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OIL AND GAS
Conflict of interest mars Michigan oil pipeline review
by Daniel J. Graeber
Washington (UPI) Jun 22, 2017


Michigan's attorney general said the state cut ties with a firm probing risks on a Great Lakes oil pipeline because of ties to Enbridge, the operating company.

Pipeline operator Enbridge is facing push back from residents in the northern part of Michigan's lower peninsula worried about the integrity of Line 5, but the company said it felt it was in as good a condition as when it was installed.

The state said it terminated a contract with Det Norske Veritas, which was preparing a risk analysis for the pipeline, because it's working on another project for Enbridge.

"The evaluations of Line 5 were supposed to be independent, not tainted by outside opinions or information, but that's not what happened," Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement.

Two of the state's Great Lakes intersect at the Mackinac Straits, creating a turbulent maritime environment. A Michigan pipeline task force requires Enbridge to carry full insurance, create a public pipeline safety board and disclose safety reports.

Last year, State Rep. Candice Miller introduced the Great Lakes Pipeline Safety Act, which would've forced the closure of the company's Line 5 pipeline system. If the pipeline burst, she said, more than 700 miles of the shoreline of the Great Lakes could be impacted.

In March, Sen. Rick Jones, R-Mich., introduced legislation targeting Line 5, a 64-year-old pipeline system. A leak from the pipeline, he said, would have devastating consequences on the regional economy, which relies heavily on tourism and fishing.

Enbridge is the operator of a broader regional oil pipeline system. A rupture form the company's Line 6b in 2010 in southern Michigan triggered one of the largest inland oil spills in the history of the U.S. oil industry.

Det Norske had no comment on the termination of a contract vetted last year. The state has a contract with a second company to provide a separate report on Line 5. That company, Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems, presents its findings to the public July 6.

OIL AND GAS
Iran: OPEC production cuts are difficult
Washington (UPI) Jun 20, 2017
Cutting back on production levels is a difficult task for members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Iran's oil minister said Wednesday. Iran ranks third among OPEC member states in terms of proven crude oil reserves. Production has been more or less steady since the fourth quarter of 2016 at 3.7 million barrels per day, though that's up about 8 percent from 2016. Whi ... read more

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