Thursday, September 02, 2010


By now, everyone is well aware of the recent explosion on an off-shore oil platform in the Gulf Coast. Tell me you didn't cringe at the thought of yet another oil disaster killing everything that was left in the Bayou.

This rig wa
s dormant and the Vermilion 380 as it's called, is NOT in 2500 feet of water like previously reported. It is a production platform that is in 350 feet of water.Hurricane Ike had caused significant damage and has not been in production since then. When such a rig sits idle like this one has, the space in the tieback pipes become full of Methane hydrates and paraffins.
From one Houston paper, the likely cause of the explosion was the result of attempts to “roto-rooter” the paraffins and methane hydrates out of the pipeline
s in order to bring the platform back into production.

The Mariner Energy brand platform had recently been purchased by Apache Corporation. Like all the other operating and dormant platforms in shallow and deep waters off American coast, they are held only to the lax safety guidelines that were watered down during the last administration. The reason I even make mention of this is the ironic timing of the explosion.

I'm r
eading the Think Progress website and discover that less than 24 hours earlier, employees from Apache and Mariner, along with thousands of oil industry workers, rallied in Houston to protest the Obama administration’s offshore drilling moratorium that was designed as a safety precaution after the last disastrous Gulf oil spill.

The site included a quote from Mariner employee Barbara Hagood saying: “I have been in the oil and gas industry for 40 years, and this administration is trying to break us. The moratorium they imposed is going to be a financial disaster for the gulf coast, gulf coast employees and gul
f coast residents.”

So is there any connection to BP? Maybe...Apache Corporation recently agreed to buy BP assets in order to help the British oil giant meet its financial obligations as a result of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In no articles can I find if this is one of those helpful purchases.

Unlike the previous disaster, no lives were lost and only one injury noted. For that, we can all be thankful. But this (and who knows how many more to come) are the result of massive deregulation of the oil industry in spite of the cost in human life, sea life, ecological and economical loss.

Some officials and news organizations are calling this an accident; Slack safety enforcement, greed & pressure from execs to get the damn oil flowing is likely much more accurate. Many of us, who react to disasters when they occur do so for only the short time that everyone is paying attention to the issue, then we go right back to filling our SUV and living our lives.

On a final note: I think the examples we have endured in the last six months should serve as a wake up call for those concerned with New Yorks watershed. The same corporate drive to achieve the highest profit for the least expense is going to happen if Hydro-Fraking is permitted in the region. Food for thought...

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