Thursday, April 29, 2010

Drill baby drill

Bad news for Mr Obama. Just after selling the American public out to private health insurance companies he's caved in to another demand from neocons. He issued licenses to drill at the US coasts for oil. Self-sufficiency is the magic word here, and you can't blame the US for trying. What boggles the mind, however, is that these oil drilling platforms do not even have safety mechanisms that seal the borehole in case there's a catastrophic accident. Incompetence on a grand scale! Or is it just another exercise in terms of environmental corner cutting that these oil companies are so well-known for.

The environmental disaster that is at the moment unfolding in the USA is painful to watch. How can it be that in the 12st century they drill in highly fragile marine environments without having most basic safety switch-off's in place? I am the first to admit that I am not an expert in these matters, but it seems obvious to me that you should not get a permission to drill for oil in such an environment unless you are able to ensure that there's no major spill in case something goes wrong.

Post scriptum May 03 2010: Turns out that the platform had a so-called blowout-preventer to prevent the disaster that happened. A German news agency has investigated these so-called blowout-preventers. There are at least 171 known cases where they failed to do their job. It's a bit of a misnomer then to call them blowout-preventers, isn't it? Makes you wonder why drill baby drill President Obama notices only now that there's a problem and he wants to investigate...


  1. gerryfromktownApril 29, 2010

    Deep ocean drilling rigs are equipped with sea-floor blowout preventers at the sea floor. In emergencies the technology is supposed to shut in the well using "ramjets" that cut through everything and close the wellhead.

    It didn't work this time, and its frustrating that the news media hasn't seemed to want to ask why not. Here is a link.

    None of this is to dispute your fundamental point that drilling technology should not fail (But neither should Toyotas). Technology will always eventually fail and a moratorium is probably the only way to avoid these spills permanently.

    Stunningly bad timing for Obama.

  2. thanks so much for this comment, and the very informative link! so there are safety mechanisms in place, except they didn't work. seeing that the platform seems to be some state-of-the-art equipment this is of concern. i'm not qualified to evaluate how good these blowout preventers are, but imagine we had similarly effective technology in nuclear power plants...

  3. Drill baby drill? Not on my teeth. I hate baby dentists.


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