Lagos ports remained closed on Tuesday as Nigeria’s nationwide strike by labour and civil rights groups entered a second day. The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said ships were neither berthing nor leaving and that 29 ships had been effectively trapped.
A cargo vessel that broke its moorings off the Australian territory of Christmas Island sank during severe weather on Monday night spilling the majority of its contents, including bunker fuel, into surrounding waters. The Panamanian-flagged MV Tycoon was carrying approximately 102 metric tonnes (mt) of intermediate fuel oil (IFO), 11,000 litres of lubricant oil, 32 tonnes of diesel oil and approximately 260 tonnes of phosphate.
Bad timing if you’re into piping tar sands syncrude out of Canada
Canadian pipeline builder Enbridge reported a leak from one of its pipelines on the day public hearings began into the company’s planned Northern Gateway pipeline. U.S. pipeline regulators told Enbridge about the possible leak. A subsequent helicopter over-flight discovered a metre-wide patch of bubbles over the company’s Stingray pipeline, which can carry 560-million cubic feet a day of natural gas from offshore wells in the Gulf of Mexico. The bubbles were found about 100 kilometres from the Louisiana coast.
Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline through British Columbia’s mountains faces rising costs as regulators and opponents weigh environmental threats in the latest battle over Alberta’s oil sands.
With energy demand on the rise and sources of supply dwindling, we are, in fact, entering a new epoch — the Geo-Energy Era — in which disputes over vital resources will dominate world affairs. In 2012 and beyond, energy and conflict will be bound ever more tightly together, lending increasing importance to the key geographical flashpoints in our resource-constrained world.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to pass — with only six nays — the Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011. At the Hill’s Congress Blog, Jamir Abdi explains that (as you may have heard) it contains “a provision—inserted without debate in committee after garnering the majority of its cosponsors—that would outlaw contact between U.S. government employees and certain Iranian officials.”
In this month’s update of the “real” employment situation we will dig down behind the headlines and look deeper into the recent release of the Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Remember the GOM BP oil spill?
After the catastrophic explosion in April 2010 at BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig, it’s believed that 206 million gallons of crude shot from the riser pipe over three months. Now, learning what was released, how much and where are key for understanding the impact on ecosystems, a Sarasota Herald-Tribune report said. As much as 36 percent of the oil remained in deep underwater plumes, a government-funded study published Monday said.
Some more on coal
Alpha Natural Resources Inc. has settled all remaining wrongful-death lawsuits with the families of coal miners killed in a 2010 explosion that was the worst U.S. mining accident in four decades. Alpha inherited the civil suits when it acquired Massey Energy for $7.1 billion last June, more than a year after an explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia killed 29 miners.
A Spanish member of the European Parliament has renewed his attacks on bunkering in the Bay of Gibraltar. “These waters are suffering the negative effects of repeated spills of fuel and facing the risks posed by extremely dense maritime traffic and constant uncontrolled bunkering operations,” said Fancisco Sosa Wagner.
On the ninth of May, shortly after BP’s cofferdam experiment failed (but before I had heard these reports), I sent an email to a friend who enjoys ‘insider’ access to oil industry experts. Imagine, if you will, a mustached man wrapped in a black cloak with the collar raised, eyes hidden by the strategically cocked brim of a dark grey fedora. I was hoping that my mysterious friend might be able to ferret out an important piece of information: an estimate of the gas-oil ratio for the Tiber Oilfield which the Deepwater Horizon had penetrated before exploding and sinking to the black depths of the Gulf of Mexico.
I wanted this piece of information because the fiery collapse of the Deepwater Horizon left a ruptured, crumpled pipeline which continues to spew the mirky contents of the Tiber reservoir into the Gulf of Mexico. But oil is not the only dangerous substance erupting from the broken riser pipe.
To greater and lesser extents, gaseous hydrocarbons, like methane, are produced along with liquid hydrocarbons in nearly every oil field. Onshore, these gaseous hydrocarbons can be captured and carted off to gas-fired power plants or pumped back into the reservoir in order to maintain reservoir pressure and the flow of crude. These options simply do not exist for offshore production platforms. Consequently gasses produced offshore are ‘flared’, a process which resembles a giant Bunsen burner.
In the Niger Delta, the flaring of gas causes acid rain. The impacts are easy to see. Zinc rooftops rapidly deteriorate and fishing nets must be hidden from the rain. As an aside, it has been estimated that 564 million gallons of crude have been spilled in the Niger Delta over the last 50 years. That is equivalent to an Exxon Valdez disaster every year. At a constant flow rate of 40,000 barrels per day, it would take an entire year for the BP spill to leak as much oil into the Gulf. How’s that for perspective? Read more…