|I have worked in and around the oil industry for most of my professional career.
I find it extremely interesting and challenging work as a structural and mechanical designer.
This is a fantastic photo of perhaps the greatest accident ever in the industry.
You can see that the fire has mostly burnt out and the morning after photographer can only
now get close enough to take this shot.
This ~$700M vessel that was a state of the art, marvel of engineering is slowly finding its
way to equilibrium and a final resting place on the ocean floor. It has become a tomb for the
11 souls lost in the explosion and fire. I am sure that everyone in the industry is saddened
by this event beyond the loss of human lives, environment and equipment. There is a loss
of pride and integrity of the industry. These deep water offshore drilling units become an
oasis of sea life that is a popular attraction to sport fishermen. The company man who was
in charge of this rig is disgraced beyond description. I am also obliged to point out that
there has never been a blowout like this in US waters. There was a similar accident almost
40 years ago that was operated by Pemex in the Bay of Campeche. The cause was again
operator error and failure to follow established procedures.
I find it very instructive that the administration's response to this disaster was to send SWAT
teams and lawyers to take possession of the ~50 other deep water rigs operating in US
waters. It demonstrates the true motives and methods of this administration. It also
demonstrates just how far removed they are from reality. It was further demonstrated that
the administration's response to the environmental damage had the apparent effect of
exacerbating the problem for political purposes. Bringing to life the administration's tactic to
never let a good crisis go to waste. It appears to me that the intent is to increase
government control of the industry. This is supported by the administration's immediate
push for the "Cap n Trade" legislation. The "Jones act" could have been suspended to
bring a global flotilla of advanced oil skimmers quickly to work to prevent further damage.
Additionally, there were reports of operational delays by Coast Guard vessel inspections
and citations for failing to have the required number of life jackets on board for the
Another, teachable moment was the ship that came to the area to clean the water using the
supposedly new technology of cyclone separators. The EPA made the determination that
the water was not clean enough to be returned to the ocean. (80 ppm vrs 15 ppm) .
That is .008% vrs .0015%.
And they were likely very light hydrocarbons that would be quickly evaporated or dispersed.
So they have to go find an approved disposal site for a tanker load of seawater?
Actually, they took it to the refinery for processing?
Many complained about the excessive bureaucratic burden without success.
I think that the president could have issued an executive order amending the requirement in
order to expedite the clean-up. But, I don't think that was the objective; I believe that the
administration and bureaucracies in general will use regulation to control the people.
Get the picture? This is a runaway bureaucracy.
The natural tendency is toward megalomania.
It will only get worse.
Washington State Voter's Guide
Click Congressional: Then Click 2nd District
Carmack for Congress
Had Enough ? Join with Me
"Preserve, Protect & Defend the Constitution"
Tel: 423-946-7003 Fax: 360-557-5049
We have no energy policy, only regulations of the existing energy industries. The result has been less domestic
production and steadily increasing dependence on foreign suppliers. Aside from Canada many of these suppliers
are hostile to the United States. Venezula, Iran and Iraq come to mind. This administration has proposed an
international carbon trade agreement to lock in a steady international wealth transfer based on carbon emissions.
So, regardless of the source of the carbon based fuel we will still pay all the countries.
A direct wealth transfer based on an unproven theory of "global warming".
Who came up with this idea.
If this is an energy policy, what is the purpose?
Everyone in the oil industry has realized the limitation of the resource since the embargo of 1973.
Enterprising individuals and companies have been trying for decades to find an alternative to carbon based fossil
fuels and there has been some success.
My favorite is ENRON WIND. While the parent company was getting headlines for manipulating the energy
markets and the power grid this wholly owned subsidiary was quietly bringing the newest generation of wind
turbines on line and on the grid at 1.3 megawatts each. The company in now GE WIND.
Subsequently, OTHERS have entered the market with bigger and better units and they are making a measurable
contribution to our energy requirements but not enough.
The question is where do we go from here? I have long been a proponent of nuclear power but even that is not
sustainable indefinitely. We have a limited supply of fuel available but it will buy us more time to develop fusion
reactors or some other form of energy. The good news is that it is clean, really clean.
I am not talking about some electric car fueled by a coal fired power plant, I mean zero emissions.
The electric power can be used to crack water and produce hydrogen fuel for use in combustion engines and
chemical fuel cells. All very environmentally friendly and more sustainable that fossil fuel.
The petroleum has much better uses for our benefit than simply burning it.
We started in the direction of nuclear power with the dramatic end of the second world war and we stopped just as
dramatically at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. I am obliged to point out that the Chernobyl facility lacked a
containment dome designed to contain this type of accident.
Political pressure stopped nuclear development in the US but it flourished elsewhere in the world.
There are a lot of interesting facts about the use of nuclear power since TMI.
The French have pioneered the use of re-processing waste fuel.
Since TMI, we have built more power plants in North Korea than we have here in the US.
We need to reverse this trend.
We should start planning for the siting and construction of many more nuclear plants here and help set global
standards for their construction and operation world wide. It takes a long time to bring these projects on line and I
believe that we should start the process sooner rather than later.
I have shown a wind turbine failure to be fair to the drilling rig and that is to bring about the point of safety in the
nuclear industry. The drilling rig was controlled by one man and the wind turbine is unmanned.
I believe that we have ample history that nuclear power can be safe and we should work with to establish it as part
of a long term solution to energy needs. There are many others that offer promise. The first and probably the
biggest is conservation. Beyond that there are many others such as photo voltaic, bio fuels, pond scum,
tidal turbine generators (see photo above right), etc.
My point is that free market forces will find a solution much better than a government funded and directed program.
We can encourage the development with economic or tax incentives.