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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

20
votes
Death toll rises to 14 in Mexico gas tanker explosion

TwinCities.com-PIONEER PRESS-AP -- The death toll in a gasoline tanker truck explosion in southeastern Mexico rose to 14 on Tuesday, the result of an attempted theft of fuel in an area that authorities say has a long reputation for roadside thefts.

Tabasco state prosecutor Fernando Valenzuela Pernas said that while investigators had found no evidence someone intentionally ignited the gasoline after the truck crashed last Thursday, people did break through the police perimeter and then chased off firefighters so they could steal gasoline.

"The stretch from Lagartero to Palo Mulato historically has been an area of robbery and assault on commercial vehicles and passengers, including a time in which they put oil on the highway to get vehicles to run off the road," Valenzuela said Monday. "It's not something recent."

 (read more)

Submitted 1 hour ago By:
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18
votes
U.S. closes probe into 240,000 diesel VW vehicles

Detroit News -- he National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations said Tuesday it is closing a nearly 5-year-old investigation into 241,000 diesel powered Volkswagen vehicles without demanding a recall.

The agency said it was closing the probe into the 2009-12 Jetta, Golf, Touareg, Audi A3 and Q7 TDI clean diesel vehicles after nearly 800 complaints about high-pressure fuel pump failures causing contamination of the fuel system. VW in 2013 agreed to voluntarily install devices designed to prevent owners from misfueling their diesel vehicles.

NHTSA opened the probe in 2010 and upgraded it in February 2011 to an engineering analysis after 160 complaints. NHTSA said VW has not identified any design or manufacturing defects in the pumps and said they “were designed, tested and approved for use in the Unite  (read more)

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93 Comments

17
votes
AP Exclusive: Big rigs often go faster than tires can handle

Sentinel-Tribune-AP -- Many tractor-trailers on the nation's roads are driven faster than the 75 mph their tires are designed to handle, a practice that has been linked to wrecks and blowouts but has largely escaped the attention of highway officials.

Nearly all truck tires have been built for a maximum sustained speed of 75 mph since the middle of last decade, when drivers across the vast majority of the U.S. were allowed to go no faster than 65 or 70 mph.

But 14 states, mainly west of the Mississippi River, now have speed limits of 75, 80, even 85 mph in part of Texas. Some of those states acted without consulting the tire industry.

Safety advocates and tire experts say that habitually driving faster than a tire's rated speed can generate excessive heat that damages the rubber, with potentially catastrophic  (read more)

Submitted 34 minutes ago By:
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17
votes
Grandson of Getty oil founder J. Paul Getty found dead in Los Angeles home

The Straits Times -- The grandson of billionaire Getty oil founder J. Paul Getty was found dead on Tuesday afternoon at his home in Los Angeles, his parents confirmed in a statement through a family spokesman.

Mr Andrew Getty's parents, Ann and Gordon, confirmed the 47-year-old's death in the statement.

It said the family was requesting privacy during "this extremely difficult time" and that further details would be released as they become available.  (read more)

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17
votes
Oil prices edge lower as Iran talks extend beyond deadline

Reuters -- Oil futures edged lower on Wednesday amid speculation that a last-minute deal over Iran's nuclear program would be reached that could allow more Iranian crude onto world markets.

Talks between Iran and six world powers to settle a dispute around Tehran's nuclear program extended beyond a Tuesday deadline, as the parties edged towards a deal but failed to agree to crucial details such as the lifting of U.N. sanctions.

Efforts to reach a framework deal were scheduled to continue on Wednesday in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a general agreement had been reached over all key aspects of a future deal, TASS news agency quoted him as saying. A diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, later denied that an agreement had been reached.  (read more)

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

49
votes
With So Much Oil Flowing, U.S. May Be Reaching Storage Limits

NPR -- Never before has the U.S. had so much oil spurting up out of the ground and sloshing into storage tanks around the country. There's so much oil that the U.S. now rivals Saudi Arabia as the world's largest producer.

But there has been some concern that the U.S. will run out of places to put it all. Some analysts speculate that could spark another dramatic crash in oil prices.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
663 Comments

49
votes
New device blocks cell signals inside vehicles to stop distracted driving, says developer

Edmonton Journal -- An Edmonton businessman who is determined to keep his own children from driving distracted has created a device that he says delays texts, phone calls, social media messages and other alerts until a vehicle is in park.

Angus Poulain, a father of six, said he got the idea for his KRS, or Keeping Roads Safe, device about four years ago because his kids spent so much time texting and communicating through social media. He has 15-year-old twins who hope to get their drivers’ licences soon.

“You see people all over the place (on devices). It’s just an epidemic,” Poulain said in an interview from Nova Scotia, where he spends half his time.

“So we came up with this device ... It’s not an app. It installs right into your car and it delays signals — any texting, notifications, Instagramming,  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
626 Comments

44
votes
Oil could fall below $30 a barrel, but here’s why that’s a good thing

Market Watch -- Oil futures could tumble as far as the mid-$20s before bottoming. But if history is a guide, that could be a positive scenario for stocks as corporate earnings and consumers reap the benefit of lower energy prices, said Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners.

But first, Minerd sees little reason to expect a significant near-term rebound for oil prices.

The supply-demand dynamics remain decidedly unfavorable, he said in a meeting with reporters Monday, particularly with storage capacity at the Cushing, Okla., delivery hub likely to run out in coming weeks. That will put even more crude on the spot market. He also isn’t convinced rig counts have fallen far enough to stop U.S. oil production from rising.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
73 Comments

44
votes
BNSF adds safety rules for oil trains

Longview News-Journal-AP -- BNSF has started taking additional safety measures for crude oil shipments because of four recent high-profile derailments in the U.S. and Canada, the railroad said Monday.

Under the changes, BNSF is slowing down crude oil trains to 35 mph in cities with more than 100,000 people and increasing track inspections near waterways. The Fort Worth railroad also is stepping up efforts to find and repair defective wheels.

BNSF spokesman Michael Trevino said these additional safety efforts were imposed last week in response to the recent derailments, including one involving a BNSF train earlier this month near Galena, Illinois, and the Mississippi River.

"The recent incidents involving crude trains, including our own event in Galena, has led us to believe that we must take further action,"...  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
917 Comments

43
votes
Dealerships not endangered, but need improvment

Detroit Free Press -- Dealerships are not an endangered species — in fact women and young buyers want to visit a showroom to validate their research, get a test drive and do some haggling over price.

Those are among the findings of the Autotrader "Car buyer of the future" study released Monday night in New York in advance of the New York Auto Show that opens to the media on Wednesday. The findings are based on interviews with more than 4,000 consumers.

Overwhelmingly, consumers don't like the current car-buying process, especially the 4-6 hours it takes to complete the transaction at the end, including an hour just for the credit check, said Jared Rowe, president of AutoTrader.

But that does not mean they want to excise the dealership out of the equation. In fact, 84% said they want to buy their car in...  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1344 Comments

Monday, March 30, 2015

48
votes
Tell Gasbuddy's That You Want An End To The Points For Watching Ad's Scheme To Be Abolished

Myself -- Tell GasBuddy's that it's wrong to keep using their Smartphone App, that gives points for watching Advertisements. This site is supposed to be about reporting gas prices and talking about the Petroleum Industry. It's not about bribing people to watch commercials that have nothing to do with the Petroleum Industry. Maybe they should abide by their own Code of Conduct.  (read more)

Submitted Mar 30, 2015 By:
109 Comments

47
votes
Oil prices drop on weak demand, potential Iran deal

Reuters -- SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Monday as the market focused on whether Iran and six world powers would reach a deal that could add fuel to an already oversupplied market if sanctions against Tehran are lifted.
The two sides tried to break an impasse in nuclear negotiations on Sunday ahead of a deadline to find a preliminary agreement by Tuesday, exploring compromises in a number of areas.

"Any relaxation of Iran oil sanctions could see increased exports adding to swelling global supplies and further pressuring prices," ANZ said on Monday.  (read more)

Submitted Mar 30, 2015 By:
732 Comments

46
votes
Ford's big Lincoln Continental is coming back

CNN -- The Lincoln Motor Company, Ford's luxury division, unveiled a big, richly-appointed, luxury car called the Continental in New York City Monday.

This car has a big job: To regain for Lincoln the respect it once had, decades ago, as a luxury car brand.

In recent years, Lincoln has mostly sold upgraded versions of Ford cars with little difference beyond the design and some added features.

The Continental is, officially, a concept vehicle but something very much like it will go on sale next year, according to Ford (F). And the production car will also be called the Lincoln Continental, making it one of only two Lincoln models, along with the Navigator SUV, to have a name instead of letters like MKZ or MKC.

The Continental is about the same length as a Mercedes-Benz S-class or long-wheelbas  (read more)

Submitted Mar 30, 2015 By:
999 Comments

43
votes
U.S. Oil Glut Story Grossly Exaggerated

Yahoo -- Recently, I have noticed that oil storage & production data (and media hype for that matter) has disconnected from hard data. This has been occurring for many quarters now with the US economy statistics as well and appears to be the new world order where facts can be spun or massaged to any one’s wishes.

It’s called the “age of propaganda” where truth matters little and comes out later in so called revisions. Take the recent spate of economic data points from the Kansas City Fed which said that economic activity not only stalled but was negative at -4 vs expectations of +1. The recent durable goods statistics also show contraction as well.

Yet we see the services PMI at a 6 month high. How can these divergences be possible? Well for one, some statistics are hard while others are estimate  (read more)

Submitted Mar 30, 2015 By:
1570 Comments

41
votes
Northeast, Despite Highest Gas Costs, Resists More Pipelines

AP -- There is near universal agreement that the Northeast has to expand its energy supply to rein in the nation's highest costs and that cheap, abundant, relatively clean natural gas could be at least a short-term answer. But heels dig deep when it comes to those thorniest of questions: how and where?

Proposals to build or expand natural gas pipelines are met with an upswell of citizen discontent. At the end of last year, a Massachusetts route selected by Texas-based Kinder Morgan generated so much venom that the company nudged it north into New Hampshire - where the venom is also flowing freely. During this winter's town meetings, a centuries-old staple of local governance in New England, people in the nine towns touched by the route voted to oppose the project.

 (read more)

Submitted Mar 30, 2015 By:
467 Comments

Sunday, March 29, 2015

45
votes
Exports helping Nebraska's ethanol industry to grow

The Independent -- Nebraska’s 2 billion-gallon-a-year ethanol industry is growing in international stature.

Last year Nebraska’s ethanol agribusiness processed 657 million bushels of corn last year. While that corn made more than 2 billion gallons of ethanol, it also produced 18 pounds of distillers grain per bushel of corn.
Distillers grains are a cereal byproduct of the distillation process. The byproduct has established itself not only as an important source of livestock feed, but a growing export product, along with ethanol itself, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

And 2014 was a record export year for distillers grains and ethanol.

According to the RFA, the U.S. ethanol industry produced 14.3 billion gallons in 2014 — a 7.4 percent increase over the previous year.

At the end of  (read more)

Submitted Mar 29, 2015 By:
693 Comments

44
votes
Oil analysts haven’t been this divided in 8 years: What’s an investor to do?

Bloomberg News -- Standard Chartered Plc’s Paul Horsnell forecasts oil will rise to $90 in the fourth quarter. Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Francisco Blanch predicts $58. Six months ago, they were just $1 apart.

That sudden divergence highlights a growing trend: Energy analysts are the most divided in at least 8 years on the direction of Brent, the global benchmark. Forecasters failed to predict the plunge that cut oil prices by more than half after the U.S. shale boom boosted output to a three-decade high. OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, relinquished its traditional role adjusting production to moderate price swings in an effort to maintain market share.

This has left analysts split over how much and how quickly low prices will force U.S. producers to shut, making their jo  (read more)

Submitted Mar 29, 2015 By:
1124 Comments

41
votes
Exxon unit asks for exception to North Dakota gas flare rule

The San Antonio -- A subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp. is asking state regulators to grant an exception to the amount of natural gas companies are permitted to burn off at 140 of its oil wells in Dunn and McKenzie counties.

The state's Oil and Gas Division heard the request from XTO Energy this week in which the company argues it has nowhere to take its gas. This is because OneOK, a gas-processing company, couldn't secure an easement agreement and build a 20-mile pipeline expansion. OneOK said the pipeline would have moved 40 million cubic feet per day to their Garden Creek gas plant in McKenzie County.

The request will now be forwarded to the state Industrial Commission, which earlier this week more clearly defined gas-capture rules, imposing penalties for noncompliance and establishing flexibility to...  (read more)

Submitted Mar 29, 2015 By:
307 Comments

41
votes
With Proposal 1, more fuel tax money will go to roads

Detroit Free Press -- Getting more road-repair bang for the fuel tax buck is a central thrust of Proposal 1, which goes to voters May 5.

On a $3 gallon of gas, motorists pay close to 18 cents in state sales tax, which doesn't get spent on roads.

If Proposal 1 passes, sales tax would no longer be applied to fuel sales. It would be replaced with a higher fuel tax, which would get spent predominantly on roads.

Bills that would be triggered into law if the proposal passes would remove the 19-cent-per-gallon tax on regular fuel and the 15-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel fuel and replace both with a single, percentage-based fuel tax that could never drop below 41.7 cents per gallon and would increase with inflation.

Removal of the sales tax means the impact of that hefty rise in the fuel tax will be significantly s  (read more)

Submitted Mar 29, 2015 By:
148 Comments

40
votes
Duke Energy CEO Loses $600K In Pay Over Coal Ash Pollution

AP -- Duke Energy Corp. CEO Lynn Good saw her pay docked about $600,000 in the aftermath of last year's massive spill of collected coal ash that coated 70 miles of a North Carolina river in sludge containing toxic heavy metals.

A portion of Good's $8.3 million compensation was reduced 35 percent in 2014 compensation, according to a proxy statement released this week ahead of the company's annual shareholder meeting in May. The compensation of four other top executives that is linked to short-term incentives was also reduced 35 percent.

Directors of the country's largest electric company said the executives were docked because the spill will cost Duke Energy $192 million in cleanup, legal fees, and fines to settle a pending criminal case involving Clean Water Act violations.

 (read more)

Submitted Mar 29, 2015 By:
1280 Comments

Saturday, March 28, 2015

51
votes
US drillers are fighting back against OPEC, low oil prices

Augusta Chronicle -- OPEC and lower global oil prices have delivered a one-two punch to drillers in North Dakota and Texas who brought the U.S. one of the biggest booms in the history of the global oil industry.

Now they are fighting back.

Companies are leaning on new techniques and technology to get more oil out of every well they drill and are cutting costs in an effort to keep U.S. oil competitive with much lower-cost oil flowing out of the Middle East, Russia and elsewhere.

“Everybody gets a little more imaginative, because they need to,” says Hans-Christian Freitag, the vice president of technology for the drilling services company Baker Hughes.

Spurred by rising global oil prices, U.S. drillers learned to tap crude trapped in shale starting in the middle of the last decade and brought about a surpris  (read more)

Submitted Mar 28, 2015 By:
1452 Comments

47
votes
UPDATE 10-Oil dives 5 pct as worries about Iran talks trump Yemen

REUTERS -- * Traders weigh possibility of Iran nuclear deal by next week

* Tehran eager to recover oil market share lost due to sanctions

* Oil prices down on day but up for second straight week (New throughout, updates prices and market activity with further decline after settlement)

Oil tumbled 5 percent on Friday, erasing the previous session's gains, as Yemen's conflict looked less likely to disrupt Middle East crude shipments and investors turned their focus to talks for a potential Iran nuclear deal that could put more supply on the market.

Oil prices still notched their second straight weekly gain, boosted by the dollar's weakness in recent sessions. U.S. crude had its biggest weekly gain in more than a month.

U.S. crude and global benchmark Brent oil spent most of the session in a...  (read more)

Submitted Mar 28, 2015 By:
1255 Comments

42
votes
Alberta releases new plan for managing oilsands tailings ponds

Canadian Press - EDMONTON -- The Alberta government has released a new plan for managing oilsands tailings ponds that it says will encourage companies to generate less of the toxic waste water and clean it up sooner.

Environment Minister Kyle Fawcett says operators will have clear guidelines on how big their tailings ponds can be during mine operations and how large they will be allowed to be when it closes. Those rules will be backed up by possible financial penalties, he said.

That combination of oversight and enforcement over the life of the mine will force companies to keep pushing for the technological breakthrough on tailings cleanup that has so far remained elusive, said Fawcett.

“Technology unlocked the oilsands,” he said. “It will be key to finding the long-term, effective solutions to tailings ponds manag  (read more)

Submitted Mar 28, 2015 By:
568 Comments

41
votes
‘Get them off rails now,’ Sen. Cantwell says of some oil tank cars

Curtis Tate | McClatchy and Tribune Newspapers -- WASHINGTON — Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., introduced legislation Wednesday that would immediately ban the least sturdy tank cars from carrying crude oil after a series of recent fiery train derailments.

The bill also would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to regulate the volatility of crude oil transported by rail, particularly oil extracted from shale formations in North Dakota’s Bakken region.

 (read more)

Submitted Mar 28, 2015 By:
213 Comments

39
votes
Alberta’s oil drillers brace for traditional spring slowdown to stretch until next fall — or longer

Postmedia News -- With world oil prices stubbornly stuck at around $50, Western Canada’s weather-related spring drilling slowdown could easily last until next fall — or longer — experts said Thursday.

The number of rigs working in Western Canada has fallen to 109 out of a fleet of 761 for a utilization rate of 14%, compared with 292 rigs working from a fleet of 812 for a 36% activity rate in the same week last year, according to a count published Monday by the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors.

The annual second-quarter slump caused by weight restrictions on melting roads started earlier, has cut deeper and will last longer this year, said Dana Benner, head of oilfield services research at AltaCorp Capital. He predicts “downbeat” Calgary Stampede parties in July.

“I think the summer wi  (read more)

Submitted Mar 28, 2015 By:
44 Comments