I have a brother who is a foreman for an oil company maintenance crew. He works above the water, hanging from ropes doing whatever job he has to do. He was on the BP oil rig shortly before the accident. There’s only so much space and each maintenance crew is offloaded to make room for the next portion of the maintenance. Just a matter of timing and luck has allowed us to keep him with us. Right now he’s unemployed because of the attempts being made to stop this devastating leak of oil into the water.
There are some 1200 offshore oil wells operating today with relatively few spills. One hundred and forty-six are in Europe’s North Sea. The Gulf of Mexico is home to 114. The remainder are off the coasts of Brazil, Venezuela, and West Africa; in the Persian Gulf; and in the seas of south and southeast Asia. However, safety and recovery procedures have not kept pace with the ever increasing depth of these wells. Which means that when an accident happens, no one really knows how to stop the leak and effectively recover the oil before it reaches land.
All rigs are fitted with blow out preventers that more recent studies have indicated do not work, as was the case for BP’s current problem. Valves which supposedly should shut off the flow also weren’t functional. Of course, they aren’t subject to inspection on any kind of regular basis either. Salt water is corrosive. Why any company that places valves in salt water and doesn’t inspect or maintain them expects them to work when needed is beyond my comprehension. However, that is what happened, and there is no technology effective enough to correct the problem once a blow out has occured.
Billions of gallons of chemical dispersants, with the exact same properties as anti freeze are being used daily on this slick. The government, via the EPA, ordered them to stop and BP refused. Mind you, neither BP or anyone else knows if the dispersant actually works, but they’re refusing to stop? So, now this slick is being driven to a depth below the surface where it’s being broken up into something resembling crude brown peas in a stew of brown gravy. None of this is going to change the fact that this stew is going to end up in Barratarea Bay and other coastal areas along the shores of the United States. We have nothing available to stop the destruction, except sand and possibly animal fur mats which will soak up a portion of this mess.
So, who do we blame? Why, who else? The government, of course. It’s not acting fast enough to save our ecology. It doesn’t seem to have any control over the situation, no sense of urgency in the quest for a solution. We’ve been drilling offshore for 40 years and nobody has any idea what will work, nor is there anything in place that could be used now to help correct this situation except chemical dispersants that possibly aren’t effective. No oil spill in 40 years has ever caused the creation of anything capable of curing the problem. Explain to me why in 1 month people expect our government to accomplish what never happened in that 40 year history?
The United States represents 5% of the world population and yet we consume 25% of the worlds resources. If you don’t understand that, then try this. WHAT HAS SPILLED SO FAR FROM THIS BP ACCIDENT REPRESENTS ONE DAYS USAGE OF CRUDE OIL BY US. In one day, we use enough gas in our vehicles to destroy our own ecosystem for decades to come. Maybe, just maybe, we need to think about that before we place the blame someplace else?