Blog Posts: Big oil & gas

December 18th, 2017

Meet the European Petrochemical Giant Trying to Profit from the Fracking of Pennsylvania

The Controversial Mariner East 2 Pipeline Would Carry Gas Liquids for Plastics Production Overseas

By Wenonah Hauter

It seems that every week brings more bad news about the construction of Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline. While Pennsylvania communities, water protectors and landowners fight to stop the project, a larger question remains: What is this massive, dangerous pipeline actually for? The one word answer might surprise you: plastics.

The Mariner East 2 won’t carry “natural gas” for heating your house or operating a stove. It will transport highly volatile liquids that will mostly be shipped overseas to be turned into plastics by a giant chemical corporation with a terrible environmental record.

Ineos’s pro-fracking agenda has spawned a citizen movement in Europe, where residents are fighting to prevent the company’s plans to frack the United Kingdom.

In other words, Sunoco and its parent company Energy Transfer Partners are putting Pennsylvania communities at risk—from the immediate negative impacts of fracking in the western parts of the state, to the long-term risks to families living near the 350-mile pipeline—in order to supply a giant corporation making plastic pellets, many of which wind up littering shorelines across Europe.

My organization, Food & Water Watch, has been digging deep into Ineos, the massive chemical conglomerate profiting from the fracked gas liquids out of Pennsylvania. Ineos founder and chairman Jim Ratcliffe amassed his petrochemical empire in short order, thanks to risky bets and highly leveraged takeovers and acquisitions. The Mariner East 2 pipeline represents one more dangerous Ineos “innovation”—it delivers fracked hydrocarbons to the Marcus Hook facility near Philadelphia, where they are loaded onto the company’s “dragon ships” headed to facilities in Scotland and Norway.

Read the full article…

December 12th, 2017

Fighting Big Oil and Gas in Northern Germany

by Andy Gheorghiu and Frida Kieninger

Photo by: Christian Eckhardt

Natural gas plant near Großenkneten
Photo by: Christian Eckhardt

On 2 December, a number of German citizens’ initiatives[1] met with Food & Water Europe in Hamburg to discuss oil and gas exploration in the country and strategies for the coming year.

The main points discussed were planned exploration in a water protection area in Verden, Lower Saxony, an international project by Hansa Hydrocarbons to drill for gas in the North Sea (nearby the Wadden Sea), and the construction of a terminal to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Brunsbüttel port.

New drilling in a water protection area?

Read the full article…

December 7th, 2017

Global Frackdown 2017: Letters from Mexico

Anti-fracking event VeracruzMexico has been identified as having significant shale oil and gas potential and the Mexican government appears keen to develop its shale resources.

Meanwhile, more and more Mexicans are becoming aware of the dangers of fracking and are mobilizing to oppose plans to sell off clean air and water as well as healthy communities to the incessant greed for profit of big oil and gas companies.

Read the full article…

November 28th, 2017

Ireland’s Clean Energy Revolution Won’t Be Helped by LNG Imports

By Andy Gheorghiu

PHOTO CC-BY-SA © PLINE / COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG

Ireland has been through quite some rough economic times in the aftermath of the financial crunch. But the Irish are natural born fighters and will never easily give in. They also have deep and strong bond to the lands and the waters that host and feed them.

No wonder that – despite the economic struggles they were facing and oil and gas industry promises of jobs and prosperity – the Irish didn’t buy in, but rather fought back.

Instead of believing the shale hype, Ireland opted for the only true path that is able to combine environmental protection, climate action and a boost for the econonmy: in the Summer of 2017, the Green Island banned fracking.

Previously, in January 2017, the Irish Dàil had voted in favour of divesting coal, oil and gas holdings from the €8 billion Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.

But now, at the most decisive moment for Ireland’s transition into a post-fossil fuel future, an absurd debate about the realisation of two unneeded LNG import terminals at Shannon & Cork returns.

Read the full article…

October 20th, 2017

Globalfrackdown 2017 (And Beyond)

By Andy Gheorghiu

Since 2012, the Global Frackdown – an international day of action initiated by Food & Water Watch to ban fracking – has helped connect activists across the globe and demonstrated the growing power of the movement to stop fracking, gas infrastructure, sand mining and other related extraction methods. This movement is fueled by increasing scientific evidence of the impact of fracking on water, air, health, seismic stability, communities, and the climate on which we all depend.


This year groups from around the globe – moved by our joint spirit of “Not here or anywhere!” – rallied again in solidarity for a Global Frackdown.
Read the full article…

2nd Gas Conference – Global gas lock-in: Linking North-South Resistance

What happens if a bunch of activists working to halt gas infrastructure and raise awareness about the issues around gas meet in Brussels? A global network of “gastivists” is launched.

The first edition of the Brussels Gas Conference, co-organized by Food & Water Europe, was in September 2016. This year, we decided to repeat the successful conference at the end of September, this time focusing more on global supply chains of fossil gas.

Fighting the notion of gas as a bridge fuel – and fighting impacts of gas extractions

While most of the discussions around gas in Brussels concern its climate impact and security of supply as well as energy prices, the reality for people affected by gas extraction and gas infrastructure projects often looks different. In this year’s conference, representatives from EU-based organizations touched base with activists on the ground within and outside of Europe, broadening the joint narrative around gas. The Global North’s approach is to focus on the gas lobby‘s push to sell gas as green, clean and a necessary bridge-fuel supporting unreliable renewables – backed by hordes of lobbyists and huge payments for lobby material. On the other hand, participants from the Global South in particular made clear that in extracting countries, land grabbing, loss of livelihood, increase of socio-economic inequality, corruption and human rights abuse are the issues they highlight when talking about fossil gas.

Read the full article…

September 26th, 2017

Betting on Chaos: Financial Firms Seek to Cash In on Climate Change

By Mitch Jones

Earlier this month the Financial Times reported that a new climate change prediction market [subscription required] is being created in the United Kingdom. The market, similar to a sports betting book, is the “brainchild” of the financial firm Winton Capital. Initially, the market will allow bets on levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and on temperature rises, but Winton Capital hopes to expand it in the future so that sea level rise, extreme weather, and other pollution levels become the topic of bets.

What’s equally strange is that Winton Capital is paying for this market out of its philanthropic budget. There’s nothing philanthropic about betting on climate change.
Read the full article…

September 8th, 2017

Join the Global Frackdown 2017 – Together We Make a Difference

The Movement to Ban Fracking Is Growing

UPDATE: See photos from the 2017 Global Frackdown

The oil and gas industry is spending millions of dollars on slick public relations campaigns and high-profile lobbying efforts to buy the ability to extract fossil fuels from our communities with as little government oversight as possible. Yet public opinion continues to grow in opposition to fracking.

While the industry is working hard to protect its profits and drown out the worldwide demand for clean, renewable fuels, there is a tremendous movement afoot around the world to protect the climate and the environment.

Since 2012, the Global Frackdown – an international day of action initiated by Food & Water Watch to ban fracking – has helped connect activists across the globe and demonstrated the growing power of the movement to stop fracking, gas infrastructure, sand mining and other related extraction methods. This movement is fueled by increasing scientific evidence of the impact of fracking on water, air, health, seismic stability, communities, and the climate on which we all depend.

Our Demands

The Global Frackdown went to Paris in 2015

The Global Frackdown began as a single international day to fight fracking. In 2015, it took over all of November with The “Global Frackdown to Paris” highlighting our growing movement and building pressure on national leaders to oppose fracking during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change.

We fight to:

  • Stop fracking,
  • Keep fossil fuels in the ground
  • Put a halt on the expansion of liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade
  • Prevent a further fossil lock-in through bad investments in oil and gas infrastructure.

Read the full article…

August 29th, 2017

Tour d’Europe, Part II: Great Victories of the Movement to Ban Fracking

By Tina Callebaut

During my last days as an intern here at Food & Water Europe I would like to take you on a tour of the many different victories against fracking in Europe. As drilling has started in Lancashire despite opposition from local communities, it is now more important than ever to stand together in solidarity to not only halt but prevent fracking projects everywhere by banning the technique and promoting the development of clean renewable energy. Here is a run down of the current state of fracking in Europe.

France

Let’s kick off our tour with a visit to France, where in March 2010, two exploration permits were granted for shale gas. The licenses covered in total an area of around 9.672 km². Massive protests followed, which led the Prime Minister at the time, François Fillon, to declare a moratorium on the exploration of shale gas in 2011, which prohibits the exploration and exploitation of liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons through hydrofracturing and cancels the exploration permits for projects where hydraulic fracturing would be used. France’s Constitutional Court confirmed the constitutionality of the ban and the revocation of the permits in October 2013.

Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, the law only prohibits the use of hydraulic fracturing, but does not impose a ban on the exploration or exploitation of gas through other techniques. As the technique is not clearly defined by the law, small changes and new innovations might already have the ability to circumvent this ban. However, in June 2017, the French minister of environmental transition announced that there would no longer be any permits granted for the exploration or extraction of hydrocarbons in France. Nice one, France!

Read the full article…

August 28th, 2017

Privatized Profits, Socialized Risks: The Ruse of Natural Gas Exports

The natural gas export boom is tied to the spread of fracking, an inherently dangerous activity that threatens public health and our climate.

By Mitch Jones
Originally published in Food & Water Watch

Food & Water Watch’s Mitch Jones on what Congress SHOULD push for.

A new Short Term Energy Outlook released by the United States Energy Information Administration this week predicts that the U.S. will become a net exporter of natural gas this year and will remain so for the foreseeable future. That’s a remarkable turn of events given that the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the lower 48 states didn’t happen until February 2016. In addition to the existing pipelines for export of LNG to Canada, pipeline capacity for exports to Mexico are set to almost double by 2019. In addition, LNG export facilities are being expanded at Sabine Pass in Louisiana and Cove Point in Maryland is set to open later this year. Four additional facilities are currently under construction and expected to be exporting by 2020 when the United Sates is set to become the third largest exporter of LNG in the world.

The drive to ship natural gas overseas isn’t limited to LNG. The Mariner East 2 pipeline in Pennsylvania is being developed to export natural gas liquids for the plastics industry. The growth of the exploitation of fracked gas in the Marcellus Shale has been a boon for the plastics industry. It relies on petrochemical manufacturing to turn ethane, found in “wet” natural gas along with methane and other hydrocarbons, into plastics. Since 2012 chemical companies have aggressively invested in petrochemical plants and export facilities focused on profiting off the ethane glut that results from fracking.

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