Energy & Environment Correspondent
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Jul 22, 2015

U.S. emergency oil reserve tempts Congress at the wrong time

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle figured this month they had hit on a clever way to fund everything from new drug programs to highway maintenance: sell off part of America’s strategic oil reserves, a supply cushion that no longer needs to be so large.

The notion, embedded in a House of Representatives bill that passed earlier in July and in a Senate transportation bill proposed on Tuesday, has met with criticism from energy experts and economists, many calling it the right idea, but the wrong time.

Jul 17, 2015

Exclusive: Obama energy adviser Patron leaves White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top energy adviser to President Barack Obama who specialized on oil policy has left the White House, three sources said on Friday.

    Michelle Billig Patron, who served as special assistant on energy to President Barack Obama and as a senior director at the National Security Council since April 2013, left the White House about two weeks ago, the sources said. She had worked previously at PIRA Energy Group, the Department of Energy and the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Jul 14, 2015

Greens urge U.S. to refuse Shell’s final Arctic drilling permits

WASHINGTON, July 14 (Reuters) – Environmental groups on
Tuesday urged the U.S. government not to grant Royal Dutch Shell
final permits for Arctic oil exploration after an
icebreaker with safety equipment to cap wells was put out of
action.

Ten groups, including Oceana, Greenpeace, and the Sierra
Club, said in a letter that under Shell’s exploration plans, the
U.S. Interior Department cannot allow it to begin exploring for
oil in the Chukchi Sea off northern Alaska while the icebreaker,
the Fennica, is unavailable.

Jul 13, 2015

Shell’s damaged Arctic drilling support ship heads to Oregon

By Timothy Gardner

(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell PLC said on Monday an icebreaker crucial to planned Arctic oil drilling will be sent to Portland, Oregon to repair a gash in its hull, but the issue is not expected to delay the beginning of drilling off Alaska later in July.

Shell crew on the Fennica icebreaker last week found the 39-inch (1 meter) gash in the hull, likely caused by an uncharted shoal. Voyage time between Portland and southern Alaska should not delay the company’s plans to begin drilling off northern Alaska in the Chukchi Sea later this month, Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said.

Jul 9, 2015

U.S. crude exports would help Europe, Czech Republic says

WASHINGTON, July 9 (Reuters) – Lifting the U.S. ban on oil
exports would bolster energy security in Europe by allowing
countries to find alternative sources, the Czech Republic
ambassador to the United States told lawmakers considering a
bill to do away with the trade restriction.

“The larger the number of stable democracies among the
world’s exporters, the more robust the energy security of the
Czech Republic and the European Union will be,” Petr Gandalovic,
the ambassador told the panel the House subcommittee on Energy
and Power on Thursday.

Jul 7, 2015

U.S. government outlines solar power boost for the poor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House took steps this week to boost the installation of solar power and other renewable energy in federally subsidized housing and increase the number of jobs in the industry for poor people.

The U.S. administration has set a goal of installing 300 megawatts of solar and other renewable energy in affordable housing by 2020, tripling a goal President Barack Obama set in 2013 that has already been surpassed.

Jul 6, 2015

Republican climate advocate makes big 2016 campaign gift

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Republican entrepreneur seeking to push his party to fight climate change and support clean energy said on Sunday he has given his first big campaign gift to Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.

Jay Faison, an audio tech executive who this year set up Clearpath, a foundation dedicated to explaining to Republicans the science behind climate change and business opportunities to fight carbon emissions, said he had given $500,000 to Ayotte, who was elected to the Senate in 2010.

Jun 30, 2015

U.S. walrus protections hit Shell’s Arctic drilling plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration dealt a setback to Royal Dutch Shell’s Arctic oil exploration plans on Tuesday, saying established walrus and polar bear protections prevent the company from drilling with two rigs simultaneously at a close range, as it had planned.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued Shell a permit on Tuesday which emphasized that under federal wildlife protections issued in 2013, companies must maintain a 15 mile (24 km) buffer between two rigs drilling simultaneously.

Jun 30, 2015

U.S. refiners’ group wants wide debate on oil exports

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. oil refining industry’s association is not opposed to lifting the country’s 40-year-old ban on crude exports as long as the move is part of a bigger effort to lower barriers to trade, the group’s new head said on Tuesday.

“We’re not opposed to lifting the export ban, but we would like to think there could be a broader discussion,” about all trade barriers in petroleum markets, Chet Thompson, president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), told reporters.

Jun 30, 2015

Shell says could begin Arctic oil exploration off Alaska in late July

SEATTLE/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell could begin drilling for oil in the Arctic off Alaska as early as the third week in July, when it expects sea ice to begin clearing, a spokesman said on Monday.

The Polar Pioneer drilling rig arrived in Dutch Harbor, in Unalaska, off mainland Alaska, early on Saturday morning and will remain there until ice begins clearing over the area in the Chukchi Sea where the company plans to drill through late September, spokesman Curtis Smith said.

    • About Timothy

      "I cover U.S. energy and environment policy and climate change. Moved to DC in late 2009 after a decade in New York. Author of "Diminishing Resources:Oil," which is one in a series of books for young adults."
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