Posts Tagged ‘Tai Sui’

Bad Mojo, Mofo

May 22, 2015

Yo.  Peoples:  did I or did I not warn you that Plains All American Pipeline LP was gonna incur bad mojo for stirring up noise and “moving earth” in Tai Sui‘s home turf during the Year of the Goat?  That’s right, I certainly did.  That was in February, as the lunar year began.

Plains All American LP will build two new crude oil pipelines in far West Texas and New Mexico to move Permian Basin production to markets [including] a 60-mile, 16-inch State Line pipeline to connect Culberson County output to Wink, Texas, along the Texas-New Mexico state line.

“Moving earth” and major construction projects in the Grand Duke’s south-southwest realm are surefire ways to irritate the year’s cosmic ruler; this will definitely not turn out well.  It’s clear that the U.S. petroleum industry will have to learn its feng shui protocol the hard way.  Which reinsurance provider is currently holding liability policies on Plains All American LP?  Time to double-check your risk management posture!

20150519_Refugio_2

Who’s scoffing now?  Certainly not the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management and the U.S. Coast Guard.

A 24-inch Plains All American oil pipeline between ExxonMobil’s Las Flores Canyon Processing Facility near Refugio [California] and a Gaviota pumping station 10 miles away [burst on Tuesday morning, spilling] an estimated 105,000 gallons of crude.  About 21,000 gallons is believed to have made it to the sea and split into slicks that stretched 9 miles along coast.  A 23-mile by 7-mile area was closed to fishing.

Since 2006, Plains All American and its subsidiaries have reported 199 accidents and been subject to 22 enforcement actions by federal regulators. The accidents resulted in a combined 725,500 gallons of hazardous liquids spilled and damage topping $25 million.  Corrosion was determined to be the cause in more than 80 of those accidents.  Failures in materials, welds and other equipment were cited more than 70 times.  Enforcement cases against the companies resulted in the collection of $154,000 in penalties, according to a federal database.

photo credits: Paul Wellman (O, the irony!)

photo credits: Paul Wellman (O, the irony!)

However, before attributing this particular industrial debacle to supernatural causes, we might as well consider human agency and direct intervention:

Plains pipeline operations director Rich McMichael said Wednesday evening that two of the company’s pumps had problems on Tuesday morning.  He said the pump was shut down at about 11:30 a.m. after employees noticed a “pressure anomaly.”

“At 10:45 a.m. Tuesday morning, we experienced some mechanical issues at our Las Flores pump station on line 901 to Gaviota, causing the pipeline to shut down. We started the pumps at 10:55 a.m. Pacific Time, but were still having trouble with our pumping units.

“The pump at our Sisquoc Station went down at 11:15 a.m. and the operator in our control center shut the pipeline down at 11:30 a.m.  At 12:30 p.m., we received a call from a local first responder reporting an odor in the area.  We immediately dispatched a Plains employee to the pipeline to make a visual inspection, and he confirmed the release at 1:30 p.m.”

Lemme guess:  Plains All American’s pipeline network is fully automated and monitored by a corresponding network of SCADA control nodes.  Pumps, valves, sensors and alarm stations linked by a company-wide ethernet platform that provides an overall view of system flow, throughput, and operating status.  And that ethernet process-control network is air-gapped from the internet … maybe.  Not that it could be hacked or anything.

The Plains pipeline is the only pipeline in Santa Barbara County without an automatic shutdown valve in case of a rupture. Instead, the Plains pipeline must be shut down manually in case of such emergencies. That’s because Plains All American took Santa Barbara County to court more than 20 years ago to restrict the county’s regulatory oversight.  It won.  According to County Energy Division director Kevin Drude, the SCADA equipment of other pipeline operators is so sensitive it can detect the loss of 20 barrels of oil over a 20-hour period.  By contrast, the Plains pipeline leaked about 2,500 barrels worth of oil in a matter of a few hours before the company’s crew manually shut it down.

Oops!  My bad.  Looks like a semi-automated pipeline with a key vulnerability –no automatic shut-down valve.  “All your leetle pipeline is belong to us.

20150520_Plains

Who wants to be the guy that tells Greg Armstrong his computer network has been completely hacked by the Rooskies?  Who wants to tell Californians –or Jerry Brown— that the Refugio pipeline breach is payback for the United States’ Christmas Eve cyberwar attack on the Rosneft/Transneft pipeline at Tuapse?  Better to blame it all on the cosmic forces of feng shui.

Advertisements

Offensive Lyin’

February 16, 2015

As noted previously, during the Year of the Goat the Grand Duke (Tai Sui) will be presiding over earthly affairs from his cosmic throne in the South-Southwest. He likes things quiet and peaceful (and who doesn’t, after all?), so mere mortals are well advised to avoid disturbing the serene harmony so prized by Tai Sui.

But even after several millennia of object lessons, stupid humans never learn. Here’s a quick look at who’s offending the Grand Duke these days, and why:

Saudi Arabia — Sectarian conflict in Yemen is merely the latest manifestation of blowback from the Cheney-Bush invasion of Iraq in 2003.  Sunnis and Shiites have been skirmishing for centuries in Yemen, in the mountains and on the plains, but this time it’s part of the larger proxy war between Persians and the Sauds. Yemen’s location at the south-southwest corner of the Arabian peninsula means that this noisy, un-civil war is gonna offend Tai Sui in the Year of the Goat. That’s not good news for King Salman.

Sana_Yemen

 

Russia — Don’t worry about General Winter: Comrade Bear has just a few more days to wrap up his attempted conquest of Debaltseve before all that noise and clamor in the south-southwest of Eurasia disturbs the limited patience of Tai Sui.  It’s probably too late, because the Grand Duke has undoubtedly been getting an earful from his predecessor about the terrible decline of courtesy in the neighborhood. Economic sanctions will be the least of Comrade Bear’s problems if things don’t calm down in a hurry.

Kondratyevka

 

Brazil — The party’s almost over, and I’m not talking about carnival in Rio. Through no real fault of its own, Brazil is going to suffer from the uproar to its south-southwest: Cristina Kirchner‘s intriguing media circus will catch the ear of Tai Sui and the consequences won’t be pleasant for Mercosur neighbors. Paraguay may escape unscathed (for once), but Uruguay and Brazil appear to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Carnival_Masks_2015

 

Mexico — First Michoacan, then Guerrero.  President Peña-Nieto may need to follow the example of Comrade Eleven in cleaning the Augean stables of Mexican government.

Guerrero_022015

 

United States? — So far things are looking pretty good in the south-southwest: Mexican wolves are making a comeback, the clang and clamor of Eagle Ford shale oil drilling rigs is decreasing in the Permian Basin, and a measles outbreak in New Mexico, Arizona and southern California may quiet some of the noisier residents of the region.  But …

Plains All American LP will build two new crude oil pipelines in far West Texas and New Mexico to move Permian Basin production to markets. The company will extend its Avalon pipeline in Loving County 32 miles into Culberson County with a 12-inch line.  Plains All American also will build a 60-mile, 16-inch State Line pipeline to connect Culberson County output to Wink, Texas, along the Texas-New Mexico state line.

Avalon pipeline? Uh oh!  Since “moving earth” and major construction projects in the Grand Duke’s south-southwest realm are surefire ways to irritate the year’s cosmic ruler, this will definitely not turn out well. It’s clear that the U.S. petroleum industry will have to learn its feng shui protocol the hard way.  Which reinsurance provider is currently holding liability policies on Plains All American LP?  Time to double-check your risk management posture!

Eagle_Ford

 

Israel — Gaza.  Really, need I say more?  Benny Netanyahu will be getting a frigid reception in Washington from everyone except the Republicans on Sheldon Adelson‘s payroll.  In his shame and frustration, he probably won’t be able to resist (once again) turning Gaza rubble into even smaller rubble.  The man suffers from a Masada Complex compounded by chronic funnel vision.  Tai Sui is already annoyed.  It definitely won’t be good for the Jews.

Gaza_beach_2015

 

There are probably many other examples around the world where upheaval in the south-southwest during 2015 could lead to retribution from the Grand Duke.  F’rinstance, what does Switzerland mean for Germany this year?  Those listed above are just a few top-of-mind candidates that any feng shui soothsayer would love to point out.  It will be interesting to see what else develops during the Year of the Goat.  Probably a good idea to stay away from SouthbySouthwest this year.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.