Nuking the Spill: Pro: You’re doing something about it – Contra: You’re doing the wrong thing

The above video is about to go viral as desperation about the gulf oil spill mounts. Otherwise quite sensible people are all for it, because it seems so easy and the US has lot’s of nukes, don’t they? Russia has reported five incidents where they used a nuclear explosion to shut down oil or gas leaks and there are reportedly hundreds that have been used for non military means:

The Soviet Union, a major oil exporter, used this method five times to deal with petrocalamities. The first happened in Uzbekistan, on September 30, 1966 with a blast 1.5 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb and at a depth of 1.5 kilometers. KP also notes that subterranean nuclear blasts were used as much as 169 times in the Soviet Union to accomplish fairly mundane tasks like creating underground storage spaces for gas or building canals.

Looks like Obama is just a sissy who doesn’t dare to do the right thing, because of, as the above post says, anti nuclear political correctness. Maybe, however, he’s just a little smarter than the “nuke it” crowd. The procedure has never been tested in deepwater environment. At Crooks & Liars there are two discussions and it was this comment on the earlier thread, that gives us an idea about how bad this would possibly come out: Continue reading

Interview: Naomi Klein on Oil Leak

From CommonDreams.

Author and activist Naomi Klein speaks to the frustration and confusion being felt and expressed by the people living along the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana over the pace of efforts to combat the growing oil spill in the region.

Naomi Klein is the author of The Shock Doctrine and a columnist for The Nation.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

What about BP oil rig ‘Atlantis’?

This video is from a segment on 60 Minutes that was aired Sunday May 16, 2010. The discussion is mostly about what happened with Deep Horizen in the Gulf of Mexico, interviewing one of the survivors, but it also addresses another great concern which is an much larger oil rig owned by BP that is even further out in the Gulf and MUCH deeper (over 7,000 feet).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This video blew me away.

The whistleblower’s name is Kenneth Abbott, a former project control supervisor contracted by BP. He filed suit on May 17th “to force the federal government to halt operations at another massive BP oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, alleging that BP never reviewed critical engineering designs for the operation and is therefore risking another catastrophic accident that could “dwarf” the company’s Deepwater Horizon spill.” More:

Abbott alleged that BP failed to review thousands of final design documents for systems and equipment on the Atlantis platform — meaning BP management never confirmed the systems were built as they were intended – and didn’t properly file the documentation that functions as an instruction manual for rig workers to shut down operations in the case of a blowout or other emergency.

Abbott alleges that when he warned BP about the dangers presented by the missing documentation the company ignored his concerns and instead emphasized saving money.

“There were hundreds, if not thousands, of drawings that hadn’t been approved and to send drawings (to the rig) that hadn’t been approved could result in catastrophic operator errors,” Abbott told ProPublica. “They turned their eye away from their responsibility to make sure the overall design works. Instead they are having bits and pieces fabricated and they are just hoping that these contractors who make all these separate pieces can pull it together and make it safe. The truth is these contractors see a piece of the puzzle; they don’t see the whole thing.”

More from this same article:

Congress and the Minerals and Management Service have been investigating Abbott’s concerns since last year, when he and Food and Water Watch, an environmental organization based in Washington, D.C., first filed the complaints. But according to both Abbott and FWW, little has been done. After the Deepwater Horizon Gulf spill underscored their concerns, they decided to jointly file the lawsuit. Abbott was laid off shortly after he raised the concerns to BP management.

According to the lawsuit, by Nov. 28, 2008, when Abbott last had access to BP’s files, only half of the 7,176 drawings detailing Atlantis’ sub-sea equipment had been approved for design by an engineer and only 274 had been approved “as built,” meaning they were checked and confirmed to meet quality and design standards and the documentation made available to the rig crew. Ninety percent of the design documents, the suit alleges, had never been approved at all.

The Atlantis rig is even larger than the Deepwater Horizon rig that sank in April. It began producing oil in 2007 and can produce 8.4 million gallons a day.

The components include some of the critical infrastructure to protect against a spill. According the suit, none of the sub-sea risers – the pipelines and hoses that serve as a conduit for moving materials from the bottom of the ocean to the facility — had been “issued for design.” The suit also alleges that none of the wellhead documents were approved, and that none of the documents for the manifolds that combine multiple pipeline flows into a single line at the seafloor had been reviewed for final use.

Directions for how to use the piping and instrument systems that help shut down operations in the event of an emergency, as well as the computer software used to enact an emergency shutdown, had also not been approved, the lawsuit says. According to the lawsuit, 14 percent those documents had been approved for construction, and none received final approval to ensure they were built and functioning properly.

“BP’s worst-case scenario indicates that an oil spill from the BP Atlantis Facility could be many times larger than the current oil spill from the BP Deepwater Horizon,” the lawsuit states. “The catastrophic Horizon oil spill would be a mere drop in the bucket when compared to the potential size of a spill from the BP Atlantis facility.”

Can you even imagine…

If they don’t have the technology or safety features nailed down in order to be able to stop this massive leak from the Deep Horizon (which has been amply demonstrated), why would anyone allow drilling to continue with this other, larger rig—owned and run by the same people who are apparently skipping corners there as well—in much deeper water, with a MUCH greater output..

What are they thinking? (I know…, dollars). What are WE thinking by letting them!

As Gorette at The Daily Kos said, “Until regulators can “prove” that Atlantis, the Gulf’s second largest oil rig is safe, it should be shut down. ”

Amen to that.

Other articles concerning Atlantis:

U.S. Should Shut BP Atlantis Platform, Lawmaker Says – Bloomberg

Why Obama Must Shut Down BP Atlantis – Huffington Post

BP’s Own Probe Finds Safety Issues on Atlantis Rig – ABC News

Lawmakers Call on Gov’t to Shut Down BP Atlantis – MotherJones

Breaking News: BP Purchases Gulf of Mexico

Roiters International: Florida

Invoking the widely used rule of Commerce “You broke it, you bought it” British Petroleum announced earlier today it has purchased the Gulf of Mexico. Although the rule is most frequently enforced in fine china and crystal shops, lawyers for BP said it does have application elsewhere and could find nothing to prohibit its application here.

The deal for an undisclosed amount was closed with one Felipe Aguadel DeLeon, the last known surviving heir of the renowned explorer Ponce DeLeon who dedicated his life searching for a Fountain of Youth reported to be somewhere in Florida.

According to centuries old documents, DeLeon was convinced that the Fountain’s waters flowed into the Gulf. While land grants from the Spanish Crown were common at that time, DeLeon asked for, and received, a grant for the entire Gulf of Mexico. Later, when Spain ceded Florida to the United States, nothing in the transaction included the Gulf, which remained in the sole possession of the DeLeon estate.

Constitutional Law professor Joe Furley explained, “This is totally out of the realm of anything the Constitution was designed to deal with. It was always presumed that the waters of the sea, beyond the range of a fortress’ guns, belonged to no one. ”  The Grant appears to be authentic, he added, which means the transaction will stand up in U.S. Courts.

UPDATE: A convoy of trucks loaded with No Trespassing, No Fishing, No Swimming signs has been spotted heading towards the Gulf Coast.

add to : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Top Kill failed – BP is running out of options


The top kill effort to plug the well at the Deepwater Horizon disaster site has failed. Never mind what BP says or the question mark on the following story. Fact is:

Hope is dimming for the attempt by BP (NYSE:BP) to quickly plug the oil leak at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico through Top Kill, as BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles confirms they haven’t been able to stop the oil spill yet. (read more)

Robert L. Cavnar says:

I’m now hearing that BP determined the top kill failure sometime in the last 24 hours, but rather than announce it, have decided to just keep pumping until the next alternative is decided, either the LMRP (lower marine riser cap) cap to bring flow to the surface, or removing the LMRP and landing a new BOP on top of the failed one. (read more)

There is something more he says:

As a side note, I do find it interesting that the BP feed no longer includes the bent riser view of the last couple of days,and now looks like the end of the riser where the riser insertion tool had been used previously.

Interesting indeed. What’s more, to me it looks as if the leak they are showing now is in a cavity that keeps getting deeper. I fear there are significant geological shifts going on, too. It can be the angle of the camera, but those pictures scare me silly. If the ground ruptures some more there, Heaven help us.

So after the top kill the top hat is back in the equation. That has failed already. The only sure fire way, according to BP, is the relief drill, but that can take until August and happens to be the one solution that would keep the well available for exploitation. I was very reluctant to believe that buying time was the real driving force behind all the “failures”. I thought that was too cynical. Not anymore.

The Watering Hole: May 29 – Eurovision Song Contest

Tonight is Eurovision Song Contest, this is a very, very, very ancient contest format, which nobody admits to having seen, but I will watch it (I always do). Unlike American Idol there are seasoned musicians, mixed with newcomers and some songs are hilariously bad, some are surprisingly good (those always lose). So you have to be very brave now. I give you Germany’s last winner (1982) and tonights German competitor here.  The first one is just corny and the latter one can’t sing at all. What’s new?

Abba’s win in 1974 “Waterloo” was the beginning of a great career, however.

This is our open thread. If you move on to other topics quickly, I don’t blame you.

Music night. Happy Birthday, Jerry

I first heard Jerry Douglas playing on a Maura O’Connell album in the late 80s and instantly fell in love (with both of them). Since then, I’ve heard him playing his dobro with other instrumentalists, primarily folk and country music, and backing exceptional vocalists. I don’t know if he’s getting all the professional work for dobro players, but he is not only a brilliant musician, but instantly recognizable in a recording. I can always pick up his crystalline sound and it invariably gives me a chill. I was tickled to find a video of one of my favorite cuts of his, with Russ Barenberg and Edgar Meyer, from the Skip, Hop & Wobble album. More music after the jump, including Allison Krauss. Don’t miss it.

Continue reading

The Oil Spill – What’s New?


So BP has started the “top kill” to stem the flow of oil still spilling from the broken well in the Gulf of Mexico in what is now officially the worst leak in US history. There are conflicting news about the  effectiveness of the measure. The LATimes and CBSNews were the first to claim the “top kill” was working and has effectively stemmed the oil flow, citing Thad Allen. That was yesterday. Today news are a bit less enthusiastic. Washington’s Blog bluntly states the strategy has failed.

Here’s the scoop: BP’s attempt to stop the oil spill using the “Top Kill” method has failed.

How do I know?

Well, as the New York Times notes:

BP officials, who along with government officials created the impression early in the day that the strategy was working, disclosed later that they had stopped pumping the night before when engineers saw that too much of the drilling fluid was escaping along with the oil.Indeed, BP stopped pumping “mud” for more than 16 hours (the material gushing out of the leaking riser didn’t stop during that time).

Basically, BP has failed in trying to drive enough “mud” down the well to provide enough weight to tamp down the oil gushing out. It didn’t work. (read full story) Continue reading