Monday, July 26, 2010

Gulf Coast Oil Problems…

… are nothing new, but, apparently there have been more than reported.

    According to an article in the St.Petersburg Times,

there have been quite a few that were worse than we thought that they were.

One big spill was 160,638 barrels in 1967 when an anchor tore a hole in a corroded pipeline operated by Humble Oil, a unit of Exxon; it leaked for 13 days. In 1969, a blowout on a Union Oil well spilled 80,000 barrels, killing 4,000 birds and seeping for four years after being plugged. In 1974, a Pennzoil pipeline break spilled 19,833 barrels probably because an anchor was dragged across the submerged line. Another anchor tore open an Amoco pipeline in 1988, spilling 15,576 barrels. A Shell pipeline leak in 1990, discovered when a helicopter noticed a heavy oil slick 25 miles by 15 miles, spilled 14,423 barrels.

    Oil executives and a few of our politicians assert that newer technology has made oil drilling more safer. As proof, they point us to hurricanes Rita and Katrina.

"I think people are reassured that not a drop of oil was spilled during Katrina or Rita," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in 2008. "Those rigs in the gulf, there was not a single incident of spillage that anyone reported."

But while the overwhelming majority of safety valves did work during the two hurricanes, the MMS reported that there were five modest-sized spills, each between 1,000 and 2,000 barrels. There were also 125 small spills, many from riser pipes or storage tanks on platforms. Altogether, they added up to 16,302 barrels, almost a quarter as big as the 1969 spill off Santa Barbara, Calif., that helped give rise to the modern environmental movement.

    Anyway, the article goes on speaking of some of the less known problems with our wells and the pipelines that run under the Gulf.

    Read it all right here.