NEW CASTLE, Colo. (AP) — Four in 10 new oil and gas wells near national forests and fragile watersheds or otherwise identified as higher pollution risks escape federal inspection, unchecked by an agency struggling to keep pace with America's drilling boom, according to an Associated Press review that shows wide state-by-state disparities in safety checks.
Roughly half or more of wells on federal and Indian lands weren't checked in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, despite potential harm that has led to efforts in some communities to ban new drilling.
In New Castle, a tiny Colorado River valley community, homeowners expressed chagrin at the large number of uninspected wells, many on federal land, that dot the steep hillsides and rocky landscape. Like elsewhere in the West, water is a precious commodity in this Colorado town, and some residents worry about the potential health hazards of any leaks from wells and drilling.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating Wednesday’s crash of a helicopter approaching an oil platform south of Houma, La., in which Westwind Helicopters said two men were killed, the Houston Chronicle reports.
A report from California's government says the state's agencies are ill-prepared to oversee inspections and respond to emergencies related to a current surge in oil shipments by rail, Bloomberg reports.
Several railroads being required to turn over details of their oil train shipments are asking states to keep the information secret, but The Associated Press reports that six have declined: Wisconsin, Montana, Illinois, North Dakota, Idaho and Washington.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A rolling classroom on rails, complete with four tanker cars and a flatbed rigged with a variety of valves and fittings, made a whistle stop Thursday at the Port of Albany as part of a multi-state tour providing enhanced safety training to first responders in light of increased shipments of North Dakota crude oil.
The railroad is conducting a three-day training program at Albany's Hudson River port before taking its Safety Train to other cities along a route through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The key last-ditch safety device that failed to prevent the 2010 BP oil spill remains a potentially catastrophic problem today for some offshore drilling, according to a federal safety board investigation.
The report issued Thursday by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board details the multiple failures and improper testing of the blowout preventer and blames bad management and operations for the breakdown. They found faulty wiring, a dead battery and a bent pipe in the hulking device.
"The problems with this blowout preventer were worse than we understood," safety board managing director Daniel Horowitz said in an interview. "And there are still hazards out there that need to be improved if we are to prevent this from happening again."
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal investigative board concludes that the last-ditch safety device that didn't stop the 2010 BP oil spill had multiple failures, wasn't tested properly and still poses a risk for many rigs drilling today.
The report issued Thursday by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board zeroes in on what went wrong with the blowout preventer and blames bad management and operations. And that, they said, led to the dumping of 172 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Investigators have long known that the device failed. But safety board managing director Daniel Horowitz says the problems were worse than officials had figured and are potentially still a problem for some active rigs now.
The massive blowout preventers use multiple mechanisms to choke off the oil flow.
GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — The pilot guiding a freighter into the foggy Houston Ship Channel when it crashed into an oil-filled barge earlier this year says he did not see the barge until it was too late to avoid a collision.
The tugboat captain said earlier Tuesday at a federal hearing investigating the accident that the larger vessel increased its speed and she couldn't maneuver quickly to avoid the crash.
The pilot says he needed the speed to navigate strong currents.
There are problems with industry reports claiming that existing safety standards are enough to regulate Bakken crude being shipped by rail, officials and lawmakers, including Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Monday, Reuters reports.
TransCanada may have taken issue with an AP report that linked new mandates to welding problems on the southern leg of its Keystone pipeline, but the company is promising to implement a number of additional measures in response to a third party engineering analysis of pipeline safety risks, E&E reports.
Sluggish demand, higher North American production, an increase in gasoline inventories and a stronger dollar are pushing oil prices down, so far more than 4 percent lower on the week. U.S. benchmark crude for September delivery dropped 64 cents to $97.53 in electronic trading on the Nymex, while Brent crude was 18 cents lower in London, to $105.84, Bloomberg reports.
The U.S. response to improving its nuclear power industry in the wake of the disaster at Fukushima Dai-ichi three years ago has so far cost around $3 billion, with the most important objective to guarantee that reactors and spent fuel would stay cool even in extreme conditions, an official told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Thursday, Platts reports.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s water office will have no official leader, now that acting Assistant Administrator Nancy Stoner is departing and nominee Ken Kopocis, who has been awaiting confirmation for more than 1,100 days, is still facing hostility from Republican senators opposed to the EPA’s rule known as Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, E&E reports.
Exelon Corp. will buy Integrys Energy Services from its parent Integrys Energy Group for $60 million, adding the unit – which has 1.2 million customers in 22 states and Washington, D.C. – to its Baltimore-based business arm Constellation, the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports.
In the wake of propane shortages caused by last winter’s bitter cold, Midwestern lawmakers from both sides of the aisle – Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio – have joined forces to introduce a bill intending to better information on propane supply and pricing, improve coordination in response to shortages and help farmers get tanks for the fuel, The Hill reports.
Continuing on with its focus on increasing its returns, Occidental Petroleum reported a gain in net income that also beat analysts’ expectations, to $1.43 billion, or $1.82 a share in the second quarter, FuelFix reports.
Lower natural gas prices and higher operating costs hurt the bottom line for Southwestern Energy in the second quarter, as the oil and gas company said its second quarter profit dropped 16 percent, falling to $207 million, or 59 cents a share, despite increased production in the Fayetteville and Marcellus Shale plays, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The system at Goldman Sachs N.Y. headquarters, where ice is frozen in tanks at night and used the next day in its air conditioning, is an example of how thermal storage can save money and use energy more efficiently, Bloomberg reports.
The Kurdistan Regional Government is loading a fifth shipment of oil at the Turkish port of Ceyhan, having sent it there through an independent pipeline, despite Iraq appearing to have successfully blocked the unloading of another tanker's cargo of Kurdish crude in Galveston through moves in the Texas courts, The Wall Street Journal reports.