Drunk man with gun causes 2nd largest oil spill...

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I realize this has already been reported but these few details puts it in another light.

- Maybe it's the gunfire in Alaska - not in Afghanistan - that's weighing on the market. "Get this, a 37-year old drunk with a high-powered rifle caused the second- largest oil spill ever in the Alaskan pipeline on Friday," observes the DR Blue's Dan Denning. "The single-gunshot wound to the pipeline effectively shut down one-fifth of all domestic U.S. oil production."

- The pipeline is reportedly built to withstand gunshots. "It has an outer coating of galvanized metal, four inches of insulation, and a half-inch of steel," says Denning. "But that wasn't enough to stop a bullet from a .38-caliber rifle. Let me ask you this, if a drunk with a rifle can halt 1/5th of U.S. oil production with a single bullet, what do you think a couple of sober terrorists could do with a rocket launcher?" Hard to say, but it probably wouldn't be bullish...except for defense stocks.

Good lord, if bin Laden et al get wind of this there going to make a beeline for Alaska. The pipeline extends for thousands of miles. It would be impossible to patrol the whole thing just like its impossible to stem the invasion from Mexico. That's why I'm long on oil and alternative energy stocks.

-- Guy Daley (guydaley1@netzero.net), October 09, 2001


Unfortunately, this isn't the extent of the problem. Since most of the line is above ground, it is very vulnerable during the winter. Its also significant that Alaskan North Slope crude is of a very low gravity poor viscosity. Shut this line down during a tough Alaskan cold snap and the crude oil would solidify quicker than a refrigerated batch of jello. I honestly don't know how long it would take to ream it out (in sub-zero temps) and get it flowing again. Weeks? A month?

Concern #2 trivia question: How many offloading ports are there that are capable of handling the VLCC super tankers from the Mideast?

Answer: One. The Louisiana Loop. It snakes out dozens of miles into the deep waters of the Gulf. Hows that for vulnerable? All other VLCC shipments must be lightered into smaller tankers for shore offloading.

Its obvious where I'm going. A few strategic oil infrastructure strikes in conjunction a typical NE winter cold snap with the affiliated subsequent panic buying and we'd have ourselves a whale of a problem.

-- DeRonin (DeRonin@Euroseek.com), October 09, 2001.

So why are you identifying these suggested vulnerabilities on the Internet? Do you think only non-terrorists surf the web? slza

-- slza (slzattas@erols.com), October 09, 2001.

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