Energy news in brief

** A new report reveals oil and gas drilling has reached its lowest level since 1949 because of oil price volatility and the coronavirus crisis.

** OPEC+ members are in talks to lengthen current crude oil output curbs instead of loosening the restrictions as envisioned in their April agreement, per reports in Bloomberg and Reuters.

** The closing of the $252 million bankruptcy sale of a Philadelphia refinery is delayed but no explanation has been given.

** Coal production in the Illinois Basin is expected to decline by up to 30% to meet this year’s demand.

** The cost of shipping oil around the world is sliding as sweeping output cuts by crude producers reduce competition for hiring tankers. Charter prices for vessels that transport crude oil have dropped 77% from their March peak, which came during a short-lived battle for a greater share of the oil market between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

** The Wolf administration advances methane regulations for more than 8,400 oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania and will hold three virtual hearings later this month.

** An analyst says New Mexico regulators’ approval of two solar power purchase agreements, at a price much lower than a proposed carbon capture retrofit of coal plant, raises questions over whether the project is viable.

** A bill being pushed through the Louisiana legislature would increase penalties for trespassing on fossil fuel sites during a state of emergency, with a minimum of three years in prison “at hard labor.”

** Nevada officials expect the state to rebound from the coronavirus crisis and meet its new standard to source half its electricity from renewables by 2030.

** A Navajo Nation environmental activist running for New Mexico’s state senate is concerned about future coal mine and power plant closures and related site cleanup. 

** A lawsuit over Colorado’s methane regulations by a group of local governments could set a new precedent.

** The Department of Energy awards a $1.25 million grant to a solar company founded by a University of New Mexico professor to advance a technology that could add significant life to solar panels.

** A rural Colorado energy company is considering building a wind turbine assembly factory in the small town of Silt located near Glenwood Springs.

** A Nevada editorial board criticizes the Trump administration for selling Western public lands to oil and gas companies and giving royalty payment breaks on existing wells.

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