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May 15, 2015

Freeport LNG says U.S. gov’t did not advise against Chinese investors

NEW YORK, May 15 (Reuters) – The head of Freeport LNG on
Friday said that the U.S. Department of Energy did not advise
against inviting Chinese investment in the company’s Texas
export plant, backing down from contradictory claims made on
Thursday.

Michael Smith, the chief executive of privately-owned
Freeport LNG, which is building a plant to export liquefied
natural gas to Asia from 2018, said he misspoke on Thursday when
during an interview with Reuters he said the DOE had warned
Freeport against Chinese investment in the project for political
reasons.

May 14, 2015

U.S. government discouraged Chinese investment in LNG exports

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Energy has advised American companies not to allow Chinese companies to invest in U.S. liquefied natural gas export projects, the head of one such venture told Reuters on Thursday.

The advice contributed to a lack of lucrative U.S. gas export deals with Chinese companies, said Michael Smith, the chief executive of Freeport LNG. Some existing deals for liquefied natural gas, or LNG, are worth billions of dollars.

May 14, 2015

Battered US oil firms scramble to delay looming retirement wave

NEW YORK, May 14 (Reuters) – After 20 years in the oil
business, Craig Reed, 62, is thinking about winding down his
career just as a second downturn in six years rocks the
industry.

Reed is part of the baby boomer generation that forms the
backbone of the U.S. oil workforce and now weighs retirement as
energy firms cut spending and shelve projects. That is a
worrying prospect for company executives keen to keep their most
experienced workers while they ride out the oil market slump.

May 6, 2015

Oil train derails in North Dakota, small town evacuated

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire in Wells County, North Dakota on Wednesday, officials said, just days after the U.S. government announced sweeping reforms to improve safety of the volatile shipments.

The nearby town of Heimdal was evacuated after as many as many as 10 tank cars of a BNSF [BNISF.UL] train came off the rails, local media and fire officials said. There were no injuries, officials said.

May 1, 2015

New oil train speed limits unlikely to stop explosive crashes

NEW YORK, May 1 (Reuters) – New U.S. and Canadian speed
limits for oil trains will do little to temper the likelihood
and severity of explosive accidents that have grown in frequency
over the past two years, critics of new regulations said on
Friday.

Walking a line between increasing safety and keeping oil
shipments moving at a clip on North American rails, regulators
announced a 50 mile per hour (mph) speed limit for oil trains, a
key component of new rules rolled out on Friday. But speed was
not identified as a key factor in recent crashes, and slowing
trains further may congest an already beleaguered rail system,
some say.

May 1, 2015

U.S., Canada release tougher oil-train safety standards

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, May 1 (Reuters) – Long-awaited new
safety rules for trains carrying oil in the United States and
Canada were announced on Friday as regulators seek to reduce
risks after a series of explosive accidents accompanied a surge
in crude-by-rail shipments in recent years.

Canada’s Minister of Transport, Lisa Raitt and U.S.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx jointly announced the
rules that within three years would phase out older tank cars
that are widely considered to be unsafe during derailments.

Apr 27, 2015

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

NEW YORK, April 27 (Reuters) – 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.

Apr 2, 2015

U.S. oil rig count cull eases, approaches low point

NEW YORK, April 2 (Reuters) – Two weeks of thin declines in
the U.S. rig count have raised expectations that drilling
activity is nearing a pivotal level that could dent production,
bolster prices and coax idle rigs back to the field after a
precipitous cull since October.

Energy producers responded quickly to a steep drop in oil
prices over the last six months, idling nearly 800 rigs, or 50
percent, since a peak of 1,609 rigs in October. In the last week
of January, rigs fell by 94, the biggest drop on record,
according to a weekly survey by oil service firm Baker Hughes.

Apr 2, 2015

U.S. oil rig count approaches low point after large drop

NEW YORK (Reuters) – After a precipitous drop since October, the U.S. oil rig count is nearing a pivotal level that experts say could begin to dent production, bolster prices and even coax oil companies back to the well pad in the coming months.

Energy producers responded quickly to a steep drop in oil prices over the last six months, idling nearly 800 rigs, or 50 percent of a 1,609 peak hit in October.

Mar 29, 2015

In Texas oil town, early signs of economic strain as drilling slows

NEW YORK, March 29 (Reuters) – Sales tax receipts in the
thriving oil town of Midland, Texas, fell this month, only the
second decline in five years and one of the first signs of how
low oil prices are beginning to ripple beyond oil company bottom
lines and into the wider economy.

Midland’s sales tax revenues, which reflect commercial and
residential spending, dipped to $5.119 million in March from
$5.126 million in March 2014, according to data from the Texas
Comptroller released last week.