BP Using 30 Year-Old Playbook in Responding to Oil Spill? → Washingtons Blog
BP Using 30 Year-Old Playbook in Responding to Oil Spill? - Washingtons Blog

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

BP Using 30 Year-Old Playbook in Responding to Oil Spill?

Rachel Maddow claims that a top kill type maneuver - pumping in cement and saltwater - was tried during the giant 1979 Ixtoc oil spill, but didn't work.

Maddow also says:

  • The precursor to the same company operating the Deepwater Horizon drilling well - Transocean - operated the Ixtoc rig
  • The cause of both oil spills was the same: a malfunctioning blowout preventer
  • The location of the spill was the same: the Gulf
  • The sizes of both spills were massive
  • A "top hat" operation was attempted unsuccessfully. During the Ixtoc spill, it was named "Operation Sombrero"
  • Chemical dispersants derived from kerosene were used to try to hide the extent of both spills
  • A "junk shot" was tried in 1979, using steel balls (it didn't work)
Indeed, nothing worked to stop the Ixtoc spill until the relief wells were completed ... 10 months later.

In other words, as Maddow points out, the technology for drilling deeper has progressed, but the technology for stopping oil gushers hasn't really improved one bit, because all of the funding has gone into drilling deeper, and none of the funding has gone into increasing safety.

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  1. wrong on several points, the rig was operated by SEDCO which was later merged with Schumberger's drilling unit.
    And it was not a malfunctioning BOP, but human error as directed by Pemex. The BOP was jammed in an open position after multiple human fail sequence.

  2. also the Top Kill method is not possible without a functioning BOP, just farting against thunder to spin out time while BP execs can unload stock.
    Check insider filings for yesterday when available.

  3. how long for comments to post?

  4. There's drilling on land inside the USA that wouldn't risk any of this potential disaster but "environmentalists" rallied against it.

    Until we stop using gasoline for cars (which would be wonderful) we'll still need oil, so why not drill on land and preserve the ocean?


    If Halliburton has the logs, which they should, and they spotted anomalies in the well as reported, I see this as a National Safety Issue which has not been addressed in the media.

    If data exists that a well may be unsafe, why would someone NOT blow a whistle and say, "Hey guys, there is a problem much bigger here than rig rates or anything else". We are talking about Mother Nature and geophysical forces! "All work needs to come to a halt until the anomalies have been examined carefully and reexamined cautiously".

    What I have learned has been through the grapevine from folks in the industry but it screams is a lack of SAFETY to me. Safety isn't just hard hats and lanyards and boring industry meetings that people blow off.

    Safety is a state of consciousness that needs to be embraced at every level of thinking. It sounds to me like there were whistle blowers who stood on the side lines when they should have stood up to bat, no matter how hard. The reward probably would have been rejection, too, like what is reported to have occurred on the rig.

    This just further validates that for some, safety is for morons and the culture of safety is truly meaningless in the face of machismo, time and money.


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