Archive for the 'oil' Category

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Suez Wins Water-Supply Contract for Oil Vessels Off Brazil Coast

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Suez Environnement (SEV), the second-largest water company in Europe, won a supply contract for vessels involved in offshore oil production in Brazil.

Degremont, Suez’s water-management subsidiary, was awarded an engineering and procurement contract for four water-supply units for Keppel FELS Brasil and its affiliates Lindel Private Ltd. and Estaleiro BrasFELS Ltda.

The water-supply units, two of them seawater desalination, will equip two floating production, storage and offloading or FPSOs vessels ordered by Tupi BV, a subsidiary of state-owned Petrobras Brasileiro SA, for offshore oil production in Brazil. The other two are sulphate removal units that treat seawater to make it suitable for water injection, helping avoid clogging rock reservoirs and contributing to enhanced oil recovery, Suez said today in a statement. No contract terms were disclosed.

Following the discovery of ultra-deep reservoirs 300 kilometers off shore, Brazil will become the sixth-largest oil producer by 2020, said Remi Lantier, chief executive officer of Degremont. With the contract,” “Degremont proves its capability to accompany Petrobras in its needs for innovative water solutions for upstream oil and gas production.”


Read more: Bloomberg


The Fracker’s Quest: More Water

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“Hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) has recast the U.S.’s energy future, but it’s also shining a light on fragile water supplies, which could crimp the industry’s growth.

The pinch is especially strong on shale energy producers and state regulators who are scrambling to find ways to keep the water flowing to this thirsty industry while not shortchanging farmers, municipalities, and growing populations. Anywhere from two to 10 million gallons of water (along with sand and chemicals) are injected into each fracturing well. Multiply that times tens of thousands of wells and you’re talking lots of water – and wastewater, too.

Given a fast-changing regulatory landscape and the diverse geologic conditions of key shale energy basins around the country, it’s a challenge with no easy solutions.

“We’ve got to plan and plan and plan,” engineering executive Ken Burris told a crowd of 75 industry players and regulators last week at a Water Management for Shale Plays 2013 conference in Denver.

The urgency is palpable. In less than a decade, hydraulic fracturing has grown from a largely unregulated wildcat industry to an energy juggernaut that is rejuvenating rural economies in North Dakota, Texas, and Pennsylvania and putting America back on track to become the world’s largest oil producer again.”

Read more: National Geographic


Ecuadorian Amazon Oil Slick Heads Towards Peru

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“An oil spill in the Ecuadorian Amazon is flowing downstream towards Peru and Brazil, heightening concerns about the impact of drilling in one of the world’s last remaining wildernesses.

About 1.6m litres of crude was discharged into a tributary of the Amazon from the Trans-Ecuador pipeline, which was ruptured by a landslide on 31 May.

The slick contaminated the drinking supplies of Coca, a gateway city into the Amazon forest. Local media reported that 60,000 people had to rely on water brought in by 65 tankers.

Petroecuador, the pipeline operator, has hired the US clearup company Clean Caribbean & Americas, which was involved in the operation after the Gulf of Mexico spill.

Although the company and local authorities tried to contain the slick with a boom, some of the oil entered the Napo river, which flows across the border.

Last week Peru reported traces of the oil in its Amazon region of Loreto, prompting an apology from the Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa.

The Peruvian environment minister, Manuel Pulgar Vidal, described the slick as a “very serious problem” and said Peru could seek compensation if the damage proved extensive.”

Read more: Amazon Watch


Fracking Is Already Straining U.S. Water Supplies

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“Every fracking job requires 2 million to 4 million gallons of water, according to the Groundwater Protection Council. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has estimated that the 35,000 oil and gas wells used for fracking consume between 70 billion and 140 billion gallons of water each year. That’s about equal, EPA says, to the water use in 40 to 80 cities with populations of 50,000 people, or one to two cities with a population of 2.5 million each.

Some of the most intensive oil and gas development in the nation is occurring in regions where water is already at a premium. A paper published last month by Ceres, a nonprofit that works on sustainability issues, looked at 25,000 shale oil and shale gas wells in operation and monitored by an industry-tied reporting website called FracFocus.

Ceres found that 47 percent of these wells were in areas “with high or extremely high water stress” because of large withdrawals for use by industry, agriculture, and municipalities. In Colorado, for example, 92 percent of the wells were in extremely high water-stress areas, and in Texas more than half were in high or extremely high water-stress areas.”

Read more: Alternet


Mexico Lacks Water to Frack for Shale Gas

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“Mexico plans to expand shale gas exploration this year, but it could run into a shortage of water, which is essential to hydraulic fracturing or fracking, the method used to capture natural gas from shale rocks.

“In Mexico there isn’t enough water. Where are they going to get it to extract shale gas?” Professor Miriam Grunstein at the Centre for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) remarked in an interview with IPS.

She is opposed to the involvement of PEMEX, Mexico’s state-run oil company, in fracking, and recommends that it instead focus on higher priority sectors.

In 2012, a lengthy drought especially affected a large part of central and northern Mexico, with a heavy impact on agriculture and livestock, and on living conditions in dozens of rural villages.

And the forecast for this year is not much different.

Since 2011, PEMEX has drilled at least six wells for shale gas in the northern states of Nuevo León and Coahuila. And it is preparing for further exploration in the southeastern state of Veracruz, at a cost of 245 million dollars over the space of 18 months, in conjunction with the Mexican Petroleum Institute (IMP), a state institution.

To obtain shale gas, high pressure is applied in order to pump vast quantities of chemical sludge into layers of shale rock located deep in the earth. This results in the fracturing of the shale and the release of natural gas trapped in the rocks.”

Read more: IPS


Will Plans for Massive Tunnels to Pipe Northern California Water South Mean a Boon for Fracking?

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“The oil industry, represented by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and former Chair of the Marine Life Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Task Force for the South Coast, is pushing for increased “fracking” in California.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the controversial, environmentally destructive process of injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals underground at high pressure in order to release and extract oil or gas, according to Food and Water Watch.

The question is: Where will the industry get the water for fracking on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and coastal areas, including Monterey County where large Monterey Shale deposits are located?

Burt Wilson, Editor and Publisher of Public Water News Service, believes he has the answer. He contends that the “hidden agenda” of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build twin tunnels is to provide water for the environmentally destructive process of fracking in California.

Wilson definitely knows what he is talking about. He was was on the media staff of the “No on 9″ campaign against the peripheral canal in 1982. They won by a 2/3 vote statewide and stopped the canal.

Unfortunately, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, at the urging of corporate agribusiness interests, began his campaign build the peripheral canal in 2007. Brown has continued and fast-tracked the Republican governor’s plan, opting to go for twin tunnels under the Delta than a single peripheral canal.

“As the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) nears completion, some unusual elements of the project have been revealed piecemeal and when they are all put together the total effect is that there is a hidden agenda going on that is far from what has been revealed on the surface,” said Wilson.”

Read more: AlterNet


Protesters Call On Obama To Reject Keystone XL Pipeline

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“Tens of thousands of protesters turned out on the National Mall Sunday to encourage President Obama to make good on his commitment to act on climate change.

In his Inaugural address from outside the U.S. Capitol, the president said: “We will respond to the threat of climate change knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

Just a few weeks later, next to the Washington Monument, Paul Birkeland was one of a couple dozen people holding a long white tube above their heads.

“It’s a backbone. It’s a spine. The idea is to ask the president to have some spine and stand up to oil companies. And reject the Keystone Pipeline,” Birkeland says.

The activists are focusing on the Keystone XL pipeline because it would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. To make this oil, companies use complex extraction and processing techniques that use a lot of energy. So it has a larger greenhouse gas footprint than conventional crude.”

Read more: NPR


More Threats From Fracking: Radioactive Waste

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“Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday it was embarking on a year-long study of radioactivity in by-products from oil and natural gas development.

But findings and any action from the study may come too late for people like Portage, Pennsylvania resident Randy Moyer, who is suffering from a flurry of health problems he believes are the result of radiation exposure from his work transporting fracking wastefluids. Pennsylvania’s Beaver County Times reports:

Moyer said he began transporting brine, the wastewater from gas wells that have been hydraulically fractured, for a small hauling company in August 2011. He trucked brine from wells to treatment plants and back to wells, and sometimes cleaned out the storage tanks used to hold wastewater on drilling sites. By November 2011, the 49-year-old trucker was too ill to work. He suffered from dizziness, blurred vision, headaches, difficulty breathing, swollen lips and appendages, and a fiery red rash that covered about 50 percent of his body.”

Read more: Common Dreams


Why First Nations Movement Is Our Best Chance for Clean Land and Water

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“Before the passage of Bill C-45, 2.6 million rivers, lakes, and a good portion of Canada’s three ocean shorelines were protected under the Navigable Waters Act. Now, only eighty-seven are protected. That’s just the beginning of the problem, which seems not to have drawn much attention from the general public.

“Flash mob” protests with traditional dancing and drumming have erupted in dozens of shopping malls across North America, marches and highway blockades by aboriginal groups and supporters have emerged across Canada and as far away as New Zealand and the Middle East. This weekend, hundreds of native people and their supporters held a flash mob round dance, with hand drums and singing, at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, again as a part of the Idle No More protest movement. This quickly emerging wave of native activism on environmental and human rights issues has spread like a wildfire across the continent.

Prime Minister Harper’s push for tar sands and mining

A group of natives from Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia, Ontario, pitched a pickup truck across the tracks of a Canadian National Railway spur and blocked train traffic Friday in support of the Idle No More protest in Ottawa. The blockade began just after Boxing Day, that famed Canadian holiday, and has continued.”

Read more: Yes Magazine


US to become ‘net energy exporter’

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“Environmentalists and some analysts, however, caution that jubilant predictions from a country that consumes some 25 percent of the world’s oil will run into environmental constraints including global warming and a lack of fresh water.

“There is no question that fresh water is going to be a serious concern… the water crisis will be the next big crisis people will have to confront everywhere in the world in the next few decades,” Pierce, the energy lawyer and professor, said. “Limits on fresh water, to a certain extent, will be the determining limit on fracking capability… how serious a limit is hard to say.”

Extracting gas from one well through fracking takes about five million gallons of water, the equivalent of between 800 and 1,300 truckloads, said energy consultant Faeth. Over its lifespan, an average well produces more than 4 billion cubic feet of gas equivilent – enough energy to power about 16,000,000 homes for one day. Mixed with chemicals, much of the water ends up contaminated after being used in the fracking process. One well will often need to be fracked up to 18 times, drastically increasing water contamination.”

“The industry is not that transparent; we don’t know exactly how much water is being used in different places,” Lorne Stockman, research director of advocacy group Oil Change International, told Al Jazeera. “Public discomfort with the fracking boom is growing, especially in states like Ohio… I can’t say if it will come to a head.”

Read more: Aljazeera