Sinking of Transocean's deepwater semi-submersible


By —— Bio and Archives May 1, 2010

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imageThe oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a catastrophe of historic dimensions,  The oil slick we see on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico is just the tip of the iceberg.
 
Thousands of barrels of oil are spewing into the waters off of Louisiana, and nobody is “turning the spigot off.”  Because the “spigot” is 5,000 feet underwater, turning it off is a hazardous, uncertain enterprise.

I have worked as a commercial diver in off-shore oilfields around the world (including the Gulf of Mexico), so I have some idea of the difficulties involved with operations in 5,000 feet of water, (around 155 atmospheres of pressure).  (Here and Here)   

The sinking of Transocean’s deepwater semi-submersible “Horizon,” in the Gulf of Mexico on April 22, is poised to make the “Exxon Valdez” oil spill in Alaskan waters, look insignificant in comparison.   
                                                                     
A “NY Times” article published April 26, reported that efforts were underway to plug up, or otherwise stop, the “belching crude [oil leaking] at the rate of 42,000 gallons a day.”  That’s 1,000 barrels a day.
                                                 
That was Monday.  Yesterday, April 30, the oil leakage was yet to be plugged up, and the oil spewing into the Gulf had been estimated to be as high as 5,000 barrels per day.  (Here and Here)
                                                                                                                                           
According to the Times article, the other options for shutting off the oil flow, which include “collecting the oil in a dome and routing it to the surface or drilling one or more relief wells—[will] take weeks or even several months to execute.”
                   
Anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 barrels of oil will be added to the oil spill every day, for possibly the next “several months.” 
                                                                                                               
Are you getting the picture?

And they complained because President Bush took two days before visiting Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

I submit that the “Horizon” incident will not only dwarf the “Exxon Valdez,” but “Katrina” as well.  Obama might just want to start moseying his way down south.

“The Horizon” was a new (built in 2001) floating exploratory rig, recently contracted by BP (British Petroleum) to drill its Macondo prospect in the Gulf.  It had finished an exploratory drill hole to around 18,000 feet, and was in the process of capping off the well, prior to moving on, when the rig caught fire on April 20.  The capping procedure was reputedly undertaken by oil industry giant Halliburton.  (Here and Here)             

As you might imagine, such an occurrence is an oil company’s worst nightmare, and there are fail-safe measures like you would not believe, to ensure that such a thing as what happened, never happens.  There are “deadman switches,” down-hole safety valves, “panic buttons.” and Blow Out Preventers (BOPs).  (Source)                 

And yet obviously, something did happen.  What—and was it sabotage?  How could so many time-tested automatic back-ups fail, all at the same time?  What are the odds?     

As Carl Franzen writes, the BOP, “the piece of offshore-rig equipment designed to be ‘a drilling operation’s last line of defense’ against leaks, failed miserably.”                                                 
   
Sabotage is not outside the realm of possibility when trillions of dollars are at stake.  The question to ask is:  With “climate-gate” throwing a wrench in the works of Cap and Trade, and the (potentially) extremely lucrative carbon-credit market about to go down the drain, were drastic measures taken?  (Here and Here)

Are there any “movers and shakers” connected with Chicago’s CCX scam, who also happen to be connected to Halliburton, BP, or…well you get the idea.  Just asking. 

The oil spill after one week covers approximately 130 by 70 miles.  What is it going to cover after several months—with thousands a barrels of oil being added each day?  (Source)

First coal, now oil—I suggest you folks at the nuclear power plants be on your toes. 

Laus Deo.


Jim ONeill -- Bio and Archives |

Born June 4, 1951 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Served in the U.S. Navy from 1970-1974 in both UDT-21 (Underwater Demolition Team) and SEAL Team Two.  Worked as a commercial diver in the waters off of Scotland, India, and the United States.  Worked overseas in the Merchant Marines.  While attending the University of South Florida as a journalism student in 1998 was presented with the “Carol Burnett/University of Hawaii AEJMC Research in Journalism Ethics Award,” 1st place undergraduate division.  (The annual contest was set up by Carol Burnett with money she won from successfully suing a national newspaper for libel).  Awarded US Army, US Navy, South African, and Russian jump wings.  Graduate of NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School, 1970).  Member of Mensa, China Post #1, and lifetime member of the NRA and UDT/SEAL Association.


Jim can be reached at:
[email protected]

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