This is a horror story which will become so much worse, it will become the dominant news story for the forseeable future. It includes Haliburton, the release of unprecedented geologic forces and a potential world wide catastrophe, not only ecologically, but much more, especially if the river of oil spewing from the deepwater, hyperpressurized sea-floor opening reaches the gulf stream, which will quickly spread it all the way up the
image and caption from wikipedia
- BP-- owner of the oil field and the leaking Macondo Prospect well,
- Transocean corporation, owner of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig-- a rig which, last year drilled the world's deepest deepest oil/gas well in BP's Gulf of Mexico Tiber Oilfield, at a depth of 35,000 feet. The company has merged with and acquired numerous companies over its history and is now registered as a Swiss corporation, with it's principal office in Houston Texas.
- Haliburton corporation, which was acting as a subcontractor, cementing the well head to the sea-floor.
- Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea. which built the Deepwater Horizon
Underestimation seems to be the pattern here. Reports suggest that if the pipe the oil is gushing from, already believed to be kinked, breaks, and if the wellhead fails, the amount of oil gushing out could rise from the lower current estimates of 200,000 to one million gallons a day to up to six million gallons a day. Exon-Valdez's damage was caused by a total of 11 million gallons released. For all we know, the amount released could already be far more than the 200,000 gallon a day estimate. Nola.com suggests that rather than considering this a "spill" it be considered a "river of oil."
This is not your ordinary well. The DeepWater Horizon semi submersible drilling rig, operated on behalf of BP by Transocean Corporation (9 of the 11 workers who died were Transocean employees) had the history of having dug the deepest well ever, in a nearby Gulf field also owned by BP. This well breaks ground 5000 feet below the surface and then drills down thousands of feet more, hitting a highly compressed reservoir of oil that is now gushing upwards like water a super-pressurized fire-hose. Replace any visualizations you may have of a trickle of leaking oil with an image of a hyper-pressurized river of oil ballistically billowing, explosively from a hole in the sea-floor Haliburton was commissioned to properly seal.
Without the controls on the release of the oil at the top of the platform, the oil is rushing through faster than it would have, with more sand, more abrasion eroding the pipes. The pipes are more likely to break. The worst case is if the wellhead breaks, unleashing the full flow of this well. Consider that pressures 5000 feet below the surface are enough to pulverize a human. Then consider that the well is tapping a a petroleum field even deeper, below the surface of the earth, with even greater pressures pushing it up, out of the mile-deep sea floor.
Then, there's the question of the cause of the explosion. One source, of questionable reliability, The European Union Times suggests that the platform explosion was caused by a North Korean Mini-sub, launched on April 20th from a ship which departed Cuba on April 18th and then deviated far from it's scheduled course to Venezuela. The article speculates that the Transocean Corporation which owns and operated platform, has ties to South Korea through Hyuundai holdings in the company, so this was an attack by N. Korea on it's enemy, South Korea. The article also speculates that this will force Obama to make a decision to use a nuclear warhead to close the uncontrolled leaking well. Use of a nuclear bomb, for any reason, will hurt Obama's recent efforts to reduce Nuclear weapon ownership worldwide. Note that this article is not corroborated and claims to be privy to Russian and Japanese reports.
Even if the EU Times article is pure conspiracy theory, the fact is, the world faces a catastrophic situation that cannot be waited out. It is already at a regional catastrophic level. It could, within days or weeks become a hemispheric catastrophic event. Just this fact forces us to take a closer look at all the parties involved, not just BP, which leased the platform.
There is a site that was created in response to the disaster,deepwaterhorizonresponse.com, set up by a company that does emergency media responses, It displays, at the header of the site, logos from several US agencies, BP and Transocean corporation.
The EPA has also created a site to cover news and developments relating to the gulf disaster.
Randall Amster, writing in the Huiffingtonpost, discusses a Haliburton connection, in an article titled,Was the Gulf Oil Spill an Act of War? You Betcha:
"Giant oil-services provider Halliburton may be a primary suspect in the investigation into the oil rig explosion that has devastated the Gulf Coast,the Wall Street Journal reports. Though the investigation into the explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon site is still in its early stages, drilling experts agree that blame probably lies with flaws in the 'cementing' process -- that is, plugging holes in the pipeline seal by pumping cement into it from the rig. Halliburton was in charge of cementing for Deepwater Horizon."
The Los Angeles Timessubsequently reported that members of Congress have called on Halliburton "to provide all documents relating to 'the possibility or risk of an explosion or blowout at the Deepwater Horizon rig and the status, adequacy, quality, monitoring, and inspection of the cementing work' by May 7." A YouTube video(which is actually mostly audio) more bluntly asserts that "Halliburton Caused Oil Spill," and notes the fact -- confirmed by Halliburton's own press release-- that its employees had worked on the final cementing "approximately 20 hours prior to the incident." Interestingly, one commenter on the YouTube video notes how "that would conveniently explain the North Korean story; [Halliburton] may have leaked this story to the press to divert attention away from alleged negligence." Wouldn't that just be the ultimate? Halliburton spawns the calamity but pins it on North Korea, and then the nation goes to war whereby Halliburton "cleans up" through billions in war-servicing contracts.
The Transocean Corporation website lists 139 drilling units it owns. The one DeepWater Horizon drill rig has been reported to cost over $600 million. Any extrapolation of the numbers for a fleet of such rigs makes it clear that Transocean corporation is a very big company. But you might consider transocean to be the like a rental car company. BP owns the well and the oil field and it was using the Transocean drilling rig. Haliburton was doing a sub-contractor job, cementing the casings of the well. Now, the BP's well is leaking, or worse, the hole it opened up is gushing oil at super-high pressure, from an uncontrolled rent in the seafloor."Cementing a deep-water drilling operation is a process fraught with danger. A 2007 study by the U.S. Minerals Management Service found that cementing was the single most important factor in 18 of 39 well blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico over a 14-year period -- more than equipment malfunction.
Considering Terrorism, Accidents and Catastrophic Consequences
If this river of oil gets worse, who knows the permanent or long term damage on vast swathes of ocean will be? Who knows how much damage will be done to breeding grounds and hatcheries of sea life and the birds that live off that sea life before they play a role in pollination and seed distribution. From the bottom up, the affects of this one "spill" upon the people and environment and life in the US, this catastrophy is huge and the effects will be enormous. Already delays and underestimation of the problem have allowed delays that are bad news.
There's another consideration. It's part of that N. Korean conspiracy theory narrative-- the use of a nuclear warhead to close the leak. It's an extreme reaction. We know so little about what effect that will have-- a tsunami or tidal wave? Massive destruction of sea life? Radioactive seawater producing radioactive shrimp and oysters and all the fish that commercial fisherman out of Louisiana catch? Use a nuke or allow the river of oil to flow into and up the Gulf until it is moved all the way to Europe. This is a no-win situation. What if a nuclear explosion sets off other geological activity or worsens the oil release? What if Obama looks at the nuclear option and decides it's a good idea because there are a lot of red-mean Americans who like fireworks who would love to have the US explode a nuclear weapon in their lifetime?