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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

From Oil Sands to "Solar Skills"

  


Amid Price Plunge, North American Oil and Gas Workers Seek Transition to Renewable Sector 



Lliam Hildebrand says he had a moment of clarity during an apprenticeship at a steel-fabricating shop in Victoria, Canada. He was learning the metal-working skills he would need to become a boilermaker, to eventually move on to work on the many steel vessels -- including furnaces, pipelines, "cokers" and "exchangers" -- that make up the oil industry's vast infrastructure in Alberta, Canada's oil sands fields.
During that apprenticeship, Hildebrand would come into the fabricating shop and see a pressure vessel on one side of the shop being made for the oil sands, and at the same time, on the other side of the shop, his own project -- a wind farm weather station. Hildebrand says he walked into the shop one morning, and the contrast between the two ventures struck him sharply. That was the moment when he realized, "We are the trade -- the building trade -- that's really going to help address [climate change]."
Oil sands boilermakers Joseph Bacsu and Lliam Hildebrand, and oil sands electrician Adam Cormier during their first press event Edmonton, Canada. (Photo: Mychaylo Prystupa)

From then on he has felt as though he's been living two lives. Coming out of his apprenticeship, he started looking for jobs in the renewable sector, but was unable to find work. Six years ago, he reluctantly decided to apply his skills where there were plenty of jobs: the Canadian oil sands fields.



Will Oil And Refugees Force European Intervention In Libya 


Europe is on track to send security experts to Libya after it successfully installed a so-called unity government that is willing to work with international agencies. A primary goal of this move will be to address the problem of the smuggling of people to Europe. The move is in the planning stage. EU officials have declared that help will be sent should the new government, called the Government of National Accord (GNA), ask for assistance, which it did earlier this week. The GNA has asked for help from the EU in general, with an emphasis on restoring the security of the country and dealing with militant groups. European officials have underlined that Europe’s involvement in Libya will not be military, but it seems this is a temporary decision. First of all, the GNA is not recognized by other unofficial governments that control different parts of the country, so its […]


Cheap Oil Doesn’t Light Fire for Big Japanese Utility

Like most energy importers, Japan’s gas utilities have enjoyed the collapse in crude oil prices. Yet the market is understating the risks at one utility, including its duplicate role as an energy investor. Osaka Gas , 9532 -1.49 % one of Japan’s largest suppliers of natural gas, imports liquefied natural gas that is often linked to oil prices. Though the utility passes on lower costs to customers, this comes with a lag, the effect of which is even more powerful if crude oil keeps falling. In the December quarter, Osaka Gas reported a 55.4% increase in net profit from the year before, despite a 10.5% decrease in sales. But while a sustainable oil rebound may be unlikely , neither may there be much room for it to continue falling . As some producers cut back, Brent futures are pricing a slight rise later this year. A liquefied natural gas […]

AP Exclusive: Test finds Chernobyl residue in Belarus milk

On the edge of Belarus’ Chernobyl exclusion zone, down the road from the signs warning “Stop! Radiation,” a dairy farmer offers his visitors a glass of freshly drawn milk. Associated Press reporters politely decline the drink but pass on a bottled sample to a laboratory, which confirms it contains levels of a radioactive isotope at levels 10 times higher than the nation’s food safety limits. That finding on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident indicates how fallout from the April 26, 1986, explosion at the plant in neighboring Ukraine continues to taint life in Belarus. The authoritarian government of this agriculture-dependent nation appears determined to restore long-idle land to farm use – and in a country where dissent is quashed, any objection to the policy is thin. The farmer, Nikolai Chubenok, proudly says his herd of […]




Halliburton Fires One Third Of Global Staff: “What We Are Experiencing Today Is Far Beyond Headwinds”


In a brutally frank and painfully honest first quarter operational update, Halliburton president Jeff Miller poured freezing cold water all over the “oil is stabilizing, and everything is going to be awesome” narrative. After explaining that the firm has laid off one-third of its global employees, and pointing to the collapse in sequential revenues across every business unit, Miller exclaimed: “What we are experiencing today is far beyond headwinds; it is unsustainable.” Due to the deadline of its merger agreement with Baker Hughes Halliburtion has delayed its earnings conference call until May 3rd and so gave an operational update.

 The headlines were horrific: 

*HAL SEES OVER 30% DROP IN YR GLOBAL DRILLING, COMPLETION SPEND *HALLIBURTON CUT ABOUT 1/3 OF STAFF GLOBALLY *HALLIBURTON CUT OVER 6,000 JOBS DURING 1Q *HALLIBURTON SEES ADDITIONAL 50% DECLINE IN NORTH AMERICA SPEND ’16 *HALLIBURTON SAYS WORLDWIDE RIG COUNT LOWEST LEVEL SINCE 1999 *HALLIBURTON SEES […]


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