Protecting the environment and safeguarding the people in our workforce and surrounding communities is essential to our long-term success.
Oil Spill Prevention and Response Plan (Osprp) – Beta Unit Complex
There is not one, from an oil company, that writes somewhere that the environment does not care. Of statements such as the one quoted at the beginning, which can be read in the OSPRP of the Bata Unit Complex (the security plan of the company that manages a group of platforms off the coast of Long Beach, California), there are thousands. But then something always ends up going wrong.
Since last Saturday, a “leak” at an oil pipeline that carries oil from the Beta Unit to Long Beach has been standing devastating a beautiful piece (touristically valuable) of the Californian coast. The crazy idea that oil and tourism can go hand in hand went hand in hand once again. Dead fish and tar everywhere are not much of a calling card. In spite of all the prevention and safety plans, between 400 and 500 tons of raw (making estimates is always difficult in these cases) and no one has yet officially declared that the loss has been stopped.
What then that Petroleum is one of the main factors of the climate crisis that threatens us is another story: everyone knows it, but in the world of fossil fuels it often works that those who can shut up, or at least pretend to take care of the problem, but without doing anything serious. That’s what it’s called greenwashing: now in fashion, which dominates a large part of public communication. These smokescreens are the order of the day: in recent weeks, various government officials have tried to unravel us such as “portable nuclear”, “nuclear fusion” or blue hydrogen, not to mention fossil gas, as “solutions” to climate problems. While, in the meantime, they actually gave the green light to new ones drilling offshore.
And then there are the companies that invest millions in advertising full of lies. They are green-dyed bales, well packaged, but which we must get rid of as soon as possible if we are to get serious to counteract theclimate emergency. For this reason, a community law proposal of popular initiative (European Citizens’ Initiative – ICE) has just started asking the EU to ban this scandalous manipulation of public opinion.
The “case” of the disaster is also full of smoke screens California. For a long time it was not clear which “pipe” had broken and, therefore, who was responsible. We now know that it is a 20-kilometer pipeline that carries oil from the Kelly platform to Long Beach. Kelly it is not an extractive platform: it serves to “process” the crude, separating it from water and gas. It is not clear whether these treatments (which include heating to 60 degrees Celsius) also serve to “thin” the oil in question which, in California, tends to be really heavy” and viscous: 68% of the state’s production is classified as “heavy oil”.
In fact, the quality of crude in California is like that scarce which is seriously questioning the “green vocation” of a state that advertises itself as a friend of the environment. Although it is decreasing, the production of Californian crude “consumes” a lot of energy, to the point that overall the “energy cost” of this oil is worse of Canada’s infamous oil sands (or oil shales). To produce an equivalent barrel of crude oil, Canadian shales emit 90 kg of CO2, while the average California production is 98 kg of CO2.
Obviously, stop extracting oil (starting with the most dangerous wells, such as offshore, and more energy-intensive) it’s the only sensible thing to do. But for now, California hasn’t taken this path either. On the contrary. An investigation of the Washington Post reveals that the company that owns the Beta Unit, Amplify Energy, a few months ago received a “state loan” of five and a half million dollars as “support” following the Covid-19 emergency. A kind of recovery plan per petrolieri which, however, caused a sensation because the company (moreover with recent financial misadventures) would be known for having bought its own securities (for a value of over 26 million dollars in 2019) with the aim of increasing its listing on the stock exchange.
But how is it possible that a company so little credible managed to realize (many decades ago …) such an ambitious project as the exploitation of the Beta Unit, about 20 kilometers off the coast of California? Simply, Amplify Energy at the time did not exist. The Beta Unit was explored and exploited by Shell starting in the 1980s and the Eureka platform (one of three present) was one of the first “deep wells” ever drilled, heralded as a great technological success. Which has now turned into yet another disaster.