CRUDE AWAKENING 9. Lost at Sea – Sunk Rigs

It used to be up to the independent oil driller in this country to find oil.  Now that the government has taken away many of the tax incentives from the independent, drilling is being done by the oil companies. The independent has been forced into drilling in limited partnerships thereby lessening liability and cost.

Oil drilling fights  it’s own war while the world watches and judges.  When oil rig disasters happen it often takes with it a major loss of lives. During Typhoon Gay in 1989 the Seacrest drillship capsized causing a loss of 91 crew. In 1980, the semi-submersible rig Alexander L. Kielland capsized during a storm after a leg support brace failed. There were 123 fatalities.  There have been many more.  This does not necessarily mean that there was a spill involved.

Blowouts rarely happen now but from 1969-1980 there were 5 bad ones – one of which was when Union oil’s platform had a blowout which lasted 11 days but continued leaking oil into the Santa Barbara Channel for months afterwards.  This is what the public remembers.

All machinery is at the mercy of the elements, metal fatigue, human error and equipment failure. I believe that we all forget this.  Every loss of a refinery in the US leads to a devastating blow to our own oil economy. But we need to keep what we have in order to lessen our dependence on Saudi oil. It’s expensive to build new refineries. It will take a lot of soy beans to replace what oil has to offer.  I wish that an environmental lawyer would send me a comment here and give me their thoughts. Are the oil companies doing better at complying environmentally?

There were three major hits to US oil refineries in 2005 of which we have never recovered from:

1.  Hurricane Rita, a Category 5, devastated Louisiana.

2. Katrina was one of the most costly and deadly hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.  It caused tremendous destruction not only offshore but onshore as well.

3. Dennis caused extensive damage across Cuba and the US. and so on and so on.

Send me your thoughts.


About bettybyrd

Betty Byrd is an editor, author, and actress. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in creative writing, and furthered her literary career through graduate studies at Ohio State University. She was an editor for The Spectator, Ohio’s largest weekly newspaper, and has free – lanced for a national men’s magazine. Betty has appeared in film and television, as well as numerous commercials and mini-series. She is a voting member of the American Federation of Television Artists and also of the Screen Actors Guild. In 2002-2003 Betty was accepted into the Who’s Who of America and in 2007-2008, the Who’s Who of American Women. Her previous literary works include a novel, Trinity’s Daughter, for which she was honored as a local author by the San Diego Public Library. She is also a recipient of a first place fiction writing award for her new novel, Utopia, Texas at the prestigious Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference. Betty has had successful book-signings across the country to large crowds at local Barnes and Nobles and other bookstores. She has been featured in newspapers, and appeared on NBC – TV, and radio talk shows. Betty currently lives in Southern California with her husband and family.
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