Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oil Drilling News


US govt to unveil new drilling rules by Thursday

Questions about what's next as offshore drilling ban expires

This is kind of a misleading headline.  As stated in this article and the one above, new drilling rules are being released today, which will likely lead to a lifting of the deep water drilling moratorium sometime between today and November 30.

Salazar Announces Regulations to Strengthen Drilling Safety, Reduce Risk of Human Error on Offshore Oil and Gas Operations

"The Drilling Safety Rule, effective immediately upon publication, makes mandatory several requirements for the drilling process that were laid out in Secretary Salazar's May 27th Safety Report to President Obama. The regulation prescribes proper cementing and casing practices and the appropriate use of drilling fluids in order to maintain well bore integrity, the first line of defense against a blowout. The regulation also strengthens oversight of mechanisms designed to shut off the flow of oil and gas, primarily the Blowout Preventer (BOP) and its components, including Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), shear rams and pipe rams. Operators must also secure independent and expert reviews of their well design, construction and flow intervention mechanisms. 

The Workplace Safety Rule requires operators to have a Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS), which is a comprehensive safety and environmental impact program designed to reduce human and organizational errors as the root cause of work-related accidents and offshore oil spills."


Will the oil spill make a drop of difference regarding our attitudes?

"Most unchanged of all: U.S. motorists. Oil companies go to sea to keep us moving around on land. More than half of U.S. oil use -- and about one in eight crude oil barrels worldwide -- goes to fuel our cars and trucks.  

The spill "probably seeds that desire to get onto cleaner fuels, but we haven't seen a political impulse in these hard economic times to do anything costly to achieve that goal," said Phil Sharp, a former congressman and president of Resources for the Future, a Washington think tank." 

New taxes would harm fragile US economy, economists agree

Well, not exactly independent economists.  These were economists from the American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, and National Association of Home Builders. API acts like they're concerned for the consumer, but what they're really concerned about is protecting their bloated bottom line.

Abandoned Oil Wells: Hidden Beneath SoCal Cruising Waters
"Beginning in 1960, the search for California's offshore oil expanded greatly. From Santa Barbara to San Diego, thousands of offshore holes were sunk along fault lines, in hopes of finding oil-rich sands. Some produced commercially viable amounts of oil. Most were plugged and abandoned. Amazingly, these abandoned and capped wells, all drilled before the 1982 moratorium, are not inspected for integrity or seepage. Nor are they necessarily correctly charted."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oil Drilling News


Scientists Clash Over Amount of Oil in Gulf

Why didn't BP oil hit East Coast?
"According to ocean scientist Nick Shay of the University of Miami, the Loop Current shed an "eddy" (nicknamed "Eddy Franklin"), in late June that pulled the northernmost point of the current far south of the spill site: "Certainly it was a good thing for South Florida. The Loop Current was an express train that would have brought oil our way."" 

Four lessons from BP oil spill

Legislative Summary from NRDC
"A vote on the oil spill legislation that stalled in the Senate before the August recess (S. 3663) is also unlikely to occur before the November elections, but senators continue to introduce new proposals to address the spill. On 9/16, Senate Finance Committee chair Baucus (D-MT) introduced a package of tax-cut extensions to renew dozens of provisions that expired at the end of last year (S. 3793); the legislation would increase the 8-cent per barrel fee that oil companies pay into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to 78 cents per barrel. The bill also would increase the amount the fund could spend on any spill from $1 billion to $5 billion. In late May, the House passed a measure (H.R. 4213) that would have raised the per barrel fee to 34 cents, but the provision was dropped before that bill became law."


Report - 
"America's Gulf Coast: A Long-Term Recovery Plan After The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill"
- The report recommends Congress dedicate a "significant amount" of the Clean Water Act penalties that will be paid by BP and others to the Gulf region.  Normally, these penalties would be paid into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for use in future disasters.
- The report recommends the establishment of a Gulf Coast Recovery Council to administer the restoration funds.  The Council would have a federal and state chair and consist of federal, state, tribal, and local representatives.  The Council would coordinate its activities with the Natural Resources Damage Trustee Council.
- The report recommends dedicating a portion of the Clean Water Act penalties directly to the states.

Stress of oil spill still lingering in Orange Beach, Alabama

La. coast hit by more oil


Begich eyes hardball with White House to push Alaska drilling

"Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) might use Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-La.) playbook to force the White House to clarify its policy on oil-and-gas drilling off his state's coast, telling reporters he hasn't ruled out blocking an administration nominee over the issue."


Offshore winds generate power and jobs, study says

Monday, September 27, 2010

Oil Drilling News


Offshore drilling a dirty, risky, messy business

Offshore Oil Drilling: Public Costs and Risks are Too High

Feds establish downtown bunker to build criminal, civil cases against BP, others in Gulf oil spill


Experts question BP's take on Gulf oil spill

BP Ignored 'Red Flags' Before Well Blowout, Halliburton Says

Halliburton Defends Its Cement Work, Blaming BP for Gulf Spill

Lawsuit asks if science was manipulated in oil spill estimates


Vitter backs Landrieu hold on OMB nominee

More nasty politics


Gulf Coast wildlife recovery scaled back

"Federal officials are scaling back wildlife recovery and rescue operations on the Alabama coast, but signs of the BP oil spill are still being reported in shoreline waters."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Oil Drilling Breaking News

The following item merits its own Oil Drilling News supplement today.

Halliburton included in Dow sustainability index despite spill role
Wait, whaaat?
The "When Pigs Fly" post contains the following additional gem: "Perhaps even more ironic is the fact that Corexit dispersant manufacturer Nalco, was also named to the list."

We're checking to make sure the world is still round, gravity still works and that we haven't fallen down the rabbit hole.

Oil Drilling News


Study shows latest government spill estimate right

"Nearly 185 million gallons of oil spilled from the broken BP well into the Gulf of Mexico this summer, according to a study by two Columbia University researchers who made their estimates based on video of the oil spewing from the well. 

The federal government's final estimate was a shade more than 172 million gallons. [...]  

The Columbia estimate has a margin of error of 20 percent, so the spill would be somewhere between 148 million and 222 million gallons. The federal estimate had a 10 percent margin of error, so the spill would be somewhere between 155 million and 189 million gallons."

Sen. Landrieu Blocks OMB Nominee in Bid to End Deepwater Drilling Moratorium

"Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu today vowed to block the Senate's confirmation of a top White House nominee until the Obama administration takes action on its deepwater drilling moratorium."
Politics at its lowest.

Government, industry examine oil spill preparedness
"Neither industry or the government had the preparedness to deal with the disaster in the gulf," Salazar said.

Gulf oil spill followed a familiar pattern, panelists say

"We have a bad spill every 10 to 20 years that gets the world's attention," said Joe Pratt, a professor of history at UH. 

The plans that come out of the spill are ignored until the next accident, then found to be inadequate. 

"We don't need to repeat that cycle every time," Pratt said. "Complacency is the enemy."

Oil and Gas Pipeline Disasters Fail to Spur Bill Bolstering Oversight

"The rash of lapses in pipeline safety, a joint responsibility of federal and state regulators, has prompted green groups to cast a critical eye on PHMSA chief Cynthia Quarterman, who represented Enbridge during a stint in the private sector and led the beleaguered Minerals Management Service (MMS) during the 1990s. 

Yet the biggest potential parallel between PHMSA and MMS appears to predate Quarterman's service: a pattern of looking to pipeline operators for advice."  


Oil lingering in waters off Alabama, Mississippi and Florida beaches

"In some areas, the team has documented large mats of tar.  

"The tar mats vary greatly. The biggest mat we found was about (150 feet by 210 feet). That was in Pensacola Bay."

UNH oil specialist talks Gulf future

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oil Drilling News



NOAA Reopens Nearly 8,000 Square Miles in the Gulf of Mexico to Fishing

"The remaining closed area now covers 31,915 square miles, or about 13 percent of the federal waters in the Gulf."  Follow the link to see the map of the closure area.


China winning renewable energy race

"Earlier this month, the accounting firm Ernst & Young named China the most attractive place to invest in renewables, knocking the United States out of the top position."

Largest offshore wind farm opens off Thanet in Kent

"We are in a unique position to become a world leader in this industry," he said. 

"We are an island nation and I firmly believe we should be harnessing our wind, wave and tidal resources to the maximum.


Richardson Plans To Introduce Oil Spill Response Bills


Virginia's top transportation official addresses business community
"Connaughton said the administration will seek to find new revenue sources to pay for projects. These could include state royalties from off-shore drilling ..."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oil Drilling News


Efforts to clean up Gulf oil continue in Louisiana

"While oil has not been gushing into the Gulf, it continues to come ashore on coastal islands and wetlands in Louisiana. Local officials are worried cleanup efforts won't be maintained to catch as much of it as possible."

Richard Sears: Planning for the end of oil

This is a 6-minute talk by Richard Sears (visiting professor at MIT) from February 2010.


Dealer says load of crab "contaminated with oil" (Video)

The Oil and the Turtles

"Every year, Rancho Nuevo, 900 miles southwest of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, sees a spectacular phenomenon: the arribada—mass nesting—of the Kemp's ridley sea turtle, which has already neared extinction. This year, thousands of baby ridleys swam off toward a deadly new enemy.'

Third fish kill reported in Plaquemines Parish

"After the discovery of more dead fish in Plaquemines parish, the third in a week, parish president Billy Nungesser is demanding federal involvement when it comes to testing the waters in the parish hit by heavy oil."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Oil Drilling News


Cumulative Oil Slick Footprints (Skytruth)

US To Issue First New Drilling Rules Since BP Oil Spill

"The new rules, which the Interior Department will release in the next two weeks, will apply to both shallow-water and deep-water drillers--encompassing dozens, if not hundreds, of companies that help produce a significant portion of U.S. energy resources. 

Oil and gas companies that were forced to suspend their deep-water projects when the Obama administration imposed its drilling moratorium will have to comply with the new rules before they're allowed to resume their work." 

Charles Maxwell Forecasts Peak Oil in Seven Years
"Higher prices will result in a very difficult transition period in which we are forced to use less because we simply don't have the money to use the oil that we have historically used. This will be a period of great economic difficulty, lasting for years. At the same time that the economy is in great difficulty, oil companies will continue to reap big profits, causing an enormous amount of resentment and calls for higher taxation and greater regulation of the oil industry. However, I also believe that humans are very resilient, and that we will eventually come through this. This is why I do not characterize myself as a 'doomer.' We do use a lot more energy than we absolutely have to use. I would bet that most people – if they really had to – could cut their fuel consumption by 50%. It wouldn't necessarily be convenient or easy, but it could be done. But it takes planning to do this, and it is our collective failure to plan that is going to lead to the difficult period. It is during the difficult period that we will get serious about planning, and the subsequent modifications in our energy usage pattern will ultimately lead to recovery on the other side of the crisis. Energy transitions take time, but our energy consumption patterns will be forever altered relative to what they are today."


Science and the Gulf
"After months of confusion and contradictory reports, the Obama administration has at last embarked on a systematic effort involving some of the nation's top scientists to measure the amount of oil remaining in the Gulf of Mexico and its potential impact on marine life. An interim report could be ready in several months."

Gulf Well Is Capped, But Still 'Hell To Be Paid' (NPR)
"Scientists still are trying to gain a sense of how much oil remains in the water, as well as what effects are being caused by chemical dispersants meant to break up the oil."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Oil Drilling News


Oil aftermath dissolves like sugar, too?

Reservoir in Gulf May Still Be Used

"Experts say that there are no technical or commercial reasons why BP — or another company if BP is wary of the political or public-relations repercussions — could not eventually produce oil from the formation, which BP once estimated contained about 50 million barrels of oil. The well spewed only about one-tenth of that amount, according to government estimates."  Note: "only about one-tenth of that amount" is "only" about 5 million barrels of oil which is "only" about 210 million gallons. 


Hidden Oil and Gas Plumes in the Gulf

Scientists allege oil commission attempted to stifle research