Saturday, July 10, 2010

BP Cap Swap, Gulf Oil Leak, and an Impractical Idea

"BP could start cap switch on Saturday: Coast Guard"
Reuters (July 9, 2010)

"BP Plc is preparing for a key procedure to replace the containment cap over its blown-out Macondo well, which could temporarily cause more oil to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, the top official overseeing the spill response said on Friday.

"With an eye toward capitalizing on a 7-10 day stretch of predicted storm-free weather, retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen wants BP to switch to a larger containment system that can capture up to 80,000 barrels per day, versus about 28,000 bpd currently...."

I think the key word in that first paragraph is "temporarily."

I don't see how anybody could avoid more oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico - but I also rather insist on seeing the cap-switching as good news.

The Lemming Opines

It would have been nice, if British Petroleum's executives and managers had been a bit more securely glued to reality, before the explosion that killed 11 people and started this mess. What seems to have been a 'save money by being stupid' policy obviously didn't work in the long run. And that response plan that included ways to deal with the Gulf of Mexico's indigenous walruses? I've written about that before.

I've made the point, fairly often, that the Lemming is apathetic only in the sense that I don't care - deeply, sincerely, irrationally - in the 'right' things. I don't see Big Oil as the cause of our woes - any more than I think Big Peanut is 'really' behind those poison peanut products back in early 2009.

Companies, big and small, are run by human beings. Some human beings are twits. And when a big company has too many twits making decisions - the consequences tend to be on a big scale.

The same goes for governments, which is why the Lemming isn't too eager to say "the government oughta do something!"

Given time, I think British Petroleum will ease the twits out - or into positions where they can't do as much damage.

Everybody to the Generators?

Eventually, we'll use energy that isn't generated by burning petroleum products. But until technologies that are in the R & D stage now start rolling off assembly lines: we'll use oil for fuel. I've written about some of what may be coming, including these recent posts:I'm not terribly nostalgic for "the good old days" because my memory's pretty good. I remember why Americans got clothes driers and air conditioners as soon as they became affordable.
A "Green" - and Goofy - Idea
It might be very 'green' for America's federal government to demand that all citizens install generators in their homes, run with exercise bicycles. And that each person spend a fixed amount of time each day on the bicycle, pedaling for America.

I don't, however, think that's a very practical solution.

Meanwhile, there's a mess to clean up in the Gulf.

And I still insist on seeing the cap being swapped out as good news.

More about BP:

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