Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby jamiebk » Thu May 27, 2010 9:08 am

The federal government is in no way prepared for something like this nor would I expect them to be. This is an industry problem and the industry has failed miserably at controlling their risky drilling ventures and this catastrophy. We are told over and over again by these companies how "safe" their methods and procedures are and that we should allow them to reap the rewards of harvesting our natural resources. Their gain....our loss. And now, they have screwed the pooch big time. Will the oil spill "heal"? In time yes, but what have they destroyed in the meantime?...people's livlihoods, pristine wetlands, countless plants/animals....and mostly their own crediblility and trustworthiness. Accidents happen...to everyone....quickly mitigating the accident is what matters and to this end, they have failed miserably. This has been raging for over a month (since April 20th). It's been stimated that over 2 million gallons have been spilled and this could rise to 4 million. The Exxon disaster was over 10 million gallons. However, the area of the gulf that is being impacted contains very sensitive wetland and coral reef environments. It's not like the rocky coast in AK where oil could be cleaned up with relatively little ecologial impact.

We're building a nice new electric car plant out here in the Bay Area called Tesla...I plan to be driving one, one of these days. And as to drilling of the CA coast...I do not trust any oil company to be a good steward of our land and resource. BP has proven that they do not have the capability to manage risk, let alone mitigate an accident.
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby jamiebk » Thu May 27, 2010 10:27 am

Unfortunately, I may have spoken too soon regarding the magnitude of thsi disaster:

COVINGTON, La. - The Gulf oil spill has surpassed the Exxon Valdez as the worst in U.S. history, according to new estimates released Thursday, but the Coast Guard and BP said an untested procedure to stop it seemed to be working.

A team of scientists trying to figure out how much oil has been flowing since the offshore rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20 and sank two days later found the rate was at least twice and possibly up to five times as high as previously thought.

Even using the most conservative estimate, that means the leak has grown to nearly 19 million gallons, surpassing the size of the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, which at about 11 million gallons had been the nation's worst spill. Under the highest estimate, nearly 39 million gallons may have spilled.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37362766/ns ... vironment/
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby piqaboo » Thu May 27, 2010 12:47 pm

I have this image of a CCC project, issuing rubber boots, gloves and buckets full of sawdust to volunteers who will hike along the shoreline / marshline, scooping up oil goop and dumping into the buckets, then wading out to the little barge, and getting a new bucket. The buckets can be hauled somewhere and the contents burned. Wont be nice, but if its timed to happen at the same time and place as the FL sugar cane field burns, no one will even notice the difference.
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby dai bread » Thu May 27, 2010 6:38 pm

Shapley wrote:I"m not disregarding their plight, I'm merely saying the doom and gloom scenarios presented by the press are, much more often than not, proven false.

We had a discussion on this board earlier about Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The devastation there was terrible, but the 'perpetually uninhabitable' scenarios we've always been presented with regarding the aftermath of a nuclear blast were also, apparently, overblown. Both cities are inhabited, and thousands flock to ground zero to view the peace park there every year. Hardly the image we have been given by the experts.


Indeed. I have been one of those thousands. Wildlife is back in Chernobyl, as is plant life, and so, according one report I read, are some of the people who were dispossessed.

Nature will clean up the Gulf of Mexico eventually too. The waiting will be hard on the locals, though.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby analog » Thu May 27, 2010 10:20 pm

This is an industry problem and the industry has failed miserably at controlling their risky drilling ventures and this catastrophy.


yep.

Did you watch the 60 minutes that OT linked? It shows exactly the apparent root cause: while they were testing the shutoff valve somebody moved the drill bit and wrecked the valve seat.
Sounds like a simple electrical interlock to disallow drill movement while valve is energized would've been good design. I wonder if one was there?
One guy actually retrieved some of the remnants of the ruined valve seat and showed them to (his superiors?). It's a soft seat valve, some kind of rubber like material.

Why they decided to continue with that valve known to be torn up is known only to the folks with local knowledge, some of whom perished.

We can assign blame when we know too.

If there was cavalier attitude and bravado in the operation then that's the root problem. As an operations guy you just don't run a dangerous machine like a "Dukes of Hazzard" stunt driver. Regulators shouldn't allow it either.

If a blowout was inevitable and they were racing against time to prevent it, then the root cause is the design that let them get into that situation. As a design guy you just don't set out bear traps for your operators to fall into.

Chernobyl and Three Mile Island were publicly blamed on operators though both were really result of higher level dilettante tinkering with operating procedures. They pushed the operators right into bear traps.

The pundits who hammer Obama over this really irritate me. I don't want government responsible for every dirty diaper that comes along.

To eviscerate BP for revenge only gives their board a good reason to declare bankruptcy and say "Let Michael Moore fix it."

Dai i saw a PBS show on Mt St Helens the other day and it too is recovering way faster than expected.

Ms Boo i really like the word image you painted.
That goo could probably be strained and burned in a power plant. What a GREAT project. Eric Hoffer wrote a lot about his formative days with WPA . :idea:

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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby jamiebk » Fri May 28, 2010 10:06 am

As it is, the recovered oil is headed to the refinery and shortly you, or someone you know, will be making their trip to the grocery store with it in their gas tank.
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby jamiebk » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:03 am

Will things ever change? http://www.wimp.com/oilspills/
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby Trumpetmaster » Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:42 am

jamiebk wrote:Will things ever change? http://www.wimp.com/oilspills/


History repeats itself and we stupid humans NEVER learn....
Thanks for posting that Jamie....
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby Schmeelkie » Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:39 am

Did you guys see the Twitter post by Sarah Palin (I saw the news story, sorry, no time to get a link right now...) where she basically says if we had been drilling in AK and ANWR, the gulf disaster wouldn't have happened - so it's the environmentalists fault. Sheesh. I really wish she'd just disappear - can't believe how few people see how rediculously stupid she is...
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby dai bread » Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:29 pm

She's a nice-looking woman. Her I.Q. doesn't matter. There should be a smiley here, but I can't think of a suitable one.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby dai bread » Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:42 pm

jamiebk wrote:Will things ever change? http://www.wimp.com/oilspills/


Plus ça change...

Since the task of stopping the latest leak has been given to people who think a broken pipe will only leak oil, not mud and cement, I won't be holding my breath.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby Trumpetmaster » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:17 am

This is sad and BP must be held accountable..... IMHO...

http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/03/v ... il/?hpt=T1
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby Haggis@wk » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:30 am

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science ... in-history 10 biggest oil spills in history, hint, this one and Exxon Valdez ain't on the list. It's an oil spill, not the end of the world.
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby jamiebk » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:14 am

Haggis@wk wrote:http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/coal-oil-gas/biggest-oil-spills-in-history 10 biggest oil spills in history, hint, this one and Exxon Valdez ain't on the list. It's an oil spill, not the end of the world.

I am sure that the people of LA and FL will take great comfort in this :roll: :roll:
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby Shapley » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:46 am

jamiebk wrote:I am sure that the people of LA and FL will take great comfort in this :roll: :roll:


I think the point is simply that the Earth heals. We've had all of these disastrous spills, and yet life goes on. The people of LA and FL (And MS and AL, and Cuba) will suffer for a while, but recover. It is part of the cost of living in the modern world.

Hopefully, we will learn from this and not repeat it.

I remember the two-tanker collision. It was said at the time that they thought the two captains had tried to pass within sight of each other so the crews could exchange greetings, but they miscalculated (those things don't turn on a dime). It was called, at the time, the most expensive handshake in history.
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby jamiebk » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:58 am

Shapley wrote:
jamiebk wrote:I am sure that the people of LA and FL will take great comfort in this :roll: :roll:


I think the point is simply that the Earth heals. We've had all of these disastrous spills, and yet life goes on. The people of LA and FL (And MS and AL, and Cuba) will suffer for a while, but recover. It is part of the cost of living in the modern world.

Hopefully, we will learn from this and not repeat it.

That's the point Shap...As you can see from my earlier post we do NOT learn from from these errors: http://www.wimp.com/oilspills/
This could have been avoided.
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby Trumpetmaster » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:05 am

Will these guys be able to "Go On and Recover"?
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby jamiebk » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:55 am

As I said: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37505300/ns ... vironment/

MEXICO CITY - It started with a burst of gas through the drilling well. Workers scrambled to close the safety valves but within moments the platform caught fire and collapsed. Tens of millions of gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico. Numerous attempts to stanch the spill failed.

Three decades later, the 1979 Ixtoc disaster remains the Gulf's — and the world's — worst peacetime oil spill.

The parallels between that disaster and the current BP oil spill offer sobering lessons. There were no quick fixes for Ixtoc: It took 10 months to stop the leak, with Mexico's state-owned oil company, Pemex, trying methods similar to those that BP has attempted at its Deepwater Horizon rig.

Pemex managed to slow the spill a little using several methods including forcing metal spheres into the well. But it couldn't stop the leak until two relief wells were drilled — and even that didn't work right away: the oil kept gushing for another three months after the first well was completed.

In the end, Ixtoc spewed a record 140 million gallons of oil. Massive slicks reached the northern Mexican Gulf coast and Texas, where it would eventually coat almost 170 miles (275 kilometers) of U.S. beaches.

But the most tragic thing about Ixtoc may be the lessons not learned.
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby Shapley » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:18 pm

It took 10 months to stop the Ixtoc spill. If it takes that long to stop this one, I'll agree we've learned nothing. If it takes less, then it would seem that the efforts to stop the leek in this deeper well have benefitted from lessons learned.
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Re: Life on an Oil Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Postby Haggis@wk » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:09 pm

Jamie,


If certain people did not throw a fit at seeing platforms from the beach this leak would have been plugged long ago in shallower water. Environmental whackos along with the EPA have forced oil companies to look for oil at the extreme edge of today's technology.

If we'd been able to recover oil closer in shore then we'd have had decades of experience and technological advances that would have better prepared us to drill deeper more safely. There are several fields of oil many times the size of this one in the GOM but (ick) you might have to see the sparkly lights of platforms during the nights.

But I guarantee we will eventually drill for those deposits; fusion's not coming along anytime soon and neither I (and I suspect you) nor others are going to pay $10+ a gallon while we have huge untapped reserves both on and off land. We are in an artifical lull of rampant "PC-ness", wait till gas prices creep past $5 and then see how fast politicians rethink the issue.

As for the birds, they die everyday from myrid reasons both manmade or natural. I care as much about that as I am sure the many farmers in central CA care about the Delta Smelt.
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