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Robert L. Cavnar
Bob Cavnar is a 30 plus year energy industry veteran based in Houston, a regular commentator on national network television, and writes extensively about energy and energy policy. He brings a pragmatic business perspective to his commentary, often going contrary to traditional industry political positions in expressing his opinions on energy, sustainability, and environment.

He is author of Disaster on the Horizon - High Stakes, High Risks, and the Story of the Deepwater Well Blowout. He also advised on and appeared in the award winning documentary by Margaret Brown, The Great Invisible, about the BP Gulf oil spill and its aftermath.

Entries by Robert L. Cavnar

'I Dream Too Much': A Unique Coming of Age Film

(2) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 2:11 PM

Let me be clear: I hate chick flicks. I also hate all Jane Austen movies. Both genre overflow with endless dialogue and angst, and, in the end, nothing actually happens. I would rather have my hand slammed in a car door as be forced to watch one. Let's be...

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XL: Obama Takes the Fall for Hillary

(74) Comments | Posted November 7, 2015 | 1:43 PM

Yesterday, in a nationally televised announcement, President Obama rejected Transcanada's application for the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would have extended the existing Keystone system across the Canadian border in order to transport bitumen (a hydrocarbon product derived by a heat process) south from the oil sands of Alberta...

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What the FAA Regulation of Drones Can Teach Us About Gun Safety

(71) Comments | Posted October 23, 2015 | 10:56 AM

This week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced its plan to require registration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones). This decision is a textbook example for how government should exercise its authority to regulate potentially dangerous activities with devices that can do harm.

For years, the...

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Dry Hole Gives Shell Excuse to Bow Out of Arctic

(0) Comments | Posted September 28, 2015 | 2:45 PM

This morning, Shell announced that their Burger J well in the Chukchi Sea didn't hold oil and gas in "sufficient quantities to warrant further exploration...". These words are oil and gas industry code for dry hole. More significantly, though, the company went on to say that it is...

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The BP Blowout: Five Years Hence, Not Much Has Changed

(1) Comments | Posted April 20, 2015 | 11:54 AM

Tonight at 9:50 p.m. we mark the fifth anniversary of the worst oil blowout in U.S. history, one that took the lives of 11 men and spilled over 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. At the height of the crisis in the late spring of 2010,...

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Keystone Vote: Three Years Late, and for the Wrong Reason

(25) Comments | Posted November 14, 2014 | 4:41 PM

The Keystone XL pipeline extension, proposed by TransCanada Pipeline to increase capacity of oil from Canada to refining centers on the Gulf Coast, has become a political football over the last several years, a victim of hyperbole and demagoguing, is coming up for a vote on Capitol Hill maybe as...

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BP: Tone Deaf to the End

(1) Comments | Posted October 28, 2014 | 7:52 PM

Last week Geoff Morrell, a senior executive at BP, wrote an opinion piece for Politico, which perpetuated the continuous tone deafness exhibited by the global oil giant since their Macondo well blew out on April 20, 2010, instantly killing 11 men, injuring many other crew members and, lest...

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Dancing on the Graves of Innocents

(421) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 10:41 AM

Yet another mass killing happened last Friday in Santa Barbara, where a deranged 22 year old man, Elliott Rodger, went on a rampage, killing 6 and injuring 13. During the shooting spree, he fired weapons likely dozens of times, sometimes randomly through the window of his speeding car...

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Gun Toters Being 'Bullied' by... Moms?

(37) Comments | Posted May 16, 2014 | 2:26 PM

I have never believed in the general practice of carrying weapons. I seldom carry one... I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses -- Karl T. Frederick, president of the NRA testifying before Congress in 1934
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Four Years After the Blowout... Has Anything Changed?

(3) Comments | Posted April 18, 2014 | 5:37 PM

Four years ago this Sunday night, BP's Mississippi Canyon Block 252 well blew out, killing 11 workers, destroying the Deepwater Horizon semi-submersible rig, and putting an estimated 5 million barrels of oil into the water. The Gulf continues to suffer the effects of oil that remains, and many shore-based businesses...

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'The Great Invisible' at SXSW -- The Story of the BP Well Tragedy

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 12:59 PM

Yesterday afternoon, Margaret Brown's new film, The Great Invisible, premiered at the State Theatre at SXSW in Austin. It is the story of the BP well blowout in the Gulf in 2010, and follows several main characters whose lives were forever changed by tragedy. I was privileged to...

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50 Years Ago in Texas - Through the Eyes of a Ten Year Old

(4) Comments | Posted November 21, 2013 | 9:56 PM

I was sitting in Miss Chambliss' 5 grade classroom at Oakhurst Elementary School in Fort Worth.  It was a beautiful, crisp late autumn day, one of those days we cherish, living in the oven that is often Texas.  We had just come in from lunchtime recess and were getting back...

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An Unreal Dream: Justice and Reform Win Over Corruption

(2) Comments | Posted November 11, 2013 | 1:31 PM

This weekend, the Houston Cinema Arts Festival was held in venues all around the downtown area with the Museum of Fine Arts Houston at its center; in its final session last night the festival screened  An Unreal Dream, the story about Michael Morton, who was wrongly...

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New Technologies Drive Texas Oil Production to Old Heights

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 10:41 AM

Texas has been known for decades as the oil state, accompanied by the quintessential stereotype of oilman as a big, loud buffoon, wearing boots and a 10-gallon hat with oil wells in his backyard.  Embarrassingly, that stereotype has been perpetuated over the years by the antics of some of our...

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Support Sustainability; Build a Table

(1) Comments | Posted August 20, 2013 | 5:06 PM

This past weekend, I participated in a remarkable program that combines furniture making with an effort to educate about sustainability. The program is called the Naked Table Project, begun five years ago by Charles Shackleton, furniture maker and co-founder of Shackleton Thomas in Bridgewater, Vermont. Called...

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Is Kessler Simply Paranoid, or Is There Marketing Involved?

(27) Comments | Posted August 2, 2013 | 6:27 PM

Up until a few weeks ago, Gilberton, Pennsylvania was a quiet, peaceful borough of 800 people just northwest of Allentown. Recently, however, not so much. The borough's peaceful way of life has been shattered by a guy named Mark Kessler, who happens to be the town's one-man police force, when...

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Santa Monica Shooter Built His Gun From Parts He Bought Online

(73) Comments | Posted June 15, 2013 | 3:25 PM

Yesterday, we learned from the Santa Monica Police that the .223 caliber AR-15 type semi-automatic rifle that John Zawahri used to kill five people during his rampage last Friday was assembled from parts he bought through the Internet. To make matters worse, the California gun law had actually...

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Gun Violence in America: The Continuing Tragedy

(1043) Comments | Posted June 10, 2013 | 10:47 AM

Saturday, yet another troubled young man, this time in Santa Monica California, went on a rampage with a semi-automatic .223 caliber rifle equipped with high-capacity magazines. During that rampage, he fired his weapon numerous times from a vehicle he hijacked to the library of Santa Monica College, where...

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Against Banning High Capacity Firearms? Then Watch This

(114) Comments | Posted May 4, 2013 | 7:10 PM

Yesterday, police in Middlefield Ohio released shocking video of a routine traffic stop on March 10. When police pulled James Gilkerson over, he climbed out of his car with an AK-47, rapidly firing 37 shots before his gun jammed or he ran out of ammunition. Officer Erin Thomas...

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The Other Hazard of Hydraulic Fracturing -- Silica in the Air

(42) Comments | Posted March 31, 2013 | 12:45 PM

In my early career in the oilfield, when I was working on cement and frac crews, I breathed plenty of dust from cement, frac sand, and powdered guar used to make frac gel. Throw in a little xylene and hydrochloric acid, and I think my lungs have experienced plenty of...

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