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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Waiting for the other shoe to drop
Posted by Jill | 8:17 AM
As the danger of the Gulf of Mexico turning into a "dead zone" incapable of sustaining any kind of life increases, the company that operated the Deepwater Horizon rig apparently has another one that is another catastrophe-in-the-making:
The company whose drilling triggered the Gulf of Mexico oil spill also owns a rig that operated with incomplete and inaccurate engineering documents, which one official warned could "lead to catastrophic operator error," records and interviews show.

In February, two months before the Deepwater Horizon spill, 19 members of Congress called on the agency that oversees offshore oil drilling to investigate a whistle-blower's complaints about the BP-owned Atlantis, which is stationed in 7,070 feet of water more than 150 miles south of New Orleans.

The Associated Press has learned that an independent firm hired by BP substantiated the complaints in 2009 and found that the giant petroleum company was violating its own policies by not having completed engineering documents on board the Atlantis when it began operating in 2007.

Stanley Sporkin, a former federal judge whose firm served as BP's ombudsman, said that the allegation "was substantiated, and that's it." The firm was hired by BP in 2006 to act as an independent office to receive and investigate employee complaints.

Engineering documents -- covering everything from safety shutdown systems to blowout preventers -- are meant to be roadmaps for safely starting and halting production on the huge offshore platform.

Running an oil rig with flawed and missing documentation is like cooking a dinner without a complete recipe, said University of California, Berkeley engineering professor Robert Bea, an oil pipeline expert who has been reviewing the whistle-blower allegations and studied the Gulf blowout.

Meanwhile, Evita Mooselini still says "Drill, baby drill":
Gulf of Mexico oil spill or not, Sarah Palin on Saturday defended offshore drilling as an essential component of U.S. energy security.

Speaking to a crowd of mostly Republicans at the Independence Events Center, the former Alaska governor called the oil spill “very tragic” but added: “I want our country to be able to trust the oil industry.”

She said the U.S. must wean itself from foreign oil in order to be truly free.

“We’ve got to tap domestically because energy security will be the key to our prosperity,” Palin said.

In a 30-minute address and briefer question-and-answer session afterward, Palin spoke at a rapid-fire clip in the casual, folksy style that won her legions of fans — and detractors — during her 2008 candidacy for the vice presidency.

There were lots of “we gottas,” religious references, praise for the troops and even a trademark Palin growl or two as she outlined a conservative vision for the country that adheres, in her view, far more closely to the Constitution.

“We believe that God shed his grace on thee,” she said. “We still believe that America is exceptional.”

Because in Sarah Palin's world, if you pray really really really really really hard, the baby Jesus will make the oil magically disappear.

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Anonymous evil is evil said...
Does the oil expert from Alaska have any clue as to how much of Alaskan oil is shipped to foreign countries?

Blogger PurpleGirl said...
I'm waiting for oil to appear in dead, abandoned wells in Pennsylvania and other places, and for coal to re-appear in hollowed out mountains and mountains that have had their tops sheared off to strip mine. (But I'm not holding my breath, in any case.)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm quite sure that the governor of Alaska knows quite well where Alaskan oil is going. And how much -- to the penny -- they sell it for. It pays the bills there.
When they couldn't sell it "on the market" -- ie, before the export ban was lifted in the late '80s -- Alaskan oil was essentially unsellable. California wouldn't allow it and couldn't process it and it was for too expensive to ship it through the Panama Canal.

I'm sure Sarah's opinion would be that we need to make the "small states" self-sufficient in petroleum and leave Alaska alone to sell their's to who ever will buy it. Alternatively remember, she was already building a pipeline from Prudhoe to Colorado -- or whereever it was. [Actually, it would have terminated at an existing Canadian pipeline in the Northwest Territory. But we can't have them "furriners" controlling our oil supply! And you never know about those shifty Canadians!]