No choice but to invest in oil, Shell CEO says

No choice but to invest in oil, Shell CEO says

SOURCE: Reuters DATE: October 14, 2019 SNIP: Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) still sees abundant opportunity to make money from oil and gas in coming decades even as investors and governments increase pressure on energy companies over climate change, its chief executive said. Shell, which supplies around 3% of the world’s energy, set out in 2017 a plan to halve the intensity of its greenhouse emissions by the middle of the century, based in large part on building one of the world’s biggest power businesses. Still, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from Shell’s operations and the products it sells rose by 2.5% between 2017 and 2018. A defiant van Beurden rejected a rising chorus from climate activists and parts of the investor community to transform radically the 112-year-old Anglo-Dutch company’s traditional business model. “Despite what a lot of activists say, it is entirely legitimate to invest in oil and gas because the world demands it,” van Beurden said. “We have no choice” but to invest in long-life projects, he added. Shell plans to greenlight more than 35 new oil and gas projects by 2025, according to an investor presentation from...
Oil firms to pour extra 7m barrels per day into markets, data shows

Oil firms to pour extra 7m barrels per day into markets, data shows

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: October 10, 2019 SNIP: The world’s 50 biggest oil companies are poised to flood markets with an additional 7m barrels per day over the next decade, despite warnings from scientists that this will push global heating towards catastrophic levels. New research commissioned by the Guardian forecasts Shell and ExxonMobil will be among the leaders with a projected production increase of more than 35% between 2018 and 2030 – a sharper rise than over the previous 12 years. The acceleration is almost the opposite of the 45% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 that scientists say is necessary to have any chance of holding global heating at a relatively safe level of 1.5C. The projections by Rystad Energy, a Norwegian consultancy regarded as the gold standard for data in the industry, highlight how major players seem to be ignoring government promises, scientific alarms and a growing public outcry so they can pump more fossil fuels – and profits – out of the ground. Rystad bases its work on companies’ assets and a long-term oil price of $65 a barrel, similar to its current level. The forecast shows an almost 8% rise in the projected output of the top 50 oil and gas companies between 2018 and 2030, which would account for almost two-fifths of the remaining 1.5C carbon budget and increase the risk of heatwaves, hurricanes, forest fires and floods. At least 14 of the 20 biggest historical carbon producers plan to pump out more hydrocarbons in 2030 than in 2018, according to the Rystad data. Its analysis shows the US is the centre of the...
Open for Business: The Trump Revolution on America’s Public Lands

Open for Business: The Trump Revolution on America’s Public Lands

SOURCE: Yale e360 DATE: October 8, 2019 SNIP: In 2017, Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah lit the fuse of what many Republicans in Western states hoped would be a new effort to take over control of federal lands, and introduced a bill to sell some 3.3 million public land acres out of federal hands. The backlash – this time from sportsmen and the outdoor recreation community, as well as environmentalists – was immediate and intense. Chaffetz soon withdrew the legislation. The open effort in Congress to wrest public lands away from the federal government and transfer them to states or private owners may seem to have subsided. But it has simply gone underground. There is a stealth battle to whittle away at federal authority over public lands that is very much in motion, as the Trump administration aggressively advances an agenda to remake U.S. policies toward those lands. “There’s a quiet, almost covert, effort to dismantle the public lands management infrastructure,” said Jim Lyons, who was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the Interior Department in the Obama administration. “It’s very effective. I call it evil genius.” Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon coined the term “deconstruction of the administrative state,” to describe efforts to take power away from the federal government and allow business a freer hand in development. Nowhere is that policy being carried out more systematically than in the Trump administration’s actions on public lands, where the businesses seeking that freer hand are primarily the oil and gas extraction, logging, and mining industries. There are hundreds of millions of acres of publicly owned lands...
Trump’s Border Wall Endangers Arizona’s Wildlife Amid Drought

Trump’s Border Wall Endangers Arizona’s Wildlife Amid Drought

SOURCE: Truthdig DATE: October 4, 2019 SNIP: August is normally Arizona’s wettest month. Not this year, though. The usual monsoon season failed to arrive, and just 1.5 inches of rain fell sporadically on the state throughout the month — the same period that the city of Phoenix experienced record high temperatures of up to 114 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also driven wildlife managers to fret over whether the state’s abundant wildlife — which rely on infrequent rains — will have enough water to survive. “As the drought has deepened, the waters that wildlife traditionally used are going away or have completely disappeared,” says Kevin Woolridge, a teacher at Blue Ridge High School in Arizona who, with his students’ help, has collaborated with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to monitor the drought and its impact on wildlife. Meanwhile a new manmade threat to Arizona’s water has cropped up. The Trump administration has begun construction on a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border wall at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. As part of construction, the Trump administration plans to pull up some of Arizona’s precious groundwater — not to hydrate people or animals, but to mix with concrete to build a 44-mile section of the border wall. While the federal government spends billions on its wall across the border and sucks up some of Arizona’s last remaining ancient groundwater in the process, Arizona wildlife officials are asking the public for millions of dollars in donations to fund the delivery of water to animals in parched areas across the state. Beginning in the 1940s, long before the world was...
Feds Open Slice of California’s Central Coast to Oil & Gas Drilling

Feds Open Slice of California’s Central Coast to Oil & Gas Drilling

SOURCE: Courthouse News Service DATE: October 4, 2019 SNIP: The Trump administration opened about 720,000 acres of land for oil and gas development in California’s Central Coast as the administration pursues its energy agenda despite local opposition. The Resource Management Plan Amendment approved by the Bureau of Land Management means 14 oil and gas leases dormant for the past five years will once again be open to bids from natural resource extraction companies. Serena Baker, spokeswoman for the BLM, said that while the plan allows the companies to bid on the leases they would still have to perform site-specific environmental analysis before putting a spade in the ground. “Most of the development is expected in or near already existing oil and gas fields presently around Monterey, San Benito and Fresno counties,” Baker said. Voters in two of those counties – Monterey and San Benito – recently passed ballot initiatives banning the practice of fracking in their jurisdiction. The BLM maintains such ordinances only apply to lands within local jurisdiction and federal lands are governed by federal law. Even so, Clare Lakewood, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said the BLM typically complies with local laws regarding energy policy and other land use matters. “Whether they continue to do so remains to be seen. This administration has been aggressively targeting California,” she said. In late September, the U.S. Geological Survey released a study showing oil and gas development in Kern County has contaminated underground water sources. Water samples in the Lost Hills and Fruitvale areas of Kern County in California’s Central Valley were found to contain benzene,...