BP #oilpocalypse update

The oil spill has reached the Louisiana wetlands. NOAA has closed almost a fifth of the Gulf to fishing. The spill has also reached the Loop Current, which could take it around Florida and up the east coast. Apparently BP is considering something called a “Top Kill” after the failure of “top hat” and presumably the inapplicability of “junk shot”.

Firedoglake has comprehensive coverage not only of the spill and efforts to contain it, but also of the role BP has been playing in stymieing public and potentially governmental access to information about the spill.

Meanwhile the Federal government has apparently become suddenly concerned about the environmental consequences of BP’s unprecedented use of toxic dispersant chemicals.

Note: This video is from May 10th, when oil reaching these vulnerable ecosystems was still a hypothetical:

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5 responses to “BP #oilpocalypse update

  1. The Destructionist

    While watching the latest news about the BP Oil spill, a frightening thought came to mind: what if we can’t stop the oil? I mean, what happens if after all the measures to cap the pipe fail, (i.e., “Top Hat”, “Small Hat” and “Top Kill”). What then? An accident this problematic is new territory for BP. The oil pipeline is nearly a mile down on the ocean floor, accessible only by robots. Add on top of that the extreme pressure at which the oil is flowing out of the pipeline and there you have it: the perfect storm.

    Moreover, scientists also claim that they’ve found an enormous plume of oil floating just under the surface of the ocean measuring approximately 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick. (I’m no math genius, but I bet one of you reading this could figure out just how many barrels of oil that is…)

    There are new estimates that the amount of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico is anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 barrels of oil a day: that’s a far cry from BP’s estimated 5,000 barrels a day. If BP’s estimates are correct, the total amount of oil now in the Gulf would be approximately 150,000 barrels (or 6,300,000 gallons). That’s barely enough to fill 286 swimming pools: sixteen feet, by thirty-two feet, by eight and a half feet deep. That wouldn’t cover an area the size of New York City, let alone an area the size of Delaware. Obviously, the spill is much larger than we are being led to believe. If the leak can’t be stopped, in a year’s time, we’ll have roughly 18,250,000 barrels of oil (or 766,500,000 gallons) in our oceans, killing our marine and animal wildlife. Such a calamity would be environmentally and economically disastrous. I’m not a religious man, but I pray that BP and our government work fast to end this catastrophe.

    http://www.calculateme.com/Volume/Barrels(Petroleum)/ToGallons.htm

    http://blogs.howstuffworks.com/2010/05/17/latest-news-from-the-oil-spill-in-the-gulf-of-mexico-is-grim/

    http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/dailyloaf/2010/05/20/scientist-says-oil-spill-is-leaking-100000-barrels-of-oil-a-day-not-bps-estimate-of-5000/

  2. BP put up a video stream after Congress twisted arms.
    http://firedoglake.com/bp-oil-disaster/live-video-bps-oil-gusher-in-the-gulf-of-mexico/

    Two sources visible, one to the rear at the right that seems mostly oil with gas mixed in, and one below the front foreground coming up near the camera that’s sometimes a narrow column of bubbles and sometimes big billows of bubbles with white solid chunks in it (methane hydrate ice?); occasionally the one nearer the camera spits oil as well, I just watched some dark brown stuff spatter right onto the camera lens a few minutes ago, leaving a dark smear at top center that’s hung on for a while.

    There’s a lot more going on and a lot more variation than those few still images released earlier showed.

  3. This is a non-story. “The oil might seep in here. The grasses might die. The worms and crabs might die.”

    Phytoplankton feeding on the oil might give rise to an increase in the biodiversity and fish stocks in the area.

    Wave action might dissipate most of the oil before is has much impact.

    But lets not mention or explore those maybes, lets just get alarmed about what might happen to the worm and crabs and grass, even though we don’t have much idea about any of the oil effects really.

    As I said, a non-story.

  4. There’s a nice article in the NYT op-ed today by MacDonald et al. They estimate the median per-day discharge of something over 60 to 75k barrels/day, based on an analysis involving image analysis of satellite and pipe images. Taking 70k as the mean, that equates to just short of 100 million gallons to date, with at least half of it deep underwater.

    emote sensing and image ana

  5. There’s a nice article in the NYT op-ed today by MacDonald et al. They estimate the median per-day discharge of something over 60 to 75k barrels/day, based on an analysis involving image analysis of satellite and pipe images. Taking 70k as the mean, that equates to just short of 100 million gallons to date, with at least half of it deep underwater.

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