Sunday, May 02, 2010

drilling for offshore oil.

My original post from Sept 2008 is all the way at the bottom. Just above it is an update regarding President Obama's announcement of more offshore oil exploration. Then the Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned and sank. Most recent updates regarding this, the worst oil spill in US history, start at the top.

Update 7.19.2010 Swimming in oil. Go on in, the water is fine...

7. 14. 2010 This isn't an update on the BP Gulf of Mexico spill but I do think it is telling.
On 1 May this year a ruptured ExxonMobil pipeline in the state of Akwa Ibom [Nigeria] spilled more than a million gallons into the delta over seven days before the leak was stopped. Local people demonstrated against the company but say they were attacked by security guards. Community leaders are now demanding $1bn in compensation for the illness and loss of livelihood they suffered. Few expect they will succeed. In the meantime, thick balls of tar are being washed up along the coast.

In fact, more oil is spilled from the [Niger] delta's network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico, the site of a major ecological catastrophe caused by oil that has poured from a leak triggered by the explosion that wrecked BP's Deepwater Horizon rig last month. Read more
Update 6.27.2010

Insert your own expletives. I'm telling you, this is USAChernobyl.
A mysterious "disease" has caused widespread damage to plants from weeds to farmed organic and conventionally grown crops. There is very strong suspicion that ocean winds have blown Corexit aerosol plumes or droplets and that [oil]dispersants have caused the unexplained widespread damage or "disease". Read More...

Update 6.23.2010

Update 6.19.2010
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection authorized the Coast Guard to burn oil offshore, and the county is warning people of potential health issues. Read More.

Update 6.8.2010
Deepwater Horizon installation manager Jimmy Harrell, a top employee of rig owner Transocean, was speaking with someone in Houston via satellite phone. Buzbee told Mother Jones that, according to this witness account, Harrell was screaming, “Are you #@% ing happy? Are you #@%!ing happy? The rig’s on fire! I told you this was gonna happen.” Read More.
Update 6.8.2010
The chief executive of BP sold £1.4 million of his shares in the fuel giant weeks before the Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused its value to collapse. Read More. He's not the only one...
Update 5.28.2010

Matt Simmons was an energy adviser to President George W. Bush, is an adviser to the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, and is a member of the National Petroleum Council and the Council on Foreign Relations. Simmon is chairman and CEO of Simmons & Company International, an investment bank catering to oil companies.

Simmons told Dylan Ratigan that "there's another leak, much bigger, 5 to 6 miles away" from the leaking riser and blowout preventer which we've all been watching on the underwater cameras...

Update 5.27.2010

I stopped updating because most of what you wanted to know was being reported in the newz. Even the more accurate estimates of flow leak (+100,000 barrels a day) were being published in the media. These two however don't seem to be making the newz.

Transocean, according to the letter, also says it will make a $270 million profit on the insurance policy for the rig. And the senators claim the rig was insured for more than it was worth. Read More.
Talk about shorting yourself! Can you believe how much money people are making by betting against the continuation of the America as is? Also,

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, partly owned by BP, shut down on Tuesday after spilling several thousand barrels of crude oil into backup containers, drastically cutting supply down the main artery between refineries and Alaska's oilfields. Read More
Update 5.3.2010

A confidential government report on the unfolding spill disaster in the Gulf makes clear the Coast Guard now fears the well could become an unchecked gusher shooting millions of gallons of oil per day into the Gulf.

"Two additional release points were found today in the tangled riser. If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously thought."

In this case, an order of magnitude higher would mean the volume of oil coming from the well could be 10 times higher than the 5,000 barrels a day coming out now. That would mean 50,000 barrels a day, or 2.1 million gallons a day. It appears the new leaks mentioned in the Wednesday release are the leaks reported to the public late Wednesday night. read more
Update 5.2.2010

The Gulf Coast spill will have eclipsed the Exxon Valdez in terms of total gallons of oil before the weekend is over -- making it the largest oil spill in U.S. history -- according to calculations made by oceanographer Ian MacDonald after studying aerial Coast Guard photos taken earlier in the week. read more
Update 4.29.2010

It looks like the damage was underestimated. I for one am shocked!

Five times more oil a day than previously believed is spewing into the Gulf of Mexico from a blown-out well of a sunken drilling rig, the Coast Guard said Wednesday, an estimate the oil company trying to contain the massive spill disputes. A new leak was discovered in the pipes a mile below the ocean's surface... read more
Update 4.28.2010:

The Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster will develop into one of the worst spills in US history if the well is not sealed, the coast guard officer leading the response warned.... But BP officials say the relief wells will take up to three months to drill, and with oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of 42,000 gallons a day... read more

Update 4.23.2010:

This ought to put a damper on the offshore drilling debate.

A blazing oil rig sank Thursday into the Gulf of Mexico sparking fears of an environmental disaster almost two days after a massive blast that left 11 workers missing.
But don't worry...

The 396-by-256-foot (121-by-78-meter) platform, owned by Transocean, Ltd. and under contract to BP, was still ablaze but officials said environmental damage appeared to be minimal because the fire was burning much of the spilt fuel.
End Deep Water Horizon Updates

Obama announcement of more offshore oil exploration...

What follows is something I posted in September of 2008. The US presidential campaign was building up steam and I was sick and tired of hearing 'Drill Baby Drill.' It made me ill because of the stupidity of the entire argument. I wrote,

Even when production is pumping at full capacity, additional offshore drilling facilities would amount to about 200,000 barrels per day (bpd). The US currently uses 21 million bpd. This does not take into account the increase in oil consumption necessary to continue to grow our economy[during the time it would take to get the drills up and drilling]. The bottom line is that additional offshore drilling will provide 1.2% of the oil we use every day if we don't increase consumption and we're willing to wait 20 years.
So now Obama has opened up most of the east coast among other areas for oil exploration.

The Democrats are pretending to have been betrayed, the Republicans are saying he didn't go far enough and the environmentalists are mad as hell.

The truth is that this was a beautiful political move. President Obama gave his Democratic base ammunition for the upcoming election and took steps towards soothing the sting of those opposed to "health care" reform on the right. Sure there are factions within the Democratic party who are oppose to more offshore drilling but fewer than five Democrats will actually vote against their Democratic candidates this November because the President opened up more offshore areas for oil exploration. Instead those candidates will be able to say, "Look, we're trying to become more energy independent by opening up areas previously off limits and the Republicans aren't going along with us. We're willing to try what the Republicans have been asking us for years." I'm not sure if those political bullets will hit their targets but hey, it's something.

The real genius of this move lies in the fact that the Republicans have been saying for ever and ever that we could solve this energy problem if those wacky environmentally conservative Democrats would just open up more offshore areas for drilling. It's total bullshit of course, as you'll read below but they've gotten away with it because average Americans don't know the facts. Obama has now taken that sound bite away from them. And as an added bonus if the Republicans do speak out against this they will be branded even more deeply as the Party of No.

I'm guessing the environmentalists who are upset about this don't understand the facts. Little if any of the oil in these new areas will ever be pumped out of the seafloor. It's too costly. We won't be able to afford it. There is no real threat to the environment here because it's highly unlikely that any substantial new drilling in these areas will ever take place.

This is political theater, nothing more. Grab a bag of popcorn and be amused.

Original post from September 2008...

I won't go so far as to say I'm against lifting the ban on drilling for oil off the east coast of the United States of America. I say that because the only reason the idea is being bandied about is that the last two Republican presidents were oil tycoons and that party is desperate to reframe the rise in the price of gasoline as the fault of the Democrats. Perhaps Democrats should agree to lift the ban and when the price of gas doesn't go down, Republicans will be left without that political punch to throw.

Having said that, I am not in favor of lifting the offshore drilling ban because drilling for oil off the east coast of the U.S. is stupid. Here's why.

The USGS says there are 17.8 billion barrels of undiscovered recoverable resources(read Unproven Reserves) in waters currently off limits to exploration. The EIA says production couldn't really get started until 2017 and wouldn't be fully ramped up for another 15 years until about 2030.Remember the U.S. uses more than 7 billion barrels a year.Great, there might be two and a half more years worth of oil.Even if we could start pumping at full capacity today when my daughter is 2 ½, she'll be 5 when all that oil is used up.Even when production is pumping at full capacity, additional offshore drilling facilities would amount to about 200,000 barrels per day (bpd). The US currently uses 21 million bpd. This does not take into account the increase in oil consumption necessary to continue to grow our economy. The bottom line is that additional offshore drilling will provide 1.2% of the oil we use every day if we don't increase consumption and we're willing to wait 20 years.

Oh and if the oil companies don't sell that oil to other countries. Remember, we currently export about 1.5 million barrels of oil from the US every day. There is no guarantee that big oil will even keep this measly 200,000 bpd in the US.

And don't forget the hurricanes.

Notice I didn't even mention the possible environmental catastrophes or the hit tourism might take if lounging at the beach starts to include a beautiful view of the flare from a drilling rig.

Offshore oil is politicians playing the blame game and that's all it is. The sad part is that a majority of Americans are falling for it while their leaders, Republicans and Democrats alike, continue to refuse to act appropriately.
If you want a quick test of whether or not a politican understands energy issues ask her if she'd like to see the cost of gasoline go down. If she says yes,

she doesn't know what the hell she's talking about.

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