Category Archives: Shell Oil

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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KQED: Pipeline at Center of Altamont Pass Oil Spill Also Ruptured Last September

Repost from KQED
[Editor: A colleague reports that “The Altomont Pass pipeline brings heavy crude oil from southern San Joaquin Valley oilfields to some of our Bay Area refineries.”  – RS]

Pipeline at Center of Altamont Pass Oil Spill Also Ruptured Last September

By Ted Goldberg, May 24, 2016

California’s fire marshal has launched an investigation into an oil pipeline rupture that spilled at least 20,000 gallons of crude near Tracy over the weekend — eight months after the same pipeline had a break in a similar location.

Shell Pipeline crews are still cleaning up from the most recent spill near Interstate 580 and the border between Alameda and San Joaquin counties four days after the 24-inch diameter line broke.

Crews with the oil giant were able to complete repairs on the pipe on Monday, according to a Shell official.

The pipeline stretches from Coalinga in Fresno County to Martinez.

The rupture on the line was first reported at 3 a.m. on Friday, said Lisa Medina, an environmental specialist at the San Joaquin County Environmental Health Department.

Shell discovered a loss of pressure in the pipeline, filed a report with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and then shut the line down.

San Joaquin County officials believe the spill covered an area 250 feet long by 40 feet wide, Medina said in an interview.

A preliminary test of the pipeline found a split of approximately 18 to 20 inches in length, said company spokesman Ray Fisher in an email.

Fisher also confirmed that the same pipeline ruptured and caused an oil spill in the same vicinity, near West Patterson Pass Road, last Sept. 17.

Here’s a link to Shell’s report on that incident that found the rupture spilled 21,000 gallons of oil, about the same amount as Friday’s break.

Fisher said Shell inspects its pipelines every three years, and the company conducted an inspection of the line after the September incident.

He added that the line has no history of corrosion problems.

It’s unclear what caused the most recent spill.

On Tuesday, state fire officials confirmed that the Office of the State Fire Marshal had opened a probe into the pipeline rupture.

Federal regulators are not investigating the break, but are providing technical support to the state, said an official with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The spill prompted concerns from environmentalists.

Sierra Club representatives pointed out that the spill near the Altamont Pass came weeks after Shell spilled about 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and a year after a major spill involving another company’s pipeline on the Santa Barbara County coast.

“Sadly, it’s become undeniable that oil spills will remain the status quo if we continue our dependence on dirty fuels,” said the Sierra Club’s Lena Moffitt in a statement. “This is just Shell’s latest disaster and the company has done nothing to assuage fears that it can stop its reckless actions.”

“The environmental impacts could be very serious,” Patrick Sullivan, a spokesman for the Center for Biological Diversity, said in an interview. Sullivan said the spill could hurt birds and other animals in the area and could contaminate nearby groundwater.

State water regulators, though, say they’re not concerned the spill could affect water in the area.

“Given the location and the relatively limited extent of the spill, it is highly unlikely that the spill would affect underlying  groundwater and even more unlikely that it would impact any drinking water supplies,” said Miryam Baras, a spokeswoman for the State Water Resources Control Board, in an email.

Sullivan also questioned whether Shell’s statements on the size of the oil spill were correct.

“We don’t know how much oil has been spilled,” Sullivan said. “With previous pipeline spills the initial estimates have sometimes turned out to be wrong. They’ve turned out to be under-estimates.”

Fisher, the Shell spokesman, said the company had not revised its estimates.

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Martinez Gazette op ed: Wait a minute

Repost from The Martinez Gazette

Martinez Environmental Group: Wait a minute

By Guy Cooper | June 5, 2014

Several local refinery permits and associated Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) are currently pending approval. For instance, Westpac in Pittsburg wants to receive, store and distribute explosive Bakken and toxic tar sands crude-by-rail at an old PG&E tank farm right next to homes and schools.

The Valero refinery in Benicia wants to bring to town daily 100 car unit trains of the same. Phillips 66 seeks to increase their volatiles storage and transportation in Rodeo and also enormously expand crude-by-rail traffic through our rail corridor to feed their San Luis Obispo facility. Finally, Shell wants to revamp the Martinez refinery to process lighter, sweeter crudes like Bakken. They will ship crude by rail from North Dakota to Bakersfield then by pipeline to Martinez, or by rail from North Dakota to a Washington State marine terminal that will load tankers bound for Martinez. Other plans are in the works.

So the debates ensue. I’d like to frame the discussions in a different context.

A common way to compare corporate apples to country oranges is by looking at corporate revenues as compared to national gross domestic product (GDP). According to the Fortune 500, the combined parent corporate revenues of the five major refiners in this area – Valero, Chevron, Shell, Phillips 66 and Tesoro – was $1.1 trillion in 2013. That ranked them 16th of 187 countries in the world in GDP according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). If California was a country it would be 8th in the world, at over $2 trillion. You might imagine that the economic power of Contra Costa County and Martinez ranked somewhat lower.

So, Mr. Big Oil, would you say we have a level playing field?

  • At public hearings, you have Power Point presentations. We have pieces of paper.
  • You meet in corporate back rooms. We meet in neighborhood back yards.
  • You have professional political operatives. We operate with volunteer political naiveté.
  • You sponsor political junkets and infomercials. We do flyers and lawn signs.
  • You have a PR budget. We pass the hat for printing.
  • You have PACs. We have potlucks.

According to Citizens United and the Supreme Court, we are equal. I think not.

The EIR process, despite the original best of intentions, is skewed in your favor.

You get to frame the discussion with the help of consultants, lobbyists and lawyers. Fly in whomever you need. Your political relationships are built on bucks, your policies on billions.

Your vast assets steer the political discourse, whether through direct political contributions, lobbying to de-fund government oversight and regulation, or by endowing non-think-tanks and pseudo-public forums that aim to skew legitimate science towards your view.

Our interests are more than what you narrowly consider to be of public concern. We value social, ethical, moral, esthetic, environmental, family, property, public health and safety issues that go beyond your narrow economic focus.

We live here.

So who gets to call the shots?

The trains, or the towns the trains run through? The refiners and oil producers, or the communities in their midst?

Who should pay for oil industry impacts? The locals that bear the brunt, or the producers that reap the billions?

I’m sorry, but if we don’t like your proposals, as local residents/citizens, we have a right to reject them. We have to work hard to overcome your advantage, but … the Supreme Court has spoken, Mr. Citizens United. You get your vote, we get the rest.

(If you want to stay updated on these issues and learn how to get involved, please go to

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