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Energy News: Houston Billionaire Makes Millions From Oilfield Sale

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Plus, Shell faces a stumbling block on its way to Alaska's oil frontier.

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This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on energy from around the Web.

Forbes
Link: Secretive Oil Billionaire Scores New $550M Payday
"Houston billionaire Jeffrey Hildebrand is set to monetize a nice chunk of his fortune with the $550 million sale of Gulf of Mexico oil and gas fields to EPL Oil & Gas (EPL).

"The uber-private Hildebrand, 53, is worth an estimated $5.5 billion at Forbes' most recent reckoning. He is the sole shareholder of Hilcorp Energy."

Rigzone
Link:Shell Pushes Back Alaska Exploration Effort
"Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS-A) said Monday it would push back to next year its plans to explore for oil in Alaska's Arctic offshore after a key oil-containment system was damaged during a test.

"The delay is a major setback for the Anglo-Dutch oil company, which has spent six years and $4.5 billion in a bid to open up one of the world's last great oil frontiers, which geologists say contains vast amounts of oil and gas."

Bloomberg
Link: Chevron Said to Expand Brazil Monitoring Amid Spill Lawsuit
"Chevron Corp. (CVX) is creating three teams and hiring executives in Brazil to oversee risk and containment at its Frade field as it challenges a ban on operations and lawsuits because of a spill, a person familiar with the hirings said.

"The second-biggest US oil company is hiring about 16 people in coming months for Brazil, including five executives, said the person, who can't be named because the hirings aren't public. The positions include managers for the teams, a deputy country manager and an asset development manager for the offshore Frade project where the spill occurred in November, the person said."

The Energy Collective
Link: Duke Energy Merger: Big Changes for Energy Efficiency in the Carolinas
"Last week, I wrote about the implications of the Duke-Progress (DUK) merger on Florida energy efficiency programs. And while Duke's programs in the Carolinas are better than in Florida, they are by no means 'best practice' programs.

"Fortunately, we've got a settlement for that!"

Investorplace
Link: A China Turnaround? 5 Key Issues Still at Play
"China is in dire straits, with many investments in the region taking a bath in the last year or two. But there are signs of life in certain areas.

"Consider that China oil major CNOOC Limited (CEO) is up 18% so far in 2012, double other oil majors like Exxon Mobil (XOM), and recently made a huge $15 billion bid for natural gas company Nexen (NXY)."
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