Friday, June 06, 2014

Movie time

Yesterday the Chemical Safety Board released its long-awaited report on the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and subsequent oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico.  It comes with a helpful animation.

The cartoon focuses on the failure of Horizon's blowout preventer.   Specifically, it points to a miswired battery which caused some of the BOP's systems to fail at a critical moment.  The video doesn't dig very far into the reason for this. But the report does.
A miswiring disabled the blowout preventer’s control system, which was designed to activate the shear ram in an emergency. A separate miswiring caused another battery failure on an identical, redundant control system, but the two battery failures “canceled each other out.” That second battery failure triggered a shearing blade inside the blowout preventer, which attempted to cut the pipe. But it was unsuccessful because the drill pipe had been bent.

In the report, the CSB said  the blowout preventer had been miswired before it was ever set on the sea floor, paralyzing certain key functions. Houston-based Cameron International manufactured the device and Swiss rig contractor Transocean owned it.

Neither Transocean nor BP treated the Deepwater Horizon blowout preventer as a safety critical element,” the agency said in a written statement accompanying the report. “The component of the DWH blowout preventer meant to shear and seal the well was not suitable for the Macondo drilling operation, as it could not reliably shear the drill pipe.”

Transocean is the world's largest offshore drilling contractor. According to this report, they either don't know or don't care about how to properly maintain a crucial safety mechanism.

Oh well.  Meanwhile, we'll be on the lookout for other places to get oysters. 

At the oyster task force meeting Tuesday, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries biologist report that there is not a lot of spat. That's the larval or infancy stage that settles to the bottom and begins to develop a shell. And they won't know until July if there's a numbers problem. But one 35-year-oyster producer doesn't like what he sees.

"I'll tell 'ya, things aren't normal," said Al Sunseri.

Sunseri is the co-owner and president of P & J Oyster Company. It's been in business for 138 years.

"I've been doing this for 35 years and I've just seen a continual reduction in the amount of oysters available over the last four and a half years. Ever since the oil disaster, there's been a continued decline, and the public oyster grounds have been basically nonproductive."

Sunseri said he had to lay off workers after the BP oil spill in 2010.

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