Gulf Oil Spill Reaches Land
In reality, everything is pure speculation at this point because this scenario has NEVER been encountered before. Who’s to say that mud being pumped in is not being lost to formation. And that was my point. The key is to stabilize the flow before they get to thenext step.
The top kill has a slim chance I think as there are a lot of holes to fill.
HT to Tom for the link to this blog.
Experts Propose Plugging Oil Leak with BP Executives
Submerging Execs Could Be ‘Win-Win’
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – At a conference of oil leak experts in Washington today, attendees proposed plugging the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico with executives of BP, the company responsible for the catastrophic spill.
“We’ve tried containment domes, rubber tires, and even golf balls,” said William Cathermeyer of the National Oil Leakage Institute, a leading consultancy in the field of oil leaks. “Now it’s time to shove some BP executives down there and hope for the best.”
Submerging the oil company executives thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface could be a “win-win” situation, Mr. Cathermeyer said.
“Best-case scenario, they plug the leak,” he said. “And at the very least, they’ll shut the f up.”
But even as the oil leak experts proposed their unorthodox solution, environmental expert Marilyn Sufranski warned of the possible negative consequences of plugging the oil leak with BP executives.
“The Gulf of Mexico is slimy enough already,” she said. More here.
This is a pretty good site for following the disaster in the Gulf.
22-mile oil plume under Gulf nears rich waters
NEW ORLEANS – A thick, 22-mile plume of oil discovered by researchers off the BP spill site was nearing an underwater canyon, where it could poison the foodchain for sealife in the waters off
The discovery by researchers on the
University of South Florida College of Marine Science’s Weatherbird II vessel is the second significant undersea plume reported since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20. The plume is more than 6 miles wide and its presence was reported Thursday.
The cloud was nearing a large underwater canyon whose currents fuel the foodchain in Gulf waters off Florida and could potentially wash the tiny plants and animals that feed larger organisms in a stew of toxic chemicals, another researcher said Friday.
Larry McKinney, executive director of the
Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, said the DeSoto Canyon off the Florida Panhandle sends nutrient-rich water from the deep sea up to shallower waters.
McKinney said that in a best-case scenario, oil riding the current out of the canyon would rise close enough to the surface to be broken down by sunlight. But if the plume remains relatively intact, it could sweep down the west coast of Florida as a toxic soup as far as the Keys, through what he called some of the most productive parts of the
The plume was detected just beneath the surface down to about 3,300 feet, said
David Hollander, associate professor of chemical oceanography at USF.
Hollander said the team detected the thickest amount of hydrocarbons, likely from the oil spewing from the blown out well, at about 1,300 feet in the same spot on two separate days this week.
The discovery was important, he said, because it confirmed that the substance found in the water was not naturally occurring and that the plume was at its highest concentration in
deeper waters. The researchers will use further testing to determine whether the hydrocarbons they found are the result of dispersants or the emulsification of oil as it traveled away from the well.
The first such plume detected by scientists stretched from the well southwest toward the open sea, but this new undersea oil cloud is headed miles inland into shallower waters where many fish and other species reproduce.
The researchers say they are worried these undersea plumes may be the result of the unprecedented use of chemical dispersants to break up the oil a mile undersea at the site of the leak.
Hollander said the oil they detected has dissolved into the water, and is no longer visible, leading to fears from researchers that the toxicity from the oil and dispersants could pose a big danger to fish larvae and creatures that filter the waters for food.
“There are two elements to it,” Hollander said. “The plume reaching waters on the
continental shelf could have a toxic effect on fish larvae, and we also may see a long term response as it cascades up the food web.”
Dispersants contain surfactants, which are similar to dishwashing soap.
Louisiana State University researcher who has studied their effects on marine life said that by breaking oil into small particles, surfactants make it easier for fish and other animals to soak up the oil’s toxic chemicals. That can impair the animals’ immune systems and cause reproductive problems.
“The oil’s not at the surface, so it doesn’t look so bad, but you have a situation where it’s more available to fish,” said Kevin Kleinow, a professor in LSU’s
school of veterinary medicine.
28 May, 2010 — Dandelion SaladNorthern Lights Glow Over Alaskan Pipeline
With the Gulf Coast dying of oil poisoning, there’s no space in the press for British Petroleum’s latest spill, just this week: over 100,000 gallons, at its Alaska pipeline operation. A hundred thousand used to be a lot. Still is.
On Tuesday, Pump Station 9, at Delta Junction on the 800-mile pipeline, busted. Thousands of barrels began spewing an explosive cocktail after ‘procedures weren’t properly implemented’ by BP operators. ‘Procedures weren’t properly implemented’ is, it seems, BP’s company motto.
Few Americans know that BP owns the controlling stake in the trans-Alaska pipeline; but, unlike with the Deepwater Horizon, BP keeps its Limey name off the Big Pipe.
There’s another reason to keep their name off the Pipe: their management of the pipe stinks. It’s corroded, it’s undermanned and ‘basic maintenance’ is a term BP never heard of.
Continue reading …
News in the gulf regarding BP’s oil leak is grim.has reportedly failed although BP says it will continue efforts.
Worse yet, Matt Simmons says “is a sideshow, misses the big problem, and we might need nukes to seal the leak.
Houston, the fourth largest city in the country, is going to be a ghost town before this is all over. I think there might be some public lynchings as well.
Who needs terrorists when you have the oil companies on your side?
comprehensive overview of this disastrous event:
Besides the catastrophic damage to marine life and wetlands for decades upon decades to come, I found this part quite alarming:
Something we have learned in every large marine oil spill around the world deserves repeating here — once oil is spilled, the battle is lost, and the damage is done. Oil spill response and “cleanup” has never been effective, and a 10% recovery rate is considered a “successful” response by most experienced responders. Indeed, “oil spill cleanup” is a pretentious façade, that has never worked effectively, and it seems to serve more of a palliative and public relations role. And rehabilitating oiled wildlife and ecosystems is impossible, but must be tried. The BP OSRP for the Gulf called for the deployment within 72 hours of response equipment capable of recovering over 450,000 barrels of oil per day, but obviously this didn’t happen. The plan also called for attention to “walruses, sea otters, and sea lions” which of course do not occur in the region, indicating they simply cut-and-pasted parts of the Gulf oil spill plan from other regions, likely Alaska. And the link provided for a list of equipment from their main response contractor – the Marine Spill Response Corporation – takes you instead to a comical Japanese home shopping network.
Although mechanical recovery of oil from the sea surface is the preferred method for all spill response, as it attempts to remove oil from the marine environment, it has been largely ineffective in this spill because the oil is so emulsified with sea water that its density is approximately the same as sea water, and mostly just sinks beneath the booms when contact is made. The sorbent booms along shorelines are collecting some of the oil before it reaches the shore, but the oil is still reaching the beaches. From sand beaches, it is relatively easy cleanup task – remove the contaminated sand. But as the oil enters the sensitive muddy wetland marshes along the north Gulf coast, it will not be possible to remove without causing more damage. There may be opportunity to add fertilizers to enhance the indigenous bacteria community, to aid biodegradation of the oil in the marsh muds, but even this may be of limited help.
The chemical dispersants being used on the surface and at the blowout are a particular concern. Never has there been such heavy use of chemical dispersant in any oil spill response. The product being used – Corexit 9500 – is intended to break oil into smaller droplets in order to speed natural breakdown into harmless substances. The problem is that the dispersant is itself toxic, the oil is even more toxic, and research has shown that the combination of the oil and dispersant is even more toxic than the sum of the individual toxicities alone – there is a synergistic toxicity. Further, if the dispersant works as intended, it will simply transfer the impact from the sea surface down deeper into the water column, thereby exposing the upper water column biological community to more toxic contamination. As the dispersed oil mixture is know to be very toxic, the cardinal rule in use of dispersants is to never use them in shallow water near shore as this would contaminate the productive sea bed communities. In the Deepwater Horizon, the offshore surface waters contaminated with oil / dispersant have flowed up the continental shelf, and into shallow inshore estuaries, thereby contaminating the productive inshore habitat from surface to seabed. Plus, if the dispersant is working as designed, it will make mechanical recovery from the sea surface virtually impossible.
The dispersant use at-depth at the blowout is a novel approach, having never been attempted before. This use should only be allowed if it is conclusively shown that the oil droplet size exiting the jet plume from the blowout can be significantly reduced by the addition of the chemical dispersant. I have asked both the U.S. NOAA and EPA for any data that show this, and at the time of writing, none have been provided. In fact, to date EPA’s monitoring of dispersant and oil in water, sediment and air is all conducted near shore.
Further, when the Coast Guard and EPA ordered BP to find a less toxic dispersant on May 19, BP responded essentially “no.” Their letter responding to the government directive contained a number of factual and typographical errors, and they missed any discussion of one dispersant – JD-2000 – that is not only far less toxic than Corexit and other products, but it is also far more effective on south Louisiana crude oil. In response to BP’s “no”, the U.S. government simply said: ‘well OK, then please use less of the substandard product.’