A decade after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, offshore drilling is still unsafe

first_imgSafety first is the big lesson from Deepwater HorizonAs I see it, the essential lesson from Deepwater Horizon is that industry and government should be putting their greatest energies into preventing operational accidents, blowouts and releases.Yet the Trump administration emphasises increasing production and reducing regulations. This undermines safety improvements made over the past 10 years.Furthermore, the price of crude oil – already low because of high fracked oil production in the U.S. – has declined drastically since the beginning of 2020.Saudi and Russian oil had already glutted the market when the coronavirus pandemic reduced oil consumption.The federal government’s March 2020 oil and gas lease sale for the Gulf of Mexico yielded the lowest response in four years – $93 million in high bids, compared to $159 million in the previous round.The spill had a devastating effect on the region, with marine life and the coastlines of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida swimming in oil (Credit: Flickr/Office of Response and RestorationFollow)To prop up the industry and maintain production, the Trump administration is seeking to lower royalty rates and store excess production in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.But as industry acts to cut its expenditures and downsize staff, will safety costs be a priority?National energy policy was beyond the charge of the 2010 commission, but 10 years later, it is impossible to consider the future of offshore oil and gas without factoring in the need to eliminate net greenhouse gas emission within 30 years to limit climate change.Why would the US consider expanding offshore exploration and drilling that might yield fossil fuels only 20 years from now?Even in the historically developed Gulf of Mexico, rather than just “drill, baby, drill,” I believe the US should be developing a realistic transition plan for phasing out offshore fossil fuel production.Such a strategy should encompass not only ensuring high standards for safety and industry responsibility for abandoned infrastructure during the drawdown, but also an economic evolution for the region, including opportunities for carbon sequestration and renewable energy production.We need to ensure that there will be a vibrant and productive Gulf long after we cease removing its oil. Ten years ago, on 20 April, 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 crew members and starting the largest ocean oil spill in history.Over the next three months, between four million and five million barrels of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico.I was a member of the oil spill commission appointed by President Obama to investigate the causes of the disaster. Later, I served as a courtroom witness for the government on the effects of the spill.While scientists now know more about these effects, risks of deepwater blowouts remain, and the energy industry and government responders still have only very limited ability to control where the oil goes once it’s released from the well.The spill commission found that multiple identifiable mistakes caused the blowout. Our report cast doubt over how safety was addressed across the offshore oil industry and the government’s ability to regulate it.As the oil spill commission’s report showed, drilling ever deeper into the Gulf involved risks for which neither industry nor government was adequately prepared.The industry had felt so sure that a blowout would not happen that it lacked the capacity to contain it. Neither BP nor the government could do much to control or clean up the spill. The Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 crew members and started the largest ocean oil spill in history (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/US Coast Guard) The Deepwater Horizon explosion marked one of the darkest days in the history of the oil industry. Donald Boesch, professor of Marine Science at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, details the impact the disaster had, lessons learned and the safety meaures that have since been taken in an article for the Conversation, republished here.  The Deepwater Horizon disaster led to between four and five million barrels of oil spilling out into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010center_img Safety improvements are threatened following Deepwater Horizon explosionThe presidential commission recommended numerous reforms to reduce the risks and environmental damages from offshore oil and gas development.The industry developed systems to contain blowouts in deep water and has deployed them worldwide. Improvements in operational safety were made within companies and across the industry.The Department of the Interior acted quickly to reorganise its units. It created a Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to avoid conflicts of interests with its leasing, development and revenue collection responsibilities.After four years in development, the bureau issued new well control rules in 2016 governing drilling safety.But despite progress on a number of fronts, Congress has not enacted legislation to improve safety or even raise energy companies’ ridiculously low liability limits for oil spills – currently just $134m for offshore facilities like the Deepwater Horizon.The Trump administration has reversed or relaxed safety reforms. It has loosened the safe pressure margins allowed in a well, dispensed with independent inspections of blowout protectors and removed requirements for continuous onshore monitoring of offshore drilling.Ten years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, rules adopted post-spill to make offshore operations safer are being relaxed.Some of these changes were ordered by political appointees over the recommendations of the safety bureau’s technical experts.While the bureau is charged with focusing singularly on safety and the environment, its director, Scott Angelle, has been a prominent proponent of the administration’s aggressive “energy dominance” strategy, ordering expanded oil production and elimination of costly regulations.Imagine the message this sends about priorities to people in government and industry who are responsible for ensuring safety. Where contamination lingers following the Deepwater Horizon explosionBefore the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the deep Gulf of Mexico ecosystem was egregiously understudied in all respects, while a multi-billion-dollar industry intruded into it.Now scientists know much more about what happens when large quantities of oil and gas are released in a seafloor blowout.Scientists learned much about the effects of the spill through monitoring the blowout, assessing damages to natural resources and investigating the fate and effects of escaping oil.More has been spent on these studies and more results published than for any previous oil spill.A substantial portion of oil released from the mile-deep well was entrained in a plume of droplets spreading out 3,000 feet below the Gulf’s surface. Footprints of contamination and effects extended far beyond the area where oil slicks were observed.Two NASA satellites recorded day-by-day images of the Gulf after the blowout, from April 20 through May 24, 2010.Nearly all of the oil released has since degraded. Populations of most affected organisms have recovered. But contamination lingers in sediments in the deep Gulf, and in some marshes and beaches where oil came ashore.Populations of long-lived animals the oil killed might not recover for decades. These include sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins, seabirds and deepwater corals.And yet, as scientists synthesise results from this 10-year research initiative, very little practical advice is emerging about what can be done to respond more effectively to future blowouts from ever-deeper drilling in the Gulf.Surely, we can more rapidly contain blowouts. The effectiveness of injecting chemical dispersants into the plume gushing from the well remains in debate.How much oil do dispersants keep from reaching the surface, where it threatens those working to stanch the blowout, as well as birds, sea turtles and coastal ecosystems? But the research has not revealed more effective approaches in controlling released oil.last_img read more

Taiwanese CPC, Pertamina sign deal for $8b petrochemical plant

first_imgThe statement added that Pertamina and CPC had been in talks over the project since late 2018. The two companies completed a feasibility study the following year.Read also: Pertamina picks Siemens to supply machinery for Balikpapan refineryOnce expansion of the Balongan refinery is completed in 2022, the facility’s fuel output capacity is expected to rise by 20 percent to 150,000 barrels per day (bpd), excluding petrochemical production, in meeting Indonesia’s growing demand for transportation fuels. Pertamina is working to develop six other refineries for similar reasons.Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) head Bahlil Lahadali, who witnessed Friday’s signing, said his office had confirmed tax holiday incentives for the project in supporting the development. “This is a government priority project. We will absolutely support it,” he said.Pertamina previously said it planned for its Balongan facility to produce 1 million tons of ethylene each year. Ethylene, like most petrochemicals, is mainly used to produce plastics, allowing Pertamina to diversify revenue streams during periods of low fuel demand such as is happening amid the coronavirus pandemic.Consumption plunged 35 percent to 65,678 kiloliters per day in April from the daily average in January and February — before the country introduced a physical distancing policy requiring people to stay at home to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.Read also: Oil giant Pertamina delves into health industry amid drop in fuel demandDue to the falling demand, Pertamina projects its revenue to fall by up to 45 percent below initial expectations under a worst-case scenario.Pertamina spokeswoman Fajriyah Usman told The Jakarta Post on May 18 that the oil company would prepare the base ingredients for pharmaceutical production, then either state-owned pharmaceutical company Kimia Farma or Kimia Farma with Pertamina would process the ingredients into pharmaceuticals.“We are still discussing the details,” Ganti Winarno, corporate secretary at Kimia Farma, told the Post Wednesday last week.Topics : State-owned oil and gas giant Pertamina signed on Friday a head of agreement with Taiwanese counterpart CPC to develop a petrochemical facility in Balongan, West Java.The US$8 billion petrochemical facility, slated for commercial operation in 2026, represents the third phase expansion of Pertamina’s Balongan oil refinery.“This project is an important step in strengthening Pertamina’s petrochemical business such that, in the next 10 years, Pertamina can become a major petrochemical business player in the Asia- Pacific,” said Pertamina president director Nicke Widyawati in a statement that day.last_img read more

Ronald Acuna Jr. homers from one knee, and the other coolest things that happened in MLB last night

first_imgMORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNThis is not your usual finish on a home run swing. But Ronald Acuña Jr. is not usual. pic.twitter.com/jiETwo63HG— Jason Foster (@ByJasonFoster) April 17, 2019Acuña’s blast was the third-coolest moment in MLB on Tuesday night. Here is the full list:5. Matt Chapman makes diving catch in foul territoryChapman won his first Gold Glove at third base last season, and he figures to claim many more before his career is done. At 25, he’s already widely considered to be the best defender at the hot corner in baseball, perhaps even better than Colorado’s Nolan Arenado.Playing in Oakland helps him stretch his wings and make plays others wouldn’t have the opportunity to pull off. As one of the few remaining ballparks with bullpens on the field, the Oakland Coliseum’s foul territory is expansive. It has become Chapman’s playground.In the first inning against the Astros on Tuesday, he made a ridiculous diving play to snag a Michael Brantley popup.Matt Chapman lives for plays like this.pic.twitter.com/YSKxwbhHbK— Sporting News MLB (@SN Studio_mlb) April 17, 20194. James Paxton shuts down Red Sox with 12 KsPaxton, acquired by the Yankees from the Mariners for a huge prospect haul last November, had struggled in his first three starts, posting a 6.00 ERA and failing to last beyond the sixth inning once.Against the Red Sox, though, he was brilliant, offering the kind of power-pitching arsenal New York craved when it traded for him. He went eight shutout innings, striking out 12 and allowing just three hitters to reach base. His fastball reached 99 mph.Paxton’s counterpart, Chis Sale, continued his slide. Sale gave up four earned runs in five innings, and his ERA is now 8.50. His velocity returned Tuesday, but his overall lack of effectiveness is a major concern given his team’s 6-12 record.3. Ronald Acuña Jr. does his best Adrian Beltre impressionEven though the Braves lost, Acuña continued to build on his impressive sophomore campaign. He has already hit six home runs, stolen a pair of bases and played above-average defense in the outfield.This might have been his coolest home run — by form, at least — to date. It came a couple of innings after a funny slide as he tried to avoid a throw from second base to first.This IS how you smoke a home run.pic.twitter.com/ioTPq3AMYB— Sporting News MLB (@SN Studio_mlb) April 17, 20192. Christian Yelich clubs eighth home run against St. LouisEight of Yelich’s nine home runs this season have come against the Cardinals. It has taken him just six games to reach that total. Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. can do almost everything on a baseball diamond at a high level, and his decision (along with teammate Ozzie Albies’) to sign a long-term contract this spring set Atlanta up for success for a long time.In a losing effort Tuesday against the Diamondbacks, Acuña homered from one knee to the opposite field, an unconventional approach that underlined his prodigious power. It was the kind of swing few can pull off, and one soon-to-be Hall of Fame third baseman Adrian Beltre made famous over his 21-year career. A day after hitting three long balls against them, he delivered this three-run shot Tuesday to put the Brewers up 8-0.CHRISTIAN YELICH AGAIN.:scream::scream::scream:pic.twitter.com/PFG04OshIM— Sporting News MLB (@SN Studio_mlb) April 17, 20191. Collin McHugh turns into noodle to avoid line driveWe’re still not sure how McHugh evaded this liner from Kendrys Morales. He actually bent toward the ball at first before arching his spine to narrowly avoid disaster.The end result was one of the coolest-looking double plays you’ll see.How did Collin McHugh avoid this?pic.twitter.com/oYEP1o6nCk— Sporting News MLB (@SN Studio_mlb) April 17, 2019″It would have tested how strong my jaw is, for sure,” McHugh said. “Thankfully, we’re able to get a double play out of it. Just as we draw it up. Routine.”— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) April 17, 2019My ring finger says, “Excuse me, that’s a 1-6-3 DP”My jaw says, “🤮” https://t.co/pssprcZPyz— Collin McHugh (@Collin_McHugh) April 17, 2019last_img read more

‘Golf’s reboot gives us all a chance to start afresh’ – Our CEO’s letter to golfers and clubs

first_img Is it really only four weeks since golf was given the government green light?We are just at the beginning of our journey back, yet there’s been so much activity crammed into this first, hectic month.I’m pleased to say that the positivity buzzing around our beloved game continues to keep us all going through extraordinary times.Adrenaline has helped conquer fatigue!For me, it’s been heartening to see a value once again being placed on membership and the visitor golfer experience since we all pulled together to re-open courses and facilities on 13 May.England Golf exists to promote the amateur and club game and I am proud to bang the drum on our game’s behalf.But we should not make the mistake of undervaluing our game. Too often our sport has sold itself short.It may have been largely accidental, but the spike in recruitment over last few weeks has proved two key things – golf club membership remains relevant and affordable.Golf has been forced to hit the reset button, but the reboot gives everyone a chance to start afresh and carry this momentum forward.Each time I’ve been to my home club at Marlborough, visited Bassett Down or spoken to my pals at Broome Manor, I’ve felt the energy for myself.And, of course, through the national golfing network, I know this story has been repeated up and down the country.But we must also take a breath as not everything in the garden is rosy. Clubhouses remain closed, cash is tight and I’m not naïve to the prospect that the toughest times might yet lie ahead for many of our clubs.Re-forecasting, re-evaluating, re-planning and, in some cases, re-inventing are all potentially the order of the day as we look to maximise opportunities and stabilise finances while coming out of this crisis.Since my last letter, there have been updates on practice facilities, driving ranges and group coaching.Within a week we can all look forward to visiting our pro shops, as non-essential retail re-opens from Monday…so, if there are a few pounds burning holes in pockets, we can once again chase the “Holy Grail” of a perfect game with the help of another new club or piece of equipment!There’s no doubt too that the return of fourball play from 1 June has also been a game-changer for golf clubs.I can’t stress to you how much hard work went on behind the scenes to allow golf to quickly reach a point where fourballs were considered safe to resume under government regulations on outdoor recreation.For clubs, fourball play has helped reduce the pressure on tee-times. Although, as with many things, I’m well aware of the healthy, ongoing debate on the merits of more players per tee-time.It felt harsh to turn away golfers or ration slots to golfers already deprived of their sporting fix after months of enforced closure.Fourballs have allowed clubs to get more members on the course, re-introduce guests and accept visitor bookings.Of course, there are golfers who enjoyed the freedom of two-ball golf again. I get that.Slow play is a curse in a fast-moving society and a sub three-hour round is a joy.For many of our older golfers, there are sound health reasons why two-ball play and limiting social contact remains a wise choice with coronavirus still a threat.I’ve been pleased to discover so many clubs listening to members and setting aside times for two-balls while also re-introducing the fourball format.A ‘best of both worlds’ policy seems to be sensible and right.Competitions are also an integral part of golf club life for many members.After advising clubs and golfers to find their ‘sea legs’ when it came to social distancing and sanitising guidance, I believe the 1 June date was a good time to re-introduce a competitive element to play for those who wanted it.Safety must always remain the priority, but there’s no reason why competitions cannot take place within the regulations.Here at England Golf, Championship director James Crampton and his team are working towards our own events starting back on 28 July.We wanted to offer light at the end of the tunnel by keeping a revised schedule in place and that shaft of sunshine is getting brighter by the day.Just as golf clubs eagerly anticipate the day when clubhouses can safely re-open, we too need a change in lockdown regulations to allow hotels to function and our events to tee off.If the government’s roadmap out of lockdown remains on track, we will hopefully receive good news on that front soon…In the spirit of golf’s return it was brilliant to see our friends at the European Tour promote a ‘UK Swing’ as the professional game gears up for a comeback.Likewise, our fantastic England Golf ambassador Justin Rose has proved his class once again by sponsoring seven events to allow many of the LET golfers to play competitively from 18 June.Slowly, safely and surely golf is beginning to find its feet.By continuing to work together, we will soon stand tall.Jeremy Tomlinson, CEO England Golf 10 Jun 2020 ‘Golf’s reboot gives us all a chance to start afresh’ – Our CEO’s letter to golfers and clubs Tags: Coronaviruslast_img read more

Rohit Sharma appointed as the brand ambassador of LaLiga

first_imgAdvertisement 49olNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs41jxWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Er9( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) uhd1Would you ever consider trying this?😱fCan your students do this? 🌚7gmkrRoller skating! Powered by Firework Explosive India opener and football aficionado, Rohit Sharma, has joined hands with LaLiga – Spain’s top division football league as its brand ambassador in India. He is the first non-footballer in the history of the league to have signed the dotted line with them. Rohit comes on-board following a series of major initiatives by LaLiga in India since 2017. #LaLiga #RohitSharma #EPLAdvertisement Advertisementlast_img

INDEFATIGABLE CRIMSON GIANT TO MAKE 67TH CAREER START IN SATURDAY’S GRADE I, $1 MILLION SANTA ANITA HANDICAP; 6-YEAR-OLD CALIFORNIA-BRED GELDING SEEKS SECOND CAREER WIN IN ‘GRANDDADDY OF THEM ALL’

first_imgARCADIA, Calif. (March 1, 2015)–Depending upon who you ask, Crimson Giant is: a.) A racing rarity. b.) A throwback to a bygone era. c.) A continuously overmatched iron horse. Or, d.) Just a healthy, happy horse that likes to play and play often.However he’s defined, he’s running–and he’s running for the 67th time in his career, in Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino–that’s right, the Santa Anita Handicap, America’s longest continually run “hundred grander!!”A 6-year-old California-bred gelding by Formal Gold, Crimson Giant comes off the best race of his life, a desperate nose defeat at 33-1 in a one mile third condition allowance race at Santa Anita on Feb. 20, a race in which he earned a career-high 88 Beyer Speed figure.A winner of just one career race, the Big ‘Cap will mark his sixth start of the year and his seventh of the Winter Meet, dating back to a fourth place starter allowance finish on opening day, Dec. 26.“He’s never been better,” said owner/breeder Bryan Carney. “He went eyeball to eyeball for about a quarter mile with a very good horse of Pete Miller’s (odds-on favorite Appealing Tale) that day (Feb. 20) and put him away. That’s a good sign to me that a horse is really doing well.”Okay, Crimson Giant, despite the fact he’s winless in his last 57 starts, dating back to Nov. 13, 2011, is doing well, but is he doing Big ‘Cap well?“This horse has been ready for the Big ‘Cap for three years now,” said trainer Charlie Stutts, 73, the son of a trainer who was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and has trained horses mostly in Florida, Chicago and California for 55 years. “He never has a bad day. He’s very professional, nothing bothers him.“The mile and a quarter is a question, but it’s a question with all horses. I thought he ran a great mile the other day, under pressure and his gallops coming out of that race have been solid. He gallops at a high clip every day. He picks it up the last three eighths or half mile and he’s plenty fit, believe me.”One thing’s for sure, Messrs. Stutts and Carney haven’t taken any public opinion polls prior to entering their “Big Horse” in his previous 66 races and it’s safe to assume they won’t be seeking any advice prior to Big ‘Cap entry time on Wednesday morning.“I would rather race my horses than work ’em in the mornings,” said Carney. “You’re much less likely to get hurt racing than training, because in the morning, you’re running over a track that’s uneven, because of all the horses that are out there. In the afternoon, the surface is harrowed and it’s level.”(For the record, Crimson Giant’s six Santa Anita Winter Meet starts were made on Dec. 26, fourth at 26-1, Jan. 9, seventh at 41-1, Jan. 19, ninth 39-1, Feb. 1, second at 70-1, Feb. 8, third at 6-1, and Feb. 20, second at 33-1).With a field of perhaps 10 or 11 horses expected for Saturday’s Big ‘Cap, America’s top rated older horse, the once-beaten Shared Belief, is expected to be a heavy odds-on favorite. As for Crimson Giant, with apprentice jockey Brandon Boulanger aloft, he could be 50-1 or higher, but Carney is undeterred.“The jump that he’s taking from a third condition allowance to the Big ‘Cap is easier than the one he took from a starter allowance (a third place run on Feb. 8) to his last race,” Carney said. “I should say, it’s easier except for one horse, Shared Belief, who in my opinion is the best horse in the country.”And, if Crimson Giant pulls off one of the biggest upsets since Upset himself beat Man ‘O War, would it change the way modern-day horsemen manage their racing schedules?“Hopefully, they’ll follow our lead,” said Stutts with a wry smile. –30–last_img read more