Energy & Environment Correspondent
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Jun 7, 2012

More US waivers to Iran sanctions as early as next week

SINGAPORE/WASHINGTON, June 7 (Reuters) – The United States
will announce a new list of countries that will receive
exceptions to financial sanctions on oil trade with Iran as soon
as early next week, a U.S. official in Washington said on
Thursday.
The latest round of U.S. sanctions come into effect on June
28 and aim to cut Iran’s oil revenue to pressure Tehran into
halting its nuclear program. Western powers suspect Iran is
aiming to develop nuclear arms, but Tehran says the program is
for civilian purposes.
The United States can exempt countries from sanctions if
they make significant reductions to crude imports from Iran, and
has already granted waivers to Japan and 10 European Union
countries in March.
The official, who asked not to be identified, said the
announcement was originally going to be made in late May but has
been delayed and will not be out this week.
Another U.S. official, who also asked not to be identified,
said earlier on Thursday more exceptions would be announced
“soon” but declined to give more details on which countries
would join the exemptions list. The official said the United
States and South Korea had made progress in talks about reducing
imports from Iran.
Even if countries are omitted from the list, it does not
necessarily follow that the United States would quickly impose
sanctions after June 28, the official said.

It would take some time for the U.S. to gather evidence to
support punitive measures against financial institutions that
have processed oil transactions, said the official who had
spoken earlier.
Around two thirds of Iran’s crude exports flow to Asia,
where the biggest buyers are China, Japan, India and South
Korea.
The four countries have already cut their imports by about a
fifth from the 1.45 million barrels per day (bpd) they were
buying a year ago as they prepare for the U.S. sanctions to come
into effect.

May 18, 2012

Obama, G8 may remind Iran of their own “oil weapon”

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Late last year, Iran issued a series of not-so veiled threats to the West, suggesting it could use its “oil weapon” to show displeasure over toughening sanctions by halting exports or disrupting the Strait of Hormuz.

This weekend, the Group of Eight nations may offer a timely retort: We’ve got an oil weapon of our own, and we’re not afraid to use it.

May 11, 2012

Water safe in town made famous by fracking-EPA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said drinking water is safe to consume in a small Pennsylvania town that has attracted national attention after residents complained about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas.

The EPA has completed testing water at 61 homes in Dimock, Pennsylvania where residents have complained since 2009 of cloudy, foul-smelling water after Cabot Oil & Gas Corp drilled for gas nearby.

Apr 30, 2012

US EPA official resigns after crucifixion comment

WASHINGTON, April 30 (Reuters) – A regional Environmental
Protection Agency chief based in Dallas resigned on Monday, days
after Republican lawmakers uncovered comments in which he
compared his enforcement of energy companies with crucifixion.

Al Armendariz, who was the chief of EPA’s Region 6 office,
which includes refinery-rich Texas, Louisiana and three other
states, sent a letter of resignation to EPA Administrator Lisa
Jackson late on Sunday. She accepted on Monday.

Apr 27, 2012

US oil report seen supporting Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON, April 27 (Reuters) – The Obama administration is
unlikely to pull back from levying sanctions against Iran oil
transactions based on a government report due on Friday, which
is expected to show crude markets are sufficiently well-supplied
to move forward with the penalties.

The report, which the U.S. Energy Information Administration
is required to produce every two months under the sanctions law
aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, could walk a fine
line in assessing the state of markets, according to analysts.

Apr 22, 2012

Iran’s trade partners act to avoid U.S. sanctions

WASHINGTON, April 22 (Reuters) – Iran’s trading partners are
looking for ways to avoid being hit by U.S. sanctions on Iranian
oil transactions that take effect mid-year, with Turkey looking
for other suppliers, India exploring options and smaller Asian
countries arguing their imports from Tehran are tiny.

Turkey, the fifth-largest buyer of Iranian oil, has
committed to reduce its crude from Tehran by 10 percent and the
country’s only refiner, Tupras, a unit of Koc Holding
, has pledged to cut imports by 20 percent.

Apr 20, 2012

U.S. nuclear chief says he’s no bully to women

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. nuclear safety regulator reiterated on Friday he does not bully women, a day after President Barack Obama said he would renominate one of the agency’s commissioners who had accused the chairman of ill treatment.

“There’s been a little bit of talk recently about my treatment of women … any of these accusations that I specifically target women are categorically untrue,” Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told a hastily arranged news conference at the National Press Club.

Apr 18, 2012

U.S. to set fracking rules, but delays target date until 2015

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. environment regulators will postpone implementation of standards requiring natural gas and oil drillers to cut emissions when they finalize the long-delayed regulations on Wednesday, an industry group and an environmental group said.

Drillers that use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and other methods to extract natural gas and oil will not be required to add equipment to capture smog-forming emissions at wells until January 2015, the groups said.

Apr 13, 2012

Obama streamlines oversight of shale gas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama streamlined federal oversight of natural gas production from shale on Friday as the drilling boom has depressed prices for the fuel and increased pressure on the administration to allow companies to export it.

Obama issued an executive order creating an interagency group to oversee development of natural gas, building on a pledge he made in his State of the Union address in January to support the industry while increasing safety.

Apr 11, 2012

US military sets goal to cut power grid dependence

WASHINGTON, April 11 (Reuters) – The Obama administration
set a goal on Wednesday of building three gigawatts of solar,
wind, and geothermal power capacity on U.S. military
installations by 2025 that could require about $20 billion in
private financing.

“We are doing it not principally to be green, we’re doing it
principally to provide greater security for our installations,”
an administration official told reporters in a teleconference.

    • 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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