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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

Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?

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The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?

The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.

Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.

The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.

Introducing New Technology

The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.

  • To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
  • Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
  • Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.

How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy

Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.

The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.

The Internet of Things

Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.

Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.

Blockchain Technology

It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.

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Energy

4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy

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Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.

However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?

A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.

1.     Boulder Nissan

When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:

  • Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
  • They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
  • Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.

This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.

2.     Valley Electric Association

In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.

“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”

The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.

This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.

3.     Las Vegas Casinos

A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.

“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.

4.     Boston College

Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.

Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.

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