Tag: ExxonMobil

‘Big Oil’, please learn from dogs!

The latest announcement continues to show dogs in very good light!

Before I plunge into this Post, just an apology.  I’m trying hard to get out of what feels like a recent pattern of ‘re-publishing’ stuff rather than posting material that is primarily my own creative output.  Ironically, it’s become a little harder to achieve since starting a creating writing course last Tuesday 23rd (every Tuesday evening for 12 weeks!).  The course requires several thousand words of ‘homework’ each week.

Then I lost the plot and published two posts yesterday, when one of them should have been scheduled for today!  Thus making it almost impossible to be fully creative today!

Anyway, to today’s theme.  Which comes very close on the heels of my post on Monday about the antics of the big oil companies and ‘recovering’ oil from tar sands in Canada.

We all know that some of the most ecologically and environmentally fragile places on the planet are the polar regions.  Of the two polar regions, the more sensitive one is the North Polar region.  The Arctic ice cap is forecast to be clear of ice each Summer by 2030 assuming the huge annual run-off of fresh water doesn’t screw up the existing ocean currents before then.  (Indeed, a fascinating film about the complexity of the weather systems as a result of very long heating and cooling cycles was seen recently on YouTube – link at the end of this post.)

So continued madness over our love affair with oil is just that: madness.  Don’t get me wrong.  Jean and I drive gasoline-powered vehicles but at least we are conscious of the damage we are doing and will change just as soon as it becomes viable for us to so do.

So with all that in mind, here’s a recent announcement from Exxon first seen on the BBC News website.

US oil major Exxon Mobil has clinched an Arctic oil exploration deal withRussian state-owned oil firm Rosneft.

The venture seemingly extinguishes any remaining chance of BP reviving its own deal, which lapsed in May.The agreement was signed on Tuesday in the presence of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a Rosneft spokesman said.

Prime Minister Putin said that it would also allow Rosneft to develop fields in the Gulf of Mexico and Texas, according to local media reports.

“New horizons are opening up. One of the world’s leading companies, Exxon Mobil, is starting to work on Russia’s strategic shelf and deepwater continental shelf,” he said.

‘Big win

Under the agreement, the two firms will spend $3.2bn on deep-sea exploration in the East Prinovozemelsky region of the Kara Sea, as well as in the Russian Black Sea.

Exxon described these areas as “among the most promising and least explored offshore areas globally, with high potential for liquids and gas”.

The two companies will also co-operate on the development of oil fields in Western Siberia.

Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers told the BBC: “[The Russian Arctic] is among the most promising and least explored regions for oil, that is why we are very interested.

Cynic mode on: “The Russian Arctic is among the most promising and least explored regions for oil …”  Well that’s alright then!

If one follows that link in the BBC news item, it goes to the ExxonMobil press release where one can quickly read the following key points,

  • US $3.2 billion exploration program planned for Kara Sea and Black Sea
  • Establishment of a joint Arctic Research and Design Center for Offshore Development in St. Petersburg
  • Rosneft participation in ExxonMobil projects in the U.S. and other countries with a focus on building offshore and tight oil expertise
  • Joint operations to develop Western Siberia tight oil resources
  • Companies form partnership to undertake projects in the Russian Federation and internationally

Thus this is not some small sideline – it’s potentially very big business for both partners.

So where is the Kara Sea?

Kara Sea, Russia

Here’s how the website WorldAtlas describes it,

The Kara Sea, an extension of the Arctic Ocean, is located off the coastline of Siberia in far northwestern Russia.

It’s separated from the Barents Sea (in the west) by the Kara Strait and Novaya Zemlya – and the Laptev Sea (in the east) by the Taymyr Peninsula and Severnaya Zemlya. The northern border (shown) is a mapping opinion.

It has an estimated area of 880,000 sq km (340,000 sq mi), an average depth of 128 m (420 ft) and a maximum depth of 620 m (2,034 ft).

Ice-bound for most of the year, the sea is generally navigable only during August and September.

The main ports are Dikson (Dickson) and Novyy Port, and they are heavily used during the two-month (lucrative) fishing season. They will also be distribution points when the petroleum and natural gas discovered here is brought to the surface.

Just look at that map again and see how far North of the Arctic Circle is the Kara Sea.

Dad, where's the ice gone?

Let’s go back to dogs.  When dogs were primarily wild animals, really when they were still carrying all the ‘habits’ of the Grey Wolf, from which dogs are genetically descended, they were very territorial, as indeed domestic dogs are towards their domestic area.  WikiPedia explains, ‘The core of their territory is on average 35 km2 (14 sq mi), in which they spend 50% of their time.‘  (That’s a great article on WikiPedia about the Grey Wolf, by the way.)

Anyway, the wolves, like practically all other animal species, live in harmony within their territory and only move or amend their territorial boundaries if the survival of the pack is threatened.

So when, oh when, is mankind going to learn that our territory is Planet Earth.  We have no other territory to move to.  I still remember my form teacher way back in my first English school saying to me, “There are two ways you can learn this lesson, the easy way or the hard way!”  Same applies to us all!  Let’s urgently learn this lesson from dogs and move on from oil.

Finally, that YouTube video.  Less than an hour long, it has some interesting facts about climate change over many thousands of years and a rather interesting conclusion.

More on Bill McKibben’s book, eaarth.

Some very telling points.

I first mentioned this book on the 13th May when I was about a third of the way in.  Because I thought there might be material useful to the course that has been running here in Payson, I did skip around the book looking for ‘attention-grabbing’ points.  It wasn’t difficult to find numerous extracts.

Try this on page 214 from the Chapter Afterword.

As it turns out, however, the BP spill was not the most dangerous thing that happened in the months after this book was first published.  In fact, in the spring and summer of 2101, the list of startling events in the natural world included:

  • Nineteen nations setting new all-time high temperature records, which in itself is a record.  Some of those records were for entire regions – [then some of the details]
  • Scientists reported that the earth had just come through the warmest six months, the warmest year, and the warmest decade for which we have records; it appears 2010 will be the warmest calendar year on record.
  • The most protracted and extreme heat wave in a thousand years of Russian history (it had never before topped 100 degrees in Moscow) led to a siege of peat fires that shrouded the capital in ghostly, deadly smoke.  [Then goes on to mention the effect of this heat on global grain prices.]
  • Since warm air holds more water vapour that cold air, scientists were not surprised to see steady increases in flooding.  Still, the spring and summer of 2010 were off the charts.  We saw “thousand-year storms” across the globe [goes into details]
  • Meanwhile, in the far north, the Petermann Glacier on Greenland calved an iceberg four times the size of Manhattan.
  • And the most ominous news of all might have come from the pages of the eminent scientific journal Nature, which published an enormous study of the productivity of the earth’s seas. [More details follow – not good news!]
That last point can be read in more detail from Nature‘s website.  It’s here.
The book closes thus (referring to how the BP oil spill was, ultimately, an accident),
But the greatest danger we face, climate change, is no accident.  It’s what happens when everything goes the way it’s supposed to go.  It’s not a function of bad technology, it’s a function of a bad business model: of the fact that Exxon Mobil and BP and Peabody Coal are allowed to use the atmosphere, free of charge, as an open sewer for the inevitable waste from their products.  They’ll fight to the end to defend that business model, for it produces greater profits that any industry has ever known.  We won’t match them dollar for dollar: To fight back, we need a different currency, our bodies and our spirit and our creativity.  That’s what a movement looks like; let’s hope we can rally one in time to make a difference.
Powerful stuff from a powerful book.
Fired up?  Then go and join:  350.org