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Another Gulf Oil Rig Explodes 423

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the here-we-go-again dept.
A few readers have noted that another gulf oil rig has exploded. This one is off the coast of Lousiana. So far all the workers are accounted for, but they are in immersion suits waiting for rescue.
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Another Gulf Oil Rig Explodes

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  • Bah. (Score:4, Funny)

    by jpapon (1877296) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:21PM (#33452314) Journal
    Call me back when there's oil spewing.
  • Cap (Score:3, Interesting)

    by codepunk (167897) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:23PM (#33452352)

    The experience gained over the last few months means they should be able to cap this one very quickly.

    • Re:Cap (Score:4, Funny)

      by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:29PM (#33452498) Homepage

      Cap baby, cap?

      • by Torodung (31985)

        "Trade baby, trade" is more likely to be the new slogan. I can hear the selloffs now.

        --
        Toro

    • by bsDaemon (87307)

      That's assuming all things being equal, which likely they aren't. If the pipe hadn't been broken in the very specific way it was with the BP rig, then earlier attempts would have been successful. If a cap is even needed in this case, it might require some special steps which haven't been required on the BP rig due to specific circumstances.

      But between two oil rig explosions and the Chilean mine collapse, perhaps we can get closer to realizing that trying to energy out of the ground isn't exactly the best

      • Re:Cap (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gardyloo (512791) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:50PM (#33452992)

        The Chilean mine is for gold and copper. You might argue that it's even less important than "energy", or that it's more important, or that it provides some sort of "economic energy" or psychological energy, or whatever. But good luck getting gold and copper anywhere else (other than recycling).

    • Re:Cap (Score:5, Informative)

      by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... m ['o.c' in gap]> on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:33PM (#33452586) Journal

      This one isn't a deep water rig, so it should be much easier to cap.

    • or maybe this time around at least they can cover up better

      http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/07/show-bp-how-to-use-photoshop/ [wired.com]

    • There's not going to be a leak this time. It's a stationary "midway-house delivery" platform, not a drilling platform.

      Not downplaying the significance of this (what was it the energy industry said about the BP explosion being a "once-in-a-lifetime" event and so Obama's drilling ban was unwarranted?), but we don't need to worry about another spill.
      • by icebike (68054)

        Not downplaying the significance of this (what was it the energy industry said about the BP explosion being a "once-in-a-lifetime" event and so Obama's drilling ban was unwarranted?), but we don't need to worry about another spill.

        Seriously, when was the last drill rig explosion, collapse and sinking prior to BP?

        Small gas explosions may happen from time to time, but platform threatening events are rare.

        After a BP event, EVERYBODY picks up their game and starts checking their procedures and tightening up their safety systems. Inspectors start paying attention.

        For this event to happen in the wake of that fact is disturbing. Maybe its time to break out the tinfoil hats.

        • by Vancorps (746090)

          It happened last year. [nola.com]

          Sorry, but the Australian spill didn't make them pick up their game and neither will the BP spill. Until they are forced to change costing them large amounts of money you can't possibly think they would change on their own? The reality is that they really aren't concerned about spills because there is no political will anywhere to really change the oil industry. Shell spills the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez oil spill every year in Nigeria and most people have no idea about it.

          Insp

    • Re:Cap (Score:4, Informative)

      by jriding (1076733) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @02:24PM (#33454658)

      That idea that they learned is a joke. here is a quote from a news site comparing the BP blow out to an earlier one.

      79 Mexico oil spill
      Attempted Fixes

      # They attempted to put a cone over the top, calling it operation Sombrero (as oppose to Top-Hat)

      # They attempted to plug up the leak by pumping rocks, mud and seawater into it

      Pemex pumped cement and salt water into Ixtoc for months before finally bringing the runaway well under control and sealing it with cement plugs.

      Pemex's scramble to come up with other solutions while the relief wells were being drilled will sound familiar to those who have followed BP's efforts to stop the oil gushing out of its ruptured well.

      Divers tried to manually operate the blowout preventer but this effort was unsuccessful and over the next several months Pemex tried a variety of solutions, including a plan to force metal spheres into the well to cut the flow of oil and lowering a steel structure over the spill to capture the crude.

      BP is trying similar schemes but the huge water depth it is operating at is vastly complicating its efforts.

      Does any of that sound like BP learned anything from an almost exact issue as theirs?

      In both cases natural gas flowed unnoticed into the well being drilled, causing an explosion. In both cases a critical piece of fail-safe equipment -- the blowout preventer -- failed. And in both cases the operators struggled to quickly staunch the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

      Here are some links.
      http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64N57U20100524 [reuters.com]
      http://caps.fool.com/Blogs/an-identical-oil-spill/399603 [fool.com]

  • publicity stunt to take some heat off of them. "look it happens to everyone here"
  • BP (Score:5, Funny)

    by UncleWilly (1128141) <UncleWilly07@noSPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:25PM (#33452408)

    I wonder if BP execs will give themselves a bonus.

    "Hey! It wasn't one of ours!" bonus.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I wonder if BP execs will give themselves a bonus.

      "Hey! It wasn't one of ours!" bonus.

      Actually, my sister works for ExxonMobil. Her comment on the BP disaster was, "Well, at least we are not responsible for the biggest ecological catastrophe any more"

      • Re:BP (Score:5, Funny)

        by Applekid (993327) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @01:26PM (#33453694)

        Her comment on the BP disaster was, "Well, at least we are not responsible for the biggest ecological catastrophe any more"

        There there, buck up. You'll get them next year.

      • Re:BP (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Martin Blank (154261) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @02:28PM (#33454724) Journal

        NPR interviewed some oil workers at various smaller companies a little while back. They basically said that they were angry with BP, because while the record in the US since the Exxon Valdez has not been perfect, it has substantially improved. BP's experience -- accident or dangerous indifference -- has tarnished the entire industry. Exxon employees especially were furious because that company basically overhauled its entire safety mindset in the years after the Exxon Valdez, and most of what gets brought up about Exxon is a disaster from 20+ years ago, like nothing has changed since.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Martin Blank (154261)

          I just realized that I mixed some of my thoughts there. NPR interviewed workers from smaller oil companies; the interviews with employees of Exxon, which is in no way a small company, were conducted another time, though I don't recall if it was by NPR.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spun (1352)

      Don't forget the 'giving ourselves a bonus' bonus. Handing out bonuses is hard work.

  • Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moogied (1175879) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:26PM (#33452418)
    JUST MAYBE, we should look into this stuff.. I know, it happens off of the land so "civilians" are safe, but I am about 99% sure when big metal buildings *EXPLODE*, something is wrong. Once in a year? Extremely bad. Twice in a year? Something is broken.
    • > Twice in a year? Something is broken.

      Why? Foot traffic at 7-11 is bursty. Traffic accidents are bursty. Weather is bursty.

      What mechanism would force oil rig explosions to be chronologically separated by the Earth completing an orbit around the Sun?

    • by roman_mir (125474)

      To answer your question: NO!

      Of-course not.

      Also wikileaks must be closed, Assange needs to go to prison, in Iraq WMDs were found and now the country is free and democratic, all Taliban and Al Qaeda are destroyed, Iran can be taken by US and UN forces in days without any major problems, SS is not spent, taxes need to continue be paid to the gov't, who is clearly on the right path of doing everything correctly, the jobless economy recovery is getting better, even though the trade is not balanced, the gov't can

    • It's funny that a year is your arbitrary marker for between "Bad" and "Broken". What if it had been 366 days?

      Point is, none of the Gulf Rigs should be exploding. I think "Never" would have been a good record to aim for, not "Once in a while" or even "Rarely".

    • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:44PM (#33452858) Homepage Journal

      Not to discredit the idea that domestic and off-shore drilling and oil recovery should be as safe as possible... but

      It still kills fewer americans than getting oil from other places... like the middle east.

    • by RobVB (1566105)

      I know, it happens off of the land so "civilians" are safe

      There are still civilians working on those platforms. This time, fortunately, none of them died and only one got injured, but we should think about the people living on these big exploding metal buildings.

    • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @01:05PM (#33453296) Homepage

      Maybe, just maybe, safety standards for places like mines and oil rigs go down when the people appointed to head the inspection agencies for mines and oil rigs were former executives for mine and oil companies. And even if a new guy gets in charge, it can take a long time before their changes take any effect.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:26PM (#33452428)

    Oh yeah, that 6-month moratorium on deepwater drilling seems like an overreaction now...

    • by wjousts (1529427)
      Yeah, thank $deity that a judge had the good sense to overturn that one.
    • by snowraver1 (1052510) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:41PM (#33452778)
      Do you really think that would have made a difference? There are literally thousands or oil rigs in the Gulf right now. Having a 6 month hold on new drilling was nothing more than a PR stunt.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      This was an operational rig, not a drilling operation so the moratorium has nothing to do with this.

      "Coast Guard officials said they do not yet know if there is any type of leak associated with this explosion.

      They said there are reports it was not actively producing product, but they will investigate whether there is any type of environmental impact.

      The rig is known as "Vermilion 398."'

    • by mea37 (1201159) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @02:48PM (#33455102)

      Because a ban on new drilling in depths over 500 feet would have prevented an explosion on an operational rig whose depth is less than 400 feet?

      I doubt that.

  • If only there had been some sort of procedure by which the off-shore drilling could have been suspended, like, say, a moratorium....

    • Re:Gee Wally... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jpapon (1877296) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:43PM (#33452826) Journal
      Wasn't the moratorium on deep water drilling? I haven't been able to find this info, but I'm not sure this was a deepwater rig. It was 80 miles offshore, but the Gulf doesn't get "deep" until a long ways out.

      Anyways, fires happen all the time on oil rigs, it's nothing new, or even exceptional: "The U.S. Minerals Management Service reported 69 offshore deaths, 1,349 injuries, and 858 fires and explosions on offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico from 2001 to 2010." [wikipedia.org]

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      Off-shore drilling was never going to be suspended. There was some talk of a moratorium on *new exploration*, but that wouldn't have applied to this rig.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nadaka (224565)

      That would have had no effect. This rig already existed, stopping new construction of rigs would have made no difference except that when the moratorium ends you have workers that are out of practice.

  • by multipartmixed (163409) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:32PM (#33452572) Homepage

    Posted at 11:43 a.m.] U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough tells CNN that all 13 workers involved in the production platform explosion are accounted for, but one person is injured.

    Coast Choppers are on the way to the site 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay.

    So... how exactly are the Feuding Teutels going to be of any use? Will Vinnie fix the oil rig? Will Mikey bake the rescued workers some special brownies?

  • Okay, so the oil industry says that this sort of event is "a million to one" to happen, and we've had two within a few months. By their estimates, we've already reached a scenario less likely than Evangelion's Zero-Nine probability... or maybe, just maybe, these oil rigs are a lot less safe than they'd have us believe?
    • by Duradin (1261418)

      This one was probably their planned yearly rig cook-off to drive up gas prices for the last gasp of summer (before they have to switch to producing the more expensive winter gas).

    • by jpapon (1877296)
      The million to one was the safety valve gizmo failing, I think it was called the "blowout preventer" or something to that effect. Fires and explosions happen on oil rigs all the time.
  • by JohnnyKnoxville (311956) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:43PM (#33452830)

    Remember after the massive earthquake in Haiti, the news started reporting earthquakes about once a week? Accidents and casualties are nothing new to the oil industry.

  • Lousiana (Score:5, Funny)

    by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:53PM (#33453074) Homepage Journal
    Apparently Louisiana really pissed off Poseidon sometime in the last few years. Y'all might want to update your Kraken attack response drills just in case...
  • Tags (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nospam007 (722110) * on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:59PM (#33453192)

    There's a yougottobeshittingme tag missing in the article.

  • so you don't fund chavez in venezuela, salafists and wahhabi fundamentalism via saudi arabia, the destruction of our environment, lowered air quality, etc

    you are part of the problem, every time you pull into a gas station. policy change on a national level is only half the solution. the other part of the solution is a personal decision all of us have to make to do what is right

    don't let your next car be fueled by gasoline, for the sake of national security, and your environment. since militant muslim fundamentalism and petrodollar socialism is something that bothers the right, and environmental destruction and poor air quality something that bothers the left, then surely, this is something that both the left, and the right, can agree on, for once

    imagine that: a monumental personal decision that both bush haters and obama haters can agree on

    no. more. gasoline. cars

    for the sake of your country

    • by fred fleenblat (463628) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @01:24PM (#33453656) Homepage

      my personal preference is that we use up foreign oil while it's still relatively cheap. when it hits $500 barrel, then maybe we should tap into offshore wells and sell some back to OPEC for 20x what we paid for most of theirs.

      in the mean time we should probably focus on perfecting blow-out preventers.

      just mah opinion.

      • by cowscows (103644) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @02:00PM (#33454302) Journal

        I entirely agree. US politicians yelling about how we need to drill more to make ourselves more energy independent are selling false goods. Even if we tripled the amount of oil that we were producing domestically, it would still be a small fraction of the oil that the country uses, and would at best reduce prices by a few pennies per gallon. It would earn big piles of money for a relatively small number of people in the oil industry, and the rest of us wouldn't notice anything different.

        We should consider the rest of that oil as a strategic reserve, in case one day we really need it, or somebody else really needs it and is willing to pay out the nose for it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by radtea (464814)

      you are part of the problem

      And you an excellent example of how not to solve it.

      No statement about the environment should begin with any word other than "I", as in "I own a car but only drive once a week or so", "I bought a smaller house downtown so I can walk to work and do almost all my shopping on foot--I stay fit as an added bonus!" and "My smaller house costs a lot less to heat. Basically I save a lot of money by living a more sustainable, urban lifestyle, which gives me more time for my kids."

      The problem with the approach that

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheSync (5291)

      If your car is electric and you live in the US, chances are that most of its electricity is produced by CO2 emitting coal burning power plants...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        in order for a coal plant to generate the same amount of power in kW as an engine, it produces *less* CO2 and pollutants. Even if you're at the worst case scenario for grid power, you're still doing better than an internal combustion engine with gasoline.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TheSync (5291)

          even if you're at the worst case scenario for grid power, you're still doing better than an internal combustion engine with gasoline.

          Indeed...

          Tesla Roadster 40 miles = 11.2 kWh

          Coal power generation is about 1.4 pounds of CO2 per kWh electricity delivered to the home.

          internal combustion engine-powered 40 miles @ 25 mpg =1.6 US gallons

          CO2 emissions from a gallon of gasoline = 19.4 pounds/gallon

          Tesla= 15.6 pounds CO2, internal combustion = 31 pounds CO2.

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