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Monday, May 3, 2010


Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which erupted in March, then again in April, continues to be active. In fact, over the past weekend, the lava flow was the largest ever, and, whoops, Ireland has just banned flights, again.

One can't help but wonder if there was an overreaction by government to curtail air travel. Airlines are indicating that losses amounted to $2 billion, so, surely, you can add at least another billion for other damages. It is reported, in comparison, that the Chilean 8.8 earthquake (486 deaths) in February might have resulted in up to $7 billion in damages.

The world went bonkers to control swine flu and regularly enhances airport security with every new hiccup. We are treating the Gulf oil spill as a calamity of record proportions, which it is not. I wonder if the media are the reason or perhaps the Chicken Little mentality of the world populace. Or the nature of government, which is first to protect your own job, so cover your rear, for you will not be fired for adding to the "crying wolf" syndrome.

Another thing about wells. I served as one of the reservoir engineers for the Hawaii Geothermal Project, when we successfully in 1975 completed a 3.5 MW system at Puna (Big Island of Hawaii). Of course, we used a blow-out protection valve, a guillotine-like device that automatically seals the well. Well, all these systems have a similar device, but something went wrong with the BP rig explosion.

Built by Hyundai Heavy industries, the drilling platform, Deepwater Horizon, had last year successfully drilled an oil well at a depth of 35,000 feet, the deepest ever. Thus a mere 5,000 foot depth (from the surface) well was routine. The lease price was half a million dollars/day. Thus, BP saying it was not their fault (but will nevertheless pay the clean-up costs...which could run into billions), can be understood, for they were paying a contractor responsible for the drilling. Anyway, a giant metal box is being built to capture and collect (siphon) the oil. Also being considered is a diagonal well, robotics and so on.

The Dow Jones Industrials experienced a happy day, up 143 to 11,152, while world markets were mixed. Gold went up $4/toz to $1184 and crude oil is just about at $86/barrel.

The Green Safari continued today at the Cypress Lakes GC. The bottom three (of eight) is being monopolized by David Block, Kenji Sumida and yours truly. Here, they are seen with Lefty and friend at Travis Air Force Base.


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