Tribpedia: Energy

Blood Lessons: Could Texas City Tragedy Happen Again?

Firefighters pour water on a smoldering unit following an explosion that rocked the BP refinery Wednesday, March 23, 2005, in Texas City, Texas. The explosion reportedly killed four, and injured 60 people.
Firefighters pour water on a smoldering unit following an explosion that rocked the BP refinery Wednesday, March 23, 2005, in Texas City, Texas. The explosion reportedly killed four, and injured 60 people.

The Texas Tribune and the Houston Chronicle spent months examining whether the nation’s oil refineries learned the lessons of the deadly explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery in 2005 — one of the most studied industrial accidents in U.S. history. Ten years later, their investigation shows, the death toll at U.S. refineries has barely slowed.

Modular concrete canisters containing nuclear waste are shown at the bottom of a storage pit near Andrews, Texas.
Modular concrete canisters containing nuclear waste are shown at the bottom of a storage pit near Andrews, Texas.

West Texas Site Wants Nation's Spent Nuclear Fuel

The country has been trying to figure out for decades what to do with the high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. The operators of a nuclear waste dump in West Texas have told federal officials they'd be happy to take it.

 

Pipes used for fracking are shown in front of a Fasken OIl and Ranch drilling rig outside of Midland on Oct. 8, 2013.
Pipes used for fracking are shown in front of a Fasken OIl and Ranch drilling rig outside of Midland on Oct. 8, 2013.

Texas Bearing Brunt of Drop in Oil Drilling

After a drop in drilling permits and months of plummeting oil prices, nightmares about idled drilling rigs are becoming reality, and Texas oilfields are the hardest hit. Here's the data illustrating how much rig counts are falling, and how Texas oilfields are faring.  

Rule on Natural Gas Rate Hikes is Fuel for Debate

The Texas Railroad Commission recently endorsed changes to how cities can challenge natural gas utility rate increases. Commissioners say the new rule should help cut expenses for ratepayers. But some critics say the rule actually puts cities at a disadvantage. Some state lawmakers are already talking about potential legislation to block the rule.

Lynda Stokes, the mayor of Reno, Texas, testified before the Railroad Commission of Texas on Jan. 21, 2014. She voiced her concern about an increased number of earthquakes around Eagle Mountain Lake.
Lynda Stokes, the mayor of Reno, Texas, testified before the Railroad Commission of Texas on Jan. 21, 2014. She voiced her concern about an increased number of earthquakes around Eagle Mountain Lake.

Amid New Earthquakes, Researchers Head to Irving

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UPDATED: Irving has experienced scores of small earthquakes in recent months, and seismologists are headed to town to help figure out what’s behind the shaking.

 

 

 

 

Some rural Texans, including Jon Salis, have been getting untreated natural gas that can freeze up and, in rare cases, pollute homes. Salis poses at the gas line near his Lake Palo Pinto property.
Some rural Texans, including Jon Salis, have been getting untreated natural gas that can freeze up and, in rare cases, pollute homes. Salis poses at the gas line near his Lake Palo Pinto property.

Raw Gas Fuels Worry for Rural Homeowner

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Thousands of rural Texas homes get their natural gas from "farm taps," hooking up to nearby pipelines that carry raw gas on its way from wells to processing plants. One homeowner shut down his furnace when he learned of the risks.

George P. Bush is sworn in Jan. 2, 2015 as Texas land commissioner as dad Jeb Bush and wife Amanda look on.
George P. Bush is sworn in Jan. 2, 2015 as Texas land commissioner as dad Jeb Bush and wife Amanda look on.

With New Land Commissioner, a New Era for Bushes

Big names in state and national politics gathered in the Texas Senate chamber Friday to welcome George P. Bush, the state's new land commissioner, into the family business. The 38-year-old former investment consultant said that he would “practice the politics of aspiration" in his new post.

 

Ryan Sitton, the incoming Texas Railroad Commissioner, speaks at a Texas Tribune event on Oct. 30, 2014.
Ryan Sitton, the incoming Texas Railroad Commissioner, speaks at a Texas Tribune event on Oct. 30, 2014.

Sitton Leaving Consulting Firm to Avoid Conflicts

Ryan Sitton, the incoming Texas railroad commissioner, says he is following through on a campaign promise to step away from his oil and gas consulting firm and place its assets in a blind trust – an effort aimed at reducing the appearance of a conflict of interest.

 

Glenn Hegar (far right) stands with chief revenue estimators past and future. From left: Dale Craymer, Billy Hamilton and Tom Currah, the incoming estimator.
Glenn Hegar (far right) stands with chief revenue estimators past and future. From left: Dale Craymer, Billy Hamilton and Tom Currah, the incoming estimator.

As Oil Prices Plunge, Texas Eyes Are on Hegar

Incoming Comptroller Glenn Hegar is on the hot seat as a nosedive in crude oil prices – and the increasingly gloomy forecasts that have followed – cast a pall over the next legislative session. Less than two weeks after taking office, Hegar must divine what the future holds.

Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford on June 17.
Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford on June 17.

Regulators Pan Study on Methane Gas in Wells

No one disputes that high levels of methane have shown up in several Parker County water wells. But the source of the gas has stirred a heated debate. The Railroad Commission says a new academic study pointing to drilling isn't enough for it to reopen the case.

State lawmakers, the oil and gas industry and national environmental groups are asking deep questions about Denton, home to two universities, 277 gas wells and now, thanks to a rag-tag group of local activists, Texas’ first ban on hydraulic fracturing.
State lawmakers, the oil and gas industry and national environmental groups are asking deep questions about Denton, home to two universities, 277 gas wells and now, thanks to a rag-tag group of local activists, Texas’ first ban on hydraulic fracturing.

Dissecting Denton: How a Texas City Banned Fracking

State lawmakers, the oil and gas industry and national environmental groups are asking deep questions about Denton, home to two universities, 277 gas wells and, now, thanks to a rag-tag group of local activists, Texas’ first ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. 

Chris Schein of Oncor stood with one of the company's new batteries at Oncor's Environment System Operating Services Facility near Lancaster on June 12, 2014.
Chris Schein of Oncor stood with one of the company's new batteries at Oncor's Environment System Operating Services Facility near Lancaster on June 12, 2014.

State Law Could Short-Circuit Battery Breakthrough

Battery storage could revolutionize the state’s electrical grid, making it more reliable and friendlier to renewable energy, without driving up consumer costs. The problem? It is likely to require a fundamental change in state law.