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Thread: Oil slick bigger than Exxon-Valdez

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    instigator thez_yo's Avatar
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    Oil slick bigger than Exxon-Valdez

    Well, the busted-up rig off the coast of the Mississippi river delta is officially going to be bigger than the '89 spill. I feel really bad for the estuary, and I really hope they cap that undersea oil well real soon:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worl...ana-coast.html

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    expect more of this in the Gulf in the future.....the Chinese are drilling on the US side of Cuba......them boys have REALLY shown they care bout the environment and safety.....
    cervid serial killer
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    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
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    instigator thez_yo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rattler View Post
    expect more of this in the Gulf in the future.....the Chinese are drilling on the US side of Cuba......them boys have REALLY shown they care bout the environment and safety.....
    Well...there goes the south then. Maybe all the people who are living in "reclaimed from the swamp" land will move away in fear and the water will fill back in where it's supposed to be and the pitcher plants will get their land back. I used to go to the Everglades in Florida to see the swamp...it's not the swamp anymore

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    Quote Originally Posted by thez_yo View Post
    I feel really bad for the estuary, and I really hope they cap that undersea oil well real soon:
    Thanks for the link, it had some more info than my usual set of sources. As for getting it stopped soon - not likely at all. The 'underwater 'dome' is weeks away & relief well is months. Hopefully they will have a breakthrough with the valves on the ocean floor.

    If anyone finds any 'real' info on how some of the failures happened, please share the links. In another life, I spent 8 years working on offshore oil rigs and this type of accident is almost unfathomable to me. It seems that they had to lose control of the mud column (drilled into a surprise zone?) and then the fail-safe BOP's on the seafloor failed to actuate.

    With the looming mass of impending legal tangles, I doubt anyone who really knows anything will be talking ...

    Quote Originally Posted by thez_yo View Post
    Well...there goes the south then. Maybe all the people who are living in "reclaimed from the swamp" land will move away in fear and the water will fill back in where it's supposed to be and the pitcher plants will get their land back.
    If you're referring to the land in S. Louisiana, the coastal areas are relatively new (geologically) and are not typically home to Sarracenia. Some of the big issues there are saltwater intrusion (aided by thousands of oilfield pipelines), elimination of land-restoring floods and the concomitant subsidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by thez_yo View Post
    I used to go to the Everglades in Florida to see the swamp...it's not the swamp anymore
    While there obviously has been huge changes in S. Florida due to people, Everglades National park is the 3rd largest park in the lower 48 states and there is still a lot of wetlands to see - where were you looking? Iirc, they've even made some headway in restoring the natural water flow in some areas...
    All the best,
    Ron
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    not sure if we will discover exactly what went wrong, this one was sitting in water a mile deep.....something really musta gone sideways for all the fail safes not to work.....course it is BP and they dont have the best record for this kinda stuff to start with....
    cervid serial killer
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    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
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    RL7836's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rattler View Post
    not sure if we will discover exactly what went wrong, ...
    After I posted above, I did some more searches. This article (actually the embedded article) gives me the explanations I was looking for (& some great pics). What it said is even more amazing considering the stage the well was in - they had actually run the casing & cemented it in place. Normally the well is completely 'safe' at that point. Unless I'm reading something wrong, this makes it less fathomable to grasp .... wow. ... I need to go reread it again...
    All the best,
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    instigator thez_yo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RL7836 View Post
    Thanks for the link, it had some more info than my usual set of sources. As for getting it stopped soon - not likely at all. The 'underwater 'dome' is weeks away & relief well is months. Hopefully they will have a breakthrough with the valves on the ocean floor.

    If anyone finds any 'real' info on how some of the failures happened, please share the links. In another life, I spent 8 years working on offshore oil rigs and this type of accident is almost unfathomable to me. It seems that they had to lose control of the mud column (drilled into a surprise zone?) and then the fail-safe BOP's on the seafloor failed to actuate.

    With the looming mass of impending legal tangles, I doubt anyone who really knows anything will be talking ...

    If you're referring to the land in S. Louisiana, the coastal areas are relatively new (geologically) and are not typically home to Sarracenia. Some of the big issues there are saltwater intrusion (aided by thousands of oilfield pipelines), elimination of land-restoring floods and the concomitant subsidence.

    While there obviously has been huge changes in S. Florida due to people, Everglades National park is the 3rd largest park in the lower 48 states and there is still a lot of wetlands to see - where were you looking? Iirc, they've even made some headway in restoring the natural water flow in some areas...
    I find trashy British tabloids to contain a lot of trash, but then also more actual news from the "news" we're getting here because the U.S.-filters aren't on there like they are for the BBC (very U.S.A. slanted) and all of the big news corps in the states. And glad to know this kind of accident doesn't happen too often - I have no scale in my mind of how many rigs there are, or how many new ones go up in a year, or really how many people work on one. Care to elaborate a-day-in-the-life-of? Or some more on the drilling process and stuff like that?

    I guess I understand that a lot of people in that area are fairly poor and can't really get away from fishing those waters and all, but it seems like that area might be better left to nature in the long run even if there aren't any pitcher plants. First Katrina, now this, and assuming global warming and rising sea water, I think they're all screwed. Also stopping natural flooding is just setting up for random more disastrous flooding down the path, when people aren't expecting it to happen because they thought they've "stopped that problem".

    There's also a bunch of big factories using the Mississippi as their own industrial water pipes so that river is pretty heavily polluted so the incidence of genetic and birth defects is high for populations living along that watershed, but then again people don't want to move from their homes because a.it's their home and b.they don't have the money to do that and to set up shop elsewhere. I think I'm a hippie at heart and at the end of the day, I realize that I both want to stop people from wrecking the Earth and all the plants and animals, but also I realize that people need to live and support themselves somehow, and I don't know how to reconcile those two opposing points of view.

    I was aiming more for Florida with that comment because it has been filled in with dirt pretty hard in the last 20 years to make room for more people. That major state/interstate road (I75 I think) that goes through the everglades used to be swampy and 'gatory all the way down (was driving down from Vermont) and now it has all sorts of tourist shops and housing developments. It may still hold a lot of swamp, but that's if you take one of those big fan-pushed-boats further into the heart of it because you can't see as much of it as you used to from the road. I'd prefer to just look around from the road because of fear of being eaten, and I don't want to accidentally trample anything by boat or foot (again, for killing it or getting some horrible parasites).

    ---------- Post added at 12:19 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:17 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by RL7836 View Post
    After I posted above, I did some more searches. This article (actually the embedded article) gives me the explanations I was looking for (& some great pics). What it said is even more amazing considering the stage the well was in - they had actually run the casing & cemented it in place. Normally the well is completely 'safe' at that point. Unless I'm reading something wrong, this makes it less fathomable to grasp .... wow. ... I need to go reread it again...
    It might be that since BP apparently understated the amount of oil seeping up (3X as much was it?) that maybe they haven't told the whole truth about what stage of setting-up they were at as well? Maybe the people on the rig didn't want to get in trouble for "stopping the work for no good reason" because they didn't think whatever problem they were having was a big one that they couldn't fix...

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    RL7836's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thez_yo View Post
    I have no scale in my mind of how many rigs there are, or how many new ones go up in a year
    Here's a site for rig counts. The longer-term graphs are helpful to get a perspective... (I was down there from 1980-88 iirc)

    Quote Originally Posted by thez_yo View Post
    ... or really how many people work on one.
    I thought that there were ~135 or so on the Deepwater Horizon at the time of the accident. The number of people will fluctuate a lot - depending on the rig activity / stage of development.

    Quote Originally Posted by thez_yo View Post
    Care to elaborate a-day-in-the-life-of? Or some more on the drilling process and stuff like that?
    Realistically, this would take a lot more time than I have & I suspect that there are some good sites out there that explain the process.

    One of the things that most people do not grasp is the depth & breadth of the oil ecosystem. The news tends to focus on the big oil companies - because it's their oil, their wells & their money. However, when it comes to the actual work, there are very few actual oil company employees participating in the process. Depending on the activity, out of 130-150 people, only a handful (& possibly only 1) will be oil company employees. All of the other people are contractors. Some work directly for the oil company and others work for other contractors. Every company has a niche that they exploit. You've heard that BP didn't own the rig - Transocean did. Transocean employed most of the people directly involved with drilling the well. Other companies are brought in as needed. I worked for a company that 'logged' the well (told them what was in their well - in amazing detail). There are other companies that maintain the drilling 'mud', run the casing and a myriad of other activities.

    Quote Originally Posted by thez_yo View Post
    It might be that since BP apparently understated the amount of oil seeping up (3X as much was it?) that maybe they haven't told the whole truth about what stage of setting-up they were at as well? Maybe the people on the rig didn't want to get in trouble for "stopping the work for no good reason" because they didn't think whatever problem they were having was a big one that they couldn't fix...
    BP understated the amount of oil (as did Coast Guard & everyone else). While I'm not a fan of the big oil companies (I could tell you many stories), I'm also not a fan of conspiracy theories - unless they're justified. I suspect that it was understated because they didn't know - how can you tell exactly how much oil is pouring out of a well head 5000 feet down? As for mis-stating what they were doing - also unlikely. As I mentioned above, they don't do almost anything on their own, they hire people / companies to do it for them. Just knowing what people were on the rig at the time (& who was there the week before) can tell anyone with a clue about the industry what stage they were in.
    All the best,
    Ron
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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