Scotland

Shell and Exxon’s Brent Oilfield Decommission Shows How Industry Hits Communities and Environment to the Very End

A diagram of the Brent oil field infrastructure

The North Sea oil and gas industry is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to emitting dangerous greenhouse gases.

Shell and Exxon are packing up and moving out of the famous Brent oil and gas field in the North Sea. As a final hurrah, almost 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide will be emitted as four platforms are dismantled and parts are either left to erode in the ocean or moved onshore and recycled.

That’s equal to about five percent of the UK's North Sea industry’s annual emissions — from the start to very end, the Brent oil field continues to contribute to climate change.

But emitting hundreds of thousands of tonnes of dangerous greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, nitrous dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere is not the only environmental danger that comes with plugging and abandoning the wells.

Is There Hope for the Climate in Scotland After Election Shake-Up?

Scotland election 2017

For the UK Conservative party, Scotland will be seen as one of the few successes of an otherwise miserable 2017 general election campaign.

Despite the loss an overall parliamentary majority and Prime Minister Theresa May’s failed plan to transform her party’s huge poll lead to a domineering presence in Westminster, the Tories somersaulted their 2015 election win of a single Scottish seat, this time taking 13.

This is the biggest surge since the Tory’s Scottish collapse following the 1980s, and will leave many – in a country vastly proud of its anti-Tory stance – wondering what happened.

Drilling Rig Aground in Scottish Isles Raises Bigger Questions about Safety Procedures

Transocean Winner drilling rig ashore on Isle of Lewis

The Transocean Winner oil rig which ran aground in the Outer Hebrides during severe storms early Monday morning is now being closely monitored by a counter-pollution team.

For the time being it appears as though there has been no substantial environmental damage by the rig, which has 280 tonnes of diesel on board, nobody was on the rig when it grounded, and the risk of pollution is low, say authorities.

So while things could be a lot worse, the situation is far from ideal, and it has led many to ask: why did it happen and how can we prevent a more dangerous situation from occurring in the future?

US Shale Gas Coming to the UK as First LNG Shipment Set to Arrive in Scotland Next Month

LNG tanker

The first shipments of US shale gas will begin to arrive in the UK from the end of September, representatives of chemical giant INEOS have confirmed.

Ethane, which is derived from liquefied natural gas (LNG), will be shipped from the East Coast of the United States to INEOSUK plant at Grangemouth, Scotland.

This will be the fourth such shipment of US shale gas to arrive into Europe following the lifting of a 40-year ban on US oil and gas exports.

Chemical Giant, Ineos, Plans 30 Frack Wells in UK Within Months

Fracking protest against Ineos

It will become a defining battle of our times. A Brexit-supporting billionaire, who until recently lived as a tax-exile in Switzerland, versus the people of Britain, writes Andy Rowell at Oil Change International. And the battle will be over fracking.

Just as the shale industry has transformed the energy landscape of America, Jim Ratcliffe, who controls the $50 billion petrochemical giant, Ineos, is hoping he can do the same in the UK. And he is pouring millions of pounds into making it happen.

Whereas other fracking companies, such as Cuadrilla and Third Energy, have made the initial headlines with planning applications to frack in Lancashire and North Yorkshire respectively; Ineos has acquired the rights to frack over one million acres of land, mainly in Cheshire, the north Midlands and North Yorkshire.

And now it has been revealed that the company aims to lodge as many as 30 planning applications within the next six months. And that would just be the start.

Scottish Government's Position on Fracking Remains Unclear

The Scottish Government have been accused of kicking the issue of fracking into the long grass.

Alex Salmond said recently: “I think fracking has a long way to go before it convinces populations across the country. Fracking in a heavily populated area is a totally different proposition from fracking elsewhere and I think the Scottish government is pursuing a wise policy on it.”

The government has been told that the technology is necessary to secure the future of the country’s energy industry, but it seems it will not make the conclusions of its own research known until after the general election.

Welsh Government Votes Against Fracking Due To Climate and Health Fears

Wales hopes to block fracking until 2021 while health and climate risks are investigated more extensively.

The proposed motion against fracking was led by opposition party Plaid Cymru and supported by members of both the Welsh Labour and Tory parties. While not an official ban yet, the Welsh government has promised to “do everything within its power to prevent fracking from taking place in Wales until it is proven to be safe”.

The Welsh decision follows a similar announcement from Scotland last week placing a moratorium on shale gas extraction. This means two UK constituents are now opposing Westminster's push to go “all out” for shale.

How Much Longer Can David Cameron Continue to Defend 'Going All Out’ for Shale?

An avalanche of anti-fracking activity has swept over Britain this week. It seems each day brought with it another blow to the prospect of a swift shale revolution.

First, in an unexpected u-turn, the government agreed to ban fracking in national parks during Monday’s Infrastructure Bill debate. This represents a direct reversal of the policy it declared last year which allowed fracking in national parks under “exceptional circumstances”.

And while a moratorium on fracking was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs during the debate, this hasn’t stopped others from taking matters into their own hands.

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