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
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.
4. Coal vs. renewables: GOP states benefiting from shift to wind and solar energy
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.
3. Saudi Arabia ousts longtime oil minister
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A royal decree announced that Ali al-Naimi has been replaced by former Health Minister and Saudi Aramco board chairman Khaled al-Falih.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.
2. Texas-based Newfield Exploration announces Oklahoma layoffs
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.
1. Texas energy company owner gets prison for Ponzi scam
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.