Siemens and Southern Idaho Solid Waste announce commissioning of landfill gas-to-energy project

Siemens and Southern Idaho Solid Waste announce the commissioning of landfill gas-to-energy project

  • Siemens gas engines generating electrical power from landfill gas to provide energy for approximately 2,000 homes in Idaho

  • Two engines convert 1,000 tons of landfill waste daily into energy

  • The project marks successful use of Siemens’ highly-energy-efficient engines to capture and use methane

Siemens and Southern Idaho Solid Waste (SISW) recently announced the successful commissioning of two SGE-56HM gas engines that are providing environmentally friendly electrical power for a landfill gas-to-energy project at the Milner Butte Landfill in Burley, Idaho. Siemens’ gas capture engines are helping to convert 1,000 tons of landfill waste daily into energy but SISW officials expect that amount to increase in the near future.

Decomposing waste gives off massive amounts of greenhouse gases, especially methane. SISW engineers worked with Siemens and Siemens’ channel partner, Industrial-Irrigation Services, to develop a solution that would capture the methane for use as a fuel gas to produce electricity. “We saw this gas and realized we were just wasting it by burning it for no productive use,” said SISW’s environmental manager, Nate Francisco.

To capture methane and convert it into electricity, the Milner Butte Landfill deployed two Siemens SGE-56HM gas generator sets to run on the waste gas from the landfill and generate electrical power. Once the landfill gas is converted to electricity, it is transported to Idaho Power through a 20-year purchase agreement and is used by the community as a low-cost source of power. To date, the two engines have been generating enough power for approximately 2,000 homes. Each set is rated at
1,300kWe and includes generator controls and a power panel.

Siemens SGE-HM series is purpose-built for landfill gas-to-energy power applications. By incorporating advanced technology and design into the cylinder heads, valves, camshafts, and turbochargers, the SGE-56HM engine provides customers like SISW with a high-performing low-operating-cost solution.

“We expect these engines to remain in operation for 20 to 30 years,” said Josh Bartlome, executive director at SISW. “They’re big engines built for endurance.”

SISW estimates that within the next 20 years the facility will generate approximately $36 million in revenue, netting about a third of that after costs and inflation. Creating a long-term revenue generator like this model used by SISW will allow the District to realize lower power costs.

“The Milner Butte Landfill project represents the future of distributed power,” said Chris Nagle, North American Regional Director for Siemens Gas Engines business. “This plant assists the local community with its power needs while being environmentally responsible. Siemens is proud to support SISW and Industrial-Irrigation Services with this project.”

This press release and press pictures are available at www.siemens.com/press/PR2018100009PGEN

For further information on Siemens Gas Engines, please see: https://sie.ag/2MOzVRJ

Contact for journalists
Janet Ofano
Phone: +1 803-389-6753; E-mail: [email protected]

How to achieve technology innovation in the oil and gas industry

Many industries have exploited the exciting opportunities to create new products and markets, but the oil and gas sector has lagged behind and has resulted in the oil and gas industry failing to exploit the potential of new technologies

The oil and gas industry is now at a pivotal point in its evolution and we are now on the cusp of a transformation. The rise of new technologies, coupled with the ongoing global push for a reduced environmental impact, is altering the industry. Organisations across the sector face growing pressure to streamline their operations in order to improve overall efficiency and unlock additional barrels of oil to maximize revenue.

Despite these new hurdles, the oil and gas sector has been generally very slow compared to other industries when it comes to leveraging the potential of new technologies to innovate and optimize the performance of its systems. While companies have tackled the lower oil price with positive actions to reduce environmental impact, lower operating costs and increase efficiency, these gains must now be made sustainable, Therefore, we must truly transform the way we work.

See also: How can drones power the offshore oil and gas operations?

In light of these challenges, it is now vital that players, both new and old, fully embrace the potential of new solutions to kickstart the sector’s technological revolution and achieve the higher level of stability it desperately needs. Research conducted by McKinsey & Company found that the effective use of digital technologies across the industry could lower capital expenditures by up to 20%, reduce operating costs in upstream by 3 to 5% and by about half that that in downstream, demonstrating the clear cost-savings opportunities and efficiency to be had.

Investment in today’s visionaries for tomorrow

With new technologies emerging every day, many with the same promise of reducing costs and optimizing a business’ performance, ways to achieve technological advancement across the industry are now in abundance and oil executives must consider how best to accelerate this innovation to ensure its continued success on a global scale.

At the core of most of today’s technological innovation is either a desire or need to solve a particular problem. This way of thinking is often demonstrated best by those with a different vision of the industry’s future, who are able to identify the areas needing improvement and develop new solutions accordingly. The current oil and gas sector is no exception, and we are now seeing a rapid increase in the number of emerging oil and gas startups looking to move the industry away from its traditional practices and towards a new and more efficient way of operating.

In an industry where innovation is now the key to sustainability, the ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach to development will no longer suffice. Larger companies must refocus much of their investment on the smaller, more ambitious technology developers to ensure revolutionary solutions enter the oil and gas market faster and enable them to prepare their existing solutions for success within a new era of innovation.

See also: 3 industries saving billions with cognitive machine learning

Accelerating changes to how we work and embracing new technologies will, therefore, be at the heart of the industry’s transformation; improving productivity, increasing efficiency and creating well-paid jobs. That said, it still vital that companies continue to balance this level of innovation with their existing knowledge of best practice for oil and gas organizations, to ensure a consistent position within the industry of both today and tomorrow.

One particular concept we have seen emerge across the oil and gas industry within the last decade is the digital oilfield, which refers to the real-time automation of operations through a combination of business process management systems and complex information technology, to ensure the simple management and tracking of the data. This has presented oil and gas companies with one way to streamline systems and achieve technology innovation, however, a greater investment in startups could see many other opportunities come to fruition. This means we must have a technology vision for the industry and a future where remote operations and automation are the norm.

Embracing a collaborative approach

One of the biggest challenges for oil and gas companies when achieving this degree of innovation on an industry-wide scale is finding the best way to integrate ground-breaking, new technologies. Embracing a more collaborative amongst new entrants and existing players is essential for streamlining the oil and gas landscape, reducing costs and overcoming the current lack of widespread technological development across the sector.

Partnered with a clear strategy for implementing this innovation across their business model, a greater convergence between the old and new will ensure companies are taking the best solutions from across the industry, not only to achieve innovation but to also give them a greater competitive edge within an increasingly in-demand and saturated market. This will require the industry, technology providers, government, regulators all working in partnership to deliver the technology transformation.

See also: Embracing hybrid cloud services in traditional industries

This kind of approach can provide huge benefits for all involved. For startups looking to enter the space, it can help them to connect with major investors and bring their solutions to market quickly and successfully as a result of increased investment, facilities, and resources. For the larger companies looking to invest in technology-driven solutions, this can help to change their outlook on their existing infrastructure and help to fill any technology gaps with revolutionary companies and products.

Oil and gas technology has not yet been at the forefront of the global innovation agenda, yet with demand for these services increasing every day, it is becoming increasingly ranked as a priority for change in many countries worldwide. It is now time to fully kick-start the industry’s technological revolution and the key to achieving this lies within the hundreds of emerging solutions being created by developers striving for sustainability and efficiency.

 

Originally published on Information Age 

Sourced by David Millar, TechX director, the Oil & Gas Technology Centre

Enterprise AI with the CIO and CMO: Better together benefits

Here’s a look at how AI is transforming entire enterprises, particularly through the lens of marketing and IT, and why the two teams must work together.

The massive impact AI has already had in marketing, and what we expect to see of it in the near future, is a hot topic here at MarTech Today. In my previous columns, we’ve explored how AI will be woven into marketing organizations, where it belongs in your marketing stack, and where CMOs should focus today to get the best results from their investments in AI.

There’s no doubt it’s become widespread; in fact, global spend on artificial intelligence is expected to grow from an estimated $2 billion this year to $7.3 billion per year by 2022, according to a study from Juniper Research. Yet, as abundant as it is, artificial intelligence is still a mystery to many.

Case in point: Only 33 percent of consumers think they use AI-enabled technology, yet new research shows that 77 percent actually use an AI-powered service or device.

Marketers are perhaps savvier to the opportunities than most, so it was no surprise that when my company, BrightEdge, recently asked over 500 marketers to identify the next “big trend in marketing,” 75 percent pointed to some type of AI application.

CMOs are challenged now to not only identify the right AI applications to solve specific problems but to then sell those to the CEO, other company leaders and the teams that will use the technology. Today, we’re going to broaden the scope and take a look at just a few of the ways AI is transforming entire enterprises, particularly through the lens of marketing and IT integration.

The CIO, CMO and AI

We learned in recent Adobe research that 47 percent of digitally mature organizations, or those that have advanced digital practices, said they have a defined AI strategy.

We all know that Google has one. The search giant dropped a whopping $3.2 billion acquiring Nest Labs, the largest of its $3.9 billion in disclosed AI acquisitions since 2006. All told, Google has invested $3.9 billion in AI deals, more than any other company.

Microsoft, Apple, Intel and SalesForce behind Google round out the top five companies making acquisitions of AI. (Intel takes the crown for the highest number of unique investments in AI companies, at 81.)

Sixty-one percent of over 1,600 marketing professionals from companies of all sizes pointed to machine learning and AI as their company’s most significant data initiative for next year, a MemSQL survey found.

But where is all of this interest and investment headed?

Take a look at Amazon for a sneak preview. The e-commerce giant completely rebuilt itself around AI, with spectacular results, according to a feature published in Wired. In 2014, according to the article, Srikanth Thirumalai, computer scientist and head of Amazon’s recommendations team, brought CEO Jeff Bezos the idea that Amazon could use deep learning to revamp the way recommendations work.

Thirumalai was only one department leader who included AI in his visionary proposal to Bezos. The revolution came, he told Wired, when leaders in isolated pockets of AI came together to discuss the possibilities and ultimately begin collaborating across projects. As Thirumalai told Wired:

We would talk, we would have conversations, but we wouldn’t share a lot of artifacts with each other because the lessons were not easily or directly transferable.

What followed was a revolutionary AI-centric management strategy that has baked artificial intelligence into Alexa, Amazon Web Services and almost every other facet of the $1 trillion company. Amazon takes a “flywheel” approach to AI.

Modeled after the simple tool that stores rotational energy, Amazon’s AI flywheel enables teams to build off of AI applications developed elsewhere in the organization. It’s an entirely collaborative approach that has proven a revenue generator, as well, by offering select tools to third-party companies.

That collaboration — the shift from competing for the budget for AI to working across departments — has paid huge dividends for Amazon. What could it do for your brand?

Solving persistent challenges

In 2018, CMOs have had access to more third-party AI-powered tool options than they can shake a stick at. Our firm found in recent research that more than 50 percent of marketers simply expect marketing technology providers to have native AI capabilities and consider it important or a must-have.

CIOs have been slower on the draw. Gartner’s 2018 CIO Agenda Survey found that just 4 percent of CIOs have already implemented AI in the corporate realm. However, 46 percent plan to do so in the near future. This doesn’t mean IT is being left behind. After all, the best use of AI isn’t about providing tools; it’s the catalyst in massive organizational change and even creating a new type of organization.

In the Texas A&M University System, for example, Cyber Security Intelligence reports that AI has been put to work in IT enhancing cybersecurity via Artemis, an intelligent assistant from Endgame.

“We monitor the networks for 11 universities and 7 state agencies,” said Barbara Gallaway, a security analyst at Texas A&M University System, told the publication.

Using an AI application that enables her staff to ask simple questions has helped train them in their jobs as a side benefit, she reportedly said. Her team now includes eight part-time student workers who don’t need extensive experience in dealing with security incidents in addition to nine full-time IT staff.

AI-powered products and services are helping IT teams improve productivity and effectiveness through logs analysis, employee support, enhanced cybersecurity, deep learning, natural-language processing and more. CIOs have the opportunity to transform IT from cost center to organizational trailblazer with AI.

However, as we’ve seen with Amazon, the real magic happens when CMOs, CIOs and other company leaders work together to facilitate collaborative workflows and enhanced customer experiences through AI.

Analysis of data is already a key AI focus for businesses, with on-site personalization the second most commonly cited use case for AI. Working across departments and projects, teams are discovering new and unexpected use cases for AI in their organizations.

For example, Mike Orr, IT director of digital transformation at Murphy Oil, shared the following story with CIO.com. Murphy Oil turned to an AI-powered system from Turbonomic to make recommendations about how to optimize their infrastructure while moving it from traditional on-premises and colocation to cloud and SaaS models. Once the company grew comfortable with the system, they began to trust it to perform placement and sizing automatically. Prior to the move, Orr had 4 1/2 full-time equivalents working on nothing but tickets. “Now it’s one-tenth of an FTE [full-time employee],” he says.

This is something we’re going to see more and more; in fact, Gartner predicts that while 1.8 million jobs will be eliminated due to AI by 2020, 2.3 million more jobs will be created in their place. Rather than the robots “stealing our jobs,” the impact of AI technologies on business is projected to increase labor productivity by up to 40 percent and enable people to make more efficient use of their time.

So, how can CIOs and CMOs work together?

  • As the worldwide volume of data continues to grow at some 40 percent per year, the CIO and CMO need to work closely and collaborate early on new initiatives. IT is a critical strategic partner for marketing and should be involved and consulted from conception and through all stages of planning.

  • Constantly connected consumers are generating a wealth of data for marketing — so much that most teams struggle to uncover the actionable insights that drive smarter, more informed campaigns. Who better than IT to assist? In addition to their information architecture and analysis prowess, IT is also in a position to share relevant insights with other departments as well. CMOs and CIOs must each take steps to come closer together. For CMOs, this means mastering not only the art of creativity and strategy but also the science of analytics. CIOs need to shift from a mindset of control and prevention to that of a facilitator and enabler.

  • The CIO is in a position to execute massive organizational change, while the CMO can be critical in selling it internally, to the rest of the C-suite and right on down to individual team members.

  • The CMO must be able to articulate and clearly define business goals for the CIO to evaluate and cost out. This is a give-and-take relationship that may require some negotiation but is sure to result in more purposeful tracking, measurement, and analysis.

  • Each must demonstrate a willingness to communicate on the level; to adopt a common vernacular and clear set of expectations of one another.

  • Both the CIO and CMO must enable and support integrated teams. This means not only giving employees the time and space to work together, but also giving recognition and sharing results out to the company when these partnerships result in innovative, successful uses of AI within the organization.

It all sounds great in theory, doesn’t it? In reality, changing up the complexities of traditional organizational hierarchy and deep-seeded business practice has proven incredibly challenging. Industry recommendations suggest CIOs and CMOs ensure they have these five prerequisites in place (with the CEO’s explicit support) as the foundation on which to build this relationship:

  1. Be clear on decision governance.

  2. Build the right teams.

  3. Provide transparency.

  4. Hire IT and marketing translators.

  5. Learn to drive before you fly.

In the age where the growth of big data brings complexity, with a universe of AI-powered possibility spread out before us, marketing and IT simply do better together.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim Yu is the founder and CEO of BrightEdge, the leading enterprise content performance, and SEO Platform. He combines in-depth expertise in developing and marketing large on-demand software platforms with hands-on experience in advanced digital, content and SEO practices

Credit Source: MarTech Today  

Published on September 19, 2018, at 2:42 pm

While politicians court Google and Uber, fracking industry offers a different sort of high-tech job

CANNONSBURG, Pa. — If there is mud on the floor, they say in the shale industry, that means cash is coming in the door. That is, when workers are out in the field and the boots are getting dirty, money is being made.

Thanks to an infusion of high technology driving the natural gas industry, it’s not just about dirty boots anymore – and it’s a good story. It’s a marriage of advanced technologies and dirt-under-your-nails hard work rarely told, because extracting shale is not a popular business politically.

Fracking, it turns out, is the one high-tech industry not embraced by politicians in Pittsburgh who are rushing to embrace the likes of Uber and Google. Why? Because local progressive Democrats, very vocal climate activists, and the burgeoning Democratic Socialists of America party demand a wholesale repudiation of the natural gas industry. Local Democratic officials thus have to oppose fracking or risk losing in a Democratic primary.

Vice President of Engineering and Development of CNX Resources Corporation Andrea Passman stands in a control room that is used for predicting drilling locations at CNX's headquarters on July 30 in Cannonsburg, Pa.

Vice President of Engineering and Development of CNX Resources Corporation Andrea Passman stands in a control room that is used for predicting drilling locations at CNX’s headquarters on July 30 in Cannonsburg, Pa.

(Justin Merriman for the Washington Examiner)

Today’s natural gas industry isn’t the same petroleum job your grandfather or your father would have applied for. It not only attracts computer scientists, software engineers, mathematicians, and geologists to relocate to Western Pennsylvania from around the country, but it also provides careers for locals who thought those good jobs left for good when the coal mines and steel mills closed a generation ago.

Plenty of locals, who perhaps were not cut out for college, just wanted an opportunity to work hard in an industry with a future. All the better if that industry utilized the resources of the land while conserving it — nobody wants to spoil the places for hunting, fishing, climbing, hiking, and camping. Even better, a local job would allow them to live near family.

Mike May is one such guy.

The 33-year-old grew up in Imperial, Pa., along the Lincoln Highway. After graduating from West Allegheny High School, May joined the Marines. When he left the service, he wanted to come back home to Western Pennsylvania and work his way up in the world, but he just didn’t know if he had the career skills.

Mike May, 33, of Oakdale, Pa., works in the control room of CNX Resources Corporation on July 30 at their headquarters in Cannonsburg, Pa. The control room is able to monitor and adjust well sites throughout several states.

Mike May, 33, of Oakdale, Pa., works in the control room of CNX Resources Corporation on July 30 at their headquarters in Cannonsburg, Pa. The control room is able to monitor and adjust well sites throughout several states.

(Justin Merriman for the Washington Examiner)

“So, I started in the gas and oil fields literally working with my hands; I have worked in the industry from the bottom up,” he says as he stands in front of three monitors doing the same thing he did in the field.

No dirt under the nails. No weather dictating field conditions. No mud on the boots. Just precision automation that does the job a team of workers used to do in the field. Now, May does it inside the offices of CNX, a fracking company that broke off of energy giant CONSOL.

“Basically, I was a production operator,” explains May, “I ran all the physical operations, manual chokes, fixing anything that would break or go down; adjusting water dumps to increase the efficiency of the separators, water, and tank levels out there,” he says of the drilling sites.

Now, he does almost all of that remotely.

“See, this is the digital twin of the well site,” he says, pointing to one of several screens he is monitoring in a highly secure floor of the complex. “So, over here, we have all of our physical assets. This is the data surveillance side of the house. We’re also able to control and push parameters out to the field level. So, things I used have to do at the site and make physical changes I can do using technology,” he says.

Twenty miles north of this office, in Pittsburgh, several dozen young climate activists — about May’s age — protested last week in front of the mayor’s office. They pressed Democratic city and county leaders to stop the expansion of fracking in the county and to speak out against the Shell cracker plant under construction in the region.

Twenty miles in the opposite direction, public high schools are offering vocational training for their students that prepare them to walk off the high school football field on graduation day with their diplomas and into jobs that start at $129,000 a year.

Compared to the kids closer to Pittsburgh, these kids from rural high schools won’t have an inside track for jobs at the likes of Google, Uber, and others whom the Democratic mayor celebrates as part of the “new Pittsburgh.”

And the Shell cracker plant the climate activists were protesting? It doesn’t make really make crackers — cracking is the process that converts natural gas products into ethylene and then into plastics. The $6 billion dollar plant began construction last year, with construction employment expected to exceed 6,000 workers over the next ten years and provide 600 permanent positions once the plant is complete.

Since the 1920s, technology and automation have been disrupting the manufacturing world — eliminating jobs and growth opportunities throughout the different regions in the country. Here, technology is creating jobs. For May, automation and high technology didn’t take his job; it enriched it.

“Correct. I kinda evolved with the times. I am truly living the American Dream.”

Petroleum Institute announces ‘Explore Offshore’ coalition

TALLAHASSEE — Proponents of drilling for oil and natural gas haven’t given up on tapping areas closer to Florida’s shoreline despite repeated assurances those waters will be exempt from a White House plan to expand exploration.

The Washington, D.C.-based American Petroleum Institute announced Wednesday a multi-state “Explore Offshore” coalition to support the Trump administration’s plan to open previously protected parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling.

The coalition’s Florida team, which is focused on the eastern Gulf waters, includes former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, former Okaloosa County Commissioner Wayne Harris, former Puerto Rico state Sen. Miriam Ramirez and Florida Petroleum Council Executive Director David Mica.

Mica said Floridians use more than 25 million gallons of motor fuel a day, while the industry is restricted from “some very, very good areas” that potentially have oil.

We need to do it in an environmentally responsible manner, but we must go forward,” Mica said. “I think that it’s really putting your head in the sand if you think that we’re not going to need a lot more oil and gas into the future and that we can rely only on alternative fuels.”

Many Florida officials, including Gov. Rick Scott, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein and members of Florida’s congressional delegation from both sides of the political aisle have denounced the possibility of opening to drilling almost all of the nation’s outer continental shelf — a jurisdictional term describing submerged lands 10.36 statutory miles off Florida’s west coast and 3 nautical miles off the east coast.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke appeared briefly Jan. 9 in Tallahassee to announce drilling would not occur off the Florida coast. But the Trump administration’s stance has not been formalized and continues to draw questions.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., on Wednesday equated the petroleum industry’s new coalition with lingering skepticism over Zinke’s assurances that waters off the Florida coast will be exempt from the plan.

“Here we go. Like us, Big Oil doesn’t believe Florida is really ‘off the table’ to new drilling — despite what Scott and the Trump Administration keep saying — and now they are making a new push to drill closer to Florida’s shores,” Nelson tweeted. “We can’t let that happen!”

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is expected to release a draft report on the offshore proposal before the end of the year. That will kick off the second round of public hearings.

Drilling proponents have hailed the prospects of exploring for oil and gas closer to shore as benefiting consumers by potentially creating jobs and additional government revenue while strengthening national security.

The American Petroleum Institute said its coalition features more than 100 businesses, organizations and officials from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

In its release, the institute highlighted Florida’s dependence on natural gas, which generates 67 percent of the state’s electricity, and forecast that offshore development could result in $2.6 billion in private investment in Florida and $1 billion per year in state revenues.

Kottkamp said the “availability of affordable energy is critical” to Florida’s quality of life.

“We look forward to working with our local leaders to discuss ways to maintain our state’s natural beauty while at the same time expanding opportunities to keep our nation energy independent,” Kottkamp said in a statement.

In November, Florida voters will decide whether to approve a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban nearshore oil and gas drilling. That ban would affect state-controlled waters.

Source: Panama City News Herald

The Graduate Certificate in Global Energy, Development, and Sustainability (GEDS)

What is the GEDS Certificate?

A multidisciplinary certification that:

  • Provides the analytical tools and frameworks necessary for assessing and addressing the long-term social, economic, and environmental impacts of oil and gas projects.

  • Introduces “best-practices” for creating energy projects that benefit all stakeholders (communities, companies, governments) in developing nations and new production regions.

  • Teaches students the historical and structural origins of the “Natural Resource Curse” as it manifests in different regions of the globe, and how to plan for and mitigate its effects.

Because the technical expertise of companies and governments has traditionally been focused on the efficient discovery and extraction of oil and gas resources, the skills required for developing energy projects that are sustainable and beneficial to all stakeholders (communities, companies, and governments alike) have not always been prioritized in training for an oil and gas career.

The Graduate Certificate in Global Energy, Development, and Sustainability (GEDS) provides students with such skills, imparting them through a unique, multi-disciplinary curriculum focused on the petroleum industry and its impact on societies. Classes are designed and taught by UH faculty and local/international energy experts with long academic, industry, and civil society/NGO experience. The certificate is one-of-a-kind, providing critical and timely knowledge, theory, and skill sets from fields such as business, economics, global oil and gas history, anthropology, environmental law/policy, international petroleum law, human rights law, political science, industrial occupational psychology, human resource management, corporate social responsibility, and risk analysis.

The GEDS Certificate is of benefit to those working or intending to work in the energy sector – including industry professionals, government officials and regulators, members of civil society or NGO activist/policy groups, energy consultants and financial advisors. Graduate students who are interested in energy, sustainability, and global or domestic energy policy are invited to apply as well.

Join us as we work to chart a course for a sustainable energy future, one that will benefit all stakeholders and help navigate the transitions to come!

Click here for more information

Photos

U.S. strikes environmental bell with next offshore lease

More than 75 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico will be put on the auction block for drillers in August.

By Daniel J. Graeber

April 2 (UPI) — Giving drillers the rights to reach nearly 50 billion barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico will come with a degree of responsibility, the U.S. government said.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced it’s putting 77.3 million acres on the auction block for oil and gas drillers Aug. 15. It’s the third offshore lease under a five-year lease plan by President Donald Trump, whose put achieving energy dominance at the forefront of his agenda.

Not included in the August lease are blocks near military interests and waters near the coast of Florida. Marine sanctuaries in the Gulf of Mexico are also excluded.

“Striking the right balance between protecting the environment, powering America and achieving American energy dominance is our ultimate goal,” Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Joe Balash said in a statement.

In late December, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement published a proposed change in the rules for offshore oil and gas drilling that would amend parts of the oil and gas safety regulations to remove the requirement for a third party to certify that certain safety devices are “designed to function in the most extreme conditions to which it will be exposed and that the device will function as designed.”

A new five-year lease program proposed by the federal government, and opened for public comment, called for 19 lease sales offshore Alaska, seven in the Pacific Region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and nine in the Atlantic.

Florida is at the heart of the debate over President Donald Trump’s offshore energy agenda. In January, U.S. Interior Secreary Zinke told Florida Gov. Rick Scott his state was removed from drilling consideration, but Walter Cruickshank, the acting director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, later testified that wasn’t the case.

During testimony before the Senate last month, Zinke added that Florida was “still in the process.”

The U.S. Gulf of Mexico contains about 48 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable gas, according to the U.S. Interior Department.

An auction last month, the largest ever for the region, brought in only modest interest as sector players remain cautious about market recovery.

The U.S. government announced the lease Friday.

Published by UPI.com

Climate Alarmists May Inherit the Wind

They likened a courtroom ‘tutorial’ to the Scopes Monkey Trial. But their side got schooled.

San Francisco

Five American oil companies find themselves in a San Francisco courtroom. California v. Chevron is a civil action brought by the city attorneys of San Francisco and Oakland, who accuse the defendants of creating a “public nuisance” by contributing to climate change and of conspiring to cover it up so they could continue to profit.

No trial date has been set, but on March 21 the litigants gathered for a “climate change tutorial” ordered by Judge William Alsup —a prospect that thrilled climate-change alarmists. Excited spectators gathered outside the courtroom at 6 a.m., urged on by advocates such as the website Grist, which declared “Buckle up, polluters! You’re in for it now,” and likened the proceeding to the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial.

In the event, the hearing did not go well for the plaintiffs—and not for lack of legal talent. Steve W. Berman, who represented the cities, is a star trial lawyer who has made a career and a fortune suing corporations for large settlements, including the $200 billion-plus tobacco settlement in 1998.

“Until now, fossil fuel companies have been able to talk about climate science in political and media arenas where there is far less accountability to the truth,” Michael Burger of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University told Grist. The hearing did mark a shift toward accountability—but perhaps not in the way activists would have liked.

Judge Alsup started quietly. He flattered the plaintiffs’ first witness, Oxford physicist Myles Allen, by calling him a “genius,” but he also reprimanded Mr. Allen for using a misleading illustration to represent carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and a graph ostensibly about temperature rise that did not actually show rising temperatures.

Then the pointed questions began. Gary Griggs, an oceanographer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, struggled with the judge’s simple query: “What do you think caused the last Ice Age?”

The professor talked at length about a wobble in the earth’s orbit and went on to describe a period “before there were humans on the planet,” which “we call hothouse Earth.” That was when “all the ice melted. We had fossils of palm trees and alligators in the Arctic,” Mr. Griggs told the court. He added that at one time the sea level was 20 to 30 feet higher than today.

Mr. Griggs then recounted “a period called ‘snow ballers,’ ” when scientists “think the entire Earth was frozen due to changes in things like methane released from the ocean.”

Bear in mind these accounts of two apocalyptic climate events that occurred naturally came from a witness for plaintiffs looking to prove American oil companies are responsible for small changes in present-day climate.

The defendants’ lawyer, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. , emphasized the little-discussed but huge uncertainties in reports from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the failure of worst-case climate models to pan out in reality. Or as Judge Alsup put it: “Instead of doom and gloom, it’s just gloom.”

Mr. Boutrous also noted that the city of San Francisco—in court claiming that rising sea levels imperil its future—recently issued a 20-year bond, whose prospectus asserted the city was “unable to predict whether sea level rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm will occur.”

Judge Alsup was particularly scathing about the conspiracy claim. The plaintiffs alleged that the oil companies were in possession of “smoking gun” documents that would prove their liability; Mr. Boutrous said this was simply an internal summary of the publicly available 1995 IPCC report.

The judge said he read the lawsuit’s allegations to mean “that there was a conspiratorial document within the defendants about how they knew good and well that global warming was right around the corner. And I said: ‘OK, that’s going to be a big thing. I want to see it.’ Well, it turned out it wasn’t quite that. What it was, was a slide show that somebody had gone to the IPCC and was reporting on what the IPCC had reported, and that was it. Nothing more. So they were on notice of what in IPCC said from that document, but it’s hard to say that they were secretly aware. By that point they knew. Everybody knew everything in the IPCC,” he stated.

Judge Alsup then turned to Mr. Berman: “If you want to respond, I’ll let you respond. . . . Anything you want to say?”

“No,” said the counsel to the plaintiffs. Whereupon Judge Alsup adjourned the proceedings.

Until now, environmentalists and friendly academics have found a receptive audience in journalists and politicians who don’t understand science and are happy to defer to experts. Perhaps this is why the plaintiffs seemed so ill-prepared for their first court outings with tough questions from an informed and inquisitive judge.

Activists have long claimed they want their day in court so that the truth can be revealed. Given last week’s poor performance, they may be the ones who inherit the wind.

Mr. McAleer is a journalist, playwright and filmmaker. He is currently writing a play about Chevron Corp.’s legal fight over alleged pollution in Ecuador.

Re-Published from THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

https://www.wsj.com/articles/climate-alarmists-may-inherit-the-wind-1522605526

 

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testified at a hearing on the Trump administration’s fiscal year 2019 Interior Department budget request

Top Priority ¨Mineral Security, offshore drilling and Climate Change“ MARCH 13, 2018 Interior Department Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testified at a hearing on the Trump administration’s fiscal year 2019 Interior Department budget request. Topics include a proposed raise in national park 2019 Budget Request proposals of offshore drilling around the coasts, and his thoughts around the term “climate change.”

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ExxonMobil to Join Stanford Strategic Energy Alliance

  • Builds on Global Climate and Energy Project’s 15 years of success
  • Strong science and exploratory research to develop low-carbon energy solutions
  • $20 million commitment in addition to ExxonMobil’s GCEP investment of more than $100 million
  • Expands company’s collaborative work with academic and research institutions around the world

IRVING, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) today announced that it will become the first founding member of the new Stanford Strategic Energy Alliance, an initiative that will examine ways to improve energy access, security and technology while reducing impacts on the environment. As part of its commitment, ExxonMobil will contribute $20 million in funding over five years to research and develop lower-carbon energy solutions.

The Stanford Strategic Energy Alliance builds on the success of the Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP), also led by Stanford, which focused exclusively on low-emissions, high-efficiency energy technologies. ExxonMobil has sponsored GCEP since its inception in 2002 with a commitment of $100 million and additional contributions toward specific projects. In its 15 years of work, GCEP has evolved into a pioneering collaboration of scientists, engineers, researchers and students focused on identifying breakthrough low greenhouse gas emission energy technologies that could be developed and deployed on a large scale.

“ExxonMobil has worked with Stanford to advance low-carbon technologies over the last 15 years, and we’re excited to be the first founding member of this new endeavor,” said Bruce March, president of the ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company. “Identifying scalable solutions for addressing the dual challenge of supplying energy to meet global demand while minimizing the risk of climate change is one of our core missions. We are continuously looking for ways to improve existing supply options and manufacturing processes while managing carbon intensity.”

Since its creation, GCEP has sponsored more than 100 research programs in the United States, Europe, Australia, China and Japan, and has resulted in over 900 papers in leading journals and more than 1,200 presentations at conferences. Building on fundamental science, significant advances have been made in the areas of photovoltaic energy, renewable and lower carbon fossil fuels, batteries and fuel cells. More than 60 technologies have also been developed and 15 patents have been issued. Multiple companies have also started up as a direct result of or inspiration from GCEP research.

The new Stanford Strategic Energy Alliance will pair industry alliance members and Stanford professors who share common research objectives across the spectrum of energy topics from science and engineering to policy and business. Managed by the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy, the alliance will also fund some early-stage research at the direction of its faculty leadership.

ExxonMobil’s support for the Stanford Strategic Energy Alliance expands the company’s collaborative efforts with other academic and research institutions that are focused on developing an array of new energy technologies, improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The company currently works with about 80 universities in the United States, Europe and Asiato explore next-generation energy technologies, including founding members of MIT Energy InitiativePrinceton E-ffiliates Partnership and University of Texas at Austin Energy Institute.

Source: Exxon Mobil Corporation

ExxonMobil
Media Relations, 972-940-6007

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