Energy Correspondent
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May 20, 2011

High pump prices cut into April gasoline demand: API

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. gasoline demand fell in April for the time in three months as high pump prices and expensive grocery bills took their toll on drivers, the American Petroleum Institute said on Friday.

Total U.S. crude oil and petroleum product consumption jumped 5.2 percent in April from a year earlier to 19.886 million barrels per day, according to the API’s monthly supply and demand report.

May 19, 2011

Google-backed $5 bln power line clears U.S. hurdle

WASHINGTON, May 19 (Reuters) – Google (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and its
partners cleared the first major hurdle with U.S. regulators on
Thursday to build a $5 billion transmission line that would
transport electricity from wind farms off the Atlantic coast.

The companies backing the project can earn a 12.59 percent
return on their equity investment in the proposed power line,
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled.

May 17, 2011

Senators want FTC to probe refiners for price fixing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of senators on Tuesday will ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether oil refiners are cutting back their gasoline production in order to keep pump prices high.

The senators, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, plan to send a letter to the FTC chairman seeking the probe, citing recent Energy Department data showing that U.S. refiners are operating only at about 82 percent capacity, according to a congressional aide.

May 14, 2011

Obama seeks more drilling in Alaska and Gulf of Mexico

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, under pressure from Republicans and the public to bring down gasoline prices, announced new measures on Saturday to expand domestic oil production in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.

High fuel prices have dented Obama’s ratings in opinion polls and threaten to dampen the economic recovery that is critical to his re-election in 2012.

May 12, 2011

US senators slam Big Oil on tax breaks, huge profits

WASHINGTON, May 12 (Reuters) – U.S. oil executives defended the
billions of dollars they get in tax breaks on Capitol Hill, only to
be chastised by senators, who said their huge profits put them out of
touch with consumers facing high gas prices.

Democratic lawmakers slammed executives on Thursday over their
refusal to give up tax breaks after their companies earned $35
billion during the first quarter of this year as gasoline prices rose
to $4 a gallon.

May 12, 2011

Ending US oil breaks won’t raise fuel cost-Democrats

WASHINGTON, May 12 (Reuters) – Repealing billions of
dollars in tax breaks for Big Oil won’t raise U.S. fuel prices,
Senator Max Baucus said in an opening shot directed at top
petroleum executives summoned to Capitol Hill on Thursday to
defend their surging profits.

Oil prices are set on a world market and the U.S. share of
crude production is less than 10 percent, Baucus said before
the CEOs of some of the most powerful companies in the world.

May 11, 2011

Senators demand CFTC tackle oil speculation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of 17 U.S. senators called on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Wednesday to immediately crack down on excessive speculation in crude oil markets by hastening planned rules to limit concentration.

In a letter to the CFTC’s chairman and commissioners, the lawmakers said they wanted the agency to unveil a plan by May 23 to impose position limits in all energy futures markets, beginning with crude oil. The agency has already proposed such limits as part of the financial reform, but has not finalized them.

May 10, 2011

U.S. sees high oil price cutting into global demand

WASHINGTON, May 10 (Reuters) – Crude prices well over $100
a barrel are starting to take a bite out of global oil use, the
U.S. government’s energy forecasting agency said on Tuesday as
it cut its outlook for this year by the most in 10 months.

The Energy Information Agency’s 120,000 barrel per day
(bpd) reduction in its 2011 demand growth forecast is the
latest sign that analysts are factoring in less fuel use as a
result of gasoline and jet fuel prices that are drawing near
their 2008 peaks. OPEC and the Paris-based Energy Information
Administration will release their reports later this week.

May 9, 2011

US EIA updates oil demand forecast due to price drop

WASHINGTON, May 9 (Reuters) – U.S. Energy Information
Administration analysts scrambled on Monday to update the
agency’s upcoming monthly energy forecast to reflect last
week’s big drop in oil prices, which is expected to result in
higher U.S. and global oil demand.

The EIA report will be released on Tuesday and is one of
three closely watched forecasts that will be issued this week
on global oil supply and demand estimates.

May 5, 2011

Senate panel approves bill for pipeline safety

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Reckless operators of U.S. petroleum and natural gas pipelines would pay higher fines under bipartisan safety legislation passed on Thursday by the Senate Commerce Committee.

The bill is in response to several pipeline accidents in the last year that killed more than a dozen people, destroyed homes and polluted land and water.

    • 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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