#ExxonKnew Epic Fail: Oil Companies DID NOT build “their rigs to account for sea-level rise”

H/T to Dr. Willie Soon for sending me something to ridicule this morning.

This is just fracking mental…

The Oil Giants Might Finally Pay for Pulling the Biggest Hoax of All
New York State is alleging ExxonMobil knew the risks of climate change and defrauded its investors by misrepresenting them.

AUG 7, 2019

[… Exxon Knew blather snipped…]

Exxon engaged in “a longstanding fraudulent scheme” to deceive investors by providing false and misleading assurances that it was effectively managing the economic risks posed by increasingly stringent policies and regulations it anticipated being adopted to address climate change, the lawsuit states. “Instead of managing those risks in the manner it represented to investors, Exxon employed internal practices that were inconsistent with its representations, were undisclosed to investors, and exposed the company to greater risk from climate change regulation than investors were led to believe,” the lawsuit said.

[…Exxon Knew blather snipped…]


The article is basically one ignorant person (Charles P. Pierce) quoting a bunch of other ignorant people (Inside Climate News).

These little Jiminy Cricket pest bastards” have already lost the “Exxon Knew” battle in their campaign of eco-terrorist lawfare against the oil & gas industry because… Everything “Exxon and other energy companies knew as long ago as 30 years” came from college-level textbooks, peer-reviewed scientific publications and government reports. All of the supposedly secret oil industry reports were either copies of publicly available information or summaries thereof.

Figure 1. NY Attorney General Defies Judge’s Order in Exxon Case

The #ExxonKnew Epic Fail, Part One

Everything oil companies allegedly knew came from publicly available government and/or academic sources

One of the allegedly most damning documents was the 1968 Robinson Report for the American Petroleum Institute (API).

In 1968, scientists with the Stanford Research Institute reported to the American Petroleum Institute about their research on atmospheric pollutants of interest to the industry. Summarizing the available science, the scientists saved their starkest warnings for carbon dioxide (CO2). They cautioned that rising levels of CO2 would likely result in rising global temperatures and warned that, if temperatures increased significantly, the result could be melting ice caps, rising sea levels, warming oceans, and serious environmental damage on a global scale.


A page reproduced from this damning report referenced Möller (1963) as the source of a 1-7 °F rise in temperature due to a 25% rise in atmospheric CO2

Figure 2. Möller (1963)

Unless Exxon owned the American Geophysical Union back then, Möller (1963) was not a secret document…

On the influence of changes in the CO2 concentration in air on the radiation balance of the Earth’s surface and on the climate
F. Möller

The numerical value of a temperature change under the influence of a CO2 change as calculated by Plass is valid only for a dry atmosphere. Overlapping of the absorption bands of CO2 and H2O in the range around 15 μ essentially diminishes the temperature changes. New calculations give ΔT = + 1.5° when the CO2 content increases from 300 to 600 ppm. Cloudiness diminishes the radiation effects but not the temperature changes because under cloudy skies larger temperature changes are needed in order to compensate for an equal change in the downward long-wave radiation. The increase in the water vapor content of the atmosphere with rising temperature causes a self-amplification effect which results in almost arbitrary temperature changes, e.g. for constant relative humidity ΔT = +10° in the above mentioned case. It is shown, however, that the changed radiation conditions are not necessarily compensated for by a temperature change. The effect of an increase in CO2 from 300 to 330 ppm can be compensated for completely by a change in the water vapor content of 3 per cent or by a change in the cloudiness of 1 per cent of its value without the occurrence of temperature changes at all. Thus the theory that climatic variations are effected by variations in the CO2 content becomes very questionable.

Journal of Geophysical Research

From the full paper…

In this case, we must distinguish between the assumptions that the water vapor content (in cm l.e.) remains unchanged in spite of heating (cooling) of the atmosphere and that it increases (decreases). Constant absolute humidity means that the relative humidity (f) decreases from 75 to 70.34 per cent with a 1° or lowered by 4.66 per cent per deg. According to the above-mentioned calculations, an increase in CO2 from 300 to 600 ppm gives us a temperature change ΔT = +1.5° for Δf = -4.66 per cent per deg, and a temperature change ΔT = +9.6° for Δf = 0.


We recognize that for Δf = 0.8 per cent per deg the temperature change becomes infinite. Very small variations effect a reversal of sign or huge amplifications.

It is not too difficult to infer from these numbers that the variation in the radiation budget from a changed CO2 concentration can be compensated for completely without any variation in the surface temperature when the cloudiness is increased by +0.006 or the water vapor content is decreased by -0.07 cm l.e.


These are variations in the cloudiness by 1 per cent of its value or in the water vapor content by 3 per cent of its value. No meteorologist or climatologist would dare to determine the mean cloudiness or mean water content of the atmosphere with such accuracy; much less can a change of this order of magnitude be proved or its existence denied. Because of these values the entire theory of climatic changes by CO2 variations is becoming questionable.

Möller (1963)

So, as far back as 1963, Exxon knew exactly what we know today:

The entire theory of climatic changes by CO2 variations is questionable.

The infamous 1978 Black presentation was just a survey of government and academic publications on the so-called greenhouse effect.

Here’s what Exxon knew in 1978…

Figure 3. Exxon knew that most government and academic scientists wanted more research money.
Figure 4. There’s a lot of schist we don’t know.
Figure 5. In 1978, Exxon knew that the effects on sea level and the polar ice caps would likely be negligible, models were useless and more effort should be directed at paleoclimatology.

Black’s allegedly proprietary climate model was just another cartoon based on publicly available literature.

Figure 6. What Exxon knew during “The Ice Age Cometh.”

I added HadCRUT4 to highlight how Hansen-ian it was in its wrongness.

This allegedly proprietary Exxon climate model is a cartoon derived from a 1979 National Research Council publication

Figure 7. What Exxon knew in 1982.

I plotted HadCRUT4 and MLO CO2 on it at the same scale… The models were wrong back then and are not much better now.

The #ExxonKnew Epic Fail, Part Deux

Oil companies are concealing the future malfeasance of future Democrat and possibly RINO politicians

The current phase of their campaign of ecoterroristic lawfare against the oil & gas industry centers on the assertion that ExxonMobil deceived investors by failing to predict that future government malfeasance will put them out of business. They are literally suing ExxonMobil for failing to warn investors about the dangers of voting for any of the passengers in the 2020 Democrat presidential candidates clown car.

I would say that it couldn’t get any more moronic than that… But it could. The Esquire “article” featured this photo and caption…

Figure 8. “Oil companies built their rigs to account for sea-level rise”. NO THEY DID NOT!!!

The #ExxonKnew Epic Fail, Part Trois

“Oil companies built their rigs to account for sea-level rise”

It’s fairly obvious that Charles P. Pierce…

  1. Doesn’t know what a “rig” is.
  2. Doesn’t know who builds them.
  3. Doesn’t know that sea level rise is irrelevant to an offshore drilling rig.
  4. Doesn’t know that it’s also irrelevant to production platforms – What he calls “rigs.”
  5. Doesn’t know the insignificance of sea level rise relative to air gap.
  6. Doesn’t know the insignificance or sea level rise relative to waves.

Who is Charles P. Pierce and how did he get so clueless?

Charles Patrick Pierce[1] (born December 28, 1953) is an American sportswriterpolitical bloggerliberal pundit[2] author, and game show panelist.[3]


The rest of this post will be a technical discussion of offshore drilling rigs, production platforms and how climate change has no affect on them. Most of it is from previous posts and comments of mine.

Why Sea Level Rise Doesn’t Affect Drilling Rigs

Exxon also built oil rigs in the North Sea to withstand projected climate impacts like sea level rise and rising temperatures.

Think Progress

Now, I am probably going out on a limb to assume that these dimwits actually mean “oil rigs” when they say “oil rigs”… However, ExxonMobil doesn’t build oil rigs.  They contract rigs from drilling contractors who paid other companies to build them.  Offshore drilling rigs are designed to survive the weather… Which can get kind of rough at sea.

The oil rigs that drilled wells in the North Sea were capable of drilling all over the world.  Half the rigs that were in the Gulf of Mexico 10 years ago have moved overseas, mostly to the Middle East and Africa.  The rigs are capable of working year-round.  Offshore oil rigs don’t notice 0.0035 °C per year of rising temperatures and 3 mm per year of sea level rise.  However, they do notice hurricanes, which occasionally sink them.

Oil rigs are designed to operate in specific water depth ranges.

Figure 9. “Within offshore rigs there are two main categories; jackups and floaters. Jackups do not float, they simply stand on retractable legs (usually three) and hence provide a stable platform from which to drill. The Jackup can of course only work in water depths that are less than the length of its legs, and typically this limits operations to less than 400ft water depth. When moving between drilling locations the hull is usually towed by tugs or carried by a specialist vessel, with the legs sticking high into the air. Once the jackup has arrived at the drilling location, the legs are lowered to the seabed, and then the hull (upon which all the drilling equipment is installed) is jacked up the legs, so raising itself out of the water. Unlike Jackups, floaters are not limited to 400ft water depths as they do not rely on standing on long legs. They are essentially ships with drilling equipment, are usually self propelled and have a marine crew.” Investmentpedia

“Within offshore rigs there are two main categories; jackups and floaters”

The ENSCO 56 is a jackup rig:

Figure 10. ENSCO 56

When the legs aren’t deployed, the jackup floats.  It is towed to the drilling location by tugboats.  The legs are lowered to the seafloor and the rig is literally jacked up to a sufficient height to maintain the necessary air gap above the sea surface.  The biggest jackups can work in water depths up to about 400-500′ and drill to depths of about 30,000′.  Sea level rise has no effect on jackup rigs.  They rarely sit in one place for more than a few months.

The first jackup rig was built in 1954.  At 3 mm/yr, sea level may have risen 192 mm since 1954.  That’s 7.6 inches… 0.6 feet.  The reference elevation for wells is generally the Kelly bushing (KB).  The KB depth is rounded to the nearest foot.  Assuming the first jackup rig stayed on location since 1954 and had a KB elevation of 75′ above sea level, the current KB would be 74.4′ above sea level.  This is an insignificant difference. Very few structure maps have contour intervals smaller than 10′, most have 50′ to 100′ contour intervals. 0.6′ is less than the resolution of most well logs. I’ve been working the Gulf of Mexico since 1988; climate change has not forced us to revise the KB’s of any well ever drilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

Floaters are even less affected by sea level change.  They float on the surface when drilling.  They are either moored to the seafloor with anchors or dynamically positioned (DP) with thruster motors.  DSS-38 is a DP rig…

Figure 11. DSS-38 (Rig Zone)

Floaters can operate in water depths from above 500′ to more than 10,000′ and can drill to depths greater than 30,000′.  They would be totally unaffected by sea level rise of even several meters and they rarely sit in one place for more than several months.

Despite the raging catastrophic rise in sea level since Al Gore invented the Internet and global warming, jackup, semi-submersible and drill ship rigs are still drilling in the same places they were 30 years ago.  Since they are capable of operating in winter, spring, summer and fall, from the North Sea to West Africa to the Middle East to Southeast Asia to the Gulf of Mexico, they did not have to be specially designed to fend off climate change.

The stupidly written caption is probably referring to the elevation of fixed offshore production platforms.  This is totally unrelated to sea level rise; it’s entirely due to seafloor subsidence caused by the extraction of hydrocarbons and lessons learned from the 2005 hurricane season. It’s pretty well limited to very large offshore fields where the platforms have been in place for decades.

What clueless journalists usually mean when they write “oil rigs”

This idiotic pasage is from an actual “little Jiminy Cricket pest bastard” lawsuit:

In contrast to their public-facing efforts challenging the validity of the scientific consensus about anthropogenic climate change, Defendants’ acts and omissions evidence their internal acknowledgement of the reality of climate change and its likely consequences. These actions include, but are not limited to, making multi-billion-dollar infrastructure investments for their own operations that acknowledge the reality of coming anthropogenic climate-related change. These investments included (among others), raising offshore oil platforms to protect against sea level rise; reinforcing offshore oil platforms to withstand increased wave strength and storm severity; and developing and patenting designs for equipment intended to extract crude oil and/or natural gas in areas previously unreachable because of the presence of polar ice sheets.

Crab Fishermen vs Civilization

No! No! No! No offshore production platform has ever been raised “to protect against sea level rise”…

Existing platforms raised to increase storm clearance

A Devon Energy-operated platform with 44 people on board in the Eugene Island 330 field in the Gulf of Mexico was raised 4.25 m (14 ft) by 32 synchronously controlled hydraulic cylinders. The eight-leg platform, Eugene Island 330C, in 76 m (250 ft) of water originally was installed in the early 1970s. In 2005, Hurricane Rita passed through the field causing significant damage to EI 330C and claimed connecting platform EI 330S. In order to prevent repeated damage from future storms, EI 330C and neighboring platform EI 330B, which had also suffered significant damage from the hurricane, Devon teamed with Versabar to raise both platforms.

Due to the size of the hurricanes during the 2005 season and resulting uncertainty in future requalification metocean criteria, Devon Energy decided to have the platforms qualified to meet API RP 2A, Section 17, A-I criteria, even though the platforms were classified as A-2. Analysis showed that by raising the decks 4.25 m (14 ft), the effects of wave-in-deck loading would be removed and a comfortable air gap established. Analysis also showed that the additional leg movements attributable to increased platform leg length would not affect the structural integrity of the platform. The deck-raising was sanctioned by Devon and partners in May 2006, with raising operations for the two decks completed by November.



Figure 12. EI 330 C Platform “before and after”.

Regarding the nonsense about sea level rise, the EI 330 air gap restoration was not to cope with a few inches of sea level rise. It was due to seafloor subsidence and damage inflicted by a couple of really bad hurricanes in 2005.

Those two hurricanes did almost as much damage to Gulf of Mexico oil production as the Obama maladministration did.

Figure 13. Obama damage vs hurricane damage

Despite some bad hurricanes and an even worse Obama, the Gulf is still kicking @$$, second only to the Permian Basin

Texas and the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico (GOM), the two largest crude oil production areas in the United States, both reached record levels of production in April at 4.97 million b/d and 1.98 million b/d, respectively. Oklahoma also reached a record production level of 617,000 b/d.


Despite pipeline capacity constraints, the Permian region’s month-over-month growth averaged nearly 100,000 b/d for almost all of 2018. Industry efficiencies in pipeline utilization and increased trucking and rail transport in the region have allowed crude oil production to continue to grow. In the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, EIA forecasts that Permian production will average 4.4 million b/d in 2019, a 920,000 b/d increase from its 2018 average.


Figure 14. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly and State Energy Data System

It’s the waves, not sea level rise

Offshore production platforms and drilling rigs are designed to operate in the oceans.  Oceans have these things called “waves.”  Waves are a lot bigger than sea level rise.  And the industry has steadily improved the survivability of platforms over the past 50 years. Changing-Practice-in-Gulf-of-Mexico-Design-and-Operating-Criteria (1)

Fixed platforms are designed to have a minimum air gap above the crest of 100-yr waves.  The estimated 100-yr waves and air gaps are very large relative to sea level rise.

Figure 15. Typical fixed offshore platform.  ASME

Simply put… 1-2 ft. of sea level rise per century is irrelevant to a platform designed to last less than 50 years, deal with 10 ft. of seafloor subsidence and handle 75 ft. waves…

Deck height
Deck height is the vertical distance from the still water surface to the underside of the lowest deck structural element on the platform. It is important to construct oil platform decks high enough above the water’s surface to avoid waves washing over the top, which could overload the platform and destroy it. While deck heights can be too low for several reasons, the two most common are:

Age — Older platform decks were set low because of available construction equipment at the time and because of a lack of knowledge of wave heights in the Gulf of Mexico and;

Subsidence — Some areas of the Gulf of Mexico floor have experience several feet of subsidence, or settling, related to production.

Usually, significant settling is found in older platforms because it can take 20 years to obtain 8 to 12 feet of subsidence. For example a platform installed in 250 feet of water 35 years ago may have been installed with a deck height of 45 feet. But after 20 years of production from multiple wells, there may be 10 feet of subsidence that reduces deck height to, say, 35 feet — leaving the platform more vulnerable to wave-in-deck loads never considered in the original design.

Whereas it would take a 75-foot wave height to reach the original deck when it was 45 feet above the still water surface, it would only require a 58-foot wave to reach the same point on the deck with 10 feet of subsidence. The chance of a 75-foot wave occurring at a platform site in the Gulf of Mexico in any given year is about 1 percent while the chance of a 58-foot wave is about 6 percent — placing the subsided platform at a significantly higher risk.

Insurance Journal

Charles P. Pierce earns a Ron White lifetime achievement award…

Figure 16. You really can’t.

About the author

I have been a geophysicist/geologist in the oil & gas industry since 1981, a member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists since 1981 and American Association of Petroleum Geologists since 2004. The vast majority of my career has been spent exploring for oil & gas under the Gulf of Mexico.


Gebara JM, Dolan D, Pawsey S, Jeanjean P, Dahl-Stamnes K. “Assessment of Offshore Platforms Under Subsidence—Part I: Approach”. ASME. J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. 2000;122(4):260-266. doi:10.1115/1.1313530.

Möller, F. (1963). “On the influence of changes in the CO2 concentration in air on the radiation balance of the Earth’s surface and on the climate”. J. Geophys. Res., 68(13), 3877–3886, doi:10.1029/JZ068i013p03877.

National Research Council. 1979. “Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment”. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://ift.tt/2MW45W6.

Further Reading

What did ExxonMobil Know and when did they know it? (Part 1)

What did ExxonMobil Know and when did they know it? (Part Deux, “Same as it ever was.”)

What did ExxonMobil Know and when did they know it? (Part 3, Exxon: The Fork Not Taken

“Smoke & Fumes”… The dumbest attack on ExxonMobil evah’

“Smoke & Fumes,” Part Deux: Exxon Knew “The entire theory of climatic changes by CO2 variations is questionable.”

Even dumber than the dumbest attack on ExxonMobil evah’

What Did Shell Know and When Did They Know It?

The Guardian: “Climate change denial won’t even benefit oil companies soon”… Is it even grammatically possible to deny climate change?

NY Attorney General Defies Judge’s Order in Exxon Case

HuffPost: The Dumbest #ExxonKnew Article… EVAH!

via Watts Up With That?


August 10, 2019 at 04:54PM

One thought on “#ExxonKnew Epic Fail: Oil Companies DID NOT build “their rigs to account for sea-level rise””

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