(BP) Horizon Response

This is a discussion on (BP) Horizon Response within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Got my email from the Horizon response team today after my submission of an idea to diminish the oil leak: ...

  1. #1
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    (BP) Horizon Response

    Got my email from the Horizon response team today after my submission of an idea to diminish the oil leak:

    Dear Mario Figueiredo,

    Thank you for your submission to the Alternative Response Technology (ART) process for the Deepwater Horizon MC252 incident. Your submission has been reviewed for its technical merits.

    It has been determined that your idea falls into one of the following ART categories: Already Considered/Planned, Not Feasible, or Not Possible, and therefore will not be advanced for further evaluation. To date, we have received over 80,000 submissions with each submission receiving individual consideration and priority based on merit and need.

    BP and Horizon Deepwater Unified Command appreciate your contribution and interest in responding to this incident.

    Thank you very much,
    Horizon Response Team
    I wasn't expecting any other thing, really. But one thing about this email caught my eye...

    If indeed they received 80,000 submissions and we assume (safely I presume) that the submission form has been sent or made known to the top scientists and world specialists, the fact that there is no solution still is to me very worrying:

    a) 80,000 answers didn't give a solution

    b) The solution probably doesn't exist, which means deepwater oil extraction has one very serious weakness.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    You could be optimistic and say that "great minds think alike"... just that those guys are taking some time to implement the same idea.
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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Or you can be pessimistic and say that you got an automated response because Horizon wouldn't actually bother sifting through 80,000 crackpot/amateur ideas that were either attempted or written off on day one of the operation.

    The choice is yours and yours alone... good luck.

    As for the very serious weakness of deepwater oil extraction... the only one that I can see is that nobody took it seriously quickly enough. The reason 80,000 ideas have no provided a solution is because the problem has grown far bigger than any typical solution can fix. Had BP taken the correct measures is a reasonable time frame they would have avoid a large portion of this mess.
    Last edited by SlyMaelstrom; 06-21-2010 at 06:25 PM.
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    In my head happyclown's Avatar
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    Do you want to share with us the idea that you submitted, Mario?
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  5. #5
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlyMaelstrom View Post
    As for the very serious weakness of deepwater oil extraction... the only one that I can see is that nobody took it seriously quickly enough.
    Dunno. I still cannot find anywhere where someone explains what failsafe mechanism there should be in place for this leak. One thing is the explosion. I gather that could have been avoided. We agree there. But the actual leak is caused by a rupture down below at sea floor level after the rig collapsed.

    So, exactly what technology, know-how and equipment do we have to solve a leak at sea floor level on a deepwater exploration? That's the weakness I'm talking about.


    Quote Originally Posted by happyclown View Post
    Do you want to share with us the idea that you submitted, Mario?
    It's in this post. It's a crackpot idea, of course. Who am I?

    But I later revised it to essentially a dome covering the leak source. I figure the real problem they are having is that they have an hard time stopping the leak because of the pressure of the oil coming out. The idea is not to stop the leak, but to pump the oil into tankers, by trapping the leak in a dome-like structure and connecting that to a tanker.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  6. #6
    Just a pushpin. bernt's Avatar
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    I figure the real problem they are having is that they have an hard time stopping the leak because of the pressure of the oil coming out.
    The pressure is out of this world. Not even the pressure of an angry public can counteract it.

    -----
    Somewhat unrelated but I found some interesting reading at http://www.mms.gov/deepwaterreadingroom/. Well, interesting for me anyways; I'm a sucker for official documents.
    I also find it funny how back in the spring the US gov't was going to end the moratorium on offshore drilling in the gulf and just 2 months later this fiasco takes place and they have to go and cease all drilling.
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    chococoder
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    I don't know what you suggested but I can fully understand why it will not have been any different from what hundreds if not thousands of others came up with (including people working for the company or BP) and has been found to either not work or not be feasible (too great a risk of making things worse for example).

    The Russians came up with a hair brained scheme to sink a nuclear bomb to near the wellhead and set it off.
    Would almost certainly block the well permanently, but was rejected too for a variety of reasons.
    The radioactive contamination would be far worse than the oil, there's all kinds of international treaties banning the use of nuclear bombs (it would fall under the nuclear test ban treaty to start with), and there's always a risk of making things worse if the blast makes the hole bigger rather than smaller.

    Meanwhile, the US federal government has banned foreign aid in helping control/combat the spill for political reasons.
    Dutch and other ships offered to help have been denied, using an obscure 1920s law that prohibits foreign flagged and built ships from shipping goods between US ports (a law that the president can temporarilly suspend if needed, and which previous presidents have so suspended like in the case of disaster relief after hurricane Katrina).
    The Coast Guard for days prevented BP oil cleaning equipment from being deployed because they wanted to perform "safety inspections", meaning they wanted to count fire extinguishers and life jackets. Why can't they be a little less bureaucratic in cases like this except under executive orders?

    I'm all for leaving the experts to work this out without political interference (either from Washington or the BP board room, the latter mostly fueled by interference with them from Washington no doubt).
    They'll figure it out, given free reign and no lawyers and politicos breathing down their necks 24/7.

    Amateur suggestions are nice, and some may help give good ideas, but I'm pretty certain the vast majority will indeed fall in the categories mentioned in the response you got:
    - already conceived, tried, failed
    - already conceived, rejected as not feasible
    - crackpot
    - we're working on it, you're not the first to come up with this

    I'm sure someone reads thos emails, though likely not all of them.
    I'd probably put a filter on them to weed out the obvious nonsense and repeat suggestions as I'm sure they get tons of hate mail, spam, and duplicate ideas.

  8. #8
    chococoder
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    Quote Originally Posted by bernt View Post
    Somewhat unrelated but I found some interesting reading at Deepwater Horizon FOIA and Congressional Affairs - Select Request. Well, interesting for me anyways; I'm a sucker for official documents.
    I also find it funny how back in the spring the US gov't was going to end the moratorium on offshore drilling in the gulf and just 2 months later this fiasco takes place and they have to go and cease all drilling.
    the only reason BP drilled there at all was because of a US government ban on new drilling in shallower waters and on land (ANWR coastal plain for example, nothing there except lichens and mud).
    They got permits, worked within the law to the best engineering knowledge available, and ........ happens.
    That's what happens when you're breaking new ground in science and engineering.
    40 years ago noone would have played the blame game in this, it would have been understood. Instead everyone would have gotten together to try and find out what happened, why it happened, how to solve the problem, and how to prevent it happening again.
    Today all most people seem interested in is using the accident for political gain and to find out who to sue for as much money as possible.

    Meanwhile, it seems forgotten that there was a much worse spill in the Gulf in the 1970s, a spill that is forgotten because after just a few years there was no sign of it visible anywhere.
    The oil had gone, life had restored itself to the area, the beaches and sea were clean.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jwenting View Post

    Meanwhile, it seems forgotten that there was a much worse spill in the Gulf in the 1970s, a spill that is forgotten because after just a few years there was no sign of it visible anywhere.
    The oil had gone, life had restored itself to the area, the beaches and sea were clean.
    This seems to be much worse than the Ixtoc spill. It took 9
    months for Ixtoc to release into the Gulf what Deepwater has
    done in the last 2 months. Not to mention, Ixtoc was only
    200ft under the surface of the ocean; whereas Deepwater is
    5,000ft.

    Or so I gather. It's hard to find consistent data on the spill.
    I can't even keep up with all the "progress' they're making.
    Last I read, they've capturing 10,000 barrels / day or
    something. I don't know what that's relative, too.
    Staying away from General.

  10. #10
    chococoder
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    Noone knows whether deepwaters horizon will be worse or not.
    The greater depth may mean things go either way.
    It's going to be harder to get to the spot to block the leak (as the first attempts showed), but otoh the greater depth may mean more dispersal and thus less oil (or oil residue, oil tends to break down over time, relatively quickly even as Ixtoc showed) per cubic kilometer of seawater and per mile of beachfront.
    I say may, as the total spillage is not and likely can not be known for either spill.

    What we do know is that political busybodying and legal wrangling are hampering the relief/cleanup effort far more now than it did in the case of Ixtoc.

  11. #11
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwenting View Post
    the only reason BP drilled there at all was because of a US government ban on new drilling in shallower waters and on land (ANWR coastal plain for example, nothing there except lichens and mud).
    They got permits, worked within the law to the best engineering knowledge available, and ........ happens.
    This is a good argument for strong government regulation, because it demonstrates that despite occasional rhetoric to the contrary, obviously multi-national corporations/business in general cannot act responsibly without them. They just do not have any incentive to do so. Saying "oh well we followed all the rules" when the rules are not sufficient does not indicate responsible behaviour, it is complete moral negligence -- especially if the same people then turn around and demand de-regulation, because "they can act responsibly on their own initiative" (which they repeatedly prove they cannot), and if the current insufficient regulations were largely a product of millions they spend on lobbying for those rules.

    I think if you look around the world, where-ever you see an oil company at work they always obey the absolute minimum required of them by law, and they always organize to pressure governments to keep these requirements down. They do not have any standard of operation at all except in so far as it is demanded of them. BP would walk away from this and do absolutely nothing, as Shell does with many incidents in Nigeria, if they thought they could get away with it. There is no "blame game" going on. There is a party to blame here, everyone knows who it is, and they deserve whatever they get. Thankfully, even their shareholders are now suing them for exposing them to a risk thru negligence and poor safety. I hope BP gets completely worked over, they should not be in business.
    Last edited by MK27; 06-22-2010 at 08:49 AM.
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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    I think if you look around the world, where-ever you see an oil company at work they always obey the absolute minimum required of them by law, and they always organize to pressure governments to keep these requirements down. They do not have any standard of operation at all except in so far as it is demanded of them. BP would walk away from this and do absolutely nothing, as Shell does with many incidents in Nigeria, if they thought they could get away with it. There is no "blame game" going on. There is a party to blame here, everyone knows who it is, and they deserve whatever they get. Thankfully, even their shareholders are now suing them for exposing them to a risk thru negligence and poor safety. I hope BP gets completely worked over, they should not be in business.
    Seems silly to point such a harsh finger at BP while you can really only speculate that they "would do" what other competitors have done, according to you. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to say Shell shouldn't be in business? What about the government regulators that let them slide on this stuff?

    The whole point that most everyone has been trying to make in this point is that you can't play the "blame game" and point fingers... because it leads to nothing and somebody, somewhere can find a way to point the finger at just about anyone. Hell... I'm sure if you gave me 5-10 minutes to think about it, I could find a semi-legitimate way to blame you for the entire thing. Most people don't want to hear the word "blame" until the problem is fixed.
    Last edited by SlyMaelstrom; 06-22-2010 at 10:27 AM.
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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlyMaelstrom View Post
    Seems silly to point such a harsh finger at BP while you can really only speculate that they "would do" what other competitors have done, according to you. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to say Shell shouldn't be in business?
    Shell may or may not be worse than BP internationally. My point is that none of them seem to be capable of acting responsibly without regulation. Because Bob, Doug, and Sally are all incompetent does not mean that Bob is not to blame when Bob screws up.

    What about the government regulators that let them slide on this stuff?
    The government should definitely be tougher here. It could be that there should not be any deepwater drilling at all until the people involved can prove that they can handle the situation, which this incident surely proves that right now, they cannot.

    The problem is, those same companies spend millions on PR and lobbyists to convince the public and the government that regulation is not necessary. And despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that campaign will probably continue to succeed, because of various outdated philosophies about "interfering governments". No doubt, very many US voters would be willing to sacrifice the entire ecology of the planet rather than give up that ideology.

    The whole point that most everyone has been trying to make in this point is that you can't play the "blame game" and point fingers... because it leads to nothing and somebody, somewhere can find a way to point the finger at just about anyone. Hell... I'm sure if you gave me 5-10 minutes to think about it, I could find a semi-legitimate way to blame you for the entire thing.
    The fact that "somebody, somewhere" can slap together some kind of excuse or obfuscation of the issue cannot be taken to invalid the whole matter. That is not how rational discourse works. If I shot my neighbour's kid, the fact that I could hire lawyers to make it seem like it is not really my fault does not mean everyone should throw up their hands and say, "Oh, well, let's not play the blame game here -- the kid is dead anyway. We should move on and stop trying to blame people for this. That doesn't help anyone."

    Oh really? I don't see any difference here -- and in this case eleven people were killed, and probably more will die of ill health because of the spill. BP is to blame, and they deserve to suffer some very negative consequences. The fact that some other oil company might have done the same thing is as meaningless as me saying someone else could have shot my neighbour's kid, although it was in fact me that actually did it.
    Last edited by MK27; 06-22-2010 at 10:52 AM.
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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    The government should definitely be tougher here. It could be that there should not be any deepwater drilling at all until the people involved can prove that they can handle the situation, which this incident surely proves that right now, they cannot.
    Well, some "conservative" (always a strange word, since there seems to be nothing they ever want to "conserve") judge overturned the moratorium on deepwater drilling by saying that one failure does not indicate a problem, even tho the purpose of the moratorium was to investigate the cause and determine how to prevent it from happening again.

    The judge's justification was the economic harm done to people in the oil industry. This is one of the most pathetic justifications I can imagine. If my "economic security" derived, directly or indirectly, from trading in human slaves (qv, the American civil war), I do not think most people would agree that means putting a stop to slavery would be unfair, etc., so we have to let it continue no matter what.

    Probably after a few more spills, when the Gulf fishing industry has been completely and permanently destroyed, and the fishermen put to work cleaning up spilt oil (as happened in Alaska), these ex-fishermen will complain if anyone attempts to prevent further oil spills because that will threaten their "economic security" which requires oil spills to clean up.

    Unfortunately for democracy, their are a lot of very dumb people walking the earth.
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  15. #15
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    The fact that "somebody, somewhere" can slap together some kind of excuse or obfuscation of the issue cannot be taken to invalid the whole matter. That is not how rational discourse works.
    No, rational discussions work by agreeing with you...

    You can legitimately blame a half dozen different sources for what went wrong and why it went wrong... not everything is as clean cut as you have already decided it should be. ... and based on your little analogy there, I'd have absolutely no problem throwing you off of a jury simply because I think you'd refuse to listen to what might be a legitimate case. The fact is, at the end of the day, you might actually be more to blame for the oil spill that you realize... but as obscure of an argument that would be to prove, it would be significantly less ridiculous to place fair blame on government bureaucracy, public ignorance, and the entire energy industry as a whole.

    ... and by the way... there is a big difference between your analogy and the current situation... in our situation the kid ain't dead... s/he's bleeding out right in front of our eyes and instead of taking the kid to the hospital, we're standing in a circle saying "You did it!" At least Mario and 80,000 others are apparently throwing some gauss on the wounds.
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