The decision to grant permanent observer status to China and five other nations by the Arctic Council meeting in Sweden Wednesday reflects the heightened interest by some of the world’s most powerful economies in an area rich in oil, gas, minerals, fish and new transport possibilities.
For new observer nations China, Japan and South Korea, shorter shipping routes to Europe through Arctic waters could open up prospects of new energy supply options later this decade, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia’s Yamal Peninsula in northwest Siberia.
It could also lessen China’s dependence on oil and gas shipped from the Middle East, which must pass through the Southeast Asian chokepoint of the Strait of Malacca. Allied to China’s interest of getting oil and gas delivered from new pipelines across Myanmar and Central Asia, the potential of the Arctic trade routes loom large in China’s strategic thinking.
A federal judge signed off on BP’s settlement with businesses and people hard hit by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans issued a 125-page ruling Friday night on a class-action suit. He gave the settlement preliminary approval in May and overruled questions and criticism of the agreement in his Friday ruling.
“None of the objections, whether filed on the objections docket or elsewhere, have shown the settlement to be anything other than fair, reasonable, and adequate,” the ruling said. “The low numbers of objections and opt-outs are evidence of the settlement’s fairness.”
BP has estimated a settlement of about $7.8 billion paid from a $20 billion trust. Thousands of businesses and individuals made claims in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, some coastal counties in eastern Texas and western Florida and adjacent Gulf waters and bays.
2 Missing, no confirmed dead in U.S. oil rig blast
Published November 16, 2012
updates, revises throughout)
Two people remained missing Friday after an explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard’s initial report mentioned two fatalities, but officials said later that there were no confirmed deaths from the disaster on the platform, which lies in shallow water around 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Grande Isle, Louisiana.
Fifteen of the 22 workers present at the time of the blast suffered injuries, including four who were critically hurt and had to be taken by helicopter to a hospital in Louisiana.
The officer directing the Coast Guard response, Ed Cubanski, said the search for the two missing workers continues with three helicopters and two rescue boats.
Read more: latino.foxnews.com
U.S. set to be top oil producer
U.S. oil output is poised to surpass Saudi Arabia’s in the next decade, making the world’s biggest fuel consumer almost self-reliant and putting it on track to become a net exporter, the International Energy Agency said Monday.
Growing supplies of crude extracted through new technology including hydraulic fracturing of underground rock formations will transform the United States into the largest producer for about five years starting about 2020, the agency, adviser to 28 nations, said in its annual World Energy Outlook. The United States met 83 percent of its energy needs in the first six months of this year, according to the Energy Department.
The United States, whose crude imports have fallen 11 percent this year, is on track to produce the most oil since 1991, according to Energy Department data.
Read more: sfgate.com
There is a part in the article : Growing supplies of crude extracted through new technology including hydraulic fracturing of underground rock formations will transform the United States into the largest producer for about five years starting about 2020, so if I am reading correctly, while good news, it is only temporary and kind of represents getting oil by improved geological “scrapping of the barrel”.
That tell me that we can use the expected bounty to finance our efforts to get off this finite fuel source and move to renewable energies for our fuel. And by “we” I mean govt financed and led efforts.
So it’s not drill, baby, drill but rather invest and research, baby, invest and research.
But I’m afraid that in Alberta an oil company will no more be held responsible for this than an oil company in Texas would be for a similar action.
Punch out to see the photos
Nine days ago, a Liberian-flagged container ship called the Rena ran aground on Astrolabe Reef, 14 miles offshore from Tauranga Harbor on New Zealand’s North Island. In addition to the 2,100 containers aboard, the Rena was carrying 1,700 tons of fuel oil and another 200 tons of diesel fuel. A cracked hull and rough seas have dislodged more than 80 containers and spilled some 300 tons of oil already, fouling Tauranga beaches and reportedly killing some 1,000 birds so far. Salvage teams are racing to offload as much remaining oil as possible while cleanup crews are hard at work, coping with New Zealand’s worst environmental disaster in decades
Marine crews were preparing Sunday for an operation to extract oil from a container ship that is stranded on a reef near New Zealand.
The 775-foot (236-metre) Liberia-flagged “Rena” struck the Astrolabe Reef about 12 nautical miles from Tauranga Harbour early Wednesday, and has been foundering there since. The ship has been leaking fuel, leading to fears it could cause an environmental disaster if it breaks up further.
Heavy swells and gale-force winds are forecast for the area from Monday.
Two U.S. oil workers who survived floating amid waters as high as 40 feet for nearly four days on a life raft in the Gulf of Mexico after a tropical storm disabled their research vessel say they experienced a nightmarish ordeal in which they saw friends and co-workers slowly die.
Ted Derise Jr. and Jeremy Parfait told The Associated Press on Friday they were pushed to the breaking point but never lost hope they would be rescued.
The State Department assigned an important environmental impact study of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to a company with financial ties to the pipeline operator, flouting the intent of a federal law meant to ensure an impartial environmental analysis of major projects.
The department allowed TransCanada, the company seeking permission to build the 1,700-mile pipeline from the oil sands of northern Alberta to the Gulf Coast in Texas, to solicit and screen bids for the environmental study. At TransCanada’s recommendation, the department hired Cardno Entrix, an environmental contractor based in Houston, even though it had previously worked on projects with TransCanada and describes the pipeline company as a “major client” in its marketing materials.
While it is common for federal agencies to farm out environmental impact studies, legal experts said they were surprised the State Department was not more circumspect about the potential for real and perceived conflicts of interest on such a large and controversial project.
John D. Echeverria, an expert on environmental law, referred to the process as “outsourcing government responsibility.”