GILLSBURG, Miss. (AP) — Residents living above an oil-rich shale formation that stretches across southwest Mississippi and Louisiana have been waiting on a boom for years. A steady trickle of drilling is already boosting the rural region's economy, and spending by two oil companies could make 2014 the year that many other locals finally cash in on the oil far beneath their feet.
Already, Max Lawson has spent hours watching the round-the-clock work of shoving pipe into the ground in his back pasture. The process began two years ago when Encana Corp. built a big gravel pad, but didn't take off until late last year when a convoy of 200 trucks carted in a drilling rig and other equipment to bore into the earth looking for oil.
"They call it the Gillsburg Christmas tree," he said while standing near the brightly lit rig. "It looks like a little city over here at night."
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's prime minister says the cash-strapped country could earn up to 150 billion euros ($206 billion) in three decades from offshore oil and gas deposits.
Antonis Samaras said Wednesday the rough estimate, which is worth nearly half of Greece's 320 billion-euro debt mountain, was "neither optimistic nor pessimistic," and could increase depending on further exploration results.
He said surveys have provided "very strong indications of significant" reserves off Greece's western coast, and work is ongoing in waters off the island of Crete in the south.
The shale drilling fad will recede and producers will return their focus to familiar offshore fields, predicts Michelle Michot Foss at the University of Texas' Bureau of Economic Geology, FuelFix reports.
The Interior Department Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is expected to finalize as soon as Thursday a programmatic environmental impact statement for new offshore Atlantic Ocean oil and gas surveys, according to industry sources.
Completion of the statement, begun more than three years ago, could set in motion reviews of applications by companies to conduct the first Atlantic geologic and geophysical surveys since 1988. The prospect of those surveys has raised hopes by industry and states that new areas will be opened to leasing after 2017.
In the second major startup in U.S. waters this year, BP announced it has begun pumping oil from a new well in the Gulf of Mexico, at the Na Kika platform 140 miles southeast of New Orleans, FuelFix reports.
North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple says flaring is continuing, as efforts to find other uses for the gas generated as a byproduct of the drilling process are just barely keeping up with the shale boom, FuelFix reports.
By pushing for international agreement on a climate accord – which would "name and shame" violators rather than prosecute them – President Obama hopes to come up with a global deal on the issue that would avoid him having to present a legally binding treaty for Senate ratification, The New York Times reports.
$1.4 million will settle federal claims stemming from a crude oil spill from a pipeline operated by an Exxon Mobil subsidiary in Louisiana back in 2012, an amount the company has agreed to pay, The Hill reports.
A greater-than-expected decline in crude stockpiles reported by the Energy Information Administration Wednesday helped push oil prices up. U.S. benchmark crude gained 15 cents to $94.01 a barrel after settling 51 cents higher on the Nymex Tuesday, while in London Brent crude for October delivery rose 21 cents to $102.71, Reuters reports.
Texas lawmakers examined the impact of the oil boom in a hearing Tuesday, where the Texas Oil & Gas Association said it has brought the state $48 billion in wage payments and $11 billion in royalties a year, the Houston Chronicle reports.
High returns from fossil fuel investments make it difficult for the divestment movement to attract support, although dumping coal stocks may be a more attractive proposition than turning away from oil and gas companies, says a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, according to National Journal.
In a change of plans, Duke Energy said at a Florida Public Service Commission hearing Tuesday it would buy an existing natural gas-fired plant from Calpine Finance Construction Co. instead of building one of its own, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
The Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, must pay the husband of a suicide victim in the region $470,000, under a ruling from a Japanese court, The Washington Post reports.
Although leaders in Moscow and Kiev spoke of “positive” results from Tuesday’s talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko, there appeared to be no letup in fighting Wednesday, Bloomberg reports.