Energy Correspondent
Tom's Feed
Mar 24, 2011

U.S. says stuck pipe stopped sealing of BP oil well

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The failure of the underwater blowout preventer that led to the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was caused by a stuck section of drill pipe that blocked cutting devices from shearing and sealing the leaking well, the U.S. government said Wednesday.

The cutting devices, known as blind shear rams, could not sever the pipe, according to a report commissioned by the Interior Department and U.S. Coast Guard. As a result, oil from the BP’s Macondo well flowed freely into the Gulf.

Mar 23, 2011

U.S. examines blowout preventer in BP oil spill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The failure of the underwater blowout preventer that led to the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was caused by the inability of attached cutting devices to shear and seal the pipe of the leaking well, the government said on Wednesday.

The cutting devices, known as blind shear rams, could not sever the drilling pipe because it was off center, according to a report commissioned by the Interior Department and U.S. Coast Guard. As a result, oil from the BP’s Macondo well flowed freely into the Gulf.

Mar 22, 2011

Safety upgrades at US nuke plants worried UN agency

WASHINGTON, March 22 (Reuters) – Two days before the
Japanese earthquake that struck the Fukushima nuclear power
plant, the U.N. atomic watchdog issued a report sounding an
alarm about the safety at some older U.S. nuclear plants.

The report from the International Atomic Energy Agency
questioned whether the utilities licensed to run older U.S.
nuclear reactors were doing enough to upgrade plant safety.

Mar 22, 2011

Lawmakers turn to public on Obama clean energy plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The leadership of the Senate Energy Committee is seeking public input on how to fashion a bill creating the White House’s national standard for generating more U.S. electricity from clean energy sources, delaying the bill’s arrival in Congress.

Back in January, President Barack Obama told Congress in his State of the Union address that by 2035 he wanted 80 percent of U.S. electricity to be generated by clean energy sources, including nuclear power.

Mar 18, 2011

U.S. demand for oil reaches three-year high

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. crude oil and petroleum product demand soared 4.4 percent in February from a year earlier, reaching the highest for that month in three years as an improving economy boosted fuel consumption, the American Petroleum Institute said on Friday.

February’s petroleum deliveries, excluding exports, averaged 19.691 million barrels per day, up 831,000 bpd from a year earlier, the API’s monthly supply and demand report showed.

Mar 17, 2011

U.S. approves first floating deepwater storage in Gulf

WASHINGTON/HOUSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Interior Department said on Thursday it gave final approval for Petrobras to use the first ever deepwater floating production storage facility in the Gulf of Mexico.

The facility will be used when the company begins oil and natural gas production at its Chinook-Cascade project in the near future, the department said. Petrobras is based in Brazil.

Mar 17, 2011

Almost half of U.S. faces spring flooding: NOAA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Almost half the United States — the North Central region, the Midwest and the Northeast — faces a high risk of spring flooding over the next two weeks, government forecasters said on Thursday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in its spring forecast that the stage was set for potential widespread, record flooding, particularly in the North Central United States for the third year in a row.

Mar 16, 2011

U.S. shows growing alarm over Japan nuclear “crisis”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States showed increasing alarm on Wednesday about how Japan was handling its nuclear crisis, urging Americans to leave the area near an earthquake-crippled power plant and relying on U.S. experts for updates.

Without criticizing the Japanese government, which has shown signs of being overwhelmed by the crisis, U.S. officials admitted their call for American citizens to evacuate the area near the Fukushima nuclear plant went further than Japanese advice.

Mar 16, 2011

Bigger evacuation area needed for Japan reactors: NRC

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. nuclear regulator told Congress on Wednesday the United States will not be hit by harmful radiation from Japan’s crisis-hit reactors and that the evacuation area around them is smaller than what it would recommend.

Gregory Jaczko, head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, also said at a House energy and commerce subcommittee hearing that the spent fuel pool at Japan’s troubled number four reactor has no water.

Mar 15, 2011

US energy chief: don’t delay new nuclear plants

WASHINGTON, March 15 (Reuters) – U.S. regulators should
press ahead with approving construction licenses for new
nuclear power plants despite Japan’s nuclear crisis, President
Barack Obama’s top energy official said on Tuesday.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said lessons could be learned
from Japan, where an earthquake-crippled nuclear power plant
exploded and blasted radiation into the air, but that was not a
reason to delay expansion in the United States.

    • 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."
    • Follow Tom