Barks of Larch

When you fall off the horse of life, git back on and ride like hell.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


No moratorium on offshore drilling. BP makes a scientific breakthrough for discovery and drilling oil 5,000 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico in April, 2010. A gusher. And the oil, unassisted, keeps pouring out thousands of barrels. In January, 1901, a gusher oil well was drilled into a salt dome, Spindle Top, Texas. It produced 100,000 barrels a day, more than all the other oil wells combined in the United States. Galileo, with his absurd idea that the sun is the center of our universe, had been outcast by Christians.

20 year moratoriums of Gulf drilling have been in place since the early 1980’s thanks to the short sightedness of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Up until then the towns of southern Louisiana, like Houma, were bustling with exploration companies, well suppliers, and transportation contractors- boats, pipelines, storage facilities, aircraft. Full employment with excellent pay, motels filled, restaurants and bars packed. I was there in the fall of 1967 doing special projects with Texaco. The exploration companies’ employees couldn’t buy a drink nor a meal as their tables were full of drinks and food paid by well suppliers. When  workers rotated off their three week shifts on drilling platforms, it took them three days to get home while partaking of the nectar of the gods at the bars. With those moratoriums in the 1980’s, they became ghost towns. The exploration companies had their expensive risks of drilling and well platforms, dry holes were commonplace. The drillers and roughnecks have one of the top four casualty professions. But success and money talk. Then Congress eliminates the oil companies 27% depletion tax break to make drilling even more risky.

At least 44,000 people are killed in vehicle accidents in the United States every year and hundreds of thousands are injured. Do the politicians in Washington ban cars and trucks? When military and civilian airplanes crash, are planes grounded? These every day tragedies are tolerated as part of our culture. But when NASA with its high risk ventures into unforgiving space has some casualties (still safer than freeway traffic), future progress is delayed, momentum in engineering and  peoples’ talents is stalled. Politicians should not stop progress in science and engineering, areas in which  they are ignorant. Their chief concern is job protection, votes, campaign contributions, lobbyists bribes, wining and dining- the Washington social life.
The United States and the world energy requirements grow in an exponential manner. The United States has tremendous fossil fuel reserves in oil, oil shales, oil sands, and coal in developed and undeveloped areas. The continental shelves of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and south of Key West to Cuba, to our federal limits, are begging to liberate crude oil. Green won’t hack it with solar, wind, and batteries to no more than 25% of our energy requirements.

Hurricanes will cleanse the Gulf shore. Both sea and land animals will migrate, procreate, and survive as they have done for millions of years. Some species will perish, some will genetically adapt, and new species will come forth as we see today. Oil, being organic from sea life, will breakdown with chemical weathering and munching bacteria.

The United States has not had a cohesive, comprehensive, long range energy program for over 60 years. It has been a knee jerk and reactive wet dream. My proposal, “National Energy Action”, is attached.

@Copyright June, 2010Don “LARCH” Loedding, Geologist, MBA

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