Holy Cow, Obama could have stopped the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster from happening. The shocking news is that Obama’s Mineral Management Service knew that the Deepwater Horizon was going to blow in February, two months before anything happened.
BP Plc was struggling to seal cracks in its Macondo well as far back as February, more than two months before an explosion killed 11 and spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico.It took 10 days to plug the first cracks, according to reports BP filed with the Minerals Management Service that were later delivered to congressional investigators. Cracks in the surrounding rock continued to complicate the drilling operation during the ensuing weeks. Left unsealed, they can allow explosive natural gas to rush up the shaft.
The Mineral Management Service, they work for the Administration don’t they? So wait a second, there were cracks in the well, and the Mineral Management Service knew about it? And no one is talking about it?
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BP used three different substances to plug the holes before succeeding, the documents show.“Most of the time you do a squeeze and then let it dry and you’re done,” said John Wang, an assistant professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering at Penn State in University Park, Pennsylvania. “It dries within a few hours.”
Repeated squeeze attempts are unusual and may indicate rig workers are using the wrong kind of cement, Wang said.
And the Obama administration did nothing. But it gets worse:
In early March, BP told the minerals agency the company was having trouble maintaining control of surging natural gas, according to e-mails released May 30 by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating the spill.
In the past if well were “passing too much gas” companies shut them down. Or the government forces them to.
While gas surges are common in oil drilling, companies have abandoned wells if they determine the risk is too high. When a Gulf well known as Blackbeard threatened to blow out in 2006,Exxon Mobil Corp. shut the project down.
“We don’t proceed if we cannot do so safely,” Exxon Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson told a House Energy and Commerce committee panel on June 15.
It couldn’t have been that bad right? Because Obama is not Bush, this is Hope and Change, Obama’s Mineral Management Service wouldn’t let the rig continue drilling for oil.
On March 10, BP executive Scherie Douglas e-mailed Frank Patton, the mineral service’s drilling engineer for the New Orleans district, telling him: “We’re in the midst of a well control situation.”
The incident was a “showstopper,” said Robert Bea, an engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who has consulted with the Interior Department on offshore drilling safety. “They damn near blew up the rig.”
Damn near blew up the rig? Obama’s Mineral Management Service knew this and let the rig continue operating.
Here is the truth about the Deepwater disaster. At last week’s Congressional hearing, Congressman Waxman said the common thread behind all of BP’s decisions was they saved BP time and money but raised the risk of catastrophe.
“BP has cut corner after corner to save $1 million here, a few hours or days there, and now the whole Gulf Coast is paying the price,” said Waxman.
BP’s CEO, Tony Hayward kept answering over and overthat many of those decisions were approved by the Minerals Management Service. And indeed they were, but on top of those approvals were indications that the Deepwater Horizon was in serious danger, and those omens were ignored. True, they were ignored by BP, but what makes it much worse is that they were ignored, by the Obama administration.
There’s the big lie, the Deepwater Horizon disaster was not a failure of lack of regulation, it was a failure of the Obama Administration, failing to exploit the regulatory power it did have. The blame for Deepwater falls squarely on the lap of President Obama.