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Years of work yields exotic ceramic that will save fuel

Yahoo Finance -- NISKAYUNA, N.Y. (AP) -- For nearly three decades Krishan Luthra stubbornly labored away in a General Electric research lab on a long-shot effort to cook up a new type of ceramic that few consumers will ever see or use.

Now this obscure material, which is lightweight, strong and can handle extreme temperatures, is being built into the bellies of jet engines and promises to save billions of gallons of fuel in the coming decades by reducing weight and allowing engines to run hotter.  (go to article)

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NC conservation groups show cautionary films on fracking

Associated Press -- Environmental advocacy groups are touring North Carolina with a series of short cautionary films about hydraulic fracturing drilling.

The groups are showing the documentaries in Fayetteville on Saturday. By the end of the tour that runs through June, they will have visited a dozen communities from Wilmington to Asheville. They say the documentaries show the health and environmental effects of the drilling method also known as fracking.  (go to article)

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Woman chains self to oil drilling support ship in Seattle

Emirates 24/7 -- A woman has chained herself to the Arctic Challenger, a support ship for Royal Dutch Shell's exploratory oil drilling plans, Bellingham police said.

KCPQ-TV said the ship is anchored in Bellingham Bay, north of Seattle.

A police spokesman said officers talked to the ship, the port and the woman and won't be trying to remove her. The ship won't leave for several days.

Earlier, an official with Washington state's Department of Natural Resources said activists protesting Shell's plans for exploratory drilling in the Arctic did some damage to a Seattle dive park.
 (go to article)

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US officials: Iran enters Iraqi fight for key oil refinery

The News and Observer -- Iran has entered the fight to retake a major Iraqi oil refinery from Islamic State militants, contributing small numbers of troops —some are operating artillery and other heavy weapons — in support of advancing Iraqi ground forces, U.S. defense officials say.

Two U.S. defense officials said Iranian forces have taken a significant offensive role in the Beiji operation in recent days, in conjunction with Iraqi Shiite militia. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke Friday on condition of anonymity.

One official said Iranians are operating artillery, 122mm rocket systems and surveillance and reconnaissance drones to help the Iraqi counteroffensive.

The Iranian role was not mentioned in a new U.S. military statement asserting that Iraqi security forces,  (go to article)

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Oil, gas pipeline accidents surging across U.S.

Detroit News -- The oil pipeline leak that fouled a stretch of California coastline this week reflects a troubling trend in the nation's infrastructure: As U.S. oil production has soared, so has the number of pipeline accidents.

Since 2009, the annual number of significant accidents on oil and petroleum pipelines has shot up by almost 60 percent, roughly matching the rise in U.S. crude oil production, according an analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

Nearly two-thirds of the leaks during that time have been linked to corrosion or material, welding and equipment failures, problems often associated with older pipelines, although they also can occur in newer ones. Other leaks were blamed on natural disasters or human error, such as a backhoe striking a pipeline.

Industry officials and federal  (go to article)

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The Weird and Wacky Driving Laws from all around the world!

GasBuddy Blog --
Image From ..I stumbled across some interesting, curious, and at times funny driving laws that while more than likely not enforced, STILL are on the books in these countries and states.  The Huffington Post listed 50 such laws.  Some were simply beyond belief and I left those off.  Give these a read.·         All Danish drivers have to check under their car before they even start the car.  The reason:  To see if there’s a person under it. ·         Eating or drinking anything while driving in Cyprus is illegal………even water! ·         In Luxembourg, all cars must have windshield wipers, even if they don’t have a windshield. ·         You can be fined in Russia for driving a dirty car. ·         It is illegal to run out of fuel in Germany on the Autobahn.  (go to article)

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Scott Walker in Oklahoma: End US ban on crude oil exports

Wisconsin State Journal -- OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma — In one of the top oil-producing states in the country, Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday called to end the U.S. ban on crude oil exports.
On domestic energy, Walker supports fracking and had previously supported building an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin to create jobs. Mining company Gogebic Taconite, which donated $700,000 to Wisconsin Club for Growth, a supporter of Walker during his 2012 recall election, had planned to build a massive mine in that area but recently decided it was unfeasible to do so.
Walker was accused earlier this year of flipping his position on ethanol. He said in March at the Iowa Ag Summit that he was opposed to federal ethanol mandates, but would keep them in place for farmers for now. In 2006 he called for an end to mandates, but Walke  (go to article)

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Jobless benefits surge in Alberta as oil shock takes vicious toll

The Globe and Mail -- Lower oil prices are triggering a jump in jobless benefits in Canada’s main oil-producing provinces.
Across the country, the number of people getting employment insurance benefits rose 1.1% in March from a month earlier, Statistics Canada said Thursday. The level is 2,600 higher than a year earlier, marking the first year-over-year increase in 5 years.
Alberta saw an 8.9% monthly increase, leading growth for the 3rd month in a row. It’s not just Alberta, though – Saskatchewan and Newfoundland also recorded gains. These are the 3 provinces whose economies are most exposed to the oil shock.
The increase was expected. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said this week that we probably “still haven’t seen the full impact of the oil price shock reflected in the employment data.
The jump refle  (go to article)

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U.S. oil drillers add rigs in Niobrara and Eagle Ford -Baker Hughes

Haynesville.com-Reuters -- Oil drillers added rigs in two U.S. shale basins this week, data showed on Friday, the strongest sign yet that higher crude prices are coaxing producers back to the well pad after a slump in activity of nearly six months.

Overall, U.S. drillers reduced the number of active rigs by just one this week, oil services company Baker Hughes Inc said. It was the 24th straight weekly decline, bringing the total down to 659, the lowest since August 2010.

In the latest week, drillers added three oil rigs in the Niobrara basin in Wyoming and Colorado and two in the Eagle Ford in South Texas, according to the closely followed report. That brought the total number of active rigs up to 22 in the Niobrara and 89 in the Eagle Ford.

The Eagle Ford is the nation’s second biggest shale oil field, while...  (go to article)

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Chinese trader Unipec sells crude stored on megatanker as prices rise

Reuters -- Chinese trader Unipec has sold 2 million barrels of crude held for months on one of the world's largest tankers, industry sources said, as rising oil prices prompt commodity firms to offload cargoes from floating storage.

Storing crude on unused tankers re-emerged as a trading strategy towards the end of last year when weak demand and strong supply weighed on prices for delivery in the near future, while contracts for later delivery rose to a premium, a market structure known as contango.

But with a narrowing contango in benchmark Brent crude , traders are trying to sell oil they have stored, re-injecting fuel into an already oversupplied market.

Unipec, the marketing arm of Chinese oil giant Sinopec , sold 2 million barrels of Nigerian Qua Iboe crude for delivery in July to ....  (go to article)

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Drop That Nozzle: New Jersey Resists Push for Self-Service at the Gas Pump

NY Times -- Perhaps no state in the nation is as defined by cars and car culture as quintessentially suburban New Jersey. The first drive-in movie theater, the sprawl of malls and highways — “What exit?” — and a very famous traffic jam.

But there is one thing New Jersey drivers don’t do that is second nature to drivers almost everywhere else: Pump their own gas.

And please don’t ask them to.

New Jersey has banned self-service gas stations for nearly 70 years, spawning boastful bumper decals (“Jersey Girls Don’t Pump Gas”) and at least one “how many Jersey blondes does it take to fill a tank of gas?” video on YouTube.

Since the 1970s, the only other state to do so has been Oregon. But it took the first steps to reverse that in April, when the House of Representatives passed a bill allowing ...  (go to article)

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Murray, Alpha notify West Virginia coal miners of layoffs Read more: http://triblive.com/business/h

TRIBLIVE -- More than 2,200 employees of coal mines in three states learned Friday they were losing their jobs as companies reacted to low prices and demand from the power sector that the government predicts will keep dropping.

Murray Energy Corp. said it was laying off 1,417 workers in West Virginia, including 588 employees of a Monongalia County mine that it bought from Cecil-based Consol Energy Inc. Murray idled that former Blacksville mine March 31, expecting it to be temporary, but told the state Friday in a mandated notice that the layoffs will be indefinite.

In addition to the West Virginia jobs, the St. Clairsville, Ohio-based company said it planned to lay off 162 workers in Illinois and 249 in Ohio. Murray had about 7,500 employees before the layoffs, CEO Robert Murray said this week.  (go to article)

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New Texas law enables driller to frack gas wells in Denton for first time since city ban

US News -- A North Texas city whose fracking ban prompted state lawmakers to limit such local power says a driller has revealed plans to resume fracking gas wells in the city.

According to documents obtained through an open records request, the Denton Record-Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1IQ9kPl) reports Vantage Energy notified the city early Tuesday of its plans to begin fracking on Denton's west side, beginning next Wednesday. The notice came the morning after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law Monday afternoon that limits local authority to restrict fracking.

During last November's election, Denton voters banned fracking within the borders of the city of about 125,000 residents, eliciting immediate vows by oil and gas drillers to topple that ban. The state and the drillers filed lawsu  (go to article)

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Black Smoke Rises From Philadelphia Refinery Fire

NBC -- Heavy smoke could be seen pouring from a South Philadelphia refinery Friday evening.

The fire broke out at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery's Girard Point facility (commonly known as the Sunoco Refinery) along W Penrose Avenues around 5:40 p.m., said said refinery spokeswoman Cherice Corley.

"You see the big cloud of black smoke over hear in the skyline," said Jamie Shirley who lives nearby.

There were no reports of injuries in the one-alarm fire, said Philadelphia firefighters.

As SkyForce10 hovered overhead, crews could be seen dousing the flames, which burned along Schuylkill River. After about 20 minutes, crews appeared to have knocked down the flames and smoke seemed to recede. After an hour, the fire was declared under control.

Corley said the fire remained contained t  (go to article)

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5 Coolest 2015 Cars That You Can Buy for Less Than $18,000

MainStreet.com -- NEW YORK (MainStreet) — A super-sexy Bugatti Veyron sports car will cost you about $2.6 million, while a cutting-edge Tesla Model S electric vehicle will set you back some $70,000. But here's a look at some cool 2015 vehicles you can drive off of dealers' lots for less than $18,000.

"These cars all have a degree of coolness that belies their price. A lot of people will look at vehicles on the list and say: 'Wow, I'm surprised that car's not more expensive,'" says Jack Nerad of Kelley Blue Book, which recently released its 12th annual Coolest Cars Under $18,000 rundown.

KBB editors compile the subjective list by rating all models the firm calculates U.S. consumers are paying around $18,000 or less for on average.

Nerad says such budget vehicles have come a long way from their days of AM-  (go to article)

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Don't disable your airbag while you wait for recall list

.13wmaz.com -- It is the largest auto recall in US history and it's also sparking a lot of confusion and honestly-- fear. No one likes the idea of thinking their airbag may or may not be part of the recall and could cause them harm.

The truth is, It could take years for Takata to replace air bags in 34 million cars. Just think of those numbers. And it there's no deadline for car manufacturers to tell drivers their vehicle is included in the expanded recall much less fix the airbags.

Right now, testing on Takata airbags is ongoing at locations both here and abroad, but because of limited supplies, the fixes will focus first on states with humid weather.

Takata still has not named a "root cause," but the National Highway Traffic safety administration believes moisture in high humidity regions leaks  (go to article)

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Choppy Slick Is Harder to Clean up; More Oily Animals Found

ABC News -- Los Angeles-A 10-square-mile oil slick off the coast of California is thinner than a coat of paint and it's becoming harder to skim from choppy waters, officials said Friday as more dead animals were discovered on the Santa Barbara coast.

There's no estimate to how much damage the spill caused, but a dead dolphin was found in Santa Barbara Harbor and three dead pelicans were recovered.

Two sea lions, an elephant seal and six pelicans have been rescued, said Michael Ziccardi, director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network.

Workers wearing yellow protective suits, rubber gloves and face masks scrubbed pelicans with toothbrushes in a soapy bath at the International Bird Rescue.

The disaster, which led officials to close Refugio and El Capitan state beaches just before Memorial Day weekend,  (go to article)

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G.M. Inquiry Said to Find Criminal Wrongdoing

The New York Times -- Justice Department investigators have identified criminal wrongdoing in General Motors’ failure to disclose a defect tied to at least 104 deaths, and are negotiating what is expected to be a record penalty, according to people briefed on the inquiry.

A settlement could be reached as soon as this summer. The final number is still being negotiated, but it is expected to eclipse the $1.2 billion paid last year by Toyota for concealing unintended acceleration problems in its vehicles, said the people, who did not want to be quoted because the negotiations weren’t complete.

G.M.’s eagerness to resolve the investigation — a strategy that sets it apart from Toyota, which fought prosecutors — is expected to earn it so-called cooperation credit, one of the people said. That credit could translate  (go to article)

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Financial settlement nears for victims of Lac-Mégantic rail disaster

Montreal Gazette -- Victims of the 2013 rail disaster in Lac-Mégantic will be consulted in the coming days on a $300M financial settlement that is being proposed by the railway company that was involved.
The Montreal Maine & Atlantic Canada Co. announced by news release on Friday that it will hold information sessions on the compensation package at the Centre sportif Mégantic in Lac-Mégantic on May 27 and on June 3 to explain the details. Victims or their designated relatives will be asked to vote on the package on June 9. Victims were mailed detailed packages, the news release said.
Victims claiming post-traumatic stress have until Aug. 31 to fill out a medical claim form.
If the victims and their representatives approve the package, and if the package is then approved by the courts in Canada and the U.S.,  (go to article)

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Electric Vehicles Come Out Ahead Of Gas Cars On Taxes--Except In Two States:

Yahoo News. -- Several states have adopted or proposed special taxes and fees for electric-car drivers. which are supposed to make up for lost revenue from taxes on the fuel their drivers don't buy.  (go to article)

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Pipeline spill could further hamper big California oil projects

Downstream Today (Reuters) -- Hundreds of barrels of oil that gushed from a ruptured coastal pipeline in scenic California this week could stiffen opposition to large oil projects that companies want to build in the state, notably those to deliver cheap U.S. crude on trains.

Several proposed oil-by-rail offloading terminals in California were already being contested in light of several fiery crude train derailments since 2013 that have stoked safety concerns about spills and explosions.

Now, the sight of oil washing up on the shores of Santa Barbara could further galvanize rail opponents after up to 2,500 barrels of crude leaked on Tuesday from a pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline LP.

"The more oil we're moving through the state, the greater the risk of these sorts of accidents," said Paul Cort, an attor  (go to article)

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Oil Prices Drop Ahead of Holiday Weekend

Fox -- Oil fell more than 1 percent on Friday as a rallying dollar and profit-taking ahead of a long U.S. holiday weekend cut short a two-day run-up in crude prices.

Heating oil, a proxy play for diesel, and gasoline slipped more than 1 percent too on concerns of outsized U.S. supply despite forecasts for a spike in driving this weekend and through Monday's Memorial Day holiday.

Worries that fewer U.S. oil rigs were being idled after a broad rebound in crude prices since early April further weighed on sentiment.

U.S. crude was down 95 cents at $59.77 a barrel by 11:45 a.m. EDT (1545 GMT). But for the week, it was expected to rise slightly, gaining for a 10th straight week.  (go to article)

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U.S. Seen Sticking to 'Blend Wall' in Long-awaited Biofuels Mandate

Downstream Today (Reuters) -- U.S. authorities are set to shake up the nation's complex and contentious renewable fuels policy in the coming days, issuing requirements expected to affirm that use of ethanol in motor fuels has, for now, hit a saturation point.

The EPA has pledged by June 1 to release proposals for the amount of ethanol, biodiesel and cellulosic fuels - made of plant waste - that must be mixed into motor fuel for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, targets that are up to a year and a half behind schedule.

At stake, say lobbyists and industry groups, is the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a bedrock of two presidential administrations meant to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil and shift the nation toward cleaner, domestic energy sources.

For the corn lobby, which represents corn-based e  (go to article)

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100 million car recalls since the start of 2014

CNN Money -- There have been roughly 100 million vehicle recalls in the United States since the start of last year.

And most of the affected cars have yet to be repaired.

There were a record 74.2 million recalls in 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

And there have already been 25 million recalls in 2015, according to Kevin Pollack, vice president for Stericycle ExpertSolutions, which helps automakers manage recalls.
 (go to article)

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Consumers to save $600 at gas pump, but spend it on costlier imported goods

CBC News -- Analysis of savings on gasoline shows there's little left as food and clothing get more expensive
We may be saving money at the gas pump, but the increased cost of food and consumer goods is likely wiping out the benefits for most Canadian families.
That's the conclusion of a report by TD Bank on the impact of lower gas prices on retail sales.
TD estimates the average Canadian household will save $600 at the pumps in 2015, but lose an equivalent amount because of the low Canadian dollar which is making imported food, consumer goods and services more expensive.
The news comes as Statistic Canada data shows retail sales volumes fell 1.6% in the Q1 of this year
However, the trend is improving. Canadian retail sales rose a stronger-than-expected 0.7% in dollar terms in March building a 1.5% g  (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia foresees fossil fuel phase-out this century

Financial Times -- Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude exporter, could phase out the use of fossil fuels by the middle of this century, Ali al-Naimi, the kingdom's oil minister, said on Thursday.
The statement represents a stunning admission by a nation whose wealth, power and outsize influence in the world are predicated on its vast reserves of crude oil
 (go to article)

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Obama Effort to Control Emissions May Double Coal Plant Closures

Bloomberg -- A new government analysis of President Barack Obama’s signature effort to fight climate change affirms what critics suspected: the proposal could further weaken an already battered coal industry.

Electricity generation from the carbon-intensive fossil fuel would fall by 90 gigawatts, more than twice the decline government analysts had predicted as recently as April, according to a report released Friday by the Energy Information Administration.

Most of the coal-plant closures would come by 2020, when the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to cut carbon dioxide emissions would kick in. Consumers may also take a hit as electricity prices would increase as much as 7 percent on average by 2025, partly because of the costs of building new power plants.

“In short, EIA confirms EPA’s  (go to article)

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Oil Platform in Gulf of Mexico Shuts In Production After Fire

Bloomberg -- A platform gathering oil in the Gulf of Mexico shut in about 2,200 barrels a day of output after a compressor caught fire.

The Texas Petroleum Investment Co. platform in Breton Sound Block 21, near the southeastern Louisiana coast, evacuated 28 workers without injury after the compressor fire, according to a U.S. Coast Guard statement. A Coast Guard boat crew was fighting the blaze, and a 1.4-mile rainbow sheen was “drifting southwest of the platform.”

The platform gathers crude from about 50 to 60 wells and sends it to shore by pipeline, David Marguiles, a spokesman for the Houston-based company, said by e-mail. There were about 100 barrels of crude in storage on the platform at the time of the fire.

The fire occurred in Louisiana waters, Eileen Angelico, spokeswoman for U.S. Bureau  (go to article)

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US oil settles $1 lower, at $59.72 a barrel

Reuters -- WTI oil futures settled modestly lower on Friday after Baker Hughes reported its weekly U.S. oil rig count fell by just 1 rig.
The rig count has fallen every week since Dec. 12, though the pace of declines has fallen recently. The number of rigs drilling for crude in U.S. oilfields stands at 659, compared with 1,528 a year ago
 (go to article)

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Chinese Drivers Pay for Roads. Why Can't Americans?

Bloomberg -- Despite this country's much lower per capita income, Chinese drivers pay noticeably more in fees per mile than American drivers do. The higher fees encourage people to use high-speed rail and other alternatives for getting around. And the money finances new and more efficient investments in highways.
In the U.S., we are unwilling to levy either dedicated taxes (the federal gas tax hasn't been raised in more than 20 years) or charge tolls and other user fees.
Furthermore, many other kinds of changes are needed before the U.S. can move forward with an ambitious infrastructure program.
But Congress is kidding itself if it believes that it's possible to substantially expand investments for the future without asking users to pay more.  (go to article)

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Canadian Oil’s Premium for Quick Delivery Grows as Stocks Drop

BOE Report (Bloomberg) -- Buyers of Canadian heavy crude who need the commodity right away are paying a widening premium as inventories plunge.
Heavy Western Canadian Select for May delivery sold for $49.02 a barrel, $2.49 more than for delivery in August, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Yesterday, the crude cost $2.38 more for immediate delivery than for delivery in August. A month ago, one could buy it now at a discount to future months.

Stockpiles in Edmonton have fallen to their lowest since October as a new Enbridge Inc. pipeline increased shipments to Hardisty, according to a Genscape Inc. report Wednesday. Hardisty inventories have also declined. Maintenance work on oil sands sites that use steam to melt bitumen are cutting supplies just as refinery demand is strongest.

“Currently, spot WCS is high due to  (go to article)

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Why Many Experts Missed This: Cheap Oil Can Hurt US Economy

ABC News-AP -- If there was one thing most economists agreed on at the start of the year, it was this: Plunging oil prices would boost the U.S. economy.

It hasn't worked out that way.

The economy is thought to have shrunk in the January-March quarter and may barely grow for the first half of 2015 — thanks in part to sharp cuts in energy drilling. And despite their savings at the gas pump, consumers have slowed rather than increased their spending.

At $2.71 a gallon, the average price of gas nationwide is nearly $1 lower than it was a year ago. In January, the average briefly reached $2.03, the lowest in five years.

Cheaper oil and gas had been expected to turbocharge spending and drive growth, more than making up for any economic damage caused by cutbacks in the U.S. oil patch.

 (go to article)

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U.S. drivers yield 'swing' oil demand crown to Saudis

Reuters -- NEW YORK (Reuters) - As the United States raced over the past five years toward becoming a global petroleum powerhouse, the world's biggest oil exporter Saudi Arabia quietly seized a market milestone from America: the largest source of peak summer demand.  (go to article)

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SCAM ALERT: Beware Of This New Scam At The Gas Pump

My High Plains -- LUBBOCK -- Thieves are swapping the nozzles of gas pumps and waiting for an unsuspecting victim to drive up and swipe their credit or debit card.

"Gas is too expensive to be playing around with," said Steven Saless who was pumping gas at Bolton's.

In California thieves are going to pumps and switching the gas nozzle and hose and placing them on the opposite side of where they belong. Then the thief waits for someone else to pull up and start pumping gas.  (go to article)

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Gas prices set to fall

CNN Money -- Gas prices have been steadily climbing, but with the summer driving season starting with the Memorial Day weekend, drivers could soon begin to see some relief at the pump.
"Everything points to the notion that we are very close to a peak price of 2015," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service, which tracks prices for AAA, as well as GasBuddy.com  (go to article)

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U.S. retail gasoline prices lowest since 2009 heading into Memorial Day weekend

EIA -- On May 18, the U.S. average retail price for gasoline was $2.74 per gallon ($/gal), or 92¢ per gallon (¢/gal) lower than at the same time last year. This is the lowest average price heading into the Memorial Day weekend—the traditional start of the summer driving season—since 2009.

Lower gasoline prices reflect lower crude oil prices, with the spot price of North Sea Brent crude oil at more than $45 per barrel ($/b) lower than the same time last year, despite having increased more than $10/b since the beginning of February.
Average retail prices for all regions of the country are below the level at the same time last year, even in the West Coast Region, where supply disruptions pushed gasoline prices to $3.51/gal on May 18, 77¢/gal higher than the U.S. average. Average retail gasoline pr  (go to article)

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Pipeline operator in oil spill has high rate of safety infractions

Ventura County Star -- LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Plains Pipeline, the large Texas-based company responsible for the pipe that ruptured in Santa Barbara County, has accumulated 175 safety and maintenance infractions since 2006, according to federal records.

A Times analysis of data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration shows Plains' rate of incidents per mile of pipe is more than three times the national average.

The company's infractions involved pump failure, equipment malfunction, pipeline corrosion and operator error. None of the incidents resulted in injuries. According to federal records, since 2006 the company's incidents caused more than $23 million in property damage and spilled more than 688,000 gallons of hazardous liquid.

A Plains Pipeline spokesman did not immediately respon  (go to article)

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Gas prices set to fall

CNN Money -- Gas prices have been steadily climbing, but with the summer driving season starting with the Memorial Day weekend, drivers could soon begin to see some relief at the pump.

"Everything points to the notion that we are very close to a peak price of 2015," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service, which tracks prices for AAA, as well as GasBuddy.com

The average price of a gallon of regular gas heading into the weekend stood at $2.74, the high point so far this year. That's up 25 cents a gallon over the last month, but it's still about 90 cents a gallon cheaper than gas was a year ago.  (go to article)

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Oil’s Whodunit Moment Coming With Millions of Barrels to Vanish

Bloomberg -- Millions of barrels of untapped oil that U.S. shale drillers discovered during the boom years are about to disappear from their inventories.  (go to article)

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Saudi Oil Supply Outpaces Rivals in Grab for Record China Demand

Bloomberg -- Saudi Arabia expanded its share of China’s oil market last month, outpacing rival producers as they compete to meet record demand from the world’s biggest energy consumer.

China’s imports from the Middle East producer jumped 37 percent from a year earlier to the highest level since July 2013, according to customs data. The world’s biggest crude exporter was the No. 1 supplier to the Asian nation, accounting for 17.4 percent of its overseas purchases, up from 15.1 percent in March. The next three largest sellers -- Russia, Iran and Angola -- lost market share.

Record imports by China are contributing to a recovery in benchmark oil from a six-year low amid speculation the purchases will help shrink the global supply glut that drove crude’s collapse in 2014. Saudi Arabia has led OPEC’s pol  (go to article)

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ACLU sues Michigan over transgender driver's licenses

wndu.com -- DETROIT The state of Michigan is being sued over its refusal to change gender identities on driver'slicenses without a new birth certificate.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is representing six transgender people who no longer recognize their birth gender. But the ACLU says the secretary of state won't allow them to change their license unless they present an amended birth certificate.

The ACLU says that's "difficult if not impossible." A lawsuit filed Thursday in Detroit federal court asks that Michigan's policy be declared unconstitutional.

The ACLU says an amended birth certificate in Michigan requires proof of transgender surgery, although most transgender people don't want surgery.

Secretary of State spokeswoman Gisgie Gendreau says the agency is following state law  (go to article)

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Oil’s Whodunit Moment Coming With Millions of Barrels to Vanish

Bloomberg -- Millions of barrels of untapped oil that U.S. shale drillers discovered during the boom years are about to disappear from their inventories.

Six years ago, the industry pushed the Securities and Exchange Commission to make it easier for companies to claim proved reserves for wells that wouldn’t be drilled for years. Some prospects considered sure-things when crude was $95 a barrel are money losers at today’s $60. When crude crashed in 2008, 44 U.S. companies wiped 630 million barrels from their books.

Now the stakes are higher. Of all the proved reserves of oil and natural gas liquids found by the 44 companies since 2008, more than half -- 5.4 billion barrels out of the 9.7 billion -- is attributed to wells that don’t exist yet, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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California DMV scrambles to write the rules for driverless cars

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..nypost.comAfter a year of testing its bubble-shaped driverless cars on the empty roads of a shuttered Central Valley military base, Google is about to deploy its fleet on the busy streets of Silicon Valley.According to the San Jose Mercury News, for now, the cars must have safety drivers ready to grab the wheel or hit the brakes if something goes wrong. But self-driving software could soon move from test cars to consumer vehicles as the California Department of Motor Vehicles puts finishing touches this month on new operational rules for autonomous cars, making it the first government in the world to create a detailed handbook for robots on the road.  Are you ready for this? ...  (go to article)

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Why Oil's Rally Is Over

Yahoo! Finance -- A lot of people have got very excited as the price of WTI has bounced back from the lows reached a few months ago. If oil fails to break and hold above $62 this time around, however, their enthusiasm could well be misplaced, as the fundamental factors that caused the price decline in the first instance are still in place.

That, combined with the technical importance of this challenge of the resistance, makes a drop back below $50 look more likely than a continued rally. When short-term technical indicators and long-term fundamentals both suggest a move in the same direction, as is the case here, investors are well advised to pay attention.
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What's Next for Oil Prices? Look Out Below!

Yahoo! Finance -- The recent rebound in the price of crude oil — up some 40 percent from the March low — dragged energy stocks higher through the beginning of the month. This, in turn, has powered a rebound in inflation expectations in the fixed-income market, punishing long-term Treasury bond prices and pushing up yields.

As a result, the deflationary danger that many worried about earlier this year seems to have passed. Gasoline is back over $4 a gallon again in California. Corporate earnings look set to rebound. Just like that, all is right in the world again. Whew.

But doubts are growing about the sustainability of the oil rally given still high inventory levels, high U.S. production, and now, reports that the Saudis are ramping up production in a belief they've "won" the showdown with...  (go to article)

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The Tesla battery heralds the beginning of the end for fossil fuels

singapore-business-news/Industry/ --
Musk is going to manufacture the batteries in the United States, at the “gigafactory” he is building just over the border from California in Nevada. He is not waiting for some totally new technology, but is scaling up the tried and tested lithium-ion battery that he is already using for his electric vehicles.

Not just for homes

Now the fossil fuel companies – from fuel suppliers such as coal miners to coal-burning electric power utilities – will be on the defensive, fighting the new normal of cheaper renewable supplies and storage. Instead of asking “can we have our own energy system?” communities will be asking “why can’t we have it?”

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Where are the Unicorns?

The Energy Collective -- Congress Mandates Cellulosic Ethanol and The EPA Tracks It

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tasked with tracking compliance under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) that was set in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). Obligated parties under the RFS2 must demonstrate compliance with Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), which the EPA created to track RFS2 compliance. A RIN is a 38-character number assigned to a gallon equivalent of renewable fuel produced or imported. For corn ethanol, 1 gallon of ethanol produced generates 1 RIN. Other kinds of biofuel generates RINs at different rates which are defined by the EPA. For certain gaseous biofuels, such as di-methyl-ether (DME) and bio-methane (methane produced from sewage sludge or manure), the EPA h  (go to article)

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1969 Santa Barbara oil spill changed oil and gas exploration forever

Haynesville.com-The Los Angeles Times -- The oil spill that sent at least 21,000 gallons of crude through the waters near the Santa Barbara County coast on Tuesday brought haunting echoes of a much larger spill nearly half a century ago, one that gave birth to the modern environmental movement and forever changed the trajectory of oil and gas exploration in California.

The Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969 spewed an estimated 3-million gallons of crude oil into the ocean, creating an oil slick 35 miles long along California’s coast and killing thousands of birds, fish and sea mammals.

Following the spill, the region became ground zero for some of the most significant conservation efforts of the 20th century.

The Jan. 28, 1969, blowout was caused by inadequate safety precautions taken by Unocal, which was known then as Union Oil.  (go to article)

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OPEC Refuses to Yield in Battle for Oil-Market Share

BloombergBusiness -- OPEC will stick with the strategy of favoring market share over prices when it meets next month because rival producers are already starting to buckle.

All but one of the 34 analysts and traders surveyed by Bloomberg said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will maintain its daily production target of 30 million barrels when it meets in Vienna on June 5.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest of OPEC’s 12 members, shaped the strategy at the last meeting in November, arguing that the usual response of cutting output to boost prices would not address the threat from shale and other higher-cost suppliers. Prices rose 46 percent since mid-January as producers cut spending plans and the number of active U.S. drilling rigs fell by the most ever.

“Dramatic cuts in spending and drilling are...  (go to article)

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BP Oil Spill Led to Biggest Gulf Dolphin Die-Off Recorded

Newsweek.com -- A study released by the federal government Wednesday adds certainty to the conclusion that the 2010 BP oil spill led to an ongoing spike in bottlenose dolphin deaths in the Gulf of Mexico.

Lesions discovered on the lungs and adrenal glands of dead dolphins found within the footprint of the Deepwater Horizon spill are clear indications of exposure to oil products, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers involved in the study.

“No feasible alternative causes remain,” Stephanie Venn-Watson, a veterinary epidemiologist who led the study, told reporters Wednesday. The lesions found by the researchers indicate that many of the dolphins had bacterial pneumonia and adrenal disorders that likely caused their deaths.
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This Innovation Will Help U.S. Companies Win The Oil Price War

OilPrice.com -- Although some US oil companies are struggling with low oil prices, a new wave of innovation is hitting the oil patch, allowing for a significant reduction in drilling costs.

A variety of different improvements in production are starting to show up at all levels across the industry from small firms to oil majors. Statoil for example recently noted that it is experimenting with different types of sand and chemicals to improve production. And a number of companies have noted that they are moving from drilling wells one at a time, on an ad hoc basis, to drilling multiple wells at once. GE Oil & Gas has produced variable-use pumps that can be turned on and off in order to save energy versus the previous 24-hour a day operation cycle.

The end result of these actions is that per-barrel costs  (go to article)

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