BP Trashes Apollo Astronauts, Parrots Sarah Palin; Oil Godzilla heads for Coast

In a BBC interview British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward said Friday that the massive petroleum gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, the greatest oil-based environmental catastrophe in recorded history with the exception of global warming itself, should not forestall further deep-water drilling.

I’m not sure whether Hayward was channeling Sarah Palin, that font of good sense, or vice versa. In fact, better fuel mileage standards, more subways and trains, and better urban planning would save us from needing all that petroleum BP was unleashing for us 5000 feet down. (Petroleum in the US is mainly used to power automobiles).

BP’s Hayward compared deep water oil drilling to the 1960s Apollo program of manned flight to the moon and said that Apollo 13, in which an on-board explosion made it difficult for three astronauts to return to the US, did not stop the effort to put a man on the moon.

Except that greedily destroying the environment with offshore petroleum drilling is not actually very much like flying to the moon. And flying to the moon, for all the pollution it causes on the way up to the stratosphere, won’t destroy the earth. And the problems on Apollo 13, when the three astronauts barely got back to earth alive, weren’t anything like the gargantuan viscous black monster that Hayward’s incompetence has unleashed on the Gulf coast. And finally, for some posh arrogant foreign twit to invoke the heroism of James A. Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise to excuse the greatest corporate SNAFU of the twenty-first century just about makes my blood boil.

If BP is in favor of it, it seems as though it bodes disaster. BP (then the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company) helped through its arrogance provoke the CIA overthrow of the elected government of Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran in 1953, which brought back the shah as a Western-backed dictator and led to the 1979 Islamic Revolution and our subsequent problems with Iran. And, BP is alleged to have been part of the prep for the Iraq War, training British troops in fall of 2002 in the upkeep and operation of the oil fields that the Anglo-American invasion force later occupied in southern Iraq. A wise investment. BP now has a contract to develop the huge Rumaila oil field in Iraq.

Meanwhile, ABC News revealed that BP and the White House kept a BP video of the massive gusher on the ocean floor away from the public, even though it was being looped at a White House situation room. Firedoglake points out that experts say the video suggests that 3 million gallons a day are being spewed out, far more than the BP estimate.

You have to go to amateur video shot from a helicopter above the Gulf of Mexico and posted on Youtube to get the best reporting on the extent and implications of the BP oil volcano.

And now, like those old Japanese horror movies where Godzilla wasn’t enough and sea monsters had to be added to the mix, the hurricane season is looming, with unpredictable effects on the environmental impact of the oil monster.

20 Responses

  1. The blame game seems to be surpassing the intensity of the spill itself. But it will not clean up one drop of oil. In today’s political climate, where winning is the only thing, the blame game might actually hinder the effort to clean up the oil mess. Political Gang A will will be averse to Political Gang B getting any credit for good works and vice versa.

    There is plenty of time to fix blame and administer punishment. If Exxon Valdez is any example, this party will be going on for twenty years or so – lawyers will make sure of it. The most important thing for Obama to do now is tell us that he will use every power at his command to make the Gulf whole again, and mean it – unlike that Texas brush cutter and his Katrina promises.

  2. ***In fact, better fuel mileage standards, more subways and trains, and better urban planning would save us from needing all that petroleum BP was unleashing for us 5000 feet down. ***

    I very much wish you were correct, but you are not. I would strongly encourage you to forget wishful thinking and use a spreadsheet to do some modeling. The numbers you need are readily available — Wikipedia and EIA. You will quickly discover that the depth and breadth of the US energy problems are truly staggering. Be prepared to spend a few minutes a day for months while you work this out.

    If you actually do that, you will quickly find that offshore drilling is far from the largest and most immediate problem. The biggest and most immediate problem IMO — the cost of 10mbpd of imported petroleum.

    If you use reasonable numbers for expansion of rail, repopulation of central cities, improvement of fuel mileage, replacement of rolling and housing stock, etc, you will discover that solving the US energy problems is a 30-40 year job, and not just a matter of painlessly tweaking a few things.

    Is it hopeless? Of course, it’s not hopeless. There’s even some good news — recent availability of a lot of natural gas which is relatively inexpensive, moderately difficult to export, and relatively non-polluting. But be prepared to accept some things you won’t like in order to make the numbers work including many new nuclear power plants, cutting back on short-medium range air travel, burning more coal than you (or I) will like … and offshore drilling.

    Oh yes, and don’t forget population growth which — at 0.7% is the same as China’s and is the highest in the developed world. That means if you propose to cut US energy usage by 3% a year, you will actually only achieve 2.3%.

    =====

    BTW, as you will realize after a while, this very much has to do with your specialty. If the US straightens out its energy usage, I would expect that our enthusiasm for wandering about the Middle East doing stupid and counterproductive things will drop dramatically.

    • I agree entirely that it is a thirty year job, maybe longer. I am saying that the money and energy now put into improbable things like drilling 5000 feet down would be far better used to begin that 30 year process. Read chapter one of my recent book. I have been living with oil markets for decades and have no illusions about quick fixes. But it is stupid to spend billions acquiring 400,000 barrels a day from deep water drilling around the coast of the lower 48 (probably all you could get over 10-15 years of frantic effort) when you could just raise automobile fuel standards. That the latter won’t stop us importing 11 million b/d is irrelevant to my argument.

      • 400000bpd seems quite at variance with the EIA

        link to eia.doe.gov projects over 2mbpd offshore production from now til the end of their charts in 2035 mostly from deep water Gulf of Mexico. As usual, I can’t locate the EIA publication I really want which makes it pretty clear that the US is going to be increasingly dependent on the deepwater central and western Gulf for domestic oil in the future, because the other offshore sources simply don’t have that much petroleum. (in the EIA’s opinion anyway)

        The argument that the amounts don’t justify the returns may be viable for drilling off the Pacific and Atlantic Coast and the Florida peninsula. But I can’t see it for these deep fields in the Gulf.

        • I was talking about the estimates for *new* wells off the lower 48, not existing ones.

  3. “History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men. Godzilla. Oh no, they say he’s got to go. Go go Godzilla! Oh no, there goes Tokyo. Go go Godzilla!”… Blue Oyster Cult
    Why aren’t the clowns at the controls of BP shackled head to toe and being held in some really dank prison for crimes against our environment?

    • There is no accountability anymore, not for the big and powerful. After the recent financial meltdown how many Wall Street thugs have been brought to justice? Even there is no accountability for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, if you are powerful. Of course I am talking about how Bush/Cheney have not been brought to justice.

      Therefore, I am not expecting that anybody, including BP, will be held accountable. It’s always the same – too big/powerful to be held accountable.

  4. The BP CEO, Tony Hayward, should be flown by helicopter out 86 miles from the coast, and dropped into the oily, gooey ocean, and left to fend for himself.

    The elitist class on this planet is out of control, and think they are entitled to doing WHATEVER they want, since they are “better” than the rest of us.

  5. Containment Dome, Top Hat, Junk Plug are Red Herring solutions. 2nd well pipe will intercept primary well pipe 1 mile under the sea floor; a demolition thermonuclear nuclear device will melt the bedrock and plug the hole. Good solution but it will be blamed for seismic activity along the New Madrid Fault and potentially split America at the Mississippi River.
    Oil Rig fires don’t melt steel support pilings any more than jet fuel melts steel support columns in Skycrapers. A well planned 3 Stooges show and as usual, US taxpayers will foot the bill and the US will take the blame for lax oversight. Theresnothingnew.org/

  6. If the US had spent just 1% of the military budget for the last 60 years on alternate energy R&D we would probably be using a fraction of the oil we now use.

  7. [...] The use of over rationalization by a group of oil company executives marked recent appearances before congressional investigative committees. Their behavior, in this case blaming each other, was enough to infuriate President Obama to a degree not yet witnesses during his presidency. In another wild stretch, the head of British Petroleum, hit a new low in a recent interview. All we can do is shake our heads in disbelief. Amplify’d from http://www.juancole.com [...]

  8. what goes around comes around. Liars thieves and murderers, want oil, well you got your oil, in you faces.

  9. Message to all political leaders and people of the gulf states,first,sue the pants off of BP, transocean, and halliburton,second, vote Obama out of office for his slow response to this mega-disaster.

  10. REMEMBER HOW JIMMY CARTER WAS VILIFIED AND DEMONIZED FOR WANTING US OFF OIL FOR ENERGY IN THE U.S.???

    says:

    I remember when James Earl Carter, ironically, another hapless CFR puppet, made the assertion we should reduce our use of OIL by 20 percent in the next decade, how the MSM pundits all thought him to be ‘naieve’ and ‘stupid’ to even suggest such an idea.

    It’s ironic that we have pissed away 55 trillion on war spending and propping up puppet dictators in our newly acquired states of Iraq and Afghanistan, with the percentage of GDP now servicing only the INTEREST ON THE DEBT now above 90 percent.

    Can anyone imagine a day when you would work for a ‘boss’ to get a cheque for `10 percent’ of your usual wages to take home to pay bills with?

    this is the new FASCIST DICTATORSHIP owned and operated by the ROTHSCHILDS BANKING CARTEL, aka THE FED, shoving oil down your gullet, waterboarding Amerika with gushing crude oil that threatens to destroy the coastlines of the southern U.S., and in months, the rest of the world as the oil makes it’s way into the ocean’s multitudinous, global currents.

    Jimmy Carter was right. Ironically, for once since J.F.K., an american puppet spoke the truth.

  11. Question, Juan. I’ve searched news reports online and been listening to the tv and radio. I haven’t heard of any other countries offering assistance with cleaning up the oil. Do you know of anyone that has made such a gesture? If so, who? If not, why do you think that is?

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