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Oil spill in the gulf of Mexico

Old 06-09-2010, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Audiofn View Post
The interview today was a mess. The president just does not know how to act... presidential. Sad really. He came off looking more pompus then I thought that even he could.

His answer to why he has not contacted BP was insulting at best.

Like VtSteve said the best result in this will be if we reach out to BP and comunicate with them and work with them. Yes hammer them with fines later but for now we need to stop this leak!
It is unfathomable that our President has yet to meet or speak directly with BP. If you have time to meet with various NCAA champions you can make time to meet with the company that caused the Gulf disaster and is still in charge of stopping it and cleaning it up. I just don't get where he is coming from. It makes no sense to not speak to them directly.
The Beak be gone
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Audiofn View Post
The interview today was a mess. The president just does not know how to act... presidential. Sad really. He came off looking more pompus then I thought that even he could.

His answer to why he has not contacted BP was insulting at best.

Like VtSteve said the best result in this will be if we reach out to BP and comunicate with them and work with them. Yes hammer them with fines later but for now we need to stop this leak!
Yes fix the problem FIRST and since BP is the best equipped in the world to do that let them get it done, all these threats and posturing will do nothing to stop the oil from flowing.
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by VtSteve View Post
Alabama legislators alone took six times that much. The government has no choice but to trust the oil companies, since the agency in charge of their regulation is a complete fraud. I don;t believe any president of any party or era would have handled this differently. The only idiots are the voters that change faces on a daily basis, and are heavily biased towards one party or another. $900 grand is chump change, and buys very little loyalty.
Right on there,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I am so sick of the my party is better then yours and we will fight each other.

All it does is screw us.

$900 grand, our county prosecutor has contributors that give him more then that. In the world of politics that is a drop in the bucket.

As for the leak, it will not be stopped until August, I don't even see how BP could pay for all the damage that will happen, job loses, clean up, it is going to be huge. In the long run we all will pay for it.
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Old 06-09-2010, 02:37 PM
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I don't know how legit this is... could be some wierdos tryin to get attention...
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Old 06-09-2010, 04:00 PM
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WEAR-TV in Pensacola reporting last night:

PERDIDO KEY - Orange flags are flying at the beaches on Perdido Key tonight.

The Escambia County Health Department posted signs advising people not to get in the water.

Health advisory, those are the first words people see as they walk onto Perdido Key beaches. The Health Department posted these signs at all public access points and the state park around 6:30 this evening. With the amount of oil in the water, they don't feel its safe for people to swim.

I think its a sad day for everybody

After the stakes went into the ground, people stopped and stared, shocked to see their beach become the first in Florida under a no swimming advisory.

Very upsetting, come down here quite often, my little girl loves to swim in the surf

Its taking away the fun for the summer, not going to be able to come to the beach, go in the water

6 miles of beach are now affected by the advisory, stretching from the Florida-Alabama state line all the way to the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Some seem to think its a good idea.

got my last swim a couple of days ago

Its oil, its toxic, lots of chemicals, whats out there, not a good idea.

I don't think people should go in the water, its not safe.

But others are questioning the need for the advisory. According to the Health Department, only tar balls have been spotted on the beach.
Pensacola mayor, Mike Wiggins, reported seeing a tarry-mousse substance in the water during a flyover, but it has yet to wash up onshore.

So far its been very minimal, might get a spot on your foot, or your finder, so far, nothing major, no health problems

I really haven't seen a lot of oil in it, so I think everybody is starting to panic a little too soon.

Now again, these are just advisories, people are still allowed to swim, but at their own risk. When we talked to health officials, they felt there was too many tar balls visible on the beaches to not take action. Reporting from Perdido Key, Laurie Bernstein, Channel Three News.

Health officials are also advising people not to fish in the area. But there has been no fishing ban put into effect in any state waters.Orange Flags Over Perdido Beach
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Old 06-09-2010, 04:05 PM
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FOX10-TV Mobile-Pensacola-Ft. Walton, a few hours ago, now reporting

Tar balls arrive at Orange Beach
Updated: Wednesday, 09 Jun 2010, 1:17 PM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 09 Jun 2010, 12:41 PM CDT

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - Beaches were virtually oil-free until Wednesday in Orange Beach, Ala., but dawn brought lines of small, rust-colored tar balls stretching as far as the eye could see along the water line.

Walking on the beach with her husband, Cheryl Trotter of Knoxville, Tenn. wondered if sealife somehow knew the oil was coming.

Trotter says she's seen at least four dolphins every day on her morning walks, but on Wednesday there were none. She rubbed sand on her feet trying to remove oil as she spoke.

Jim Trotter says their children wouldn't get into the Gulf, even though waters at Orange Beach had been clear until now.

Tricia Washington of Tupelo, Miss., stood at water's edge and watched small tar balls roll in. Washington is with her daughter, granddaughter, two nieces and one of their friends.
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:31 PM
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Default So how bad could it get?

So how bad could it get?

The numbers point to an unprecedented ecological disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico and possibly along the Eastern Seaboard.

A cap placed over the leaking BP well in the Gulf of Mexico last Thursday began to capture about half the estimated 25,000 barrels a day flowing into the Gulf by Sunday. But that still leaves 10,000 barrels, or 420,000 gallons, flowing into the open water each day.

That amount may be reduced as engineers work to siphon off more oil via the cap. But relief wells that could ease the flow from the leaking line won't be finished for at least two months, meaning that roughly another 25 million gallons could be added to the 24 million to 38 million gallons already fouling water and beaches across thousands of miles of the coast in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

And relief wells won't be a sure thing: They are drilled through 2 miles of rock and sediment to find and tap into the Deepwater Horizon well bore, an oil pipeline measuring about 10 inches across. In the massive Ixtoc 1 spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 1979, it took several tries before the relief drill actually intercepted the original hole.

Today, drilling is more a science, but digging a relief well is still like finding needle in a haystack, even though "you have quite a good idea of where the needle is," says Arne Jernelöv, a U.N. expert on environmental catastrophe.

Now, 50 days after the BP rig in the gulf exploded, the range of scenarios for the toll of the environmental disaster are coming into focus:

The best case

Much of the oil that has floated to the surface now is caught in the Gulf of Mexico's Loop Current, which is pinched off into two large eddies, says Jeffrey Short, a former chemist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who is Pacific science director for the conservation group Oceana.

Because those loops are pinched off from the current, they just keep going around in a circle, not moving down the Florida Panhandle and around to the East Coast.

Oil that flows into the Loop Current eddies "is just going to float around in a big circle and not hit land," Short says. "That's a good thing. It will sit in the sun and be hit with wave action," which means the oil collects more water, increasing its viscosity and allowing it to congeal into larger masses, first as "real soft oil mousse and eventually as tar balls."

"The longer it spins around in the hot sun of the Gulf of Mexico, the closer it's going to get to tar balls," Short says.

The formation of tar balls may not sound like a best-case anything, but it would be.

"While they might be a hazard to things that eat them, they're pretty low impact" ecologically, Short says. They're relatively inert and not nearly as toxic as liquid crude, whose highly toxic volatile components will have evaporated.

"They're not biodegradable. They don't dissolve in water," Jernelöv says. "They're actually like asphalt." After the Ixtoc 1 spill, researchers found that by 1984, "the asphalt-like rocks had crabs crawling over them and oysters settling on them."

There is evidence that oil spill sites can recover, given time.

A study by Canadian researchers found that 24 years after the 1974 Metula oil spill in the Strait of Magellan in Chile, there was high degradation of oil hydrocarbons, leaving only asphalt-like pieces of weathered oil on the beaches and in the marshes. The spill does not appear to have had a significant effect on the coastal ecosystems, but it's difficult to say for sure because they were not studied significantly before the spill.

The fact that the Gulf oil spill is in a warm-water region is helpful because sun and higher temperatures help degrade the oil faster, Jernelöv says.

But one of the great unknowns of this spill is the amount of oil that's staying underwater and what it's doing there.

BP CEO Tony Hayward has tried to play down the underwater effect of the spill by saying that "oil floats." But it doesn't always.

In fact, NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco said Tuesday that water tests have confirmed what scientist have reported — the existence of underwater oil plumes from the BP oil spill, though the concentrations are "very low."

Oil rising through extremely cold water, at high pressure, mixed with methane and at times with chemical dispersant, creates a "cloud" of millions of tiny oil droplets in the water, Jernelöv says.

For the subsurface plumes, the best-case scenario is that the oil droplets are eaten rapidly by oil-eating microbes without depressing the amount of oxygen in the water. How quickly this biological degradation takes place depends on the amount of oil, nutrients and microbes present.

"It gets chewed up pretty fast," Short says.

The worst case

The worst-case scenario is almost here for Florida beachgoers: The oil is fouling the Panhandle, the longest stretch of white-sand beach in the world, says Stephen Leatherman of Florida International University in University Park, Fla.

Known as "Dr. Beach" because of his expertise on America's beaches, Leatherman adds that if the oil gets caught up in the Gulf Stream and heads around the southern tip of Florida, the beaches of the East Coast — which have never had to endure such a nightmare scenario — could be next.

Computer models released last week by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) indicated that the oil could foul thousands of miles of the Atlantic Coast as early as this summer.

"Our best knowledge says the scope of this environmental disaster is likely to reach far beyond Florida," says NCAR scientist Synte Peacock, who worked on the study.

Peacock says that for those along portions of the Gulf Coast, including Texas, the worst-case scenario would be for the oil to not enter the Loop Current but to remain and foul the water and coasts of the Gulf of Mexico. For East Coasters, having the oil flow into the Loop Current and then the Gulf Stream would be disastrous.

NOAA officials have predicted an intense hurricane season for this year, saying that as many as 23 tropical storms and hurricanes could form in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

The worst-case scenario for oil and the weather would be a large, Katrina-like hurricane tracking north in the Gulf of Mexico, with its eye passing just west of the oil spill, says Stu Ostro, senior meteorologist at the Weather Channel.

This would bring the "right-front quadrant" of the hurricane directly over the oil. (The right front is the most destructive part of a hurricane, because the wind blows in the same direction as the storm's forward motion.)

"That's the worst-case scenario," Ostro says, "with the wind pushing it all on shore."

Last edited by Catmando; 06-09-2010 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:31 PM
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Once it got there, the real nightmare would begin: Oil swamping the coastal grass marshes that are nurseries for a large percentage of coastal marine life and mammals. There it would remain a sticky mousse and a contact hazard to anything that gets near it. It would damage water fowl, turtle and marine mammals and possibly the embryos and larvae of invertebrates and fish.

"A deformed fish larvae is a dead fish larvae," says Chris Mann, who directs the Campaign for Healthy Oceans of the Pew Environment Group.

For wildlife, the worst-case scenario already has begun, says Doug Inkley, senior scientist with the National Wildlife Federation.

"This is breeding season in the Gulf," Inkley says. "The oil spill couldn't be at a worse time."

The Gulf's vulnerable young birds, fish and turtles are coming into a polluted environment. "There will be direct effects on these species," he adds.

For sea turtles, for example, the spill is a threat to their existence in the Gulf. There were 225 strandings of sea turtles in the Gulf in May, up from the typical May average of 35. Of those 225, the vast majority were dead, he reports.

"Humpty Dumpty has already fallen," Inkley says. "I believe there will be impacts in the Gulf for decades to come."

Felicia Coleman, who directs the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory in St. Teresa, notes that the "big bend" of Florida from Panama City to Tampa is one of the largest stands of sea grass in the United States. Those grasses contain probably the largest hatcheries and nursery ground for fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, Coleman says.

"One of the last pristine, most biologically diverse coastal habitats in the country is about to get wiped out. And there's not much we can do about it," she says.

Once they're grown, fish and marine mammals, unlike plankton, have a highly developed sense of smell and the ability to swim away from oil in the water.

But they'll be fighting against their desire to go to long-established feeding and breeding grounds.

"To the animals that live there, the ocean is full of specific habitations," says Pew's Mann. Even dolphins and whales, which can swim long distances, could be affected. "They may not wash up dead on the beach, but they may fare very poorly when displaced from their habitats," he says.

The true extent of the deep-ocean oil plumes created by the spill is unknown. But they could be miles wide and dozens of feet deep. They would tend to stay in long, thin pancake spaces because they would be sandwiched between layers of water at different densities.

Far from being a homogenous column of water, the ocean exists in hundreds of different layers, at different temperatures, pressures and salinities. Each oil "cloud" could end up hanging between two layers of similar buoyancy, Short says.

In those depths, each of these clouds could become kill zones. The oil droplets, for example, could act like flypaper, trapping and killing plankton and other marine life, Jernelöv says.

"They've just got to be getting nuked by this," says Pew's Mann.

This "flypaper" layer can also attract fish, which come looking for the small crustaceans that are stuck in it. "The fish will eat them, and then they're breathing water, they get oil droplets stuck on their gill membranes, and if there's enough, it can kill them," Jernelöv says.

Next, the creatures that feed on those plankton would be attracted to the mass of food all in one place, as well as some that could be attracted to the oil itself, which to some microbes is just another source of carbon, or food. But all those microbes in one place would deplete the oxygen in the area, creating an anoxic (no oxygen) space that would kill everything passing through.

This scenario is "very improbable, but that's the worst," Short says. "Nonetheless, the possibility of it demands that we at least find out how many of these plumes there are, how big and dense they are, and then keep an eye on them."

Long-term is really long

The full effects of the spill will hit long after the cleanup efforts are finished, the beaches no longer smell of petroleum and the hazy sheen of oil is gone from the water, experts say.

Fishermen are feeling it now with the fishing ground closures, but that won't be the worst of it, says Florida State's Coleman.

If you wipe out all the fish larvae in one year, "you're not going to know anything about that for three or four years before they're supposed to show up in fishermen's nets."

In the end, there's no way to know how bad this spill will be until about 10 years after the oil is shut off, and even that might be too soon, says Judy McDowell, biology department chair at the Woods Hole (Mass.) Oceanographic Institution. One of the best-documented spills of all time was a tiny 185,000-gallon spill off Massachusetts in 1969. Forty years later, "you can still find traces of hydrocarbons in the sediments," she says.

Oil, and the damage it can do, persists for a long time, she says: "It's still too early to make any kind of prediction as to how it will be."
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:50 PM
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It's good to see Kevin Costner taking a proactive stance with oil spills, and now tonight on the news I saw that Troy Aikman is also involved with a company that has its solutions to oil and gas well blowouts;

Hopefully these men will be called on to help.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:07 PM
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Default BP admits there is damage beneath the sea floor

If the well casing is broken there's no way to stop the oil flow;

As I noted Tuesday, there is growing evidence that BP's oil well - technically called the "well casing" or "well bore" - has suffered damage beneath the level of the sea floor.

The evidence is growing stronger and stronger that there is substantial damage beneath the sea floor. Indeed, it appears that BP officials themselves have admitted to such damage. This has enormous impacts on both the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf, and the prospects for quickly stopping the leak this summer.

On May 31st, the Washington Post noted:

Sources at two companies involved with the well said that BP also discovered new damage inside the well below the seafloor and that, as a result, some of the drilling mud that was successfully forced into the well was going off to the side into rock formations.

"We discovered things that were broken in the sub-surface," said a BP official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He said that mud was making it "out to the side, into the formation."

On June 2nd, Bloomberg pointed out:

Plugging the well is another challenge even after BP successfully intersects it, Robert Bea, a University of California Berkeley engineering professor, said. BP has said it believes the well bore to be damaged, which could hamper efforts to fill it with mud and set a concrete plug, Bea said.

Bea is an expert in offshore drilling and a high-level governmental adviser concerning disasters.

On the same day, the Wall Street Journal noted that there might be a leak in BP's well casing 1,000 feet beneath the sea floor:

BP PLC has concluded that its "top-kill" attempt last week to seal its broken well in the Gulf of Mexico may have failed due to a malfunctioning disk inside the well about 1,000 feet below the ocean floor.


The broken disk may have prevented the heavy drilling mud injected into the well last week from getting far enough down the well to overcome the pressure from the escaping oil and gas, people familiar with BP's findings said. They said much of the drilling mud may also have escaped from the well into the rock formation outside the wellbore.

On June 3rd, The Canadian Press quoted the top government official in charge of the response to the oil spill - Admiral Thad Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard - as pointing to the same possibility:

The failure of the so-called top kill procedure - which entailed pumping mud into the well at high velocity - suggested "there actually could be something wrong with the well casing, and there could be open communication in the strata or the rock formations below the sea floor," Allen said.

On June 7th, Senator Bill Nelson told MSNBC that he's investigating reports of oil seeping up from additional leak points on the seafloor:

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL): Andrea we’re looking into something new right now, that there’s reports of oil that’s seeping up from the seabed… which would indicate, if that’s true, that the well casing itself is actually pierced… underneath the seabed. So, you know, the problems could be just enormous with what we’re facing.

Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC: Now let me understand better what you’re saying. If that is true that it is coming up form that seabed, even the relief well won’t be the final solution to cap this thing. That means that we’ve got oil gushing up at disparate places along the ocean floor.

Sen. Nelson: That is possible, unless you get the plug down low enough, below where the pipe would be breached.

Indeed, loss of integrity in the well itself may explain why BP is drilling its relief wells more than ten thousand feet beneath the leaking pipes on the seafloor (and see this).
Yesterday, recently-retired Shell Oil President John Hofmeister said that the well casing below the sea floor may have been compromised:

[Question] What are the chances that the well casing below the sea floor has been compromised, and that gas and oil are coming up the outside of the well casing, eroding the surrounding soft rock. Could this lead to a catastrophic geological failure, unstoppable even by the relief wells?

John Hofmeister: This is what some people fear has occurred. It is also why the "top kill" process was halted. If the casing is compromised the well is that much more difficult to shut down, including the risk that the relief wells may not be enough. If the relief wells do not result in stopping the flow, the next and drastic step is to implode the well on top of itself, which carries other risks as well.

As noted yesterday in The Engineer magazine, an official from Cameron International - the manufacturer of the blowout preventer for BP's leaking oil drilling operation - noted that one cause of the failure of the BOP could have been damage to the well bore:

Steel casing or casing hanger could have been ejected from the well and blocked the operation of the rams.

Oil industry expert Rob Cavner believes that the casing might be damaged beneath the sea floor, noting:

The real doomsday scenario here… is if that casing gives up, and it does come through the other strings of pipe. Remember, it is concentric pipe that holds this well together. If it comes into the formation, basically, you‘ve got uncontrolled [oil] flow to the sea floor. And that is the doomsday scenario.

Cavner also said BP must "keep the well flowing to minimize oil and gas going out into the formation on the side":
And prominent oil industry insider Matt Simmons believes that the well casing may have been destroyed when the oil rig exploded. Simmons was an energy adviser to President George W. Bush, is an adviser to the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, and is a member of the National Petroleum Council and the Council on Foreign Relations.

On May 26th, Simmons referred to this issue on MSNBC:

On May 27th, Simmons again addressed this issue on MSNBC:

And he referred to it again on Bloomberg on May 28th:

And again on MSNBC on June 7th :

We have a right to know what's really going on.

Given the impact on America's people, natural resources and economy, BP and the government must fully disclose the amount of damage underneath the sea floor, and what that means for the efforts to cap the well.

Youtube videos in the link.
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