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Comment: Ex-library book. The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting.
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Disaster on the Horizon: High Stakes, High Risks, and the Story Behind the Deepwater Well Blowout Paperback – October 22, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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 approach 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.
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From Booklist

The Gulf economy and the U.S.’ energy policy are still reeling from the BP deepwater drilling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The worst part of the tragedy is that it never had to happen had the U.S. government and BP adhered to myriad policies and procedures already in place for deepwater oil-well drilling, according to Cavnar, who has 30 years of experience in the oil business, from field hand to chief executive. Cavnar brings insight and perspective to the risks, challenges, and shortcomings of oil drilling, U.S. energy policy, and environmental issues. He cites oil-company arrogance, lax government regulation, and the free-market politics of “drill, baby, drill” that have dominated decisions about the oil industry. Writing with the color and pacing of a thriller, Cavnar recalls the shock of the exploding well 5,000 feet below the surface, the struggles of workers to orient themselves to the danger and chaos, the fuel leak onto beaches and into wetlands that brought the attention of the world, and all the complicated engineering and politicking behind the spill and at play in future drilling. This is an important view of the oil-drilling business that readers don’t generally get to see. Photographs, diagrams, a glossary, and other resources make this book particularly helpful in understanding oil drilling. --Vanessa Bush
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing; 1 edition (October 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603583165
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603583169
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Phyllis Staff TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
Two hundred fifty miles northwest of the Deep Horizon -

The first signs appeared in late spring. Holes developed on leaves on trees and plants in gardens. Leaves turned white and soon crumbled into dust. And we recognized a truth: The disaster that was the Deep Horizon well would have consequences far beyond those being reported in the mainstream media. We knew that millions of gallons of oil could not have been consumed by hungry microbes. We knew that Gulf seafood, once the pride of our tables, was no longer safe to consume.

We hoped that BP's promises to clean up their mess would be fulfilled. We hoped that our government would protect the people and the environment of the Gulf. Now we see that our hopes will not be realized, that the destruction of the Gulf Coast, begun by Katrina and Rita, will be finalized by Deep Horizon.

But what happened that led to such catastrophe? How could so many `fail-safe' systems have failed and led to the deaths of 11 men and the destruction of an entire regional economy? Bob Cavnar, an oilman with decades of hands-on experience in the oil and gas industry in addition to academic credentials, gives us the information we weren't getting before.

His is a tale of greed, carelessness, and deception. Unfortunately, it's no work of fiction but a chronicle of events that led up to and beyond the worst oil spill in US history. Cavnar explains not only what happened on the Deep Horizon but the history of well blowouts and what should be done to prevent such disasters from occurring in the future.

Read this book for a clearer understanding of deep water drilling. Read it to grasp the collusion between BP and the US government. Read it to understand where we're heading as a nation dependent on oil.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you want to learn the details about this disaster, unless you have to read about it right now, you are probably best waiting for a better book. This book is fine, it is written by an oil drilling insider and does cite sources, but it is incomplete, jumbled, and may be biased in several ways. The writing style can best be considered conversational, but swearing and dropping the F-bomb is, to use another of the author's expressions "quite a doozy" in a serious book. Cavnar seems to be showing off his inside knowledge, rather than working harder to set the scene or explain the mechanisms. I never really felt like "I was there." And the book certainly does not have enough serious explorations of cause and history to make this a definitive study.

On some issues the author shows he is out of his depth. The "most common cause of aircraft accidents" is certainly not "running out of fuel" (page 45). His physics is off stating hydraulic rams closed with "explosive force--as much as 5,000 psi" (p 39). That widows would say after the tragedy their husbands had experienced premonitions is not objective evidence (p 32). And I was looking for more insight than "that night, everything that could go wrong did go wrong." A better book will explain how the Deepwater Horizon fits into Charles Perrow's Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies paradigm. A better book will read more like Diane Vaughan's The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA.

This book stuck me as an oil drilling insider rushing to quickly tap one more gusher of money, and not worthy of the serious subject matter. I hope you find this review helpful.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Disaster on the Horizon is a must for anyone who surmises that what we have been told about the worst ecological catastrophe in US history is not the whole truth, and how the technology to extract deep-ocean oil has overreached the ability to control the inevitable deepwater blowout, in a no-margin-for-error environment. Bob Cavnar's extensive expertise in technical aspects of the drilling industry make for a wealth of information, woven into a tapestry that is a truly good read.
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Format: Paperback
Mr. Cavnar has written a book that describes with great clarity what went wrong in the Gulf and why.

This book should be recommended reading to everyone in Congress, in the White House and especially in every oil company. He has pointed out exactly what happens when corners are cut, safety regulations are ignored or dismantled entirely.

Our very future is at stake.

Well done, Mr. Cavnar.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I found this book to be an interesting read. The author does a reasonably good job of explaining some of the technical aspects of the BP disaster. Unlike some other reviewers, I did not find it to be over my head, perhaps because I was an engineer in another lifetime (almost 30 years ago before a career change).

Where I found the book to be a bit lacking, and why I gave it only a 3 star rating, is because I felt that the book was coming too much from the author's perspective. I did not feel that this was a truly nuanced and balanced account of what happened. It seemed that the author took a great deal of his own personal knowledge and expertise, and mixed in a healthy does of speculation and personal opinion. Again, it made for an interesting read, but I did not come away feeling that I had just read a truly factual and unbiased account of what happened.

I haven't read any other books about the disaster, so I can't comment as to how this compares. Bottom line, if you want an interesting perspective and explanation as to what happened, I think you will find this a good book. Just don't count on it as the definitive and exhaustive account of the BP Disaster.
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