Platform gets bad press

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BHP Billiton has provided assurance that their enormous regasification platform proposed to be moored 14 miles off the Malibu and Hueneme coasts will be safe because it will be designed to withstand bad storms and choppy seas, as well as the tidal waves and tsunamis this area is prone to have. We are glibly told to trust this company with our lives.

However, just last weekend, one of Billiton’s oil and gas platforms broke its moorings and drifted 168 miles in the Gulf of Mexico. That’s 12 times as far as the proposed platform has to drift to crash into Malibu. It wasn’t supposed to do that. Here are quotes from the September 28, 2005 edition of the Australian Financial Review (http://afr.com/australia/index.html):

“BHP Billiton is mystified how one of its supposedly hurricane-proof offshore oil and gas platforms broke its moorings and drifted out of control for almost 270 kilometres across the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Rita at the weekend.”

“The massive anchor cables, which tether the floating platform to the sea bed, broke free, allowing the unmanned rig to drift through one of the world’s most intensely developed offshore petroleum fields.”

“The facility was designed to withstand these conditions, so we don’t know why it went off location,: BHP Billiton spokeswoman Emma Meade said yesterday.”

How can they ask us to trust Billiton with our lives, the lives of those we love, and our property? Only the naive and gullible would think this first-in-the-world, experimental platform will be safe.

Gloria Herrera