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Posts Tagged ‘oil’

Thousands of blobs of oil appear at My Khe beach

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:15 am

Staff in a environment company clean up the blobs of oil in My Khe beach. (Photo:SGGP)

Tourists at Da Nang beaches on January 2 discovered thousands of blobs of oil, which have been washed up along a one-kilometre length of My Khe beach.

According to Phan Minh Hai, deputy head of Son Tra Eco Tourist Sea Board, the oil started to appear on Sunday, but no one is sure where it has come from.

The Management of the Son Tra Eco Tourist Sea and Da Nang beaches has asked the provincial Department of Natural and Resources to collect samples for testing.

Hai said that it was possible that the oil came from passing ships, and had been blown inshore, by the prevailing northeasterly winds.

The board has asked an environmental company to clean up the mess.

Source: SGGP

US probe shares out ‘systemic’ blame for oil spill

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:12 am

A US panel has spread blame for the deadly Gulf of Mexico oil spill beyond BP to Halliburton and Transocean, accusing all three of “systemic” management failures that could happen again.

The presidential commission’s assessment was part of its final report on the deadly April blowout of BP’s Macondo well, which killed 11 workers and spewed 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over three months.

It said oil services giant Halliburton and offshore drilling group Transocean were also very much at fault in ignoring key warnings and failing to take the necessary precautions to avert the massive spill.

A dead sea turtle lies on a beach in Waveland, Mississippi at the height of the US Gulf oil spill

The blowout “was the product of several individual missteps and oversights by BP, Halliburton and Transocean, which government regulators lacked the authority, the necessary resources and the technical expertise to prevent,” read the advance chapter. The full report is due out next week.

Transocean owned the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon platform that sank in the accident. In October, Halliburton admitted skipping a key cement test before the blowout, but blamed BP for not testing the integrity of the job.

The root causes of the blowout were “systemic and, absent significant reform in both industry practices and government policies, might well recur,” the report said.

“Whether purposeful or not, many of the decisions that BP, Halliburton and Transocean made that increased the risk of the Macondo blowout clearly saved those companies significant time (and money).”

Saying it supported the presidential commission’s probe into the incident, BP stressed that preliminary findings concluded that “the accident was the result of multiple causes, involving multiple companies.”

The beleaguered firm said it was working with regulators and the industry “to ensure that the lessons learned from Macondo lead to improvements in operations and contractor services in deepwater drilling.”

It cited launching a new division devoted to safety and operational risk that reports directly to the firm’s CEO Bob Dudley and will provide “independent oversight” of safety-related operational decisions.

The findings “only compound our sense of tragedy because we know now that the blowout of the Macondo well was avoidable,” said former Florida senator Bob Graham, the commission’s co-chair.

“This disaster likely would not have happened had the companies involved been guided by an unrelenting commitment to safety first. And it likely would not have happened if the responsible governmental regulators had the capacity and will to demand world class safety standards.”

According to the report, the Macondo well blew out when a series of “separate risk factors, oversights and outright mistakes combined to overwhelm the safeguards” designed to prevent such an event.

“But most of the mistakes and oversights at Macondo can be traced back to a single overarching failure — a failure of management,” it added.

“Better management by BP, Halliburton and Transocean would almost certainly have prevented the blowout by improving the ability of individuals involved to identify the risks they faced, and to properly evaluate, communicate and address them.”

Former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator William Reilly, another co-chair of the commission, pointed to a “system-wide problem.”

The seven-member panel was set up by US President Barack Obama and tasked with finding out what caused the accident.

Source: SGGP

US sues BP, eight others over Gulf oil spill

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:44 am

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States filed suit for the first time against BP and eight other companies for uncounted billions of dollars in damages from a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst in US history.

The complaint was filed by the Justice Department with a federal court in New Orleans, where thousands of individuals and small businesses have already sued the oil giant.

AFP file – A photo taken in April 2010 shows fire boat crews battling the blazing remnants of the BP operated off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the complaint alleges that “violations of safety and operational regulations” caused the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, which sent nearly five million barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf.

“We intend to prove… that the defendants are therefore responsible under the Oil Pollution Act for government removal losses, economic losses, as well as environmental damages,” he said.

“We’re also seeking civil penalties under the Clean Water Act, which prohibits the unauthorized use of oil in the waters,” he added.

Holder went on to list a series of failures that led to the disaster.

He said necessary precautions weren’t taken to secure the well, the safest drilling technology was not used to monitor its condition, continuous surveillance was not maintained and safety equipment was faulty.

The defendants named in the suit were BP Exploration and Production Inc; Transocean Deepwater Inc; Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc; Transocean Holdings LLC; Anadarko Exploration and Production LP; Anadarko Petroleum Corporation; MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC; Triton Asset Leasing GMBH; and QBE Underwriting Ltd/Lloyd’s syndicate 1036.

QBE/Lloyd’s, an insurer, was not being sued under the Clean Water Act and can be held liable only up to the amount of Transocean’s insurance policy coverage, the Justice Department said.

BP said in a statement that it would “answer the government?s allegations in a timely manner and will continue to cooperate with all government investigations and inquiries.”

The world’s third largest oil company has defended its response to the spill, which has included selling off assets around the world to raise 30 billion dollars to cover both clean-up and compensation costs.

It has estimated its exposure at nearly 40 billion dollars.

“Alone among the parties, BP has stepped up to pay for the clean-up of the oil, setting aside 20 billion dollars to pay all legitimate claims,” the company said.

“We took these steps before any legal determination of responsibility and will continue to fulfil our commitments in the Gulf as the legal process unfolds.”

BP owns 65 percent of the ruptured Macondo well, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. owns a 25 percent share, and MOEX Offshore, a unit of Mitsui Oil Exploration Co, owns 10 percent. Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon rig itself.

Justice Department lawyers have been conducting parallel civil and criminal investigations since the fiery explosion, which killed 11 workers and toppled the giant rig into Gulf of Mexico.

The rig’s collapse ruptured underwater risers, unleashing a torrent of oil that fouled environmentally fragile Gulf coasts and disrupted local fishing and tourism industries for three months before it was sealed in September.

Among the losses listed in the US complaint were “hundreds of miles of coastal habitats, including salt marshes, sandy beaches, and mangroves; a variety of wildlife, including birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals.”

In the Gulf itself, the potential damage extended to “various biota, benthic communities, marine organisms, coral, fish, and water-column habitat,” it said.

And it said the spill resulted in lost opportunities for “fishing, swimming, beach-going, and viewing of birds and wildlife.”

Holder said the Justice Department would continue to investigate the disaster and ways of preventing future spills, adding that the legal action taken Wednesday “is not a final step.”

“As our investigations continue, we will not hesitate to take whatever steps are necessary to hold accountable those responsible for this spill,” he said.

“The full extent of potential injuries, destruction, loss and loss of services is not yet fully known and may not be fully known for many years.”

Source: SGGP

Vietnam to establish university of oil and gas

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2010 at 1:20 pm

PetroVietnam Oil & Gas logo

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has recently decided to establish the Vietnam University of Oil & Gas, which will be invested by Vietnam National Oil & Gas Group.

The university, located in Vinh Yen City, northern province of Vinh Phuc, will be managed by the Ministry of Education and Training.

The university is expected to supply high quality human resource to the country’s oil industry.

Most of high quality experts working in the country’s oil industry have been trained in foreign countries such as Russia, the US, the UK…

Source: SGGP

NA deputies passes resolution on completion of Dung Quat Oil Refinery

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2010 at 1:50 pm

NA deputies passes resolution on completion of Dung Quat Oil Refinery

QĐND – Friday, November 26, 2010, 20:40 (GMT+7)

The NA deputies passed a resolution on completion of Dung Quat oil refinery at the 8th session of the 12th National Assembly which closed in Hanoi on November 26. 

The resolution states that the Dung Quat Oil Refinery Factory Project No 1 has been basically completed and is producing initial results.

The resolution asks the government to continue with a package of measures aimed at ensuring raw materials for the factory to operate steadily in the long-run, and improving the project’s socio-economic efficiency as well as its impact on the key economic zone in the central region.

It also asks relevant agencies to ensure absolute security and safety for the factory under the legal regulations and pay due attention to training hi-tech human resources for the oil refinery industry as well as stabilizing the people’s production activities in the surrounding areas. More importantly, it is necessary to implement the audit of the whole project under the legal regulations.

The same day, NA deputies approved another resolution on the results of supervising the implementation of administrative reform in areas related to citizens and businesses under an overall programme on state administrative reform in the 2001-2010 period.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Fourteen dead in oil well blaze in Myanmar

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2010 at 9:38 am

At least 14 people have been killed and 58 more injured in a fire at an oil well in central Myanmar, an official in the military-ruled country said Monday.

Fact file on Myanmar. At least 14 people have been killed and 58 more injured in a fire at an oil well in central Myanmar, an official in the military-ruled country said Monday

The blaze broke out on Sunday near Pakokku town in Magway Region.

“At least 14 people were killed and 58 others injured so far during the incident,” said the official, who did not want to be named. “The local authorities are trying to put out the fire now.”

Source: SGGP

OPEC set to maintain official oil output

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 2:27 pm

VIENNA (AFP) – OPEC is expected to maintain its official oil production quota at a ministerial meeting on Thursday after key members of the cartel expressed satisfaction with the current level of crude prices.

Ecuadorian Natural Resources Minister Wilson Pastor-Morris, the current president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said on Wednesday that there was “consensus between members” to leave output unchanged.

Other OPEC ministers arriving in the Austrian capital, including kingpin Saudi Arabia, suggested that the cartel would hold its official output quota at 24.84 million oil barrels a day, where it has been since the start of 2009.

Libyan Oil Minister and chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) Shukri Ghanem talks to reporters as he arrives in Vienna. AFP

However the grouping that produces 40 percent of world oil may also call upon its members to show greater compliance with official production levels.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), which represents oil consuming nations, estimated Wednesday that OPEC pumped 26.77 million barrels a day in September, as producers sought to boost revenues amid a pick-up in energy demand.

“We should simply confirm (official output on Thursday) and ask for compliance,” Libya’s OPEC official Shukri Ghanem told reporters in Vienna, where the cartel’s headquarters are based.

“I don’t think there’s much more to be done,” added Ghanem, who is head of Libya’s National Oil Company.

OPEC meets periodically to set output with a view to supporting its members revenues and oil sector investment.

Before Thursday’s meeting, and mindful that a spike in prices could harm global economic recovery, Saudi Arabia also said that it was happy for crude to stay at 70-80 dollars, where it has been for much of the past year.

However oil futures shot above 84 dollars in London on Wednesday as the US currency weakened and Chinese reported strong crude imports, traders said.

Prices have almost trebled from lows of around 30 dollars a barrel at the height of the financial crisis in late 2008, yet OPEC members Algeria, Libya and Venezuela said they would like to see crude at 90-100 dollars.
Although global demand for oil is already rising surprisingly fast after the worst economic downturn in decades, the price is set for only a 75-80 dollar range, the IEA said on Wednesday.

It also revised up its demand forecast for oil, by more than OPEC had done on Tuesday, mainly because of an economic upturn in industrialised countries.

OPEC comprises 12 members — Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Iraq is the only member without a production quota owing to the country’s unrest.

Source: SGGP

Experts say most Gulf spill oil still in water

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2010 at 7:24 am

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Nearly 80 percent of the oil spilled from a BP well in the Gulf of Mexico is still in the gulf, US scientists have estimated, challenging a more optimistic assessment by the US government earlier in the month.

In its August 4 report, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration found that half the 4.9 million barrels of oil spilled by the April 20 blowout had been evaporated, burned, skimmed or dispersed.

A ship is seen close to the site of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill zone in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. AFP

A team of five scientists from the University of Georgia did their own analysis of the government data and came to a different conclusion.

“We just reanalyzed this report…and then we calculated how much oil is still likely to be out there and that is how we came up to 70 to 79 percent that must be out there,” said Charles Hopkinson, a marine scientist at the University of Georgia.

“One major misconception is that oil that has dissolved into water is gone and therefore, harmless,” he told AFP.

“The oil is still out there and it will likely take years to completely degrade. We are still far from a complete understanding of what its impacts are,” he said.

Source: SGGP

Alabama sues BP over oil spill

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2010 at 7:22 am

Alabama, Aug 13, 2010 (AFP) – The southern US state of Alabama has filed a lawsuit against BP and other companies linked to the oil spill “catastrophe” that soiled the Gulf of Mexico coastline, a state official said Friday.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday, accuses British oil giant BP, Transocean, “and others responsible for the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe” of causing serious damage through negligence and failing to adhere to safety standards.

The amount of compensation Alabama is seeking will be determined in court, state Attorney General Troy King said in a statement.

“BP said that this was their disaster and they would accept responsibility for it. Yet thousands wait while their claims are backed up in the system,” King said.

“Based on BP’s broken promises, their history of saying one thing and doing another, and now, new information that they have been secretly working to gain a legal advantage, further delay (of legal action) can only further damage our people,” King said.

He accused the energy firm of “retaining all the best expert witnesses, not because they need their services, but so the experts will be unable to testify against BP.”

The sun rises over the beach August 13, 2010 in Grand Isle, Louisiana. AFP

Alabama is seeking compensation, among other things, for destruction of the state’s natural resources; economic losses resulting from destruction of state property; and for the loss of taxes revenue.

The state also wants money for cleanup response and rehabilitation costs, and wants punitive damages imposed on the companies.

“BP is now on notice, Alabama intends to hold you good to your word and to make you put our state back the way you found it,” King said.

BP said Thursday it had paid out 347 million dollars in claims since May 3, after receiving 148,000 claims.

It said it has yet to deny a single claim, though some 40,000 claims are still outstanding or awaiting adjustment.

The company, which has seen its reputation take a beating in the US over the oil spill, insists it is doing the best it can and has promised to pay all legitimate claims.

The Macondo well off the coast of Louisiana began leaking after a massive explosion ripped through the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig April 20, killing 11 workers and causing the platform to sink two days later.

An estimated 4.9 million barrels have leaked into the ocean — enough oil to fill 311 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The disaster is the biggest maritime spill on record.

The spill affected the coasts of the southern US states of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, as well as parts of the Florida and Texas coastline.

Source: SGGP

Huge ice island could pose threat to oil, shipping

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2010 at 11:21 am

An island of ice more than four times the size of Manhattan is drifting across the Arctic Ocean after breaking off from a glacier in Greenland.

Potentially in the path of this unstoppable giant are oil platforms and shipping lanes — and any collision could do untold damage. In a worst case scenario, large chunks could reach the heavily trafficked waters where another Greenland iceberg sank the Titanic in 1912.

It’s been a summer of near biblical climatic havoc across the planet, with wildfires, heat and smog in Russia and killer floods in Asia. But the moment the Petermann glacier cracked last week — creating the biggest Arctic ice island in half a century — may symbolize a warming world like no other.

This combination of two satellite images provided by NASA and taken on July 28, 2010, at left, and Aug. 5, 2010, at right, shows the Petermann Glacier in Northern Greenland

“It’s so big that you can’t prevent it from drifting. You can’t stop it,” said Jon-Ove Methlie Hagen, a glaciologist at the University of Oslo.

Few images can capture the world’s climate fears like a 100-square- mile (260-sqare-kilometer) chunk of ice breaking off Greenland’s vast ice sheet, a reservoir of freshwater that if it collapsed would raise global sea levels by a devastating 20 feet (6 meters).

The world’s newest ice island already is being used as a powerful emblem in the global warming debate, with U.S. Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts suggesting it could serve as a home for climate change skeptics.

Researchers are in a scramble to plot the trajectory of the floating ice shelf, which is moving toward the Nares Strait separating Greenland’s northwestern coast and Canada’s Ellsemere Island.

If it makes it into the strait before the winter freeze — due to start next month — it would likely be carried south by ocean currents, hugging Canada’s east coast until it enters waters busy with oil activities and shipping off Newfoundland.

“That’s where it starts to become dangerous,” said Mark Drinkwater, of the European Space Agency.

The Canadian Ice Service estimates the journey will take one to two years. It’s likely to break up as it bumps into other icebergs and jagged islands. The fragments would be further ground down by winds and waves and would start to melt as they move into warmer waters.

“But the fragments may still be quite large,” warned Trudy Wohlleben, a Canadian ice forecaster, who first spotted the massive chunk of ice on satellite images last Thursday.

The chunks of ice could be large enough to threaten Canada’s offshore platforms in the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, said Wohlleben.

And, while it’s possible to redirect smaller icebergs, by towing them or spraying them with water cannons, “I don’t think they could do that with an iceberg this large,” she said. “They would have to physically move the rig.”

Moving an offshore platform is time-consuming and expensive — and very complicated in cases where they are fixed to the ocean floor.

While Greenland’s glaciers break off thousands of icebergs into Arctic waters every year, scientists say this ice island is the biggest in the northern hemisphere since 1962.

It contains enough freshwater to keep the Hudson River flowing for more than two years, said Andreas Muenchow of the University of Delaware.

The drifting ice sheet is likely to remain at the heart of the global warming discussion during its journey.

While experts say it’s difficult to directly tie the giant ice island to climate change because there are so many factors that affect glaciers in the area, the unusual event coincides with worrisome signs of warming in the Arctic.

Since 1970, temperatures have risen more than 4.5 degrees (2.5 degrees C) in much of the Arctic — much faster than the global average. In June the Arctic sea ice cover was at the lowest level for that month since records began in 1979, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The retreat of Greenland’s glaciers, which has accelerated in recent years, is one of the least understood pieces of the climate puzzle.

A team of climate scientists who visited the Petermann glacier last year, expecting it to crack then, is now planning another trip within weeks.

“We did leave behind a couple of time-lapse cameras and 11 GPS (devices). Now we are scrambling to get up there and recover the data,” said Jason Box, an expert on Greenland glaciers from the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University.

Box and two British researchers traveled to the glacier last year with Greenpeace activists who offered space aboard their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, to scientists studying climate change.

They were hoping to capture the event with cameras rolling, which would have been a powerful image just months before the Copenhagen climate talks that failed to produce a binding treaty to reduce heat-trapping gas emissions.

“It would have been nice if it had broken off last year,” said Melanie Duchin, who led that Greenpeace expedition. “I mean ice melting, it doesn’t get any simpler than that.”

Still, she finds it ironic that the Petermann breakup coincides with another catastrophe linked to fossil fuels. The Arctic Sunrise is now in the Gulf of Mexico, surveying the massive oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

Source: SGGP