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Posts from ‘December, 2011’

Hunt for Gas Hits Fragile Soil, and South Africans Fear Risks

In July, the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa, an independent agency that sets guidelines for media companies, ruled that several of Shell’s advertised claims — including one that said fracking had never led to groundwater contamination — were misleading or unsubstantiated and should be withdrawn.

Chris Hayward, a South African farmer, says, “If our government lets these companies touch even a drop of our water, we’re ruined.”: Photo Credit: Liaan Pretorius for The New York Times

A version of this article appeared in print on December 31, 2011, on page A1 of the New York edition


KAROO, South Africa — When a drought dried up their wells last year, hundreds of farmers and their families flocked to local fairgrounds here to pray for rain, and a call went out on the regional radio station imploring South Africans to donate bottled water.

Covering much of the roughly 800 miles between Johannesburg and Cape Town, this arid expanse — its name means “thirsty land” — sees less rain in some parts than the Mojave Desert. read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan

BP to End Sakhalin Venture With Rosneft


LONDON—BP PLC said it will end its 13-year alliance with Russian state-owned oil company OAO Rosneft to explore for oil and gas in Sakhalin, due in part to the economics of the Far East project.

The U.K.-based energy producer said that in recent meetings with the shareholders and board of ZAO Elvary Neftegaz it confirmed its intention to exit the joint venture. “There are many reasons for this decision, including the challenging economics of the discovered resource in the KV [Kaigansky-Vasuykansky] block,” BP said Friday. read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Deep Gulf drilling thrives 18 mos. after BP spill

By JONATHAN FAHEY, AP Energy Writer: 30 December 2011

ALAMINOS CANYON BLOCK 857, GULF OF MEXICO (AP) — Two hundred miles off the coast of Texas, ribbons of pipe are reaching for oil and natural gas deeper below the ocean’s surface than ever before.

These pipes, which run nearly two miles deep, are connected to a floating Shell platform that is so remote they named it Perdido, which means “lost” in Spanish. What attracted Shell to this location is a geologic formation found throughout the Gulf of Mexico that may contain enough oil to satisfy U.S. demand for two years. read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Shell Oil Spills Spread to Delta Communities

Sopuruchi Onwuka And Napoleon Ehiremen: 28 December 2011

Warri — The crude oil volumes that spilled from Bonga deepwater field has started arriving the coastal communities in Niger Delta, sparking off a spate of public outcry over the dreaded impact on the fragile environment.

Consequently, people of Delta state communities have called on the federal government and Shell to take immediate steps to halt the spill to avoid further damage to their land and sources of water.

The development came as officials of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) arrived at the area yesterday to verify the claims and take samples of the sludgy surge to the coasts. read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Shale Spurs U.S. States to Vie for Chemical Projects, WSJ Says

By Joe Carroll

Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) — A surge in U.S. natural-gas production from shale rock is spurring states to compete for companies to produce chemicals from the fuel, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia are vying to attract a plant that will turn gas into ethylene proposed by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the Journal reported today. Shell intends to announce a site early next year, the newspaper said. Ethylene is a building block of plastics and other materials used to make pipes, paint and antifreeze. read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Royal Dutch Shell says Nigeria spill contained

By JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press 26 December 2011

ABOARD THE BONGA FLOATING OIL VESSEL (AP) — The worst Nigeria offshore oil spill in more than a decade has been contained before reaching the West African nation’s coast, officials with Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Monday, less than a week after one of its lines bled crude into the Atlantic Ocean.

An investigation into how the spill of less than 40,000 barrels — or 1.68 million gallons — happened remains ongoing, though company officials acknowledged workers only discovered the leak after seeing a sheen of crude in water surrounding its Bonga offshore oil field. read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Rosneft: BP To Exit Sakhalin-5 Project – Report

MOSCOW -(Dow Jones)- BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) is to exit the Sakhalin-5 gas project, and Russian state oil company OAO Rosneft (ROSN.RS) will continue working on it on its own, Interfax news agency reported Monday, citing Rosneft Chief Executive Eduard Khudainatov.

BP is not interested in this project and we have made no secret of that…” Khudainatov was quoted as saying. “We are very interested. And we will not offer this project to anyone else.”

Rosneft agreed in January with BP to a $16-billion share swap and development of three Arctic offshore licenses, but that deal was blocked by BP‘s partners in the TNK-BP Ltd. joint venture. Rosneft later announced a global partnership with Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM). read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Ogoni Establishes Environmental Protection Agency

Graphics from Guardian newspaper article: Unloveable Shell, the Goddess of Oil


A measure to make sure that Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Royal Dutch/Shell and others face compelling action to hold them accountable for environmental crimes in Ogoni.

MOSOP President and Spokesman, Dr. Goodluck Diigbo said that the Ogoni people have learnt the hardest lesson that it was not the wisest thing to do, to allow petroleum operations in Ogoni without a formal Environmental Impact Assessment Study (EIAS). read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Boasts over Shell avoidance of oil spills come back to haunt its CEO

By John Donovan

In October 2010, the Daily Mail published an article reporting claims by Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive, Peter Voser, that Shell would never have made the mistakes that led to the BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, which resulted in a huge oil spill.

The claims have come back to haunt Mr Voser.

Royal Dutch Shell wades in with attack on BP over spill (Daily Mail 13 October 2010)

We subsequently learned of a “near miss” which had taken place in December 2009 on Shell’s Sedco 711 North Sea platform, with an uncanny similarity to issues surrounding the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Nigerian Oil Spill Stretches 900 Square Kilometers, says Environmental Group

December 24, 2011

An environmental group says an oil spill off the coast of Nigeria this past week could stretch across more than 900 square kilometers of ocean.

The U.S.-based group, SkyTruth, says it estimates from satellite images it has obtained that the slick is 70 kilometers long and spans 17 kilometers at its widest point.

Royal Dutch Shell discovered the spill Tuesday about 120 kilometers off the southern coast of Nigeria.

Shell estimates the amount of leaked oil at less than 40,000 barrels and says the spill has been stopped. read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Shell Says Oil From Bonga Facility Leak ‘Continues to Thin’

By Mike Harrison – Dec 24, 2011 7:56 AM GMT

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) said oil that leaked from its 200,000 barrel-a-day Bonga field in Nigeria “continues to thin.”

“Surveillance and aerial photos show the spill is breaking up into patches surrounded by clear water,” Shell said in a statement on its website. “The spill remains offshore. We continue to monitor its movement using satellite imagery and vessels in the zone.”

Bonga, located 75 miles off Nigeria’s coastline, pumps about 10 percent of the West African nation’s oil. read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Shell’s Nigeria oil spill gets muted response

By Alex Lawler

LONDON | Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:41pm EST

(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian oil spill, the largest in the African nation since 1998, highlights the different world responses to oil spills.

Nigerian authorities on Thursday put emergency measures in place to prevent the spill of less than 40,000 barrels from the Shell facility, the biggest leak in Nigeria for more than 13 years, washing up on its coast.

The spill is small compared to last year’s much documented rupture of BP’s Macondo well off the United States but critics say the fact it happened in Nigeria means little attention has been paid to it. read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Huge slick from Shell’s 1.68 million gallon Atlantic Ocean oil spill

By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, December 23, 4:20 PM

LAGOS, Nigeria — A faulty pipe from an offshore oil field run by Royal Dutch Shell PLC near Nigeria’s coast spewed crude oil into the ocean for as much as 25 hours as workers loaded a waiting tanker, the company acknowledged Friday.

While Shell continues to investigate the cause of what likely is the worst offshore spill in more than a decade near oil-rich Nigeria, the nation’s beleaguered government remains largely reliant on the oil firm to clean up the spill. While the huge slick remains offshore, it still poses a danger to wildlife and plants in a region where spills already stain the environment. read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Russian oil rig sinking casts doubt on Arctic plan

By NATALIYA VASILYEVA, AP Business Writer: 23 December 2011

Click on image to enlarge

MOSCOW (AP) — The sinking of a floating oil rig that left more than 50 crew dead or missing is intensifying fears that Russian companies searching for oil in remote areas are unprepared for emergencies — and could cause a disastrous spill in the pristine waters of the Arctic.

Only four months ago, Russian energy giant Gazprom sent Russia’s first oil platform to the environmentally sensitive region, and industry experts and environmentalists warned it is unfit for the harsh conditions and is too far from rescue crews to be reached quickly in case of an accident. They are demanding Russia put Arctic oil projects on hold. read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Shell Confirms Source of Nigerian Oil Leak as Cleanup Continues

By Eduard Gismatullin and Elisha Bala-Gbogbo – Dec 23, 2011 9:13 AM GMT

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), Europe’s largest oil company, confirmed the source of what could be Nigeria’s worst offshore spill in more than a decade to a leak in a flexible export line to a tanker.

Cleanup operations continued to the leak in the line between the tanker and production facility, The Hague-based Shell said in an update on its website. The company shut its 200,000 barrel-a-day Bonga offshore field after it leaked less than 40,000 barrels earlier this week. read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan

Chevron, Conoco Entrapped in Post-BP Crackdown on Oil Slicks

By Joe Carroll, Juan Pablo Spinetto and Edward Klump – Dec 23, 2011 10:15 AM GMT

Brazil’s threatened indictment of Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Transocean Ltd. (RIG) executives after offshore oil leaks shows that regulators from the North Sea to the Indian Ocean are stepping up scrutiny after BP Plc’s 2010 disaster.

Brazilian authorities have said they may prosecute employees, shut operations and exact more than $10 billion in fines after the leaks at the Frade field 230 miles (370 kilometers) off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. The spill occurred 19 months after an explosion in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and triggered the biggest offshore U.S. oil spill. read more and its sister websites,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan