Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Oil disaster strikes unexpectedly

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Disasters can be due to many factors.  Some we call natural disasters such as earthquake, fire, storm, tornadoes, volcanoes or wave/tsunami damage and they can lead to many deaths and terrible destruction of property. Some disasters are man made and are the result of lack of knowledge, failure to gain information or simply stupidity.  

Some oil workers were employed by the Texaco Oil Company to drill for oil in a lake in Louisiana. The place was Lake Peigneur and so they went with the latest sophisticated equipment and started to drill.  This all took place in November 1980.  Apparently their calculations informed them that there was an abundance of oil in the area and that it would soon gush to the surface. They drilled for several hours and then they decided to sit back and wait for the expected upsurge of oil from below.  Their expectations were to be sadly dashed and a dreadful disaster took place that day.

Instead of oil gushing upwards a whirlpool formed and all the water in the entire 1,300 acre lake was sucked down below.  Also five houses on the shoreline were sucked in to the whirlpool as well as eleven barges, some tug boats, two oil rigs and a mobile home.  That was not all as the nearby botanical garden was also destroyed and Jefferson Island lost ten percent of its land surface.  The end result was a half-mile crater. One local fisherman said that he thought the world was coming to an end. It was a dramatic conclusion to an attempt to find oil.
The problem was that no one had informed the drillers that there was a salt mine under the lake.  The drill reached the caverns where the salt had been previously extracted with disastrous results. The air displaced caused geysers to shoot up to 400 feet into the air from the salt mine shafts  and for a few days the water formed a waterfall of 164 feet in height making it the tallest ever in the state of Louisiana.  Sadly salt water refilled the lake from the nearby bay via the Delcambe Canal.  Incredibly as the water pressure equalised  nine of the eleven barges popped back up to the surface and refloated. 

If only someone had informed the drillers of what actually lay below the surface.  If they had received that important knowledge they could have avoided what was a serious local disaster.  It is also true that as we grow up we make mistakes, things go wrong, we make bad decisions and so often have to live with the consequences.  Sometimes we wish someone had informed us, given us advice, given us the benefit of their experience and yet sometimes we can be too arrogant, too proud and too self-sufficient to want to learn from others or to learn from the past.

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

This is especially true when it comes to receiving the knowledge of God.  We so often exclude the Lord as of no consequence or of no relevance to our lives today.  We think we have advanced beyond needing the Bible’s message and the wise words of the Lord Jesus.  Yet ultimately we all stand or fall eternally in terms of our response to the person of Christ.  Do we accept or reject Him and His offer of salvation?  Do we think deeply about the issues of life and the purpose for living? Do we wonder and contemplate what lies ahead, even beyond the grave?  The Lord Jesus has something to say about all these vital and important issues and it would greatly benefit us to gain knowledge and information from Him by reading His Word, the Bible and letting it speak to our hearts.

Written by PAUL YOUNG


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