene glycol, the predominant constituent of automotive products, such as antifreeze and deicers, is chemically broken down in the body into toxic compounds," Edward V. Clancy, professor emeritus at California State Polytechnic University, in Pomona, explained in a recent press release. "It and its toxic byproducts first affect the central nervous system, then the heart and finally the kidneys. Drinking sufficient amounts can be fatal."  (go to article)

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Once-bullish fund managers start to capitulate on oil prices

Reuters -- Last fall, when the price of oil started dropping, fund manager Craig Hodges figured crude would rebound in 2015 and began buying shares of companies he thought would be unfairly hit, including construction company Primoris Services Corp and Eagle Materials Inc, which produces sand used in fracked wells.

Hodges, who runs the $2.1 billion Hodges Small Cap fund, is now starting to concede that oil prices will stay low for as long as a year or more because of a global glut. Even the air strikes Thursday in Yemen by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies, which prompted a one-day 5 percent boost to the price of oil, presented "a traders move" and doesn't signal a sustained move up, Hodges said. Oil fell 6 percent today to about $48 a barrel.

Instead of looking for a bounce back this year, Hod  (go to article)

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U.S. oil storage crunch might cut crude prices

USA Today -- The U.S. is running out of places to stash its overflowing oil supplies, threatening to further drive down crude prices that rebounded in recent days.

Supply — including oil produced in the U.S. and imported — has been outpacing U.S. refiners' demand by about 1 million barrels a day on average since early January, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Advanced drilling techniques that extract crude from shale rock have made the U.S. the world's No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas liquids. The surge has outpaced a less dramatic rise in U.S. consumption, and exports of gasoline and diesel. Also, many refiners have shut down some operations for a maintenance season likely to run another month or so.

The surplus oil goes into storage, with 8.2 million barrels stocked away la  (go to article)

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The 101-Year-Old Oil Woman Who Found Millions in Her Mailbox

Yahoo -- At 101, Anne Friar Thomas has seen lots of booms go bust in the Texas oil patch.

But the trouble out there in the Eagle Ford shale fields is getting mighty close to home. In fact, it’s reached her mailbox.

Like other big landowners here in DeWitt County, Thomas has profited well from the shale-oil rush. Every month, the royalty checks arrive -- payments for letting the likes of Marathon Oil Corp. and EOG Resources Inc. drill on her spread near the head of the Old Chisholm Trail.

But now, with oil down to $50 a barrel, those checks have shrunk by as much as a third.

Thomas says she still has money, and as her daughter Missi puts it, she doesn’t worry about how much comes in. Over the years, her family has made millions. It’s the shale-patch communities that have come to rely on people l  (go to article)

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Gasoline tanker slams into out-of-gas Prius

Riverside Press Enterprise -- A Toyota Prius hybrid electric car ran out of gas deep in the Mojave Desert and promptly got got rear-ended by a gasoline tanker, say San Bernardino County Fire Department officials.

The accident happened at 6:10 a.m. along Interstate 15 about 10 miles north of Baker.

"The vehicle (was) truck by the fuel tanker truck while trying to change lanes and exit the freeway," Capt. Daniel Nelson said in a written statement.

The impact crushed the back of Prius, whose driver was taken to a Las Vegas hospital for treatment of apparently minor injuries. However, the passenger suffered more serious injuries and was flown by medical evacuation helicopter to a Las Vegas trauma center.

All northbound lanes were closed for about two hours.  (go to article)

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Increase in Fracking Trucks has Drawbacks

Columbus Dispatch -- Cadiz,Ohio — The warning signs and convoys of semi trucks have become part of the landscape in eastern Ohio’s shale country, where a drilling surge has brought more big rigs to rural roads.

The orange placards and the trucks they portend might be the clearest sign yet of the dual role locals say the region’s oil and gas industry has assumed as both economic engine and potential danger for drivers sharing winding two-lane roads with 18-wheelers.

Those trucks haul stone, heavy equipment used to build well pads, drilling rigs and other materials. And tanker trucks are transporting water needed in the hydraulic fracturing process and the fracking wastewater that flows back up from the wells.

The Ohio DOT is spending more on road repairs in eastern Ohio, and the State Highway Patrol is tryin  (go to article)

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Credit Card Skimmer Found at Bay County [FL] Gas Station

mypanhandle.com -- The Bay County Sheriff's Office issued an alert Thursday concerning the possibility of skimmers on local gas pumps.

A skimmer is a device affixed to an automated teller machine (ATM) or gas pump which secretly intercepts and saves credit and debit card information when customers swipe their cards at the devices. The information is later retrieved from the device and used to conduct fraudulent transactions without the cardholder’s knowledge.

Deputies were informed of such device by a business who is a member of F.I.R.S.T., a partnership between the Bay County Sheriff's Office and participating businesses within Bay County that work together to prevent and discourage crime within our community.  (go to article)

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Report: Arctic oil drilling needed now to sustain U.S. energy security

Fuel Fix -- The oil industry has the technology to tap tremendous reserves of crude and gas locked under U.S. Arctic waters and should move swiftly to harness that potential, while working to improve the equipment it uses to drill wells and sop up spills, according to a government advisory committee report released Friday.

The analysis, conducted by the National Petroleum Council at the request of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, makes the case for the United States to aggressively develop Arctic oil and gas resources that can help supply the country with energy long after some onshore fields’ production starts tailing off.

A recent surge in domestic oil production is tied to the extraction of oil from dense rock formations in North Dakota, Texas and other parts of the contiguous United States, but “p  (go to article)

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Senate approves long-delayed bill to boost energy efficiency

Fuel Fix -- The Senate has approved a long-delayed bill to boost energy efficiency that includes incentives to cut energy use in commercial buildings, manufacturing plants and homes.

The bill was approved early Friday by voice vote. The bill now goes to the House.

The Senate bill was co-sponsored by Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. A similar bill was defeated last year after it became enmeshed in a partisan fight over the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The measure exempts some energy-efficient water heaters from pending Energy Department rules and requires federal agencies to develop best practices to increase energy efficiency in federal buildings, among other provisions.

Shaheen and Portman say the bill would create jobs, save consumers money and reduce pol  (go to article)

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Cash-strapped oil firms top Moody’s watch list

Fuel Fix / Houston Chronicle -- HOUSTON – The oil industry won a dubious distinction Friday, topping a major credit rating agency’s watch list of the most financially stressed firms.

It’s a sign more oil companies could default on their debt if crude stays cheap.
 (go to article)

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How oil is preparing for a new world order

CNBC -- A new oil order has arrived and it will be marked by greater uncertainty and generally lower oil prices as the oil industry frantically re-prices as costs decline and gains in efficiency are made, strategists say.

As investors continue to weigh up the fallout of a rout in oil prices since June last year,
 (go to article)

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High oil inventories in Alberta point to lower prices

The Financial Post -- Oil inventories at key Alberta storage hubs of Edmonton and Hardisty breached 10 million barrels in each location last week, according to data from global energy consultancy Genscape, suggesting Canadian oil prices may trend even lower in the near future.  (go to article)

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State of Michigan roads goes from poor to terrible

Detroit Free Press -- This won't surprise you: Our roads are bad.

Rim-bending, frame-twisting, teeth-rattling bad.

And they are only getting worse. Much worse. Declining at a faster rate than just five years ago. According to 2014 data from the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council, only 17% of the state's roads are considered to be in good shape, 45% are in fair condition and 38% were considered to be in poor shape.

The reasons are myriad: a recent spate of historically harsh winters; a load weight limit for heavy trucks that is twice as high as any other state in the nation; the fact that we spend less per mile on road repairs than our neighboring states; the state doesn't always do an adequate job of following up on road construction warranty work, according to a recent state auditor general  (go to article)

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Oil analysts haven’t been this divided in 8 years: What’s an investor to do?

Bloomberg News -- Standard Chartered Plc’s Paul Horsnell forecasts oil will rise to $90 in the fourth quarter. Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Francisco Blanch predicts $58. Six months ago, they were just $1 apart.

That sudden divergence highlights a growing trend: Energy analysts are the most divided in at least 8 years on the direction of Brent, the global benchmark. Forecasters failed to predict the plunge that cut oil prices by more than half after the U.S. shale boom boosted output to a three-decade high. OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, relinquished its traditional role adjusting production to moderate price swings in an effort to maintain market share.

This has left analysts split over how much and how quickly low prices will force U.S. producers to shut, making their jo  (go to article)

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Exxon unit asks for exception to North Dakota gas flare rule

The San Antonio -- A subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp. is asking state regulators to grant an exception to the amount of natural gas companies are permitted to burn off at 140 of its oil wells in Dunn and McKenzie counties.

The state's Oil and Gas Division heard the request from XTO Energy this week in which the company argues it has nowhere to take its gas. This is because OneOK, a gas-processing company, couldn't secure an easement agreement and build a 20-mile pipeline expansion. OneOK said the pipeline would have moved 40 million cubic feet per day to their Garden Creek gas plant in McKenzie County.

The request will now be forwarded to the state Industrial Commission, which earlier this week more clearly defined gas-capture rules, imposing penalties for noncompliance and establishing flexibility to...  (go to article)

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Exports helping Nebraska's ethanol industry to grow

The Independent -- Nebraska’s 2 billion-gallon-a-year ethanol industry is growing in international stature.

Last year Nebraska’s ethanol agribusiness processed 657 million bushels of corn last year. While that corn made more than 2 billion gallons of ethanol, it also produced 18 pounds of distillers grain per bushel of corn.
Distillers grains are a cereal byproduct of the distillation process. The byproduct has established itself not only as an important source of livestock feed, but a growing export product, along with ethanol itself, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

And 2014 was a record export year for distillers grains and ethanol.

According to the RFA, the U.S. ethanol industry produced 14.3 billion gallons in 2014 — a 7.4 percent increase over the previous year.

At the end of  (go to article)

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With Proposal 1, more fuel tax money will go to roads

Detroit Free Press -- Getting more road-repair bang for the fuel tax buck is a central thrust of Proposal 1, which goes to voters May 5.

On a $3 gallon of gas, motorists pay close to 18 cents in state sales tax, which doesn't get spent on roads.

If Proposal 1 passes, sales tax would no longer be applied to fuel sales. It would be replaced with a higher fuel tax, which would get spent predominantly on roads.

Bills that would be triggered into law if the proposal passes would remove the 19-cent-per-gallon tax on regular fuel and the 15-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel fuel and replace both with a single, percentage-based fuel tax that could never drop below 41.7 cents per gallon and would increase with inflation.

Removal of the sales tax means the impact of that hefty rise in the fuel tax will be significantly s  (go to article)

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Duke Energy CEO Loses $600K In Pay Over Coal Ash Pollution

AP -- Duke Energy Corp. CEO Lynn Good saw her pay docked about $600,000 in the aftermath of last year's massive spill of collected coal ash that coated 70 miles of a North Carolina river in sludge containing toxic heavy metals.

A portion of Good's $8.3 million compensation was reduced 35 percent in 2014 compensation, according to a proxy statement released this week ahead of the company's annual shareholder meeting in May. The compensation of four other top executives that is linked to short-term incentives was also reduced 35 percent.

Directors of the country's largest electric company said the executives were docked because the spill will cost Duke Energy $192 million in cleanup, legal fees, and fines to settle a pending criminal case involving Clean Water Act violations.

 (go to article)

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Utah taxpayers will pay millions more in gas taxes

Deseret News -- Gov. Gary Herbert on Friday signed HB362, which raises fuel taxes by $24.9 million this summer and $76 million next year for transportation projects, and SB97, which increases the state property tax by $75 million for education.

Utahns will be paying 5 cents more per gallon at the pump starting July 1.  (go to article)

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Hot Fuel Settlements Cause Division Among Convenience Retailers

Convenience Store News -- KANSAS CITY, Kan. — 7-Eleven Inc. and Sheetz Inc. are among several retailers objecting in Kansas federal court to proposed settlements in "hot fuel" cases.

On Jan. 26, a Kansas federal court gave preliminary approval to settlements with 28 defendants — including BP Products North America Inc., Casey's General Stores Inc., ConocoPhillips Co., Chevron USA Inc., E-Z Mart Stores Inc., ExxonMobil Corp., Flash Market Inc., Shell Oil Products US, Thorntons Inc., Motiva Enterprises LLC, Sinclair Oil Corp. and Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores — regarding a consumer class-action lawsuit concerning how gasoline and diesel fuel are sold at retail gas stations.

The issue behind "hot fuel" refers to when diesel and gasoline are sold warmer than the standard 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  (go to article)

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Why Oil Could Be Facing A 20-Year Bear Market

Forbes -- In the past, the usual “oil crisis” was caused by self-serving news items of an oil shortage, causing soaring prices. Just 2-3 years ago, the fear mongers said that the world had “seen peak oil,” meaning that oil production would be on a long term decline and there would be big shortages. Instead, oil production is now at a high

The current crisis is one of plunging oil prices and a glut as far as the eye can see.

Oil production, after prices have fallen over 60%, is at a new high. As we predicted late last year, oil producers are making up for plummeting income by pumping even more. Rig counts in production are plunging, but these are from the low production wells. The high producers are still pumping away. In fact, the latest rig count even shows that there is little additional reducti  (go to article)

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Tolls would spike traffic on secondary roads, officials fear

The News-Times -- Danbury-area civic and political leaders are all but unanimous in opposition to the idea of reintroducing border tolls in Connecticut, citing among other reasons the inconvenience and expense to commuters.

But some commuters are taking the possibility of tolls in stride, knowing there are many ways of avoiding them if the plan comes to fruition.
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MTA's toll-lane project may be a victim of its own success

LA Times -- But two years later, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority project is on the cusp of becoming a victim of its own success: So many drivers now steer into the Harbor Freeway's northbound toll lanes to escape morning traffic jams that the paid route is slowing down too. Over the course of a year, even as the per-mile toll crept toward the maximum, traffic in the paid lanes increased by almost 20% and speeds began to slow, officials say.  (go to article)

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Former U.S. Energy Official: Texas Needn't Fret Over Climate Rules

The Texas Tribune -- During this legislative session, Texas lawmakers are debating several proposals with major implications for the state’s power grid. So the Tribune asked an expert to weigh in.

Jon Wellinghoff, who served as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) from 2009 to 2013, sat down with the Tribune this week at the Energy Thought Summit in Austin.

Wellinghoff is now an attorney with the firm Stoel Rives. He consults on energy policy internationally and represents a variety of companies, including those dealing in renewable energy, data analytics and energy storage. He talked with the Tribune about what looming federal climate regulations mean for Texas, whether the state should link its grid to others and how to encourage more Texans to incentivize energy conservation.

The f  (go to article)

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Mexico signs second pipeline deal to import Eagle Ford natural gas

San Antonio Business Journal -- Mexico's national oil company PEMEX has signed a deal with U.S.-based investment firms BlackRock and First Reserve to begin the second phase of a pipeline that will bring natural gas from the Eagle Ford shale to cities hundreds of miles south of the border.

PEMEX CEO Emilio Lozoya-Austin signed the deal with representatives from both companies in Mexico City on Thursday.

Under the 25-year deal, BlackRock is investing $4.6 billion and First Reserve is investing $30 million in the Los Ramones II natural gas pipeline, earning them a combined 45 percent control of the ambitious energy project.

The 462-mile pipeline is part of Mexico's historic energy reforms and will run from Los Ramones, Nuevo Leon to the State of Guanajuato where a number of maquiladoras and automobile factories will use  (go to article)

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Mexico Pledges to Cut Emissions 25% in Climate-Change Milestone

Bloomberg -- (Bloomberg) -- Mexico has become the first developing nation to formally promise to cut its global-warming pollution, a potential milestone in efforts to reach a worldwide agreement on tackling climate change.

Mexico expects greenhouse-gas emissions to peak by 2026 and then decline, Environment Minister Juan Jose Guerra Abud said at a news conference in Mexico City Friday. The nation has pledged to curb the growth of pollutants 25 percent from its current trajectory by 2030.

The United Nations is encouraging more than 190 countries to submit by March 31 formal plans detailing how they will curb greenhouse-gas emissions. These documents are a key step leading up to a December meeting in Paris where negotiators expect to complete a global climate-change agreement,  (go to article)

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Suspected Tulsa Pickup Thief Captured After Driving By Victim's House

Oklahoma's Own NewsOn6 -- A man who stole a pickup outside a Tulsa gas station was captured after his victim's wife spotted the stolen vehicle.

Tulsa police took a man into custody following a pursuit Saturday morning in west Tulsa.

The victim told News On 6 he was inside a Fiesta Mart at 1500 North Peoria and came back out to find his pickup stolen. Surveillance video showed which direction the pickup went, and Tulsa police began the search.
 (go to article)

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