#AceNewsReport – Jan.14: As China scrambles to ensure a stable supply of energy, Beijing is looking to boost bilateral relations with oil-abundant Gulf countries by entering into a strategic partnership and expediting the implementation of a free-trade agreement.
In a rare move, Beijing invited a high-level delegation of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, including its secretary general and the foreign ministers of four member countries – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain – for a China visit this week.“
#AceNewsReport – Dec.07: Summit Midstream Partners LLC pleaded guilty to criminal charges that it violated the Clean Water Act, as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, by negligently causing the discharge into U.S. waters in 2014, and deliberately failing to immediately report the spill to federal authorities as required. More than 700,000 barrels were discharged thereby contaminating Blacktail Creek and nearby land and groundwater. By law, the federal fines in this case will go to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund used to respond and clean up future oil spills.
#AceDailyNews DOJ Court Report: Pipeline Rupture Discovered After 143 Days and Discharge of 29 Million Gallons: The pipeline company responsible for the discharge of 29 million gallons of oil-contaminated “produced water” – a waste product of hydraulic fracturing – was sentenced to pay a $15 million criminal fine and serve a three year period of probation today by U.S. District Court Judge Daniel M. Traynor in Williston, North Dakota.
A detailed statement of facts has been filed in court and is publicly available here.
“Summit is being held criminally accountable for its crimes of negligently discharging more than 29 million gallons over more than 4 months and then knowingly failing to report the discharge,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Summit gave misleading and incomplete statements to the government about the duration and size of the spill. Through the civil and criminal cases, Summit is being held responsible for its misconduct and must implement more rigorous environmental management to prevent and detect future spills as a condition of probation.”
“The defendant in this case failed to take adequate measures to detect a spill of oil-contaminated water from their pipeline and provided incomplete and misleading information to government officials on the duration and volume of the spill,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield of the EPA’s Office of the Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Investigations revealed that the spill occurred over 143 days and released more than 29 million gallons of contaminated waters into the environment, including tributaries of the Missouri River. This case sends a clear message that EPA and our law enforcement partners will hold responsible companies that fail to take appropriate steps to detect and prevent spills.”
According to the factual admission agreed to by the company, “Summit’s negligence included the design, construction and operation of the Marmon Water Gathering System pipeline, as well as the negligent failure to find and stop the spill after learning of objective signs of a leak.” Summit started pipeline operations without meters at both ends of the pipeline to conduct “line balancing” or otherwise having a reliable leak detection system in place. “Even after the company learned of major drops in pressure and volume – objective signs of a leak – the company negligently continued operations and thus caused millions of additional gallons to be discharged into U.S. waters without learning the cause or pausing operations,” according to the joint factual statement.
The criminal fine is in addition to a $20 million civil penalty imposed on Summit Midstream Partners LLC and a related company, Meadowlark Midstream Company LLC, to resolve civil violations of the Clean Water Act and North Dakota water pollution control laws. On Sept. 28, the civil consent decree was approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota.
The criminal investigation was conducted by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, EPA Region 8, the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality, the North Dakota Industrial Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Interior and the North Dakota Department of Game and Fish provided assistance to the criminal investigation.
The criminal case was prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Richard A. Udell, Senior Trial Attorney Christopher J. Costantini, Trial Attorneys Stephen J. Foster and Erica H. Pencak of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resource Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Delorme.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.05: This was after Bulb, a power and gas supplier serving 1.7 million customers, said at the end of November that it would enter into special administration.
#AceDailyNews Energy Latest Report: UK Grim Prospects Over Surging Energy Bills Just Got Worse according to the UK’s energy regulator Ofgem, cited by Bloomberg the energy crisis and soaring wholesale power and natural gas prices claimed its biggest victim …..
The collapse of Bulb, and more than 20 other energy providers in the UK since the summer, will cost a UK household between $106 (80 pounds) and $113 (85 pounds) on top of their energy bills next year and in 2023, according to the regulator’s initial assessment of the cost of the crisis.
This crisis is not over yet, with winter coming and threatening to put more suppliers out of business.
Two dozen power and gas suppliers in the UK have already exited the retail energy market, and more are likely to do so. Another 20 energy providers in the UK could go bust in what looks like a “massacre” in the coming months unless the government reviews the energy price cap, Keith Anderson, chief executive at one of the largest providers, ScottishPower, said last month.
High energy prices drove inflation in the UK to a 10-year high in October. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 4.2 percent in the 12 months to October 2021, up from 3.1 percent in September, the Office for National Statistics said. Energy is expected to fuel additional price hikes next year when the energy regulator is set to raise the so-called price cap on energy bills.
Nearly half of Britons worry more about their soaring energy bills than the COVID pandemic and a potential new wave in the UK, a poll for MailOnline showed last month. As colder temperatures in the winter approach, a total of 49 percent of Brits polled said they were more concerned about high gas and electricity bills than COVID, according to the survey by Redfield and Wilton Strategies for MailOnline.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.04: Aberdeen’s Chamber of Commerce said a “premature” end to domestic production could see some areas suffer the fate of mining communities in the 1980s.
#AceDailyNews Cambo Oilfield Report: Jobs warning as Shell pulls out of oil field development Environmentalists say new fossil fuel projects like Cambo are incompatible with action on climate change according to BBC Business says Cambo’s majority stakeholder said it was “disappointed” by Shell’s decision.
Siccar Point Energy said it would continue talks with the UK government about developing the oil field, located west of Shetland.
Shell, which has faced widespread criticism over its 30% stake in Cambo, said it now believed the economic case for investment was “not strong enough”.
Greenpeace welcomed the announcement, describing it as the “death blow” for the plans.
But industry body Oil and Gas UK insisted developments such as Cambo were needed during the transition to sustainable energy.
External relations director Jenny Stanning said: “This is a commercial decision between partners but doesn’t change the facts that the UK will continue to need new oil and gas projects if we are to protect security of supply, avoid increasing reliance on imports and support jobs.”
It is too early to write the obituary of the North Sea oil and gas industry, despite claims by some environmental campaigners that Shell’s decision marks the beginning of the end.
That’s because, whatever Shell says in public, this is about reputational cost not conventional economics.
Battling environmentalists and the Scottish government for the right to drill for oil is not a good look for a company that claims to be transitioning away from fossil fuels.
But the Cambo oilfield is reckoned to hold hundreds of millions of barrels of oil, each worth some $70 at current prices, and there are lots of less high-profile companies who would be willing to suffer some bad publicity for a cut of that prize.
So, the real question Shell’s decision raises is whether the UK government is willing to put its net-zero ambitions ahead of the huge tax revenues the project could deliver and deny a licence to develop the oilfield.
The chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce called for a “reasoned debate” about oil and gas extraction, which he said directly supported more than 120,000 UK jobs.
Russell Borthwick said there was enormous potential for the renewable energy sector in the region but he warned against a “knee jerk” reaction to climate change.
He told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “If we get this wrong, all of those people and organisations demanding a premature end to domestic oil and gas production might want to be able to reflect back to their role in scripting a repeat of what happened to our mining communities in the 1980s.”
The fallout from the 1984/85 miners strike and the long term decline of UK coal mining left many communities facing high unemployment and other problems that were still being felt decades later.
Businessman Sir Ian Wood chairs Aberdeen’s Energy Transition Zone, a not-for-profit company set up to support the shift to renewable energy. He said: “We must not create an adverse investment environment at this crucial moment in our energy transition journey.
“The future prosperity of our region and the country’s ability to meet net zero, depends on it.”
The Cambo oil field
Located in the North Atlantic, about 125km (75 miles) west of the Shetland islands.
Contains an estimated 800 million barrels of oil.
The exploration licence dates back to 2001, but UK government must approve drilling – which could start as early as 2022.
Major stakeholder is Siccar Point Energy, with a 70% stake, backed by private equity firm investors.
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie welcomed Shell’s announcement and said it made it less likely Cambo would go ahead in the “near term”.
“It’s absurd to suggest that our transition to a zero carbon economy depends on drilling for ever more oil and gas,” he said.
He said Scotland had a quarter of Europe’s wind energy potential, and that investment should be focused on renewables instead.
“We could be exporting renewable resources and make that the backbone of Scotland’s economy,” he told the BBC.
He continued: “The idea of keeping global warming below 2 degrees and 1.5 degrees if we possibly can – this is not optional.
“This is not a normal political choice. This is mission critical for our survival.
“It is humanity’s only survival strategy and we need to invest now in the transition that has to be fair, but it has to be fast.”
Activists at the COP26 summit called for the Cambo development to be blocked
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, now in a power-sharing deal with the Scottish Greens, has recently signalled her opposition to Cambo.
“The presumption would be that Cambo could not and should not pass any rigorous climate assessment,” she told MSPs.
The UK government, which makes the final decision on whether to allow drilling, insists an environmental impact assessment will be carried out but appears far more supportive: Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has said the new field should “100%” get the go-ahead.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.03: In a statement issued on Wednesday, Russian energy export giant Transneft said supplies could face short-term disruption: Spokesman Igor Demin told journalists he had been informed the impromptu repair work should be finished by the weekend. The pipeline connects oil fields in Central Russia to consumers in Poland, Hungary, Czechia and Germany.
#AceDailyNews says Belarus announces ‘temporary’ closure of oil pipeline to EU according to RT News Report:
17 Nov, 2021 10:42 / Updated 15 days ago
The Belarusian operator, Gomeltransneft Druzhba, reportedly began work on Tuesday evening, with supplies set to decrease. However, officials say, monthly export volumes shouldn’t be affected, and Demin insisted Transneft hopes to ensure its delivery quotas are met.
The news comes just days after Belarus’ embattled leader, Alexander Lukashenko, warned that his country could cut off gas flowing to Central and Western Europe in response to a worsening row over illegal migration on the border with Poland.
Thousands of refugees have set up camps along the frontier, with the EU accusing Minsk of putting on flights from troubled nations like Syria and Iraq, and encouraging desperate people to try to cross over in retribution for sanctions levied against its government. Belarus denies the claims, insisting that it is simply no longer able to prevent migrants reaching the border.
Lukashenko said last week that, when considering potential future sanctions, European leaders should remember that he could “cut off”energy supplies through the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which delivers gas from Siberia to Germany and other EU states.
The suggestion that the country could begin restricting Russian gas exports prompted criticism on Saturday from President Vladimir Putin, who said that “nothing good will come” from the suggestions. “It will be a violation of our transit agreement, and I hope it will not come to that,”the Russian leader added.
On Monday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen asked EU member states to approve additional sanctions against Belarus over what she said was a “hybrid attack” on the bloc. Meanwhile, Lukashenko has accused Brussels of engaging in a hybrid war of its own against his country by supporting Belarusian opposition figures and media outlets based abroad.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.02: More than half of workers in oil and gas, 56%, said they would look for employment opportunities in the renewables energy sector, according to the survey. Last year, that percentage was 38.8%, highlighting the shortages the oil industry is facing as it looks to hire again, after letting go in 2020 thousands of workers in oil and gas and related services in the supply chain.
The survey also showed that 43% of workers want out of the energy sector within the next five years.
As more workers look to move to renewables or to ditch the energy sector altogether, recruiters in the oil and gas business find attracting talent with the right skills increasingly difficult.
Labor shortages have already become evident this year in the US shale patch and in the Canadian oil sands as demand recovers and companies put rigs back into operation.
Despite the recent uptick in oil industry employment in the United States, short-term and permanent shifts in workers’ negative perceptions of the sector have already started to create labor shortages. These shortages threaten to delay and even hinder the recovery of US oil production, analysts say. More and more workers are fed up with the boom-and-bust nature of the oil industry after two major oil price and drilling activity collapses in just five years. They vow they will never again be beholden to the volatile oil markets, and have quit the sector entirely after being let go in 2020.
In Canada, the number of total jobs expected is set to rise next year, but labor constraints have already started to impact the members of the Canadian Association of Energy Contractors (CAOEC), the association said last week in an otherwise positive outlook on Canada’s drilling activity for 2022.
#AceNewsReport – Nov.06: The explosion took place late on Friday after a bus struck the tanker in Wellington, a suburb just to the east of Freetown: The mortuary at Connaught Hospital reported 92 bodies had been brought in by Saturday morning.
#AceDailyNews says according to a Carl Bennett SENIOR DIGITAL PRODUCER of GB News: The explosion took place late on Friday after a bus struck the tanker in Wellington
Published: Saturday 06 November 2021 – 11:55
Video obtained by The Associated Press showed a giant fireball burning in the night sky following the explosion.
President Julius Maada Bio, who was in Scotland attending the United Nations climate talks on Saturday, deplored the “horrendous loss of life”.
“My profound sympathies with families who have lost loved ones and those who have been maimed as a result,” he tweeted.
Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh visited two hospitals overnight and said Sierra Leone’s National Disaster Management Agency and others would “work tirelessly” in the wake of the emergency.
“We are all deeply saddened by this national tragedy, and it is indeed a difficult time for our country,” he said on his Facebook page
#AceNewsReport – Oct.31: Four of the fossil fuel industry’s head honchos appeared before the House Oversight Committee on Thursday to testify about their companies’ history of climate denial:
#AceDailyNews Climate Change Day Monday as a report by Grist last Thursday has highlighted that the CEOs of Exxon, BP America, and Chevron and the president of Shell’s U.S. subsidiary were present, along with the presidents of two top lobbying groups: the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It was a landmark moment — the first time that the executives addressed Congress about their “long-running, industry-wide campaign to spread disinformation about the role of fossil fuels in causing global warming,” as an announcement from Democratic Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Ro Khanna put it What climate denial? Oil executives play dumb at major congressional hearing. on Oct 28, 2021.
The executives’ testimony was predictably opaque. By the end of the hearing, they had not, as many activists had hoped, admitted culpability for deceiving the public about the risks of climate change, or for obstructing climate action through third-party lobbying groups.
“As science has evolved and developed, our understanding of the science has evolved and developed,” said Darren Woods, ExxonMobil’s CEO. It was a similar story throughout the day, as pointed question after pointed question from Democrats received cryptic non-answers. Climate change “is one of the biggest challenges of our time,” Chevron’s Mike Wirth said. “We believe the future of energy is lower-carbon.”
Geoffrey Supran, a research associate in the history of science at Harvard University who has studied the industry’s disinformation campaigns, said the executives’ behavior was predictable. “It wasn’t a surprise that they dug in their heels and didn’t break down with a mea culpa,” he told Grist. “They were well-trained and well-rehearsed in these questions.”
Meanwhile, Republicans on the committee acted as a cheering section for the executives. “I think it’s shameful how the other side wants to demonize our oil and gas industry,” Representative Bob Gibbs of Ohio, a Republican, said. Byron Donalds, a Republican representative from Florida, addressed the fossil fuel executives directly. “I’m sorry for you, and I’m sorry for the people in our country who have to witness shenanigans like this,” he said.
Indeed, much of the hearing saw the four company heads stuck in a push and pull between Republicans and Democrats on the committee, with Democrats trying to eke new climate-related pledges out of the witnesses and Republicans trying to shield said witnesses from Democrats.
“Some of us have to actually live the future that you are setting on fire for us,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, reminded the witnesses toward the end of the hearing, after her colleagues had tried and failed to get the executives to support a pause on oil and gas leasing on federal lands, reveal their anti-climate lobbying activity, and admit to using third-party groups to lobby against climate change initiatives in multiple states.
The hearing had been widely anticipated by environmental advocates, who have spent years calling for a federal investigation into the oil and gas industry — first and foremost for having deceived the public about the reality of climate change. Documents uncovered in 2015 by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times revealed that ExxonMobil knew as early as 1977 that fossil fuels would have dangerous consequences for the planet’s climate. In fact, the documents showed, Exxon’s in-house climate scientists were so good that in 1982, they correctly predicted that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere would rise to roughly 415 parts per million by the year 2019. They warned that the impacts could be “catastrophic.”
“Their argument that their positions have always been in line with science is demonstrably false,” Supran said. But rather than confirm what is evident in publicly available documents, the executives “punted.”
None of the fossil fuel company executives present on Thursday denied the science of climate change; their companies dropped outright climate denial years ago. In fact, all of them said that they support some sort of climate policy, and the two firms headquartered in Europe — Shell and BP — have announced plans to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. (Chevron said this month that it has an “aspiration” of hitting net-zero by 2050, but only for its operational emissions, not the emissions from the oil it sells.)
But the Oversight Committee’s Democratic members were skeptical of their about-face on climate action. “They are obviously lying,” Maloney said at one point. “Our witnesses today would like you to think that their actions” to obstruct climate action “are ancient history, but they are not.” She cited a Greenpeace U.K. sting operation conducted earlier this year, in which an undercover reporter recorded a top ExxonMobil lobbyist saying that the company’s support for a carbon tax was largely performative. Exxon backed it as a “talking point,” the lobbyist said, but didn’t believe it would ever be enacted.
The lobbyist also spoke candidly about the company’s influence strategy, saying that ExxonMobil funded “shadow groups” to spread doubt about climate science.
Maloney played the clip during the hearing and turned to the oil executives. “I want each of you to affirm that your organization will not spend any money, either directly or indirectly, to oppose efforts to reduce emissions and address climate change,” she told them. No one took the pledge, either staying silent or listing off their companies’ talking points. BP’s executive hedged by inventing a different, unrelated pledge to “advocate for low-carbon policies.”
ExxonMobil and other oil and gas majors have recently come under fire for funding lobbying groups — including the Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute — that oppose the Democrats’ multitrillion-dollar reconciliation package. Even though it’s been watered down from its original proposal, the $1.85 trillion framework as it currently stands would still funnel $555 billion toward fighting the climate crisis and would represent the most significant piece of climate legislation ever passed in the U.S.
By the time the hearing wrapped up, it was obvious that the historic day had not yielded any groundbreaking revelations. Democrats on the committee hit the witnesses with every tool in their arsenal — visual aids in the form of bags of rice and M&Ms, sheafs of evidence that oil companies used front groups to kill climate action up and down ballots across the country, even some vaguely therapeutic and possibly counterproductive yelling.
But House Democrats have stressed that the hearing was only the beginning of a longer-term strategy to hold the fossil fuel executives accountable for past and present climate obstruction. An obvious next step is to force the companies to comply with document requests that were made weeks ago by Maloney and Khanna. Internal documents could help shed new light on the companies’ awareness of climate science and bolster ongoing litigation against them.
In concluding the meeting, Maloney said she intended to subpoena the fossil fuel companies. “We are at ‘code red’ for climate, and I am committed to doing everything I can to help rescue this planet and save it for our children,” she said. “We need to get to the bottom of the oil industry’s disinformation campaign, and with these subpoenas, we will.”
#AceNewsReport – Oct.26: The RAC said the increase was partly due to a doubling of the oil price since last year. Some analysts believe the oil price could rise further: The price of unleaded petrol has jumped by 28p a litre since last October, the RAC said, meaning it now costs £78.61 to fill a family car…..
#AceDailyNews says according to a BBC Business Report: Fuel prices were last around this level in April 2012: It is now £15 more expensive to fill up an average family car than a year earlier, said the RAC, which called the new high a “dark day for drivers”.
“This will hurt many household budgets and no doubt have knock-on implications for the wider economy,” a spokesman for the RAC said.
The organisation said that other costs, aside from oil, had also pushed up fuel prices.
Retailers had increased their profit margins by 2p a litre from around 5.5p in April last year to 7.5p a litre.
The RAC said retailers, particularly the smaller, independent ones, were trying to rebuild their profits after the steep fall in sales prompted by the first UK lockdown in spring last year.
In addition to this, the ethanol component of unleaded petrol was doubled to 10% last month in the more eco-friendly E10 fuel, but as ethanol is more expensive than petrol, that added about 1p a litre.
Duty paid on fuel is currently 57.95p a litre, more than the cost of the combined bio and petrol components, which amount to around 50p.
VAT, currently around 24p a litre, is applied on top of all other elements of the petrol price, including duty and the retailer’s profit margin.
Petrol and diesel cars are slowly being phased out as part of pledges to tackle climate change.
The government says it will ban the sale of these from 2030.
The introduction of the E10 fuel as standard this summer is also part of that drive.
The Department for Transport says bringing in this new fuel could cut carbon emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year, the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.29: The imports of Iranian superlight crude will help Venezuela revive its falling oil exports amid U.S. sanctions that, among other problems, have cut off the country’s access to the light oil that is used to blend with its superheavy to make it exportable…….
#AceDailyNews says according to a report that Iran and Venezuela have struck a deal to swap heavy Venezuelan crude for Iranian condensate, Reuters has reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the deal……
For Iran, the deal will bring in heavy crude it could sell in Asia, the Reuters sources also said. The diluted Venezuela crude will also likely go to Asian buyers.
Reuters also reported that, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, the deal could constitute a breach of sanctions, to which both Venezuela and Iran are subjects.
“Transactions with NIOC by non-U.S. persons are generally subject to secondary sanctions,” the Treasury Department said in response to a Reuters request for comments on the deal. It added that it “retains authority to impose sanctions on any person that is determined to operate in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy.”
Despite the sanction noose, Venezuela has been ramping up its oil exports, generating vital revenue. According to a recent Reuters report, the country, which is home to the world’s largest oil reserves, exported more than 700,000 bpd of crude in July—the highest daily export rate since February.
Most of the oil went to China and Malaysia, although the latter is usually only a stop along Venezuelan oil’s trip to China. The same report noted that three of the five crude oil blending facilities in the Orinoco Belt were operational, and another crude upgrader was preparing to restart operations after a year’s pause.
Iran, meanwhile, recently revealed plans to attract some $145 billion in oil and gas investments from both local and foreign sources.
“We plan to invest $145 billion in the development of the upstream and downstream oil industry over the next four to eight years, hence I welcome the presence of domestic and foreign investors in the industry,” Javad Owji, Iran’s new oil minister, said during a meeting with executives from China’s oil giant Sinopec.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.24: The incident comes six weeks after a gas leak in an underwater Pemex pipeline triggered a fire on the ocean’s surface in the Gulf of Mexico.
#AceDailyNews says that a fire at Mexican offshore oil platform has killed at least five kills as rescue workers are still searching for two people who are missing: The fire also caused work to be halted at 125 oil wells for which the platform provides gas and electricity.
The July blaze was dubbed “eye of fire” with footage widely shared on social media.
Both that blaze and the one which broke out on Sunday were linked to Pemex’s most important oil development, Ku-Maloob-Zaap located in the Gulf of Mexico. The company’s chief executive, Octavio Romero, denied that a lack of investment was to blame for the incidents.”There is not a problem of lack of resources. The oil industry is a risky industry. We have had accidents, which in numbers are less than in previous years,” he said at a news conference on Monday. He added that this most recent fire had broken out as crews were performing maintenance work on the oil platform.Pemex said production at Ku-Maloob-Zaap would resume by Wednesday.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.17: We call for an end to the piracy and the arbitrary conduct of the US-led war coalition countries in their continuous seizure of ships carrying petroleum products and preventing them from entering the port of Hydaydah,” it added…..
#AceDailyNews says that US, Saudi Arabia cause more killings in Yemen by seizing oil tankers: Petroleum Company: In a statement on Monday, the company said the Saudi-US coalition is still holding four oil vessels, including two gas tankers containing 60,000 liters of gasoline and diesel for a period of more than eight months, the company said, according to Yemen’s al-Masirah television network.
Monday, 16 August 2021 6:04 AM [ Last Update: Monday, 16 August 2021 6:22 AM ]
Yemen Petroleum Company also blamed the coalition countries and the United Nations for the catastrophic consequences of the coalition’s continued piracy.
“The continuation of seizing ships carrying oil derivatives by the war coalition is a blatant violation of international norms and treaties that criminalize damage to the needs of civilians, and we condemn the dubious international silence on the continuation of this crime,” it said.
Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2015, when Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a devastating military campaign to reinstall the overthrown government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in Sana’a and crush the Ansarullah movement.
The war, however, has failed to reach its goals, and instead, killed hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people and put millions more at risk of starvation.
The Saudi-led war on Yemen has also destroyed much of the poor country’s infrastructure and displaced millions of Yemenis.
Earlier this year, the UN aid chief to Yemen, Mark Lowcock, said 16 million Yemenis are going hungry, with five million on the brink of famine. Lowcock added that Yemen could face the worst “man-made famine” that the world has seen for decades.
In spite of the devastating Saudi-led airstrikes against Yemen, the Western powers, particularly the US and the UK, have continued to sell weapons and military equipment to Riyadh throughout the war.
On Sunday, the Saudi-led coalition continued to bomb a number of provinces, injuring civilians and causing damage to public and private property.
The coalition also launched two raids on Madghal and Raghwan districts in the oil-rich Ma’rib province, al-Masirah reported.
#AceNewsReport – June.30: A deal that gave one of the wealthiest families in Africa a lucrative stake in a large Portuguese energy company could be a step closer to dissolution, following a new ruling from a Dutch court.
Dos Santos partnership with Angolan state oil company ‘null and void,’ court-appointed director says, following an inquiry prompted by ICIJ’s Luanda Leaks.
Scilla AlecciJune 28, 2021Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos and her husband, Congolese art collector and businessman Sindika Dokolo in 2018.
The ruling validates a damning report from a court-appointed director of Esperaza Holding BV, a vehicle used by Angola’s state oil company, Sonangol, to buy shares in Galp, the Portugese energy firm. That report concluded that the 2006 sale of 40% of Esperaza to Exem Energy BV, a company owned by Congolese businessman Sindika Dokolo, was “an act of corruption” and should be voided.
At the time of the acquisition Dokolo was married to Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former autocratic president. He died in 2020.
The details of the acquisition were first reported by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists as part of Luanda Leaks, a global investigation into a decade of inside deals made by the dos Santos family at the expense of Angola, one of the poorest countries in the world.
Last year, following the ICIJ investigation, a special division of Amsterdam’s Appeal Court ordered an inquiry into the Exem deal with Sonangol. The court also froze Exem’s assets and removed Mario Silva, a key dos Santos business associate, from Esperaza’s board, appointing Camilo Schutte, a lawyer, as director. The inquiry is ongoing.Dutch court documents included this diagram on the relationship between the entities involved in a controversial shareholding deal now being investigated.
In his report, Schutte concluded that Dokolo’s company had obtained its stake in Galp at a steep discount, ultimately paying less than 10% of the share’s value.
Lawyers representing Exem challenged the report and claimed that Schutte was not sufficiently independent and should be replaced, according to Dutch court records first obtained by Het Financieele Dagblad, an ICIJ partner. The Dutch court rejected that argument.
Schutte’s assessment shows that the purpose of the transaction was to give Dokolo and dos Santos “a very sizeable and unjustified advantage to the detriment of the Angolan State,” a five-judge panel said.
After being appointed Esperaza director, Schutte examined company records and court filings to make sure they were in compliance with the law, he told ICIJ. He determined the acquisition was clearly designed to favor the dos Santos family. “It’s a travesty of a real business transaction.”
“Exem has been revealed to be a front company with the sole goal to be part of a money laundering scheme to embezzle funds” ultimately belonging to the Angolan people, he said.
The unlawful nature of the transaction makes Exem’s shareholding in his company “null and void,” he said.
An Exem lawyer told ICIJ that Schutte’s findings were incorrect and that the company continues to pursue legal actions regarding his conduct.
Exem’s acquisition “was carried out in a transparent manner” and “the transaction has been hugely beneficial to Sonangol and – thus – the Angolan taxpayers,” Dan Morrison wrote in an emailed response.
Representatives for dos Santos didn’t immediately respond to ICIJ request for comment.
Schutte said he plans to notify the Dutch commercial register that Exem is no longer a shareholder of Esperaza, a move that could further imperil the dos Santos family’s stake in Galp.
In the meantime, Sonangol and Exem are embroiled in separate arbitration proceedings on the lawfulness of Exem shareholding. Sonangol lawyers expect a decision by September, they told ICIJ.
“There’s a difference between the old Sonangol and the new Sonangol,” said Maarten Drop, one of the legal counsels representing the company in the Dutch action. “The new Sonangol is trying to clean up the past and there’s a lot to be cleaned up.”
Criminal investigations into dos Santos and her companies are ongoing in a number of countries, including Angola where the government alleges she embezzled more than $1 billion in public funds.
Dos Santos has maintained her innocence and denied any wrongdoing.
#AceNewsReport – June.01: This story repeats itself every year,” said one source in the oil industry in Khanty-Mansi, a western Siberian region that is home to some of Russia’s biggest oil fields. The source spoke on condition of anonymity, citing fears of retribution from officials for discussing the matter:
RFE/RL Investigation: How Russian Oil Companies Illegally Dump Massive Amounts Of Toxic Waste: The investigation by RFE/RL’s Russian Service found that regulations overseeing the disposal of drilling waste are routinely flouted, with bribes being paid to inspectors, data being omitted from required paperwork, and major oil companies pressuring regulators to effectively look the other way.
Even when government inspectors uncover violations, they regularly issue toothless orders for the companies to adhere to the law — but don’t compel them to clean up the sites.
“Inspectors come from Moscow, leave with suitcases of money, and issue orders like this: They don’t demand that you eliminate violations, remove the waste, or reclaim the polluted tundra. They say, ‘Write that you buried your shit, and continue to bury it in the same way,'” the oil-industry source told RFE/RL’s Russian Service, known locally as Radio Svoboda.
Illegal waste dumps on state oil giant Rosneft’s fields in the Khanty-Mansi region alone could do more than $8 billion in environmental damage, according to one of three reports commissioned by the Russian Health Ministry and obtained by Radio Svoboda, which is releasing them to the public in their entirety for the first time.
Drillers use specialized fluids that include oil, water, and other chemicaladditives, depending on the soil type. The average well depth is 3,100 meters, though many are 5 kilometers or deeper.
On average, drilling produces around 560 tons of waste per 1,000 meters, according to oil-industry sources. According to data from Russia’s Energy Ministry, 28.5 million meters were drilled in Russia in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available.
That would translate into almost 16 million tons of waste, according to the estimated average given by oil-industry sources. But according to Russia’s environmental regulator, Rosprirodnadzor, only 5 million tons of this waste was generated in 2019 — a discrepancy that suggests more than 10 million tons may have been disposed of illegally.
Environmental regulations require toxic drilling waste to be either processed or disposed of at special landfills that are designed to keep the toxins from leaching into the groundwater.
At many wells across Russia, the waste is stored nearby in temporary trenches known as holding ponds or “sludge barns.”Sludge residue in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District in 2012 (Source: Regional branch of Rosprirodnadzor in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District)
In southern regions, the sludge barns are usually 4 to 5 meters in depth. In the north, however, where oil fields are located in swampy tundra and in permafrost zones, above-ground sludge barns are built and surrounded by earthen berms that can be up to 4 meters in height.
Depending on the size and depth of a well, multiple holding ponds for a single installation can occupy a combined area of up to 2,500 square meters.
According to regulations, the walls and the bottom of the sludge pits are supposed to be insulated to prevent toxic substances from leaching into groundwater and soil. But no regulatory agency, either on the regional or the federal level, inspects the integrity of the ponds or the insulation materials.
“There is very little data on the study of drilling waste,” said Ivan Blokov, director of the Department for Programs, Research, and Expertise at Greenpeace Russia. ”But there is clear data on how the oil is poured out. Salinization of soils, oppression of plants, changes in the species composition of flora and fauna.”
“If it were one sludge barn, there would be nothing terrible about it. The trouble is that there are a lot of them,” Blokov told RFE/RL. “And we can see how much oil the northern rivers carry into the Arctic Ocean.”
Soviet oil drillers tried to incorporate Western technologies in the 1980s, but they were expensive, said Oleg Mitvol, a former deputy chief of Rosprirodnadzor. Instead, sludge was buried next to the wells.
In 1998, Russia adopted a law requiring waste to be processed and neutralized, or stored at special landfills.
According to Yevgenia Kiselyova, who worked in the Khanty-Mansi regional division of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, some oil companies, including Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Yukos, built properly designed holding ponds in the late 1990s; some of them are still functioning.
However, she said, “the rest of the landfills were just imitations, provided there were operating permits.”
As of 2015, Kiselyova said, there were an estimated 10,000 holding ponds in the Khanty-Mansi region and 300 new ones appeared every year.
One official in the region’s oil sector, who spoke to RFE/RL on condition of anonymity, said oil companies frequently undercount their drilling sites and sludge barns. That assertion is supported by a 2017 inspection of Rosneft by Rosprirodnadzor, which found that on just one of the state oil giant’s fields, it operated 34 well pads without the necessary permissions.
An oil-industry source who works in the Khanty-Mansi region told Radio Svoboda on condition of anonymity that there was no regulation whatsoever of illegally constructed well pads.
WATCH: A drilling-waste processing facility around 50 kilometers from the city of Nizhnevartovsk in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District. (Source: Radio Svoboda)
Other oil-producing countries try to minimize environmental damage from drilling waste by separating the soil from the hazardous liquids. A common technique is to burn off the flammable components of the drilling waste. But that is energy intensive and releases polluting emissions into the atmosphere.
Sludge is burned in Russia as well, but mostly that happens with waste collected from oil spills.
Other technologies in use include a German-designed process that uses low pressures to evaporate liquids, and results in relatively harmless output. Another, developed in Norway, is “thermal decomposition,” in which oil products are separated from the sludge and can even be processed further into fuel oil.
Fictitious Waste Disposal
The massive and systematic burial of drilling waste in Russia is also carried out under the guise of recycling.
Since 2000, Russian drillers have been allowed to use other “mixed technologies” to mitigate the environmental damage from drilling waste.
In theory, the waste is mixed with sand, cement, and a specialized foam product to create a “building material” that supposedly can be used for construction or other industrial purposes. The process involves simply mixing the ingredients together in a trench to “lock up” the toxic materials into an inert form that prevents them from leaching into the environment.
In reality, however, this technique exists largely on paper.
Drillers just cover the waste with soil, costing them a comparative pittance — 2,600 to 3,000 rubles ($35-$40) per cubic meter of sludge.
WATCH: Sludge barns near the shores of the Vakh River in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District in western Siberia. (Source: Radio Svoboda)
Even if drillers were using the “mixed technologies” process instead of just covering drilling waste with dirt, the resulting compound would not meet environmental standards.
In May 2010, recycled building material known by the commercial name “burolit” failed testing standards imposed by another regulator responsible for industrial quality-control, Rostekhnadzor.
The tests determined that oil products were found in the material at concentrations 12 times higher than permissible for the general environment, and some of the ingredients used turned out to be carcinogens.
Rostekhnadzor experts also concluded in 2010 that “burolit” was unusable for road construction, and that it was not even suitable to help construct new sludge barns.
Despite that fact, Rostekhnadzor later gave a one-year approval for the substance; in 2015, that approval was granted a second time.
In the early 2000s, there were attempts — on paper, at least — to recycle drilling waste into bricks for use in construction. In the Khanty-Mansi region, about 2,800 kilometers northeast of Moscow, Radio Svoboda visited one of the largest oil fields in the western Siberian region, where a facility supposedly producing these bricks was to have been installed.
Instead, however, the toxic waste was simply buried at the site.
Legal documents obtained by RFE/RL showed ownership of the plot, which dated back to a 2005 lease, was hidden behind a series of shell companies.WATCH: Sludge barns on the territory of Rosneft-controlled Priobskoye oil field, where a facility recycling drilling waste into bricks was supposedly to be built.
After several inspections, Rosprirodnadzor won a series of court cases ordering the companies to remove the buried waste. However, the murky ownership of the land allowed the owners to drag out the legal process for nearly a decade. Last year, an arbitration court ordered one of the companies to pay a 3.6 billion ruble ($49 million) fine.
However, that company and the two others affiliated with it have all declared bankruptcy.
The sludge dumps at issue in those cases are located on Rosneft’s 5,400-square-kilometer Priobskoye oil field. A court ruled that only the bankrupt companies — not Rosneft — were liable for the pollution.Sludge barns on the territory of Rosneft-controlled Priobskoye oil field, where a facility recycling drilling waste into bricks was supposedly to be built.
Meanwhile, the buried waste remains in the ground, approximately 3.5 kilometers from the Ob, one of the world’s longest rivers, which drains into the Arctic Ocean.
In northern Russia, nearly all oil production takes place in protected watersheds, which are set up to keep pollutants out of waterways.
A 2019 report by the national meteorological monitoring agency, Rosgidromet, found that as much as 17,500 tons of petroleum products flowed from the Ob into the Kara Sea, an extension of the Arctic Ocean, that year. One federally commissioned report found that as many as 90 percent of fish in the Ob Basin have deformations and chronic dysfunctions of the body, which lead to mutation and extinction of species.
In Russia, the process for mitigating environmental damage from toxic drilling waste also includes a system for reclaiming land that has been used temporarily, and then theoretically cleaned up and returned to its natural state. Drillers are obliged by law to carry out reclamation.
In Khanty-Mansi, however, a commission appointed by local authorities oversees the approval process for accepting and then redistributing the reclaimed land to, for example, timber farmers; in Yamalo-Nenets, further north, reindeer herders are frequently given such land.
Beginning in 2010, these commissions were required to involve the participation of Rosprirodnadzor, a nod to rising concerns about the growth of unregulated sludge barns and improper drilling-waste disposal. Kiselyova’s department stopped signing land permits, and an increased number of fines and administrative violations were handed out for environmental violations.
In 2011, the regional natural resources agency appealed to the region’s governor, as well as federal agencies, saying the situation with drilling waste in the region was catastrophic and asking for support in developing better legal and regulatory measures.
The following year, however, the CEOs of some of Russia’s most powerful oil and gas companies co-signed a letter to then-Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, complaining that the excessive regulations on sludge and disposal would result in a slowdown in production — and, they asserted, social turmoil.
Later that year, the regional branch of Rosprirodnadzor, the environmental regulator, began to actively impede the work of Kiselyova’s department, she said.
She said her superiors began to close administrative cases her department had opened against oil and drilling companies. They also began to conduct inspections targeting Kiselyova herself and her subordinates for alleged impropriety, she said.
Kiselyova wrote a letter to President Vladimir Putin in 2014 stating that the reclamation process was regularly abused or ignored.
“No one has actually seen any results of such forest reclamation, forest restoration, or forest ecosystem in its diversity,” she wrote.
She took one company subsidiary to court to force it to comply with anti-sludge-dumping regulations, after which she said her car was shot up with an air gun and her tires slashed. She was subsequently fired.
Kiselyova fought her firing three times; three times a court upheld her dismissal.
Tatyana Kuznetsova, the head of Rosprirodnadzor’s department overseeing waste disposal, told Radio Svoboda that the agency was no longer involved in the land-reclamation commissions.
Buried Report On Buried Waste
In the spring of 2018, a scandal bubbled up in the Khanty-Mansi and Yamal-Nenets regions after the Russian media outlet RBK obtained a letter from a Russian Health Ministry analytical center about the storage and disposal of drilling waste in the two regions.
The letter, addressed to the then-head of Rosprirodnadzor, Artyom Sidorov, discussed illegal dumps of supposedly recycled drilling waste that had been discovered in both regions on fields operated by Rosneft, LUKoil, and other oil companies. It was sent by the then-acting head of the Health Ministry’s Center for Strategic Planning and Management of Biological Risks, which had conducted three separate studies over a two-year period at the ministry’s behest.
On Rosneft oil fields in the Khanty-Mansi region alone these dumps totaled 20 million cubic meters, with estimated ecological damage that could total more than $8 billion, according to the letter.
The head of Rosprirodnadzor’s regional branch in Khanty-Mansi was subsequently fired, as was Sidorov, the agency’s federal chief. But the scandal largely fizzled out.
Rosneft told RBK that the analytical center did not have the authority to conduct inspections and that the company adhered to environmental laws in its disposal of drilling waste. LUKoil told the newspaper that it worked with licensed contractors that dispose of drilling waste in line with government regulations.
And the analytical center’s full studies were never released to the public — until now.
Radio Svoboda has obtained copies of the three reports — totaling 630 pages that are not available online — and is releasing them in their entirety as part of this investigation. Radio Svoboda managed to review the reports on a computer terminal and photograph each individual page, as it was not permitted to print them out or download them.
Below are several key takeaways from the reports, based on this review:
Almost without exception, rivers and other bodies of water in the Khanty-Mansi and Yamal-Nenets regions are polluted. In some, the content of petroleum products is between five and 10 times above the maximum allowable limit, while the level of phenolic compounds is between 10 and 18 times the limit.
While the main environmental damage from oil-production is linked to emissions, drilling waste has a damaging effect on the demographic situation and the health of the population in Russia’s oil-producing regions, the authors of one report wrote. “The incidence of neoplasms, congenital malformations, and diseases of the blood and the immune system among the population living in oil-producing regions is 1.5 to five times higher than those in areas where there are no oil-production facilities,” they wrote.
Not a single technology for drilling-sludge processing was given a positive assessment by state environmental experts, one of the reports states. Surgutneftegaz, Russia’s fourth-largest oil producer, had used the “burolit mix” technique in the seven years prior to the report “despite the fact that the method…received a negative assessment” from state environmental experts, it states.
The processing of drilling sludge is conducted not by the oil companies themselves but by subcontractors. “There are so many inconsistencies in the legislation that today it is virtually impossible to bring claims against oil-producing companies,” one report states, referring to the part of the Rosneft field where drilling waste was supposedly to be recycled into bricks.
The recycled drilling-waste product known by the name burolit loses its commercial properties almost immediately, making it essentially waste but in a much larger volume than before the start of the process. “The disposal sites for this waste are becoming unauthorized dumps,” the authors wrote.
The reclamation of sludge barns is a “nominal event,” one report states, suggesting it is something that does not actually take place, and adding that “oil companies are extremely inattentive to this part of their activities.”
Reached by Radio Svoboda for comment, the Russian Health Ministry directed inquiries to the Center for Strategic Planning and Management of Biological Risks, which compiled the reports. The center said it was no longer conducting such studies, while the Health Ministry did not respond to a follow-up inquiry.
Kuznetsova, the head of Rosprirodnadzor’s waste-disposal department, told Radio Svoboda that she was not aware of the Health Ministry studies and therefore could not comment.
Asked about the discrepancy between the official figure of 5 million tons of drilling waste in 2019 and the estimated 16 million tons based on Radio Svoboda’s discussions with oil-industry sources, Kuznetsova suggested the official figure is more accurate.
She confirmed, however, that the responsibility of monitoring and reporting the disposal of drilling waste lies with the oil companies themselves, which should determine the toxicity classification with the help of private laboratories and carry out the disposal based on the results.
Only spot inspections can reveal whether oil companies are following this protocol.
Rosneft, LUKoil, and Surgutneftegaz did not respond to requests for comment.
Adapted and translated from the original Russian by Mike Eckel and Carl Schreck
Sergei Khazov-Cassia is a correspondent in Moscow for RFE/RL’s Russian Service.
#AceNewsReport – May.20: The sale of new petrol and diesel cars around the world would end by 2035: The IEA says that from now, there is no place for new coal, oil or gas exploration or supplies:
U.K. Climate Change: IEA Plan to Ban new gas boilers to reach net-zero emissions by 2025: It’s one of 400 steps on the road to net-zero proposed by the agency in a special report.
19 hours ago:
By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent
The report has been welcomed as an important contribution on the road to COP26 in Glasgow, when countries will attempt to agree the measures needed to put the Paris climate agreement into practice.
In that context, tackling the issue of how the world produces and consumes energy is the most critical endeavour.
The energy sector, according to the IEA, is the source of around 75% of the emissions of greenhouse gases that are driving up global temperatures.
How will we heat our homes?Models designed so they could switch to burn hydrogen could be an option – and will probably be around £100 more than the £2,000 standard gas boiler.
This will help the climate because hydrogen from renewables burns with no emissions.But climate advisors say it will probably only heat around 11% of homes, because hydrogen supply will be limited.So most are expected to be warmed by heat pumps, which extract warmth from the air or the ground, or from water – a bit like a fridge operating in reverse which sell for between £6,000 and £18,000.
They’re subsidised, but MPs say the government needs to offer more help to home owners. What’s more, heat pumps need high levels of insulation which aren’t always possible.
There are other technologies being considered. Geothermal heat may warm places such as Cornwall. Nuclear might figure, too.But the great task of shifting heating from gas will be expensive and difficult. How will we heat homes in zero carbon Britain?
To keep the world safe, scientists say that global heating has to be limited to 1.5C by the end of this century. To keep close to that mark, emissions of warming gases need to drop by half by 2030, and essentially hit zero in 2050.
The IEA’s new study sets out what it believes to be a realistic road map to achieve that aim, while at the same time creating millions of jobs and boosting economic growth. VCGElectric vehicle charge points will have to increase to around 40 million worldwide over the next decadeBy 2050 it envisions a global economy that is twice as big as today, with two billion extra people but with the demand for energy dropping by 8%.The authors say their plan achieves this with no carbon offsets and a low reliance on technologies to remove carbon from the air.
Crucially, it sees no place for new supplies of coal, oil or gas.Key steps to net-zero in 2050Fossil fuel use falls drastically in the net‐zero emissions scenario by 2050, and no new oil and natural gas fields are required beyond those that have already been approved for development. No new coal mines or mine extensions are required.
Emissions from electricity generation fall to net‐zero in advanced economies by 2035 and globally by 2040. Renewables drive the transformation, up from 29% of generation in 2020 to nearly 90% in 2050.The number of public charging points for electric cars rises from around one million today to 40 million by 2030, requiring an annual investment of $90bn by the end of the decade. By 2035, nearly all cars sold globally are electric, and by 2050 nearly all heavy trucks sold are fuel cell or electric. Per capita income from oil and gas in countries that rely on fossil fuel production falls by around 75% from $1,800 to $450 by the 2030s.
However, the IEA’s route to net-zero will require massive investments and international co-operation on an unprecedented scale. It will also have direct impacts on consumers all over the world. Home heating with gas or oil is currently a major source of carbon emissions in many countries, responsible for around 20% of CO2 in the US and the UK.The IEA path to net-zero says that in just four years’ time, there should be no new fossil fuel boilers sold, except where they are compatible with hydrogen.
This will not be an easy shift for the building sector.”It will be very difficult, because it means a massive turn in the consumption behaviour,” said Maria Pastukhova, from the E3G environmental think tank. “The building sector is maybe one of the toughest ones because aside from the emphasis that the IEA has put on efficient buildings, all the old existing infrastructure has to be retrofitted. And that’s a particular challenge for governments.”
“ The IEA says that as well as greening the energy system it will need to be expanded to provide electricity to the 785 million people in the world who have no access at present.Jonas GratzerA worker cleaning solar panels at a solar park – the IEA says a massive expansion is needed: To meet this challenge the world will need to install four times the amount of wind and solar energy than it did in 2020. This equates to adding a massive solar park every day over the next nine years.By 2035 the report says there would be no more sales of new cars with petrol or diesel engines.
All of the world’s electricity would be emissions free by 2040. While the scale of the change is unprecedented, the IEA believes it will create around 14 million jobs by 2030, while investments in energy production soar to $5tn, boosting global GDP.”The scale and speed of the efforts demanded by this critical and formidable goal – our best chance of tackling climate change and limiting global warming to 1.5C – make this perhaps the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director.
“ The IEA’s pathway to this brighter future brings a historic surge in clean energy investment that creates millions of new jobs and lifts global economic growth. Moving the world on to that pathway requires strong and credible policy actions from governments, underpinned by much greater international co-operation.” One issue that has caused concern among environmentalists is the reliance in the report on unproven technologies, such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS). There are also worries about bioenergy which involves the use of trees, crops and plants to make liquid fuel or to generate electricity.
The IEA path to net-zero sees a significant increase of around 60% in this energy source, with an estimate that energy crops and forestry plantations will take up 25% more land than is used today for bioenergy production.NurPhotoPalm oil has been a major source of bioenergy, used to make diesel”Burning forests for energy is the latest in a parade of false climate solutions,” said Hannah Mowat from Fern, a Brussels-based NGO campaigning to protect forests and people.”Sadly, the IEA has bought into it by proposing wholly unrealistic levels of bioenergy, which will damage forests the world over and worsen climate change. Instead of burning trees for energy, we should focus on cutting fossil fuel use, maximising energy efficiency and increasing renewables such as solar, wind, heat pumps and geothermal.”The IEA Net Zero by 2050 report can be found here.
#AceNewsReport – May.07: From the time Eduard Shmonin was a young man, he always wanted to be a gangster: The business model he adopted involved digging up dirt on officials and industry players — and then publishing it or withholding it, depending on the bidder:
SIBERIA: A Siberian Muckraker Exposed Massive Oil Theft: Now Russia Wants To Imprison Him For 11 Years: ‘But disillusionment with Russia’s criminal world came quickly for the Sverdlovsk region native after he served two years in prison for burglary in the 1990s. Shmonin, now 50, instead decided to get into journalism — a profession that he quickly determined was inextricable from local battles over money, resources, and influence’ I understood at the time that the job of a journalist is to get paid for what he doesn’t write,” Shmonin told RFE/RL’s Russian Service, known locally as Radio Svoboda, last year.
May 04, 2021 12:01 GMT
Now prosecutors have asked a court to sentence Shmonin to 11 years in prison on charges of blackmail and distributing pornography — allegations linked to media operations he ran in Russia’s oil-rich Khanti-Mansi Autonomous District in western Siberia.
A verdict in Shmonin’s trial in Surgut, in western Siberia, which has been closed to the public, is expected next week.
And while Shmonin has never denied trafficking in “kompromat,” or compromising information, he believes he was targeted for an entirely different reason: a documentary he released exposing evidence of massive oil theft in the Khanti-Mansi region with the complicity of corrupt law enforcement officials.
An archive of materials gathered by Shmonin for the exposé and a planned sequel that never aired served as a pillar of an independent investigation by Radio Svoboda in March exposing the central role that Federal Security Service (FSB) and Interior Ministry officials play in the industrial-scale theft of oil from Russia’s network of pipelines.
Radio Svoboda was able to independently corroborate numerous details of this illicit business, which, according to a 2013 estimate by state-owned investment bank VTB Capital, costs Russian oil companies $1.8 billion to $3.5 billion annually and the Russian budget $632 million to $1.2 billion.
Shmonin released his documentary, Criminal Oil, in November 2016 and was arrested the following April on not only the blackmail and pornography charges, but also for suspected libel based on a complaint by four individuals mentioned in the film — all of whom worked in security for a subsidiary of Rosneft, the state oil giant whose CEO, Igor Sechin, is a close ally of President Vladimir Putin.
One of the plaintiffs was a retired FSB general, and the other was a former FSB officer who has since been arrested and charged with oil theft.
Shmonin was held for nearly a year in pretrial detention, while his muckraking website and his TV channel, Yugra Public Television, ceased operations. He claims that, during his detention, he was tortured by FSB officers who tried to force him to reveal who financed the Criminal Oil documentary.
“They said, ‘You have three options to get out of here: You can be carried out of here feet first; you can eat the charges, we’ll release you on bail, and you leave the country; or you reveal who is behind you and we will classify you as a witness,’” Shmonin told Radio Svoboda, adding that he told investigators the documentary was made on his own initiative.Shmonin protesting in 2010 in defense of his kompromat-filled website. His sign reads: “Corrupt cops: Fight corruption, not the media.”
Shmonin claimed his interrogators then wrapped a plastic bag over his head and tased him, though Radio Svoboda was unable to independently corroborate his torture claims. The FSB did not respond to requests for comment sent in March.
A funny thing happened on the way to the verdict in Shmonin’s case: A trove of evidence went missing or was damaged, including hard drives, computers, mobile phones, and flash drives that authorities had confiscated. And the libel charges related to his Criminal Oil documentary were ultimately dropped.
Of the 13 original charges Shmonin faced, only two remain: blackmail and illegal distribution of pornography.
The blackmail charge relates to Shmonin’s alleged demand for money from Yevgeny Vostrikov, a lawmaker in the Khanti-Mansi city of Nefteyugansk, in exchange for withholding release of a film in which he was accused, among other things, of domestic abuse and trafficking in drugs. (Many of these allegations had already appeared on Shmonin’s websites prior to the film’s eventual release.)
The pornography charge relates to a secretly recorded video showing a sexual encounter between a lawmaker in the city of Nizhnevartovsk and another man. Shmonin has denied releasing the video.
He insists that the evidence that went missing in his case includes alibis that would exonerate him.
All of these developments have taken place behind closed doors. The trial was closed to the public, formally because of the intimate nature of the video related to the pornography charge.
Shmonin, who has been out on bail since 2018 pending a verdict in the trial, is barred by law from discussing the case with the media.
Meanwhile, the trial of Roman Chernogor — the former FSB officer who filed a libel complaint against Shmonin over his Criminal Oil film — continues.
Chernogor has been charged with illegally tapping into oil pipelines. His co-defendant, former FSB officer Vladimir Chernakov, was also implicated in oil-theft schemes in Shmonin’s film.
Written by Carl Schreck based on reporting by RFE/RL Russian Service correspondent Sergei Khazov-Cassia.
Sergei Khazov-Cassia is a correspondent in Moscow for RFE/RL’s Russian Service.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.10: Imam Khamenei’s Instagram account also released a video in which His Eminence reiterated that Tehran is in no hurry for Washington to come back to the nuclear agreement.
Imam Khamenei: Verification of US Sanctions Removal Means Iran Should Be Able to Sell Its Oil: The talks, taking place in Vienna in the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are chaired by an official appointed by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell.
Imam Khamenei’s remarks came in a post on his Instagram page on Thursday as an Iranian negotiating team is in the Austrian capital city of Vienna to discuss conditions for the revival of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], with other signatories to the deal: https://t.me/reuters_news_agency/72596 Reuters Wire News, [Apr 9, 2021 at 12:35 PM]
Iran nuclear deal participants to continue talks next week- EU BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Officials from Iran, China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain will continue talks on the return of the United States to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran next week, after “constructive exchanges” this week, the European Union said on Friday.
“Verification [of US sanctions removal] means [being capable of] selling oil in an official manner, with ease and under normal conditions, and its money be received by Iran,” His Eminence added.
His Eminence added that the signatories of the nuclear agreement failed to abide by their commitments under the deal, noting that the decision by the Iranian government and parliament to rollback Tehran’s nuclear commitments was right.
Imam Khamenei stated that commitment on one side should be reciprocated by commitment on the other side and the US must remove all sanctions if the West wants Iran to return to JCPOA compliance.
His Eminence also noted that Tehran will return to full compliance with the nuclear deal once it verifies sanctions have been really removed by the US.
Imam Khamenei said other signatories to the deal have no right to set conditions for Tehran as long as they have not fulfilled their obligations, emphasizing that this is Iran’s definitive policy from which Tehran will not step back.
The United States began imposing heavy economic sanctions against Iran in 2018 after former US President Donald Trump scrapped the JCPOA, which was signed by Iran and world powers, as a result of which Iran was barred from economic transactions with the rest of the world, including selling its oil and receiving its money.
While the Trump administration described its anti-Iran measures as the “maximum pressure” policy, Tehran slammed the measures as “economic war,” “economic terrorism” and also “medical terrorism,” maintaining that the sanctions have severely harmed Iranians but failed to bring the nation to its knees.
The new US administration of Joe Biden has conceded that the so-called maximum pressure campaign has failed, promising to replace it with a new policy, but it has so far failed to take any practical steps in that direction and has actually followed suit with Trump-era policies toward Iran.
Iran remained fully compliant with the deal for an entire year but as the remaining European parties failed to fulfill their end of the bargain, Tehran began in May 2019 to scale back its JCPOA commitments in several steps under Articles 26 and 36 of the accord covering Tehran’s legal rights.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.25: “The defendant and his co-conspirators unlawfully manipulated the fuel oil market for their own gain by creating artificial prices that undermined the legitimate forces of supply and demand in one of our nation’s key commodity markets,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This prosecution demonstrates the department’s commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute individuals who would seek to manipulate commodities benchmark prices while trading in the open market.”
Former Oil Trader Pleads Guilty to Commodities Price Manipulation Conspiracy: ‘According to court documents and statements made in court, Emilio Jose Heredia Collado, 49, of Lafayette, was employed as a trader at Company A, an oil trading company, and later at Company B, a multinational commodity trading company, after it had acquired Company A. Between approximately September 2012 and August 2016, Heredia conspired with other employees at Company A, and later at Company B, to manipulate the price of fuel oil bought from, and sold to, a particular counterparty, Company C, through private, bilateral contracts’
A California man pleaded guilty Wednesday to a multiyear conspiracy to engage in commodities price manipulation.
“Individuals profiteering, through the manipulation of daily price assessments of a valuable commodity, fuel oil, prior to the purchasing or selling of it, goes against the most fundamental concepts of a supply-and-demand market economy,” said Assistant Inspector in Charge Raimundo Marrero of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Criminal Investigation Group. “These fraudulent practices have no place in the international marketplace. This guilty plea showcases the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s tenacity to hold individuals accountable for their dishonest actions and the resolve to continue to protect consumers and businesses. To criminals out there, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and our federal partners will ensure your criminal endeavors are brought to justice.”
Heredia and his co-conspirators sought to unlawfully enrich themselves, Company A, and Company B by increasing profits and reducing costs on the fuel oil contracts with Company C. The price terms of the contracts were set by reference to the daily benchmark price assessment published by S&P Global Platts (Platts) for intermediate fuel oil 380 CST at the Port of Los Angeles (Los Angeles 380 CST Bunker Fuel) on a certain day or days plus or minus a fixed premium. As part of the price manipulation conspiracy, Heredia directed his co-conspirators to submit orders to buy and sell (bids and offers) to Platts during the daily trading “window” for the Platts Los Angeles 380 CST Bunker Fuel price assessment with the intent to artificially push the price assessment up or down.
For example, if Company A or Company B had a contract to buy fuel oil from Company C, Heredia directed his co-conspirators to submit offers during the Platts “window” for the express purpose of pushing down the price assessment and hence the price of fuel oil bought from Company C. The bids and offers were not submitted to Platts for any legitimate economic reason by Heredia’s and his co-conspirators, but rather for the purpose of artificially affecting the Platts Los Angeles 380 CST Bunker Fuel price assessment so that the benchmark price, and hence the price of fuel oil that Company A or Company B bought from, and sold to, Company C, did not reflect legitimate forces of supply and demand.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is investigating the case.
Acting Principal Assistant Chief Avi Perry and Trial Attorney Matthew F. Sullivan of the Justice Department’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.
The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section plays a pivotal role in the Justice Department’s fight against white collar crime around the country and is the national leader in prosecuting fraud and manipulation in the U.S. commodity markets.
#AceNewsReport – Nov.21: Project aimed to make UK ‘partner of choice’ in industry, but campaigners warn of potential for ecological disaster
The British government spent thousands of pounds of aid money on a project aimed at “establishing the UK as the partner of choice” in the nascent #oil and #gas sector of one of the world’s poorest countries.
Malawi is believed to have substantial oil deposits, including under Lake Malawi, a pristine freshwater lake – the third largest in Africa – whose southern shores are a protected Unesco world heritage site. Unesco has warned that any oil activity near the lake risks causing an ecological disaster.
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In a rare bit of good environmental news, voters in California’s fourth-largest oil-producing county passed a measure to ban fracking and other fossil fuel extraction techniques. Proponents won even though #oil companies outspent them 30 to one.
“David beat Goliath in Monterey County’s stunning victory against #oil industry pollution,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “This triumph against fracking will inspire communities across California and the whole country to stand up to this toxic industry.”
Fracking remains popular in other parts of the country. In Colorado, voters approved an amendment supported by the #oil and #gas industry that will make local fracking bans harder to pass.
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