TAG: Oil

Americans are clueless about fracking

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What is fracking, exactly? Is it another way to drop the “f-word”, used in the popular television show Battlestar Galactica? Or is it a controversial drilling method? If you already knew anything about how fracking is related to drilling, then congratulations–you’re ahead of the curve. A new survey initiated by researchers at Oregon State, George Mason, and Yale showed that 58% of Americans had no idea what fracking was. Only about 9% of those surveyed answered that they’d heard “a lot” about fracking, while the majority answered that they didn’t have an opinion on the subject. In the states of… read more

Motor Oil Moving On

Motor Oil Moving On

In Swaziland, as in many countries in Africa, it is not unusual for car owners to service their own cars. However, many people still dispose of used motor oil in an environmentally irresponsible manner. In Swaziland we do not have waste facilities for hazardous products, nor do we have used-oil collectors such as in neighbouring South Africa. The result is that used oil is dumped, into landfill, or onto open ground. Oil is known to have numerous adverse effects when dumped in water or land. Some other uninformed methods of disposal of motor oil is rubbing it on timber as a repellent for… read more

Ten Facts About Petroleum You Probably Don’t Know

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For the past century, we have used oil almost exclusively to power our planes, trains, and automobiles, but there are quite a few random uses for the viscous substance that will surprise you. 1. It’s used to make plastic bags Oil is used to make plastics, and more specifically, the small sandwich bags you carry to work with you. The oil used to make just one such plastic bag could power an automobile for 11 meters. Think about that for a second. 2. It’s a chemical in fertilizer Yes, the same fertilizer you use for gardening likely contains oil in it. And quick spoiler… read more

World’s Largest Fat-Fuelled Power Station Planned for London

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It costs Thames Water about £1 million per month to clear out blockages in sewers, about half of which are caused by fat being discarded down the drain. But a new initiative will take a bite out of those costs by taking these “fatbergs”, as well as used fat and oil from restaurants, and turning them into energy. According to Thames Water, fat, oil, and grease (FOG) will be collected and fed into what they’re saying will be “the world’s largest fat-fuelled power station” in East London. The fat-fuelled plant is being developed by 20C, and is said to be… read more

Fried Fuel

Fried Fuel

In the 1900’s, Rudolf Diesel successfully constructed the diesel engine, then stirred up controversy when he showed that his invention could be powered with peanut oil. The cooking oil as fuel concept did not really resurface again until the 1970’s when the oil industry was in emergency mode. Though the idea may not be new, innovative products are appearing that are making it easier for the average consumer to utilize agricultural based fuel methods. Diesel engines can be converted which enables them to run on new or recycled cooking oil. Though examples may make it sound as simple as pour… read more

Small Victories

Oil and natural gas drilling

The first week into January, Colorado became the first state to require energy companies to do groundwater sampling both before and after they drill for oil and/or natural gas. Colorado oil and natural gas regulators made the decision to approve the measure. The sampling is meant to show whether supplies of drinking water have been affected by energy development, and unless the methods to extract oil and natural gas undergo a drastic change, it can be assumed the post-drill testing will show the true impact of oil and gas extraction. Further, the new sampling regulations don’t appear to have pleased… read more

Insanity or Apathy?

Oil disaster on Alaskan coast

Since the first week of January, more details have come out pertaining to the reckless behavior exhibited by Shell Oil and its oil rig, Kulluk, off of the Alaskan Coast. First the company said the decision to move the rig was based on forecasts which suggested the weather would be good, but then it was made public that the forecasts made were for too short of a time period to be useful for the longer time duration to transport the rig. Then the company decided the best way to diffuse the situation would be to blame luck, and simply say… read more

Shell Oil Keeps Digging

An oil rig

At a certain point, any decision which backfires stops being excusable. Stops being inexcusable and eventually becomes embarrassing. Shell Oil has managed to transcend even the embarrassing stage and is now existing in a pure lunacy stage where embarrassing cannot reach it. Further, embarrassment requires that one knows better from worse, right from wrong, and ultimately, it is difficult to discern if the executives of Shell Oil do know basic tenants of morality. On the last day of 2012, December 31st, the Shell oil rig “Kulluk” ran aground off the coast of Alaska off of Kodiak Island, prompting a 500-plus… read more

Short Term Thinking?Part 1

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The availability of jobs in states where oil is booming is luring many high school graduates into the industry instead of pursuing a 4-year degree at a college or university, or even a 2-year degree at a technical school. It is understandable why high school graduates are taking the jobs while they can: nationwide unemployment among young adults is at more than 12 percent, college tuition is soaring (due to a multitude of reasons), and jobs in the oil and gas drilling industry can start at $50,000 a year. Instead of spending an extraordinary amount pursuing higher education and a… read more

Is Our Water Safe?

Keystone - Cutting Corners

The Keystone XL pipeline has been moving forward without hindrance, although President Obama did place a delay on the proposal. However, it appears as though it will be approved, and will be installed, pumping oil across the country. One area the pipeline would traverse is the Ogallala/High Plains aquifer, which is one of the nation’s most important sources of drinking and irrigation water. It would make sense to ensure that if there were to be an unfortunate and disastrous leak or spill, an incredibly important water source would not be damaged or destroyed. However, sense did not prevail in the… read more