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X prize for oil cleanup

  1. Jul 28, 2010 #1
    just out:

    What: Press Conference to Launch the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE
    When: Thursday, July 29, 2010 --- 1:00 PM (ET) Noon (CT) 10:00 AM (PT)
    Where: National Press Club - Holeman Lounge
    529 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC

    LIVE WEBCAST: http://www.visualwebcaster.com/XPrizeOilCleanup

    Taped, Embargoed, Satellite Interview Opportunity Thursday, July 29th – 7:00am to 11:00 a.m. ET


    On July 29, 2010, the X PRIZE Foundation will launch its sixth major competition, a multi-million dollar privately funded Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE, designed to inspire entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists worldwide to develop innovative, rapidly deployable, and highly efficient methods of capturing crude oil from the ocean surface. At the press conference, speakers will discuss the goals and objectives of the prize, team rules for entry, amount of the prize purse and announce the competition benefactor.

    Attendees at the July 29 Press Conference will include:

    · Peter Diamandis, Founder & Chairman, X PRIZE Foundation

    · Wendy Schmidt, President, The Schmidt Family Foundation and Founder of the Foundation’s 11th Hour Project and Climate Central. Co-Founder of the Schmidt Marine Science Research Institute

    · U.S. Representative Anh ‘Joseph’ Cao, representing Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District (New Orleans and the Gulf region of Louisiana)

    · Philippe Cousteau, the son of Jan and Philippe Cousteau Sr., and grandson of Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Co-Founder and CEO of EarthEcho International (www.earthecho.org[/url]), and co-founder of Azure Worldwide ([url]www.azureworldwide.com[/URL]) a strategic environmental design, development and marketing company

    · Dr. Dave Gallo, PhD. Director of Special Projects. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

    for all those who were brainstorming in the other thread, heres you chance

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 28, 2010 #2
    too bad it's a felony to clean up that oil...
  4. Jul 28, 2010 #3
    aahhh, yes, well the gov't works in mysterious ways...lol

  5. Jul 28, 2010 #4


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    I think that when all safety requirements, disposal restrictions, and disposal cost are factored in the cost of each barrel recovered will show why BP had no intention of surface recovery. Most value was gone by the time the oil reached the surface and the expense to handle the sludge would have been so much more than the millions put into cleaning what shoreline actually gets cleaned up.

    I was amazed at how much aquatic life was visible through the ROV cameras when they were putting the last cap in place and how little contamination has been shown by the local fishermen as of yesterdays news.

    Overall it was an interesting and educational event for me.

    It was a wakeup call for all petroleum companies and I don't think there will need to be as many new restrictions or as strong of an enforcement as most people are crying for.

    The X-Prize will be interesting to watch.
  6. Jul 28, 2010 #5


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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  7. Jul 28, 2010 #6
    This is an incredibly naive, irresponsible article. There are over 300 comments, and more than a couple from people living in the local areas affected by the oil spill.

    If this tragedy has taught the average joe anything, it's that we can trust neither the media nor the government/corporate reports on this subject. They have been caught in too many "inconsistencies".

    Here's a far more valuable link: http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_shaw_the_oil_spill_s_toxic_trade_off.html

    and another TED interview coming from the wikiLeaks founder offers interesting evidence on corporate sabatoge on oil wells in Albania

    makes one wonder if BP was originally the victim. I doubt it though....
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  8. Jul 28, 2010 #7


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    The lead sentence is

    How is this an irresponsible or naive statement?

    But we should trust random anonymous posts on the internet instead?
    How is this relevant?
  9. Jul 28, 2010 #8
    mheslep - I was more concerned with them using a long-disproven metric for determining the extent of the oil spill: i.e., flying over it. If they used dispersants, and there was a storm, it stands to reason that a good chunk of the oil is in the water column (which is how the ted talks from Susan Shaw is related- it talks about how damaging poisoning the water column is, but then she digresses on a couple of tangents) or floating around the gulf. I don't get the impression that they did much more than a cursory flyover and then said "well! there's no more brown sludge, must be getting better faster than we thought!" which is naive to think, and irresponsible to print.

    as for trusting random posts on the internet, you'll have to take your best judgement on that one, given that it's "illegal" to photograph the effects of the spill on many beaches, and there's little to no transparency in this entire process of documenting the spills' effects. I guess it boils down to this:

    A) will you trust people you can't see saying they can't see much, but what they do see is bad? (and if they're telling the truth about where they live, their livelihoods depend on better news)


    B) will you trust government and corporate reports that have long had evidence of corruption or incompetence saying "it's not really that bad, but you are only allowed to see places we tell you that you can see".

    it's a risk of listening to the wrong people either way, but if I were to err, I would definitely err on the side of distrusting the people who created this mess in the first place.

    (tangent: good question for a risk-analyst...) <--I'm debating about going into actuarial work, so that's where my brain is right now...
  10. Jul 28, 2010 #9


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    I would trust the people that work the boats that are bringing product to dockside, showing no contamination from the oil. (fish, shrimp and oysters)
    It might be a problem later, but right now it's not.
  11. Jul 28, 2010 #10
    I can't seem to find any test results showing the fish aren't contaminated! Perhaps somebody can post a link??

    All I can find is that the government opened fishing without testing to make sure the water was safe. Actually, that's been a consistent theme: the lack of permission testing done...
  12. Jul 28, 2010 #11


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    The test will be in the taste, with good seafood dishes it will be hard to cover a tainted product.
  13. Jul 28, 2010 #12
    Where I'm from we have a saying: "there's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over."

    Except this time.
  14. Jul 29, 2010 #13


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    No, aerial observation is a long accepted method for determining, in-part, the extent of the spill. See, e.g., the estimate of the Mass Balance team http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doc/2931/627011/" [Broken]. Such an estimate would only be specious if it assumed all the oil was on the surface. The NYT didn't say it was.

    The NYT piece doesn't say this, and neither you nor I know what they think.

    There have been "immense patches of surface oil" visible on the Gulf almost continuously while the well was leaking, despite the use of dispersant and skimmers. Now, "that oil slick is really starting to dissipate pretty rapidly." The effect of degrading surface oil is to "reduce the risk of oil killing more animals or hitting shorelines." In my tally that is a good thing. A month ago, despite the use of disperants and skimmers this was not the case; now it is. Now, did the NYT irresponsibly suggest this means everything is ok? No:
    So, I have the impression you didn't read the article.

    There are no statements, reports, even third hand, from BP anywhere in this piece.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  15. Jul 29, 2010 #14
    "It was a wakeup call for all petroleum companies and I don't think there will need to be as many new restrictions or as strong of an enforcement as most people are crying for."

    RonL - would you care to expand on that - maybe i have missed something.
  16. Jul 29, 2010 #15
    Unfortunately, I don't see putting oil into the water column as the lesser of two evils. I hope I'm wrong, but I just see it as there being nowhere "safe" to be in that area. As far as dissipation is concerned, I want to know *where* it's gone off to.

    But I did read most of the article. I read it in terms of what it appeared to say as opposed to what it actually, literally said. There's this trend in the news media today (or maybe it's always been like that?) to speak the truth *technically*, but to phrase it in such a way as to make one take a specific message. A prime example of this is the republican use of the word "liberal" as a slander... makes no sense to a logical person, but the tone used turned it into almost a slander- at least to those who agree that liberals are morons :-)

    A more complicated example would be Bush and the Iraq invasion. There was massive conflation with Al-Quaeda and linking to the Twin Towers being brought down. In reality Saddam Hussein- while batgarbage crazy and in need of a serious beatdown- had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. But the way Bush phrased it (intentionally or not) made it seem to those not paying close attention like the three were linked.

    Here's another example. Buried in the story are lines that make it sound as though the government should scale back it's response... at a time when they are being roundly criticized for not having a big enough response already! There's also a tone of saying that this event isn't nearly as bad as many experts in ocean science and environmentalism are making it out to be.

    That's the main thing I take issue with. I am in Psychological Operations in the Army... this is how it's done- through the proper use of a certain tone of voice or tone of writing.
  17. Jul 29, 2010 #16


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    Well I guess after Watergate politics didn't cleanup very well, but after a faulty O-Ring the space program really got tight on safety and inspections, I wonder if all that many new rules were put into play or was it more an increased vigilance in checking and rechecking what was already on the books ?

    In the oil industry, I get the impression that overall safety is not that bad, and will people be very quick to dismiss a questionable decisions when they know more inspectors are in the fire for letting things slip by in the past, not to mention this disaster would have wiped out most companies.

    I'm sure things will return to how they were, thats human nature.
    Too many rules and too much ledgislation will only increase risk taking (IMHO)
  18. Jul 30, 2010 #17
    Sorry, I still see some kind of disconnect between one part of your posting and another. :confused: How would more legislation lead to greater risk taking?

    You do make a good point when you refer to the milieu that sometimes arises in just about any endeavor. Safety rules are often seen as secondary to those promoting production. To counter this many unions disperse posters that state the obvious maxim: Safety IS part of the job. Yet these rule work best when there IS legislative force to back them up.

    Certainly the law is a big hammer - a far more effective method of acquiring 'compliance' is operating in a system that takes into consideration a SOP that sees (what is often called) 'loss control' and an integral part of normal behaviour. I am not sure that tossing Ken Lay has prevented future Enrons from trying the same antics he masterminded, or keep the Captains of tankers like the Exon Valdez sober. A simple mood of honesty would be far more effective. I am sure it is not the law that keeps you from 'knocking off' the local 7-11, but I bet you are happy the law is there.

    That being said the concept of CYA (cover your ***) or adherence to 'due diligence' is often very effective. Whether the '***' is being covered from company procedures or legislative strictures.

    Capitalism often works retroactively. There are all sorts of studies out there that illustrate that the safest companies, the ones that adhere closest to legislative requirements are also the most productive. Apparently BP and the companies associated with this (and possibly other) drilling operation played fast and loose with normal operating procedures, not only legislated ones, but industry standards - the result is the BP's 'bottom line' is hit with a major and possibly terminal expense. Did not the new British PM speak to Obama about how important BP is to the British economy and could be wiped out by severe penalties? He is not worried about the company especially, but about the, already damaged, shareholders that could be wiped out by severe sanctions.
  19. Jul 30, 2010 #18


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    :redface:Ahhh, as many on the forum know, an area I have problems with is stringing togeather coherent and focused thoughts. My thoughts about legislation are simply the more legislation, the more documentation needed and the more people needed to confirm and check this evergrowing pile of paperwork and this is where most safety gets overlooked. Everyone thinks someone else is doing the checking.
    On drilling rigs, almost all work is high pressure and heavy metal, sometimes the pace is very fast and precise. In general most workers are well aware of where the dangers are and work according to SOP. I think in some cases (and hope not too many) management decisions are made by people that have not had enough exposure to that enviornment.

    I suppose the greatest area to increase safety and proper work actions, might be removing some pressures placed on rig managers by finance managers. But then, as said shareholder protection is a major part of the picture.

    My mind has gone off track in a dozen different areas, but one last thought and question..
    I remember in another thread and I think I remember a comment on the evening news about BP having amassed between 700 and 800 citations of rules violated, as opposed to only 30 or so divided between 8 other major companies, I forget the time frame (but small) I find this almost impossible to believe, has anyone listed the violations and how could any enforcement agency shut an eye to this type actions ? (Once again my opinion) I don't think the physics of rig operations would allow BP to get by without penalties doing things so wrong, while all other drilling companies are operating in angelic mode.:uhh:

  20. Jul 30, 2010 #19
    some time ago I was a (minor) safety/loss control officer for an oil company. On a course one time I was shown a graph. It was a graph of 'incidences' at a work place. The specific details are lost to me now, but the conclusion remains. It spoke of a pyramid of seriousness.

    For every number of small occurrences, say someone barks a knuckle, there is a larger and more serious incident. Someone breaks a hand ... for a number of such incidents, a more serious one occurres ... some professional medical help is needed, maybe an outpatient visit.

    For a number of them a more startling 'accident' happens ... maybe an extended hospital stay .... this goes on up to a death.

    This was used to illustrate how important it is to report even the smaller incidences ... action can be taken to prevent them and the pyramid will not have a chance to build. Nevertheless, as much as the famous 'bell curve' it rules our lives .... small incidences are a precursor to more serious and so on up the line.

    11 people were killed on the drilling rig .... it is of no surprise to me that a multitude of safety violations preceded it.

    (Hope my explanation was lucid enough to be understood.) :uhh:
  21. Jul 30, 2010 #20


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    I think we have moved away from the thread topic, so a last comment or question.
    The same day or the day before, BP had some kind of celebration about 7 years of no accidents on the Deepwater Horizon. I wonder how small the incident level was before a filing would be required ??
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