News Round-Up: August 31, 2011


Today’s Essential Reads


Exxon in Arctic Deal with Russian Oil Giant

ExxonMobil is making a big move into the Russian Arctic. The U.S. oil company entered into a partnership with Russian oil giant Rosneft Tuesday, giving Exxon access to vast Arctic oil deposits and Rosneft a leg up in cutting-edge oil technology

Study: Fracking Priciest for Wells

The hydraulic fracturing process that’s brought the most controversy to the natural gas industry is also the most expensive aspect of operating a Marcellus Shale well, according to a University of Pittsburgh study released Tuesday.

Fracking Stirs Controversy in South Africa

A controversial method for extracting natural gas — hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ — is stirring an environmental and property rights debate in South Africa.

Drought-Stricken Cities Look to Trim Drillers’ Water Use

In the midst of a drought, some Texas cities are stepping up rules to limit the water usage by natural gas drillers, according to a The Fort Worth Star-Telegram story.


Chemicals Used in BP Oil Spill Cleanup Suspected of Being Cancerous

More than a million gallons of oil-dispersing chemicals were dumped into the Gulf of Mexico following the BP oil spill of April 2010, and based on what was known about the products available at the time, it is probable that some of the dispersants contained cancer-causing ingredients.

Arctic Oil Spill Response Plans Are Triumphs of Hope Over Expectation

As ExxonMobil and Rosneft move into the Arctic, an analysis of Cairn Energy’s previously secret safety plan reveals worrying challenges.

New Leak Near Deepwater Horizon Site Quickly Becoming a Massive Oil Slick

Over the past two weeks, I have been closely following reports of renewed leaking in the Macondo oil field, the site of last year’s Deepwater Horizon disaster (Map). First, New Orleans Lawyer Stuart Smith reported that nearly 40 ships were hired by BP to conduct a boom-laying mission over the August 13th weekend. Next, nonprofit organizations On Wings of Care and Gulf Restoration Network conducted a joint flyover of the spill site, bringing back photographic evidence of fresh oil near the site of the Macondo well. This in turn prompted reporters from the Mobile Press-Register to hire a boat out to the site, where they found massive “globules” of oil rising to the surface, creating a growing sheen on the water (you can read about that here).

In Pensacola, Sen. Nelson Touts Bill to Direct BP Oil Spill Fines to Gulf States

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson met with local officials in Pensacola today to discuss bipartisan legislation that would direct fines from BP back to Gulf states impacted by the 2010 oil spill.


Sea Near Nuclear Plants Not Patrolled

An argument between state and central agencies has left the waters near Tamil Nadu’s nuclear power plants at Kalpakkam and Kundankulam unpatrolled. The state-run Coastal Security Group (CSG) says patrolling the sea near these plants is the responsibility of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), while the CISF says the CSG is in charge of the waters.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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