Archive for the ‘oil – gas – coal’ Category

The horror


“[C]ostumed demonstrators marched from the Occupy encampment in downtown New York City to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hearing in Greenwich Village. “The whole world is watching!” one demonstrator shouted. The hearing was about Spectra Energy’s plan to build a 30-inch natural-gas pipeline from New Jersey to the lower west side of Manhattan, via Staten Island. Though the streets of Manhattan have been piped for gas since 1825, anti-fracking activists and public officials told the FERC hearing that a new source of natural gas meant trouble: possible radioactivity, terrorism, pollution, accidents, and explosions. Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer warned that the pipeline could be used to transmit natural gas from fracked wells in Pennsylvania.  …

[T]hat anti-fracking demonstrator in Manhattan was wrong. The whole world isn’t watching. What the whole world is doing is fracking.”  “Shale Game


Hypocrite in Chief


“President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged world oil producers to lift crude output, as he sought to deflect public anger over high gasoline prices that has hurt his popularity among voters.  …

“They need to increase supplies,” Obama told CBS affiliate WTKR in Hampton Roads, Virginia.”  “Obama Urges Oil Producers To Increase Output


“Shell Oil Company has announced it must scrap efforts to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The decision comes following a ruling by the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board to withhold critical air permits.  …

Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The leases alone cost $2.2 billion. Shell Vice President Pete Slaiby says … [h]e’s especially frustrated over the appeal board’s suggestion that the Arctic drill would somehow be hazardous for the people who live in the area.  …

The closest village to where Shell proposed to drill is Kaktovik, Alaska. It is one of the most remote places in the United States. According to the latest census, the population is 245 and nearly all of the residents are Alaska natives. The village, which is 1 square mile, sits right along the shores of the Beaufort Sea, 70 miles away from the proposed off-shore drill site.  …

At stake is an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil[,] … two and a half times more oil than has flowed down the Trans Alaska pipeline throughout its 30-year history.”  “EPA Rules Force Shell to Abandon Oil Drilling Plans

EPA to Shell, Alaska: Drop dead


“Shell Alaska has dropped plans to drill in the Arctic waters of the Beaufort Sea this year … company Vice President Pete Slaiby said Thursday.

The recent remand of air permits issued by the Environmental Protection Agency was the final driver behind the decision, Slaiby said at a news conference.

Alaska receives upward of 90 percent of its general fund revenue from the petroleum industry, and top state officials reacted strongly to the decision. U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, blamed the Obama administration and the EPA.

“Their foot dragging means the loss of another exploration season in Alaska, the loss of nearly 800 direct jobs and many more indirect jobs,” Begich said. “That doesn’t count the millions of dollars in contracting that won’t happen either at a time when our economy needs the investment.”

The EPA issued Shell an air permit, but the agency’s review board granted an appeal because of limited agency analysis regarding the effect of emissions from drilling ships and support vessels.  …

The subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC has invested more than $3 billion in exploration off Alaska’s coast since 2005, Slaiby said.  …

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell said it was unfathomable that a company could buy federal leases but not get onto them within five years.

“It’s also unfathomable that they cannot get an air permit after five years when they can get one in the Gulf of Mexico within months,” he said.

Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said actions taken by the Obama administration will result in higher gasoline prices and a loss of jobs and revenue.”  “Shell: No Beaufort Sea drilling in Arctic for 2011

Build the pipeline: Energy Department study: Oil sands oil "could essentially eliminate U.S. Middle East crude imports"


“A central finding from this study is that the U.S. has the potential to take in substantially increasing volumes of crude oil from Canada over time, albeit with a steadily rising proportion of oil sands streams which would reach close to 90% by 2030. Study results indicate U.S. refining of Canadian crudes could rise from 1.9 mbd [million barrels per day] in 2009 to 4 mbd by 2030. Associated oil sands streams imports would rise from under 1 mbd in 2009 to over 3.6 mbd by 2030. This projected increase would curb dependency on crude oils from other sources notably the Middle East and Africa.  …

The evidence from the WORLD model cases is that, if pipeline projects to the BC [British Columbia] coast are built, they are likely to be utilized. This is because of the relatively short marine distances to major northeast Asia markets, future expected growth there in refining capacity and increasing ownership interests by Chinese companies especially in oil sands production. Such increased capacity would alter global crude trade patterns. WCSB [Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (oil sands)] crudes would be “lost” from the USA, going instead to Asia. There they would displace the world’s balancing crude oils, Middle Eastern and African predominantly OPEC grades, which would in turn move to the USA. The net effect would be substantially higher U.S. dependency on crude oils from those [OPEC] sources versus scenarios where capacity to move WCSB crudes to Asia was limited. Instead of reaching 3.6 mbd by 2030, WCSB oil sands volumes into the U.S. could be 2.6 mbd, possibly lower still and Middle East/African crude imports correspondingly higher.

The study has shown that reduction in U.S. petroleum product demand would not appreciably cut WCSB crude flows into the U.S. Rather, a low U.S. demand outlook would substantially reduce U.S. dependency on foreign (non-Canadian) crudes and products. A combination of increased Canadian crude imports and reduced U.S. product demand could essentially eliminate [U.S.] Middle East crude imports longer term. Low U.S. demand is also projected to reduce U.S. net product imports and potentially turn the USA into a net product exporter after 2020.”  “Report Assessing Petroleum Market Impacts of Keystone XL Pipeline Project

Reuters article:  “Canada-US pipe would cut Mideast oil imports-study

Quote of the week


“What happens to renewable energy when alarmist climate science collapses? And even if the ideological rearguard action drags on for years, what about the fact that shale gas is about to make renewables look even more ridiculous in terms of both economics and emissions?”  Peter Foster, National Post:  “Solar fades as shale gas flares

Obama continues jihad against oil


“Mr. Obama, returning to the nasty corporate-bashing message of his first two years, attacked the U.S. oil industry by implying it was receiving massive subsidies that could be redirected to clean energy. “I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we’re currently giving to oil companies.” In fact, there is no money going to oil companies. It’s not a subsidy but a tax deduction that is used by all U.S. manufacturing corporations. Now Mr. Obama wants to single out the oil industry for punishment.

When it comes to paying corporate taxes, a recent University of North Carolina study found that U.S. oil giants paid effective tax rates of up to 43.9% (Chevron) between 2003 and 2007. During the same period, the green giant GE enjoyed a tax rate of 11.5%.”  “Ground control to Major Obama

EPA out to destroy U.S. coal-fired power industry


Doesn’t EPA understand that if it shuts down coal use in the U.S., U.S coal and jobs will be exported to China and other developing countries which will burn the coal without regulation?

“Environmental Protection Agency regulations may result in over 50,000 megawatts of coal power plant retirements and up to $180 billion in compliance costs for remaining plants, consulting firm The Brattle Group said in a report.

Emerging EPA regulations could force coal plant operators to decide between retiring plants or installing expensive emission control equipment … Brattle economists Metin Celebi and Frank Graves said in the report released Wednesday.

Before even considering the potential effect of possible government efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to combat global warming, the report estimated 40,000 MW to 55,000 MW of coal capacity could retire if the EPA mandates further reductions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, particulates, mercury and other … emissions by 2015.  …

For the units that would not retire, Brattle said energy companies will have to invest between $100 billion and $180 billion to comply with the EPA’s potential mandates to install emissions control equipment …”  “EPA Regulations May Shut 50,000 MW Of Coal Plants: Brattle

EPA messes with Texas


“The simmering conflict between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Texas officials over air quality requirements has reached the boiling point with EPA seizing control of a key permit governing the Lone Star State’s fifth-largest refinery.

In what could lead to further escalation of the row, a high-level EPA official has threatened to strip Texas of its power to issue such permits, unless the government in Austin bows to Washington’s regulatory demands.

Attention is currently focused on the Flint Hills Resources East Corpus Christi refinery. EPA says the refinery operates under a permit issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that violates the Clean Air Act.

In a May 25 letter to Flint Hills Resources, which is owned by Wichita, Kansas-based Koch Industries, EPA said the company must submit a permit application to the Washington agency by September 15 or face potential fines. More ominously, the agency threatened to take similar action on more than three dozen other facilities in Texas, most along the Gulf coast where the state’s oil and gas industries are located.

The bone of contention between EPA and TCEQ is Texas’ decade-and-a-half-old practice of issuing “flexible” permits to refineries. Flexible permits place limits on emissions from an entire refinery. EPA claims emissions permits are required for each of the dozens of production units within a refinery. It is not known which of the two systems results in lower emissions, but the route preferred by EPA would undoubtedly lead to more paperwork.  …

Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) blasted EPA’s move.

“The Obama administration has taken yet another step in its campaign to harm our economy and impose federal control over Texas,” he said in a press statement. “With their decision to take control of a permitting process that the Clean Air Act allows to be delegated to the states, the EPA is on the verge of killing thousands of Texas jobs and derailing a program that has cleaned Texas’ air.”  …

John Dunn, M.D., a Texas-based emergency services consultant, says there is more to the fight over air quality than meets the eye. He points out Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot is one of several state attorneys general suing EPA over the agency’s plan to regulate manmade greenhouse gases. According to Dunn, EPA may be seeking payback in its recent focus on Texas air quality.

EPA, Dunn says, has declared Texas a “rogue state” as part of a strategy to “intimidate states into submission.””  “EPA and, Texas Clash Over Air Quality Permits

Oil sands critical to U.S. energy supply — naturally enviros on a jihad against


Canada’s oil sands will become the largest single source of imported oil to the United States this year, and could supply more than a third of America’s foreign oil by 2030, under an aggressive growth scenario that would have to overcome labour shortages and environmental concerns, an influential U.S. think tank said Wednesday.

The growing volume of Canadian oil sands imports “emphasizes the importance they have attained as a supply source for the United States,” Daniel Yergin, Cambridge, Mass.-based chairman of energy research firm IHS CERA, said in releasing a new report on the controversial Alberta oil projects.

Canada is already the largest source of imports for the U.S. market. But as conventional Canadian production declines and oil sands volumes grow, those non-conventional supplies are becoming increasingly critical.

In the third quarter of 2009, oil sands imports to the United States hit one million barrels a day for the first time, of total Canadian exports of 1.9 million. This year, IHS CERA expects oil sands producers to average 1.08 million barrels a day in sales to the U.S., eclipsing imports from both Mexico and Saudi Arabia, which will be declining or flat.

In the report, IHS CERA director Jackie Forrest projects production in the oil sands will grow from 1.35 million barrels a day last year, to as many as 5.7 million barrels a day by 2030 – a figure that would represent 36 per cent of anticipated American imports.  …

The IHS CERA report comes as environmental groups continue their campaign against the oil sands. Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council argued in a report released Wednesday that the development of Alberta’s “tar sands” represents … a “global disaster” because it will “all but guarantee the failure of efforts to combat global warming.”  …

The U.S. State Department has approved pipeline expansion from the oil sands into the U.S. market, saying the Alberta source was critical to U.S. energy security and its efforts to reduce dependence on Middle East oil, Mr. Pumphrey noted. However, the administration also backs climate change legislation that could impose significant additional costs on refiners that process heavy-oil imports which produce more emissions when processed.”  “Oil sands on track to be biggest source of U.S. oil imports

EU bows to energy reality


“Pressure from the British government and energy companies has encouraged the European Uniion to drop new regulations that could have led to the closure of Drax and other … coal-fired power stations within six years.

The sector was facing tougher emissions targets but has been given an extra three years’ grace period to 2019 after Britain argued it faced an “energy crunch” …

The decision follows a vote on the industrial emissions directive in the European parliament’s committee on environment, public health and food safety in Brussels. This has to be endorsed by the parliament in July but is unlikely to be rejected.”  “EU drops energy regulations that could have shut Drax