Offshore Drilling? Ain’t Worth It

What does nature teach us in this oil spill? A lot. Eleven lives presumably dead. The income stopper that threatening the fishing and shrimping industries in Lousiana. Many of these fishermen are small businesses. If they can’t fish, they can’t deliver the goods to customers, if they can’t do that – there’s no income. No income, means the fishermen can’t feed their families. And so it goes. This spill causes ripple effects.

Even using the super advanced technology does not always guarantee that everything will be alright. According to Bloomberg BusinessweekBP use these super high-tech gear that supposedly minimizes the chances of any catastrophic accidents. They’re so “confident” that under the worst (oil spill) scenarios – if “that” ever happened – well.. would be not more than a single barrel spill. They’re so confident (of the report), that our own regulators, the Federal Mineral Management Service exempted BP from filing environmental impact statement for the operation!

THE RISK: the oil field BP worked on is nearly six miles beneath Gulf of Mexico’s floor. Six miles deep. Think if you drive six miles (above ground) anything can happen with you and the car. The same thing can happen in the 6 miles under the water. 

You know what, when dealing with nature, we’re all powerless against nature.

Offshore drilling is just not worth the risk.

A mile below the surface, things can go to hell in an instant. The pressures and temperatures at work are otherworldly. Imagine an elephant sitting on your chest, and you get a small sense of the weight of rock and water pressing down on the reservoir of oil and gas miles below the surface. To keep the superheated, supercompressed fluids from shooting upward like a volcanic eruption before the well is finished, drillers fill the hole completely with a heavy, synthetic “mud.” Then, to finish the well, they inject a high-tech cement. Each well requires its own unique formulation of mud and cement. The cement is supposed to go down the middle of the drill pipe—a seven-inch tube surrounded by a larger pipe called the casing. When it reaches the bottom of the drill pipe, it oozes up into the gap between the pipe and its casing before drying in place, forming an impenetrable seal.

At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen. The Deepwater Horizon accident occurred at the final stage of the job, as the rig crew was preparing to put a temporary seal on the well and move on to another site. The exact circumstances aren’t likely to be known for months, though it’s clear that pressurized natural gas was able to infiltrate upward, meaning the seal was imperfect. It’s the same thing that happens when you crack open a soft drink and tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide expand and rise—the difference being that natural gas is explosive.

[via Bloomberg Businessweek]


Author: Dewita

Co-founder Ecotwist Labs.

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