Archive for Oil

Oil leak news

Posted in And thus the Mystery was solved Watson!, Engineering with tags , , , , , on November 18, 2010 by awickerman

The unspeakably evil foreigners from American oil firm Chevron have slightly polluted the North Sea and almost killed billions of people through shear evil… is how this post would have started if I wished to lower myself to the level of an American politician or journalist.

As it is there’s been a slight cockup at a Chevron rig in the North Sea and everyone had to be evacuated. There was a leak but the prevention system worked so it wasn’t that big and everyone made it off, as I type serious bearded types are poking at the rig to work out what happened and will report in due time. If something is found and if it’s gross negligence I might expect a moderate fine and a few unpleasantly detailed inspections of Chevron’s other rigs, however I would be surprised if the head of the HSE launches a blanket attack on all American oil firms or the PM and all main political parties demand vast piles of cash from Chevron to piss up the wall as they see fit.

On a slightly more serious note I am reluctantly forced to tip my hat to the HSE’s North Sea division. Like most people I’ve experienced awful and counter-productive health and safety and questioned the paternity of those responsible for the entire concept, however the contrast between the North Sea and the situation in the Gulf of Mexico reminds me of what happens if you go too far the other way. I still wont forgive them for shit like this though.


The US Oil Spill

Posted in Almost Beyond Words, Rantings, Your cut-out-and-keep Guide with tags , , , , , , , on June 8, 2010 by awickerman

I’ve avoided this one as there didn’t seem a lot to say, everyone seemed to be trying to stop it and it probably would be better to wait for the investigation and all the facts to come out. Admittedly that hasn’t stopped politicians mouthing off about blame and so on, but honestly what did you expect? (Actually based on Piper Alpha I had some hopes. That was the disaster were a US firm in the North Sea badly, badly fucked up and killed 70 odd people and didn’t get criticised and threatened with death till after the investigation proved they were guilty as hell. But then American politicians do have an addiction to double standards and hypocrisy)

Anyway I’m commenting on the subject as I’ve recently found out quite how far the US government is going in it’s efforts to make things worse. First off the much hyped ‘Presidential panel’ gathering the finest experts in every field except oil production, therefore denying it of any possible relevant knowledge or experience. Now you may argue you want off-the wall ideas and fresh thinking, it’s a bad argument but you could make it, in which case why censor the panel? Now professor Katz does appear to be thoroughly unpleasant (complete with a Brass Eye-esque belief in good/bad AIDS) but someone must have thought he was an expert worth consulting, yet he was instantly dropped once it emerged he was a arse. So either this is a genuine utter disaster where you need everyone OR you can drop him as it’s not that bad, in which case tone down the rhetoric and threats.  Is consistency so much to ask?

The second point is if anything much worse as it damn near had a practical impact. To disperse oil you need a dispersant and in general they are not especially nice chemicals, hence why they all need EPA approval. The BP choice Corexit has been on the EPA list for over 20 years and was used on the Exxon Valdez spill and dozens since so is a well understood and tested choice, hence it was stockpiled in vast quantities on the Gulf Mexico in preparation for any problems. So what happened a few days into this spill? A few previously anonymous politicians and green groups (well I’d never heard of them) started whining about it and eventually got the EPA to threaten a ban. Ignoring the annoyance that anyone took them seriously you do have to ask why now? Are the US government actually trying to make things worse or do they genuinely think Louisiana will look nicer with a nice skim of oil on it? (On which note I also found out that 80%+ of state revenues in that state come from the oil industry, I therefore sincerely hope the fisherman who turn on the news get their wish and the industry is banned. I think mass unemployment and even larger taxd bills would be a just punishment for their ill-informed whining.)

So there you go, a tad more proof of Regan’s old saw

The ten most dangerous words in the English language are “Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

Regional Weighting

Posted in Alas the Mystery Remains Holmes, Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , , on May 12, 2010 by awickerman

For reasons best known to the Institution of Civil Engineer, but probably involving money, they keep sending me job adverts for completely unsuitable roles. Today it was working as a diving inspector in the North Sea for the HSE, hence I ended up here out of curiosity.

Idly looking at a few jobs I discovered this marvellous line;

Aberdeen posts will receive an additional Aberdeen allowance of £5,000 p.a. rising to £10,000 in October 2010.

This doesn’t just apply to jobs off-shore, there are other allowances and bonuses for that, this is just for any job in Aberdeen.

I mean I know “The Granite City” is a grim and miserable place, but is it really any worse than the rest of Scotland? Sure the suicide rate is more than triple the UK average, but by Scottish standards Aberdeenshire isn’t that bad, not compared to say Glasgow or the Highlands.

You might argue this is a cost of living adjustment, but that clearly isn’t the case as they are advertising nationwide based jobs all on the same pay scale and you cannot argue the cost of living in the Norwich, Cardiff and Basingstoke is the same.

Thus I am left to conclude this is a misery allowance, a significant extra payment to overcome the horror of having to live in Aberdeen. And frankly they will deserve every penny.

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