"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

Posts Tagged ‘Oil Extraction’

Keystone Victory Charade: America Has Built The Equivalent Of 10 Keystone Pipelines Since 2010 — And Nobody Said Anything

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2015 at 10:28 am

FP1104-Keystone_pipeline_web

Oldspeak: While the people’s attention has been directed to stopping Keystone by corporate-controlled & co-opted “new environmentalist movements”/NGOs and they’ve crowed about a “victory for the environment” the reality has proceeded thusly:

Between 2009 and 2013, more than 8,000 miles of oil transmission pipelines have been built in the past five years in the U.S., AOPL spokesperson John Stoody said, compared to the 875 miles TransCanada wants to lay in the states of Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska for its 830,000-bpd project. By last year, the U.S. had built 12,000 miles of pipe since 2010…. “While people have been debating Keystone in the U.S. we have actually built the equivalent of 10 Keystones. And no one’s complained or said anything.”… opposition has done little to stop the surge of Alberta crude flowing through the U.S. pipeline systems: Canadian crude oil exports to the U.S. soared to 3.4 million barrels per day in August – a new record.

Translation: We’re still FU@K$D. Anthropogenic carbon pollution has increased unabated worldwide since 1900. Keystone is a drop in the global bucket when compared to the building of all the fossil fuel extraction, processing and transport infrastructure that has occurred around the world.  It’s Game Over for the climate, whether Keystone is built or not.  -OSJ

Written By Yadullah Hussain @ The Financial Post:

While TransCanada Corp. has been cooling its heels on its Keystone XL proposal for the past six years, the oil pipeline business has been booming in the United States.

Crude oil pipeline mileage rose 9.1 per cent last year alone to reach 66,649 miles, according to data from the Washington, D.C.-based Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL)  set to be released soon.

Between 2009 and 2013, more than 8,000 miles of oil transmission pipelines have been built in the past five years in the U.S., AOPL spokesperson John Stoody said, compared to the 875 miles TransCanada wants to lay in the states of Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska for its 830,000-bpd project. By last year, the U.S. had built 12,000 miles of pipe since 2010.

“That’s the point we make,” Stoody said. “While people have been debating Keystone in the U.S. we have actually built the equivalent of 10 Keystones. And no one’s complained or said anything.”

On Monday, TransCanada asked the U.S. State Department to suspend review of its controversial Alberta-to-Nebraska pipeline in the latest episode of a six-year drama that has seen as many as five environmental reviews, numerous legal challenges and a rejection in 2012 by President Barack Obama.

Despite TransCanada’s request for a pause, the U.S. President still rejected the project. He announced on Friday that he would not approve the Keystone application, saying the project did not serve the nation’s interests.

The 487-mile southern leg of the project, dubbed the Gulf Coast project, between Cushing, Okla. and Texas refineries came on stream in 2014.

While the northern leg of Keystone XL remains under review, the Lower 48s have seen new oil pipes crisscrossing the country.

“If you look at 2010 versus now we have seen historic realignment that has transformed the infrastructure situation,” said Afolabi Ogunnaike, analyst at Wood Mackenzie. “There has been tremendous investment in pipelines and more investments are coming on.

The U.S. midstream infrastructure is responding to a near-doubling of U.S. production over the past six years. The U.S. saw an 11.6 per cent increase in crude oil transport via pipelines in 2014, according to AOPL data.

But as U.S. oil production eases in response to lower crude prices, the rapid build-up could see pipeline capacity exceed production in the Bakken in North Dakota and even the Permian basin straddling Texas and New Mexico, Ogunnaike estimates.

“The low oil price environment is allowing the crude oil logistics to catch up to supply,” he said.

Armed with shipping commitments despite low crude prices, key pipeline operators are proceeding with many projects to alleviate the bottlenecks, which could add as much as 8.7 million barrels per day by 2018, Reuters data shows.

Last week, Houston-based pipeline company Enterprise Product Partners said it would have US$7.8 billion of major capital projects ready by the end of 2017. Tulsa, Okla.-based shipper Magellan Midstream Partners raised its capital expenditure by US$200 million to US$1.6 billion in its earnings announcement Tuesday. TransCanada has reported higher volumes on the Keystone Pipeline System in its third-quarter earnings, while Enbridge Inc. is also looking to expand its presence in the Gulf Coast.

Much of the opposition in the U.S. has focused on crude rail terminals, especially in California and Oregon, which has led to delays on some rail projects. In many states, pipeline is viewed more favourably than the sight of crude-bearing rail cars barreling down town centres.

“There is some local opposition, but we don’t have local or inter-state projects that are attracting the same level of scrutiny as Keystone XL seems to have. Keystone XL is an international issue,” Ogunnaike says.

But for many the fight against Keystone XL pipeline remains a high priority in a larger battle to combat climate change.

“I have always opposed Keystone XL,” tweeted Democrat presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Monday. “It isn’t a distraction — it’s a fundamental litmus test of your commitment to battle climate change.”

But the opposition has done little to stop the surge of Alberta crude flowing through the U.S. pipeline systems: Canadian crude oil exports to the U.S. soared to 3.4 million barrels per day in August – a new record.

5 Years Later: The Monumental Clusterfuck That Is The BP Gulf Oil Disaster Is Ongoing

In Uncategorized on April 21, 2015 at 12:45 pm
Oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico is burned in an attempt to quell its spread, June 16, 2010. (Photo: Kris Krüg)

Oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico is burned in an attempt to quell its spread, June 16, 2010. (Photo: Kris Krüg)

Oldspeak:”I had the privilege of performing in a show yesterday commemorating the 5 year anniversary of the BP Gulf Oil Disaster, “Voices From The Gulf“. A group of NYC based artists and performers from the Gulf shared their work documenting the calamity. Tragic stories in the form of letters from residents suffering the effects of the poisoning from the deadly oil and correxit cocktail were shared. This is an ongoing and incalculable ecological catastrophe. In all probability, oil is still leaking from the supposedly shut Macondo well. People and environment alike are still suffering and dying as a result of this crime. Livelihoods that depend on fishing have been decimated. And BP has aggressively and consistently demonstrated that it has little intention of fixing the clusterfuck its willful neglect and greed begot. In fact it’s actually denying 61 percent of damages and compensation claims filed by residents, and forced an unconscionable 81% of claimants to sign a  ‘Release and Covenant Not to Sue’ in which the claimant agreed not to sue BP and all other potentially liable parties. Yet, the despite the fact that this practice is INHERENTLY UNSAFE drilling continues unabated. There is literally nothing to stop this from happening again. The once bountiful and beautiful Gulf Of Mexico has been transformed in to one big Sacrifice Zone, of death and destruction.”“We’re paying the price for their greed and irresponsible exploration…They went ‘balls to the wall’ with their drilling because they didn’t care. It was just money, money, money.”George Barisich, Lifelong Commercial Shrimper. Profit Is Paramount. All else, gets fucked.” -OSJ

By Julie Dermansky @ DeSmogBlog:

Cat Island, off the Gulf Coast in Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish, was home to a vibrant bird rookery inhabited by brown pelicans, seagulls, spoonbills, and egrets before BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Five years after the largest oil spill in American history, the barrier island has just about disappeared.

Despite ongoing efforts by former Plaquemines Parish coastal zone manager PJ Hahn to restore the island, only the needed building permits and an engineering plan have been completed.

“Cat Island was ground zero of the oil spill,” Hahn told DeSmogBlog.

Dead bird on Cat Island five years after the BP oil spill. March 31, 2015. ©2015 Julie Dermansky

He thought that the restoration of the island was a no-brainer since, while much of the oil spill’s damage was underwater and invisible, the damage to Cat Island was easy to prove. According to Hahn, not only would the island’s restoration be necessary for the birds, but it would provide a great public relations move for anyone who helped in the process.

At the time of the spill, Cat Island was approximately five and a half acres, covered by a dense forest of black mangrove trees which were occupied by nesting birds. All that remains now are two small strips of land — less than an acre combined. Mangrove stumps jut out from the broken, shell-covered sandy remains of the island, at times fully submerged during high tide.

“The island was a treasure and it deserves to be restored,” Hahn told DeSmogBlog. He continues to advocate for the restoration project he spearheaded.

“It’s a hard sell for many since the island doesn’t serve as storm protection like other barrier islands that are in the process of being restored since the spill,” Hahn said.

But Cat Island and other small barrier islands, some of which have completely eroded since the spill, were perfect bird habitats because they were free of predators. Hahn believes the $6 million restoration price tag is a good investment, one that will pay for itself in dollars generated by the tourism industry. “Bird watchers from all over will come to visit the island,” he said.

Brown Pelicans and Spoonbills on Cat Island. © 2015 Julie Dermansky 

Media and Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition at Cat Island, March 31, 2015. © 2015 Julie Dermansky 

So far, the parish has raised $3 million of the $6 million needed before the rebuilding process can begin.

Shell, the only oil company to contribute, donated $1 million. Other contributors include the American Bird Conservancy and the federal Coastal Impact Assistance Program. The parish hopes to get the rest of the needed funds from the state’s “Restore Act Fund,” made up of money from that part of the BP settlement that has already been paid.

Billy Nungesser on Cat Island holding a pelican bone three years after the BP oil spill, April 18, 2013© 2013 Julie Dermansky

Billy Nungesser, Plaquemines Parish president during the spill who is now running for lieutenant governor, had been famous for his fierce criticism of BP. But now it seems he’s changed his tune.

During a town hall meeting hosted by Rush Radio in St. Tammany Parish, where residents turned out to express their concerns about the possibility of the first fracking project in their area, Nungesser gushed over the great relationship Plaquemines Parish has with the oil industry, no longer singling out BP as a bad player as he had in the past.

Though he believes residents should have a say regarding what type of industry is welcomed in their community, he said oil companies that operate in his parish “do the right thing.”

Referencing the “horrible pictures of the pelicans covered in oil,” Nungesser claimed that in the case of “a safety incident or something spilling from a platform, every company has gone beyond the call of duty in our parish to make it right. Oil companies are rebuilding those islands.”

But Cat Island is a perfect example that Plaquemines Parish “has not been made whole,” according to Hahn. “BP was asked to contribute to rebuilding Cat Island multiple times,” Hahn said, “but they haven’t given anything to help the project.”

PJ Hahn photographing nesting pelicans on Cat Island two year after the BP oil spill. © 2012 Julie Dermansky

Cat Island was not mentioned in a BP report on the condition of the Gulf issued in March which paints a picture of the Gulf Coast on the mend. According to the report, “Available data does not indicate the spill caused any significant long-term population-level impact to species in the Gulf,” and “affected areas are recovering faster than predicted.”

State and federal agencies involved in the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) took issue with BP’s report.

“It is inappropriate as well as premature for BP to reach conclusions about impacts from the spill before the completion of the assessment,” an NRDA report states. NRDA will determine how much BP and its subcontractors owe for the environmental damages.

When asked what specifically BP has done to restore Cat Island, BP media spokesperson Jason Ryan sent out a statement about other coastal restoration projects the company has contributed to. BP agreed to pay for restoration projects in advance of NRDA’s assessment, which it was not required to do. Several of the projects are underway, but rebuilding Cat Island is not one of them.

The statement from BP points out: “The state loses about a football field worth of wetlands every hour,” and that “with regard to Cat Island specifically, it was rapidly eroding before the spill, primarily due to the impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.”

Though BP wouldn’t give a “Yes” or “ No” as to whether it has contributed to rebuilding Cat Island, the company wrote: “We are studying shoreline erosion on marshes and barrier islands, including Cat Island, to determine if there was any acceleration due to the spill.”

The BP spill “totally accelerated” the erosion of Cat Island,” Linda Hooper Bui, an entomologist at Louisiana State University, told DeSmogBlog.

Bui has been working on studies of insect life in Barataria Bay that she began prior to the BP oil spill, making her a witness to the ongoing erosion process impacting the island. When plants are stressed they can’t hold on to sediment, she explained. And that is what happened when the oil covered the plant life on Cat Island. “You lose the mangrove, you lose the sediment,” Bui said.

“Heavily-oiled marshes erode at double the rate of a non-oiled marsh,” Melanie Driscoll, Director of Bird Conservation for the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi flyway for the Audubon Society, told DeSmogBlog, citing a scientific peer-reviewed study done after the BP spill.

“Every year there is a delay restoring the island, there is less area for nesting,” Driscoll said. ” We need restoration to proceed as soon as possible.”

David Muth, Gulf Coast Restoration Director for the National Wildlife Federation holds up a photo of what Cat Island looked like before the BP oil spill, while standing in front of the island on March 31, 2015. ©2015 Julie Dermansky

On March 31, a trip arranged by Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition gave members of the media a chance to document what little remains of Cat Island. The National Wildlife Federation, a key player in the coalition, released a report about the health of the Gulf five years after the spill that paints a completely different picture than BP’s.

The NWF report cites several scientific studies that document the negative impact the spill had on 20 different species, including the brown pelican, which were Cat Island’s main inhabitants.

“The tragedy is brown pelicans were taken off the endangered species list the year before the spill,” Hahn said. “If there is no habitat, there are no birds. Who knows if they will come back when we finally get the island rebuilt?”