Monday, September 20, 2010

Drill Baby Drill

Offshore Oil Rig in ANWR

In the wake of the BP oil spill, there is panic in the Gulf of Mexico. The people that are panicking are academic researchers, politicians, journalists, environmental scaremongers and money-grabbing opportunists. Why the panic? They can't find any oil in the Gulf nor any long-lasting ecological damage to the coastal areas. Certainly not anything even remotely resembling the environmental catastrophe that these people were eager to showcase and exploit. The white sand beaches are clean. Marsh grasses are sprouting. The fisheries and shrimping areas are back and given a clean bill. As one prominent marine scientist working with the response effort put it, "There's a lot of hype, but no evidence to justify it." What happen to the oil? Much of it evaporated. More was dissolved or dispersed in the vast volume of seawater. Still more, and perhaps most, was consumed by microorganisms that find hydrocarbons especially yummy and went into a feeding frenzy in those oil plumes.

We feel sorrow for the families of the eleven men who lost their lives in the accident. Of course, the executives at BP have been rightfully hoisted up by the lapels for their gross negligence, heads rolled, and the company (i.e. the retired pensioners of Great Britain) will be made to pay dearly for damages. But the hype by environmental scaremongers and the media is also responsible for significant and costly economic damage to the Gulf states as the hype hit hard their tourist, fishing, and oil industries. Will they ever be held responsible for the damage they caused or even admit to it? To say nothing of the administration's unnecessary moratorium on all deep water drilling in the Gulf that knowingly put at risk 23,000 jobs in the region to make a phony demonstration of leadership in the midst of demonstrative ineptitude.

Deep Water Drilling in Second Life

I wanted to visit a deep water drilling platform while we still have a domestic oil industry. I was delighted to have found that opportunity in Second Life.  The rig is wickedly located in ANWR.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them
for better viewing

Deep Water Drilling in Real Life

The platform at ANWR has details and touches that give you the feel of being at sea on a drilling platform. Regardless of your views on offshore drilling, ANWR provides a diverting virtual experience that is worth your while.  You might leave with an appreciation of these engineering marvels.

I love the look and sounds of industry on this rig. In the background, you hear the pumps and drilling. Pipes and valves are all around. Better look out for the hot steam jetting from those pipes. And best of all, in real life, are the brawny rig workers, skilled technicians and brainy engineers that put in the long hours and endure the hardships and dangers of life on these platforms.


Control rooms intrigue me. I like all the buttons and switches and flashing lights. I pressed a combination of buttons at random when all of a sudden bells began ringing, a horn went off (ooga ooga), and people began jumping over the sides.  I hope those hydrocarbon eating microorganisms are still hungry.

Thank goodness, it was a false alarm. By evening, things had settled down, and the night shift took their stations. It was time for me to go.

Thanks guys for filling up my gas tank.



The Hype:

The Hysteria: The Whole Sea Floor under the Gulf is going to Blow Up, and it's BP's fault. - "Think Mount St. Helens underwater."

 The Good Guys: A look at Life on an offshore Oil Rig


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