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Safety Fears Raised By Leaked BP Report

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Safety Fears Raised By Leaked BP Report

According to analysis of an internal BP report leaked to Energydesk, a litany of failures in the way BP manages critical safety information may be increasing the risk of accidents at the oil giant’s plants across the globe.

The confidential document handed to Greenpeace’s Energydesk and shared with the Financial Times, reveals serious weaknesses in the way the company manages critical information and reporting of incidents at its refineries and oil rigs. It went on to claim these failures had brought BP close to two potentially lethal accidents, including one at their chemical plant in Hull, and were costing the firm $180m a year.

The document has raised alarm amongst leading experts and politicians. It comes just days after news that BP has approved the $9bn Mad Dog 2 deepwater project in the Gulf of Mexico and weeks after the oil giant ditched plans to drill in the pristine waters of the Great Australian Bight.

The list of failures highlighted in the report ranges from missing blueprints to crucial anti-blowout devices being wrongly installed. The reports notes that, in recent years, these have resulted in “repeated near-misses” and at least one serious incident at a major refinery in the USA where an entire unit’s oil contents were accidentally flared, violating EPA rules.

The report warns that systems designed to prevent problems are so weak there is a real risk of leaks or vapour cloud explosions, and that the problem “requires urgent attention.”

The document also alleges that BP lags seriously behind competitor companies, including Shell, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Malaysian state oil company, Petronas, when it comes to information management.

The report, produced in August 2015 and based on interviews with over 150 stakeholders at nine BP sites, identified around 75 incidents caused by mismanagement of engineering information.

It is clear that BP have again failed to act on recommendations and address the issues raised

In a startling finding, the report also reveals that 80% of those working on engineering information inside BP told researchers that they did not “believe data management was given adequate priority or the resources to be safe, reliable and efficient”.

Of the 500 recent incidents examined in the report, 15% had poor engineering information as a root cause or contributing factor. The report adds that “root causes and contributing factors in the 15% are agreed by sites and central teams to be increasing the probability of incidents.”

Renowned safety expert, Berkeley professor and former BP consultant Professor Robert Bea analysed the leaked report, and noted many of the issues raised were the same as problems he had identified in BP more than a decade ago.

“It is clear that BP have again failed to act on recommendations and address the issues raised. These failures could have very serious effects on the safety of the refinery operations,” he said.

When contacted by Energydesk, BP failed to confirm if and how the concerns in the report had been acted on.

Democratic Representative Raul Grijalva, who sits in the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources, reviewed Energydesk’s findings and said:

“BP’s attitude seems to be that disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are the cost of doing business, which tells me we need to crack down even harder than I thought. No company with BP’s international reach should be able to shrug at safety and maintenance issues and pass on the very high costs of their indifference to the rest of us.”

Energydesk also analysed three previous BP controversies – including the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout – and noted that safety issues and poor information management have long-plagued the company’s operations.

Greenpeace UK’s senior climate adviser Charlie Kronick said:

“Nearly seven years have passed since the Deepwater Horizon disaster and BP’s sloppy approach to a crucial aspect of safety hasn’t changed. The same happy-go-lucky attitude that played a role in major accidents in the past is seemingly still reflected in the management of safety information across the oil giant’s operations from rig to refinery.

“For a company that’s been trying to drill in some of the world’s most fragile environments this is completely unacceptable.

“BP has got away with cutting corners and crossing fingers for far too long. With the ratification of the Paris climate agreement, governments should bar BP from putting sensitive ecosystems at risk for the sake of an industry that’s no longer sustainable.”

Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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