A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico verges on becoming one of the worst in U.S. history

A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico verges on becoming one of the worst in U.S. history

SOURCE: Washington Post DATE: October 21, 2018 SNIP: An oil spill that has been quietly leaking millions of barrels into the Gulf of Mexico has gone unplugged for so long that it now verges on becoming one of the worst offshore disasters in U.S. history. Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004, when an oil-production platform owned by Taylor Energy sank in a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan. Many of the wells have not been capped, and federal officials estimate that the spill could continue through this century. With no fix in sight, the Taylor offshore spill is threatening to overtake BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster as the largest ever. On Sept. 15, 2004, when Hurricane Ivan unleashed 145 mph winds and waves that topped 70 feet as it roared into the Gulf. Deep underwater, the Category 4 storm shook loose tons of mud and buckled the platform.The avalanche sank the colossal structure and knocked it “170 meters down slope of its original location,” researcher Sarah Josephine Harrison wrote in a postmortem of the incident. More than 620 barrels of crude oil stacked on its deck came tumbling down with it. The sleeves that conducted oil from its wells were mangled and ripped away. A mixture of steel and leaking oil was buried in 150 feet of mud. As oil continues to spoil the Gulf, the Trump administration is proposing the largest expansion of leases for the oil and gas industry, with the potential to open nearly the entire outer continental shelf to offshore...
As North Sea Oil Wanes, Removing Abandoned Rigs Stirs Controversy

As North Sea Oil Wanes, Removing Abandoned Rigs Stirs Controversy

SOURCE: Yale E360 DATE: June 26, 2018 SNIP: Two decades ago, the North Sea was one of the world’s largest sources of oil, pumping up 6 million barrels a day. That figure is now down to 1.5 million barrels, and the industry is turning to the task of decommissioning the estimated 600 production platforms in the North Sea. The British sector alone contains 470 of them, along with roughly as many other offshore installations, plus 10,000 kilometers of pipelines and 5,000 wells. The British industry expects to carry out more than 200 decommissions between now and 2025. Many steel rigs will be cut off just below the seabed, and either dragged ashore in one piece or dismantled offshore. A handful of early giant concrete structures, which can weigh as much as 400,000 tons, may have to stay put because there is no way of moving them. The British industry estimates the final bill at $51 billion, though some analysts say it will be double that. Whatever the price, since decommissioning is tax deductible, the cost will be largely born by taxpayers. Are they getting value for their cleanup cash? Will the expenditure even be good for the environment? Some ecologists say no on both counts. [T]here has been a growing debate among marine scientists about whether the cleanup may sometimes do more harm than good. For during their lives of 30-40 years, many of the rigs have turned into valuable marine habitats, providing rare hard structures in a sea whose bed is mostly soft sand and mud. They are surrogate reefs, often occupied by rare species. Linked by ocean...
Ecuador To Sell A Third Of Its Amazon Rainforest To Chinese Oil Companies

Ecuador To Sell A Third Of Its Amazon Rainforest To Chinese Oil Companies

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: March 26, 2018 SNIP: Ecuador plans to auction off more than three million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies, angering indigenous groups and underlining the global environmental toll of China’s insatiable thirst for energy. On Monday morning a group of Ecuadorean politicians pitched bidding contracts to representatives of Chinese oil companies at a Hilton hotel in central Beijing, on the fourth leg of a roadshow to publicise the bidding process. Previous meetings in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, and in Houston and Paris were each confronted with protests by indigenous groups. Attending the roadshow were black-suited representatives from oil companies including China Petrochemical and China National Offshore Oil. “Ecuador is willing to establish a relationship of mutual benefit – a win-win relationship,” said Ecuador’s ambassador to China in opening remarks. According to the California-based NGO Amazon Watch, seven indigenous groups who inhabit the land claim that they have not consented to oil projects, which would devastate the area’s environment and threaten their traditional way of life. [NOTE: Ecuador has recognized Rights of Nature in its constitution; this is a clear violation of those...
US will become a net oil exporter within 10 years

US will become a net oil exporter within 10 years

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: November 13, 2017 SNIP: The shale revolution in north America means the US is destined to become a net oil exporter within 10 years, for the first time since the 1950s. The International Energy Agency said it expected that American oil production between 2010 and 2025 would grow at a rate unparalleled by any country in history, with far-reaching consequences for the US and the world. The last time the US exported more oil than it imported was 1953, and a ban on oil exports was lifted only in 2015. Technological developments in drilling and fracking since the turn of this century have unlocked huge reserves of gas and oil trapped in shale rock, and redrawn the energy landscape. By 2030, China will have developed so much that it is expected to overtake the US to become the world’s biggest oil consumer. Asia as a whole is also expected to increase its appetite for gas shipped across the seas, with 70% of LNG predicted to end up in Asian ports by 2040. Globally, energy demand will keep climbing but more slowly than in the past, largely due to population growth and increasing affluence in poorer countries. By 2040, the IEA expects energy needs to have risen by 30%, or the equivalent of adding another China and India worth of demand. Unlike some experts and oil companies such as Shell, which believe demand for the fuel could peak as soon as the next decade, the IEA sees it slowing but not peaking even by 2040. Despite the boom in green energy, CO2 emissions from energy are...
Experts Who Sold the Idea of Oil Exports Proven Very Wrong Very Fast

Experts Who Sold the Idea of Oil Exports Proven Very Wrong Very Fast

SOURCE: DeSmog Blog DATE: October 11, 2017 SNIP: As Bloomberg put it recently, today “crude oil gushes out of the U.S. like never before.” U.S. exports of crude oil just hit a new record: nearly two million barrels per day. And while at DeSmog we predicted that “lifting the oil export ban will result in large increases in fracking for oil in the U.S.,” most industry experts at the time were making very different claims. “It’s universally agreed in the short term that we won’t see a flood of ships leaving for foreign ports because the economics aren’t right,” Sandy Fielden, director of energy analytics at respected consulting firm RBN Energy, said in December 2015, just before the ban on crude oil export lifted. Fielden was explaining why lifting that ban wouldn’t result in a sizable and ongoing rush to export American crude. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) had its most optimistic prediction for U.S. oil exports reaching two million barrels per day by 2050. They were only off by three-plus...