A well operated by BP Exploration Alaska Inc. on Alaska’s frigid North Slope is no longer spraying crude oil after leaks were discovered Friday morning.
The well, located in the Greater Prudhoe Bay area, was venting gas, which caused a spray of crude oil to impact the well pad. By Sunday afternoon in Alaska, that had been stopped. A second leak had been reduced but was still emitting gas, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said in a statement. Well pressure was monitored throughout the night and excess pressure was bled off to keep it within a safe range. . . .
We are covering a dam about-to-fail story in California on the FC blog. There have been many stories in the news since about the problems looming nationwide from aged, crumbling infrastructure. One thing there popping up is info on weathered rock being more brittle than deep, protected rock.
We wonder if these salt dome storage caverns’ age has anything to do with their integrity.
We also wonder why inexpensive camera drones aren’t used for flying over Lake FUBAR to inspect it.
In some sectors of the economy, accidents frequently occur and employees are put at risk. Fortunately, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration exists to protect workers in the U.S. and penalize corporations when they put their workforce in danger. OSHA’s mission is to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.”
Still, OSHA cannot prevent every accident — explosions and falling equipment, along with freak accidents, cause fatalities annually. FindTheCompany, a corporate data site by Graphiq, found the companies with the most serious safety violations using data from OSHA’s safety inspection records. The data experts at FindTheCompany calculated the total financial penalty for a given inspection to determine the severity of the company’s violations. In the case of ties, the company with the greater number of citations is ranked higher. For context, Find The Company also included the total number of citations associated with each violation.
British oil giant BP is a repeat offender, receiving heavy penalties on numerous occasions. Because OSHA’s jurisdiction does not extend to offshore oil rigs, this list does not even include BP’s $4.5 billion settlement resulting from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy which killed 11 people in 2010. Other than oil companies, construction corporations and large factories producing aluminum, steel, automobiles and wheat have committed expensive safety violations.
“. . . The sinkhole, which measures 45 feet in diameter and is 300 feet deep, opened up beneath a pile of waste material at Mosaic, the world’s largest supplier of phosphate. The Daily Mail reported a storage pond containing215 million gallons of radioactive watersat atop the waste mineral pile and drained into the aquifer system, which supplies drinking water to millions of residents. . . “ ” . . .The Floridian aquifer, one of the highest producing in the world, is the principal source of groundwater for most of the state, and extends into southern Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. . . “
FICTION– “The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for most dams in the U.S.”
FACT– State dam safety programs have oversight of most dams in the United States. State agencies regulate more than 80% of the Nation’s dams.
FICTION– “Dams are like roads and bridges. The government takes care of them.”
FACT – Most dams are privately owned. Dam owners are responsible for maintenance and upgrades. Private dam owners are responsible for more than 65% of the Nation’s dams. Many lack the financial resources necessary for adequate dam maintenance.
FICTION – “There are only a few dams in my State.”
FACT – There are more than 84,000 dams in the United States (as of 2010). Most States are home to hundreds—or thousands—of dams, and each must meet regulatory criteria. • Texas has the most dams—more than 7,000—followed by Kansas (6,087), Missouri (5,099), Oklahoma (4,755), and Georgia (4,606). • Mississippi, North Carolina, and Iowa each have more than 3,000 dams. • Five States—Alabama, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and South Dakota—each have more than 2,000 dams. • Fifteen other States have more than 1,000 dams each. • Delaware has the fewest number of dams, with 86.
FICTION – “That dam has been here for years—it’s not going anywhere.”
FACT – Advancing age can make dams more susceptible to failure. The average age of dams in the United States is more than 53 years. As dams get older, deterioration increases and repair costs rise. Some common problems of older dams are: • Deteriorating metal pipes and structural components; metal rusts over time, and after 50 years it can fail completely. • Sediment-filled reservoirs. Some sediment may have contaminants from chemicals in runoff from upstream. • Runoff from subdivisions and businesses built upstream. Roofs and concrete streets and sidewalks increase the volume of runoff to the reservoir.
“The pipeline would run 163 miles across south Louisiana, from Lake Charles through the Atchafalaya Basin to St. James Parish, bridging a gap between oil refineries in Louisiana and a major oil and gas hub in Texas.”