Environment Correspondent
Deborah's Feed
Sep 1, 2010
via Environment Forum

The World Bank’s $6 billion man on climate change


As the special envoy on climate change for the World Bank, Andrew Steer might be thought of as the $6 billion man of environmental finance. He oversees more than that amount for projects to fight the effects of global warming.

“More funds flow through us to help adaptation and mitigation than anyone else,” Steer said in a conversation at the bank’s Washington headquarters. Named to the newly created position in June, Steer said one of his priorities is to marshall more than $6 billion in the organization’s Climate Investment Funds to move from smaller pilot projects to large-scale efforts.

Aug 24, 2010

Microbes ate BP oil deep-water plume: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Manhattan-sized plume of oil spewed deep into the Gulf of Mexico by BP’s broken Macondo well has been consumed by a newly discovered fast-eating species of microbes, scientists reported on Tuesday.

The micro-organisms were apparently stimulated by the massive oil spill that began in April, and they degraded the hydrocarbons so efficiently that the plume is now undetectable, said Terry Hazen of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Aug 19, 2010

BP spill left deep-water oil plume: scientists

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The BP oil spill left a large plume of hydrocarbons in deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and those chemicals could be there for some time, oceanographers reported on Thursday.

At least 22 miles long, 1.2 miles wide and 650 feet high, the plume was detected more than 3,000 feet beneath the Gulf’s surface during a scientific expedition that ended in late June, the scientists said at a news briefing.

Aug 11, 2010
via Environment Forum

That sinking feeling along the U.S. Gulf Coast


The oil is no longer gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from the broken BP well, and a final “bottom kill” is in prospect — though delayed by an iffy weather forecast. That means the environment’s on the mend along the Gulf Coast, right?

Not really. There’s the little problem of subsidence to deal with.

Because the Mississippi River has been channeled to control flooding, coastal wetlands have been starved of sediment. Without fresh sediment coming down the river, wetlands can’t keep up with erosion and protective marshes can turn into open water. Subsidence is what this phenomenon is called.

Aug 9, 2010
via Tales from the Trail

Should U.S. oil royalties pay for studies of BP spill’s environmental impact?


Oil caused the mess in the Gulf of Mexico. Should U.S. oil royalties pay for scientists to study what happened, and what’s still happening, to this complex environment?

At least one scientist thinks so. Ed Overton of Louisiana State University figures the billions of dollars collected in royalties by the now-defunct and much-reviled Minerals Management Service — re-named and re-organized as the Bureau of Ocean Energy — must have enough money to pay for research into the environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon blowout and spill.

Aug 5, 2010

BP shares rally on hopes for final leak plug

LONDON/WASHINGTON, Aug 5 (Reuters) – Shares in BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) hit
two-month highs on Thursday on hopes the group would soon
permanently seal its Gulf of Mexico oil well and after President
Obama said the battle to contain the leak was nearly over.

BP shares were up 2 percent at 430 pence at 0944 GMT, having
earlier hit 434.5 pence, a level last seen in early June, on day
108 of an environmental disaster that has ravaged communities
and ecosystems along the Gulf coast, killed sea creatures and
coastal birds and cost Chief Executive Tony Hayward his job.

Aug 5, 2010

Obama says “long battle” in Gulf close to end

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – BP Plc said on Wednesday it was close to subduing its ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well, and the White House hailed the “beginning of the end” of efforts to contain the worst spill in U.S. history.

After months of setbacks in efforts to permanently plug the deepsea well, BP said heavy drilling mud injected into it on Tuesday was stemming the flow of crude.

Aug 4, 2010

U.S. says most BP spill oil is gone or degrading

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Most oil from the BP spill is gone from the Gulf of Mexico or has degraded into tiny particles, with 26 percent remaining as a sheen or tarballs, buried in sediment or washed ashore, U.S. scientists said on Wednesday.

“At least 50 percent of the oil that was released is now completely gone from the system, and most of the remainder is degrading rapidly or is being removed from the beaches,” Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told a White House briefing.

Aug 4, 2010

Obama says "long battle" in Gulf close to end

WASHINGTON, Aug 4 (Reuters) – BP Plc (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)(BP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) claimed "a significant milestone" in efforts to plug its broken Gulf of Mexico well for good on Wednesday, as the U.S. government said nearly three-fourths of the spilled crude been dispersed or captured or had evaporated.

"The long battle to stop the leak and contain the oil is finally close to coming to an end," said President Barack Obama, whose approval ratings have been hurt by his administration’s perceived slow response to the spill. [ID:nN04250367]

BP’s mile-deep Macondo well ruptured after an oil rig exploded and sank on April 20, leaking millions of barrels of oil into the ocean for nearly three months in the world’s worst accidental marine spill.

After months of setbacks in efforts to permanently plug the well, BP said heavy drilling mud injected into it on Tuesday was stemming the flow of crude. The next step in the "static kill" procedure will be to pump in cement behind the mud as a seal.

The static kill is part of a two-pronged strategy to kill the well for good. A relief well is due to intercept the ruptured well shaft in mid-August so that more mud and cement can be injected into it.


For full spill coverage link.reuters.com/hed87k

Special report on new BP CEO Dudley [ID:nN29102489]

Graphic on relief well link.reuters.com/xes52n

Reuters Insider link.reuters.com/zaw59m

Breakingviews [ID:nLDE66S0NE]

Political risk factbox on the U.S. [ID:nN02255831]


Welcoming the government report titled "What Happened to the Oil?", Carol Browner, Obama’s energy adviser, told ABC’s "Good Morning America" show, "We do feel like this is an important turning point." [ID:nN04247826]

U.S. scientists said in the report that burning, skimming and direct recovery had removed one quarter of the oil, another 25 percent had naturally evaporated or dissolved, and 24 percent had been dispersed, either naturally or chemically.

The rest was either on or just beneath the water’s surface as "light sheen or weathered tarballs," had washed ashore or was buried in sand and sediments at the sea bottom, they said.

However, more than 1 million barrels of oil remains in the Gulf, four times the estimated 257,000 barrels that spilled into Prince William Sound from the Exxon Valdez tanker in 1989.


The financial implications for BP’s continued cleanup efforts were not immediately clear. Government officials have said in the past that it will take years to fully repair the damage inflicted by the spilled oil, which seeped into ecologically sensitive wetlands and marshes.

The spill also disrupted the livelihoods of fishermen and tourism operators and triggered a barrage of damages lawsuits against BP, which has said it will pay all legitimate claims.

Obama again vowed to hold those responsible for the worst oil spill in U.S. history and make sure cleanup and recovery work was carried out in full.

Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu stressed that the sealing of the well did not signal an end to the disaster.

"The work has really just begun," said Landrieu, who represents Louisiana, one of the states hardest-hit by the oil spill.

"The Gulf Coast needs significant investments for recovery and restoration, and we’re going to hold BP accountable and we’re going to hold the federal government accountable," she said in an interview with Reuters Insider television.

Earlier this week, government scientists reported that about 5 million barrels of oil may have leaked from the BP well before it was temporarily capped on July 15.

That could spell bad news for BP, which had estimated the well had leaked 4 million barrels of oil and that it would be fined $1,100 per barrel under the Clean Water Act. It faces fines of $4,300 per barrel if gross negligence is proven.

Despite the good news from the Gulf, BP shares trading in New York slid more than 1 percent amid apparent profit-taking by investors.

"If they get some positive news, investors might pull back and take some profit, we’ve seen a lot of that recently," said Alan Lancz, president of Alan B. Lancz & Associates Inc., an investment advisory firm in Toledo, Ohio.

BP has suspended dividend payments, ringfenced $20 billion, and put billions of dollars of its assets up for sale to help pay for its liabilities.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), one of BP’s partners in the well, said on Tuesday it had secured $6.5 billion in loan commitments, in part to pay for its liabilities. [ID:nN03184240] (Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos in New York and Tom Bergin in London, Caren Bohan and Alina Selyukh in Washington and Matthew Lynley in New York; Writing by Ross Colvin; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

Aug 4, 2010

Obama welcomes BP success in subduing Gulf well

WASHINGTON, Aug 4 (Reuters) – BP Plc (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)(BP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) claimed
“a significant milestone” in efforts to plug its broken Gulf of
Mexico well for good on Wednesday, as a U.S. government report
showed nearly three-fourths of the spilled crude had been
mopped up or dispersed.

President Barack Obama, whose approval ratings have been
hurt by his administration’s perceived slow response to the
spill, welcomed the latest developments. [ID:nN04250367]

    • About Deborah

      "I started with Reuters in 1986 in New York City, moving to Washington DC two years later. I've covered the Winter Olympics in Calgary and Salt Lake City, a couple wars, the State Department, White House, Pentagon, several long trials and a presidential sex scandal. Since 2006, I've been reporting on the environment and climate change."
    • Follow Deborah