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Gulf of Mexico oil leak


Moose

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On the other hand, if we did switch to 100% nuclear we would eventually have to canibalise our neuclear arsenals for uranium.

 

A plan, as they say, with no drawbacks.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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What worries me about this oil spill is hurricane season. A solid hurricane could drive the oil from the spill deep into the mainland, causing greater environmental havoc. Hell, if a spark happens from a power line, BOOM!

"Your Job is not to die for your country, but set a man on fire, and take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."

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This will change as fossil fuels get rare and demand increases (two related but independent processes, one a product of finite supply, the other a product of demand in developing nations).
*ahem*

 

:lol:

 

I don't get it. The first paragraph of that link states: "Abiogenic petroleum origin is an alternative hypothesis to the prevailing theory of biological petroleum origin. Most popular in the Soviet Union between the 1950s and 1980s, the abiogenic hypothesis has little support among contemporary petroleum geologists, who argue that abiogenic petroleum does not exist in significant amounts and that there is no indication that an application of the hypothesis is or has ever been of commercial value.[1]"

 

wut

 

Nuclear is also a poor choice to power the world. It's good for powering something like 25% of energy requirements but you'd quickly run into problems if you wanted to switch to it near exclusively, not least because it IS a finite fuel (I guess less so for Thorium, and humanity could conceivably run on it for a couple of millenia before it ran out, but people ignore Thorium at the moment because all the reactors that exist are designed for Uranium, and reactors are expensive to make).
Well, yes. It's difficult enough to reliably estimate the current global reserves of oil, and that's with the current development of relevant tech and the volume of prospections being done each year, so you'll excuse me if I'm a bit skeptic on estimations of retrievable Uranium deposits. The sun will also run out of fuel eventually, heh -- I remember some report from an international agency that claimed that currently surveyed Uranium deposits could provide enough fuel for the next twenty centuries. In the meantime we could make do with "fast breeders", if alternate energy sources were expensive enough. Thorium is cool too.

 

Oh yes, IIRC there's enough uranium to last a few millenia at current consumption rates. But if we increase our reliance on nuclear energy (I think you'd be lucky to be close if even 10% of global energy was produced by nuclear today) that time-frame could shorten by an order of magnitude unless our estimates of reserves are wildly inaccurate (which is possible - countries like Australia haven't done all that much analysis because of the sheer volume we already know is present in just a couple of locations)

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I find it surprising that no contingency plan appears to have been developed for such an accident ahead of time.

 

My objection to all the criticism, including (no offence intended) this one, is that I don't see what contingency would be appropriate. The rig explodes and sinks. There's not much I can see helping in that instance. So they spend the money on stopping it happening in the first place.

 

I don't think my past comments paint me as some corporate shill. but i like to think when I criticise corporations I'm being fair. And I don't see what more BP could have done.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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I'm actually not talking about BP, as that kind of contingency is too much to handle for any one company. I'm thinking the goverment should've had a plan on what to do in case of such a rig accident, possibly getting funding for it by a fee from every rig operating. But then again, this just shows how truly useless the Department of Energy is.

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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I'm actually not talking about BP, as that kind of contingency is too much to handle for any one company. I'm thinking the goverment should've had a plan on what to do in case of such a rig accident, possibly getting funding for it by a fee from every rig operating. But then again, this just shows how truly useless the Department of Energy is.

It's not in Energy's jurisdiction. Federal involvment in resource extraction stuff is under the Dept. of the Interior.

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It's a fair question, I suppose. Looking at it from first principles you've got a bunch of problems:

 

1. Large volumes of the noxious material

2. Disrupting the noxious qualities of the material is difficult because crude oil (even light sweet which I believe this was) is actually pretty impervious to most things besides intense heat.

3. Removing the material is difficult because it is toxic, oily (natch, but think about trying to do anything in a frictionless environment), and involves assuming legal liability for something which can destroy your firm or even land you in jail.

4. Disrupting the provision of the material involves operating underwater and out at sea, in a pretty turbulent part of the sea. And dealing with very high pressures in every sense.

 

 

I'm damned if i can even imagine how they are going to fix this, beyond flailing at it in ways which look good for the cameras and basically letting nature do the dirty work.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Until the well is shut off, the problem is only going to get worse and worse. The point is a method and equipment should've been developed ahead of time since this wasn't an unexpected possibility.

 

Edit: I guess it's possible to cap the well, I don't know why it hasn't been done yet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ixtoc_I

Edited by Wrath of Dagon

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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:lol: Because the broken section is at sea and underwater? In water full of oil? I'm mainly guessing here.

 

Anyway, according to this TV interview, BP had a plan on file and in place, and are using it.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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A plan to clean up, but what's the use of that until you shut off the source? Plus it's been done once according to the wiki link, why isn't it possible to do that again?

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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I apologise for not reading the wiki link sooner.

 

1. The link talks about an exploratory platform. _Presumably_ this would involve lower volumes of material, and at lower pressure.

2. Even if the leaks were identical, it would be possible for the required assets to be differently dispersed. They might also be differently organised. By which I mean differently owned, but also differently regulated under law, requiring (probably) more detailed negotiation of use wrt indemnity.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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I'm thinking the goverment should've had a plan on what to do in case of such a rig accident, possibly getting funding for it by a fee from every rig operating.

Don't ever mention the T*x word, you'll get burned at the stake for being a George III sympathiser :grin:

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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Until the well is shut off, the problem is only going to get worse and worse. The point is a method and equipment should've been developed ahead of time since this wasn't an unexpected possibility.

 

Edit: I guess it's possible to cap the well, I don't know why it hasn't been done yet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ixtoc_I

 

Sure, it's possible to cap oil spills, but it's not always that easy. Consider the most recent oil spill in Australia (ignoring those idiot Chinese who took an illegal shortcut over the Great Barrier Reef in their tanker ship), and the worst in Australia's history: a Thai rig which took 2.5 months to cap, and FIVE attempts to cap it before they were successful, all the while the damn thing was spewing crude oil all over the Timor Sea. There's a Royal Commission into why they ****ed up 5 times, and why it happened in the first place, but considering how serious such a commission is we won't here its recommendations for a couple of years.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montara_oil_spill

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IMO we simply have to accept that high energy systems go bang when they derail. If we want a high energy society then we are going to live amongst high energy systems.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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IMO we simply have to accept that high energy systems go bang when they derail. If we want a high energy society then we are going to live amongst high energy systems.

 

This assumes we're at the point where we can't improve the error rate any further.

 

Which is wrong.

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Not really, Krez. Completely perfect safety is only going to be a feature of a zero energy system. Any other system might release it's stored or expressed energy.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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You'll never get to 100% accident free, but my point is you have to be prepared for everything to go wrong when the stakes are this high. It doesn't appear to me the government was adequately prepared or even had a real plan of action.

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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Not really, Krez. Completely perfect safety is only going to be a feature of a zero energy system. Any other system might release it's stored or expressed energy.

 

I didn't say anything about perfect safety.

 

Edit: But I did talk about optimum safety. You can't just assume that current safety standards are optimum.

Edited by Krezack
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The best you can do are the blow out preventers, which cut and crimp the pipe in case of over-pressure. Unfortunately in this case there was a drill string inside the pipe, which prevented the pipe from being crimped completely. I'm not sure if anything could've been done differently to deal with this situation, but suspect it would've been required if it was possible.

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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Not really, Krez. Completely perfect safety is only going to be a feature of a zero energy system. Any other system might release it's stored or expressed energy.

 

I didn't say anything about perfect safety.

 

Edit: But I did talk about optimum safety. You can't just assume that current safety standards are optimum.

 

I don't think there's even the remotest possiibility of there not being searching enquiries after this. But I would suggest that the odds of a company which routinely manages huge investment risks and novel high risk engineering would allow the safety to be obviously balls. And as I say, the higher the energy the less safe something gets.

 

Deep drilling, oil product (including gases), product transfer, the sea itself. All very high energy. It's not a question of IF there are failures, it's a question of when.

 

@Wod: Interesting detail. If you find out any mroe keep us posted.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Those Gulf oil rigs have been operating for decades, going through 30-40 years (maybe more) of hurricanes, etc., and this is the first significant spill ever. But it's a doozy. A massive explosion actually sank the entire platform, which most likely fell to the bottom and blocked access to the spewing well. It's going to be a disaster worse than Katrina when all is said and done, and will probably foul coasts from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida in the worst ecological disaster the USA has ever seen. Fishing industries will be decimated, perhaps for years... or decades. The spill is larger than the state of Rhode Island and is tripling every day.

 

I'm not usually one to get upset about something that hasn't actually occurred yet, but this scares the hell out of me. It's going to gut the economies of every affected state, take away the livelihood of thousands, if not tens of thousands of people, and destroy so much wildlife that I get ill just thinking about it.

 

It makes me so damned sad. :thumbsup:

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