Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

The oil well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico didn’t have a remote-control shut-off switch used in two other major oil-producing nations as last-resort protection against underwater spills.

The lack of the device, called an acoustic switch, could amplify concerns over the environmental impact of offshore drilling after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig last week.

The accident has led to one of the largest ever oil spills in U.S. water and the loss of 11 lives…

U.S. regulators don’t mandate use of the remote-control device on offshore rigs, and the Deepwater Horizon, hired by oil giant BP PLC, didn’t have one. With the remote control, a crew can attempt to trigger an underwater valve that shuts down the well even if the oil rig itself is damaged or evacuated…

Nevertheless, regulators in two major oil-producing countries, Norway and Brazil, in effect require them. Norway has had acoustic triggers on almost every offshore rig since 1993.

The U.S. considered requiring a remote-controlled shut-off mechanism several years ago, but drilling companies questioned its cost and effectiveness, according to the agency overseeing offshore drilling. The agency, the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service, says it decided the remote device wasn’t needed because rigs had other back-up plans to cut off a well.

Golly. Does that infer the Oil Patch Boys bought enough politicians and bureaucrats to stop regulation.

An acoustic trigger costs about $500,000, industry officials said. The Deepwater Horizon had a replacement cost of about $560 million, and BP says it is spending $6 million a day to battle the oil spill…

RTFA. Lots of history, lots of detail. You do the math!

  1. bobbo, telling cement from mud says:

    boolez==sorry, if it was posted and then deleted normally that is highlighted. Might be a glitch.

    I used to enjoy a website for atheists arguing with theists that would censure now and then but they put the post into a separate category and invited people to argue whether or not it was proper to censure/delete the posting. Some excellent discussions took place there and the moderators even changed their minds on occasion.

    Might try to go back and see if the repetitive arguments have changed or not. Can they change?

  2. Skeptic of the AOBCCS says:

    Well Bobbo, you are wrong again. It wasn’t a cheap valve, it was human error… as always seems to be the case. Do a little reading on the Deepwater Horizon history. I did.

  3. Rick Cain says:

    Private industry rules! It just goes to show that without regulation big business can look after its own safety regs.

    Heck only 11 people died and oil is spewing into the gulf, it could have been worse with the bad old government regulating them!

  4. ECA says:

    It also shows that the regulatory agencies we have are worthless.
    And that ALL the money needed to replace the thing will come from YOUR POCKETS.
    NOT like small companies where a Mis-adventure leads to them going BROKE. These folks have the ability to CHARGE YOU FOR THEIR MISTAKES.
    There will not be a loss to Upper wages or Profit margin.

    ALSO, you might think of it as a way to RAISE PRICES.

    I hope you know that the OIL corps Capped most USA oil long ago. They bought it all up, and are holding it at prices/costs BELOW $0.25 per gallon. All they need do is pay for mineral rights on the land to HOLD IT for years..
    Yu hear about oil discoveries around the world, but you will NEVER hear about many in the USA.

    Want to be VERY afraid? Look up the history of the trolley. From horse drawn to Electrical. Look up the corruption and payola from what was Done.
    When you think of POWEr and control, THINK OIL.

  5. Dallas says:

    Tell Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal to go after the oil companies that line his party’s pockets to clean up his filthy, oily shores full of dead sea animals.

    American taxpayer dollars should not be going to that Mr Rogers looking jackass.

  6. MikeN says:

    Had this been in place what would have happened?
    No one really knows, as it has only been used in simulations.

  7. bobbo, pre-packaged opinions or vary by facts? says:

    #33–Skeptic==are “all” the facts about this particular blow out known? While people can always be better trained, and facilities can always be more staffed, equipment failure and plant design are also always present.

    From this thread or the other one I recall two significant allegtions:

    1. Unlike the rest of the world, USA does not require remote control shut off valves. That seems outrageous but consistent with the LIEberTARDIAN notion that common sense regulation equals slavery.

    2. That some kind of maintenance was being done that prevented the valve from working. Huge design error, see No 1 again.

    I don’t know what you mean by “it wasn’t a cheap valve etc” I don’t think I was being specific at all, but regardless.

    BP is primarily at fault here. THEY should be sued out of existence for whatever negligence is found.

    Blaming “we the people” for needing energy is ((I hate to say)) just plain stupid. Any such liability is secondary to the primary actor here==BP. Keep your eyes on the prize.

  8. GregA says:


    How is that supposed to happen? One of the things driving the current financial crisis is that our government various world governments are intertwined with these banks, and the US federal government only gets about 1/3 of its money from taxes. Most of the rest of that money comes from complex financial instruments, like for example… bonds are sold then invested in cdo’s and other nitwitery, creating massive revenue short falls when the price of oil goes up or banks begin to falter…

    When you really get a handle on the current financial crisis, the situation is not as bad as the tea baggers complaining about the existence of a federal reserve, it is actually much worse.

    The fact is, the us federal government now has a vested interest in these companies surviving, and because of deregulation, the public at large gets no say in how these governmental agencies (remember these are private companies that are largely owned by the federal government) are operated.

    The fact of the matter is, should we continue to go this direction, it is inexcusable for the federal government to continue to charge taxes at all ever, because as it stands right now, the federal government gets most of its income as shareholders in private companies.

    And what shareholder is going to insist that its financial interests use a safety valve when not using it gives it an edge over other it competitors…. (other countries)

  9. Skeptic of the AOBCCS says:

    Bobbo, I won’t bore you with all the details, but cementing the hole was the initial source of fault. Haliburton has had many, many failures over mant years in cementing… leaving voids where explosive gases can escape. Further research shows that cementing isn’t reliable at all…anywhere… and yet every oil company utilizes it. The wrench was after the fact. It couild have gone down the pipe during the explosion. That valve you mentioned could have failed in the same way. So what are the possibilities for fault?

    1) Government regulation is incompetent, criminal or both,
    2) the engineering method of cementing is inadequate
    3) those involved are insane… expecting different results over and over from the same process
    4) BP is trying to save a buck and doesn’t give a shit about wrecking the environment to do it
    5) Both the government and big oil are taking ridiculous risks to satisfy our voracious appetite for oil
    6) Americans see red every time their dependency on Arab oil is mentioned, so politicians oblige them to stay elected.
    7) The government should have never allowed an unprecedented, ands very dangerous undertaking of a 5000 ft deep well so close to the coastline near environmentally sensitive waters.

    That’s just for starters.

    Have I covered everyone yet? EVERYONE involved is an ass.

  10. maxsphinx says:

    Evidence indicates BOPs were activated by rig crew. Real question is why did BOPs fail when activated and why were the ROVs not able to activate ROVs? Why is Cameron International, manufacturer of the BOPs not commenting? The acoustic activation issues is a mis-direction by the well John’s well-intentioned (pun intended) minions. Just like their leader they embody how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    PS Dick Cheney and his Halliburton buddies will claim this was terrorism…

    PSS now we learn that “drill baby drill” is what Sarah says to Todd.


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