Monday, July 13, 2020

Environmental Groups News

Cenovus Energy Sets Out to Slash Emissions

(Photo: Cenovus Energy)

Canada's Cenovus Energy on Thursday unveiled plans to reduce per-barrel greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the end of 2030, as the country's oil industry faces growing pressure from environmental activists.The Alberta-based integrated oil and gas company said it will spend an additional C$1.5 billion on businesses run by the country's indigenous communities.Opposition from environmental and indigenous groups have stalled new pipeline projects in Canada and the United States that are needed to move Canadian crude to refineries. Investors in the region have also become more vocal about environmental…

Drilling Ban Proposals Divide Democrats

AdobeStock / © Shamtor

In the southeast corner of New Mexico, new houses, hotels and jobs are sprouting like flowers in the desert. Trucks hauling equipment and laborers jam once-barren highways on the way to thousands of oil rigs.The Democrats who control the state's government have lofty plans for the billions of dollars in projected tax revenues from the drilling industry in the Permian Basin, the world’s biggest oil field, starting with an overhaul of New Mexico's ailing public education system. The biggest threat to those plans, however, may be the presidential candidates from their own party.The top 10 Democratic contenders have called for ending new drilling leases on federal lands.

Offshore Wind: Regulatory “Takes” – Take a Close Look

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On April 30 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published a notice, requesting public comments, on a proposed “incidental harassment authorization” (IHA). An IHA is a legal and enforceable document presenting the terms and conditions with which a company must adhere in order to protect wildlife. In this case, the draft IHA was for Vineyard Wind, the wind energy company ready to start construction on an 800 MW offshore wind farm in the Atlantic, covering about 675 square kilometers, starting 14 miles from the coastline of Martha’s Vineyard.

Trump Administration to Revise Offshore Safety Rules

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The Trump administration will unveil on Thursday its final plan to roll back offshore drilling safety measures put in place by the Obama administration after the fatal 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the worst in U.S. history, raising concerns by some groups over potential risks to workers and the environment.The Interior Department will announce the final revised rule at an afternoon event in Port Fourchon, a Louisiana seaport that services over 90% of the Gulf of Mexico’s deepwater oil production.Last year, the agency's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement proposed revisions to the 2016 offshore well control rule…

Norway to Offer More Arctic Exploration Blocks

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Norway plans to expand the offshore oil and gas acreage offered to companies under its annual licensing round in so-called predefined areas (APA), oil minister Kjell-Boerge Freiberg said on Thursday.The 2019 APA round will offer 90 new blocks, of which 48 are in the Arctic Barents Sea, 37 are in the Norwegian Sea and 5 in the North Sea, he said."It's important to maintain the positive development in exploration activity in the Barents Sea. I hope this will lead to robust field development solutions and increased value creation in the north…

Seismic Surveys Delayed in US Arctic

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There will be no seismic exploration this winter on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Interior Department said on Friday, after the company seeking permission to conduct the tests ran out of time to get the required permit."We can confirm that seismic surveys will not take place until December 2019," said Alex Hinson, U.S. Department of the Interior spokesman, in an email.The company applying for the permits, SAExploration, had applied for a start date as early as December 2018 for seismic testing as a precursor to drill in the ANWR, which has been off-limits to drillers for decades.The application remains active, but will be altered.

Bid to Suspend Total's Guyana Drilling Rejected

A French court has rejected an urgent request by environmental groups including Greenpeace and Surfrider Foundation Europe to deny oil and gas major Total permission to proceed with plans to drill off the coast of French Guyana.The environmental groups asked the court in December to suspend Total's permit to drill five wells in the block over environmental concerns.The court said there was no need for an urgent ruling, which would have come in time to halt the drilling operations.Total said in December that a drilling vessel was on the site to start drilling, and it invited activists to visit the site saying it was taking measures to protect the environment and would

ExxonMobil Shelves Canada LNG Export Project

U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil Corp has withdrawn its WCC liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in Canada from an environmental assessment, it said on Thursday, signalling that the project has been shelved.The decision to pare its LNG project portfolio follows the decision by a Royal Dutch Shell-led group to build a giant LNG project in British Columbia to supply Asian customers, and Exxon's focus on LNG projects in Asia, the Middle East and the United States.Exxon's West Coast Canada (WCC) LNG export project in British Columbia was expected to produce around 15 million tonnes per year of LNG…

ExxonMobil Shelves Canada LNG Export Project

Photo: ExxonMobil

U.S. oil major ExxonMobil has withdrawn its WCC liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in Canada from an environmental assessment, it said on Thursday, effectively signalling that the project has been shelved.The so-called WCC LNG export project in Canada's British Columbia was expected to produce around 15 million tonnes per year of LNG, with plans for further expansion up to 30 million tonnes per year.Legislation in British Columbia requires large projects to obtain an Environmental Assessment Certificate before they can be developed.An examination of this project by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has been going on since Feb.

US Judge Halts Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

Photo: TransCanada Corp

A U.S. judge in Montana has halted construction of the Keystone XL pipeline designed to carry heavy crude oil from Canada to the United States, drawing a sharp rebuke on Friday from President Donald Trump.The ruling of a U.S. Court in Montana late on Thursday dealt a major setback to TransCanada Corp, whose stock dropped 2 percent in Toronto. Shares of companies that would ship oil on the pipeline also fell.TransCanada said in a statement it remains committed to building the $8 billion, 1,180 mile (1,900 km) pipeline, but it has also said it is seeking other investors and has not taken a final investment decision.The ruling drew an angry response from Trump…

US Allows Williams More Time for NY-Penn. Natgas Pipeline

U.S. energy regulators gave Williams Cos Inc two more years until December 2020 to get the approvals needed to build its long-delayed Constitution natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York, according to a federal filing made available on Tuesday.Before it can start building the project, Williams still needs water quality certification. New York state denied the permit in 2016, saying the company failed to provide sufficient information to determine whether the project would comply with state water standards.Williams sued in federal court…

Settlement Reached in Petrobras' Texas Refinery Emissions Case

(Photo: Petrobras)

A U.S. unit of Brazilian state-run company Petrobras agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a lawsuit over alleged toxic emissions from its Pasadena, Texas, oil refinery, two environmental groups said.The settlement comes in the midst of the company's efforts to sell the refinery. The deal is subject to approval by a federal judge.Petrobras did not respond to a request for comment.Under the terms of the agreement, Petrobras subsidiary Pasadena Refining System Inc (PRSI) will pay $3.175 million to Houston-area municipal governments and school districts to convert fossil-fuel-burning vehicles to electric or hybrid models…

TransCanada Urges U.S. to Help Gas Pipeline Approvals

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Maksym Yemelyanov )

The United States should help the natural gas industry overcome environmental challenges to new pipeline projects by adjusting regulations or adopting new laws favoring infrastructure, an executive at TransCanada Corp said at a conference this week. Suppliers in the United States, the world's biggest natural gas producer, have had a harder time getting shipments to market as more environmental lawsuits by U.S. states, green groups and property owners have tied up pipeline construction. "It's definitely not getting easier to build a new pipeline," Stanley Chapman, executive vice president and president of U.S.

Minnesota Regulators Question Enbridge Pipeline Expansion

Line 3 Replacement Project (Photo: Enbridge, Inc.)

Commissioners on a Minnesota regulatory board questioned crude oil demand for Enbridge Inc's Line 3 pipeline on whether work can proceed on a proposed expansion of the line. Enbridge wants to replace the aging 1,031 mile  pipeline that runs from Alberta to Wisconsin, but approval is needed from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Bottlenecks in Alberta have steepened a price discount for its heavy crude this year. Line 3, placed into service in 1968, operates at half its capacity due to integrity concerns. Its replacement would allow it to return to approved capacity of 760,000 barrels per day.

U.S. Court Stops Work on Natgas Pipeline

Photo: EQT Midstream Partners

EQT Midstream Partners will stop construction in West Virginia of parts of its $3.5 billion Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline, after a U.S. federal appeals court issued a stay order last week against a permit, a U.S. regulator and the company said. The pipeline company will not proceed with construction in waters affected by the stay order in West Virginia, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in a document issued on Monday. Mountain Valley Pipeline told FERC it was consulting on the implications of the stay issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit with the U.S.

Croatia Reopens Bidding for LNG Terminal Capacity

LNG Hrvatska launched a second round of bidding for potential operators of an offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Croatia's northern Adriatic on Friday, after the previous round drew little interest.Last week, Croatia's parliament passed a law to enable the construction of the terminal, part of a European Union drive to diversify away from Russian gas imports.The project, which will be built on the island of Krk will be partly funded by the EU but has been criticised by environmental groups and local councils.LNG Hrvatska…

EU Agrees Final Energy Saving, Renewables Targets

(Photo: Eric Haun)

The European Union on Wednesday finalized new climate rules after months of talks, targeting a total energy saving of 32.5 percent and an uplift in the share of renewable energy to 32 percent by 2030.National governments must now draft their own plans for implementing the bloc's overall climate goal of lowering greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement.Talks have dragged on for months to reach a compromise between the European Parliament and EU member states on the new energy…

Norway Awards Oil Permits to 11 Firms in Arctic Licensing Round

The West Hercules drilling rig in the Barents Sea. (Photo: Ole Jørgen Bratland / Equinor)

Norway has awarded 12 oil and gas exploration licences to Equinor and 10 other companies focused mostly on the Arctic, where Oslo believes it has the greatest potential for significant new discoveries.Nine of the licences are located in the Barents Sea and three in the Norwegian Sea off central Norway, the Ministry of Oil and Energy said on Monday."This licensing round confirms that the oil companies see opportunities for further profitable petroleum activity in the north," Oil and Energy Minister Terje Soeviknes said in a statement.Equinor…

UK Takes Extra Measures to Support Shale Gas Development

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The British government announced measures on Thursday to speed up planning applications to support development of the country's shale gas industry.Increasing reliance on imported gas as Britain's domestic North Sea output declines is one of the driving forces behind government support for hydraulic fracturing, which involves extracting gas obtained from rocks broken up or fractured with water and chemicals at high pressure.However, it is impossible to know exactly how much shale gas might be underground - and, more importantly, how much…

Allianz Limits Coal Insurance Policies

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Snap Happy )

Germany's Allianz will immediately stop insuring single coal-fired power plants and coal mines, the company said on Friday, following criticism from environmental groups. But Allianz said it would continue to insure companies generating power through multiple sources, including coal and other fossil fuels. It wants to phase out any coal insurance by 2040, it said. Environmentalists said the measures were a step in the right direction but one group, Unfriend Coal, said the deadline of 2040 was too distant. European insurance companies have been under pressure from climate campaigners to phase out investments in and the insuring of the coal industry.