Risk-Taking Rises as Oil Rigs in Gulf Drill Deeper

How many men, livelyhoods, animals and species,  beaches and marshes do we wish to sacrifice? It appears that mankind is prepared to go to any depth to feed its gluttony for oil.  We must examine our conscience and ask how much are we willing to sacrifice? If the answer is “less than in the past”, then we must put all our directives toward finding alternatives.

What are we willing to do about this? Write to our governments, use less fuel, invented a new technology? After reading the following article, I believe we’ll all be more willing to answer the question.


Published: August 29, 2010
In a remote reach of the Gulf of Mexico, nearly 200 miles from shore, a floating oil platform thrusts its tentacles deep into the ocean like a giant steel octopus.

Mike Duhon/Royal Dutch Shell, via European Pressphoto Agency

Shell’s Perdido platform in the Gulf of Mexico will eventually pump oil from 35 wells.

The $3 billion rig, called Perdido, can pump oil from dozens of wells nearly two miles under the sea while simultaneously drilling new ones. It is part of a wave of ultra-deep platforms — all far more sophisticated than the rig that was used to drill the ill-fated BP well that blew up in April. These platforms have sprung up far from shore and have pushed the frontiers of technology in the gulf, a region that now accounts for a quarter of the nation’s oil output.

Major offshore accidents are not common. But whether through equipment failure or human error, the risks increase as the rigs get larger and more complicated.

Yet even as regulators investigate the causes of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the broader dangers posed by the industry’s push into deeper waters have gone largely unscrutinized.

“Our ability to manage risks hasn’t caught up with our ability to explore and produce in deep water,” said Edward C. Chow, a former industry executive who is now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The question now is, how are we going to protect against a blowout as well as all of the other associated risks offshore?”

To read the remainder of the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/30/business/energy-environment/30deep.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

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