oil

California Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed new regulations Tuesday on hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and curbed steam-injected oil drilling in his state, extractive methods long opposed by environmentalists.

Under the new initiatives:

  • New permits for fracking will be subject to independent scientific review by experts at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the permitting process will be audited by the state Department of Finance to study compliance with state law.

The shale oil boom that catapulted the U.S. into being the world's largest oil producer may be going bust. Oil prices are dropping amid weakening demand, bankruptcies and layoffs are up, and drilling is down — signs of a crisis that's quietly roiling the industry.

Some of the most successful companies in the oil business are household names — think Exxon Mobil or Chevron. But the boom in shale drilling has been driven by smaller, independent operators. These companies have pushed the limits of drilling technology and taken big risks on unproven oil fields.

President Trump has executed a policy U-turn on Syria. He's now tasking U.S. forces that he'd promised to withdraw from there with a new mission: securing the oil fields of southeastern Syria.

And it's raising questions about just what he intends to do with that oil.

President Trump is renewing his push for U.S. control of Syrian oil. But experts say there's not much oil there, and what there is belongs to the Syrian government.

Still, the idea of controlling the oil fields is one that has long appealed to Trump. And it may provide a rationale for maintaining a U.S. military presence in Syria, reversing the president's promise of a full withdrawal.

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The U.S. may now keep some troops in northeast Syria, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday. It is the latest in a series of consequential pivots that the Trump administration has made in its Syria policy.

The oil and gas industry, according to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, is "ranging like a ravenous predator on the field of democracy." It is "Godzilla over downtown Tokyo." It is "the richest, most powerful, and most destructive industry on the globe."

Call it a sign of the times.

Renewable energy has gotten so cheap that even oil giant Exxon Mobil, which reported $20.8 billion in earnings in 2018, is getting in on the savings.

Saudi Arabia's military displayed pieces of missiles and drones Wednesday, saying the wreckage is proof that the recent attack that crippled Saudi oil production was "unquestionably" sponsored by Iran.

At a news conference in Riyadh, the capital, a Saudi military spokesman, Col. Turki al-Malki, said Saturday's strike came from the north — not from Yemen, where Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack. Both Iran and Iraq are to the north of Saudi Arabia.

Updated at 5:22 p.m. ET

The price of oil saw a massive price spike Monday following what are believed to be drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities over the weekend that has shut off more than half of the kingdom's daily exports, or about 5% of the world's crude production.

Benchmark Brent crude briefly surged almost 20% in early trading before settling closer to 10%, up $6 to $66.28 per barrel. It rose again in the early afternoon, topping $70 for an increase of some 15%. The U.S. benchmark West Texas crude rose more than 10%.

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