With BP applying several fixes to the leaking well and the spreading
oil, people might tend to classify this spill as "just another spill"
among so many, which will go away after a while. A blowout is still a very
real possibility, an the repercussions of the oil spilt are far-reaching.
Bob Friar explains
the steps BP is taking to address the leaking well problem.
As the BP crews place the caps over the gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico and the oil surfacing diminishes, there will be a temptation for
people to assume the danger is all over. Some may be tempted to believe that it was all overblown and everything is just fine. This is an awful mistake.
Danger of Blowout Persist
As the makeshift caps catch the spilling oil and reduce the slick expansion rates, nothing real will have been done about the well yet. The well remains completely out of control and a grave danger of a massive eruption of oil and gas such that it would defy the imagination. Until the well is completely shut in and fully pressure relieved by the side bores the danger remains just as high as it ever was. One can only pray for the success of the teams dealing with the oil well. Failure for them is for us all. Hurricane season is coming . June 2010!
Oil Slick Dangers
There will be some who argue that the oil danger to the beaches and wildlife remains with the slick. This is a mistaken view. As the slick dissolves in the water the material in it slowly dissolves into the salt water releasing toxic chemicals killing wild life. As the lighter parts of the oil evaporate like paint drying the heavy parts of the slick begin to settle into the water deeper and deeper. The dispersants accelerate this process. The crude oil forms tar balls that sink into the sands to a layer just below the active flowing sand along the coast. This is typically about 18 to 24 inches down. In the shallow water extending in places 25 miles or more off shore these form a layer on the bottom of the sea. The slick doesnt even have to be seen on shore to do this. Out of sight doesnt mean the oil is gone!
Young sea life like crabs, shrimp and even the small fish and shellfish mostly hatch in the shallow on shore waters and as they grow up they progressively move further and further out into the deeper water. On this trip they burrow into the sand for protection right down to that layer of tar balls. There they will die for about 10 years until the tar balls become essentially inert. Even if the sea life doesnt die, it becomes smelly of tar and sickly with the toxics. The fish eat these creatures. It will be a decade before the fisheries are fully recovered. This is to say nothing of the massive loss of breeding stocks that are out in the deep water right now. No it isnt over even when the well is fully under control.
Alt Energy the Right Solution
When one considers these costs and dangers associated with oil, it becomes clear why Alternative Energy is the right solution. This will take a long time. Like the fisheries, it will take more than a decade to even see the turn making a dent in the problem. Beginning now and with full force and vigor is required.
People have to get their mind and thinking around how serious this stuff
Oil as Stopgap
In the mean time, oil will have to fill the gap. Oil is desperately needed
until the alternatives are ready to take its place.
We cannot allow a knee jerk reaction to stop off shore drilling. It must be managed
better. Safety is not an option or something that is "too expensive."
The future is something we must build on the way. Taking care of these things is
what we have to do.
The USA must drill pretty much as fast as it can for the next decade. This will provide the breathing space needed. The Obama administration had reached this conclusion a full month before the disaster. The facts on the ground have just gotten worse. The drilling has even more incentive. This will require oversight and enforced rules.
Using the oil produced for any other purpose than to buy the end of oil is the height of foolishness. Relaxing ten years from now using more oil than we do now is not an option. We have to be determined to make every effort to get free. Every day the danger grows.
I married my wife in the Philippines early, 1996. It was a short honeymoon. Too
soon I flew out of Manila Airport on April 30, 1996.
On the flight back to the USA several things happened after I left Tokyo's
Narita Airport headed for Chicago that were quite interesting. You must
understand that I have sleep apnea and really cannot fly on aircraft and sleep
at the same time. I didn't know that at the time. I stayed awake most of the
flight with my head looking out the window a lot. There was actually a lot to
As the flight went up over the Russian segment of the Japanese islands the
flight actually was west of Japan. It crossed over southern Kamchatka and went
on from there. Flight level for the 747D was 42,000 feet with a paying passenger
load of 515. We were jammed in. Even the stewards had to give up jump seats for
A massive storm was brewing off of the area to the east but it was clear mostly
below. I looked down as I saw the sea and was stunned. The sea was littered with
the windrows of the dead sea creatures poisoned by pollution. I could even tell
it was pollution due to the discoloration of the water. To see this at all from
that height gives the staggering scale of what was going on. The dead sea
creatures and such extended up to nearly when we came into US waters about the
date line somewhere just north of the Aleutian Islands. It was stunning to see
this as the sun set and rose again. I knew exactly what I was looking at.
In 1998 the Salmon fishing on the west Coast of the USA began a serious collapse
in fish stocks, and demands rose to blow up the dams to allow the fish to spawn.
I wrote a letter to the editor of the National Geographic. I pointed out
that the salmon fish were not dying of the dams but of the pollution where they
spent 5 years of their lives, and that China with the new "Free Trade"
was poisoning the world's oceans. The National Geographic printed my
letter to the editor and sent people to check this out. They found China in a
most serious pollution condition including what I had said. I predicted further
collapse of the fishing stocks. They have completely collapsed now. Sport
fishing for Salmon was closed on the west coast in 2009. My old fisherman
Grandfather from Fortuna Ca, must be turning in his grave.
# # #
Paul Noel, 52, works as Software Engineer (as Contractor) for the US Army at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He has a vast experience base including education across a wide area of technical skills and sciences. He supplies technical expertise in all areas required for new products development associated with the US Army office he works in. He supplies extensive expertise in understanding the Oil and Gas industry as well.
Born in Lynnwood Washington, he came to Huntsville Alabama, when his father moved to be part of NASAs effort to put men on the moon.
Neil Armstrong may have gotten the ride, but his fathers computers did the driving.
Paul is also a founding member of the New Energy Congress.
Impact > Just
how big is that gusher in the Gulf of Mexico? - After having
been pasted by hecklers on Slashdot,
saying that riser was only 21 inches in diameter, not five feet, so
his estimates on the oil flowing from the BP well must have been
wrong, Paul Noel rebuts with additional information that confirms that
the this gusher has been releasing more oil every day than the Exxon
Valdez catastrophe. (PESN; May 23, 2010)
Impact > A
volcano of oil erupting - New video showing largest hole from pipe 5
feet in diameter spewing oil and natural gas at ~4 barrels per second, along
with analysis of the amount of oil on the surface, supports the estimates
closer to 1 million barrels per day erupting from this hole BP popped in the
ocean floor that contains trillions of barrels of oil and natural gas. (PESN;
May 13, 2010)
Impact > Mother
gusher danger not passed - With BP applying several fixes to
the leaking well and the spreading oil, people might tend to classify
this spill as "just another spill" among so many, which will
go away after a while. A bigger blowout is still a very real possibility, and
the repercussions of the oil spilt are far-reaching. (PESN; May
Impact / Conspiracy
joke: Goldman Sachs shorted Gulf of Mexico - It turns out that
Goldman Sachs really did place shorts on TransOcean stock days before
the explosions rocked the rig in the Gulf of Mexico sending stocks
plunging while GS profits soared -- benefitting once again from a huge
disaster, having done the same with airline stocks prior to 911 then
again with the housing bubble. (PESN; May 5, 2010)
Impact > Mother
of all gushers could kill Earth's oceans - Imagine a pipe 5
feet wide spewing crude oil like a fire hose from what could be the
planets' largest, high-pressure oil and gas reserve. With the best
technology available to man, the Deepwater Horizon rig popped a hole
into that reserve and was overwhelmed. If this isn't contained, it
could poison all the oceans of the world. (PESN; May 2, 2010)
Impact > Deepwater
Horizon debacle pushes alt energy - In addition to devastating
ecological despoiling, the oil slick could shut down Mississippi River
transport, effecting nearly half of U.S. import/export commerce. The
damage to the tourism industry in Alabama and Florida could top $25
Billion a year for several years. Faced with this disaster the Obama
Administration has just stopped all off shore drilling. (PESN;
May 1, 2010)
Picture becoming clearer on BP Deepwater Horizon incident
- BP said on Sunday that the GSF Development Driller II will drill a
second relief well on the Mississippi Canyon 252 block. GSF Development
Driller III spudded the first relief well on May 2. Discoverer Enterprise,
also on location will work on containment. Oil flows from the end of the
riser, the end of the drill pipe and a crack in the riser. BP sheared off
the drill pipe and will install a valve in the next one or two days. This
will stop one of the three leaks. (Gerson Lehrman Group; May 3,
BP spuds relief well
- BP said it spud the first of two planned relief wells to intervene in the Macondo exploration well that is leaking an estimated 5000 barrels per day into the US Gulf.
The effort is expected to take at between two and three months,
Suttles confirmed. (Upstream Online; May 3, 2010)
report: Government fears Deepwater Horizon well could become unchecked
gusher 30 Apr 2010 'The following is not public' document --A
confidential government report on the unfolding spill disaster in the Gulf
makes clear the Coast Guard now fears the well could become an unchecked
gusher shooting millions of gallons of oil per day into the Gulf. "The
following is not public," reads the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration's Emergency Response document dated April 28.
"Two additional release points were found today in the tangled riser.
If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked
resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously