Tag Archives: oil

Syria Intervention Plan Fueled by Oil Interests, Not Chemical Weapon Concern

31 Aug

by Nafeez Ahmed / The Guardian

U.N. chemical weapons experts visit people affected by an apparent gas attack, at a hospital in the southwestern Damascus suburb of Mouadamiya. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters

U.N. chemical weapons experts visit people affected by an apparent gas attack, at a hospital in the southwestern Damascus suburb of Mouadamiya. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters

On 21 August, hundreds – perhaps over a thousand – people were killed in a chemical weapon attack in Ghouta, Damascus, prompting the US, UK, Israel and France to raise the spectre of military strikes against Bashir al Assad’s forces.

The latest episode is merely one more horrific event in a conflict that has increasingly taken on genocidal characteristics. The case for action at first glance is indisputable. The UN now confirms a death toll over 100,000 people, the vast majority of whom have been killed by Assad’s troops. An estimated 4.5 million people have been displaced from their homes. International observers have overwhelmingly confirmed Assad’s complicity in the preponderance of war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Syrian people. The illegitimacy of his regime, and the legitimacy of the uprising, is clear.

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Libya: Workers Shut Down Oil Terminals

21 Aug

From WW4 Report

Libyan oil production this month fell below 400,000 barrels per day—from 1.65 million bpd a year ago—as striking workers shut down export terminals. The Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) appealed to the Defense Ministry for military reinforcements after clashes at the Zueitina oil port Aug. 20. PFG chief Edris Abokhamada claimed that armed protesters at the facility “fired on civilians” after being asked to leave—apparently with no injuries. Clashes were also reported at the Brega terminal, and the Es Sider facility remains shut by worker occupations. The terminals are run by a partnership between Libya’s National Oil Corporation and majors Occidental Petroleum and Austria’s OMV.

On Aug. 19, Libya’s coast guard stopped a tanker from “illegally entering” the Es Sider terminal, amid accusations armed gangs are trying to market oil outside government control. According to Libyan oil officials, the vessel didn’t have any authorization to load from the port, which exports oil from concessions run by Libya’s NOC with Marathon Oil, ConocoPhillips and Hess Corp. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has accused the striking guards at the terminals of trying to illegally market stored oil under their control. Global prices this week jumped above $110 a barrel in response to the loss of Libyan exports and unrest in Egypt. (Gulf Times, Aug. 21; WSJ, AFP, Libya Herald, Al Bawaba, Aug. 20; AP, Aug. 15; Libya Herald, Aug. 12)

Libyan oil production has been interrupted repeatedly since the fall of Qaddafi by striking workers, unemployed youth, and political protesters.

Disruption in Oil Supply in Syria Spurs Amateurs to Build Make-Shift Refineries

19 Aug

by Jeffry Ruigendijk / Al Jazeera

One of Abu Zechariah's sons covers his mouth and nose while working with the refinery to avoid inhaling smoke emitted from the rusty tank.

One of Abu Zechariah’s sons covers his mouth and nose while working with the refinery to avoid inhaling smoke emitted from the rusty tank.

Ras al-Ain, Syria – Abu Zechariah and his two sons are farmers in the Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain, in northeastern Syria. They are one of many families throughout Syria that have decided to start privately refining crude oil as a way to make money.

Trucks come from Ramlan to Ras al-Ain, where they then begin to extract the low-quality fuel using rudimentary and dangerous equipment.

Rival rebel groups and regime forces continue to battle for control of strategic oil and gas fields in Syria’s northeast. Since the war began, local demand for oil has soared due to the disruption in supply from the West, which has led to small, privately owned refineries being built throughout Syria. Though profitable, this process of refining “rock oil” is unhealthy, and explosions are always a risk.

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Earth First! Calls On Activists to “Disrupt the Chain of Supply” for Oil and Gas Industry

22 Jul

“An Insurgency Against Fracking… Has Begun”

EF Momentive blockade NC 2013

EF! Blockade at Momentive facility, NC, July 8 2013. Credit: Croatan Earth First!.

The following text is from a press release of the newly-formed Earth First! Media office, which provides correspondence to news outlets around the world.

Raleigh, NC—Earlier this month, activists with Earth First! blockaded the North Carolina facility of a company involved in hydrofracking for oil and gas. According to Earth First!, this action is the start of a coordinated effort to target businesses involved with the controversial fracking industry.

Following this action by Croatan Earth First!—a group based in central North Carolina—a new online resource, FrackIndustry.org, was also launched. The website provides detailed information, including addresses of offices and facilities operated by companies such as Carbo Ceramics, US Silica, Rainbow Ceramics, Northern Frac Proppants, and Momentive, the target of this month’s blockade in Morganton, N.C.

Croatan Earth First! says Momentive is a prime example, being one of the largest worldwide distributors of “resin coated proppants,”a necessary component for fracking. Each stage of the industrial process requires approximately 136 tons of the proppants.  Continue reading

Oil And Gas Companies Seen As Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks

26 Jun

Timothy Gardner / Reuters

U.S. oil and natural gas operations are increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks that can harm the competitiveness of energy companies or lead to costly outages at pipelines, refineries or drilling platforms, a report said on Wednesday.

The energy business, including oil and gas producers, was hit by more targeted malware attacks from April to September last year than any other industry, said the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) report, citing data from a Houston-based security company, Alert Logic.
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How Fracking Companies Exploit Amish Farmers

10 Jun

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by Claire Thompson / Grist

It’s no secret that fracking companies engage in some shady behavior. But a report in The New Republic reveals just how low they’ll sink in the rush to exploit natural gas: Energy companies in eastern Ohio — home to the world’s largest Amish population and billions of dollars worth of oil and gas reserves — have been convincing Amish farmers to sign away drilling rights to their land for far less than they’re worth, knowing that because their religious tradition frowns on lawsuits, the landowners will have little recourse for justice once they realize they’ve been duped.

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West Texas Oilfield Town Has Run Out of Water

7 Jun

by Kate Galbraith / The Texas Tribune

photo by Jennifer Whitney

photo by Jennifer Whitney

Barnhart, a small community in West Texas, has run out of water.

John Nanny, an Irion County commissioner and an official with Barnhart’s water supply corporation, said on Thursday that the situation was serious. When reached by telephone, he was working on pumping operations and hoped to have a backup well in service Friday morning. A load of bottled water was on its way to the community center, he said.

The town has one main well that serves 112 customers, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. But the well stopped pumping quickly enough Tuesday evening, and while there is still some water in it, Nanny said, “We don’t want to get down to the mud.” 

Nanny said he had checked for a leak but had not found one. The Barnhart area has been hard-hit by drought, he said, just as surging oil and gas drilling activities have increased local water demands. Barnhart was recently featured in The Wall Street Journal owing to the increase in oil boom-related railroad traffic through the town. (Incidentally, Barnhart’s backup water well was drilled by the railroad in the early 1900s, Nanny said.)

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Oxford University Student Union Votes to Oppose Shell Investment

20 May

Oxford University

By Adam Vaughan, The Guardian

Oxford University’s Shell Geoscience Laboratory is funded with £5.9m from the oil company. 

Students and alumni of Oxford University will protest this afternoon at the opening of a new lab in its Earth sciences department that is funded with £5.9m from oil company Shell.

Campaigners say the partnership – which will see the climate and energy secretary, Ed Davey, attend the Shell Geoscience Laboratory’s official opening on Thursday – undermines the university’s credibility and conflicts with its work on climate change. Oxford alumni including environmental campaigner Jonathon Porritt and solar entrepreneur Jeremy Leggett yesterday called Shell “a particularly inappropriate choice of funder” in a letter published in the Guardian.

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Tar Sands Waste Piling Up in Detroit

20 May

by Ian Austen, Cross Posted from The New York Times

PILEWINDSOR, Ontario — Assumption Park gives residents of this city lovely views of the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit skyline. Lately they’ve been treated to another sight: a three-story pile of petroleum coke covering an entire city block on the other side of the Detroit River.

Detroit’s ever-growing black mountain is the unloved, unwanted and long overlooked byproduct of Canada’s oil sands boom.

And no one knows quite what to do about it, except Koch Carbon, which owns it.

The company is controlled by Charles and David Koch, wealthy industrialists who back a number of conservative and libertarian causes including activist groups that challenge the science behind climate change. The company sells the high-sulfur, high-carbon waste, usually overseas, where it is burned as fuel.

The coke comes from a refinery alongside the river owned by Marathon Petroleum, which has been there since 1930. But it began refining exports from the Canadian oil sands — and producing the waste that is sold to Koch — only in November.

“What is really, really disturbing to me is how some companies treat the city of Detroit as a dumping ground,” said Rashida Tlaib, the Michigan state representative for that part of Detroit. “Nobody knew this was going to happen.” Almost 56 percent of Canada’s oil production is from the petroleum-soaked oil sands of northern Alberta, more than 2,000 miles north.

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Peru Spares Amazon Rainforest From Oil And Gas Push

16 May

Ashanika warriors occupy oil boat in the Peruvian Amazon, May 2009

Cross Posted From Root Force

This article from the Guardian shows why indigenous movements have fought so hard for Peru’s new law requiring extractive industry to consult with affected indigenous communities, why industrial interests have so consistently opposed, and why mining companies pushed so hard for the recent decision that excluded millions of indigenous Peruvians from that law’s protection. Note, of course, that the oil company is making it clear that they will still go ahead with exploiting indigenous lands whether the affected communities like it or not. We’ll see what the communities have to say about that.

Peru spares Amazon rainforest from oil and gas push

New hydrocarbon sites will all be offshore, but campaigners fear contentious oil and gas development in Amazon will still go ahead

Peru has announced a bidding round for new oil and gas concessions but, contrary to what was initially expected, none of them are in the Amazon rainforest.

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