Long live oil, long live war!

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Long live oil, long live war!




by GuyGadeboisTheBack » 07/12/21, 14:25

PollutionIn Syria, a region sick with its oil

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Around the village of Kharab Abou Ghalib, in the northeast of the country, the fields are polluted, animals and people poisoned. The poison ? Oil, a vital industry, devastated by the years of war, but also deadly. A report by The Independent correspondent in the region.

The scene says a lot about the extent of pollution in this region of northeastern Syria. Two burials take place that afternoon, side by side, on the banks of a river of oil, black and shimmering. Stunned by the suffocating vapors, the bereaved relatives are gathered under two tents. In the village of Kharab Abou Ghalib, once surrounded by lush green pastures, as in many other places in Syria, the ground is now petrol black.

In the midst of this omnipresent black mud, the little color comes from the river, whose oily surface reflects kaleidoscope shimmers under the sun. It is to this stream, devastated by an oil spill from a nearby storage site last year, that residents attribute the notable increase in mortality in the region. An accusation that echoes like an echo in many villages in northern Syria, also hit by increasing pollution.

In the four days before our visit alone, an elderly man and a middle-aged woman died after suffering from difficulty breathing, chest pain and kidney failure. Ayman, nephew of one of these victims, assures us that in his village ten people died during the past year - an unusually high figure. Animals are also dying, and the fields have become barren. “We don't know exactly what all these deaths are due to, but we do know that it has to do with pollution, which attacks our lungs and our immune system,” explains the young man as he stands next to the poisoned river. “The smell is so strong that we don't sleep at night. And we are worried, because it also makes us more vulnerable to the coronavirus. ”

One of the consequences of the war

The village of Kharab Abou Ghalib is located not far from the large oil field of Rumeilan, and 10 kilometers downstream from Gir Zero, the main oil storage site in northeastern Syria, in territory controlled by the administration. Kurdish.
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Many other villages like this one all over Syria are being ravaged by the oil industry.

Oil is both the only windfall to keep this war-torn and murderous curse afloat.


As far as the eye can see, oil pumping trestles move up and down in a throbbing motion, like worshipers in a trance. The horizon is bristling with it, and to this apocalypse landscape is added at night the blinding and unreal light of the torches. There are hundreds of artisanal refineries there where black-faced workers work in toxic mists. The eyes itch, the lungs burn, we breathe heavily.

This is another of the consequences of ten years of bloody war in Syria, which also claims indirect victims. In the North-East, the fighting on the ground and in the air damaged, accidentally or not, the tanks, the pipelines, the machines and the whole of the oil infrastructures. When, in 2014, the Islamic State conquered much of this area, the Islamists patched up what they could to exploit the oil and thus finance the caliphate. The deposits and refineries then became targets for the US-led coalition to crush the jihadists.

Artisanal refineries

Oil production in Syria has collapsed from 400 barrels a day before the war to between 000 and 20 now, according to industry experts. Between the deep economic crisis, the ongoing fighting and the lack of investment (often due to the concern over the sanctions against the regime), the few production sites still in service are hardly rebuilt or maintained. 'where the inevitable oil spills and wild spills of toxic residues.

With the destruction of the official refineries and of the pipeline supplying the main refining station in Homs, thousands of artisanal refineries have appeared: all of them discharge their waste into nature, including heavy metals such as mercury and lead and of arsenic, known carcinogens. Many gases from petroleum production and refining, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, are burned or released into the atmosphere. And the unprecedented drought that hit Syria this year makes the situation even worse, with no water diluting and dispersing the pollution in the rivers.

We have repeatedly contacted the Kurdish authorities about these improvised refineries and, more generally, their action against pollution. While saying they were aware of the problem, officials refused to tell us more about the measures taken. According to specialists in the oil sector, both the authorities and the owners of the operations do not have the financial resources, the technical means, or the know-how to tackle such complex problems: they would need help from abroad. .

“Vast toxic dumping ground”

In the meantime, the region is a vast toxic dumping ground where, in villages like Kharab Abou Ghalib, people are slowly dying. There were indeed efforts before the civil war, say residents, to fight against oil pollution that has long ravaged the region, but with clashes between regime troops and insurgents, then the takeover by Daesh, the oil residue treatment pumps have been destroyed.

Added to this was the explosion, due to lack of maintenance, of the oil pipelines at the Gir Zero storage site, causing pollution [of the surrounding soils], canals, streams and the 150-kilometer-long river which crosses Kharab Abou Ghalib. This pollution, which contaminates the soil as well as the water and the air, has resulted in the loss of crops and the destruction of entire fields; waterways are dead, the air poisoned, and cancer, lung infections and vital organ failures are on the rise.

Mohamed Hussein, 67, whose whole family lives in Kharab Abou Ghalib, lists:

Our women are worried that more and more birth defects are seen in children. People have lung problems. In this neighborhood, four people have cancer and must go for treatment in Damascus, because there is no oncology service in the region.


“Our immune system doesn't protect us against any disease, and it's not just Covid. Even groundwater is toxic. ” Most of the people around here were ranchers and farmers, and they lost their livelihoods, he continues.

A few months ago, says Mohamed Hussein, his cousin Mahmoud Nasser, 70, wanted to wash ten of his sheep in the river, which were suffering from a skin disease. A few hours later, all the animals were dead. “These sheep were worth in the 1 dollars, it is a year of income for me, specifies the old shepherd. I lost everything."

Weakened immune systems

If it is always complex to directly attribute individual cases of cancer or other diseases to such or such pollution, in the region, Syrian oncologists confirm that the immune systems of the inhabitants are weakened, and this while a raging a pandemic in a region of the country lacking specialized hospital services, where there is no official delivery of medical equipment by humanitarian aid.

“In the last two or three years, the number of cancers has doubled,” adds oncologist Dannish Ibrahim, who consults in a crowded dispensary in the neighboring town of Qamichli, on the Turkish border. “We can clearly see a correlation between the presence of refineries, the pollution of rivers with oil, car exhaust fumes and the rise in cancer, which is concentrated in the areas around the oil fields. And all of these factors also contribute to weakening the immune system. We fear that the population will be more vulnerable to Covid-19. ”

This is particularly striking in artisanal refineries, where workers take painkillers to last until the end of the day. There, open-air, partially burning lakes of petroleum waste bake in the sun, releasing toxic fumes through the charred landscape. People wrapped in scarves to protect themselves from the worst fumes are doubled over their cauldrons. They produce poor quality diesel fuel for generators and an ersatz cooking gas, a rare commodity.

At the height of this cottage industry, when Daesh controlled this territory, between 2013 and 2017, there were no less than 30 makeshift ovens and refineries, installed by roadsides, in northern Syria. There are still 000 working, making products used locally, but also sent to areas held by the regime, as well as to territories under opposition control.

In addition to toxic substances, these workers are exposed to all kinds of deadly dangers, including explosions from oil barrels. In a refinery near Qamichli, they also suffer from respiratory problems, but they have no choice. “We are more afraid of hunger than of cancer,” notes Ahmed, 40, father of four. Man stands in front of burning oil waste. These form silvery streams resembling mercury. He adds that drought, pollution and the collapse of the economy have made it impossible to resort to agriculture, so working in a refinery is the only way to survive. The ten workers at this refinery earn between 5 and 10 euros per day, depending on their function. This is not negligible in a region where the price of bread has more than doubled over the past year. “A refinery like this supports thirty families. If it closes, thirty families will starve or sink into delinquency, ”he continues. His friend, whose face blackened by the smoke rising from the pool of flaming waste behind him intervenes: “We cannot afford to think about our health. Above all, you have to survive. ”

The owner of the refinery, who operates four others in the area, told The Independent that his family started the operation in 2012, the second year of the civil war. The fighting between the regime's soldiers and the rebels then destroyed industrial refineries and major pipelines. He admits that this activity pollutes the environment, but does not see what else he and his family could do. “The main reason we started this work was because it met a need,” he comments, refusing to say his name. There was no fuel, no diesel, no cooking gas. This is our future: we either starve or die from pollution. ”

Human rights NGOs who are monitoring the development of this crisis do not see a solution to the Syrian conflict in the more or less long term. Wim Zwijnenburg, of the Dutch NGO Pax, says few countries are ready to donate money to northern Syria for rebuilding oil infrastructure, given chronic political instability and the risk of ending up in comes up against US sanctions against the Syrian regime. As for the government of Bashar El-Assad, it persists in asserting that the oil fields belong to it, even though in fact they are controlled by the Kurds.

The Turkish threat looming over northern Syria is adding to the pressure. Ankara believes that the Kurdish forces deployed in the region are linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. In recent years, the Turkish army has made numerous incursions into Syrian Kurdish-held territories, occupying many border towns.

Amid an uncertain ceasefire, tensions have escalated throughout the past year, and there are fears that a new conflict may erupt in the northeast, as the Syrian civil war continues to worsen. rampant in the Northwest.

“No international donor is going to provide long-term funding in this region to renovate the economic infrastructure,” Zwijnenburg continues. All the money goes into projects that aim to deal with the most urgent. ” But things must change. The only way, according to him, to put an end to this uncontrolled pollution and the related socio-economic problems would be for the main actors in the region to reach a political solution. This would ensure stability and open up the region to long-term investments. Otherwise the future will always be so bleak and it will not be possible to make this area liveable again.

For now, the residents of Kharab Abou Ghalib say they have to live with the pollution, because there are no other possibilities. “People ask us why we are not leaving,” Hussein muses, as he walks slowly from the plague stream to the burial tent. But where would we go? All the villages along this river are affected by the same disease. ” He pauses before concluding: “This region was green, there was growing wheat. And now it's become hell. ”
Bel Trew
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Re: Long live oil, long live war!




by GuyGadeboisTheBack » 10/12/21, 16:51

Obviously, nobody really cares! : Evil:
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Re: Long live oil, long live war!




by Ahmed » 10/12/21, 17:14

But no but no! : Oops: What are you still gonna imagine :?:
This should be seen as one of the manifestations of peripheral collapses, knowing that the periphery tends to win us over ... : roll:
If one is very optimistic (which is not forbidden 8) ), it is one of the counterparts of our suspended "prosperity" ... : Mrgreen: and this is an aspect that we hardly wish to consider. As I have already had the opportunity to write, the advantages are paid for by the disadvantages and it is a situation which only persists because the beneficiaries of the former are largely exempt from the latter, to postpone the latter. most of the weight on others, far away and therefore invisible ...
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Re: Long live oil, long live war!




by jean.caissepas » 10/12/21, 17:20

GuyGadeboisLeRetour wrote:Obviously, nobody really cares! : Evil:


No, Guy, we don't give a damn, but how many scandals, wars, pollution (Niger Delta, Deepwater Horizon, ...) happen regularly and everyone "accepts" this because you need oil to go to work , on vacation, to warm up, ...

If our civilization weren't handcuffed / drugged by this visceral urge for energy galore, more people would respond!

I also have an electric car because I don't want to see it anymore, even if that only partially solves the problem ...

The mismanagement of stupid measures on COVID having lost trillions of dollars to the global economy, and obsessed the population on a single subject (to the point of accepting to lose a large part of their freedom), the other subjects concerning ecology, pollution, ... have all taken a back seat and have a very weak echo in the population which is closing more and more on its individual "health security" more and more ....
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Re: Long live oil, long live war!




by GuyGadeboisTheBack » 10/12/21, 18:33

jean.caissepas wrote:I also have an electric car because I don't want to see it anymore, even if that only partially solves the problem ...

In fact that does not even solve the problem since the extraction of lithium is also a disaster. Roll on virtuous, clean, simple batteries, free of rare earths and metals. Research is underway and everyone is pulling the plug to reach a solution. :(
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Re: Long live oil, long live war!




by Macro » 11/12/21, 08:38

How did he say the other ???

Oil is too serious a thing to entrust to the Arabs ....

You have to believe that he was not entirely wrong ...
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Re: Long live oil, long live war!




by NCSH » 16/12/21, 16:24

GuyGadeboisLeRetour wrote:
jean.caissepas wrote:I also have an electric car because I don't want to see it anymore, even if that only partially solves the problem ...

In fact that does not even solve the problem since the extraction of lithium is also a disaster. Roll on virtuous, clean, simple batteries, free of rare earths and metals. Research is underway and everyone is pulling the plug to reach a solution. :(


These are all the advantages of non-fossil synthetic fuels: no aromatics or sulfur, so much less emissions of fine particles, no heavy metals.
Consumable resources are available in abundance: desalinated water, CO2 taken from the atmosphere, superabundant solar energy in tropical areas ... There are still the materials used for the installations, but this is not prohibitive.

It remains to make good use of all this, it will be perhaps the most difficult! posting.php?f=39&mode=quote&p=478662&sid=5cc30f484ff1cc33a00b515ac3dbf87d# posting.php?f=39&mode=quote&p=478662&sid=5cc30f484ff1cc33a00b515ac3dbf87d#
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Re: Long live oil, long live war!




by jean.caissepas » 16/12/21, 17:12

NCSH wrote:These are all the advantages of non-fossil synthetic fuels: no aromatics or sulfur, so much less emissions of fine particles, no heavy metals.
Consumable resources are available in abundance: desalinated water, CO2 taken from the atmosphere, superabundant solar energy in tropical areas ... There are still the materials used for the installations, but this is not prohibitive.


It is indeed an alternative, but which consumes a lot of energy (such as the production of H2 from water) while we must avoid producing energy from fossil fuels as much as possible.

The production cost per 100 km is not good for the moment, since the tests of production of bio-fuel from micro-algae in Spain, by recovering the CO2 at the outlet of a cement plant (high concentration), did not find profitability at the time.

Currently, only full VEs have a TCO which becomes lower than thermals, as long as they are reliable over time ...
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Re: Long live oil, long live war!




by Ahmed » 16/12/21, 18:12

NCSH, you say:
There remain the materials used for the installations, but this is not prohibitive.

The quantity of existing energy is indeed enormous, as well as the materials, but the quantity available, in view of the necessary capture or extraction devices, may well be much more "crippling" than you think.
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Re: Long live oil, long live war!




by OlivierD » 17/12/21, 09:25

indeed, it takes more and more installation, therefore materials to extract oil and other minerals, and it takes more and more energy, therefore oil (and less good quality) to extract the materials from more and more difficult to extract,
Total is in the process of creating PV fields to supply oil wells, which gives them green credits !!
More than 100 (one hundred million) barrels of oil are extracted (therefore consumed) per DAY.
There will always be some but not at this price and not for us
listen to arthur keller's confession
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