In the real world of everyday work in the oil patch experts needed to know asap what caused this incident to avoid a similar incident from happening in the future.
This is exactly what motivates Samson and the WSJ to say and do what they are doing. "These five simple easily preventable mistakes by a negligent BP is what caused this well to blow."
This may be the most horrendously wrong answer that could come out of a short term deliberation of the incident. That big oil can go right back to business as usual and go stick another derrick in one mile of water and have at it. But what if there are a hundred other reasons why this blowout was inevitable? That you just cannot drill at that depth safely and without risk of another blowout?
Samson is saying there is no risk if they just would do the job the way Samson would have done the job. Bullllshiiit! Tell us another one.
Do we want to have even a small chance at a repeat? This thing may be plugged in August. Those two attempts drilling down are not foolproof. We could very easily have oil be pumped into the Gulf of Mexico for a year. Plenty of gas wells, the Russian ones that they nuked, burned for five years. There was absolutely no way to stop them short of a nuclear device. (Actually not short, it did take a nuclear bomb.)
What the oil experts really need to know is that the risk of this type is unacceptable. Human error will always exist and we are reaping that right now. They need to be told ASAP that they cannot drill on one mile high derricks. If, five years from now, after a long and careful analysis we can have regulations in place. That we are at least up to the standards of the rest of the world with acoustical cutoffs, then we might consider taking the risk. But right now the risk looks a hundred percent too high. Putting the gulf out of action for a dozen years is just not an acceptable loss or acceptable risk.
I advocate building new nuclear power plants ASAP instead. There are risks but they are infinitesimal to what Samson is trying to make us believe. That is just my opinion with no data presented to back it up but oil and coal kill us daily with pollution, with disasters like the gulf, with it's tendency to funnel cash to parts of the world that do not like us. Japan, France. Germany, I could name most other first world countries, have a substantial amount of their power grid lit up by clean nuclear power. We as a country need to take a course in statistics and risk assessment and decide that the way we are killing ourselves today is really really stupid. Fracking for "clean" natural gas, ruining economies and environments is what we have ended up doing. Shiiting in our front rooms so we can drive big cars.
You, however, did misquote it when you inserted homosexual.
Except I wasn't quoting. It'd be a great forum if all we did was cut and paste what everyone else said. I explained that the dude was asked to move on grounds that he might be a homosexual paedophile which was a correct explanation of the policy. That's what you call a d e d u c t i o n because the policy itself wasn't reproduced. Now what you've done is twisted my post to return to your usual paranoid hobbyhorse that anyone who uses the word 'homosexual' is homophobic.
H2S is a problem in much of our area in the oilpatch here in Cali. There are reasons when things go wrong and people get hurt or worse. Monitors not properly calibrated, monitors not being properly monitored or turned off, or any number of other things that usually go to human error or bad judgment. But, when things go wrong it doesn't end up being a pollution disaster on the level of what is happening in the Gulf, obviously. The oil industry is dangerous even with better safety practices and technology available these days. There is a huge difference in land wells and deep water wells. Doesn't really even have to be deep water to be a huge disaster. Ixtoc in 1980 was only in about 150' of water, iirc and was the previous greatest disastrous spill in the Gulf.
Deep water drilling is an expensive, huge incredibly risky balance. When things are done correctly, most likely nothing bad will happen. But, the human error factor will still be there. I'm sure near miss incidents have happened that we never heard about because they were fortunate to have somehow stopped them just in time. When something does go wrong there is no real plan for stopping a blowout, each case is different. There is no realistic plan for clean up even though permit holders are required to submit such plans. The plans are are probably cookie cutter and rather weak since they can't really account for the size and scope of a spill like this. A lot of the needed clean up gear does not even exist close by.
Future regulations should address improved BOPs, acoustic cutoffs or some more fool proof device. BP and the industry experts do not know for sure why this BOP did not function properly. Lots of speculation and no solid answers yet.
Not drilling in deep water is a question beyond rig safety, again, obviously. But, the more scarce oil becomes and the higher oil prices go in the future the more likely it is to occur even if the moratorium were to continue indefinitely. I don't disagree with what you say regarding nuclear power and changing habits/lifestyles. I wonder what more beyond the Gulf disaster it will take to make enough of an impression on people to really do something different than business as usual.
btw, The nuke the well idea will probably not ever get a chance to be tried and according to most experts will very likely not work anyway, even if it were feasible. Geologists have said that the structure of the area would probably shatter like glass instead of melt together (the desired effect to shut in the well). The result could be a catastrophe countless times worse than what we have now. A blown out well with many gaping holes instead of the one relatively small hole that has a decent chance to be stopped by a relief well.
Completely agree with 100% of your post. Just to clarify:
1) I never thought, although I did look at, using a nuclear device to shut the spill off in the gulf, it is completely obvious, because of your aforementioned shattering and not melting, would be a really stupid way to shut the thing off. One would have to deliver the bomb using a drilling technique which is identical to the side drillings and setting the sucker off might end up with a hundred leaks and not one.
Shoot, thought I had multiple qualms but really only one. Your post underlines the human aspect of all of this. The fact that mistakes may happen all the time but here the mistakes added up. Not a great thing to be doing if we end up throwing dice wherein if you crap out the entire Gulf of Mexico becomes unfishable. What if that were the headlines? Let me guess which one gets play.
1) British Petroleum fuucks the Gulf.
2) The entire oil industry fuucks the Gulf.
Think about those two verdicts to what has happened to the Gulf. One really gets your hackles up and righteous indignation. It is also a simple solvable problem. Fuuck BP!
The other explanation requires a whole reworking of the oil patch economics locally while also looking at the entire problem of the United States as a per capita suckling pig to big oil.
Given the two possibilities and the fact that the American public rarely blames itself for its stupidity I think that the BP screwing up is the way this whole thing plays out. Just a guess but I would make a bet that WMD is found in Iraq before this gulf boo boo is but a BP mistake and fading in the rear view mirror in just months. We are such fuucking bleating sheep.
One funny thing is that previously BP was recommended to buy your gasoline from in some circles (email chain letters) over some other oil companies, due to their supposed lack of middle eastern oil imports, as a way to fight terrorism. Now people are boycotting BP stations.
It still thoroughly amazes me how much oil we use every day, especially here in the US. It also amazes me how much oil is out there being drilled, produced, transported, refined, even though we know it is a finite amount. So many things made from oil. You are so right that we need to move in other directions now. I don't think most people, especially in the US, even realize what is coming their way.
I used to be against nuclear power. Probably a result of growing up in the age of fallout shelters and of course the 60s, heh. It is still kinda scary if human error comes into play, but can we afford to not employ it asap? Lots of talk, but not much action. If we wait until the point of desperation to start building nuclear power plants it will be too late. This is where our leaders should be leading us.
Problem with nuclear has always been twofold: safety of the plants (abundant fail-safe redundancy, containment strategies, effectively preventing shoddy builds due to corruption/skimming in the bidding and building stage, etc.) and disposal storage of hot stuff that can go on killing living things for millennia. Those are huge problems and I am not at all certain that we can sort it out without the nuclear equivalent to a massive, Gulf-destroying oil spill.
But yeah, we all need to move past the oil stage... it's past time to shift gears.
The creation of the amount of energy required to sustain our economies is enormous. The trillions of tons of oil and coal we use in just one day is mind boggling. The damage it causes is also mind boggling and hard to grasp because it all just goes up into the air. If you truly calculated the entirety of damage, the death from breathing it, the emphysema and cancer, and then compared it to the damage caused by nuclear you would build nuclear power plants. Rational economies are doing that. Economies that are run by big oil and big coal and big gas like ours do not.
We have to find alternatives. Wind, solar, tidal, presently cannot come close to creating enough energy. Nuclear is the only way to go. I have a house on the shore and from my kitchen window I can see the dome of the New Seabury nuclear power plant 23 miles upwind. No foul oil, coal, gas coming from that plant. I am as close to YIMBY as you can get. (Yes! In my backyard!)
I go to the north rim of the Grand Canyon and look across and I will never see what people could see just fifty years ago. A clear view.
We have to make a choice. Saying no to nuclear is saying yes to open pit coal mining, middle east in turmoil as we drain it of oil and leave cash, destroyed ground water by fracking for natural gas, global warming by burning trillions of tons of fossil fuels and a beautiful Gulf of Mexico as an oily cesspool. Dreaming of windmills is presently a fantasy. We have to be a little more realistic and stop poisoning ourselves with what we are are used to.
Poly, maybe talk of "sustaining our economies" is part of the problem. Perhaps there are hints here that we should ratchet down our insatiable demand for energy. Perhaps there are hints here that the things we take for granted economically are in fact counterproductive for our life in this one large, unified ecosystem we call Earth. Endless growth may be utterly wrongheaded - we've merely jumped so far down the rabbit hole that no light penetrates and we've come to think that down is up. I dunno.
I read the desperation in your response and it resonates with me. We have to. We need to go with nuclear. But what about the problems with nuclear? Why, in the midst of such a grotesque oil spill, would anyone want to talk up nuclear, given it can wreak as much or more damage if not properly respected? Why does no one have a response to such pressing subjects as waste disposal? Why so little sober talk about calamities like Chernobyl or dangerous lapses such as Three Mile Island?
I don't have the answers, admittedly. But I sure don't trust our impulsive turning to whatever solution gives us the greatest amount of power we're accustomed to demanding of our world.
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