Oil and gas leaks occur all the time, often unreported, and whenever I hear of another my first thought is for the environment, and how badly it will be affected. Each time concern is expressed by those responsible, fines are levied and promises are made to do better, but despite the assurances the lessons are not learned - and here we are again. In this particular situation in Scottish waters, the problem is compounded by a burning flare on the rig which, if the winds change, will ignite the large gas cloud causing "catastrophic devastation". So, for now nature in the form of the Spirit of Wind is in charge, for if she chooses to blow otherwise the situation will be very serious indeed.
A commentator made the point last night that perhaps technology has gone too far and marine oil and gas installations, as currently designed, were unsuitable for an environment where earth movement and the vagaries of the natural world could create instability or more - for while some leaks are caused by human error, others are not. He was, in effect, admitting that man cannot control nature and if he tries so to do unsympathetically, nature will retaliate.
The good news in all of this is that, the more often such incidents occur, the sooner the oil companies and government bureaucrats will concede that the expansion of drilling in our deep sea waters should be halted, at least, and that safer, kinder forms of energy sourcing should be developed. The ideas and opportunities exist now, even for providing free energy using the gifts of nature, but responsibly, and all that is stopping this gift of abundance is corporate greed and and the desire for continuing tax revenues. The Elgin gas platform may just help our progress to common sense.]]>