Offshore Drilling Safety Rules Finalized
The Obama administration has issued a final rule on offshore drilling safety that will cost the industry $130.7 million a year for additional inspections, testing and equipment designed to prevent another blowout like BP's 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster.
Compared to the interim rule, the final one clarifies requirements in well-control barriers and the installation of mechanical barriers; defines testing requirements for cement; and extends requirements for blowout preventers to well-completions and decommissioning operations. It also saves the industry nearly $50 million compared to the interim rule from a reduced estimate for the length of time required for underwater testing.
As companies expand to drill sites at ever deeper levels in the gulf and move into the Arctic, environmentalists say the rules are not tough enough. Washington-based environmental group Oceana criticized the rule for failing to improve the interim one, which displace “lax inspections and laughably low fines,” according to Jacqueline Savits, the group's senior campaign director.
The new rule “is stronger than the interim rule but not strong enough,” David Pettit, senior attorney at the New York- based Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an e-mail to Bloomberg. “It should require real-world testing of the response time for containment of a wild well.”
SEE OTHER TOP STORIES IN THE ENERGY DIGITAL CONTENT NETWORK
It requires a professional engineer to verify the safety of the well's casing and cementing, used to prevent uncontrolled leaks, which must then be certified by an independent third party.
Since BP's oil spill in the gulf, drillers have also added safety equipment and created systems to collect oil spilled under water. In light of the new rule, Shell has delayed drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off the coast of Alaska to review the requirements.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.