Energy & Environment Correspondent
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May 7, 2015

Senator Murkowski plans bill to kill oil export ban

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski said on Thursday she will unveil a bill next week to reverse the U.S. oil export ban in an effort to build support for killing the 1970s-era restriction that drillers say threatens to choke the domestic energy boom.

Murkowski, the Republican chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said she will unveil the bill on Tuesday, although it was uncertain when the measure would get a vote in her committee.

May 4, 2015

Shell’s Arctic return faces hurdle at Seattle port

By Timothy Gardner

(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell’s quest to return to Arctic drilling for the first time in three years could face delays after Seattle ruled that the city’s port must apply for a permit for the company to use it as a hub for drilling rigs.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, a Democrat who has fought against new projects by coal and oil companies, applauded the requirement by the city’s planning department.

Apr 30, 2015

Push to axe U.S. crude export ban strengthens in House: lawmakers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lawmakers in the House of Representatives who are trying to end the decades-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports said on Thursday they were gaining support after a Democrat joined the Republican-led effort. Representative Henry Cuellar became the first Democrat to sign on to a bill launched in February by Representative Joe Barton, a Republican and fellow Texan.

“If we are able to lift the crude oil ban this is going to open up new markets where Texas businesses can create more jobs at home,” said Cuellar, whose district includes the oilfields of Eagle Ford, where much of the U.S. boom in light sweet crude has been taking place over the last half decade.

Apr 29, 2015

McConnell suggests Obama plan to cut power emissions won’t stick

WASHINGTON, April 29 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate majority
leader on Wednesday urged countries to go slowly on committing
to cut carbon emissions in any global agreement later this year,
in his latest effort to cripple President Barack Obama’s clean
power plan.

Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, a Republican from
coal-producing Kentucky, told a congressional panel that as long
he is in charge of the Senate, “this body is not going to be
signing off on any back door energy tax.”

Apr 28, 2015

Groups seek U.S. SEC probe of Shell Arctic drilling risk disclosures

By Timothy Gardner

(Reuters) – An environmental group and a law clinic
petitioned the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to
investigate whether Royal Dutch Shell has adequately
disclosed to investors the risks of oil exploration in the harsh
Arctic waters, the groups said on Tuesday.

The U.S. Interior Department is mulling whether Shell can
drill test wells for crude and gas off Alaska this summer. The
company abandoned exploratory drilling efforts in 2012, an
accident-plagued season in a region with little infrastructure
for emergency response.

Apr 23, 2015

Iran’s military nuclear activity visible under deal -Moniz

WASHINGTON, April 23 (Reuters) – The United States and five
other world powers would be able to detect any military
capabilities of Iran’s nuclear program for at least 10 years
under a framework deal agreed upon earlier this month, the U.S.
energy secretary said on Thursday.

For 10 years at minimum, “we will have a very comfortable
ability to detect any military activity related to the nuclear
program and we would have adequate time to respond,” Secretary
Ernest Moniz, a nuclear physicist who participated in the Iran
talks, said on CNBC about the plan.

Apr 22, 2015

White House seeks greater power over emergency oil stocks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration wants greater authority from Congress to tap the emergency oil reserve to control spikes in global petroleum prices, seeking a more aggressive role for the 40-year-old stockpile.

Authorized by Congress in 1975 after the Arab oil embargo, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) has long been a defensive weapon to protect the U.S. economy from interruptions in crude imports from petroleum-producing countries that are not always friendly to Washington.

Apr 16, 2015

Obama carbon rules to cut coal-related jobs – conservative group

By Timothy Gardner

(Reuters) – U.S. rules to cut carbon emissions could close
more than 90 coal plants and eliminate jobs that support mining
and power stations that the federal government has not fully
considered, a report by the conservative American Action Forum
research group said on Thursday.

The Environmental Protection Agency this summer is due to
adopt its Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions from coal-
fired plants.

Apr 15, 2015

Iraq oil minister says crude exports to hit record in April

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iraq’s oil minister said on Wednesday his country’s oil exports should hit a record of about 3.1 million barrels per day in April as output from the country’s southern fields stays strong and weather conditions improve.

“In April if nothing disturbs exportations we will hit 3.1 (million barrels per day) Oil Minister Adel Abdel Mehdi told reporters.

Apr 2, 2015

Nuclear deal means more Iran oil – just not this year

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – A framework accord to curb Iran’s nuclear program forged on Thursday could eventually allow Tehran to reclaim lost ground in the global oil market. Yet the deal all but guarantees that cannot happen before next year.

By ensuring that sanctions remain intact until Western powers are satisfied Tehran is adhering to the terms, and giving negotiators until June 30 to hammer out a comprehensive agreement, the deal offers little chance for any significant increase in exports until 2016.

    • 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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