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Oil Spill… What Oil Spill?

Gulf Gusher flagAfter initially reporting that there was no leak from the Gulf drilling rig disaster, CNN now reports Oil leaking from site of sunken rig, Coast Guard says.

About 1,000 barrels a day is pouring into the Gulf from the broken pipe, and the stormy weather is preventing effective measures to contain it. The 11 missing workers are now presumed dead, as the majority, if not all of them, were at or near the top of the well casing when the explosion occurred.

If the wind and waves take the oil ashore before BP can stop it, it will be an even worse ecological disaster.

I would note that the pipe may have broken when the damaged rig sank, and there may not have been a leak until that occurred.

2 comments

1 Badtux { 04.25.10 at 1:07 am }

I am absolutely baffled by the notion of an oil rig sinking. We aren’t talking about the Titanic hitting an iceberg here, the pontoons are underwater and full of compartments and you’d have to rupture pretty much all the compartments to make it go glug glug glug. That implies an explosion much larger than what we’re being told, but then how did 100 people manage to get off the rig, if the explosion was that large? My suspicion is that we’re going to find out that there were some construction issues with this Hyundai oil rig that contributed to this disaster…

Disclaimer: While I worked in the oil industry for a while, I was on the refinery and pipeline side of things, so I never saw the offshore rigs first-hand. I was exiting the industry just as the first of the wells drilled by deep-sea rigs came into production. But I still have friends in the industry, and from what they tell me about general construction and safety standards surrounding these things, nothing short of an atomic bomb (or a hurricane, which is more energy than an atomic bomb) should be able to sink one of these rigs…
.-= last blog ..Haunted Accordion =-.

2 Bryan { 04.25.10 at 1:52 pm }

It is possible that hatches were left open when people evacuated and the structure warped from the heat of the fire. There was a supply ship docked at the time, and it took off 100 of the workers, so there may have been large hatches open for unloading and no one secured them on exiting.

A couple of rigs were slammed ashore by Katrina, and they were just towed off after inspection. They are pretty damn tough when sealed.