Of course, I never panicked

You might have noticed here a paucity of posts about the Gulf Oil spill.  Except for its providing further evidence of Obama’s tin ear, I found it uninteresting.  Why?  Because the environmentalists were hysterical.  Experience has shown me that, unlike even a stopped clock, they are almost invariably wrong.  That meant that the only real risk seemed to be (as I opined earlier) that Obama would use the spill to justify destroying the oil industry — or, at the very least, to destroy the Gulf states that didn’t vote for him.

It turns out that my sanguine attitude, arrived at through nothing more than pig-headed bias against the screaming enviro-nuts, may have been right on the money.  I don’t doubt that the pristine Gulf shores will be oil stained for years, or even decades, which is something that rests squarely on the shoulders of Obama and his fellow federales, but the scope of the disaster is a drop in the ocean’s big bucket.

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  1. Gringo says

    Good perspective, Book. My take on the spill is probably not like most. I was an eco-freak back in the day, before the EPA was founded, and devoted over a year full-time to the issue. I am glad I did so, but today view  the EPA as perhaps a little overboard. I see AGW as a hoax, as I do not respond well to manipulated data. I proudly use wind energy for my household electricity. I do not use AC in TX summers. Fortunately this summer has been relatively cool- very few days above 95! You know you are accustomed to TX if you consider 95 to be cool.
     
    I also have four years experience as a drilling services engineer on drilling rigs- thankfully most of them on land. [Not that I was afraid of Davey Jones's locker, but that I saw only one offshore rig that provided sleeping quarters quieter than a boiler room.] I was appalled at BP’s lack of professionalism on the job. I have already covered this in other postings here. Suffice it to say that BP did not follow standard industry procedures. You don’t assume something, you prove something, if you want to survive in the oil field. [Sounds a bit like the AGW data fudgers, no?] BP made unproven assumptions, and lost the well as a result. Because every well is potentially dangerous, you need to operate cautiously. BP did not. One reason why most in the oil field are cautious and do things by the book is because they realize every well is potentially dangerous.
     
    I do not fault BP for having taken so long to close the well. That is a difficult operation, five thousand feet down.
     
    The response of the government was also appalling. Interior Secretary Salazar lied about what the experts had said about the proposed drilling ban. Moreover, the ban was just plain stupid. It occurred  because BP broke every rule in the book. There has been safe drilling in the Gu’f for over a half century. Thousands of wells have been drilled. Just do things by the book.
     
    The slow response of the EPA was appalling. They are good at saying NO, and not much else. When you need to get something done in a timely manner, they are hopeless. IMHO, this whole escapade shows how useless Big Government is.

  2. jj says

    Yeah, so here we are, and it’s pretty funny.
     
    I actually looked into it and dug out some figures when I posted that this wouldn’t amount to much over a month ago.  Compared to the amount of annual natural seepage in the Gulf, combined with the usual annual run of more or less minor human-inspired accidents and general dopiness that discharges oil into the Gulf every year – not that big a deal.
     
    But what is a big deal is that the power of the government was used to extort $20 billion from BP.  Now, I hold no brief for BP.  Their involvement in the Lockerbie terrorist release situation, the business they do with the Chicoms and Iran, their general willingness to see if they can turn a profit anywhere under any circumstances under any moral conditions, combined with their total disinterest in safety rules and safe operations all go to make them not very far removed from being a criminal organization.  I have very little use for BP.
     
    But what it reveals about our own government under Commissar Obama is somewhat disheartening.  It’s great Obama has his foot on BP’s neck, but it’s not so great the government feels free to extort $20 billion from a company – any company.  That’s Venezuelan crap, not American.  Tony Hayward has been literally sent to Siberia, which he probably deserves for a whole variety of dealings – but he wasn’t wrong about the oil in the Gulf – and things will be approaching normalcy quickly, and for a lot less than $20 billion.
     
    As for the Gulf, the news is all good.  The planes, helicopters, skimmers, etc. can’t find any oil to clean up; areas that were closed to fishing the last couple of months are being reopened – already; the beaches are approaching normalcy, which they will do fairly quickly once new oil stops arriving – which it has.  All good news.
     
    But the government, having added the power to extort to its already inflated well-beyond-the- Constitution abilities is a little troublesome, to use their own favorite word.

  3. Gringo says

    Ymarsakar: Perhaps BP thought that their dealings with the Obama administration meant that BP wouldn’t have to follow the rules.
     
    There is something to that. The oil company that billed itself as “Beyond Petroleum,” that was one of the first corporations to back Cap and Trade, definitely thought it had an in with the Oilbama administration. However, not following the rules went much further back with BP than just the Oilbama administration.
     
    There was a corresponding loss of keeping the eye on the ball in the last 10 years at BP, of neglecting and forgetting standards in their core business of petroleum. Top management may have assumed that being “Beyond Petroleum” gave them carte blanche to slack off in their core business of petroleum, as if they had been given a Green indulgence from the Pope of Green Energy.
     
    The Weekly Standard article Beyond Pathetic: BP’s Gulf disaster was no surprise to those who understood the corporate culture, examines BP’s performance on safety issues in this century, i.e., after it billed itself as “Beyond Petroleum.”
     
    The Macondo blowout was symptomatic of recent BP corporate culture. The 2003 rupturing of a gas line in BP’s North Sea Forties Alpha oil platform, or of the 2005 explosion at a BP refinery in Texas City show that BP and “accidents” went together like love and marriage. Fortunately, no one died from the ruptured gas line on the Fourties Alpha platform. Paul Houston had been a young engineer on the Fourties Alpha platform when the gas line ruptured.
     
    From the article:
    Though Forties Alpha could have produced a similar conflagration [to the blowout in the Gulf], it was nothing more than a near miss which was soon forgotten. BP admitted breaking health and safety laws by failing to guard against corrosion on the ruptured pipe that allowed the gas to escape. It was fined $290,000. The bigger loss came in early 2004. Houston resigned, and BP lost one of its best young engineers.
     
    The article quotes Paul Houston about why he resigned:
    “For some time,” Houston writes in an article on -conservativehome.blogs.com, “I had been dissatisfied with the way senior BP management focused so heavily on the easy part of safety, holding the hand rails, spending hours discussing the merits of reverse parking and the dangers of not having a lid on a coffee cup—but were less enthusiastic about the hard stuff, investing in and maintaining their complex facilities.”
     
    What happened in the Gulf was a feature, not a bug, of BP corporate culture. Similarly, the government’s inept and dishonest response was a feature, not a bug.
     
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/beyond-pathetic
     

  4. Mike Devx says

    I  consider myself extremely fortunate that Gringo is here to give us industry scoops on BP (Beyond Pathetic).
     
    It’s not very useful to view all oil companies the same way.  Obama views them all as evil, conservatives tend to view them all as angels.  As Gringo points out, they each have their own corporate culture, and in BP’s case, it’s a culture that leads to accidents like the Gulf Oil Well Explosion.
     
    There have been rumblings for about a month now that the oil spill is turning out to be no big deal – except for certain areas along the coast, eg the marshlands.  And even in those areas, there is some hope that the situation will not be as bad as feared.   An important lesson for all of us, if it turns out to be true!  And a lesson that can be used to beat the rabid environmentalists about the head – concerning jumping to hysterical conclusions that totally disregard the facts.  We’ll see after more time passes what the REAL – FACTUAL – environmental effects of the spill are.  The facts are what must matter.
     
     

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