Lobbyists Tell PA Lawmakers Nukes Safer than Gas-Fired Plants

Sometimes you can’t convey it all in a headline that should be 65 characters or less (in order to make the Google gods happy). In this case, the longer headline we would have used is this: “Lobbyists tell Pennsylvania lawmakers that nuclear powered electric plants are safer from cyber and physical attack than natural gas-fired plants (and therefore should be preferred to gas-fired plants).” That was the upshot of a hearing held yesterday by the PA House-Senate Nuclear Caucus, a hearing in which nuclear energy lobbyists claimed “no mandatory physical or cyber security standards exist for natural gas systems” in contrast to the nuclear energy industry that has to meet “demanding security requirements.” We should hope so! We hope that nuke facilities are more strictly regulated than natural gas facilities. If a nuke goes offline/has an accident/is overtaken in a physical attack, thousands of people die and it’s an environmental disaster. If a natgas-fired plant goes offline, the lights go out for a while. Big difference, we would say…
Continue reading

Blockchain: Explaining a Complex New Tech + Impact on O&G

We don’t know about you, but hardly a day goes by we don’t notice the word “blockchain” in the headlines. Increasingly that word is used in oil and gas news. We had some vague idea that blockchain has something to do with digital currency–using Bitcoin instead of dollars. Whatever Bitcoin is! So what could blockchain possibly have to do with oil and gas? As it turns out, blockchain the technology is much more than just a technology that makes digital currency possible. We spotted an article on the World Oil¬†website about blockchain and took the opportunity to dig into this new tech sweeping the world by storm. Put simply, blockchain is an ironclad “way of tracking things.” Those things can be money (the earliest adopter of the technology), but also other things, like legal documents. The technology can also be used to guard against hackers breaking into a company’s network. Cybersecurity is often mentioned as a huge benefit of using blockchain in the oil and gas industry. Blockchain tech can protect against hackers breaking into a remotely controlled drilling rig, for example. Or breaking into a computer that controls shipments of goods and materials. Drilling companies have some of the most complex logistics operations in the world. They plan out drilling new shale wells up to a year in advance, coordinating it so that trucks hauling equipment (even the rig itself) arrive on the exact day they need to be there. And they coordinate deliveries of water and sand used in fracking–down to the day those deliveries need to arrive, figuring out how to get them shipped via train and truck. A year in advance! Can you imagine a hacker breaking into a network and screwing with that information? It could be economically catastrophic for the driller. Blockchain guards against it. Here’s more about blockchain and how it’s coming (fast) to the shale industry…
Continue reading