26 April 2011

Texas City Goes Dark

Texas City has had its share of problems. Pretty much blown up in 1947, again in 1985, and so on.

I'm finding cube root of fuck-all in the news about the power going down at the Marathon, Valero, BP, and Dow refineries. The Texas City Police are not answering their phones. Houston PD claims ignorance. The office of the US Rep for the area knows nothing, but the nice girl in the office said that questions will be asked. The FBI knows nothing, but claims that it's not their business anyway. I know this because I personally called every damn one.

For some reason I find it difficult to imagine all 4 of them just forgetting to pay their power bills. The APe and Rotters press services have taken the opportunity to note that local schools have been closed, and, ominously, that "flare stacks have been activated".Well shit fire and save matches! I used to live about 3 miles from one of those places, and I could read the paper by the light of the flare stacks most nights. That's what you do, you know?

It's not like a stray lightning strike took out a transformer serving all 4 plants. They're not even all that close together, they all have 64KV drops with their own transformers, plus co-gen, plus emergency generators. This was not an accident, this was not a co-incidence.

You may not know it, but that BP refinery alone processed about 5% of the gasoline used in the USA.

I have no idea whodoneit, but I'm pretty sure that it was indeed done. Bring on the Ramen noodles, and a rise in gasoline prices. Brought on by the damn Jew speculators, working with their friends in Saudi Arabia, conspiring to make YOU miserable.

Update! Officials at Marathon and Dow claim to have absolutely no knowledge of the cause of the blackouts. The Google tells me that the 4 did not share a common power supply. Virginia, at Dow's office in Flint MIchigan is an absolute charmer, and hopes one day to have the chance to set off a flare stack. It's traditionally done with flaming arrows.

Updated update. Mr Bill Day with Valero tells me that BP and Dow went down at about the same time, followed by MArathon and Valero some 5 to 6 hours later. Also, he informed me that Texas/New Mexico Power, the utility serving the area, has stated that all the outages were on the customer side of the drop. Furthermore, Mr Day told me that the problems develped over a period of hours, and were switchgear related. TNMP is claimig salt damage to comtactors, but that just don't cut it I've worked in the damn things, and the first thing you notice is the redundency. Then you notice the cathodic protection, and the corrosion tabs and whatnot.

Mr Day has been the most informative of the folks with whom I have spokenThe reps for BP,Dow,and Marathon were all professional but uninformed. The local police still are not answering the phone, and I have yet to hear back from TNMP.

Updated... Have just spoken with Cathy Garber, who, without naming the companies, confirmed that the problems were switchgear related, and that 2 of the outages may be related to salt buildup on their switchgear. (Switchgear, for those who don't handle big batches of raw electrons, is the generic term for the contactors, connectors, motor control centers, and all the stuff that draws the heavy amperage.) She also confirmed the 64KV power supplies to all 4 of the companies.

So evidently it's down to 3 more-or-less simultaneous power outages, plus the accompanying havoc, school closures, and scare mongering from the media. Just doesn't smell right to me.

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