Fuel Fix: Shell to Ax Thousands of Jobs Amid $7 Billion in Spending Cuts

Royal Dutch Shell is cutting more than 6,500 jobs globally as it prepares for an ongoing “oil price downturn that could last for several years,” said CEO Ben van Beurden on Thursday.

Shell is slashing its 2015 capital spending by an additional $3 billion down to $30 billion -- a $7 billion total, or 20 percent cut, from last year -- as it prepares for a wave of $30 billion in asset sales once it completes its $70 billion acquisition of London-based BG Group early next year.

Although Shell will not break down its job cuts by region, the reductions include 1,630 full-time staffers, 2,435 direct contractors, and another 2,460 in lost jobs through divesting parts of the Netherlands-based energy giant.

SF Gate: PG&E Fined $50,000 for Security Breakdown at San Jose Substation

State regulators levied a $50,000 fine against Pacific Gas and Electric Co. on Monday for failing to fix security problems at a San Jose power substation that were exposed by a 2013 sniper attack.

The California Public Utilities Commission said PG&E had failed to safely maintain its Metcalf substation, allowing burglars to breach its fence and steal $40,000 worth of equipment more than a year after someone shot up the site.

The commission’s safety and enforcement division found numerous gaps in security at the substation, including a lack of training for supervisors and on-site personnel.

Utility Dive: Whatever Happened to Oncor's Big Energy Storage Plans?

Last November, Texas utility Oncor came out with a report whose key finding sent waves through the energy community. The report, prepared by consulting firm The Brattle Group, found that up to 5 GW of energy storage could be deployed on the ERCOT electric grid -- an ambitious figure, considering that analysts at GTM Research have predicted the cumulative capacity of all energy storage in the U.S. will only reach 2.5 GW by 2019.

But since last autumn, no big announcements of storage buys or builds on the scale the report envisioned have come out of the Lone Star State. Many observers say the structure of the Texas market -- along with some of its participants -- may be what’s holding the technology back.

Christian Science Monitor: Electric-Car Sales Booming in China, but Not Because Buyers Want Them

In recent years, the Chinese government and some cities have instituted generous incentives for electric cars, hoping that putting more of them on its roads will curb air pollution.

Until late last year, car buyers didn't seem to show much interest. Since then, Chinese electric-car sales have climbed steadily.

Wall Street Journal Opinion: The Saudis Gambled and Texas Won

In November 2014, the leaders of Saudi Arabia made one of the biggest bets in history. Their strategy was flawed, and they’ve already lost.

In an OPEC meeting that month, Saudi Arabia announced it would maintain high oil-production levels despite falling prices. The Saudis were betting that by keeping prices low they could protect their market share and kill America’s energy renaissance -- a rebirth driven largely by Texas, which produces 37% of America’s oil and 28% of its marketed natural gas.

Columnists at the New York Times and elsewhere said the “Texas miracle” was fading, or even dead...and some of them seemed happy about it.

But an interesting thing happened on the way to the collapse of the Texas economy -- it didn’t collapse.