Oil Spill

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by fistofan1, May 18, 2010.

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  1. fistofan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2009
    star 4
    I for one am completely outraged that an oil spill of this magnitude is happening. Every day, 5,000 barrels of oil are being belched from the rig and into our oceans, which contain diverse and amazing wildlife, food, and beautiful formations. Not only that, but the black liquid that has recently become vital to our very society is being lost, which will require more drilling and further depletion of out natural resources.

    I apologise if this is the wrong thread to talk about this in, but I felt that this was an important issue to talk about.
  2. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Actually, the real number is likely far higher than 5,000 barrels a day, as you can read about here.
  3. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Yeah well, **** happens. Failure is part of the engineering profession.
  4. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I'd argue that the point of engineering is minimizing risk, actually. It's why the plumber isn't in charge of the nuclear reactor. :p
  5. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Isn't it 70,000-100,000 barrels a day?
  6. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    First of all, I'm very distraught over how this spill has been allowed to happen over such an extensive period of time. And yet it still hasn't been dealt with. Upwards of 50,000 barrels a day for close to a month? How could such a disaster still be so far from a real solution?

    Yes, I know that there were fail-safe measures that simply were disabled at the same time as the rig destruction. Yes, this was an unfortunate and very unlikely accident; but it seriously shouldn't be so difficult to seal off the leak. Yes, I know that it's not as simple as that when you have to work from 5000 feet down. Yet it amazes me that such a disaster as this hadn't been anticipated until now.
  7. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    You know, I bet Bush's oil buddies would've had him stopping that oil spill immediately so they wouldn't lose any oil that they could sell. Or as Bush calls it, 'tea'.

    From the various claims, I get more of a vibe that the spill is something like 50,000-60,000 barrels a day, though there may be a time variable in that that needs factoring in.

    And to be fair, it seems like they presumed some of the things that they'd normally use in shallower waters would work, as it seems they've tried a few different things that work in shallower waters that just don't work at these depths because they've never had to. Though, why the failsafes failed, that I look forward greatly to hearing about to find out who's at fault for that.
  8. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    [face_tired]

    Appalled... okay. Worried, fine. Troubled, depressed, disillusioned... that's all fine.
    But outrage? Who are you outraged at?

  9. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    Personally, I'm outraged at:
    a) BP for not having the tried and true backup systems in place to cap off the pipes in an emergency,
    b) Blackwater for their negligence that caused the hemorrhage, and
    c) the Fed for not mandating and enforcing the safety regs and requiring BP to install those aforementioned emergency backup systems because they have continued to cave and bow to the oil lobby.
  10. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    There are almost certainly not going to be any significant new oil finds on land. Any significant new oil is not just offshore but off the continental shelf, what the now badly discredited Minerals Management Service called the Outer Continental Shelf. The OCS, according to MMS's own 2006 assessment, contains 86 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil, maybe as much as 8 or 9 years of U.S. domestic oil demand. More than half of it is in the Gulf of Mexico.

    That's where the oil is. The technology to drill for it at the necessary depths is new, an extension of technology developed for shallower depths where divers played a huge roll. My cousin was a diver for a decade, spent a lot of time working for the oil industry. He spent weeks at a time living inside a pressurized drum when on some of these projects, might as well have been in outer space. It's a career that eats people alive. That was nearly two decades ago in any case. To get at the OCS depths out at the Deepwater Horizon, there's a limit to the role divers can play. It's all, as everyone knows from the media around this disaster, remote-controlled.

    As the commercial nuclear power industry knows: safety is costly. What is the price of a marginal barrel of new oil that is needed to make an OCS project profitable? I don't know, but I bet it's higher than $80 or $90/barrel.

    I know oil prices are near half-year lows right now, but to make OCS drilling profitable, prices will have to rise. If we decide that we cannot afford the environmental consequences of OCS drilling and production, then prices will rise even more to levels we can barely imagine.

    Without OCS drilling, Gulf of Mexico oil production has certainly peaked, as has all domestic oil production decades ago. When we talk about the OCS containing potentially 8 or 9 years of domestic oil demand, we're talking mostly about offsetting a percentage of declines in production elsewhere in the U.S.

    Pardon the double negative, but the American public is NOT prepared for the economic consequences of NOT going after OCS oil. Drill Baby Drill is the unavoidable consequence of the lifestyles that all of us lead. The sea turtles are screwed.
  11. Rogue_Follower Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2003
    star 6
    I'm assuming you mean Halliburton or Transocean here... :p
  12. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    Sorry, my colleagues and I have begun calling Halliburton "Blackwater" for their part in what's happened to the gulf. A sort of play-on-names, if you will. I forgot which group I was talking to. ;)
  13. fistofan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2009
    star 4
    I suspect that greed may be playing a large role here, as, even though they are losing oil, the price will skyrocket. The more rare something is, the more people will pay for it.

    And when I said outraged, I was not referring to a specific person, but to the fact that the greed of the people in the oil business caused this catastrophy. Unfortunately, in the world we live in, disaster has to strike before we wake up and realise how careless we are.
  14. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I've been gritting my teeth about the politicization of the oil spill. I also have a hard time accepting moral outrage about the spill from people who drives cars, eat food they haven't grown themselves and purchases packaged consumer goods, which would include just about everyone, including me of course. BP is drilling for this oil because you want it, because I want it. BP is cutting corners, if it's cutting corners, because you want your gas to be cheap and plentiful. The only difference between the two of us on that score is that I'd like to see the average gas price in the U.S. at $7 or $8/gallon at a bare minimum, not that we won't get there no matter what I want.

    Despite the unfairness of "Obama's Katrina," a front page NYT article today took solid aim at the administration's response:

    Scientists Fault U.S. Response in Assessing Gulf Oil Spill

    Specific criticisms:

    -NOAA has been slow to investigate the extent of the spill
    -"the government has failed to make public a single test result on water from the deep ocean"
    -the government has failed to demand an analysis of the flow rate

    BP has resisted making the measurement for obvious reasons. They would love to be able to stop the flow before anyone can get a detailed measurement of the real scope of the spill, if such a thing is possible.

    Even without that, there are going to be efforts now to map the spill, map the underwater plumes. Again, I think BP gains from efforts to obscure the data, make the magnitude of the disaster as vague as possible. They'll stick to "5,000 barrels/day" as long as they can, and if they shut off the leak before it's independently measured, they'll stick to that claim until the end of time.
  15. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Well I for one would favor such measures. Sure people will complain and brood over the unfair prices, yet buy it anyway; but it's not like it will happen soon enough as it is. By raising prices now, maybe it would encourage R&D be done into improving fuel efficiency. It might also convince people to reduce consumption if they really can spare the demand for unnecessary practices.

    Maybe ignorance is bliss. Maybe people would feel better knowing the spill really wasn't so bad.
  16. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    So when people say that we should increase offshore drilling, are they talking about drilling from the OCS or from shallow-water zones?
  17. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Stretching out GOM production for the next several decades depends entirely on OCS drilling and production. I can't tell you whether every viable shallow water find has been fully exploited everywhere on the planet, but I don't think we're far from the day when the only significant new sources of oil will be deepwater/arctic.
  18. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    One of the most devious thing in this whole politicization of the spill has been the finger pointing.

    The Feds can't solely blame BP when they themselves granted waivers right and left to the same BP. And the feds are still granting them waivers.

    BP can't solely blame Halliburton because BP approved the procedure and method.

    Now I do know which of these 3 I pay tax dollars to with the idea they will fully enforce the laws of the land.

  19. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    On its face, GOM oil production looks like a very mature business, which it absolutely is, with well-established players like BP and Halliburton, Schlumberger, etc. It makes sense that to a large extent agencies like MMS relied on the expertise and records of the companies doing business in the Gulf. There are something like 700 producing oil fields in the GOM. Oil production there peaked in 2001 or 02 or so, at close to 1.6 million b/d. By now it may be under 1 million, but what has changed since 1995 is the percentage of deepwater fields. In 1995, there were 7 deepwater projects producing 183,000 b/d. By 2007 there were 24 deepwater projects producing 600k b/d, or more than half of all GOM production. 15 years of experience on 24 production platforms seems like a lot, but most of it although classified deepwater is not at the depth we're talking about here, and it's still just a small fraction of all producing rigs.

    More than greed or cutting corners or efforts to evade regulation, the real issue is just limited experience working with the available technology in deep water. This doesn't mean that there isn't a smoking gun somewhere, some huge dereliction of duty that led directly to this particular accident, but in general the oil we need is in places that are extremely difficult and dangerous to get at.

    The real deal is the ultra deepwater. The "lower tertiary play", just a handful of these now but more to come. Petrobas'Cascade and Chinook fields are supposed to start producing oil any day now, working at average depths of 8,500 feet. It's a massive project, using the Gulf's first FPSO (floating production, storage and offloading facility).

    A major catastrophe at an FPSO could make the Deepwater Horizon accident look like a minor fender bender in comparison.
  20. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
  21. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    I saw that a short time ago.

    I've heard their next attempt at stopping the thing is Sunday.
  22. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    The only reasonable fingerpointing (or outrage) is the fingerpointing or outrage cast at every eligible voter on the planet that didn't vote extreme left-wing.

    Like this guy:
    [image=http://www.digiactive.org/wp-content/uploads/g8-protests.jpg]
    He should be outraged now.
  23. fistofan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2009
    star 4
    While I admit I use oil a lot in my daily life, I believe that there are much better ways to go about it. The only reason I use oil so much is because it is the only choice I have. I take every opportunity I get to buy a drink in an eco-friendly bottle and recycle, but unfortunately those movements are not widespread, and as an ordinary citizen I have no say in the matter.

    That is why I wish someone whose voice could be heard would say something. There are so many other forms of energy out there. Take corn for instance. It is eco-friendly, and would increase farm production, and can be eaten, used as fuel, and made into packaging.

    It annoys me that the powerful people of the world are so set in their ways that they can't see new opportunities.
  24. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    You might be surprised at the amount of oil that gets burned to produce a gallon of corn-based ethanol.

    In any case, if I had to find a way to summarize my personal reaction to this crisis in ten words or less, it would be:

    The price of oil is dangerously low.
  25. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Well, while the latter is true, generally speaking (technically would need to see some supply/demand curves for this) destroying your own resources to increase the price doesn't actually make you more money, because you're sacrificing volume. In pure supply/demand terms, it doesn't work that way. Now, you CAN limit supply by only putting limited amounts on the market at the time, which is what OPEC does, and I believe DeBeers has been accused of doing the same thing with diamonds. In both cases, you're not getting rid of stuff you could sell, you're just limiting how much you sell at a time to increase prices, but then you still have those resources to sell later. This does require large market control to work, of course.
    Now, there is a chance that prices will go up because FEAR of an oil shortage will go up more than just what's caused by the amount of oil lost would push it up, however, I'd argue that fear on the basis that oil drilling isn't efficient or safe is going to be bad for the oil companies and would be damaging to them because that fear will also be manifest in a greater pressure for oil alternatives, which is precisely what they won't want to have happen.


    Not really all at the same time for eating and fuel, first of all, and second of all, I don't think it's really ecofriendly. There's some very major problems with corn as a fuel source. There are alternatives out there worth developing, to be sure, that's just not a good one, imo.
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