Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Gulf Of Mexico
BTW... A small milestone was reached here at the American Energy Crisis! Today was my 888th post (I like to celebrate these types of numbers rather than the deci-multiples...). 888 posts later and I am still not sure what motivates me... it certainly isn't the ad revenue...
It would appear that we have come to the end of the deep offshore Oil adventure. Maybe not right away, but maybe a lot sooner than many of us thought possible. What if... the "leak" is not resolved in a month, or a quarter, or a year?...
If you think regulatory oversight is lax in the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria and the rest of the major offshore oil provinces leave much more to be desired. The U.S. is not the only country with the ability to cause/experience an environmental disaster.
I read with great interest Dmitri Orlov's excellent article "An American Chernobyl", and there is little doubt that the comparison is a fair one. So... what if "Drill, Baby, Drill" morphs into "Nuke, Baby, Nuke" (or some such silly slogan)? Are Nuclear plants the answer? Really? Even in some Banana Republic upwind of the U.S.? Are they OK in the U.S. but NOT in the Banana Republic?
I confess, I tend to think of "Safe Nuclear" the way I view "honest politician" - as the ultimate oxymoron. There is no such thing as a failure free system design for ANYTHING of this magnitude, and let's take it to its next logical step: are we going to nuclear power the entire world at an American level of consumption? If not (and of course not), how, and by whom, will it be determined who gets what? Think there might be some folks less than satisfied with the outcome? As in, if you think folks are angry about the way Oil wealth is distributed (think 9/11), then you must think something like this to be at least as significant - except there will be a great deal more fissionable material floating around to settle grievances with...
American style "Capitalism" (I use quotation marks because under no circumstance do we have free market capitalism operating within the American economy... I think it would be better described as "Corporate Fascism" with a gentlemen's agreement between the 2 major parties to call it something else) is as close to breaking down as at anytime since the 1930's. The end (or decline) of deepwater production (which will take a little longer than the end of exploration) might well be the last straw that breaks our back, indeed.
The fact is that an end to offshore Oil production and new Nuclear facilities might actually be a fortuitous development for future generations won't even be considered - the change in lifestyle for the current inhabitants is simply "non-negotiable", as someone famously once quiped. Still, in the end its the action, not the motivation for the action, that effects the outcome. And I should mention that our current political system and polarized players are uniquely incompatible with a reasonable discussion, let alone a solution.
Initially, I thought that the Horizon explosion would be just another hiccup. After 2 weeks, it appeared to be a big problem; after 4 weeks it now appears to be capable of what was once the unthinkable. Time will tell.
The Industrialized world's debt situation was just compromised rather briskly with the GOM oil spill/leak/explosion. The potential of this incident for unintended/unconsidered consequences is considerable. Rational comments are requested.