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Oil - Mar 7

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Critical Part of Keystone Report Done by Firms with Deep Oil Industry Ties

Lisa Song, InsideClimate News
The State Department's recent conclusion that the Keystone XL pipeline "is unlikely to have a substantial impact" on the rate of Canada's oil sands development was based on analysis provided by two consulting firms with ties to oil and pipeline companies that could benefit from the proposed project.

EnSys Energy has worked with ExxonMobil, BP and Koch Industries, which own oil sands production facilities and refineries in the Midwest that process heavy Canadian crude oil. Imperial Oil, one of Canada's largest oil sands producers, is a subsidiary of Exxon.

ICF International works with pipeline and oil companies but doesn't list specific clients on its website. It declined to comment on the Keystone, referring questions to the State Department.

EnSys president Martin Tallett said he couldn't talk about the proposed pipeline, but he pointed out that in addition to working for the oil industry, his company also works for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy and the World Bank...
(6 March 2013)


The spreading slick of blame for the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Dominic Rushe, The Guardian
It's been a bruising week for BP in New Orleans. A "classic failure" of management and cost-cutting led to 2010's fatal oil rig explosion, a court heard this week as the civil trial over the Deepwater Horizon disaster began.

It's now almost three years since the tragedy killed 11 men and triggered the worst oil spill in US history. The impact is still being felt in the gulf where disturbing numbers of dolphins and turtles are still being found dead on the beaches.

This trial is meant to determine, once and for all, who bears the most blame for what went wrong. There's little doubting BP should get the biggest share, but as the trial gets into full swing, some of the disaster's major players are getting a free pass: Washington in general, the Obama administration in particular, and us...
(1 March 2013)


Statoil may abandon US Arctic drilling leases

Jennifer A. Dlouhy, fuelfix blogB
Statoil spent $23 million buying leases to drill in the Chukchi Sea five years ago, but now the company may abandon the prospects as both the costs and challenges of exploring in U.S. Arctic waters mount.

The company already postponed plans to drill in the Arctic waters north of Alaska until 2015 at the earliest. But Tim Dodson, executive vice president of global exploration for the Norwegian firm, said Tuesday that Statoil may never hunt for crude in the Chukchi Sea, even as it aggressively pursues other Arctic prospects at the top of the world.

“One of the reasons — if not the only reason — for us to push back is that ideally we’d like to see Shell carry through . . . and basically learn from that before we embark on something similar,” Dodson said...
(5 March 2013)


Peak Oil, The Shale Boom and our Energy Future: Interview with Dave Summers

James Stafford, The Oil PriceB
This where we stand, and it’s a fairly bleak view: Peak oil is almost here, and nothing new (with the possible but unlikely exception of Iraq) is coming online anytime soon and while the clock is ticking - forward movement on developing renewable energy resources has been sadly inadequate. In the meantime, the idea that shale reservoirs will lead the US to energy independence will soon enough be recognized as unrealistic hype. There are no easy solutions, no viable quick fixes, and no magic fluids. Yet the future isn’t all doom and gloom – certain energy technologies do show promise. We had a chance to speak with well known energy expert Dave Summers where we cut through the media noise and take a realistic look at what our energy future holds.

Dr. Dave Summers - scientist, prolific writer and author of Waterjetting Technology, is the co-founder of The Oil Drum and currently writes at the popular energy blog Bit Tooth Energy. From a family of nine generations of coal miners, Summers’ patented waterjetting technology enables the high-speed drilling of small holes through the earth among other applications. In an exclusive interview with Oilprice.com, Dr. Summers discusses:

• Why new drilling techniques aren’t enough to put peak oil off
• Why the shale revolution will not lead to energy independence
• Why the potential of nuclear energy isn’t being realized
• Why ‘plan B’ for Keystone isn’t beneficial to the US
• Why we should be worried about the South China Sea and the Middle East
• How low natural gas prices cannot be sustained
• Why Europe’s shale future is still indeterminate
• Why the coal industry’s days aren’t necessarily numbered
• Why geothermal energy has the greatest potential
• How media manipulation figures in to the climate debate
• Why nuclear fusion remains a fantasy in our lifetimes and beyond

Oilprice.com: What do you foresee in our energy future? Will new extraction techniques and advances in drilling technology help put peak oil off?

Dave Summers: Most of the “innovation” in energy extraction from underground has been known for some time. It’s just taken time to work its way through to large-scale market use. There are techniques such as in-situ combustion, whether of coal or oil sand, that are now being developed that show some promise. But each increment of gain is at higher cost, and is chasing after a smaller target volume. Even if better methods of drilling were developed (and we have looked at several) in the cost of overall production this would not, in itself, provide that much benefit.

If ways could be found to economically release more hydrocarbon from existing and drilled reservoirs then this might have a significant impact, but though this has been sought after with lots of effort, there has been no magic fluid or way of doing that yet.

Peak oil is about here, though we can argue about fractions of a million barrels of day, it is hard to find any large volumes that can be expected to come onto the market in the next decade (with the possible, though unlikely, exception of Iraq). The clock on this has been ticking for some time, and some of the moves toward increasing renewable energy sources (though motivated by a different driver) have helped mitigate some of the problem, but sadly not enough...
(28 February 2013)

Offshore oil rig at sunset - arbyreed/flickr

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