"Friends don't let friends roll around in trash cans" - OSO Steve
Slippery when wet. "POD" Free Tunnel through Common Sense Engineering
But they kept drilling anyway.
Long before the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, caught fire, sank and loosed a gusher of oil that would flow into the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history, the oil industry knew that -- in the now famous words of the Apollo 13 astronauts -- "Houston, we have a problem."
As oil drilling in the new millennium moved increasingly into deep waters off the North American and European coasts, oilfield workers recognized they were operating with less and less of a safety net. Shear ram technology needed to make blowout preventers into failsafe devices capable of preventing catastrophic blowouts was, they knew, lagging behind the rest of oilfield technology.
A U.S. Minerals Management Service study had demonstrated as much in 2002. A more thorough study in 2004 had only served to underline the weaknesses. By 2005, Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy Corp., then a force in offshore drilling, had begun working with Houston-based Cameron, the major producer of blowout preventers, to develop new and better shear and seal technology for wells.
Why the technology never made it into the oil patch is unclear. Nobody in the industry wants to talk about it at this juncture, though development reportedly is continuing. What would come to be called the alternative well kill system -- or AWKS -- is now being spearheaded by Chevron in partnership with Cameron. Devon began phasing out of offshore drilling earlier this year.
Ironically, it signed a $7 billion deal in March to sell its offshore assets in Brazil, Azerbaijan and the Gulf of Mexico to BP. Only about a month later BP was in charge of the Deepwater Horizon rig that blew up in the Gulf. London-based BP, the major player in the Alaska oil business, has ever since been battling to shut off an undersea volcano spewing beneath the sunken rig and deal with an oil slick that has grown to more than two times the size of the Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound.
Cleanup and containment costs, at last report from BP, were approaching $1 billion and are expected to grow to orders of magnitude beyond that. This might all have been avoided if there had been a working, failsafe blowout preventer a mile deep on the ocean beneath the Horizon. There was a blowout preventer. Why it didn't work hasn't been fully determined, but the reasons why it might not work were known well before the Horizon accident.
Chevron noted in a presentation to the Norway Arctic Workshop in Tromso in January 2009 that existing BOPs have weaknesses. The company said in a PowerPoint presentation that it was working with Cameron on the AWKS to develop "simultaneous shear and seal capability on a broad range of tubulars -- unlike current shear rams." Everyone in attendance at the meeting knew what that last phrase meant.
A mini-study done for the MMS in 2002 and a lengthy "Shear Ram Capabilities Study" completed two years later had concluded that some of the new higher-grade steel being used in drill pipe couldn't be cut and sealed by existing rams. The study also noted the inability of existing rams to cut and seal pipe if there were tools inside, or slice through welded joints where sections of pipe were joined.
These inherent weaknesses in existing BOPs were the reason many Arctic nations -- although not the U.S. -- required oil companies to keep a second drill rig on location when drilling in case a relief well was needed to seal a blowout. BP, it should be noted, did not have a second rig on site in the Gulf of Mexico. BP has one there now, drilling a relief well. Everyone involved with the Gulf spill says a relief well is the only sure way to cap BP's undersea gusher. The relief well is expected to be completed in August. There is no telling how much crude could be washing around in the Gulf of Mexico by then -- or making its way into the Gulf Stream with potential oil spill consequences for Florida and the entire U.S. East Coast.
The reason BP failed to have a second drill rig standing by in the Gulf when the Deepwater Horizon was drilling is simple -- money. A drill rig costs about a half million dollars per day, according to oil industry officials. These costs are the reason that, although Shell planned to drill in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska this summer, none of the oil companies holding leases off the Arctic coast of Canada planned any drilling.
You can translate this article by translation software of MS or whatever you want to choose. Its a newspaper with best reputation.
It is an article on the technical issues concerning the drilling. At the end is the button "Kommentar hinzufügen". You can click there and write comments on English, the most people in central Europe, Skandinavia, Dutch... know enough English to read on English . There is a first emailed comment by a reader which means that the hole is still open because BP tries to save their investment instead of closing the hole completely by controlled pyrotechnical explosions at a length of several hundred meters, which would mean that the hole was closed but coundnt be used anymore.
And Florida is next;
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Oil Is About to Pay a Visit to Alabama's Coast
Alabama, which perhaps has sucked up to corporate interests more than any other state over the past 15 to 20 years, is about to pay a huge price.
The Associated Press reports that oil from the massive BP leak is forecast to hit Alabama's shores for the first time on Wednesday afternoon.
A forecast map issued Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a light sheen of oil completely covering the mouth of Mobile Bay and coming ashore in Baldwin County by noon Wednesday.
The NOAA maps note that moderate south to southwest winds are forecast for the upcoming week, which "indicate that oil may move north to threaten the barrier islands off Mississippi and Alabama."
How bad could it get?
"I think it's uncharted territory for everybody," said Bethany Kraft, the director of the Alabama Coastal Foundation.
It is deeply ironic that oil is about to befoul Alabama's gorgeous beaches as voters go to the polls today in our state's primary election. Thousands of Alabama voters will reflexively pull the lever for the very Republican candidates who are backed by corporate interests, the same interests whose malfeasance has brought disaster to the Gulf of Mexico.
How strong is big oil's grip on Alabama politics? Consider the Alabama Supreme Court's ruling in November 2007 that, in an 8-1 vote, overturned most of a $3.5 billion fraud verdict against ExxonMobil.
All eight justices who voted to overturn the verdict are Republicans. And who provided much of their funding. Scott Horton, of Harper's, tells us in a piece called "The Best Justice Money Can Buy."
First, Horton notes that Karl Rove and his buddy Bill Canary, president of the Business Council of Alabama, launched a campaign in 1992 to take over Alabama's appellate courts. Did it work? Well, 13 of the 14 justices on the Alabama Supreme Court and Alabama Court of Civil Appeals now are Republicans.
Does having "pro business" justices make a difference? ExxonMobil undoubtedly would say yes. Reports Horton:
So who funded the G.O.P.’s vise-like grip on the Alabama Supreme Court? The answer is complex, but part of it is: Exxon Mobil did.
In the last six years, Republican candidates for the state’s highest court have taken more than $5.5 million in campaign contributions from Exxon Mobil lobbyists and lawyers, and groups allied with the company. That means that the eight judges who voted to throw out the state’s massive jury award against Exxon Mobil were actually placed on the court with Exxon Mobil’s money and support—though that support is almost all carefully funnelled in an indirect way, of course. Just think about it from a corporate perspective—an investment of $5.5 million to eliminate a $3.6 billion liability? The best investment those oil men ever made.
Where exactly did that $5.5 million come from? Horton reports:
• Tort-reform groups whose leadership include Exxon lobbyists, or who were funded indirectly by the company, made nearly $3 million in contributions to the GOP members of the Supreme Court.
• Seven Political Action Committees controlled by Exxon’s Alabama lobbyists, Fine Geddie & Associates, made $293,000 in direct campaign contributions to the Supreme Court justices who ruled in the company’s favor.
• Alabama lawyers who represent Exxon in the gas royalties suit gave thousands of dollars more to the justices who ruled in favor of Exxon in the case.
And then we have this:
• The biggest corporate trade group in Alabama, Billy Canary’s Business Council of Alabama, also contributed at least $2.1 million to the GOP justices who ruled favorably to Exxon.
Bradley Byrne, who figures to come out on top in today's Republican primary and probably will win the general election in November, has strong ties to . . . the Business Council of Alabama.
Consider this from Byrne's campaign Web site:
During Bradley’s tenure in the Alabama senate, two of the state’s strongest advocates for legal reform, the Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee and the Business Council of Alabama, frequently called on him to sponsor and work for passage of important legal reform legislation.
The campaign Web site tells us that Byrne has spent much of his legal career defending corporate titans:
Bradley Byrne practiced law as a respected defense attorney for 27 years. As a member of the Alabama Senate, Bradley was the leading advocate for lawsuit reform in the legislature. In fact, he was awarded for his leadership in fighting for legal reform by leading business and industry organizations.
So here is what we have in Alabama today. Voters are likely to vote heavily for Bradley Byrne, a candidate supported by big oil and other business interests. Meanwhile, oil is about to start lapping up on Alabama's shores, especially in Baldwin County, which is Byrne's home territory.
Message for Alabamians: You pay a price when you exhibit cluelessness at the ballot box. If you don't believe it, just check out our shoreline over the next several weeks.
For almost 20 years, Alabama citizens have consistently voted for Bradley Byrne types who say they want "lawsuit reform." That reform, of course, means that businesses are allowed to do pretty much anything they want in Alabama.
What do we have to show for it? It looks like, in a matter of a few days, we'll have oily beaches.
So why do we keep voting for Bradley Byrne types? As Dr. Phil might say, "And how . . . is that . . . working out . . . for you?"
Posted by legalschnauzer at 10:21 AM
Big oil slick nine miles SW of Pensacola, headed NE.
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