Posts Tagged ‘oil spills’

Regulation & Environment: Crude-by-barge not as controversial as its rail counterpart

Almost anything that moves has been pressed into serving the transportation needs of the expanding US production profile. That includes barges. In this week’s Oilgram News column, Regulation & Environment, Herman Wang reviews the safety considerations that the crude-by-barge industry faces.

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Champagne, leaky tires and teen acne: the many metaphors of the BP oil spill trial

During the second phase of the BP trial now underway in  US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans, the gushing stream of crude from the blown-out Macondo well in 2010 has been compared to exploding Champagne, air hissing from a leaky tire and oil squeezed from the pores on a teen-aged boy’s face.

The colorful metaphors employed by the attorneys in the case are an attempt to make understandable the incredibly complex fluid dynamics and physics at play during the 85 days that oil and natural gas leaked from the well. It is what needs to be done when the witnesses are top scientists, including Tom Hunter, who during his long career at the government’s Sandia National Laboratory looked after the health of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

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Lac-Megantic crash could be oil-by-rail’s Exxon Valdez

As the smoke clears (literally) in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, after a runaway train packed with crude oil tankers crashed July 6, the oil industry is coming to terms with a business that has perhaps grown too far too fast.

The Lac-Megantic accident is shining an unwelcome spotlight on the lack of regulatory oversight on oil by rail in both the US and Canada. The fact that the rail cars (which were being pulled by the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway) that crashed and exploded were considered unfit to carry hazardous materials sharpens that focus.

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At the Wellhead: BP looks at Azeri project for what it hopes is big technology breakthrough

A project that’s still a few years away is going to be key for both BP and Azerbaijan. For the former, it’s going to be a significant test of a new technology; for the latter, it’s another step in trying to increase its hydrocarbons output. John Roberts discusses both goals in this week’s Oilgram News column, At The Wellhead.

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Regulation and Environment: Reviewing the safety record three years after Macondo

We just hit the three-year mark on the Macondo anniversary. In this week’s Regulation & Environment column from Oilgram News, Gary Gentile reviews the industry’s record on safety, and efforts to prevent another Macondo, since that time.

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‘Bolt jolt’ may have raised drilling industry concerns, but Wall Street eyebrows? Barely.

The lowly bolt is rarely considered an exciting or controversial subject.  We largely ignore them in the assumption they will do their job of fastening together two pieces of wood, steel, ceramic or other materials in our cars, homes and  equipment.

So when reports began to widely circulate last week that the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and separately also General Electric Oil & Gas, had asked drillers to inspect and replace any defective bolts used on GE-manufactured H-4 connectors, it seemed like potentially a Big Deal.  After all, we’re less than three years out from the US’ biggest marine oil spill which erupted from the BP-operated Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, and ensuring safe rigs and equipment has become the top priority of all operators there.

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Petrodollars: the Salazar legacy in fixing the dysfunctional MMS

With Ken Salazar leaving the US Department of the Interior, it’s time to look over his efforts to fix the problems in the former Minerals Management Service. In this week’s Oilgram News column, Petrodollars, Gary Gentile reviews the record.

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Offshore Technology Conference 2012: A running blog

At a small gathering of Houston professionals last Tuesday to talk about the state of the energy industry, the mood seemed optimistic. Oil economist Philip Verleger said companies will keep producing natural gas despite rock-bottom prices and that this cheap feedstock will then fuel a US economic boom. Nobody laughed him out of the room.

At what is set to be a very large trade show gathering of more than 70,000 attendees expected at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston Monday through Thursday, will that same mood prevail? 

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Before there was an oil spill, what was later called Macondo had a rich past

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Naked City, a popular, gritty TV police drama series set against a backdrop of New York City, would end its weekly episodes with a solemn voice-over narration: “There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them.”

In the Gulf of Mexico, there are nearly 6,000 active leases, each one with a “story” duly recorded in government documents. Mississippi Canyon Block 252 is only one of them, but it is arguably the most famous. It’s the tract containing the Macondo deepwater well which blew out two years ago and became the worst marine oil spill in US history.

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Is it better in the Bahamas? Drilling for oil in a place known mostly for storing it

More than just a playground for winter-weary northerners, The Bahamas serves as a key distribution center for the world’s oil.

It’s home to Buckeye’s Borco and Statoil’s South Riding Point terminals that, with a combined 29 million barrels of storage — and growing — makes the island nation the region’s largest transshipment poin of other countries’ oil.

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