This is scary!

By Ken Perrott 31/05/2010 3


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


3 Responses to “This is scary!”

  • Umm … “accidents waiting to happen”?

    Why so?

    Most are production wells in relatively shallow-water, that have been operating without major incident (or at least, without media interest) for decades. So I would find the large number actually a reassurance! Unless, perhaps, most are BP wells …

    We depend on oil-companies taking “shortcuts and risks” for our current supply of low-cost hydro-carbons.

    Is your (and PZ Myer’s) concern based on evidence of increasingly “shoddy management” (perhaps due to increased focus of profit margins), or the implication of the recent DWH event for future hydro-carbon pricing?

    It is the latter that is the more scary, in my view.

  • PrTwo – we all take risks in life but we are surely entitled to demand that society minimises these. I don’t think it unreasonable that all the companies in the area be obliged to operate to an adequate safety procedure.

    I really can’t see what your problem is with this.

  • Perhaps PtTwo is just questioning the validity of extrapolating the risk that other production wells pose, based on the catastrophic incident that has occurred at the BP well?
    Still, one cannot help but wonder if it could happen again. One would hope that a reassessment of the safety procedures at all platforms is being re-examined. I think Ken’s point about these companies minimising the risks is an important one.

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