We have all heard quite a bit about the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig which was attacked and sank in the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, attacked. And no, this isn't just another rehash of the conspiracy theory popping up on blogs everywhere about North Korea attacking. The aggressor may indeed be North Korea, but I haven't seen or heard anything which would support that.
That said, I understand that a certain media figure, whom I respect, is looking into this story, to see if it holds any water...and obviously, he'll only report on it if it's legit, so let's help him find the truth!
Now, to be clear, I haven't been able to independently confirm this, which is why I'm asking for your help. The truth is that I have no personal expertise with drill rigs and explosives, but I'm a reasonably intelligent fellow, and willing to learn. If any of you are in the industry and/or are experienced with explosives, and can confirm the factual basis for such speculation, I'd love to get independent confirmation of this line of thinking, and get even more of the truth out, or at least, confirm what I've already heard, so please contact me ASAP. And make sure your info is detailed, and where possible, with independently verifiable documentation.
And one only needs to remember every major disaster/attack to realize that the press seems to ALWAYS gets through to SOMEONE who was a survivor/witness. Yet not only are we not seeing those interviews, but we aren't hearing a peep from the press, clamoring that there's no access to the survivors.
And then there's the inconvenient truth that a SECOND OIL RIG went down later, but only a single news story has been done on it, and it was just a tiny blurb in Marketwatch. Scroll down past this first article to read the news of the SECOND oil rig to go down in a week.
I don't know about you, but I've NEVER heard of such a thing happening. Two oil rigs going down in the same month, in the same part of the world...have any of you ever heard of such a thing happening? Glenn Beck has encouraged us to not dismiss ANYTHING as a coincidence, and I think as 9.12'ers, we owe it to the dead workers' families to not just assume this was an accident, and let it fade down the memory hole.
Again, I want to be clear: WE DON'T YET KNOW. I want to see if we can learn, from those here on The 9.12 Project Network, what's up. We'll learn a lot more as time goes on, but I wanted to pass this along to our members, asking for more information from anybody in the industry. If you have more detailed information, and are willing to speak with me, or you know someone who does, and is, please contact me.
APRIL 22, 2010
GULF RIG EXPLODES, 11 MISSING; POTENTIAL BLOW TO INDUSTRY
BY BEN CASSELMAN, RUSSELL GOLD AND ANGEL GONZALEZ
NEW ORLEANS—A massive fire on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico left 11 workers missing and cast a pall over an offshore drilling boom that stands to dramatically lift U.S. energy output.
Rescuers scoured the Gulf for the unaccounted workers late Wednesday as firefighters struggled to quench a towering fire that forced all aboard to flee.
The blaze on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which broke out around 10 p.m. central Tuesday night, thrust a geyser of flames and smoke into the sky about 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Seventeen people were injured, three critically, rescue officials said.
The rig is operated for oil giant BP PLC by drilling contractor Transocean Ltd., which said the search for the cause of the fire would begin after the missing had been accounted for. But Transocean said one possibility that might explain the size and ferocity of the blaze is a blow-out, an uncontrolled burst of oil and natural gas from the well.
Some industry analysts said they feared the accident might temporarily damp the pace of oil development in the deepest reaches of the Gulf, which has become a significant exploration hotspot for international oil companies seeking new sources of petroleum. The industry is booming, and has been challenged by a tight supply of rigs and skilled workers.
The accident comes at a sensitive time politically for the industry. President Obama late last month proposed allowing drilling in new areas of the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the southern Atlantic coast, where it was banned. Supporters argue the industry has become much safer. The Transocean fire could be an untimely reminder of risks.
"Is there a domino effect from this?" asked Arun Jayaram, a Credit Suisse analyst. "It seems like there would be some collateral damage."
The incident could spark calls for increased regulation, said Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners, a consulting firm. The American Petroleum Institute, the industry's main trade group, put out a statement Wednesday standing by its safety record.
"Every incident is both one too many and a powerful incentive to improve training, operational procedures, regulations, industry standards and technology," the statement said.
The rig, which analysts said would cost $600 million to replace, was listing badly Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard said. A so-called semi-submersible, the rig is a nearly 400-foot-long floating platform that uses thrusters to hold it in place above a well. Transocean is the world's largest offshore drilling contractor, with more than 21,000 workers and 140 rigs, many of them state-of-the-art vessels capable of drilling through thousands of feet of water and miles of rock.
BP says it had just wrapped up exploratory drilling at the Deepwater Horizon's site and was in the process of analyzing the results at the well, which extends through 4,992 feet of water and another 13,000 feet under the seabed. BP, along with U.S. companies such as Chevron Corp., has announced significant oil fields in recent years.
Months of wrangling may ensue over responsibility for the fire. Transocean was largely in control of the drilling; BP had representatives aboard the rig who would have given instructions on where and how the contractor should drill.
Transocean executive Adrian Rose said at a press conference in New Orleans: "We are deeply saddened by this event." Company spokesman Guy Cantwell declined to comment on the rig's safety record.
Still, the fire may bring renewed public scrutiny to BP, as the incident comes five years after the explosion and fire at its refinery in Texas City, Tex., which killed 15 people.
BP says it stands ready to help with the investigation. It says has invested more than $1 billion to fix problems at Texas City, part of a multi-year program emphasizing safety.
In recent years, oil companies have pushed further offshore in search of oil, as older, easier oilfields dry up and foreign governments cut access to reserves.
The emphasis on deepwater exploration has led to a surge in construction of rigs capable of drilling in such depths. The number of deepwater rigs—capable of drilling in 3,000 feet of water or more—has grown 43% since 2006, according to research firm ODS-Petrodata.
The boom in rigs has strained contractors, which have struggled to find experienced workers to run them. Big companies such as Transocean have had to move workers onto newly built rigs, while also fending off new, smaller companies looking to hire away veteran crews.
Transocean has grown especially fast. In 2007 it merged with rival GlobalSantaFe in an $18 billion deal. Integrating the two companies has been a challenge, said Doug Sheridan, managing director of EnergyPoint Research, a firm that rates drillers and other oil service companies based on interviews with their customers.
Mr. Sheridan said Transocean's safety ratings have remained strong since the merger. But he added, "You have to ask the question, 'Have we been stretched thin? Did something fall through the cracks?'"
Transocean spokesman Greg Panagos dismissed such concerns. He said the company is a "very safety conscious organization. It's the top priority in the company."
Deepwater Horizon was one of five Transocean ships given safety awards by the U.S. Minerals Management Services last year. There were spots on its record. It partially flooded in May 2008 and began to list, after a worker accidentally opened a valve that let in seawater, federal records show. No injuries were reported. The rig had a small fire in 2005. No one was injured.
There were at least three rig fires in the Gulf this year before the Horizon incident and 14 last year, including several that forced crew members to evacuate, according to data from the Minerals Management Service.
Major fires, in which oil and gas catch fire, are rarer. In 2001, a big platform tipped over and caught fire off Brazil, killing 11.
The oil markets didn't react strongly to the news, falling 17 cents in futures trading to close at $83.68 a barrel. The fire occurred at a long-term BP prospect called Macondo, not an existing producing oilfield.
Deepwater wells have become important for companies such as BP as well as for the broader oil supply. The Gulf of Mexico produces more than 1.6 million barrels a day, about 30% of U.S. oil output, federal data show.
Production from the Gulf has fallen recently as early, shallow-water discoveries have begun to dry up. But new, deepwater drilling has begun to reverse that trend. Gulf output was on track to rise last year for the first time since 2006, preliminary data from the Energy Information Administration show.
Worldwide, production at deepwater projects—those in waters at least 1,000 feet deep—grew 67%, or about 2.3 million barrels a day, between 2005 and 2008. That accounts for about 8% of global production, according to PFC Energy, a consulting firm.