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.