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Thread: Spill, Baby, Spill!

  1. #101
    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post
    For every scientist that 'believes' in AGW, there are plenty of highly qualified scientists that don't.
    If it's correct that approximately 90% of scientists in the relevant fields support the basic science on global warming and CO2 etc....then your claim is not correct. At best 1 out of 10 scientists disagree.....and frankly I doubt it is that high.

    AGW is not fact, of course, it's just theory based on computer models.
    You are demonstrating a fundamental misunderstanding of what science is all about. These are facts supporting a theory. Just as we have the theory of gravitation etc....supported by facts.

    Said models are now undergoing serious questioning as to credibility, due to the Climategate scandal...
    Questioned only by those global warming deniers who will still be denying it when the polar ice caps are gone and half the world is a desert. The same sorts of folks who denied that smoking tobacco "causes" cancer or not so long ago, were absolutely certain the earth was flat and the sun and planets revolved around the earth.

    Gary

  2. #102
    Oxide Blu
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Gary, there is absolutely no scientific support for the idea that man/humankind is responsible for any changes in climate, anywhere, at any time. Any belief to the contrary is only a demonstration in self-sustained ignorance -- that whole ostrich/head in the sand thing.

    Do you even know how the current global warming scare got started? Do you know why it was preceded by a global cooling scare?

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    there is controversy, to be sure, but in my reading, there is absolutely no lack of scientific support for the idea that man/humankind is responsible for any changes in climate. read the wikpedia bibliography to see how the topic is all over the place.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy

  4. #104
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Quote Originally Posted by Oxide Blu View Post
    Gary, there is absolutely no scientific support for the idea that man/humankind is responsible for any changes in climate, anywhere, at any time. Any belief to the contrary is only a demonstration in self-sustained ignorance -- that whole ostrich/head in the sand thing.

    Do you even know how the current global warming scare got started? Do you know why it was preceded by a global cooling scare?
    It's all Al Gore's fault of course. Just amazing that so many scientists have either been duped or are in on this global conspiracy. My god, even the CEO of BP is part of it now (BP is on record as saying the evidence for human causes of global warming is compelling).

    Yup, it's all a sham, no doubt about it.....scientific evidence not withstanding. After all, why should we believe the experts in the field? They've tried to convince us of evolution too.....and as we all know, evolution is just a theory.

    Someone's got their head stuck in the sand alright......

    Gary
    Last edited by bensonga; 15th May 2010 at 20:21.

  5. #105
    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Back on the original topic.....

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/us/16oil.html?hp

    It appears that what is visible on the surface may be only a fraction of the oil now circulating in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Gary

  6. #106
    Member Arjuna's Avatar
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Gary: I agree, AGW deniers remind me of anti-evolutionists; so, to add a little humour to the discussion, from another Gary (Trudeau):

    Attachment 30823

  7. #107
    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Superb!

    It's just what the doctor ordered (no pun intended)......a bit of humor to lighten the mood.

    Gary

  8. #108
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    As a matter of fact, I use USPS all the time. They offer very good rates...perhaps too good...they are losing billions of dollars per year, and are asking Congress for...what else...a $4B bailout. It's time to privatize, like Japan Post, and open up the mail to competition. Everyone in the US knows what it's like to queue up at the post office, waiting for their inefficient employees. I routinely also do business with Fedex and the difference is crystal clear: efficiency, no waiting, great service, great attitudes. UPS and Fedex are also very profitable. Further, unions are a drag on management and efficiency, and pension obligations are unbearable. Time to pull the plug on this one and get a 21st century operation run by real business people who know how to manage.

    Social Security and Medicare are likewise bankrupt. There are millions (like me) contributing who will never get a dime of SS. People complain about private health insurers disallowing claims - Medicare disallows claims at nearly twice the rate of all private insurers combined.

    FEMA: everyone wants to dump on FEMA/Katrina under Bush, but there are plenty of examples of other failures. A simple search indicates FEMA has a rather spotty history at best: 1992 Hurricane Andrew in FL, where the "Wall St. Journal wrote a front-page article that quoted a range of disaster specialists who thought the agency was more trouble than it was worth."

    Or 1989's Hurricane Hugo (where a senator from SC called FEMA “the sorriest bunch of bureaucratic jackasses” on national TV.) In comparison the 1989 CA earthquake was mostly handled by the state of CA, because FEMA was ill-prepared. "Nationwide perception was that FEMA was a failure, fostering a lasting impression of governmental non-responsiveness and incompetence.” More where those quotes came from here.

    To be fair, I didn't state that government can't do anything right; I just stated my vote of no confidence that any additional regulations would make any difference and gave plenty of examples. I do not *hate* government, and this is not political in any way, shape, or form. It's just the nature of government in the US.

    Time to rest the case.

  9. #109
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    There may be 'no lack of scientific support' but that doesn't make AGW scientific fact. There is also 'no lack of scientific support' against AGW, as well.

    Science is not based on percentages of who believes what.

    That said, there are over 31,000 American scientists who have signed their names to a petition stating there is no convincing evidence of AGW. That is hardly unanimity for AGW...

    You are demonstrating a fundamental misunderstanding of what science is all about. These are facts supporting a theory. Just as we have the theory of gravitation etc....supported by facts.
    AGW is simply a theory at this point --a theory with serious credibility problems due to the Climategate scandal. When scientists repeatedly refuse to answer FOI requests, who admit to doctoring data, and refuse to release research data, it calls everything into question. Not to mention the financial gains for those who promote this latest crisis...in 1975, it was global cooling on the cover of Newsweek. Here is history of the various cooling/warming 'crises' over the years: http://www.businessandmedia.org/spec...fireandice.asp

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post

    Science is not based on percentages of who believes what.
    Very true.

    However, the fact is that Al Gore (regardless of how he muddied the waters by sticking his head where it does not belong) looks like less of a hillbilly to the rest of the world than many others.

    Incredible given the fact that the US has the largest scientific pool in the world.

  11. #111
    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post
    AGW is simply a theory at this point --a theory with serious credibility problems due to the Climategate scandal. When scientists repeatedly refuse to answer FOI requests, who admit to doctoring data, and refuse to release research data, it calls everything into question.
    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming...imategate.html

    Not to mention the financial gains for those who promote this latest crisis...
    I never thought of that.....thousand of scientists who have secretly invested in solar and wind power projects are now trying to supplement their incomes by contriving this "crisis". They've probably shorted oil and coal company stocks too.

    You might want to give a little more thought to the motivations and financial interests of those who are so frequently behind the AGW detractors "research". These are the folks with a serious financial interest at stake.

    in 1975, it was global cooling on the cover of Newsweek. Here is history of the various cooling/warming 'crises' over the years: http://www.businessandmedia.org/spec...fireandice.asp
    Very interesting read.....however, my concern is not with media coverage (which no one will be surprised to see is sensationalized and exaggerated at times), but about peer reviewed scientific studies which try to understand and explain observations of warming temperatures in the past 100+ years in the context of possible causes for those changes.

    Gary

  12. #112
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    One can't simply disregard what's in the media -- after all, that is how the AGW alarmists get their word out. And we all know the media eats up these kinds of sensational crises...where does the term 'media scare' come from?

    Interesting link about Climategate, no doubt damage control..after all, if the well of research money runs dry...

    There are several factors are work that damage the credibility of the AGW zealots. A primary one is when the leaders and proponents of the movement do not follow their own recommendations to 'reduce their carbon footprint.' Everyone knows the chief offender. There are plenty of examples of proponents flying all over the place burning fossil fuels and creating CO2, lecturing others on how they need to change their lifestyle so as to 'save the planet.' If only we would stop breathing...

    It's also very telling when the buzz word transforms from 'global warming' to 'climate change.' I guess that's necessary to explain record low temps and snowfalls.

    And who exactly is the IPCC? Why, it's the UN. The same corrupt organization behind the Oil for Food scandal, among other things -- a political organization -- not scientific.

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    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    I quote: "Time to rest the case."

  14. #114
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Hi Stephen, if you are referring to the discussion about US government ineptitude, yes. AGW is of course a different discussion.

  15. #115
    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    I quote: "Time to rest the case."
    Yes, I think we're just at this point. It's always difficult to know when to call it quits with discussions like this one. Law of diminishing returns I guess. While I appreciate hearing other points of view and reading articles I might not otherwise come across, the reality is we're unlikely to change each other's fundamental points of view.

    Gary

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    While I appreciate hearing other points of view and reading articles I might not otherwise come across, the reality is we're unlikely to change each other's fundamental points of view.

    Gary
    It is not a question of changing the points of view. It is just incredible that some such opinions would exist at all.

    Col. Gaddafi does not like the UN either. He tore the UN charter apart to show what he thinks of it.

    The biggest protest about the UN report came from the Saudis.

  17. #117
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    If there is a shortage of compelling information to support one's opinion, it's probably best to exit, eh?

    Yes, it's hard to take the UN seriously when Iran makes its way onto the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Perhaps we'll get to see more about immodest women causing earthquakes...
    Last edited by monza; 16th May 2010 at 15:57.

  18. #118
    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post
    If there is a shortage of compelling information to support one's opinion, it's probably best to exit, eh?
    Don't leave now Robert, it's just getting interesting!

    Just kidding of course....I'm getting a little tired of the back and forth since no one on either side is going to "see the light".....and I have a high tolerance for this sort of stuff (unlike my wife, bless her soul).

    Seriously (not!), I've been thinking more and more about Al Gore's role in this AGW controversy. It seems to me that the problem really started when he invented the Internet. After all, we wouldn't even be getting into the weeds like this if it wasn't for the Internet.....so there's one strike against him.

    You gotta give him credit for this though....that guy is smart (like a weasel or a fox). Somehow, he conned DARPA and other smart, geeky guys to help him design and build the Internet (he might have thought of it first, but no way could he have designed it)....all the while, in the back of his lefty/commie brain, he's thinking up the whole global warming/CO2 faux crisis.....knowing full well the power of mass media in the Internet age to spread these lies. And then he got all those brainy scientists to fall for it too. Damn, he's good.

    Why couldn't Al just ride off into the sunset, never to be heard from again, as all other good vice-presidents have done? Like Dick Cheney, for example. Yeah, just like Dick Cheney.

    Just trying to lighten the tone here a bit.....although, for sure, always with my liberal, leftist, socialist, commie hat on (it nevers comes off, don't you know). Man, those Tea Baggers would have a field day with me if I ever decided to run for public office. I'd have to invest in some really good bulletproof vests.....heck, a whole suit.

    One of these days, something interesting will happen on the oil spill front.....maybe my employer will even get that well plugged before the whole Gulf of Mexico fills with oil.

    Until then......adios.

    Gary
    Last edited by bensonga; 16th May 2010 at 16:37.

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Oh, I thought you guys were the ones that took off, heh.

    Yes, light-hearted is good. Although it's probably best not to say 'Tea Bagger' if you are talking to a Tea Partier.

    Adieu

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    You're right Robert.....I should be more careful. I wouldn't want to offend one of the Tea Party crowd (I was only have jesting about the need for bullet proof vests). There are enough gun nuts in the Alaska Tea Party to make any sane person think twice before speaking his/her mind in opposition to their views.

    It's just that every time I hear the phrase "Tea Partier", images like this one pop into my head.

  21. #121
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Instapundit must be reading my posts.

    http://yhoo.it/dcoHvp

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Good job BP:

    (CNN) -- Oil company BP says it has resumed pumping oil to a ship on the surface after a weekend setback that halted efforts to siphon off the crude spewing from a damaged well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

    Crews re-inserted the tube into the well's riser stack Sunday. The 4-inch pipe is now connected to a ship on the surface, 5,000 feet above the sea floor, and is pumping oil back to the surface, BP spokesman Mark Proegler told CNN.

    If successful, the technique will capture most of the oil that is pouring out of the well.

  23. #123
    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Yes, that is great news.....now let's hope the "top kill" or "junk shot" will work to seal the BOP and the well in the next week or so.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/17/us/17spill.html?hp

    Gary

  24. #124
    Oxide Blu
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post

    ... My god, even the CEO of BP is part of it now (BP is on record as saying the evidence for human causes of global warming is compelling).

    Yup, it's all a sham, no doubt about it.....scientific evidence not withstanding. After all, why should we believe the experts in the field? They've tried to convince us of evolution too.....and as we all know, evolution is just a theory.

    Someone's got their head stuck in the sand alright......

    Gary

    You work for BP ... what does your boss say this "compelling evidence" is ???

    PLEASE ... INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW!!!

    Gary -- YOU are on the brink of becoming famous (and RICH!!!) beyond your wildest dreams!!! All you need to do is provide a single shred of refuted scientific evidence that humans in any way altered weather anywhere at any time. No kidding, Gary -- not a single scientists has been able to do that, yet. You will be the first person ... YOU WILL BE FAMOUS!!! On second thought, maybe you can't do it, either.

    World May Not Be Warming, Say Scientists

    February 15, 2010 - The United Nations climate panel faces a new challenge from scientists casting doubt on its claim that global temperatures are rising inexorably because of human pollution. ...


    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/...ay-scientists/


    Oops!!! That got a little inconvenient, there, didn't Gary.



    Scientists Increasingly Dissent With Global Warming Proponents.

    January 8, 2009

    ... It appears that more and more highly regarded professional scientists are coming out in opposition to the science behind alarmist fears over global warming.


    http://www.nowpublic.com/environment...ing-proponents



    More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims

    Washington, DC: Fifty-nine additional scientists from around the world have been added to the U.S. Senate Minority Report of dissenting scientists, pushing the total to over 700 skeptical international scientists – a dramatic increase from the original 650 scientists ...


    http://mcauleysworld.wordpress.com/2...to-u-s-senate/


    This is starting to look bad for you global warming alarmists, Gary. Those 700 scientists that refute the claim humans are responsible for global warming represent 13 TIMES THE NUMBER of scientist that signed onto the global warming fraud. Oops! Did I say "fraud" ?!? Why, yes I did!!! More on that later.

    Hey, Gary -- look at this:

    "The explosion of skeptical scientific voices is accelerating unabated in 2009."


    It's from that same article. It also mentions scientists within the U.N.'s alarmist global warming committee are bucking the wagon.

    Gary -- do yourself a favor...do some serious reading/research on the subject. Don't waste your time on the libtard media outlets, and don't waste your time with the right-wing wing nuts, either. Spend your time reading SCIENTIFIC resources. Do that and if you can come back here sounding even mildly intelligent about the subject global warming, I'll talk to you about it. But if all you are going to do is spew the libtard alarmist mantra, I'll leave you to do it on your own.

    And just for kicks, take a look at this... Michael Crichton was probably one of the most educated fiction authors of our time. He was a trained scientist, I believe he also passed all courses necessary for an M.D., though he never took the med board final exam. He was a research scientist. As Crichton said after researching the "science" behind global warming, "aliens cause global warming." From Crichton's website:

    My topic today sounds humorous but unfortunately I am serious. I am going to argue that extraterrestrials lie behind global warming. Or to speak more precisely, I will argue that a belief in extraterrestrials has paved the way, in a progression of steps, to a belief in global warming. ...

    http://www.crichton-official.com/spe...alwarming.html

    That Crichton article is a good read on the subject of why people believe in global warming ... and that aliens are visiting us.
    Last edited by Oxide Blu; 17th May 2010 at 01:01.

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Oxide Blu,

    One major problem here is the Al Gore movie and the coining of all these definitive phrases.

    When a new product comes to the market, the onus is on the manufacturer to show that it is reasonably safe.

    This did not happen (and does not happen due to "lobbyists") with many. It took an enormous struggle to phase out CFCs (compelling evidence there was a stimulated model, btw).

    Is asbestos safe? Did anyone show that it was safe before marketing it?

    Is Lead in gas safe? Did anyone prove that it was before polluting almost all of the globe?

    Is MTBE (the Lead alternate) harmful? Why was it ever introduced?

    Is oil leak in the gulf of Mexico a danger? Where is the proof? May be the pressure will subside on its own and "nature" will take care of it?

  26. #126
    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Moderator Warning

    There is always seems to be a lot of emotion on both sides of this sort of debate, however, lets be careful and keep our cool especially about comments made by others. This is primarily a photography site even though this is in the "everything goes" forum. In general, politics and religion belong somewhere else.

    If this does not happen, the thread will be locked and possibly deleted.
    thanks
    -bob

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Thanks Bob. We have certainly gone down the rabbit hole on this one.....par for the course I guess. I will confine my future comments, if any, to the oil spill.

    Gary

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Yes...Let's stay civil to all.
    you have to admit though. there are some great educated posts here. fascinating reading for me to see all the views.

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Quote Originally Posted by M5-Guy View Post
    Yes...Let's stay civil to all.
    you have to admit though. there are some great educated posts here. fascinating reading for me to see all the views.
    Agreed. And with a topic like this, one thing leads to another. I appreciate the different views and links to information I might not have otherwise read....even when I disagree with them.

    It can be hard to keep our passions in check (I know from personal experience).

    On the topic of the efforts to plug the well....I thought some of you might like to see this diagram posted on the BP website of the tube inserted into the riser pipe to capture some of the leaking oil. The estimate reported on the BP website is that they are capturing about 1,000 bbls of oil a day....so it's not the perfect solution, but at least it's something.

    Gary
    Last edited by bensonga; 17th May 2010 at 11:32.

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    some distilled points of view, seemingly in contradiction:
    - the motive of industry is profit, and that in itself is not a bad thing;
    - the purported motive of the gov is what, to promote and ensure the environment is protected (in this context)
    - draconian gov regulations are, well, draconian
    - the gov is not enforcing them, so it bears responsibility for the damages
    - the industry would or would not have safety systems in place were it not for the draconia, above
    -gov is too big yet gov can't properly enforce
    -atmospheric carbon pollution doesn't need gov regulation other than what the industry decides on it's own
    -hey, if we can't advertise and sell as many cigarettes in the US due to the skull and crossbones warning, we can always do it overseas (similar argument regarding offshore drilling and attendant hazards)
    cut taxes, cut gov spending, gov is too big, let industry police itself, motivated by the bottom line
    the bottom line will self correct the system

    oops, better unplug the keyboard now...but not before this:
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/goss...n-colbert.html

  32. #132
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    In some ways, it could be said that these 'environmental controls and regulations' actually helped contribute to the likelihood of this event. Deep water drilling is certainly much more complicated/technical/difficult/expensive/riskier than drilling closer to shore or on land.

    The point of that article is that the risk (and resultant expense) needs to be on who is making the profit. It only makes sense.

    In addition, if the regulations end up being bypassed because of bureaucratic red tape, there is not much point in regulating, is there? "Complying with NEPA requirements can take years to fulfill, and the process is subject to litigation. This has led to NEPA exemptions for projects that are deemed to pose little environmental risk, which BP was granted."

    What we have is a partnership of sorts between government controlled waters, and enterprise. Partnerships should work together to ensure both profitability and safety. The fault is not entirely private enterprise, and not entirely government.

    But I have yet to see anyone present any argument (with merit) that shows how *more* regulation would have prevented this, when the facts show that regulatory bureaucracy actually contributed...resulting in waivers and exceptions.

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Thanks for the link Robert....it's an interesting read.

    I'm afraid I do disagree with much of what is written there, but I've already expressed those views so no need for me to re-hash them again.

    Sharing articles like this is certainly one thing we can do without getting caught up in a mud fight. Food for thought, as the saying goes.

    Thanks again!

    Gary

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    What exactly do you disagree with and why?

    No reason to have mud slinging. This is just a discussion.

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    There are many interesting stories. One company that exploits the oil sands (Canadian wilderness) actually claims that they put back cleaner earth than what they scoop up. Since it is inhabitable to start with, no one will ever know.

    We will only start to see the devastation brought about by the gulf disaster when Florida feels the impact of it. Very sad.

    (FWIW, I have spent >12 years in research directly or indirectly related to petrochemicals and there is >10 years of association with oil (not BP) through family)
    Last edited by Vivek; 17th May 2010 at 15:45.

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Not sure I should wade back into this somewhat political and convoluted discussion, but there are points being made all over the place that just seem a bit out of whack. First off, as I mentioned somewhere up above, I worked in the oil & gas industry for about 20 years, first as a research scientist, then an organic geochemist, then as a business intelligence director, and finally as a management consultant for exploration strategy, production planning, mergers and acquisitions, and financial planning. Lots of hats that saw many aspects of how things work. Not bragging, just setting my background a bit.

    Couple of things John (jlm) mentioned in his summary that could tolerate some adjustment:
    - companies are in business to make money
    - the "industry" is created to help companies leverage operations, and as a result of government requests, requirements, and regulations, to create acceptable operating standards for safety and efficiency
    - the government's role is to manage the resources of the land for its people, and to both recover remuneration (royalties and taxes), as well provide guidelines and regulations plus enforcement for safe operations both for workers and the environment

    The rest of the "motive" part is more politics and speculation.....no offense, but "roles" and "motives" are not the same thing, but both are important when it comes to each doing their job.

    As things stand, there are many useful regulations and requirements in place, and most are followed. However, most of the environmental and safety things were put into place around 1978 or so. The royalties and responsibilities stuff has been around much, much longer. They are very different, but closely intertwined things. Companies are granted permits to explore, drill and recover minerals under rather specific sets of conditions between the landowners (in this case, the US) and the operators. There is lot of contractual stuff, as you can imagine, and it keeps growing. Unfortunately, many times corners are cut or trimmed or ignored in order to expedite things (both to get wells drilled more quickly, because they cost a lot of money, as well as to get entire projects completed before lease rights expire in some cases). It is not a clean and simple process by any means, and having the revenue collection and safety management operations under one operation (MMS) is not a very good idea, as it is ripe for corruption, bribery, favoritism, and all the other bad stuff that we will be hearing more about as this gets gutted in the public.

    So, going back to something that I mentioned earlier.....all parties are at some degree of fault in this mess. The companies that failed to follow safety and inspection requirements, the operator for pushing timetables for a cost/money reason, the government agencies for failing to carry out their duties properly, both with respect to revenue and royalty collections, as well as safety inspections and disaster recovery plan approvals, to say nothing of having equipment and competent personnel working to enforce and help protect the people's resources and environment.

    There are ways to do a lot of this exploration and production more safely, but it will cost more time and money in some cases. The companies, in the interest of their profit requirements, are always looking to cut things as close as possible on costs, and they do. The industry works to help the companies, and lobbies the government to gain concessions in that area. The government is supposed to be collecting all the revenues, and enforcing all the rules and regulations, but has been failing to do this adequately. Much of this has had a blind eye turned toward it when the first oil price shocks underscored just how dependent the US is on imported oil, so there was a very concerted drive to find and exploit more of our own resources....the easy stuff was found long ago and used up long ago also, and politicians were hearing loud cries from folks standing in long lines for high priced gasoline. Not all that long ago, was it? Once the companies and industry looked to be the "hero" by finding more of our own oil and gas, regulations and even royalty requirements were "relaxed" to encourage more exploration and production. That was the beginning of the long and steady slide down a slippery slope.

    Sorry for the perspective check, but arguing about who was or was not more responsible is a waste of time. We all are responsible. The part about who should pay for fixing this mess.....we are all going to be paying for it directly and indirectly for a long time. Future oil prices will be going up....we will pay there. Since oil is a global commodity, the prices are set that way. The only way companies can make big profits is to recover oil more efficiently (technology, location, etc.), or with fewer encumbrances (royalties, other taxes, penalties, reduced safety and hazard clean-up requirements, etc.) Drilling in 5,000 ft. of water 50 miles from shore is not cheap from a logistics and operational perspective, so where do you think corners are going to be trimmed?

    LJ

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post
    What exactly do you disagree with and why?
    Hi Robert,

    I really don't want to re-hash at great length discussions we've already had, so I will try to keep this short and I won't get into it again after this post.

    This op-ed piece is clearly written from the perspective that government regulations are burdensome, ineffective, and private industy can do just fine without them. Surprisingly to me, it claims that ultimate responsibility for this screw-up rests with the government, not BP, Transocean, et al.

    "The federal government is the owner of the waters where drilling takes place and bears ultimate responsibility for what happens on its property."

    Interesting way to let the private companies off the hook....while at the same time saying government regulations are burdensome and ineffective.....but it's still the government's fault.

    I've had quite a few discussions with friends here at BP who are drilling engineers and environmental compliance type folks in the past couple weeks about this accident. Many of us are trying to come to grips with what could have gone so terribly wrong and what the companies and/or the government should do differently in the future to ensure, as much as humanly possible, that it never happens again. I think it's fair to say there's been alot of soul searching amongst people here at BP re safety and our company's role in this accident. Oddly enough, not one of these people have said to me....it's not our fault this rig blew up, it's the government's fault. People who actually work in this industry are willing to accept responsibility for their actions and mistakes (with the possible exception of company management)....we don't need to blame the government every time something goes wrong.

    There are two basic issues re government regulations and oversight as I see it:
    1) are the regulations themselves sufficient to do what is needed?
    2) are the regulations actually enforced?

    I think there are serious doubts that the existing regulations were adequately enforced. I'm not an expert on the regulations and so I really can't say if they should be revised or new regulations drafted to close loopholes that the companies and/or some employees or contractors, in their infinite wisdom and desire to please shareholders, upper management or for whatever reason, have chosen to exploit in the hope (on a wing and a prayer) that an accident like this one will never happen.

    That's it for me Robert. We clearly have a fundamental disagreement on the role of government and I doubt that we are ever going to reach agreement on this topic. Perhaps only time will tell which, if either of us, is right.

    Gary
    Last edited by bensonga; 17th May 2010 at 20:23.

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    I might want to add that many of the oil fields now being drilled and developed were "discovered" many years ago, but the cost to produce those resources were too high compared to the price the oil could be sold for, so they were not developed. As leases on those tracts started to expire, companies would sell lease rights to others or partner with other companies to exploit the resource production and share the costs. When oil was selling at $25-30 a barrel, it was not possible to recover those resources and turn any sort of profit, given the operational costs. Now, with oil at $70-80 a barrel or higher, it suddenly becomes much more attractive to extract that oil (and gas) as quickly as possible to maximize profit margins. That drives demand for equipment and rigs, which drives up the daily rates for leasing them, and drives operations around the clock with minimal downtime. Unfortunately, that also tends to drive down safety checks, testing and all the other "proper" things to be doing, because it takes time and that means money not made producing product. Simple and predictable business economics. If you ever worked on a rig, land or offshore, you would quickly see just how strong that mantra of "keep it turning right" or "keep making hole" is. The guys responsible for hitting so many feet per hour or day, are going to do whatever is needed to get there, for the most part, or they are out of a job. The planning and budgeting on some of these projects is so tight and demanding that it invites corner cutting in lots of places. On this rig, the corners appear to have been cut in many places: did not change the batteries and hydraulics on the BOP, did not change the annulus on the BOP when it got torn up. That in turn meant inaccurate pressure testing and the ability to shut the well in. Not letting the cement plugs cure properly before releasing the mud weight pressures. All of these things were driven by a drilling plan timetable that resulted in compromised safety that killed all those hard workers, and is now poisoning the environment. BTW, we even used to factor in those sorts of "incidents" in project planning exercises to see just how much the project economics could "tolerate" any downtime. At $80 a barrel for oil, most project plans could tolerate quite a bit of downtime from best of plan operations, but the guys in charge still want to come in as fast as they can, and move on to the next well. That is the business.

    LJ

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Thanks for your posts LJ.....good to have someone here who has first hand knowledge of the oil business....instead of just a general and vague idea, like myself. After all, when it comes right down to it, I'm just a bean counter....although I track bbls and mcf produced etc, not beans. :-)

    Gary
    Last edited by bensonga; 17th May 2010 at 21:06.

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    I watched the CBS 60 Minutes interview of Mike Williams tonight. My god......if his account is correct, it feels like much of what I believed about BP is a sham and a lie.

    I didn't think I had any illusions about the company, but now I wonder how deep does the rot really go? How many times have I made silent excuses for BP's safety, environmental and business practices, never admitting to myself that in doing so, I've become part of the problem too? This is really hard to face up to.....I really believed things were different now. Thought the company had changed after the Texas City explosion and the Alaska pipeline spills. This is so much worse. Can't blame Amoco. Can't blame Arco. It's right there in front of me....BP. For 18 years it's been my life.
    Last edited by bensonga; 17th May 2010 at 22:59.

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Gary, Whether one is directly employed or not, the fact is all of us depend on oil, be it transportation or the plastic cams I use. We are all affected and connected to it.

    Today, one company is in the news. What about the others? Are they all above and beyond? Not by a long shot, unfortunately.

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Gary,
    No sense in beating yourself up over what you were believing and what now becomes a bit more visible once the curtain is pulled back. Every company operates this way, for the most part, in every industry. Look at all the recent news and problems with Toyota. Different industry, same sorts of problems. One just has to remember that they also spend tons of money in PR and marketing, and that is money that could be better spent on actual safety and production improvements, but it is not. Amoco and Arco were no better before BP bought their assets and problems, but once BP owned those assets, they had a responsibility to manage them safely. They chose to spend less on that aspect, and run those operations differently because they were eager to respond to the other "responsibility" of return to their shareholders. This is why this entire thing has no easy fixes. Were companies to follow the rules and regulations to the letter, or even exceed some of them for safety and environmental concerns, we would not be seeing these multi-billion dollar quarterly profits, and then shareholders would be angry and complaining about their investments. There are some delicate balances needed to appease more sides, and many companies fail at this, but we only hear about it when something goes horribly wrong, and light is then shed on all aspects of how money is made, what rules were not followed, etc. For the most part, this ugly dance is not going to change. If more regulations are put in, more ways will be found to get around them or how to abuse others less obviously to make the needed profit. As I mentioned, there are plenty of rules and regulations already in place. They are not being properly enforced in many areas. That has to change, but it will be difficult to do as long as the demand forces companies to make tough choices, which we are constantly reminded are not always good, noble or proper choices. I think a more realistic approach is to start holding people directly responsible, at the top, and not letting them hide behind corporate laws in ways that shield them from responsibilities in these disastrous situations. Corporate laws protections and stuff is great when things are running smoothly, but it really comes into question when you start to see what abuses and breakdowns can result in after disasters like this.

    Sorry to sound so "preachy" or "noble" in how I talk about some of this, but having been in many of the boardrooms, planning rooms, and even out on the drilling decks of many of these companies, my eyes were opened very widely about just how dirty this entire business is, both physically and philosophically. As long as there is demand for this resource, and demand by shareholders to show profitability, and demand by consumers for lower prices and more product, things are going to stay ugly.

    LJ

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post

    "The federal government is the owner of the waters where drilling takes place and bears ultimate responsibility for what happens on its property."
    I think this is coming from a legal perspective as property owner. This ins't perhaps the greatest comparison, but it's similar to what happens at Wal Mart if someone slips and falls and breaks their leg...they are going to go after the property owner. (I'm not making a statement that this is right or wrong.)

    I think there are serious doubts that the existing regulations were adequately enforced.
    Yep. We are in complete agreement here, Gary.

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Very good points, LJ.

    It is indeed a delicate balance as you describe.

    Although I have my doubts about the Toyota situation, similar to the Audi situation from the 80s and the Firestone/Explorer media storm from a few years ago. But that's for another time.

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post
    I think this is coming from a legal perspective as property owner. This ins't perhaps the greatest comparison, but it's similar to what happens at Wal Mart if someone slips and falls and breaks their leg...they are going to go after the property owner. (I'm not making a statement that this is right or wrong.)
    This is partly what all the leases and regulations are for. The US owns the property and mineral rights, but is leasing it to an operator that has agreed to perform its operations in accordance with the things outlined in the lease. It is not the fault, nor the responsibility of the landowner if something goes wrong, but it is the responsibility of the operator on that land. In WalMart's case, they are both owner and operator of the stores, so they are responsible for maintaining a safe, hazard free environment for shoppers.

    So, is the US Govt. "responsible" for remediation in this spill and disaster? Well, that is not so simple. They did not directly cause any of the conditions related to the well disaster and spill. They also did not hold up their responsibility with respect to making the leaseholder (BP) follow all of the conditions outlined in the lease for safe operation both with respect to workers on their property (OSHA laws and other stuff), and for safe operations with respect to damage to the environment. (Actually, that last part is yet to be determined after all the lawsuits and stuff get filed, and the massive clean-up gets completed.) The US Govt. is responsible to its people for the caretaking of the resources and protection of lives and environment. It seems that it has failed in some of those responsibilities by lack of enforcement or rules and regulations that it put into place for that purpose. They could have shut BP down until all conditions were in conformance. They still can. But they are also somewhat at fault for permitting operations, sidestepping environmental remediation planning, failing to separate interests of safety and monetary recoveries (MMS), and a whole host of other things they are supposed to be doing to protect us and our environment. All of that is in conflict with the pressing need to wean ourselves of dependence on foreign oils, which in turn is impacting our policies as a governed country. See how complicated and intertwined all this quickly becomes? If we shut BP out of operations in the US, we risk not only resource recoveries and revenues that are needed, but we create a new tension with the UK over trade and operations agreements, and we fail to stem the need for even more imported oil from other countries that are not caring at all about our interests or policies. They have it (oil), we do not, so we have to "play nice" with them also in order to get what we want.

    Enough policy and politics and all that stuff.....we have a major disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that is going to effect almost all of us in one way or another, but has to be gotten under control sooner than later. Plenty of time for finger-pointing, regulation consideration/reconsideration, policy changes, etc., later, but right now we need to get that well plugged and the oil removed from the water before it does more damage than it has already.

    LJ

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    "As long as there is demand for this resource, and demand by shareholders to show profitability, and demand by consumers for lower prices and more product, things are going to stay ugly."

    in a nutshell, substitute just about anything for "this resource"

    LJL: your analysis is quite well reasoned and presented. I tend to get a bit more emotional when looking at the huge $ numers involved and the inordinately stretched out time frames...was it back in the '70's when Carter asked us to put on a sweater?

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    And when Carter said we should put on a sweater, we laughed at him and turned up the heat.

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    you california guys...

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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    I can't help feeling sorry for BP's new chairman, Swede Carl-Henric Svanberg who started January 1st. That guy has some seriously bad luck this year. Svanberg comes from Ericsson where he was CEO for about seven years, and he has a reputation of being one of the good guys. I don't think he's even said anything in public about the spill.
    Last edited by Lars; 18th May 2010 at 08:36.
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    Re: Spill, Baby, Spill!

    Lars, I agree with you about feeling sorry for Svanberg, but only up to a point. He has inherited a company and culture that is vastly different from electronics and stuff, and to be hit with these kinds of problems right out of the gate, cannot be fun. But that is why he is getting paid the big bucks, as they say. Turning all this around is not going to be easy, but BP has some great potential as a company that at least appears to be heading in the direction of diversification of energy resources, and that does require some different kind of thinking.

    LJ

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