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AP Finally Recalls Mexico’s 1979 Ixtoc I

From a memory recovering Associated Press:

’79 Gulf oil spill leaves sobering lessons for BP

By Mark Stevenson And Molly O’toole, Associated Press Writers Fri Jun 4, 2010

MEXICO CITY – It started with a burst of gas through the drilling well. Workers scrambled to close the safety valves but within moments, the platform caught fire and collapsed. Tens of millions of gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico. Numerous attempts to stanch the spill failed.

Three decades later, the 1979 Ixtoc disaster remains the Gulf’s — and the world’s — worst oil spill.

Of course this is not true, since Saddam Hussein intentionally released far more oil during the First Gulf War, than Ixtoc I did. But Mr. Saddam is a hero to the AP, so that is not mentioned.

The parallels between that disaster and the current BP oil spill offer sobering lessons.

So then why has it taken the AP and the rest of our media watchdogs so long to remember the Ixtoc I leak? And why instead have they harped on one of the other rare US leaks – the Exxon Valdez – which doesn’t even rank in most top ten lists of oil leaks?

There were no quick fixes for Ixtoc: It took 10 months to stop the leak, with Mexico’s state-owned oil company, Pemex, trying methods similar to those that BP has attempted at its Deepwater Horizon rig.

Pemex managed to slow the spill a little using several methods including forcing metal spheres into the well. But it couldn’t stop the leak until two relief wells were drilled — and even that didn’t work right away: the oil kept gushing for another three months after the first well was completed.

Actually the Ixtoc I leak was eventually capped and contained by experts and divers from around the world, including Red Adair.

In the end, Ixtoc spewed a record 140 million gallons of oil. Massive slicks reached the northern Mexican Gulf coast and Texas, where it would eventually coat almost 170 miles (275 kilometers) of U.S. beaches.

By comparison, Deepwater Horizon has spilled an estimated 21 million to 45 million gallons of oil. But if the Pemex disaster serves as a precedent, the BP spill could continue even after the two relief wells are expected to be finished in August.

By then, it could surpass Ixtoc as the worst oil spill in history, said Tad Patzek, chair of the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department at the University of Texas-Austin

We have the answer to our earlier question. The AP is now pinning all of its hopes to destroying oil drilling in the US on BP taking as long as the Mexican government did to cap Ixtoc I – ten months.

(Still, it’s funny how our media guardians did not demand that Mexico stop drilling for oil, thirty years ago.)

The good news is the Ixtoc experience suggests the Gulf of Mexico has natural properties that help it cope with massive oil spills, scientists say. Warm waters and sunlight helped break down the oil faster than many expected. Weathering reduced much of the oil into tar balls by the time it reached Texas

How far down did the AP bury this paragraph? How many weeks has it been since we first pointed out that the Gulf Of Mexico seems to have survived Ixtoc I?

The Gulf has also long dealt with oil that naturally seeps from the seafloor. Some experts estimate that tens of millions of gallons seep into the Gulf from natural up-wellings each year, fostering large populations of oil-eating bacteria and microorganisms.

However, it is unclear how much any of that will help this time around.

You see, oil from non-Mexican well could be a completely different story.

The Deepwater spill is closer to sensitive coastlines than Ixtoc was. And it is affecting Louisiana marshlands that are more sensitive than the more sparsely populated Texan and Mexican coastlines Ixtoc reached…

Actually, among other things, Ixtoc I’s oil slick surrounded Rancho Nuevo, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, which is one of the few nesting sites for Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles.

Pemex estimates that about half the Ixtoc oil may have burned away in the rig fire that lasted months. About a quarter dispersed and the rest was either recovered or evaporated…

Scientists say it is difficult to know how much long-term damage Ixtoc caused because it is hard to separate the effects of the spill from overfishing, sediment, runoff and other pollution…

Pemex claimed to have spent $100 million to clean up the spill. But avoided paying any compensation by asserting sovereign immunity. There was no media or environmentalists outrage.

So, yes, there are plenty of lessons to be gained from the Ixtoc I spill. Foremost among them is that it’s only US oil drilling that our media and the world’s ‘environmentalists’ want to stop.

Why is that?

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, June 4th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

10 Responses to “AP Finally Recalls Mexico’s 1979 Ixtoc I”

  1. proreason says:

    Phase XI of the CoverObamysAssPlan has been rolled out.

    Phase I – pretend it isn’t a problem
    Phase II – place boot on BP’s throat
    Phase III – take credit for success
    Phase IV – oops
    PhaseV – take charge, ignore Phases I thru IV
    Phase VI – “I feel your pain”…when the cameras are rolling
    Phase VII – #1 focus (1.7932817)
    Phase VIII – sue BP. Also point out how only BP can fix it.
    Phase IX – Bush and Cheney are the real culprits
    Phase X – keep fingers tightly crossed
    Phase XI – look how bad Ixtoc was, and Mexico just naturally fixed that spill. Increase boot pressure on BP, increse lawsuits, propaganda campaign, general blame game.

    Now, THAT’s leadership

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      I think, Pro, that you nailed that.

      What I’ve noticed of late is that people who I thought might be the typical drooling mouth-breathers of planet Earth are actually taking notice. Perhaps because it’s “environmental” or maybe even that no matter how the LSM tries to spin this, it always goes its own direction. That is to say, the truth can’t but help come out and many middle-of-the-roaders are catching on without necessarily having to read between the lines.

      This may have the end result of the kid with paint all over his hands who gave the can to some innocent bystander just before the cops showed up and attempts to deflect the blame ends up hanging himself instead. At least with Carter, he was just inept and would remain silent. This clown always makes things worse for himself and as my grandad reminded me so many years ago…

      “When your enemy is in the midst of digging their own grave, there can be no higher moral duty than to hand them a shovel”

    • proreason says:

      “the kid with paint all over his hands”

      The key is that there is nobody to blame for the obvious lack of effort to contain the impact of the disaster.

      It’s not enough to play the blame game when the catastrophe is growing growing growing. “studying” the problem is the activity of fools.

      And it’s the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT that is responsible for preventing further damage. It happened in international waters. Only idiots think BP would have the ability to both fix the leak and deploy the enormous resources necessary to sop up the oil. Lousiana doesn’t have that kind of resources. And so what, anyway. The blame game hasn’t stopped a single drop of oil from reaching the coast.

      Moreover, it isn’t a sudden catastrophe. They have had lots of time to deploy containment resources. It’s a complete cluster fark.

      It’s like you are watching a flood for 45 days gradually reaching your property, and your reaction is to (a) scream at mother nature, (b) file lawsuits against the company the didn’t maintain the dam, and (c) pose for pictures with work boots on. Meanwhile, youf neighbor with a brain has moved his furniture, laid down sandbags, wrapped his first story in water-tight plastic, bought water pumps, and brought his relatives in from around the country to bail water.

      ANYBODY could have done more than the boy king. He’s an IDIOT.

      And don’t discount that the states affected are southern states either. This Moron hasn’t take a non-political breath in his life. He is punishing the south for opposing him.

      What a despicable criminal.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Yes, Pro, I agree. Blaming solves nothing. And, I’m not blaming the boy for the cause. It was bound to happen eventually.

      You highlighted the fact that all this president and his circle of “experts” can do is talk things over and have meetings. And, you’re right again because it’s tantamount to any spectator watching anything who has never actually done whatever activity they’re watching.

      I didn’t need him to take responsibility for it….accept blame for it….no.

      The mark of a man with conviction and the real desire to do the right thing would find the best people and come up with a strategy without a lot of useless meetings and “discussion”. It’s clearly “think-on-your-feet” time and he’s only capable of posing for “Newsweek’s Man Of The Year” cover photos.

      He has no idea what to do. Not even as a public servant and the amount of authority and how far that could go to get people the resources they need to accomplish things. That’s what I mean when I say as this all unfolds, the truth will come out and he can’t stop it. His response was complete disinterest a month ago and it has suddenly moved up to “vague awareness” which is monumental for him. Yet his skills will not help him get the oil angry so it will take action, or protest something. He can’t “agitate” it and he can’t use his nicotine-induced baritone to inspire a tingle up its leg.

      Nope, it’s oil. Slimy, slippery and sticky at the same time, oil. Kinda like him.

      And his response to this whole thing rates a clear “F”. Fail…epic failure. That’s what I blame him for. He’s very good at throwing his weight around except when the whole gulf coast could really use the power that the chief executive has. Going there and holding a press conference is , of course, useless as well…and I had to hear him say in one sentence about how “we have spared no expense” and then when asked about Jindal’s ideas, he said, “we are looking at them, evaluating them, examining the cost effectiveness of them..” and it was staring everyone in the face. Not that he’s not contradicted himself before but right there, on camera, recorded and with the impression that he lives in a parallel universe.

      The answer is easy though when you default to your statement that “he politicizes” everything. So he would never allow a republican’s ideas to have any merit. I ran into this type of thing in the military..but at the very worst, the best idea put forth by someone would somehow become the general’s idea. He couldn’t even do that. If he was as clever as everyone thinks he is, he would’ve said, “You know, Jindal was late to the party. These are ideassss I’ve uhhhhh had all along and I am telling the uhhhhhhhh right people to get on this immediately”.

      Nope, not clever, but that’s beside the point.

      Deep in my heart of hearts it’s obvious to me that he DOES NOT CARE. Not even a little. It’s keeping him from “working on that agenda”. That being the financial ruin of this nation. But…meanwhile someone dropped a bug in his ear that if it gets bad enough, he may be able to use it to nationalize oil completely.

      I put nothing past this guy; He’s like the Grinch in the “before” picture. Scheming, figuring how to make this work to meet his plans. I can picture him wringing his little girlie hands as he snorts and chuckles about how it will all “play right into my plan”.

      Seriously, nobody could write an evil villain this bad. Because….while he thinks he’s crafty and clever…he is neither and his ass shows every time. I’ve said that before. All people have to do is take off the rose-colored glasses and they can see it.

      Healthcare—not about health or care—it’s about power and stealing money
      Takeover of GM and Chrysler—not about the health of either of those companies—-it’s another power grab to take over a cash cow but….oddly…..they don’t know how to make the cash cow give milk now because they’ve soured it for about 77% of the buyers who were staunch GM or Mopar fans.
      Everything he does is obvious…but this oil leak. Talk about truly out of his element. He’s got no idea how this whole thing works…and couldn’t learn it in a month of Sundays. For one thing, he’s not interested. He’s detached from reality and is now being forced to “respond”. But it’s like making a 14 year old clean the garage. It’ll be a half-assed effort and it shows in his every step.

      He doesn’t feel the public’s urgency, the need for action because he doesn’t understand. “So a few folks….uh…..can’t find any shrimp for awhile….I don’t like shrimp anyway….and..uhhhhh some other folks….uh…..can’t go fishing….well…in this economy…..they can find other jobs and shouldn’t be out goin’ fishin’ anyhow……uh…..”

      He’s that detached. But you know this. No, I don’t blame the cause of the leak on him but here was a PERFECT opportunity to display some leadership, some character, some real decisiveness and the only thing he’s decisive about is that BP will PAY.

      So I blame him for his lack of character, his lack of leadership, his lack of willingness to learn, to listen, to understand. His lack of patience, his lack of deep understanding of how things are complicated. I blame him for his apparent lack of any kind of presidential ability. He’s a waterboy.

      His crafty desires to undermine this nation are aggravated by his ineptitude. In some sense I’m grateful that he’s a really crappy criminal. He telegraphs everything he’s going to do.

      But at the end of the day….the MSM and the toadies in power act as though the emperor’s new clothes are the finest.

      However, his day will come. He keeps stepping into things and soon enough, he’ll meet his match. He’ll step right into a roundhouse kick and wonder why he’s staring down at the floor.

    • Petronius says:

      proreason : “It’s not enough to play the blame game when the catastrophe is growing growing growing.”

      Arthur R. Jensen : “From a scientific standpoint, the attribution of blame, instead of the analysis of causality, is a form of primitive thinking.”

      Nietzsche : “Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful.”

      Seneca : “All cruelty springs from weakness.”

      Rusty : “All people have to do is take off the rose-colored glasses and they can see it.”

      Petronius : They don’t need to see it. All they need is a healthy sense of smell.

    • confucius says:

      He who accuses others excuses himself.

    • proreason says:

      “No, I don’t blame the cause of the leak on him ”

      Well I’m not so hasty about that absolution.

      BP is drilling in 5,000 feet of water, with crushing, inhuman pressures, at an expense of hundreds of millions of dollars, with greater and greater chances of a small error turning into a catastrophe for a reason.

      And Sarah Palin ain’t the reason.

      Barack Obams IS a willing and eager member of the insane marxists who have forced that upon the country. He is more to blame than BP, by far. Were it up to BP or the people of the United States, they would be drilling on land or in shallow water, and the leak would have be stopped in a couple of days.

      So yes, he is as much to blame as Charles Manson is to blame for murders that he didn’t commit.

      Not Bush’s fault, not Cheney’s fault, not BP’s fault. Marxist environmental fools’ fault. Barack Obama’s fault.

  2. untrainable says:

    “When your enemy is in the midst of digging their own grave, there can be no higher moral duty than to hand them a shovel”. That’s beautiful Rusty. Grandad was obviously a very smart man.

    But I think in order to accomodate the entire administration, we should hand them a backhoe.

  3. rakkasan says:

    I read S+L several times a day, don’t post much though. Keep up the great work, Steve. Your thinking and perspective are class-act. Cheers!

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