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...
Seismic Oil Exploration Kills Krill at Far Higher Rate

Seismic Oil Exploration Kills Krill at Far Higher Rate

SOURCE: Yale e360 DATE: June 23, 2017 SNIP: Seismic air guns commonly used in the search for undersea oil kill off far more zooplankton than once thought, according to a new study that raises questions about the effect of such seismic surveys on the health of ocean ecosystems. For the research, which was published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, scientists tested air gun signals in the ocean off Southern Tasmania and found a rise in mortality rate of 18 percent to between 40 and 60 percent. One reason was that the impacts were felt by the krill out to 1.2 kilometers, 100 times farther than the assumed range of 10...