Friday, June 18, 2010

I am the Walrus

Obama administration still approving drilling plans that promise to protect walruses in the Gulf of Mexico -- despite the fact that there hasn't been any walrus in the Gulf in over 2 million years.

If we had a President, rather than an empty suit making speeches, maybe there'd be a real moratorium on Gulf drilling until the industry could provide real response capabilities for dealing with blowouts -- the most important of which is the drilling of a relief well to bottom-kill depth *before* it's needed, rather than requiring 6 months to do the job *after* a blowout. Oh wait, that would cost money and be bad for business, thus can't be done, despite the fact that the Canadians and Norwegians require exactly that. So I guess we have to be satisfied with protecting the rare Gulf of Mexico walrus. Koo koo kachoo.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin


  1. BP set their rules for their view of cost/risk. If they had drilled a relief well simultaneously, it would have been sunk under the same management that didn't do the first well right. We would have had two wells spewing in the Gulf.

  2. Relief wells don't go all the way down into the reservoir. They stop at a depth where there's enough head of drilling mud to overcome the pressure of the reservoir and sit there quiescent. If you're drilling one parallel to an active exploratory well, you don't do the directional drilling sideways to hit the other well's drillpipe until you have to do so, meaning that it's basically impossible for it to blow out under normal conditions. When you're drilling sideways it's going to be full of pressurized mud, so it's not going to blow out then either... all that's going to happen is that you're going to hit the other pipe, cut it with a tool, and then flood the other pipe with mud until it's full of enough weight of mud to push the oil back down into the reservoir, at which point you can top it off with concrete to finish the job.

    Note that the above is simplified a bit, but should give you the gist. Basically, there's no (zero) risk associated with drilling a relief well at the same time that you drill the main borehole -- well, except risk to the pocketbook, koo koo kachoo.

    - Badtux the Walrusy Penguin

  3. BT -

    You do realize that walri eat penguea.

    Anyway B. Hoover Obama is not an empty suit. He is a right of center corporatist who is doing exactly what he believes in.

    Another part of why WASF,

  4. I've been calling Obama the great Appeaser. For obvious reasons.
    The way things are going, everything in the sea will become extinct.

  5. I loves me some penguin.

    You've sort of raised a Hugo Chavez-esque question in my mind. I gotta think about this.



  6. Stop picking on the president, it doesn't make any difference who the president is, he's just doing the best he can in a fucked up political system trying to keep a bunch of fucking monkeys happy.

    Even though they have a big gusher down there they are pushing him to do more drilling because many on the gulf coast work for oil companies. And there is the whole ripple effect thing, many there depend on oil.

    Well, better there than here, why should I care if they ruin their area, it's still beautiful here, I'm going fishing tomorrow.

    You want gas in your jeep, drill baby, drill.

  7. We'll drill eventually; the thirst for oil is unquenchable. This would be a great time to make that drilling process more hazard-averse, but I don't see our government doing anything more than hand-wringing and congressional grandstanding.

  8. Humanity -- at least the American-led parts of it, and that includes a lot more people than just those who live inside the borders of the 50 states -- will keep on doing the stupidest things until shit collapses so bad that lots of people die. Lots and lots, like billions, uncontrollably.

    Unlike BC, I do not look forward to this inevitability. But it's going to happen anyway. Good luck in the Die-Back, people. Let's hope it doesn't turn into a total Die-Off. How long until the acronym "ELE" for "extinction-level event" becomes part of common parlance?

  9. If walrus eat penguins, maybe you could become "Badtux the Eggman" instead?

    A commenter at my blog (who seems to have some background in the oil industry) suggested that drilling relief wells preemptively would double the cost of oil. That seemed exaggerated to me. But I'm curious if anyone knows (in a ballpark sort of way) *how* expensive it would be - would crude cost 20% more? 50%?

  10. The cost of oil is set by the market, Sungold, not by the cost of drilling for it.

    Bukko, I expect a mass die-off like when the Western Roman Empire collapsed, when a million Romans just... disappeared. But the end of humanity? Not hardly. Two-legged critters seem like cockroaches to me. You can knock them back, but driving them extinct would take basically driving life on Earth itself extinct.

    Minerva: Like you, I don't expect any real change here. The empty suits will speechify, then things will go back to the way they were, complete with the dangerous practices that led to this blowout.

    BBC: That is an amazingly thoughtful response from you compared to your usual fare. Kudos. I'll have to think about that some more, but you have a point.

    And now to go get some more coffee...

    - Badtux the Black-liquid-soaked Penguin
    (Coffee, okay? Not oil!)


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