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Oil and Chlorine DO Mix!

Oil and Chlorine DO Mix!

| On 09, Aug 2010

Jack Hipple

“Oil Companies to Create Industry Response System for Deep-Water Oil Spills”

What’s so special about this announcement? It says that, after decades of off shore oil drilling, the industry is going to collaborate on safety matters. Do you know what the largest chemical shipped by volume in the world is? CHLORINE–a yellow green, toxic gas that is poisonous in large dosages, but toxic to hazardous bacteria and fecal material, and without which there would be no clean drinking water, nor one of the most widely used plastics for plumbing, house siding, and blood tubing. There are numerous producers of chlorine, which is shipped in tank cars all over the country in huge quantities. The next time you are stopped at a RR crossing, take a look at the stenciling on the side of the tank cars and see how many are labeled CHLORINE. This industry figured out decades ago that there was so much chlorine being shipped into so many different places in the country that it made no sense for each company to be responsible for its own tank cars in the case of rail accidents or emergencies. What made sense was for the CLOSEST supplier with trained emergency crews to respond to a derailed or leaking chlorine car. This rapid response system has been active for over 40 years and has served both the industry and the US citizenry well by minimizing the amount of time it takes for a trained crew to arrive at the scene of an accident and provide assistance.

In a recent headline, “Oil Companies to Create Industry Response System for Deep-Water Oil Spills”, we see that a few of the major oil companies have “discovered” this strategy for their own industry: “Four of the world’s largest oil companies are creating a strike force to staunch oil spills in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico in a billion-dollar bid to regain the confidence of the Obama administration after BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster. Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips are expected to announce Thursday that they are forming a joint venture to design, build and operate a rapid-response system to capture and contain up to 100,000 barrels of oil flowing 10,000 feet below the surface of the sea”.

It continues to amaze many of us in the TRIZ commumity how long it still takes for one well known practice to migrate from one industry to other industries. For the hundredth time since these columns have been written, “Who else has a problem like yours? How do they solve it? Who else knows something that can help you?”