The growing number of oil rigs pulled in from the oilfield and stored in this lot in Odessa, Texas is a testament to the steep decline in the price of crude oil in the last year.(Lorne Matalon)
This story was reported by Lorne Matalon in collaboration with Fronteras, The Changing America Desk.
Mexican venture capital is hovering over distressed energy companies in the Permian Basin of Texas, the nation’s highest-producing oilfield.
Those companies – including oil and gas drillers, and service companies – crafted budgets when the price of crude oil was 100 dollars per barrel. It’s now in the 50s. And those companies need capital that U.S. banks are sometimes reluctant to give in an oil downturn.
“This is a buyers’ market right now,” said Carlos Cantú, an investor from Juárez.
He’s one in a stream of Mexican venture capitalists wanting in on U.S. oil and gas. Right now, the smaller players in the energy industry—operating on thin margins—can collapse without new capital.
San Francisco-based Recurrent Energy has committed to building what would be the largest single solar installation in Texas.
MARFA, Texas — Texas has been called an energy superpower. Fracking technology is allowing Texas producers to extract vast amounts of oil and natural that were once out of reach.
The state pumps more natural gas that any other. And it leads the country in wind energy. But Texas ranks eighth in solar power.
Three attempts by the state legislature to give incentives to solar have failed. The economics of solar in Texas stand in contrast to the rest of the Southwest. And a prominent Texas regulator says solar should not receive any government assistance to expand its footprint.
The United States Department of Energy says Texas represents 20 percent of the country’s potential solar output. So why is solar sluggish in Texas? Blame it on mix of policy choices and economics. Continue Reading
A glow over the northern horizon at McDonald Observatory near Ft. Davis,Texas. The light is generated by round-the-clock oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin.
FT. DAVIS, Texas — World-class observatories like Mount Wilsonnear Los Angeles and Palomar north of San Diego are cramped by the intrusion of urban light to once unspoiled night skies.
Facing the same problem in the 1970s, scientists at Kitt Peak National Observatory south of Tucson persuaded that city and others in Arizona to pass lighting ordinances.
Now, the McDonald Observatory in remote West Texas — home to the largest telescope in North America — is suddenly dealing with unwanted light. The Texas oil and gas boom is responsible. Cutting edge research could be at risk. But the observatory is trying to convince industry to retool using a relatively simple solution. Continue Reading