Monday PM July 19th, 2010

Marathon Oil begins production on a new deep-water well...Homebuilders confidence in the markets sags to a new low...Halliburton reports large, second-quarter profits...A compensation fund administrator urges against going to court.

Houston-based Marathon Oil says a deep-water gulf oil well has begun production about 160 miles southwest of New Orleans. The Droshky Development is eventually expected to produce about 50 thousand barrels of oil a day, and 30 million cubic feet of natural gas a day. The well is located in three thousand feet of water and cost about $900 million dollars to develop.


Homebuilders confidence in the housing market has sunk to the lowest level in more than a year, more evidence that the economic recovery is slowing. The National Association of Homebuilders says its seasonally-adjusted housing market index fell to 14 in July. June's level was revised downward to 16. Readings below 50 indicate negative sentiment about the market. The last time the index was about 50 was in April of 2006. Builders are reporting a sharp drop in the number of buyers looking for new homes, now that federal tax credits of up to $8 thousand dollars have expired.


Halliburton Company says its second-quarter profits soared 83% as natural gas drilling activity picked up in the U.S. Halliburton is the first of several companies connected to the BP oil spill to report second-quarter financial results. The company, which was hired by BP to seal the Macondo well before it blew up, has seen its stock tumble 17 percent since the April 20th explosion. The Houston oil and gas service company reported today, it earned $480 million dollars, or $0.53 cents per share, for the April through June period. That compares to $262 million dollars, or $0.29 cents per share, one year ago.


The administrator of a $20 billion dollar gulf oil compensation fund says fishermen and others with lost income claims would be "crazy" to bypass the fund and take their chances in court. Ken Feinberg said today that he will be much more generous than any court without the complications of and delays of a lawsuit. He also noted that claimants would get emergency payments for six months without giving up their right to sue.


Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...