Way to go, BP

As seen from space

It’s been over a month since the Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 workers and sent 12-19000 barrels of crude oil on a high-speed ooze into the Gulf of Mexico every single day since.   (Or who knows?).

Google Earth image, spill superimposed in black

BP has lamely tried various methods of plugging this out-of-control environmental disaster, the latest idea being an operation called a “top kill“.

Now it looks like something down there might have exploded(?), but hours later the CNN live streaming still shows the operation functioning as per plan.  (Note the “From BP” in the top right corner — if only their engineering department was as efficient as their PR department).  Update:  Now it’s showing this:

What are they hiding?

I agree with the Lt.General — it might light a fire under BP’s slimy douchebag asses if they were being fined some catastrophic sum of money every day until this thing is fixed.  Although really, it’s a little baffling that the same gang of oilmongering buffoons who fucked up so colossally in the first place should even be trusted anywhere near the disaster they wrought.

Sickening.  You can see just how sickening here.

UPDATE: A little context for you easterners:

Catastrophic doesn’t even begin to describe this thing.

(NASA image from Wiki)

22 Responses to “Way to go, BP”

  1. 1 Elitza Friday, May 28, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Oh. My. God.

    I just got physically sick.

  2. 2 Bleatmop Friday, May 28, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Dear life in the Gulf of Mexico,

    It’s been nice knowing you.


  3. 3 Jasper Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 4:19 am

    There will always be catastrophic oil spills. You make them as rare as humanly possible, but where would you rather have one: in the Gulf of Mexico, upon which thousands depend for their livelihood, or in the Arctic (we’ve had a 30-year ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge). Where there are practically no people?

    All spills seriously damage wildlife. That’s a given. But why have we pushed the drilling from the barren to the populated, from the remote wilderness to a center of fishing, shipping, tourism and recreation?

    Environmental liberal wackos. Of course you will not here about this in the MSM.

  4. 4 JJ Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 6:02 am

    Jasper – That’s just sad. That’s all the wingnuts have, is to point to ANWR and hope people are stupid enough to believe it’s an either/or and the oil companies would immediately cease offshore ops if ANWR was opened to drilling 😆 Because there’s no greed in the oil industry 🙄

    And how is it that in 20 years of GOP rule out of the past 28, including 12 immediately following the passage of the ANWR act, the GOP never repealed the act but instead escalated offshore leases and dismantled safety regs?

    Peak Oil is long passed: I keep hoping Peak Dumb will follow, but it seems to be a renewable resource.

  5. 5 Brian Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 10:00 am

    That was a really nice answer JJ — civil, detailed. I am very impressed! When I saw what Jasper wrote I thought, “Yikes! Here it comes!”, but you answered on a much higher level than I expected anyone to rise to.

  6. 6 J. A. Baker Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Sometimes, you just have to vent. And when you do, there’s the Raging Grannies to help:

  7. 7 JJ Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Brian – Why thank you. I work tirelessly to raise the level of political discourse 😉

  8. 8 JJ Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 11:39 am

    JAB 😆 Thanks for the vid

  9. 9 JJ Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    The top kill didn’t work 😦 They are moving on to try the next thing, which also may or may not work. After that they’ll probably give up and say it’s the government’s problem.

    Gotta love these petropimps, all about keeping government out — until they fuck up and have no idea how to fix it. Then it’s Bailout Time!

  10. 10 Bleatmop Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 2:39 am

    Privatized profit, public liability. Capitalism at its finest.

    Though it should be noted that they are currently drilling a relief well which should solve the problem – in August when they are done. Too bad they don’t have a regulated industry like up here in Canada where all offshore wells are required to drill a relief well at the same time as the source well.

  11. 11 JJ Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Bleatmop – Privatize the profits, socialize the losses, what else is new 🙄

    This is why people get soured on the idea of free markets. In a true free market system where people took responsibility for their actions, bozos like BP would have voluntary contingency plans for when things go sideways (like relief wells) and continual R&D into worker/environmental safety of drilling procedures.

    Otherwise, if something bad happens, the government almost always has to get involved. People are screaming for Obama to send in the military now 😯

  12. 12 Brian Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 11:35 am

    “Privatized profit, public liability. Capitalism at its finest.”

    That isn’t Capitalism at all.

    You might could say, “Big business at its finest”…


    BP would have voluntary contingency plans for when things go sideways (like relief wells) and continual R&D into worker/environmental safety of drilling procedures.

    It looks like they did all that to me, but that they (and everyone else) had not imagined a problem like this. After all, developing contingency plans involves imagining what might happen before any such thing does happen. It seems to me that they have really done pretty good.

    That huge dome thing was put together pretty fast, and seemed pretty imaginative to me.

    The idea of putting a hose into the leaking pipe and slurping up what was coming out seemed a good idea to me — like slurping up the overflow when you fill a soda pop glass too fast, and you suck up the foam so that it doesn’t become a spill all over the table and floor.

    The idea of putting a plug in the end of the pipe seemed like it would be effective to me.

    These strategies have not been effective, but I don’t think that shows that BP isn’t trying, or that they didn’t have contingency plans, only that they didn’t have a contingency plan for this (and really: more’s the pity!).

  13. 13 JJ Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Brian – They are using the same methods they’ve used for 30 years, while escalating dangerous drilling (ie. deeper). That doesn’t sound like safety R&D being done in proportion to increasingly dangerous drilling.

    They should be drilling relief wells as a matter of course, especially with something this deep where they’re really not sure what to do if something goes wrong. They should be planning for the worst at all times.

    Sadly, I think what is eventually going to happen is that it will have to be nuked.

    The whole thing makes me feel sick to my stomach. Mine is the first generation that will leave the world in worse shape than it was in when we got here.

  14. 14 Brian Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Wow! I hadn’t thought of using a nuke for this. Dang! I gotta think about that a little. Seems possible to fracture the rock their pipe is in to a depth that could never be repaired, though.

    Yours is not the first generation to leave the world in worse shape than when we got here, though. Air pollution is much less prevalent than when you and I were in school. Contamination by mining operations is less than it was 20 years ago.

    This spill is bad, not way around that. But the Exxon Valdes was also, and as I understand it, that habitat is back to how it was before the spill. Mt. St Helens absolutely devatated the area to its North, and environmental scientists thought that the area would be devastated for decades. Virtually everyone was surprised at how rapidly that area recuperated.

    I am not advocating spilling oil without end, nor of relaxing safety requirements for drilling operations, or anything like that. This is bad.

    But I do think that the recovery of that are will be quicker than anticipated — provided, of course, they can get the leak stopped.

    I also think that there will be really important lessons learned from the cause of the initial explosion, and all that has happened since. I worked for 12 years at a US Naval facility (as a civilian), and one of the prominent features at every level was maintaining a “lessons Learned” file or database. I am confident that an industry as organized as oil drilling maintains the same kind of database, fed by detailed analysis of things that have gone right, and things that have gone wrong.

    It sure seems like it should be mandated that all existing pipes through the ocean floor should be treated to this: dig down 100 feet, and put a tight collar around the pipe that can punch a knife-edged blade through the pipe, sealing it. The hole dug to place it should then be filled back in. This would put the device far enough down underground that pipes tipping sideways as happened in this case could not mess with the device, rendering it inoperable.

    That’s the kind of learned lesson that I mean.

    But don’t get me wrong: this is bad.

  15. 15 Bleatmop Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    JJ – I disagree with what you are saying is actually a true free market. From what I learned about free markets, they are supposed to create efficiencies. Nothing is more inefficient that redundant safety systems and costly clean up operations.

    I see nothing in a free market that would oblige these guys to do R&D on safety and indeed, since in the last 30 years they have not been mandated or regulated to put money into finding ways to drill safer, they haven’t. They have found ways to drill deeper, much beyond their ability to fix a blowout, but definitely not safer. In fact, the free market had dictated these guys to fly a flag of convenience of a south pacific country about the size of my city that has almost not safety regulations for their marine craft (which is applicable because offshore rigs are technically marine craft).

    Am I wrong (honest question)?

  16. 16 JJ Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Bleatmop – No, you’re not wrong. What you describe is what’s going on.

    I’m talking about an idealized idea of the free market where business takes responsibility for itself and its fuck ups (if only to avoid multi-billion $$ disasters like this one), and part of doing that would be to plan for worst case scenarios OR avoid them altogether.

    Of course, that is not what’s happening. Business pretty much runs amok whenever it can.

  17. 17 Jasper Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    another strategy is to insert a bladder into the pipe and expand it. This techique I believe has been used before.

  18. 18 JJ Monday, May 31, 2010 at 8:11 pm


    But I do think that the recovery of that are will be quicker than anticipated — provided, of course, they can get the leak stopped.

    I hope so. It doesn’t sound like they’ll be able to get it stopped until they make a relief well, which won’t be til August. Considering the size of the spill after 6 weeks, it’s hard to imagine what it will be like in another 10 weeks.

    I am also wondering if/how it will affect hurricane season — at the Oil Drum someone said the spill could act like a turbo-charger for a hurricane 😯

  19. 19 Brian Monday, May 31, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I am a hurricane fanatic. I check the National Hurricane Center every day during the hurricane season, and I have read a LOT about how they work.

    They absolutely rely on humidity to function.  I haven’t read about what this guy at the oil drum said, but just thinking it through it seems implausible that the oil slick would do that.  The oil would certainly reduce evaporation some.  Plus, the slick seems like it would starve only one side of the storm of moisture.  Hurricanes don’t handle lack of symmetry very well.  A 10kt wind across their tops sometimes destroys them…

    Could you provide a link to what you read?  As I said, I am a hurricane junky and read all I can about them.

  20. 20 Brian Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Hopefully to give you a little hope, here is a comparison of oil spills (hopefully code HTML tags will work, so that the alignment works…):

    1991-92 500 Mil. Gal.s deliberately spilled by Iraq
    Yearly 250 MGal
    1979 140 MGal IXTOC-1 oil rig, Gulf of Mexico
    1978 65 MGal Amoco Cadiz (ship) English Channel
    1967 40 MGal Torrey Canyon (ship) South England
    2010 35 MGal Deepwater Horizon
    1989 10.8 MGal Exxon Valdez (ship)

    The spill is bad, but it appears that a lot of oil enters the environment without long-term devastation. In fact, millions of gallons seep through the sea bed all the time. Being dispersed, we don’t see it, but also, it doesn’t accumulate.

  21. 21 Brian Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Let’s try this:
    1991-92 500   Million Gal.s deliberately spilled by Iraq
    Yearly  250   MGal
    1979    140   MGal IXTOC-1 oil rig, Gulf of Mexico
    1978     65   MGal Amoco Cadiz (ship) English Channel
    1967     40   MGal Torrey Canyon (ship) South England
    2010     35   MGal Deepwater Horizon
    1989     10.8 MGal Exxon Valdez (ship)

  22. 22 JJ Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Brian – It was somewhere in the comments from Thursday or Friday (you’ll have to go back a couple of pages).

    Thanks for the numbers — I guess that puts it in a little more perspective, but still, its nauseating. It’s already 3x as big as the Exxon Valdez, which they are still cleaning up from 20 years later.

    Whatever way you look at it, it’s depressing. I drive a pickup truck and now I feel guilty every time I turn the ignition key.

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