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Old 04-21-2010, 09:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Louisiana Oil Rig Fire / Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Last night a relatively new deep-water oil rig went up in flames. Looks like it's still burning, and no one is quite sure when the flames will subside.

A news article about the disaster:
Deepwater Horizon oil rig fire leaves 11 missing | World news | guardian.co.uk



Between this and the recent coal mine disaster in West Virginia, it looks like America is having a difficult time with extracting their fossil fuels safely. Interesting that this coincides with Obama's recent push for an increase off-shore drilling. Do you think that his plan will be thwarted by safety concerns?
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Old 04-21-2010, 10:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by genuinegirly View Post
Do you think that his plan will be thwarted by safety concerns?

No, when was the last time you can recall a rig blowing up? Its not that common. According to this story from 5 years ago, there were 4,000 oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Who knows how many now?
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Old 04-21-2010, 10:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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For the record, all 11 workers were found safe in a raft.
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Meh, not a big deal, at least looking at the big picture it isn't. Accidents happen, I wouldn't correlate any incidents together. Oil rigs are relatively safe, I'm not worried about anything.
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The Mexican Gov't operates a bunch of these rigs. If they can do it without any serious safety failures I'd guess the rigs are pretty safe.
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Jazz View Post
For the record, all 11 workers were found safe in a raft.

Where'd you read/hear that?

I keep reading they're still missing.
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Old 04-23-2010, 12:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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have you noticed how it still seems to happen that lousy news is released on friday afternoon?

Quote:
Deepwater Horizon oil rig sinks, sparking pollution fears

• Crude oil could be spilling into waters off Louisiana coast
• Hopes fade for 11 workers missing after explosion and fire

Eleven US workers who are missing after a fire on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off Louisiana are feared dead Link to this video

A deepwater oil platform that burned for more than a day after an explosion has sunk in the Gulf of Mexico as hopes faded of finding 11 missing workers.

The sinking of the Deepwater Horizon could release more than 1,135,600 litres of crude oil a day into the water. The environmental hazards would be greatest if the spill were to reach the Louisiana coast, about 50 miles (80km) away.

Crews searched by air and water for the missing workers, hoping they had managed to reach a lifeboat, but one relative said family members had been told it was unlikely any of the missing had survived Tuesday night's blast. More than 100 workers escaped the explosion and fire. Four were critically injured.

Carolyn Kemp said her grandson, Roy Wyatt Kemp, 27, was among the missing. He would have been on the drilling platform when it exploded.

"They're assuming all those men who were on the platform are dead," Kemp said. "That's the last we've heard."

A fleet of supply vessels had shot water into the rig in an attempt to control the fire enough to keep the rig afloat and crude oil and diesel fuel from escaping.

A coast guard officer, Katherine McNamara, said she did not know whether crude oil was spilling into the gulf. The rig also carried 2,649,700 litres of diesel fuel, but that would be likely to evaporate if it had not been consumed by the fire.

Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry said crews saw a sheen of what appeared to be a crude oil mix on the surface of the water. She said there was no evidence that crude oil had been released since the rig sank, but officials are not sure what is going on underwater. They have dispatched a vessel to check.

Cynthia Sarthou, executive director of the Gulf Restoration Network, said the oil would do much less damage at sea than it would if it hit the shore.

"If it gets landward, it could be a disaster in the making," she said.

Doug Helton, incident operations coordinator for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's office of response and restoration, said the spill was not expected to come onshore in the next three to four days, unless the wind changed.

Crews searching for the missing workers have covered the search area by air 12 times and by boat five times.

Family members of one missing worker, Shane Roshto, started legal action in New Orleans yesterday accusing Transocean of negligence. The action said Roshto was thrown overboard by the explosion and was feared dead, though it did not indicate how family members knew what happened. The suit also names BP. Transocean and BP were not immediately available for comment.
Deepwater Horizon oil rig sinks, sparking pollution fears | World news | guardian.co.uk

there's a clip of some impressive if grim footage of burning smoking oil rig and fireboats if you chase the link.
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Old 04-23-2010, 12:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This is a nasty mix of loss of human life and being on the verge of widespread environmental disaster.

It's rather disheartening.
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Old 04-23-2010, 12:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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ABC posted this article about an hour ago-

Quote:
There is no crude oil spilling from the sunken oil rig off the Louisiana coast, an official told ABC News today, easing fears of a massive environmental disaster.
Story
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Old 04-25-2010, 11:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Wish that were accurate, Tully.
They've found 2 leaks, totaling 42,000 gallons/day.
42,000 Gallons Per Day May Be Gushing Out of Well - NYTimes.com
Quote:
Plans to Battle Oil Spill in Gulf
By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON and LESLIE KAUFMAN
NEW ORLEANS — Officials outlined plans Sunday to try to stop oil leaks coming from the deep-water well drilled by a rig that sank last week in the Gulf of Mexico.

The leaks were discovered on Saturday in the riser, the 5,000-foot-long pipe that extended from the wellhead to the drilling platform. The riser detached from the platform after it exploded and sank, and is now leaking in two places, both at the sea floor. About 42,000 gallons of oil a day are estimated to be emanating from the well through the leaks in the riser.

The response team — including Coast Guard officers, officials from the federal Mineral Management Service and officials from BP — has approved a plan that would use remote-controlled vehicles to activate the blowout preventer, a large valve at the wellhead 5,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. The blowout preventer can seal off the well, and is designed to do just that to prevent sudden pressure releases that possibly led to the first explosion on the oil rig on Tuesday night.

If successful, the engaging of the blowout preventer could have the well sealed within days. The other effort described by officials Sunday — drilling relief wells nearby — would take months.

BP, which was leasing the drilling platform and is responsible for the cleanup under federal law, was also mobilizing two rigs that could drill the relief wells, which could send heavy mud and concrete into the cavity of oil and gas that drilling apparently punctured by accident.

Officials are also working on putting a dome over the end of the riser that would catch the oil and route it up to the surface where it could be collected. If the blowout preventer is successfully activated, though, this may be unnecessary.

The drilling of relief wells, however, would go forward even if the more immediate options work, a BP spokesman said.

At the current rate of 42,000 gallons of oil per day, the leak would have to continue for 262 days to match the 11 million gallon spill from the Exxon Valdez in 1989, the worst oil spill in United States history.

Rough weather has continued to hinder efforts to clean the sheen of crude oil and water mixture, which has spread to 400 square miles. As of Sunday morning, 48,000 gallons of oil-water mix had been collected, the Coast Guard said.

Doug Helton, a fisheries biologist who coordinates oil spill responses for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the oil emanating from the riser was taking the shape of a giant ice cream cone as it drifted toward the surface. He said there were no reports of dead animals yet, although that was expected to change soon if the leaks were not sealed.

Mr. Helton added that wind data allowed officials to predict that the spill would not hit shore within three days, but that it was moving in a northern trajectory.

“Louisiana is the closest area,” he said. “There is a potential for other Gulf states if the release continues unabated, but we have no indication in our trajectories that shorefall will happen in the next three days.”

Officials had expressed cautious optimism Friday when it appeared that no oil was leaking from the well. But two leaks were discovered Saturday morning by a remotely operated device that scanned the riser, said Rear Adm. Mary E. Landry, commander of the Coast Guard’s Eighth District.

On Saturday, the sheen of oil on the surface had spread to a 20-by-20-mile area, Coast Guard officials said.
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Old 04-25-2010, 01:11 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yeah I saw these reported this morning, very depressing.
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Old 04-25-2010, 01:59 PM   #12 (permalink)
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We've gotta get off "oil comsumption" and soon. It's not going to get easier or cheaper and the timer "rang" a long while ago saying we need to develop alternatives.

I fear for the entire environment in the Gulf (no one likes to swim in that water any more, let alone sea life existing there that's gonna be safe to eat and Yes....worse yet is the fact that 11 people are missing and their families probably know these folks are dead.)

All for Big Oil.

When will it End?
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Old 04-26-2010, 12:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Oil Spill Now Covering More Than 1,800 Square Miles
By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON and LESLIE KAUFMAN

NEW ORLEANS — Coast Guard officials said Monday afternoon that the oil spill near Louisiana was now covering more than 1,800 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico, and they have been unable to engage a mechanism that could shut off the well thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface.

The response team was trying three tacks to address a spill caused by an explosion on an oil rig last week: one that could stop the leaks within hours, one that would take months, and one that would not stop the leaks but would capture the oil and deliver it to the surface while permanent measures were pursued.

On Sunday morning, officials began using remote-controlled vehicles to try to activate the blowout preventer, a 450-ton valve sitting at the wellhead, 5,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. The blowout preventer can seal off the well to prevent sudden pressure releases that possibly led to the explosion on the rig last Tuesday night.

If successful, engaging the blowout preventer could seal the well Monday or Tuesday.

The flow of oil from the leaks is about 42,000 gallons of oil a day. The authorities said it was still unclear what caused the explosion. Eleven crew members are missing and presumed dead.

The Coast Guard also said in a statement Monday that an aircrew from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service spotted five small whales in the vicinity of the oil spill on Sunday.

“The unified command is monitoring the situation and is working closely with officials from Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries Service and NOAA to understand the impact the spill and response activities may have on whales and other marine wildlife in the area,” the statement said.

Officials determined through weather patterns that the sheen of oil and water would remain at least 30 miles from shore at least until Tuesday. But states along the Gulf Coast have been warned to be on alert.

“We have been in contact with all the coastal states,” Rear Adm. Mary E. Landry, the commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District, said at a news conference on Sunday. Emphasizing that the sheen was not estimated to hit shore anytime soon, Admiral Landry said contingency plans were being put in place.

“Everyone is forward-leaning and preparing for coastal impact,” she said.

Louisiana is erecting containment booms around sensitive coastal areas as a precautionary measure.

At the rate of 42,000 gallons of oil a day, the leak would have to continue for 262 days to match the 11-million-gallon spill from the Exxon Valdez in 1989, the worst oil spill in United States history.

The leaks were discovered Saturday in the riser, the 5,000-foot-long pipe that extended from the wellhead to the drilling platform. The riser detached from the platform after it exploded and sank, and it is now snaking up from the wellhead and back down to the sea floor. It is leaking in two places, both at the sea floor. The bends in the riser, like kinks in a garden hose, have apparently prevented a gush of oil. When the platform was on the ocean’s surface and the riser was still attached last week, oil and gas were shooting up through the riser, creating plumes of flame.

Another effort described by officials Sunday — drilling relief wells nearby — would take two to three months to stop the flow.

BP, which was leasing the drilling platform and is responsible for the cleanup under federal law, was mobilizing two rigs that could drill the relief wells, which could send heavy mud and concrete into the cavity of oil and gas that drilling apparently punctured by accident.

If the blowout preventer does not seal off the well, officials intend to place a large dome directly over the leaks to catch the oil and route it up to the surface, where it could be collected.

This has been done before, but only in shallow waters, said Doug Suttles, the chief operating officer for exploration and production at BP.

“It’s never been deployed in 5,000 feet of water,” he said. “But we have the world’s best experts working on that right now.”

Rough seas halted the cleanup efforts on Saturday and most of Sunday. But as the weather cleared Sunday afternoon, aircraft resumed dumping dispersant, or chemicals that break down the oil. By evening, 15 vessels were headed to the area to resume skimming the oil off the surface of the ocean.

The Coast Guard said 48,000 gallons of oil-water mix had been collected by Sunday.

Doug Helton, a fisheries biologist who coordinates oil spill responses for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, said the oil emanating from the riser was taking the shape of a giant ice cream cone as it drifted toward the surface. He said there were no reports of dead animals yet, although that was expected to change if the leaks were not sealed.

Mr. Helton added that wind data allowed officials to predict that the spill would not hit shore within three days, but that it was moving north.

“Louisiana is the closest area,” he said. “There is a potential for other Gulf states if the release continues unabated, but we have no indication in our trajectories that shorefall will happen in the next three days.”

Sea life that congregates at the surface and has no mobility of its own — like plankton and fish eggs — is the most vulnerable to the slick. A large-scale destruction of eggs could affect fish populations in the future.

Officials are monitoring the environmental effects of the spill by boat and planes.

“It will be more severe over time,” Mr. Helton said.
Gulf Oil Spill Covers More Than 1,800 Square Miles - NYTimes.com

this keeps getting uglier.
i don't find myself with much to say about it at this point, but am interested in how things unfold...
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Old 04-28-2010, 06:48 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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i recall seeing alot of clips of robot submarines sealing leaks from oil rigs and wondering: are these from commercials produced for trade shows by robot submarines manufacturers or footage of what's happening off louisiana?

now the answer is a bit easier to determine.


Quote:
Deepwater Horizon oil spill could be set on fire

Robot submarines fail to seal oil leak, which could become one of the worst in US history


The US coastguard is considering setting fire to oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico to prevent the slick from reaching shore after an explosion on a drilling rig last week.

Robot submarines have so far failed to shut off the flow more than 1,500 metres below where the Deepwater Horizon was wrecked. Eleven workers are missing, presumed dead, and the cause of the explosion 50 miles off the Louisiana coast has not been determined.

Coastguard Rear Admiral Mary Landry said that if the decision was made to go ahead the oil would be trapped in special containment booms and set on fire. The burn could be started today.

"If we don't secure this well, this could be one of the most significant oil spills in US history," Landry said.

A similar burn off the coast of Newfoundland in 1993 eliminated at least half the captured oil.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said birds and mammals were more likely to escape a burning area of the ocean than an oil slick. Birds might be disoriented by smoke plumes, but would be at much greater risk from oil in the water.

On the downside, burning the oil creates air pollution and some experts say the effect on marine life is unclear.

Ed Overton, a professor emeritus of environmental sciences at Louisiana State University who is studying the oil spill, questioned whether burning would be successful.

"It can be effective in calm water, not much wind, in a protected area," he said. "When you're out in the middle of the ocean, with wave actions, and currents, pushing you around, it's not easy."

Last night the oil was about 20 miles off the coast of Venice, Louisiana, the closest it has been to land, but it is not expected to reach the coast before Friday, if at all.

Hotel owners, fishermen and restaurateurs are keeping anxious watch as the slick spreads towards delicate wetlands, oyster beds and pristine white beaches.

In Washington, the Obama administration launched a full investigation, with authorities saying they would devote every available resource to the inquiry.

The last major spill in the Gulf was in June 1979, when an offshore drilling rig in Mexican waters, the Ixtoc I, blew up, releasing 530million litres of oil. It took until March 1980 to cap the well, and the oil contaminated US waters and the Texas shore.

"In the worst-case scenario, this could also last months," said Richard Haut, a senior research scientist at the Houston Advanced Research Centre.

Thousands of birds such as egrets and brown pelicans are nesting on barrier islands close to the rig's wreckage. If they are affected, rescuers would need to reach their remote islands, wash them down and release them back into the wild.

Michael Ziccardi, director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, said cleaning up brown pelican chicks after a modest spill in Louisiana in 2005 was a major undertaking.

"Just about any petroleum can cause problems for birds because they lose their waterproofing, and that's what keeps them dry and warm," he said. "It's a really difficult time, and we're close to the peak of migration."

The spill also threatens billions of fish eggs and larvae.

If the well cannot be closed, almost 100,000 barrels of oil could spill into the Gulf before crews can drill a relief well to alleviate the pressure. The Exxon Valdez, the worst oil spill in US history, leaked 50 million litres into Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989.

BP said it would begin the drilling a relief well by tomorrow even if crews could shut off oil leaking from the underground pipe. A spokesman, Robert Wine, said the drilling would take up to three months.

In Pensacola, Florida, the easternmost point likely to be affected, beachgoers and business owners kept watch.

Sal Pinzone, general manager of the fishing pier, arrives at work at 5.30am every day to watch the sun rise over the famous white-sand beach.

"We are all worried," he said. "If the spill does hit the beaches along the Gulf, it will shut down everything."
Deepwater Horizon oil spill could be set on fire | World news | guardian.co.uk


off-shore drilling for oil.
great idea.
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Old 04-28-2010, 07:20 AM   #15 (permalink)
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not intended as a political statement but as why off shore drilling isn't going away



taken from CARPE DIEM
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Old 04-28-2010, 04:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
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NASA has supplied a picture of the oil spill.

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Old 04-28-2010, 05:49 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Crazy image. Thanks for sharing it!
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:30 AM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Deepwater Horizon: oil slick threatens coast | Environment | guardian.co.uk


this is a map of the rhode-island sized slick as of this morning.

o yeah, they've found a third leak.

and it's reached the mouth of the mississippi.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...s-us-coastline
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:44 AM   #19 (permalink)
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The Guardian has an informative interactive map. It looks pretty grim.

According to the sources gathered on Wikipedia, the spill is looking like this:
  • Up to 1,000 barrels of oil a day (1.84 litres/second) (original estimate)
  • 5,000 barrels/day (April 28 estimate by the NOAA)
  • 5,000 to 10,000 barrels/day (other sources using satellite imagery)
The slick covers an estimated 6,000 square miles as of April 30. So it's bigger than Connecticut now.

To compare, the Exxon Valdez oil spill was 250,000 barrels and covered 1,300 square miles.


They're saying that it could take up to three months to drill a secondary line to the main bore hole to install a valve to stop the spill. However, they're trying to capture as much of it as they can through various means. But considering just how much oil is being (and has been) pumping into the ocean, it all looks quite grim.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:59 AM   #20 (permalink)
 
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it's hard to write anything about this for me anyway.
i live next to a salt marsh and spend way too much of my time thinking about the marsh. it's astonishing the level of complexity in salt marshes and they're all delicate systems and terribly difficult to clean of oil i would expect. for some reason this daily proximity to such a system of systems makes tracking the deepwater horizon disaster really disheartening.


this blog seems pretty comprehensive and is updated quite regularly:

Gulf oil spill: latest updates | Environment | guardian.co.uk


note sarah palin's important contribution to this:

@SarahPalinUSA Having worked/lived thru Exxon oil spill,my family&I understand Gulf residents' fears.Our prayers r w/u.

uh huh.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:24 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Drill baby Drill!!!
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:37 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Maher's Twitter
Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill baby drill' should have to report to the Gulf coast today for cleanup duty.
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:56 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I first heard about this story when it broke on CBC Radio. The host there was speaking with the naval commander in charge of managing the disaster. Most of the questions focused around the lost workers, the cause of the fire, and the overall logistics of extinguishing the fire and capping the well. There were one or two questions asked about the risk to surrounding wildlife, to which the most pertinent concern appeared to be if the rig's two large reserves for diesel fuel had ruptured.

Everything I heard about this in the beginning was saying this wasn't going to be a big deal, now look at it. Was BP just lying? Or are were they really this oblivious to the stakes? How can a company be allowed to take such huge risks and not even have simple fail-safes in place in case of a disaster?

New Orleans has been the one city in the US I've always wanted to visit, and I was so excited to get some time off work to road trip down there come beginning of June..... so much for enjoying the beaches and swimming in the ocean......
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Old 05-01-2010, 11:11 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Here's another interactive map from The Guardian.

It shows what's at stake in terms of the wildlife in the area. It includes a visual indicator of the expected size of the spill later today.

Deepwater Horizon: species under threat | Environment | guardian.co.uk


Here's an interesting bit:

According to this environmental lawyer, the likely reason why this disaster happened was due to deregulation during the Bush administration that allows companies like BP to forgo such things as what they call an "acoustic switch." This is something that could have prevented this from happening.

Basically, this could be a case of BP cutting corners to save money--a company with record profits.


The WSJ reported on it here: WSJ - Leaking Oil Well Lacked Safeguard Device

It's worth a look; WSJ includes a graphic demonstrating it.
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Old 05-01-2010, 11:20 AM   #25 (permalink)
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This just makes me sick. I swam in the Gulf of Mexico nearly ever day. My marriage certificate says, location of marriage: Gulf of Mexico, I have avoided reading this for fear it would cause me depression, I should have continued, it does.
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Old 05-03-2010, 03:16 AM   #26 (permalink)
 
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this is the first funny thing i've heard about the gulf situation:

Quote:
Limbaugh: Oil Spill is Natural

Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio host, has spent a lot of time talking about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico lately. First, he focused on the timing of the spill, claiming that it was maybe too convenient. He was suggesting that the spill, about 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, was an inside job by environmentalists to convince President Obama to back down on plans to expand offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. Now, Limbaugh claims that the oil spill is natural, even though it started when a rig owned by BP went up in flames and sank. "The ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left alone and left out there," he said. "It's natural. It's as natural as the ocean water is." The spill is currently pumping about 210,000 gallons of oil into the ocean every day and coastal states fear that, when the oil reaches shore, billions will have been wasted in beach restoration and entire ecosystems will be compromised.
Rush Limbaugh: Oil Spill Is Natural - Justin Gardner - Political Pulse - True/Slant

(this above is a summary from slate that i couldn't link to directly...the link goes to the source story)
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Old 05-03-2010, 03:44 AM   #27 (permalink)
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I saw something from our friend Mr. Limbaugh that suggested the "accident" was likely ecoterrorism, a deliberate act by environmentalists.

Has someone blamed it on the gays yet?
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:17 AM   #28 (permalink)
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I would have very little difficulty assigning blame for this to the ELF/ALF/Whale-Wars crowd. This is, after all, the bunch that regards setting SUV dealerships on fire as a valid way to protest SUV-induced air pollution (while forgetting the pollution created by burning the damned things), and releases captive-bred minks into the Engliosh countryside (where they aren't native and have proceeded to eat their way through an empire's worth of songbirds, amphibians, the local -native- weasels, etc.) Protesting deep-water oil drilling by causing a huge and catastrophic oil spill would be just about their speed: destructive, spiteful, expensive, ill-advised, and totally contrary to their stated goals.

There's just one small problem. If this incident was the result of an act of terrorism, it was a very well-planned operation, with excellent intelligence and control of information, executed by what would have been a -very- small number of very competent operatives who knew how to keep their mouths shut.

As anyone who's ever encountered any of the Earth First!/ELF/Whale-Wars crowd knows, these people are idiots. Morons. Most of them are too water-headed to even realise that burning an SUV causes pollution, worse pollution and more of it than the vehicle would have generated over its' entire operating life. Watch one episode of "Whale Wars" and you'll wonder how they even manage to tie their shoes in the morning, much less keep a ship running (especially since various people in charge of navigation don't trust and won't use technology...like compasses and maps...). And as for keeping quiet? For these idiots, acts of complete environmental stupidity (see burning SUVs) is something to brag about. They've never kept their mouths shut, ever, and have bragged about each of their custom-built environmental catastrophes as if it was a great blow for Mother Earth.

There is simply no way that bunch of stumblefucks, or anyone remotely close to them, carried this off. If it -was- manmade, you're looking for operational security and competence on the level of a national intelligence/counter-intelligence outfit (Mossad, MI-6, GIGN), military special operations forces, or one of the nastier private mercenary firms (doubt Xe/Blackwater could pull it off, but Executive Outcomes or Sandline Int'l would be a good bet if they're still around).

ALF just a'int got those kinda chops. They're vicious anti-human little shits with genocidal delusions, but they're not in the league you'd need to be to pull off an attack like this and get away clean.

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Old 05-03-2010, 07:25 AM   #29 (permalink)
 
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dunedan: what on earth are you talking about?

here's what we know: limbaugh was blah blah blahing this "theory" last week.

and we also now know that you've watched some television program that has made you into an Expert on environmental activist groups, an Expertise that i for one accord all the respect it deserves...because nothing speaks more directly to the credibility of this type of "analysis" than does the moniker "anti-human".....

but anyway, beyond the confines of the dissociative counter-reality of the ultra-right, who's talking about any "terrorist" action?

is there any actual, you know, proof?

so how about you drill baby drill into that evidence & show us what you've found....
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:39 AM   #30 (permalink)
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RB:

Read my fucking post. Just read the Goddamned thing for once. Carefully. From front to back. It's not long, it won't be difficult for an intellectual maven such as yourself. Pay careful attention to the repeated presence of the word "if."

I never said it was a terrorist attack. I don't think it was. My point was that RUSH IS FULL OF SHIT AND HERE'S WHY.

Jesus fucking Christ...
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Old 05-03-2010, 08:32 AM   #31 (permalink)
 
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ah. mea culpa. sometimes even the more alert of us flip things around.
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Old 05-03-2010, 08:47 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Old 05-03-2010, 09:45 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Truly "Obama's Katrina"?

So, one can't help but see the media coverage of the oil spill. There are some in the media who have said the federal government did not react fast enough. The pundits' have gone so far as to call this "Obama's Katrina." Obviously, this is typical tit-for-tat bickering. There have been two types of media coverage so far. The left seems to blame BP. The right seems to blame Obama. But who knows? Drawing parallels to Bush's Katrina: the right media said the slow response was primarily based on slow requests at the state and local level. The left said it was the Bush administration. So, it's the same people arguing the opposite side of the coin - big surprise.

What is your initial take on this event?

Mine? Well, I do wonder why the first federal press conference on the matter was Thursday. From what I can tell, that was the day that the resources of the federal government were activated. The oil had traveled 50 of the 53 miles it needed to travel to hit the coast by then. Since then, it seems the government has been mobilizing every boat in the fleet to help. But why wait until then? So, it does have the appearance of a slow response.

So, what do you think the fallout will be? Will the administration lose favor with the environmentalists when the inevitable images of oily dead birds and fish land on the front pages? What are "reasonable" preparations (at the corporate and federal) for this type of endeavor? How do you see the politics(as opposed to the reality) of this event affecting the future of oil drilling? Has it suddenly become politically unpopular to get our own oil? Is it unfair to have other nations risk this disaster on their shores for our benefit and not be willing to risk our own coastline?
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Last edited by Cimarron29414; 05-03-2010 at 12:12 PM.. Reason: Expanded the discussion points
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:47 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Ooo - neat idea, moving the conversation into Politics. I'm disappointed with the cleanup efforts. I haven't thought to blame the disaster or its inadequate cleanup efforts on Obama.
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:53 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Here's a parallel conversation on the politics: http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/tilted-...s-katrina.html
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:03 AM   #36 (permalink)
 
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it appears that cheney's energy task force decided that the automatic off-switches were too expensive and that bp didn't have to install them.

Quote:
Leaking Oil Well Lacked Safeguard Device

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. On Wednesday federal investigators said the disaster is now releasing 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf, up from original estimates of 1,000 barrels a day.

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.

The efficacy of the devices is unclear. Major offshore oil-well blowouts are rare, and it remained unclear Wednesday evening whether acoustic switches have ever been put to the test in a real-world accident. When wells do surge out of control, the primary shut-off systems almost always work. Remote control systems such as the acoustic switch, which have been tested in simulations, are intended as a last resort.

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.

The U.K., where BP is headquartered, doesn't require the use of acoustic triggers.

On all offshore oil rigs, there is one main switch for cutting off the flow of oil by closing a valve located on the ocean floor. Many rigs also have automatic systems, such as a "dead man" switch as a backup that is supposed to close the valve if it senses a catastrophic failure aboard the rig.


As a third line of defense, some rigs have the acoustic trigger: It's a football-sized remote control that uses sound waves to communicate with the valve on the seabed floor and close it.

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. On Wednesday, crews set fire to part of the oil spill in an attempt to limit environmental damage.

Some major oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell PLC and France's Total SA, sometimes use the device even where regulators don't call for it.

Transocean Ltd., which owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon and the shut-off valve, declined to comment on why a remote-control device wasn't installed on the rig or to speculate on whether such a device might have stopped the spill. A BP spokesman said the company wouldn't speculate on whether a remote control would have made a difference.

Much still isn't known about what caused the problems in Deepwater Horizon's well, nearly a mile beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. It went out of control, sending oil surging through pipes to the surface and causing a fire that ultimately sank the rig.

Unmanned submarines that arrived hours after the explosion have been unable to activate the shut-off valve on the seabed, called a blowout preventer.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

A welder in Port Fourchon, La., worked Monday on part of a dome that might be used to contain oil spilling from a well in the Gulf.

BP says the Deepwater Horizon did have a "dead man" switch, which should have automatically closed the valve on the seabed in the event of a loss of power or communication from the rig. BP said it can't explain why it didn't shut off the well.

Transocean drillers aboard the rig at the time of the explosion, who should have been in a position to hit the main cutoff switch, are among the dead. It isn't known if they were able to reach the button, which would have been located in the area where the fire is likely to have started. Another possibility is that one of them did push the button, but it didn't work.

Tony Hayward, BP's CEO, said finding out why the blowout preventer didn't shut down the well is the key question in the investigation. "This is the failsafe mechanism that clearly has failed," Mr. Hayward said in an interview.

Lars Herbst, regional director of the Minerals Management Service in the Gulf of Mexico, said investigators are focusing on why the blowout preventer failed.

Crude oil released into the Gulf of Mexico after an oil rig explosion last week is now threatening the Louisiana shore. WSJ reporter Angel Gonzalez takes a look at the damage from the air, where oil sheen seems to extend to the horizon.

Industry consultants and petroleum engineers said that an acoustic remote-control may have been able to stop the well, but too much is still unknown about the accident to say that with certainty.

Rigs in Norway and Brazil are equipped with the remote-control devices, which can trigger the blowout preventers from a lifeboat in the event the electric cables connecting the valves to the drilling rig are damaged.

While U.S. regulators have called the acoustic switches unreliable and prone, in the past, to cause unnecessary shut-downs, Inger Anda, a spokeswoman for Norway's Petroleum Safety Authority, said the switches have a good track record in the North Sea. "It's been seen as the most successful and effective option," she said.

The manufacturers of the equipment, including Kongsberg Maritime AS, Sonardyne Ltd. and Nautronix PLC, say their equipment has improved significantly over the past decade.

The Brazilian government began urging the use of the remote-control equipment in 2007, after an extensive overhaul of its safety rules following a fire aboard an oil platform killed 11 people, said Raphael Moura, head of safety division at Brazil's National Petroleum Agency. "Our concern is both safety and the environment," he said.



Industry critics cite the lack of the remote control as a sign U.S. drilling policy has been too lax. "What we see, going back two decades, is an oil industry that has had way too much sway with federal regulations," said Dan McLaughlin, a spokesman for Democratic Florida Sen. Bill Nelson. "We are seeing our worst nightmare coming true."

U.S. regulators have considered mandating the use of remote-control acoustic switches or other back-up equipment at least since 2000. After a drilling ship accidentally released oil, the Minerals Management Service issued a safety notice that said a back-up system is "an essential component of a deepwater drilling system."

The industry argued against the acoustic systems. A 2001 report from the International Association of Drilling Contractors said "significant doubts remain in regard to the ability of this type of system to provide a reliable emergency back-up control system during an actual well flowing incident."

By 2003, U.S. regulators decided remote-controlled safeguards needed more study. A report commissioned by the Minerals Management Service said "acoustic systems are not recommended because they tend to be very costly."

A spokesman for the agency, Nicholas Pardi, said the decision not to require the device came, in part, after the agency took a survey that found most rigs already had back-up systems of some kind. Those systems include the unmanned submarines BP has been using to try to close the seabed valve.
Leaking Oil Well Lacked Safeguard Device - WSJ.com


i can't really imagine caring what the right is trying to do with this disaster to play it to some kind of advantage to itself. they'll float the "obama's katrina" meme, see if it sticks. if it does, they'll work it. if it doesn't they'll move onto something else.




but out in reality, this is really not good:

a short prognostication about the damage:
The Worst-Case Economic Scenario for the Oil Spill The Washington Independent
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:34 AM   #37 (permalink)
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If anyone wants "someone to name" in the blame of the oil slick disaster, I think it's clearly BP's Fault.

This is copied from above post.
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.

The U.K., where BP is headquartered, doesn't require the use of acoustic triggers.

2nd Edit Added: The U.K. probably would have required the remote trigger devices if that seowop was sitting a few miles off the coast of the U.K.
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:49 AM   #38 (permalink)
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roachboy,

I believe your characterization sentence is a bit different than the contents of the article you supplied. From your article:

Quote:
BP says the Deepwater Horizon did have a "dead man" switch, which should have automatically closed the valve on the seabed in the event of a loss of power or communication from the rig. BP said it can't explain why it didn't shut off the well.
There are multiple systems in place, including an automatic shutoff valve. The one that they didn't install was a remote control shutoff valve, a third sort of safety device. So automatic ones were required and an automatic one was in place. Regardless, your contribution does call in to question how much safety is required on something so important? Double redundancy, triple? Whatever they had clearly was not enough.

Let's put it this way. This was a predictable event (the oil reaching the shore) with a reasonable amount of time to react. All measures being used right now to prevent oil from reaching the shore could have been started 5 or 6 days before they did. So, the real question is whether political criticism is justified?
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Old 05-03-2010, 01:01 PM   #39 (permalink)
 
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this is a really interesting blog post via mit press.

http://mitpress.typepad.com/mitpress...roduction.html

the main text is from this guy:

Quote:
Thomas Beamish a sociologist at the University of California Davis(...) [who] wrote his 2002 book Silent Spill about a California oil spill that went unattended for 38 years.
here's one of the main points..it's a little long, but i think it explains a whole lot about the way in which the spill unfolded, particularly in the first few days.

Quote:
Oil spill response: slow, halting, and secretive

As is typical of the government and industry, crises spawn post-hoc reaction in a way that symptoms of a crisis seldom do. Yet it is in attending to the symptoms that a crisis may be averted, mitigated, or at the very least eased. I do not mean this to be a superficial remark: the emphasis on reaction— and delayed reaction at that — rather than proaction is reflected in the law and oil regulation as it currently exists.

I don’t mean to imply the Gulf spill was caused by government regulations, but the nature of our current system of industrial self-regulation, coupled with the punitive form post accident response takes, engenders unanticipated consequences. Primary among them: very slow, guarded, and secretive response to signs of crisis.

Why? In part because of the structure of regulation itself. Unlike conventionally conceived forms of law enforcement that are predicated on a belief that violators will do everything within their power to avoid getting caught, oil industry regulators — such as the Minerals Management Service (MMS) and the Coast Guard — are almost completely dependant on the violator — or, in this instance, the oil operator — to self report. This is partly a matter of expertise, but it is also codified in laws such as the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 that stipulates self-regulation and self-reporting as the trigger for emergency response. When any entity, from a mom and pop gas station to a multi-national corporation, spills more than a barrel of petroleum (about 42 gallons), the onus is on them to report that spillage before it damages a waterway or significant resource. Only when spillage is known to exceed 10,000 gallons (about 240 barrels of oil) can the authorities legally set up an incident command structure, abrogate private property, and compel the offending operator to respond. As I noted in Silent Spill, “Perhaps punishment [for violations] coupled with self-reporting [requirements] represents the worst of [all regulatory] worlds” (p. 77). It certainly does not grease the wheels for a quick and cooperative response.

This painfully protracted response characterized the Gulf spill, which is now two weeks in the making. The explosion occurred on April 20. On April 22, BP Inc. claimed the oil on the ocean’s surface to be “residual oil” from the explosion, fire, and sinking of the offshore rig. Over the next week, BP expressed confidence that they had everything under control. In all of this, the Coast Guard and MMS, while initially sending three coast guard cutters, four helicopters, and one spotter plane to rescue injured workers, remained totally dependant on BP and its subcontractors—Transoceanic, Haliburton, and Cameron—for information, technology, and advanced planning — and thus response. Not until the scope of the leaks had been ascertained and BP asked for assistance did regulators step in and step up their response. (It should be noted that the term “leak” is misleading: Oil is currently spewing forth from a 5”-6” diameter pipe under 70,000 psi at a rate of 200,000 gallons a day.)

Industry priorities exposed

The lack of a coherent response plan and the post-hoc manner of response are also revealing. The response to the Gulf spill exposes a set of industry priorities— those of the oil producers but also those of the regulators and lawmakers who propose, create, and enforce regulations. While it may come as no surprise that the industry’s and Mineral Management Service’s main priorities lie with greater levels of oil production, that concern does not presuppose a de-emphasis on safety and environmental compliance or accident preparation. Some numbers might clarify my point. While BP has spent heavily on PR to rebrand itself as the “green energy company” ($200 million in 2000 on rebranding campaign), and grossed some $52 billion in 2009, actual human and environmental safety seems to be a low priority, as reflected in their track record over the past half-decade. In 2005, their Texas City Refinery disaster claimed 15 workers who died in an explosion that was the culmination of a series of smaller accidents. In 2006, the Prudhoe Bay shutdown, reflecting poor infrastructural maintenance and pipeline corrosion, resulted in an estimated 267,000 gallons spilled. And in 2007 the Prudhoe Bay toxic spill involved some 2000 gallons of methanol. All of these incidences, upon further investigation, have been attributed directly or indirectly to BP’s cost-saving measures such as cutting back on maintenance and safety costs to improve the company’s bottom line.

And while I’m unwilling to say that the blowout in the Gulf was itself the result of this ethic, I am of the mind that spill response has been heavily influenced by a set of priorities BP shares with other industry producers.(...)

it's probably simplistic to blame any single element in this chain of unfortunate arrangements around an unfortunate reality, which is drilling in the ocean at all, one which is the obvious condition of possibility for the *really* unfortunate reality in the gulf at the moment.

but the basic point above is that the regulatory system relies on industry self-reporting: so the delay in undertaking a government response is due to the way bp chose to deal with the situation---both at the level of "crisis management" in terms of brand protection (the "green" oil producer would have this sort of "problem" under control right away as a function of their "deep and abiding" committment to the Environment (tm)) and at another level, which is how that brand-protection intersected with what bp knew at the corporate level as that intersected with what bp (and others) knew on site---and when they knew it.

fact is that the oversight, such as it is, presupposed that bp was in a position to know what was happening. they didn't for about a week, right? and then a few days after that, they asked for help from the government, which acted reasonably quickly. so the canard about katrina seems wholly misplaced.

there's more but i gots to go.


[[i moved a couple sentences around at the start of this to smooth it out after i deleted the earlier post about the same blog]]
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Old 05-05-2010, 05:45 AM   #40 (permalink)
 
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updated images of the oil approaching the louisiana coast:

Deepwater Horizon oil spill threatens Louisiana Gulf coast | Environment | guardian.co.uk

i confess to having some trouble looking at these.
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