Tribpedia: Energy

Tribpedia

Texas has long been a leader in the nation's energy industry. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Texas is the largest petroleum refiner in the U.S., and produces more than three times the natural gas than any other state. The Comptroller's Office reports tax revenues from energy production and use, particularly oil and gas, have ...

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A hydraulic fracturing site in Fort Worth on Sept. 27, 2013.
A hydraulic fracturing site in Fort Worth on Sept. 27, 2013.

Dallas Debate Shows City Power to Limit Drilling

Dallas is considering new rules that industry backers say would effectively prevent all drilling within city limits. The debate demonstrates cities' power to shape the footprint of an industry, providing openings — even in oil-friendly Texas — to groups pushing tighter rules.

Near Sweetwater, construction is complete on transmission lines that will connect windy regions of the state to its population centers. The total cost of all the lines throughout Texas is estimated at nearly $7 billion.
Near Sweetwater, construction is complete on transmission lines that will connect windy regions of the state to its population centers. The total cost of all the lines throughout Texas is estimated at nearly $7 billion.

$7 Billion CREZ Project Nears Finish, Aiding Wind Power

Developers expect to soon flip the switch on the final electrical transmission projects built under the state’s Competitive Renewable Energy Zone initiative. It's a nearly $7 billion effort to connect Texas' windiest, mostly secluded regions to communities that demand more power.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 9/16/13

M. Smith drops in on state textbook hearings, E. Smith interviews Tom Pauken, Satija on water rationing along the Colorado River, Root probes Dan Patrick’s unexpected investment, KUT’s Philpott sorts out clinic closings, Murphy maps the latest census data, MacLaggan on a welcome turn in poverty, Malewitz finds a race for energy efficiency, Hamilton reports on better grades for Sul Ross, Grissom on bad grades for the death penalty, Batheja on Debra Medina’s dilemma, Aguilar on the glum forecast for immigration reform and Aaronson looks at the latest hurdle for Obamacare: The best of our best for the week of Sept. 16-20, 2013.

The Rose, a nonprofit based in Houston, upgraded its building’s windows, light switches and roof, above, to make them more energy efficient.
The Rose, a nonprofit based in Houston, upgraded its building’s windows, light switches and roof, above, to make them more energy efficient.

Texas Eyes PACE Loans to Boost Energy Efficiency

As Texas population surges, state leaders are considering new ways to keep the lights on and the water flowing. A diverse coalition is racing to institute a plan to increase energy and water efficiency upgrades that supporters say could help Texas improve its conservation record and become a model for other states. 

Decommissioned equipment sits in Conroe oilfield in Montgomery County.
Decommissioned equipment sits in Conroe oilfield in Montgomery County.

Battery Thefts Plague Texas Oil and Gas Drillers

In Texas oilfields, thieves are targeting batteries that power pipeline monitors, saddling drillers with big replacement costs and stalling production. Some fear the temptation to steal will only swell as production expands. Police — and oil and gas companies — are looking to crack down on thieves and hoping for help from lawmakers. 

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 9/02/13

Hamilton on UT rolling out some online learning opportunities for non-UT students, Ramsey on the challenges for some political candidates to gain traction, MacLaggan details a county's efforts to ensure the census counts all its residents, Murphy updates our campaign finance analyzer, Aguilar examines a case that could impact property rights along the border, Satija looks at benefits and challenges tied to the Eagle Ford Shale, and Batheja writes about three counties getting the OK to raise vehicle registration fees: The best of our best for the week of Sept. 2 to 6, 2013.

An oil & gas drilling rig is drilling a well for Pioneer Natural Resources in the Eagle Ford Shale formation near Yorktown.
An oil & gas drilling rig is drilling a well for Pioneer Natural Resources in the Eagle Ford Shale formation near Yorktown.

Eagle Ford Shale Region Sees Benefits, Concerns

The drilling boom in the Eagle Ford Shale has transformed communities across the shale's 20-county region, particularly in South Texas. But concerns over the environmental impact persist. That was clear when oil and gas representatives, along with academics, discussed the economic benefits of the boom at a Laredo forum.

San Antonio Considers Shale Drilling's Effect on Ozone

As the ozone rating in San Antonio continues its slow upward march, area officials are beginning to investigate whether oil and gas drilling in the Eagle Ford Shale has anything to do with it. But they remain far from answers in what is sure to be a high-stakes debate over the environmental impact of one of the country’s newest and fastest-growing oil and gas development regions.

 

 

Chairman Barry Smitherman of the Railroad Commission of Texas in his office, May 31, 2013.
Chairman Barry Smitherman of the Railroad Commission of Texas in his office, May 31, 2013.

Texas Railroad Commission Chair Mulls Political Future

Barry Smitherman, the chairman of the Railroad Commission and former chairman of the Public Utility Commission, has earned praise as a smart and competent regulator. But he is also ambitious, and has been moving rightward with recent gun-friendly initiatives. Speculation is rife that he will make a bid for attorney general.

Landowner Stuart Carter, in Central Texas near the town of Luling, has years of abandoned oil equipment on his property. Here, two oil wooden oil tanks that he says date to the 1920s.
Landowner Stuart Carter, in Central Texas near the town of Luling, has years of abandoned oil equipment on his property. Here, two oil wooden oil tanks that he says date to the 1920s.

In Texas, Abandoned Oil Equipment Spurs Pollution Fears

Abandoned oilfield equipment is a common problem in Texas, and the Railroad Commission and lawmakers are trying to plug wells as quickly as possible. But some fear that the recent surge in hydraulic fracturing will set off problematic new encounters with old wells, which can serve as a conduit for water or oil to rise to the surface.

Southern plains bison from the Goodnight heard are raised for meat on Hugh Fitzsimons's SHAPE Ranch in Carrizo Springs, TX, February, 21, 2013.
Southern plains bison from the Goodnight heard are raised for meat on Hugh Fitzsimons's SHAPE Ranch in Carrizo Springs, TX, February, 21, 2013.

West Texas Oilfield Town Runs Out of Water

Barnhart, a small community about 50 miles southwest of San Angelo in West Texas, has run out of water after the town's only municipal water well failed. Local officials say that the water demands of oil drilling are a factor, and they are working hard to fix the problem.

An oil refinery is shown in the Houston Ship Channel in 2011.
An oil refinery is shown in the Houston Ship Channel in 2011.

In Houston, Too Much Fine Dust?

In Houston, air pollution worries usually are about ozone, but scientists are paying increasingly close attention to fine dust. It’s more dangerous than ozone, some say, and the EPA will soon decide whether Houston has too much.

83rd Lege's Regular Session: What Happened, What Didn't

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Lawmakers raced to get several bills passed before the 83rd Legislature's regular session ended. And with Monday's announcement of a special session, their work isn't done. Here's a look at the deals reached and the measures that fell short in the regular session. 

An oil & gas drilling rig is drilling a well for Pioneer Natural Resources in the Eagle Ford Shale formation near Yorktown.
An oil & gas drilling rig is drilling a well for Pioneer Natural Resources in the Eagle Ford Shale formation near Yorktown.

Railroad Commission Adopts Key Well Construction Rule

The Texas Railroad Commission passed a long-awaited rule on Friday to strengthen the construction of oil and gas wells. The commissioners hope to set an example for other drilling states.

Will Texas Lawmakers Save the Railroad Commission?

If lawmakers don't do something quickly, the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates oil and gas in the state, could disappear. A legislative review of the agency failed, and a measure that would keep it alive until 2015 or later doesn't include any reference to the agency.

A worker waits to load a piece of pipe, or casing, that will be lowered into the well at a Chesapeake Energy drill site in Dimmit County, Texas in the Eagle Ford Shale.
A worker waits to load a piece of pipe, or casing, that will be lowered into the well at a Chesapeake Energy drill site in Dimmit County, Texas in the Eagle Ford Shale.

Shale Boom Has Major Impact on Texas' Budget

Besides boosting the economies of remote towns, the shale boom has big implications for the Texas economy and budget. Already, taxes on oil and gas production have soared above the comptroller’s estimates. Analysts say sales and property taxes are also set for gains, if oil prices stay high.

A recently installed, working pump jack sits near wind turbines in the Cline Shale region, near Maryneal south of Sweetwater.
A recently installed, working pump jack sits near wind turbines in the Cline Shale region, near Maryneal south of Sweetwater.

In Texas and Nationwide, Many Shales Left to Explore

Texas is already the top oil-producing state — and excitement about a new era is pervasive, thanks in large part to improved technology. Exploration of new shales like the Cline in West Texas is in full swing, and some oilmen say things have the feel of the old wildcatting days. 

TribLive: A Conversation About the Environment

Full video of Kate Galbraith's 4/22 TribLive conversation about the state of the environment in Texas with Laura Huffman, state director of The Nature Conservancy of Texas, Jim Marston, director of the Texas regional office of the Environmental Defense Fund and Bryan Shaw, chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The Brazos River runs dry in Knox County, Texas, during the summer drought of 2011. At the 2013 Texas Tribune Festival, the chairman of the Texas Water Development Board said that water availability models in the state will have to change, though he didn't say whether the state would look directly at possible effects of climate change in the planning.
The Brazos River runs dry in Knox County, Texas, during the summer drought of 2011. At the 2013 Texas Tribune Festival, the chairman of the Texas Water Development Board said that water availability models in the state will have to change, though he didn't say whether the state would look directly at possible effects of climate change in the planning.

House Panel Hears Testimony on Climate Change

At a House panel hearing Monday, witnesses largely agreed on the causes and magnitude of climate change, and they told legislators to speed up consideration of how to deal with the results of a warming climate.