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This oil spill 'the bad one': recipe for disaster
What makes an oil spill really bad? Most of the ingredients for it are now blending in the Gulf of Mexico.
Experts tick off the essentials: A relentless flow of oil from under the sea; a type of crude that mixes easily with water; a resultant gooey mixture that is hard to burn and even harder to clean; water that's home to vulnerable spawning grounds for new life; and a coastline with difficult-to-scrub marshlands.
Gulf Coast experts have always talked about "the potential for a bad one," said Wes Tunnell, coastal ecology and oil spill expert at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
"And this is the bad one. This is just a biggie that finally happened."
Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revised their estimates of the amount of oil that has been leaking from the oil well from 1,000 barrels a day to up to 5,000 barrels a day, or about 210,000 gallons.
Experts: Oil May Be Leaking at Rate of 25,000 Barrels a Day in Gulf
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill could be leaking at a rate of 25,000 barrels a day, five times the government's current estimate, industry experts say.
Basing their calculations on government data and standard industry measurement tools, the experts said the Gulf spill may already rival the historic 1969 Santa Barbara, Calif., and 1989 Exxon Valdez disasters.
Ian MacDonald, professor of oceanography at Florida State University who specializes in tracking ocean oil seeps from satellite imagery, said there may already be more than 9 million gallons of oil floating in the Gulf now.
Leaked government report fears unchecked gusher
A leaked report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Emergency Ops document dated April 28 has the Coast Guard preparing for a worst case release that could potentially become an unchecked gusher meaning that instead of releasing 5,000 barrels a day or 210,000 gallons a day, it would release 50,000 barrels a day, or 2.1 million gallons a day.
"The following is not public," reads the report, "Two additional release points were found today. If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously thought."
Oil slick's area triples in size
The surface area of a catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill quickly tripled in size...
The Coast Guard conceded Saturday that it's nearly impossible to know how much oil has gushed since the April 20 rig explosion...
"The spill and the spreading is getting so much faster and expanding much quicker than they estimated," said Hans Graber, executive director of the university's Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing. "Clearly, in the last couple of days, there was a big change in the size."
Woodward does say there is a "nightmare scenario" which could actually bring oil to Georgia's coast. That's because if the volume of spreading oil is not contained enough, some of it could get into the Gulf Stream, which connects to the shorelines of the Eastern Seaboard states.
"There's some concern if the volume of oil is not reduced somehow that we'll get quantities of oil entrained in the loop current and subsequently in the Gulf Stream and it will be brought up the eastern seaboard...which is a kind of a nightmare scenario."
The Gulf War oil spill is regarded as the largest oil spill in history, resulting from actions taken during the Gulf War in 1991 by the Iraqi military.
It caused considerable damage to wildlife in the Persian Gulf especially in areas surrounding Kuwait and Iraq. Estimates on the volume spilled range from 42 to 462 million gallons; the slick reached a maximum size of 101 by 42 miles and was 5 inches thick. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the size of the spill, figures place it 5 to 27 times the size (in gallons spilled) of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and more than twice the size of the 1979 Ixtoc I blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico.
According to a study sponsored by UNESCO, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States, the spill did little long-term damage. About half the oil evaporated, a million barrels were recovered and 2 million to 3 million barrels washed ashore, mainly in Saudi Arabia.
Originally posted by mark_price
Wait a minute, have they any estimation how much oil exists under there?
Originally posted by warpcrafter
That nuclear option is not looking so bad after all.
Originally posted by harryhaller
reply to post by loam
A science blog i frequent. Everything you need to know about what happened.
New Technique Holds Hope for Oil Spill Cleanup
Among the various weapons employed against the gushing crude has been the distribution of chemical dispersants on the water’s surface to break down the oil. The new approach involves the deployment of the dispersants underwater, near the source of the leaks. Officials said that in two tests, that method appeared to be keeping crude oil from rising to the surface. They said that the procedure could be used more frequently once evaluations of its impact on the deepwater ecology were completed.
Those experiments at the wellhead of the collapsed Deepwater Horizon oil rig were just one sign of the frantic efforts to contain...[the spill.]
BP said it could handle a 162,000 barrels per day disaster
BP officials say it was impossible to know just how much oil was gushing from the well, but company and federal officials were preparing for the worst-case scenario.
In an exploration plan and environmental impact analysis filed with the federal government in February 2009, BP said it had the capability to handle a "worst-case scenario" at the site, which the document described as a leak of 162,000 barrels per day from an uncontrolled blowout — 6.8 million gallons (26 million liters) each day.
Oil industry experts and officials are reluctant to describe what, exactly, a worst-case scenario would look like — but if the oil gets into the Gulf Stream and carries it to the beaches of Florida, it stands to be an environmental and economic disaster of epic proportions.
The well is at the end of one branch of the Gulf Stream, the warm-water current that flows from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Atlantic. Several experts said that if the oil enters the stream, it would flow around the southern tip of Florida and up the eastern seaboard.
BP has not said how much oil is beneath the seabed Deepwater Horizon was tapping. A company official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the volume of reserves, confirmed reports that it was tens of millions of barrels.
BP has not said how much oil is beneath the Gulf seabed Deepwater Horizon was tapping, but a company official speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the volume of reserves, confirmed reports that it was tens of millions of barrels – a frightening prospect to many.
BREAKING -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, to David Gregory on “Meet the Press,” on the Gulf gusher: “The scenario is a very grave scenario. You’re looking at potentially 90 days before you ultimately get to what is the ultimate solution here, and that’s a relief well that’s going to have to be built down three and a half miles below the ocean floor. And by the time you drill that well down, a lot of oil could spread. … This is the beginning of a campaign for what’s going to be a massive restoration of the Gulf coast.”
WORST-CASE SCENARIO – AP: “Scientists fear if the oil spill isn't contained and the underwater well continues to spew unstopped, it could grow so large that it may be sucked with the currents around the Florida Keys and up the East Coast.”
Good Sunday morning. The president is scheduled to leave the White House at 10:45 a.m. for his trip to Louisiana.