Devil in the Retail

Via a reader on Twitter, an academic paper on one of this blog’s favourite subjects, the effectiveness of banning single-use plastic bags. Here’s the abstract:

Leakage occurs when partial regulation of consumer products results in increased consumption of these products in unregulated domains. This article quantifies plastic leakage from the banning of plastic carryout bags. Using quasi-random policy variation in California, I find the elimination of 40 million pounds of plastic carryout bags is offset by a 12 million pound increase in trash bag purchases—with small, medium, and tall trash bag sales increasing by 120%, 64%, and 6%, respectively. The results further reveal 12–22% of plastic carryout bags were reused as trash bags pre-regulation and show bag bans shift consumers towards fewer but heavier bags. With a substantial proportion of carryout bags already reused in a way that avoided the manufacture and purchase of another plastic bag, policy evaluations that ignore leakage effects overstate the regulation’s welfare gains.

Oh. It might have been useful to analyse second-order effects before imposing sweeping legislation, no?

The trouble is, despite environmentalists’ claims to be believers in “science”, what we’re dealing with here are religious fanatics. They’ve decided plastic is the devil’s material and therefore any move which appears to reduce its use sets mankind along the path of righteousness. All the academic research in the world isn’t going to make a dent in the propaganda pumped out by the United Church of Modern Environmentalism; you might as well go to Mecca during the hajj and start picking holes in bits of the Koran.

That’s not to say this paper and others like it aren’t useful; they are vital in demonstrating that people’s views on the environment are in large part spiritual, not rational. This is important because those who advocate these policies generally consider themselves atheists whose beliefs are based on scientific data (albeit that which they’d not have the foggiest idea how to interpret without the “guidance” of the contemporary equivalent of a religious hierarchy). The evidence suggests it’s rather pointless to tell a man who claims to be pious that his behaviour suggests otherwise. But I’ve found there is considerable traction in admiring the spiritual commitment of so-called atheists and remarking that they’d be quite at home in a busy-bodying church.

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Politicians deliver Brazilian whacks after outrage at burning bush

The last 48 hours have seen my social media feeds inundated with hysterical stories over fires in the Brazilian rainforest, reposted by well-meaning but dunderheaded acquaintances. Scanning the news sites, I see the Brazilian rainforest fires are making headline news.

So what’s going on here? Well, we can be sure that with this amount of media coverage it doesn’t have much to do with fires in the Brazilian rainforest. I don’t know how bad the fires are or whether it’s anything unusual, but I’d put a tenner on there having been hundreds of similar fires in the past few years that haven’t generated this much attention. Hell, the world can lose the entire Aral Sea and nobody says anything. The first thing that springs to mind is the global elites detest Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro because he’s – gasp! – right wing and too much like Trump for their liking. So if they want to weaken his position, what better method than saying he’s upsetting the Earth Goddess and encouraging the faithful to unite in his denunciation? This article sheds further light on matters:

France will block an EU trade deal with Brazil and its neighbours over the country’s handling of fires in the Amazon rainforest, a spokesperson for Emmanuel Macron has said.

Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has been criticised around the world for his response to the fires, which scientists say are man-made and campaigners have linked to businesses looking to exploit the land.

“The president can only conclude President Bolsonaro lied to him at the Osaka summit,” a spokesperson for the Elysee told the Reuters news agency.

Okay.

Conservationists say Mr Bolsonaro, who was elected on a pro-business platform, has encouraged the setting of fires as part of his pro-business programme. Brazil’s space research centre, Inpe, has detected 72,843 fires in the Amazon so far this year – an 84 per cent rise compared to 2018, when Mr Bolsonaro was elected. The president has said his country cannot fight the fires.

Is Macron really interested in fires in a country which apparently is used to tens of thousands of them, or is he seeking to protect French farmers from South American beef imports?

Earlier today Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s prime minister, also indicated that Ireland could try and block the EU trade deal.

“There is no way that Ireland will vote for the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement if Brazil does not honor its environmental commitments,” Mr Varadkar said.

Yes, when I’m told “the lungs of the planet” are on fire, my first reaction is to threaten to yank a free trade deal. How’s Ireland’s beef industry looking after 31st October, by the way?

Mr Macron on Thursday called for the issue to be discussed at the G7 summit, branding it an international emergency.

I suppose international grandstanding is easier than dealing with the riots outside the windows of his own office, isn’t it?

Indigenous groups living within the Amazon have tried desperately to save the land. Many blame illegal ranchers for setting the fires and conservation groups believe the crisis is man made. They also believe the Bolsonaro government has tacitly encouraged people to set the fires in order to clear the land for economic development.

I very much doubt much has changed on the ground since Bolsonaro took office. What we’re seeing here is an international effort to undermine and ultimately unseat a popular president who is not on board with the globalist agenda. If he’d been a good lefty globalist, we’d not have heard a peep about these fires and my Facebook page would still be filled with middle class mothers bleating about plastic in the ocean.

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Jet Dough

From The Times, August 2nd:

The Duke of Sussex has given a barefoot address about the need to save the environment at the star-studded Google Camp being held on Sicily, it has been reported.

The duke is said to have given an impassioned lecture at the three-day event hosted by the internet giant and which has a climate change theme, according to the Page Six gossip column of the New York Post.

Harry reportedly covered much of the same ground that he did in his interview with British Vogue’s September issue, which was guest-edited by his wife.

The duke told the magazine the couple would not have more than two children, and spoke about “terrifying” effects of climate change.

From the BBC, August 19th:

Sir Elton John has defended the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s use of private jets

The royal couple have faced criticism after newspapers claimed they took four private jet journeys in 11 days, including to Sir Elton’s home in Nice.

From Elton John himself:

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“[An indulgence is] a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and all of the saints”

In other words, you can reduce the time spent in purgatory for your earthly sins by coughing up some cash for the church:

Trading in indulgences was big business before the Reformation. Buying indulgences was expensive and thus reserved for the rich, who had the money to buy them or to go on a pilgrimage to Rome or Santiago del Compostela.

Environmentalism really is a new religion, isn’t it?

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Fossil Fool

A couple of days ago I listened to Joe Rogan’s podcast with Bernie Sanders. The thing with Sanders is he’s actually pretty good at identifying genuine problems. In 2016, what he was saying about blue collar America wasn’t much different from Trump’s message, which is partly why so many of the Bernie Bros couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary. However, Sanders’ solutions to the problems he identifies are terrible, consisting of top-down authoritarianism presiding over a command-and-control economy, much like what he saw in the Soviet Union on his honeymoon. Take for example his proposals for tackling climate change around the hour mark of the podcast:

Sanders has bought wholesale into the nonsense that we have 12 years left to save the planet, but his solutions are even more daft. His proposal is to “tell the fossil fuel industry that their short term profits are not more important than the future of the planet”. He then goes on to say “you cannot keep producing a product which is destroying the planet.” Rogan asks him whether this means he will tell the fossil fuel companies to stop selling their products, and Sanders replies that yes, “this is the bottom line”.

It’s hard to know where to begin with such stupidity. The only major oil and gas companies the US government would have some degree of control over should it issue such an order are ExxonMobil and Chevron. While most international oil companies work overtime not to fall foul of the US government in ordinary circumstances, faced with what amounts to closure orders from a President Sanders they’d cease all cooperation immediately. Sanders talks about the need to work with Russia and others but it’s hard to imagine Gazprom and Rosneft shutting down production because a septuagenarian multi-millionaire from Vermont deems it necessary. Although if Theresa May were still British Prime Minister you could well imagine her closing down BP in order to seal her “legacy”.

But the impossibility of implementing the policy isn’t even the most stupid part. Sanders speaks as though the fossil fuel companies sell products with no utility, as if they don’t underpin the entire way of modern life. He seems to think they’re luxury products we can do without if only the right leadership is shown. I see this with a lot of people: they think cars should be electric, and electricity generated by solar, wind, and hydro power and therefore we don’t need fossil fuels any more. What staggers me is the ignorance among the general public about what fossil fuel products are actually used for. Even making the ludicrous assumption we could switch our cars to electric and generate all electricity from renewables, how do we power planes, ships, and tractors without fossil fuels? Even my erstwhile environmental engineer friend didn’t seem to understand that a demand for fossil fuels will likely remain until the very end of human existence. She didn’t seem to consider the economics of her preferred policies at all, let alone the effects at the margins (i.e on the poor), which puts her in good company with Bernie Sanders and most of the public who subscribe to swivel-eyed environmentalism. One minute Sanders is bemoaning the difficulties low-paid workers face in America, the next he’s saying we should make basic energy products as expensive as diamonds.

As I’ve said before, I have a theory that when a certain number of generations have taken the bottom two levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for granted, the society starts to self-destruct. A critical mass of people simply lose connection with the foundations which prop up their society, start meddling with them, and eventually call for their destruction. I’ve tried to think of a similar instance from history, and the closest I can find is China’s decision in the 15th century to destroy their ships in an effort to isolate themselves from the perils of free trade. And even that doesn’t come close to ordering a halt on fossil fuel production. What’s that saying that whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad? We’re here, folks.

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Bag Ladies

It’s a rare and wonderful day that I can write two posts on this blog’s favourite niche topics. Two readers have alerted me to this article, via Guido:

Last week, the government proudly announced that plastic bag sales had fallen dramatically.

However, the government’s press release only mentioned in passing that these figures only include so-called “single-use” plastic bags.

This is significant because most supermarkets are actively trying to replace or supplement the sale of thin single-use bags with more durable bags, known as “bags for life”.

But the government’s figures do not include any bags for life – which now account for a significant proportion of supermarket plastic bag sales.

About ten days ago I was on the beach with an environmental engineer who was convinced that using “bags for life” was better than single-use bags. I said that this was cute, but it was no less an article of faith than a Medieval peasant believing in the afterlife. She disagreed, so I asked if she was aware of the Danish study which shows “bags for life” are more damaging to the environment than single-use bags. She said she wasn’t, but she was more concerned with the overall environmental impact, not just the amount of plastic used. I said this is precisely what the study looked at. She dismissed this with a wave of the hand and said she was “sure” there are lots of studies out there. I asked if she could name any, because the one by the Danish government was the only one I’d heard of. She said she didn’t know of any. I said I admired her commitment to her faith. She suggested we go for a swim.

The problem is this is not about personal choice. I couldn’t care less if middle class women in white collar professions want to make pointless offerings to the Earth Goddess, but they want their dumb personal preferences turned into national legislation without the slightest consideration of the broader consequences.

Bags for life are much thicker than single-use bags, so they contain much more plastic.

For instance, FactCheck calculates that a Waitrose bag for life weighs almost four times as much as the supermarket’s single-use bags.

The idea is that customers will use fewer of them – so the total amount of plastic being used over the course of a year will be less. But reports suggest this is not always working.

Last year, The Times said an average UK household uses 44 bags for life in just one year.

And the managing director of Iceland admitted the supermarket was actually using more plastic – not less – as a result of switching to bags for life.

He told the paper: “These bags for life are a thicker, higher grade of plastic… We are selling less of them but it’s not yet less enough that it’s compensated in terms of the extra weight that they are for the fewer amount of bags that we are selling. So therefore I haven’t yet reduced the total amount of plastic weight, even though I have eliminated 5p carrier bags.”

Legislation is being passed by religious fanatics who are convinced they’re acting rationally in accordance with economic and scientific data. At least in the olden days the religious orders put up some nice buildings.

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French Resistance

Heh:

Teen activist Greta Thunberg has lashed out at French lawmakers for mocking her in a speech to parliament that was boycotted by far-right politicians.

Far-right, eh?

Ms Thunberg, whose solo protest outside the Swedish Parliament inspired the school climate strike movement, has been lauded for her emotive speeches to politicians.

But lawmakers from French parties, including the conservative Republicans and far-right National Rally, said they would shun her speech in the National Assembly.

So not just the far-right, then. Ordinary conservatives as well, those representing French men and women who might not like being lectured to by weird Swedish teenagers.

Urging his colleagues to boycott Ms Thunberg’s speech, leadership candidate for The Republicans, Guillaume Larrive, wrote on Twitter: “We do not need gurus of the apocalypse.”

Other French legislators hurled insults at Ms Thunberg ahead of her speech, calling her a “prophetess in shorts” and the “Justin Bieber of ecology”.

Republicans MP Julien Aubert, who is also contending for his party’s leadership, suggested Ms Thunberg should win a “Nobel Prize for Fear”.

Speaking to France 2 television, Jordan Bardella, an MEP for the National Rally, equated Ms Thunberg’s campaigning efforts to a “dictatorship of perpetual emotion”.

Say what you like about the French, but at least their politicians seem broadly representative of everyone in society. Contrast this with the UK: who among our political classes was representing the tens of millions of people who thought this Thunberg brat had no business addressing parliament?

Members of other parties, such as the Greens and French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist En Marche, were more supportive of her appearance.

Well, yes. They’re representative of the wealthy Metropolitan elites who have no problem whacking up the living costs of those in the provinces in order to engage in Earth-worship.

Speaking in English, Ms Thunberg said…

I’m sure that went down well, too.

Ms Thunberg has been harshly attacked by journalists and trolls on Twitter, but politicians usually use more measured rhetoric when criticising her.

That’s French politicians for you. Good for them.

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Gas Trap

I’ll use this tweet to kick off a post about associated gas:


When you produce crude oil through a well, it’s not just oil that comes up. You also get mud, water, gas, and certain nasty substances. The water is called “produced water” for obvious reasons, and the gas “associated gas”. This means it is associated with oil production, which distinguishes if from a field which is developed purely for its gas reserves (in which case it’s called unassociated gas).

The problem of what to do with associated gas is one that has plagued the oil industry since its founding. Produced water can be treated and put back into the sea or a water course, but you can’t do that with gas. Until a decade or two ago, oil companies would simply burn it off, which is why old pictures of oilfields showed enormous flares lighting up the entire region twenty four hours a day. This pumped some pretty nasty substances into the local environment, but important people only really got concerned when global warming came along and they started looking at how much CO2 was produced by this practice. So what is known as “operational flaring” got severely restricted or banned in most places. The tweet above is referring to the ongoing practice of operational flaring in the Permian basin, the home of the US shale revolution.

One small point before we continue: you still see flares on modern oil and gas facilities because they are part of the process safety system. If you have a problem on your plant, the option of last resort is to dump all your inventory to the flare and let it burn. It’s not good, but better than blowing up the whole plant, taking the neighbouring town with it. So this is why you still see a small, lazy flare burning at the top of a stack in a refinery: it’s burning fuel gas, just to keep it lit for when it’s needed. This is completely different from operational flaring.

So if you can’t flare the associated gas, you have two options. You can reinject it into the reservoir, either to increase reservoir pressure to aid production or just to stop it being emitted to the atmosphere. If that’s not possible either because the reservoir engineers will get upset or, in the case of shale, there is no reservoir, the other option is to monetise it somehow (which might be attractive even if you can reinject it). In many developments, this means running a pipeline to an existing gas plant. If your oilfield is close to other developments, this is often possible. LNG isn’t really an option with associated gas, but you might be able to build a gas plant providing power to local homes and businesses if there is a population centre nearby. Another option is an LPG plant where the gas gets treated and bottled and then trucked to a nearby population centre. I’ve heard of oil companies talking about giving away gas stoves to locals in order to create a market for LPG, but I’m not sure if it was ever done.

The problem comes when none of these options are feasible. I’ve been involved in lots of new development studies at the preliminary stages and the question always arises: what do we do with the gas? One project was in Kurdistan, miles from anywhere. The intention was to produce crude, store it in those huge tanks you see beside refineries, and then pipe it to a refinery or terminal somewhere or offload it into trucks. But we didn’t know what to do with the gas, and there was a lot of it. We couldn’t reinject it, and there was no population centre nearby. We then discovered the gas was full of nasty substances so when we crunched the numbers we’d find we’d be spending X of CAPEX to produce oil and 2X processing the associated gas, and then not knowing what to do with it. So the project got binned: too expensive.

This is why they still allow operational flaring in the Permian basin. It’s not good for the environment, but if it were banned there would be no shale revolution, the oil price would still be above a $100 per barrel, and I might still have a career. One option, and I don’t know how feasible this is without looking at the area in question, would be for the government to provide incentives to all players to build a central gas processing facility which could take all the associated gas and do something with it. But that might face all sorts of regulatory hurdles, let alone the pipelines associated with such a scheme. So they’re stuck between a rock and hard place: force them to dispose of the gas or charge them for emissions, and you’d kill the industry and America’s new-found energy independence. I expect we’ll see several battles played out over this issue in the years to come.

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Unoriginal Sin

Regular readers will know I like to draw comparisons between environmentalism and the traditional religions that modern societies abandoned:

I mentioned climate change because this seems to be the aspect of modern politics in supposedly secular countries which most closely resembles a religion. Once again, we have the sacred texts, the high priests, the apostates, punishment of unbelievers, calls for sacrifices, and indoctrination all wrapped up in a great moral crusade stretching beyond our lifetimes that secures the blind faith of the followers. It makes me laugh when I hear atheists refer to “Science!” when talking about climate change: these people are no more able to challenge the pronouncements of the scientists, whose words have been filtered through the media and politicians, than a medieval peasant was able to challenge the high priests’ interpretations of sacred texts. They are as much wedded to faith as their devout ancestors, but they don’t realise it.

In support of this theory I present a chap on Sky talking about original sin:


Let the self-flagellation begin!

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Greens too white

This has all the hallmarks of a shakedown:

The mother of Ella Kissi-Debrah – the nine-year-old girl whose fatal asthma attack may have been linked to illegal levels of pollution – has said there is a lack of representation in climate activism.

People living in parts of London with high proportions of black, mixed or other ethnic groups are disproportionately affected by air pollution compared to those in areas with a high proportion of white people, according to research by the Mayor of London.

In the days of industrialised cities it was true that the poor neighbourhoods were situated downwind of the factories so their air quality was noticeably worse, but today? The pollution in London (and I suspect most modern cities) comes from vehicle exhausts and domestic and commercial boilers (.pdf); what’s the mechanism by which this worsens air quality in boroughs with lots of ethnic minorities?

Yet people from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) backgrounds are often invisible in climate protest, says Rosamund Kissi-Debrah – who is due to speak at the World Health Organization on Monday.

That’s because it’s predominantly a western, white, middle class female movement which ropes in a lot of hen-pecked husbands and their idiotic Millennial offspring. You might as well complain Chinese are invisible at cricket matches and there are no Indian women at bluegrass jam sessions.

Ms Kissi-Debrah, who lost her daughter in 2013, says black or ethnic minority people care about climate change as much as other groups.

Either this is untrue, or the palefaces erect a phalanx around climate change protests to keep out the swarthy hordes demanding to take part.

Echoing Ms Kissi-Debrah’s comment is Professor Akwugo Emejulu – a sociology lecturer at the University of Warwick specialising in women of colour’s activism in Europe.

A professional race-baiter, in other words.

She says the main reason for what she sees as their lack of representation in activism lies in some of the tactics used by action groups, such as Extinction Rebellion.

That group that popped up out of nowhere a month or so back?

One of the strategies adopted by Extinction Rebellion during their 10-day demonstration in April was to get as many activists as possible arrested.

Prof Emejulu says some black campaigners are put off this approach because they fear violence and hostility from the police.

Because it’s impossible to campaign against climate change without being arrested. It’s either Extinction Rebellion and jail, or nothing.

Samantha Moyo is the coordinator for Extinction Rebellion Together – a section within the group that provides training on diversity.

Meaning the group accepts people from Eton and Harrow.

She says it took a lot of effort to overcome her fear of police when joining protest campaigns.

“I don’t know what it is about being black that makes you feel scared around police,” she said.

Their general incompetence?

“I’ve always got a feeling of, ‘they’re going to get me – out of everyone here, they’re going to come for me’.”

And have they? Or is this just paranoid delusion (or flat out lying) on your part?

Ms Moyo says she only felt safe from police at the latest protests because she was “holding hands with a fellow protester, who was white”.

As the great Chris Rock said, “get a white friend”.

She says police could help to reduce the fear sometimes felt by people of colour if they behaved in a more approachable way.

“Something as simple as a smile. Or maybe something like a declaration from a police department, saying: ‘We admit this has been a problem’, that would be quite healing.

I take it this diversity and policing expert has never seen the MacPherson report.

“Or even allowing or creating spaces for people who are traumatised by police to share their stories.

Have you tried blogger.com?

A lot of people of colour are traumatised.”

Two of them being your parents upon reading this article, I expect.

Kids of Colour – a platform for young ethnic minority people to explore identity and “challenge institutional racism” – says climate protests do not always allow for the realities they face.

To be fair, climate protests are pretty divorced from reality full stop.

School students around the world recently went on strike to demand action on climate change, but some at Kids of Colour question how inclusive the protests were.

Greta Thunberg did look a bit white supremacist-y, didn’t she?

“The school strikes have been fantastic to witness, but it is also a privilege to be able to skip school,” says one representative.

“Many young people of colour feel a pressure to succeed in education because society does not work in their favour.”

If your complaint is that only the spoiled brat offspring of wealthy parents get to flunk school with no consequences, I’m right behind you. But I’m not sure this has a whole lot to do with race.

Economic inequality can be another barrier for people of ethnic and minority backgrounds who are affected by climate change, says Ms Kissi-Debrah.

“Can you imagine giving up 10 days [of work] to sit in central London? It is absolutely not feasible for those in low-paid jobs.

Or any job.

“I’m not saying everyone in Extinction Rebellion is in a privileged situation, but a lot of them were in jobs that make it easier for them to take time off work.”

Such as in academia, NGOs, and the public sector.

The Wretched of the Earth, which describes itself as “a collective of grassroots indigenous, black, brown and diaspora groups”, wrote an open letter to Extinction Rebellion asking the group to rethink its tactics.

Environmentalists often warn that climate change will result in bitter wars over limited resources. What they fail to appreciate is the climate change movement has delivered much the same thing by itself.

While commending Extinction Rebellion’s successes, the letter said ethnic and minority voices were missing from the movement and need to be included early on, in order to effectively challenge systems upholding “racism, sexism and classism”.

To think, this article began with a little girl dying of asthma.

Referencing Miss Thunberg’s “house on fire” analogy, the group said: “Our communities have been on fire for a long time and these flames are fanned by our exclusion and silencing.”

How dare they attack an autistic schoolgirl!

People from BAME backgrounds need to be taken into consideration from the very start, says Prof Emejulu.

Especially when handing out money, power, and privilege.

“It’s not about organising in your own terms and then trying to draw people in. You have to be embedded in the communities with the people that are affected by this.

We can’t be bothered organising ourselves, so we demand you include us in your own activities right from the start.

“It’s also about democracy – if democracy isn’t reflected in your activism then that’s a problem.”

Democracy in this case meaning random, race-hustling outsiders get to tell you what to do.

Ms Moyo says Extinction Rebellion is working on taking action to ensure that people of colour are not being left out.

By including their parents’ housekeepers on the roster?

“I’m excited about what we’re doing,” she says, “because we’ll be raising awareness and providing training around racism, colonialism, systemic trauma and other important issues.”

With a pink yacht on Oxford street.

Greens of Colour is part of the Green Party, aiming to represent BAME members. And Friends of the Earth (FoE) has also acknowledged there is a problem with diversity in climate debates.

How diverse are the donors, I wonder?

In particular, says an FoE spokeswoman, groups need to be better at recruitment and “bringing people in that the sector hasn’t done very much to interest”.

Sane people?

FoE now gives potential supporters a variety of ways to join and tries to make sure they see their experiences reflected in campaigns.

A campaign against polar bear extinction from the perspective of a middle class race-hustler from London would be worth watching, I feel.

The spokeswoman adds: “But we own that we have a long way to go.”

And you always will, because it will never be enough. For my part, I’m delighted by this development: the more these idiotic progressives fight among each other, the better. More please, and faster.

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Never burst, buckled, or bent

The other day I received a PR email from a company based in Aberdeen which:

is aiming to significantly reduce the environmental impact caused by the oil and gas industry, by offering a new sustainable solution with the refurbishment and reuse of decommissioned subsea equipment and component parts.

This immediately struck me as a venture started by people who think sustainability is a product in itself.

Presently, the industry recycles as much of its subsea equipment as possible once it has no further need for them.

Meaning, they take it off the sea floor and sell it for scrap.

Instead of the traditional recycling process, Legasea takes the subsea production equipment from decommissioned fields and reuses as many parts as possible following a rigorous refurbishment process at its base

Here’s where I think the problem is. Despite the enormous cost of subsea equipment creating a massive industry, there’s not actually a lot of it made. Industry efforts to standardise subsea Xmas trees for example ran into the problem that at the height of the boom only about 150 were installed in a year. A couple of years ago it was in single figures. This is not the sort of mass-volume industry which lends itself to standardisation, and the potential savings not enough to persuade oil companies to abandon their own standards in favour of a common industry-wide design. In other words, these pieces of equipment are bespoke and have to be ultra-reliable, hence they’re very expensive. This isn’t the sort of kit which lends itself to using secondhand parts to reduce costs, and even if it were, how many units do these guys think they’ll be selling each year?

This leads to huge cost and lead time savings for clients and results in saving obsolete components, such as many types of subsea electrical connectors and hydraulic couplings making them available for reuse on producing fields.

The long lead times are due to oil companies demanding bespoke units. If they were willing to be flexible on that score they’d have agreed to a standard design and be buying brand new, off-the-shelf kit. But they haven’t, so they will still want bespoke designs and I suspect the long lead times are down to design and approvals rather than an availability of the parts this company is refurbishing. And what percentage savings will they make using refurbished parts instead of new? I can’t see many engineers in an oil company signing off on using refurbished parts for a piece of kit which will sit at the bottom of the sea for twenty years unless the cost savings really are substantial.

A common occurrence in many other industries, this repurposing of subsea parts helps to preserve vital resources for continued use and reduces the environmental impact of the oil and gas companies themselves.

Preserve vital resources? Such as? And it is debatable whether refurbishing these parts with all the material and manpower involved will use fewer resources than just producing them from new.

Co-founded by Lewis Sim (Managing Director) and Ray Milne (Operations Director), the Legasea team has been joined by team members Chris Howley (Service Technician), Graham Petrie (Projects Manager) and Chris Moffat (QHSE Manager).

So you’ve got your overheads sorted, then. How many units will they be refurbishing each month, do you think?

“We offer an alternative route for unwanted and recovered subsea production systems and will take liability and ownership for the equipment; making it safe, clean and disassembling it to its component parts. Reusable parts will then be used to fulfil the demand for urgent remanufacturing and spares when crucial production is at risk during routine preventative maintenance or when an unforeseen failure is encountered subsea.”

Okay, the business model might work if they’re providing urgently-required spare parts, but how many emergencies are they expecting each year? And I’d be interested to know just how much liability they’re willing to take on. One component failure and they could be on the hook for millions within an hour.

Hey, I wish them well and I’m just some bloke on a computer, but if I’m gonna get unsolicited PR emails I feel I’m entitled to look at them critically.

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