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Top Eagle Ford news stories: May 6-13

Recap the top Eagle Ford news stories that graced our pages this week. Layoffs and legal struggles earned the top two spots in this week’s list.

5. Colorado bracing to repay millions in energy taxes

And oil and gas drilling operation in the Piceance Basin in Colorado. (Image: EnergyTomorrow via Flickr)

And oil and gas drilling operation in the Piceance Basin in Colorado. (Image: EnergyTomorrow via Flickr)

DENVER (AP) — Colorado will have to cough up hundreds of millions in tax refunds to energy companies over the next couple years.

And state lawmakers have until Wednesday to figure out how to pay the tab.

A bill moving through the Legislature calls for an estimated $115 million in refunds to oil and gas companies. The money will be refunded to energy companies denied certain tax deductions in recent years.

Read more about energy taxes here.

4. Coal vs. renewables: GOP states benefiting from shift to wind and solar energy

FILE - In this July 28, 2015 file photo, electricians install solar panels on a roof for Arizona Public Service company in Goodyear, Ariz. Wind turbines and solar panels accounted for more than two-thirds of all new electric generation capacity added to the nation’s grid in 2015, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy. The remaining third was largely new power plants fueled by natural gas, which has become cheap and plentiful as a result of hydraulic fracturing. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

FILE – In this July 28, 2015 file photo, electricians install solar panels on a roof for Arizona Public Service company in Goodyear, Ariz. Wind turbines and solar panels accounted for more than two-thirds of all new electric generation capacity added to the nation’s grid in 2015, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy.  (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — If there’s a War on Coal, it’s increasingly clear which side is winning.

Wind turbines and solar panels accounted for more than two-thirds of all new electric generation capacity added to the nation’s grid in 2015, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy. The remaining third was largely new power plants fueled by natural gas, which has become cheap and plentiful as a result of hydraulic fracturing.

It was the second straight year U.S. investment in renewable energy projects has outpaced that of fossil fuels. Robust growth is once again predicted for this year.

Read more about renewable energy here.

3. Saudi Arabia ousts longtime oil minister

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 18, 2010 file photo, Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi, speaks during the international energy symposium &Riyadh international petroleum, gas and petrochemical industries exhibition in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia on Saturday announced the ouster of its long-serving oil minister as part of a larger ongoing government shakeup. A royal decree announced that Ali al-Naimi has been replaced by former Health Minister and Saudi Aramco board chairman Khaled al-Falih. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

FILE – In this Monday, Oct. 18, 2010 file photo, Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi, speaks during the international energy symposium & Riyadh international petroleum, gas and petrochemical industries exhibition in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia on Saturday announced the ouster of its longtime oil minister as part of a larger ongoing government shakeup.

A royal decree announced that Ali al-Naimi has been replaced by former Health Minister and Saudi Aramco board chairman Khaled al-Falih.

Al-Naimi has long been a pillar of Saudi oil policy, leading the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources since 1995. Prior to that role he’d served as the president of oil giant Aramco.

Read more about the Saudi Arabian oil minister here.

2. Texas-based Newfield Exploration announces Oklahoma layoffs

Tulsa, Oklahoma. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Tulsa, Oklahoma. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Texas-based Newfield Exploration Co. has announced plans to lay off about 50 employees in Tulsa and to move about 150 more Tulsa employees to its headquarters in The Woodlands.

Newfield spokeswoman Cindy Hassler told reporters Tuesday that the moves are due to low oil and natural gas prices and that fewer than 10 employees will remain in the Tulsa office. She said the employees being laid off are primarily in accounting, marketing and record-keeping and will be given undisclosed severance packages.

Read more about Newfield Exploration here.

1. Texas energy company owner gets prison for Ponzi scam

Image: SETShots via Flickr

Image: SETShots via Flickr.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The owner of a Texas energy exploration company must serve more than 13 years in federal prison and repay $3.7 million to investors who were scammed.

Prosecutors in Austin say William Risinger owned RHM Exploration and operated the company as a Ponzi scam. The 44-year-old Risinger in January pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.

Read more about RHM Exploration here.

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