Friday, June 11, 2010

BP, Transocean, and MMS

Considering my insomnia is still a problem I figured I would offload some anger regarding the Deepwater Horizon incident that is polluting the Gulf of Mexico to the tune of 40-60,000 barrels of oil a day.

This problem leaves me so angry. This wasn't some "Act of God" or "Unforeseeable accident." This was the combined greed of BP and Transocean executives combined with the criminal neglect of duty by the Minerals Management Service, the Government agency tasked with inspecting and certifying drilling rigs. By the end of this executives in charge of all three belong behind bars.

This rig exploded from a series of errors, every one of which was easily preventable by paying attention to well known and thoroughly published science. First, deepwater rigs are regulated using the regulations written for shallow water rigs in the 1970's. None of the safety requirements have been properly tested at the depths Deepwater Horizon drills. Many experts believe that the shear ram blowout preventer used by Transocean in this drill won't perform at depth, as proven by its non-performance. This means that a flawlessly performing blowout preventer on the surface will likely fail at the depth Transocean was trying to use this one. Further, risk analysts stated that the methane gas pockets that generated serious kickbacks earlier in the drilling process at this site posed a minimal threat. These same kickbacks were serious enough to shut down operations such as welding, smoking, or anything that generates sparks. Considering all of these warnings, one would think they would follow basic safety procedures to cap the well. These procedures involve waiting at least 6 hours for the concrete plug to harden before pumping the mud out of the well. The mud is there to keep down the pressures generated by the gasses. Without the weight of the mud keeps kickbacks manageable. Instead of waiting 6 hours Transocean, with clearance from MMS and BP, pumped the mud out and replaced it with ocean water which is useless in stopping a blowout. Think farting at the bottom of a tub and seeing it bubble to the surface. Oversimplified a bit but same concept. Without a properly cured cement plug in place, they pumped out the only thing keeping huge quantities of highly explosive natural gas in the well to save 6 hours and $125,000. The cost of this decision affects us all in incalculable ways.

Eleven rig workers died from the greedy, incompetent, and ultimately criminal decisions made strictly to pad the bottom line of BP and Transocean investors. That in and of itself means that every single one of the incompetent bastards at BP, Transocean, and MMS should be charged with eleven counts of negligent homicide. This was no accident. They are as culpable as a parent who leaves 11 children in a fireworks factory with matches and no supervision ten minutes before they blow themselves up. Then, once those trials have finished there should have been sufficient time to figure out how to conviene a tribunal for crimes against humanity, nature, and the planet. In that mean time, all assets of BP and Transocean should be seized and used to try to begin paying for the cleanup effort.

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