Rep. Ed Markey (D) on the BP/Russia Deal
Anyone can be misinformed, or suffer a mental lapse resulting in an incorrect statement. Any of us might be stricken with poor judgment, and take a questionable position on an important matter of state from time to time. But occasionally prejudice, bad judgment and contorted logic become woven together into a tapestry of wrong-headed thinking. And sometimes the people who issue these statements hold responsible | Read More »
Deepwater Well Construction 201
In Deepwater Well Construction 101, we covered some of the basics of drilling oil wells in 5,000 feet of water. Now, you have a chance to hear from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about. Shell drilling engineer Joe Leimkuhler recently presented “How We Drill for Oil and Gas” at the Aspen Ideas Festival of the Aspen Institute. It’s 50 minutes long, but packed | Read More »
The Brits and the BP Spill
It’s BP, not British Petroleum, ever since Maggie Thatcher privatized the government’s stake in the energy giant back in the 1980s. But the stakes involve a large chunk of the UK’s national wealth, not to mention their national pride. From Foreign Policy: Has the BP Bashing Gone Too Far? There has been extensive coverage in Britain of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. | Read More »
Oil Drilling Moratorium Blues
Thursday: Confusion was the order of the day. On Wednesday, the first new shallow-water well drilling permit was issued, to the consternation of the environmental community: “I’m outraged,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director for the Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity. “How is it that shallow water drilling suddenly became safe again?” Never mind that shallow water drilling has no demonstrated problems. Since the Deepwater | Read More »
Never Let A Good Crisis, etc. (Oil Spill Edition)
In his two most recent appointments to his presidential commission on the BP oil spill, President Obama reveals that he’s got waaaay bigger fish to fry than finding out what went wrong of the Deepwater Horizon, and fixing it. Obama’s Oil Panel May Tackle Energy, Environment The new presidential commission investigating the Gulf oil spill will include two experts who have been active on the | Read More »
Obama’s Damage to Louisiana Will Easily Top BP’s
In one of the bigger ‘duh!’ headlines of the year, the Times-Picayune observes: Offshore drilling ban could be a blow to Louisiana economy The president and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s announcement late last week to halt all deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico “at the first safe stopping point” while the Interior Department figures out what regulatory changes are necessary for offshore oil prospecting | Read More »
Obama’s Oil Spill Dilemma
For the last fifteen years, I’ve been the operations manager for a small Gulf of Mexico oil and gas company. I’ve had more than a few sleepless nights in that time, whether it be worrying about a problem well, a reported accident or an impending hurricane. Since Barack Obama has assumed full accountability for the outcome of the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of | Read More »
BP Spill Update: Top Kill Working?
This is certainly good news. There are signs that the “top kill” operations may be effective, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen told NPR. He is in Houma, Louisiana, meeting with local officials and residents. “Since yesterday afternoon, British Petroleum and their subcontractors have been pumping a heavy mud down into the well bore below the blowout preventer, and over the course of the last 12 | Read More »
Acoustic Switches, Oil Spills and Wikipedia Experts
The Daily Beast’s Rick Outzen is like a dog with a bone. Rick (along with a legion of other self-imagined experts on the ‘net) is getting a lot of mileage out of the notion that an acoustic switch (see diagram below the fold) might have averted disaster on the Deepwater Horizon: We know that the Deepwater well lacked the remote-control, acoustical valve [sic] that experts | Read More »
Deepwater Well Construction 101
By any measure, the construction of a deepwater well involves “Extreme Engineering”. And like other applications of technology at the frontier of knowledge, proper operating practices are often a response to failure, and examination of lessons learned. The Deepwater Horizon disaster represents the first time deepwater drillers have experienced multiple failures of the redundant systems that are designed to keep a well from flowing uncontrollably. | Read More »
Oil Spill Reality Check, Part II
The Exxon Valdez, it ain’t. But when I say that, itseems to upset some people. Only by being rational about assessing the environmental threat from the Deepwater Horizon spill can we be prepared to deal with the consequences. Journalists, scientists, Congressmen and bureaucrats have been jockeying to see who can make the most calamitous prediction. As an engineer, I compulsively check their claims (because I | Read More »
When all you have is a hammer…
Christopher Brownfield suggests ‘Nuke the Oil Spill’ in today’s Daily Beast. Christopher Brownfield is a former nuclear submarine officer, an Iraq veteran, and a visiting scholar on nuclear policy at Columbia University. (I’ve gotta stop reading the Daily Beast. It’s driving me nuts.)
Consider the Source.
Yesterday FoxNews.com carried an opinion piece written by your humble correspondent: “We Can’t Stop Drilling Off America’s Shores”. It’s sort of a rewrite of a RedState piece from a couple of weeks back: “Q: Why Was BP Drilling in 5,000 Feet of Water.” Some of the comments are a hoot.
How to Stop an Oil Spill
Straight from the Gaian People’s Republic of Boulder comes this fresh idea for stopping the flow of oil from the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico: meditation! “The basic concept is to try and get as many people to visualize that the valve is actually functioning and is working and closing,” said Carl Fuermann, a staff member in the University of Colorado’s Registrar Office. | Read More »
After the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, warmly referred to as “OPA90″. OPA90 provided for an emergency spill fund so that response for a future spill could begin right away; established the US Coast Guard as the lead agency responsible for spill response; and for the first time required minimum insurance coverage and detailed spill contingency | Read More »
Oil Spill Reality Check
God willing, the Gulf Coast may be spared Prince-William-Sound-like images of waves of tarry goo slapping ashore, while wild birds and cuddly mammals struggle for survival in asphaltine muck. Last Friday, the Lafayette Daily Advertiser reported on the rescue of the first oil-covered bird Louisiana: It was the only animal being cleaned late Friday morning, but rescuers expected many more to come in throughout the | Read More »
Q: Why was BP drilling in 5,000 ft of water?
The answer is, because we demanded it, you and I. “It” being a reasonably inexpensive, plentiful and secure supply of petroleum products, gasoline in particular. We don’t like gas lines or $8.00 per gallon. We really don’t like gas lines and $8.00 per gallon. (And “we” includes every American, with the possible exception of St. Ed Begley, Jr. ) We also decided that we didn’t | Read More »
Big Oil Sell Out?
I don’t know who disgusts me more — Sen. Graham, or the oil companies. Senators consider gasoline tax as part of climate bill Estimates put it in the range of 15 cents a gallon. Some oil companies are on board with the plan because it would cost them far less than other proposals to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Leading voices in the Senate are considering | Read More »
BP Announces Giant Oil Discovery in Deepwater Gulf of Mexico
On Tuesday, British Petroleum (a/k/a BP, or “Beyond Petroleum”) announced a large oil discovery at its Tiber Prospect in the Lower Tertiary trend, deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The new field could rank as BP’s top property in the Gulf. To put the engineering achievement in perspective, imagine what it takes to make a hole in the ground that is deeper than the height of Mount | Read More »