Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

Oil spill update - May 24

1. What caused the disaster?
Veteran analyst Art Berman consulted engineering experts before posting his interpretation of what occurred.

Berman’s central conclusion is, “The blowout and oil spill… was caused by a flawed well plan that did not include enough cement between the 7-inch production casing and the 9 7/8-inch protection casing. The presumed blowout preventer (BOP) failure is an important but secondary issue.”

He further points out that “a flawed, risky well plan… was approved by the MMS, and BP, Anadarko and Mitsui management…. A plan that does not include enough cement to overlap the final and previous casing strings, and that does not require running a cement-bond log to ensure the integrity of a seal is a defective plan.” If Art’s interpretation is correct, there was an inherent deficiency which originated at the planning stage, making this blow-out seem less like a tragic fluke and more like an accident waiting to happen.

Berman’s insightful analysis (and subsequent discussion) is available here.

Meanwhile, President Obama has begun assembling his bipartisan national commission to examine what happened and to revamp federal offshore regulations.

2. EPA weighs sanctions against BP
Negotiations between the Environmental Protection Agency and BP (regarding previous violations) were suspended recently. This article describes the range of sanctions which could be applied to the corporations’ US operations, including debarment.

3. Dispersants
Some provocative coverage of the dispersants issue has come from CNN, which on Friday explored why BP (which intended to use SeaBrat 4) has continued to use Corexit despite its higher toxicity. Curiously, BP America President Lamar McKay could (would?) not say who decided which dispersant to use.
Here is the link to the CNN report.

This NYT article provides other useful details.

4. MMS deficiencies in Alaska
In March 2010 the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report which identified significant deficiencies in the ability of the Alaska OCS Region (of the Minerals Management Service) to properly conduct assessments of environmental impacts regarding offshore development. This NYT article provides a link to this thorough and timely GAO study.

An earlier NYT analysis is available here.

5. Increasing insurance costs
There are many uncertainties about the gulf oil spill and its effects on the future of offshore operations. But one thing appears to be fairly certain: insurers of such operations must now factor in the extraordinary scale of liability which can result from a severe oil spill. As this Rigzone analyst observed, “The potential alone may push offshore insurance rates higher.”

Meanwhile, legislation is being proposed in the USA which would increase the liability limit from $75 million to $10 billion. Such increased liability would be particularly burdensome to smaller companies. This article provides additional information.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Find out more about Community Resilience. See our COMMUNITIES page
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

 

This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.


Fracking and Health: What we Know from Pennsylvania's Gas Boom

Tensions between economic development, energy policy and environmental and …

Peak Oil Review: A Midweek Update - 24th Aug 2016

 A midweek update. It has been a volatile three days for oil with …

How We Went on an Energy Diet, and What We Lost (and Gained!)

In which I reveal the changes in our household energy usage from 2003 …

Five Billion Years of Energy Supply: the "Stereosphere" and the Upcoming Photovoltaic Revolution

Both the biosphere and the stereosphere use solar light as the energy …

Peak Oil Review - Aug 22 2016

 A weekly roundup of peak oil  news, including: -Oil and the …

Limitless imagination and physical limits

How do we distinguish those ideas that are forever going to remain in the …

Some Reflections on the Twilight of the Oil Age (part III)

The impact of the Tooth Fairy Syndrome is all the more felt in the main …