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 ...

Read More...

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.

State Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland at the Energy Resources Committee on April 10, 2013.
State Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland at the Energy Resources Committee on April 10, 2013.

Energy Dollars Flow to Texas Politicians

Friendliness toward the drilling industry is typical in Texas, where many lawmakers receive campaign contributions from oil and gas groups or have investments in drilling companies.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 4/1/13

Batheja on a House budget without vouchers or Medicaid expansion, Aguilar on obstacles to a new power plant in El Paso, Permenter on deer breeder regulations, E. Smith’s interview with San Antonio’s Castro twins, Galbraith on proposals for new underground water reservoirs, Root finds holes in a UT regent's appointment files, M. Smith on a planned school rating system that defied recommendations, Murphy maps oil and gas disposal wells in Texas, Dehn on objections to a bigger Medicaid program and Hamilton on efforts to lure gun makers to Texas: The best of our best for the week of April 1-5, 2013.

Field distribution water tank used in the fracking process of natural gas well drilling in DeWitt County, Texas, complete with life buoy and "No Swimming" sign.
Field distribution water tank used in the fracking process of natural gas well drilling in DeWitt County, Texas, complete with life buoy and "No Swimming" sign.

Texas Senators Discuss Fracking Groundwater Rules

Should groundwater districts be allowed to require permits for drilling companies wanting to withdraw water for hydraulic fracturing? Oil companies oppose the idea, and on Tuesday, the Senate Natural Resources Committee debated the issue.

Map: Texas Disposal Wells

Use our interactive map to see more than 7,000 sites across Texas where wastewater from oil and gas operations is being disposed of. Enter your ZIP code to find disposal wells near you.

Dirty truck tire tracks in front of the hookups at a Gulf Coast run fracking fluid disposal well site near Gonzales, TX, Friday, March 22, 2013.
Dirty truck tire tracks in front of the hookups at a Gulf Coast run fracking fluid disposal well site near Gonzales, TX, Friday, March 22, 2013.

As Fracking Proliferates in Texas, So Do Disposal Wells

  • 20Comments

As the water-intensive practice of fracking continues to spread, the amount of wastewater being buried in disposal wells around Texas has skyrocketed. But the wells bring concerns about truck traffic and the possibility of groundwater contamination. 

Brian Schoonover with Water Rescue Services holding a jar of produced water.
Brian Schoonover with Water Rescue Services holding a jar of produced water.

Brackish Water for Fracking Rising Amid Challenges

  • 9Comments

In drilling regions like the Permian Basin, where the water needs of fracking have run up against a historic drought, drillers are increasingly turning to brackish groundwater previously thought too expensive to use.

The Texas Railroad Commission, comprised of Chairman Barry T. Smitherman (center), and commissioners David Porter (left) and Christi Craddick (right) hold an open meeting in Austin, Texas on Jan. 15, 2013.
The Texas Railroad Commission, comprised of Chairman Barry T. Smitherman (center), and commissioners David Porter (left) and Christi Craddick (right) hold an open meeting in Austin, Texas on Jan. 15, 2013.

Bickering Erupts Among Texas Oil Regulators

  • 1Comment

A day before a major legislative hearing about the future of the Railroad Commission, interpersonal tensions between the three commissioners boiled over at an open meeting. The commissioners also voted to approve new rules to make recycling oilfield wastewater easier.

The Texas Railroad Commission, comprised of Chairman Barry T. Smitherman (center), and commissioners David Porter (left) and Christi Craddick (right) hold an open meeting in Austin, Texas on Jan. 15, 2013.
The Texas Railroad Commission, comprised of Chairman Barry T. Smitherman (center), and commissioners David Porter (left) and Christi Craddick (right) hold an open meeting in Austin, Texas on Jan. 15, 2013.

On Railroad Commission Campaign Finance, a Battle Looms

Texas Weekly

The three Texas Railroad Commissioners get their campaign coffers replenished by the industry they regulate, and lawmakers carrying the RRC Sunset legislation seem determined to make a change. The commissioners are equally determined to hold firm.

Employees at Omni Water Solutions working on the "HIPPO," a mobile frackwater recycling unit.
Employees at Omni Water Solutions working on the "HIPPO," a mobile frackwater recycling unit.

In Texas, Recycling Oilfield Water Has Far to Go

In Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale, natural gas companies recycle water as a matter of course. But recycling is only getting started in the Texas oilfields because using freshwater for hydraulic fracturing is cheap.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 3/4/13

The results of the new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll on everything from the top race of 2014 to the gun debate, Aaronson on Medicaid expansion, Aguilar on a financial thaw in the Mexican oil patch, Batheja on cents and sensibility, M. Smith on school choice, Rocha and Dehn on TWIA reform, Galbraith on water and fracking, Murphy’s interactive map of poverty in the state, E. Smith's TribLive interview with House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock and Root on a lobby couple living large and reporting small: The best of our best content from March 4-8, 2013.

A water truck parked near a West Texas drilling rig. Oil and gas companies' use of water for hydraulic fracturing has sparked growing concerns.
A water truck parked near a West Texas drilling rig. Oil and gas companies' use of water for hydraulic fracturing has sparked growing concerns.

In Texas, Water Use for Fracking Stirs Concerns

The amount of water used in hydraulic fracturing has stirred concerns around Texas, especially as the drought wears on. Aware that they are under the spotlight, drillers are testing out recycling and other water-saving techniques.

Pipe sections in Illinois await crews to weld and bury them during construction in 2009. This segment of the $12 billion Keystone pipeline project has already been built; a proposed pipeline through Texas still awaits government permits.
Pipe sections in Illinois await crews to weld and bury them during construction in 2009. This segment of the $12 billion Keystone pipeline project has already been built; a proposed pipeline through Texas still awaits government permits.

Texas Stretch of Keystone XL Pipeline Progressing

The 485-mile Oklahoma-to-Texas leg of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is about half done and should be operational by late this year or early 2014, according to officials from TransCanada, the company building it.

The Big Brown power plant in Fairfield, Texas
The Big Brown power plant in Fairfield, Texas

Sierra Club Takes Aim at Coal Plants in East Texas

A battle over Texas coal is heating up, as the Sierra Club is launching a targeted effort to close down 1970s-era coal plants owned by power-generation giant Luminant. It will be one of the club's biggest anti-coal campaigns in the nation.

Local pumper Bobby Thomason works on cleaning up an old well that was recently worked over to start producing again on a lease in Caldwell County near Luling, January 22, 2012.
Local pumper Bobby Thomason works on cleaning up an old well that was recently worked over to start producing again on a lease in Caldwell County near Luling, January 22, 2012.

Texas Railroad Commission Takes Steps to Modernize

The Texas Railroad Commission regulates one of the most advanced industries in the world — oil and gas drilling. Yet the commission’s software systems, many of its rules and even its name are from another era. But change is coming.

Chairman of the Railroad Commission, Barry Smitherman, talks with Evan Smith at TribLive on December 13, 2012.
Chairman of the Railroad Commission, Barry Smitherman, talks with Evan Smith at TribLive on December 13, 2012.

At Texas Railroad Commission, a Flurry of Rulemaking

Texas Weekly

A veritable flurry of rule-making is under way at the Texas Railroad Commission, involving everything from how oil and gas wells are drilled to the recycling of fracking water.

For Texas Power Grid, a Mixed Report

report published Monday forecasts that the Texas power grid will be a little shakier next summer than previously projected. Thanks to the anticipation of slower power demand, the grid will be a little less shaky in 2014 and beyond.

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.

Texas Regulators Prepare Major Drilling Rule Changes

A major overhaul to oil and gas drilling rules is under way at the Texas Railroad Commission. The initiative has received a cautious welcome from both environmentalists and some industry groups.

About 175 people attended a happy hour held by the Austin Petroleum Exploration Society on Nov. 1. Austin is increasingly becoming an oil and gas hub.
About 175 people attended a happy hour held by the Austin Petroleum Exploration Society on Nov. 1. Austin is increasingly becoming an oil and gas hub.

Despite "Green" Label, Austin a Growing Oil and Gas Hub

Despite its “Keep Austin Weird” slogan and passion for clean energy, Austin is increasingly attracting oil and gas companies thanks to its entrepreneurial bent and reputation as a fun place to live.