Jan 26 2011

Spectra Kiddie Video

Company Exploits Children to Sell “Benefits” of “Natural” Gas;

Kids Talk About Natural Gas as Flatulence — “… something that comes out of humans’ butt”

Spectra Energy Says This “Conveys High-Level Messages”

Since Company Uses Children – Let Kids Hear Whole Story of Gas Industry & Spectra Energy’s Track Record

When gas companies send children to defend the industry, it is a sign of desperation.

Spectra Energy’s latest 3-minute PR effort in the form of a kiddie video includes a touch of irony.  It begins with the kids comparing natural gas to farts, when asked, “What is natural gas?”1

“It’s kind of gross,” replies one child.  Maybe the kids know that much of the gas industry’s behavior stinks.

High-Level Messages?

Spectra Energy, calls these “high-level messages” in a press release, and opens its video with fart talk and sounds.  The first child to speak explains that natural gas is “… something that comes out of humans’ butt.”  Other children make educational farting sounds.

Keep in mind – this is a Spectra Energy corporate video – created, produced and launched by the company, and touted in a press release.2

The company press release says it is “part of its ongoing grassroots advocacy effort to promote the benefits and uses of natural gas.”  Maybe the next video could show the company’s Board of Directors saying how cute they think this “high-level” messaging is, followed by the Directors making their own fart sounds.

“What’s good about natural gas?” prompts an off-camera interrogator.

“It’s environmentally friendly,” replies one child.  All of the children involved – more than 20 according to the company press release – are children of Spectra Energy employees.

Recommendation:  Free the children, don’t exploit them.  How pathetic.

Risk Management Issues

Wouldn’t it be educational if the kids also were asked, “What’s bad about natural gas?”

  • Let the kids visit with children their age who live in a shale gas zone – whether Barnett in Texas or Marcellus in Pennsylvania or other shale gas states.  But don’t let the gas industry kids stay there long enough to develop nose bleeds, skin rashes or headaches.  Explain that this is why gas industry executive families don’t live in a shale gas zone.
  • Let the kids learn about Spectra Energy’s actual performance record of leaks, explosions, pollution, multimillion dollar fines.
  • Let the kids talk to property owners and families who have been impacted by Spectra Energy operations – like property owners who live near the Steckman Ridge compressor station in Clearville, Pennsylvania.  Their parents can explain why this facility hasn’t worked right from the beginning.

With homes nearby and an elementary school 3 miles away, this is Spectra Energy’s 12 billion cubic feet underground natural gas “storage” reservoir.  This facility includes 13 injection/withdrawal wells and a nearly 5,000 horsepower compressor station.

From the beginning, there have been ongoing operational problems at Steckman Ridge that involve shutdowns/blowdowns that result in the release of toxic Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and sometimes an oily contaminant into the atmosphere and on neighboring properties.  Recently, a valve seal failed on one of the company’s injection/withdrawal wells resulting, of course, in another gas leak.

Spectra Energy admits that it knows how this huge compressor station performs compared to other compressors in the company’s system; but it refuses to share that information with its “neighbors.”

Spectra Energy has serious risk management issues.  Perhaps the video is a metaphor for the company and the industry.  “Natural” gas may burn clean at the stove but everything it takes to get it there – from extraction to storage to transmission – is “gross” as the kids say in the video.

Cue the fart sounds.

Links & Resources

1 Spectra Energy Kiddie Video: http://www.youtube.com/user/SpectraEnergy1

2 Spectra Energy News Release about its kiddie video: http://www.spectraenergy.com/news/releases/2011/jan/20110106_01.asp Or PDF file: spectra-energy-launches-new-youtube-video-as-part-of-ongoing-natural-gas-advocacy-effort

For a summary of public sources regarding Spectra Energy’s performance record, refer to this recent post:  Spectra Energy — Again http://www.spectraenergywatch.com/blog/?p=964

Specifically, scroll down to the middle of the post (below the shadow box that quotes Spectra Energy’s “Safety is our franchise”).  You will see the following subheads with links to public sources:  Top Civil Penalty Ranking from EPA, PCB Contamination, Fiery Inferno, Unlawful Conduct.

2 Responses

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I think there is some “twisted minds” behind their new video and using kids to explain something as dangerous as natural gas is even more bizarre.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    What poor taste and judgement. Spectra Energy is the type of company that shoots itself in the foot, then goes looking for more ammunition.

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