The California Division of Occupational Safety & Health just slammed Chevron with massive, record-breaking penalties related to the refinery in Richmond—the one that ended up in a fireball last August and caused 15,000 people to seek medical treatment. Purpose: to teach the mega-company an excruciatingly painful lesson. Alas….
Contributed by Jen Alic of Oilprice.com. Libya—awash with roving militias and undergoing a near-total evacuation of Westerners from oil-producing Benghazi—is doing its best to make cosmetic security changes in an atmosphere of growing uncertainty. But much of the country’s south and half of its border regions are not even under government control.
China has tried over the years to come to grips with its pandemic pollution, yet in Beijing, through a combination of factors, it reached catastrophic levels in mid-January and set another record. Result of the white-hot pace of economic growth. And of coal consumption: this year, China is set to burn more coal than the rest of the world combined!
Much digital ink has been spilled about the US oil & gas boom, and whether or not it will lead to energy independence, or even turn the US into an oil exporter. Now a “confidential” report by the German version of the CIA, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, seeped to the surface. It sketched out the boom’s geopolitical consequences. Biggest loser? China.
On Friday, the mayor of Futaba, a ghost town of once upon a time 7,000 souls near Fukushima No. 1, told his staff that evacuees might not be able to return for 30 years. Or never, for the older generation. He spoke in Kazo, Saitama Prefecture, where the town’s government has settled. It was the first estimate of a timeframe. But it all depends on successful decontamination. And that has turned into a vicious corruption scandal.
Corporate subsidies, in an era of fiscal-cliff attacks on Social Security and Medicare, have dodged attention despite their magnitude and absurdity. Take the renewable-fuels subsidy ecosystem—and a train of tankers filled with biodiesel that shuttled back and forth across the US-Canadian border, twelve times, without unloading its cargo. It generated millions of dollars in profits.
Contributed by Jen Alic, OilPrice.com. The folks at Gazprom are having a good snicker, reveling in the mockery that has been made of a Ukraine-Spain gas deal that would have loosened Russia’s gas grip on Kiev. Everyone wondered how Russia would respond to Ukraine’s attempt at gas independence. This is what happens when you mess with Gazprom.
As Washington hunts ill-defined al-Qaeda groups in the Middle East and Africa, and concerns itself with Iran’s eventual nuclear potential, it has a much more pressing problem at home: Its energy grid is vulnerable to anyone with basic weapons and know-how.
Last week, the German Parliament passed a resolution that asked Chancellor Merkel to needle Russian President Putin about the resurgence of repressive, antidemocratic tendencies in Russia. It did not go unnoticed at the Kremlin. And it paved the way, so to speak, for her trip to Moscow on Friday—to re-cement their “strategic partnership.”
The “shale gas revolution” opened up huge resources in the US, and natural gas production jumped as a consequence, but it pushed prices far below the cost of production, for far too long. A disaster for an entire industry. An amazing opportunity for its customers. Since April, the price has jumped 80%, and it’s still far below the cost of production.