Freeport-McMoRan, Chevron top Gulf lease bids, BP high bids on 24 tracts

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — High bids from Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas LLC made up more than one-third of the $850.8 million total at Wednesday's federal oil lease sale for the central Gulf of Mexico. It also was the first sale since the government said BP PLC can again secure federal contracts; the company made $41.6 million in high bids.

Freeport-McMoRan's 16 high bids totaled $321.4 million, including the day's biggest — $68.8 million — and six of the 10 highest, according to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.


LA suburb of Carson halts oil drilling to study safety

Los Angeles Times

Faced with residents' opposition to fracking and to Occidental Petroleum's plans to drill more than 200 wells in the area, the Carson City Council has voted to put a hold on everything for 45 days while it studies safety and the extent of its own authority, the Los Angeles Times reports.


Tax cuts for oil drilling pass Michigan Senate

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A measure aimed at encouraging a type of oil drilling using carbon dioxide cleared the Michigan Senate Wednesday as nearly all Republicans backed a process that has divided environmental groups.

The tax cut proposal senators approved 25-13 is the last in a four-bill package that lowers the severance tax for drilling projects involving carbon dioxide. The legislation would allow oil and gas companies to construct carbon dioxide pipelines and would expand their authority to build them on private property.


Energy companies arraigned on bid-crime charges in Michigan

CHEBOYGAN, Mich. (AP) — Representatives of two energy companies that are accused of colluding to keep bids low on oil and gas leases have appeared in a northern Michigan court to face criminal charges.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced March 5 that he filed antitrust charges against Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Encana Corp.


BP: 24 top bids for $41.6M in Gulf oil lease sale

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas's high bids made up 37 percent of the $850.8 million total at Wednesday's federal oil lease sale for the central Gulf of Mexico.

Freeport-McMoRan's high bids totaled $321.4 million, including the day's biggest: $68.8 million.

The sale was the first since the government said BP can again get federal contracts. BP's high bids on 24 tracts totaled $41.6 million.


Illinois county's voters reject anti-fracking measure

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Voters in a struggling southern Illinois county have rejected a ballot referendum meant to pressure the county's governing board to restrict a debated oil drilling practice, leaving open the question of whether the measure failed because of confusion or the prevailing need for jobs.

With nearly half of the county's registered voters casting ballots during spring primaries traditionally marked by low turnout, the measure involving hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, failed Tuesday by a 600-vote margin, Johnson County Clerk Robin Harper-Whitehead said.


Drillers face challenge to keep oil flowing from Bakken shale


Drillers like Continental Resources Inc. are having to become more efficient to keep output flowing from the Bakken Shale, resorting to techniques like downspacing, E&E reports.


Jewell to announce Gulf lease awards, 42 companies bidding


The Interior Department Wednesday announces the high bidders for the latest batch of offshore drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico, from bids by 42 oil and gas companies, including BP, FuelFix reports.


Secretary Jewell announces results of Gulf of Mexico lease sale

Washington, March 19, 2014, 12:00 pm

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell holds news teleconference to announce results of Gulf of Mexico offshore drilling lease sale.


Palestinians seek to drill for oil in West Bank

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday announced plans to explore for oil in the West Bank, throwing a new element of uncertainty and confusion into troubled U.S.-backed peace efforts.

The Palestinians proclaimed the project, close to a small oil field in Israel in which an Israel firm is drilling, a key step toward their dream of developing the local economy and gaining independence in the West Bank. But Israel, which wields overall control of the area, gave no indication it has agreed to the plan.


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