Associated Press
Policy   Oil

Production up, pump prices down if crude exports allowed: GAO

The Government Accountability Office has given new support to lawmakers and oil companies clamoring to repeal the 1970s-era ban on most crude oil exports.

GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, said in a new report on Monday that a repeal could raise domestic oil prices from $2 a barrel to as much as $8 a barrel, a potential boon to drillers. At the same time, consumers would likely pay less at the pump for gasoline, as much as 13 cents a gallon, because of expanded world oil supply.

Report on Hanford whistleblower inconclusive

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy's inspector general on Monday said it could not determine if a whistleblower on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation was fired for raising safety concerns because two contractors failed to provide all the documents needed in the investigation.

Donna Busche was fired in February after raising questions about the safety of the unfinished Waste Treatment Plant at Hanford, the nation's most polluted nuclear site.

Oil

Justices won't revive Louisiana parish claims vs BP

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday from 11 Louisiana parishes that wanted to revive their lawsuits over wildlife damage from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill. A rupture of BP's Macondo well and the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers.

Warming Earth heading for hottest year on record

WASHINGTON (AP) — Earth is on pace to tie or even break the mark for the hottest year on record, U.S. meteorologists say.

That's because global heat records have kept falling in 2014, with September the latest example.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month the globe averaged 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit (15.7 degrees Celsius). That was the hottest September in 135 years of record keeping.

Oil

Canadian Pacific ends CSX deal talks

Canadian Pacific Railway has ended talks with U.S. counterpart CSX about a possible combination and plans no more discussions.

The railway operator did not say on Monday why it ended talks, but it did note in a brief statement that regulatory concerns appear to be a major deterrent for railroads considering combinations.

Oil

Leaking North Dakota oil well contained

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota oil regulators say a well that leaked oil, gas and brine for more than two days has been brought under control.

Oil and Gas Division spokeswoman Alison Ritter says the XTO Energy Inc. well in McKenzie County was under control by 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The well had been leaking since at least Thursday afternoon.

Oil

A year later, cleanup still going for ND oil spill

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — One year after a pipeline rupture flooded a wheat field in northwestern North Dakota with more than 20,000 barrels of crude, Tesoro Corp. is still working around the clock cleaning up the oil spill — one of the largest to happen onshore in U.S. history.

Cleanup costs have soared from the company's original estimate of $4 million to a forecast of more than $20 million, and it may be at least another year before work is completed, the company and state officials said. The oil-sopped parcel of land, about the size of seven football fields, is no longer usable for planting at present.

Citing illness, CEO of France's Areva steps down

PARIS (AP) — The CEO of French nuclear manufacturer Areva is stepping down, saying an unspecified illness has left him unable to do the work.

Monday's statement from Areva says Luc Oursel recently notified the French government of his decision to take a leave of absence "in order to pursue treatment."

Oil

Report oil found in Paraguay; gov't cautious

ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) — A British energy company said on Monday that it made its first major oil discovery in Paraguay's Chaco Basin, though the government said it's too soon to tell if the find is commercially viable.

Shares of London-based President Energy doubled after the oil explorer announced the discovery of light oil in the Lapacho well some 280 miles (450 kilometers) north of the capital, Asuncion. The company said the find is "expected to be commercial."

UN experts: Detroit should restore water to poor

DETROIT (AP) — United Nations human rights experts have called on Detroit officials to restore water to those unable to pay, including those with disabilities or chronic illnesses.

Two experts visiting Detroit to observe the effect of water service shutoffs said Monday that shutoffs affect the poorest and most vulnerable. They say it discriminates against Detroit's majority black population.

Steven Buss photo

Ozone rule cost fears based on 'guesses,' CRS says

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has quietly given some advice to lawmakers: Don't believe the most dire warnings about the costs of the Obama administration's upcoming rule on allowable levels of smog-producing ozone.

In an Oct. 3 report on the status of the planned ozone proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency, CRS said annual costs likely would run into the billions of dollars.

But draconian cost projections floated by the National Association of Manufacturers were based on "simplifying" assumptions made before a proposal is released, CRS said, and any estimates now or after the rule is finalized are subject to change.

Investor group pays $3.4B for power company Cleco

PINEVILLE, La. (AP) — An investment group led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets will buy the Louisiana power company Cleco for $3.4 billion.

The group will pay $55.37 in cash for each share of Cleco, which owns the regulated electric utility Cleco Power. That amounts to a 15 percent premium on the stock's closing price of $48.27 on Friday, the last trading day before the deal was announced.

Philips posts 3rd quarter loss

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Royal Philips NV, the world's largest lighting maker, has reported a 104 million-euro ($132 million) loss for the third quarter, mostly due to a one-off charge after losing a patent infringement lawsuit against Masimo Corp. of the U.S.

The loss compares with net profit of 282 million euros in the same period a year earlier, but includes the $466 million award a U.S. jury handed to Masimo. Philips is appealing.

Bill Clinton seeks to boost Democrats in Arkansas

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton swept through a second Arkansas campaign swing in as many weeks Sunday, hoping to keep Democrats in power at home and in the U.S. Senate.

Clinton returned to Pine Bluff, seeking the same political successes he had here in 2000 and 2002. Late-in-the-campaign rallies with predominantly black crowds helped put Mike Ross in the U.S. House and Mark Pryor in the U.S. Senate then, and both candidates need Clinton's help now.

Oil

Tug towing disabled Russian container ship to port

PRINCE RUPERT, British Columbia (AP) — A disabled Russian cargo ship carrying hundreds of tons of fuel was in route to port in British Columbia for repairs and the rescue operation was declared officially over Sunday, but a debate brewed over oil tanker safety off Canada's West Coast.

A large American tug boat was pulling the Russian vessel, ending fears that the vessel would drift ashore, hit rocks and spill.

India fuel reform puts diesel under market control

NEW DELHI (AP) — India freed diesel prices from government control Sunday while raising natural gas tariffs in the biggest-yet reform by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, as it aims to boost the country's economy and overhaul its energy sector.

The decision on diesel targets one of India's costliest subsidies for one of the world's dirtiest fuels.

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