Worker in deadly Gulf blast was cleaning equipment

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A worker killed in an offshore explosion was cleaning a piece of equipment during routine maintenance at its oil-and-gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico, the company that runs the platform said Friday.

Houston-based Fieldwood Energy LLC said another worker suffered "visible injury" and two others reported ringing in their ears after the explosion, which was reported just before 3 p.m. Thursday. The company said the three injured workers have been released from the hospital.


Apache to cut spending, boost output in 2015


With the fall in oil prices making it more challenging to profit from drilling, Apache Corp. announced it would be substantially reducing its capital spending in North America to $4 billion next year, although it still anticipated a 4 percent increase in production from the region, Reuters reports.


Tribal head to speed North Dakota pipeline talks

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The new leader of North Dakota's oil-rich Three Affiliated Tribes is pledging to speed negotiations on a proposed pipeline through tribal land that would curb the wasteful burning of natural gas in the state by more than 10 percent.

North Dakota's booming oil production has led to an unmanageable increase in the state's output of natural gas, which is a byproduct of oil production. Oneok Inc., the biggest operator of natural gas pipelines and processing plants in North Dakota, wants to build a 20-mile-long pipeline to capture natural gas from oil wells in Dunn County and move it to an existing pipeline network nearby. But the Three Affiliated Tribes has demanded environmental assurances and cash for permission for it to pass through land it recently acquired.


Gulf platform explosion kills one, injures three

An explosion at a Gulf of Mexico offshore platform on Thursday has killed one and injured three others, the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said. 

The Echo Platform, owned by Houston-based Fieldwood Energy, was not in production at the time of the explosion and there was no pollution released, BSEE spokeswoman Chauntra Rideaux said in a statement issued late Thursday.

The explosion was reported to the bureau just before 3 p.m. The injured people were being treated at an onshore medical facility, Rideaux said.

The platform is located about 12 miles from New Orleans and damage was limited to the explosion area, she said. The bureau was coordinating with the Coast Guard on an investigation.

Fieldwood Energy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company said in a statement published by The Times Picayune in New Orleans that the explosion "was an isolated incident that has been fully contained," and that the facility was not damaged. 


Tax reform prompts interest in Alaska leases: Official

Alaska Journal of Commerce

Alaska received 356 bids on its tracts in this year’s oil and gas lease sale, including 297 for the North Slope, the most since 2006, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reports, noting that Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash attributed the upsurge in interest to the state’s tax reform moves this year.


Opposition fails to stop Repsol search for oil off Canaries

The New York Times

Continuing opposition from local and regional government officials as well as environmentalists including Greenpeace has failed to stop Spanish energy giant Repsol from leading a hunt for oil in the waters off the Canary Islands, The New York Times reports.


Can low oil prices be good for the environment?

NEW YORK (AP) — Deepwater drilling rigs are sitting idle. Fracking plans are being scaled back. Enormous new projects to squeeze oil out of the tar sands of Canada are being shelved.

Maybe low oil prices aren't so bad for the environment after all.


US rig count up 3 to 1,928

HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by three this week to 1,928.

The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,578 rigs were exploring for oil and 350 for gas. A year ago there were 1,762 active rigs.


Analysts: Halliburton's merger attempt could prompt bidding war for Baker Hughes


Oil industry analysts said news that Halliburton is in talks to acquire Baker Hughes could spark other oilfield services companies including Schlumberger, GE and Siemens to make bids and spark a bidding war over the company, FuelFix reports.


JPMorgan to pay $40M to settle Eagle Ford royalty suit

San Antonio Express-News

JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay Eagle Ford mineral rights' holders represented by the South Trust Syndicate Trust about $40 million to settle a suit alleging the bank cut mineral rights deals with its commercial clients, a plaintiff tells the San Antonio Express-News.


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