By Jacob Chamberlain, August 3, 2013. Source: Common Dreams
Dead fish stuck in oil in Bay Jimmy near Port Sulpher, Louisiana June 20, 2010 Photo: Reuters/Sean Gardner
Hundreds of pages of federal documents released by the U.S. government to theAssociated Press this week show that the controversial and toxic practice of hydraulic fracturing has moved offshore to an extent far greater than previously known.
The documents, obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information Act request, show that the EPA has permitted fracking in the Pacific Ocean at least 12 times since the late 1990s, and has recently approved a new project in “the vast oil fields in the Santa Barbara Channel,” which is also the site of a major 1969 spill of over 3 million gallons of crude oil into the ocean.
“While debate has raged over fracking on land, prompting efforts to ban or severely restrict it,” AP writes, “offshore fracking has occurred with little attention in sensitive coastal waters where for decades new oil leases have been prohibited.”
Fracking—the process of pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of salt water, sand and toxic chemicals into shale and sand formations—is most commonly referred to as a process of natural gas extraction and has come under fire from a growing anti-fracking movement for its well documented water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Note: After Obama’s visit to Mexico last week, we can rest assured that him and Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto discussed sweeping 21st Century energy reform: Privatize the state owned oil company so multinationals can drill the living hell out of the land and the sea, all the while ensuring American corporations will have access to every last drop of oil and gas on the planet. Now that is some drastic energy reform!
-The GJEP Team
By Nick Miroff and William Booth, May 7, 2013. Source: Washington Post
An engineer opens valves on the Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) Bicentennial deep sea crude oil platform in the waters off Tamaulipas, Mexico. Photo: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg
It has been 75 years since President Lázaro Cárdenas seized the country’s foreign-dominated petroleum industry and placed every drop of oil under the everlasting domain of the Mexican people.
But while it once was a source of national pride, the state-run monopoly he created — known as Pemex — has become a dinosaur, sapped by debt, sagging output and dated technology. The Mexican government siphons off the company’s revenue to cover about one-third of the federal budget, leaving insufficient funds for what has become a critical task: finding more oil.
Mexico remains the third-largest source of foreign oil for the United States after Canada and Saudi Arabia. But the country’s easy-pump crude is quickly running dry, and the company lacks the technology and know-how to drill for the vast stores of tougher-to-reach deposits that are thought to exist beneath Mexico’s deserts and seas.
Fixing the company, Petroleos de Mexico, has become a top priority for Mexico’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto. With an overhaul plan expected by late summer, U.S. and other global energy companies are waiting to see whether Mexico will once more give outsiders a crack at the country’s hydrocarbon treasures, including the massive, virtually untapped beds of shale gas south of the Texas border.
By AFP, February 25, 2013. Source: France 24
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burning after the explosion in the Gulf of Mexico
Billions of dollars will be at stake Monday at the opening of a complex trial to determine how much BP should pay for the devastating 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The British energy giant has already resolved thousands of lawsuits linked to the deadly disaster out of court, including a record $4.5 billion plea deal with the US government in which BP pleaded guilty to criminal charges and a $7.8 billion settlement with people and businesses affected by the spill.
US prosecutors are determined to prove that gross negligence caused the April 20, 2010 blast that killed 11 workers and sank the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig, sending millions of barrels of oil gushing into the sea.
BP is equally determined to avoid a finding of gross negligence, which would drastically increase its environmental fines to as much as $17 billion.
“Gross negligence is a very high bar that BP believes cannot be met in this case,” BP group general counsel Rupert Bondy said.
December 4, 2012. Source: The New Zealand Herald
Photo: NZ Herald
Brazilian oil company Petrobras has handed back exploration licences it holds for deep sea oil and gas prospects in the Raukumara Basin, off East Cape, in what appears a reaction to a string of difficulties which have seen the oil giant report losses for the first time in 13 years.
Prime Minister John Key told The New Zealand Herald that the decision was “not a reflection on the capacity to undertake deep-sea drilling or the prospect of activity of that area.”
The Raukumara Basin lies in very deep water off the east coast of the North Island and has barely been explored. Petrobras contracted a seismic survey ship to undertake initial surveys of parts of the basin early last year, where it encountered stiff opposition from a protest flotilla organised by Greenpeace and a local Maori tribe, Te Whanau a Apanui.
The New Zealand Navy was despatched to ensure the seismic survey could continue.
By Bill Weinberg, August 24, 2012. Source: World War 4 Report
Romney speaks to supporters in Louisiana. Photo: LA Times
We don’t doubt that Big Oil has its money on the Republicans and Mitt Romney when push comes to shove. But we noted back in 2008 that the reigning petro-oligarchs were deftly playing both sides in the presidential race. The nature of the game is that no matter who gets in, the petro-oligarchs win. But a part of the game is that Romney gets to bait Obama as a Green Stalin for suggesting that some remnants of federal oversight over the oil industry be retained—which only causes Obama to capitulate yet further. In terms of actual policy on oil and energy, the difference between the two parties has been narrowing almost from the moment Obama took office, until today it is vanishingly small.
Source: World War 4 Report, 08/05/2012
A federal court in Brazil on Aug. 1 ordered Chevron and drilling company Transocean to suspend all oil drilling in the country within 30 days in the wake of two oil spills off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. A judge for Brazil’s Regional Federal Court of the Second Region ruled that each company must pay 500 million reals, or $244 million, for every day that they do not comply with the suspension. In November, a Chevron appraisal well leaked 155,000 gallons of oil. In March, oil started leaking again from the well and Chevron suspended production in that oil field. In its ruling, the court rationalized that two oil spills in the span of four months demonstrated that Chevron and Transocean cannot operate the wells safely. Chevron plans to appeal the ruling, saying that it complied with all applicable laws and industry standards.
From Jurist, Aug. 3. Used with permission.