You would be forgiven for never having heard of Teekay Shipping. You would also be forgiven for having missed their glitzy PR output. But in the world of oil and gas shipping, Teekay are serious players. And they use Glasgow as one of their most important bases.
Who are Teekay and what do they do in Glasgow?
According to industry magazine Tanker Operator (you would also be forgiven for having not read this), Teekay Shipping are the world’s 8th biggest oil and gas shipping firm. And their Glasgow base also happens to be next door to the 2021’s UN Conference of Parties!
With Teekay, we find a whole host of fossil fuel related shipping practices. However, their Glasgow office specialises in coordinating the shipping of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), which is a process whereby gas gets cooled down to a liquified temperature, reducing its volume, which allows greater sums to be transported via ships. LNG in an important battle point for climate justice, with industry advocates oxymoronically branding it as a “clean” fossil fuel. But rather than supplanting fossil fuels, LNG is a mere supplement, helping to facilitate a rise in emissions. Consequently, LNG use appears to be on the rise, unless, as is brazenly specified here, climate targets are actually adhered to!
Where do Teekay go?
Another important point, highlighted by groups such as Gastivists, is that LNG is an elaborate process, involving building terminals, pipelines, and doing exploration and extraction. Consequently, there are often people in the way. At the time of writing, Teekay had 47 LNG specific ships as well as others that can transport LNG. Whilst there is plenty of bad activity close to home – more on that later – many of Teekays shipping activities are in areas where abuses, corruption and violence are endemic.
These areas include (but are not limited to):
- Angola: where oil and gas extraction is linked to poor drinking water and corruption.
- India: Teekay operate out the Dahej Port, controlled by Petronet, who are a subsidiary of Adani Group, who most (in)famously are behind the Great-Barrier Reef destroying coal mine in Australia.
- Qatar: Host of the world’s largest Natural Gas field, where gas expansion continues and where exploitative use of migrant labour continues.
- The Russian Arctic: Teekay proudly boast about their ice-breaking Arctic LNG ships. However, with the Arctic ice melting, ice-breaking ships might not be so necessary, as the World Economic Forum happily tell us. The Russian state seem to agree too, as they lay claim to this area.
- West Papua: West Papua has been illegally occupied by Indonesia since 1969 and has seen an estimated 500,000 people killed. Sadly, West Papua is also abundant in “Natural” resources. One such resource is LNG, and Teekay ship from West Papua, in collaboration with polluters such as BP, who support the occupation both by clamping down on resistance and providing investment to Indonesia to support the occupation. It is clear that like BP, Teekay are profiting off the extraction, dispossession and abuse of indigenous peoples, with this particular operation conducted from Glasgow.
Teekay’s contribution to Scotland?
Glasgow is a city with a rich history of shipbuilding. Whilst Teekay use their Glasgow base to coordinate ships, none of their ships were built in Glasgow. It will probably not surprise you to read that Teekay are headquartered in Bermuda and the vast majority of their LNG ships are registered in the Bahamas. So whilst they are coordinated from Glasgow, we presume that any ill-gotten profits from these ships most definitely were not meant for Glasgow.
Worst Polluter in a Supporting Role