2013 hasn’t exactly been an exemplary year in terms of energy related disasters. Hopefully, by drawing attention to the industry’s safety shortcomings, we can work towards making improvements for the future.
Just this past week, an explosion occurred on an oil rig out in the Gulf of Mexico. Natural gas poured uncontrollably from the well, caught fire, and spread throughout the Hercules-owned rig. Luckily, none of the 48 workers aboard were injured. Though natural gas is easier to clean up than crude oil, the well has yet to be capped…
Earlier this year, again in the Gulf of Mexico, a tugboat collided with a Chevron oil pipeline, causing it to burst into flames. The accident left a mile-long oil slick (like one you might find in your driveway, but certainly wouldn’t want to go swimming in). Unlike historically bad spills however, this particular one did not result in significant ecological damage. Lucky for the pelicans and fish. This time, at least.
Back in March, ExxonMobil found themselves in a sticky situation when their 70 year-old Pegasus pipeline spilled over 200,000 gallons of crude oil into the small town of Mayflower, Arkansas, USA. Luckily, that number represents merely a fraction of the 90,000 barrels of crude oil that run through that pipeline each and every day. But a month later – guess what? The pipeline sprang another leak! This time in someone’s backyard some 200 miles from Mayflower. Who knows where the next leak might be? Maybe your children’s sandbox and swing set?
In April, a fertilizer plant exploded in the town of West, Texas, killing 14 and injuring hundreds more. The town has subsequently gone on to sue the plant’s supplier, claiming that CF Industries “blindly” supplied the West Fertilizer Company with 200 tons of a volatile compound without inspecting safety standards or conditions. The storage facility, which was made of wood, didn’t even feature a sprinkler system in case of emergency! Doesn’t sound like the wisest place to store explosive materials, does it?
On July 6th, a train carrying crude oil bound for Quebec derailed. 47 lives were tragically taken in the accident, due in part to an explosion that ignited the 1.5 million gallons of oil onboard. Oil-by-rail had been considered the safest mode of transportation, until a string of smaller spills earlier this year began raising red flags. Canadian Pacific’s largest spill (30,000 gallons) took place just outside of Minnesota.
Basically, to put in bluntly, 2013 has been an awful year for the energy industry’s safety record. A number of these disasters will have lasting impacts on the environment, not to mention the death toll, which has left husbands without wives, children without fathers, and broken families to pick up the pieces.
NRGLab hopes that by developing safer alternative energy projects, we can save lives. For more information on the carbon-free SH-Box generator, improved gasification techniques, or our process of recycling waste into useable fuel, visit nrglab.asia.
Because we don’t have to sacrifice safety for energy security.
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