Oil spill

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Offshore oil is not just a risk to the environment – if the world gets serious about mitigating climate change, these resources risk becoming stranded assets. Green Fire Productions/Flickr

Big oil’s offshore scramble is risky business all round

Big oil companies are moving to exploit new resources such as the Arctic or the Great Australian Bight. But are they worth the risk?
The MV Shen Neng I spills oil onto the Great Barrier Reef in 2010. Large accidents are rare, but there is still very little monitoring of long-term chronic damage from shipping. AAP Image/AMSA

Shipping in the Great Barrier Reef: the miners' highway

Port traffic near the Great Barrier Reef will more than double by 2025, as coal and other exports grow. While major incidents are rare, the chronic toll on the reef itself still remains largely unknown.
Looks like an oil slick, but the similarity ends there. Badagnani

Sharks haven’t turned up in Hawaii for the toffee

Swimmers in Hawaii have been warned out of the water for fear of shark attacks after around 1,400 tonnes of molasses - treacle - leaked from a pipe into the sea while being transferred to a tanker from…
The effects of Deepwater Horizon spill continue after the smoke has cleared. US Coast Guard

The coast is clear, but seabed still contaminated by Gulf spill

The catastrophic explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform allowed five million barrels of oil to gush into the Gulf of Mexico between April and July 2010. Since then, remediation and restoration…
If oil spills in the forest and no one is around to see it, will anyone care? Denis Sinyakov/Greenpeace

Few hear the cries of those fighting to save wild Russia

Lying to either side of the Urals, the Republic of Komi and Khanty-Mansiysk in the north of Russia are among the country’s most oil-rich regions. Scarcely populated, they provide a substantial share of…
Grangemouth refinery: keeping the home fire burning. Andrew MillJigan/PA

After Quebec, what’s the future for Keystone XL?

The runaway train of 73 oil tankers that derailed and exploded in the small town of Lac-Megantic in Quebec, Canada last week left 15 dead, around 50 missing, and shows how dangerous transporting oil can…
Lucky it’s dry: if the Channel Country was in flood, oil could have flowed into Lake Eyre. Flickr/Euclid vanderKroew

Dishing the dirt on Santos' Queensland oil spill

In May oil spilled from a well in south-west Queensland owned by Australian oil and gas company Santos. In what may be the state’s third largest spill, more than 250,000 litres of oil flowed from the well…
The impending Keystone XL decision will signal whether the US is ready to move from quick profits to investments in renewable technology. Flickr/shannonpatrick

Keystone XL threatens true American ‘energy independence’

The Obama Administration is facing a critical choice over whether to approve an extension of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. If approved it will carry heavy crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to refineries…
South Korean volunteer workers clean up an oil spill in December 2007. Could such scenes soon be a thing of the past? AAP

Don’t cry over spilled oil – use nanosheets

We’re all too familiar with footage of ruptured tankers or busted rigs dumping millions of litres of oil into the sea, coating shorelines and animals in crude sludge. Many traditional methods of cleaning…
The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill was a tragedy, but what legacy has it left? AAP/Bevil Knapp.

Two years on: the legacy of the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill

It is now two and a half years since the Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Both the people and the ecosystem of the Gulf were changed by this massive spill; how well…
The company that owned the Montara platform has been fined for its oil spill, but fines won’t stop more oil disasters. John Amos

Meagre fines won’t stop oil spills, but cooperation could

In August 2009, a blowout at the Montara wellhead platform became Australia’s third-largest oil spill. Three years later, a fine of $510,000 has been levied on the Thai-based oil company PTT Exploration…

New sponge to clean up oil spills

A new type of carbon nanotube sponge can absorb over 100 times its weight in oil making it perfect for cleaning up oil spills…
The wrecking of the MV Tycoon happened just as Christmas Island’s famous crabs began spawning. Justin Gilligan

Christmas Island oil spill: time to value natural treasures, not just trade

Christmas Island has been once again in the headlines: not because of incidents involving asylum-seekers, but because of the recent sinking and breaking up of the Panamanian phosphate carrier MC Tycoon…
The Rena disaster could push New Zealand to stronger maritime laws. AAP

The Bay of Plenty oil spill: loading the dice against disaster

Last week the Rena, a Liberian-registered container ship, ran aground on Astrolaube Reef in the Bay of Plenty, around 12 nautical miles from the New Zealand coast. The stricken vessel has been stuck there…
Oil gets into the ocean in all sorts of ways, but oil spills are the most visible. AAP

How can we clean up the Bay of Plenty oil spill?

Responding to oil spills, like that in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty, is a very complex, high pressure situation. Decisions must be made based on whatever data are available at the time. One of the difficulties…

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