Includes thoughts and comments about energy needs, resources, conservation and their relationship to politics at home and around the world.

Friday, May 07, 2010

BP Oil Spill Update

It's now obvious that the event was triggered by a malfunctioning Blowout Preventor, a device designed to pinch the well stem shut to stop the flow of oil and gas if well pressure reaches a critical level. This did not happen, resulting in an upward flow of petroleum gas and liquids under too much pressure for the system and platform equipment to handle. A source of ignition on the platform caused the gas/liquid mixture to explode and destroy the platform killing 11 BP workers.

Efforts to cap the well have proven to be fruitless so far and the well continues to dump an estimated 210,000 gals./day of oil into the Gulf. A few tar balls have come ashore in Louisiana and on beaches in neighboring Mississippi and Alabama. So far, easterly winds have kept the spill from severely damaging beaches along the Florida panhandle and west coast. It is also well north of the so-called "loop current" that could carry the spill into the Gulfstream that forms off Florida's southern tip. Obviously, those conditions could change at any moment, which worries many Floridians, especially those whose livelihoods depend on fishing and tourism.

Reactions to the BP Spill

It didn't take long for the politicians and environmental activists to use the BP oil spill to yell for a stoppage of any plans to drill offshore for more oil in Florida waters and elsewhere around the world. It has also given a push to supporters of so-called "cap & trade" legislation to divert our efforts to the development of renewable energy sources. Cooler heads appreciate the fact we need to encourage more offshore drilling or face increases in all fuel costs that will threaten further the nation's economy. We must be willing to accept the risks inherent in all drilling operations or else be prepared soon to pay as much as $10.00/gal. at the pump.


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