Mud, Blood, and Politics
Javan mud flow problem. Credit: A.F.P.
Well, the Java drilling accident I recently mentioned is more interesting that I thought at first glance. In May an exploratory gas drilling well hit mud…which has been flowing out of the ground at 150000 cubic meters a day. That’s enough to cover a good size city block with a foot of mud. That’s a lot of mud, every day, for months. Factories, fields, and villages have been buried under mud. Thousand of acres have been flooded, more than ten thousand people have been evacuated.
The mud is flowing from a reservoir of mud 3 1/2 miles underground, and is being forced to the surface by tectonic pressure or the build up of natural gas. The mud is mildly toxic, which means it smells bad. Basically this is a human made mud volcano. Efforts are being made to channel the slurry of mud and water into the sea. At the same time slant drilling is underway next to the original well that is causing the problem. The idea is to drill down and intersect the original shaft, then plug it with concrete. In theory the mud flow will be stopped by year’s end, though experts are skeptical.
The political aspect I find interesting is that local politicians are debating about how much it is going to cost to clean up this mess. No agreement has yet been reached because the estimates of the cost keep going up. Why do the costs keep going up? Because the mud is still flowing! Politicians are literally arguing about much it is going to cost to clean up a problem that hasn’t been fixed yet! How’s that for politics illustrated? They stand around watching as their country gets swallowed in mud, and their concern is who is going to get the lucrative clean up contracts.
The Javanese can be glad that at least it’s only mud, the same thing is happening in the USA, but in our case it’s blood. Our leaders can’t stem the flow, but by God they have managed to profit from it. It’s the American way.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is an historically important image, it is not being used for profit, and it is central to the subject of the post.)