This is scary!

Well it must be for citizens of Louisiana and the surrounding US states on the Gulf of Mexico.

There are nearly 4,000 active oil and gas platforms in the area! Obviously an accident just waiting to happen. Well actually we might expect several accidents.

As PZ Myer points out (A constructive suggestion for retribution against BP):

Everyone is fixated on that one burning mess in the Gulf, which is probably exactly what the oil companies want — they are probably sweating pungent carcinogenic petrochemicals at the thought that someone might look around and notice all of those other rigs, which almost certainly have a paper trail of shortcuts and risks and shoddy management.

He is suggesting that the US administration should be also paying attention  to these other platforms.

That image puts it into perspective for me. We have a real problem with fossil fuels and it’s not just CO2 emissions.

Image credit NOOA.
See also: Nigeria’s agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill . The US and Europe ignore it

10 responses to “This is scary!

  1. Andrew Frenette

    Where I live, Alberta, Canada, there are literally tens of thousands of oil and gas wells throughout the province. They extend into southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba and into norther British Columbia.

    William Marsden in ‘Stupid to the Last Drop’ compares it to carpet bombing.

    Anywhere in the world where oil and gas are drilled for looks like this.

    It’s a sad statement about our addiction, as a species, to oil.


  2. “This is scary!”

    Why? This looks a bit like some stick it to the big corporations crap.
    Like you and I, the people working in these companies look after their own interests first, so what?

    Big companies (and big governments) will on occasion make big mistakes, so what?

    Oil is essential to this technological civilization, take it away tomorrow and most of us would be dead within a decade.

    The alternative to private corporations extracting the oil would be state corporations, people in state owned companies are at least as prone to making big mistakes, especially given the greater likelihood of them being pissed around by politicians.


  3. And as long as enough people like you keep saying “Oil is essential to this technological civilization”, it will be. But hey, we wouldn’t want to ever do anything for the first time, would we? Up until the time when oil became a big industry, horses, whale oil, hemp oil and such were essential to the civilization. I can see a future when oil will go the way of buggy whips, at least as fuel. Ever wonder what we will make all the products derived from oil out of, if we continue to burn it all up?

    Plastics can be made from plant material, as can many other chemicals and fuels and clothing, paper etc.
    We should be growing industrial hemp, from which many of those products could be made.
    As long as corporations have the same legal status as actual people, who have hopes, dreams, children, love, feelings, imagination, etc., we have a problem. If the individuals who work for, or run corporations want to petition the government, exert their political power, donate to their preferred political candidates, I’m all for that. They are humans and citiizens just like all of us. But I see no reason why a corporation itself, should have any of these rights. I don’t see why they should be able to donate ANY money to political campaigns, never mind the overpowering amounts they use to sway policy that effects actual citizens and potentially their future offspring and descendents.

    I don’t remember anything in the constitution that says “government by, for and of corporations”.


  4. I think you are reacting for ideological reasons Andrew. It doesn’t matter if these set ups are owned privately or publicly. These cock ups have dramatic effects on the population in general. It isn’t exactly helping small business fishermen in the Gulf, is it? And I imagine most people on the area are worried. Just like the Ukranians who suffered from the Chernobyl cock up.

    Sent from my iPod


  5. Watching the Deniers

    This is the face of “Peak oil”.

    In Victoria, my home state in Australia the government has just approved exploration in environmentally sensitive areas:

    “The State Government has approved seismic exploration for oil and gas in Victoria’s Bay of Islands Coastal Park.

    In a controversial move, Environment Minister Gavin Jennings has granted approval for the gas company to begin exploration offshore from the Great Ocean Road starting from October.

    Drilling for oil and gas is prohibited in marine national parks, but if the seismic testing finds reserves, Origin Energy could be able to access the site from outside the park.

    Seismic testing involves firing air guns at the seabed to search for oil and gas deposits.

    Residents are angry there hasn’t been more consultation…”

    The “Great Ocean Road” is one of the jewels in the crown of our natural environment. No consultation with the local population.

    After the Gulf, it would seem no one is learning.

    As oil dwindle, we search desperately for new sources. Cheap, abundant oil is at an end. In order to maintain our society we need to be looking at alternative sources.

    That’s sensible and prudent.


  6. Fair enough Ken, perhaps I was reading more into your “There are nearly 4,000 active oil and gas platforms in the area! Obviously an accident just waiting to happen.” than was there (though I still think the anti big business angle in Myer’s article is obvious), but I still don’t understand why you find it so scary, there are probably 4000 oil tankers plying the worlds oceans and 4000 jet liners in its skies, surely that’s as equally scary?


  7. Yes, we keep having problems with oil tankers. That is also scary.

    Airplanes have much better safety regulations, safety checks, etc. And while a few hundred lives can be lost in one crash the economic and ecological consequences are nothing like what is happening in the Gulf at the moment.

    I looks like this will continue into August. Just imagine if we keep getting platforms behaving like this? There doesn’t seem to be any guarantee that the other platforms have any better safety monitoring.

    And then we have the situation in other countries . I was also shocked by that report from Nigeria – which barely makes it to our news.


  8. BP has the best engineers, heaps of money and loads of motivation to stop this unending disaster.
    Yet it is helpless.
    It’s just scrambling around for something/anything to work.
    There is no real action plan.

    Once the disaster happens, the genie is out of the bottle.
    Their best attempts to shut down the hole have been little better that guess work because nobody really knows what to do in such an emergency at such incredible depths.

    That’s something that should have been thought about BEFORE people started drilling there.
    BP should go to the wall for this one.

    Accidents happen because we allow them to happen.
    Technology has allowed us to drill far deeper than ever before but our methods of dealing with oil disasters is primative at best.
    Booms, dispersants, shovels on a beach and lawsuits.
    Not good enough.

    Oil is essential to this technological civilization, take it away tomorrow and most of us would be dead within a decade.

    Then…don’t take it away tomorrow.
    Nobody wants be dead within a decade.
    Wean civilization of oil dependancy step-by-step.
    Promote new and better technology.
    It’s out there and it looks good.
    Link and link


  9. Richard Christie

    BP should go to the wall for this one.

    I fear it will.
    Just yesterday media was tossing around a damages bill in excess of $10 billion. My intestines say it’ll be much higher.


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