Another day, another oil platform explosion

Another oil platform off the Louisiana coast has experienced an explosion and fire. Fortunately, no lives were lost and earlier reports of a mile long slick have been recanted.

The Associated Press reports:

“We have on these platforms on any given year roughly 100 fires,” said Allen Verret, executive director of the Offshore Operators Committee.

Federal authorities have cited Mariner Energy and related entities for 10 accidents in the Gulf of Mexico over the last four years, according to safety records from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

The accidents range from platform fires to pollution spills and a blowout, according to accident-investigation reports from the agency formerly known as the Minerals Management Service.

Sounds like more of the same – oil companies cutting corners just a bit to increase profits, and not worrying about the consequences. In the Gulf of Mexico, there is a huge oil industry ready to respond in the event of an accident. Despite this, it took months to bring the Deepwater Horizon blowout under control.

What would we do here in New Zealand if a platform caught fire, or worse, Petrobras had a blowout off the east cape where even our puny oil industry doesn’t exist?

If you want to slow the pace of oil development in New Zealand, consider sending John Key an e-card, telling him to put a moratorium on all deep sea oil drilling until the industry can prove they know how to plug a leak in deep water.

If you want to go further, sign Greenpeace’s petition to stop all new oil and coal development in NZ.

Either way, the climate will thank you and so will the environment.

UPDATE: Since posting this, I have found a different article on the New Scientist website that says the Gulf has had 100 platform fires since 2006, not an average of 100 fires a year as reported above. Either way, as dbuckley says in the comments below, we’re likely to see a lot more headlines about it.

9 Comments Posted

  1. After the BP debacle one would think that the US government would be in a position to say ‘any more than 3 fires per year is unacceptable and those who exceed that limit will be closed down + all fires carry a heafty fine’

    But would there be the political will?

    Or would it be easier to go down the alternative path?

  2. I think when your dealing with a combustable liquid under 4000 psi of pressure you are going to have some accidents and until people are given (and choose) a oil free lifestyle it a fact of life…

  3. You’re not wrong there dbuckley. They average 100 platform fires a year, so maybe we can expect two headlines per week?

  4. NZ needs a new energy minister.

    Pansy Wong is associate energy minister, have never heard a word from her ever on energy

  5. When I heard about this on the news, I mused that were it not for the Big One of recent months, would this fire have been reported in the media. Seems the answer is “no”.

    Guess we better get used to lots more reports of rig fires.

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