Energy Correspondent
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Aug 12, 2010

US panel submits carbon-capture development plan

WASHINGTON, Aug 12 (Reuters) – The United States should be
able to develop within 10 years affordable technology to
capture carbon dioxide spewed by coal-fired power plants and
store it underground, a government panel said on Thursday.

Coal-burning power plants are a key source of man-made
greenhouse gas emissions and controlling them is key to the
Obama administration’s efforts to fight global warming and
build a green economy that promises millions of new jobs.

Aug 11, 2010

BP to use oil, gas revenue to secure spill fund

WASHINGTON, Aug 11 (Reuters) – BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will use revenue
from its U.S. oil and natural gas production as collateral for
the $20 billion trust fund established to pay victims of the
Gulf oil spill, but one public advocacy group is worried the
deal makes the government too cozy with BP.

The government released on Wednesday the 40-page document
formally establishing the escrow fund, which requires the
company to contribute $5 billion this year and $1.25 billion
every quarter starting in 2011 through 2013.

Aug 5, 2010

US awards $1 bln for clean coal power plant project

WASHINGTON, Aug 5 (Reuters) – The U.S. Energy Department on
Thursday awarded $1 billion for the FutureGen clean coal power
program and carbon dioxide storage network in Illinois, aiming
to cut emissions of greenhouse gases from coal-fired electric
generating plants.

“This investment in the world’s first, commercial-scale,
oxy-combustion power plant will help to open up the over $300
billion market for coal unit repowering and position the
country as a leader in an important part of the global clean
energy economy,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Aug 3, 2010

Senate Democrats delay action on oil spill bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Democrats on Tuesday postponed this week’s vote on alternative energy legislation that also would have strengthened offshore drilling safety in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to take the bill off the Senate’s schedule until at least mid-September, when Congress returns from a long summer break, dealt a blow to Democrats’ efforts to hold BP fully responsible for the economic damage from the Gulf oil spill.

Aug 2, 2010

U.S gasoline price down first time in 3 weeks-Govt

WASHINGTON, Aug 2 (Reuters) – U.S. retail gasoline prices
fell for the first time in three weeks, the Energy Department
said on Monday, but the savings at the pump could be short-lived
with higher crude oil costs.

The national price for regular unleaded gasoline declined
1.4 cents over the last week to $2.74 a gallon, but still up 18
cents from a year ago, the department’s Energy Information
Administration said in its weekly survey of service stations.

Jul 30, 2010

U.S. House approves oil spill reform bill

WASHINGTON, July 30 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved the toughest reforms ever to offshore energy drilling practices, as Democrats narrowly pushed through an election-year response to BP’s massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Passing the bill as the House leaves for its six-week recess gives lawmakers the opportunity to return home boasting they reined in Big Oil and held BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) (BP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) responsible for the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history.

The vote was 209-193 on the bill supported by President Barack Obama.

But first, Gulf Coast Democrats won an amendment ending the federal moratorium on deepwater drilling for oil companies that met new safety requirements.

The Obama administration’s moratorium would end in November. By the time the full Congress completes action on this offshore drilling bill — and it is uncertain that it will — it could be November or later.

A similar offshore drilling bill is pending in the Senate, without the House’s new provision to end the drilling moratorium. But it was unlikely that measure would pass before that chamber begins its summer recess on Aug. 6.

House Republicans warned the bill would slash U.S. oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, a major supplier of domestic energy, and cut high-paying drilling jobs.

"The Obama moratorium on deepwater drilling has already costs thousands of jobs and this bill will eliminate even more American energy jobs, making it harder and more expensive to produce both energy on and offshore," said Republican Representative Pete Sessions.

"It will drive American companies out of the Gulf," said Republican Representative Kevin Brady. "This is a choice between American energy workers and foreign oil."


Take a Look on U.S. energy bills; [ID:nN28200714]

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For full spill coverage;


Democrats said the bill would make offshore drilling safer for workers, while also protecting the environment and Gulf Coast business from future oil spills like the one caused by BP that damaged wetlands and hurt the region’s fishing and tourism industries.

"This legislation is about safety, about establishing new safety standards, safety for the workers on the rigs," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"If you want to apologize for Big Oil, go right ahead, but the American people are not on your side on this one," Democratic Representative Jim McGovern told his Republican colleagues during a long day of debate.

Before passing the bill, the House also approved an amendment to help smaller oil companies compete for Gulf of Mexico drilling projects under the proposed reforms. The amendment would let them pool their resources in demonstrating they have the financial resources to deal with potential oil spills.

The House vote on the bill was close, as several Democrats representing districts with strong oil industry interests joined Republicans in opposition.

Representative Gene Green, from the oil industry-dominated city of Houston, was one of those Democrats. "There are a lot of things in there that have nothing to do with safety" of offshore drilling operations, Green told reporters.

A sticking point in the Senate is opposition from Republicans and some moderate Democrats to removing all liability limits oil companies would face for economic damages stemming from the BP disaster and any future spills.

Current law requires companies to only cover up to $75 million for damages to local economies. The BP spill could end up costing billions of dollars in lost tourism, fishing and other Gulf Coast revenues.

BP has said it would pay for all costs related to the spill, but many lawmakers worry that the company could put victims through years of litigation.

The Senate energy bill has an added component: new incentives to encourage more natural gas-powered trucks and electric vehicles to clean up the environment. It also provides $5 billion to help improve home energy efficiency.

But Senate Democrats abandoned attempts to attach climate change provisions that would have set mandatory limits on some companies’ carbon dioxide emissions.

Senate leaders plan to hold a test vote next Wednesday to gauge support for the bill, according to a Democratic aide. But Republicans, and possibly some moderate Democrats, might block a full debate, forcing senators to take it up in September.

The House also approved a separate bill on Friday to give whistle-blower protection to workers who report violations in offshore drilling rules.

(Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Sofina Mirza-Reid)

Jul 30, 2010

House begins debating oil spill bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives began debating legislation on Friday to reform the oil industry’s offshore drilling practices in response to the BP oil spill.

Republicans warned the bill will slash U.S. oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, a major supplier of domestic energy, and cut high-paying drilling jobs.

Jul 22, 2010

BP’s partners won’t set up oil spill claims funds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The two oil companies that are BP’s partners in the now-capped oil well told Congress on Thursday they will not set aside money for cleanup costs along the Gulf Coast because it is BP’s responsibility.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp and MOEX, a unit of Japan’s Mitsui & Co, said they do not need to create a special fund to deal with spill-related costs because BP had a 65 percent interest in the well and was its exclusive operator.

Jul 21, 2010

Senate panel backs more electric cars, solar

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Millions of electric-powered vehicles that would slash America’s dependence on foreign oil and cut its carbon emissions would be put on the road under legislation approved by a Senate committee on Wednesday.

The legislation, passed 19-4 in favor, was one of several bills cleared by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that might be folded into a broader energy and climate bill Democrats are struggling to bring to the Senate floor.

Jul 20, 2010

Bush’s interior secretary faults BP on drilling rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The massive oil spill in the U.S. Gulf could have been prevented if BP had followed safety rules governing offshore drilling, the former interior secretary in President George W. Bush’s administration said on Tuesday.

Under fire from accusations of lax oversight during the Bush years, former Interior Secretary Gale Norton said the company was not following rules adopted under her tenure in 2003 and best procedures common with the rest of the industry.

    • About Tom

      "I have covered energy issues from the Reuters Washington bureau since 1997. These days I'm writing about the Obama administration's overhaul of U.S. energy policy, which focuses on developing alternative energy sources like wind and solar power and seeks to reduce petroleum use. However, the United States and the rest of world will rely on oil as a major energy source for the forseeable future. That's why much of my reporting still looks at legislation, regulations and White House policies that affect the oil industry, petroleum supplies and fuel demand."
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