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What the BP Oil Disaster Tells Us About Arctic Drilling: Keep Out!

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BY CAROL BROWNER AND MICHAEL CONATHAN 4/20/15

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 14.53.31Five years ago today, an explosion on board the oil rig Deepwater Horizon killed 11 men and unleashed one of the largest and costliest offshore oil disaster this nation has ever experienced. By the end of 2014, BP, the company primarily responsible for the disaster, estimated the overall economic losses from the spill at over $43 billion.

The disaster that began five years ago today must serve as a reminder that offshore oil and gas exploration and development never comes without risk. In the Arctic Ocean, where Royal Dutch Shell is preparing to return to drill sites it last explored in 2012, that risk is unacceptably high. Simply put, the United States should not permit oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean. read more

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Shell Prelude: Tales of the Unexpected – When the party ended with a bang!

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 00.47.46Tales of the Unexpected – When the party ended with a bang!: 3rd in a series of articles by Bill Campbell (right), retired HSE Group Auditor, Shell International, about safety issues relating to the Shell Prelude FLNG project

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Thus methane-air explosions are unpredictable, and by definition unpredictable events take you by surprise and can occur when you least expect them, and often when you are least prepared.  And unfortunately, from time to time, these unpredictable events can have catastrophic consequences as history tells us.

By Bill Campbell

LNG is natural gas (methane) refrigerated, the chilling process eventually turning the gas into a liquid shrinking its volume by 600  times. As we are aware from elementary physics, energy cannot be created or destroyed, so the whole economic model of the use and transportation of LNG worldwide, which really started in the 50’s and is due to exponentially expand in the next decade, is that the heat energy contained in one metre cubed of the liquid equates to six hundred metres cubed of methane.  So the physical characteristics of liquified natural gas is what makes it economically viable in its transportation over in some cases many thousands of miles from its source to where it will be used when converted again into its natural state.  But it’s this conversion that can make it so dangerous should it spill or leak into the atmosphere accidentally. read more

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Halliburton Pleads Guilty to Destroying Evidence After Gulf Spill

“It’s another bad day for Halliburton and a very good day for BP,” said Fadel Gheit, a senior oil analyst at Oppenheimer. Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty to destruction of critical evidence after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, the Justice Department announced on Thursday.

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Halliburton Pleads Guilty to Destroying Evidence After Gulf Spill

By : A version of this article appeared in print on July 26, 2013, on page B1 of the New York edition with the headline: Halliburton Will Admit Destroying Data on Spill.

HOUSTON — Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty to destruction of critical evidence after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, the Justice Department announced on Thursday.

The oil services company said it would pay the maximum allowable fine of $200,000 and will be subject to three years of probation. It will also continue its cooperation in the government’s criminal investigation. Separately, Halliburton made a voluntary contribution of $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. read more

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Deep-Sea Drilling Muddies Political Waters

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A deep-water drilling rig in the South China Sea operated by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, or Cnooc. Photo Credit Jin Liangkuai/Xinhua, via Associated Press

By A version of this article appeared in print on February 7, 2013, in The International Herald Tribune.

AUSTIN, Tex. — The oceans deep are a repository of many secrets. Shipwrecks have existed undisturbed for centuries, as have corals and fish of almost unimaginable diversity.

Now, increasingly, the secrets of the seabed are being looked at by companies drilling for oil and minerals. International geopolitics and the environment are getting more muddled as a result.

“Deep-sea drilling is expensive and hard, and the technology wasn’t there until very recently,” said Sheila Smith, a senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States. Now, major powers are vying for drilling rights in places like the East China Sea, where the tussle is between the two largest energy consumers in Asia: China and Japan. Tensions there flared this week when Japan said China had recently aimed military targeting radar at one of its ships near disputed islands. read more

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Shell hopeful on Arctic drilling despite setback

By Dan Joling on September 30, 2012

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The stars lined up — almost — for Shell Oil to drill exploratory wells this year in waters off Alaska’s north coast.

The Arctic Ocean was on record pace for low sea ice. The Obama administration gave a qualified green light to drilling. Two drill ships and a flotilla of support vessels were staged off prospects.

But as the roughly four-month open water season wound down, Shell announced last week it would limit drilling to “top-hole” work, the shallow but time-consuming preparation for an offshore well. The final straw for the decision: damage during testing Sept. 15 to an undersea containment dome, part of a spill response system that Shell put in place to reassure federal regulators that Arctic offshore drilling could be done safely. read more

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Environmentalists Get Surprising Ally in Arctic Drilling Debate

By John M. Biers

TOTAL CEO SEES ARCTIC DRILLING AS RISKY BUSINESS

When was the last time you heard an executive from Big Oil say no thanks to drilling a hot prospect because it was too risky to the environment?

Yet that’s what Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie just did with arctic drilling. The feisty de Margerie, in an interview with the Financial Times, is quoted as saying an oil spill in Greenland would ”be a disaster,” and that a leak ”would do too much damage to the image of the company.”

De Margerie did qualify the remarks, saying natural gas drilling in the arctic posed less of a threat than oil drilling. But his comments are sure to prompt a sigh of despair from the oil industry as a whole and particularly from companies active in arctic drilling like Shell and Cairn, which have drilling campaigns in Alaska and Greenland, respectively. Both Shell and Cairn face tough, well-organized environmental campaigns against arctic drilling. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

Oil and Ice – The Risks of Drilling in Alaska’s Arctic Ocean

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwCbWPR7VK8

By Kiley Kroh, Lauren Santa Cruz, Michael Conathan, and Andrew Satter

Earlier this year, it seemed almost a foregone conclusion that Royal Dutch Shell would begin drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska’s North Slope. Since then, a litany of factors including difficulty handling its drilling rigs, failure to secure Coast Guard approval of a key spill response vessel, and the lingering presence of summer sea ice has prevented Shell’s efforts from bearing fruit. Last week, Shell received preliminary approval from the Department of the Interior to begin preparatory work, including the installation of blowout preventers at the drill sites. read more

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Tony Hayward Gets His Life Back

By STANLEY REED

A version of this article appeared in print on September 2, 2012, on page BU1 of the New York edition

IF there’s a public villain of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill — one person who, rightly or not, will be remembered for the deadly blowout, the black slick and all that followed — it’s probably Tony Hayward.

On television screens and in the pages of magazines, bewildered Americans saw oil plumes rising, livelihoods crumbling and seabirds dying in the viscous crude. And for many of them, Mr. Hayward, the man who was running BP, came to personify the catastrophe.

And yet here he is now, looking so cool and relaxed, so unlike the Tony Hayward we know. He’s sitting, open-collar casual, in a comfortable corner office here in Mayfair, not far from his old headquarters at BP. read more

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Lawsuit for Release of Key Arctic Offshore Safety Data

Press Release

For Immediate Release:  August 30, 2012

Contact:  Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337

Lawsuit for Release of Key Arctic Offshore Safety Data

Testing Results for New Blowout Capping System Sought

“Crucial” safety data on response to an offshore oil rig blowout in icy Arctic waters has not been released as required by law, according to a federal suit filed today by PEER.  The unreleased testing data would shed some light on whether there could be a repeat of the disastrous 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico from the first wells to be drilled this summer on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

For Shell, risks outweigh rewards for offshore oil drilling in Arctic

Jim Coburn, JD | Aug 08, 2012

Shell Oil’s spill response gear staged in Wainwright. Summer 2011. Ben Anderson photo

Just two years after BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, another oil industry giant is poised to begin drilling in an even more forbidding, unpredictable and remote environment: the Alaskan shoreline.Shell is moving forward with at least two Arctic wells this year, at a time when confidence in the oil and gas industry’s risk management practices is remarkably low.In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, several reports have found that many oil and gas companies—not just BP—were poorly managing the risks of offshore drilling. As it prepares to move into the Arctic, has Shell set itself apart from its competitors, or is the company taking avoidable risks in an unforgiving environment?A new report by Ceres shows that oil and gas companies—Shell included—are not doing enough to manage offshore drilling risks and disclose their efforts to investors. The report, “Sustainable Extraction?“, examines risk disclosure in SEC filings submitted in the first quarter of 2011 by 10 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies. It finds that out of 50 deepwater risk disclosure scores on key metrics including spill response procedures and drilling risk management, only four scores were good, and 29 (nearly 60 percent) were poor or no disclosure.

This striking lack of disclosure makes it nearly impossible for investors to understand how companies are managing the range of potential drilling risks. And investors are already wary.

Lloyd’s, the world’s largest insurance market, cautions that “the Arctic is a frontier unlike any other” that will “remain a complex risk environment.” In its “Arctic Opening” report, Lloyd’s highlights geographic remoteness, ongoing changes to the environment as a result of climate change and extreme weather as key risk factors of offshore drilling in the Arctic. read more

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Social media #fail: how Greenpeace let Shell off the hook over Arctic drilling

Greenpeace has an impressive track record on social media engagement so why has its most recent campaign, an elaborate hoax of Shell’s Arctic exploration, seemingly flopped?

It’s not often that a major oil company comes off looking more social savvy than either a major media company or one of the world’s leading social media platforms.

But that’s exactly the position Royal Dutch Shell finds itself after a week when NBC and Twitter – corporate partners during the Olympics – managed to bumble their way into major social media #FAIL by conspiring to silence a vocal Twitter critic of the US media network.

For those of you not caught up in the goldfish bowl atmosphere of social media discussing social media the screw-up occurred when someone at Twitter suggested to NBC that they might consider complaining about Guy Adams, the acerbic US correspondent for the Independent who had been using the microblogging network to vent his fury at NBC’s coverage of the games. In a Tweet of particular pique, Adams published the corporate email address of Gary Zenkel, the NBC executive responsible for the network’s Olympic’s coverage. Twitter suggested to NBC that this contravened the social network’s privacy conditions. NBC ran with the complaint and Twitter duly suspended Adams. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

Shell’s Arctic Drilling Venture Stumbles Toward Reality

Posted: 07/17/2012 12:45 pm

Royal Dutch Shell, the global energy giant, has already invested more than $4 billion in its Arctic drilling venture, but that was apparently not enough to purchase proper mooring in Alaska’s Dutch Harbor and avoid a subsequent public relations mess.

Precisely what happened is still being sorted out. Official accounts had the Noble Discoverer, one of two massive drilling rigs that Shell had parked midway up the Aleutian Island chain, dragging anchor in stiff winds over the weekend before coming to a halt 100 yards offshore. read more

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City investors are getting cold feet about Arctic oil prospecting

As well as the environmental and ethical argument against oil drilling in the Arctic, some investors say it is too risky to back

: guardian.co.uk,

Sir Paul McCartney and Greenpeace want to turn the Arctic into a no-go area for oil companies – but there are already signs that the City financial groups are getting cold feet about polar drilling.

Shell, which wants to lead the exploration charge off Alaska, has repeatedly declined to say what the potential cost of an oil spill would be, but some lenders are voting with their feet.

WestLB, a key German bank for the energy sector, has quietly changed its lending policies to exclude operations in the far north. It says the “risks and costs are simply too high”. read more

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Shell May Face Delays in Alaska

Updated July 10, 2012, 1:55 p.m. ET

By ANGEL GONZALEZ And ALEXIS FLYNN

BP RDSB.LN +1.12% Plc’s and Royal Dutch Shell RDSB.LN +1.12% Plc’s plans to develop offshore oil in Alaska’s Arctic frontier are facing setbacks, as they meet with stricter scrutiny and rising costs stemming from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

London-based BP said Tuesday it is shelving its Liberty offshore drilling project in Beaufort Sea, after deciding that its current plan isn’t up to the standards it promised to follow after the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe—and revamping its drilling rig to meet those standards would be too costly. read more

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Groups plan suit over Shell drilling off Alaska

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska | Mon Jul 9, 2012 11:18pm EDT

(Reuters) – A coalition of environmental groups on Monday announced plans to file a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn federal approvals for Royal Dutch Shell’s planned exploration drilling in Arctic waters off Alaska.

The 10 groups said they had prepared a lawsuit to be filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Anchorage.

The lawsuit will seek to overturn approvals of Shell’s oil-spill plans that were granted in February and March by the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement read more

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Critics continue objections, but Arctic offshore drilling moves forward for 2012, future years

By Associated Press, Monday, July 2, 12:11 AM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In choppy water under blue sky off Bellingham, Wash., a Shell Oil crew on Monday lowered a “capping stack” 200 feet in the water and put it through maneuvers with underwater robots connected by cable to operators on the surface, a test that fulfilled one of the final steps required for permission to drill exploratory wells in Arctic waters.

The capping stack looks like a giant spark plug and is designed to kill an undersea oil well blowout by providing a metal-to-metal seal on a malfunctioning blowout preventer.

Shell is sending the capping stack, skimmers, boom and a containment dome on board a flotilla accompanying drill ships to Alaska’s northern shores as part of a spill response plan that has the blessing of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Shell expects final approvals within weeks and drilling by late this month.

But environmental groups contend the government has it wrong. Despite reforms put in place after the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, their basic objections remain. Shell has vastly overstated its ability to respond to a worst-case scenario spill in open water, said attorney Holly Harris of Earthjustice, and no oil company has demonstrated it can clean up a spill that lingers into the Arctic’s eight months of sea ice. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com
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