June 21, 2010
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on EDACafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Russ Henke - Contributing Editor

by Russ Henke - Contributing Editor
Posted anew every four weeks or so, the EDA WEEKLY delivers to its readers information concerning the latest happenings in the EDA industry, covering vendors, products, finances and new developments. Frequently, feature articles on selected public or private EDA companies are presented. Brought to you by EDACafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

“Taking 11 lives among the 126 crew members, the
British Petroleum (BP) Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico exploded on April 20, 2010.


More than three frustrating weeks after the explosion, millions of barrels of oil were still gushing into the Gulf's seawater 5000 feet below the surface:

Even the somewhat-rusty mechanical/electronics engineering skills buried deep within this writer's background were appalled when the history of dubious design, poor maintenance, and cavalier attitude emerged about the
single emergency blowout prevention device that BP had relied upon. Once this one device failed, what followed was inevitable.

Already deemed the worst man-made environmental disaster in history, the Gulf of Mexico
BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill was 41 days old by Memorial Day May 31, and still gushing thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf. The much-heralded BP attempt to cap the well over the Memorial Day weekend had failed with its “top kill” approach, which tried to shoot mud and pieces of rubber into the well but couldn't beat back the pressure of the gushing oil. On June 1, BP said flatly for the first time that it had abandoned any further plans to try to plug the well, and would instead try to siphon the leaking oil and gas to the surface until relief wells can stop the flow, most likely not before August! By June 7, BP had finally succeeded in siphoning off part of the
leak to recover some of the gushing oil, yet not surprisingly found itself without sufficient surface vessels to carry away the siphoned oil.”

Meanwhile, the country's spirits and equity markets continued to decline:

Rather than repeat here the overwhelming and heartbreaking documentation of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill disaster already available to everyone on the planet, the writer will summarize the situation with the following personal refection from April 21, 2010:

Initial Assumptions:

When the news of the Deepwater Horizon disaster first broke on April 20, 2010, this writer was moved the very next day to pen the following brief 4-part narrative about how surprising it was that the explosion and loss of life occurred at all, given the following initial assumptions:
  • Past disasters surely have by now taught all private and public enterprises involved to prepare for the worst, even when risks were considered minimal (Titanic, Three-Mile Island, Chernobyl, the Exxon Valdez, the 1979 Ixtoc I well explosion in the Bay of Campeche off the coast of Mexico, etc);

  • Both mechanical and electronics technology have advanced so dramatically that fail-safe offshore drilling for and extraction of oil even a mile deep would now be routine, and that if any industrial sector had the money to afford the best technology, the oil industry did;

  • Moreover, that before commencing such projects at all, the involved entities would have been fully-prepared ethically and physically for any emergency and have back-up plans and safety equipment in place in advance to deal with any contingency; and finally

  • Since the Obama Administration had recently decided that limited offshore drilling in rare circumstances might make sense after all, despite the Obama Administration's original total opposition to such drilling due to environmental concerns, the public might thus assume that the Obama Administration had by now replaced the previous individuals in the appropriate US regulatory agencies over the last year, and that these new government experts had competently blessed the notion of new and existing offshore wells in very specific situations.
  • Au contraire!

    As the horrible events, repeated disappointments and devastating oil spillage in the Gulf have continued over the last seven-plus weeks,
    we find that none of the four (4) naïve assumptions listed above was true in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, or if any part of any such assumption might be true or advisable, it was not acted upon in advance or even since the disaster occurred.


    Media coverage of every daily set of disappointments resulting from the Gulf Oil Spill has been extensive,
    but short on insight.

    This writer will not attempt the former here, but he has evolved a personal theory regarding the latter:

    “Stated simply, the Gulf Oil Spill has crept both directly and insidiously into the collective psyche of the American people, and this disaster is itself chiefly responsible for slowing the emerging US economic recovery in its tracks, as it has shaken our traditional confidence that was just beginning to be restored. Likewise, its spin-off effects are felt worldwide.

    US stock markets are retreating, private US hiring in May took a real hit compared to April, thousands of unemployed people have stopped looking for work, state and local budget woes seem intractable, pension programs are hurting, consumer confidence is edgy, foreign issues suddenly loom larger (European debt, decline of the euro), and so on.

    Moreover, this oil spill disaster has temporarily diluted public and private confidence in President Obama, since the US Government has also appeared to date to have been partially stymied by the inability of BP or any others to stem the flow of oil into the Gulf resulting from this disaster.

    The good news is that America will eventually overcome this local blow to our collective psyche (over time and at a dear price) and get us all back on the path of consistent economic recovery from these temporary woes.

    BP apparently made a series of money-saving shortcuts and blunders that dramatically increased the danger of a destructive oil spill in a well that an engineer ominously described as a "nightmare" just six days before the blowout. The US House Energy and Commerce Committee released dozens of internal documents on June 14, 2010 that outline several problems on the deep-sea rig in the days and weeks before the April 20 explosion that set in motion the largest environmental disaster in US history. The committee has been investigating the explosion and its aftermath. "Time after time, it appears that BP made decisions that increased the risk of a blowout to save the company time or expense.
    If this is what happened, BP's carelessness and complacency have inflicted a heavy toll on the Gulf, its inhabitants, and the workers on the rig,"said Democratic Reps. Henry A. Waxman and Bart Stupak.

    At press time for this issue of EDA WEEKLY, the New York Times reported that
    President Obama would use his first Oval Office speech on the evening of June 15, 2010 to outline a plan to legally compel BP to create an escrow account to compensate US businesses and individuals for their losses from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Obama would press for the escrow account if BP does not establish one voluntarily. The board of the London-based company was planning to discuss the idea and other spill-related issues — including the controversy over a big dividend for shareholders coming due this summer — at an emergency board session on June 13, 2010.

    Simultaneously, the Wall Street Journal reported that recent stock turmoil is generating unease among market analysts.
    Noting that the Dow fell 12.4% between April 26 and June 7, the Journal says that the only precedent for such a decline in the last 80 years at this point in an economic recovery is 1950, when the Korean War broke.

    II. Recent EDA-related News Highlights:

    EDA WEEKLY readers may recall the December 22, 2009 issue entitled, “Virage Logic – On the Move!” You may still access that article at this URL:

    « Previous Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4  Next Page »

    You can find the full EDACafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Russ Henke, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.


    Review Article Be the first to review this article

    Featured Video
    Senior Software Engineer for Abaco Systems Inc at Huntsville, Alabama
    Principal Engineer, Firmware Engineering for Western Digital at Milpitas, California
    Mid to Senior Level Electrical Engineer for Gordon Prill, Inc at Santee, California
    Sr. Electrical Hardware Project Engineer for Stellartech Research Corp at Milpitas, California
    Senior Hardware Engineer for Abaco Systems Inc at Austin, Texas
    Upcoming Events
    Linley Fall Processor Conference at Hyatt Regency Santa Clara 5101 Great America Pkwy Santa Clara CA - Oct 23 - 24, 2019
    SMTA Guadalajara 2019 at Expo Guadalajara Guadalajara, Mexico - Oct 23 - 24, 2019
    Silvaco SURGE Silicon Valley, Oct. 24 at 2811 Mission College Blvd. 6th floor Santa Clara CA - Oct 24, 2019
    DVCon Europe 2019 at Holiday Inn Munich City Center Munich Germany - Oct 29 - 30, 2019

    Internet Business Systems © 2019 Internet Business Systems, Inc.
    25 North 14th Steet, Suite 710, San Jose, CA 95112
    +1 (408) 882-6554 — Contact Us, or visit our other sites:
    AECCafe - Architectural Design and Engineering TechJobsCafe - Technical Jobs and Resumes GISCafe - Geographical Information Services  MCADCafe - Mechanical Design and Engineering ShareCG - Share Computer Graphic (CG) Animation, 3D Art and 3D Models
      Privacy PolicyAdvertise