Archive | Natural Gas

Coast Guard Confirms Oil Sheen From Mariner Energy Oil Platform Explosion

Sept. 2, 2010 – An oil sheen has been spotted at the location of the Mariner Energy oil platform explosion. The sheen is approximately 100 feet wide and 1 mile long. A spokesman for Mariner Energy had originally indicated that there was no evidence that oil had spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. The Coast Guard has called back many of its resources since the fire is now under control and all the workers have been accounted for and rescued.

There has been no explanation by the company, so far, as to the source of the visible oil slick.

More information has been learned about the distressed Mariner Energy oil platform, which is located 200 miles west of the site of BP’s oil spill. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal indicated that Mariner Energy officials had informed him that the platform had seven active production wells on the platform but that they were all shut down after the fire started.

According to the federal government, the Mariner Energy platform had been producing 58,800 gallons of oil and 900,000 cubic feet of natural gas everyday. The platform can store 4,200 gallons of oil, so the majority of that produced is transported off the platform via a network of pipelines.

Although a deepwater drilling moratorium has been in effect for much of the Gulf of Mexico stemming from the BP disaster, the Mariner Energy platform sits in only 340 feet of water. Because the platform is physically locked into the seabed floor, it is not considered to be a “deepwater” and therefore not subject to the moratorium.

Mariner Energy spokesman Patrick Cassidy noted that the incident on the platform “wasn’t a blowout, it’s not an explosion. The fire appears to have been in or near the living quarters on the upper deck.”

Although there is a visible oil sheen on the water surface, there is no indication that the well itself has been breached.

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Receding Ice Could Unlock Arctic Trove

HELSINKI, Finland, Aug. 26 (UPI) — Receding arctic ice from global warming may open new avenues for tourism and trade and could reveal vast new natural resource reserves, researchers say.

The northern ice cover is becoming smaller and thinner, and scientists predict the Arctic Ocean could lose its icecap completely during summertime by the end of the century at the latest, and possibly as early as the 2030s, Finland’s Helsingen Sonomat reported.

Twenty years from now it may be possible to travel to the North Pole by ship, they say. Russia has already organized luxury cruises to the North Pole in its nuclear-powered icebreakers, but the next generation may be able to reach the top of the world in their pleasure boats, they say.

More important would be what the opening of the sea channels could mean for world trade. The Northeast Passage along Russia’s north coast and the Northwest Passage through Canada’s Arctic archipelago would shorten the sea journey from Asia to Europe and to the east coast of North America by as much as a third.

The receding ice could also allow access to rich natural resources.

More than a quarter of the world’s catches of fish currently come from Arctic waters. An estimated 20 percent to 30 percent of the world’s untapped natural gas resources and 5 percent to 13 percent of oil resources are in the Arctic region, researchers say.

All this new opportunity would require the cooperation among countries, politicians in Arctic states say.

In April the World Wide Fund for Nature published a report on questions concerning the administration of the Arctic Ocean.

“Arctic states must remember that the Arctic Ocean is not their backyard,” report author Professor Timo Koivurova of the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland said. “International maritime law already guarantees the commercial fleets and fishing fleets of all countries in the world access to the area. It would be sensible to get them to commit to a treaty concerning the Arctic region.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Fish, Natural Gas, Other0 Comments

Receding Ice Could Unlock Arctic Trove

HELSINKI, Finland, Aug. 26 (UPI) — Receding arctic ice from global warming may open new avenues for tourism and trade and could reveal vast new natural resource reserves, researchers say.

The northern ice cover is becoming smaller and thinner, and scientists predict the Arctic Ocean could lose its icecap completely during summertime by the end of the century at the latest, and possibly as early as the 2030s, Finland’s Helsingen Sonomat reported.

Twenty years from now it may be possible to travel to the North Pole by ship, they say. Russia has already organized luxury cruises to the North Pole in its nuclear-powered icebreakers, but the next generation may be able to reach the top of the world in their pleasure boats, they say.

More important would be what the opening of the sea channels could mean for world trade. The Northeast Passage along Russia’s north coast and the Northwest Passage through Canada’s Arctic archipelago would shorten the sea journey from Asia to Europe and to the east coast of North America by as much as a third.

The receding ice could also allow access to rich natural resources.

More than a quarter of the world’s catches of fish currently come from Arctic waters.

And an estimated 20- to 30 percent of the world’s untapped natural gas resources and 5- to 13 percent of its oil resources are in the Arctic region, researchers say.

All this new opportunity would require the cooperation of the world’s countries, politicians in Arctic states say.

In April the World Wide Fund for Nature published a report on questions concerning the administration of the Arctic Ocean.

“Arctic states must remember that the Arctic Ocean is not their backyard,” report author Professor Timo Koivurova of the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland said. “International maritime law already guarantees the commercial fleets and fishing fleets of all countries in the world access to the area. It would be sensible to get them to commit to a treaty concerning the Arctic region.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Fish, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Other0 Comments

U.S. Energy 'appetite' Trimmed in 2009

LIVERMORE, Calif., Aug. 24 (UPI) — Americans are using less energy overall and availing themselves of more renewable energy sources, a report says.

Data released by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory showed the United States used significantly less coal and petroleum in 2009 than in 2008 while utilizing considerably more wind power.

And while there was a decline in natural gas consumption, solar, hydro and geothermal power use was up, the laboratory said.

“Energy use tends to follow the level of economic activity, and that level declined last year,” A.J. Simon, an LLNL energy systems analyst, said.

“At the same time, higher efficiency appliances and vehicles reduced energy use even further,” he said. “As a result, people and businesses are using less energy in general.”

Wind power increased dramatically in 2009, and since most of that energy is tied directly to electricity generation it helps decrease the use of coal for electricity production, he said.

“The increase in renewables is a really good story, especially in the wind arena,” Simon said. “It’s a result of very good incentives and technological advancements.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Coal, Consumption, Electricity, Geothermal, Natural Gas, Other, Solar, Wind0 Comments

Scientist: Wind, Solar Energy is Future

BOSTON, Aug. 24 (UPI) — A Nobel Prize-winning U.S. scientist says the world could soon enter an era where renewable wind and solar power will be the globe’s main sources of energy.

Walter Kohn, who shared the 1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, told a meeting of the American Chemical Society that total oil and natural gas production, which today provides about 60 percent of global energy consumption, is expected to peak about 10 to 30 years from now, followed by a rapid decline, an ACS release said Tuesday.

But ongoing research and development of alternative energy could lead to a new era in human history in which two renewable sources — solar and wind — will become Earth’s dominant contributors of energy, Kohn said.

Global photovoltaic energy production increased by a factor of about 90 and wind energy by a factor of about 10 over the last 10 years, Kohn said, and he expects vigorous growth of these two effectively inexhaustible energies to continue.

Kohn, from the University of California, Santa Barbara, cited students on his campus who spent their own funds to convert an athletic building to total solar power.

“When it comes to providing leadership by young people in the area of energy conservation and energy efficiency and global warming — they are fantastic,” he said. “It is a major social commitment for our times.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Consumption, Energy Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Natural Gas, Other, Solar, Wind0 Comments

Scientist: World's Helium Being Squandered

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 (UPI) — The world is running out of helium, a resource that cannot be renewed, and supplies could run out in 25 to 30 years, a U.S. researcher says.

Nobel-prize winning physicist Robert Richardson warns that the inert gas is being sold off far too cheaply — so cheaply there is no incentive to recycle it — and world supplies of the gas, a vital component of medical MRI scanners, spacecraft and rockets, could be gone in just decades, Britain’s The Telegraph reported Monday.

About 80 per cent of the world’s reserves are in the U.S. Southwest at the U.S. National Helium Reserve in Amarillo, Texas, but a recently passed law has ruled the reserve must be sold off by 2015 regardless of market price, Britain’s Independent said.

“As a result of that act, helium is far too cheap and is not treated as a precious resource,” Richardson says. “It’s being squandered.”

Helium is created by the radioactive decay of terrestrial rock and most of the world’s reserves have been collected as a byproduct from the extraction of natural gas.

Liquid helium is critical for cooling infrared detectors and nuclear reactors. The space industry uses it in sensitive satellite equipment and spacecraft, and NASA uses helium in huge quantities to purge the potentially explosive fuel from its rockets.

Despite the critical role the gas has in modern technology, it is being depleted as an unprecedented rate and reserves could dwindle to virtually nothing within a generation, Richardson says.

“The Earth is 4.7 billion years old and it has taken that long to accumulate helium reserves, which we will dissipate in about 100 years,” he says. “One generation does not have the right to determine availability for ever.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Natural Gas, Nuclear, Other0 Comments

Scientist: World's Helium Being Squandered

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 (UPI) — The world is running out of helium, a resource that cannot be renewed, and supplies could run out in 25 to 30 years, a U.S. researcher says.

Nobel-prize winning physicist Robert Richardson warns that the inert gas is being sold off far to cheaply — so cheaply there is no incentive to recycle it — and world supplies of the gas, a vital component of medical MRI scanners, spacecraft and rockets, could be gone in just decades, Britain’s The Telegraph reported Monday.

Around 80 per cent of the world’s reserves are in the U.S. Southwest at the the U.S. National Helium Reserve, located in Amarillo, Texas, but a recently passed law has ruled the reserve must be sold off by 2015 regardless of market price, Britain’s Independent said.

“As a result of that act, helium is far too cheap and is not treated as a precious resource,” Richardson says. “It’s being squandered.”

Helium is created by the radioactive decay of terrestrial rock and most of the world’s reserves have been collected as a byproduct from the extraction of natural gas.

Liquid helium is critical for cooling infrared detectors and nuclear reactors. The space industry uses it in sensitive satellite equipment and spacecraft, and NASA uses helium in huge quantities to purge the potentially explosive fuel from its rockets.

Despite the critical role that the gas has in modern technology, it is being depleted as an unprecedented rate and reserves could dwindle to virtually nothing within a generation, Richardson says.

“The Earth is 4.7 billion years old and it has taken that long to accumulate our helium reserves, which we will dissipate in about 100 years,” he says. “One generation does not have the right to determine availability for ever.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Natural Gas, Nuclear, Other0 Comments

Researchers Propose Movable Biofuel Center

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., July 8 (UPI) — If agricultural waste can’t go to a biofuel processing center, then the processing center should go to the agricultural waste, U.S. researchers theorized.

Researchers at Purdue University propose creating mobile processing plants that would roam the Midwest to produce biofuels using a technique called fast-hydropyrolysis-hydrodeoxygenation, the West Lafayette, Ind., university said this week in a release.

Researchers said biomass and hydrogen would be fed into a high-pressure reactor and subjected to extremely fast heating, rising to as hot as 900 degrees F in less than a second in the biofuel process.

“What’s important is that you can process all kinds of available biomass — wood chips, switch grass, corn stover, rice husks, wheat straw,” said Rakesh Agrawal, the Winthrop E. Stone distinguished professor of chemical engineering.

Hydrogen for the mobile plants would be derived from natural gas or the biomass itself, researchers said. However, Agrawal said he can see solar power eventually being used to produce hydrogen by splitting water, making the new technology entirely renewable.

Agrawal and other researchers said the new method would produce nearly twice as much biofuel as current technologies when hydrogen is derived from natural gas, and one-and-a-half times the liquid fuel when hydrogen is derived from the biomass itself.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Engineering, Hydrogen, Natural Gas, Other, Solar0 Comments

Scientists Dispel Oil Rig Disaster Myths

WASHINGTON, July 1 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say worst-case scenarios circulating on the Internet about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill have little scientific basis.

Web sites are awash with disaster predictions like collapsing sea beds, oily rain or oil-contaminated seafood, the Christian Science Monitor reported Thursday.

One scenario has the earth around the wellhead sinking and cracking, creating gushers that would never stop or giant exploding methane gas bubbles, events scientists say can’t happen.

“The idea that there could be a catastrophic cave in, or a methane gas explosion, that’s not a reasonable worry,” said Gary Byerly, a professor of geology at Louisiana State University. “The rock formations on top of this oil deposit have enough strength that nothing like that is going to happen.”

Byerly admits that oil and gas do leak from natural cracks in the gulf floor.

“That has been going on for tens of thousands of years, and petroleum and natural gas will find any kind of fault to come to the surface,” he said.

A recent YouTube video purportedly showing oily rain falling in a New Orleans suburb has also been debunked by scientists.

“I don’t think what is supposedly shown in the video could happen,” said Alberto Mestas-Nunez, a professor of oceanography at Texas A&M University. “Oil is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons, and I don’t see how these separate components could evaporate and then recombine in the atmosphere and come down as something like oil.”

Regarding contaminated seafood, experts note that much of the seafood sold in the United States is imported or comes from Alaska, and multiple inspection systems ensure that gulf seafood is being caught in clean water.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Natural Gas, Other0 Comments

Mixed Reaction on Cape Wind Approval

BOSTON, April 28 (UPI) — The approval of the Cape Wind power project off Massachusetts was cheered by renewable-energy interests but some environmentalists expressed dismay.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced approval Wednesday of the $1 billion offshore wind farm, which was seen by some as a source of clean electricity but others saw it as a threat to the Cape Cod ocean environment.

“This bold step by the Obama administration sends a signal that the United States is serious about securing its energy future and is willing to take action to make that happen,” said Tom King, president of National Grid.

National Grid, a company that supplies electricity and natural gas in the Northeast, said in a written statement it was negotiating a power-purchase agreement with Cape Wind.

The offshore turbines weren’t so welcome to environmentalists who feared serious harm to wildlife.

The American Bird Conservatory said it was “disappointed” in the decision because it could disrupt sea-bird habitat and knock too many migratory birds out of the sky.

Salazar said the developer of the wind farm, which will be built on federal submerged land in Nantucket Sound, must agree to minimize the potential adverse impacts of construction and operation of the facility.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Birds, Electricity, Natural Gas, Other, Wind0 Comments

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