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Radioactive shale gas contaminants found at wastewater discharge site

October 2, 2013 11:56 am | News | Comments

According to a recent study led by scientists at Duke Univ., elevated levels of radioactivity, salts and metals have been found in river water and sediments at a site where treated water from oil and gas operations is discharged into a western Pennsylvania creek.

Study: Methane leaks from gas drilling not huge

September 17, 2013 1:02 pm | by Kevin Begos and Seth Borenstein, Associated Press | News | Comments

According to research published this week drilling and fracking for natural gas don't seem to spew immense amounts of the greenhouse gas methane into the air, as has been feared. The study, mostly funded by energy interests,  doesn't address other fracking concerns about potential air and water pollution, but does generally with government estimates.

Arizona State, Sandia Labs sign renewable energy agreement

September 3, 2013 4:36 pm | News | Comments

A formal partnership agreement to encourage collaborative research, build educational and workforce development programs and inform policy endeavors regarding renewable energy efforts has been signed by Sandia National Laboratories and Arizona State Univ. The move will facilitate multidisciplinary collaborations and help them secure research funding.

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Both sides of fracking debate turn out for Obama

August 23, 2013 10:57 am | by MICHAEL GORMLEY - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Supporters and opponents of fracking in the political hotbed where New York's natural gas deposit lies lined the route being taken Friday by visiting President Barack Obama, shouting messages for him while trying to pressure Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he weighs whether to allow the practice in New York.

Calif. coastal panel takes up offshore fracking

August 15, 2013 3:27 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

California regulators on Thursday were set to take up offshore fracking after revelations that the practice had quietly occurred off the coast since the late 1990s. The California Coastal Commission added the issue at the last minute to its agenda during its monthly meeting. 

Blowout could tip regulator focus to shallow-water

July 31, 2013 10:38 am | by JEFF AMY - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Last week's blowout on a natural gas rig off the Louisiana coast could shift regulators' focus to shallow-water drilling and make an overhaul of safety equipment regulations more likely. The rig, owned by Hercules Offshore and operated under contract to Walter Gas & Oil, spewed gas July 23 that eventually ignited. The fire damaged the Hercules 265, which was within days of wrapping up its drilling contract.

Ford to offer natural gas F-150 for 2014

July 31, 2013 12:02 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Ford soon will offer a natural gas version of its F-150 pickup truck, the most popular vehicle in America. The company is the first Detroit automaker with that option in a light-duty pickup truck. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler already have natural gas-powered heavy-duty trucks.

DOE study: Fracking chemicals didn't taint water

July 22, 2013 2:04 pm | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site. After a year of monitoring, the researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas trapped deep below the surface stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking water

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Americans continue to use more renewable energy sources

July 22, 2013 9:12 am | News | Comments

Americans used more natural gas, solar panels and wind turbines and less coal to generate electricity in 2012, according to the most recent U.S. energy charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Natural gas use is up in the electricity generation sector, where it has basically substituted directly for coal, while sustained low natural gas prices have prompted a shift from coal to gas in the electricity generating sector.

Americans continue to use more renewable energy sources

July 18, 2013 1:58 pm | by Anne M. Stark, LLNL | News | Comments

Each year, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory releases energy flow charts that track the nation's consumption of energy resources. According to the most recent charts, Americans used more natural gas, solar panels and wind turbines and less coal to generate electricity in 2012.

FEI, University of Oklahoma collaborate to develop unconventional oil, gas resources

June 6, 2013 12:14 pm | News | Comments

A research collaboration agreement has been formed between imaging company FEI and the University of Oklahoma to establish an oil and gas center of excellence. Called the FEI-OU Pore Scale Characterization Laboratory, the center will focus on the development of routine quantitative methods to classify shales in the economic assessment of tight oil and gas plays.

Miss. regulators consider energy-efficiency rules

June 5, 2013 11:07 am | by JEFF AMY - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

A number of utilities and consumer groups say they support proposed rules that would require Mississippi electric and gas utilities to implement programs to save energy. However, Mississippi Power Co. says it opposes the rules because bills could rise for customers who don't make homes or businesses more efficient. The Public Service Commission began considering energy-efficiency rules in early 2010.

Sandia, SRI International sign pact to advance hydrogen gas research

May 30, 2013 7:50 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories and SRI International will join forces to explore, test and evaluate a broad range of hydrogen and natural gas fuel systems and components for transportation applications under a new agreement. The five-year memorandum of understanding is the first agreement in Sandia’s new Center for Infrastructure Research and Innovation, an alternative fuel research and innovation facility.

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Industry giant GE aims to improve fracking

May 27, 2013 11:35 am | by KEVIN BEGOS - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

One of America's corporate giants is investing billions of dollars in the new boom of oil and gas drilling, or fracking. General Electric Co. is opening a new laboratory in Oklahoma, buying up related companies, and placing a big bet that cutting-edge science will improve profits for clients and reduce the environmental and health effects of the boom.

New study: Fracking hasn't polluted Arkansas water

May 16, 2013 5:58 pm | by KEVIN BEGOS - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Hydraulic fracturing for natural gas hasn't contaminated drinking water wells in Arkansas, according to a new study, but researchers said the geology there may be more of a natural barrier to pollution than in other areas where shale gas drilling takes place.

Groundwater unaffected by shale gas production in Arkansas

May 15, 2013 11:46 am | News | Comments

Scientists sampling 127 shallow drinking water wells in areas overlying Fayetteville Shale gas production in north-central Arkansas found no evidence of groundwater contamination. The team of scientists at Duke University and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) analyzed the samples for major and trace elements and hydrocarbons, and used isotopic tracers to identify the sources of possible contaminants.

Fracking brings economic boost, but risks raise concerns

May 14, 2013 2:42 pm | News | Comments

Most Michigan and Pennsylvania residents say fracking is good for the economy, but have concerns about chemicals used and other environmental risks, according to a University of Michigan survey. Fracking is the common term for hydraulic fracturing, which involves injecting a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals deep into the ground through encased wells at high pressure to create and expand fractures in the shale rock.

Natural gas export plans stir debate

May 13, 2013 3:19 am | by MATTHEW DALY - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

A domestic natural gas boom already has lowered U.S. energy prices while stoking fears of environmental disaster. Now U.S. producers are poised to ship vast quantities of gas overseas as energy companies seek permits for proposed export projects that could set off a renewed frenzy of fracking.

Mechanism converts natural gas to energy faster, capture CO2

May 7, 2013 11:36 am | News | Comments

Chemical engineers have identified a new mechanism to convert natural gas into energy up to 70 times faster. The technique improves on chemical looping, in which a solid, oxygen-laden material—called an “oxygen carrier”—is put in contact with natural gas to cause combustion. The newly developed oxygen carrier shuttles oxygen atoms into the natural gas very efficiently.

New technology propels “old energy” boom

May 6, 2013 9:38 am | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer | News | Comments

Oil companies big and small have used technology to find a bounty of oil and natural gas so large that worries about running out have melted away. New imaging technologies let drillers find oil and gas trapped miles underground and undersea. The result is an abundance that has put the United States on track to become the world's largest producer of oil and gas in a few years.

EPA methane report further divides fracking camps

April 28, 2013 5:11 pm | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Environmental Protection Agency has dramatically lowered its estimate of how much of a potent heat-trapping gas leaks during natural gas production. This shift has major implications for a debate that has divided environmentalists, which is whether the recent boom in fracking helps or hurts the fight against climate change.

A solar booster shot for natural gas power plants

April 11, 2013 12:58 pm | News | Comments

Natural gas power plants can use about 20% less fuel when the sun is shining by injecting solar energy into natural gas with a new system being developed by the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The system converts natural gas and sunlight into a more energy-rich fuel called syngas, which power plants can burn to make electricity.

GE to acquire Lufkin Industries

April 9, 2013 3:44 am | News | Comments

GE and Lufkin Industries Inc. announced this week a joint agreement whereby GE will acquire Lufkin Industries Inc., a leading provider of artificial lift technologies for the oil and gas industry and a manufacturer of industrial gears, for approximately $3.3 billion. The move accelerates GE’s growth in artificial lift with solutions for a wider variety of well types.

New emissions standards would fuel shift from coal to natural gas

April 5, 2013 12:00 pm | News | Comments

Tougher EPA air-quality standards could spur an increased shift away from coal and toward natural gas for electricity generation, according to a new Duke University study. Complying with stricter regulations on sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, and mercury may make nearly two-thirds of the nation's coal-fired power plants as expensive to run as plants powered by natural gas. The regulations would make 65% of U.S. coal plants as expensive as natural gas, even if gas prices rise significantly.

Cryo-electron microscopy unlocks biochemical methane production

March 20, 2013 2:17 pm | News | Comments

The biological sources of methane are wide-ranging. However, the conditions have to be always oxygen-free and the exact mechanism has been unclear. A team of researchers in Germany has gained insight into microbiological methane production by explaining the structure of a hydrogenase used by archaebacteria to split hydrogen to produce methane

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