Sunday, July 11, 2010

27,000 Abandoned Ignored Oil Wells

More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk in the hard rock beneath the Gulf of Mexico, an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades. No one -- not industry, not government -- is checking to see if they are leaking.
The oldest of these wells dates from the 1940's.
According to records, 3,500 of these are listed as  "temporarily abandoned" which make them in a class not as regulated as an abandoned well. Many of these temporaty classed wells , though, date back to the 1960's.
It is important to note that the Deepwater Well which blew on April 20 was being sealed in accordance to the regulations for temporary abandonment. As we know, this well, has caused the gravest man made ecological disaster in the history of North America.
For further information as to the gravity of this threat and the irresponsible attitudwe of both the Federal Government and the Oil Industry, check out this link which is an AP Special report in the Louisiana Press regarding the immediacy of this threat.


Engineer of Knowledge said...

Wait A Minute Microdot!!! You mean there is a long term consequence to Drill Baby Drill?!?!! Do Tell!!!

At 10:45 am on Tuesday morning, January 28, 1969, about five miles off the coast from the aptly named small coastal community of Summerland, all hell broke loose. Like most catastrophes, there was not one point of failure but many acting in concert.

The problems began on an offshore drilling rig operated by Union Oil called Platform Alpha, where pipe was being extracted from a 3,500 foot deep well. The pressure difference created by the extraction of the pipe was not sufficiently compensated for by the pumping of drilling mud back down the well, which caused a disastrous pressure increase.

As the pressure built up and started to strain the casing on the upper part of the well, an emergency attempt was made to cap it, but this action only succeeded in further increasing the pressure inside the well. The consequence was that under extreme pressure a burst of natural gas blew out all of the drilling mud, split the casing and caused cracks to form in the seafloor surrounding the well. A simple solution to the problem was now impossible; due to the immense pressure involved and the large volume of oil and natural gas being released a “blowout” occurred and the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill was under way.

Today, 41 years later we are again living yet another devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The foresight for the Gulf will be exactly like Santa Barbara is today where the sea life of oysters, clams, abalones have not recovered and the area is still a dead zone.

How short the memories, or for many, the willful ignorance of their own recent history of just 40 years ago, and the long term devastation of Off Shore Drilling for Oil off the coast of one of California’s most beautiful areas.

It is easy to say that 40 years from now, just as in Santa Barbara today, the waterman’s life and the local harvesting of seafood industry will not be functioning at all.

So for the Drill Baby Drill chanters of just a year ago, GO TO HELL You Dumb Bastards!!! The parade will be lead by Sarah Palin herself.

steve said...

I think any kind of environmental issue is hopeless. I'm sorry to be so negative, but the only way anyone is going to stop environmental degradation is if another technology supplants the dirty technology. How do I know this is the case? COPD! As a nursing student.. the vast majority of cases that I see in the hospital, are people who have combined heart failure and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - the lungs are toast).. They struggle and fight for each and every breath - are in a constant state of hypoxia and air hunger anxiety, their limbs are swollen like balloons from the fluid buildup associated with heart failure.. Yet they will angrily demand to go out for their "smoke break". If people are unwilling to even change course and take care of themselves and exercise a little bit of self discipline - even in the face of imminent death and the reality of never seeing their beloved grand kids again - do you really think ANYONE other than a fringe group of environmentalists are going to care one bit about something as nebulous and distant as the environment?

But I think that technology will save us from ourselves eventually. Each day there is some new awesome discovery that will pave the way to a clean future. Science is our only savior. Politics / we the population at large, changing our ways... Not so much.

microdot said...

Engineer, I remember the Santa Barbara spill now. I seem to think that the Macunado spill is a bigger disaster and now that the well is uncapped...well? We also will never know the real volume of the Gulf disaster because BP has lied about the spill from the beginning.
If the new Cunning Plan by BP fails, then the only responsible alternative is a drastic, heroic finally seal it.
Steve...I try to be optimistic about the future and our ability to do better and progress, but your views about human nature are quite in line with my observations.
We owe it to ourselves to take as good of care our own bodies as we can.
I work hard to keep myself in some kind of shape because it is vital to the quality of life I want to enjoy. Most people fall off their exercycle and just never get back up.
It's too easy to treat green technology as some kind of futuristic utopian pipe dream...even getting people to accept that they don't need plastic bags for every individual item they buy is treated like a human rights violation.
Just reading the comments about green power on mudrakes blog today made me realize how lazy, soft mushy thinking is our worst enemy.