NORTH DAKOTA SUMMER DRILL
I. THE MACONDO PROSPECT
Found and drilled from Wikipedia
[The Deep Horizon Well has been found and located resting on the seafloor, 1300 feet NW of the well.]
The Macondo Prospect (Mississippi Canyon Block 252,
abbreviated MC252) is an oil and gas prospect in the Gulf of Mexico,
the site of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion
in April 2010. The name Macondo
is the same name as the fictitious cursed town
in the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez.
Oil companies routinely assign code names
to offshore prospects early in exploration.
This practice helps ensure secrecy during
the confidential pre-sale phase, and provides
convenient names for casual reference.
Names in a given year might follow a theme
such as beverages—cognac—heavenly bodies—
Mars—or even cartoon characters—Bullwinkle.
Multinational oil company BP is operator
and principal developer with 65% interest. 25%
is owned by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation,
and 10% by MOEX Offshore 2007, a unit
of Mitsui. The prospect may have held
50 million barrels of oil. BP secured approval
to drill the Macondo Prospect from MMS—
Minerals Management Service—without MMS
requiring use of an acoustic blowout preventer.
Drilling commenced 7 October 2009,
but operations halted at 4,023 feet below sea floor
when rig was damaged by Hurricane Ida. Drilling
resumed in February, 2010. An explosion occurred
on April 20, 2010. Deepwater Horizon sank
on April 22, 2010, 5000 feet deep.
II. A SHORT BIOGRAPHY
"A noisy city with houses having mirror walls rose up....a name he had never heard, that had no meaning at all, a supernatural echo in his dream: Macondo."
—Gabriel José García Márquez
Tony Hayward, 52, gained a first class geology degree followed by a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, and joined BP in 1982, with his first job as a rig geologist, quickly rising through the ranks in a series of technical and commercial roles in BP Exploration, coming to Lord Browne's attention during a 1990 leadership conference in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1992 Hayward moved to Colombia as exploration manager and became president of BP's operation in Venezuela in 1995. Hayward was appointed BP group treasurer, September, 2000, responsible for global treasury operations, finance and mergers and acquisitions, becoming executive vice president in 2002. In light of safety and resultant production issues in Alaska, and the report on the explosion at Texas City Refinery, the process for replacing Lord Browne accelerated. Hayward, termed CEO designate came to the come and competition. Tony Hayward said, "We have a leadership style that is too directive and doesn't listen sufficiently well: The top doesn't listen to what the bottom is saying." Hayward was appointed CEO on May Day, 2007.
III. LITERARY THEORY
Not having a paper route as a child
in a time like ours seems irrelevant.
I don't need to know more about Tony Hayward,
what books he did, or didn't, read.
Naming Macondo surely won't go
on his résumé, but a smart guy like Hayward
who lived in Colombia might have heard
about Márquez and Macondo, and I can
imagine a corporate handshake and smile
at the naming ceremony, although I'm not certain
they called it that. No one writes
to the colonel, the pension check will never arrive
in the dream city where magic
boils down to something as simple as describing
what happens in ordinary days to our people.
People, to be sure, who don't bank oil.
IV. MY LIFE IN OIL COUNTRY
I grew up in the NW corner of North Dakota,
which is oil country, so I have credentials.
Wells began appearing between Bowbells and Flaxton
in the early 50s about the time I started school.
My grandpa hauled lignite—low grade coal to heat
houses in winter. We were town people
among farmers. I remember fragments
of conversation as we'd drive by those wells
that looked like giant grasshoppers to a child.
My dad talking to mom about farmers
who didn't even need to farm anymore
with that oil pumping money into bank accounts.
Put the land into summerfall and live rich.
Dad had it broken down into weekly amounts
so he could make sense of what he made
at the grain elevator. Those were shaky times
for all of us, slippery, too; I'd swim and dive
in boxcars of flax my father would load
for Great Northern. The smell of the Tioga Oil Fields
is part of my childhood inheritance.
Oil made us aware of the disparities.
My eyes are gifts from the poor.
North Dakota is another name for Macondo.
Dream worlds are not without tragedies
and long emergencies—dreams see fallen workers
and burning sea turtles and return empty handed.
Oil rigs drill deeper down than deep down things,
deeper than geologist miles sensor twisting
in furtive failing dreams, and dreamers rise helpless
as any image on TV. Helplessness finds its home
in abandoned bird nests and sustains itself
in anger serving as temporary fuel.
Uninhabited native lands make quiet offerings.
25 June 2010—29 June 2010