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Ukrainian Drone Strikes Target Russian Oil Refineries Again Despite White House Pleas

Ukrainian Drone Strikes Target Russian Oil Refineries Again Despite White House Pleas

Just days after the Biden administration signed a new military aid package worth billions of dollars to Ukraine, Kyiv launched a series of suicide drone attacks on Russian oil refineries. Biden’s top officials have pleaded with Kyiv to stop attacks on Russia’s energy infrastructure because of the fears that turmoil in crude markets would send pump prices in the US higher ahead of the presidential elections in November. 

“Our region is again under attack by Ukrainian UAVs,” Smolensk Governor Vasily Anokhin wrote in a post on Telegram on Wednesday. Kamikaze drones damaged oil facilities in western Russia.

Another drone attack hit the Lipetsk region further south, which is home to steel production plants and pharmaceutical sites, Governor Igor Artamonov said.

“The Kyiv criminal regime tried to hit infrastructure in Lipetsk industrial zone,” Artamonov said.

The Moscow Times pointed out:

A source in the Ukrainian defense sector confirmed to AFP on Wednesday that drones in the service of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) had carried out the attacks.

The source made no mention of the attack on Lipetsk but claimed two oil depots were destroyed in the Smolensk region.

“Rosneft lost two storage and pumping bases for fuels and lubricants in the towns of Yartsevo and Rozdorovo,” the source said, referring to the Russian state-controlled energy giant.

The Financial Times, citing unnamed US officials, recently said long-range drones have hit at least 20 energy facilities deep within Russia so far this year. Kyiv’s drone attacks on Russia’s energy complex have been frightening for the Biden administration, as Brent prices have risen to the $90/bbl level on higher war risk premiums. Higher energy costs feed into inflation as stagflation concerns mount in the US. Also, gasoline pump prices in the US are inching closer to the politically sensitive $4 level.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Oil Companies Must Set Aside More Money to Plug Wells, a New Rule Says. But It Won’t Be Enough.

For the first time in more than 60 years, the Bureau of Land Management will force oil and gas companies to set aside more money to guarantee they plug old wells, preventing them from leaking oil, brine and toxic or climate-warming gasses.

The rule, finalized this month, comes at a critical time. Money previously set aside to clean up wells on federal land would have covered the cost of fewer than 1 out of 100, according to the government’s own estimates, and the vast majority of the country’s wells sit inactive or barely producing, meaning they’ll soon need to be plugged.

But the federal agency’s work falls short of protecting taxpayers from the oil industry’s cleanup costs, according to a ProPublica and Capital & Main review of contracts or other cost estimates at tens of thousands of wells across the country. While the updated rule will shrink the gap between companies’ financial guarantees to plug wells, known as bonds, and the cost of the work, it still leaves a significant shortfall.

One math error alone leaves taxpayers on the hook for roughly $400 million more than they should be. A Bureau of Land Management employee’s arithmetic mistake yielded an incorrect average cleanup cost for wells that the agency has plugged, largely at taxpayer expense. That artificially low cost estimate became the foundation of the new bonding requirements.

When ProPublica and Capital & Main pointed out the error in December, and that it could potentially cost taxpayers — and save oil companies — hundreds of millions of dollars when multiplied across the many thousands of wells the new rule would touch, the agency downplayed the miscalculation.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

World’s biggest economies pumping billions into fossil fuels in poor nations

G20 countries spent $142bn in three years to expand operations despite a G7 pledge to stop doing so, study finds

The world’s biggest economies have continued to finance the expansion of fossil fuels in poor countries to the tune of billions of dollars, despite their commitments on the climate.

The G20 group of developed and developing economies, and the multilateral development banks they fund, put $142bn (£112bn) into fossil fuel developments overseas from 2020 to 2022, according to estimates compiled by the campaigning groups Oil Change International (OCI) and Friends of the Earth US.

Canada, Japan and South Korea were the biggest sources of such finance in the three years studied, and gas received more funding than either coal or oil.

The G7 group of biggest economies, to which Japan and Canada belong, pledged in 2022 to halt overseas funding of fossil fuels. But while funding for coal has rapidly diminished, finance for oil and gas projects has continued at a strong pace.

Some of the money is going to other developed economies, including Australia, but much of it is to the developing world. However, richer middle income countries still receive more finance than the poorest.

The most recent G7 pledge, in the study, is to phase out all overseas fossil fuel funding by the end of 2022. The OCI study concentrates on the period from the beginning of the fiscal year of 2020-21 for each country, to the end of the fiscal year of 2022-23.

However, the researchers also found that Japan had continued to make new fossil fuel investments overseas in the past few weeks, up to mid-March 2024, exploiting loopholes in its promise to end fossil fuel funding.

The World Bank provided about $1.2bn a year to fossil fuels over the three-year period, of which about two-thirds went to gas projects.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

We’re Supposed To Be Done Finding New Oil and Gas. We’re Not.

We’re Supposed To Be Done Finding New Oil and Gas. We’re Not.

Oil and gas reserves discovered and approved just since 2021 would add an entire year of China’s emissions to the atmosphere. That’s according to a new analysis from Carbon Brief, using Global Energy Monitor Data, and boy is it grim.

A total of 14 billion tons of carbon dioxide are locked up in the new reserves. About 8 billion of that is in brand new discoveries just in 2022 and 2023, with the other 6 billion from previously known reserves newly approved in the last few years. This fossil fuel bonanza is spread around the world, with some areas with brand new or burgeoning industries like Guyana and Namibia playing a big role.

This is not how it is supposed to go right now. In 2021, researchers published a study in Nature that estimated nearly 60 percent of oil and fossil gas needed to remain tucked away in the ground in order to have a chance at limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the ambitious (and now likely lost) target set forth in the 2015 Paris Agreement. And that was the oil and gas we knew about then.

“Furthermore, we estimate that oil and gas production must decline globally by 3 per cent each year until 2050,” those researchers added. That’s, uh, not what’s happening so far.

Also in 2021, the International Energy Agency released its first “Net Zero by 2050” roadmap, laying out the pathway to actually decarbonize the world’s economy. In it, a familiar refrain: “Beyond projects already committed as of 2021, there are no new oil and gas fields approved for development in our pathway.”

Then, last year, from Oil Change International, an update: …

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

It will cost up to $21.5 billion to clean up California’s oil sites. The industry won’t make enough money to pay for it.

For well over a century, the oil and gas industry has drilled holes across California in search of black gold and a lucrative payday. But with production falling steadily, the time has come to clean up many of the nearly quarter-million wells scattered from downtown Los Angeles to western Kern County and across the state.

The bill for that work, however, will vastly exceed all the industry’s future profits in the state, according to a first-of-its-kind study published on May 18 and shared with ProPublica.

“This major issue has sneaked up on us,” said Dwayne Purvisa Texas-based petroleum reservoir engineer who analyzed profits and cleanup costs for the report. “Policymakers haven’t recognized it. Industry hasn’t recognized it, or, if they have, they haven’t talked about it and acted on it.”

The analysis, which was commissioned by Carbon Tracker Initiative, a financial think tank that studies how the transition away from fossil fuels impacts markets and the economy, used California regulators’ draft methodology for calculating the costs associated with plugging oil and gas wells and decommissioning them along with related infrastructure. The methodology was developed with feedback from the industry.

The report broke down the costs into several categories. Plugging wells, dismantling surface infrastructure and decontaminating polluted drill sites would cost at least $13.2 billion, based on publicly available data…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Labor Leader’s Oil Plans Spark Outrage In Scotland

Labor Leader’s Oil Plans Spark Outrage In Scotland

  • Labour leader Starmer said that his party would end oil and gas investment in the UK North Sea.
  • Scottish politicians called the plan a ‘job destroyer’.
  • Energy security could be at risk if the UK actually bans new upstream investment in the North Sea.
UK Parliament

In January this year, at the Davos summit, the leader of Britain’s Labour party, Keir Starmer, said that if Labour won the next elections, they would put an end to investments in oil and gas in the North Sea.

This month, Starmer reiterated the promise—or threat, as Scotland saw it. The official announcement that a future Labour government will not approve any new oil and gas licenses for the North Sea is due to be made next month.

“What we’ve said about oil and gas is that there does need to be a transition,” Starmer said back in January, as quoted by Reuters.

“Obviously it will play its part during that transition but not new investment, not new fields up in the North Sea, because we need to go towards net zero, we need to ensure that renewable energy is where we go next.”

This month, a high-ranking labour official and shadow work and pensions secretary told Sky News that the move to wind and solar would create jobs and bring energy bills down—something that new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea will not do, according to Labour.

Yet Scotland begs to differ. Right after Starmer said Labour would ban new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond dubbed Starmer the “North Sea job destroyer” and accused Labour of trying to sabotage Scotland’s energy security.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

The End of the Oil Age Gets Postponed Again. Really?

Photo by Diyar Al Maamouri on Unsplash

British Petrol (or BP for short) has famously put this ‘peak demand’ date into 2019 — a forecast they would quickly backtrack two years after. A couple of more years into this brave new world, and after years of unprecedented shortages, the world has started to realize that fossil fuels might indeed be needed for a while down the road.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Barclays Vows To Stop Financing Oil Sands Projects

Barclays Vows To Stop Financing Oil Sands Projects

Barclays on Wednesday said it would no longer provide financing to oil sands companies or oil sands projects and tightened conditions for thermal coal lending in an updated policy, which fell short of announcing overall pledges or targets in funding oil and gas.

In the annual report for 2022 published today, the UK-based banking giant vowed not to provide financing for any oil sands projects, compared to a previous policy which stated that it would only provide financing to oil sands exploration and production clients that had projects to materially reduce their overall emissions intensity.

In coal lending, Barclays now aims to phase out financing to clients engaged in coal-fired power generation in the EU and OECD by 2030, compared to phasing out such lending only to clients in the UK and the EU in the previously announced policy.

Commenting on Barclays’ new targets, Jeanne Martin, Head of Banking Programme at ShareAction, said in a statement, “Disappointingly, despite not having published a new oil and gas policy for the last three years, the bank’s fracking policy remains unchanged and there is no mention of new oil and gas. This means Barclays continues to be out of step with current minimum standards of ambition within the industry.”

Pressured by ESG trends and shareholders, other banks have already started to announce cuts to lending to the oil and gas industry.

At the end of last year, two prominent banks in Europe vowed to significantly cut exposure to the fossil fuels sector. Credit Agricole, the largest retail lender in France, said in early December that it targets to have no new financing granted for oil extraction projects by 2025, and to cut its oil exploration and production exposure by 25% by 2025 compared to 2020.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Carbon capture is a fairytale solution to the climate crisis

Carbon capture is a fairytale solution to the climate crisis

Billions of dollars for CCUS are gifts to the oil and gas industry — to keep the profits rolling in while distracting from real solutions

Scientists have long been clear: this is the most critical decade for climate action. We must cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. Fortunately, we have the tools to achieve this. It has never been easier or more affordable to start putting climate solutions into practice — tools like renewable energy, electrifying our homes and transportation, and making our buildings and industries more energy efficient.

Of course, this represents a major threat to powerful fossil fuel companies, who for decades have failed to act responsibly when faced with climate science. Historically, fossil fuel companies have worked to cast doubt on climate science.

In recent years, as outright climate denial has become increasingly indefensible, fossil fuel companies have pivoted towards a politics of delay. Their latest scheme: pushing carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).

Oil and gas companies are now trying to paint a picture of a future where we can still have just as much — or more — oil and gas production, but where power plants and oil refineries can capture carbon dioxide from smokestacks and bury the emissions deep in the ground.

However, despite what the oil and gas industry wants us to believe, CCUS is not a climate solution. It’s a distraction from the need for a rapid transformation away from fossil fuel use that is required to keep global warming below catastrophic levels within this decade…

…click on the above link to read the rest…


Oil and Gas: The Next Meltdown?

Organizing Across State Lines to Stop a Pipeline

Organizing Across State Lines to Stop a Pipeline

Activists in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Nebraska are proving that building collective community power can successfully counter Big Oil’s monied interests.

Emily Sutton loves the Haw River, with its boulders and whitewater, perfect for rafting. The river’s 110 miles flow through rural North Carolina, touching six counties in the state. But the Haw, which Sutton advocates for as its “riverkeeper” with the Haw River Assembly, is also the backdrop of an ongoing battle against a proposed pipeline, which threatens the health of the river and those who enjoy it.

Plans for the Mountain Valley pipeline were first announced in April 2018. The proposed pipeline would transport fracked gas 300 miles from West Virginia to a compressor site in southern Virginia, and then another 70 miles into northern North Carolina. This last section is called the Mountain Valley Southgate Extension, and it goes through the state to allow a major stakeholder that already services nearly 30% of counties to expand its market. It is this section of the pipeline that would decimate the Haw River.

The pipeline was originally supposed to be completed in less than a year and cost financial partners $3.5 billion. But four years of coordinated cross-state grassroots resistance to the pipeline’s construction has thus far prevented the Mountain Valley pipeline corporation from laying even an inch of pipeline in North Carolina soil. New county, city, and state laws have a far reach in preventing pipelines that are slated to start in one state and end in another, as seen with a Virginia state law that impacts the North Carolina section of the pipeline.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Matt Simmons on Peak Oil

Matt Simmons on Peak Oil

Opinion: Energy disruptions are now inevitable and most likely imminent — here are all the ways that could happen

Opinion: Energy disruptions are now inevitable and most likely imminent — here are all the ways that could happen

Pick your poison, but the end result is the same: Russian oil and natural gas will fall offline

Will the lights go out?

More has gone horribly, horribly wrong in European-Russian affairs in the last week than in the 25 years I’ve been following them. It’s…impossible to sugar coat this. Energy breakdowns are inevitable, and most likely imminent.

  • Energy shortages could be accidental. Over the weekend, Russian artillery accidentally (?!) struck one of the Chernobyl hazardous material storage facilities. Oil and natural gas pipes, pumps and depots are not hardened.
  • Breakdowns could be intentional, with Moscow brandishing its energy power like a cudgel as it has done to great effect at so many points these past two decades.
  • Sanctions could trigger a payments failure; the Russian central bank is now under the broadest, deepest financial sanctions in history.
  • The disruption could be due to insurance; Lloyd’s of London was – rightly – spooked when Russian missiles struck non-Ukrainian vessels in the Black Sea, and is likely to cancel all maritime insurance in the area. Oil tankers included.
  • It could happen because of the Turks. Ankara has already invoked the Montreux Treaty, enabling it to halt the sailing of vessels through the Turkish Straits. That’s the route used by exports from southern Russian and northeastern Kazakh oil fields.
  • The Ukrainians could blow up their own pipes. Once the Russians fully occupy Ukraine, Ukrainian partisans will savage the infrastructure the Russians depend upon, both in Ukraine and neighboring Belarus.

Pick your poison, but the end result is the same: Russian oil and natural gas will fall offline. Some 1.5 million barrels of daily oil shipments and 3 billion cubic feet of natural gas are directly in the line of fire at this very moment, with triple that at risk in-region.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Oil Executives: Higher Energy Prices Are Here To Stay

Oil Executives: Higher Energy Prices Are Here To Stay

  • Big oil executives expect that higher energy prices are here to stay.
  • Underinvestment in new production is seen as one of the driving factors behind higher energy prices in the mid-term.
  • Low global inventories and limited spare production capacity are driving crude prices in the short term.

We are just at the beginning of consumers’ energy bill troubles, Big Oil executives have warned as they reported bumper earnings thanks to higher oil and gas prices.

“I’ve no good news to deliver, oil prices will remain high,” TotalEnergies’ chief executive Patrick Pouyanne told media recently in comments on the current situation with energy costs in Europe.

The comment was echoed by the Asian head of commodity major Vitol, Mike Miller, who earlier this month noted low global oil inventories and limited spare production capacity as the reason for his expectations that oil will yet go up.

BP’s Bernard Looney also projected higher energy prices. He called it “volatility” and said oil supply could decline further this year, supporting prices of over $90 per barrel.

“We expect a tight gas market going forward and we expect volatility in power price development,” Equinor’s chief executive, Andres Opedal chimed in at the release of the company’s latest financial results, as quoted by Reuters.

There are two things that all the Big Oil majors quoted share. The first is strong profits resulting from that very same tight supply, coupled with strong demand. The second is the absence of plans to ramp up oil production.

Europe’s Big Oil has been under growing pressure to reduce its emission footprint. Shell even got sued for it and was ordered to slash its emissions. The way to do it: cut oil production.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Case Study of Fossil-Fuel Depletion

A Case Study of Fossil-Fuel Depletion

A few months ago I received an intriguing email from researcher and activist Regan Boychuk. For the past 15 years, Boychuk has been studying the oil-and-gas industry in Alberta (Canada) and he wanted to know if I would join his project. I immediately said yes.

Some backstory. You can think of Alberta as the Texas of Canada. Alberta is endowed with a vast trove of oil that it has been exploiting for the past 75 years. And like Texas, Alberta’s politics are dominated by the oil industry.

Oh, and Alberta is where I grew up.

Back to Regan Boychuk’s work. Boychuk has a vision for an Alberta in which the oil industry goes extinct by being forced to clean up its own mess. As it stands, Alberta has about 300,000 oil-and-gas wells waiting to be cleaned up at the oil companies’ expense. The problem is that oil companies are not forced to save for the clean-up expense, and accounting tricks allow them to make the clean-up liability look negligible in their corporate accounts.1 It’s an open secret (implicitly endorsed by the Alberta government) that defunct wells will never be cleaned up. If they were, the oil industry would go bankrupt.

And that’s exactly what Boychuk wants. His dream is to kill 3 birds with one stone:

  1. Show that the oil-and-gas industry is insolvent;
  2. Clean up every well in Alberta;
  3. Fund full employment and a transition to a sustainable Alberta economy.

To hasten this big-picture goal, Boychuk asked me to help by estimating production curves for every oil-and-gas well in Alberta. After much head scratching and many lines of code, that’s what I’ve done.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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