The news that Big Oil plans to start drilling for oil in the Arctic has been met with great consternation worldwide. The threat of an oil rig disaster in the Arctic or in their own backyard prompted protestors this week to block attempts to dock in the port of Seattle by a massive rig which was in for servicing and repair.
The mayor of Seattle Ed Murray has been vocal in his objection to oil exploration in the Arctic and the use of Seattle as a staging post.
Paddle-powered activists hit the waters of Elliott Bay, Seattle. in kayaks this week to throw an “unwelcome party” for a massive Shell drilling rig as it reached the Port of Seattle.
The protesters, opposed to the Port serving as a base for Shell Oil’s Arctic fleet, met the Polar Pioneer rig in more than 20 kayaks. Then they linked together and unfurled a banner with the message, “Arctic Drilling = Climate Change.”
“We here in Seattle do not want Shell in our port. We want them to get out and change their business before they change our planet and destroy the life of future generations,” said Annette Klapstein, a 62-year-old retired attorney and member of activist group the Raging Grannies.
On Monday, the Obama administration effectively gave Shell the green light to restart its Arctic drilling and exploration operations with an approval issued by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, a governmental regulatory agency.
Remember how hard BP found it to stop the Deepwater Horizon oil accident? That happened 40 miles from major cities and a short helicopter ride from BP’s HQ in Texas in warm Pacific water. Some of the proposed rigs in the Arctic where temperatures drop to -60 deg C in winter will be 1,000 miles or more from the nearest Coast Guard or support.
Even BP’s 94-page report contained in its own response documented it as an accident waiting to happen. Every conceivable thing which could have gone wrong did.
The most worrying aspect of the proposed exploration and drilling in the Arctic is despite years of promises and assurances, accidents continue to happen.
It is claimed by industry insiders that there is little resistance to company directives to cut corners and ignore tell-tale signs as all the really experienced, more senior, staff across the majors have been put out to grass to save money.
It also reduces any potential backchat from hard-nosed oil-men who cut their teeth with legends like Red Adair in the Gulf capping oil fires set by the retreating Saddam Hussein and stopping the BP Deepwater Horizon leak.
The Arctic is the equivalent of the moon where the chances of a techical fault must surely elevate the likelihood of another unstoppable leak by a factor of perhaps ten times. Oil would gush under the Arctic ice for months or even years.
The warm water and, more importantly, very strong sunshine broke down a lot of the Macondo Well oil in the Gulf very quickly.
That won’t happen in the Arctic and, like the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, the oil would hang around for years as it poisoned the environment.
Japan have already as good as taken over Reykyavik, Iceland in preparation for the onslaught.
To read more about the protests click here.