Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Oil Patch Blows Again

Amidst hysterical reports of another “oil rig” blowing we find that it was not a “rig” but a platform. There is a critical difference. A “rig” is the essential tool for drilling for oil. Once the “rig” is successful, there are massive equipment and personnel changes and the facility becomes a “platform” to facilitate the continued extraction of crude. A drilling operation can involve as many as 60 to 80 men to cover the shifts (12 on, 12 off) and the support workers (cooks, administration, monkeys, etc.) Far fewer workers are required to watch the oil run through the pipes.

Obviously, any explosion and subsequent fire on an offshore platform is serious business. Most of the guys I knew who worked there saw it as the potential catastrophe which it represented. As a result they kept in mind that their hide was in the game and conducted themselves accordingly. When you’re 60 miles out in the Gulf, south of Vermillion Bay, you can’t just go across the street to watch your house burn down until the fire trucks arrive. Instead you inflate your flotation devices and go over the side—if you are fortunate enough to survive the explosion.

At the moment the report is of 12 survivors known with one in doubt.

The larger issue is that of the resistance of the courts to Obama’s drilling bans. That is plural because he has adopted the posture of issuing another one upon rejection by the courts of the previous one. From his actions during the Deepwater Horizon spill and his clearly stated attitudes toward oil extraction in general it is safe to assume, he views drilling in the US and it’s its territorial waters as an enemy of the state. That would be defined as his concept of what the state should be and not the general idea held by the people who enjoy private transportation, using electricity, warm homes in winter, lubricants, and the many other things which oil production enables.

Accidents on platforms are not all that rare and receive little publicity beyond local papers and other news sources unless they support a larger agenda. I have long thought that the foot dragging on the Horizon spill was intentionally prolonged and overstated in support of Obama’s opposition to drilling as a practice and not his now famous incompetence.

Am I the only one who missed the comprehensive investigation of the cause of the Deepwater Horizon disaster? I need a link to the site where the initial cause of that debacle was clearly outlined. Most large corporations are only too eager to pin the blame for such a tragedy on someone or some piece of allegedly faulty equipment and escape personal responsibility. Nothing happens by “accident.” There is a cause, whether known or unknown, to every thing. After four months one would reasonably expect some sort of explanation. Even shacks which burn to the ground can be explained by the physics of friction induced fire which results when the insurance policy rubs against the mortgage. While I doubt that was the cause of the Deepwater blast, something was. With the campaign promise of the “most transparent government in history” still ringing in our ears, might we soon expect to hear the cause?

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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