A $10-per-barrel oil tax proposed by President Barack Obama will be "dead on arrival" when it reaches Congress, said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. The tax would help fund investments in clean transportation. "The president should be proposing policies to grow our economy instead of sacrificing it to appease progressive climate activists," Ryan said.
Plummeting oil prices and slowing oil activity in North Dakota have caused losses at a new, $430 million refinery, MDU Resources said. The Dakota Prairie Refinery near Dickinson, N.D. -- a project of MDU Resources and Calumet Specialty Products -- began selling fuel in May but has lost money and also had "down time and equipment challenges," MDU spokeswoman Laura Lueder said.
A bipartisan bill to make broad changes in US energy policies hit a wall in the Senate on Thursday. Senators voted to stop the measure from advancing in a dispute over an amendment with funding to help clean the contaminated water supply of Flint, Mich. "We are confident we can work out the remaining issues through good-faith negotiations, including a solution for the water crisis in Flint," said bill co-sponsor Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
A proposal to ship heavy crude oil by rail at one of Phillips 66's refineries in California has only grown in importance due to the long-term shutdown of a ruptured oil pipeline, a company official said. The company proposed the rail project in 2013 for its Santa Maria refinery in Arroyo Grande, Calif. The project's manager, Jim Anderson, said the facility has become "more urgent" since the shutdown in May of a Plains All American Pipeline line that moved oil from ExxonMobil's Santa Ynez offshore oilfield.
A new federal standard for offshore drilling blowout preventers is nearing finalization. The rule, driven by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, was sent for review to the White House Office of Management and Budget on Thursday by the Interior Department. The rule would require design standards to be verified by third parties, more performance monitoring onshore and new operation engineering standards.
Giving the oil and natural gas industry more freedom to innovate and collaborate will help increase jobs, boost the nation's general economy and support environmental protection, an American Petroleum Institute official said. Erik Milito, director of API's upstream and industry operations, called on the Obama administration to reject heavier federal regulation on the industry during its final year. "By continuing to rely on industry innovation, basing decisions on sound science and providing for oil and gas energy opportunities, we can build on the success of the past decades," Milito said.
Oil production is dropping in the Eagle Ford and Bakken Shale plays, Platts Bentek reported. The analytics firm said crude oil production from the Bakken's North Dakota section was 1.2 million barrels per day in November, down about 6% from November 2014. Average production in the Eagle Ford in South Texas fell about 7%, to 1.5 million barrels per day, from December 2014 to December 2015.
The shale industry could challenge new rules set by Pennsylvania's Environmental Quality Board, which will regulate the effects of surface oil and natural gas drilling. The new standards include restrictions on open-air storage pits and new rules for overseeing wells and cleaning up spills.
Year-end shale reserves increased significantly in 2015, led by the Utica Shale, said a report from Gulfport Energy. Reserves grew 83% from 933.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalents to 1.7 trillion cubic feet from 2014 to 2015, the company said.
Environmental groups are urging President Barack Obama to rethink his support for offshore oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, sensing a more sympathetic ear since his rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. The Interior Department is working on rules for sales of drilling rights from Virginia to South Carolina in the next several years. More than 100 local East Coast governments have passed resolutions against the sale, while 2 million petitions opposing the sale were delivered to the White House this week.
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