The Beacon

Blog Tags: Oil Rigs

Oceana Divers Explore Life Under Gulf Oil Rig

In today’s update from the boat, expedition leader Xavier Pastor discusses the preparations for the next leg of the journey, and the divers’ exploration of the waters beneath one of the gulf’s myriad oil rigs.

It’s incredible to think about communities of marine life living in the shadows of oil rigs, isn’t it?

Have a burning question about our ongoing expedition in the gulf? Ask it in the comments!

Here's Xavier:

Tuesday, 9/7/10

The Latitude is like an anthill. There’s a crane working on deck to remove some of the materials that were used in the last stage of the expedition: anchors, compressors, chains, ropes, buoys...

Part of the Oceana crew is also packing their bags in order to make room for the new members of the expedition who are slowly making their way to the boat.

The frenetic activity on-board is slowed only by the heat. It’s so hot, and the humidity is so high, that even the boat’s operators have to stop and drink water to avoid dehydration.


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Breaking News: Rig Explodes in the Gulf

Breaking news: another rig has exploded in the Gulf. Deja vu all over again?

The AP reports that an offshore oil rig has exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, west of the Deepwater Horizon.

The blast was reported by a commercial helicopter company about 9:30 a.m. this morning. Seven helicopters, two airplanes and four boats are en route to the site, about 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay along the central Louisiana coast.

It's unclear whether the structure is a production platform or a drilling rig or whether workers were aboard.

We'll keep you updated as we find out more.


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Day 8: A Minefield of Oil Platforms

Mike Hirshfield spots an oil platform

Photo © Oceana/Soledad Esnaola


In today's dispatch from Dustin, the crew is suddenly surrounded by oil rigs in the gulf:

The Oceana Latitude navigated through a minefield of hundreds of oil platforms (out of the thousands that exist in the Gulf of Mexico) today.

Although Oceana’s experts were aware of the size of the industry in the region, seeing the rigs in person put it into an entirely new perspective. It’s truly dumb luck that we haven't faced more problems up to now. Dr. Mike Hirshfield, Oceana's Chief Scientist said, "Seeing another Transocean deepwater drilling rig poised to resume drilling as soon as someone gives them permission sent a cold chill down my back."

And don’t worry if you haven’t seen one of these rigs for yourself, as Congress and the Obama Administration could be bringing them to a coast near you unless we all join together in opposition of new offshore drilling.


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Offshore Drilling at Any Cost?

The latest accident on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig couldn't have come at a more significant time for the efforts to pass comprehensive climate change and energy legislation. With Senate plans to expand and even incentivize offshore drilling, this accident serves as a reminder of how costly offshore drilling truly is.

Despite advances in drilling technology and all of the precautions made, drilling is a high risk business and even the newest technology cannot prevent all spills. Fires, explosions and accidents are more common than they would like you to believe. New technology advances have pushed the envelope for drilling efforts. Expanding drilling activities into these “frontier” areas only increases the risk.

Take away for the moment the immediate danger to personnel on the rigs and look at the potential environmental and economic costs to coastal towns relying on fishing and tourism. Oceana's federal policy director, Beth Lowell discussed the dangers last night on NBC Nightly News:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


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