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Final thesis
Environmental Sciences

University, School

Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz - KFU

Grade, Teacher, Year

Bednar-Friedl 2011

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China is mostly involved in the Sudan. Reports about the genocide in Sudan cause indignation in the West. The government commits human rights abuses, while a consortium of China, Malaysian, Indian and state companies keep exploiting oil and gas resources. (Ammon, 2006).

Nigeria

In Nigeria there are shooting wars between oil companies and rebels. At first the insurgents just raised a claim on a part of the benefits from the oil. As they did not receive anything, because of corruption, financial strategies of the firms etc., armed conflicts started. The rebels burn oil fields, bust pipel and take hostages.

Barrels of fuel get lost due to the riots. All the powerful oil companies are involved in Nigeria. The biggest importer is the U.S., lately also China. (Ammon, 2006).

Venezuela

Chavez – who is not president anymore, was a proponent of China and a sympathizer of Fidel Castro. He opposed the United States. This was a shock for Washington, because they saw Venezuela as a strategic oil reserve as it is its neighbor. Chavez – instead of giving the oil to the U.S., gave it to poor people. He wanted to get rid of the influence of the U.S. (Ammon, 2006).

Today Venezuela is still a member of the OPEC and defies the United States.

2.3         Outlook: Alternatives and Expectations for the future

After treatingwith the topic of new conflicts in the fossil energy supply inthe last chapter, it is now the time to have a look at expectations and alternatives for the future. Furthermore I am going to discuss which risks for the environment exist, especially if we deal with pipel for oil and gas. Then, I will examine which alternative possibilities there are to transport oil and gas as well as I will have a closer look at what renewable gas is like, i.e.

BTL (Biomass to Liquid)? The last part of this chapter will describe the World Prospects of Energy Supply and some facts about possible conf.....[read full text]

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Figure 5: Source EU Commission, IEA; Calculated by DIW Berlin, in Billion per unit volume, p. 4, 30.04.2011)


Figure 6: Eurogaslong term outlook 2030, ( p. 5, 30.04.2011).

Besides, I detected the next figure which shows a comparison between the International Energy Agency and the US Energy Information Agency including some other studies between energy efficiency with renewable and status quo if things continue like this.

Figure 7: Natural Gas consumption in Europe in Billion per unit volume,(Der_Erdgasbedarf_der_EU_11_05_1__ks.pdf, p. 4, 30.04.2011).


But one thing is certain; gas is becoming more and more. This increase includes more and more constructions of pipel and the transport of gas through pipel. But we must consider what the environmental risks of pipel are, and to ask if they are as “clean” as claimed from most of the gas industry companies.

4.3.1 Environmental risks of pipel

The most important question is: Are there risks for nature and wildlife? In this chapter I will consider the environmental risks linked with conducting oil and gas. We have to ask ourselves what risk there are when developing, exploring and transporting oil and gas. Large scale on- and offshore projects in question with oil and gas production certainly poses a risk to our future.

I am referring to large quantities of emission into the atmosphere, the sea and int.....

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The worst case scenario is an extensive, uncontrolled blowout. What does this mean? It means in effect that there is an uncontrolled release of oil or gas during drilling or production. Oil or gas begins to flow into the wellbore and up the annulus and/or inside the drill pipe. If this situation escalates, the outcome is a blowout and oil and gas will reach the surface.

Blowouts can cause huge damage to drilling rigs and injuries to rig personnel, not to mention the environmental disaster(ibid.). The last incident we could observe was the disaster of the Deepwater Horizon, the drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, which was an environmental catastrophe with dramatic effects, on flora and fauna, on land and sea.

Likewise, the emission to the air goes hand in hand with oil and gas fields. The most widespread source of such emissions is the burning of casing head gas (flaring) and surplus quantities of hydrocarbons in the course of testing and exploiting wells. According to several assessments, up to 30% of hydrocarbons which are burst into flames are released into the atmosphere and come down to the surface of the sea, forming relatively unstable, thin films around drilling platforms. (ibid) What is more, gas and oil emit a lot of the greenhouse gases.

The World Bank estimates that over 150 billion cubic meters (i.e. 5.3 trillioncubic feet) of natural gas are being flared and vented annually. That isequivalent to 25% of the United States’ gas consumption or 30% of the European Union’s gas consumption. And the annual 40 bcm (i.e. 1.4trillion cubic feet) of gas flared just in Africa is equivalent to half of the whole continent’s power consumption.

Flaring gas has also a global impact on climate change by adding about 400million tons of CO2 in annual emissions. This is more than the potential yearlyemission reductions from projects currently submitted under the Kyotomechanisms(World Bank, Towards a world free of flares, bank .org/EXTGG FR/Resources/GGFRbrochure%28updatedNov08%29.pdf?resourceurlname=GGFRbrochure%28updatedNov08%29.pdf, 05.01.2011) Therefore most of the peopledon´t know how much the impact of oil and gas is and which dramatic consequencesfor the future this will have, on fauna, flora, humans and nature.

The following figure shows the incredible exposures in Europe and how closely involved the whole continent is.


Figure 8: The World of pipel, Zeit-Online, Die Welt der Pipel, Zeit-Online,( , 01.....

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Statistics show that the transport of oil by tanker is as risky as pumping oil through underwater pipel.(ibid) The international Marine Organization designates following causes of large scale oil spills - involving transportation by tankers:

  • technical failure
  • grounding
  • collisions

Fires and explosions. (chapter 3, Environmental risks when extracting and exporting oil and gas, P 5, environmental+risks, 30.04.2011).

We can therefore conclude that transporting oil and gas in vessels and/or tankers are neither sustainable nor 100% save whatsoever. So, the alternative of the transportation of oil and gas by pipel and tankers is the conveyance of oil or gas by trains. Rail transportation derives from the industrial era, playing a major role in the economic development of Western Europe, North America and Japan.

It represented a major improvement in the movement of cargo over land-technology and has obviously introduced important changes in the movement of freight and passengers.(Rail Transportation and Rail L, /eng/ch3en/conc3en/ch3c3en.html, 01.05.2011). Furthermore, gas transported on railways its common in our time which does not mean that accidents and human failures on railways cannot be precluded.

The transport of oil and gas by rail in tank wagons is on no account more reliable than the corresponding transportation via pipel or tankers. The following reasons for accidents and incidents have been identified resulting in the leaking of petroleum products and crude oil from railway tank wagons.(cf. chapter 3, Environmental risks when extracting and exporting oil and gas, P 6, _search?query%3Austring%3Autf8=environmental+risks, 03.04.2011).

  • infringements of regulations concerned with handling dangerous loads
  • human error and bad management.
  • Derailments- as a result of unfavorable natural climatic conditions
  • train collisions
  • mechanical impact on the train
  • collapsing bridges

sparking, with the subsequent ignition of the contents of the wagons (ibid)(cf. chapter 3, Environmental risks when extracting and exporting oil and gas,P6, 03.04.2011).

The consequences such incidents can have - posed by this sort of transportation - range from relatively harmless contretemps to environmental disasters for humans and the ecosystem. My conclusion is therefore that there is no way of truly environmentally friendly transporting for oil and gas,from the vantage point of th.....

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Periodically since the dawn of the “mineral oil” era in nineteenth century, there have been warnings of the impending peak and consequential decline of oil productions. (World Energy Trends, Dr. Robert Skinner, Oxford Instiute of Energy Studies, P 56, 01.05.2011).

There are numerous organizations and institutions who deal with the future prospects of fossil fuels, all agreeing on the major role Russia will take on in the future, especially regarding natural gas and oil resources.

More than a quarter of oil and gassupplied to the EU comes from Russia as well as the country holding 20% of the whole natural gas reserves in the country. (World Energy Trends, Dr. Robert Skinner, Oxford Instiute of Energy Studies,P 60-61, .pdf, 01.05.2011).

Russia is amajor supplier of raw energy materials and therefore holds an important position in the European market for services and production.According to the Danish liberal, AnneJensen“Russia is as much dependent on the EU as the EU ison Russia”. She suggests that the prospects of Russiajoining the WTO will entice the country to sign theEnergy Charter.

(Transporting oil and gas in Northwest Russia, fil_Chapter_2._Transporting_oil_and_gas_in_Northwest_Russia.pdf, 11.05.2011). In the last 50 years there were predictions of different kinds from various institutions. One of such was made by Dr. Robert Skinner of OxfordInstitute of Energy Studies.

1) World primary energy demand will continue to grow in line with economic growth, at a coefficient of between 0.5.....

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8) Increasing shares of oil, gas and coal will be traded internationally.

9) The shift from the use of traditional fuels to commercial fuels in developing countries will accelerate; together with transition economies, developing countries will account for more than half of the world’s primary energy consumption by 2010.” (World Energy Trends, Dr. Robert Skinner, Oxford Instiute of Energy Studies, P 63, 11.05.2011).

These forecasts are only assumptions but they weigh heavily, which makes clear that government policies need a fundamental change to cope with future problems. Resources of fuel of any kind are sufficient until the years 2020 - 2030, so it is up to us, on every human being, to help saving energy and to find new solutions for the future.

Finally I want to provide a figure, a comparison of key consumptions and outcomes of different energy projections.

Figure 9: World Energy Trends, (

(Dr. Robert Skinner, Oxford Instiute of Energy Studies),Recent Developments and their Implications for Arab Countries, May 2006, Page 60, 02.05.2011)


2.4         Bibliography

Ballantyne Robert. 2008. “Oil and Gas Pipel”.California Geological Survey Preliminary Report, 25.Version.

.....

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