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Gulf of Mexico

Wednesday Open Thread: BP Gulf Blowout Anniversary, New PA Fracking Disaster Edition

It's the first year anniversary of the BP blowout on the Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico, but this isn't the way most people expected it to be remembered:

Gas Drilling Emergency in Bradford County

Officials said thousands of gallons of fluid leaked over farm land and into a creek from a natural gas well in Bradford County.

Now there is a massive operation underway to contain the spill of drilling fluids.

The rupture near Canton happened late Tuesday night, contaminating nearby land and creeks.

The blowout happened on the Morse family farm in LeRoy Township outside Canton, a farming community.

Chesapeake Energy officials said a piece of equipment on the well failed.

Now a major response is underway to stop the leak of frack fluid and get control of the well.

[...Click for full story...]

One year ago today marks the date when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig experienced an explosion that led to a "gulf gusher," spilling millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. In spite of any claims to the contrary, the facts remain that these things happen and will continue to happen...both at sea and, as proven by this latest incident as well as the ongoing heroic blogging efforts of TXSharon at BlueDaze.

Isn't it about time we did something to regulate tighten the quality standards of the equipment and operations that have enormous potential for such disaster?

As you chew on that for a bit, keep in mind: This is an Open Thread. Your thoughts in comments are always appreciated.

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Can you dig it?

Now what could this mean? TV crew stopped from taking samples from polluted Florida beach. Pat Gonzales, US Fish and Wildlife (to WEAR ABC 3 reporter taking a sample from polluted beach): "You can not come out here and do your own investigation if you're looking for oil product." WEAR ABC 3

Is the government protecting the sovereign state of BP? Is a pattern emerging?

It seems so. In addition to chasing off WEAR-ABC off the beach, federal officials discouraged scientists from taking samples in the Gulf, other federal officials confiscated samples gathered by scientists at LSU, and state officials refused to test fish for pollution claiming they'd seen no oil in the area in question. Who benefits?

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Another Day, Another Spill, Oil Apocalypse Edition

From DingellDem on DailyKos, the bad news:

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More than 800,000 gallons of oil spilled into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River on Sunday and Monday.  The oil is a part of the eight million gallons that traverse the area each day en route from Indiana to the major refinery town of Sarnia, Ontario.  A Canadian company, Enbridge Inc., owns the pipeline.

Battle Creek Enquirer

For those who don't know, the Kalamazoo River flows 166 miles across southern Michigan.  The river has its origins in the south-central counties of Hillsdale and Jackson.  Eventually, the river reaches Lake Michigan at Saugatuck.

Kalamazoo River: Wikipedia

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More information available over there in Dingeldem's piece or in this one by Brainwrap.

As for our existing, already-unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico,

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At the well site, crews working on the ruptured, but capped, oil well have once again connected through the relief well to existing underwater equipment, BP said Tuesday.

The workers had been forced to disconnect their equipment and retreat from the well site late last week, when Tropical Storm Bonnie loomed as a potential threat. But when Bonnie lost power, workers returned to the site over the weekend.

BP said it planned to test the blowout preventer on the well later Tuesday, and then run casing pipe later this week as a prelude to the final shutdown.

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Let's hope things go right and the thing gets properly capped. The Gulf Spill is enough of an oil apocalypse on its own.

This is an Oil-Free Open Thread.

Saturday Afternoon Gulf Update

 

Via the New York Times,

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HOUSTON — As Tropical Storm Bonnie weakened to a mere tropical depression over the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, a drilling rig and about a dozen other ships working to repair the crippled Macondo oil well reversed course and began heading back to the well site.

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Well, that's good news. We hope.

So, how's things going, folks? It's awfully quiet out there...

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Saturday Morning Open Thread: Gulf Gushers and Tropic Systems Edition

 

In the Gulf of Mexico, spill response vessels leave the Macondo drilling area in advance of an approaching and potentially problematic Tropical Storm Bonnie:

Meanwhile, the former Deepwater Horizon chief electronics technician Michael Williams testified that an alarm system designed to automatically alert the crew and prevent combustible gases from reaching potential sources of ignition had been deliberately disabled:

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Williams told the panel that he understood that the rig had been operating with the gas alarm system in "inhibited" mode for a year to prevent false alarms from disturbing the crew.

Williams said that when he discovered that the alarm system was inhibited, he reported it to supervisors. He said they informed him that orders were to keep it that way.

If the safety system was disabled, it would not have been unusual. Records of federal enforcement actions reviewed by The Washington Post show that, in case after case, rig operators paid fines for allegedly bypassing safety systems that could impede routine operations.

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Apparently, other critical were also impaired on the rig.

All in all, it was a far cry from what we might envision as being "operationally safe & secure" and certainly not anywhere close "regulationally compliant."

What's news in your neck of the woods? This is an Open Thread.

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BP Pressure Tests To Continue Today

The efforts to fully cap the gusher continue with tests to ensure that the existing cap is holding, integrity is good and that there are no other leaks.

From CNN,

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Critical test to continue Saturday in fight to contain oil spill
By the CNN Wire Staff
July 17, 2010 3:18 a.m. EDT

New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) -- BP will continue crucial testing Saturday to determine whether a new containment cap will keep stopping oil from gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

On Friday, the containment cap left some, including President Barack Obama, cautiously optimistic after it seemed to stop the massive flow of oil.

BP officials were still analyzing tests on the containment cap Friday and were uncertain about whether there was a leak in the well.

Thad Allen, who's overseeing the government's response to the oil spill, said Friday that pressure was rising in the well. That was a sign that the well was holding and that the leak that had been spewing oil into the Gulf for nearly three months could be contained.

But pressure readings had not reached the optimal level.

[...more...]

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So far, so good.

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The world as crack house

Michael Collins

Crack house: "A place "where people make, deal and smoke crack cocaine. This could be a house, an apartment, or a shack to name a few…" Urban Dictionary


The G-20 and big oil treat the earth as though it were a crack house. They set up shop, trash the premises, without regard to the surroundings -- all for the purpose of creating and selling a substance that people simply can't do without.

In fact, these oligarchs are far worse than crack dealers. Users can get off of crack. They can do the hard work of getting clean and do just fine. The oligarch crack daddies made sure that once we were hooked on oil, there was no way out. We either get well every day or we'll collapse as a society. You'd think there would be a law against it?   (Images 1 & 2)

Deepwater Chernobyl

A while ago I watched a documentary on building the sarcophagus which encloses the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster site. I have unsuccessfully, tried to find that documentary as my recollection runs that the radioactivity released from the Chernobyl site was only able to be stopped by burying the reactor core in sand, concrete and an outer shell called a sarcophagus.

There seem to be parallels with the current Deepwater Horizon disaster in that we are witnessing once more that man is capable of unleashing uncontrollable forces in his pursuit of energy. Forces he had no contingency plan to deal with. Forces capable of devastating economies, destroying livelihoods and killing wildlife by contaminating the environment to such an extent that even people find they have to move away rather than suffer.

That the only way that we have to fix it once that bottle is uncorked, was to just bury it in concrete. In Russia the reactor core was covered in sand then concrete. In the Gulf of Mexico disaster, first mud was tried, but once the relief wells are drilled, it will be likewise be filled with concrete.

Based on this I went looking for supporting evidence to back up this initial premise, and am astounded by what I found.

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Why does Ken Salazar still have a job?

That one is easy to answer. Because President Obama hasn't fired him and Salazar refuses to resign in shame. (Image)

The real question is what is so wrong with President Obama that he keeps Ken Salazar on as Secretary of the Interior?

Salazar should have given Obama a strong heads up about the major risks of offshore drilling before any policy change was made. He should have done a thorough review of the Department of the Interior with some serious attention to the problem agency key to exploration and drilling permits. The department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) has a long rap sheet as a problem agency. Salazar knew this.

So why is this guy still around?

BP : Let's keep the Astrophysicists busy guessing how many jelly beans in the jar

According to E-How - Many charity functions and parties offer a prize to the person who guesses the correct number of jelly beans in a jar.

Tips to guess how many jelly beans are :
1. Take a look at the jar size. This is important in making a guess.
2. Consider that each gallon jar can hold 930 jelly beans.
3. Pick the jar up (if you are allowed to) and count how many jelly beans there are in one row.

It seems that BP are about to offer America's finest scientists an opportunity to engage in a game of jelly bean guesstimates due to their unwillingness to measure the flow coming from the leaks at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Sound unbelievable? Follow after the fold and I'll explain what is going on here, which, in my personal and professional opinion, shouldn't be.

Too Big to Exist - Big Oil

Michael Collins

There is no viable solution insight for the out of control oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico.  The stunning failure of British Petroleum (BP) raises the question - are these oil giants too big to exist?  Are they too dangerous to function in our presence?  BP has four permanent deep water  structures and 28 boreholes operating at a water depth of greater than 5000 feet in the Gulf of Mexico.  What's next?

British Petroleum (BP) had the resources to drill the well but lacked the planning and ability to deal with its failure.  The oil giant's performance inspired ridicule by Jon Stewart in a recent Daily Show comment ("There will be blame").  The White House was not amused, however.  Nobel Prize winning physicist and Secretary of the Energy, Steven Chu, is now in Houston with a team of cutting edge scientists tasked with mentoring BP and devising a viable solution as the oil giant continues to falter.

The Gulf appears to be bleeding - Worse Than BP Admits

Video from May 7th (4 days ago) flyover of Gulf of Mexico and location of sunken Deepwater Horizon courtesy, Current TV. Amateur Video Of Gulf Oil Slick - Worse Than BP Admits Transcript follows :

On May 7 2010, John Wathen and Pilot Tom Hutchins flew out over the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way we saw small boats dragging buoys out to the islands to protect them from the oil sheen that was certainly coming our way. At nine miles out we began to smell the oil.

Gulf Gusher - Where are the photos?

Photobucket
I've been thinking about the oil leak at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico and trying to picture it in my mind. What would a tear in the fabric of the Earth look like leaking all that oil?
For me the first thing to come to mind is There Will be Blood, or Giant, which had James Dean in it, for TV shows, of course Beverly Hillbillies.

What is common about these shows, the visual of oil? It would have to be the oil drilling tower, the 'excitement' of striking oil and seeing what is called a gusher

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