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Book Data

ISBN: 9781603583169
Year Added to Catalog: 2010
Book Format: Paperback
Dimensions: 5 3/8 x 8 3/8
Number of Pages: 248
Book Publisher: Chelsea Green
Release Date: October 31, 2010
Web Product ID: 806

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Disaster on the Horizon

High Stakes, High Risks, and the Story Behind the Deepwater Well Blowout

by Bob Cavnar

Cavnar, a veteran of the energy industry (including early work on oil rigs and pipeline construction), does a more-than-admirable job of clarifying deepwater drilling, specifically the corporate interests behind it and the mechanics and risks associated with it. Cavnar approaches his subject like a muckraking reporter, pointing fingers and wringing hands and, though he doesn't spare BP, he argues that their hands were tied. Regarding their lowball estimates of oil spilled in the early days, Cavnar states that "liability is based on the amount of oil released into the environment"; though BP officials "probably had calculated the actual flow rate to within a few percent," releasing those figures would have meant owning up to a much greater liability. Especially chilling is Cavnar's assertion that other disasters will follow Deepwater Horizon, since 27% of domestic production comes from deepwater drilling and a 2009 study of subsea Blow Out Protectors showed a failure rate of 45%. Even if the US were to regulate or ban all offshore drilling, multinational companies would set up deepwater rigs near more lenient nations to sidestep the problem. Ultimately Cavnar issues a call to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels; only this, he suggest, will spare us ecological catastrophe.

Publishers Weekly

What Really Happened Out in the Gulf?

2010 ForeWord Book of the Year – Silver Winner: Environment

The Deepwater Horizon blowout dominated the world’s attention for months, yet Americans still lack an understanding of the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history. Disaster on the Horizon is the first comprehensive book on the causes of the disaster by expert Bob Cavnar. He delivers a hard-hitting portrait of industry and government woefully unprepared to respond.

From inside the oil business – field hand to CEO – Cavnar witnessed the carelessness of the industry first hand when he was burned by a gas well fire in 1981.

Disaster on the Horizon reveals explosive details:

  • Collusion between BP and the government to hide the severity of the spill.
  • The blowout preventer technology details – why it failed.
  • The behind-the-scenes story of the Obama administration’s $20 billion deal with BP.
  • How BP blamed others for their mistakes.
  • BP’s corner cutting on safety.
  • The risky top kill procedure.
  • Obama’s failure to take advice from industry experts.

Disaster on the Horizon provides a roadmap for ensuring this never happens again. Cavnar calls out his own industry for ignoring safety improvements and lobbying to end the moratorium on off-shore drilling as quickly as possible. Cavnar’s takeaways:

  • Technology must be vastly improved before deepwater drilling resumes. The industry had a chance to get started on this during the moratorium, but delayed and lobbied instead.
  • Tougher regulations on deepwater drilling should be enacted–in technology, disaster preparedness, and response operations.
  • A comprehensive energy policy that creates a favorable environment for full-scale alternative energy development and conservation.

About the Author

Bob Cavnar

Bob Cavnar is a 30-year veteran of the oil and gas industry with deep experience in operations, start-ups, turn-arounds, and management of both public and private companies. He is currently chief executive officer of Luca Technologies, which harnesses natural processes to produce natural gas sustainably. Previously he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Milagro Exploration, a large, privately held oil and gas exploration firm based in Houston, Texas with operations along the Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi Gulf Coasts, and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Cavnar holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Southern Methodist University and completed ...

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