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Safety Fears Raised By Leaked BP Report



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.”


7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption



Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions |

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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