Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Natural Gas Platform Sinks

A $40 million platform unit in the Persian Gulf designed to increase Iran’s natural gas production sank last week. It was built with Iranian government funding via a company belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. On this evidence, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina can stop staying up every night worrying that the IRGC is coming for us.

There is an enormous gas field running under Qatar over to southwestern Iran. Qatar’s piece of it amounts to 890 trillion cubic feet, some 13% of the world’s total proven reserves. Iran’s South Pars field has 450 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves ( Iran’s total estimated gas reserves are over 1000 trillion cubic feet, second only to Russia in the world). Iran had planned to double its natural gas production by this summer, but the platform sinking will set it back many months.

Here is video of the platform sinking:

When Iran does double its natural gas production, if it exports it, that could put further pressure on more expensive coal plants to close and for plans for new ones to be abandoned by investors. Since natural gas burns much cleaner than coal, this would be a gain for reducing carbon emissions. On the other hand, cheap natural gas delays the moment when solar and wind are altogether less expensive than hydrocarbons (not counting externalities like the damage the latter do through global warming), so increased gas production is a mixed picture. Natural gas produced through hydraulic fracturing may be as bad as coal because of substantial releases of methane, a very toxic greenhouse gas.

Posted in Iran | 19 Responses | Print |

19 Responses

    • There are many parties interested in this failure to put sabotage on the table. The homicide squad always start looking for a murderer among those with motivation. And they usually find their wo/man in that group.

      As long as there remains a doubt, there is not much Iran can do. On the other hand, if Iran can prove sabotage it’s a pretty big stick with which to beat the aggressor nation in the UN and in public opinion.

      I’m curious.

  1. I enjoyed the article, but I do think there is one typo. In the sentence with the embedded link to the USEIA article, you say “Iran’s total estimated gas reserves are over 1 trillion cubic feet” While this is technically correct, I believe what you meant to say is that Iran’s total estimated reserves are approximately 1 quadrillion cubic feet, unless you are feeling particularly british this evening.

  2. The importance of Pennsylvania to Republican electoral prospects and the need to agitate and motivate the coal miners probably means we will be sticking with coal long after we should.

    • Hey, did I read somewhere that the total number of workers in coal mining is about 105,000? In a population of 310 million? Not many horsedrawn carriages or buggy whips are made these days, so that part of the culture is gone. Why not just release the people who find meaning in mining, or at least a “living wage” at the Appalachian standard from the need to strip the land and hope their number does not come up, every working day, thanks to heedless, greedy management and the inherent dangers?

      You’d think that the costs to the planet, saved from reduced dumping of externalities via the subsidized continued coal combustion, would justify some kind of stipend to feed and clothe and house them and their families.

      Hey, if the Reds can jerry-rig and gerrymander the electoral process (along with buying better, slicker, less odious candidates), why not do the world a favor by unlinking that unholy coalonialization in places like PA and WV and OH?

      Hey, you Dems: Stand up and fight for your planet, for God’s sake.

      • Wind and solar would generate far more jobs than would be lost in coal. They already do.

        • Is it maybe a matter of how one goes about buy out the jobs of those who go down to the earth in skips? Big Coal sure knows how to play on the fears and traditions of the people they steal the labor of. Who in turn, like the folks at Lockheed-Martin, form up a loud constituency in favor of keeping the F-22 line churning, and the mountains being topped, because hey, “jobs program!”

      • That, JT, is why having fewer and fewer people participating in the political process puts more and more power into the hands of tiny special interest groups. America has, as we all know, much lower voter turnout rates than are normal in the rest of the First World, and we get the politics we get, held hostage by crazies because the rest of us have had our cynicism magnified by a deliberate program to make us drop out.

    • As others have said, it’s not employment that makes the coal industry powerful. It’s wealth.

      And Lisa Jackson’s tenure at the EPA should demonstrate that King Coal has been knocked off its throne.

  3. More informed comment on methane may be needed. Seems like I heard the the net effect of its predictable release is substantially worse (?)

  4. Burning cleaner is not the same as reducing “carbon emissions” in the sense of greenhouse gases. If anything, the amount of CO2 resulting from natural gas combustion might be greater than that from coal, because coal burns incompletely, resulting in more carbon monoxide, CO, and less CO2. What you do get from coal is a lot of other crud: particulate matter, burned-up contaminants, etc.

    • The coal-vs.-gas figures, showing that natural gas produces half as much CO2 as coal, are per unit of energy produced, not unit of potential energy, so the incomplete burning of coal wouldn’t come into it.

  5. Did I miss something? Were there any deaths when the platform went down? Horrible video, very sad.

  6. Awwwwww. That’s so sad.

    A petrochemical company with ties to the most politicized branch of the Iranian government’s armed forces just lost a boat-load of money.

    Sniff. Sniff. I need a hug.

  7. Curious about the rigs design pedigree.
    Most of these things have pretty robust engineering, multi national builders and etc.Was this a domestic effort, our are there indications of out side expertise?

    • Was this thing plumbed to a producing well? Short video, but it looks like an awful lot of bubbles and froth. Would Joe have any tears if the incident was a blowout? Or is chauvinist schadenfreude more important than, like, bigger stuff?

      For fun, let’s remember BP-in-the-Gulf Tony Heyward, who wants his life back:

      link to

      For those who like to hear both sides, I guess, there are always places like this link, which of course carries a full load of amygdala-originated comments:

      link to

      Life is simple, isn’t it? and getting more so. Us versus Them. All of Them. More than enough Them to go around.

      Maybe the simplification will take us back to the unicellular stage, for another protoplasmic, carbon-based run at greatness…

      Consider yourself hugged, Joe.

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