One of India’s largest oil refining and marketing firms, Indian Oil, announced that it would invest $13 billion in expanding its operations, amidst a larger plan for the country’s oil refiners to invest up to $27 billion to boost their refining capacities. Indian Oil’s chairman, Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, was confident that fossil fuels would have a role to play in the future, partly over “energy security” concerns. The country’s overall refining capacity is also expected to grow from 249 million barrels per day (bpd) at the moment to 298 mbpd by 2025.
US county becomes first to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure
Whatcom county in the northwestern US state of Washington became the first in the county to ban any new fossil fuel infrastructure, and will require any expansion of current facilities to offset the resultant increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The move comes despite the county being home to two of the state’s five oil refineries and a major hub for the transport of coal, oil, natural gas and propane. The new ban was instituted to prevent additional damage to the county’s air quality, aquatic ecosystems and for the larger goal of minimising the fuels’ climate impacts.
Down south, Petaluma, California, became the first US city to ban the addition of new gas stations in March this year. It is encouraging existing gas station owners to switch to electric and hydrogen vehicle charging points in a bid to become a carbon-neutral city by 2030.
US: Oil and gas drillers spent $86,000 a day on Facebook ads to counter climate plan
Data from Facebook’s ad revenues revealed the US oil and gas industry raised its daily spending on ad campaigns to $86,000 (from an average of $6,700) as soon as Joe Biden announced his $2 trillion climate plan in 2020. The plan was announced as part of Biden’s election campaign, but 25 of the US’s largest oil and gas firms, advocacy organisations and industry lobby groups — including the American Petroleum Institute — posted numerous ads every day to rally support for natural gas pipelines. The content included misleading statements like “Natural gas is already clean, affordable and efficient — and it’s getting better every day”, and were shown mostly to men.
Facebook, for its part, said it rejects factually incorrect advertisements (since natural gas is not considered clean by climate scientists), even though it earned $10 million in revenue from the campaign.
UK: Private companies with little accountability taking over North Sea oil rigs
A new report by DeSmog found that privately-owned drillers are taking over ageing oil rigs in the North Sea, in sections that were previously explored by BP and Shell. The drillers are not as accountable to shareholder pressure or public scrutiny, and climate activists worry that they will not be as participating in the UK’s climate action goals. DeSmog uncovered a list of 506 North Sea blocks that were now operated by companies with opaque ownership structures, or ones that are owned by ultra-rich individuals and are registered outside of the UK’s jurisdiction. A number of them also had poor human resource records and were active in communities that deny/cast doubt over the science behind climate change.