Monday, February 28, 2011

Oil Drilling News


New device tames wild wells

"A group of oil companies led by Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. unveiled a capping system earlier this month that can quickly stop undersea oil spills within weeks."
Better than "within months", but still.....

Latecomer to Gulf oil spill cleanup says it now has the answer in any future disasters
"...although the company was late to the game last summer, Helix says it now has an improved system that will be able to do the whole job in a couple of weeks if another major blowout happens."
Toxic Tide: Discovering the Health Effects of the Deepwater Disaster
"Months after BP's well was capped, the health effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill may just be starting to surface. Residents across the Gulf Coast report mysterious ailments, and some blood samples show traces of chemicals related to the oil. But as Living on Earth's Jeff Young reports, firm answers are hard to come by and frustration is growing in coastal communities."

Panel says spill investigation may not be done until July 27

The joint inquiry by the Coast Guard and the Interior Department had already received one extension and had planned to wrap up work by the end of March. 

But delays in testing the blowout preventer that failed to stop gushing oil at BP's doomed Macondo well prompted the government to ask for more time."


ENERGY POLICY: Soaring oil prices become popular argument for just about anything

Friday, February 25, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Pressures Mount to Resume Drilling

"Clearing the way for more offshore drilling would do little in the near term to increase domestic oil supplies. But it could insulate the Obama administration from Republican charges that the White House is denying access to domestic supplies at a time when markets are increasingly jittery about the security of Middle Eastern oil supplies amid the unrest across the region." 

Marriage of oil and fisheries in Louisiana is not so happy

Dolphin Death Toll Spikes To Nearly 60 On Gulf Coast


Big Oil Lobby Announces It Will Start Donating Directly To Candidates

"The American Petroleum Institute, the Big Oil industry's chief lobbying organization, will start directly backing political candidates in the second quarter of this year. API, whose membership includes oil giants like Exxon-Mobil and Chevron, already spends tens of millions of dollars every year on lobbying, advertisements and Astroturf campaigns to support the the oil industry agenda. As CAP's Dan Weiss wrote, API "wants to drill in fragile, sensitive places, keep government tax breaks, expand offshore drilling without reforms, and block global warming pollution reduction requirements.""


The Shift From Oil to Natural Gas Seems to Be Gaining Momentum

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Experts say management failed in BP spill

Chevron Sees US Deepwater Drilling Resuming By Midyear

'Fog Of Research' Clouds Study Of Oil's Effects In Gulf (NPR)

Onshore Oil Infrastructure Could Change our Coasts Forever (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy)

"The large amount of onshore and near shore infrastructure required for offshore oil and natural gas drilling and refining has proven unsafe and hazardous for both the environment and human health. Opening up the Atlantic coast and the eastern Gulf of Mexico to offshore drilling could literally change the face of our coastal communities forever."


If Not Now, When?

"The smart thing for us to do right now is to impose a $1-a-gallon gasoline tax, to be phased in at 5 cents a month beginning in 2012, with all the money going to pay down the deficit. Legislating a higher energy price today that takes effect in the future, notes the Princeton economist Alan Blinder, would trigger a shift in buying and investment well before the tax kicks in. With one little gasoline tax, we can make ourselves more economically and strategically secure, help sell more Chevy Volts and free ourselves to openly push for democratic values in the Middle East without worrying anymore that it will harm our oil interests. Yes, it will mean higher gas prices, but prices are going up anyway, folks. Let's capture some it for ourselves."        

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oil Drilling News


At least two male baby dolphins among four found on Horn Island

"That brings the total to 18 the number of infant or stillborn deaths with the birthing season still weeks away."

Gulf floor fouled by bacterial oil feast

Engineering to Navigate Next Disaster

"One major research concern is the huge clouds and plumes of hydrocarbons that formed in the Gulf waters up to 2,500 feet below the surface after the April 3, 2010, Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion.

The authors say the plumes appear to have been caused by the use of dispersants applied directly at the wellhead, some 5,000 feet below the surface. The application of dispersants at those depths is unique to this spill and something that needs to be understood, the researchers say. Previously dispersants were sprayed only on surface slicks."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Scientist finds Gulf bottom still oily, dead

Gulf research cash still in limbo

Study to Track Gulf Cleanup Workers' Health

Skytruth Comments on Deepwater Drilling Plan
"In the comments submitted by SkyTruth, we argue that BOEMRE shouldn't allow drilling without first implementing routine satellite monitoring for pollution. We also point out what we think are critical weaknesses in Shell's plan to respond to, contain, and clean up a worst-case scenario oil spill, one of the major new requirements that BOEMRE has put in place. Shell contends that using essentially the same techniques (and much of the same equipment) that failed during the BP / Deepwater Horizon spill - skimmer vessels, controlled burns, chemical dispersants and absorbent booms - they will be able to handle almost ten times the amount of oil that BP and the Coast Guard, in an all-out effort, were able to capture or destroy on a daily basis."

Texas to host oil spill assessment meetings

"Texas and four other states will host public meetings to solicit comments on the scope of the damage to the Gulf Coast in the wake of the oil spill resulting from the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster. Galveston and Port Arthur will host the two Texas forums, sponsored by several federal and state government departments and agencies, at dates to be determined. Similar meetings will be held in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. [...] 
Comments can be submitted online at a designated website set up by NOAA." 
From the website: The meetings will be in
  • Pensacola, FL, on March 16;
  • Panama City, FL, on March 17;
  • Biloxi, MS, on March 21;
  • Belle Chasse, LA, on March 22;
  • Spanish Fort, AL, on March 23;
  • Houma, LA, on March 24;
  • Grand Isle, LA, on March 28;
  • Morgan City, LA, on March 29;
  • Port Arthur, TX, on March 30;
  • Galveston, TX, on March 31; and
  • Washington, DC, on April 6.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Hastings Urges Restarting Oil Drilling in Gulf to Stem Rising Fuel Prices

Reality: The U.S. Energy Information Administration (part of the Department of Energy) has stated: "…[drilling in] the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on oil prices before 2030". The report continues to say: "Because oil prices are determined on the international market … any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant." The estimated maximum reduction in gas prices from increased offshore drilling is three to four cents a gallon. 
"Drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, stalled after BP Plc's April spill, should resume without waiting for regulators to approve oil and gas company containment systems to respond to a similar disaster in the future, Hastings said."
Yeah, let's not worry about another spill.  That couldn't happen again, could it?

Court Orders U.S. to Decide on Drilling
"Thursday's developments illustrate the clashing demands being made on the administration in the aftermath of the spill. As gasoline prices have risen, oil industry executives and their allies in Congress have called for speedier consideration of new offshore drilling. Environmentalists and their Capitol Hill allies say the spill commission's findings show the need to move cautiously until the industry and federal regulators demonstrate they have addressed the root causes of the BP disaster."


California Can Become Leading 'Patriot' State by Kicking Oil Addiction, Report Shows (EDF)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Senator Feinstein Introduces Measure to End Federal Incentives for Deepwater Drilling

US Senator Will Halt Obama Nominee Over Deep-Water Drilling Permits

No word on whether Vitter will also stamp his feet or hold his breath until drilling permits are granted.

Oil Companies Unveil Spill Containment System

"A group of oil companies led by Exxon said Thursday it has built a system that can stop an undersea oil spill within weeks, a critical step towards resuming drilling in the deepest parts of the Gulf of Mexico."
Within weeks??????  Oh. that makes me feel a lot better.

NOAA's Deepwater Horizon Archive
"The Deepwater Horizon Archive is designed for many users, from scientists and researchers seeking data to citizens wanting to learn more about the spill's impact on the Gulf."

National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling

Chief Counsel's Report (Released 02/17/2011)

"Today, the Commission is releasing the full report on the Chief Counsel's investigation, which provides details of the series of engineering and management mistakes by those responsible for the drilling operations, including BP, Halliburton, and Transocean.  The Chief Counsel is issuing this additional report to provide the American public, policymakers, and industry with the fullest possible account of the investigation into the causes of the well blowout which was summarized in the Commission's report. The Chief Counsel's investigative team unearthed and analyzed far more information than could have been included in the Commission's report."  (from press release)

Gulf research cash still in limbo
"A fund of half a billion dollars for research into the effects of last year's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has spent months mired in bureaucracy and political manoeuvring, leaving scientists uncertain about how or when the money will be awarded. Organizers, however, promise that relief is on the way."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Study finds massive flux of gas, in addition to liquid oil, at BP well blowout in Gulf

"A new University of Georgia study that is the first to examine comprehensively the magnitude of hydrocarbon gases released during the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil discharge has found that up to 500,000 tons of gaseous hydrocarbons were emitted into the deep ocean. The authors conclude that such a large gas discharge—which generated concentrations 75,000 times the norm—could result in small-scale zones of "extensive and persistent depletion of oxygen" as microbial processes degrade the gaseous hydrocarbons."

Paying to fix Louisiana's coast: An editorial
"The authors of "Beyond Recovery: Moving the Gulf Coast Toward a Sustainable Future" -- which was done by Oxfam and the Center for American Progress -- urge Congress to direct 80 percent of fines under the Clean Water Act to coastal recovery."

Deep drills set for Gulf - Regulator says the first permits since BP oil spill about to be issued ENERGY: Blowout systems tested

"Five permits for new wells are pending, he said, but they are held up primarily by requirements that the industry finish building systems capable of responding to a subsea blowout like last year's. 

An industry consortium, formed by oil majors including Exxon Mobil, Shell, ConocoPhillips and Chevron, is expected to conduct testing this month on a capping stack that could handle a blowout like the one at BP's Macondo well that triggered last year's disaster, Bromwich said."

Hearing focuses on environmental aspects of drilling
This is from one of a series of hearings along the Gulf Coast, in Alaska, and in Virginia.  See the complete list of hearings here, as well as background information and some talking points.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Coast Guard plan to scale back cleanup angers some


Obama budget calls for new spending and industry fees for offshore regulation

Offshore Oil-Production Royalties Projected to Rise 68% Under Obama Budget

"Receipts will reach $5.97 billion in the year that starts Oct. 1, from $3.56 billion in 2010, according to the budget for the Interior Department released today. Obama also is proposing $25 million in fees from energy companies that hold nonproducing oil and gas leases, part of the administration's effort to provide taxpayers with higher revenue from minerals development."


Representative Garamendi (D-CA) introduced the West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 612) to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to permanently prohibit the conduct of offshore drilling on the outer Continental Shelf off the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington. (2/10/11).


The coming misery that Big Oil discusses behind closed doors

"The new report suggests that all is not lost -- there are signs, if slow ones, of attention to climate change. Whatever the case, Shell sticks with its prediction that eventually -- after about a decade of misery -- people come around and decide to act:

"High domestic prices and exceptionally demanding standards imposed by governments provoke significant advances in energy efficiency. Eventually, locally developed alternative supplies -- biofuels, wind, and thermal solar -- also contribute on a much greater scale than before. By 2030, healthy economic growth is restored, with particular vibrancy in the new energy sector that has received a massive stimulus to innovation through this difficult period. "" 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Gulf oil wells 10 miles from Deepwater Horizon site leaking since 2004

"A Taylor Energy production platform near the mouth of the Mississippi River was toppled by a mudslide during Hurricane Ivan, according to federal reports. The platform was tied to 26 wells, though it is unclear how many are leaking. The company is reportedly in the process of drilling relief wells to staunch the flow. 

The ongoing leaks gained national attention during the BP spill after the government released highly detailed satellite images of the Gulf's surface. Skytruth, a watchdog group that uses satellite images to monitor environmental problems, first called attention to the ongoing spill. "


Former Big Oil President Gives New Life To Oil Subsidy Debate

"A former top oil executive said on Thursday that big oil companies don't need government help, inserting a new dynamic into the debate over oil subsidies in the context of the deficit."

Oil industry girds for tax-break clash

For the third year in a row, President Barack Obama on Monday will implore Congress to repeal an array of tax incentives the oil and gas industry has enjoyed for decades.

Get ready to drill: Deepwater permits likely in "next several weeks" says Bromwich


Are Alabama beaches clean? 2 Auburn professors seek funding for post-oil spill study


Bipartisan appeal against oil drilling
"Florida Keys marine conservationists joined a Wednesday event in Tallahassee to launch a campaign for an offshore no-drilling ban in state waters. [...] Joining the push are former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican, and former state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat."

Editorial: Ban offshore drilling