Facebook’s “Offshore Drilling” Mishap

By David Middleton – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Facebook abandons broken drilling equipment under Oregon coast seafloor
Updated Aug 13, 2020

By Kale Williams | The Oregonian/OregonLive

Despite their concerns, and a vocal campaign to stop the project, construction began earlier this year.

Then, on April 28, the drilling crew hit an unexpected area of hard rock. The drill bit became lodged and the drill pipe snapped 50 feet below the seafloor. The crew was able to recover some of the equipment, but they left the rest where it lay.

Today, about 1,100 feet of pipe, a drill tip, various other tools and 6,500 gallons of drilling fluid sit under the seafloor just off the central Oregon coast. Facebook has no plans to retrieve the equipment.

Edge Cable Holdings, a Facebook subsidiary responsible for the project, notified the county of the accident on May 5, but it did not explicitly mention the abandoned equipment. That information didn’t emerge until a meeting with state officials June 17, nearly two months after the malfunction, said Ali Hansen, a Department of State Lands spokeswoman.

“The delay in notification eliminated any potential options for recovery of the equipment,” Hansen said in an email. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the company’s new plan is to return in early 2021 to drill a new hole, leaving the lost equipment under the seafloor indefinitely.


The Oregonian

The drilling incident occurred on April 28, 2020. They didn’t notify the Oregon Department of State Lands about the incident until June 19, thus eliminating “any potential options for recovery of the equipment,”

This is literally hilarious:

Some of the equipment was retrieved, but 6,500 gallons of drilling fluid inside containers, a drill tip and at least 1,100 feet of pipe were left behind, with Facebook telling Oregon Live that efforts to retrieve the equipment could be more environmentally harmful than leaving it there.


It would even be more hilarious if the government bankrupted Facebook forcing them to keep trying to retrieve the “equipment” despite the fact that “efforts to retrieve the equipment could be more environmentally harmful than leaving it there”… just like they did to Taylor Energy.

When you twist off the drill pipe like that, leaving it there and cementing it in is almost always to safest thing to do.

The way this story played out was priceless:

Facebook riles tiny Oregon coast town with plan for undersea cable
Updated Jan 09, 2020

By The Associated Press
TIERRA DEL MAR — A battle playing out in a tiny Oregon town with no stoplights or cellphone service is pitting residents against one of the world’s biggest tech companies.

Locals in coastal Tierra del Mar are trying to stop Facebook from using property in their quiet community to build a landing spot for an ultra high-speed, undersea cable connecting America with Asia.

Representatives of the social media giant say Tierra del Mar is one of the few places on the U.S. West Coast suitable for the cable, which will feature the latest fiber optic technologies. It will link multiple U.S. locations, including Facebook’s huge data center in the central Oregon town of Prineville, with Japan and the Philippines, and will help meet an increasing demand for internet services worldwide, the company says.

But locals say vibrations from drilling to bring the submarine cable ashore in this village of some 200 houses might damage home foundations and septic systems. They also point out that Tierra del Mar, arrayed along a pristine beach, is zoned residential. If the county and state allow the project, they say, more commercial ventures will come calling.


Residents’ attention turned to Facebook in 2018 when a subsidiary bought the empty lot for the cable landing from former NFL and University of Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington. County records show Edge Cable Holdings, USA, paid him $495,000 for the beachfront property, about the size of 10 tennis courts.

Locals worry the project will pave the way for cell towers, power junctions and additional cable sites.


The Oregonian

Tierra del Mar is so small and rural, that it has “no stoplights or cellphone service.” The town is 100% zoned residential. Yet, somehow Facebook’s subsidiary was able to purchase the lot and secure permit approvals to land the fiber-optic cable there. Even funnier: The subsidiary is the drilling contractor, Edge Cable Holdings… Facebook owns a drilling contractor.

While horizontal drilling is by its very nature, “challenging,” one has to wonder how they ran into an unexpected rock formation 50 feet below the seafloor. They must have run a shallow hazard or some other geotechnical survey.

The more I dig, the funnier this gets…

Facebook development meets opposition in Tierra Del Mar
Cody Mann May 10, 2019 Updated Sep 16, 2019

Coastal residents are reportedly organizing to stop what they say amounts to a fracking project under a pristine beach.

A letter was recently circulated in the community of Tierra Del Mar, to news organizations, and beyond warning of a proposed industrial drilling project. Opponents say the project risks sand dune contamination, “frack-out” emergencies, damage to foundations and septic systems of homes as well as endangering a threatened species nesting nearby.

The letter refers to Edge Cable Holdings USA, LLC, a Facebook subsidiary seeking permits from Tillamook County to bring ashore a submarine fiber optic cable at an oceanfront residential lot in Tierra Del Mar.


Reed also clarified how horizontal drilling differs from fracking. Horizontal drilling uses a drill head to bore a small path through rock and sand, while hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking and used primarily in oil and gas projects, involves filling a borehole with liquid under high pressure to force open rock fissures. Reed said fracking would not be used for the project.


Responding to concerns about fracking-style drilling, Absher said the scope of the permit review is limited to the two applications previously mentioned. She said the company is required to provide a hydrologic study for development on the property due to potential groundwater resources at the site.

“Any concerns related to drilling of any kind will be addressed through this study,” Absher said.

Reed said Facebook’s contractor, Subcom, has performed geotechnical surveys including soil and water sampling and testing beyond what is typically required by permitting agencies. He said Subcom has also offered in public community meetings to perform property inspections once permits are secured, and again after the work is completed, for any of the adjacent properties to ensure no damage has been done to water, septic or sewer systems, or property.


Tilamook Headlight Herald

Are people really so ignorant that they think frac’ing and drilling are the same thing? Rhetorical question.

The Jupiter cable system is 14,600 km long. The sponsoring consortium consists of Amazon, Facebook, NTT, PCCW Global, PLDT and SoftBank. The main trunk connects Japan with Hermosa Beach, California. The problematic Oregon branch is solely for the use of Facebook.


Submarine Cable Networks


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