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Can 'Cowboy Ken' save the day?

Mark Mardell | 05:45 UK time, Monday, 24 May 2010

The United States Secretary for the Interior Ken Salazar, Colorado born and raised, likes to sport a shoestring tie and a cowboy hat. Rather owlish, he's not many people's idea of a cowboy, but he's threatening a move that would make a rodeo hero proud: he says his boot is on BP's neck, but he is ready to push them out of the way.

His violent imagery reflects a growing frustration within the White House. They have to look as if they are on top of the oil spill that President Obama is now calling a disaster. But they don't seem to have the legal right or the technical ability to do much about it. Instead they have to prod, cajole, encourage and threaten the giant oil company, and then sit back and hope for the best.

BP is now planning to try to stop the flow completely on Wednesday. Their stop-gap solution of sucking up the spilled oil into a ship on the surface is now capturing far less oil than it was last week. So it is not surprising that Mr Salazar has said that he's angry and frustrated that deadline after deadline has been missed, that he's not completely confident that BP know what they are doing and that if they don't do what they are supposed to they will be pushed out of the way.

It is, after all, what some critics say should happen. Democratic strategist James Carville has accused the White House of being too trusting of BP and being "lackadaisical". They presumably would like President Obama to step in and take charge. But that is easier said than done, as a rather tetchy exchange at the White House briefing on Friday showed. Spokesman Robert Gibbs was questioned repeatedly about why the White House wasn't in the driving seat. He said of BP: "It is their responsibility. They have the legal responsibility and the technical expertise to plug the hole." The law spells that out. In the case of oil spills it's the company that has to be in charge of the clear-up. Perhaps the White House could find a way around that.

But there is an even bigger problem. While the president can command the biggest and most powerful military the world has ever known, he simply doesn't have the sort of technical equipment or expertise to deal with a spill 5,000ft below the ocean. He has sent his energy secretary, Nobel Prize-winning Steven Chu, down to Louisiana to have some big-brained thoughts - but beyond some early talk of gamma rays, we have heard nothing more from him. It's tricky. The president can't afford to appear impotent, but at the moment he has to rely on BP to make him look competent. Perhaps he, and cowboy Ken, will stride in to town and take over. But it is certainly politically more comfortable for the president to stand on the sidelines tutting disapprovingly than making himself the boss of an operation that may be doomed to make one failed attempt after another.

UPDATE: Speaking at the White House, Admiral Thad Allen, who is co-ordinating the government's response to the oil spill, has said that Ken Salazar's remarks about pushing BP aside were "more of a metaphor". When reporters pressed him, he said: "To push BP out of the way would raise the question, 'to replace them with what?'" He added that he was the national incident commander and he believed that the right way to deal with this was with BP.

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  • 1. At 06:16am on 24 May 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    I hope that "Cowboy Ken" can save the day, regarding the ongoing tragedy that is occurring in the U.S. Gulf Coast..But, the problem is that he has his hands "handcuffed" by legal requirements...

    (d)

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  • 2. At 08:41am on 24 May 2010, ATS in Texas wrote:

    The 1979 blowout in the Bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico took nearly ten months to cap. The political posturing isn't helping much. Can't Ragin' Cajun Carville think of something more helpful than picking a fight with President Obama?

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  • 3. At 10:02am on 24 May 2010, Mark wrote:

    Mark, I'm enjoying following your blog:

    The oil well blow-out disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is an instructive illustration of the impotence of man when pitted agains the awesome forces of nature. Leading edge technology can give an ego boost when it works. But as those involved know full well it can just as easily become "The Bleeding Edge".

    "All the President's horses and all the President's men" are unlikely to be any more successful in putting this Humpty together at 5,000 feet below sea level than they were in saving the lives of the crew on board the doomed Columbia space shuttle at 50,000 feet above sea level.

    The reaction of America's political leaders is disappointing. The posturing, bluster and finger pointing seems curiously divorced from reality. This is a real life DISASTER and we are all in it up to our necks not just BP and its contractors. Surely this is the time to have the humility to acknowledge the fact, tell the people the truth and put the nations resources at the disposal of those who know what to do.

    Continuing the present charade risks making Obama look as ineffectual as Bush jnr in the face of the hurricane Katrina diaster.

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  • 4. At 10:15am on 24 May 2010, redrobb wrote:

    In hindsight was the choice of BP or whoever to use potentially dated oil recovery technology in arguably one of the worlds deepest wellheads the correct one? Surely there must have been an alternative and I accept my up to date know how is limited, but would subsea equipment located on the seabed been more appropriate, or was this type of technology ruled out due to costs? Lots of questions surrounding this incident, just how many other similar are just around the corner, and simply the bean counters have worked out appropriate risk v's profit senarios....

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  • 5. At 11:23am on 24 May 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    "But they don't seem to have the legal right or the technical ability to do much about it."

    Mark, we have legal rights over anything that happens within US territorial waters, from granting leases and right of passage to holding countries, companies and individuals responsible for their actions...and we are doing just that. The problem is that neither our government nor BP or anyone else seems to have the technical knowhow to cap this well.

    The fact that we put a moratorium on all offshore drilling in US waters demonstrates that we do have rights and that we exercise those rights when we have to, and the fact that BP is being drilled in Congress proves we can enforce those rights as well.

    BP is not an innocent bystander and it is not being cajoled, it is being held responsible for the activities they were engaged in. It doesn't matter if this disaster was caused by human error, equipment failure, or aggravated by inadequate safety precautions, it is their well and they are responsible for damages and for bringing in whatever expertise is necessary to stop the spill.

    As far as President Obama's personal involvement in this, he was in the area twice, dispatched the Coast Guard immediately, put a moratorium on new drilling in place until the exact causes of this tragedy are known and safeguards to minimize reccurrences are available, got Cabinet members engaged, has been putting pressure on BP to fix the problem, and supports the ongoing hearings. Short of photo-ops in the Gulf of Mexico there is not much else he can do.

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  • 6. At 12:34pm on 24 May 2010, HabitualHero wrote:

    I find it incredible that oil companies don't have more effective means of dealing with such events. It's as if the possibility of such a thing has never occurred to them.

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  • 7. At 12:43pm on 24 May 2010, majones6 wrote:

    If BP is pushed aside, the only other organisation with the technical competence to plug the leak is another oil company, and I'm sure that none of them would or could do a better job. The US government outsources all deepwater drilling for hydrocarbons hence, in terms of a practical solution, the US politicians are totally dependent on contractors such as BP. If the US government persists in undermining BP to the point that its shareholders' interests are better served by default, they will be watching this well flow for a very long time.

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  • 8. At 12:44pm on 24 May 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    President Barack Obama – one month after the fact - creates a Presidential Commission to “probe” the oil spill.
    BP – one month after the fact – says it has "turned the corner" in its efforts to fix it. The latest fix - a mile-long siphon tube capturing about 1/5 of the leaking oil. (Officials admit that the tube will not stop the leak, just capture some of that precious oil.)
    BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward: "I do feel that we have, for the first time, turned the corner in this challenge,"
    The commission, created on a Presidential Executive Order will investigate issues related to the spill and its aftermath. I don’t see how this will tackle the “here and now”, the catastrophe itself. It’s good to study the federal government's oversight, environmental protection regulations, the "structure and functions" of the Minerals Management Service, etc., but shouldn't all that come after the fact?
    Meanwhile, while the study group studies irrelevancies in the “here and now” the blowout is putting more oil in the water in 2 days than has been put in the water in the last 10 years.
    BP's next move – one month after the fact - "top kill" which uses undersea robots to try to shoot heavy "mud" into the blow-out to form a barrier. How permanent, how safe, how effective does that seem?
    I guess the final move - many months after the fact - will be for BP to change its operating name and go on drilling someplace else.
    Meanwhile BP has finally released a video labeled “a riser leak”. The 18 inch riser pipe is a ¾ inch tube that (to me) doesn’t seem capable of transferring oil one mile up to a ship. Why doesn’t the video show the base of the wellhead? Is it because the wellhead is ruptured and leaking? I get the impression that BPs solutions are nothing more than hot air, stalling for time. Time to do what, cover up what?
    Meanwhile in my searching here, there and everywhere, I found something called “Marine Pile Driving Technology”. You lower a large pipe (@ 3 feet in diameter) over the preventer and wellhead, and “pile” them into the ocean floor. I am not a marine specialist; I have no expertise, but nowhere in all the literature that I’ve read have I read about BP or the Government considering this option.
    The independent task force of Engineers, scientists, private marine construction contractors etc. is a waste of time, buying more time. And time is passing: Three months from now will be hurricane season, and the ecological damage will be permanently catastrophic.
    Also I came across this very intriguing article: "Iran Ready to Help US Clean Mexico's Gulf Coast of Oil Spill".
    Iranian Oil Minister, Masoud Mirkazzemi says Iran is prepared to aid the US in cleaning the spill. "If they ask Iran," the Minister says, "the country is ready..."
    Mirkazzemi points out that Iran has excellent technology in controlling oil well leakages. He reminds that the Iranian & American companies cooperated during thee oil well fires in Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War. He stresses that Iranian companies hold expertise in cleaning the area both in terms of quality & quantity.
    Lastly the Minister mentions that Iran has also gathered additional experience from the 8-year Iraqi war, controlling oil leakage and cleaning oil spills in the Persian Gulf and it can transfer its experiences to the United States.
    So, I think someone should ask Obama why is he not reaching out his open hand in friendship for the sake of his American people to say nothing of the opportunity to build psotitive bridges between the two countries.

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  • 9. At 12:45pm on 24 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    'Oil firm BP may be "pushed out of the way" if it fails to perform in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster clean-up, a top US official has warned.

    Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the British company had missed "deadline after deadline" in its efforts to seal a blown-out oil well. ' [BBC]



    Question to the ONE: how come that Salazar, with his atrocious record as an 'environmentalist' has ben nominated in the first place?


    And how come, he and Napolitano have not been fired yet by our 'ecological president'? [as opposite to 'oil man Bush']

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  • 10. At 12:48pm on 24 May 2010, averum wrote:

    The U.S. Government is a sissy pants trying to look tough. They're so bought-and-paid-for by big oil and big pharma and Wall St., they can't wipe their nose without permission (from said criminals). The U.S. government is to blame, plain and simple. Why? Because they ALLOWED big oil, including BP, Exxon, Texaco, Haliburton and their Bush-Cheney gang make their own rules and be the sheriff. There was no REAL effort for enforcement. There isn't now. When this is over, there still won't be.

    Mr. Obama might not be fully to blame, but he's in charge now and he doesn't seem to be able to tell the truth about what SHOULD be done. That truth being to force ALL oil companies and their associated trades pay, in a big way; FORCE a move away from petroleum dependence by clobbering the lobbying groups who have kept America dependent on oil, even after the first crisis in the mid 70’s. How stupid... no, how crooked can they be? The answer is clear. Very. There is NO serious movement for getting off the oil addiction. The American people are a bunch of sissies driving their luxury pick-up trucks and SUV's as if they are real HE-MEN.

    The Government sissy pants can’t stop the oil, only the oil henchmen can do that, meanwhile the trains are still being robbed. They’ll give big medals to the guys who plug the hole, but they are STILL the bad guys.

    Here’s more that will happen; thousands, perhaps scores of thousands of small businesses and individuals along the Gulf will lose everything, then the vulture investors will swoop down to pick up the freebies, the tax payer will pay for those vultures to re-build, meanwhile the little guys get screwed... again. God Bless America and the Capitalist.

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  • 11. At 12:49pm on 24 May 2010, politicalreality wrote:

    Exactly stated sir; When it comes to wars abroad, The US is quite adept at maintaining buddy buddy relationships with military hardware/manufacturing and political clutches. But right here in its own country, the government appears incapable of declaring eminent domain over its own territory which is exactly what it should have done from the start. After a month of spewing oil, this disaster will linger possibly for decades. BP should be shut down and sent packing.

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  • 12. At 12:50pm on 24 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Democratic strategist James Carville has accused the White House of being too trusting of BP and being "lackadaisical". They presumably would like President Obama to step in and take charge." [MM]



    Barack Hussein Obama?

    The guy who as a U.S. senator voted 'present' most of the time?

    Step in and take charge? PHHHLEEASE!

    [Althouth "It's time for charge!".]

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  • 13. At 2:31pm on 24 May 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    "Push BP out of the way" to do what, exactly?

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  • 14. At 2:33pm on 24 May 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    12. powermeerkat:

    This is one problem his talking won't solve. He has to demonstrate that he can actually fix the problem.

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  • 15. At 2:36pm on 24 May 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The influence of big oil comes into a cleaer light when such events happen. We always find that what the oil companies assure in the permit process is always much more than they deliver and that the governments regulatory agencies are nests where industry appointees reside. It is always about corruption but no one wants to say that. No company plan, no state plan and no federal plan. The private sector always moans about regulations but we always see that they hardly every comply and they are usually the regulators themselves. In the US the people are allowed to elect those who will conspire with big business against the people. It is a corporate state and no one looks about for the interest of the citizens. Only the Tea Party is stupid enough to believe that less government regulations are needed...better and adequate enforcement are needed.

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  • 16. At 2:47pm on 24 May 2010, majones6 wrote:

    The American Government should shut-up and watch BP, thereby learning how a serious business goes about finishing what it has started. BP should be running America, not the other way round.

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  • 17. At 2:51pm on 24 May 2010, Frank Lund wrote:

    Would B Obamma not do better in issuing his deadlnes directly to the leaking wellhead?

    Hot air from a lawyer will not plug the hole, it needs something far more substantial put in place by competent engineers.

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  • 18. At 2:51pm on 24 May 2010, In De Pen Innit wrote:

    What is Sir Alex Ferguson doing, getting hiself involved in this?

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  • 19. At 2:54pm on 24 May 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:


    "Mr Salazar has said that he's angry and frustrated... if they don't do what they are supposed to they will be pushed out of the way."

    They haven't done what they are supposed to do and they SHOULD be pushed out of the way.

    It's time for a showdown at the Louisiana Corral.
    Crappy attempts have been made and have failed.
    The USA now needs to call the shots, get 'er done, and send BP the bill.
    Why have all attempts failed to date?
    Why has BP run behind schedule? Withheld information?
    Why are our already endangered wetlands/marshes now dying?

    Because BP has tried to selvage the site for oil production.
    They have tried to re-tap instead of close the tap.

    Granted, if BP looses its oil tap they'll loose the revenue stream (oil = cash) to cover the costs of the cleaning... but I think they have already proven themselves incompetent and incapable.
    -- Sorry folks, but BP America sunk with the rig.

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  • 20. At 3:10pm on 24 May 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    PowerKat:
    "Question to the ONE: how come that Salazar, with his atrocious record as an 'environmentalist' has ben nominated in the first place?
    And how come, he and Napolitano have not been fired yet by our 'ecological president'? [as opposite to 'oil man Bush']


    And who would replace them?
    And if they were replaced, the Right Wing would flap and spin-doctor Obama as an overbearing facist.

    It is a FAR more effective move for Obama to look to those who have done their jobs badly and to tell them now to do their jobs well. Under the scrutiny of the international public eye, they must eat the crow they've killed, rubbing their noses in the oil they demanded let flow.

    They must either put up, or shut up.

    Do I like the situation? No.
    Is there another better alternative? ....um... YOU got any ideas honey?
    _________________

    I would like to point out that the marshes at the mouth of the Mississippi River have suffered from the silt, debris and litter of generations of up-river industry.

    Folks in Louisiana have been working very hard to protect a fragile ecosystem that's been hit from the north by pollution and from the south by hurricanes.
    ... now it's getting overwhelmed by oil from the south.

    It ain't right. It just ain't right.

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  • 21. At 3:17pm on 24 May 2010, Frank Lund wrote:

    A column of drilling mud with a high density in a hole can hold down the oil if the product of mud density and height of the mud column creates enough pressure to counteract the pressure pushing the oil upwards.

    The problem with that solution is stopping the flow first so that the mud column can be introduced.

    Would 3ft pipe really be wide enough the go over the subsea stack and seal to the seabed, remember that the drilling riser and drillpipe would first need to be cut away to fit the pipe over the BOP etc. This could release a far greater torrent of petroleum.

    What really went wrong with the BOP (manufactured in USA?)?

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  • 22. At 4:03pm on 24 May 2010, TexasPhil wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 23. At 4:12pm on 24 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    You are confusing "cowboy" with "western." Cowboys are men who work with cattle, and they are a small part of the western population. Western attire, including such things as bolo ties and broad-brimmed hats, is worn by many people in the western US, not because they are cowboy wannabes, but merely because they are westerners.

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  • 24. At 4:36pm on 24 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    "But they don't seem to have the legal right or the technical ability to do much about it."

    Lack of technical ability I would agree with but lack of legal authority? If the President gave orders to Federalize the spill response few people would protest. The reason he doesn't is his people haven't any better ideas than BP on how to stop the spill.

    This is an election year so we can expect Congress and the administration to bluster furiously from now till November--none of which will plug the well or cleanup the mess or, I suspect, impress the voters.

    It will be interesting to see what does more environmental damage in the Gulf--the oil itself or the chemicals used to disperse it.

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  • 25. At 4:42pm on 24 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #20. At 3:10pm on 24 May 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:
    PowerKat:
    "Question to the ONE: how come that Salazar, with his atrocious record as an 'environmentalist' has ben nominated in the first place?
    And how come, he and Napolitano have not been fired yet by our 'ecological president'? [as opposite to 'oil man Bush']

    "And who would replace them?
    And if they were replaced, the Right Wing would flap and spin-doctor Obama as an overbearing facist."

    Philly-Mom, the Right Wing would never call Obama an overbearing fascist; they would call him an overbearing Marxist.

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  • 26. At 4:43pm on 24 May 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 9, powermeerkat:

    "Question to the ONE: how come that Salazar, with his atrocious record as an 'environmentalist' has ben nominated in the first place?"

    You're confusing the Department of the Interior with the EPA. Environmental concerns are just one aspect of the Secretary's responsibilities.

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  • 27. At 4:45pm on 24 May 2010, zathros wrote:

    "BP" is a multinational corporation owned by stockholders from around the world. Stop blaming the "Brits" and "Brits", stop being so defensive and demand that "BP" take the "British" out of it's name. The company is "soiling" England's reputation.

    The same "knee jerk" reaction from the "hate America" crowd renders your useless opinions useless.

    "Oilbama", is no different than any other stinking politician anywhere in the world. "BP" obviously doesn't know what it is doing and apparently, drilling at that depth deals with such unknowns that it should not be allowed or massive research must be done to see if it is feasible.

    Centrifugal Oil separation has been used on a very small basis in machine shops around the world for decades to separate oil from water on machines that use an oil mix a coolant for cutting parts.

    "16. At 2:47pm on 24 May 2010, majones6 wrote:

    The American Government should shut-up and watch BP, thereby learning how a serious business goes about finishing what it has started. BP should be running America, not the other way round."

    HaHaHaHaha, that's the stupidest comment I have heard in weeks, even for HYS, that's pretty bad.

    As far as Iran is concerned, that is just plain silly and lacks a complete sense of reality.

    The whole "Capitalist" and "Socialists" labels are so irrelevant this day and age. Every country on this planet has groups of people trying to hold onto their power base, at whatever cost, needless to say, the people in this forum, including myself, are not in these power bases, though the BBC is the mouth piece for one of these groups. We are in the belly of the beast my friends, all of us, being digested and arguing, which causes a mild indigestion for the beast as he burps and gets ready to "pass gas", which is all that will be left of us. The beast(s) doesn't know that they will "pass" with us. It may be for best thing for Earth as a whole.

    So, "Can 'Cowboy Ken' save the day?", I don't know what that cowboy part has to do with any, it is like saying can the "stiff upper lip" so and so, save the day. Irregardless, it should be tried, something has to be done. You can't sit down if your thumb is up your _ _ _.

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  • 28. At 4:48pm on 24 May 2010, TexasPhil wrote:

    #21: What really went wrong with the BOP (manufactured in USA?)
    Made by Cameron Iron works
    Owned, maintained and operated by Swiss based/owned Transocean
    1: Snap valves were placed in "backward" (when unit is operated valves open [or at least attempt to] rather then closing and sealing the well.
    2: The unit was deployed with an hydraulic oil leak.
    3: Acoustic communication module (1 of 2) made by a British company faulty

    Do not blame BP for all of this, yes it was their well, but it was being drilled by Transocean using their equipment. (who are now trying to limit their exposure to $29 million)
    I am sure there were errors made by BP (or their on site representatives, not necessarily staff BP personnel)but they are stepping up to the plate doing all in their power to fix this awful disaster.
    We should at least give British Petroleum our support until the event is over and the clean up is complete.

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  • 29. At 4:55pm on 24 May 2010, Martin wrote:

    Reading these comments I am struck by the lack of reality shown by many commentators. Its like empty vessels making the most sound. Its also typically of American thinking on how to solve any problem - almighty force with a big dollop of blood and guts. I bet you any money the American military has several plans on how to use explosives to seal the well. Do you think it will come to that? I do. America does not know how to anything but kill, kill, and kill again......

    Thanks to ATS Texas for reminding us of "The 1979 blowout in the Bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico took nearly ten months to cap." This was in Mexican waters. According to BBC's website, this was the only other rig disaster in the World leading to am oil leak. It was also the largest oil leak into the environment by far. It exceeded the Exxon Valdez many times over. But then many other tanker spills around the World have exceeded the Exxon Valdez many times over.

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  • 30. At 4:55pm on 24 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    The President can, effectively, take control of the area by declaring a National Emergency and instituting marshal law. That would be a very drastic step I am sure President Obama would like not to have to take. It would be just one more political minefield to tread.

    Once marshal law is established in the area of the blow-out; BP could be invited to continue in the capping effort. Thus far; BP has been far too selective in who they allow in the area; thus giving up well-qualified help in coming up with a practical, well-thought solution. One would think in a crisis of this scale, BP would open up their doors and welcome anyone with knowledge and experience to come in and join the effort to cap the blow-out. Even the offered help from Iran should be welcomed with open arms.

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  • 31. At 5:00pm on 24 May 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    7. At 12:43pm on 24 May 2010, majones6 wrote:
    "If BP is pushed aside, the only other organisation with the technical competence to plug the leak is another oil company, and I'm sure that none of them would or could do a better job."
    Have they been attempting to plug the leak?
    It sounds like they're trying to tap the leak. That's different.
    Granted - I would imagine that plugging a high-pressure oil leak could cause ruptures elsewhere... If you know, I'd love to hear. I'm seriously wondering about the matter.

    "The US government outsources all deepwater drilling for hydrocarbons hence,"
    The US Gov outsources almost everything into the self-loving hands of the free market hands of the private sector. Welcome to Free-Market-Mania-Land, where Cash is King.

    "in terms of a practical solution, the US politicians are totally dependent on contractors such as BP. If the US government persists in undermining BP to the point that its shareholders' interests are better served by default, they will be watching this well flow for a very long time."
    ???
    Okay. I've seen politicians demand answers about the causes of the leak and express concern that their own safety regulations groups might have dropped the ball. I've seen the National Guard sit back and look around dumbly for someone to give them orders.
    -- negligence, cluelessness, sure. But interference? Really? What interference?

    Keep in mind that the government is facing a serious 'jurisdiction issue' here. (Amurika luvs are freedumb, dandit...) Therefore our government is a tad limited in regard to controls over the domestic business sector. I pitty the poor fools.

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  • 32. At 5:11pm on 24 May 2010, Corrado Blaise wrote:

    "Gung Ho" Cowboys are not what you need to stop the oil well. (Unless he is physically going to swim down there and put his finger in the hole!"
    A disaster is already in place. Another disaster is not what you need when trying to fix the first.
    The technical solutions for fixing the well need to be thought through carefully and all eventualities covered. This will take time to plan and organise to ensure the right people, equipment, drilling mud and cement are in place before they attempt the "top kill".
    I would like to reiterate my point that the ultimate safety device relied upon by the BP and all other oil producers failed when required.
    This leads to the question how safe are all the other rigs relying on the same technology?
    Obama should be asking this question to all the oil producers and halt oil production from offshore wells until an equiry into how and why the BOP failed has been carried out. Any necessary corrective actions should put in place before drilling and production is resumed.



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  • 33. At 5:12pm on 24 May 2010, Risforme wrote:

    The problem is American law is so focused on protecting the rights of Corporate interest it doesn't allow for the interests of the country to come first. In the ideal situation the American Government would stop this spill by any means necessary then bill BP for the operation and the cleanup. The problem is all of the legal hurdles and hoops to jump through would never allow it to happen. So we're stuck with BP doing as it pleases to stop this spill at a seriously slow pace trying to do so on the cheap.

    Which is what a company is supposed to do. BP doesn't have any interest in the lives of small town fishermen or the animals in the marshes of Louisiana they only care about profit. So they're not ideally the people you want in charge of this. But because of the backwards system we enjoy and Corporate Personhood (Thank you Chief Justice Roberts + 4) we're screwed.

    Maybe Obama could invoke martial law over America's territorial waters and nuke this like the Russian's advised. Or do something to stop the leak. Then after that the Oil Rig operators and their partner BP should be paying the cost of the cleanup until it's all taken care of. But just take a look at America's superfund sites companies never pay for the messes they make we do.

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  • 34. At 5:14pm on 24 May 2010, joan_of_arc wrote:

    Ken Salazar wrote the Great Outdoor Colorado Amendment and Youth In Natural Resources Project. He is an activist on environment rights and human rights. Mr. Salazar established reform that force mining and petroleum operations to protect our country from outside corporations that break laws.
    For example,July 2006, BP announced that it would close the last 12 out of 57 oil wells in Alaska that had been leaking. The wells were leaking insulatin agent called Arctic pack, which is crude oil and diesel fuel, between the wells and ice. Thank you BP for the safety of Alaska wild life and our ocean. Yes, Sara Palin, you must have been proud.
    Law and more laws protect the corporations, because they control political arena. Our Gulf of Mexico will no longer provide food or homes to the next generation. Yes, Lord Brown, retired at the age of 60yrs old with plenty of wealth, but the trail is greed. BP is the 3rd largest British Global energy company in the world. It's the 4th largest company in the world, also.
    Ken Salazar is our hero in the states. Can we call Ken a cowboy? Have you seen the Rocky Mountains? Have you rode horses in the mountains? (I have) Ken Salazar has been fighting for environmental crimes for a very long time. He's riding to your town next.

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  • 35. At 5:31pm on 24 May 2010, majones6 wrote:

    When I said that the US government has no alternative to BP fixing the leak, I was forgetting that Thunderbird 4 is equipped to deal with underwater problems like this. So why hasn't Obama yet called upon International Rescue? What's he trying to hide? Maybe the truth is that BP wasn't actually drilling for oil, but rather was on a secret US Government mission that has gone horribly wrong and is being covered-up as an oil leak. After all, BOPs never fail in reality. We should be told the truth.

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  • 36. At 5:31pm on 24 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Frustration over the unresolved oil pouring out from below the ocean is hardly news but this must be eclipsed by the possibility of looming military conflict with North Korea and the unresolved issue of Iran. I'm surprised that you have not chosen to deal with the Korean problem Mr. Mardell. As unfortunate an issue as this oil spill is, it seems small compared to a war that has been brewing for 60 years and now may escalate into a conflict that could engulf much of East Asia and place the US and China on opposite sides of it.

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  • 37. At 5:36pm on 24 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Apparently, Salazar has stirred up some controversy about whether he wears his hat in circumstances when he should remove it:

    http://coloradoindependent.com/17829/the-rules-of-being-ken-salazars-cowboy-hat

    As a hat wearer myself, I like Salazar's hat. However I disagree with the conclusion of the author of the article to which I linked, above. He should have removed it for an indoor press conference. The "public place" exception covers things like walking through a lobby, not a press room, and certainly not when being introduced by the President.

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  • 38. At 5:38pm on 24 May 2010, Josephine Bennington wrote:

    While I await the actual outcome in the courts, I am concerned that the USA is happy to take as much oil as BP can drill for them, and massively pollute the world through its exhaust pipes but then come all over all litigious and precious when something goes wrong.

    If the polluter must pay, then the bottom-line polluter is the user who demands oil to use. This must mitigate against BP's blameworthiness.

    Black pots and kettles come to mind.

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  • 39. At 5:39pm on 24 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Philly-Mom (#31) "Have they been attempting to plug the leak?"

    They are supposed to be ready to try the "top kill" method this week, perhaps by Wednesday. That means forcing heavy drilling mud down the pipe, then capping it with concrete. It seems to me that they have taken a long time to get to this approach, while they experimented with the metal box they built, which didn't do the job.

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  • 40. At 6:05pm on 24 May 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    Obama is doing something all right...he is busy increasing the size of EVERY government agency that he can think of. The reports are already coming out that the Federal government doesn't have equipment and expertise to cope with this tragedy...read Obama will soon add an oil disaster czar, increase Homeland Security, Dept. of the Interior, Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Energy. What an opportunity to create more assistant directors, buy tons of pre-positioned equipment, hire thousands of overpaid, underworked civil servants, bring in some military response. Oh, things are on the move and the TAXPAYER is going to feel it.

    Every useless cabinet official, every Congressman that wants an Oyster Po-boy, is junketing down to the Gulf to see how much his personal fiefdom can be "grown" as a result of this spill.

    It's not just more FAT BLOATED GOVERNMENT, oh no, it's also more government intrusion into the energy sector and with it the ability to drive oil prices higher and control production.

    Ken Salazar who approved the truly egregious Cape Wind Project is the poster child for BIG GOVERNMENT, government without the consent of the governed!

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  • 41. At 6:06pm on 24 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Why does this forum attract so many kooks (post #35)? The Europe and UK forums don't seem to have this problem.

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  • 42. At 6:15pm on 24 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    33. At 5:12pm on 24 May 2010, Risforme wrote:

    The problem is American law is so focused on protecting the rights of Corporate interest it doesn't allow for the interests of the country to come first. In the ideal situation the American Government would stop this spill by any means necessary then bill BP for the operation and the cleanup. The problem is all of the legal hurdles and hoops to jump through would never allow it to happen. So we're stuck with BP doing as it pleases to stop this spill at a seriously slow pace trying to do so on the cheap."

    ____________

    I am no friend of the oil industry, but I simply don't believe that BP isn't doing everything it can think of to stop this leak as fast as possible. I rather expect that their engineers are working night and day to get this done. BP has no incentive to drag this out. This incident could very well be the end of BP if it doesn't act responsibly.

    No, I don't believe that BP isn't trying to the limit of its abilities to get this done.

    ------------

    The Obama administration should only take over this job if it really believes that it has the technical ability to solve it, and a practical technical approach to the problem. Otherwise it is just going to end up making itself responsible for a problem over which it has no control, and for which it has no solution.

    ------------

    I do not work in this field, so I don't understand. It doesn't seem that difficult to me to drill bores for anchor rods in the sea bed, to build a caisson about the leak that encompasses whatever broken equipment can't be moved away, anchor it to the seabed, and then start filling with concrete. How was, or is, the BOP anchored to the bore? Build a copper or zinc lined steel seat about the leaking equipment, build a mating poppet and head frame, embed the whole thing in concrete anchored to the sea bed, and then tighten the poppet into the seat. Once it is tight, enclose the whole thing in concrete, and more concrete.

    And send somebody a really big bill.

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  • 43. At 6:17pm on 24 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 24 Scott0962-

    "This is an election year so we can expect Congress and the administration to bluster furiously from now till November--none of which will plug the well or cleanup the mess or, I suspect, impress the voters."

    The blow-out could still be erupting by the time the November elections are here. It did take from 3 JUN 1979 to 23 March 1980 for the Ixtoc I well to be capped. That well was in only 160ft (50m)of water. The much greater depth of Deepwater Horizon MC-252 brings many more problems to the table. It is estimated that 3M barrels of crude contaminated the Gulf of Mexico from that blow-out. An average of 10,000-30,000 barrels per day. Current estimates from outside sources suggests that the outflow of the Deepwater Horizon well is belching 30,000-70,000 barrels a day.

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  • 44. At 6:24pm on 24 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    36. At 5:31pm on 24 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I'm surprised that you have not chosen to deal with the Korean problem Mr. Mardell. .. this oil spill ... seems small compared to a war that has been brewing for 60 years and now may escalate into a conflict that could engulf much of East Asia and place the US and China on opposite sides of it.
    ____________


    What makes you think China wants to provoke a larger conflict?
    Are you sure that N Korea hasn't just about exhausted Chinese patience, too?

    The Chinese government is not run by fools. Everything is turning to China's advantage right now. Why would they upset that applecart?

    What is more difficult to understand is why China has not already shown N Korea the door. China has shown Mr. Kim the way forward through market reforms, and the N Korean government has not followed China's good advice.

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  • 45. At 6:33pm on 24 May 2010, turningblueandgrey wrote:

    As usual a lot of posts are spinning pet issues like 'big government is bad' vs 'big corporations are bad' to suit the crisis at hand. None of that benefits the dead workers loved ones or all the other workers on the Gulf...

    What seems to be missed is the root cause of the crisis, that either shortcuts were taken or safety steps overlooked when this drilling project was begun and while it was underway. "For the want of a nail the kingdom was lost" comes to mind.

    The need for preparation and certainty in complex undertakings is not only in the news (see "The Checklist Manifesto") it's also part of corporate culture as modern-day loss prevention and behavior-based safety practices. The effort or expense to make more checks on the blow-out preventer (BOP) and ensure that redundant hydraulics and trigger devices were installed and functioning on the BOP before drilling seem like a tremendous bargain now, even though they were apparently rejected as too burdensome in cost when the drilling started. Somehow, important checks were overlooked and/or bypassed with this drilling project.

    One would expect the checks to be routine, and taken more seriously before more risky tasks -- like drilling in deeper water.

    In the battle of industry vs. OHSA, MSHA or MMS it's easy to see why regulations, inspections and enforcement are needed, and why their routine cost is tiny compared to multi-billion dollar disasters like this spill and the West Virginia mine, never mind the irreplacable loss to worker's families. When preventable disaster strikes, the anti-big-government crowd stops their routine fight against the terrible burden of regulation and turns to finding ways to blame goverment for the (preventable! foreseeable!) accident.

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  • 46. At 7:10pm on 24 May 2010, averum wrote:

    The absence of a viable contingency plan reeks of a typically Republican, oil-minded, and anti-environmentalist attitude as reflected in David Farragut’s paraphrased statement, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”.

    This is how America deals with Global Warming. It’s as stupid as someone using candles in a straw hut. You fools, Don’t light the candles until you know how to put out a fire!

    They “say”, Global Warming isn’t REAL. Well, what if it is? What’s their contingency plan?

    God forbid that any Capitalist would allow the U.S. government to restrict their “right” to steal natural resources of their own use, copyright what should be public domain, or abuse the poor by artificially creating a “global marketplace”.

    God Bless American and the Capitalist.

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  • 47. At 7:20pm on 24 May 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    #23 GH1618

    Thanks for clarifying - minor I know, but aggravating when people use these stereotypical pokes

    #27 Zathros

    I was laughing right along with you re: #16!!!


    I would truly like to think that everyone involved is doing whatever they can to get this thing sorted.
    Right now, I don't care who struck John, just get the damned thing shut!

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  • 48. At 7:26pm on 24 May 2010, Echotheword wrote:

    BP had the title of the worst "ten corporations" in 2001 and 2005 by Mother Jones Magazine. In 1991, BP was cited as the most polluted company in the USA. They were fined a 1.7 million dollars for their oil refineries in Ohio. Do you think 104 oil spills across the world is enough for a wake call to our government? It's another day at the ranch and many more are breaking the laws. What happen to the human race?
    BP lobbied and gave 28% to 72 % to Republicans and Democrates parties over the last several years. They have contributed over 5 million dollars to campaigns to change corporate laws in America. They have been successful in their lobbying. In 2009, BP gave nearly 16 million to lobby US Congress to change our environmental laws. Did it work?
    Thank you BP for caring about us little people in this world...

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  • 49. At 7:27pm on 24 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #38. At 5:38pm on 24 May 2010, Josephine Bennington wrote:
    "While I await the actual outcome in the courts, I am concerned that the USA is happy to take as much oil as BP can drill for them, and massively pollute the world through its exhaust pipes but then come all over all litigious and precious when something goes wrong.

    If the polluter must pay, then the bottom-line polluter is the user who demands oil to use. This must mitigate against BP's blameworthiness.

    Black pots and kettles come to mind."


    BP will pass the costs on to it's customers in the form of higher prices to cover the additional expense. So ultimately the consumer is the one who will pay the costs for the pollution. That's basic free market economics.

    This isn't a case of some fly by night foreign outfit coming in to make quick profits and run at the first sign of trouble, BP is a major oil company that operates in many markets and is in it for the long haul. That makes the chain of events that led to the disaster even more disturbing, if this could happen to one of the majors how safe are any off shore drilling operations? It's a fair question and one which the government needs to address in the form of strict safety standards, computerized record keeping of the design and all modifications to a rig and thorough and frequent inspections by knowledgable personnel.

    So far BP has been saying all the right things including accepting it's responsibility for the mess. If they haven't capped the well yet it surely has more to do with the technical difficulties of the situation than a lack of caring; after all, the faster they get the well capped the lower the ultimate cost of their liability so they have a powerful incentive to get the job done right and as soon as possible. I don't know that any American owned oil company would be doing or saying anything differently in BP's shoes.

    Secretary Salazar might want to start wearing a white cowboy hat instead of that black one. Americans are conditioned by decades of Hollywood westerns to associate black hats with villains, hardly the image he will want to project if he as the administration's new front man for the Federal response to this disaster.

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  • 50. At 7:28pm on 24 May 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    #10Averum

    "The American people are a bunch of sissies driving their luxury pick-up trucks and SUV's as if they are real HE-MEN."

    *************************************************

    Better not be calling a real cowboy a sissy!

    Seriously Averum, is your comment very helpful to anyone other than yourself? You sound like a small child having a bit of a tantrum.

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  • 51. At 7:48pm on 24 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Someone asked on an earlier thread where the Hollywood stars were at in the effort to do something about the oil slick.

    I'm not much of a fan of Kevin Costner; but he has offered help cleaning up the contamination with a centrifuge his research group has developed.

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  • 52. At 8:05pm on 24 May 2010, Wilsons Uncle wrote:

    If I were BP I'd be tempted to give the situation to Ken Salazar and tell him to put his money where his mouth is - if he thinks he can do any better then have a go, Ken. He'd soon either shut up or quickly come back with his tail tucked firmly between his legs when he wakes up and realizes, as has already been pointed out, that only a large oil company has the gear and know how to tackle this. I can't see any other oil co wanting to step up to the plate, can you?

    Let's not forget that BP were only liable for $75m but have stuck around and spent many times that amount already and the lawsuits haven't even got going yet. In the long run this is going to cost them billions upon billions.

    I'm not defending BP but even BP didn't want this disaster to happen, it was an accident. Preventable perhaps but an accident nonetheless and it's no good bleating about it now. I'm sure BP are doing everything they can to avoid the damage to the Gulf eco-system and, not forgetting, their own corporate image.

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  • 53. At 8:06pm on 24 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #36. At 5:31pm on 24 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "I'm surprised that you have not chosen to deal with the Korean problem Mr. Mardell. .. this oil spill ... seems small compared to a war that has been brewing for 60 years and now may escalate into a conflict that could engulf much of East Asia and place the US and China on opposite sides of it."

    But would China support North Korea in a conflict involving the United States? A lot has changed since the 1950s. China's military is more modern but even so it's leaders must have watched with great uneasiness at how quickly and easily U.S. and allied forces destroyed Saddam Hussein's military machine. Also, unlike Mao's day, the U.S. is now China's biggest trading partner: China's political stability is dependant on economic prosperity and that in turn is largely dependant on trade. Anything that threatens that prosperity threatens the Party's claim to legitimacy and it's monopoly on politcal power.

    Add to that the fact that the association with North Korea's regime has at times been both annoying and embarassing for China. China's leaders might decide that a united and democratic (and nuclear weaponless) Korea would be a neighbor they could live with--especially since it would be occupied for many years with rebuilding the North and assimilating it's people into the South's democratic and free market society.

    Russia too would have little to gain from a confrontation with the United States. Although not a major trading partner the U.S. and Russia still have more interests in common than Russia does with North Korea's regime and like China Russia would have little to fear from a united, democratic Korea as a neighbor.

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  • 54. At 8:14pm on 24 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    WilsonsUncle inaccurately represents the $75m limit. It applies to damages, not to the cost of controlling the leak, which is their principal expense at this time.

    As for the government taking over, it is not a matter of having the equipment, but of making the decisions.

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  • 55. At 8:18pm on 24 May 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    re#33
    are you really sugesting declaring marshall law and nukeing the well...
    Jeeeeze you certainly know how to keep steroetypes of the US alive,
    what are you thinking?? your very own Chernobyl.. That would, be good for the environment!!!

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  • 56. At 8:19pm on 24 May 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    25. Scott0962 wrote:
    "Philly-Mom, the Right Wing would never call Obama an overbearing fascist; they would call him an overbearing Marxist."

    Ah yes. Of course.
    Better dead than red... which is why I don't vote Republican.

    ____________

    #10Averum
    "The American people are a bunch of sissies driving their luxury pick-up trucks and SUV's as if they are real HE-MEN."
    #50. CamberwellBeauty wrote:
    "Better not be calling a real cowboy a sissy!"

    Agreed. Real cowboys don't drive SUVs -- They drive beat up old rusty Ford Pick-up's covered in mud and are quite proud that Ford didn't accept any 'stimulus money.'

    Of course, I noticed a bright yellow Hummer in the city yesterday (very useful for driving over cyclists, those urbane Hummers) and I'm sure that the driver thought he had a very big He-Man Sword. Of course, believe it or not, Testosterone Poisoning is NOT an American invention...

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  • 57. At 8:26pm on 24 May 2010, Wilsons Uncle wrote:

    54. At 8:14pm on 24 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    WilsonsUncle inaccurately represents the $75m limit. It applies to damages, not to the cost of controlling the leak, which is their principal expense at this time.

    As for the government taking over, it is not a matter of having the equipment, but of making the decisions.
    -----------

    Ok, sorry my bad on the $75m, but what decisions exactly are the US govt going to make that BP haven't already considered?

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  • 58. At 8:30pm on 24 May 2010, turningblueandgrey wrote:

    "In the battle of industry vs. OHSA, MSHA or MMS..."

    I was typing fast and 'tension' or even 'balance' would have better conveyed my intended meaning than 'battle'

    I just want to add that safer companies are more profitable. There are strong market incentives to pay a little for safer or higher quality practices and work culture, than to pay a lot more for accident or error claims. Review of bidder's safety records is now a common requirement with industrial-client engineering and construction contracts, as well as with municipal or state/federal contracts.

    I wish BP swift success in the Gulf to contain the spill - and hope that stronger inspections and stronger safety cultures among oil producers come from this.

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  • 59. At 8:43pm on 24 May 2010, majones6 wrote:

    Post #41 asks why this forum attracts so many kooks? Isn't it obvious? It's Cowboy Ken.

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  • 60. At 8:44pm on 24 May 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    One thing BP and all the major Oil companies should learn from this. Is to stop contracting out the prospecting work to small oil rig operators. and take a top down responsibility on all its ventures.. With all the resources at hand in case of acidents. As we speak now there are private oil rig operators deep well drilling near the Antarctic off the Coast of the Falkland Isles. If a similar incident happens there the consequences globally would be huge.. Oil spewn Ice and snow would trap sunlight and melt not to mention the devistation of the wild life and its inaccessability

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  • 61. At 8:54pm on 24 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    WilsonsUncle (#57) "... but what decisions exactly are the US govt going to make that BP haven't already considered?"

    Better ask Mr. Salazar. However, one decision that BP made didn't work out too well. That was the one to build a large containment dome to be placed over the leak. Had it worked, BP could have recovered oil through the spout at the top. Then they decided to go with a small version, the "top hat." What happened to that? Perhaps they should have tried to plug the well from the outset instead of waiting a month or more to improvise these unproven methods. Were they motivated by trying to minimize the cost of drilling a new well rather than minimizing the damage to the gulf?

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  • 62. At 9:13pm on 24 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    There's a really good article on this topic in The Economist this week. It explains what the problem is, and explains the efforts BP is making to solve the problem. Read it just now. Very informative.

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  • 63. At 9:25pm on 24 May 2010, Guy Hardrock wrote:

    OK, I work in the offshore oil industry... and have to laugh at most of the 'ideas' and complaints, and most of all at my beloved US government trying to act as though they are "in control".

    They're not... Deepwater drilling is a technical challenge something on the order of landing a man on the moon. There is no sense in even pretending ANYONE other than BP (and its contractors) has the slightest clue how to kill this well, so Uncle Sam has no choice but to sit on the sidelines...

    By the way, the United States is EXTREMELY lucky that it's BP on the well - there are literally dozens of smaller operators who do NOT have anywhere near the financial resources that BP has. (The oil business has many much smaller fish than the likes of BP, Chevron, Shell, Total, and other majors and super-majors - there are many smaller firms in Houston and New Orleans who are microscopic in terms of total financial resources when compared to BP... who also operate in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.)

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  • 64. At 9:27pm on 24 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    US Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen has just distanced himself from Sec. Salazar's remarks about taking over from BP:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/05/24/national/main6514829.shtml

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  • 65. At 9:33pm on 24 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    InterestedForeigner (#62) "There's a really good article on this topic in The Economist this week."

    By this week, do you mean the issue marked "May 15th-21st" which I bought just today? The Economist is slightly stale news by the time I get it.

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  • 66. At 9:55pm on 24 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Guy Hardrock (#63), since you are informed on the workings of this industry, can you tell us whether you think a month is a reasonable time to prepare for the "top kill" method which BP will attempt Wednesday? Seems to me a week should be enough.

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  • 67. At 10:06pm on 24 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    65. At 9:33pm on 24 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    By this week, do you mean the issue marked "May 15th-21st" which I bought just today? The Economist is slightly stale news by the time I get it.

    __________

    Yes, that's the issue.

    The article is in the Science and Technology section, and is entitled "What Lies Beneath".

    They're very good with the double entendre or ironic titles.

    ------------

    That staleness thing is a problem. The magazine is published in the UK (and also in Denver (I think), Singapore, and somewhere else, simultaneously) on Thursday evening, and hits the news stands here, if we are lucky, on Friday.

    If you subscribe, you don't get your print copy until at least Monday, and, if its a holiday weekend, you often don't get it at all. There is an on-line version that subscribers can access electronically immediately, but somehow, notwithstanding the habit of reading the BBC news here, reading the news electronically just isn't the same. Much better to have it on paper where you can see it properly.

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  • 68. At 10:09pm on 24 May 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    I can hardly look at the pictures, because it hurts my heart too much. New Orleans is such a special and unique place. There is nowhere else like it in the rest of the USA. Or in the world.

    USA and BP just have to keep trying every option they can think of until the leaks are plugged. Everyone needs to work together. If one thing doesn't work, go for another. But we cannot quit.

    President Obama may not feel like he knows what to do and he keeps letting out his frustration at BP, which is understandable. But the most important thing is action and not talk.

    The worst thing Obama could do is show inaction. As long as President Obama is trying every option available, he is doing everything he can.

    In the future, USA needs to be the one running BP and the corporations. As of right now, they are running us. USA should be setting the standards for all the corporations. Right now, the corporations are setting their own limits and standards. This needs to change.

    But we can argue about controls and whatnot after the leaks are plugged. When a child is hit by a car because the child ran out suddenly in front of it, then the first thing to do should be to help the child. Maybe it was the child's fault for running out or the parent's fault for not watching the child, but the point is, the child is injured and needs help. The child needs action, not talk. Our states are our brothers and our sisters. They need our help.

    BP and USA just have to keep trying every possible option available. They cannot stop until the leaks are plugged.

    In the meantime, I am going to pray for a miracle. Yeah, laugh at me all you want, but miracles do happen.

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  • 69. At 10:19pm on 24 May 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 64, GH1618:

    "US Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen has just distanced himself from Sec. Salazar's remarks about taking over from BP."

    And so the issue ceases to be political in nature. The military is saying clearly that BP should stay in the driver's seat. Politically speaking I can't see how the GOP can question the Commandant's decision without running the risk of being seen as politicizing the military.

    This all seems like a setup to me. It's a rather adept maneuver on the part of the administration, I think.

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  • 70. At 10:23pm on 24 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    InterestedForeigner, that's odd. I don't have it. There must be a difference between US and Canadian editions, although I don't see any marking which would indicate that mine is a US edition. Maybe the difference is newsstand vs. subscription edition (I don't subscribe).

    Mine has a cover photo of Cameron and Clegg at No. 10. Is that the same as yours?

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  • 71. At 10:26pm on 24 May 2010, Gritpype-Thynne wrote:

    Everyone (at least, those who can stand rather rough language) should read:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/5/11/865387/-Fishgrease:-DKos-Booming-School

    or watch:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrOYoE-Hrp4

    Both URLs refer to a magnificent rant called Booming School 101. The author claims to be:
    "... in Oil and Gas Production (all upstream) and Exploration
    for over 30 years"
    and has some very definite opinions on what is being done wrong (everything) in dealing with the oil.

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  • 72. At 10:30pm on 24 May 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    How do you have you boot on someones neck and push them aside at the same time?

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  • 73. At 10:34pm on 24 May 2010, brazilwatcher wrote:

    A little less of the bluff & bluster of the US Government would help a lot. Nobody did this deliberately, it was an accident, which was always possible in what is a very risky business. BP must have the top engineers & technology available, but being the first time this has happened at such a depth, it's obviously a learning curve for everybody. The US Government should stop bitching and start being constructive, they are very lucky that BP is a big enough company to cover the cost of this. A smaller company would take advantage of the $75 million liability cap and leave things to Uncle Sam to sort out!

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  • 74. At 11:10pm on 24 May 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 69, Andy

    People are understandably angry and frustrated, but suggesting a government takeover when they, clearly, do not have the expertise or experience to deal with something like this is ridiculous.

    The Coast Guard Commandant is right, BP and the oil industry in general are the best suited to deal with this problem and the role of the military should be limited to assisting and expediting matters.

    Keeping up the pressure is essential, but there is a difference between making sure people remain focused on fixing this problem and bullying companies to score political points. People must understand that problems like this are so infrequent and unique that solving them require new and unprecedented solutions, and that doing so takes time.

    This is a sad state of affairs but at this point the only thing our government can do is focus on cleanup operations, the legal ramifications of this disaster, learn from this lesson and ensure all applicable policy and safety standards are modified accordingly, and let the oil companies do their job.

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  • 75. At 11:12pm on 24 May 2010, Singboy wrote:

    Kinda agree with #63 Guy Hardrock - Deepwater drilling is the top echelon and uses the most skilled engineers and talent.

    I dont understand all the debate over this issue, there is a disaster and politicians are displaying the customary outrage and blame culture as expected.

    Shouldnt someone (not the extreme US media) bring a reality check to the debate?

    No doubt there will be a patsy found, having watched the congressional hearing, they were trying to hang Transocean without attempting to listen to the issues and facts.

    OK, there was a blowout (happens lots) and there is a large spill from the well (doesnt happen often) but lets be honest, BP will be doing everything they can to stem the flow of both oil, and vitriol

    The politicians and press have an easy target with big business at the moment due to the Banking scheisters and the Toyota debacle. Damn them and hang them is an easy way out

    Pretty sure there are lots of US politicians who will not raise an inquisition into their links to the industry and conflicts of interest. Trying to remember who benefitted most from the war in Iraq, and all those resulting contracts...

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  • 76. At 11:23pm on 24 May 2010, Koenig wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 77. At 11:28pm on 24 May 2010, Blogs On wrote:

    BP's relatively bad record in their various operations in U.S. situations indicates that they have been ignoring regulations and safeguards as much as they have been able to get away with. For its part, the U.S. government appears to be quite anemic in enforcing regulations with regard to mineral extraction in general - the latest mine disaster demonstrated that the mine involved and its owners had been cited so many times for safety violations that the mine should have been shut down until they were corrected, but it was not. There are enough laws on the books which could be applied to the BP blowout situation (from safety violations to pollution of the Gulf to endangering animals and plants, etc.) for the government to take much firmer action than it has. It obviously needs to depart from its demonstrated cozy relationship with companies and begin to take its enforcement role seriously.

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  • 78. At 11:32pm on 24 May 2010, Barbara wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 79. At 11:36pm on 24 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    70 Gary.

    No, that's last week's edition.

    This week has a cover title "And Man Made Life", with a Michelangelo-like painting including a strategically placed lap-top.

    here is the URL for the story in question, in two parts:

    (1) http://www.economist.com/science-technology
    (2) /displaystory.cfm?story_id=16160853&source=features_box_main

    Don't know if that will work.

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  • 80. At 11:44pm on 24 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    68. At 10:09pm on 24 May 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    "BP and USA just have to keep trying every possible option available. They cannot stop until the leaks are plugged."

    ____________

    This isn't the first time a President has had problems with leaks. They troubled Richard Nixon no end.

    The leaks that are troubling President Obama probably have a better chance of being plugged.

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  • 81. At 00:04am on 25 May 2010, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    I hope Ken Salazar also gives the Army Corps of Engineers a good kick because they've held up on permitting the state to dredge barrier islands to block oil from getting further into the bays and marshes; the Army Corps hasn't finished their environmental impact study yet...

    With oil in the marshes and tar balls coming ashore every day, Louisiana has no choice left but to act without federal approval and begin building the necessary sand barriers. I and many others down here fully support Governor Jindal and the local officials in this decision, and I dare the Feds to stop us.

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  • 82. At 00:56am on 25 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    InterestedForeigner (#79) "No, that's last week's edition."

    Then you just get it sooner than we do. I'll wait. Thanks.

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  • 83. At 01:01am on 25 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    brazilwatcher (#73) "Nobody did this deliberately, it was an accident, which was always possible in what is a very risky business."

    Certainly nobody deliberately destroyed a billion dollar drilling platform and caused a huge environmental calamity. But that doesn't mean that someone didn't do something wrong for which they should be held accountable, beyond merely cleaning up the mess and paying for the damage. It is not sufficient to merely say these things will happen from time to time. It is necessary to determine what happened and who was responsible in order to take measures to reduce the chance of it happening again.

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  • 84. At 01:07am on 25 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Andy Post (#69) "The military is saying clearly that BP should stay in the driver's seat."

    Not exactly. For one thing, the commandant is not "the military." He is the National Incident Commander for this incident, and he will remain so even after he retires from the Coast Guard next month. I would say that Admiral Allen is "in the driver's seat," but he is not prepared to take BP off the job. (He could, precisely because he is "in the driver's seat.")

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  • 85. At 01:20am on 25 May 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    83. GH1618 :

    brazilwatcher (#73) "Nobody did this deliberately, it was an accident, which was always possible in what is a very risky business."

    Certainly nobody deliberately destroyed a billion dollar drilling platform and caused a huge environmental calamity. But that doesn't mean that someone didn't do something wrong for which they should be held accountable, beyond merely cleaning up the mess and paying for the damage.

    *******************

    A very rational response. Few would argue with it. Too bad our president is having so much trouble acknowledging it.

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  • 86. At 01:28am on 25 May 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    84. GH1618: The driver's seat is one place this White House does not want to be. Otherwise, people might start asking it for its "plans".

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  • 87. At 01:44am on 25 May 2010, Deutschman wrote:

    Does anyone seriously doubt that the oil reserves in the deep ocean will figure prominently in our survival? The world's fossil fuel consumption habits are not tending towards frugality and the field of competitors for this decreasing resource is widening and becoming more aggressive.

    Working in 5,000 ft water depth is not a simple matter of of adding a few thousand meters of this and few more of that and pumping gas into your SUV, America. I can't imagine why the US government didn't highlight the impressive pioneering aspects of this well and and have BP open a crisis centre in the White House. Salazar 'putting his boot on BP's neck' - I cringe at the words. They almost confirm that he is the inappropriate person to deal with the challenge. To take over the disaster response would be the worst case scenario for the government if they followed through with Sen. Salazar's threats.

    The success or failure of these deepwater wells will have a greater strategic impact on your country's security than the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mr. President. I do sincerely hope that your administration starts to realise that this is not another set piece political confrontation with one of their pet bogey men.

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  • 88. At 01:52am on 25 May 2010, amazon21 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 89. At 02:01am on 25 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    87. At 01:44am on 25 May 2010, Deutschman wrote:

    Does anyone seriously doubt that the oil reserves in the deep ocean will figure prominently in our survival?
    ____________

    We have had 37 years since the Yom Kippur War to move our economy off oil. It is long past time significantly to lessen, if not to end, our dependency on this dangerous drug that fuels political instability, injustice, and war all around the world; that undermines national security; and that is destroying our environment.

    We don't need to drill anymore wells, deepwater or otherwise.

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  • 90. At 04:18am on 25 May 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Mark: '"While the president can command the biggest and most powerful military the world has ever known, he simply doesn't have the sort of technical equipment or expertise to deal with a spill 5,000ft below the ocean."

    That's not to say that it isn't out there. Canadian law demands that when they drill for oil anywhere, that the necessary people/equipment are standing by, at the ready to swoop in and clean up any accident that may occur at a moment's notice if and when one occurs. Saw it on Count Down tonight. It's a shame that we didn't have these laws in place up until now. I don't even want to think about the damage this will do to our international reputation. I can just hear the conversations at tea, in cafes and on the Bullet train. "Those yanks can surely command the attention of any nation in the world at the firing of a gun, but ask them to look after their own? That is too much for them to handle."

    Perhaps we aught take a leaf out of Canada's book? I, for one, think we should borrow their entire book!!

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  • 91. At 07:14am on 25 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Meanwhile, the US government regulators who oversee offshore oil drilling have granted at least 19 environmental waivers for gulf drilling projects and 17 drilling permits since the oil leak began more than a month ago, the New York Times reported on Monday.

    The new permits and waivers would appear to contradict President Barack Obama's declaration of a moratorium on new offshore drilling, issued soon after the rig explosion" [BBC]



    So here you have your answer re 'tough talking' environmental president
    and his equally environ-mental Interior Secretary.

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  • 92. At 07:46am on 25 May 2010, seanspa wrote:

    "suggesting a government takeover when they, clearly, do not have the expertise or experience to deal with something like this is ridiculous."


    Can I quote this on every thread?

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  • 93. At 08:44am on 25 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Emergency teams are working to contain a crude oil spill after two ships - a tanker and a bulk carrier - collided in waters off Singapore.

    An estimated 2,000 tonnes of crude oil are leaking into the sea." [BBC]



    They call 2,000 tonnes spill an emergency?!


    Let them to Louisiana shores come!

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  • 94. At 11:57am on 25 May 2010, Iapetus wrote:

    25. At 4:42pm on 24 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:


    And if they were replaced, the Right Wing would flap and spin-doctor Obama as an overbearing facist."

    Philly-Mom, the Right Wing would never call Obama an overbearing fascist; they would call him an overbearing Marxist.


    You haven't read enough right-wing blogs.

    Quite apart from the tendancy of people of all sorts of political views to use "fasciast" to mean "authoritarian" (or "someone I disagree with"), there is a common meme among the right that fascism is actually a form of socialism. (Probably based on the fact that Nazi stands for "National Socialist", and possibly influenced by their tendancy to define "socialist" as "anyone who wants to extend government control over something I don't want them to control").


    Additionally, there is a inaccurate definition of fascism that I have seen bandied around the internet that defines it as "when the government works for/is controlled by corporations". (I expect this is based on a misunderstanding of a quote from Mussolini about the essence of fascism being corporatism - but where "corporatism" had a different meaning to what people now tend to assume it means).

    This definition is mainly used by people on the left, but I've recently seen people on the right using it as well, after it was pointed out that Obama's healthcare reforms involved obliging people to buy private healthcare and so couldn't reasonably be described socialism.

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  • 95. At 12:28pm on 25 May 2010, ann arbor wrote:

    I hope Obama does not appear impotent. We are only accustomed to inept.

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  • 96. At 12:34pm on 25 May 2010, ann arbor wrote:

    Re; Lucy 68

    "The worst thing Obama could do is show inaction. As long as President Obama is trying every option available, he is doing everything he can."

    So far, Obama has only set up a panel to talk about it. I guess he is doing everything he "can".

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  • 97. At 1:10pm on 25 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    BBC has consistently censored my postings when I've predicted the worst possible outcome for both BP and its executives as a result of this disaster. So I won't be explicit but take your worst case scenario for them and multiply it by 1000 and that is my prediction. When will the oil stop pouring into the Gulf of Mexico so that the cleanup can start to become effective? It's anyone's guess. The mess is already far worse than the Exxon Valdiz spill. It will be decades before the damage has been fully mitigated.

    I also predict that the cause of the accident will prove to be the result of measures that were ultimately motivated by cost cutting and were part of a consistent pattern that has resulted in BP being responsible for what is probably by far the worst oil industry safety record in the US.

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  • 98. At 2:14pm on 25 May 2010, arclightt wrote:

    @74 (StD):"Keeping up the pressure is essential, but there is a difference between making sure people remain focused on fixing this problem and bullying companies to score political points. People must understand that problems like this are so infrequent and unique that solving them require new and unprecedented solutions, and that doing so takes time."

    Dominick, that's mostly true, I think, but it seems to me that our plan to shut off the flow from one of these things needs some modification. Now that we have been reminded what a mess one of these offshore wells can make, they have just gained a new designation: targets of opportunity for folks committed to mayhem. We can't wait this long the next time (and there WILL be a "next time" somewhere).

    "This is a sad state of affairs but at this point the only thing our government can do is focus on cleanup operations, the legal ramifications of this disaster, learn from this lesson and ensure all applicable policy and safety standards are modified accordingly, and let the oil companies do their job."

    Good summary. Telling the Congress folks to stay quiet and let the engineers focus on what they are doing would probably be a good idea as well. It does make me wonder, though, to what extent our lack of manufacturing capability figures into the lack of any ability to turn specialized hardware solutions around quickly...

    "The Coast Guard Commandant is right, BP and the oil industry in general are the best suited to deal with this problem and the role of the military should be limited to assisting and expediting matters. "

    Reminds me of the time many years ago when the Army was supposed to take over delivery of mail, or coal, or some such nonsense. It turned out to be a fiasco, as should be expected. Military folks are trained to take and hold territory and execute a nation's political will...I don't think operating an oilfield falls in that basket!


    Regards,
    Arclight

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  • 99. At 3:43pm on 25 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    For those of us looking to see how our Government and BP are working in conjunction to stop the blow-out, I post the following quote from the BP press release issued 24 MAY 2010:

    "The US Government has appointed a flow rate technical team (FRTT) to determine the well flow rate. The FRTT includes the US Coast Guard, NOAA, MMS, Department of Energy and the US Geological Survey. BP will continue to promptly provide all information necessary to make as accurate an assessment as possible of the rate of flow."

    This is just one example of the type of support our Government is providing during this crisis. It is very important to know the flow-rates, and what effects the flow-rates before the "top kill" application can begin. The U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA, MMS, Department of Energy, and the U.S. Geological Survey have the means and expertise to monitor and provide this vital information.

    Here is the full BP Press Release from the BP Website.

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  • 100. At 3:59pm on 25 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. # 94. At 11:57am on 25 May 2010, Iapetus wrote:
    25. At 4:42pm on 24 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:


    And if they were replaced, the Right Wing would flap and spin-doctor Obama as an overbearing facist."

    Philly-Mom, the Right Wing would never call Obama an overbearing fascist; they would call him an overbearing Marxist.


    You haven't read enough right-wing blogs.

    Quite apart from the tendancy of people of all sorts of political views to use "fasciast" to mean "authoritarian" (or "someone I disagree with"), there is a common meme among the right that fascism is actually a form of socialism. (Probably based on the fact that Nazi stands for "National Socialist", and possibly influenced by their tendancy to define "socialist" as "anyone who wants to extend government control over something I don't want them to control").

    ------------------

    OK, fair enough. Let me re-phrase it: Anyone in the Right Wing who understands the definition of fascism wouldn't call Obama an overbearing fascist, they'd call him an overbearing (insert politically correct term for those who favor government control of the economy, the re-distribution of wealth, elimination of individual rights in favor of collective rights and a systematic undermining of American influence and power, here).

    Better?

    Better?

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  • 101. At 4:19pm on 25 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 98 arclightt-

    "Now that we have been reminded what a mess one of these offshore wells can make, they have just gained a new designation: targets of opportunity for folks committed to mayhem."

    Well stated.

    I just wonder if Iran has figured this out long ago; developing strategies and equipment to meet just such a contingency? Is that what they are offering BP and Washington?

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  • 102. At 4:58pm on 25 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #98. At 2:14pm on 25 May 2010, arclightt wrote:

    "Reminds me of the time many years ago when the Army was supposed to take over delivery of mail, or coal, or some such nonsense. It turned out to be a fiasco, as should be expected. Military folks are trained to take and hold territory and execute a nation's political will...I don't think operating an oilfield falls in that basket!"


    I believe you're referring to the great railroad strike of 1877 when in the depths of a depression proposed wage cuts by railroads touched off strikes by union railroad workers across the country. The strikers used force to keep trains from running and violent confrontations ensued between strikers, railroad security, law enforcement, and local vigilantes. Other unions and sympathetic citzens joined the strikers and the violence escalated. Some state militia units sent to restore order refused to fire on the crowds, in other places they did with lethal results and in Baltimore citizens attacked National Guard units sent to restore order.

    Full scale rioting in several major cities and a lack of rail transport that the nation's economy was dependent on finally resulted in President Hayes ordering the Army to intervene on the pretext that the trains carried U.S. mail which needed to be protected. Federal troops restored order at bayonet point and the strike fizzled out.

    I don't see the similarity between that and what's happening in the Gulf of Mexico today but I agree, and the military would readily admit, that they're not trained to deal with capping udersea oil wells. If the president told them to do it they would salute and do their best of course but they'd probably end up consulting and hiring the same people already working the problem.

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  • 103. At 5:10pm on 25 May 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    At PursuitOfLove (#90),
    The Canadian oil policy sounds interesting, if it's better than their hockey game...

    Snap!
    And the Philly Flyers continue on to battle Chicago for the Stanley Cup!

    Hey - ya gotta celebrate the good news when ya can.

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  • 104. At 5:24pm on 25 May 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    I wonder if President Obama has asked former President Bush for help?

    After all, Bush and his friends have a lot of knowledge about oil.



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  • 105. At 5:41pm on 25 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    There seems to be some misunderstanding about drilling permits (see post #91). Only permits for new offshore wells are on hold. Existing operations are not affected.

    Here is a link to a short report from UPI on the subject:

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2010/05/24/Drilling-permits-waivers-still-issued/UPI-30251274710757/

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  • 106. At 5:42pm on 25 May 2010, Echotheword wrote:

    Yesterday, I was watching the world news regarding the Gulf of Mexico. They were interviewing the citizens along the coast line. Their faces gave an expression of disbelief with this tragedy. How can a company drill oil and not have a safety measure in place? We all want to know this in the United States.
    BP environmental crime will never be justified to the full extent of the law. BP engineers have experience in oil spills with the company many times over and never had a safety measure in place (over a 100 oil spills)
    MORAL OF THE STORY:
    EDUCATION CAN NOT PROMISED INTELLIGENTS; BUT, EDUCATION MAY CONTRIBUTE TO DISASTER OF THE MANY THINGS.

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  • 107. At 6:13pm on 25 May 2010, arclightt wrote:

    @102 (s#): "I believe you're referring to the great railroad strike of 1877 when in the depths of a depression proposed wage cuts by railroads touched off strikes by union railroad workers across the country. "

    Actually, I was thinking of an incident early in the 20th century, but I may have mangled it. I took a moment to read the Wikipedia article on this; assuming it has the facts correct, it also points out numerous other depressions, etc., that played into this event, and flowed from it.

    @101 (pd): "I just wonder if Iran has figured this out long ago; developing strategies and equipment to meet just such a contingency? Is that what they are offering BP and Washington?"

    I'm not aware that Iran has much expertise in undersea oil drilling, but I could definitely be wrong.

    @All: Consider that the pressure of the water at 5,000 feet below sea level is (if I did my math right) about 2200 lbs / sq. in. Oil coming out of the wellhead at that depth is obviously under higher pressure than that; otherwise it wouldn't be coming out at all.

    Now think about what kind of construction and what kind of materials will be required to seal the wellhead with those kinds of pressures in play, AND consider that the work has to be done with remote hands vs. the typical oilpatch worker. I'm amazed that we've been as successful as we have been just building these things in the past.

    Arclight

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  • 108. At 6:26pm on 25 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. 97. At 1:10pm on 25 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "...part of a consistent pattern that has resulted in BP being responsible for what is probably by far the worst oil industry safety record in the US."

    Do you have a source for that? I'd be interested in comparing BP's record in the American market with that of American oil companies since there have been some comments about BP's foreign ownership being a factor in the cause of the spill. A comparison of safety records may not account for this particular incident but it would show a trend if one exists.

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  • 109. At 6:49pm on 25 May 2010, bart wrote:

    For years up to this point companies in the Oil industry may have believed in he impossibility of these system failing. So much so that they started to get loose with the application of the techniques they were applying in the first place.

    A System that has a fail proof double safety system is Not that when overconfidence allows a company to install a system that has 50 percent of its functions disabled or in operable.

    BP and the entire industry does not or did not create a series of systems to prevent leaks they considered impossible to occur or manage leaks they considered impossible.

    I have a Plumber friend who when we were moving a Ice Machine in the club cut and rolled and clamped a Copper water line with a pair of Vice Grips effectively sealing a leak temporarily until new adapters and fittings could be located and attached to a replacement unit.

    Could a industry have a number of these devices lying around to cap a well just in case.

    Why would a company Brain Storm a number of disaster solutions when they do not believe these things are going happen in the first place?

    There are a large number of these companies out there and might it not make some sense if they channeled their resources (shared the cost) of creating and maintaining equipment that can do these things.

    A What if strategy possibly.

    What if there is a Earth Quake, Or Tsunami Or Or Or the Impossible happens.

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  • 110. At 6:54pm on 25 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #10. At 12:48pm on 24 May 2010, averum wrote:
    "The U.S. Government is a sissy pants trying to look tough. They're so bought-and-paid-for by big oil and big pharma and Wall St., they can't wipe their nose without permission (from said criminals). The U.S. government is to blame, plain and simple. Why? Because they ALLOWED big oil, including BP, Exxon, Texaco, Haliburton and their Bush-Cheney gang make their own rules and be the sheriff. There was no REAL effort for enforcement. There isn't now. When this is over, there still won't be.

    Mr. Obama might not be fully to blame, but he's in charge now and he doesn't seem to be able to tell the truth about what SHOULD be done. That truth being to force ALL oil companies and their associated trades pay, in a big way; FORCE a move away from petroleum dependence by clobbering the lobbying groups who have kept America dependent on oil, even after the first crisis in the mid 70’s. How stupid... no, how crooked can they be? The answer is clear. Very. There is NO serious movement for getting off the oil addiction. The American people are a bunch of sissies driving their luxury pick-up trucks and SUV's as if they are real HE-MEN."

    A lot of people would agree with you about the undue influence of large corparations on the U.S. political system and government policies (although you an obnoxious way of phrasing it).

    As for oil addiction, show a practical alternative at a competive price. There isn't one. Oh there's been a lot of research and some good ideas found but without huge subsidies they aren't competitive and there is a good deal of resistance from the American public to more and bigger government subsidies. That may be overcome in time.

    Now as for your comments about luxury pickups and SUVs I look at this way: this is a free country and I have the right to make choices in the products I buy. If I choose to spend more to purchase and operate a larger vehicle that is more comfortable and safer in a crash than some of those little beer cans on wheels others choose to drive in the name of economy then I have made a choice based on my needs and priorities. If others choose economy over survivability that is their choice and I don't argue with their right or their reasons--as long as they don't try to force them on me.

    Besides, I don't see myself going hunting in the back country in a Mini-Cooper or a Toyota Prius.

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  • 111. At 7:07pm on 25 May 2010, bart wrote:

    It might just make some sense if The President while getting all bent out of shape decided on some concrete real measures and yes increased oversight on this industry.

    First require Every platform out there to verify that any disaster equipment/control equipment is tested immediately. If it fails turn it off or stop drilling until it is 100 percent operational.

    If you are in production and not 100 percent stop pumping go to a safe mode if one exists and fix the problem. Then start pumping again.

    Second stop drilling any deep wells until the industry and the company doing the work is capable of preventing these things before drilling starts. Equipment either on site or in the area.

    I do not know if after drilling a well if the BOP is removed and used elsewhere or if it left in place.

    I wonder what number of these things currently out there have failed batteries and faulty parts regardless of make or national origin.

    Sort of a Tip of the Iceberg as it were.

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  • 112. At 7:08pm on 25 May 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    103. At 5:10pm on 25 May 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    At PursuitOfLove (#90),
    The Canadian oil policy sounds interesting, if it's better than their hockey game...

    Snap!
    And the Philly Flyers continue on to battle Chicago for the Stanley Cup!

    Hey - ya gotta celebrate the good news when ya can.

    ************************************************************
    Congrats Philly Flyers! I was happy that they won & they knocked off the team that took us out - The Caps - oh, what a boo hoo night that was - I'm still not over it.

    all this oil stuff is really depressing..........my heart breaks for those residents along the coast, I can't imagine what must be going through their minds.......you hang in there, people!

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  • 113. At 7:12pm on 25 May 2010, glasshead wrote:

    Hi Mark, like you have time to read every blog! From day one I wondered where the 100 or so qualified workers on the rig were shuffled off to. Out of 100 people who took such an extreme personal risk to work in such an extreme environment, I ask the question "are those not the people who have some real experience of what we are up against and some answers to stop this monster. If the company is negligible then will we know the full estimated quantity of oil in the well and what calculations to achieve an effective stoppage of what looks like an underwater volcano.

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  • 114. At 7:21pm on 25 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Here's a link to an interesting background article on BP by Yom Bower, writing in the Wall Street Journal:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703871904575216620922595624.html

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  • 115. At 7:23pm on 25 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 107 arclightt-I'm not aware that Iran has much expertise in undersea oil drilling, but I c

    "I'm not aware that Iran has much expertise in undersea oil drilling, but I could definitely be wrong."

    The Iran Offshore Oil Company [IOOC] is currently in negotiations with Brazil to perform offshore drilling. The IOOC is also in negotiations with India for the same.

    The IOOC has current, operating wells in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea. Those in the Caspian include deepwater wells.

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  • 116. At 7:42pm on 25 May 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 106 echotheword-

    "MORAL OF THE STORY:
    EDUCATION CAN NOT PROMISED INTELLIGENTS; BUT, EDUCATION MAY CONTRIBUTE TO DISASTER OF THE MANY THINGS."


    Do you mean to state: "Education cannot promise intelligence..."?

    I am not really sure I understand where you are going with the second part of that statement. "The lack of intelligence may contribute to disaster.", perhaps?

    How does one accumulate intelligence, if not through education? Keep in mind that intellect gained through life experience is part of the ongoing educational process.

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  • 117. At 7:51pm on 25 May 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    There have been references to BP being a foreign owned (and therefore foreign itself) company. Here's a little background from Wiki:

    On August 11, 1998, Amoco announced it would merge with British Petroleum (BP) in the world's largest industrial merger. Originally, the plan was for all US BP service stations to be converted to Amoco while all overseas Amoco service stations were to be converted to BP. But by 2001 BP announced that all Amoco service stations would either be closed or renamed to BP service stations, including the remaining stations still bearing the "Standard" name. However, BP rebranded its gas as "Amoco Fuels", including "Amoco Ultimate". By 2008, the "Amoco Fuels" brand had been mostly discontinued in favor of "BP Gasoline with Invigorate", but the "Amoco Ultimate" name remains on the company's highest octane gasoline.

    This explains why so many BP executives speak with a Texan accent. I know it's the BP name all over the news, but think American Oil Company, and you won't be too far off.

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  • 118. At 7:52pm on 25 May 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 111, bart:

    "It might just make some sense if The President while getting all bent out of shape decided on some concrete real measures and yes increased oversight on this industry.

    First require Every platform out there..."

    Well, I've got good news for you. All this has already been done.

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  • 119. At 8:30pm on 25 May 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    I thought Salazar resigned. What gives? Hasn't he, as a result of his historical ties with the oil industry and all that that entails in the way of feeling obligated to them etc shircked his responsibilities enough for one colamity?

    And I apologise for not doing this on my post #90, but Mark, a small correction. Obama does not command the "biggest" military the world has ever seen. Armies stretching from the Roman empire to ancient Persia have been ten times bigger than ours is today. And in today's world, I think it's safe to say that, though not as technologically advanced, the Chinese army is a fair deal larger than ours. So again, my apologies to any Chinese/other nationalities out there who may have been made to feel slighted by this misstatement.
    this

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  • 120. At 8:41pm on 25 May 2010, Sacto Joe wrote:

    So much hot air, so little problem solving. Except one poster:

    42. At 6:15pm on 24 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "...I do not work in this field, so I don't understand. It doesn't seem that difficult to me to drill bores for anchor rods in the sea bed, to build a caisson about the leak that encompasses whatever broken equipment can't be moved away, anchor it to the seabed, and then start filling with concrete. How was, or is, the BOP anchored to the bore? Build a copper or zinc lined steel seat about the leaking equipment, build a mating poppet and head frame, embed the whole thing in concrete anchored to the sea bed, and then tighten the poppet into the seat. Once it is tight, enclose the whole thing in concrete, and more concrete."

    OK. Let's look at this thing objectively. You have a pipe that connects to a high pressure reservoir. Forget for the moment that it's under 5,000 feet of water. How do you stop the leak?

    Basically, what Interestedforeigner is saying is, supply a counterforce to the force of the reservoir to the top of the pipe. He further realizers that you have to ANCHOR that counterforce to something.

    But that would take time. Sinking anchors is no trivial issue.

    Alternatives? I can think of one:

    We drop something REALLY HEAVY on top of a plug that fits in the top of the pipe.

    Wait, you say. We've already got 5,000 feet of water sitting on top of it.

    Granted. But there's lots of stuff that's heavier than water. So here's my suggestion.

    1. Build a tapered plug that with enough force on it can fit down the wellhead and seal the leak.

    2. Construct and float a column of heavy stuff over the top of the wellhead. How tall a column? Figure it out. You've got 5,000 feet to play with.

    3. Once the column is constructed, cut off all the pipe leading to the wellhead and position the tapered plug directly over it.

    4. Slowly "unfloat" the column so that it begins to force the tapered plug into the wellhead. Continue to do so until the plug stops the flow.


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  • 121. At 9:07pm on 25 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    PursuirOfLove (#119) "I thought Salazar resigned."

    Where did you get that idea? The problems that led up to this did not originate on his watch. He has said he will clean up the Minerals Management Service and he should have the opportunity to do it.

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  • 122. At 9:13pm on 25 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Sacto Joe (#120) "Granted. But there's lots of stuff that's heavier than water."

    One thing that's heavier than water is drilling mud (about twice as dense). The "top kill" method forces mud into the pipe until the weight of the column is sufficient to counterbalance the oil pressure. And mud has the advantage of being fluid, so will fill all the space available to it. BP is preparing to try this solution tomorrow (May 25).

    So you have a good idea, but BP is way ahead of you with it.

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  • 123. At 9:22pm on 25 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Here is a link to an article by Matthew Daly containing some remarks by Secretary Salazar regarding the Minerals Management Service:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gIXWYBTpLtSayJtg41LKXpxSxVPAD9FU20IO3

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  • 124. At 9:23pm on 25 May 2010, spnan60 wrote:

    The oil spill is terrible & the fact that BP cannot repair the problem is another sign of our egocentric corporate times. BP should not be fired but may need to become part of consortium to find a solution. Surely there are people in this vast world of ours who have answers & those in power should LISTEN. The US government is not & cannot be considered an expert on everything but should instead enforce the contract & be certain BP is held accountable for their liabilities for the massive destruction. If accountability is enforced in this instance, perhaps corporations will learn to respect the needs of others as a moral issue.

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  • 125. At 9:43pm on 25 May 2010, mabelwhite wrote:

    "When the end of the world comes, I hope to be in Louisiana." Why? "I'd rather be in Louisiana because everything happens in Louisiana 20 years later than in the rest of the civilized world."

    Interfering, over-regulating nanny federal government not doing enough you say? Odd perspective. I believe that when the EPA pushes someone aside to manage clean-up, they do so at the "pushee's" expense. But what happens when the oil industry already exceeded the cap on their liability for cleanup? So the Obama administration is decentralizing what had grown into a cozy govt/industry relationship and they'll raise the liability limits - good - apart from that, they all must just plug onward to stop the leak. Perhaps Louisiana will also take action...or are they too dependent on the oil industry to make waves?

    The NY Times suggests an additional tax on oil to help defray the costs -and we anticipate taxes to defray the cost of the bank bailout, and to defray the costs of reforming the health insurance industry. It seems like these huge corporations aren't working out all that well, in fact they seem to be running on a communist premise, including the graft and corruption that has given this political theory such a bad name. Except the govt doesn't own and operate the corporations, but rather the corporations own and operate the government (small difference to my mind).

    Oil cleanup liability caps are described at these websites

    http://www.epa.gov/oem/content/lawsregs/opaover.htm

    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/usc.cgi?ACTION=BROWSE&TITLE=42USCC103

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  • 126. At 10:22pm on 25 May 2010, majones6 wrote:

    God blessed our civilisation with the competence to create amazing collaborative entities such as BP that make our lives so much more than they would be otherwise. They deliver to us resources that are beyond the imagination of any individual. Could any individual ever find let alone harness the power equivalent of 5,000 bopd in 5,000 ft of water? BP provides us with the utmost prefessionalism. Noone can do more than they do do in the deep oceans, so forget the "push aside" nonsense from US politicians. Any nation would be proud to do what BP does do, and no nation can deliver more. BP will fix this problem. Noone else will, and noone else can. Be thankful that BP is prepared to finish what its has started. How many politicians do that?

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  • 127. At 10:50pm on 25 May 2010, Koenig wrote:

    BBC moderator, don't know why you did not post this last night. But I am going to try again!!

    Mr. Mardell, I find your condescending language in this article very offensive. Had this happened in your backyard I am sure you would have been up in arms with BP’s incompetence. I don’t see you make fun of BP with their hair-brain ideas of the Dome, Top-hat, throwing junk at the leaky well and siphoning oil through a 6 inch pipe inserted into a 21inh pipe!! Not to mention all the lies about the amount of leak from the beginning only to confess that they were wrong. Even now they just keep pretending that they are doing things to stop the leak. Either they know what they are doing as all of you Brits think so or they are truly lost and are just wasting time. So far they have looked totally disingenuous and you might have been better advised to write about that rather than “Cowboy Ken”.
    So far the only Cowboy in this disaster has been BP and for that they don’t even need to wear a shoestring tie and hat.
    At the end of the day, this may turn out to be a big problem for Obama’s administration but surely even a bigger one for BP.

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  • 128. At 10:55pm on 25 May 2010, mike_nine1962 wrote:

    I think the US will be the first country to limit the depth of sea bed to look for oil to 250 metres.

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  • 129. At 11:15pm on 25 May 2010, mabelwhite wrote:

    But majones6 - I have that respect and gratitude for the hardworking, honest, fair, thoughtful and conscientious human workers - but not for the huge "corporation of BP".

    Did you ever see this film? http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/electric.html

    I read that 'they' (BP, Haliburton, Transocean and various contractors) may not have tested the 'blow valve', that it was dysfunctional, that it did not match specs, and that the rig safety did not comply with minimum regulatory requirements. Here's a link to a prior tale of a haliburton valve pin blow out snafu in the Louisiana gulf coast - it happened once, it probably happened again...

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=5th&navby=docket&no=0030724cv0

    Were these guys under pressure to move fast and cut corners because of corporate return requirements? Do the managers chafe at regulatory and safety checks and compliance because it impacts the huge overall budget and their division might look bad? Do the people making those decisions ever go anywhere near a rig? Did the same thing happen with safety compliance at the Massey mine in WV? Are they overworked and under paid, are they union? We may never know.

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  • 130. At 06:48am on 26 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Mom asks: YOU got any ideas, honey?




    Yes I do, but it's too late.

    "That woman" (to use Bill Clinton's parlance) Napolitano, should have contacted Pentagon immediately to find out whether DOD had any technical means or other resourses to be immediately used in the Gulf of Mexico.

    [Yes it DID: including MANNED mini-submersibles used by Navy Seals.]

    And her boss, The ONE should have immediately declared state of emergency in Louisiana. Which, of course, he didn't. His minions, issuing new oil drilling permits instead.

    Ask the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, what he thinks of The ONE and his inept minions today, and he'll tell you, mummy.


    P.S. Andy Post: Ken Salazar's environmental record, which should have disqualified him from ever becoming either: EPA chief OR an Interior Secretary, was well known to his colleague in U.S. Senate, who later has become our Commander-in-Chief.

    [You know, that senator from Illinois who usually voted "present"?]

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  • 131. At 06:54am on 26 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Ken Salazar has been fighting for environmental crimes for a very long time. He's riding to your town next."




    After reading about Salazar's record (check even a simple Wiki entry) and getting a word that he was riding to our town we've already contacted our local sheriff and created a possy to deal with that threat.


    So have no fear. :)

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  • 132. At 08:42am on 26 May 2010, Barney wrote:

    Just listened to your perceptive report on White House handling of the oil leak, Mark. Do you think the White House would be using the same sort of language ('boot on neck' etc.)and adopting a similar attitude if it was a US oil company in the dock rather than a British one? In other words is BP being caned the harder for being 'foreign'?

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  • 133. At 3:47pm on 26 May 2010, Matthew Thierens wrote:

    What we see here is symptomatic of the US approach to everything; talk hard and fast and then when it comes to walking the walk they come up with some diluted, crass reasoning to excuse themselves from taking any of the blame themselves. I've worked on rigs. I have been in well control situations. This is mother nature in all its fury. You can't simply throw a bunch of people, money and mindless rhetoric at it and expect the problem to go away. This requires a highly advanced engineering approach. Anyone, including the white house, who does not feel that BP is doing everything they can to stop this is on another planet. This is a country who invaded Iraq for oil; they have no right to take the moral high ground with this and start dispensing the bullying tactics that they are so famous for. America is no longer the biggest or the greatest. The adminstration right now is acting like a bunch of kindergarden children and have done nothing practical to address the problem and actually provide a solution. All they are doing is feeding BP enough rope to hang themselves with. A typically underhanded and manipulative solution to a crisis that has now become everyones problem. When it comes to being elected and harnessing the power they crave, they will easily take the money and run. When the balance of power shifts to appease a population so reliant on oil consumption, all it does is highlight the hyprocrisy of it all. A classic case of biting off the hand that feeds them

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  • 134. At 4:48pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Matthew Thierens (#133) "Anyone, including the white house, who does not feel that BP is doing everything they can to stop this is on another planet."

    Yesterday the President, taking questions about the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, said: "we're doing everything we can." "We" in that context includes BP. He also said "we are now having to do a thorough review" to see how oil companies "can say they know how to handle these problems when actually they don't."

    It's pretty clear that although BP is doing everything they can, they do not actually have a proven method for dealing with a deep-water blowout. They are improvising hoping to find something that works. Not good enough, in my opinion.

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  • 135. At 5:05pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Matthew Thierens (#133) "The adminstration right now is acting like a bunch of kindergarden children and have done nothing practical to address the problem and actually provide a solution."

    What, exactly, would you have the administration do to provide a solution?

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  • 136. At 5:21pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Barney (#132), the White House did not use the "boot on neck" metaphor. It was Secretary Salazar.

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  • 137. At 6:41pm on 26 May 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Dangit!
    I'm putting together the ingredients for my Memorial Day BBQ, and my family recipe for North Carolina pork BBQ calls for a bottle of hot pepper sauce, preferably Louisiana Style (and a number of other ingredients which I will not disclose online).

    Stop the Madness!! Viva la Louisiana!!!

    AMOCO - 10 Gallon Hats - Political Pissing Matches - I don't care!
    Just cap the blasted thing!!

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  • 138. At 6:50pm on 26 May 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    @ 133. Matthew Thierens:
    Agreed.
    Unfortunately, as I've mentioned before, the POTUS does not own a magic wand. His power is limited by bureaucracy, and some times our Checks and Balances come up blank.

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  • 139. At 7:01pm on 26 May 2010, selwyn wrote:

    I have worked in the petroleum industry for all of my working life and reflecting on the recent disaster in the GOM makes me wonder as to why we in the industry don’t implement some of the basis precautionary measures to the offshore scenario as we do for the onshore ones.

    On very many land locations that I have worked on in the past, some oil companies insist that a ‘kill line be attached to a production wing valve’. This kill line would be installed away from the location and be easily accessible by a cementing pump truck. The main reason for installing this line would be to kill the well in the event of a failure BOP’s or the production Xmas Tree.

    To implement this on a subsea BOP (vs. a surface BOP as in the above) would be a control and cost restraint, as perhaps another ram would have to be installed or even using a redundant inlet below the bottom most ram preventer.

    A ‘kill line’ can them be attached to this outlet on subsea BOP and the line itself installed on the ocean bed a few hundred yards away from the installation. The objective here is that access to this kill line could be engineered with the aid of an ROV and the rest would then be history.

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  • 140. At 10:14pm on 26 May 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 130, powermeerkat:

    "Andy Post: Ken Salazar's environmental record, which should have disqualified him from ever becoming either: EPA chief OR an Interior Secretary, was well known to his colleague in U.S. Senate, who later has become our Commander-in-Chief."

    I've followed Salazar's career since he showed up in Gov. Romer's cabinet back in the 90s. I don't remember any controversy surrounding his actions vis-a-vis environmental regulation. Perhaps you can jog my memory?

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  • 141. At 10:40pm on 26 May 2010, Matthew Thierens wrote:

    @ GH1618

    The ultimate solution to this is the one solution that the government would be reluctant to take a decision on; a massive underwater detonation. As mad as that sounds it has been done before. The energy industry is doing what it can to address this; the government is acting as judge, jury and executioner and perhaps the ultimate solution as above. The problem is greater than just one oil spill; i find the sentiment of blaming one company alone for this rather disturbing. Regardless of the media spin, BP is the safest company i have ever worked with. The notion of cutting corners is absurd. I work for a company who has been affected by this tragedy and above all else safety is by far the top priority. In some respects this event is a posioned chalice that nobody would wish to deal with. Nobody wanted this to happen. I don't think painting BP as a demonic entity in the media or otherwise helps anyone. If BP were forced under the immense pressure to relinquish any further drilling in the gulf and were in effect forced out, there could be thousands of jobs affected as a result in addition to the ones in the fishing industry and otherwise. The real villans in all of this is not big business. It is us. The consumer. We demand and they supply. We can be the harshest critics but perhaps the problem lies alot closer to home than we think.

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  • 142. At 11:03pm on 26 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Matthew Thierens (#141) "The ultimate solution to this is ... a massive underwater detonation."

    That sounds to me like a last-ditch gamble, not the first choice.

    "I find the sentiment of blaming one company alone for this rather disturbing."

    I don't think the government (or most people) are. There are at least three companies involved, and it is not yet clear who was responsible for what and whether they did anything wrong. BP, however, as the prime contractor, is responsible in that sense.

    Both President Obama and Secretary Salazar have also found fault with the Minerals Management Service, and promised changes.

    "BP is the safest company i have ever worked with. The notion of cutting corners is absurd."

    There are published reports of statements from persons present that problems were discounted and shortcuts were taken. I won't prejudge it -- there will certainly be an inquiry which will attempt to determine the facts. Saying that it "absurd" to think that BP (or one of their contractors) might have cut corners is prejudging it, I think. Let's wait for the inquiry.

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  • 143. At 11:23pm on 26 May 2010, theloudbloke wrote:

    Response to BluesBerry et al.

    It is obvious to me that you like the media and the US govt. don't have the slightest clue what you are talking about.

    Those in the US that choose to berate BP over the Macondo well blowout, should wake up and smell the coffee.

    The US is one of the biggest (if not number 1) consumers of fossil fuels particularly oil and gas worldwide.

    If you weren't consuming so much of the stuff there wouldn't be a need to drill so many holes.

    However given that modern society would cease to function without it then 'we' must accept the risks in exploration and production, nothing is 100% safe, not even wind or solar power. Oh and wind and solar will not satisfy the US's need for energy so don't even think you can.

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  • 144. At 08:19am on 27 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    e #140

    AndyPost. Do you REALLY need refreshing re Salazar's environmental record?


    In 2005, Salazar voted against increasing fuel-efficiency standards (CAFE) for cars and trucks, a vote that the League of Conservation Voters notes is anti-environment. In the same year, Salazar voted against an amendment to repeal tax breaks for ExxonMobil and other major petroleum companies.


    In 2006, Salazar voted to end protections that limit offshore oil drilling in Florida's Gulf Coast.

    In 2007, Salazar was one of only a handful of Democrats to vote against a bill that would require the United States Army Corps of Engineers to consider global warming when planning water projects.


    How soon they forget! :(((

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  • 145. At 10:28am on 27 May 2010, Matthew Thierens wrote:

    @ GH1618

    I agree that we do need to wait for the official investigation to be concluded. For those of us who are closely connected to this incident in one way or the other it is hard to comprehend how so many things went wrong. We have been so quick to forget, it seems, that 11 people died in this tragedy. It is a delicate situation indeed with repercussions for both industry and the government and the fall out from it will be felt for many years.

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  • 146. At 11:09am on 27 May 2010, majones6 wrote:

    Ref post 141, the ultimate solution is in progress, achieved by a relief well to intercept the leaking well. The relief well will be used to cement-up the leaking well in a safe and controlled manner (unless lightning strikes twice and that well has problems; but BP is currently drilling two relief wells so it has a backup). BP is in well-charted territory. They know what they are doing, and seem to be totally committed with all the tools and money that they need to do it. I am sure that the leaking well will be permanently and safely sealed. And then they will effect a clean-up.

    BP is a human endeavour that is designed and proven to finish what its starts. It is a marvel of human achievement. I'm not sure that the same can be said of our governments!

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  • 147. At 2:47pm on 27 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    BP 'knows what it's doing'? Oh really?



    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/27/us/27rig.html?th&emc=th

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  • 148. At 7:25pm on 27 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "opinion poll said 60% of Americans were unhappy with the government's response [to an oil spill]" (BBC)

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  • 149. At 4:17pm on 28 May 2010, Simon wrote:

    The thing that interests me the most about this terrible disaster is the way BP is being demonised, as are all the other companies who deal in fossil fuels. I know because my background is coal.To percieve this company as being greedy and not caring about the environment could well be true, but it is us, the consumer who drives the need to drill 1 Km down. Fossil fuels are running out and according to concensus of scientific knowledge changing the planet as we know it. Yet we all choose to ignore this fact and continue to live the lives we have been blessed with - cars, holidays abroad, warmth in winter and coolness in summer, more and more consumer goods which all require fossil fuels to power them. The US more than any other country, the average US citizen uses twice as much power as people in the UK and we are extremely comfortable over here. So let us all be honest about this. We are all responsible for this disaster. We either change or live with the consequences.

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  • 150. At 4:41pm on 28 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Re post #148: "60% of Americans were unhappy with the government's response"

    Sixty percent of Americans are unhappy about pretty much everything. People love to complain, even when they don't know the facts and wouldn't know how to do a better job themselves.

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  • 151. At 5:29pm on 28 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Simon (#149) "... the average US citizen uses twice as much power as people in the UK ..."

    I assume you mean energy instead of power. I doubt that people in the US are that much different than people in the UK. The difference in energy use is affected by population density. The population density in the UK is about eight times that of the US. That means that average transportation distances are shaorter in the UK, so fuel consumption is lower. A citizen of the UK living in the US will use more fuel than he would in the UK just getting around.

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  • 152. At 5:43pm on 28 May 2010, Simon wrote:

    I worked for a US owned mining machinery company over here in the UK. Accident statistics from all the plants around the world where published monthly,the US plants always had the worst record and the UK plants the best.I thing risk taking is built into the american mindset, often leading to greatness often leading to disaster, as evidenced by the numerous american tankers who have bumped into this small island over the years. This was cutting edge drilling at this depth, driven by our need for that terrible,dirty, dangerous and wonderfull black stuff.I doubt any drilling company could have done any better in dealing with this disaster. As for the US gov or any gov taking over, dear god no. Best leave it to those who have an overwhelming need for this to end,BP - it is costing them a fortune and the sooner it is capped the better from their point of view.I will hold my hat up here and say that I dont know the official national accident statistics for the US but I will wager they are a lot worse than the UKs - off to search for that info. The UKs statistics can be found at the Health & Safety Executive.

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  • 153. At 6:39pm on 28 May 2010, Simon wrote:

    #151 GH1618 A citizen of the UK living in the US will use more fuel than he would in the UK just getting around.

    That is a fair point to make. But it would be interesting to know the average mpg of the average US car. That really is not the point I was tryng to make. Its the way we blame everybody else for damage done whilst supplying our own love of the good life. This is not by any means restricted to the US, we all do it. Dont think for one minuite that I am not guilty of over consumption but I am honest with myself and realise the damage I am doing, dosnt stop me doing it though. The trigger has already, inadvetantly been pulled on this planet. So eat that pork, eat that ham, laugh till you choke on a milligram.

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  • 154. At 02:01am on 30 May 2010, Infuriated American wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 155. At 05:15am on 31 May 2010, Infuriated American wrote:

    B.P doesn't have any more knowledge or expertise than the U.S. government! B.P. said over and over they've never done this before so they don't know what there doing either.

    All they're doing is trial and error maneuvers to shut Americans up while they stand around shrugging their shoulders saying... See!! Were trying! It's not our fault it isn't working.

    Mean while Obama, is doing nothing!!! The only chance we had was to keep it from reaching land.

    Why didn't he call in every oil skimming vassal available in the world to fight this before it hit our shores!

    There are thousands of huge private oil skimming ships available that should have been called upon but weren't ... Why!!??!! .... He's waiting to see what B.P. will actually pay for because he has no authority or control in this disaster.

    Hundreds of people have offered solutions that will help with the clean up by filtering or absorbing the oil. While none of them has a complete solution each of them can definitely help in one area or another. Several have been demonstrated on TV and show great promise, But Obama is allowing B.P. to give a yes or no decision on them... Of course B.P. has denied all of them since they would have to pay for there development.

    Due to his ineptness Obama has allowed the destruction of precious land that will take generations, if ever, to recover.

    Oil companies are out for the money. None of them have any interest who gets hurt in there quest for profit B.P. is no different. They also know it’s very unlikely they will never have to pay anywhere near the full cost. Exxon never did. They were able to postpone there law suit in the courts for TWENTY years !!

    It seem to me the real problem here is Obama!!! he’s the one with the power to push things through. He’s suppose to be the one protecting America.

    Standing on a beach that was just cleaned up by two to three hundred people, hired just for his visit shows he has no idea what’s going on and no intention or ability to do anything!

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  • 156. At 10:17pm on 31 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "Why didn't he call in every oil skimming vassal available in the world to fight this before it hit our shores!" (from post #155)

    Now there's a medieval solution!

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  • 157. At 5:03pm on 02 Jun 2010, mvaeth2 wrote:

    The feds should take over now!!!! and

    BLOW IT UP NOW!

    It wil stop the leak!!!!!

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  • 158. At 3:43pm on 03 Jun 2010, damienhandslip wrote:

    You know, who wanted this deep, deep oil in the first place? The USA.
    Who were the only people could do the job? BP.

    At the outset there was a high element of risk to this drilling operation.

    Why then the posturing from the US?

    Instead of moaning and bickering why don't the USA try and help where called upon by BP? That way whatever conclusion can be reached will be reached more quickly.

    Hurricane season is on the way and now Florida is under threat. Let's see some of the old fashioned alliances we had in WWII come together to help.

    I was proud to see some of the Lousiana people going out to help protect the beaches and their fisherman doing what they could to protect their livelihood and the commercial life of the area.

    If I had gone in for the Oil Industry instead of IT, I would be out there now trying to help.

    Let's cooperate and get it done.

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  • 159. At 4:33pm on 03 Jun 2010, Steve Castle wrote:

    Many valid comments on both sides of this argument.
    However the aggressive language, 'Boot on the neck' is unprofessional and unconstructive.
    The US politicians can bluster all they like.
    I believe BP should limit their payments to the legal level for compensation.
    An accident is an unplanned event. The US failed to control the banks and now they show they have no better control over the oil industry in their territorial waters.
    I would again remind readers that the US reponse to the Bhopal disaster was a disgrace and they have no right to stand on any soapbox regarding this incident.
    The US commentators are good as saying what should be done however they do not appear to be capable of doing it. Maybe if some of the money spent on the military was spent on other technology they have have a chance.
    The US has not yet caught Osama. What makes them think they can fix this any better than BP.
    I am sure the US citizens wonder why the rest of the world holds americans in such low regard. Hypocrisy should be a crime against morality.
    As a British citizen i hope this incident creates sufficient political fall out for us to distance ourselves for the US and stand a little closer to our European partners, with whom we have much more in common.
    My sympathy lies with the animals affected by the oil spill, not the american people.

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  • 160. At 5:12pm on 03 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Steve Castle (#159) "An accident is an unplanned event."

    Of course it was unplanned, but a remaining question is whether or not the accident was due to negligence, and if so, on whose part.

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  • 161. At 5:27pm on 03 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Steve Castle (#159) "I would again remind readers that the US reponse to the Bhopal disaster was a disgrace and they have no right to stand on any soapbox regarding this incident."

    There is no moral equivalence here. The US government has no jurisdiction over industry located in other countries. The government of India had all the powers of zoning and safety regulation which might have prevented the tragedy.

    Union Carbide may well have gotten off much too easily, but it has nothing to do with the US and nothing to do with the current incident in the Gulf, which is within the jurisdiction of the US.

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  • 162. At 5:33pm on 03 Jun 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    156. At 10:17pm on 31 May 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "Why didn't he call in every oil skimming vassal available in the world to fight this before it hit our shores!" (from post #155)

    Now there's a medieval solution!

    ____________

    LOL.

    Entirely fittings, since vassals were often unctuous.

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