Louisiana news briefs

From The Associated Press.

Ex-BP engineer’s lawyers to ask for new trial
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Attorneys for a former BP engineer convicted of trying to obstruct a federal probe of the company’s 2010 Gulf oil spill have asked for more time to file requests for a new trial or a post-verdict acquittal.
On Tuesday, Kurt Mix’s lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. for a weeklong extension of a Jan. 2 deadline for filing the requests.
On Dec. 18, a jury convicted Mix of obstruction of justice for deleting a string of text messages to and from a BP supervisor. Jurors acquitted him of a second count of the same charge, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Mix worked on BP’s efforts to seal its blown-out Macondo well. Prosecutors said he tried to destroy evidence when he deleted the messages.
The rig Deepwater Horizon, owned by Transocean Ltd. and leased by BP, was drilling about 50 miles southeast of the Louisiana coast when the well blew out on the night of April 20, 2010.
The explosion killed 11 workers on the rig, which burned for nearly two days before sinking to the floor of the Gulf of Mexico nearly a mile below the surface.

Stone plugging well, drilling 2 others in Gulf of Mexico
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Stone Energy Corp. will plug and abandon the deep-water San Marcos prospect in the eastern Gulf of Mexico after the well failed to produce commercial amounts of natural gas.
Stone owns a 25 percent non-operating working interest in the well, which had been drilled to 28,500 feet.
Meanwhile, Stone said its deep-water Amethyst prospect, also in the eastern Gulf, has been drilled to about 15,300 feet with a targeted depth of about 20,000 feet.
Drilling on the deep gas Tom Cat prospect, located off western Louisiana, continues and is at roughly 14,000 feet with a targeted depth of about 16,000 feet.
Stone holds a 100 percent working interest in both projects and expects to reach target depth in late January.

Bluesman Thomas dead at 84
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Renowned bluesman Tabby Thomas has died at his home in Baton Rouge, La. He was 84.
Thomas’ daughter, Joylyn Thomas Wright, says her father passed away “peacefully and of natural causes” Wednesday. Thomas would have turned 85 on Sunday.
Funeral arrangements were pending.
Tabby Thomas is best known for his Louisiana-style blues, a hard-driving blues influenced by the Chicago bands.
He opened a music club in Baton Rouge called Tabby’s Blues Box, which closed in November 2004 after Thomas suffered a stroke and could no longer oversee its operations.

Ouachita wildlife area expands
MONROE (AP) — Hunters, birdwatchers and hikers in northeastern Louisiana have more public places to roam after a nearly 3,000-acre expansion of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Ouachita Wildlife Management Area.
State officials have reached a lease agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to add the 2,954-acre tract to the Ouachita Wildlife Management Area’s southern border.
Wildlife Secretary Robert Barham said the tract was formerly used for agriculture, but the corps acquired it as part of a wetlands mitigation project and replanted the land in indigenous hardwoods.
The entire wildlife management area lies within the Bayou LaFourche floodplain. Game species available for hunting when in season include deer, squirrel, rabbit, snipe, dove and waterfowl.

EPL buying some assets
from Nexen for $70.4M
HOUSTON (AP) — EPL Oil & Gas Inc. is buying some oil and natural gas assets from Nexen Petroleum Offshore U.S.A. Inc. for $70.4 million.
The assets are located in the shallow-water central Gulf of Mexico and currently produce about 900 net barrels of oil equivalent a day, with approximately 95 percent being oil.
The transaction is expected to close later this month.
EPL, an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company, is based in Houston.

4-year-old killed in
driveway accident in Buras
BURAS (AP) — State police are investigating a fatal crash at occurred in the driveway of a Buras home.
Trooper Melissa Matey says Wednesday’s crash claimed the life of 4-year-old Vincent Huynh,
Matey says a preliminary investigation found that 32-year-old Hai Hoang Thanh Huynh was backing out of his driveway and ran over his son.

Monroe businessman accused of kidnapping wife
MONROE (AP) — A Monroe businessman is being held without bond as an investigation continues into allegations he kidnapped his wife.
Dean Hart Jr. surrendered to Monroe police Monday after a seven-hour standoff.
District Attorney Jerry Jones said he expects a bond hearing Thursday.
Hart is charged with one count of false imprisonment, two counts of second-degree battery, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of second-degree kidnapping and one count of rape.
Police spokesman Sgt. Mark Johnson says Hart’s wife was held captive over the weekend. She escaped Monday and made her way to an area hospital where she was treated for her injuries and called police.
Johnson says she was released from the hospital around noon Monday and went to stay with relatives out of town.

Pine log export facility planned
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Ralph Stewart Logging LLC will open a pine log export facility on 12 acres at the old Louisiana Scrap Metal yard in West Baton Rouge Parish.
The company paid $1.75 million for the property.
Officials say the facility will stage and fumigate logs that will be shipped overseas. The wood has to be fumigated to make sure it’s not harboring any pests when it’s exported.
The old scrap yard includes a warehouse with 25,000 square feet of space.
Official say the facility will export enough pine logs to fill 20 to 24 ships with a capacity of 33,000 to 44,000 tons.
Company officials say they tried to lease space at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge but needed more property than the port had available.

5 booked in counterfeit operation
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Five people have been arrested in Baton Rouge for allegedly going on a shopping spree with counterfeit $100 bills.
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said officers received an anonymous tip on New Year’s Eve about the planned shopping trip.
Deputies arrested a man and four women at a local hotel and seized several boxes from area stores and a large amount of cash.
Hicks says more cash was found in three other hotel rooms.
Each was charged with four counts of monetary instrument abuse and theft.
Those arrested were identified as Victor Henry, Mazarati Esset, Tabatha Jolivet and Krystal Noriega, all of Houston, Texas; and Kayla Peterson of Pasadena, Texas.
Hicks says the case remains under investigation.

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