June 22, 2010

New Orleans federal judge rules against Obama on the deepwater drilling moratorium.

Details:
... Hornbeck Offshore Services of Covington, La., claims the government arbitrarily imposed the moratorium without any proof that the operations posed a threat. Hornbeck says the moratorium could cost Louisiana thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in lost wages.

During Monday's hearing, [Judge] Feldman asked a government lawyer why the Interior Department decided to suspend deepwater drilling after the rig explosion when it didn't bar oil tankers from Alaskan waters after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 or take similar actions in the wake of other industrial accidents....
ADDED: Here's the opinion in PDF. Conclusion:
This Court is persuaded that the public interest weighs in favor of granting a preliminary injunction. While a suspension of activities directed after a rational interpretation of the evidence could outweigh the impact on the plaintiffs and the public, here, the Court has found the plaintiffs would likely succeed in showing that the agency’s decision was arbitrary and capricious. An invalid agency decision to suspend drilling of wells in depths of over 500 feet simply cannot justify the immeasurable effect on the plaintiffs, the local economy, the Gulf region, and the critical present-day aspect of the availability of domestic energy in this country.

182 comments:

Original Mike said...

If Obama is smart he'll blame it on the judge and drop the issue.

I'd be willing to bet he is not smart.

Joe said...

Dood can not CATCH a break!

Original Mike said...

From the article: "Feldman says in his ruling that the Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning for the moratorium. He says it seems to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger."

Shorter Feldman: "Obama, do your homework."

Hoosier Daddy said...

You know in Soviet Russia, the leader didn't have to tolerate this kind of insolence.

Montagne Montaigne said...

OT but I finally found the article that encapsulates everything that is wrong with the Tea Party types, in case anyone cares.

mRed said...

Obama and Holder. One couldn't and the other wouldn't do their homework.

PatCA said...

The argument that the government needs time to make sure that drilling is safe seems to have failed. Why should we think they could accomplish this, when they ignored warnings from BP since February? When the MMS has been partying and waiving rules for years?

Skookum John said...

About time someone stood up to the Chavista thug.

MadisonMan said...

I have mixed feelings. I'm happy that jobs won't be leaving Louisiana, jobs that could help increase domestic oil production. OTOH, I wonder how many drilling companies are too eagerly pursuing the bottom line as BP apparently was. Time will tell, I suppose.

It's interesting to watch the response. In some ways, Obama seems to be out in front, driving the conversation, especially with regard to Rep. Barton's comments. In other ways, however, very much flailing and throwing things against the wall to see what will stick.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Based on the little I know this seems rather an activist decision. Is something more stringent than rational-basis scrutiny being applied here? Feldman doesn't sound very deferential.

garage mahal said...

He says it seems to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger."

Ah, yea. Either BP was negligent and caused the current disaster, or they weren't negligent, in which case any deep water rig poses an imminent danger.

MadisonMan said...

One wonders if the judge made his eyes bug out during the hearing.

MadisonMan said...

(I'm so sure he's never heard that before)

ricpic said...

The judge demands consistency of the government? A shanda!

Paul Snively said...

garage mahal: Ah, yea. Either BP was negligent and caused the current disaster, or they weren't negligent, in which case any deep water rig poses an imminent danger.

Thank you for once again clarifying why you, and those who think like you, should never be allowed near any decision-making process more complex than that required to set up a lemonade stand.

Skookum John said...

"I finally found the article that encapsulates everything that is wrong with the Tea Party types, in case anyone cares."

Horse shit, Monty. He is growing crops and he pays crop insurance fees. The government has chosen to subsidize this, and if he did not accept their subsidy, he would be at a disadvantage against his competitors, and eventually go out of business.

He is not asking for money for merely existing, like your typical worthless welfare leech. If he sat on his ass like them instead of growing food for you to stuff your fat face with, he wouldn't get a nickel of farm support from the government.

It's not hypocrisy to advocate a new set of rules while playing the game under the current set. Or if it is, it's not qualitatively different from the moneybags Democrats who agitate for higher tax rates for all while paying their accountants plenty to minimize their own taxes.

Big Mike said...

@Monty, nobody cares.

Back on thread, the roots of this ruling came when Obama pointed to his hand-picked panel of experts as to why he had declared a moratorium, and then the experts said "Who? Us? We never said anything of the kind. In fact, we're against a moratorium."

Or words to that effect.

Assembling a panel of experts? Good idea. Ignoring their advice? Doofus.

Calypso Facto said...

The one Gulf-spill action step that Obama could claim as his own is now gone. Like the last pretense of the Emperor's new clothes. Sad and revealing. Damn that inconvenient "rule of law" thing.

Larry J said...

It's possible the judge also considered this information:

Sen. Landrieu questioned why DOI ignored advice from eight experts who helped prepare Secretary Salazar's May 27 report to President Obama outlining safety recommendations in the wake of the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon.

"In the appendix of the May 27 report, it lists the names of 15 experts that you consulted with," Sen. Landrieu told Secretary Salazar. "I received a letter yesterday from eight of them who say they disagree with your decision to impose the six-month moratorium. In their words, the report does not justify the moratorium as written and the moratorium will not contribute measurably to increase safety and it will have an immediate and long-term economic effect."

Among the recommendations in that report was the six-month moratorium on all ongoing drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet. Yesterday, the eight experts sent a letter to Sen. Landrieu and several other government officials highlighting their opposition to the moratorium.

"We broadly agree with the detailed recommendations in the report and compliment the Department of Interior for its efforts," the letter said. "However, we do not agree with the six-month blanket moratorium on floating drilling. A moratorium was added after the final review and was never agreed to by the contributors."


In other words, Senator Landrieu (D-LA) is calling Salazar a liar.

edutcher said...

This is the about the only break for BP. Now, the Pay Czar won't have to manage 2 slush funds.

Hagar said...

No company wants another Deepwater Horizon with a $100 billion pricetag, so industry standards have suddenly tightened up bigtime, regardless of what the Government says or does.

Original Mike said...

"I have mixed feelings. I'm happy that jobs won't be leaving Louisiana, jobs that could help increase domestic oil production."

Oh, jobs will be leaving. The administration will fight this ruling and the protracted uncertainty will cause companies to move elsewhere.

"OTOH, I wonder how many drilling companies are too eagerly pursuing the bottom line as BP apparently was. Time will tell, I suppose."

The regulator should be able to answer the relavent questions NOW. Why do we need a six month moratorium?

James H said...

OUCH look at this footnote:



"If the MMS and the Department truly were incompetent
and corrupt, as the intervenors insist, the Court fails to see how
this conclusion supports the government’s position. Indeed, while
the government makes light of the fact that several of the experts
disagree with the recommendations in the Report by noting that they
do not disagree with the findings, of greater concern is the
misleading text in the Executive Summary that seems to assert that
all the experts agree with the Secretary’s recommendation. The
government’s hair-splitting explanation abuses reason, common
sense, and the text at issue."

THe full text of the Opinion is here

http://www.laed.uscourts.gov/GENERAL/Notices/10-1663_doc67.pdf

virgil xenophon said...

In other words Senatoe Landrieu (D-LA) is calling Salazar a liar."

And, by extension, the Obamassiah, POTUS.


(Par for the course--the lying bit, that is. Actually calling Barry baby on it is quite rare among the useful idiots that elected him and the usually feckless opposition that goes by the name of the GOP)

Pogo said...

Now the planet can begin to heal.

Or maybe tomorrow, after 18 holes.


Foooore!

Bruce Hayden said...

It's interesting to watch the response. In some ways, Obama seems to be out in front, driving the conversation, especially with regard to Rep. Barton's comments. In other ways, however, very much flailing and throwing things against the wall to see what will stick.

Yeh, I can see why they were out in front of the Barton comments. It was a shakedown. It wasn't the first time for this Administration. And it likely won't be the last.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Ah, now I get it: this is only a preliminary injunction, not a final overturning of the moratorium. Why is MSM reporting on legal issues always so useless?

LarsPorsena said...

"The regulator should be able to answer the relavent questions NOW. Why do we need a six month moratorium?"

Because the 'regulator' is a lawyer and doesn't know one end of a drill bit from another.

I ,for one, welcome our new feckless mandarin overlords.

Michael said...

"Ah, yea. Either BP was negligent and caused the current disaster, or they weren't negligent, in which case any deep water rig poses an imminent danger."

By this logic every automobile accident should be carefully investigated to insure that the balance of the models of the same type do not pose "an imminent danger." Which, of course, would not be logic at all but rather what is known as "faulty reasoning."

There is also the very outside chance that what occurred down there amounted to what was once called "an accident," the result of someone pulling the wrong two levers at once, or accidentally disabling a cut-off valve. In the real world these kinds of things happen at industrial sites and the president doesn't even know about it. Could never happen in the progressive world, of course.

Someone once slipped on a banana peel and bananas were not banned world wide. But they remain dangerous.

garage mahal said...

Thank you for once again clarifying why you, and those who think like you, should never be allowed near any decision-making process more complex than that required to set up a lemonade stand.

And thanks for not clarifying why you think I'm wrong.

garage mahal said...

Someone once slipped on a banana peel and bananas were not banned world wide. But they remain dangerous.

A banana peel cannot cause millions of barrels of oil to leak into the ocean. Seems like two completely different things to me.

A.W. said...

you can read the decision, here.

http://www.laed.uscourts.gov/GENERAL/Notices/10-1663_doc67.pdf

i found one line that jumped out at me where they said this was unprecedented. well, not completely. i mean we did ground all planes on 9-11. but on the other hand, we gave them a bailout for the lost business.

A.W. said...

btw, just to cover the basic information, here.

A preliminary injunction is one granted temporarily on an expedited basis. on the state level they are more often know as temporary restraining orders. they are done without the benefit of a full trial.

They are only granted if the parties prove there is a likelihood of victory and a few other things like irreparable damages for which monetary damages will not fully compensate. its designed to deal with situation where any delay in granting the injunction is a defacto loss to the petitioner.

If the case is not settled, the next stage is a full on trial to determine whether the preliminary injunction should stand as a permanent injunction.

so the judge can in theory change his mind. but let's not forget that the judge had to rule that the petitioners were likely to succeed in trial. So in fact its pretty rare for the the losing side to win in the full trial.

Now that is general information not necessarily tied to the case. i haven't had a chance to read the opinion yet.

HDHouse said...

Hoosier Daddy said...
You know in Soviet Russia, the leader didn't have to tolerate this kind of insolence."


And you know Hoosier that in the FORMER Soviet Russia BPs performance would have had what was politely called the "most severe consequences".

Joaquin said...

As we sit here, plans are being drawn-up to blow-up another platform.;-)

Bruce Hayden said...

I found Monty's linked article interesting. His major complaint, it seems, is hypocrisy. But he, like many liberals, seems totally unconcerned about hypocrisy on the left.

How about AGW gurus who squander more in energy a month than most do a year to heat or cool just one of their mansions? Or all those limos recently at Hopenhagen?

Or, talking money, all those rich libs claiming to represent the lower classes, yet living the lifestyles of the rich and famous. They invariably either inherited or married their wealth, or acquired it through graft while in public office. Oh, I forgot the former Presidential candidate who got his by channeling dead babies. He would talk about the "Two Americas" - the one he lives in in his mansions, and the other one, the trailer park across the street from his enclave. And, how about this: Jerry Brown's tale of frugality omits $1.8 million home?

I think that the reason that libs like Monty push any hint at hypocrisy on the right, but ignore it on the left, is that they have no shame, but know that many on the right do. How could someone have shame if he trots out his wife dying of cancer for sympathy, while fathering a kid on another woman on the side? Or, indeed, how can the White House condemn the head of BP for attending a yacht race, while the President is off playing Golf. Again. Or, indeed, prating on about the Culture of Corruption under Bush, and then having the most corrupt Administration of the last half century?

Chef Mojo said...

Oh, yeah. Obama is going to appeal this all the way.

And in the meantime, the platforms are going to migrate to Brazil to work for PetroBras, who will pay them from the $2 billion of our tax dollars from Obama for exploration and extraction in way deeper water. And the support jobs will go to the Brazilians, never to return to the Gulf, because there are only so many platforms to go around. This will devastate an already damaged region.

But that's ok. They're red states, after all. And they can always go back to picking cotton and producing authentic blues singers, right?

HDHouse said...

Hagar said...
No company wants another Deepwater Horizon with a $100 billion pricetag, so industry standards have suddenly tightened up bigtime, regardless of what the Government says or does."

No shit? Really? You mean the Gulf is full of crews capping old wells and drilling new ones so as to "tighten up"? talk about a grip on reality!

HDHouse said...

Bruce Hayden said...
.." His major complaint, it seems, is hypocrisy. But he, like many liberals, seems totally unconcerned about hypocrisy on the left."

But Bruce, the right has soooooo much hypocracy...it just ooozes from their every pore...more than enough to go around several times over...we shant need bother the liberals to get to 100%...

Bruce Hayden said...

They are only granted if the parties prove there is a likelihood of victory and a few other things like irreparable damages for which monetary damages will not fully compensate. its designed to deal with situation where any delay in granting the injunction is a de facto loss to the petitioner.

I think that you have to keep in mind that the status quo ante being maintained is the drilling, and that shutting that down would apparently cost the Gulf states hundreds of millions of dollars a year in lost wages. And, I think you could also argue that monetary damages would not be sufficient, since the federal government has (I believe) sovereign immunity from this sort of thing.

Sofa King said...

"But Bruce, the right has soooooo much hypocracy...it just ooozes from their every pore...more than enough to go around several times over...we shant need bother the liberals to get to 100%..."

And with this post, my cup floweth over.

Chef Mojo said...

And you know Hoosier that in the FORMER Soviet Russia BPs performance would have had what was politely called the "most severe consequences".

Actually, I seriously doubt that.

First, the Soviet government officials, unlike their American counterparts, would have stayed bought. Corruption in the USSR made Chicago seem like Disneyworld.

Second, the Soviets could have cared less about the environmental damage. Go back to first point.

Third, inasmuch as they cared about the damage, the Soviets would have had this thing taken care of within days at the very least by nuking the well head, thus solving the problem, which would allow them to keep it quiet and go back to the status quo of the first point.

A.W. said...

Having read through the decision, I can see exactly what the problem was. The real giveaway that even a lawyer or judge can wrap their head around. The moratorium goes on and on about how drilling at below 1,000 ft suddenly becomes more dangerous. So… they ban all drilling below 500 ft. There is literally nothing in the report that at all supports the 500 foot number. it’s a signpost of an administration that is being stampeded into it, rather than thinking it through. Once they had that clearly capricious detail, the rest of it falls apart. The scientists saying that this is not their recommendation is a big part, as well as the simple logic: just because one failed, why should they think any of the other ones did.

Given the fact that the APA clearly empowers the judge to do this, it seems like the judge is right.

Now it might be possible for Salazar to come back with a better written moratorium and it might do better. But I think this one is dead in the water.

You would think with a lawyer as president, they could get their legal sh-t together, at least.

Hoosier Daddy said...

And you know Hoosier that in the FORMER Soviet Russia BPs performance would have had what was politely called the "most severe consequences".

Kinda makes you homesick doesn't it harold?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

As we sit here, plans are being drawn-up to blow-up another platform.;-)

My evil thought exactly. Sabotage is a very easy thing to cover up.

Just saying.

James H said...

I notived this:

But LeCesne noted that if the government wants to stay any preliminary injunction, it could be required to post a bond equivalent to the damage faced by the affected parties, such as Hornbeck. “It could be billions,” LeCesne said. “It could be cost-prohibitive to appeal.”

http://thehayride.com/2010/06/breaking-judge-throws-out-obamoratorium/

Does the Govt have to post a bond?

traditionalguy said...

We see at last that the one remaining bastion against The Lawless One's games will be a court that has strength to rule by laws and not cover up his tyranny.

HDHouse said...

@dustbunny...

all the world loves a conspiracy theorist..ya'betcha.

Anyway the best argument would against the government's supposed "haste" was that 62 days ago there was NO chance of this calamity...

@chief mojo...

your general understanding of Russia stands solidly between the pillars of slim and none.

former law student said...

When a plane crashes, others are grounded till investigators understand why the first one crashed, for fear of repeat crashes.

Judge Feldman would keep 'em all flying.

dbp said...

Has there ever been a plane crash that lead to a 6 month grounding?

former law student said...

Further, if another rig blows, no one's gonna be blaming Marty Feldman (loved him in Young Frankenstein BTW) for poor judgement. They're all gonna be shitting on Obama.

dbp said...

Anyway, the drilling ban is more like an airplane crash not leading to a grounding of planes, but to a suspension of jetliner production.

Chef Mojo said...

@HDH - Either address the points or kindly piss off. Really. I'm interested in just what you take exception to. The corruption? (Oh, please!) The environmental destruction of great swathes of Russia? (Aral Sea ring a bell? The Soviets managed to completely kill and and destroy the 4th largest inland sea in the world...) Nuking gushing well heads? (Russians have been there and done that...) Which part of what I wrote is wrong?

You know nothing about me or my knowledge of Soviet affairs, and I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss that knowledge.

A.W. said...

Former:

> When a plane crashes, others are grounded till investigators understand why the first one crashed, for fear of repeat crashes.

Really? um, no. in fact they wait to see a pattern.

And that at best argues for a certain brand of rig to be grounded.

A.W. said...

former

And this ban was more like one play crashes, and so they ban not only all planes, but all baloons, blimps and helicopters.

There is nothing supporting a ban at 500 feet under the water. that is obvious enough for even an obamaphile like you to get.

Not to mention the shenanigans of pretending the experts recommended the moratorium when they did not.

Hagar said...

HD,

Producing wells are beyond the hazards faced in drilling. They may have their own dangers, but since none have gone kablooiee yet, we do not know.

For new wells, I will bet that blowout preventers with one set of blades are now so much scrap metal as far as the drilling firms are concerned, and that all with two sets are being gone over to make sure that all redundancies indeed are redundant and in good working order.

Likewise, contracts will be tightened up and field personnel will be cautioned about legal reponsibilities and warned against putting the company at risk by reckless behavior.

former law student said...

There's never been an airplane crash that wiped out fishing and tourism in this many states.

But after AA Flight 191 crashed, the FAA grounded all DC-10s for 38 days.

former law student said...

There is nothing supporting a ban at 500 feet under the water.

The concept of "a margin of safety" may be new to you, as may "erring on the side of caution." Further, considering that the source of the information saying that "there is nothing supporting a ban at 500 feet under the water" is the same self-serving oil drilling industry, we might be wise to ignore them for a few months.

rollingdivision said...

Obama, Putin without results.

former law student said...

in fact they wait to see a pattern.

Really? How many crashes are usually enough to satisfy the FAA that there's a pattern?

Elliott A said...

FLS- The aircraft were grounded for inspection. Immediately after Deepwater Horizon sank, all deepwater wells in the Gulf were inspected. All but two passed totally, and the two had minor violations which were quickly corrected. There is no evidence, empirical or otherwise which shows this to be anything other than an isolated incident of corporate irresponsibilty and reckless behavior. There is no link to wells run by other companies at all, and only a tenuous one to other BP wells.

former law student said...

The investigation's over? I thought Heyward was still being coy.

A.W. said...

FLS

> But after AA Flight 191 crashed, the FAA grounded all DC-10s for 38 days.

Citation?

> The concept of "a margin of safety" may be new to you, as may "erring on the side of caution."

I am sorry, but you think that they are going to be wrong in their measurement of depth by 500 feet.

Seriously if they said 900 ft, fine. And hey, how about some actual findings supporting a finding that 500 ft is necessary for the margin of safety.

Duh.

> Further, considering that the source of the information saying that "there is nothing supporting a ban at 500 feet under the water" is the same self-serving oil drilling industry

No, actually that was the judge’s conclusion. And who should we trust instead? the Obambi administration that has been shown to be repeated liars?

> Really? How many crashes are usually enough to satisfy the FAA that there's a pattern?

Not sure. But I know its impossible for there to be a pattern with only one.

DADvocate said...

Obama needs to pull this judge into the White House and make him an offer he can't refuse.

Pogo said...

Just slip the judge a check.

Forget it Jake, It's Chi-town.

Scott M said...

It was political kabuki anyway. Good for the manifold people who's jobs were on the line.

DADvocate said...

Airplanes certain model, like DC10s, are made of many identical parts, using a single plan (that may be updated occasionally), by a single manufacturer. A problem in one could easily mean a problem in many.

Oil platforms are built by various manufacturers using different plans and parts. Not much like airplanes at all.

former law student said...

Trying to find the most authoritative source, I see it says 37 days, not 38:

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1979/1979%20-%202660.html

Flight International 21 July 1979.

Old Dad said...

I applaud the judge. Our system is very imperfect, but the decision appears to be apolitical, and that's what's needed.

With luck, rational and responsible Americans will determine what the facts and the law require. In the mean time, I see no practical reason to cripple the economies of the Gulf States any further.

As a practical matter, has anyone attempted to assess the cost of this spill? It's impossible, of course, but certainly a modest SWAG is possible. How might that compare to the cost of shutting down Gulf oil production? Compare that to the probability of another failure of another drill rig. If anyone has done that homework, cough it up.

former law student said...

DADvocate: so how do the designs of oil platforms and associated safety features differ from platform to platform?

former law student said...

I'm starting to think the judge is right. What difference would two or even three blowouts matter? You can't wet a river -- the Gulf Coast couldn't be any worse off than it is.

Original Mike said...

"Indeed, while
the government makes light of the fact that several of the experts
disagree with the recommendations in the Report by noting that they
do not disagree with the findings, of greater concern is the
misleading text in the Executive Summary that seems to assert that
all the experts agree with the Secretary’s recommendation. The
government’s hair-splitting explanation abuses reason, common
sense, and the text at issue."


This episode of dishonsety displayed by the Administration was lightly reported (surprise, surprise) but in the academic world inserting conclusions into a paper after the other authors have signed off on it is considered beyond the pale. I was flabergasted when I saw this (though maybe I shouldn't have been).

victoria said...

Big mistake.

Vicki

dbp said...

Aircraft use all kinds of common parts: Avionics, hydrolic fluid, jet engines, jet fuel.

I say we ground the whole fleet of jetliners whenever one goes down.

DADvocate said...

so how do the designs of oil platforms and associated safety features differ from platform to platform?

You tell me, mr. expert know almost everything ream man of genius guy. I simply know it's obvious to any person of normal intelligence that the construction process and techniques are quite different. I serioiusly doubt oil rigs are built on an assembly line.

It's pretty amazing how stupid you get trying to act intelligent.

dbp said...

For 6 months each time. Of course.

Michael said...

FLS: The government did indeed ground the DC-10 for a period after the Chicago crash. The grounding was devastating for the Hawaiian tourist industry as the DC-10 (which I christened the Douglas Crashing 10) was the principal lift to the islands.

But the government did not ground all airplanes nor all the planes built by Douglas. Only the DC-10. It should be noted that the then president of the United States did not call for the boot of the government to be placed upon United Airlines' neck, nor did the Congress weigh in with their piercing questions about engineering.

Had the government grounded all airliners I expect the decision would have been overturned summarily.

Michael said...

Actually the DC-10 that crashed was an American Airlines plane. The passengers watched themselves crash on the montior that filmed the takeoff and was one of the more hideous attributes of sitting in first class on an AA flight.

dbp said...

BTW, there must have been waivers to the 6-month ban. Lots of the news reports indicate that BP is making progress on the relief well or wells.

Rose said...

You can drive for 30 years without an accident. When an accident occurs, it is just that, and accident. Not standard operating procedure, and it doesn't mean that you're going to get in a wreck everytime you get in the car now, and it doesn't mean all drivers are guilty, either.

This move was made because progressive activist community organizers see the world through a different prism, and this presented them (him, the activist in chief) with a golden opportunity to punish all oil companies, a favorite target of theirs.

Nothing this man does is based in reality.

Nothing this man does is based on helping people or companies achieve. And nothing he does is based on helping anyone who suffers recover.

In a real community, when the neighbor's house, or the blacksmith shop catches fire, the men, and the community rush to help, they help in a myriad of ways and they fix it and rebuild it and help them get back on their feet. Because they know that that is what makes a healthy community.

The new govt. we have is not like that. It is about control and blame and finger pointing and destruction, not about building or helping.

We're going down this path so fast we may never recover. I have never been so discouraged. I have never before felt that I was going to live to see our system fail, our Constitutional path eliminated.

God help us all.

Whenever the system gets the opportunity, it does try though, to inject some sanity back into this activist wet dream. The judge did it today. May it hold.

A.W. said...

FLS

Your own citation proves you wrong in every respect. This is what happened there. First there was a crash. Then as they investigated the crash they saw evidence of a design flaw. Then they inspected other planes and saw evidence of the same flaw. And then and only then they required all of one class of plane to be grounded, to check those as well. And it was only until the inspections could be done on all the other planes.

And for bonus points, that moratorium was struck down by a court and only reversed on the grounds of jurisdiction. Which means in fact that case could still be cited as precedent against this kind of moratorium, where the court does have jurisdiction. Although on balance I would say the Carter administration actually probably did the right thing.

And that was in 1979. You know, there have been a few other crashes since then, and they generally didn’t require a grounding of all planes of a certain variety, unless again there were signs of a pattern. Just like in your 1979 example.

God, you’re an idiot.

Original Mike said...

"so how do the designs of oil platforms and associated safety features differ from platform to platform?"

There have been some articles recently on this question, but the important point her is that if the MMS is worth it's salt, it knows all of this already.

garage mahal said...

Just slip the judge a check.

This judge, as most do most judges in the gulf coast districts, have direct ties to the oil industry. This one has financial stakes in Transocean, the maker of the Horizon rig. No conflict there eh.

The Drill SGT said...

Larry J said...In other words, Senator Landrieu (D-LA) is calling Salazar a liar.

Actually the Judge calls Salazar a liar:)

From the decision:

Much to the government’s discomfort and this Court’s uneasiness,
the Summary also states that “the recommendations contained in this
report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the
National Academy of Engineering.” As the plaintiffs, and the
experts themselves, pointedly observe, this statement was
misleading. The experts charge it was a “misrepresentation.” It was
factually incorrect. Although the experts agreed with the safety
recommendations contained in the body of the main Report, five of
the National Academy experts and three of the other experts have
publicly stated that they “do not agree with the six month blanket
moratorium” on floating drilling. They envisioned a more limited
kind of moratorium, but a blanket moratorium was added after their
final review, they complain, and was never agreed to by them. A
factor that might cause some apprehension about the probity of the
process that led to the Report.

Pogo said...

Then he ought to know how it works, garage.

Show me the monaaaaay!

garage mahal said...

This judge is already receiving the monaaaaay.

rhhardin said...

The decision wasn't arbitrary and capricious.

It was politically deliberate.

I don't know why courts have to omit the simplest inference.

Arbitrary would be right 50% of the time. Obama is hitting 100% wrong.

Maguro said...

How does the moratorium reduce risk again? If we don't drill offshore, someone else has to drill for it somewhere else and ship it over in huge boats that have been known to run aground. Are turtles and pelicans any really any safer with the moratorium in place?

A.W. said...

Drill Sgt

Well, the court doesn't quite call them a liar, but we are well justified in drawing that inference.

Cedarford said...

Plane groundings only happen if there is a pattern, and most groundings only last a few days to do indicated safety checks if the accident points to a failure mode.

Obama gravely overreached with one accident used as an excuse by his solar and wind ideologues to shut down a whole industry for 6 months...hopefully to help destroy it. So Blessed Solar and Wondrous Wind!!! can take over.

He did so with no knowledge of what led to the accident, against the advice of 15 safety experts that said no cause existed to shut down other rigs. And that shutting down the rigs was less safe than keeping them running.

Then comes out with his grandiose cap and tax program that will cripple the economy if passed. Cost many, many hundreds of thousands of jobs if passed - other than Obamites who are in "secure" university and Federal jobs.

A.W. said...

geez i wonder if the price of gas will drop today. :-)

Btw, liberals, please don't ever tell me we can't drill in anwr again. If this accident happened on land, we would have already plugged it and even if we hadn't the damage wouldn't be half as bad. Yeah some carribou might die, but i am more concerned with people.

The Drill SGT said...

AW, The judge says:

It was factually incorrect.

You are right, he didn't make a statement about "intent" :)

just that they didn't tell the truth.

Hagar said...

Has fls, HD, garage, et al. on this thread noticed that all of the efforts to stop the leak and clean up the mess have been organized and paid for by BP?

While the Federal Government Agencies have done nothing but harroomph, step on each others' shoelaces arguing about jurisdiction, demanding EA's from anyone trying to do any work, quay-siding the skimmer barges because they can't find the owners' telephone numbers to inquire about the number of lifewests and fire extinguishers aboard, etc, etc., and so forth.

Pretty typical of Government as usual as is to be expected from this Administration. They do not know which agency is supposed to be in charge of what, they do not know how to get things done, and they do not inspire fear in the bureaucracy.

Mr. Obama's style always have been to give an inspiring speech and then sit back, vote "present," and hope that someone else will do something.

lemondog said...

Difference between shallow water, deepwater and ultra deepwater drilling
Gulf Oil Production by Water Depth

Why Ultra deepwater drilling
Peak Oil

Some background on implementation of reduced federal royalties and loosened regulatory environment resulting in increased deepwater exploration

Deepwater spills and short attention spans

former law student said...

Then as they investigated the crash they saw evidence of a design flaw. Then they inspected other planes and saw evidence of the same flaw.

I guess you didn't read long enough to learn that while DC-10s were grounded they discovered United DC-10s had a different flaw.

And then and only then they required all of one class of plane to be grounded, to check those as well. And it was only until the inspections could be done on all the other planes.


You didn't grasp that the FCC lifted the DC-10's type certificate, meaning that it had to prove once again that the design was airworthy. You failed to understand that foreign DC-10s were banned from US airspace for 37 days whether they were inspected or not. In fact, British Caledonian Airways later sued the FAA for loss of income during that 37 day period.

Tsk tsk.

The government took extraordinary measures in the case of Flight 191 because it was the worst air disaster in US history to that point. Much like the BP oil spill is the worst environmental disaster in US history to this point, which justifies the government taking extraordinary measures.

former law student said...

and ship it over in huge boats that have been known to run aground.

Shipping oil by sea is amazingly safe when you don't pick known drunks to captain the tankers. Double bottom designs help a lot, too.

former law student said...

The pattern in the case of Flight 191 was "the engine fell off the plane." The FAA recommendation was "take a look where the engine attaches to the plane."

JAL said...

so, vicki.

why is this a Big mistake?

JAL said...

I notice a hunger for Utopia in the left comments.

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dead Julius said...

Well, it's time to for Obama to get off the golf course and go to work then. The judiciary has smacked him down, and therefore the important thing-- the most important thing in the world for him and his comrades right now-- is to put something in place so that a smack-down like this never happens again.

Perhaps the administration can recast deepwater drilling as a "national security" issue? That way the bar will be lowered for any judicial review of their future decisions about it; plus, the administration can label anyone who disagrees with them as "unpatriotic".

I'm sure that conservatives would support this approach, wouldn't they? Isn't deference to the executive branch (and absolute deference to the President) part of the official G.O.P. platform?

Pogo said...

He needs to golf more. He needs the relaxation, I hear.

Joe said...

The moratorium was only for new permits on drilling operations, not on existing drilling and extraction operations. (Some comments seem to imply that all 3850+ wells in the gulf would be shut down for six months.)

(I still disagreed with the blanket moratorium, though have no problem with it on deep water wells, though I'm bothered by it being time based rather than being based on sound engineering and safety principles.)

HDHouse said...

Rose said...
You can drive for 30 years without an accident. When an accident occurs, it is just that, and accident. Not standard operating procedure, and it doesn't mean that you're going to get in a wreck everytime you get in the car now, and it doesn't mean all drivers are guilty, either..."

No Rose but you are the problem here. Take this car, don't inflate the tires, don't check the breaks, in fact replace them with old ones, turn off the headlights after dark, let your moron step brother drive drunk and don't buckle up...

Now accidents happen Rose, and that is why we take precautions. Accidents happen Rose and this is why BP did a shit job of conforming to the basics? Accidents happen Rose and 1 thousand barrels by the miracle of loaves and fishes is now 100,00 barrels..Accidents happen Rose but you'll remember 2 weeks ago when BP vowed that by "this time next week it will be a trickle".

Accidents happen Rose.

HDHouse said...

and Rose, you need to come here with better shit than that.

A.W. said...

FLS

> I guess you didn't read long enough to learn that while DC-10s were grounded they discovered United DC-10s had a different flaw.

Which takes away from my point, how? The point is they didn’t just shut everyone down based on one failure, but based on evidence of a pattern of problems throughout the line.

> Much like the BP oil spill is the worst environmental disaster in US history to this point

It is the worst natural disaster in history in no small part because of Obama’s incompetence.

> which justifies the government taking extraordinary measures.

No, even being the worst in history, by itself, did not justify grounding all planes. It was only when they found evidence of an inherent design flaw.

But thanks for playing.

Cedarford said...

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal urges the federal government and President Obama not to appeal the judge's ruling on the 6-month drilling moratorium.

Thousands of miles away from Jindal and the Louisianans he represents who are actually affected, Greenies and liberal Dems in NYC, Mass, and California want the moratorium continued and more "evil energy projects shut down".

Oh, for the day when the part of the country that makes the energy, the food, drives the roads to deliver the stuff notifies the Blue Cities that deliveries have been put under a 6-month moratorium.

Let 'em freeze and starve in the dark...except for the illumination provided by mobs guided by "community organizers" out burning city blocks..

Revenant said...

The pattern in the case of Flight 191 was "the engine fell off the plane." The FAA recommendation was "take a look where the engine attaches to the plane."

And when the deepwater drilling rig on the Deepwater Horizon failed, the government said "take a look at the other deepwater drilling rigs". So they did, and found that there were no significant problems with any of the others. After which the government said "we're banning drilling for six months".

Your example would apply if the government had investigated DC-10s, determined there was no problem with them, and then followed up by banning DC-10s and all OTHER aircraft from flying into O'Hare for six months. Of course, if a Democrat did that you'd probably praise his initiative. :)

Mark in Spokane said...

The rule of law is a harsh thing.

Revenant said...

the BP oil spill is the worst environmental disaster in US history to this point

FLS, we admire your skill at parroting Obama talking points. But back here in reality, the BP spill isn't even close to being the worst environmental disaster in US history. It isn't even the worst environmental disaster in the last five years!

A.W. said...

Revenant

good point, i forgot.

But i would add that if the president hadn't been a complete idiot on the subject of containment, it would be an absolute non-story.

This has been going on for two months. I will only excuse a maximum of two weeks of inaction.

garage mahal said...

And when the deepwater drilling rig on the Deepwater Horizon failed, the government said "take a look at the other deepwater drilling rigs". So they did, and found that there were no significant problems with any of the others.

The government also agreed the Horizon rig didn't pose any "significant problems" [it was running legally the day it exploded]. There was also an incident on the Horizon rig weeks earlier before the whole damn thing blew up. The sorry information on this rig is out there easily to be found out if you look. One of BP's engineers called it a "nightmare well". [about the same time Obama made his announcement that offshore drilling was perfectly safe - for some stupid political gain presumably]. Ooops.

His idiot advisers assured him there weren't any real dangers with offshore drilling and he was either too stupid to believe that, took a big risk just hoping one wouldn't blow up, or simply didn't care that one might blow up. As it turns out, one big one did blow up.

There are lots of idiot, congresspeople, governors, mayors, advisers, etc, but only one President. He should have fucking known and he blew it big-time, and now the entire gulf will probably be wrecked because of it.

dick said...

Garage,

The judge has nowhere near the stake in Transoceanic as Obama has in BP. In face he was the biggest recipient of BP largesse of any senator. You would think he would remember that but then this is just another case of throwing more people under that bus. Before long that bus will rival Mt Everest in height at the rate Zero is throwing people away. Some of them might just start biting back and soon.

bagoh20 said...

This well failure worked out so well for BP that I'm sure all the other drillers are taking the same risks, now that they can. It makes good business sense. You know it's great for the "bottom line". I bet BP wishes they could do it all over again so they could improve their "bottom line" and make big profits. It's gonna be a banner year for them.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

McCrystal ... now this judge?

Negro can't keep he bitches in line.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"Gen. Stanley McChrystal has submitted his resignation, Time magazine's Joe Klein told CNN, citing an unnamed source. CNN is working to confirm Klein's information."

Huh?

Why is Joe Klein - of Time magazine - announcing to CNN that McCrystal has resigned?


Isn't Joe Klein supposed to write scoops for Time Magazine?

CNN is now reporting what other reporters are allegedly reporting to it.

What. The. Fuck? What a bunch of fucking maroons.

Bruce Hayden said...

I just got done reading the opinion. The problem appears to be that the government had not done their home work. In order for the federal government to issues such an order, it must be backed by facts on the record at the time that the order is made. Otherwise, the government is operating by fiat. In other words, using the APA standard, without facts, the order is arbitrary and capricious.

Here, there were a lot of unanswered questions. Why 500 feet, when the reports said 1,000? Why six months, instead of seven or five? Why all rigs, regardless of safety? The answers to these questions were just not in the record at the time the ban was ordered.

Big Mike said...

Let's get back to deep water drilling.

Obama administration commissions a group of top experts to get their advice.

Obama administration ignores the advice of their own experts.

Louisiana calls them on it.

Judge agrees that the Obama administration is "factually incorrect."

Should be end of story, but, nope. HDHouse, FLS, and the rest of the fellow travelers throw in their made-up facts, phony talking points, vague appeals to innuendo, and efforts to draw parallels that exist only in some other universe.

Sad. Just plain sad.

Quaestor said...

garage mahal wrote: "Either BP was negligent and caused the current disaster, or they weren't negligent, in which case any deep water rig poses an imminent danger"

Logical fallacy, gm. This is a false dichotomy. There are many possibilities. Correctly formulated the conclusion is either BP was negligent and therefore culpable, or they weren't negligent and offshore drilling technology is fundamentally unsound, or DWH was located above an undetectable and exceedingly rare geologic anomaly which made the accident inevitable, or an as yet undetected criminal conspiracy sabotaged the rig, or the software models used by the geologists hired by BP to process their raw data have as yet undetected bugs which intermittently produce spurious analytics, or the Federal Minerals and Mining inspector compelled the rig manager to alter a safe procedure and adopt an unsafe one, or... or... this can go on ad infintum. Without a lot more information no one can reduce this situation to a manageable choice of conclusions.

The plain fact is anything and everything, including your next breath of air, contains an incalculable risk.

When Obama claimed that he endorsed offshore drilling based on advise that it was "absolutely safe" he displayed a shocking naïveté that better suits an eight year old than a President of the United States.

wv: dulqwwvbf (n) what you get when someone with no sense of humor designs the wv algorithm.

Larry J said...

former law student said...

I guess you didn't read long enough to learn that while DC-10s were grounded they discovered United DC-10s had a different flaw.


The "flaw" was that the maintenance crew used a forklift instead of an engine hoist to remove an engine, breaking the engine mount.

The aircraft was found to be damaged before the crash. Investigators looked at the plane's maintenance history and found that its most recent service was eight weeks before the crash. The pylon was damaged due to an engine removal procedure.

...

A large forklift was used to support the engine while it was being detached from the wing. This procedure was extremely difficult to execute successfully, due to difficulties with holding the engine assembly straight while it was being removed.

...

The accident investigation also concluded that the design of the pylon and adjacent surfaces made the parts difficult to service and prone to damage by maintenance crews. The NTSB reported that there were two different approaches to the one-step procedure: using an overhead hoist or using a forklift. United Airlines used a hoist; American and Continental Airlines used a forklift. According to the NTSB, all the cases "wherein impact damage was sustained and cracks found involved the use of the forklift."

...

The procedure used caused an
indentation that damaged the clevis pin assembly and created an indentation in the housing of the self-aligning bearing, which in turn weakened the structure sufficiently to cause a small stress fracture. The fracture went unnoticed for several flights, getting worse with each flight. During Flight 191's takeoff, enough force was generated to finally cause the pylon to fail. At the point of rotation, the engine detached and was flipped over the top of the wing.


There were issues with the DC-10 regarding loss of hydraulic pressure under certain circumstances. However, the spate of accidents that tarnished the plane's reputation include:

1. Turkish Airlines DC-10 crash caused by an improperly closed baggage door causing loss of cabin pressure. The cabin floor collapsed, cutting the flight control lines. Resolution: improve the door closing procedures and install viewports to allow ground crews to ensure the locks are in place.

2. Flight 191 crash discussed above. One major area of resolution was to fix the maintenance procedures.

3. Western Airlines Flight 2605 crash in Mexico City caused by the crew landing on a closed runway.

4. Weeks later, Air New Zealand Flight 901 crashed by flying into a mountain in Antartica.

After that spate of accidents, there were a lot of people who refused to fly on a DC-10. They might not have known an Aeronca C-2 from a Lockheed C-5 but they "knew" the DC-10 was dangerous. Fools.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"Logical fallacy, gm."

No, not really.

Politically, he's right.

Obama can't on the one hand say that drilling is inherently risky and in the same breath say that he was assured it was safe and that's the only reason he allowed offshore drilling in the first place.

Oh wait ... he can say that. Because he did, and his girlfriends in the media reported it with a fucking straight face as if they control the fucking gates or something.

Fucking idiots.

Dead Julius said...

Quaestor (who deserves a promotion to Praetor) said...

There are many possibilities. Correctly formulated the conclusion is either BP was negligent and therefore culpable, or they weren't negligent and offshore drilling technology is fundamentally unsound, or DWH was located above an undetectable and exceedingly rare geologic anomaly which made the accident inevitable, or an as yet undetected criminal conspiracy sabotaged the rig, or the software models used by the geologists hired by BP to process their raw data have as yet undetected bugs which intermittently produce spurious analytics, or the Federal Minerals and Mining inspector compelled the rig manager to alter a safe procedure and adopt an unsafe one, or... or... this can go on ad infintum. Without a lot more information no one can reduce this situation to a manageable choice of conclusions.

Damn well said! Is there a modern-day Richard Feynman who could, with a little sleuthing and a tip or two, uncover the cause of a disaster like this? Or are today's complexities just too complex to ever be understood?

bagoh20 said...

Since Obama accepted that offshore drilling is "absolutely safe" and this well blew up, there is only one thing to do: A moratorium on this administration making decisions until we find out what is wrong with it's procedures, practices and assumptions. We just can't risk these type of reliability issues.

He's got his finger on the button for Christ's sake and he's no Ronald Reagan. He's...well, some guy we don't really know much about with no record or experience to judge him on. Shut it down. Shut it down now. It's just not worth the risk.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Tuesday called a six-month halt on deepwater drilling "needed, appropriate and within our authorities" in announcing he will issue a new order on a moratorium just hours after a federal judge blocked such a mandate."

These motherfuckers don't care what judges rule. They're going to shut down drilling in the Gulf of Mexico whether the fucking federal courts attempt to try to stop them or not.

Our country is being ruled by people who have no concept of the rule of law. They're lawless.

They fucking DEFY judges rulings. Ken Salazar will keep issuing new orders to shut down drilling no matter how many times judges vacate such orders.

Our government is bring run by fucking criminals who have no respect for judges or the courts, and Ken Salazar's actions prove it.

When the executive branch of government runs roughshod over the legal rulings of the Judicial branch, the the moorings of the United States have come unglued and all bets are fucking off.

The Executive is now acting outside the law. That changes the rules and makes things once unthinkable now thinkable.

garage mahal said...

When Obama claimed that he endorsed offshore drilling based on advise that it was "absolutely safe" he displayed a shocking naïveté that better suits an eight year old than a President of the United States.


I'm guessing he thought his luck wasn't that bad that something like this would happen. And it did. Oooops.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

BP should have waited forty-eight hours before caving on the $20B. I really wanted to see the Obama administration try to fabricate a legal basis for their extortion. Of course BP knew they were on the hook for it anyway, and wanted to appear to play nice, but a modicum of resistance would have bolstered the beleaguered rule of law under this administration.

My heart is warmed by Feldman's decision. The moratorium was based on a fraud committed by Salazar. Maybe this treatment will chill Obama's cap-and-tax ambitions, which are based on another fraud. Obama's honeymoon is definitely over, and I anticipate wholesale mutiny among Dems who, all things considered, would really rather get re-elected. I also anticipate O's approvals being in the mid thirties some time this week.

Roger Simon hit the nail on the head, I think. Obama is tired of being president. Being president is hard-- you have to make decisions and be accountable for them. Stirring speeches and no action just don't cut it like they did back in the Senate. He'd much rather play golf and dine with Sir Paul.

Boy, do I miss Bush.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Tuesday called a six-month halt on deepwater drilling "needed, appropriate and within our authorities" in announcing he will issue a new order on a moratorium just hours after a federal judge blocked such a mandate."

Keep in mind that the ban was enjoined because it was deemed arbitrary and capricious due to lack of factual support. Salazar is an attorney, who actually practiced law before he became a politician (and even then, he worked an attorney as CO AG for a majority of his govt. service). He got his hands slapped here for bad lawyering. This time, he is likely to get it right from an Administrative Law point of view.

traditionalguy said...

That Federal Judge just saved more jobs with a lawful injunction than The Lawless One has saved in 17 months of continuous lying calling an orgy of earmarks given to insiders a job plan.

Original Mike said...

"The government also agreed the Horizon rig didn't pose any "significant problems" [it was running legally the day it exploded]."

I bet most here would agree with you, garage, that government regulation is often inept, but what are you going to do? Suck our thumbs and go back to stone tools?

bagoh20 said...

What if, as Quaestor mentions above, it turns out that the rig failure is not human error, but an unforeseeable effect of natural conditions; a long shot natural possibility like an anomaly in the rock formation that would have made any BP policy or operations irrelevant; something where anything short of just not drilling there would have changed nothing?

This is very possible regardless of how dangerous any engineer or pundit thinks the well was or what any emails may indicate. The point is we just don't know yet, but everyone seems to be a prophet so far.

David said...

Gotta read the opinion, which I have not.

But unless the Judge is way off base, the Feds must have failed to make any convincing findings whatsoever to justify the ban. The Executive has (or should have) a lot of discretion in this area, and the courts are (or should be) reluctant to intervene.

Either a Rogue Judge, or one more example of disarray and incompetence in the Obama administration.

garage mahal said...

I bet most here would agree with you, garage, that government regulation is often inept, but what are you going to do? Suck our thumbs and go back to stone tools

We should require fail-safe methods, like requiring relief wells driven prior to production of the oil fields. Seems fair to me. like they require in other civilized countries that care about their waters.

avwh said...

"Obama is tired of being president. Being president is hard-- you have to make decisions and be accountable for them. Stirring speeches and no action just don't cut it like they did back in the Senate."

This is just about the time Obama always looked for another higher office to run for, so he wouldn't have to, you know, do any hard work or make tough decisions or get real results - just speechify and vote "present". How's that workin' out for ya, O??

Can we just bump him to something useless but seemingly more important, like the UN? Ah, shit, that won't work either, then we've have idiot motormouth Biden screwing up things.

Hell, we're screwed...

Quaestor said...

garage mahal wrote: "We should require fail-safe methods, like requiring relief wells driven prior to production of the oil fields. Seems fair to me. like they require in other civilized countries that care about their waters."

I'm not sure that's going to help.

I am no expert in these matters. My knowledge is near zero, but from what I've read and seen in the media I surmise the DWH incident is in essence a submarine gusher. Now, the oil bearing formations in Texas and the adjacent continental shelf produce what is know as light sweet crude - very valuable for fuel production because of the high fractions of the volatile esters which are the precursors of gasoline. In contrast Venezuelan crude is heavy and bitter - a lot of it is asphalt.

Drilling for light sweet crude is very profitable because it commands the highest dollar per barrel. But it is also dangerous because sometimes the oil is mixed with dissolved gases, like methane, which act like the CO2 in soda - dissolved while the liquid is under pressure, but erupts back into a gas violently when the pressure is reduced, and there's really no way to know for certain that a given bole hole will unleash a gusher until it actually breaks into the oil bearing stratum.

It seems to me that a relief well, if drilled before the well intended for production, would require a relief well as well to be safe. And that one would need its own relief well, and so one until you get an infinite regression of relief wells.

wv: billuspi - what they said to William Casey the day he joined the OSS.

Paul said...

bagoh20 said... Since Obama accepted that offshore drilling is "absolutely safe" and this well blew up, there is only one thing to do: A moratorium on this administration making decisions until we find out what is wrong with it's procedures, practices and assumptions.

Brilliant. Filed away to be used the next time someone discusses this subject with me.

Easypr said...

Obama's ban was pushed by the mainstream media who as lost all integrity. It is no wonder the NYT has lost out in integrity as cited by The Committee for Media and Newspaper integrity.

http://newspaperintegrity.com/paper.php?id=4

Megaera said...

Have to admit, many years association with oil and gas and I've never run across the practice of drilling a relief well before drilling an actual production well, but I'd certainly be interested to know which countries require it. Incidentally, to clarify a point just raised, virtually every oil formation produces gas: gas is the motive force in the largest number of reservoirs, and when the gas drive is exhausted, or even reduced past a certain critical point, it becomes impossible to move any more oil through the matrix rock of the reservoir to and up the wellbore. The nature of the gas and the actual reservoir pressure conditions are critical elements of every drilling program and every long-term reservoir management plan -- that runaway well is the worst nightmare of every production engineer worldwide.

Revenant said...

The government also agreed the Horizon rig didn't pose any "significant problems" [it was running legally the day it exploded].

So your argument is that... the government is incapable of determining the safety of oil industry practices? I guess?

Because if you're just saying "oh my goodness... they were wrong once, that means they might be wrong again!" then, well, no shit. The point is that there is no rational reason to believe they're wrong now, or that they will magically be right in six months. That's why the experts Obama consulted didn't sign off on the moratorium -- it makes no sense, except as a political stunt.

Obama's in a tough situation. He needs to look like he's doing something, especially since he's built his career as a cheerleader for the "the government can fix all your problems for free" mentality. But the truth is that there really isn't a damned thing he CAN do that won't make matters worse. The moratorium makes things worse, but at least it earns him brownie points with the great mass of people who now wrongly believe offshore drilling is terribly dangerous.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Yeay! What an advance or something! It's like everything in America is tilted against unregulated oil and now finally... a victory!!! FUCK CLEAN BEACHES AND ECONOMICALLY VIABLE WATERWAYS!!! WE'RE MOVING ONWARD - LET EVERY FOREIGN COMPANY THROW OIL ALL OVER AMERICAN WATER AND SOIL!!!

Where's your enthusiasm, you anti-American pricks?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

1, 2, 3. Repeat after me. Foreign polluters like BP keep America free!

Where's your spirit, you god-damn hippies?

rhhardin said...

Fail-safe systems fail by failing to fail safe.

HDHouse said...

Easypr said...
...the mainstream media who as lost all integrity. It is no wonder the NYT has lost out in integrity as cited by The Committee for Media and Newspaper integrity..."

footnote to that: the integrity center for integrity and integrity studies filed their interim integrel integrity report on the integrity of the integrel integrity section of the integrity act and came up with nada.

Original Mike said...

"Have to admit, many years association with oil and gas and I've never run across the practice of drilling a relief well before drilling an actual production well, but I'd certainly be interested to know which countries require it."

I'd like to know that, too. If it really is a practice elsewhere that we skated by, you might actually have a good point, garage. Though if true, I'd say the fault lies with the regulatory industry and Congress.

More likely, however, you're just makin' shit up.

lemondog said...

re: relief well preceeding production wells, this was initially suggested by Lautenburg in Senate hearings and responded to by Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil chief executive, thusly:

“Well I would say you just doubled your risk. This is an exploration well so it means you’re drilling in an area that’s not previously been drilled before. If you look at the history of well control problems and blowouts, most of them have occurred on the way down to the objective, not once they reach their objective. They’re caused by shallow gas hazards, they’re caused by unknown pore pressures on the way down to the objective, so if you have two wells going down at the same time it means you have just increase your risk of having a problem on the way down to them.

Why not drill the relief wells first?

master cylinder said...

I like it when foreign companies fuck shit up. Who's with me? After all this is a BIG country, and the gulf has always been gross.

MadisonMan said...

You can drive for 30 years without an accident. When an accident occurs, it is just that, an accident.

In National Highway Traffic Safety Board parlance, no. There are crashes. There are no accidents. You can always find an underlying cause to a crash, and they are not random occurrences.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I like it when foreign companies fuck shit up.

I like it when liberals get all xenophobic.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Until some enterprising chappy can come up with something other than gasoline to power our methods of getting to and from our places of employment I'm not sure what the solution is other than drill.

I mean seriously, the Euros spend 2-3 times more for a gallon of gas than we do and I haven't seen much breakthrough technology coming from the very progressive Continent across the pond. That tells me that even at $5-$7 per gallon, alternative green tech to power our cars is still not economically viable.

Go figure.

Original Mike said...

@LemonDog: But I don't understand. Garage's statement was so definitive:

"We should require ... relief wells driven prior to production of the oil fields ... like they require in other civilized countries that care about their waters."

Whatever could explain the discrepancy here?

TMink said...

There are 2,000 oil skimming boats in the world. Guess how many are in the Gulf?

Trey

Hoosier Daddy said...

But I don't understand. Garage's statement was so definitive:

And utterly lacking in citation or references.

garage mahal said...

I'd like to know that, too. If it really is a practice elsewhere that we skated by, you might actually have a good point, garage.

I know Canada, Brazil, and Norway require relief wells by law.

MadisonMan said...

the Euros spend 2-3 times more for a gallon of gas than we do and I haven't seen much breakthrough technology coming from the very progressive Continent across the pond. That tells me that even at $5-$7 per gallon, alternative green tech to power our cars is still not economically viable.

I'm not sure the comparison is apt. The compressed (geographically) nature of Europe and the more extensive train network means bikes and trains are a lot more practical for getting around.

Sure, people might try to find more economical ways to use gas -- like smaller cars, mopeds (the plague of Athens, IMO), electric cars etc. But the response to $5-$7/gallon gas in America, where people do have to drive long distances because there is little alternative, should be a lot different than in Europe.

Original Mike said...

"I know Canada, Brazil, and Norway require relief wells by law."

I think you're going to have to provide some evidence. I don't have time to chase your wild geese, but a few seconds with the googles suggests you, at the very least, overstate your case.

Original Mike said...

From the previous link (my emphasis):

"Canadian oil companies no longer need to have relief-well plans - source
he Harper government has watered down regulations governing oil drilling off Canada's East Coast so that oil companies don't need a backup plan to drill a relief well in the event of a blowout.

Under the previous federal regulations, companies were required to develop contingency PLANS and have equipment in place to deal with a range of emergencies, including "a situation requiring the drilling of a relief well."

Original Mike said...

And: There was some discussion that Norway operate their deep water wells with the requirement that every main bore must have a relief well already in place, just in case of accident, malfeasance or natural disaster. I cannot find a link showing this, and would appreciate confirmation or otherwise."

Hoosier Daddy said...

But the response to $5-$7/gallon gas in America, where people do have to drive long distances because there is little alternative, should be a lot different than in Europe.

And again, no one is suggesting anything remotely viable. Sorry but I'm not squeezing my 6'1 frame in a Smartcar which is nothing more than a cupholder on wheels. All I hear is conserve conserve conserve. What? I drive to and from work every day and hit the grocery store twice a week. I don't do Sunday drives or just tool around for shits and giggles. Does anyone else?

Original Mike said...

@Hoosier: I have an 11 year old car that just rolled over 40,000 miles. But I'm sure I'm still considered an evil planet hater, because I don't genuflect to the liberal orthodoxies and even believe we can't abandon oil and gas until we actually have an alternative more real than rather than some pie-in-the-sky believe in windmills.

Hoosier Daddy said...

@OM

Well you're in good company becuse I think most folks are pragmatic enough to know their cars don't run on pixie dust.

Thorley Winston said...

All I hear is conserve conserve conserve. What? I drive to and from work every day and hit the grocery store twice a week. I don't do Sunday drives or just tool around for shits and giggles. Does anyone else?


I’d be willing to bet that Obama and Gore use more fuel and emit more greenhouse gasses on just one of their unnecessary plane trips than you and I do in a month of our total usage.

lemondog said...

re: Canada, this reads as requiring a viable plan and not an actual relief well


In online forums to discuss the BP spill, some proponents of pre-emptive relief wells have asserted that Canada already requires them.

However, the Canadian policy only requires companies seeking to drill in Arctic waters to have a viable plan for drilling a relief well, if one is needed, before the water freezes and ends the drilling season. The policy, which has been in place since the 1970s, is designed to prevent a ruptured well from gushing oil throughout the winter months before a relief well can be drilled when the ice thaws.

Big Mike said...

I’d be willing to bet that Obama and Gore use more fuel and emit more greenhouse gasses on just one of their unnecessary plane trips than you and I do in a month of our total usage.

You know, maybe it's time to replace the avgas-guzzling 747 with a smaller and more fuel-efficient aircraft for Air Force 1. At least that would show this President cared more about fuel economy than pomp and circumstance.

Or, as Glenn Reynolds keeps saying, I'll believe it's a crisis when those who tell us it's a crisis act like it's a crisis.

Michael said...

Original Mike: Good on you with the older car. The progressives would rather buy a new prius every couple of years totally ignoring the carbon cost of the production of the auto. You could never catch the Prius up to the old car if you factored that in.

Megaera said...

IF Norway is requiring relief wells coupled with production wells it's no wonder North Sea drilling has dropped off the map. Back in the day, of course, when the real North Sea drilling was going on, there were no such regulations -- since such rules would astronomically increase your costs, not to mention your risk. for every well. As for Brazil, can't say ... maybe that's why we're spotting them all those billions courtesy of the Administration's foreign policy -- Petrobras can't afford to actually drill anything anymore what with all those relief wells the Brazilian state requires it to ... oh wait, Petrobras IS the ... hmmm.

Original Mike said...

I think garage got caught talking out of his ass. Par for the course.

ken in sc said...

Jimmy Carter required the USAF demonstration team--the Thunderbirds--to stop flying fighter aircraft and use T-38 trainer a/c instead, to save fuel. T-38s are good a/c but they don't demonstrate the US's combat capability. He also ordered military firing ranges to use 22 cal. adapters to fire m-16s. Be careful what you ask for. If you ask Obama to actually live up to his beliefs, he might force everyone else to live up to them instead.

Original Mike said...

"Original Mike: Good on you with the older car."

I still think of it as my new car. What can I say? I'm conservative.

Megaera said...

Original Mike: don't know how it makes you feel, but that notable drilling foe and environmentalist Ashton Kutcher owns and drives a NaviStar CXT (7mpg is what they state but that's a factory figure with a tailwind, so believe what you will).

Megaera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

@Megaera: eh, I'm inoured to the hypocrisy by now. I admit to getting offended while actively being preached at, but it wears off quickly.

garage mahal said...

I think garage got caught talking out of his ass. Par for the course.

Actually what you proved is one country of the 3 I cited, Canada, has ambiguous rules on relief wells, on same season projects. Even then, it wasn't even you who provided it. Lemondog did. I noticed you didn't challenge Norway, or Brazil.

This is talking out of your ass:

But I'm sure I'm still considered an evil planet hater, because I don't genuflect to the liberal orthodoxies and even believe we can't abandon oil and gas until we actually have an alternative more real than rather than some pie-in-the-sky believe in windmills.

garage mahal said...

And I'd be happy to concede the point if I were wrong, but if you're going to be a dick about the whole thing, screw it.

Original Mike said...

Ahh, garage? You made the claim, you provide the evidence. That's how this works.

I have no intention of being sucked into trying to prove a negative.

Original Mike said...

What got me started is you being a dick:

"We should require fail-safe methods, ... like they require in other civilized countries that care about their waters."

garage mahal said...

Since when does the person making a claim on Althouse have to provide direct evidence?

Anyways, there is this - BP was lobbying Canada to do with away relief well requirements

Yet earlier this year, BP told the Canada's National Energy Board, which regulates offshore oil drilling in the country, that it should repeal a 34-year-old policy on relief wells The company said relief wells can be superseded by the technology and sophistication of modern drilling rigs.

I admit it's not entirely clear to me if there are different regs for each of the territories. But why would BP ask the Canadian government to repeal policies on relief wells?

I'm happy to look at Norway and Brazil as well, if you are.

Original Mike said...

I'm not defending BP. And LemonDog already explaind the Canadian regs; PLANS for drilling a relief well, not actually drilling it (which, as other's have noted, apparently entails the same risk of a blowout).

I'd support pre-drilling relief wells if we are not up to the world's standards of safety in this regard. But first I'd like to know that that is actually the case. Right now, I see no evidence of this.

garage mahal said...

I will have to concede the point on Canada and relief well requirements. I'll try and check Norway and Brazil.

garage mahal said...

I'll add Canada's policy appears better than ours. They have to provide exact information on the drilling vessel and how long the relief well would take to drill should one be needed. BP didn't start drilling a relief well until 12 days after the blowout.

I didn't even know this either:

According to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, hurricanes Rita and Katrina destroyed 113 gulf platforms, damaged 457 pipelines and caused 146 spills that dumped 17,652 barrels of petroleum.

http://blogs.kansas.com/weblog/2010/05/offshore-drilling-just-got-harder-to-sell/

Megaera said...

Just a guess, mind, but perhaps the reason it took 12 days was their original $350,000.000 drilling rig was 5000+ feet down on the seabed, which most operators don't figure in their plans, and they had to go hunt up a replacement -- as it happens, the sister rig to the lost one. And then get it into a workable location, crewed up, with a drilling program. I don't mean to sound flippant, but you seem to think it's like whistling up a cab.

lemondog said...

@ Megaera, was reading that some arctic drilling require a second nearby drilling rig to drill a relief well in case of blow out, and that the cost is about $1 million a day.

True?

Megaera said...

To be honest, anything I said about Arctic drilling costs would be an outright guess, but the cost of any rig, standby or no, depends on what kind it is, how it's stocked and crewed, and its precise function. If you tell me, as an operator, that I have to have two rigs for every well, mirror crews, mirror equipment, then the well that would cost, say, 100 million to drill, now costs more like 250 million and I have to look a lot harder at my well economics -- are the dollars per barrel going to be worth it? If, however, I can have a reserve rig stabled somewhere, uncrewed but available, while my other working rig(s) can drill out what leases I have open in the good water, well, that's a bit more rational and I can do my economics on a more sensible basis.
Rigs come in different classes, and the costs (largely based on the difficulty of the well and/or the depth of the water and weather conditions) vary wildly depending on how the combinations of the above sort out. You can have conventional anchored rigs in shallow water, all the way to the semisubmersible rigs or drilling ships for deep water and complex wells and those will cost you the rent of a small country regardless. The concept of having, say, two versions of the Deepwater Horizon on the same well, with one just hunkered down eating donuts and drinking coffee while I hemorrhaged dollars is so bizarre I cannot begin to contemplate silliness on such a scale. It is truly governmentally epic waste.

Original Mike said...

One might contemplate having a spare rig in the region (e.g. the Gulf)available for accidents. Since there are several companies involved, it might best fall on the government to store and maintain it from funds charged to all companies drilling in the region.

I have little doubt that there are safer ways to do things than we are doing now. Frankly, it falls on Congress and the regulatory agencies to see to it. They have the authority to set the conditions for oil production.