Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Battle lines on offshore revenue sharing drawn on Capitol Hill
"The battle lines over offshore revenue sharing with states sharpened Wednesday, with the Republican chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee announcing plans to craft legislation to expand it, and the top Democrats on the panel filing legislation to repeal what they called "oil-well welfare" for Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas."


Shell VP makes case for Alaska drilling
"Environmentalists who oppose Shell's drilling plans have warned that it could be difficult to clean up any oil spilled in slushy Arctic waters. Cold, icy conditions also mean it could take far longer than in the much warmer Gulf for any spilled crude to naturally break up in the water. And they insist the risks are too great for seals, whales, walruses and polar bears that live in the region as well as the native communities that live off those resources."

US not ready to respond to Arctic oil spills: Coast Guard chief
"If this were to happen off the North Slope of Alaska, we'd have nothing," said Admiral Robert Papp, the agency's commandant. "We're starting from ground zero today."

President Obama, Are We Really Ready To Drill Here? (VIDEO)


McDonnell Administration Continues Advocacy Of Offshore Oil And Gas Exploration And Development


Five Car Makers Back White House's Tougher Fuel Economy Rules
"Most of the largest auto makers have signed off on the proposal, people familiar with the matter said. General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC, Honda Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. have told the administration they will support the plan. Others are expected to decide Wednesday."

US expands program to boost production of renewable fuel crops
"Four new project areas will set aside hundreds of acres in California, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington for the production of renewable energy crops, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. USDA has allocated about $45 million for contracts that range from less than five years to up to 15 years. Producers who participate in the BCAP program are eligible for reimbursements of up to 75% of the establishment costs of the crop, plus annual maintenance payments for up to five years for herbaceous crops and up to 15 years for woody crops, USDA said."

Tesla beginning to produce Beta versions of Model S

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Documents show ties between oil drilling regulators and industry persist

"Ties between offshore oil and gas companies and the agency that regulates them are so pervasive that a year after new ethics rules took effect, as many as a third of inspectors in some Gulf of Mexico offices have been disqualified to avoid potential conflicts of interest."


Michigan Lawmakers Call Auto Mileage Proposals 'Overly Aggressive'

"Daniel Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign and a longtime environmental advocate and critic of the car companies, was critical of the lawmakers who have helped the automakers stave off previous efforts to improve vehicle efficiency. 

"Those wonderful folks who fought off attempts to make Detroit innovate are back urging President Obama to join their happy Luddite band," said Mr. Becker. "It is telling that their letter ignores the millions of barrels of oil, billions of tons of carbon dioxide and billions of dollars tough standards would save." "

Conservation: There Is No Alternative 
"Energy conservation is our best strategy for pre-adapting to an inevitably energy-constrained future. And it may be our only significant option for averting economic, social, and environmental ruin."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Oil-Drilling Safety Bill Stalls Amid Fight Over Oil Royalties

"A group of mostly Republican lawmakers blocked a key vote on legislation to strengthen oil-drilling safety Thursday after efforts to use the bill to steer billions of dollars of oil royalties to coastal states like Alaska and Louisiana appeared likely to fail."

Senate drilling safety measure in limbo

"Legislation that would boost offshore drilling safety in response to last year's Gulf oil spill was thrown into limbo on Thursday after senators clashed over a plan to give coastal states a greater share of federal revenues for energy produced near their shores."


Roscoe Bartlett Notes Urgency to Reduce Oil Dependency at the first joint United States Air Force and Army Energy Forum

"Congressman Bartlett singled out America's Armed Forces and the Defense Department for leading efforts in the United States to reduce the threats from dependence upon oil for transportation.  He applauded General David H. Petraeus for his June 7, 2011 memorandum to forces in Afghanistan.  Gen. Petraeus asserted that "By reducing demand for fuel, we will improve operational capability, reduce risk to our forces, and ultimately strengthen our security.""

Nissan's Electric Auto Will Help Cook Dinner During Power Blackouts

California electric-car rebate program resumes

"The state hands out the rebates on a first come, first served basis. During the last fiscal year, the air resources board and the California Energy Commission devoted $7 million to the program. So many car buyers applied that the money ran out on June 20. 

So for the fiscal year that began this month, the air board decided to expand funding and shrink the individual rebates in a bid to stretch the money further. 

In the past, buyers of electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf or the Tesla Roadster could receive a $5,000 rebate. Now the maximum rebate will be $2,500. People who buy plug-in hybrid cars or electric motorcycles will receive smaller amounts."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Menendez, Lautenberg: Proposal to Allow Coastal Oil Drilling in VA Waters in 6 months is Dangerous and Tramples Neighboring State's Rights
"Drilling off the coast of Virginia would put New Jersey and its coastal economy at risk for an oil spill.  Cape May is less than 100 miles from Virginia waters and oil slicks do not stop at state borders."

Senate offshore drilling safety bill stalls amid revenue fight

Arguments over revenue sharing sink Senate spill bill

Restore the Gulf Act of 2011 Introduced in Congress
"Lawmakers have reached an agreement that could mean billions of dollars for Gulf Coast states in the wake of the BP oil disaster."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Deepwater oil still "trapped" beneath ocean

"As well as the surface spill, they analysed a separate large plume at 1,100 metres below the surface that was moving horizontally." [...] "I think the most important lesson is that the use of deep-sea oil extraction wells has important risks that are significantly beyond what the industry anticipated when wells were first drilled. This will continue to be an issue in the coming years as pressure increases to develop these kinds of drilling sites."

Chemical Make-up of Gulf of Mexico Plume Determined
"In most instances the BTEX compounds are volatilized very quickly, such that exposure duration is very short," McDowell said. "The persistence of BTEX at depth poses an interesting question as to the potential effects of these compounds on mid-water organisms."

Where did the Gulf's spilt oil and gas go?


Senate Energy panel to consider offshore drilling-safety bill

Richard Charter's (Defenders of Wildlife) comment: "Making offshore drilling safer by enacting incentives for MORE of it?"


SkyTruth Alerts - Try It!

"Today we are launching a new service on our website called SkyTruth Alerts where we publish environmental incident reports, as we get (and produce) them. We are starting off the service with reports collected from three sources - focused heavily on oil and gas drilling and related activities in the US."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Oil Drilling News


BP Spill Stopped One Year Ago Today - 5,000 Spills Since Then (Skytruth)

"Oh yeah, and the 5,100 new oil and other hazardous materials spills in the Gulf region reported to the National Response Center since July 15, 2010.  Here are the 3,000 reports that have enough usable location information for us to pinpoint them on a map."


No Vacancies, but Some Reservations

"Taxable lodging revenues from rentals in Gulf Shores and its neighboring resort town, Orange Beach, fell by more than half last summer."  [...] "
But in 2010, there was no summer. Hotels sat empty or filled rooms only by offering steep discounts. Smaller businesses like beach chair rentals went under; charter boat operators barely hung on. The whole spend-save-borrow cycle was thrown off. "[...] 

"But one concern about the future is raised more than any other.

It was the topic of another document sent out last week, this one to state and local officials from the command center of the spill cleanup operation in New Orleans. 

It is a draft version of a "decision matrix," a list of several factors to consider in deciding when and when not to remove submerged mats of oil that are still being found, some even in recent days, sitting just offshore. 

The prospect of not removing a mat for just about any reason is unacceptable to Taylor Kirschenfeld, an environmental officer for Escambia County, Fla. If a tropical storm or hurricane comes through and whips up those mats, sending tar patties onto the beach, "it could be the whole thing all over again.""


Landrieu, Murkowski widen revenue-sharing proposal in bid for support

"Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) hope to corral votes for giving coastal states a big cut of offshore oil-and-gas revenues by widening their plan to include revenues from emerging marine renewable energy projects as well."

Offshore drilling bill slated for debate next week

Friday, July 15, 2011

Oil Drilling News


BP Oil Still Washing Ashore One Year After Spill

"About 491 miles (790 kilometers) of coastline in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida were contaminated by BP oil as of July 9, the last available tally from field inspections, Tim Zink, a spokesman for the agency, said in an e-mailed message. A total of 1,074 miles has been oiled since the spill began, he said."

Gulf oil spill aftermath: 'Drill, baby, drill' era may be gone forever


Ongoing Leak at Platform 23051 Site - Anybody Home? (Skytruth)
"That raises another question: is anyone being fined for this years-long, continual pollution of the Gulf of Mexico? Federal authorities claim the wells are leaking at an average rate of about 14 gallons per day (although satellite evidence suggests a much greater leak rate)." 

How Dependent Is the U.S. on Foreign Oil? - EIA Reports Current Trends

"The U.S. imported about 49 percent of the crude oil and refined petroleum products that were consumed during 2010, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted in a recent brief on the issue. 

About half of these imports came from the Western Hemisphere, EIA said, adding that U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum has declined since peaking in 2005. 

Canada is the United States' leading crude oil supplier, EIA reported."


Senate energy panel to vote on offshore drilling-safety bill next week

"Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said Thursday she would offer an amendment that provides coastal states a significant share of revenues from offshore energy development in federal waters. 

Gulf of Mexico states are already entitled to some revenue-sharing, but Landrieu wants that sped up and extended to other states to provide an incentive for backing drilling off their shores."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Underestimating the damage: interpreting cetacean carcass 
recoveries in the context of the Deepwater Horizon/BP incident
(published in Conservation Letters 4 (2011) 228–233, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.)
"The Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was 
the largest in the U.S. history, but some reports implied modest environmental 
impacts, in part because of a relatively low number (101) of observed marine 
mammal mortalities. We estimate historical carcass-detection rates for 14 
cetacean species in the northern Gulf of Mexico that have estimates of abundance, 
survival rates, and stranding records. This preliminary analysis suggests 
that carcasses are recovered, on an average, from only 2% (range: 0–6.2%) 
of cetacean deaths. Thus, the true death toll could be 50 times the number 
of carcasses recovered, given no additional information."


Misbehaving drillers may undergo new scrutiny

"The nation's top offshore drilling regulator said Wednesday he is examining whether the government can do more to keep oil and gas companies with checkered histories from exploring offshore."

Lawmakers Attempt to Roll Back Expanded Oversight of Offshore Drilling

"The committee passed a bill today (7/13) that—in addition to stripping billions in funding from the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency—seeks to limit the offshore drilling agency's ability to oversee contractors."


Cut flow from oil platforms, China says

Officials want ConocoPhillips' spills controlled


PM: Japan 'can exist without nuclear power'

"He said Japan should develop renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass. He said another pillar of Japan's energy policy should be conservation."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Oil Drilling News


House Committee Wants To Drop Proposal To Expand Offshore Drilling Oversight

Offshore drilling bill stalled over royalty sharing plan

"The measure by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, aims to stiffen oversight of offshore drilling and would codify a reorganization of the federal agency that polices oil and gas exploration on the outer continental shelf."


Whales 'at risk' from oil surveys
"Seismic surveys entail the use of underwater sound at intensities that can force whales out of the area nearby, and may damage their hearing."


Conservation groups join forces to stop Arctic drilling in 2012

"Representing millions of Americans across the country, a coalition of concerned organizations today kicked off the "United for America's Arctic" campaign - a yearlong effort to demand the Obama administration reject aggressive and risky plans to drill America's Arctic Ocean in 2012. 

The campaign launched with a full-page advertisement in Politico and a website at, said a press release from the group."


Virginia Governor signs legislation and executive order beginning transition of state vehicles to natural gas, electricity or other alternative fuels

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Gov. Jindal lists $533 million in projects for BP to finance after Gulf oil spill

"Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday unveiled a $533 million list of projects the state wants BP to finance out of the $1 billion the company has promised as an advance payment for restoration of damages to natural resources caused by last year's massive oil spill.  "BP talked about making it right," Jindal said at a news conference at the Port of New Orleans headquarters, surrounded by coastal parish leaders and state legislators. "This is the next step they can take to help us to restore our coast and truly show they are serious and they are committed about making it right and beginning to restore some of the damage along our coast."

A year later, Gulf Coast still coming to terms with oil spill
"Some can't quite bring themselves to believe government assertions that the spill didn't do as much damage as first feared. Others don't believe assurances that the seafood is safe to eat. Everywhere, people expressed fear that oil still lurks deep in the Gulf and that a sizable hurricane could spit it back onshore. [...] Across the Gulf, state economists are still tallying lost sales taxes, fishing license revenue and other data to determine how much each state lost during the 87 days — from April 20 to July 15, 2010 — that the oil spewed into the Gulf. Analysts suggest that it could take years to fully detail the economic and environmental effects of the disaster."


House Republicans seek to block wider enforcement of offshore drilling rules

"House Appropriations Committee Republicans are seeking to prevent the Interior Department, at least for now, from expanding the enforcement of offshore drilling regulations to include contractors." (like, for instance, Halliburton or Transocean)


Offshore drilling issue rears its ugly head again

Upon April's one-year anniversary of Deepwater Horizon explosion and the beginning of the massive Macondo oil well leak into the Gulf of Mexico, we posed this question; Will the lessons from this catastrophe live long, or will they be lost amid greater concern for the economy? 

We now have an answer. Unfortunately but not unexpectedly, it's the wrong one -- coincidentally, coming close to Friday's anniversary of the capping of the well. 

Both Gov. Rick Scott and Senate President Mike Haridopolos signaled their intention to pursue oil drilling in state waters several weeks ago as part of a comprehensive new energy policy.

Friday, July 8, 2011

OIil Drilling News



Spills Happen
"In light of the Gulf's abandoned pipelines and the Yellowstone River's failed pipelines, it's difficult to find fault with Florida's residents when they want to block offshore drilling. Until other fuel sources are put to use, oil continues to be the dominant fuel for roads, rail and airways. But, with oil companies reaping record profits, it seems to many of us that the Exxons and BPs of the world have some responsibility to act in a way that doesn't kill us off in the process, or irreversibly destroy the clean waters we need to in order to swim, drink, and fish. Because in the end, that's a cost of doing business that none of us can afford."


Shell's drilling off Australia could 'devastate' endangered marine life

"Ningaloo reef, about 750 miles north of Perth, is best known for its whale sharks, the world's largest fish. The 160m long reef is also home to rare and endangered wildlife including whales, sea turtles and birds. Ningaloo marine park, which includes the reef, was designated a world heritage site last month. 

The exploration well will be dug 30 miles from the edge of the park, primarily in search of gas."


China offshore oil spill spreads 320 square miles

"Oil that spewed from an offshore drilling rig in northeastern China for two weeks last month has spread over 320 square miles, government officials acknowledged Tuesday, amid uproar over why it took so long for fishermen, local residents and environmental groups to be informed of the spill."


Transocean Ghana rig stable after taking on water

"Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon, which exploded last year while drilling a well for BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 and touching off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Since then Transocean has faced scrutiny over its safety procedures and maintenance of the world's largest offshore drilling fleet."