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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gas Bubbles One Mile Deep...

I didn't watch the hearing. I can't stomach the incessant finger pointing and congressional grandstanding. Nevertheless, I'm wondering if anybody bothered to ask the oil executives if the risks of deep water drilling can be sufficiently minimized. Was this accident avoidable, or are the pressures and explosive forces pent up in some of these reserves too unpredictable to tap?

Congress and the White House want desperately to find someone at fault. They want a fall guy, a person like the Captain of the Titanic, or a single company like Morton-Thiokol, which made the O-rings that failed in the solid rocket boosters of the Challenger, and/or a government entity full of hired hands, like NASA, blamed for relying on a less-than-perfect acquisitions process.

But what if it turns out the blowout on the Deepwater Horizon couldn't be helped? I mean, how does one protect oneself from a gas bubble rising one mile from the ocean bottom? That's a lot of expansion.


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