Drumbeat: June 6, 2010

BP: Cap Collects 10,000 Barrels at Well

BP PLC Chief Executive Tony Hayward said Sunday that a containment cap being used on a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico is now funneling off 10,000 barrels of oil a day, and called for higher safety standards for the company and the industry.

"At the moment it is difficult to say, but we would expect it to be the majority, probably the vast majority of the oil," Mr. Hayward said in an interview on BBC, referring to the amount of oil being collected. "We have a further containment system to implement in the course of this coming week which will be in place by next weekend. So when those two are in place we would very much hope to be containing the vast majority of the oil," he added.

Imagining Life Without Oil, and Being Ready

Located somewhere between the environmental movement and the bunkered survivalists, the peak oil crowd is small but growing, reaching from health food stores to Congress, where a Democrat and a Republican formed a Congressional Peak Oil Caucus.

And they have been resourceful, sharing the concerns of other “collapsitarians,” including global debt and climate change — both caused by overuse of diminishing oil supplies, they maintain. . .

Web sites, online videos and numerous social networks connect adherents in ways that would once have been impossible.

New York Times article links to The Oil Drum where it mentions web sites.

In gulf oil spill's long reach, ecological damage could last decades

Beaches get scrubbed by waves and storms, but marshes can develop tar mats lasting decades, Tunnell said. He said the beaches are a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of sensitivity to oil spills, but the marshes are a 10. Attempts to clean a marsh will backfire. After the huge Amoco Cadiz spill of 68 million gallons off Brittany in 1978, French authorities scraped the top off the oiled marshes. It was a mistake: Most never came back.

Although many scientists and officials have warned that the marshes are in danger, one scientist who has studied oil spills in Louisiana marshes said that these wetlands are generally able to recover if human intervention doesn't make the situation worse.

"The vegetation itself generally recovers in a year, although sometimes it may take three or four," said Irving A. Mendelssohn, a biologist at Louisiana State University. Only if oil sinks in deep, or if repeated oilings kill off new shoots, does the marsh die, he added.

Oil-spill anger applies only to what’s visible

It's Day 47 of what we regard as an utterly unacceptable environmental disaster. We watch in horror as the first tar balls wash onto the Florida Panhandle's sugar-sand beaches.

It's Day 32 in Akwa Ibom. Not that anyone in the Niger River Delta has bothered to count the days since an offshore spill added another million gallons of crude to an already devastated estuary.

Oil bursting from an oil rig operated by a subsidiary of ExxonMobile has polluted the sea, poisoned tidal marshes and escalated the miseries caused by Niger oil extraction.

But the word ``unacceptable'' has no meaning in Nigeria's bleak oil fields.

Oil spill closes more Gulf waters to fishing

About 33 percent of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico are now closed to fishing because of the spill.

Russia wants global fund after Gulf oil spill

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called on the world's leading economic powers on Saturday to consider creating a fund to insure against large-scale environmental disasters like the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin on Saturday said Russia would introduce stricter safety requirements for oil producers as a result of the Gulf spill, now considered the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Cap Slows Gulf Oil Leak as Engineers Move Cautiously

Oil continued to pour from a runaway oil well in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday as engineers worked to close two of four vents on a capping device lowered onto the gushing riser pipe.

Admiral Allen said that while engineers were able to bring 6,000 barrels of oil to the surface in a 24-hour period, they were hesitant to close the vents out of fear that if they did so too quickly, water would rush in and form the kind of icy hydrates that doomed a previous attempt to cap the leak.

Before Oil Spill, It Was Unclear Who Was in Charge of Rig

New government and BP documents, interviews with experts and testimony by witnesses provide the clearest indication to date that a hodgepodge of oversight agencies granted exceptions to rules, allowed risks to accumulate and made a disaster more likely on the rig, particularly with a mix of different companies operating on the Deepwater whose interests were not always in sync.

And in the aftermath, arguments about who is in charge of the cleanup — often a signal that no one is in charge — have led to delays, distractions and disagreements over how to cap the well and defend the coastline. As a result, with oil continuing to gush a mile below the surface in the Gulf of Mexico, the laws of physics are largely in control, creating the daunting challenge of trying to plug a hole at depths where equipment is straining under more than a ton of pressure per square inch.

Relief wells usually stop spill, but not necessarily right away

``Basically you're running a straw down 18,000 feet trying to hit another straw,'' says Greg Pollock, head of the oil spill division of the Texas General Land Office. . .

And last year a well explosion off Australia spewed 84,000 gallons of oil a day into the Timor Sea for 10 weeks until a fifth try at a relief well stopped it.

Why were several relief wells needed?

``That's easy. They missed,'' says Pollock. ``They had to pull back the drill and try again.''
There are other reasons for delays, as well: broken drill bits, twisted steel pipe, penetrating tools jammed in hard rock or shifting in soft sand.

BP chief says not quitting over spill - newspaper

Chief Executive Tony Hayward has said he is not thinking of quitting despite the outcry in the United States over the scale of damage from a ruptured deep-sea oil wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico.

Relief wells are last hope to stop oil leak

When they get deep enough, drillers will make a gradual bend in the relief wells' paths, plunging at a 35-degree angle to get within 50 feet of their target. Once in range, they will use magnetic instruments to more precisely home in on the original well casing — or pipe — and fill it with heavy synthetic drilling mud to push oil down.

After that, cement is pumped in to shut off the flow for good.

Lessons from the spill

THERE IS MUCH that we still don't know about what led to the Deepwater Horizon's catastrophic oil well blowout, the effects of which continue to foul the Gulf of Mexico. Congressional, executive-branch and BP investigations continue, as does the blame-shifting among those involved. But evidence is mounting that this was an eminently preventable accident. BP, operating under the indifferent oversight of the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS), could have done much more to minimize the risk of blowout, and it wasn't adequately prepared for a major spill.

Study: Drilling in Pa. a $3.77B stimulus

Drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus shale has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into the Pennsylvania economy, a study by Penn State University concluded.

The study concluded the Marcellus gas industry provided a “direct economic stimulus of $3.77 billion” to the Pennsylvania economy while generating $389 million in state and local taxes and creating more than 44,000 jobs.

Bagasse Power to beat energy crisis

With the state battling a severe energy crisis, chief minister M. Karunanidhi on Saturday launched a Rs 849 crore project to set up co-generation power plants at 12 sugar mills across the state. The power plants will produce 183 MW of electricity.

PG&E: loved from afar, protested at home

Then there's the local image of PG&E as a monopoly spending $46 million on a California ballot measure that, critics say, was written to shield PG&E from competition. A company that tried to stop Marin County from forming its own public power agency.

Proposition 16, which is on Tuesday's ballot, would make it far more difficult for communities to follow in Marin's footsteps. The ballot measure would force cities and counties to win the approval of two-thirds of their voters before starting a public power agency - a threshold that opponents consider nearly impossible to reach.

Analysis—UK nuclear needs high CO2 price or market reform

Britain will need to slap stiff penalties on climate-warming plants or radically change the way the power market works if it is to get new nuclear plants to cut carbon emissions and keep the lights on.

"The economics of nuclear power is going to be the crunch issue. A carbon price floor is one way of de-risking nuclear power, which in a liberalised market is one of the riskier forms of investment that you can make at the moment."

Calmar gas leak conjures up spectre of future carbon capture woes

Alberta is hoping CCS will account for 70 per cent of its reduction target by 2050: 140 million tonnes a year. It is a staggering number when you consider that three pilot projects worldwide currently only sequester five million tonnes a year and no CCS scientist knows if we can scale up the technology to industrial levels and make it work safely.

One of the big challenges is making sure the massive amounts of carbon dioxide stay underground. Experts say the most likely escape route for the CO2 will be through improperly abandoned oil and gas wells.

Ever since oil and gas was first discovered in Alberta, we have drilled 350,000 wells, making the province something of a geological pincushion. Many of the wells are documented. Then we have Calmar where an entire subdivision was built over an old, leaking gas well that had been forgotten.

Farming hailed as key to rebuilding Haiti—from the soil up

“The textile sector, to which I belong . . . could create 100,000, maybe 200,000 jobs. Agriculture can create three million jobs, bring down the cost of living and decentralize the four million people living in and around Port-au-Prince. . . . They could go back to their villages and lead positive lives, rather than stay in Port-au-Prince and just barely make a living.”

If $1 billion of the $11 billion pledged by international donors was put toward agriculture, the world could “watch Haiti not only feed itself, but export billions,” he said.

Small farms get small help compared to subsidies for agribusiness

At the National Summit of Rural America, sponsored by the federal government and held this week in Hillsboro, Montana, Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced initiatives that awarded approximately $29.2 million in grants to small and mid-sized farms, ranches and cooperatives throughout the nation.

In 2009, Congress doled out $15 billion in farm subsidies. According to Food First, 90 percent of that sum went to the production of five crops - corn, wheat, rice, soy and cotton.

"Most of that 90 percent went to the large farming corporations," Shattuck said. "Much of those commodities were not used for food, but for animal feed and industrial applications. Cotton is not even a food."

First Solar says can’t meet demand for modules

The market for solar modules, a key element in solar power systems, is so strong that industry leader First Solar will not be able to meet demand this year, a senior executive was quoted as saying on Saturday.

Tide of oil threatens to wipe out the iconic pelican

The images of oil-covered birds – pelicans, northern gannets, laughing gulls and others – are eerily reminiscent of the Exxon Valdez disaster 21 years ago, and have in recent days have become the most vivid symbol of the damage wrought by the hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil that have poured into the Gulf of Mexico since the rig explosion on 20 April. Since the spill, 612 damaged birds had been catalogued by Friday, most dead, but some alive and drenched in oil.

But the brown pelican, with its history of robust recovery in the face of extreme peril, has a special significance. The birds were once so common on the coastline that they grace the state flag. They were frequent companions for fishermen, who shared their waters and admired their skill at spotting fish from afar and diving from great heights to scoop them up.

Last year, the birds were officially taken off the endangered species list. But the oil spill, experts said, could change that.

Solar panels could be a threat to aquatic insects, new research shows

Scientists have discovered that aquatic insects such as the mayfly can mistake shiny photovoltaic panels for pools of water, which they rely on to reproduce. They urge caution on the increasing use of panels until experts work out how they could affect insects and other creatures that feed on them.

"The effect of solar panels on populations of aquatic insects has not yet been researched," said Bruce Robertson, a scientist at the US Department of Energy's Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Centre in Michigan. "It is clear that the worst place to put a solar installation would be in proximity to natural lakes and rivers, where aquatic insects could easily become attracted to them."

Can I go camping and be green?

Camping has lots of non-branded sustainable prefixes – low-impact, no-impact, wild, wilderness, leave-no-trace – highlighting the fact that using the natural environment as a temporary home is a fast-track way to destroy it. Researchers have found lower vegetation growth rates and depleted soils three years after camping has ended on a site. From chopping down trees for firewood to leaving litter, it can be a toxic time bomb.

Euro zone faces zero growth: Roubini

The euro zone is facing a period of zero growth if not recession, and the United States is heading for financial trouble, U.S. economist Nouriel Roubini was quoted as saying on Saturday.

Roubini, known as Dr. Doom and best known for predicting the U.S. housing crisis, said there was a risk of a second financial crisis, with countries becoming insolvent and being forced out of the euro, and banks collapsing.

Roubini said that a Japanese-style period of deflation, stagnation and high unemployment was a much greater risk to Europe for the next two or three years than inflation.

Coal Firms to Strip-Mine Historic Battlefield?

On a sultry August morning in 1921, some 15,000 coal miners converged at the foot of the steep, brambly slopes of West Virginia's Blair Mountain. On a high ridge above, coal industry forces, private detectives, and state police officers peered out from fortified positions, training Thompson submachine guns and high-powered rifles on the men below.

Today, Blair Mountain is again the focus of a pitched battle—this time pitting preservationists against coal companies. Subsidiaries of two of the United States' largest coal producers—Arch Coal, Inc., and Massey Energy Company, the owner of the Upper Big Branch Mine that last month claimed the lives of 29 miners in Montcoal, West Virginia—hold permits to blast and strip-mine huge chunks of the upper slopes and ridge of Blair Mountain, removing much of the mountaintop.

Mining: Potash Corp. expanding capacity based on growing global need

It was only a couple of years ago that potash was a star in the commodity world.

Prices shot from an average of US$193 per tonne from 1999-2008, to previously unheard-of levels of US$1,000 per tonne by mid-2008.

But demand for the mineral used in fertilizer dropped sharply in 2009 and prices tumbled back down to earth, falling throughout the year and hitting about US$345 per tonne this past January.

But there are signs the potash market is making a recovery. Potash Corp.'s first quarter sales of the product totalled 2.5 million tonnes this year, five times higher than the 500,000 tonnes sold in the same quarter in 2009. And some recent sales suggest prices may have at least bottomed out, says Ari Levy, portfolio manager and vice-president and director of TD Asset Management.

"The buyers are saying it's probably at or near the bottom level and are starting to step in and buy, which bodes well for at least putting a floor under the price of potash," he says.

He pointed to a recent sale to China in the US$370 per tonne range by Canpotex Ltd., the company that markets and distributes the products of all the Saskatchewan potash producers.

Oil discovery in Falklands hailed as biggest of its kind since North Sea oil

An oil field discovery in the Falklands was hailed yesterday as potentially the biggest discovery of its kind since North Sea Oil.

Shares in Rockhopper exploration soared 52 per cent yesterday as the company said it expected to pump out at least 242 million barrels of oil from the 'Sea Lion' well - the expedition's first major oil find.

And some predicted there could be millions more barrels of oil lying untapped in the area - sparking hopes that the region could hold as much oil as the North Sea.

An oil field discovery in the Falklands was hailed yesterday as potentially the biggest discovery of its kind since North Sea Oil.

...the company said it expected to pump out at least 242 million barrels of oil from the 'Sea Lion' well - the expedition's first major oil find.

Britain,s first North Sea well was drilled in 1964, 46 years ago. Now the biggest discovery since then will pump 242 million barrels of oil, enough to supply the world with oil for a little over three days. But not to worry, this is only one of the fields in the area. There is more oil in the area yet to be drilled, enough to supply the world with perhaps 5 to 10 more days if they really get lucky.

Let us all celebrate this debunking of peak oil.

Ron P.

As someone lacking the knowledge to put such stories in proper context and to be able thereby to evaluate them, I really appreciate your succinct contextualizing, Ron. Thanks for this and for all your comments on TOD.

Thanks for the kind words Beingtime, I just like to put thing in perspective. To most people who are not familiar with world oil consumption the word "million" seems like a very big number. A million barrels of oil will last the world about 17.4 minutes.

Ron P.

17.4 minutes. How about this one: According to wikipedia an average super tanker holds about 2 MB, and if the world uses approx. 86 mbd, then that is equivalent to 43 super tankers full of oil. So imagine you're looking into a harbor with tankers lined up side by side 10 across and 4 deep with 3 extra at the back. That provides an image of the rate of flow required each and every day, and speaks volumes as to the concerns about keeping that flow moving at that rate while mature fields are in decline, and new discoveries like the one in that article about the Falklands aren't going to hold off the impending descent in oil production.

And, consider. Britain gets 242 MB of oil the old fashioned way... they steal it! From Argentina.

Of course, all perfectly legal. GB "discovered" the Falklands, after all, so it is theirs.

And, this only helps the oil situation for England, not for anyone else. Except of course for the company. It is, after all, all about the company.


Falklands Oil Backstory

Understanding the back story behind this sort of headline is extremely important. Remembering that the Falklands War was a very painful experience for both Argentina and the UK, inquiring minds want to know how important this oil field is to both countries for them to risk another conflict. Lets take a look.

From the Energy Export Databrowser:

Interpreting the Argentina graph:

  • Consumption -- After a generation of dictatorships, military setbacks and poor economic performance ending in the 1999-2002 economic crisis, the Argentine economy has finally picked up and consumption is rapidly increasing.
  • Production -- Crude production peaked in 1998 and has begun its long, fairly steady decent.
  • Exports -- Exports increased significantly during the 1990's, peaking in 2002, but have begun a rapid decline reflecting the contradictory trends of rising consumption vs. falling production.
  • Summary -- Argentina will become a net importer of oil in the very near future.

Interpreting the UK graph:

  • Consumption -- Consumption increased until the 1973 oil crisis, then decreased further during the 1979 oil crisis. After a brief blip upwards during the 1984 coal miners' strike consumption has been fairly flat.
  • Production -- With the exception of the 1998 Piper Alpha disaster production shows a gently sloping curve up, a peak in 1999, followed by a relentless decrease in production as existing fields peter out.
  • Exports -- The North Sea was the UK's great savior in terms of oil, converting a major importer into a major exporter. Unfortunately, most of the exports occurred during the late 1990s when oil was selling for 10-15 dollars per barrel. Now they must import it back at 70+ dollars per barrel.
  • Summary -- The UK is very vulnerable when it comes to oil access and must secure supplies wherever it can.

For more details on the overall UK energy situation (including coal, oil, gas, nuclear & hydro) check out this post which contains the following conclusion:

Anyone who actually looks at the data doesn't need a fancy report to determine that energy supply and use is the UK's #1 issue for the next 10 years. (And for probably a lot longer.)

So now we have a better understanding of the importance of the Falklands to both these nations. Hopefully they can resolve their differences without resorting to armed conflict. As I demonstrated in an earlier post, modern armed conflict has been spectacularly unsuccessful at securing energy supplies and only results in decreased production overall and massive spills.

Best Hopes for understanding the historical context.


Argentina is already importing Oil, and Gas too, this last from Bolivia and also cryogenic ships. There's some talk of building a Gas Terminal in Montevideo, Uruguay, and share gas between both countries but this talk has been going on for some 15 years and nothing has been done.

Luckily Argentina is no longer a military threat -and the shameless British Press should stop building it up in the minds of the British as a fearsome enemy. Its military industry was wound down, they have now a small, badly paid professional army, no longer universal conscription where at least they could put weight of numbers on the fields and armed with weapons made in their own factories -although with just 37 million people hardly very many soldiers. Now the Navy often doesn't have fuel for the ships, the Air Force is a shadow of what it was.

Argentina also doesn't have any friends among their neighbors, they have this baffling capacity to antagonize everyone. For example one of the three bridges between Argentina and Uruguay has been occupied the last four years by a bunch of 'ambientalists" complaining about a Finnish paper mill on the Uruguayan shore, never mind that Argentina also has paper mills but it so happens that the graft that they asked from the Finns was too high and they built the factory at the other side of the river.
A The Hague law court ruling in favor of Uruguay was dismissed out of hand by the K's -the kleptomaniac Kirchners who rule the country and keep these hoodlums there.
Argentinians are plain dumb and do not understand that a country that weakens its small neighbors only succeeds in weakening itself.
Not very PC, but the neighbors say that if you scramble the letters of ARGENTINO, you get IGNORANTE.

If Great Britain and Argentina reach some sort of agreement on sharing the Falkland's Oil, fine and good but unimportant. Argentina has oil in its waters and once upon a time they had two rigs, never pulled one barrel from the bottom of the ocean.

Even now, with the economic crisis and 20+% unemployment in Spain, Argentinians emigrate to Spain in the tens of thousands every year, many have Italian nationality so EU citizens (although they do not speak one word of Italian) and go to work and live in Spain.
Not a real threat anymore, except to their hapless small neighbors.

Where's all this anti-Argentine bile coming from? I guess it isn't a loyal bootlick so it must be evil. If you want to look for corruption check out the USA, where both Bush and Obama are no different when it comes to kissing corporate a**. The mere fact that NOAA was parroting the BP propaganda about "no plumes" and 5000 bpd leak should be a national embarrassment.

Argentina a threat to its poor little neighbours. What load of bollocks.

BP: Cap Collects 10,000 Barrels at Well

Not bad for a well that is only allowing 5,000 bpd to escape.

let's go buy some shares!!

Yesterday, CNN reported that about 31% of the flow was being collected. Does that mean the total pouring out is 30,000 barrels ?


saturday's collection was originally reported at 6,000 bbls... of the upper end of the 12-19,000... that's where the 31% comes from... today... bp reports 10,000, i'm assuming the same 12-19,000 estimate is accurate...

by tues there should be enough consensus on how much is still exiting the top of the BOP... how much is coming up the riser... how much is still leaking...

and most importantly... how longs it will last... the current capturing... seems the other fixes had terribly short spanned lives... 10,000 bbls today... how many bbls NEXT sunday....?

and don't ya love the headlines... CNN originally posted 250,000 GALLONS... which is just under 6,000 BARRELS... being captured...

seems the leakage gets reported in BARRELS... and capture in GALLONS... showing an increase by a factor of 42 (gals/bbl)...

Looking at all the ROV live cams it looks like there is so much damn oil spewing out around the cap, more even than before.

I doubt that the top hat or what ever is sucking up enough oil to even compensate for the additional flow created when they cut off the kinked riser.

Seriously this is not better.

My snarky video response: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5Ar-qlyH9Y

Does look a bit less chaotic today, from the front anyways - you can see more of the yellow paint on the LMRP. But maybe they've just adjusted valves to shunt more of the oil out the back, where the video is fuzzier...

As the oil spreads to other states, so does the frustration with BPs handling of the situation....


BP official grilled by frustrated mayors at news conference

"We've been asking for a senior BP official (since May 1) to come and sit down and visit with us," Kennon said, visibly upset. "You show up today, we don't even know you are coming. So what you say and what you do, Mr. Fryar, with all due respect, are two different things."

Kennon later told CNN that he met with Fryar for about 45 minutes after the news conference, but said he still had "no confidence" in BP's economic response to communities hard-hit financially by the disaster.

"(Fryar) made it very clear to us ... that (BP's) first obligation is their shareholders," Kennon said.

This really is a special time for the US government. By their reactions we can begin to gauge more accurately if the US Fed government sides more with big time corporations or its constituency. From what I've seen so far, and this is not great surprise, the more local the politician, the more tied to the people they represent and the easier it has been to criticize BP and try to speak more truth.

The higher up you go in government, the harder it has been to criticize BP openly. So when things come down to brass tacks and more resource "issues" arise who will you look to for leadership? Glimpse of the future my friends!

"(Fryar) made it very clear to us ... that (BP's) first obligation is their shareholders," Kennon said.

This is what it boils down to. This is the fatal flaw in the corporate business model with regards to how benign/malign a corporation is in the (now) global community it supposedly serves.

I remember in Jerry Mander's 'In the Absence of the Sacred' his description of how Union Carbide CEO, Warren Anderson went to India after Bhopal to see what could be done. Apparently he made a lot of promises that the board of directors and, by extension the shareholders, quickly put the kibosh on when he got home. Corporations are definitely sociopathic entities. Anderson is now wanted in India for manslaughter. The US should issue warrants for BP's upper management, or for whomever they find sufficient evidence against.

"Corporations are definitely sociopathic entities."
No, ET; corporations are sociopathic "PERSONS" under US law.

One of the many problems with giving corporations such "personhood" is that a corporation cannot be tried in criminal courts. The best that governments can do to a bad corporate "person" is to impose fines - and maybe some restrictions on it under our laws and regulations. Of course, human victims have the right to sue a bad corporation in civil court; whereupon their lawyers get to deal with HUGE corporate legal defense teams paid $millions by the corporation to delay judgment day or to avoid judgment against the corporation. (See Exxon Valdez.)

Corporations, especially large, publicly owned corporations can outlive the human plaintiffs who are suing them. (See also Exxon Valdez.) This power to outlive mortal human plaintiffs is an additional problem with allowing corporations to have "personhood."

The liability of the individual human beings who own shares in the large* corporation is limited to the amount of the investment they made. That's it. Nothing else. Nada.

And, of course, if the corporation's huge, highly-paid defense teams fail to protect the corporate "person" sufficiently in the civil courtroom (after years of litigation), then the corporate "person" can use bankruptcy courts to limit - or avoid entirely - the debt incurred. There, again, corporations get disparate (i.e. favorable) treatment over human beings under existing Bankruptcy law. Individual human beings often cannot be relieved of (or reduce) their credit card obligations by filing a bankruptcy petition, while corporate "persons" can avoid, or significantly reduce payment of their obligations to others. (Even their employees get ripped off.)

Corporate "personhood" is simply bad. The unequal bargaining power they wield, both in Congress and in the courts, is indefeatable.

(I'm climbing off my soap box now.)

*Small corporations, or family-owned corporations can be "pierced" under alter-ego grounds to get at the shareholders hiding underneath the veneer of corporate "personhood," but companies that can do major damage to mankind - like Union Carbide or BP - are not small, family-owned corporations.

It will take an amendment to the U.S.Constitution to change this. These can be done at the local level, by the states, or at the national level, by Congress. We need to begin to pressure our elected representatives to carry out our will. The will of the real people!

Any time you can attend a meeting by any representative or senator, do you best to be there. Let your wishes be known, and if your elected congress person does not comply, act with others like you at the most basic level, the primary, to get rid of that person.

It has long been said that all politics is local... and it is true.

Best wishes in 'killing' the corporate person.


No, ET; corporations are sociopathic "PERSONS" under US law.

Can they be given the death penalty? Perhaps by lethal rejection...

The following transcript is credited to: The Andrew Marr Show, June 06, 2010


And so to a man I'm afraid described as "the most hated face in America" just now: the Chief Executive of BP, Tony Hayward. A massively complex engineering operation to cap that gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico is going on right now. Is it working? Well we should all hope it is working because of the environmental disaster, but also because the future of BP itself is at stake. Some papers suggest it endangers the recovery of the UK economy it's so big. Tony Hayward joins me now. Thank you very much indeed for coming.


Good morning, Andrew. Good morning.


Let's just start with the situation right now. This so-called 'top cap' has been placed over the gushing oil. What's the latest information you have about whether it's working or not?


Well from the very beginning we've launched what is the world's largest ever environmental and spill response. We're battling on three fronts: in the sub-sea to contain, now using the cap; on the surface to contain the oil offshore; and along the shore to defend the shoreline. As we speak the containment cap is producing around 10,000 barrels of oil a day to the surface, which is being processed on the surface and we've taken.


(over) So what sort of proportion is that coming out?


At the moment it's difficult to say, but we would expect it to be the majority - probably the vast majority of the oil.


So you think this cap will get most of the oil?


Well that is our hope. We are optimising the operation. We have a further containment system to implement in the course of this coming week, which will be in place by next weekend. So when those two are in place, we would very much hope to be containing the vast majority of the oil.


The reports that I've seen up to now suggest that perhaps about a quarter of the oil is being got by this capping system, but you think it's much more than that?


Well, as I said 48 hours ago, it's going to take us 48 to 72 hours to optimise this. We're in that process. Over the last 24 hours we've produced 10,000 barrels a day to surface. The plume's reduced. We have to determine by how much and there's more to go. And, as I said, there's a second containment system to be introduced next weekend, and by the end of the month there will be a more permanent containment system in place ahead of the relief wells getting there in August.


Well I was just going to ask about those because of course the danger there is that you have to put these relief wells in right in the middle of the hurricane season.


Well the hurricane season is upon us. It's unusual to get hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico much before the end of August, but of course we can't be confident of that. So the system that will go in place at the end of the month is designed to be essentially hurricane proof. It will be a sealed production system and it's involving bringing equipment from both the UK and from Mexico to put this in place. Again it's a first; never been done before.


But you've been accused of being over-optimistic - and you have been over-optimistic before about this - and you've had bad news and bad news and bad news, and that has contributed to your problems in the States and the media.


I think there's no doubt that it has been difficult to predict because all of this is a first. Every piece of this implementation is the first time it's been done in 5,000 feet of water, a mile beneath the sea surface. And we have had issues as a consequence of that.


You've had a series of disasters as a company. There was the Alaskan one; there was Texas City where so many people died. Is there something wrong with BP?


Certainly half a decade ago, we had a series of incidents. Since I have been in this role, I've made safe, reliable operations absolute priority.


Unsuccessfully it might be said.


Well you would have to say that when you focus so hard on it and something like this happens, it does cause you to wonder what else could have been done.


Do you think that the company that you inherited, you took over had sufficient engineering and technical skills to do the jobs you've been doing?


We have added significantly to the engineering and technical capability of BP over the last four or five years - very, very significantly. We've recruited thousands of engineers and technicians into the BP ranks, significantly bolstered the systems and processes that we use …




… and clearly what we're looking at here is evidence that that's not …


(over) Not enough yet.


… not sufficient.


I mean I just wonder whether you know in the world's rush for oil people are pushing too hard, too deep to get to those reserves …


Well I …


That you're beyond the technical capacity of what can be safely done?


I think it's self-evident when something like this happens, that's of course a very valid concern. It's also worth just highlighting the industry has been exploring in the deep water for over twenty years and it has not had to contend with an incident of this sort before. It is one of those very low probability occurrences. Now it's clearly unacceptable that it's occurred, so what has to happen on the part of the industry - and certainly BP - is to move safety standards to a completely different level.


(over) Yes. The health and safety people in the States …


This was a one in … This was a one in perhaps a hundred thousand to one in a million occurrence if you do the analysis. In this accident, based on what we understand so far, seven layers of protection were breached. Most importantly the failsafe mechanism - the so-called blow-out preventer, which is the ultimate safety mechanism of any drilling operation - failed to operate as it should have done. What we need to do is understand that and design and engineer a greater level …


(over) A new system of some kind.


… a new level of redundancy.


760 something complaints, violations were recorded against BP by the health and safety people in the States. That's a heck of a lot.


It is and it relates to the period of 2005/2006 and in particular the issues …


(over) A specific problem back then?


It was the issues around Texas City and one of our other refineries in the United States.


What happens if, as a lot of American politicians are talking about, the US government takes control of BP or at least BP's American operations? Is that plausible? Is that possible?


I think you know what we're doing is focusing on the response. We're absolutely focused on the response. I think it's for the US authorities to determine what they wish to do. All I can say is that we're working hand in hand with the US authorities. I am talking all the time with Secretaries Chu, Salazar, Thad Allen, the incident commander to deal with the response.


Do you feel you're being unfairly treated by the American political system and the media given where we are in the electoral cycle?


I think it's understandable when something of this scale occurs with this sort of environmental impact - the impact it's had on the Gulf Coast - that people are angry and frustrated and emotional. It's a perfectly reasonable thing. And you know I'm angry and frustrated and you know …


I mean no British company has been on the receiving end of American presidential anger like this I think ever before. That and the possibility of some political action and criminal action against the company has led people to start to ask whether BP itself is going to survive this.


BP's a very strong company. Its operations today are running extremely well. It's generating a lot of cash flow. It has a very strong balance sheet. Our reputation has been based on thousands of people over a long period of time in BP doing the right thing, and we are doing everything we can to do the right thing. We are going to stop the leak. We're going to clean up the oil. We're going to remediate any environmental damage and we are going to return the Gulf Coast to the position it was in prior to this event. That's an absolute commitment, and we will be there long after the media has gone making good on our promises.


And once you've done all of that, will you be paying the dividend to your investors?


We're going to take care of all of our stakeholders.


(over) Yeah, so there will be a dividend.


We have to take care of our Gulf Coast stakeholders. We have to take care of our investors. We have to take care of our employees, our retirees. We're going to take care of all of our stakeholders.


The dividend is due in July, I think - the end of the July. Is it going to be paid?


That will be a decision for the board at the end of July when they will take all of the circumstances and issues into account in making that decision.


I mean quite clearly President Obama wants you not to pay that divided, or at least only to pay it if you've upped what you're offering to shrimp farmers and people around the coasts.


Well you know what we have done so far is to pay every claim that's been presented to us, and we will continue to do that. You know the most important thing in terms of claims today is to ensure that people who can't fish today have the wherewithal to feed their families. And we've taken a claims process that has taken 45 days traditionally in the United States and shortened it to 48 hours. It takes 12 seconds when you phone the BP claims line to be put into the process, be given a number. If you turn up at the claims office, within 48 hours you're given a cheque. You take it to a bank and you cash the cheque. We are going to continue to do that.


It's been already an expensive process, to say the least, for BP. People are talking about $20 billion by the time this is all over - an almost unimaginable amount of money. If it was that kind of money and your commitment is open-ended in that sense, then we really are talking about the future of BP, aren't we?


As I've said, BP is running very well today; it's generating a lot of cash. It'll generate 30 to 35 billion dollars of free cash flow this year. We have a very strong balance sheet, very low level of debt, low gearing, a strong set of assets. We have the financial strength to see through this and we have the determination to do the right thing, to rebuild our reputation.


I don't want to you know further sort of dump on a company in such trouble, but you've lost a third of the value of your balance sheet already and this could be a commitment that goes on for, I don't know, years and years and years in the future.


We've lost a third of the value of our market capitalisation. That is a very different thing from the value of our balance sheet.


Alright, yeah.


And as I said …


(over) And a lot of investors, even more important of course.


The company is financially very strong. It has the wherewithal to weather this storm and to come back strongly.


And so when you read in the papers today that you know you could be a takeover target, other companies are circling you and all the rest of it - I know that you have more important things on your immediate agenda, but how do you respond to that?


I'm focused on the response. The most important thing in all of this is to stop the oil coming out of the well, eliminate the leak, control the oil on the surface, defend the shoreline, to absolutely minimise the environmental impact to the maximum extent possible. Taking care of that will take care of the future.


We talk about companies in the abstract, but of course they are sort of families as well. What has this been doing to BP as a family, as a group of people - human level?


I think everyone in BP is devastated and heartbroken by this. I am and everyone in BP is. And everyone in BP is determined to do the right thing to make this right, and that is stop the spill, clean it up, remediate the environmental damage and make good the livelihoods of the people of the Gulf Coast. We are part of that community. We have thousands of employees who live on the Gulf Coast. We have even more retirees who retire to the Gulf Coast. We will be in the Gulf Coast, making the Gulf Coast good and right, long after the media has departed. That is an absolute commitment.


And can you give an absolute commitment that you will be there overseeing all of that?


I have absolute intention of seeing this through to the end.


Some of the American initiatives on this are about criminal prosecution as well as civil prosecution. Is it possible that BP staff, members, maybe senior members, maybe even yourself will end up in court and possibly even in jail?


I think all of that's for the future really, Andrew. I'm not … You know we'll see what happens in the future. As I said, for the moment myself and my team are focused on the response.


But you must be braced for that?


I'm focused on the response.


When you look back so far, I mean I think you'd concede the PR hasn't been handled perfectly. You've made comments which have caused outrage in the States about wanting your life back and all of that kind of thing. Is that because you are basically an engineer and an oil man and you find yourself pitched into what has been a highly political media fire fight?


I'm certainly not a politician, and what I've learnt out of this is that comments that were well intentioned, taken out of context, come straight back at you. I've had a big learning over the course of the last three or four weeks. I'm certain it'll help me in the future. I've apologised for things which I've said that clearly weren't intentioned, and that's all I can say really.


And do you feel you've got the backing of your board and your chairman?


I've had very strong support from my chairman and from the board. A number of the board members have visited the operation several times in the course of the last three or four weeks. The chairman has been out for two extended visits to oversee the operation, to see what's going on, and they've been extremely supportive.


Has President Obama actually spoken to you himself?


I've spoken with a very large number of his immediate er … er


But not the main man?


I haven't spoken to the President. I don't feel I need to speak to the President. I've spoken to his key lieutenants who are overseeing this operation along with BP. And I would stress that the working relationship …


(over) Would you like … I mean would you like face to face to talk to …


There is no need for that, I don't believe. The working relationship between BP and the federal agencies involved in this has been exemplary, I believe. We've worked hand in hand. There is a brains trust working on this in Houston. The great scientists and technologists from the US, from BP and from the oil and gas industry are working on the sub-sea operation. As people have seen, this is a very complex, deeply technological challenge that we're facing, and it's been fantastic to see the cooperation that has occurred.


Alright. Tony Hayward, you are in the middle of the vortex. Thank you very much indeed for taking the time to come and talk to us this morning.


Thank you very much, Andrew.


Hmmmm...some decent questions and ones I would have liked seen "fleshed out" a bit more like...


I mean I just wonder whether you know in the world's rush for oil people are pushing too hard, too deep to get to those reserves …

Andrew almost went to that question, almost...you know...

Why are we rushing and pushing the envelope of what we as humans can technically do to get at those risky oil reserves?

That is the question I want Tony Hayward, any other oil executive or any government official to answer in a public interview.

"Why are we rushing and pushing the envelope of what we as humans can technically do to get at those risky oil reserves?"

Oh, I think they've answered it often enough.

"Because we're damned if we do, damned if we don't."

Why are we rushing and pushing the envelope of what we as humans can technically do to get at those risky oil reserves?

That is the question I want Tony Hayward, any other oil executive or any government official to answer in a public interview.

years ago... somewhere in the 90's... there was a sort of documentary on types of vehicles being manufactured... if my memory serves me... focusing on U.S. production and jumping around the big 3 at the time... ford, chrysler, gm...

i forget which company.. but i do remember clearly... they had a spot with one of the design engineers... regarding the ever larger sizes of vehicles currently in production...

and he commented... this is almost verbatim... "[we're building the vehicles the public wants to buy... if we don't build them... the public will go across the street to buy]"

the "we" in the question above... is exactly that... why are we... rushing and pushing the envelope of what we as humans can... [fill in anything]...

bp... auto mfgrs.. any company... doesn't exist in a vacuum... where there's demand... there will be supply...

if every vehicle purchased in the next 12 months were 4cyl or hybrid... what would happen to the v6 v8...?

if every house purchased in the next 12 months were 2000' sq ft or less... what would be the market for 8000 sq ft houses...

Tony Hayward, any other oil executive or any government official... are not the only ones needing to answer this question...

I agree to some degree, but I need all the information to make informed decisions. I do not feel that I have that. Oil executives and heads of state probably have more access to information to make more informed decisions than the public.

If they are aware of the limits of petroleum production in the present or near future, but they go on acting like we have have no limits, then how is the public made to change their behavior en masse?

I will continue my individual lifestyle modifications to prepare for a less petroleum-dependent future, but unless many, many people do similar things, it really decreases the chances of all of us making it through the bottleneck of energy transition.

So yes, we are all to blame to some extent, but some have more responsibility to the survival of large numbers of people than others.

If they are aware of the limits of petroleum production in the present or near future, but they go on acting like we have have no limits, then how is the public made to change their behavior en masse?

spot on. so who goes first?

Don't know about you, Squidd, but economics are forcing me to change, even when it hurts. We have 10 people in a 4 BR house (4 children under 12, 2 octagenarians, 2 'elderly' and 2 30s). We'd love to have a 4,000 sq ft house, but this one at 2,800 has to do. And, as soon as people leave, we do as well!

We have 22 seer hvac (replacing 8 seer that was here on purchase), upgraded insulation, upgraded Energy Star appliances and water heater. Still, not enough, IMO. Unfortunately, in suburbia, we cannot erect a sufficiently tall wind turbine. Next project is passive solar hot water; then solar electric panels. I don't want to have the next people living here using any more energy that absolutely necessary!

Right now we are designing a fully passive solar home for when we do move out. And we're looking for a nice 6 to 10 acre site, with a south facing hill.

Who's next?


Just a side note: SEER 10 = 10 BTUs/WattHour. Aargh, these inscrutable mixtures of units in the USA. Need a calculator and a units chart to understand the actual thermodynamic efficiency...

You would manifest jeavons paradox as China and India would like consume the newly available oil.

you would have to bring up pesky little details like that... wouldn't you...


It's not really a pesky detail.

Yes, if you could get off of a lot of your oil use, someone else would buy it, but they'd also be PAYING for it. You'd be working yourself into less dependency on a volatile, energy-price game, and they wouldn't. You'd gain a competitive advantage, and one which those other oil buyers would start to know is an option for them, too.

Floridian's comment seems to say 'Shrug, it doesn't matter if you reduce your oil dependency or not'. If you're just counting gallons, maybe the differences will seem academic, but if you're looking at the systems you put in place to help keep your life running along, it makes a steady daily shift away from the old assumptions about energy availability, and the 'exponential function' will be tossing you nickels that will add up.

Exactly. In this game of musical chairs you don't want to be the "winner" because that chair goes away, too.

Better to move on to the next thing before it becomes necessary to move.

"Paying" for oil is a disadvantage!
Gimme a break, if you can afford to pay for it, that is the advantage.
You wanna use mules on your farm while Joe next door pays for oil and produces fifty times more than you and prices you out of business. You think the mule user has the advantage!
Joe will thank you very much for the oil you don't use and probably squash you at a later date.
That's reality, not words of we can, we should etc...the reality is human nature, that is what Floridian understands and you don't.

The western world achieved its advantage by "paying" for oil. There is no advantage on reducing oil use which reduces economic output. Human nature is hedging and hoarding. Hedging by building non oil infrastructure while continuing to burn all oil that is available and hoarding anything you don't need, so it can't be used by others because you will need it at a later date.

Anyone who thinks they are saving oil by walking, riding a bike of driving an electric vehicle is just fooling themselves. Every single bit of oil you don't use just makes that bit of oil available to someone else. We are burning at peak, nothing economically usable will remain.

Unless we accept that nothing, nothing short of complete commitment to the restoration of of planet will work, we may as well go with the flow.

No Bandits;
Paying for less oil than you used to is an advantage, and having alternates to Fuel Guzzling tools is an advantage, even if it initially just means finding some Fuel Sipping tools.

When you're walking, biking or using a more efficient vehicle, etc, YOU are using less oil, and therefore paying out less. You either have more money available, or at least less debt. Where you come up with a mule is anyone's guess, but when diesel is getting spotty deliveries again, your neighbor might want to rent the critter from you, for what it's worth. It's not about trying to keep all the oil from being burned. It's about changing your lifestyle, and protecting your cash as much as possible. YOU conflate this into using systems that don't work.. the thread was about getting more efficient cars, and the rest has been about making better choices and just not WASTING the fuel you do buy.. and figuring out when you don't NEED to be using it at all. I don't think your competitors are going to 'squash' you because you use your bike to get your groceries now or something.

'Nothing short of complete commitment to the restoration of the planet..' That's great, I agree.. and that doesn't include finding ways to stop burning as much fuel? Are you insisting that we aren't doing anything unless we 'man up' and all go Cold Turkey tomorrow morning? What is your point? I hope it's one you plan to live up to.

It's a journey of a lot more than a thousand miles. You can't do it in one leap, even if YOU think that is the only way that proves your commitment. In fact, a real commitment means getting into the messy business of making various small choices TODAY and again LATER TODAY that starts putting you on the right track, and then making the steady headway in that direction.


'Murray, I don't have time to unravel your logic!' Oscar Madison

you would have to bring up pesky little details like that... wouldn't you...


it was satire. there is no easy way out. as soon as one discussion ends... there's many more discussions that need be started...

unwinding 150-200 of industrialization - year over year growth - is not going to be unwound any time soon -

You would manifest jeavons paradox

Of course, Jeavon's paradox would apply if there is some 'newly available oil.' That would be for your typical demand driven situation. What we have coming is supply driven... there will be no newly available oil (by my definition, which would be oil above the peak liquids of 2008, or peak crude level of 2005).

Consequently, Chindia may well drink all the available oil in 2013; there just will be no one around to purchase thier goods.

I wonder how the Paks, the Indians and so forth will handle the lay offs as US companies close up their outsourced centers.

Hmm... maybe they won't be buying up all the oil after all?

Best wishes with solving Jeavon's paradox; if it was a dilemna you would go between the horns!


Hi squidd.

and he commented... this is almost verbatim... "[we're building the vehicles the public wants to buy... if we don't build them... the public will go across the street to buy]"

The big three are, of course, the people who used their influence to stop raising CAFE standards and to use the loophole of selling commercial vehicles (which had different fuel economy and emissions laws) as family cars. If they had obeyed the intent of the law rather than the letter (and perhaps had the letter changed to level the playing field) the North American vehicle fleet would be more efficient.

You can't suck and blow. If you created the conditions under which you operate, you can't blame somebody else for it. The most common excuse I hear for having a big car is the "arm's race" justification- that someone bigger will smash into them. This is the result of our auto industry's greed and lack of foresight. If trucks as family cars were a rarity, this rationalization would be far less effective (if we all drove small cars, we would be equally safe.)

I just purchased a 2007 Yaris; my venerable 1.3L 2001 Swift's transmission blew at 250,000k (most of those put on by the first owner.) About 10% less efficient than the Swift, even though six years newer and the most fuel-efficient 2007 car in the same sub-compact class (I would have to buy a hybrid to get better mileage than the old Swift.) And I have noticed while driving it that the manual transmission has an uncomfortably short first gear- a drive ratio more suitable for a 1L engine than the 1.5L engine in the car. So I did some research, and as I suspected, a one litre engine is available in other markets. It is the one I would have preferred...not sold here, though.

So I may be the only Yaris owner in North America who thinks his car is overpowered and too big (my driveway is an alleyway about 80" wide, a tight fit even for a Yaris.)


The most common excuse I hear for having a big car is the "arm's race" justification- that someone bigger will smash into them. This is the result of our auto industry's greed and lack of foresight. If trucks as family cars were a rarity, this rationalization would be far less effective (if we all drove small cars, we would be equally safe.)

This is the result of our auto industry's greed and lack of foresight.

i disagree... bear with my left-brain pragmatist approach... people buy cars... regardless of the characteristics of the mfgrs....

off topic... people also say they ONLY have a cell phone for being stranded somewhere remote... but there they are... on their cell phones 17-1/2 hours a day...

but... you have a point... the relentless advertising... the mine's bigger than yours... i can out-crash you... see the imposing crash bars on some of these things... the general deterioration in driving habits... etc., etc.,

i just want to see more people stop complaining that it's some big bad ceo or politician AND there's nothing that can be done about a particular problem... mines's a simplistic and naieve response to be sure (but i'm always right - as usual :))

i'd cycle the 3.8 mi. to work each day... but 1) i'm lazy, 2) rain storms are frequent in so fla, and 3) this is REAL... i am afraid of the drivers... i'm not anxious to endup partially paralyzed just to be a little energy efficient...

150-200 years ago when this age of mechanization began... we saw no limits... wood... coal... oil... gas... and we saw no effects on their use in production, use or disposal...

since 1970... that's changing rapidly... and how... can we (ME TOO) "turn off" "turn back" decades of lifestyle based on "creature comforts" based on fossil fuels... so the young are our (their) saviour...

i grew up 60mi from lancaster, pa... amish country... today.. some still live with no electricity... think about that... no electricity for heat... food... travel... (but they also are sitting on tons of land that has mademany families multi-millionaires based on its increased value - for more development no less - the "burbs" now almost extend from phila-lancaster - uninterrupted)...

can we turn back the calendar 200 years and ask 3.5 billion people to find another planet...

methinks the real solution(s) are going to involve a tad more effort...

I think many of our problems come from the population overshoot. Too many people, too close together, brains hardwired to accomodate about 150 to 250 names and faces and living in cites numbering in the thousands. This creates a 'rude' mentality, incivility such as we see in politics today (time was, politicians dealt with folks in smaller numbers and had to be polite. Today they can play to their 'base' and be rude as hell.), road rage, and all the rest.

I am very much afraid that the coming collapse will actually ask more like 5.5 Billion folks to leave the planet.

You're fired!

Best wishes for a stair step decline.


Google "Who Killed The Electric Car"

I, personally wanted to buy an electric car back then, but I could not...

"Andrew almost went to that question, almost...you know...'Why are we rushing and pushing the envelope of what we as humans can technically do to get at those risky oil reserves?'"

Perhaps our dear Andrew could have got the ball rolling by addressing it for himself: "We push the envelope, in part, so that [self-]'important' people like me, and even more, the [self-]'important' people I make a living interviewing, can fly here, fly there, fly everywhere at whim in the presumed name of their 'important' business, which is so 'important' that not even one iota could conceivably ever be carried using, say, that long-known ancient invention, the telephone." But that would not have been the desired glib easy answer ascribing 100% of the responsibility to the rather hapless Mr. Hayward and absolutely 0% to anyone else, as would be desired in an organization such as like the BBC, filled with simplistic-minded cultural liberals steeped in non-responsibility. Not that Mr. Hayward is blameless, mind you, but just that putting his head on a pike (as it were) and stopping there might very well satisfy a mindless public bloodlust without actually changing much of anything.

You ask:

Why are we rushing and pushing the envelope of what we as humans can technically do to get at those risky oil reserves?

To delay the coming plunge in world oil production of course.

I happen to think that delaying that plunge is a good idea. We'll have more technology and the high prices on the bumpy plateau have begun to cause some readjustments of lifestyles and purchasing choices. I'd prefer a slow rise in oil prices that gives the public and businesses a gradually strengthening nudge toward needed changes.


I don't want to you know further sort of dump on a company in such trouble, but you've lost a third of the value of your balance sheet .......


We've lost a third of the value of our market capitalisation. That is a very different thing from the value of our balance sheet. "


Because of your company's negligence, oil companies producing in Deep Water will have to implement expensive safety procedures, some of which may not add a lot to the safety factor but will boost the cost each well, thus reducing profit margins. Also, the insurance costs for everyone involved may go up by a factor of 5 or 10, also adding greatly to the cost of DW oil production. bottom line is this reduces the profitability of DW oil and thus REDUCES THE VAULE OF BP ASSETS. Assets are a part of the balance sheet.

Think before you speak Tony!

And one other thing Tony.

What about that $4300 "per barrel spilled" penalty that the EPA will impose on BP?

At an average leakage rate of 10,000 barrels per day (if the current scheme captures half the oil), that amount to $7 billion for five months. Then add in the cost of cleanup, lawsuits and remediation to which BP may pay another $10 or $20 billion. The amount will be far greater than the dividends paid last year and is more than half the profit. Not likely to see stock price recovery soon. Too bad for the pensioners (old folks, unions, non profit orgs.) that rely on BP for investment income.

Why the sympathy for shareholders? Mutual funds and institutional investors have removed responsibility from the individual, but only because we the sheeple agree to play this game.

""The vegetation itself generally recovers in a year, although sometimes it may take three or four," said Irving A. Mendelssohn, a biologist at Louisiana State University. Only if oil sinks in deep, or if repeated oilings kill off new shoots, does the marsh die, he added."

As a student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton back in the middle 1970s, one of my summer jobs was working for the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture, at the Plant Industry Lab. We had a series of test plots about 30 km northeast of Edmonton that had been saturated with different amounts of crude oil to simulate a spill from a pumpjack. One job I had was to occasionally drive out and count how many plants had self-seeded into the plots from the surrounding vegetation. The plots with oil down to 15 cm or more were easy to do; even after years the number of plants was zero. This was in sandy black chernozemic soil, ie, good loam.

"Then we have Calmar where an entire subdivision was built over an old, leaking gas well that had been forgotten. An investigation by Journal reporter Darcy Henton discovered after the well was closed in the 1960s all reference to it was simply removed from the land title."

When I was living in Edmonton, every so often someone's backyard would cave in because of a forgotten and never recorded coal mine. During the 1800s, when Edmonton was a small town, there were numerous coal mines in the surrounding country to supply the city. The advent of natural gas destroyed the industry, and operators sealed the shafts and walked away. The city eventually grew out over the unknown mines and occasionally is reminded of them when some stope collapses.

We have (not ours but in the area) an area of low hills that was proposed for a luxury housing development. But there had been coal mining a hundred years back, and the maps are incomplete, so the idea had to be abandoned. At least in this case noone will be swalled by a sinkhole.

I think the temperature and the type of oil both make a difference.

In colder climates, the hydrocarbons tend to stick around longer, at least in part because of less evaporation.

In terms of types of oil, I have heard that heavier, sourer crude will also tend to be a problem longer.

But it may very well be that this biologist is over-optimistic.

I'm not sure if this has been posted yet. Mother Earth seems to be taunting us. With her latest Eyjafjallajokull eruption, she blows a huge smoke ring:

That is quite freaky. If I see a "plume" ring bellow up from the DW effluent, I will know something is definitely amiss in the world.

Nah, she's just taking a smoke break. Erupting is hard work.

Kinda like good sex.

rumble!!! kaboom!! gush! ahhhhhhhh.......

Here's to hoping that taunting doesn't awaken Katla.


Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano is nothing to ‘Angry Sister’ Katla – and here’s what’s happening now.

While Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland was erupting they were watching Katla, the nearby volcano very closely. You know why? Because according to volcanologists, every time Eyjafjallajökul erupts, sister volcano Katla erupts too. And when it erupts, it could be worse than the flight interruption Europe had.

Glad to see the Peak Oil movement get some coverage in my favorite newspaper, the NY Times, even it it is only about doomers.

Typical MSM take, offering up 'balanced' counterpoint (Yegin, et al).

I interpret the reporter's use of parentheses as code for "extremest nut-case thinking": “collapsitarians” - “population die-off”, etc.

I object to the inference of this statement: "These days the doomers...have a new focus: peak oil." It presupposes that those concerned about energy constraints were and are doomers by nature. Quite an assumption.

Wow, that article was a pretty slanted piece of poo.

With most of its points being made by innuendo rather than facts.

Yergin = Pulitzer Prize
Peak oil = survivalists

And why start with "As oil continued to pour into the Gulf of Mexico", if we are so wrong?

I suspect the competence and knowledge of the people who run the oildrum got to much play over the recent crisis. So it was time to paint them as a bunch of loons, less anyone start looking at the reason we were drilling in such deep water.

Of course the TYPICAL reader of the NYT will interpret the article as correctly dismissing the positions of peak oilers;but we have to keep in mind that while the NYt is quite progressive and the accepted opinion leader on the social front, it is still the a captive slave of the bau advertisers and the good old boy network which runs Wall Street.

So we MUST expect that the paper to DO what it can to soothe the fears and anxieties of the public and keep the wheels of bau well greased and turning smoothly and quietly.

In the old USSR,dissidents had to read the govt press to find any such information as was available,and do thier own thinking and draw thier own conclusions.

If you read the article in question with the right questions in mind, as some people will, it is possible to seperate the editorializing from the facts to some considerable extent and learn something useful.

Given the fact that the editors and staff writers need to keep thier jobs, it seems reasonable to conclude that they are dropping some broad hints that the reader needs to look further into the situation,and do his own thinking and a little more research.At the very lest the appearance of the article proves that the bau crowd is now beginning to worry that the ordinary people are beginning to see the situation in a true light,and that it is necessary to muddy the waters;up until recently, the bau mainstream media strategy was to pretend that the peak oil movement didn't exist.

This is progress of a sort. Every article denying it's credibility brings it to the attention of more people capable of doing SOME thinking if for no other reason than planning thier investment and business moves.

I have been able to personally been able to convert a couple of rather rabidly conservative acquaintances who are capable businessmen and investors into peak oilers by getting them to examine such materials as the energy export data browser site often mentioned here, or the JOE 2008 and JOE2010 papers put out by the Pentagon.

If every reader of this site were to email,all his or her acquaintances a link to the energy export data browser, we might harvest a million or more new peak oilers among the recepients almost overnight.You don't need to understand geology or biology to understand the peak oil argument if you understand ordinarfy business and take a good look at that site.

Understanding the reserve replacement problem is not a political position anyway, it is simply a matter of being aware of the world as it is rather than as one would like it to be.

On the other hand, maybe being a realist is a political stance nowadays.

. [misunderstood linkage up top]

Suggests that EVERY parking lot might be a solar voltaic spot for generation.

WE have a lot of parking lots... and yes, snow loads will affect the situation. But I quit worrying about Grand Solutions long ago. It will be several concepts, each insufficient on its own, working in tandem, which will prevail.

"It will be several concepts, each insufficient on its own, working in tandem, which will prevail."

'Round these parts they call it the 'silver bb' approach :-p. But yeah it makes perfect sense especially with how empty they will become in the next few decades. A few years ago someone put up some pictures of urban decay in Gary, Indiana a whole mile that was totally unoccupied.

What is more important...protecting people from swimming at beaches where there is oil in the water and oil globs on the beach, protecting people from eating contaminated seafood, or protecting tourism profits?


Officials in both states are girding for a two-pronged mission, working to protect the shoreline while assuring tourists, and especially fishermen, that the state's 825-mile coastline remains safe.

Florida wildlife officials also continued to allow fishing in state waters, up to nine miles off the shore even though oil sheens have been spotted as close as three miles offshore.

In Florida, Escambia County Emergency Management spokeswoman Sonya Daniel could not explain why county health department officials deemed the water safe along the 20-mile stretch of beach in Florida just across the border from Alabama.

Back in Louisiana on May 23rd (From Mother Jones Reporters on Grand Isle):

The next day, cops drive up and down Grand Isle beach explicitly telling tourists it is still open, just stay out of the water. There are pools of oil on the beach; dolphins crest just offshore. A fifty-something couple, Southern Louisianians, tell me this kind of thing happened all the time when they were kids; they swam in rubber suits when it got bad, and it was no big deal. They just hope this doesn't mean we'll stop drilling.

And there are plenty of folks gnashing their teeth about lifting the deep water drilling moratorium immediately so that the money can keep flowing in...even as the oil from BP DWH keeps flowing in...people who are unwilling to suffer any hardship for 6 months so that government and industry can analyze what happened and devise better policies and procedures to lessen the likelihood of this magnitude of incident from happening again.

Plenty of Steel and Auto industry workers lost their jobs to Globalization/outsourcing for good...not just for a 6-month moratorium...folks who are laid off from the DW oil industry need to be glad that we desperately need the oil and that their livelihoods will be only interrupted for 6 months...their jobs are not permanently expendable, like millions of jobs sacrificed on the altar of 'the China price' and the almighty profit margin.

Money Talks and BS walks.

This story about potential safety issue with the Atlantis platform was aired on CNN yesterday...


An internal BP email that came out in the course of Abbott's dispute refers to the potential for "catastrophic operator errors" on the rig due to these lapses. The suit argues that without these documents, the rig operators "are flying blind, and have no way to assure the safety of offshore drilling operations." Food & Water Watch began pushing for lawmakers to intervene on the rig back in August 2009.

It is useful to go back in time a little to April 23 2010 and read the fairly blithe writeup about DWH from Bloomberg Business Week:


“It’s probably nobody’s fault, but in the perception of the media, BP is going to be under pressure,” said Christine Tiscareno, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s in London. “Even though operationally and ethically the company has turned around, this may pull it back.”

NO ONES fault...what, is Governor Perry [TX] (said the DWH disaster was an 'act of God') on the BP board?

'Act of God' is a cop-out...,invoking the 'Oh well, it was an Act of God' 'explanation' is not a valid root cause analysis and policy/process improvement method...and does not lead to ppreemptive assessing and fixing other potential problems on other platforms...

Atlantis oil production dropped by over 63,000 barrels per day from February to March. They peaked in October of 2009.

Lease #s G15606 and G15607 (Atlantis) production in thousands of barrels per day.

Mar. 08	  6,919
Apr.	 11,345
May	 31,394
June	 88,275
July	 92,256
Aug.	 75,073
Sep.	 19,660
Oct.	 54,031
Nov.	 80,360
Dec.	 59,537
Jan. 09	 68,273
Feb.	 73,139
Mar.	 69,596
Apr.	 54,943
May	112,583
June	111,834
July	121,755
Aug.	127,492
Sep.	130,220
Oct.	132,727
Nov.	125,568
Dec.	 99,554
Jan. 10	130,161
Feb.	122,212
Mar.	 59,135

I think perhaps that they are probably down to fix some of the many problems they have but I couldn't find much on the net. March is the last full month before the disaster. Anyway there has been some very heavy criticism concerning problems on the Atlantis platform. I expect BP will try to fix most of the safety problems with Atlantis. An accident there would really put them in a bigger mess than they are in right now, if that is possible.

Ron P.

A person wonders whether March number are distorted by some down time for maintenance or something similar.

What the Spill Will Kill

It was in mid-May that independent scientists—not any of the officials or researchers working for any of the government agencies on scene at the Deepwater Horizon disaster, let alone BP—first detected the vast underwater plumes of crude oil spreading like Medusa’s locks from the out-of-control gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. BP immediately dismissed the reports, and in late May CEO Tony Hayward flatly declared “there aren’t any plumes,” stopping just short of accusing the scientists of misconduct. Federal officials called the scientists’ claim “misleading, premature and, in some cases, inaccurate.” Moreover, continued a statement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, any oxygen depletion in the surrounding waters due to plumes is not “a source of concern at this time,” and critics blaming dispersants for the plumes had “no information” to stand on. NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco, a respected oceanographer when President Obama tapped her to lead the agency, insists there are no plumes, only “anomalies”—though last week she acknowledged the possibility of oil beneath the surface.

Now it is increasingly clear that the initial reports of undersea oil were right, that life-giving oxygen in the water column is indeed being depleted, and that unless the laws of chemistry have been repealed, dispersants are likely worsening the tentacles of undersea crude. What might have been just another oil spill—albeit a bad one—has been transformed into something unprecedented. Even if the containment dome lowered into place late last week continues to siphon off some of the leaking crude, the Deepwater Horizon disaster will enter the record books not for how much but for where: an enormous release of crude oil not only onto vulnerable shorelines and fragile marshes but into the largely unexplored depths of the sea. The consequences for the delicate balance of existence in the vulnerable ecosystems of the gulf, and for the vast cycles of nature that sustain life there and beyond, are as incalculable as they are potentially devastating.

...insists there are no plumes, only “anomalies”...

This sycophancy of vested interests covering their asses has been a signature throughout this event.

'.. and with friends like these, who needs Anemones?' Nyuk, nyuk!

Asked this on another TOD thread, but it is overwhelmed with the spill details, so I will ask it here. If a similar spill occured in the ultra deep water, 10,000 feet or more, How much greater would be the difficulty of installing a cap be?

I have no techinal knowedge, but I am assuming it would be substantiallly more difficult. I was hoping someone like Rockman could offer some info. Thanks, Joe B.

By the way, I heard a energy specialist on thursday or friday, who was advising people to buy XOM and Short CVX. His reason was that CVX was leveraged to deep and ultra deep water and Xom was not. Interesting!

It would be somewhat more difficult but not twice as difficult. The key items are the drilling rigs, both for the relief wells and for the oil containment and the ROVs.

The drilling rigs are all rated to 10,000 feet and most, if not all, of the ROVs are also good to 10,000 feet.

Due to the water depth the drilling rigs would take twice as long to set their riser, twice as long to run drill pipe from the surface to the seabed. Everything that is lowered down or raised up will take twice long as in 5,000 feet. There will probably be some decrease in equipment reliability, maybe little higher percentage of ROV faults, but overall the actual work on the bottom would be about the same.

I can't speak to how the increased depth would affect the distribution of oil and gas in the water column.

On the positive side the increased water pressure would be acting against the flow out of the BOP and so it would be somewhat slower.

The N Y Times article listed above
Imagining Life Without Oil, and Being Ready

was headlined yesterday:
A Movement Prepares: Goodbye Limitless Oil, Hello Primitive Dystopia

same text.

Yes, most interesting that that article has come along.

Some TODers were predicting last year that PO would make headlines, achieve reknown this year. And it looks like they were right! Next year, next month, maybe the "noise" from Mother Nature will be even louder. It truly is a sort of a DRUMBEAT of a noise.....getting louder and louder. Of course gazillions of people wanted to ignore it but it gets louder and louder and they can`t.

BTW, NIkkei down almost 300 points as the mkt opened here in Tokyo----another down week for the makts I assume. That is another "noise" from Mother Nature and people are starting to "get" it.

The Oil Drum "Drumbeat" is therefore very aptly named!!

Finally hit the mother load. Many of us have been finding good reference material in the form of reports in PDF format on the MMS website. But finding them can be incredibly difficult using the search function. Turns out there is an Offshore Energy & Minerals Management section on the MMS website. In this section I found a page MMS calls Technology Assessment & Research (TA&R) Project by Category.

TA&R Projects by Category

Here are the general headings (in bold type) and categories you will find there:

Operational Safety and Engineering Research (OSER)

Air Quality

Arctic Research





Human Factors



Moorings and Anchors




Production Measurement

Seismic Research


Oil Spill Response (OSRR)

Arctic Spill Response

Behavior of Oil

Chemical Treating Agents

In Situ of Burning of Oil

Mechanical Containment


Remote Sensing


Renewable Energy & Alternative Use

Hurricane Andrew

Hurricane Ivan

Hurricanes Katrina/Rita

Hurricane Lili

International Activities

I stumbled across it while looking for information on the human factor in accidents. There I found a great study:

Management of Human Error in Operations of Marine Systems (1993)

If we are to understand what happened on the Deepwater Horizon and what we must do differently in the future, this study and others like it may be crucial. Some excerpts from the intro to the study:

"Less than 20% of the causes of severe accidents involving marine structures can be attributed to the environment. The rest of the causes are initiating events such as groundings, fire, explosions, and collisions. In almost all of these cases, the initiating event can be traced to a catastrophic compounding of human and organizational errors."

"Human errors originate from factors such as inattention or carelessness, inadequate training and testing (knowledge), wishful thinking, negligence, forgetfulness, and physical limitations (e.g. fatigue, seasickness)."

"Failures can also occur as the result of errors or bad decisions, most of which can be traced back to organizational malfunctions. For example, the goals set by the organization may lead rational individuals to make decisions and perform actions in a manner that corporate management would not approve if they were aware of their implications for reliability. Similarly, corporate management, under pressure to reduce costs and maintain schedules, may not provide the necessary resources to allow safe operations."

To date, the evidence indicates human error may have been the significant cause of the blowout. I want to stress the word "may". It will be months before we know every detail and get the full story. Until then, to say "someone screwed up" while very possible, is not fair to those on the rig or directly involved with decisions made on the rig. With that caveat in mind, the rather lengthy article on human error (362 pages) is worth reading.

PS. Many of the PDF files seem to "hang" when you access them, there is no indication they are loading, Be patient, it may take a minute or so.

The errors that likely led to this disaster are plain to see, although the details remain murky.

1. After Ixtoc, in a rational world, steps would have been taken to address what happened there: The BOP failed to do its job under water, just like with DWH. What is the back up plan when that happens?

No one ever bothered to come up with one in the decades since Ixtoc. Not big oil, not big government. Both should have, and would have, in a rational world given the number of rigs in the Gulf and how huge that spill was.

Why didn't they? Profits and campaign contributions/lobbyists most likely. Greed and corruption. Of course, BP acts like it has never heard of Ixtoc. So does the Govt. Funny that they are using the same playbook the Mexican govt. used 30 years ago. No new procedures at all that I can see. Certainly nothing to deal with a failed BOP gushing oil under water.

2. Decisions on the DWH: We don't know all of the facts, so we can only speculate right now. But from what we do know, it sounds like the decisions regarding: choice of casing, BOP problems/warning signs (ignoring the rubber chunks in the mud pit after the DP was moved during BOP function, the leaking and malfunctioning BOP, dead batteries, improper configuration and subsequent faulty testing of BOP), the concrete issues and tests, and the premature removal of mud from the riser, all when the rig was way behind schedule (45 days, $22 million on day of blow out) all would seem to be equally attributable to the same causes as no. 1, above. Greed and corruption.

BP wanted to shut that rig down as quickly as possible and move it to the new site. The company man was apparently vetoing everyone else on critical decisions in order to save a few more days in the lead up to the explosion. Clear warning signs appear to have been missed or ignored/rationalized away. This is all speculation at this point, but the pattern is all too familiar. It will be surprising if it turns out everything was done properly after all.

The regulators failed in their role by failing to have or enforce regulations that would not have permitted BP to take all of the shortcuts that it apperas it did take. Regulations are intended to prevent the compounding of human error that leads to these disasters.

Of course, had the regulators required there to be procedures and technology developed over the 30 years since Ixtoc for dealing with a failed BOP gushing oil under water, they likely would have at least had a back-up plan to greatly limit the scope of this disaster. It already happened once. No one did anything to prepare for next time. Isn' that inexcusable given the scope of devastation and 3,500 rigs in the Gulf. I am sure the folks along shore think so.

Hi syncro,

You are one of the few who gets it.

Every study I've seen to date that MMS commissioned has said there are so many deep water failure scenarios that there is no single technology available, other than relief wells, to stop or capture the flow of oil. They don't even have a definitive plan for a single scenario, just some things to look into.

If MMS was doing their job, they would have prepared a report detailing the many failure scenarios for deep water drilling which have no solution. This report should have gone to the Coast Guard, EPA, and the Congress. I have yet to find any hint of such a report being submitted. You bring up several possible reasons why this would not have been done. None are acceptable, and the American public should be informed of this shirking of responsibility by their government.

Most of us are so busy blaming BP for being incompetent, the thought it is not BP's fault no viable solutions exist to completely stop the leak until the relief well works never crossed our minds. The true blame rest squarely on MMS and Congress for purposely turning a blind eye to the risk and keeping their fingers crossed they would not get caught. They left the oil companies alone with the candy jar and the jar broke.

If MMS and Congress had done their job, adequate safeguards would have been established to lower the risk of an uncontrolled blowout to level closer to what we require of our nuclear power plants. A conscious decision was made not to.

Again, for anyone who has not thought about solutions for deep water well blowouts. THERE ARE NONE! Once the oil starts leaking it is too late. BP is not proving they are incompetent because they can't stop the oil from leaking into the GOM, they are simply proving MMS and your government lied to you by omission.

"They left the oil companies alone with the candy jar and the jar broke."

Dick da devil done it!

Thank you for your reply, PriorityX. I have one disagreement. While I agree that our govt. has responsibility for ensuring there are solutions, or at least efforts to find solutions, to know cataclysmic hazards, and for regulating hazardous activity accordingly, I disagree that BP is not also responsible. Or at least you seemed to suggest that.

The oil industry doesn't want government interference and decries over-regulation. They resist it and fight it and claim self regulation is best because the industry knows better. Okay, then industry should have done something about this known risk. They had a responsibility to do so under their own anti-govt. anti-regulation view of the world.

We don't have to bash BP. All we have to do is look at the consequences of un-regulated or lax-regulated hazardous activity where there is tons of money at stake. Whether it is in finance, construction, coal, oil, fishing, real estate speculation. Humans will eventually push it past the breaking point every time! It's human nature/imperfection.

If MMS was doing their job...

They are! Their job is first and foremost to entertain, then spin and obfuscate reality so that TPTB can continue BAU for as long as possible. They're doing a heck of job.

What a relief for the surviving wildlife that a lot of the oil is now being captured. Look forward to their increasing the percentage of oil recovered as it comes pouring out. Maybe money from the oil can help pay for this mess and for the fishermen who will be going without for a very long time.

A 1.5l engine in a car the size of the Yaris is profligate. My car has a 1.6l engine and it comfortably carries 7 adults up a steep hill at the legal speed limit. I wanted a 1.4l version, but they aren't made for the UK market...

I have a science question. Is the methanol injection system open to the sea? If so, is ethanol not an acceptable, less toxic, substitute. I know I have been overexposed to ethanol many times, but I'm still here.

Found this on the net. The guy seems to know what he talks about?:

Production casing and cementing designs that lacked adequate safety margins were critical weaknesses that led to failure of the Macondo 1 well drilled from the Deepwater Horizon platform. Other mistakes--displacing drilling mud too soon, omitting a cement bond log, missing warning signs of gas leaks and delaying maintainance of the blowout preventer--contributed to a chain of disaster. But they did not cause high-pressure gas flow that produced the blowout.

Why did BP engineers use an oversize 7-inch lower production casing, too large to be cemented reliably in the lowest 1,200 ft of 8-1/2-inch drillhole? Why did they use an inadequate volume of cement to fill that drillhole annulus all the way between the bottom of the production casing and the bottom of the last outer casing above it? They knew the well geology was hazardous.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal May 28, Ben Casselman and Russell Gold described major problems with the Macondo 1 well that set the stage for later disaster. After fracturing brittle rock above the expected oil formation and losing equipment in the well, BP had to plugback about 750 feet of drillhole and begin a bypass, losing at least a month. The problems also required changing the outer casing design from six telescoping strings to eight. That led to smaller drillhole diameters and made it impossible to install 9-7/8-inch production casing, reported as the original design.

Testimony on May 28 at the Coast Guard hearing confirmed that 5-inch casing would be the normal size for the 8-1/2-inch bottom segment of drillhole, but BP engineers opted to force-fit 7-inch casing. Why? Using 5-inch production casing would have provided adequate margin to obtain production. Writing in the New York Times, Ian Urbina reported on May 27 speculation that BP was trying to preserve an option to redrill below the current production zone, but so far his only evidence is a BP note that the design represented a "best economic case."

On May 23 Kevin Spear reported in the Orlando Sentinel that a readily available alternative was more reliable "by a factor of tenfold." On May 26 Tom Fowler, writing in the Houston Chronicle, quoted an experienced oilfield engineer saying, "The entire well construction...was cavalier."

Writing in the Wall Street Journal June 1, Russell Gold, Ben Casselman and Maurice Tamman reported that the Minerals Management Service approved three permit changes on April 14. Why did MMS approve high-risk designs when MMS personnel knew or should have known that the well geology was hazardous and knew or should have known that much less risky approaches were available?

(1) Why did BP engineers use an oversize 7-inch lower production casing?
(2) Why did they use an inadequate volume of cement?
(3) Why did MMS approve high-risk designs?

I see in the photo that comes up with the Washington Post article on ecological effects - at least for me - that the booms are apparently being used to lock the oil against the coastline instead of to collect it and keep it away. Did the booming managers not go to [language warning, starting at 1:55] effing booming school? The lecturer in the video seems plausible; can she really be so far off-base that locking thick puddles of oil between the boom and the shore, as in the picture, is actually the right way to go even though it looks so ridiculous? Is there some hidden magic to carrying out the process properly? Do any of the experts here know?

Hi Paul,

I'm not a booming expert. Could be that once the oil made it to the coastline the booms were placed to contain it for skimming later on. They may have been worried that tides or currents would spread the oil to areas not yet hit with oil.

Well, here is a booming expert that tells it like it is. The booming part starts at about 1:45 into the video. I promise you that you will love this video.

BP Fails Booming School 101 Gulf Oil Spill.wmv

Ron P.

That's essentially the same video I referenced (seems to have been cloned about 20 times). Still wondering why they were locking the oil against the shore, in the picture. Millions of feet of boom and no skimmers?

So, I took a break from TOD and went to Foreign Policy for something different...and lo and behold, I find an article front and center about the the kooky things Palin is saying during the BP DWH disaster:


Money quote: "Extreme Greenies:see now why we push'drill,baby,drill'of known reserves&promising finds in safe onshore places like ANWR? Now do you get it?"

Palin published a Facebook note on Wednesday expounding on her argument, writing "Radical environmentalists: you are damaging the planet with your efforts to lock up safer drilling areas. There's nothing clean and green about your misguided, nonsensical radicalism, and Americans are on to you as we question your true motives."

The rest of the article goes for four pages and makes for an interesting read...It is hard to imagine how humanity is going to do anything intelligent to manage its changing circumstances...

Edit: So, Palin proposes to exchange shutting down Gulf (and any U.S. coastal) oil drilling beyond, what, 1,000 foot depths in return for allowing drilling in ANWR? Really?

I'd call her a lier, but I don't thunk she's bright enough to deserve that label...

Expect any drilling to get more scruitiny in the future, especially when it occurs in the densly populated North East:


Fuller, of the IPAA, says disclosing chemicals would not keep people or the environment any safer. He says groundwater is protected through the construction of cement casings around wells, which close it off from the methane and the fracking fluids flowing through the well. "The assertion that you cannot protect the environment and fracture natural gas wells is totally inconsistent with the reality," he says. "The well construction process is what really protects groundwater, and it is a very effective process."

But in Dimock, proper well casings didn't stop 8,000 gallons of fracking fluid from spilling onto a local farm. And that Dimock well explosion? The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) determined that improper well casing was to blame. It's not an isolated incident: improper well casing was also at fault in a 2007 explosion in Bainbridge, Ohio, that blew a house off its foundation and left yet another neighborhood without drinking water.

Perhaps, slowly but surely, people in the U.S. will start thinking about our energy future...the tradeoffs, risks, and rewards involved with our current paradigm...