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#oil

The (ExxonMobil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas) appears to be the largest accident involving heavy crude since an Enbridge Energy pipeline spill in 2010 that dumped more than 840,000 gallons near Marshall, Mich., soiling a 39-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River.

Late Tuesday, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration ordered Exxon not to restart the pipeline without getting approval, because of its proximity to populated areas and waterways, and because the initial investigation had not yet uncovered the cause of the spill.

The Arkansas spill followed an accident in Utah on March 18 in which a Chevron pipeline leaked more than 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel in a wetlands area about 50 miles from Salt Lake City.

“Chevron Pipe Line Company regrets this incident, and we are committed to remediating the affected area and mitigating all impacts on the environment,” Gareth Johnstone, a Chevron spokesman, said in a statement.

The Chevron spill was the third in three years in Utah, prompting Gov. Gary R. Herbert to sharply criticize the pipeline agency at a recent news conference. “Obviously, they have not done a very good job of overseeing the pipes that travel between our states,” he said.

The safety records of both the Exxon and Chevron pipelines have been under scrutiny in recent years. Last week, the pipeline agency proposed imposing a $1.7 million fine on Exxon Mobil over a 2011 spill that dumped an estimated 63,000 gallons of oil in the Yellowstone River in Montana.

Records show that the pipeline agency has proposed a fine of about $150,000 in the same year over the company’s failure to properly test several pipelines.

In June 2010, a Chevron pipeline spilled more than 33,000 gallons of crude into Red Butte Creek near Salt Lake City. The company took more than 10 hours to respond to the spill, and it was fined $423,600, according to pipeline agency records. Seven months later, a second Chevron spill sent an additional 21,000 gallons of oil into the same area.

The New York Times, "Pipeline Spill Stirs New Criticism of Keystone Plan"

NY TIMES: "...Domestic trends are unmistakable. Not only has the United States reduced oil imports from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries by more than 20 percent in the last three years, it has become a net exporter of refined petroleum products like gasoline for the first time since the Truman presidency. The natural gas industry, which less than a decade ago feared running out of domestic gas, is suddenly dealing with a glut so vast that import facilities are applying for licenses to export gas to Europe and Asia. National oil production, which declined steadily to 4.95 million barrels a day in 2008 from 9.6 million in 1970, has risen over the last four years to nearly 5.7 million barrels a day. The Energy Department projects that daily output could reach nearly seven million barrels by 2020. Some experts think it could eventually hit 10 million barrels — which would put the United States in the same league as Saudi Arabia." »

President Obama should totally re-enact a scene from that late 1990’s Bill Pullman / Will Smith / Jeff Goldblum sci-fi classic and address a bunch of freedom fighters an yell out IT’S ENERGY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!

“I wish I could just make gas prices go down on their own. No president can.”

Then-Democratic presidential candidate BARACK OBAMA, in 2008.

Yep.

(via)

Memo to those who truly believe that President Obama and President Obama alone is responsible for the rise in oil and gasoline prices: »

  • Get out of your car
  • and empty the contents of your gas tank into a canister
  • and take that canister to the nearest refinery
  • and have them convert your gasoline into the petroleum it previously was
  • and have them transport said petroleum back to its point of origin
  • (if it came via pipeline, have the pipeline operator reverse flow and send it back that way;
  • if it came via cargo ship, have them place your petroleum into one of the tanks aboard and send that ship back)
  • and once at point of origin, have them transport your oil back to the well from which it was extracted
  • (if said well is beneath the ocean surface and under the sea floor, then please ensure the re-introduction of your petroleum to said well is done carefully so as not to upset the already endangered ocean environment — just ask the Gulf of Mexico, sigh!;
  • if said well is the oil sands region of Canada, ensure you mix said sand and other particulates well into the petrol for that nice, non-sweet crude viscosity;
  • if said well is in a region of the world that is currently under threat of governmental instability and / or war, then, um, make sure your oil crew is wearing bulletproof vests, we guess?  That’s up to you)
  • and oh yeah, beware of the ability of major natural disasters like the earthquake / tsunami that struck Japan to upend whatever domestic energy policies your and other countries may have and cause a ripple effect on oil prices worldwide
  • not to mention those pesky speculators trading in commodities like oil — those guys are greedy bastards who don’t actually USE the oil they buy and hoard!  But shhhhhhh, no one needs to know that
  • and then and only then should you feel free to blame any one individual on the face of the Earth for the rise in oil and gas prices, but make especially sure it’s the current President of the United States
  • okay, dumbass?
FRACK ME   Smoke and flames engulfed Royal Dutch Shell’s Pulau Bukom offshore  petroleum complex in Singapore. The fire started Wednesday afternoon and  has resulted in the shutdown of a hydrocracker unit at its  500,000-barrel-a-day refinery. At least six people were injured, the  company said.  (Photo: Edgar Su / Reuters via the Wall Street Journal)

FRACK ME   Smoke and flames engulfed Royal Dutch Shell’s Pulau Bukom offshore petroleum complex in Singapore. The fire started Wednesday afternoon and has resulted in the shutdown of a hydrocracker unit at its 500,000-barrel-a-day refinery. At least six people were injured, the company said. (Photo: Edgar Su / Reuters via the Wall Street Journal)

Oil companies drilling for the stuff in places like North Dakota are happy to let perfectly good natural gas — a by-product of the drilling process — go to waste.  From the New York Times:


They are not wildfires caused by lightning strikes or other acts of nature, but the deliberate burning of natural gas by oil companies rushing to extract oil from the Bakken shale field and take  advantage of the high price of crude. The gas bubbles up alongside the  far more valuable oil, and with less economic incentive to capture it,  the drillers treat the gas as waste and simply burn it. 
 Every day, more than 100 million cubic feet of natural gas is flared  this way — enough energy to heat half a million homes for a day. 
 The flared gas also spews at least two million tons of carbon dioxide  into the atmosphere every year, as much as 384,000 cars or a medium-size  coal-fired power plant would emit, alarming some environmentalists. 
 All told, 30 percent of the natural gas produced in North Dakota is  burned as waste. No other major domestic oil field currently flares  close to that much, though the practice is still common in countries  like Russia, Nigeria and Iran. 

Yes, by all means, let’s trust oil and gas companies to do the right thing.
(Photo of natural gas being flared off near Ray, North Dakota by Jim Wilson for the New York Times)

Oil companies drilling for the stuff in places like North Dakota are happy to let perfectly good natural gas — a by-product of the drilling process — go to waste.  From the New York Times:

They are not wildfires caused by lightning strikes or other acts of nature, but the deliberate burning of natural gas by oil companies rushing to extract oil from the Bakken shale field and take advantage of the high price of crude. The gas bubbles up alongside the far more valuable oil, and with less economic incentive to capture it, the drillers treat the gas as waste and simply burn it.

Every day, more than 100 million cubic feet of natural gas is flared this way — enough energy to heat half a million homes for a day.

The flared gas also spews at least two million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, as much as 384,000 cars or a medium-size coal-fired power plant would emit, alarming some environmentalists.

All told, 30 percent of the natural gas produced in North Dakota is burned as waste. No other major domestic oil field currently flares close to that much, though the practice is still common in countries like Russia, Nigeria and Iran.

Yes, by all means, let’s trust oil and gas companies to do the right thing.

(Photo of natural gas being flared off near Ray, North Dakota by Jim Wilson for the New York Times)

“We have finally found Obama’s weakness, folks: things he can’t control. Because despite gas prices being determined by outside factors like supply levels, speculation, summer demand and uncertainty in the Middle East, it feels like the President should be able to lower oil prices just by doing this: (Quoting Donald Trump: “Saudi Arabia said, ‘Uh, let’s raise the price; let’s cut back production… They wanna go in and raise the price of oil because we have nobody in Washington that sits back and says, ‘You’re not gonna raise that fuckin’ price, you understand me?”) Thank you, golden-helmeted noise warrior! I know whenever I yell at a waiter to get my steak right or I’ll punch him in the face, it always comes back delicious, and certainly more moist!”

STEPHEN COLBERT, The Colbert Report

The BP oil rig Deepwater Horizon burns in the Gulf of Mexico in April, 2010.  Now, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of that horrific environmental disaster — which also killed 11 of BP’s own workers — guess who wants to start drilling again?  From The Washington Post:

BP is in talks with the Interior Department about permits that would allow it to resume deep-water drilling in the  Gulf of Mexico, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.  The company hopes that it can restart several projects sometime this  summer.
The discussions come just before the anniversary of the April 20  blowout on the Deep­water Horizon rig that BP leased for an exploration  well called Macondo. The blowout killed 11 workers, set the rig on fire  and triggereda huge oil spill that gushed for 87 days.
BP  hopes to ultimately obtain permission to begin drilling about 10 wells  to boost output in fields that are already producing oil; none of them  would be an exploration well, one of the sources said. No work would be  done in the near future on the field discovered by the Macondo well.
Discussions with Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) about other BP wells are still underway, focusing on BP’s safety  program. Melissa Schwartz, a spokeswoman for the agency, said that  BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich meets regularly with companies to  discuss their operations and that “BP is no different.”

(Photo: Gerald Herbert / AP via The Washington Post)

The BP oil rig Deepwater Horizon burns in the Gulf of Mexico in April, 2010.  Now, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of that horrific environmental disaster — which also killed 11 of BP’s own workers — guess who wants to start drilling again?  From The Washington Post:

BP is in talks with the Interior Department about permits that would allow it to resume deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, according to two sources familiar with the discussions. The company hopes that it can restart several projects sometime this summer.

The discussions come just before the anniversary of the April 20 blowout on the Deep­water Horizon rig that BP leased for an exploration well called Macondo. The blowout killed 11 workers, set the rig on fire and triggereda huge oil spill that gushed for 87 days.

BP hopes to ultimately obtain permission to begin drilling about 10 wells to boost output in fields that are already producing oil; none of them would be an exploration well, one of the sources said. No work would be done in the near future on the field discovered by the Macondo well.

Discussions with Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) about other BP wells are still underway, focusing on BP’s safety program. Melissa Schwartz, a spokeswoman for the agency, said that BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich meets regularly with companies to discuss their operations and that “BP is no different.”

(Photo: Gerald Herbert / AP via The Washington Post)