Oil stealing pirates increase raids off Guinea
By Dr. James Jay Carafano
West Africa is experiencing a surge in piracy, with well-organized hijackers targeting the region’s growing oil and gas industries, writes national security expert Dr. James Jay Carafano in World Review.
Although efforts to combat crime at sea have been having an impact – for example hijackings off Somalia fell by half in 2012 compared with 2011 with only 14 ships successfully boarded – the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports a sharp rise in activity in West Africa in 2012 with 58 incidents off the Gulf of Guinea.
“The most troubling aspect of these crimes is not the increase in the number of attacks and the spread of activity initially centered in Nigerian waters, but how piracy is expanding throughout the region,” says Carafano.
“The Gulf and the surrounding coastal waters and wetlands include extensive oil and gas reserves, where petroleum extraction, transport and related activities are a lucrative target for personnel hijacking, disrupting activities, siphoning oil or stealing cargo,” he says.
“Furthermore, tanker traffic and pipelines are particularly dense in the area around Nigeria because the country is a major oil producer but lacks the capacity to refine petroleum products,” he adds. “So in addition to its extensive exports it imports refined-petroleum products - all representing opportunities for piracy.”
The focus of the crimes is mostly in territorial waters. That means international naval operations would be less effective. And rather than a regional effort, anti-piracy operations will be driven by what each nation elects to permit and has the capacity to undertake.
“The ability to mount effective anti-piracy operations is also hampered by poor governance and cooperation, and local politics,” adds Carafano.
In response to these threats there are efforts at increased interstate regional cooperation. The Economic Community of West African States and the Gulf of Guinea Commission drafted an anti-piracy code of conduct that was signed by 22 countries in June 2013.
“While laudable efforts, these initiatives cannot address the core challenges within the states, particularly Nigeria, where governance, political, economic and security issues have created space for organized criminal activity to prosper,” he says.
“However, despite these challenges, the patchwork of security should be sufficient to allow growth to outpace the troubles created by expanding web of illicit activities.”
About the Author: World Review author Dr. James Jay Carafano is a leading expert in America’s national security and foreign policy challenges, is the Washington-based Heritage Foundation’s vice president for foreign and defense policy studies and director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies.
© 2013 Geopolitical Information Service; http://www.worldreview.info
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.