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Archive for April, 2010

John Hofmeister on Coming UK Oil Crisis
Saturday, April 24, 2010@ 3:28 AM
Author: Press

John Hofmeister is quoted in The Sun UK Online discussing the coming fuel crisis in the UK.

Environment Editor, The Sun UK

A FORMER boss of SHELL yesterday claimed the UK is in “big trouble” over future energy supplies.

Blame ... John Hofmeister

John Hofmeister said ministers had failed to build new nuclear power plants or develop ways of taking advantage of our coal reserves.

He blamed the Government for an “unwillingness to tackle the big problems of energy supply”. Instead, decision makers had opted for “weak and anaemic alternatives”.

His comments came a day after UK energy regulator Ofgem warned that Britain will suffer an energy crisis in just SIX YEARS – with power cuts during peak times. Mr Hofmeister, who was Shell president in America and has written a book, Why We Hate The Oil Companies, said: “I’m in favour of wind energy but people don’t know how many turbines will be necessary to achieve the goals of our elected officials.

“We’re talking tens of thousands of turbines – people will say, ‘Oh my God, I had no idea’. When they see the number of turbines that are needed they will be appalled.”


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Non-renewable petroleum and natural gas resources: conserve or produce
Saturday, April 24, 2010@ 1:51 AM
Author: admin

We all know it is near impossible to imagine life without transportation. Oil and petroleum resources are by far a boon we cannot live without, especially in today’s day and age, with people having so many cars, and with transportation running almost wholly on this. While there are numerous natural gas plants to generate electricity, there is also a need to conserve the meager amount of petroleum and oil we have on our planet, by turning more and more to what are known as renewable sources of energy, in our environment.

While using other natural sources to produce energy, such as hydroelectric plants, and many solar energy and wind driven plants, there is by far, great economic potential in mining and in obtaining newer permits, for offshore drilling of oil and petroleum. The new government is moving towards strengthening the economy with fuel independence as its goal, so that the US does not bank as heavily as it did, on the Middle East nations, for their wealth of oil resources. However, there are many problems faced, with regard to having a safe and secure environment, to live in.

Oil spills from an offshore rig can easily kill large square miles of aquatic life, and there is also the question of emptying produced water, which is also unhealthy, into the oceans and seas, managing these toxic wastes pose an equally big concern, when investing in new drilling operations, across the US coastline.  The new proposal by the government to begin extensive offshore oil rigging operations, has been met with opposition, although they are stressing the importance of being self-sustaining in the area of oil and petroleum, and also in talking about the huge revenue it can generate.  While a large number of people oppose the proposed drilling of Bristol Bay, which is home to teeming aquatic life, the actual drilling procedure would of course take years to begin, and be set up effectively.

There is much noise being made about how newer operations can provide as much as three years worth of supply of oil, and over two years of natural gas, considering the current consumption rates of the American population. There is however, a lot at stake, and the balance of the environment is a huge concern to all. Meanwhile, it is important to use as much as we can, of other non polluting sources of energy, and effectively channel them to run our various operations. With many companies vying to produce solar cars, and electrically charged vehicles, the battle is on for the environment, and for saving the precious existing reserves, of non renewable energy sources.

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Oil and petroleum resources
Saturday, April 24, 2010@ 1:46 AM
Author: admin

Oil and petroleum are the most expensive natural resources, which are depleting fast. There is a huge focus on creating a greater amount of oil and petrol independence in the country, and also to protect the environment. Obama’s plans are for a new focus on energy, and to begin drilling around the Atlantic Ocean near the south of Delaware, on the west coast of Florida, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico. There is a huge need for energy, and also a need to shift focus to traditional sources of energy, such as solar energy, to conserve our non-renewable resources.

The idea to drill off the Atlantic has been applauded by many industrial barons, and they are supporting this huge move, as a good bid towards adding production to the oil and petroleum industry, while also helping with the economy recovering and giving it a huge boost in the right direction. Drilling the coasts however, is not going to reduce the cost of gas or petrol; and with rising oil prices, this is a damping statement.

Offshore oil and gas production is quite a challenge to any government, and also a huge investment in terms of the economy and financial resources available, as well as in giving some great returns on it. There may be drilling platforms set up at a height of say 200 meters or more, or a platform for drilling may be done along with a mooring system, to keep them fixed on location.  Many drilling operations are done where sand is separated from the sea, by pumping it onshore and having installations done. There is a lot being done to bring professional personnel into managing and moving people, as well as equipment, in the most economical way possible, and to get as many sources as possible, to get floor space and sets done up for offshore rigs, all over certain key areas of the United States.

There are also environmental risks associated with oil spills, which have many environmentalists opposing the move. However, the economical implication still gives a huge push forward, to making a move in the right direction, to locate oil, petroleum and natural gas resources.  Offshore drilling and installing the necessary equipment and resources are also challenging in terms of having to conquer the elements and to be in a position to overcome various difficulties, while running a large facility of mining and production of oil resources.

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Greener Energy for a Better Future
Saturday, April 24, 2010@ 1:24 AM
Author: admin

The energy crisis has rippled through the economy and created a sea-change in growth, production and sustenance across the planet. Energy on a global scale is sourced from the mass-energy producing fossil fuels such as petroleum. The two chief by-products of petroleum applied in our day-to-day life are gasoline and fuel oil.

Knowing the rate at which fossil fuel reserves are getting depleted due to infrastructure building activities, mining, construction, deforestation etc and the exponential increase in the demand for fuel, the world’s attention is swiftly shifting towards creating sustainable energy sources that will go a long way towards advancing environmental protection.

Offshore drilling for tapping oil or petroleum resources in sea-beds or other water bodies has on occasion had disastrous effects on the environment. Such hazards do not foresee progress for the future. For instance, offshore oil drilling can trigger seismic activities that may be otherwise dormant in the earth’s crust. Other environment concerns regarding petroleum include production of pollutant wastes that are either allowed to mix with the water bodies flowing into merging with the sea, or end up polluting large tracts of land that might have been farmland or animal habitats.

Offshore exploration and oil drilling also cause severe damage to the surrounding marine habitats. As a matter of fact, such measures, according to environmentalists, have led to a sharp decline in the population of some endangered species of whales. Additionally, oil spills due to accidents during transportation or effluent secretion into wetlands or seawater have led to the destruction of many natural habitats and ecosystems.

Greenhouse gases, disturbed ecosystems, global warming and the looming energy crisis are early warnings of a future in jeopardy. So environmentalists, politicians and industrialists are working together to create green energy and move the nation towards energy independence to resolve a host of problems associated with fossil fuel extraction. Apart from government efforts to look at the renewable sources of energy like solar energy, wind energy and hydrogen power, companies like Shell Oil, a global giant in offshore oil drilling and petroleum products, are redirecting efforts towards alternative energy sources and green energy initiatives.

Many groups in the petrochemical and oil industries operating across the planet have a vision for the future: to conserve energy while preserving our environment, and to produce more energy that is eco-friendly for the future.

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Our Need for Renewable Sources of Energy
Saturday, April 24, 2010@ 1:19 AM
Author: admin

Energy, environment and associated global warming concerns are the focus of raging debates as the global climate system impacts the political climate. The impending energy crisis and the soaring oil prices have their roots in the fast depleting non-renewable source of energy: petroleum. Petroleum takes the spotlight as the world’s primary energy resource as the petroleum industry produces indispensable gasoline and other fuel derivatives.

Everyone is well aware that these fuels have become part and parcel of our daily lives; it is imperative to understand what a critical role they play in the functioning of the world. Take the transportation industry for instance: the waterways, roadways, airways and rail transport all depend upon petroleum products (gasoline, diesel etc) for movement. And gas is still the chief medium of cooking for household kitchens.

A rise in the global population and a consequent increase in demand for oil and gas have meant that a heavy premium is levied on the usage of petroleum products. Worse, the increased usage of gasoline has resulted in the release of poisonous chemicals into the earth’s atmosphere, not sparing the water bodies which get heavily polluted by petroleum based industries.

So, the search is on for safe, renewable sources of sustainable energy that won’t pose any hazards in the long run. Efforts are also on to find effective means for creating green energy, meaning energy that is environmentally less damaging. For example, wind energy, solar energy, hydro energy can be tapped and channelled from different natural sources either to generate power (through solar cells, wind turbines, etc.) for myriad applications. These sources are inexhaustible, unlike petroleum and its derivatives, which are getting used up faster with each passing day.

As an alternative to gasoline, other pollution-free fuels such as hydrogen fuels, CNG (compressed natural gas), and biofuels are efficient, environment friendly and finding good acceptance the world over. Though the production of these fuels is yet to be undertaken on a scale large enough to supplant fossil fuels, the vehicles using them and leading the ‘save fuel, save energy’ campaigns are already showing the way for an ‘energizing future’.

The economy of the US is sustained by major oil producing industries and energy companies have begin to faced the backlash of fuel exploitation, a body blow resulting in recession. But revival measures are in full-swing in the US and other countries; by exploring the usage of alternate energy resources, the world can ensure sustainable growth and an economically stable future.

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Petroleum: Fueling the Economy
Saturday, April 24, 2010@ 1:13 AM
Author: admin

Energy is what moves the world. And many energy resources have been relied upon for ages, to make our lives convenient and comfortable. Petroleum is one such energy resource.  Found deep inside the earth, it is formed when organic materials of specific composition are subject to high heat and pressure for millions of years. The main constituents of petroleum are crude oil and natural gas. Natural gas is growing in familiarity and is also processed and refined to form a better fuel alternative.

Petroleum, being a major source of energy with its by-products used as automobile fuel and as an important constituent in many chemicals, is considered a major building block for the economy as well. Therefore the petroleum industry, generating bulk-volume products by way of gasoline and fuel oil, is of paramount significance when issues related to energy or ecology are at the center of current public and world affairs.

The petroleum industry is classified into the exploration(exploring different oil/petroleum reservoirs as rich sources for the fuel) , extraction(drilling out the core constituents, as a whole, singleton source of petroleum), refining(purification so as to remove the impurities and increase the utility value for petroleum and its components – oil, natural gas), transportation (transporting the product through tankers or pipelines to its different destinations) and finally, marketing the products.

Apart from the conventional sources of petroleum, due to the rising demand and the soaring oil prices, modern offshore drilling techniques are being employed. Offshore drilling involves drilling a well underwater to tap potential oil and gas resources. Though this kind of oil extraction is done on a large scale along the coastal regions, it is also applicable to drilling in lakes and seas.

The petroleum industry spawns a multitude of small industry sectors catering to the major processes and sub-processes involved in its production. Apart from fueling the core transportation industry that links the opposite ends of the earth, it has also seeped into every home as an indispensable resource generating cooking gas or power. Thus, the industry also generates and sustains employment for workers of all sectors of the economy. For instance, in the way of transporting petroleum products, new pipeline jobs come as potent job opportunity. Extraction processes involve specialized engineers and highly trained technicians equipped with the knowledge of drilling and oil extraction as well.

As a global non-renewable energy source with widespread usage and utility, petroleum is a hot topic of discussion and debates, as its depletion fuels an ongoing energy controversy and triggers the search for alternative sources of renewable energy.

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Managing Energy Resources for the Future
Saturday, April 24, 2010@ 1:03 AM
Author: admin

In recent years, there have been many informative adverting campaigns on our television which sensitize viewers to the importance of preserving petroleum. We have seen in the course of the past three decades how the petroleum resources cause of wars being fought, economic shock, and general uncertainty. It is indeed devastating to think about our lives without these fossil fuels. Isn’t it scary to consider that when petroleum becomes rare our automobile industry, our airline industry and all those vehicles running on petrol could effectively come to a grinding halt? In that scenario, we can only picture a return of the cave-man days when walking will be the standard way to travel from one place to another.

There is no doubt that petroleum has brought innumerable benefits to civilization. Quality of life has improved with the use of gasoline in the internal combustion engines that power machines and vehicles. Oil and gas have been the power behind industry, and the source of heating fuel to provide comfort to homes. Heavy vehicles are powered by diesel. Energy companies produce everyday items from cosmetics to crayons and candles with the help of petroleum byproducts. The residues like tar, pitch and asphalt have traditionally been used for roads and to seal boats and to preserve wood.

The precarious situation of fast dwindling resources of petroleum has been a cause of concern for us all.  All around the world, the imbalance of demand versus supply has been one of the causes of spikes in oil prices. The oil price has escalated sharply three times, from $30 a barrel in 2008 to around $85 today. We all know that fossil fuels have been depleting rapidly. They also produce carbon dioxide as waste, which has been deposited in the atmosphere. These carbon residues have been identified as the major cause of global warming. These adverse effects have resulted in concerted efforts to find alternative and sustainable energy sources.

Use of sustainable energy is a rewarding option since this energy can benefit not just the present but the future also. While speaking of sustainable energy, solar energy and wind energy are the first to find their mention among energy conservationists. In the present context, we must look at solar energy or wind energy through the prism of environmental protection too since any renewable energy should not cause more global warming.

Oil and gas have fueled the world’s economies and in the coming years we should hopefully make new forays into green energy. Our energy companies have to build a stronger infrastructure that brings more green energy to the world.

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Addressing Our Future Energy Needs
Saturday, April 24, 2010@ 12:53 AM
Author: admin

Petroleum has been the critical element for development of numerous industries in the last two centuries. The receding supply of petroleum has sparked off the search for crude through offshore drilling.  The process of oil exploration with offshore drilling is a tedious and intensive one.  Oil wells are dug miles into the earth or the sea shore in the hope of finding natural gas. Oil and gas have been much under the spotlight because the global specter of rising oil prices strains the economies of the world.

The infrastructure that we need to build on should carefully wean us away from our complete dependency on oil. Beyond doubt we need to produce more energy as the present energy crisis has pushed us to the brink. Natural gas is on the decline and repeated oil exploration has simply depleted our resources. The energy demands of the present century are dependent on the power infrastructure of the 20th century. The first needed step is to conserve the existing supply by using oil and gas much more efficiently. The second step is to quickly increase our use of sustainable energy. More energy can be created by opting for renewable resources like solar energy, wind energy or hydroelectric energy, which all offer greater environmental protection.

Research proves that the present technical advances in digital communication and renewable energy have the ability to facilitate a transition. For example, by using a combination of solar energy and wind energy, among other sources rather than depending upon them individually, we could interconnect individual solar generation sites along with arrays of wind sites which are in geographically diverse places. In the pyramidal representation, conventional models have the least energy efficiency and renewability as indicated in the peak of the pyramid; the next generation of power sources brings it to the broader spectrum of the pyramid with the least use of coal and nuclear fuel at the top of the pyramid. Wind energy and solar energy can be aptly used to bring in more energy efficiency and green energy. To tackle the ever increasing demand for fossil fuels, use of electric power or substituting it with clean renewable (sustainable) fuels to power vehicles would be the way forward.

Energy companies have to take the cue to produce de-carbonized electric supply through distributed supply technologies. This will have a strong positive influence on production of green energy and will be able to tackle global warming. The world’s shared goal comes closer: bring better environmental protection and better progress for the future.

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Confronting the Global Energy Crisis
Saturday, April 24, 2010@ 12:43 AM
Author: admin

Drilling oil has been the mainstay method to obtain oil and gas for all our energy needs. For the past many years, mankind has been successful in extracting petroleum from under the seas. Though offshore drilling is profitable, it is extremely expensive and the process of detection and directing the drill to the exact place requires sophisticated technology and constant monitoring.  The dwindling proven sources of oil and gas have suffered heavy casualties in satisfying the world’s demand for oil.  Soaring oil prices have also been a cause for concern for the economies of emerging economies.  With the stock of natural gas dwindling by the day due to heavy usage, pipeline jobs face a bleak future. Energy companies constantly need to explore newer sustainable energy options to bring in more energy and also stabilize pipeline jobs.

Oil prices can normalize for the immediate future if the dependency on petroleum is minimized. The first step energy companies should take is to reduce demand by increasing efficiency. As an example, heavy vehicles like tractor-trailers should be constructed to get twice the fuel economy of the present day trucks by raising vehicle weight restrictions.  Estimates state that alone could cut fuel per ton mile by 15-30%. Petrol-hybrid SUVs have the power to triple present efficiency and should be encouraged. Use of domestically sourced natural gas will help eliminate or drastically reduce American oil use.
On the environmental front, research shows that the emissions from fossil fuels have contributed to 88% of the non-naturally occurring carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Needless to say, these CO2 emissions are suspected as root cause of global warming. The alternative sources of energy that we should bring should be green energy.

The threat of global warming has created an urgent need to use renewable sources of energy with no CO2 footprint, and solar energy may fit the bill. Global energy companies like Shell Oil are now focusing on environmental protection as an element of the search for renewable energy sources. Oil exploration in the Arctic could potential spill enough oil to spell doomsday for the aquatic flora and fauna.
We need to tap sustainable energy by the means of solar energy or wind energy or hydroelectric power to generate more energy. It is certain that a  reformed regulatory framework would help to avoid future energy controversy while fostering the responsible pursuit this sustainable energy. Energy companies necessarily and naturally look for market certainty since government’s inconsistent policies can have a negative impact on the energy sector. To tackle conflicting interest in producing energy, energy independence is one the goal which requires clear cut decision making and policy.

The gravity of the situation can be improved with the right approach and policies being adopted.

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What are the environmental effects of oil drilling?
Thursday, April 22, 2010@ 5:02 PM
Author: admin

In this day and age when environmental protection is given such importance, offshore oil drilling is taking quite a lot of flak. There are a lot of environmental effects of oil drilling and the whole process unavoidably pollutes the air, the land and the water.

One of the major concerns is oil spills and a prime example of this is the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. Oil spills of varying severity occur literally in every aspect and every phase of drilling. But the major threat comes from oil being transported. These spills pollute the water with poisons, which seeps into the land, and potentially disrupts the larger ecology and the food chain.  Everyone has seen those awful images of petroleum coating the feathers of seabirds, making it near impossible for them to fly.

Oils spills are not the only thing that affects marine life; there are seismic waves that are used to detect the oil located under sea beds. This tends to damage or hurt the sonar signals that are primarily used by whales and dolphins to navigate the waters. One major oil company had to halt their usage of seismic waves to detect oil because close to 100 whales were beached as their sonar was affected by oil detection efforts. In extreme cases this does cause marine life to change their migratory patterns. Therefore, our search for fossil fuels and alternative energy sources must be tempered by concerns for environmental protection.

Another major hazard that occurs due to all this is the damage to the ecosystem. Since the infrastructure for drilling oil is so large –from the oil rigs to roads and tankers and pipeline jobs – it affects everything in its path. Airstrips are a big problem for birds. The constant landing and taking off of planes creates problems for reproduction and a loss of their habitat. A lot of building and construction is undertaken to create more energy and all this too creates havoc for the nearby flora and fauna.

Today, the technology used for drilling by energy companies like Shell Oil has come a long way. They have improved the way they deal with the environmental fall out and are working to reduce oil spills as well. There is now a new method of drilling oil which is horizontal drilling which basically rules out having to have oil rigs. Double hulls on all tankers have also reduced the chances of spillage when at sea. All of these efforts are designed to make discovery more responsible and the environmental effects less damaging and not as long lasting.

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