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What the Frack Is Happening Under Long Beach?

OC Weekly -- "... It's estimated the Wilmington reserves originally contained 3 billion barrels of oil, with around 300,000 million barrels left in the tank today. In 1940, Long Beach began to sink as a result of so much oil being drained from beneath the city. By the early 1950s, this so-called "subsidence" phenomenon was causing the city's elevation to drop by approximately 2 feet per year. The results were destructive: Streets cracked, pipes warped, and buildings became unsafe. The sinking even caused minor geological tremors. In 1953, Long Beach began injecting water into the oil reservoirs, and the subsidence stopped. ..."  (go to article)

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GM, Ford, And Others Want to Make Working on Your Own Car Illegal

Bold Ride -- One of the inherent rights of owning a vehicle is the ability to get on one’s backside — a wrench in one hand and a grease rag in the other, and just tinker to your little heart’s desire. Since the vehicle was invented, it’s been an important facet within the community of gearheads.

General Motors — the same company responsible for 87 deaths related to faulty ignition switches, FYI — wants to take that right away from you citing safety and security issues. Along with a few other big names.

It’s called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). It’s been around since 2000 and started as anti-Internet piracy legislation. But automakers want to use it to try and make working on your own car illegal. Yes, illegal.  (go to article)

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Axle test might have averted North Dakota oil train crash -NTSB

Reuters via CNBC -- A more stringent inspection of old tank car axles might have prevented an explosive BNSF train collision in Casselton, North Dakota, in December 2013, according to documents posted by the National Transportation Safety Board on Monday.

In a letter to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) dated April 7, 2014, the NTSB said tests carried out by BNSF on its train car axles might have missed internal faults that more thorough examinations would have detected. The NTSB recommends that railroads use ultrasonic tests for all second hand axles.

The letter was originally posted in an NTSB database last year, but was republished on Monday as part of a package of documents relating to an 15-month investigation into the accident. The incident occurred when a train carrying crude oil collided w  (go to article)

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South Dakota Hearing on Keystone XL Pipeline Delayed

AP via Downstream Today -- A key hearing to determine whether the state Public Utilities Commission will allow construction of the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline to move forward through South Dakota won't be held next week, the commission voted on Monday.

The regulatory body met in Pierre and voted 3-0 to delay final arguments to ensure adequate time for parties to examine documents involved in the case, and the hearing will likely be held later this summer. The state initially authorized TransCanada Corp. to construct the Keystone XL pipeline project in 2010, but state rules dictate permits must be re-authorized if the construction of the project doesn't start within four years of their issuance.

The Public Utilities Commission is now considering TransCanada's certification that it can still complete the proje  (go to article)

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Texas manufacturing slips again as oil and gas orders disappear

Fuel Fix -- Texas manufacturing slipped again in April as the oil bust continues to wreak havoc on factories that supply machinery and equipment to the energy industry, according to responses to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’s monthly survey.

Companies are cutting workers’ hours — the April survey marked the fourth month in a row of slightly shorter workweeks — and 17 percent of firms reported net layoffs.

“Things are getting ugly in all of our locations in Texas and Oklahoma,” one fabricated metal manufacturing executive wrote. “Total business is down 20 percent year to date, and we do not believe we have seen bottom. As of now, we do not expect a meaningful recovery until mid-next year.”

One executive reported shifting the company’s focus away from oil and gas to other sectors, while another  (go to article)

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Newsflash: leaving your keys in your car makes it easier for thieves to steal it, unless that’s what

Bloomberg News -- All those sophisticated theft-prevention devices won’t save your car if you leave the keys inside, a lesson that more Americans are learning the hard way.
U.S. car thefts with keys left inside jumped 14% from 2012 to 2014, reaching 44,828 last year, according to a study issued Monday by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The actual number is probably higher because some people don’t admit their carelessness to police or their insurer, the NICB said.
“Stealing a vehicle is very difficult with today’s anti-theft technology and leaving the keys in the vehicle is an open invitation for the opportunistic car thief,” NICB Chief Executive Officer Joe Wehrle said in a statement.
Criminals are otherwise having a harder time stealing cars because of devices like smart keys and fuel pump disablers  (go to article)

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Don't Believe Everything You Read:Lower Fuel Prices Aren't Why U.S. Airlines Are Earning Big Profit

Forbes -- The nation’s largest airlines last week reported ridiculous – for them – first-quarter profits. And it had far less to do with the price of oil and jet fuel than you’ve probably read.

Oh, to be sure, a 43 percent drop in the price of a gallon of jet fuel in the first quarter this year vs. the first quarter of 2014 is noteworthy and important. And it had a significant impact on the profits earned by American, United, Delta and Southwest airlines in what historically has been the toughest quarter of the year for airlines – one in which they historically have reported huge losses.

But the pull back in global crude prices that began in the middle of 2014 is not the biggest reason why airlines finally are making what, by their industry’s pitiful standards, are great profits these days.  (go to article)

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Deflation? Oil's 45 percent rebound could be markets' next headache

Reuters -- LONDON (Reuters) - Whisper it, but the next challenge for financial markets and policymakers may not be deflation, but the remarkable surge in oil prices from the six-year low touched in January.
Since then, Brent crude futures have risen 45 percent. If that is sustained or even increased throughout this year, inflation next year could rise significantly, posing questions for policymakers largely committed to ultra-loose policy.
 (go to article)

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Precision Drilling profit plunges 76 per cent from last year

The Canadian Press -- CALGARY - Precision Drilling Corp. (TSX:PD.TO - News) says North American demand for land drilling services in the first months of 2015 failed to meet "even the most pessimistic forecasts" as its customers looked for ways to reduce spending.

 (go to article)

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Tolling, Road User Charge Examined at Annual Transportation Conference

Planetizen -- Congressman Earl Blumenauer kicked-off the conference as the keynote speaker, expressing his frustration with both Congress and President Obama in their inability to do anything more than pass patch bills to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent. "We are about to introduce the 24th short term extension of the federal transportation funding bill," he proclaimed, "yet five states, 'red Republican states', have increased their gas taxes this year."  (go to article)

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BMW's Mini offers 'Augmented Vision' for drivers

GasBuddy Blog -- BMW's Mini has just teamed with Qualcomm to make a prototype pair of augmented reality glasses that serve mainly to let drivers get more enjoyment from piloting their own vehicle."There's lots of talk now about autonomous cars, but people who buy our cars are young and tech-savvy and love to drive," says Pat McKenna, manager of product planning of Mini USA, a BMW-owned brand. "These glasses would just keep our drivers focused on the road."Dubbed Mini Augmented Vision, the goggles have no consumer release date. While they have an unmistakably cartoonish look, their capability is far from a joke. Sketched out by the Osterhout Design Group, the glasses pack two stereoscopic HD displays that, using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, overlay virtual information over the real world in front of you. ...  (go to article)

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Audi creates green 'e-diesel fuel of the future' using just carbon dioxide and water

International Business Times -- German car manufacturer Audi says it has created the "fuel of the future" made solely from water, carbon dioxide and renewable sources.

The synthetic "e-diesel" was made following a commissioning phase of just four months at a plant in Dresden, Germany.

Unlike regular diesel, the clear fuel does not contain any sulphur or fossil oil, while it has an overall energy efficiency of around 70%.

Germany's federal minister of education and research, Dr Johanna Wanka, said she has already used the fuel in her Audi A8, while the company hopes the Dresden factory, operated by clean tech company Sunfire, will produce 160 litres of it every day in the coming months.

"This synthetic diesel, made using CO2, is a huge success for our sustainability research," Wanka said.  (go to article)

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US to launch blitz of gas exports, eyes global energy dominance

The Telegraph -- The United States is poised to flood world markets with once-unthinkable quantities of liquefied natural gas as soon as this year, profoundly changing the geo-politics of global energy and posing a major threat to Russian gas dominance in Europe.

"We anticipate becoming big players, and I think we'll have a big impact," said the Ernest Moniz, the US Energy Secretary. "We're going to influence the whole global LNG market."

Mr Moniz said four LNG export terminals are under construction and the first wave of shipments may begin before the end of this year or in early 2016 at the latest.

“Certainly in this decade, there’s a good chance that we will be LNG exporters on the scale of Qatar, which is today’s largest LNG exporter,” he said  (go to article)

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Feds, Norfolk Southern demand DOT-111 railroad tanker car safety improvements

WEWS-TV -- The National Transportation Safety Board has now placed DOT-111 railroad tanker cars on its "most wanted" list of highway hazards.

According to an NTSB report, DOT-111 tanker cars have tank jackets that are too thin to survive often enough during a derailment, and the housings for the top fittings are not effective in protecting against impact damage.
 (go to article)

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Spain Activates Alert as Oil Spill Threatens Canary Islands

ABC News -- Spain's government activated an environmental emergency alert Saturday over oil slicks that threaten pristine beaches on the southwestern Canary Islands.

The government activated a level 2 alert after analyzing ocean current data from Spain's Oceanographic Institute, saying the slicks could affect the islands' vulnerable coasts. Level 2 is the second highest alert level.

The islands are a popular destination for European visitors and harbor an important tourism industry.

The government said one beach had been cleared of oil and clean-up operations were ongoing on three other beaches near the tourist hot-spot of Maspalomas on Gran Canaria after a slick came ashore Thursday.

The Russian trawler Oleg Naydenov, which caught fire in a local port on April 11, was towed out to sea as a precau  (go to article)

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Iraqi oil in return for Iraqi debts

Middle East Monitor -- Iraq has agreed to exchange its debts to the oil companies developing its giant fields with crude oil, media reports have said.

Iraqi oil ministry has said that the prices of the crude oil given to the western companies were relative to prices in international markets.

Aljazeera.net reported a senior official in the British Oil Company BP saying that his firm had loaded more crude oil from Iraq during the last two months in return for its services in the south of the country.

Following the drop in oil prices from $115 per barrel to $56, the amount of crude needed to pay the companies has roughly doubled – causing a deficit in the Iraqi government's budget.

Reuters reported that Iraq, OPEC's second-biggest oil producer, boosted its output to 3.40 million barrels a day in January  (go to article)

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Michigan vote tests pothole frustration vs. willingness to pay more in taxes

AP -- ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Drivers in the state that put the world on wheels are flat-out embarrassed by the state of Michigan's roads, and some are even scared.

But whether they can stomach tax increases to improve the roads is in doubt.

A May 5 ballot measure proposes a 1-cent sales tax hike to put an additional $1.2 billion a year into fixing deteriorating roads and bridges.

Michigan and some other states have been asking voters to decide whether to raise taxes or shift revenue to pay for road needs no longer fully covered by fuel taxes. The problem is particularly acute in Michigan, which spends less on highway infrastructure, per capita, than any other state except Georgia and is a major trucking route to and from Canada, the U.S.'s largest trade partner.
 (go to article)

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Audi just created diesel fuel from air and water

Gizmag -- Audi is making a new fuel for internal combustion engines that has the potential to make a big dent when it comes to climate change – that's because the synthetic diesel is made from just water and carbon dioxide.
The company's pilot plant, which is operated by German startup Sunfire in Dresden, produced its first batches of the "e-diesel" this month. German Federal Minister of Education and Research Johanna Wanka put a few liters of the fuel in her work car, an Audi A8, to commemorate the accomplishment.  (go to article)

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National Average Rises On Higher Crude Prices

GasBuddy Blog -- A rebound in crude oil prices has fueled up gasoline prices in the last week across the United States, with even bigger spikes in the West Coast, where refinery problems have returned.

The national average stands at a four month high, though for this date prices remain at their lowest since 2009. Late last week, West Texas Intermediate crude oil stood near $58 a barrel, the highest since December 15, 2014. That price stands some $10 a barrel higher than a month ago, and has been a key contributor to the rise in gasoline prices that many states are witnessing. Refinery issues along the West Coast have added insult to injury for Californians, where prices are up by 25 cents per gallon just in the last week in some areas....  (go to article)

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Ford laying off 700 workers at small-car plant

USA Today -- The shift from small cars to SUVs amid low gas prices is starting to take a toll on the factory floor.

Ford says it is planning to cut a shift at its Michigan Assembly Plant where it makes the Ford Focus compact car and C-Max crossover because of declining sales of small cars, hybrids and electric vehicles.

The automaker told workers and notified the state of Michigan that it will lay off 700 workers, starting June 22. The decision affects 675 hourly workers and 25 salaried employees who make the Focus, Focus ST, Focus Electric, C-Max hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid at the Wayne plant.

The first 200 workers will be laid off in June, another 200 at the end of July and the remainder at the end of September.

Ford expects that the first 200 laid-off workers will be redeployed ...  (go to article)

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Saudi Prince Sees ‘Excellent’ Oil Market as Kingdom Meets Demand

Bloomberg -- Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, will meet any demand for its crude as the kingdom seeks to keep customers happy and maintain a balanced market, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the deputy oil minister, said.

The oil market is in “excellent” condition, he told reporters Monday in the eastern city of Khobar, without elaborating. Benchmark Brent crude has gained 13 percent this year and was trading 46 cents lower at $64.82 a barrel at 10:56 a.m. in London.

“We will supply any demand for Saudi oil, as we are interested in the stability of the market,” Prince Abdulaziz said. “Stability includes price, supply, and demand stability.”

Saudi Arabia raised output to 10.1 million barrels a day in March, near an all-time peak, the International Energy Agency reported on April 15.  (go to article)

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Railroad union urges tougher safety standards on tracks

Associated Press -- “Let’s see what we can do to keep the damn trains on the track,” said Inclima, a member of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee of the Federal Railroad Administration. “When they come off the tracks, bad things happen.”  (go to article)

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Core Labs CEO: Higher crude prices coming soon

CNBC -- In Jim Cramer's vast career on Wall Street, he knows that when a CEO of a company with a great, long-term track record says his stock is misjudged by the market—it is time to listen.

Core Laboratories is a provider of reservoir production enhancement and management services to the oil and gas industry.  (go to article)

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Brent crude falls below $65 as dollar strengthens

Reuters -- LONDON (Reuters) - Brent crude reversed early gains to fall below $65 on Monday as the dollar strengthened, offsetting signs that U.S. shale output may have started to decline and concerns that fighting in Yemen could disrupt Middle East supplies.

The dollar rose 0.22 percent against a basket of currencies <.DXY>, making dollar-traded commodities such as crude oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.

"It seems that crude oil prices have come under renewed pressure this morning as the U.S. dollar rebounded," said Myrto Sokou, senior analyst at London-based Sucden Financial.

Brent fell 47 cents to $64.81 a barrel by 0936 GMT, having touched $65.61 earlier in the session.

U.S. crude fell 33 cents to $56.82 a barrel, after touching $57.46.

Signs of a possible decline in U.S. c  (go to article)

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BHI: US rig count drops 22 units in 20th straight week of losses

Gas and News toay -- The US drilling rig count fell 22 units to 932 rigs working during the week ended Apr. 24, marking the 20th consecutive week of declines, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc.

The count has now plunged 988 units since the week ended Dec. 5 (OGJ Online, Dec. 5, 2014). The total of 932 is the lowest since July 17, 2009, and 929 fewer units compared with this week a year ago.

Analysts at Raymond James & Associates Inc., however, have predicted an impending trough in the count as well permitting activity picks up (OGJ Online, Apr. 17, 2015). “All things considered, we believe that we are close to a bottom in the rig count, which is likely to be seen in the next couple of months,” they said earlier this week in an energy update.

RJA tracks the issuance of well permits as a leading indicat  (go to article)

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EIA: Eagle Ford’s Eagleville oil field largest in US

OGJ editors -- HOUSTON, Apr. 24
04/24/2015

The Eagleville oil field in South Texas, discovered only in 2009, is the largest in the US, according to a supplement to a report from the US Energy Information Administration called “US Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves, 2013.”
EIA respectively ranked the top 100 oil and gas fields in the US based on estimated 2013 proved reserves. Actual proved reserves numbers by field, however, were not disclosed. The agency's last top 100 rankings covered 2009 estimated proved reserves.
Eagleville spans 14 counties and boasted 238 million bbl in production during 2013. It and Briscoe Ranch represent two new additions from the Eagle Ford to both the top 10 and top 100 US oil fields.  (go to article)

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5 years after BP spill, drillers push into riskier depths

Daily Times -- ON THE GULF OF MEXICO: Five years after the nation’s worst offshore oil spill the industry is working on drilling even further into the risky depths beneath the Gulf of Mexico to tap massive deposits once thought unreachable. Opening this new frontier, miles below the bottom of the Gulf, requires engineering feats far beyond those used at BP’s much shallower Macondo well.

But critics say energy companies haven’t developed the corresponding safety measures to prevent another disaster or contain one if it happens — a sign, environmentalists say that the lessons of BP’s spill were short-lived.

These new depths and larger reservoirs could exacerbate a blowout like what happened at the Macondo well. Hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil could spill each day and the response would be slow...  (go to article)

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Michigan car insurance is the priciest in the U.S.

Detroit Free Press -- Michigan drivers aren't just dodging potholes; they're also combating the nation's most expensive car insurance, according to the latest report.

Michigan drivers pay 136% above, or more than double, the national average of $815 a year, according to a report by insuranceQuotes.com.

And Wayne County is the most expensive county within the most expensive state. Car insurance costs $2,789, or 45% more in Wayne County than the statewide average of $1,923, according to a report by insuranceQuotes.com.

Sky-high auto insurance rates aren't anything new to Michigan consumers.

But the report might add fuel to the argument that the state can no longer afford top-of-the-line coverage.

The state's lawmakers currently are debating a fast-track, potential overhaul of Michigan's no-fault auto...  (go to article)

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Hundreds protest Shell Oil plan for Seattle waterfront

Kirotv.com -- SEATTLE —

The anti-Shell Oil protesters began their march to the Port of Seattle offices just after 4 o’clock Sunday, to make their demand that the multi-national oil company not be allowed to base its drilling operation at Seattle's Terminal 5.

Their protest began two hours earlier.

It made for an impressive sight -- hundreds lining the waterfront -- galvanized by what they contend is one of the most pressing issues of our time.

"If we stop it now," said Steve Xu. "Then we stop arctic drilling."

Twenty-year-old Xu, a University of Washington student, is typical of those the issue seems to be touching.

So many people in the crowd were in their teens and 20s.

"With a community that is united around this idea," said Xu. "We can really stop the drilling. And as more people come on,  (go to article)

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OPEC: A familiar foe likely to take a backseat in 2016 elections

CNBC -- As candidates for the 2016 U.S. general election gear up for a White House run, one villain of recent campaign cycles will be conspicuously absent: the cartel known as OPEC.

With the U.S. oil boom helping the world's largest economy churn out more than 9 million barrels per day (bpd), its highest in about three decades and up 80 percent since 2008, energy prices appear to be sidelined as political theater. Should current trends continue—prices of Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate are trading near their lowest levels in nearly 10 years—energy prices are unlikely to figure prominently in the coming presidential election.

Even as geopolitical risks in Iraq, Syria and Venezuela continue, national gas prices now hover in the $2.50 range, thanks in large measure to the U.S. oil bounty.  (go to article)

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Toyota Replies To Fuel Cell Vehicle Critics: Tesla's Elon Musk Not Excluded

Forbes -- Toyota continues to go full-throttle on fuel-cell vehicles. Even calling out critics in its latest promotional video this week.

In a not-so-veiled reference to Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his comment about fuel-cell vehicles, Toyota captions the video, “Fueled by Bullsh*t | Presented by Toyota Mirai.”

In the introduction, the narrator, citing fuel-cell critics, says that “some have even gone so far to call it bullsh*t.”

That would be Elon Musk. He made comments way back in October 2013 in this video. At the 29:00 mark he said: “Fuel-cell is so bullsh*t. The only reason fuel-cell is big…it’s a marketing thing. But the reality is, you take the best-case for a fuel-cell vehicle…the cost of the fuel-cell system, it doesn’t even equal the current state-of-the-art in lithium ion batteries.”

 (go to article)

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Orphaned Oil Rejected by U.S. Refiners Takes Slow Boats to Asia

Bloomberg -- One million barrels of oil. Enough to fill more than 60 Olympic-sized swimming pools. And there it sat in tanks outside San Francisco -- for three years -- despite crude prices that topped $100 a barrel.

This isn’t the prized “light, sweet” kind of crude that is pumped out of the ground in Texas, or even the thick, sticky stuff from Alberta’s tar sands. Rather, it’s what’s known as “orphaned oil” that is so contaminated with organic chlorides that it can corrode the insides of even the biggest refineries.

Now, it’s on the move -- and guessing exactly where is turning into a sort of parlor game for some in the oil market. All that is known is that Chevron Corp., which flushed the oil from a pipeline in September 2012 and has seen its value drop by $50 million since then, is loading it on  (go to article)

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Always Use Safety Stands When Working Under Vehicles

Journal-News (UT) -- A Utah man is lucky to be alive and it is all thanks to his wife's gut feeling that something was terribly wrong.

Scott Mayhew was working on his car when it fell off a jack, landing and crushing his chest, KSTU reported.
 (go to article)

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TXDOT Releases Plans On Major Redesign Of I-45 In Downtown Houston

Houston Public Media -- A series of public meetings begins Thursday night on plans to redesign I-45 between Beltway 8 North and downtown Houston. The biggest changes are planned for downtown Houston, where TxDOT is considering tearing down the Pierce Elevated and realigning the freeway.  (go to article)

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Volkswagen considering new battery design for EVs

Driving,ca via The National Post -- Volkswagen is working on introducing a simpler and more affordable manufacturing solution for its electric cars.

Speaking to Automotive News, Volkswagen’s Heinz-Jakob Neusser says the German automaker is looking into a single-cell lithium ion battery design for every electrified car under the Volkswagen AG umbrella – including Audi’s e-tron vehicles. If Volkswagen goes through with the move, it will likely utilize its battery module assembly plant in Germany to manufacture the new single-cell units.  (go to article)

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Oil hits 2015 peak as Saudis resume strikes on Yemen

AFP -- Brent oil prices jumped this week to the highest level so far this year, as the latest Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen stoked supply tensions in the crude-rich Middle East.

Related Stories1. Oil prices rebound; gold firms AFP
2. Oil surges as Saudi resumes Yemen strikes AFP
3. Oil turns higher, rallies to 2015 high on Yemen conflict Reuters
4. Oil edges up as Iran uncertainty, Yemen turmoil support Reuters
5. Nymex oil settles lower as Brent marks a high for the year MarketWatch

Elsewhere, precious metal gold sank on sliding safe-haven demand as a result of easing tensions over Greece.OIL: Brent prices on Friday hit a four-month peak of $65.80 per barrel, the highest level since December 10, as Saudi-led coalition warplanes again hit Yemen.
 (go to article)

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Rules could kick door open for nuclear power

TRIBLIVE-Dallas Morning News -- For decades, the nuclear power industry has stood at a virtual standstill, a victim of economics and fears over safety. But as President Obama prepares to issue carbon-emission regulations targeting the power industry, nuclear companies are hoping a new era is upon them.

“Something like 65 percent of the existing coal fleet will not be operating. That's (a lot) of electricity that needs to be replaced. Natural gas is going to supply the vast majority of that, but nuclear is going to have a place, too,” said Dan Lipman, vice president of the trade group the Nuclear Energy Institute.

But the industry will face opposition. Nuclear remains a divisive issue among environmentalists. Some support it as a proven means to cut carbon emissions out of the nation's power supply.

 (go to article)

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Shell's pipeline transports first oil from Delta House platform in deepwater Gulf of Mexico

World Oil -- HOUSTON -- Shell Pipeline Company's Odyssey Pipeline System successfully transported the first crude oil produced from the LLOG-operated Delta House platform in the Mississippi Canyon protraction area of the Gulf of Mexico.

"We selected the Odyssey pipeline system to deliver crude from the Delta House because of its reliability and offshore safety record," said Rick Fowler, Vice President of Deep Water Projects for LLOG. "Connecting Delta House to this system will help us optimize our resource value and continue our excellent relationship with Shell Pipeline in other areas in the Gulf of Mexico."

"The Odyssey pipeline is an ideal option for companies like LLOG because it creates opportunities for our customers to increase connectivity and access in high demand areas," said Kevin Nichols,  (go to article)

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Texas proceeds against two shale disposal wells linked to seismic activity

World Oil -- AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas has directed the Commission’s Hearings Division to initiate proceedings requiring the operators of two disposal wells in the area of Azle, Texas to show cause why the injection permits for the wells should not be cancelled and the wells ordered shut-in due to an alleged connection raised by new seismic research between ongoing operation of the wells and seismic activity in the vicinity.

The two wells at issue are XTO Energy Inc.’s West Lake SWD No. 1, Newark, East (Barnett Shale) Field, Parker County and Enervest Operating L.L.C.’s Briar No. 1, Caughlin (Strawn) Field, Wise County.

“The Railroad Commission has in place strong rules addressing the issue of seismicity and disposal well activity, and it is incumbent upon us to apply these rules  (go to article)

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Iraq Will Export New Crude Grade in May After Setting Discounts

Bloomberg -- Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest producer, will start exporting Basrah Heavy crude next month after offering discounts for the new grade in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

The heavy grade “will help us to preserve our oil qualities” and increase “output chances,” Iraq’s Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on his Facebook page. Shipments will represent a “big achievement,” he said.

Iraq is offering Basrah Heavy after facing pressure from customers to split its main Basrah Light crude into two grades to preserve quality. The country pumped 3.34 million barrels a day in March, state-run Oil Marketing Co. known as SOMO said April 16. Saudi Arabia is the biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Oil prices have slumped 40 percent in the past year, cutting the Iraqi gov  (go to article)

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Dubai Stocks Lead Mideast Gains After U.S. Record, Oil’s Advance

Bloomberg -- Dubai stocks climbed, tracking a record close in U.S. equities, after the price of Brent crude rose to the highest since December. Abu Dhabi shares also gained.

Dubai’s DFM General Index added 2.1 percent to close at 4,172.14, the highest since Dec. 1. Gulf Navigation Holding, a shipping company specializing in oil and chemicals, was Dubai’s biggest percentage gainer, advancing the most in more than four months. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index strengthened 0.8 percent, the most since April 2.

The Nasdaq Composite Index jumped to a record on Friday after Google Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. rallied on earnings results. The gauge has almost quadrupled since global equity markets bottomed in March 2009. Brent crude gained last week on concern the crisis in Yemen, which lies on one side of the Bab  (go to article)

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Railroad Commission to consider shutting down injection wells

Max B. Baker | Fort Worth Star-Telegram -- The Texas Railroad Commission said Friday it will consider shutting down two wastewater injection wells linked by a recent scientific report to a rash of earthquakes northwest of Fort Worth.

The commission will ask XTO Energy and EnerVest Operating at “show cause” hearings in June why their permits should not be canceled and their wells shut-in following a study by Southern Methodist University researchers  (go to article)

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Increased U.S. oil production keeping gas prices lower, fuel company prez says

Howard Greninger | The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Ind. -- At least for the next six months to a year, gasoline prices are likely to stay in the $2.30 to $2.70 per gallon range given world oil supply, a fuel company president told Indiana State University students on Friday.

“However, if oil and gas prices stay exactly where they are, we have basically cut back our oil exploration in the United States by 50, maybe 75 percent,”  (go to article)

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Richard Kinder: Industry hides from public “like we’re selling cigarettes”

Fuel Fix -- Richard Kinder, the CEO of Kinder Morgan, said that oil and gas leaders hadn’t done enough to show how important the industry is, and that as a result they’d ceded some of the debate to opponents of fossil fuels.

“We have done more as an industry to advance the cause of raising living standards across the world than any other industry I can think of, and we don’t do a great job of selling how important what we do really is,” Kinder said. “Sometimes I think we hide behind it like we’re selling cigarettes.”

Kinder said that pipelines in particular had come under attack thanks to a more extensive and public permitting process. The opposition has become more sophisticated recently, he said, and has plenty of funding.

Kinder Morgan hasn’t been targeted by protesters to the same extent as Tra  (go to article)

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Traders alarmed oil glut is a strain on West Texas storage tanks

Reuters -- Four-hundred miles from the near overflowing tanks at the U.S. oil hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, a second glut in the Permian Basin of West Texas is pressuring oil prices once again as pipeline disruptions strand millions of barrels in the region.

The Permian, the fastest-growing shale play, accounts for about a fifth of the country's total oil production, and is expected to produce about 2 million barrels of crude a day in May. The region houses over 20 million barrels of crude storage.

Stockpiles in the Permian have hit several records in the last four weeks, according to data from industry information provider Genscape.

Investors have zeroed in on storage, waiting for declines in weekly inventory data to signal demand is rising or production is beginning to taper off. Stockpiles in Cushi  (go to article)

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As NY readies to ban fracking, lawyers prepare to sue

Iohud -- For the past four months, the state Department of Environmental Conservation's staff — and attorneys — have been putting the finishing touches on a several-thousand-page document that will lay the groundwork for a statewide ban on large-scale hydraulic fracturing.

The agency has reason to be careful: The natural-gas industry and fracking supporters are looking for an opportunity to sue.

DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens says the report, known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement or SGEIS, is "literally at the printer." Its impending release will be closely scrutinized by advocates and opponents of shale-gas drilling, who have clashed in a seven-year battle that has long seemed destined to end in a courtroom.

"From a legal process point of view, we've been waiting for  (go to article)

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April oil price gains confound predictions – but volatility ahead

The National -- The strength of oil prices in April has confounded many predictions – and industry experts are forecasting price volatility ahead amid a stuttering demand recovery and unpredictable reactions from oil producers.

The world benchmark North Sea Brent crude oil futures had gained nearly 16 per cent from the start of April, ending last Friday in London at US$65.28 per barrel, with the week’s 3 per cent gain adding to the momentum.

Many analysts had predicted that the first quarter of the year would involve continued price weakness, as the refinery maintenance season added to the market’s woes, with Brent futures having collapsed from a high last summer around $115 per barrel to a low point in mid-January of $46.59 chiefly because of booming oil production in the US and Opec’s unwillingness...  (go to article)

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Like shale oil, solar power is shaking up global energy

Yahoo -- One by one, Japan is turning off the lights at the giant oil-fired power plants that propelled it to the ranks of the world's

top industrialized nations. With nuclear power in the doldrums after the Fukushima disaster, it's solar energy that is becoming the alternative.

Solar power is set to become profitable in Japan as early as this quarter, according to the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation (JREF), freeing it from the need for government subsidies and making it the last of the G7 economies where the technology has become economically viable.

Japan is now one of the world's four largest markets for solar panels and a large number of power plants are coming onstream, including two giant arrays over water in Kato City and a $1.1 billion solar farm being built on a salt field in Okayama,  (go to article)

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Vessel that spilled fuel in Vancouver’s English Bay deemed safe and allowed to leave Canadian waters

Canadian Press - VANCOUVER -- A vessel that leaked toxic bunker fuel into Vancouver’s English Bay is being allowed to return to normal operations and leave Canadian waters.
Transport Canada says inspectors are confident the MV Marathassa’s deficiencies have been fixed and it meets regulations and is environmentally safe for travel.
The grain-carrying ship on its maiden voyage leaked at least 2,700 L of fuel into the city’s harbour on April 8, quickly spreading to popular beaches nearby.
Transport Canada says a thorough investigation of the fuel discharge continues and the ship’s operators could face fines or prosecution if they are found to have violated Canada’s shipping laws.
The federal agency says pollution recovery efforts are slowly winding down and the wildlife rehabilitation team is being demobilized.
Canada’s  (go to article)

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Ford recalls 389,585 cars for doors that fly open

USA TODAY -- Ford is recalling 389,585 late-model Ford Fiesta, Fusions and Lincoln MKZ sedans because of faulty latches that can allow the doors to fly open while the car is being driven.

Ford says the problem was limited to certain models built its plant in Mexico. It says a part called the pawl spring tab can break, which results in doors that can't be latched. The unlatching problem can occur while the car is being driven.  (go to article)

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Former BP CEO Tony Hayward: The oil market will soon prove that OPEC is 'the most successful cartel

Business Insider -- BP’s former CEO Tony Hayward agrees with OPEC that its strategy of maintaining the oil glut and thereby helping to drive down prices will quickly crush the US shale boom and that oil prices will rally sooner than many people expect.

Hayward, one of 42 speakers at the Financial Times’ Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, on April 20-22, said the average global price of a barrel of crude will soon be around $80, up from the current price of about $60, demonstrating that OPEC is “the most successful cartel in history.”  (go to article)

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