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2010 May 11 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Isn’t That Special?

From the Houston Chronicle energy blog: Republican senators call oil spill hearing a distraction

“The people testifying today at all these hearings should be spending their valuable time (focused on) the response effort,” said Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., warned that the hearings are a distraction from engineers’ work in Houston and command centers along the coast to devise strategies for stanching the flow of an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil daily from crumpled pipe about a mile underwater.

“Having this and many other hearings on Capitol Hill while there is still an ongoing disaster in the Gulf — while the flow is unabated (and with) 5,000 barrels a day continuing to come up — I think is a mistake,” Vitter said.

So, what are the odds that any of the people testifying knows which side of the car their gas filler cap is on, much less how to cap a gusher.

There is this wonderful invention called the telephone that can be used if someone really needed to get in contact with them. Dick Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton, where is his brilliant idea to stop the oil? How about the Shrubbery?

May 11, 2010   12 Comments

Leak Meter

For the duration this will be at the top of the page, with new posts below it.

Please note that PBS is having to make changes to this meter, as BP changes its story. The new default is the Department of Energy’s final figure of 2,604,000 gallons [62,000 barrels or 8,454.9 metric tons] per day. The total on the meter is the oil that went into the Gulf, as PBS deducts what BP has collected.

Via Pensacola Beach Blog, PBS has a new widget that includes the live feed from BP.

July 15th Update: BP puts the stop time at 2:25PM CDT.

May 11, 2010   30 Comments

New Kid On The Block

The BBC reports on the newest national leader: David Cameron is UK’s new prime minister.

I wish him luck, and hope he doesn’t mind the early election. There is pain in store for everyone’s economy, and “conservatives principles” are not up to the problems that have to be dealt with to get things moving again. The one bright note is that the UK did not convert to the Euro, so they have more room to maneuver that the rest of Europe.

Gordon Brown was an effective Chancellor of the Exchequer, but he just wasn’t comfortable with being Prime Minister. He was good at the technical side, but he was never able to master the public relations side.

Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats has the deputy’s spot, but the LibDems may regret their decision, given the probable course of things in the near future.

Labour needs to recharge after being in office too long and bring in some new people.

The good news for Britain is that even the Conservative Party is to the left of the US Democratic Party.

May 11, 2010   6 Comments

What Happened?

Gulf Gusher symbolThe New Orleans Times-Picayune is still a functioning newspaper with actual reporters who attend hearings and ask experts.

David Hammer is “live blogging” the Rig Explosion hearing being held by the US Coast Guard and the Minerals Management Service in New Orleans. There are actual witnesses to what happened who are sworn in and testify to what they saw and did when the well blew up.

Also of interest is the David Hammer and Mark Schleifstein piece relying on the information they had pieced together:

Powerful puffs of natural gas, called kicks, are a normal occurrence in many deep-ocean drilling operations.

But one intense kick of natural gas caused the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig to be shut down because of the fear of an explosion just weeks before a similar release succeeded in destroying and sinking the platform and sent millions of gallons of oil on a collision course with Louisiana and the rest of the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Shortly before the accident, engineers argued about whether to remove heavy drilling mud that acted as a last defense against such catastrophic kicks, and the decision to replace the mud with much lighter seawater won out.

Hammer and Schleifstein consulted with Robert Bea, a University of California at Berkeley engineering professor, who led the investigation into the New Orleans levee collapse, and is a trusted voice in the Crescent City. Bea is conducting his own investigation into the incident.

At the time of the blow-out they were pumping out the drilling mud and getting ready to insert the concrete plug to close down the well. This was the endgame for the Deepwater Horizon. They were finishing up and preparing to leave.

The well had given them fair warning of the possibility of a blow-out, but they decided to replace the mud with seawater to speed their exit. The mud is toxic and expensive, so it is pumped out of the well. This is normally one of the last things that occurs before the drilling rig disconnects.

May 11, 2010   Comments Off on What Happened?

Energy Independence?

Flag of the Marshall Islands

This is the flag that was flying on the Deepwater Horizon that was drilling in Gulf.

Flag of Switzerland

This is the flag of the corporation that owns the Deepwater Horizon.

Flag of the United Kingdom

This is the flag of the corporation that leased the Deepwater Horizon to do the drilling.

How precisely is a British corporation using a Marshall Islands vessel owned by a Swiss corporation to obtain oil that will be sold on the world market assist the energy independence of the United States? The oil will go to the highest bidder and the profits go to a British corporation, so why is the American Gulf Coast expected to put up with the pollution that is caused?

Updated to include Transocean.

May 11, 2010   Comments Off on Energy Independence?