bp oil disaster
A new federal report into the causes of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico has found that BP took multiple serious shortcuts in exploratory drilling and that the operation was behind schedule and over budget. This conclusion echoes the results of previous investigations, including the January report by national commission on the oil spill.
The report also reiterated concerns about the use of blowout preventers, which are meant to be a final defense against oil rig disasters. In the case of the Deepwater Horizon spill, the blowout preventer mechanism was weakened by a failure in the drill pipe, which connects the surface rig to the well. This pipe, which spanned 5,000 feet, possibly buckled because it was simply too heavy to support itself.
Oceana has released a response calling for an end to new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the new report.
"This report confirms that bad decisions and improper, risky actions were at the root of the accident," said senior campaign director Jackie Savitz. "All deepwater drilling activities would, by their nature, also have thousands of feet of drill pipe, and could be vulnerable to the same danger."
Other fatal shortcuts cited in the report include cement failure at the base of the well, last-minute changes in drilling plans, insufficient emergency planning, and numerous violations of federal regulations governing oil well management.
I am a Californian now, but I was born a child of the desert. My parents raised me in Arizona, where my father worked as an archaeologist, and my mother took me to wander the scrubby ravines near our home. She saw beauty everywhere. As a small boy I just saw great opportunities for hide and seek.
Once a year, for our summer vacation, we would drive to the beach. I still remember the great anticipation I felt as our station wagon crested the last mild incline that would give us a view of the Pacific Ocean. It filled me with an awe I still feel today, and as an adult Iâ€™ve always lived a window away from its expanses.
But my appreciation for the ocean is complicated by the knowledge that we risk it every day for oil. Last yearâ€™s Gulf of Mexico oil disaster was a bellwether tragedy for the oceans. We know less about the deep sea than we do about the surface of Mars â€“ just as we still donâ€™t know the true cost of the worst oil disaster in U.S. history a year later.
The Oceana Latitude is making its final preparations for eight weeks on the water. We got this dispatch from our trusty senior campaigns communications manager, Dustin Cranor:
Good news. The satellite internet and phone system is back up and running.
The crew took advantage of the day by spending time testing a majority of the equipment onboard the Oceana Latitude.
Matthias Gorny, from Oceanaâ€™s Chilean office, launched the ROV from the vessel to assess its standard operating procedures, including ensuring that its seals were working properly. The Longitude, a 42 foot boat adapted for Oceanaâ€™s research needs, was also deployed for at sea testing.
Iâ€™m happy to report that everything worked as planned.
Click here to see a slideshow of photos from the preparations, including a visit from Spanish model Almudena Fernandez.
A hundred days after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, it appears that BP has finally succeeded in controlling the blowout that spewed millions of gallons of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico.
Yet to paraphrase Winston Churchill, this is just the end of the beginning. The creatures that live in, and the people that depend on the Gulf of Mexico will be affected by the oil spill for years, and we are just starting to comprehend the scope of this tragedy.
Thatâ€™s why I am pleased to announce that Oceana is launching an ambitious, eight-week scientific expedition in the Gulf of Mexico. We will assess the effects of the oil spill on the marine environment, and we will trumpet the message that ocean oil drilling is too dangerous to be allowed to wreck any more of our oceans and our beaches.
This expedition team, led by Oceanaâ€™s Chief Scientist Mike Hirshfield and Oceanaâ€™s vice president for Europe, Xavier Pastor, will also include research by Dr. Jeff Short, Oceanaâ€™s Pacific science director and one of the worldâ€™s leading experts on Exxon Valdez and the effects of oil spills from his years as a government scientist at NOAA. The crew also includes scientists, divers and underwater photographers from our U.S., Chile and Spain offices, as well as academic scientists.
Working from the Latitude, a 167-foot ship capable of sailing in shallow and deep waters, the crew will test for underwater oil and study important seafloor habitats as well as the migratory marine life affected by the spill. This includes endangered sea turtles as well as the rare whale shark.
We are fortunate to have supporters who believe in Oceanaâ€™s targeted, science-based work and make this kind of original research possible. The facts uncovered by our on-the-water team will be critical in the fight to end dangerous offshore drilling.
You can give today to help us support the critical work of the expedition. Please help us protect the oceans today!
When the expedition launches in early August, we will post frequent updates on Oceana.org, and Iâ€™ll be sure to share the most exciting developments with you.
Andy Sharpless is the CEO of Oceana.
Yesterday, Kate Walsh spent some time on the couch with the ladies of The View. After talking about past and possible future love affairs of Dr. Addison Montgomery, Kate spoke passionately and eloquently about the BP oil disaster and the need to stop offshore drilling. But don't take my word for it - check her out for yourself.
We are at almost 100,000 signatures! Add your name to the fight against offshore drilling - sign the petition to Stop the Drill today.
Nearly six weeks after the Deepwater Horizon exploded, the first truly gutwrenching photos of oiled birds have arrived. Here at Oceana, we've been thinking about the oil spill constantly - and yet it's amazing that one image can be so heartbreaking.
Update Friday afternoon: The New York Times' Lens blog has a nice column about the meaning of these first, intimate images of animals in distress. And the AP photo editor who published the images has this hopeful thing to say about the fate of the birds pictured: "I'm told that the birds that were still alive â€” mostly pelicans and up to 40 of them â€” were taken to a bird cleaning facility in Ft. Jackson and are being cared for."
Meanwhile, we've surpassed 75,000 signatures on our petition to end offshore drilling. Please add your name to the list if you haven't already.
For more photos, visit Boston.com.
When: Thursday, June 3, 2010 from 9:00 - 10:00pm EST
Where: On Twitter. If you do not have a Twitter account, please register at http://www.twitter.com. Follow the conversation by using the #oilchat Hashtag.
President Barack Obama goes one-on-one with Larry King tonight at 9pm eastern to talk about the oil spill, economic turmoil and war. What are your reactions or impressions to President Obamaâ€™s comments?
Jackie Savitz, Oceanaâ€™s Senior Campaign Director, Pollution Campaigns [@jackiesavitz] will be joining the conversation to answer your questions and reactions.
New to Twitter? Hereâ€™s How to Get Set Up
If youâ€™re not already set up on Twitter, hop on over there and get an account. Here are some tips for setting up your account as well as some key things to know once you jump on.