The Anonymous Widower

Is This Platform the Future for Offshore Oil and Gas?

As Deepwater Horizon and Piper Alpha have shown, trying to get offshore oil and gas wells working properly can be a hazardous business.

I was converted to the idea and the economics of reuseable platforms many years ago, when I did the calculations for Balaena Structures in Cambridge.

A few days ago I was watching BBC Breakfast, when they had an item about F3-FA, which is a reuseable gas platform.  It may have cost £200million, but it is intended to drain up to four or five smaller gas fields during ts working life.

The article says this about the costs of the design.

“Most platforms are permanently installed on the seabed, they are used for a number of years, after which they are decommissioned and brought back onshore,” he says.

“This platform is self-installing, which means it comes out on a barge, you put the legs down to the sea bed, you exploit the oil and gas out of the field and when the field is finished you do it in reverse and take it to the next field.

 Just seven or eight people are needed to run the 9,000-tonnes facility

“And you do that three or four times, thus reducing the cost.”

Note that statement about the platform needing a small crew.  It must surely have safety and accommodation implications as well as cost.

Incidentally, it is very different to the Balaena I worked on.  One day, I’ll put the details of that on this blog.

November 2, 2010 Posted by | Business, News | , , , , | 1 Comment

I’ve Got a Ticket for Ipswich at Norwich

I go to quite a few Ipswich Town away matches, but I’ve never seen them at Norwich. This year though, I will be there, as they have what is known as an Alternative Priority method, which allocates a ticket to supporters, who have been to a given number of away matches.

What a sensible use of their ticket computer system. I suspect that they are not alone in doing this!

November 2, 2010 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

The New Waitrose Credit Card Machines

They obviously weren’t designed by someone with a gammy hand.  The old one where you just pushed the card into the slot worked well for me, but I can’t slide my card through the reader with the left.

I bet the system wasn’t designed by someone with a brain.

Incidentally, the script on many card machines says “Do not remove the card” and then changes it to “Remove the card”.  If your eyesight isn’t good, like mine is at times, you can get a bit mixed-up and take the card out too early, as you see the word “Remove”.

November 2, 2010 Posted by | Business | , | 3 Comments

Should We Allow Interracial Adoption?

It is being reported that the government is recommending that race play little or no part in adoption and fostering.

My late wife was adopted and always said she was special because she had been chosen by her parents.  I’m certain that a lot of adopted people feel that way, but I’ve not knowingly met that many.

Two that I have met, were black and had been adopted by white families.

One was a girl, who used to cut my hair in Bury St. Edmunds some years ago and she told me, that the race difference had not been a problem.

The other was a black girl, who used to baby-sit our three boys, who at the time was being fostered in the village where we lived. Remarkably at eighteen, she liked her foster parents so much, that she effectively applied for her own adoption, so that she could stay.  I think it is true to say, that her foster parents would have adopted her earlier, but that they couldn’t afford it. I can remember C coming home from Court one evening and telling me how the Judge had called her in, whilst he officiated in what he said was a rare case, but one that made his job worthwhile!

That last tale says to me, that it’s not the race or sexual orientation of the prospective adoptive parents that matter, but their attitudes and personality.

So in my book, the sooner we relax the rules on adoption, the better.  Every child deserves a good home!

November 2, 2010 Posted by | News | , | 2 Comments

Are We Finally Beating the Common Cold?

There are two stories on colds and viruses, today, that give a cause for optimism in our long search for a cure for the common cold.

One says that the Medical Research Council has made a breakthrough in the understanding of how viruses work. The other says those who exercise regularly are less likely to get colds.

This is all good stuff, that might lead to something really concrete in the future.

It’s at times like this that I get optimistic.

November 2, 2010 Posted by | Health | | Leave a comment

I Don’t Like Guns!

Basically, because they kill people, but I do realise that some people need to hold them.  In a review on the Derrick Bird killings in Cumbria, changes are recommended to the gun laws.

I feel that we need just one change to the gun laws and that is to make sure that guns are always locked safely away, when they are not in use, under a dual-key system.

My reason is incidents such as those in which Derrick Bird was involved are not that common, but there have been quite a few suicides involving legally-held weapons. There have also been the odd accident, where children have been playing with weapons. Incidentally, in the United States, a lot of minors are killed accidentally by legally-held firearms.

So locking them up securely with two keys held by two responsible people may be a simple measure that could cut a lot of deaths. Imagine a ard-up farmer, who perhaps felt suicide was a good way to go, having to convince, say his wife, that he needed the guns, when he was not in a fit mental state.

I have actually heard the NFU saying that this is a sensible measure.

November 2, 2010 Posted by | News | , , , | 1 Comment

Best Wishes to Danny!

My best wishes go to Danny Baker, who has been reported as suffering from cancer.

Let’s all hope he makes a swift recovery!

November 2, 2010 Posted by | Health, News | , | Leave a comment

I Don’t Like Gas

There are reports coming in of a gas explosion in Salford.  It would appear that people are trapped.

I don’t like gas and when I designed this house, the propane tanks are a long way from the house, the AGA is electric and the boiler is in an outhouse.

My fears stem partly from working in the chemical industry for ICI in the 1960s, when a gas explosion destroyed the reaction vessel and killed two people on Polythene 6 plant.  A lot of engineers I worked with didn’t like compressed gas, as only a couple of kilograms have a tremendous explosive force.

My new house in London will probably be heated by gas, but I will make sure that all the safety equipment is installed. I will of course not allow anybody to smoke.

But even with all the checks, I’d much prefer that the only energy we took into our houses and factories was electricity.  After all it is probably a lot safer and much easier to distribute!

November 2, 2010 Posted by | News | , | Leave a comment

Should Prisoners Have the Vote?

In my view, yes! Read the arguments on the BBC here.

After all, it might just help some to take some of their responsibilities seriously.

But will it make any difference?

It will to us, in that we won’t have to pay any damages to those who the European Court of Human Rights, think we have wronged.

But I doubt that the number who vote will be high!

But let’s wait until we see the statistics.

I think when we do, that this will be one of those stories that got a lot of people very heated, but in truth it won’t matter!

November 2, 2010 Posted by | News | , | 2 Comments