Tuesday, May 25, 2010

BP Trys Another Tactic to Stop the Gusher

Once again BP and its minions are going to try to stem the geyser of oil polluting the Gulf of Mexico.  This time, they claim, they will try to "top kill" the well.  This involves pumping a lot of mud into the well to try to clog up the flow. 

The biggest problem is this has not been tired at the depth they are drilling in the Gulf.  Oh boy!  Another prototype!

Supposedly they will utilize the failed blowout preventer to do this, ramming tones of mud down the openings in the device.  Some will most likely flow back out the damaged pipe that is the source of the trouble right now but they hope enough will go in to essentially smother the gusher.

I sincerely wish them all the luck in the world and I sincerely want to know why they didn't have some kind of plan-B in place should a blowout "preventer" fail as it did in this case.  Apparently they never considered that.

On a personal note, I love with an engineer.  These guys eat and breathe "what ifs" and it absolutely amazes me that BP just figured their only safety measure would work no matter what.  My guess is that once the hearings start we will see how engineers were ignored in order to improve the bottom line.  Already it looks like Halliburton and others finagled things and insufficient inspections, etc. are coming to light as well.

Once the leak is stopped, and the clean up begins, I will be interested to see how long BP stays in business.  My guess is they will quickly sell off assets to another shell corporation and mysteriously evaporte before the big lawsuits can be filed.  Just a guess.


Frank said...

This is a bad situation. But the mud *can* work.

Please take a moment to acknowledge that the hundreds of people out there on the water making this attempt are in one of the most deadly situations a human can be placed in outside of overt warfare.

At least they own their mistake. And BP won't just throw human lives at it to cover it up, unlike any dozen other small oil companies with FAR worse historical records both in safety and environmental impact.

The stories I can tell you passed down from the old guys offshore would curl your toes. And it's BP that was responsible for making those stories part of history rather than present.

Hardy Haberman said...

When I watched the BP officials and Halliburton and TransOceanic at the congressional hearings they were pointing fingers at each other, if that is "owning " you mistake then I guess they do.

One hair curling story from this event was that they kept the employees who were rescued from the ocean after the explosion incommunicado for 30-40 hours until they signed hold harmless waivers. The were returned to shore once they signed.

Owning is something I suspect the US government will be doing to BP before this is over.

Frank said...

Well, put a Halliburton exec in a room with anyone and everyone comes out smelling like dung. So please keep that in mind, it is people like Dick Cheney you are talking about.

Ultimately, it was an industrial accident. Like all accidents there is a chain of failures, not just a single one. In this case they will be analyzing it for a very long time, and blaming anyone now will only hinder the process.

While the executives may be in Washington screaming at one another, there are guys who actually care, risking their lives to find out what happened and to try to stop it from being worse.

Owning the mistake is working to fix the problem. Not trying to talk in the midst of a political and media hurricane.

To fix the problem people just like me are risking their lives to do what they are doing.

I'm all for you commenting on the evils being purveyed by the people at the top. But remember that without clarifying your comments and identifying specific individuals you lump everyone else in with them.

Hardy Haberman said...

I have no issue with the guys trying to clean this up. They are ultimately the heroes. In this case there may be no happy ending and when BP execs say things like, "It's relatively tiny" I think the spin needs to be exposed.

The fact that 11 people were killed on that platform has somehow slipped fro the headlines. There was negligence involved somewhere and most likely it was a combination of the companies involved and the Minerals Management Service who let them drill without proper certification procedures.

I understand industrial accidents, but this one is looking like the mother of them all and BP continues to try to minimize it. Their full page ads in the NY Times etc, were all whitewash and quite frankly a waste of money that could better be spent cleaning it up and stopping the leak.

Frank said...

I personally didn't think you were villainizing the lower rank and file, but I had to caution anyway... because we all slip easily into generalizations that catch the innocent up in the sweep.

I'm not sure I'd classify this as the mother of all. I've been privy to some pretty grand expose's of marine disasters in my training and from experience.

But even if it IS the worst marine disaster of all time. The American public has proven time and time again that they don't want to know the truth.

Ultimately so long as the agencies and companies trying to fix this know the facts, then it doesn't matter to me if they lie to the public. I know it's a lie. Anyone with half a brain knows it's a lie.

The majority of America isn't lacking half a brain. They are however hooked on the drugs Fukitol and Greenback. And by virtue of that, they just don't care.

Frankly I place the blame firmly on our shoulders. We don't do enough to remove and punish the politicians who caused the corrupt cycle to flourish in the first place.