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Trump administration moves to rescind methane emission limits 30 August 2019

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a plan to scrap Obama-era regulations targeting methane emissions from oil and gas wells. The proposed plan, put forward on August 29, is set to undergo a 60-day period of public comment before being finalised. It would see oil and gas companies police themselves when it comes to preventing methane leaking from wells and pipelines rather than adhering to federal regulations....

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Cracked hull causes oil leak from Brazilian FPSO 29 August 2019

A cracked hull in a Brazilian FPSO, the Cidade do Rio de Janeiro, has caused an oil spill around 130km (81 miles) off the coast of Brazil in the Espadarte oil field in the Campos Basin. Japanese offshore platform operator MODEC, which owns the vessel, informed Brazilian state-led oil company Petrobras of the incident on August 23. The vessel has been evacuated as a precautionary measure....

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Earth tremors shut down UK fracking operation 27 August 2019

Cuadrilla Resources has halted operations at its Preston New Road fracking site in Lancashire after a series of seismic events. The shutdown comes less than a week after Cuadrilla started fracking its second well on the site after abandoning the first well following multiple shutdowns due to tremors....

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Drone attack on Saudi oil field sparks fire 23 August 2019

A drone attack launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels caused a fire at a Saudi oil field on August 17. No casualties or disruption to production were reported at the Shaybah oil field which produces around one million barrels of crude oil a day....

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Airbus A380 superjumbo aircraft face checks after part is recovered from 2017 engine explosion 22 August 2019

An investigation into a mid-air engine explosion on an Air France A380 in 2017 is now focused on a part showing evidence of metal fatigue recently recovered from the Greenland icecap....

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North Dakota oil spill could be larger than Exxon Valdez event 22 August 2019

The North Dakota Health Department has acknowledged that a 2015 pipeline leak of liquid natural gas is far larger than the initial report of 10 gallons. The environmental blog DeSmog, which uncovered the discrepancy, said that the spill was many orders of magnitude larger....

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Leaked Government documents suggest two of UK’s refineries could close after no-deal Brexit 20 August 2019

A leaked dossier on the possible ramifications of a no-deal Brexit on the UK economy published by The Sunday Times on August 18 includes the possibility that two of the country’s six remaining refineries could close....

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Robots autonomously map underground mines 20 August 2019

Several research teams are competing in an event to develop robots capable of autonomously mapping and navigating mines. The first event in the multi-year competition, the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Subterranean Challenge, will see 11 teams assemble their robots and drones between August 15-22 in the research mine operated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in South Park Township, near Pittsburgh....

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UK plans Europe's first rubbish-to-jet fuel manufacturing facility 20 August 2019

British Airways and Royal Dutch Shell have submitted plans to build Europe’s first plant that converts household waste into jet fuel in the UK. The two companies will work with Velocys, a sustainable fuel specialist, on a site near Immingham on the Humber estuary in North Lincolnshire....

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Russia may give pipeline operator control of all oil intake terminals after contamination scare 20 August 2019

Russia could transfer the operational responsibility for all oil intake terminals to state-owned pipeline company Transneft, according to a report on a government website relayed by the Reuters news agency, after a privately-owned terminal was blamed earlier this year for contaminating oil supplies....

Features

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Lessons and challenges in major hazards leadership: a personal perspective

Jo Nettleton is Deputy Director and Head of Radioactive Substances and Installations Regulation at the UK Environment Agency. In this article, based on her presentation at the Hazardex 2019 Conference, she looks at some of the high hazard incidents that have occurred during her wide-ranging career and reflects on the importance of leadership and collaboration in preventing these incidents. Jo also considers some of the main challenges for the future....

Case Studies

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Challenges and opportunities: Taking the Scotch whisky sector beyond compliance

Last autumn, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) launched its first Sector Plan for one of the biggest industries in Scotland: Whisky. This sector plan is not about implementation, because all but a small number of distilleries in Scotland fulfil their obligations, says Paul Guppy of DPS Group. This is about a new key phrase which is becoming increasingly important, moving beyond compliance....

Comment

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Saudi Arabia - An object lesson in the importance of guarding against low-tech threats

The drone attacks on Saudi Aramco’s oil and gas facilities and key infrastructure will have significant ripple effects in the global energy and petrochemical markets, as well as the global economy, as oil prices rise and natural gas production is disrupted. The strikes on 14 September hit the Khurais oilfield and Abqaiq, the world’s largest crude oil and natural gas processing site....

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