U.S. running out of space for Katrina trash
Last Updated Wed, 21 Sep 2005 19:14:17 EDT
The environmental destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina can be measured -- at least partly -- by the volume of material that has been cleaned up since the storm hit the Gulf Coast more than three weeks ago.
Emergency workers have removed almost 2.3 million cubic metres of debris -- enough to fill 30 American football fields 15 metres high.
The total includes 1.4 million cubic metres of tree limbs, lumber, upturned metals, trash and other bulk left behind in Mississippi.
By the time all the debris is cleared, federal and state officials expect the total to reach 60 million cubic metres, mainly from Louisiana.
The amount would be 200 times the size of Egypt's Great Pyramid of Giza.
Federal emergency officials said Wednesday the debris -- including the contents of thousands of homes that were destroyed or ruined -- is overwhelming landfills and impromptu staging areas, and requiring material to be burned nonstop.
Cleaning it all up is expected to take almost until the start of next summer.
No one knows for sure how much of the debris in each of the states contains hazardous waste.
The Coast Guard said it has identified 350 damaged boats in Mississippi that could pose dangers because they contain oil that is leaking or some sort of hazardous materials.
Hundreds of thousands of cars and some hazardous waste rail cars also are believed to be submerged, mainly in the New Orleans region.
Charles Chisolm, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, said the debris is being taken to the state's existing dumps, which include 17 municipal and 150 commercial landfills and 40 transfer stations. Some closed facilities might have to be reopened. He said: "We do not have enough disposal space."
Disgusting...what to do?
Alberta pushes own solution to refinery crunch
Alberta's energy minister says his province - already a major supplier of crude to the US - could be the answer to weaning that country from its dependence on hurricane-prone refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. But the province will have to compete with Kuwait, and maybe even the Pentagon, as the US scrambles to find a way to end the roller-coaster ride of gasoline prices across North America. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have battered US refineries on the Gulf of Mexico, draining supplies of fuel continent-wide and driving up pump prices in a series of dramatic spikes. The problem of tight refining capacity in North America has become headline news, with policy makers now zeroing in on reducing the US dependence on vulnerable Gulf facilities. Nearly two-fifths of US refining capacity is located along the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana. That concentration, combined with the flat-out production in North American refineries and tight gasoline inventories, means that any major disruption, such as a hurricane, immediately throws the entire gasoline market off balance. Enter Alberta, with growing supplies of bitumen and crude - and big ambitions to capture more of the profit from its natural resources. Speaking in Johannesburg at the World Petroleum Congress, energy minister Greg Melchin said he wants to see more refineries built in his province, a move that would help reduce the chance that another hurricane would spur a price spike for motorists.
(Globe and Mail 050927)
Rita wreaks havoc on refineries
Five refineries in Texas and Louisiana suffered significant damage from Hurricane Rita and at least two of them will take weeks to come back on line. US oil companies yesterday took stock and began recovery efforts to Gulf of Mexico refineries and offshore production infrastructure after Hurricane Rita, the second major storm in a month to strike at the heart of the US energy industry. Rita hit near the Texas and Louisiana border with winds near 200 kilometres an hour early Saturday after plowing through the offshore production rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. It missed the Houston refining hub. Seven of the 15 refineries that had shut ahead of Rita reported plans to restart swiftly, amounting to nearly two million barrels a day of capacity. Major pipelines and the nation's only offshore oil port resumed operations. Rita wreaked havoc on at least five refineries in Port Arthur, TX, and Lake Charles, LA. Two of them said it could be weeks before they restart. In Port Arthur, Valero Energy's 250,000 barrel-a-day refinery and Total's 233,000 b/d refinery will be shut for two to four weeks, officials said. The other three reported wind damage and loss of power. Four other refineries, accounting for 880,000 b/d, remain shut in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina struck last month, triggering widespread worries over fuel supply. The web of pipelines that carry both crude oil and products out of the Gulf Coast's Refinery Row are waiting for refineries to start up again before they start operating at full rates. Crude deliveries via pipeline to Midwestern refineries began to trickle back as the 350,000 b/d Seaway pipeline came back late Sunday.
Rita also severely damaged a major offshore oil production platform and left several drilling rigs missing or aground off the Louisiana coast. As companies began to report the damage sustained from the hurricane, offshore infrastructure appeared to be hit much harder than onshore facilities, threatening to add to energy supply woes. The Typhoon platform - one of three major Chevron deep-water production platforms in the region - was severed from its mooring and suffered severe damage during the hurricane. It has since been located and was in the process of being secured. Offshore drillers GlobalSantaFe and Rowan reported three missing rigs between them while Diamond Offshore Drilling said two of its rigs broke free from their moorings and ran aground about 160 kilometres north of their original locations. “Rita may set an all-time record for the greatest number of offshore rigs damaged and destroyed by a single storm, and almost certainly will set a record for the past 10 years,” Credit Suisse First Boston analysts said.
As the oil industry assessed Rita's damage, crude oil prices rose more than US$1 a barrel yesterday and traders worried that demand for heating oil could soar ahead of the winter months. The strength of the US economy, showing up in continued robust demand for housing, also helped boost prices, analysts said. Light, sweet crude rose $1.63 to settle at $65.82 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after dropping to $62.65 earlier in the day. Gasoline futures rose more than 4 cents to $2.1292 a gallon, after falling as low as $1.94. Heating oil rose nearly 11 cents to $2.0586 a gallon. Natural gas rose nearly 12 cents to $12.44 per million British thermal units. Oil markets are jittery over the possibility of another tropical storm hitting the Gulf of Mexico coast. Hurricane season isn't officially over until November.
(National Post, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star 050927)
Africa to supply one-third of US and EU needs by 2015
Africa will supply about one-third of all US and European Union natural gas by 2015, said Jean Privey, president of the gas and power unit at Total. Europe will import about 165 billion cubic metres of gas from fields in north and west Africa in a decade, Privey said yesterday at the World Petroleum Congress in Johannesburg. That compares with forecast imports of 440 billion cubic metres, he said. Africa has the world's largest gas reserves at 500 trillion cubic feet, more than those of the US and Europe combined, he said, with consumption of only 2.6 trillion cubic feet a year.
(National Post 050927)
I wonder if they're planning to transport the African NG via pipeline or supertanker LNG. Either way, it's gonna be a huge project. I doubt LNG tankers and terminals could be built in a decade.