Never Forget 9/11.  Count on Coal:  Usibelli Milestone. 

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Today’s Key Takeaways:  America remembers 9/11.  Ukraine takes oil and gas platforms from Russia.  Oil prices steady above $90.  Chevron asked regulator to stop LNG strikes.  Usibelli reaches safety milestone.  The truth about Inflation Reduction Act success. 


Ukraine Retakes Oil And Gas Platforms Off Crimea From Russia
Tsvetana Paraskova, September 11, 2023

Ukraine said on Monday its forces had retaken oil and gas platforms offshore Crimea which Russia had occupied in 2015.

The so-called Boyka Towers are oil and gas drilling platforms off the coast of Crimea in the Black Sea, and Ukraine has regained control over them, the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine said in a post on social media accompanied by a YouTube video.

The platforms for oil and gas drilling were occupied by Russia in 2015, after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The platforms were recaptured from Russia in what Ukraine described as a “unique operation.”

“For Ukraine, regaining control of the Boiko Towers was of strategic importance and, as a result, Russia lost the ability to use them for military purposes,” the Ukrainian military intelligence said in the video, as carried by Reuters.

“Russia has been deprived of the ability to fully control the waters of the Black Sea, and this makes Ukraine many steps closer to regaining Crimea,” Ukraine says.

According to the Ukrainian forces, “During one phase of the operation, a battle took place between Ukrainian special forces on boats and a Russian Su-30 fighter jet.”

The Russian aircraft was “hit and forced to retreat,” Ukraine added.

In recent weeks, Crimea and the Black Sea have become an increasingly important theater of battles in the war triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

At the end of last month, the UK Ministry of Defence reported that Ukraine and Russia had been fighting over strategic oil and gas platforms in the Black Sea. The platforms are operated by the Chernomorneftegaz, an oil and gas company that was seized by pro-Russian authorities in Crimea in 2014.

“Since Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, Ukraine has struck several Russian-controlled platforms. Both Russia and Ukraine have also periodically occupied them with troops,” the UK said.


Oil prices steady around 10-month highs
Robert Harvey, Natalie Grover, Reuters, September 11, 2023

The benchmark oil price stabilised on Monday, holding above $90 a barrel reached last week for the first time in 10 months following fresh Saudi and Russian crude output cuts.

Saudi Arabia and Russia last week announced that they will extend voluntary supply cuts of a combined 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of the year.

The supply cuts overshadowed continuing concern over Chinese economic activity. On Monday U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said that China’s economic problems were more likely to have a local impact than affect the United States.



Chevron Asks Regulator to Intervene in Australia LNG Strikes
Rob Verdonk, Stephen Stapcynski, Bloomberg, September 10, 2023

  • Workers on Friday began partial strikes at key facilities
  • Dispute has pushed prices of natural gas higher in Europe

Chevron Corp. is applying to a labor regulator to help resolve its dispute with unions at liquefied natural gas sites in Australia as workers continue partial strikes.

The producer has asked the Fair Work Commission to make so-called intractable bargaining declarations for the Gorgon and Wheatstone downstream facilities, adding to a similar request already lodged in relation to the Wheatstone platform, a Chevron spokesman said. Industrial action at the operations — which supplied about 7% of the world’s LNG last year — started Friday, sending benchmark prices soaring.



Usibelli workers hit safety milestone
Shane Lasley, North of 60 Mining News, September 8, 2023

Usibelli Coal Mine Sept. 7 celebrated 1,000 consecutive days without a lost time accident. The fact that this milestone is not a record for Alaska’s longest operating mine is a testament to Usibelli’s unwavering commitment to the safety and well-being of the more than 100 workers.

“We are proud to celebrate 1,000 days without a lost time accident,” said Usibelli Coal Mine President Joe Usibelli Jr. “This achievement reflects our commitment to safety as a core value and the foundation of our company culture. Every team member is accountable for their safety and the safety of their fellow coal miners.”

As an industry that uses explosives, heavy equipment, and industrial crushing and sorting, as well as transporting equipment across a natural-to-industrial landscape wrought with various hazards, mining is an inherently dangerous business. Minus-40-degree temperatures that are an annual occurrence, along with the snow and ice that come with Interior Alaska’s dark winters, add to the hazards the Usibelli Coal Mine workers must be aware of.

Despite its inherent dangers, and in many ways because of them, mining is one of the safest industries to work in the United States. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job-related injuries and illnesses in America’s mining industry during 2021 was 1.3 per 100 workers, which is half the 2.6 per 100 across all sectors for the same year.

The reason it is statistically safer to work in a mine than an office in the U.S. is due to the mining sector’s prioritization of safety and the programs that have been developed to recognize and mitigate hazards in the workplace.

Toward its own pursuit of safety excellence, Usibelli is one of 11 operations in the U.S. to have received CORESafety certification from the National Mining Association in 2020.

By implementing CORESafety, alongside the coal mine’s own “Everyday Safety – At Work. At Home. At Play.” campaign, employees are empowered to be safety leaders, fostering a collaborative approach to identifying and mitigating potential hazards.


Low-Energy Fridays: The Increasingly Expensive Inflation Reduction Act’s First Anniversary
Michael Giberson, R Street, September 8, 2023

The Biden administration recently marked the first anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). As is often the case with government programs, authoritative estimates project that the eventual taxpayer cost will be higher than anticipated. In this case, at $1.2 trillion, the projected cost is three times what Congress was told to expect when the bill passed last year.

IRA advocates claim its high cost is worthwhile. But it’s important, especially amid skyrocketing cost projections, to take a hard look at the path we’re on and determine if course corrections are warranted.

First, we must remember that the IRA is climate policy that aims to reduce emissions. It has virtually nothing to do with inflation; the name was political packaging useful in securing a few votes for the bill. As climate policy, the ultimate measure of effectiveness depends on how much greenhouse emissions are reduced and at what cost.

In other words, results outweigh intentions. But because it’s still too soon for results, IRA advocates applaud manufacturing plants announced; jobs reportedly created; electric vehicles to be subsidized; and wind, solar and other clean energy projects to be built. Essentially, proponents are cheering for the resources being used while critics’ concerns about cost-effectiveness are being sidelined.