According to The Wall Street Journal, the “world is awash in oil.” I don’t think the journal meant the word awash literally, but when you look at data on oil spills over the last 9 years the description seems quite apt.
Oil production and transportation in the US are costly, dirty enterprises. Yet, the industry is content to over-produce so that every private or state-owned energy enterprise gets theirs:
The Oil Glut: From Dallas to Siberia. The Wall Street Journal (2015, June 5), C1-C2.
“The world is awash in oil. OPEC has opened the spigots. Russia, Iraq, Canada, and China are now pumping flat out, too.”
Break-Even Price: The per-barrel price required to profitably pump oil over the long term
United States $39-$65
Saudi Arabia $7
Too much oil production is hurting those with higher break-even points but the game must go on, with the eco-system as its sacrificial scapegoat:
Jackson, Henry C. and David A. Lieb (AP)(2015). US Oil-Pipeline Leaks Increasing. The Arizona Republic (2015, May 26), 1A, 9A.
[excerpted] “The oil pipeline leak that fouled a stretch of California coastline this week [with approximately 105,000 gallons of crude oil] reflects a troubling trend in the nation’s infrastructure. As US oil production has soared, so has the number of pipeline accidents. Since 2009, the annual number of significant accidents on oil and petroleum pipelines has shot up by almost 60 percent, roughly matching the rise in US crude oil production, according to an analysis of federal data by the Associated Press. Nearly two-thirds of the leaks during that time have been linked to corrosion or material, welding, and equipment failures, problems often associated with older pipelines, although they can occur in new ones, too. Other leaks were blamed on natural disasters or human error…the aging infrastructure is a source of lingering concern for outside experts.”
“Since 1995 there have been more than 2,000 significant accidents involving pipelines carrying crude oil and refined petroleum products that have caused about $3 billion in property damage, according to data from the federal office that overseas pipeline safety, the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration”
[paraphrasing] The company (and its subsidiaries) that operates the pipeline, Plains All American Pipeline LP, has reported 223 accidents since 2006.
Dawson, Chester (2015, January 23). Pipeline leak taints river with wastewater. The Wall Street Journal, p. A1.
“Salty wastewater from oil wells has contaminated a creek and flowed into the Missouri River after a huge pipeline leak in North Dakota, state officials said Thursday. The state said the leak of 3 million gallons is its biggest ever spill of brine, which in addition to high concentrations of salt often contains trace amounts of heavy metals that can be radioactive. Such spills, which can kill vegetation and ruin farmland, have been increasing in Western North Dakota, as the state has become a leading oil producer, pumping more than a million gallons of crude a day from the Bakken Shale… The wastewater leak was first detected two weeks ago when the Texas-based pipeline operator, privately held Summit Midstream Partners LLC, said that an ‘undermined [sic] amount of brine had spilled out of the line, which was installed in June.”
OPPOSTION to the carbon industry’s exploitation and contamination of the environment is being met with authoritarian repression by legislators and governors of both political parties:
Gold, Russell (2015). Texas Outlaws Fracking Ban. The Wall Street Journal (2015, May 31), A3.The game must go on until the last drop is gone, fresh water is depleted, and the eco-system collapsed!
“On Monday, Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed a law that prohibits bans of hydraulic fracking altogether and makes it more difficult for municipal and county governments to control where oil and gas wells can be drilled. Similar efforts are cropping up in states including New Mexico, Ohio, Colorado, and Oklahoma… This is all part of a broader legislative and judicial effort, backed by the oil industry, to limit local government’s ability to regulate drilling.”