Category Archives: Shell Oil

Citing climate differences, Shell walks away from U.S. refining lobby

Repost from Reuters, Sustainable Business

Shell to quit U.S. refining lobby over climate disagreement

By Ron Bousso, APRIL 2, 2019 / 2:36 AM

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell on Tuesday became the first major oil and gas company to announce plans to leave a leading U.S. refining lobby due to disagreement on climate policies.

FILE PHOTO: Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, speaks during a news conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, February 15, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes/File Photo

In its first review of its association with 19 key industry groups, the company said it had found “material misalignment” over climate policy with the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and would quit the body in 2020.

The review is part of Shell’s drive to increase transparency and show investors it is in line with the 2015 Paris climate agreement’s goals to limit global warming by reducing carbon emissions to a net zero by the end of the century.

It is also the latest sign of how investor pressure on oil companies is leading to changes in their behavior around climate.

“AFPM has not stated support for the goal of the Paris Agreement. Shell supports the goal of the Paris Agreement,” the Anglo-Dutch company said in its decision.

Shell said it also disagreed with AFPM’s opposition to a price on carbon and action on low-carbon technologies.

AFPM Chief Executive Chet Thompson thanked Shell for its “longstanding collaboration”.

“Like any family, we aren’t always fully aligned on every policy, but we always strive to reach consensus positions on policies,” Thompson said in a statement.

“We will also continue working on behalf of the refining and petrochemical industries to advance policies that ensure reliable and affordable access to fuels and petrochemicals, while being responsible stewards of the environment.”

AFPM counts around 300 U.S. and international members including Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP and Total that operate 110 refineries and 229 petrochemical plants, according to its 2018 annual report.

Shell’s review was welcomed by Adam Matthews, director of ethics and engagement for the Church of England Pensions Board, which invests in Shell and led discussions with the company over its climate policy.

“This is an industry first,” Matthews said.

“With this review Shell have set the benchmark for best practice on corporate climate lobbying not just within oil and gas but across all industries. The challenge now is for others to follow suit.”

Shell and AFPM have also been at odds in recent months over regulation over the use of renewable fuels.

While Shell and other large refiners have invested in the cleaner fuel technology, AFPM has fought hard against the Renewable Fuel Standard from which some independent refiners could lose out.

Shell and rivals Exxon and BP have in recent years also left the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative political group, over its stance on climate change.

WALK AWAY

Shell also found “some” misalignment with nine other trade associations, including the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry’s main lobby.

Shell said that while it had some climate-related differences with API, it welcomed the lobby’s advocacy on a range of state and federal issues such as trade and transport, as well as the API’s efforts to reduce methane emissions.

It will continue to engage with the API and other groups over climate policies and monitor their alignment, Shell said.

Last year, Shell caved in to investor pressure over climate change, setting out plans to introduce industry-leading carbon emissions targets linked to executive pay.

Its chief executive, Ben van Beurden, has since repeatedly urged oil and gas producers to take action over climate and pollution.

“The need for urgent action in response to climate change has become ever more obvious since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015. As a result, society’s expectations in this area have changed, and Shell’s views have also evolved,” van Beurden said in the report.

“We must be prepared to openly voice our concerns where we find misalignment with an industry association on climate-related policy. In cases of material misalignment, we should also be prepared to walk away.”

Shell last month urged President Donald Trump’s administration to tighten restrictions on emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, instead of weakening them as planned.

Additional reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Dale Hudson/ Louise Heavens and Emelia Sithole-Matarise
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    LPG Tank Cars derail in Martinez – could have been a catastrophic event

    Derailment in Martinez: the nightmare no one wants

    By Roger Straw, The Benicia Independent – 05/01/2018
    LPG tank car derailment Martinez 2018-05-01 (KTVU Fox 2 News)

    Early this morning, at least two tank cars carrying liquid petroleum gas (LPG) derailed while backing into the Shell Refinery in Martinez, CA.  (See brief KTVU News coverage.)

    Thank our lucky stars that those tank cars backing into the refinery did not tip over or leak!  Had they done so, and a spark ignited a fire, the accident might’ve resulted in a Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion, or “BLEVE” (blɛviː/ BLEV-ee).

    Sharon Kelly described a BLEVE this way on DeSmogBlog: “As liquids in a metal tank boil, gasses build up, pressurizing the tank even despite relief valves designed to vent fumes. Tanks finally explode, throwing shrapnel great distances, and spitting out burning liquids that can start secondary blazes.”

    BLEVEs were responsible  for the massive degree of destruction and loss of life in Lac Magantic, Canada.  If those Martinez tank cars had caught fire and erupted, the whole Shell Refinery might’ve blown up!  Downtown Martinez, the AMTRAK station, and the 680 freeway might’ve been threatened.

    LPG tank car derailment Martinez 2018-05-01 (KTVU News)

    Photos of the derailed cars show the 4-digit Hazardous Material Identification Placard: 1075.  The Emergency Response Guidebook, published by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration identifies the code for 1075 on p. 31 as one of the following flammable materials:

    Butane, Butylene Isobutane, Isobutylene, Liquefied petroleum gas, LPG, Petroleum gases, liquefied Propane Propylene.

    This is EXTREMELY dangerous.  On p. 170 of the Emergency Response Guidebook, emergency responders are cautioned:

    In fires involving Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPG) (UN1075); Butane, (UN1011); Butylene, (UN1012); Isobutylene, (UN1055); Propylene, (UN1077); Isobutane, (UN1969); and Propane, (UN1978), also refer to BLEVE – SAFETY PRECAUTIONS (Page 368).

    BLEVE is defined : “A boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion (BLEVE, /ˈblɛviː/ BLEV-ee) is an explosion caused by the rupture of a vessel containing a pressurized liquid that has reached temperatures above its boiling point.”

    Page 368-369 of the Emergency Response Guidebook reads as follows:

    BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion)
    The following section presents, in a two-page format, background information on BLEVEs and includes a chart that provides important safety-related information to consider when confronted with this type of situation involving Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPG), UN1075. LPGs include the following flammable gases: Butane, UN1011; Butylene, UN1012; Isobutylene, UN1055; Propylene, UN1077; Isobutane, UN1969; and Propane, UN1978.

    What are the main hazards from a BLEVE?
    The main hazards from a propane or LPG BLEVE are:
    – fire
    – thermal radiation from the fire
    – blast
    – projectiles
    The danger from these decreases as you move away from the BLEVE centre. The furthest reaching hazard is projectiles.

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      Train tank cars carrying LPG derail near Shell refinery in Martinez

      Repost from KTVU.com Fox News 2, Oakland, CA
      [Editor: This derailment of tank cars carrying Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) could have resulted in extreme hazardous consequences.  See my analysis here. – RS]

      Freight train derails near Shell refinery in Martinez


      [Editor: apologies for the advertisement at start of this video… – RS]

      By: Leigh Martinez, MAY 01 2018 05:22AM PDT, VIDEO POSTED: MAY 01 2018 05:13AM PDT, UPDATED: MAY 01 2018 06:55AM PDT

      MARTINEZ, Calif. – A freight train derailed in Martinez early Tuesday causing two tankers to lean off the tracks.  It is believed the train was backing into the Shell refinery when it went off the tracks at Shell and Marina Vista avenues.

      Two cars have their wheels off the tracks and were leaning into other rail lines.

      This was not a hazmat situation because there is no sign of leakage and no injuries were reported.

      The rail line runs next to Amtrak and Union Pacific lines. There was no immediate word if those commuter trains are affected.

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        Here is what #Shell Knew about Climate Change in the 1980s

        Repost from DeSmogBlog
        [Editor: Here’s the link to the original 1988 Shell internal document.  ALSO, see previous stories 2015-2016.  – RS]

        Here is what #Shell Knew about Climate Change in the 1980s

        By Mat Hope • Wednesday, April 4, 2018 – 23:15
        Cover pages of a Shell internal document

        Shell knew climate change was going to be big, was going to be bad, and that its products were responsible for global warming all the way back in the 1980s, a tranche of new documents reveal.

        Documents unearthed by Jelmer Mommers of De Correspondent, published today on Climate Files, a project of the Climate Investigations Center, show intense interest in climate change internally at Shell.

        The documents date back to 1988, meaning Shell was doing climate change research before the UN’s scientific authority on the issue, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was established.

        Here’s a quick run through of a 1988 document entitled, ‘The Greenhouse Effect’. Continue reading Here is what #Shell Knew about Climate Change in the 1980s

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