• U.K. To Ban Sale of Diesel, Gasoline Vehicles By 2040

    The U.K. said it would ban the sale of cars powered by traditional internal-combustion engines by 2040, joining other European regulators in a bold push toward populating roads with electric cars that remain unpopular in the mass market.

    A car being filled up at a gas station in Newcastle, northern England. PHOTO: YUI MOK/ZUMA PRESSThe initiative, announced Wednesday, follows a similar move by France and efforts by several European cities from Munich to Madrid to ban or restrict diesel engines. These moves could play a role in the global tug of war over how people will get from Point A to B in the future.

    Efforts to shift the way cars are powered aren’t new. Regulators set to work in the 1990s on standards intended to drastically reduce the amount of conventional automobiles rolling out of factories. Fuel cell vehicles and electric cars were expected to be dominant by now, but they still face infrastructure hurdles, high costs and concerns about driving range.

    Today, with gasoline or diesel powertrains still powering nearly every one of the 90 million vehicles sold annually across the globe, auto makers are spending heavily to make those engines more efficient even as they slowly introduce electric cars. Rule makers want them to shift focus.

    “We can’t carry on with diesel and petrol cars, not just because of the health problems,...


    Halliburton To Pay 30 Million Dollars To Settle Angola Bribery Case

    Oil field services giant Halliburton will pay nearly $30 million to resolve allegations of bribery in Angola, US regulators announced Thursday.

    Halliburton will pay nearly $30 million in fines and other fees to resolve a bribery case involving Angola's state oil companyFormer Halliburton vice president Jeannot Lorenz also agreed to pay a $75,000 fine for falsifying the company's books and circumventing internal controls, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement.

    Lorenz steered $13 million in contracts to a local company owned by a former Halliburton employee with ties to an official at the Angolan state oil company Sonangol.

    The official then approved lucrative contracts for Halliburton, bringing in profits of $14 million for the Houston-based company, the SEC said.

    In settling the case, Halliburton agreed to surrender the profits, with $1.2 million in interest, and to pay another $14 million in fines.

    The Justice Department, which also enforces US foreign bribery laws, will take no action in this case, Halliburton said in a statement.

    The company said the investigation began in late 2010 when the company itself received an anonymous tip.

    "Halliburton promptly reported the allegation to the Department of Justice, conducted a thorough internal investigation and cooperated with investigations...


    Mates Camp Overnight In Abandoned Scottish Oil Rig

    Dutch photographer Bob Thissen, who is behind the Exploring the Unbeaten Path YouTube channel, decided an abandoned oil rig was the perfect place for a slumber party and went to check it out.

    Ocean Princess Abandoned PlatformHe and his mate Andy chugged over on an inflatable boat, dodged police boats and climbed up to the platform to explore.

    When they managed to find an unlocked door, what they found was fully operational rig that looked as if everyone just down their tools and left one day.

    There was an old doctor's surgery, a site cinema and even a hardware cupboard that looks like it could rival Bunnings with its selection of screws.

    The footage of their adventure was uploaded to YouTube just two days ago, and has already clocked up nearly 45,000 views. 

    The rig, called Ocean Princess, is located in the North Sea off Scotland near Invergordon.

    In 2008 a scaffolder working on the rig fell to his death, plummeting 39m after stepping on to corroded grating.

    But the death was ruled a "tragic accident" and continued operating.

    The platform is now parked in Port of Cromarty Firth which, according to a Bloomberg report from last year, is a bit of a graveyard for "unloved" oil rigs.

    A crash in oil prices caused dozens of rigs to cease operation and it seems Cromarty Firth is where they end up.



    Oil Rallies 3 Percent As U.S. Shale Shows Signs Of Slowdown

    Oil rose 3.3 percent on Tuesday to the highest close in more than a month, a day after U.S. oil producer Anadarko said it would cut capital spending plans and Saudi Arabia vowed to reduce crude exports to help curb global oversupply.

    An oil pump jack pumps oil in a field near Calgary, Alberta, Canada on July 21, 2014. REUTERS/Todd Korol/File Photo (REUTERS)Brent crude futures rose $1.60 or 3.3 percent to settle at $50.20 a barrel, the first time the benchmark closed above $50 since June 6. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures rose $1.55 or 3.3 percent to settle at $47.89 a barrel, the highest close for that benchmark since early June.

    The lower oil prices in June and July may have been affecting U.S. shale production, said Mark Watkins, regional investment manager at U.S. Bank.

    "Companies are not drilling as fast as they had been in the beginning of 2017," he said, "They’re not producing as much because it’s much less profitable with prices in the low $40s."

    On Monday, Anadarko Petroleum Corp posted a larger-than-expected quarterly loss and said it would cut its 2017 capital budget by $300 million because of depressed oil prices, the first major U.S. oil producer to do so.

    Earlier, Halliburton's executive chairman said growth in North America's rig count was "showing signs of plateauing."

    "In the U.S. investors...


    Oil And Gas Students Look For Other Places To Apply Skills

    Some usually highly popular oil and gas certification programs are lacking the students.

    Lonestar College Energy and Manufacturing InstituteThere was a time not long ago in Texas when knowing how to drill for oil and gas was a ticket to a great job.

    But in the past two years, as the price of oil dropped, more than 100,000 Texas oil workers lost their jobs.

    But where did those workers go?

    We found that workers once set on oil careers are re-thinking, and re-tooling, so they can work where the jobs are.

    “I’ve gotten a lot of petroleum engineer friends of mine that wish they got their bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, ”Michael Young, director of advanced technology at Lone Star College’s Energy and Manufacturing Institute in Cypress, said.

    “Because if you’re so specialized in something, if they need that, then you’re really popular. But if you’re not needing it, you don’t have that diversity of portfolio.”

    Young teaches applied mathematics in the community college’s mechatronics and machining program, an oil and gas gateway program.

    For 10 weeks, students learn both theory and practice four days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    On a recent afternoon, students were practicing how to set up equipment that uses sprockets and chains.

    Their instructor for this class, Mike Branch,...


    Greenpeace Activists Protest Near Oil Rig In Norway's Arctic Sea Area

    Environmental activists protested on Friday near an offshore rig contracted by Statoil in the remote Norwegian Arctic, where the firm is looking for oil and gas deposits.

    Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise ship sails next to Statoil's Songa Enabler oil rig during a protest in the Barents sea, Norway, July 21, 2017. Will Rose/Greenpeace/Handout via ReuterserrickThe Nordic country wants to open up northern areas for exploration to offset declining production in the south. Oil and gas production is Norway's leading industry, accounting for 20 percent of its economy.

    From the Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise ship, 11 campaigners launched inflatable boats carrying banners opposing Statoil's Songa Enabler oil rig, 275 km (170 miles) north of the Norwegian coast, in the Arctic Barents sea.

    One of the banners read "“The People Vs. Arctic Oil”.

    "We are doing this because the Norwegian government fails to understand what they are supposed to do according to the Paris agreement," protest leader Sune Scheller told Reuters.

    "The vast majority of the oil and gas has to remain in the ground if we are going to protect our homes from the consequences of climate change," he said before the action.

    Some 29 activists from 19 different countries, including the Philippines, South Africa, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Spain, Finland and Sweden, participated...


    Texas Oilfields Fuel Meth Boom

    Eddy Lozoya never failed a drug test in the three years he hauled water and sand across the West Texas oil patch, even though he used at least $200 a day in cocaine to keep his eyes open on brutally long days behind the wheel of a Kenworth T600 semi-truck.

    Eddy Lozoya during his drug use days. (photo by Eddy Lozoya)Lozoya, like his fellow truckers, found ways to beat the tests and keep driving. Earning six-figure salaries, they consumed cocktails of drugs to push themselves to their physical limits on trips between scattered drilling sites that could last 36 to 48 consecutive hours. They would drive their 35-ton vehicles in tight, single-file formations, blowing air horns when the sleepiest among them began drifting off the road.

    "We always had cocaine," he said.

    Lozoya, a recovering addict at 23, is among the thousands of oilfield workers who have succumbed to mix of money, boredom and drugs that often accompany energy booms. Drillers of all sizes have poured billions of dollars into the prolific Permian Basin this year, rebuilding operations after a two-year oil bust that devastated the region. But for all the economic benefits of the industry's high-paying jobs, the oil rush is again bankrolling an expanding market for illegal drugs.

    Law enforcement officials say drug trafficking, drug abuse and drug-related crimes have...


    Legendary Wildcatter Boone Pickens Suffers Texas-Sized Fall

    Famed oilfield wildcatter, financier and corporate raider T. Boone Pickens is addressing health issues after a "Texas-sized fall" put him in the hospital last week.

    FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2015 file photo, T. Boone Pickens appears on the In a posting to LinkedIn, the 89-year-old Pickens said he is still mentally strong but that as far as his life goes, "I clearly am in the fourth quarter."

    Pickens fell in the early morning hours of July 11 and was admitted to Baylor Hospital in Dallas, spokesman Jay Rosser said Friday. He was released from the hospital Monday and is in daily physical and speech therapy, while still engaged with the office of his Dallas investment firm, BP Capital, and his various business entities, Rosser said.

    Pickens said he suffered several strokes over the Christmas holiday. He said he's regained 90 percent of his speech through aggressive therapy and determination.

    "Many of those who face adversity like this at 89 choose to hide it," he wrote. "My life has always been an open book. Some chapters of my life have been great. Others not so much."

    Pickens built one of the country's biggest independent oil companies, Mesa Petroleum, before moving on to BP Capital and founding clean...


    Ireland-Call For Screenings Of Oil Rig Workers

    The asbestos-related cancer death of a former oil rig worker should be highlighted in the hope those who did similar work are identified and screened.

    Asbestos-related cancer death of a former oil rig worker sparks concernsCork City coroner Philip Comyn backed a jury’s recommendation yesterday that the case be brought to the attention of the authorities after they returned a verdict of death due to occupational disease.

    An inquest was told James O’Brien, 64, from Limerick, a non-smoker, died at Cork University Hospital  on June 6, 2016, just months after he was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma — a rare form of cancer of the lining of the abdomen.

    Mesothelioma normally affects the lungs as a result of inhalation of asbestos dust or fibres. But the inquest into Mr O’Brien’s death was told he was exposed to asbestos and other hazardous materials during his time as a roustabout, or general labourer, on oil rigs off Ireland in the 1980s.

    Thomas Neville, who worked with Mr O’Brien on some of the first rigs to drill on the Porcupine Bank off the west coast during the 1980s, said rig workers were supplied with standard safety equipment, including basic breathing masks.

    He said roustabouts faced many hazards, including spray-painting in confined spaces and stripping old lining or cladding from pipes which crumble to the...


    Schlumberger Sees Global Recovery

    Top oilfield services provider Schlumberger Ltd said on Friday it would redeploy all of its pressure pumping fleet by early next quarter as demand rises in North America and most of its international markets.

    The exterior of a Schlumberger Corporation building is pictured in West Houston January 16, 2015.North American shale producers have ramped up drilling in recent quarters as oil prices bounced back from their lows in 2016, when they hit about $27 per barrel.

    Crude in the second quarter averaged $48.15 per barrel, and companies added 506 onshore rigs in the past year, according to a closely watched Baker Hughes report.

    Schlumberger and rivals such as Halliburton and Baker Hughes GE Co , which help explorers locate oil and prepare drill-wells, are bringing back equipment they stacked during the downturn.

    Houston-based Schlumberger said on Friday that North American revenue jumped 18 percent and international revenue rose 4 percent in the latest quarter from the preceding.

    Chief Executive Paul Kibsgaard said on an earnings call he was "somewhat positively surprised" in terms of activity in international markets.

    "The market has viewed international with...


    Jobs Coming Back To Oilfields After Years Of Decline

    Oil jobs are coming back to the U.S. after three years of mass layoffs, according to new federal employment data.

    Smiling Female Engineer in an Oilfield (Shutterstock/branislavpudar)Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows the oil industry added 2,500 jobs so far this year, reversing a 27-month-long decline in oil employment. The industry shed 206,000 jobs after oil prices collapsed in summer 2014.

    Additional hiring seems likely as U.S. hydraulic fracturing companies are now efficient enough to compete when oil prices are low, according to a new report by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fracking jobs have risen by 142 percent since May 2016.

    Researchers estimate that a staggering 215,000 U.S. energy workers lost their jobs and 125 companies went bankrupt during the Obama administration due to strict regulations, slow permitting and low oil prices. Only 13 percent of those laid off were able to find work again in...


    BHP To Expand U.S. Onshore Work

    The Australian energy and mining giant pushed back against investors in April that wanted to shift focus away from U.S. oil.

    Months after pushing back against investors wary of its U.S. oil portfolio, Australian company BHP Billiton announces plans to increase its onshore rig count. Photo courtesy of BHP BillitonU.S. oil field development extends into 2018 on the back of increased spending, but total petroleum production falters on field maturation, BHP Billiton said.

    Onshore U.S. production for the Australian energy and mining giant is expected to decline because the development of new activity won't be enough to offset natural decline from existing assets. Nevertheless, CEO Andrew Mackenzie was bullish about the potential for offshore work and onshore exploration and production.

    "The recently approved Mad Dog phase 2 project will extend low-risk oil volumes as supply tightens while in the near-term, onshore U.S. development activity is to increase with up to 10 rigs planned for the 2018 financial year," he said in a statement.

    The company holds a 23.9 percent stake in the Mad Dog project in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a program controlled by British energy company BP....


    Longview, Texas Job Fair Shows Upturn For Area's Energy Industry

    The quarterly job fair sponsored Tuesday by the Longview News-Journal showed another sign the area's oil and gas industry is recovering.

    ETX Job Fair and Expo

    Three employers representing the oil industry — QES Pressure Control, Energy Weldfab and Halliburton — were among 21 vendors participating in the job fair that drew almost 400 people to the Longview Exhibit Center at the Longview Fairgrounds.

    The oil industry is coming back, said Dee Collinsworth, human resources manager for QES in Oklahoma City.

    "We're growing, expanding," she said.

    QES in Longview has about six openings for coiled tubing and snubbing operators, said Longview District Manager Daniel Baker. Coiled tubing operations have capabilities that include well intervention, plugging and abandonment, and snubbing units run tubing under pressure, according to a company description.

    Entry-level jobs at QES start at $16 an hour, Baker said.

    QES, which bought the former Great White Pressure Control in Longview in January 2016, participated in a local job fair two years ago before oil prices plummeted and the industry collapsed, Collinsworth said. QES has about 30 employees in...


    Today in History: Tampico Oilfield Fire Of 1921

    Today we look back at an oil field fire that occurred in Tampico, Mexico on July 19, 1921. The fire burned for more than five days before it was finally brought under control. 

    Tampico Oilfield Fire Of 1921

    From the NFPA Quarterly v.15, no.2, 1921:

    The well in the foreground came in on the morning of July 19 flowing more than 40,000 barrels of oil daily, accompanied by considerable gas.

    While the crew was still working on this well, the well shown at the right of the picture came in, flowing more than 40,000 barrels daily. The oil was carried by the wind to the boilers of the well seen dimly in the background.

    The boilers of this well had previously been shut off to avoid endangering the first well but the fire under them was probably not entirely extinguished.

    The oil was ignited and before the crew could close the valve the heat became so intense that the men were compelled to withdraw.

    The crew of the well in the foreground managed to get their tools out and were closing the valve when this well caught from the flames and the heat of the other. As a result of the heat from the two wells various bunkhouses and six rigs were...


    Now That Oil And Gas Jobs Are In Demand Again, Will Workers Return?

    Zach Scott was a year old and his brother was still in the womb when their dad got laid off from Halliburton in 1986, the year after oil prices tanked and ushered in the largest industry downturn until, some argue, the current one.

    Zach Scott, right, greets Michael Krepsik and Ginger Randall in the Young Professionals in Energy gathering at Cobblehaus Brewing Company in Coraopolis.Within two years, 20 percent of the workers in the oil and gas industry had lost their jobs. Many of them did not return and they discouraged their children from going into the industry — creating a generational gap that is now coming home to roost.

    Mr. Scott’s father did neither of those things. He kept coming back to the oil and gas fields, despite the multiple layoffs that used to count as battle scars for industry veterans.

    Cautiously, things appear to be turning up again, leaving companies scrambling for workers and wondering if those they have let go will return. If those former employees don’t come back, will the industry known for bluster, swearing and endless hours away from home be able to recruit the hot-shot smarts it needs to move forward?

    At the end of each cycle,...


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