Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook

moments in the history of oil

Posted in oil, oil rigs by bowsprite on 2010/05/13

Oil has used as fuel for cooking and lighting for centuries.

The earliest drilled wells were found in China around 300AD.

Early Inuit cut blocks of oil-soaked tundra from natural seeps.

Marco Polo wrote about oil laden ships of the Caspian Sea.

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crude post

Posted in Gulf oil rigs, OffTopic: not in NYHarbor, oil rigs by bowsprite on 2010/05/09

I’m so sorry: we are up to our gills in this, yes? but offshore oil drilling is pertinent to NYHarbor, for its yield is what makes us run. Tugster caught Guardian, whose last position ±10° is recorded here, in the 6th boro a year and a half ago. (Boat doodle above is not of Guardian.)

While looking at photos of offshore supply vessels (OSV) of the Gulf, I noticed: they do get amazing weather.

“It is beautiful there,” said the mariner who worked in the Gulf. He mentioned each rig he worked with pride.

“Drilling is high tech. It’s hard. And they are good at it—very good. But they don’t always know what will happen when they hit that reservoir. I’ve seen so much burned off in a control flare, and if you’re anywhere around it, it’s HOT. I would feel my skin crackle as it dried from the heat. I’d have to go inside the boat, and the flare’s heat would blister the paint off the boat. Then you’d hear on the radio: “Mud! more mud!” and they’d pump drilling fluid through the rod string inside the drill pipe, out through the bit, and some guy would be there, taking measurements of the mud and mixture until they got it just right…When you see a photo like that, with those flames all over, ohhh, it just makes you sick to your heart…”

The fondness for the Gulf and the work is also evident in this wonderful voice.

I know nothing about oil rigs. How many oil rigs are in operation? a peek at this one directory will dizzy you with the numbers of projects and companies at it. (But I couldn’t find the answer.)

The Energy Information Agency is a great resource. But still, no one quite knows the best thing to do to check the gushing:

• at the U.S. Minerals Management Service, MMS: “To submit alternative response technology, services or products please call (281) 366-5511.”

• at the EPA: fill out this form if you have an idea to try. A question: “Have you field-tested your proposed solution?
I suppose they have to ask, but I would have to check off “No. I did not test my idea in 5,000′ depth of water in heavy seas. And neither did you. Y’all.”

• at the source: this pdf form to fill out with your suggestions.

THIS is an impressive website for the Offshore Oil and Gas industry: offshore-technology.com!

top row: 1. Brutus in a water ballet, 2. Blindfaith being pushed by Tern, 3. Genesis on Transshelf cutting through the ice of Finland, reaching the Gulf in 24 days;
bottom row: 4. Mars eases on down the road, 5. Genesis floats through the Corpus Christi shipping channel, 6. Baldpate’s base skates into place.

I could spend hours (er, I have spent hours) gawking at the photos (credit, please? who took them?)

The names of the rigs, fields and ships are poetic, the images are striking, the feats–and implications–are awe-full. (I didn’t say awful.)

Heartfelt support to the crews working there, the crews stranded and waiting.
And heart-full apologies for the loss of life: human, plant and animal. We are all complicit.

Tugster weighs in in “Deepwater Miracles”, and wonders what you think…

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