All posts tagged: Oil

Shell games: dodging lawsuits and greenwashing charges on both sides of the Atlantic

In 2021, a court in the Netherlands, where Shell was long been headquartered, ordered this leading historical global polluter to drastically change tactics and begin reducing emissions, immediately. Since then, Shell has moved their HQ to the UK and is enjoying record profits while announcing plans to reduce investments in renewables. Undaunted, Civil Society continues taking aggressive action. In February 2023, Global Witness lodged a greenwashing complaint against Shell to U.S. authorities, a tactic also used by NGO ClientEarth. Recently an advertising board in the UK ordered Shell ads off the airwaves for making false environmental claims. How can legal action force Shell to actually change course? In this edition of the Shell Games series (read part 1 and part 3), lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews a few of the mounting legal challenges being brought against this oil and gas behemoth. Read More

Shell games: unearthed docs reveal company’s deep awareness of fossil fuels’ existential risks

The third largest oil and fossil gas producer behind ExxonMobil and Chevron, as late as 2021 Shell and its customers released almost 1.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—more than the emissions of Japan, the world’s third-largest economy. Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine proved a boon to Shell: on the back of record energy prices, the company reported profits of $39.9bn for 2022, the highest in its 115-year history. But despite heat-trapping emissions skyrocketing along with global thermostats, during their annual earnings call, CEO Wael Sawan announced plans to cut spending on its renewables unit given their thinner profit margins. This comes after a cache of documents published earlier this year prove Shell knew far more about the “greenhouse effect” and the existential threats posed by the burning of fossil fuels than previously revealed — potentially bolstering legal efforts to hold Big Oil accountable for the worsening global climate emergency. In the first of a multi-part series (read part 2 and part 3), lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews new revelations around what Shell knew, when it knew it and how it publicly denied its own terrifying data.

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Max out: Conservative Britain re-embraces oil & gas and leans on mythical CCS

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s conservative British government has reversed its green energy course by announcing a massive embrace of new oil and gas production, including the opening of the vast Rosebank oil field. However, the government promises that emissions from this and other industrial pollution will somehow be rendered “Net Zero” by 2050 via a fleet of to-be-built carbon capture and storage (CCS) hubs. Backed by £20 billion in subsidies, CCS will play an integral role in the ‘maxxing-out’ of domestic oil and gas resources while ensuring energy independence. London says capturing and storing future CO2 emissions in ‘depleted’ offshore oil and gas fields will enable the UK’s industry to thrive for decades to come. As NGOs and scientists cry foul, lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum, reviews the deteriorating narrative.

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No interest in change: record profits lead oil and gas majors to reduce their climate goals

Despite professing their firm commitment to fighting climate change and expanding into renewable energy, following record profits from war-spiked high energy prices, global oil and gas majors like BP, Shell and ExxonMobil are now walking back their rhetoric and reducing whatever modest plans they had to invest in clean energy. And investors have cheered these decisions. Though renewable energy generation is expanding faster than ever, Michael Buchsbaum reviews how this is an object lesson in why relying on market forces alone to push companies into doing the right thing has never been more foolish.

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Guyana: booming offshore oil production transforms it into the world’s newest petro state

Eight years after a consortium led by ExxonMobil announced the discovery of vast oil and gas deposits off the coast of Guyana in May 2015, this small South American country of 800,000 people is now poised to become the world’s fourth-largest offshore oil producer as well as a major fossil gas supplier. The billions of oil dollars pouring into this largely impoverished nation have transformed it into the world’s fastest growing economy. Experts worry that Guyana lacks the expertise and legal and regulatory framework to control the political and economic power of the international oil industry — let alone protect its own environment and rich biodiversity. With Exxon now predicting that Guyana will become a bigger producer than Texas, Michael Buchsbaum sheds a light on this nation’s oil boom and other media outlets sounding an alarm.

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Saudi Arabia’s new energy diplomacy

There has been no shortage of news about Mohamad Bin Salman, more commonly known as MBS, the 35-year crown prince of Saudi Arabia. A controversial figure, he has been hailed as a reformer, but also criticized for corruption and human rights abuses. He came to power at a time when Saudi Arabia’s geopolitical prowess as an energy giant may be threatened by the energy transition. This year, Saudi Arabia has embarked on a massive diplomatic effort to set itself up for success in a world inching towards clean energy, but still grappling with energy security, independence and resilience issues brought on by recent conflicts like the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. Among many of the many topics on MBS’s desk are: how will Saudi Arabia fare in a post-oil world? MBS’s diplomatic moves of the past few months may signal the future direction of MBS’s energy diplomacy. Joelle Thomas reports.

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Why Southern Africa needs to work together on the energy transition

In Southern Africa the population is growing at a much faster pace than the rate at which the region is developing. This is putting pressure on resources, in particular, on energy provision. Less than half the region’s population is connected to grid electricity, meaning many rely on wood fuel despite its dire impacts on the environment. Countries including Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa face a serious power crisis in recent months and need to rethink their energy production systems. Can a collaborative energy transition save Southern Africa from its crises and secure a cleaner future? Kennedy Nyavaya has the story.

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2022’s energy winners: Oil and Gas companies

In 2022, there are wins to be celebrated for climate policy. The recent US legislation is the first time in 40 years that the government has managed to pass any meaningful climate policy. The invasion of Ukraine has shaken Europe to accelerate the move away from Russian oil and gas. However, it is hard to celebrate wins for the climate without addressing the elephant in the room – the thriving and ever-profiting oil and gas sector. While recent geopolitical events did indeed infuse the energy transition with, (no pun intended), some much needed energy, Joelle Thomas would argue that the biggest winners of the past year’s events have been oil and gas companies.  What does this mean for the energy transition?

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Hunting Methane in the United State’s #1 oil and gas producing Permian Basin

Methane emissions from oil and fossil gas facilities are skyrocketing, potentially accelerating the severity of climate change. Nowhere is the problem worse than in the United State’s Permian Basin, the biggest oil and gas field in the now world-leading petro-carbon producing nation. Stretching from Texas into New Mexico, satellites are detecting worsening levels of methane pollution. This comes as no surprise to “Texas” Sharon, one of the world’s first methane hunters. Recording thousands of leaks with a specially designed camera, she shares her observations with lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum.

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Chevron’s political prisoner: Steven Donziger and the denial of environmental justice

More than a decade has passed since human rights attorney Steven Donziger helped win an unprecedented $9.5 billion judgment on behalf of 30,000 indigenous Ecuadorians against the oil giant Chevron that demonstrated how the company had dumped billions of gallons of oil waste into the Amazon’s forests and streams. But in 2016, a New York judge invalidated the verdict, claiming  “shocking levels of misconduct” by Donziger and the Ecuadorian judiciary. The judge then granted Chevron the right to seize Donziger’s laptop, phone and passwords. When he appealed, he was hit with contempt charges and placed under house arrest. After two years of confinement, this summer another judge found Donziger guilty of contempt. Now in jail and largely ignored by the mainstream media, lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum summarizes Donziger’s story while providing links to where readers can learn more about Chevron’s shocking abuse of judicial power.

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