Drill, Baby, Drill

I used to like those Gulf coast beaches. Oh well! But the people in charge know better than us, and it’s all gonna be O-KAY!!!!

The oil well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico didn’t have a remote-control shut-off switch used in two other major oil-producing nations as last-resort protection against underwater spills.

The lack of the device, called an acoustic switch, could amplify concerns over the environmental impact of offshore drilling after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig, hired by oil giant BP PLC, last week.

BP’s Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said Thursday on NBC’s “Today” that as much as 5,000 barrels of oil a day may be leaking into the Gulf, up from original estimates of 1,000 barrels a day, matching calculations issued late Wednesday from federal investigators. Mr. Suttles said BP and government scientists have to estimate the flow based on what reaches the surface because there is no way to measure the oil pouring out on the seabed. The company also said it welcomes an offer of U.S. military help to get the spill under control.

The accident has led to one of the largest ever oil spills in U.S. water and the loss of 11 lives.

U.S. regulators don’t mandate use of the remote-control device on offshore rigs, and the Deepwater Horizon didn’t have one. With a remote control, a crew can attempt to trigger an underwater valve that shuts down the well even if the oil rig itself is damaged or evacuated.

The efficacy of the devices is unclear. Major offshore oil-well blowouts are rare, and it remained unclear Wednesday evening whether acoustic switches have ever been put to the test in a real-world accident. When wells do surge out of control, the primary shut-off systems almost always work. Remote control systems such as the acoustic switch, which have been tested in simulations, are intended as a last resort.

Nevertheless, regulators in two major oil-producing countries, Norway and Brazil, in effect require them. Norway has had acoustic triggers on almost every offshore rig since 1993.

5 thoughts on “Drill, Baby, Drill

  1. “And in the short term, as we transition to cleaner energy sources, we’ve still got to make some tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development in ways that protect communities and protect coastlines

    So today we’re announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration, but in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect America’s natural resources. Under the leadership of Secretary Salazar, we’ll employ new technologies that reduce the impact of oil exploration.
    We’ll protect areas that are vital to tourism, the environment, and our national security. And we’ll be guided not by political ideology, but by scientific evidence.

    That’s why my administration will consider potential areas for development in the mid and south Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, while studying and protecting sensitive areas in the Arctic.”

    Drill, Barry, drill!

  2. I just googled for news results on WH or Obama on oil spill and the last answer to a question about any impact of this spill on Obama’s “Drill, baby, drill” policy was on Friday, 4/23. Plenty about using the military and DHS — re-evaluating the drill policy? Nothing, nada, zilch.

    Asked whether Obama had second thoughts on offshore drilling, Gibbs said, “No.”

    Obama still believes that “we have to have a comprehensive solution to our energy problems,” and the spill did not open up new questions about his drilling plan, he said.

    “We’ve taken swift action to ensure the safety of those that are there and to ensure the safety to the environment by capping the exploratory well,” Gibbs said.

    “We need the increased production. The president still continues to believe the great majority of that can be done safely, securely and without any harm to the environment,” he said.

    Riiiiiiiight. Might want to take another look at this thinking, O-Prez.

    This WaPo article on 4/24 references, fI think, the 4/23 response by Gibbs:

    Environmentalists said the explosion was a reminder that the industry was dangerous.

    “I would hope it would serve as another wake-up call on this issue that there is no such thing as safe oil drilling,” said Sara Wan, a California Coastal Commission member who opposes offshore drilling. “Once that oil starts leaking in the ocean, that damage is irreversible.”

    White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said President Obama had no plans to give up his effort to expand offshore drilling. Gibbs said Obama continues to believe that the United States needs a comprehensive solution to its energy problems, including expanded domestic production of oil and natural gas.

    This part of the answer really underlines how great this administration is on the environment.

    “I doubt this is the first accident that has happened, and I doubt it will be the last,” Gibbs said.

    At the time of Gibbs’ comments, it was still being said that the well was not leaking into the Gulf, but that is now well known to not be the situation. Yet it appears no reporter has asked Obama et al whether the current potential for damage has caused the administration to rethink any aspect of his shiny new policy??? Or it’s not considered news? Whassup with this?

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