Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anything?

HorusHorus Registered Users Posts: 24
The Deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 is rapidly moving towards the status of the worst accident in U.S. history, and as the disaster moves into its third week a lot of questions are still unanswered, the most obvious being, when is this thing going to stop spewing?

[avoid politics please in forum. -Bill B.]

http://envirogy.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/did-we-learn-anything/#more-1694
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Comments

  • AntronXAntronX Solar Expert Posts: 462 ✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    Yes. This will be the last oil spill this large from an offshore rig. BP and others will now be required by law to install acoustic shutoff valves on every well they drill. For $500K this spill could have been avoided, but oil industry decided to lobby against this requirement. That is my opinion from limited reading I did on this so far. I am not familiar with oil industry.
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    There are too many things that can go wrong in critical situations in most any industry.

    Remember the two lost shuttles - the most over engineered piece of equipment in the history of man.

    This particular problem may well be taken care of but all points? No way. We will continue along more or less the same as always.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?
    russ wrote: »
    .....Remember the two lost shuttles - the most over engineered piece of equipment in the history of man. ........

    I don't think they were "over engineered" (or they would still be around), but rather engineers ignored and "management" made the life/death decisions. (Launch on cold day, remove asbestos from packing compound) (not do a photo image study or inspection)

    Till we are all walking around in vegetable fiber sandals, there are going to be risks and accidents (ow - just stubbed my toe)

    Murphys Law: If anything can go wrong, it will. ( and does )
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    Years back in Mexico while working on a project İ learned about Fennigan's comment about Murphy's law - 'That fellow Murphy sure is an optomistic chap!'
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    I've learned not to buy BP Solar modules. Their environmental practices are disgusting and the senate hearings today should be interesteing as BP will be pointing the finger at everyone but themselves. BOYCOTT BP!
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    Guess that means İ have to buy BP -
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,060 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    Yes We learned something! As long as we need oil for transportation we will have to drill for it regardless. DO YOU WANT TO WALK OR DRIVE? There are wars bieing fought over oil supply and our money keeps going out of the country to pay for the oil and wars. So we have to try to make as much use of our own oil sources and if we don,t drill for it some other country will and we will still be exposed to any catastrophy they cause. Actually we need to make as much use of all our resources such as coal, oil, natural gas and all the electric resources, solar, wind, tides, and nucular. If we don,t make use of all the resources we have the electric won,t be there for you and we will all be riding bycycles and motor bikes. Do you want to live that way? I don,t. S:Dlarvic
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    i think it's wrong to label this as one way or another as it isn't black and white. now i don't know the extent of the regulations on this or if they were met, but it is unfortunate that it did happen. if they were in compliance then it is up to government to reset standards to avoid such a thing again if it's reasonably avoidable. drilling for oil is like holding an umbrella up during a storm imo as sooner or later it'll happen. the black and white answer is always, don't use oil, but that's an impossibility at this point as it involves more than just our overzealous need for gasoline as many products you buy are the result of oil too.
    it is a risky business going after oil and it stands to reason disastrous accidents will happen, so maybe they need to concentrate more on what to do when disaster strikes and not just ways to prevent the accident which murphy says it'll go wrongly and it did for whatever the reasons are. did oil cut too many corners and cause the accident? i don't know, but if they did then they should be penalized somehow. of course that just tends to get passed onto us, the consumer.:roll: a possible answer may be to allow criminal prosecution of individuals in either the administrative or management aspects of the company. many in upper management may think twice of pushing things too far for profit if he knows he could be prosecuted for it as an individual and sent to jail.
    boycotting the pvs i don't think is good to do as they are doing something right in manufacturing them now aren't they? and if you wish to boycott oil from them you should boycott all oil as they all have accidents and that means no plastics and in fact any product whose machines use oil to produce or ship the product. hello caveman days as that encompasses everything.;)
    there aren't any easy answers and i don't like what happened down there anymore than anybody else, but as one can see there aren't any black and white answers. do we need to cut back on this dependence? you betcha and it has to start at the governmental levels to kick start this into a faster gear as consumers and industry are too slow or set for such changes to occur faster. i'm not holding my breath either way be it industry or the government and 1 cuts corners to see a better bottom line while another just doesn't know or care what they are really doing. now some may argue which applies to which.:cry:
    my penny after inflation for my 2 cents.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,381 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    It all boils down to capitalism, When costs are to high (real or perceived) then other forms of energy will come to there own. The Government can sway this some what by implementing social taxes like cap & trade, rebates for solar and duties on imported oil. But until it makes sense financially the average citizen will live the way they always have.

    Want change, hurt them in the wallet.
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    We could always add insult to injury, and attempt to "cap" the leak the way the Soviets apparently did in the past... (Link is to Slashdot, where I read about it. They have a link to the original story.)

    http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/05/11/1440206/Oil-Leak-Could-Be-Stopped-With-a-Nuke?art_pos=6

    Apparently, *five times* during the Soviet Union days they used a tactical nuke to seal off a "petrocalamity"! "All but one" were successful...

    Not sure what I find more curious - that they actually did this, or that they found large-scale disasters involving oil common enough that they came up with a term for it...!
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    Everyone,
    I am new here and am starting a small hobby/backup system for the old "get my feet wet" thing and use the knowledge here for help in my setup. One thing I have found out is that it is a "very expensive" hobby, so I am working slowly at it. If it were affordable, I would just buy a complete system and be done with it. I think "going Green" is our future. Thanks for sharing the knowledge y'all.

    Solar_Dave,
    Maybe I'm on the wrong site, but as a working tax paying American citizen, I don't think "hurting them in the wallet" with cap and tax is going to help sell a whole lot of solar equipment or anything else for that matter. You can't get a rebate, if you can't afford to buy it in the first place. More taxes=less spending.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,381 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?
    wbscmm wrote: »
    Everyone,

    Solar_Dave,
    Maybe I'm on the wrong site, but as a working tax paying American citizen, I don't think "hurting them in the wallet" with cap and tax is going to help sell a whole lot of solar equipment or anything else for that matter. You can't get a rebate, if you can't afford to buy it in the first place. More taxes=less spending.

    I do tend to agree a bit with this, you have to pay taxes to make credits work, and since over half of America doesn't pay anything they are left out.
  • sunny20kin2010sunny20kin2010 Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    It just seems to me that they can't get the oil out of the ground fast enough to satisfy our glutenous appetite. They need to use oil for things only oil can accomplish., plastics, jet fuels, etc. and use other sources of energy to make our cars run and our lights work. Somehow slow it down and be more careful of course this means oil prices will go up...or will they? Haste makes waste every time. :cool:
  • CaptTurboCaptTurbo Solar Expert Posts: 66 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    Every once in a while I find that I can read a post and be dumber for having read it. :confused:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,625 admin
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    Play nice guys....

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CorbinKaleCorbinKale Registered Users Posts: 21
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    Since this has turned into a political, boycott and capitalism thread, I'd like to mention that in response to LA's recent boycott of Arizona, I will be purchasing all of my solar equipment from NAWS.

    Sponsoring such a heplful forum doesn't detract from that that sentiment, either.:D
  • Chuck46Chuck46 Solar Expert Posts: 95
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    Its bad. This all boils down to all of us. A common sense approch needs to be developed for our energy needs. Without energy we will flop as a nation. All aspects need to be explored and developed to lessen our dependance on out side sources of energy. Safety and enviromental need's have to be in balance with those needs, so far this has not happened, when it does things may get better or worse there is no telling.

    Waiting to see if our industry, political and enviromental folks can come to and agreement that wont destroy the USA.
    Chuck
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    A volcano of oil

    http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-8199-Breakthrough-Energy-Examiner~y2010m5d13-A-volcano-of-oil-erupting
    or http://tinyurl.com/26hfzpt

    article stating the size of the "leak" is wayyyy larger than admitted.

    "This is an out of control volcano of oil spewing up with 70,000 psi behind
    it, from a reservoir nearly the size of the Gulf, with an estimated trillions of
    barrels of oil and gas tucked away. "

    If the flow erodes the pipe or rock and becomes a raw fissure in the ocean
    floor, even a nuke won't be able to seal it.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,625 admin
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    The former USSR about 4 or so decades ago used nukes 5 times (at least admitted) and had a 20% failure rate...

    Google Translation of Нефтяную течь в Мексиканском заливе можно ликвидировать ядерным взрывом
    Petroleum leak in the Gulf of Mexico can be eliminated nuclear explosion

    It is possible that unsuccessful attempts to stop the leakage of oil from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico through the underwater robots compel professionals to take extreme measures. Namely - to blow up next to the damaged wells nuclear warhead.
    But in fact there were several cases where catastrophes in the fields of fighting in this way.
    In the former USSR - five times. When nothing else has not helped.
    It's now in the Gulf of Mexico, where oil oozes out of the way from three places.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    it seems to me with that kind of pressure and size of the oil field that they may just widen the opening if they use a nuke.
    well oily, that's another fine mess you've gotten us into. (echoing laurel and hardy);):p
  • solarixsolarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    How much is safety worth? What does risk cost? I think we're getting a lesson on the risks involved with energy sources like oil and coal. They are cheap if everything goes right and you don't count climate change. But of course if something goes wrong, its just a few peon miners that pay the ultimate price or some fisherman etc that get wiped out.
    People think I'm a little nuts cause I drive a little homemade problematic EV. I'm sorry, I feel guilty when I have to fill up my other car. I really feel like we've gone way too far with the whole oil based technology. Who is at fault with this oil spill? The oil industry because they can't beat Murphy's law 100% of the time - or us because we want our cheap comfortable lifestyle in spite of the consequences. Safety is not cheap. And the safe energy is solar energy. The sooner we buck up and spend the effort to do what is right, the better off we will be.
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?
    solarix wrote: »
    How much is safety worth? Safety is not cheap. And the safe energy is solar energy. The sooner we buck up and spend the effort to do what is right, the better off we will be.

    As an off grid installation where power consumption is very low solar PV helps the oil/coal/gas supply.

    As an addon to the grid in a grid tie system residential solar is not doing much to alleviate the requirement of coal or oil today.

    Maybe in time to come when the storage issue is conquered it will be a replacement.

    Solar and wind receive a lot more hype than anything right now. Without the subsidies/incentives/FİTs not much would happen.

    İf suddenly many went for off grid installations that would create another crisis in supply.
  • loreleclorelec Solar Expert Posts: 200 ✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?
    solarix wrote: »
    I really feel like we've gone way too far with the whole oil based technology. Who is at fault with this oil spill? The oil industry because they can't beat Murphy's law 100% of the time - or us because we want our cheap comfortable lifestyle in spite of the consequences. Safety is not cheap. And the safe energy is solar energy. The sooner we buck up and spend the effort to do what is right, the better off we will be.

    I'm as much in favor of renewable energy as the next guy, but I think we need to be realistic. The world is consuming energy at a rate of something like 15 quadrillion watts, which is rising in step with population growth and affluence. That's a heckuva lot of solar panels. Solar accounts for only about 0.05% of it right now. We have a long way to go. We also have to think about transportation. Replacing half a billion petroleum-powered vehicles with electric -- what would that entail? Are we going to scrap them, convert them? Electricity is not nearly as portable a fuel as petroleum, and has about 300x less energy per kg (in battery form) than gasoline. It's just not as simple as replacing one energy source with another, especially in a civilization that has basically been built upon petroleum. More importantly, we need to address other aspects of the equation, such as population growth.

    Marc
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,625 admin
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?
    lorelec wrote: »
    More importantly, we need to address other aspects of the equation, such as population growth.

    The pink elephant that everyone (including governments) are ignoring... At this time, most every government program is based funding by an ever increasing population and tax base.

    Eventually, it will end.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Solar ExperienceSolar Experience Registered Users Posts: 7
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    The fundamental problem is that fossil fuels represent stored solar energy across the scope of a vast timeline.

    It will be interesting to see what the limitations turn out to be on scaling up solar deployments are, and what resources ultimately turn out to be the most useful in terms of key components in mass production.

    The BP situation is interesting, at a time of concerns of peak oil, that a presumably vast resource is essentially being seriously compromised due to engineering challenges that either weren't anticipated or were not deployed properly.

    It brings into focus our precarious relationship with old energy sources and the lifestyle we've constructed based on what is likely a limited resource.

    I think Solar represents one of the best interim strategies we have available, people dispute the value of subsidies in that area without considering the already massively subsidized nature of the oil industry in general.

    In many ways our society is living like a person that hits the lottery and spends it all very quickly without remembering what it is like to be broke, until reality sets in.

    Shifting from an industrial economy to an information based economy will help reset the balances somewhat, it always amazes me how much of our world's natural resources we burn to provide jobs that just burn more resources without producing much of real value. Only 3% of the US population is actually in the manufacturing sector, a number which will likely decrease as automation becomes more widely adopted and efficient. It probably is getting close to the point where the costs of deploying labor in most cases is more expensive than not deploying it. The problem then becomes one of distribution.

    Will be interesting to watch, but personally I'm all for having a personal energy source in a sector where costs are likely to be decreasing rather than being reliant on a centralized source of power that will probably continue to increase in rarity and cost.

    Perhaps its time to really rethink the old values and get to the roots of the problem, before the real costs become apparent.
  • loreleclorelec Solar Expert Posts: 200 ✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?
    BB. wrote: »
    The pink elephant that everyone (including governments) are ignoring... At this time, most every government program is based funding by an ever increasing population and tax base.

    Eventually, it will end.

    -Bill

    I hope you're right. It's such a taboo subject. No one wants to be told what to do, especially when it comes to the sacred act of having children. And so there are probably very few politicians out there who would stick their necks out, even if they wanted to.

    Shifting from an industrial economy to an information based economy will help reset the balances somewhat, it always amazes me how much of our world's natural resources we burn to provide jobs that just burn more resources without producing much of real value.

    All we've really done, though, is shift the location of that industry to countries with even less rigorous environmental standards. I don't think we're using any less energy because of it (globally, that is). Probably more, when you figure in what it takes to ship containers full of merchandise from China to LA...nonstop.

    Marc
  • Solar ExperienceSolar Experience Registered Users Posts: 7
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?
    All we've really done, though, is shift the location of that industry to countries with even less rigorous environmental standards. I don't think we're using any less energy because of it (globally, that is). Probably more, when you figure in what it takes to ship containers full of merchandise from China to LA...nonstop.

    Marc
    Its tricky like that. Part of the problem is that we are convinced that we need the plastic pumpkins. Doesn't help that success in this country is percieved as owning large and inneficient items. Huge houses that have significant net energy losses, cars which burn fuel at excessive rates, things which generally have to be replaced with newer items regularly. Any system which rewards things like planned obsolecense has some pretty fundamental flaws.

    I haven't looked around to see how much actual manufacturing capacity that outsourcing replaces in terms of what percentage of people we would actually have to employ in an isolationist scenario, but you bring up a good point.

    Technologies such as mass production and robotics create more with less man hours, once the requisite machinery is installed. Part of the issue is figuring out what to do with the people who's job skills are replaced. In many ways I think it would be better if the overall system was designed to accommodate more people working less hours, instead of a wide split between people that are employed and working constantly and those that aren't employed at all. No real ideas on how to implement something like that though, specilization and skill disparities are an issue there.

    It seems strange to me that people work more hours, generally, than feudal serfs did in the middle ages and yet so much of that labor (along with the resources it takes to support that work) is put to completely unproductive or even counter-productive ends.
  • brulazbrulaz Solar Expert Posts: 31 ✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?
    lorelec wrote: »
    I hope you're right. It's such a taboo subject. No one wants to be told what to do, especially when it comes to the sacred act of having children. And so there are probably very few politicians out there who would stick their necks out, even if they wanted to.

    In Canada at least, and many European countries, not sure about the US, the birth rate is insufficient to replace the existing population. 2.1 children per female is necessary, but only 1.59 (2006) are being produced.

    But growth is such an important a part of the economy, from construction, real estate and resource extraction, that immigration is boosted to compensate (and over-compensate) for low birth rates. How else are property values to increase?

    Although it would be easy to reduce immigration, most people do not want to. There's too much money to be made, and immigrants often provide other advantages. Low wages, high education, different perspective, and so on.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,625 admin
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    For the US, it is running about replacement rate... With native born below, and immigrants above...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 - Have We Learned Anyhting?

    Quote - It seems strange to me that people work more hours, generally, than feudal serfs did in the middle ages and yet so much of that labor (along with the resources it takes to support that work) is put to completely unproductive or even counter-productive ends.

    People are not working more hours today and certainly not working harder! That sounds like one of the 'internet facts' where something gets posted seven times and then it goes into the encyclopedia.

    My old boss in İndia loved the US and European environmental restrictions - when a plant shutdown in Germany he would buy it, move it to İndia without the safe guards and make a bucketfull of money.

    He also loved carbon trading - very easy to game!
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