Saturday, May 01, 2010

Environmental Catastrophuck

TIME Magazine:
It may be time to stop referring to the Deepwater Horizon rig accident in the Gulf of Mexico as an oil spill. A spill sounds like something temporary, a glass of milk overturned, which empties and then can be cleaned up. But what is unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, not far from the sensitive shorelines of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, isn't a spill. It's an unchecked gush of crude oil from beneath the bottom of the ocean into the water — and no one can say for sure when it will finally stop.


As bad as this situation in the Gulf is, it has the potential to become exponentially worse...
The worst-case scenario for the broken and leaking well gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico would be the loss of the wellhead currently restricting the flow to 5,000 barrels -- or 210,000 gallons per day.

If the wellhead is lost, oil could leave the well at a much greater rate, perhaps up to 150,000 barrels -- or more than 6 million gallons per day -- based on government data showing daily production at another deepwater Gulf well.

By comparison, the Exxon Valdez spill was 11 million gallons total. The Gulf spill could end up dumping the equivalent of 4 Exxon Valdez spills per week.

Um, Holy shit?

WSJ via HuffPo:
Regulators have previously identified problems in the cementing process as a leading cause of well blowouts, in which oil and natural gas surge out of a well with explosive force. When cement develops cracks or doesn't set properly, oil and gas can escape, ultimately flowing out of control. The gas is highly combustible and prone to ignite, as it appears to have done aboard the Deepwater Horizon, which was leased by BP PLC, the British oil giant.

Concerns about the cementing process—and about whether rigs have enough safeguards to prevent blowouts—raise questions about whether the industry can safely drill in deep water and whether regulators are up to the task of monitoring them.

The scrutiny on cementing will focus attention on Halliburton Co., the oilfield-services firm that was handling the cementing process on the rig, which burned and sank last week.

How can one company have its fingers in so many shit pies? At this point, I wouldn't be shocked if the volcano in Iceland is probably somehow their fault.

Such comparisons are ridiculous—this is an industrial accident of never-before-seen proportions, not a natural event with days of warning for preparation that were ignored, and then responded to by incompetent lackies. Nevertheless, this will become the right-wing meme, and soon enough the conventional wisdom with the supine media. It's a raw deal.

But I will say this: Obama attending the White House Correspondents Dinner tonight has all the makings of becoming his "George Bush with the birthday cake while New Orleans sinks" moment.

The event should be cancelled. Who's going to be upset by that? The media? Fuck them. If he attends, they will be the ones stabbing him in the back on Monday for yukking it up while oil inundates the Gulf shore.

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