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Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Gulf of Mexico Update on BP Oil Spill

The Gulf of Mexico is not as clean as they say

The task of assessing the true toll of the Deepwater Horizon blow-out is only now starting, says Geoffrey Lean.

So is it now safe to go back into the Gulf of Mexico? A year after the Deepwater Horizon blow-out – which killed 11 workers and spilled 4.9 million barrels of oil – it might seem so.
Beaches along the coast look like they're back to their breathtaking normal, the ecologically sensitive Louisiana wetlands seem full of life again, and resorts are hoping that tourists will start flocking back. Only 0.4 per cent of American waters there are still closed to fishing – down from more than a third last summer – and prawn catches were actually nearly 10 per cent higher in January and February than at the same time last year.
Two weeks ago, the Obama administration gave the first go-ahead for a new deep water well since the disaster (it had already issued permits for six previously approved ones). The clean-up force has been cut from 52,000 to 6,000, and, two months ago, the head of the government's special claims fund said research he had commissioned showed that the area would have almost fully recovered by next year.
And yet we are still only near the beginning of the story – for oil spills, like other environmental emergencies, have a short acute phase, followed by a long chronic one. As so far at Fukushima, the acute phase has gone better than once seemed possible – but the long-term consequences remain unknown.
Mercifully, even miraculously, the Gulf has been spared the devastation that looked all too probable in the early weeks of the crisis, when the gushing oil seemed unstoppable, and the winds were blowing an ever-growing slick straight towards the wildlife-rich marshes of the Mississippi Delta. The winds changed just in time and – together with favourable currents and the flow of the great river itself – held the oil offshore long enough for it to dissipate: BP's spraying of 1.84 million gallons of dispersants also helped.
But while catastrophe was averted, the task of assessing the true toll is only now starting. It is highly charged, both commercially – since the result may decide how much may have to be paid in compensation – and politically, since Barack Obama, damaged by his hesitant handling of the crisis, has been over-eager in declaring it over.
It is worth bearing in mind that the effects of the acute stage are more serious than they might appear. One hundred dead cetaceans, for example, washed ashore – but, as a rule of thumb, 50 times as many such whales and dolphins sink at sea, making the likely toll around 5,000. Similarly the 8,065 oiled birds recovered are bound to be only a small fraction of those affected; in a ghoulish exercise, researchers will dump avian carcasses overboard this summer to see what proportion make it to land through the shark-infested sea.
Nor are all the beaches as idyllic as they appear to be. Many have an oil layer beneath the sand, while others are strewn with tiny fragments of tar balls. Huge mats of weathered oil are plaguing surf zones where the waves crash in. Parts of the wetlands are seriously contaminated, too.
There may be other surprises in store. For several years after the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound, the herring population seemed to have survived – but then crashed, never to recover. Birds that fed on affected shellfish in the area have had trouble breeding. And follow-up studies after a 1969 spill off Massachusetts found crabs still badly affected four decades later.
The biggest – and most hotly contested – issue is particular to this accident, which uniquely took place nearly a mile beneath the sea. Scientists increasingly expect that the greatest effects will take place in the deep ocean, but determining them, in the words of one US government expert will be "probably one of the most challenging things ever".
The official American position is that "most of the oil is gone" and, indeed, Department of Energy research suggested that naturally-occuring microbes did a good job of gobbling it up. But Prof Samantha Joye, of the University of Georgia – who has actually been to the sea floor in a submarine many times before and after the accident – tells a different story after finding an enormous "graveyard" covered in a thick coat of pollution. She reckons that the microbes managed to munch up only a tenth of the oil.
Perhaps most ominously is anecdotal evidence of illnesses among clean-up workers and other Gulf Coast residents, with blood containing elevated levels of the chemicals found in oil. A $19 million official study of 55,000 people has been launched to determine any health effects.
True, it could all have been so much worse. But, a year on, the story of Deepwater Horizon is still far from coming to a close.


59 comments:

  1. I gues we are talking about oil and energy again and that is good but to be honest I do not see a story here.

    No matter what happens now or in years from now, BP, the government, US Coast Guard and other forces that battled the Mississippi Gulf oil spill should take lots of credit. Further undersea ecological disasters that could hurt
    marine organisms, far fell short of the doom and gloom catastrophism of antediluvian proportions predicted by some pessimistic marine biologists and oceanographers.

    Nature has a way of replenishing itself. This is more effective in a constantly flowing environment like the sea that washes into the vast, unfathomable ocean. Who would have believed that barely a year after the Deep Horizon oil spill, life has almost returned to normal in Louisiana coast with the seafood industry performing almost like it was unscathed.

    One factor was deployment of adequate, if not enormous resources: BP spent $19 billion on the spill-containment operations. 46,000 people participated. 9,700 vessels and 127 aircrafts were deployed. 4 million feet of hard
    oil-containment boom and 10 million feet of light boom were used.

    The US Coast Guard deployed 7,000 active personnel along with 60 others. 32 equipment centers were established. 47 countries offered assistance: Among them, Great Britain, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Japan and France, according to an article written by Karen Nelson in the April 14 on line edition of Biloxi (Mississippi) Sun Herald.

    With such abundant deployment of resources it"s very unlikely that the spill was not adequately addressed. Surely, the oil-spill impact will not completely disappear so rapidly.
    The people of Deep South United States and the coastal areas are gratefful that the worst nightmares envisioned did not materialize.

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  2. It isn't the oil rigs that keep people from swimming in the gulf. It's the jelly fish, swamps, alligators, marshes and mosquitoes. That's why they make swimming pools.

    ReplyDelete
  3. [Saudi King] Abdullah views President [Barack] Obama as a threat to his internal security. He fears that in the event of a widespread revolt, Obama will demand that he leave office, just as he did to Mubarak, that other long-time friend of the United States...

    The ailing 87-year-old Saudi king fears the United States has naively sided with pro-democracy demonstrators against long-time friends...

    In addition, the Pentagon is reviewing a more recent Saudi request to buy US$20-billion of medium-range surface ships, equipped with integrated air and missile defences, helicopters and patrol craft...

    As the world’s biggest oil producer, any hint of instability in Saudi Arabia could panic world oil markets and sink all talk of a U.S. economic recovery...


    $200 oil, $7 gas, one term for Obama.

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  4. [Saudi King] Abdullah views President [Barack] Obama as a threat to his internal security.

    Best news in a decade.
    That is if one wants justice for the 11SEP01 attacks upon the US in NYCity and Washington DC.

    Better that than having the President of the US dance a victory jig, arm in arm with the Princes

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  5. The people on your favorite stock market show don't want to talk about it, but if you listen carefully, you will hear the Fed Reserve Governors, the IMF, the World Bank, and almost every other "autoritative" source refer to

    "Steadily increasing demand, and flat, to falling, supplies."

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  6. So many people that said that they'd

    "Never Forget"

    have.

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  7. Wholesale, Unleaded Front Month closed at $3.29, yesterday.

    Add $0.70 to that and we're at $3.99 gallon.


    Reminds me of that Ray Charles song, Here we go, Again

    One More Time, Again

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  8. 85% of Persian Gulf Oil (and, that includes Saudi Arabia) goes to Asia.

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  9. When I went to California, earlier this month, diesel was $4.35 in some locales.

    It was under %4.00 in Parker, AZ, on the east bank of the Colorado river. I was happy I only had to buy one fill-up, in California.

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  10. I think they've figured out that that BOP (blowout preventor) hadn't been tested, and/or overhauled in something like 9 years.

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  11. "Oil Movements" report that the little (400,000 bbl/day) surge out of OPEC that began at the end of last year (BEFORE) the Libyan Crisis petered out last month, and that OPEC exports are back to 1.3 Million bbl/day BELOW their Oct levels.

    They, also, report that OPEC Exports are dropping further, and that the 4 weeks till Apr 30 will be below the most recent period.

    ReplyDelete
  12. An interesting thing happened in the last couple of months. The best I can figure out, most of that 25 Million Barrels of Iranian oil that was in "floating storage" ended up in the U.S.

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  13. The EIA, week after week, kept coming up with these mysterious upward revisions to the oil inventories that no one could explain. Meantime, that Iranian oil just kind of "disappeared."

    Politics are politics, and sanctions are sanctions, but "bizniss is bizniss."

    Mos' specially when it's "earl bizniss."

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  14. Anyways, that Iranian oil more or less made up for the lost Libyan crude for a month, but, now, it's back to the "real" world.

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  15. They just closed down a deep-water well off the coast of Nigeria. It was drilled in 2003, peaked at 160,000 bbl/day in 2006, and is now down to a level that isn't economic to pump.

    I think a lot of the people screaming about "Drill the Gulf," and "Drill here, Drill Now" don't realize how short the lifespan of a deep-water well really is.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Blogger Sun Sue said...

    [Saudi King] Abdullah views President [Barack] Obama as a threat to his internal security. He fears that in the event of a widespread revolt, Obama will demand that he leave office, just as he did to Mubarak, that other long-time friend of the United States...

    The ailing 87-year-old Saudi king fears the United States has naively sided with pro-democracy demonstrators against long-time friends...

    In addition, the Pentagon is reviewing a more recent Saudi request to buy US$20-billion of medium-range surface ships, equipped with integrated air and missile defences, helicopters and patrol craft...

    As the world’s biggest oil producer, any hint of instability in Saudi Arabia could panic world oil markets and sink all talk of a U.S. economic recovery...

    ah...they want democracy everywhere....come to india...taste the real democracy.democracy in parliament,schools colleges,hospitals...ah...im fed up of democracy...

    ReplyDelete
  17. we are having elections for the college union in our college.man...(democracy)you can see the smuck it has created.Candidates bribing voters with parties,alcohol,and ...But democracy is good.You can be a leader no matter how unqualified you are...and when oil spilled in the arabian sea nobody asked ..some minister took care of it..

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  18. http://www.rejuvenation-science.com/prevagen.html


    Jellyfish for your health.

    dwr

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  19. Man, that was fast.

    When you leave a kernel of corn on the ground, or feed it to a cow, or make corn flakes out of it, or whatever, eventually about a third of its weight will escape back into the atmosphere as CO2.

    When an ethanol biorefinery processes a bushel of corn it gets about 1/3 back as ethanol, 1/3 back as Distillers Grains (high-protein cattle feed,) and 1/3 out as CO2 (many of the refineries market this gas for use in making dry ice, etc.) Refineries that don't have a market just vent it back into the atmosphere (where it always ends up, eventually, anyway.)

    Many people have always wondered when the industry will get around to using this CO2 to grow Algae for Biodiesel. Great Plains Renewable Energy decided to have a go at it. This is important because GPRE is a Very Good Company. Efficient, and Profitable.

    They just had a Grand Opening of their first facility.

    This is the type of thing that scares Exxon, the Sauds, and their WSJ/Fox News sockpuppets to death.

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  20. Someone, either Doug, or Quirk, quoted a source in the previous thread that stated that no cars had ever been powered by cellulosic ethanol.

    That is, Absolutely, Not True. All of Inbicon's production (about 1.3 Million Gallons/yr IIRC) is blended in E10, and E85. Most, if not all of it, is used in Denmark I believe.

    Also, Shell/Iogen sold all of their production in Canada last year for use in, I think it was, E5.

    ReplyDelete
  21. These people will probably be the first really big players in cellulosic ethanol.

    Jeff Broin owns 26 ethanol plants, and has been working hard on setting up the harvesting, storage, and processing engineering for several years.

    Corn Stover/Cobs are the First Logical Step

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  22. If you eat jellyfish and spinach long as its not radioactive you'll probably live a long time but what the hell is the point of it as we all know or should know by now its sparagmos gets you there where ever there is but its a way of thinking about things I've talked about too long I think it is ridiculous the Cubans and Chinese and others are drilling in the Gulf and we aren't but that's just me.

    dwr

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  23. This is what Poet intends to process in One biorefinery in a little over a month.

    Tons of Biomass

    ReplyDelete
  24. Rufus, I'm beginning to think, against my better judgement, that you know your shit.

    dwr

    ReplyDelete
  25. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077838/

    The Last Waltz Should Last Forever.

    dwr

    ReplyDelete
  26. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077838/

    The Last Waltz Should Last Forever.

    dwr

    ReplyDelete
  27. I've been pretty interested in this stuff for awhile, Bob.


    Since, along about the time I noticed that NO milkshake is "bottomless."

    ReplyDelete
  28. Rufus,

    wrt Inbicon, you left unanswered Quirk's questions in the previous thread.

    ReplyDelete
  29. A lot more people have been interested in it for a lot longer:

    Luckily the government did not commit us to a national program based on any of the hundreds of models that failed the industrial scalability test over the last few decades.

    ReplyDelete
  30. ...Syngas from Coal has worked at scale for decades in South Africa.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Sarah Palin just previewed her Campaign Speech. It was a doozey. There should be a Video up shortly.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Secunda CTL

    Secunda CTL is a synthetic fuel plant owned by Sasol at Secunda in South Africa. It uses coal liquefaction to produce petroleum-like synthetic crude oil from coal. The process used by Sasol is based on the Fischer–Tropsch process. It is the largest coal liquefaction plant in the world.

    Secunda CTL consists of two production units. The Sasol II unit was constructed in 1980 and the Sasol III unit in 1984.[1] It has total production capacity of 160,000 barrels per day (25,000 m3/d).[2]

    The Sasol III Steam Plant has a 301 m (988 ft) tall chimney which consists of a 292 m (958 ft) high windshield and four reinforced concrete flues which make it the tallest structure in South Africa.[3]

    As a major component of South Africa's economy, Secunda was in turn a major target of the African National Congress during the apartheid era. Two ANC attacks (and their aftermath) were dramatized in the 2006 film Catch a Fire.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Doug, you asked me to do some work last night. I did it. You didn't even say, "Thanks."

    Coal Gassification is a silly idea. Ungodly expensive (Sasol is subsidized, heavily, in SA,) Dirty as all get out, and, once again, traps you into using a depleting resource.

    And, no, we don't have "hundreds" of years of coal. We get 40% of our coal from Powder River Basin, and those mines are expected to be played out in 20 years. google it.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Which question would that be, Doug?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanks for what?

    You didn't even respond to my response to your "research"

    ReplyDelete
  36. What question...
    ...hopeless.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Pilot Plant

    POET's cellulosic ethanol research began where POET began -- at our first plant in Scotland, S.D.

    Now home to POET Research Center, our Scotland plant began cellulosic operations in late 2008. The site is a testing ground for the entire process before scaling it up to 25 million-gallon-per-year at Project LIBERTY.

    POET Research Center is also testing an anaerobic digester. We're preparing to use this technology on a commercial scale to power Project LIBERTY and our adjacent grain-based ethanol plant.

    The Scotland plant produces about 20,000 gallons of cellulosic ethanol annually, but more importantly, it allows POET to tinker with the process outside of the lab to get a feel for how it works in the real world. That tinkering has helped us drop the cost of cellulosic ethanol from about $4.13 per gallon when we started the pilot plant to about $2.35 today.

    ---

    We SHALL see, won't we?

    I hope it works.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Rat:

    King AbDUHla ain't the only one:

    Al Qaeda 'Thrives' After Dictators Fall...

    On the same day reports emerged of a new al Qaeda video that praised the revolutions sweeping the Arab world, one the U.S.'s top counter-terror officials warned the terror organization "thrives" in the political unrest that follows.

    "The governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen have drastically changed in the last six months," FBI Assistant Director of Counter-Terrorism Mark Giuliano said Thursday. "They are now led by transitional or interim governments, military regimes, or democratic alliances with no established track record on counterterrorism efforts. Al Qaeda thrives in such conditions and countries of weak governance and political instability -- countries in which governments may be sympathetic to their campaign of violence."

    ReplyDelete
  39. If Guiliano is wary of Islamic militant influence in the uprisings, especially in Libya, he's is not alone. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her fears the revolt in Libya would be exploited by terror groups at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting in early March.

    When President Obama authorized the U.S. government to provide covert support for the Libyan rebels later that month, the deal did not include arms provisions.

    "We don't know as much as we would like to know and as much as we expect we will know," Clinton said at the time of the rebels the U.S. was supporting.

    Eastern Libyan towns now associated with the rebel cause were just a few years before considered by the U.S. as havens for al Qaeda fighters, according to government documents.

    ReplyDelete
  40. "We don't know as much as we would like to know and as much as we expect we will know," Clinton said at the time of the rebels the U.S. was supporting."

    Well, Duh

    ReplyDelete
  41. Down here in Bay St. Louis the 287th Combat Engineer Company went fishing and they were not worried about the water and the fishing. Course these boys probably would go out anyway. This is what I love about environmentalists, even when there is no apparent problem they insist there are invisible issues we are just too unenlightened to notice. Let them just come on down and show us why we can't believe our lyin eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  42. It's Mother's
    Day here at one of our colleges.

    Mothers everywhere. Green mothers black mothers white mothers yellow mothers red mothers - mothers of all kinds - and all looking nice, kinda cheers one up.

    If only Miss T would turn off that durn rain.

    dwr

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hi Jack (don't say that when getting on a plane) -- even when there is no apparent problem they insist there are invisible issues we are just too unenlightened to notice.

    No one missed the wolves till some dope smoking Friend of the Clearwater hallucinated now we are starting to wonder where are all the elk? And those mountain caribou, who are going to take it in the ass in a nanobiosecond.

    dwr

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  44. http://www.friendsoftheclearwater.org/

    Friends of the Clearwater.

    Even I admit there are some nice folk there, on issues like the streams and stuff. It's just that they go a little nuts sometimes, like they be eating a lot of forest mushrooms.

    dwr

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  45. "We don't know as much as we would like to know and as much as we expect we will know," Clinton said at the time of the rebels the U.S. was supporting."

    Well, Duh


    It's all good, Doug.

    A slaughter

    A civil war.

    A partition.


    With the Europeans getting the oil.

    Obuma has hit one.

    dwr

    ReplyDelete
  46. And here I thought all these years Mohammed had come (peace be upon him) to bring peace to the tribes, to overcome tribal divisions.

    I am almost done with my book on Islamic mysticism. It is a good book, it is just the old perennial philosophy rewrit.

    I intend to drive you all nuts with it in a few days.

    dwr

    ReplyDelete
  47. There's another Mother.

    She has silver brown hair and a smile.

    Her daughter has a t-shirt that says "I raised hell in Oklahoma!"

    I don't know what that means.


    But I'm done with my lunch here.

    dwr

    ReplyDelete
  48. The woman
    With silver brown hair

    And a tired forgiving smile

    Compliments her daughter

    Who raised hell in Oklahoma

    Stick with it

    It might lead to something

    ReplyDelete
  49. Sarah Palin went to Wisconsin to stand, surrounded by enraged lefties, and unionites, in the Wind, and Snow, and Bitter Cold to deliver one hell of a campaign speech.

    She gave it to the lefties, to the Republican leadership, and she brought withering fire on Obama. This baby-doll reloaded a CANNON.

    The Speech

    ReplyDelete
  50. She must think she's figured out her "Iowa" problem.

    Her "problem" is: She can't win the nomination w/o winning Iowa, and, the way it stands now, she can't win Iowa.

    ReplyDelete
  51. PC run amok:

    "India" is the NATO phonetic alphabet designation for the letter "I" - except in Pakistan, where it is "Italy.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Similarly, "Washington" replaces "Whiskey" in both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Jesus she is wonderful. I just love that woman. I love love love that WOMAN.

    dwr

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  54. What a wonderful and well spoken WOMAN.

    dwr

    ReplyDelete
  55. My daughter likes her too and that seals the deal.

    dwr

    ReplyDelete
  56. ...little does dwr realize,
    she's a tranny.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Palin's "speaking voice" is more like a screech - that grates almost immediately.

    Why some women running for office don't hire a voice coach, I'll never know.

    ReplyDelete