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Chevron and CO2 Sequestration

March 27, 2012


The Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation headquartered in San Ramon, California, United States and active in more than 180 countries.

In February of 2011 a court in Ecuador found Chevron guilty of illegally dumping billions of gallons of toxic water into the Amazon’s waterways knowing that they were also the source of drinking water for thousands of local inhabitants. The resultant cancer epidemic has killed thousands of indigenous people and continues to threaten the lives of thousands more. The company was found to not having lined its waste pits knowing that the pollution they cause would bring harm to the local inhabitants through contamination of their drinking water, the reason given for not lining them was that it was too expensive to do so.

The lawsuit which tool 8 years to come to a resolution is over now and Chevron’s message to the world has been nothing short of “monstrous”, bad enough that during the trial in Ecuador, Chevron operated a corporate espionage campaign out of its San Ramon and Quito offices hiring no less than four private investigation firms to carry out various plots in an effort to derail the lawsuit; having lost the suit they then said they would never pay the $18 Billion in damages the court judged was owed to the inhabitants of Ecuador, they then sold all their major assets and left the country in a real hurry.

You would think that Chevron would have learned some lessons from its Ecuadorian trials yet not too long after, in Brazil, officials were expected to file criminal charges against Chevron alleging that the company acted irresponsibly before and after a November leak of 3,000 barrels of oil at Chevron’s $3.6 billion Frade field off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

The Brazilian federal police department stated that the deep water well Chevron drilled could not and should not have been drilled under the conditions presented in the area, soon after the police statement a second leak was detected from one of Chevron’s wells on March 16 of this year prompting a Brazilian judge to bar Chevron’s Brazil chief, George Buck, and other executives from leaving the country until an investigation has been completed.

You think that’s bad?

Chevron is the largest holder of natural gas resources in Australia and is the leader in the development of the Gorgon Gas Project, the largest single-resource project in Australia. The $43 billion project was started in 2010 and is expected to be brought online in 2014.

The Gorgon project includes the construction of a 15 million tonne per annum Liquefied Natural Gas plant on Barrow Island and a domestic gas plant with the capacity to provide 300 terajoules per day to supply gas to Western Australia. The Gorgon Project is said to be one of the most greenhouse gas efficient LNG developments in the world, due largely to its global scale CO2 injection project that will sequester naturally occurring CO2 in the gas from the Gorgon and Jansz reservoirs.

Judging by their previous record of environmental incompetency across the world let us all hope all that CO2 that will be sequestered during the Gorgon project operations never manages to escape into the atmosphere. I also hope that someone in the Australian government is keeping a good eye on this company and I also hope they choose to look up just who, where and why gave the go ahead for the project and that all environmental impact assessments were properly done, if Chevron’s record in Ecuador and Brazil is anything to go by, this is one company which should never be trusted.

In 2005, the largest earthquakes in Western Australia were NW of Marble Bar (22 Mar, mag 4.4), east of Port Hedland (18 May, mag 4.6), west of Burakin ( 12 June, mag 4.5). The event at Burakin represents a continuation of activity in the area, which reached a peak approximately four years ago. The event east of Port Hedland was felt widely in the region.

The region around Cadoux has continued to be very active seismically, with significant earthquake swarms north of Koorda (principally late May), north of Kalannie ( principally late September), and north of Beacon.

I only wrote the last two statements because of lately, all reports of any earthquakes in the region, the last of which I believe struck Barrow Island in 2000, have began to disappear from websites.

I wonder why?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Martin Lack permalink
    March 27, 2012 8:03 pm

    You may recall, Donald that I spent 3 years working in Newman WA, and I have the photographs to prove it… So mention of places like Marble Bar sends me on a trip down memory lane (or at least the outback equivalent thereof)…

    However, how can Chevron make seismographic data disappear? These artificially-induced quakes (if as it would seem that is what they are) will have been picked-up by seismometers all around the globe.

    What really worries me about your suggestion of a cover-up is that, if modern civilisation is going to gamble its entire long-term survival on carbon sequestration (as opposed to simply using gas injection as a means to maximise gas recovery) we need to know as much as possible about its effects (rather than burrying the data).

    • March 27, 2012 8:22 pm

      Oh no, I’m not implying a cover up, I have no idea why data that was once easy to find is now as rare as teeth on a chook, all I’m saying is that after their disastrous record of damaging the environment in South America I wouldn’t trust Chevron as far as I could throw them and that all possible efforts should be directed towards keeping an eye on their activities.

      Also the quakes are not artificially induced, the area is well known for them, they come and go as if they had a will of their own, as far as I can gather it’s being going on for thousands if not millions of years, and this is what worries me about this issue of carbon sequestration, I see them as little time bombs buried all over the world just waiting to release all their gas as soon as an earthquake or other such activity hits them.

      Rather odd that people would even consider building such “enviro-bombs”

      • Martin Lack permalink
        March 27, 2012 9:51 pm

        This is exactly the point I keep trying to make. Having been involved in site investigations at Sellafield (UK) to determine the feasibility of burying highly-radio-active nuclear waste deep underground, I see CCS as equally dangerous – if not more so…

        And yet the UNFCCC continues to treat it like “a get out of jail free card”! Why is that? Oh yeah, because it is fossil fuel lobby propaganda to make the continuance of business as usual seem morally acceptable…

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