Tag Archives: Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill

Where Did the Oil Disappear ?

Deep Water Horizon Oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico spewed oil in to water around for 86 days, after many different trials and errors BP managed to cap the well and a few days later there was hardly any oil to be seen on the surface. As per estimates around 200 million barrels of oil leaked into the waters of the Gulf Of Mexico. The NOAA says almost 3/4th of the oil was either skimmed, burned, dispersed or consumed by the microbes in the water. There by leaving around 54 millions gallons of oil in the gulf which is still nearly five times the size of the 11 million-gallon Exxon Valdez spill, which wreaked environmental havoc in Alaska in 1989.

I found it interesting that 200 million barrels of oil could be taken off from the waters in the gulf. The skimmers were getting around 20+million barrels of oil a day. The government says about a 1/4 of the oil evaporated or dissolved in the warm Gulf waters, the same way sugar dissolves in water, federal officials said. Another 1/6 th naturally dispersed because of the way it leaked from the well. Another 1/6 th was burned, skimmed or dispersed using controversial chemical dispersants. Easily explained away with the percentages and combination’s et al, but in reality it just sounds too good to be true.

I have seen and heard news reports where local boat captains and others who have been involved in the cleaning and skimming operations say they were finding it difficult to accept the claims that only 1/4th of the oil remained in the gulf of Mexico. BP is now conducting a static kill on the well in place of the 75ton cap.

During the static kill BP pumped 2,000 barrels (84,000 gallons) of synthetic drilling mud into the well, beginning 3rd August 2010. The way the system works is in a static state, meaning that the downward weight of the mud is counterbalancing the pressure of the oil pushing upward from the reservoir.

The locals along the Gulf coast are outraged by the clean claims of BP and the slowing down of the cleaning activities in the gulf.

” According to WVUE correspondent John Snell, local officials dispatched a dive team to a barrier island off of southeastern Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish to scan the sea floor for oil. The team, however, could barely see the sea floor, due to the current murky state of the area waters. But when the divers returned to shore, they made a rather remarkable discovery: Tiny holes that burrowing Hermit crabs had dug into the ground effectively became oil-drilling holes. When the divers placed pressure on the ground near the holes, oil came oozing up.”

It is shameful that the largest oil spill in the nations history is being covered up without much thought, it will be decades really before we know the real extent of Deep Water Horizon Oil Spills lasting impact.

A Video from FOX  WVUE on BP’s Oil on the Louisiana Barrier Islands:

A video About how Oil Dispersants Work?

A CNN Video interview with Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungusser,Dated June 16, 2010

The Latest on BP in the Gulf of Mexico – as they are working on the static kill and the relief wells to confirm it worked, BP announced it’s plans to drill another well somewhere nearby!  BP’s  COO Doug Suttle “Clearly there’s lots of oil and gas there and we’ll have to think about what to do with that at some point,” Read the entire article HERE

This Video is about Corexit the Dispersant extensively used by BP in the Gulf

Will update as I learn more, it seems like yesterday when Deep Horizon was front page news…

Deepwater Horizon Oil well is Capped; What Now?

For the last almost 3 months the public has been interested in the oil spill and what it was doing to the environment and the people who depend on the gulf of Mexico. BP managed to close the leak on the well after months of trying various options on the 15th of July 2010. The interest probably waned by the end of last month when the oil spill left the front pages of news papers.

When Exxon-Valdez happened in 1989 most people who felt the Oceans needed to be spared from the aftermath of another oil spill vowed that we would all fight off-shore drilling, as soon as Exxon became relegated to the back pages, it drifted away from memory too and we continued our consumption of oil with a gung ho attitude…The NYtimes reports that “on the rocky beaches of Alaska, scientists plunged shovels and picks into the ground and dug 6,775 holes, repeatedly striking oil — still pungent and dangerous a dozen years after the Exxon Valdez infamously spilled its cargo”.

Now we have approximately 1600 off-shore oil rigs in the US waters. Deep-water Horizon was the deepest off shore oil well – standing in 5000feet of water in the middle of the Gulf Of Mexico the well had another 35,000 feet drilled into the rock beneath to reach the oil.

You can read the BP press release here

So what is the verdict at the end of the Oil spill? Have we reached a unanimous decision as a country to reduce our dependence on Oil? Sadly the answer is NO, a good chunk of us treat the oil spill as something that is happening away from them, a necessity due to the “Need for Oil”. There are still quarters where “drill here and drill now” reverberate, and drilling is seen as the solution for all our Oil issues.

Some Facts –

  • Cleaning up the aftermath of the Oil spill still continues and we don’t really know how long it will be before we can say for sure it is done. (for e g: The 1989 Exxon-Valdez oil spill aftermath is still felt along the shores of Alaska after 20 years, biologists think it will take another 10 years for the shores and marine life to return to normal).
  • Every oil spill is different, but the thread that unites these disparate scenes is a growing scientific awareness of the persistent damage that spills can do — and of just how long oil can linger in the environment, hidden in out-of-the-way spots.
  • The ecology of the Gulf of Mexico is specially adapted to break down oil, more so than any other body of water in the world — though how rapidly and completely it can break down an amount this size is essentially unknown.
  • In 1969, a barge hit the rocks off the coast of West Falmouth, Mass., spilling 189,000 gallons of fuel oil into Buzzards Bay. Today, the fiddler crabs at nearby Wild Harbor still act drunk, moving erratically and reacting slowly to predators.
  • In 1969, a barge hit the rocks off the coast of West Falmouth, Mass., spilling 189,000 gallons of fuel oil into Buzzards Bay. Today, the fiddler crabs at nearby Wild Harbor still act drunk, moving erratically and reacting slowly to predators.
  • US and the World still consumes more oil than can be sustained and it is only a matter of time before we do run out of oil.

The sinking of the Titanic, the meltdown of the Chernobyl reactor in 1986, the collapse of the World Trade Center — all forced engineers to address what came to be seen as deadly flaws. So the chances of a world wide ban on off shore drilling looks very very unattainable in our lifetime.

At the time of this post the Deep water horizon is quiet and capped while BP decides whether to shut it up for good.

Some links to read more about –

NYtimes on lessons from Oil spills

Hidden Damage of Oilspills

BP keeps Oil well closed

Saving Sea Turtles

An effort to save thousands of sea turtle hatchlings from dying in the oily Gulf of Mexico has begun in a desperate attempt to keep an entire generation of threatened species from vanishing.

Turtle experts are undergoing the painstaking process of excavating up to 800 nests; each egg must be carefully lifted from its nest without rolling or repositioning it, to avoid disrupting the growing embryo inside. Then the eggs will be transported to a climate-controlled hanger at Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s east coast where they’ll stay until hatching.

Over the past week, the plan has gone into action, and baby turtles are now swimming free in the Atlantic Ocean.

The first group hatches

Image Courtesy @Discover Magazine

The first batch of turtles gave the project managers cause for optimism, according to Jane A. Provancha, a contractor working in the warehouse:On Saturday and Monday evenings, she released 56 baby turtles into the dark waters of the Atlantic and watched them swim away. Turtles from about 83% of the eggs in the first nest have emerged and swum out to sea, she said. “They looked really great. They were a little slow at first, but then they started moving around,” she said.

Towards The Water Edge

Image Courtesy @Discover Magazine

For more news and images Click Here

DeepWater Horizon Spill Threatens 8 National Parks

Today will be Day 75 of DeepWater Horizon Oil Spill. Even though the cap which is placed on top to capture oil is working day and night, the spill is still spewing oil into the Ocean. This week there was also the added pressure of Hurricane Alex stirring up things in the Gulf of Mexico. According to Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft “more oil than what would fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool slipped by the cap on BP’s ruptured undersea well due to bad weather on Friday (1st of July)”. Bad weather has also resulted in the skimmers returning to the shores to sit out the wind in the high seas.

Newly retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen announced Friday that since June, the skimming capability in the Gulf has increased more than fivefold — from approximately 100 large skimmers to 550 skimming vessels of various sizes working to collect oil in all parts of the region now. To date, 28.2 million gallons of an oil-water mix has been skimmed from the Gulf’s surface.

Gulf of Mexico with its vast shore line and ocean wealth is also home to many national parks and 8 of them are in places which can be affected by the oil spill adversely. The reefs and marine ecology are in the impact zone and the effect of the Oil spill and the dispersant used will not be known for a long time.

These are the eight national parks that the U.S. National Park Service is monitoring for signs of damage from the Gulf oil spill:

1. Dry Tortugas National Park

Almost 70 miles west of Key West lies a cluster of seven islands, composed of coral reefs and sand, called the Dry Tortugas. Along with the surrounding shoals and waters, they make up Dry Tortugas National Park. The area is known for its famous bird and marine life, its legends of pirates and sunken gold, and its military past.

Coral reefs ring Fort Jefferson, a military fortress abandoned in 1907, now part of Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida. Seven islands make up the Dry Tortugas, known for rich bird and marine life.
Dry Tortugas National Park has suffered no impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill thus far. The park remains open for visitation and all activities continue as scheduled. Nonetheless, the National Park Service continues to spend considerable time and effort in preparation for possible effects.

2. Big Cypress National Reserve

The freshwaters of the Big Cypress Swamp, essential to the health of the neighboring Everglades, support the rich marine estuaries along Florida’s southwest coast. Protecting over 720,000 acres of this vast swamp, Big Cypress National Preserve contains a mixture of tropical and temperate plant communities that are home to a diversity of wildlife, including the elusive Florida panther. In addition to panthers and alligators, the park’s swampy environment is also home to bobcats, black bears, herons, and egrets.

Though Big Cypress National Preserve is mostly inland, there are some coastal resources within the Preserve along the southern boundary. This estuary zone is protected by the Ten Thousand Islands of Everglades National Park.

At this time no closures have occurred in the Preserve in response to the oil spill. However, management personnel at the preserve are monitoring the situation in the Gulf closely.

3. The Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, boasts rare and endangered species. It has been designated a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, and Wetland of International Importance, significant to all people of the world.

The south Florida national parks continue to carefully monitor response efforts to the oil spill in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Though not an immediate threat, the ongoing movement and spread of oil in the region has the potential to impact the south Florida coast.

4. Gulf Islands National Seashore

One of the Parks affected by the oil Spill already – Birds fly over Park Service facility on Santa Rosa Island, parts of which fall within Florida’s Gulf Islands National Seashore (file photo). Oil from the Gulf spill has reached the national seashore, including parts of Santa Rosa Island. The refuge remains open, but visitors can see offshore oil booms intended to keep the oil at bay.

Most of the oil that ends up on beaches arrives in coagulated clumps known as tarballs and moose patties, Park Service officials say. If these objects are spotted on the beach, a cleanup crew is dispatched to shovel them up.
PARKWIDE: Because oil can appear on park beaches at any given time, there is a National Park Service Public Health Advisory in effect until further notice parkwide.

Use caution, good judgment and stay informed:

• If you see or smell oil in the water or on the beach, avoid contact with water and report it to the nearest lifeguard or park ranger.
• Avoid direct skin contact with oil, oil-contaminated water, and tar balls.
• If you get oil or tar balls on your skin, wash with soap and water.
• If you get oil on clothing, launder as usual.
• Prevent pets from entering oil-contaminated areas.
• Do not fish in oil affected waters.
• Do not handle dead or dying fish, or wildlife.
• Leave the area if you experience difficulty breathing or any other symptoms. If needed, contact your doctor.

5. Padre island Seashore

Located along the south Texas coast, Padre Island National Seashore protects the longest undeveloped stretch of barrier island in the world. Here, you can enjoy 70 miles of sandy beaches.

As of now no oil has reached its shores and none is projected to reach its shores unless some major change occurs in status quo. It remains open starting yesterday after a short close down for Hurricane Alex. Check the website for any new info.

6. De Soto National Memorial

Gulf Coast waters are visible from this lookout point in Florida’s De Soto National Memorial, named for Hernando De Soto, the Spanish conquistador who explored much of the state in the early 1500s.The park, a popular fishing and kayaking spot, remains open and still appears to be unaffected by the Gulf oil spill.

Roughly 80 percent of the park is mangrove swamps, with the rest consisting of pine flatlands and mixed hardwood forests. Serving as nurseries for much of the fish in the Gulf, mangroves are crucial to the region’s ecological future—and to the fishing industry.

De Soto National Memorial has special living history presentations at specific times of the year. The Spanish encampment features daily presentations (weather permitting) from mid-December to the last weekend in April. The Last day of the living history encampment also includes a special reenactment of De Soto’s landing in 1539.

7. Jean LaFitte Historical national Park and Preserve
The six sites of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve represent a treasure trove of south Louisiana’s historical and cultural riches. People from nearly every country, ethnic group, language, and religion have come to the lower Mississippi River delta and left traces of their passing.

None of Jean Lafitte’s six sites are directly in the path of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The park’s Barataria Preserve is the most vulnerable site since it is linked to the Gulf of Mexico via waterways.

No oil from the spill has been observed in the preserve. Oil has fouled the shoreline of the Barataria Waterway about 12 miles south of the preserve boundary and has penetrated marshes on the north edge of Barataria Bay, about 15 miles south of the preserve. Booms are in place and cleanup is underway. Park staff continues to monitor the situation and work with experts to prepare defensive actions.
The park is home to songbirds, as well as swamp rabbits, mink, coyotes, and deer. So far, no animals that live in U.S. national parks have been affected by the Gulf oil spill, the Park Service’s Amzelmo said—but that could change.

8. Biscayne National Park
Within sight of downtown Miami, yet worlds away, Biscayne protects a rare combination of aquamarine waters, emerald islands, and fish-bejeweled coral reefs. Here too is evidence of 10,000 years of human history, from pirates and shipwrecks to pineapple farmers and presidents. Outdoors enthusiasts can boat, snorkel, camp, watch wildlife…or simply relax in a rocking chair gazing out over the bay.
Biscayne National Park has suffered no impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill thus far. The park remains open for visitation and all activities continue as scheduled. Nonetheless, the National Park Service continues to spend considerable time and effort in preparation for possible effects.

National parks in the Gulf area are home to many amazing animals, habitats, and cultural resources. Here are just a few that could be affected by the oil spill:

  • Sea-grass beds are important nursery habitat for sea turtles, young fish, crabs, shrimp, and many other crustaceans. They also provide an important food source for manatees. Oil will kill sea-grasses on contact and this community is slow to recover.
  • Salt marshes, which occur in back bays, provide a buffer that protects the mainland during storm events. They also offer foraging sites for all kinds of birds. If oil kills these plants in the marsh, the soil will destabilize and erode.
  • Mangroves are similar to salt marshes in that they provide a buffer between the sea and the mainland, as well as providing wildlife habitat.
  • Shipwrecks, archeological sites, Civil War defenses, historic structures, and other cultural resources tell the stories of past inhabitants and key moments in our nations past. Damage from oil and cleanup operations is a concern for these treasures.

The ecosystems and wildlife represented in the parks could provide the biological and genetic diversity needed when the spill is over – they will be the well-springs of resurgence in wildlife populations.

In reality from experience what is known is that the real effects of an oil spill cannot be fathomed by looking at statistics of oil being spilled and wild life showing up oil covered on the shores etc…

Exxon-Valdez results are the ones we have at hand as reference and you can read it HERE makes for really interesting reading…

Note – Clicking on the name of the parks will take you to the respective parks pages on the web and will provide you with the latest update as to the effects of the oil spill if any.

Read this article in Newsweek to see the projected effect on underwater organisms and habitat.

Source for this article Data and Pictures:

National Geographic

National Parks Service

New Solutions For Blowouts In Oil Wells & Clean Up

It is said “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” right now It is “The Oil Spill”. Since the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill hit front pages the World Wide Web has been brimming with “Inventions” which would work better than the ones BP is out working on via trial and error. Good meaning people and the ones out to make a quick buck have been flooding youtube with ways to clean up the oil spill. On the web I have seen a guy using hay as the simplest solution and another saying dog hair etc etc… all of these experiments look like they work, but the sheer volume of oil needing clean up and the amount of hay, hair et al which would be needed to clean up all this oil!!At the same time there are some products which seem legit which I don’t know whether they are being used for e.g. A Peat Moss based product which was also covered by cnbc the other day, check this link

Today I read an article on the Nasa tech Briefs Magazine about The Create the Future Design Contest which was launched in 2002 to find the latest product design ideas from engineers, entrepreneurs and students world wide. The 2010 contest has a lot of very interesting products and because of the interest in what can be done to cap the oil spill under 5000 feet of water I zeroed in on these products;

1. George Karpati an Engineer from Horsham Pennsylvania  came up with a product called The Solution for blowouts in Oil wells!

The Solution for Blowouts in Oil Wells as the name suggests is supposed to do just that, it plugs the leaking pipe. George says all one needs to do is think outside the box. He says one solution to most underwater oil blowouts is to integrate two existing technologies such as the remotely piloted underwater vehicle and a retention clamp. With the integration of both technologies, the clamp embedded on the remote controlled vehicle can maneuver to the broken pipe and clamp over the leakage controlling the oil spill. He has taken into account different sizes of the pipes, strength of flow etc… Sounds very promising.
The picture below is a diagram of the product source http://www.contest.techbriefs.com
Read the details about the product and check it out at the Link to the Source for the pictures and details.

2. Open Water Containment Barricade – Created by John Nagle an Engineer from Cedar Park Texas is similar to the boom being used, but with provisions to keep the oil in check by weighing it down with a ballast attached to a hanging curtain like structure with excess material to keep the spill contained for siphoning.

Check out details about this product here

Until we reach a stage where we either run out of oil or decide enough is enough these kind of catastrophe’s will be literally around the corner… Hope for a better tomorrow and work for a Green future for the coming generations…
……………………………………………………………………………………………BP Updates on June 3rd 2010…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

BP was able to cute the pipe and now they are close to attaching a cap to the cut pipe. They are not sure it will stop the spill, but say it will collect oil (how much it will collect we will be able to know only once it is fitted). Keeping track below

Environmental Impact of DeepWater Horizon Oil Spill

It has been reported by news media that the oil slick spreading from the Deepwater Horizon disaster threatens fisheries, tourism and the habitat of hundreds of bird species who come ashore every year to breed. We thought it would be interesting to see what kind of impact species other than humans are having due to the oil spill.

CHECK OUT THIS LINK FOR PICTURES OF BIRDS AFFECTED BY THE OIL SPILL

  1. Coral Reefs – Coral reefs are home to 25% of all marine species, they are called the tropical rain forests of the sea. However, the tiny colonial animals that build these intricate limestone masses are dying at alarming rates. Scientists in the early 2000 declared that if this trend continued, in 20 years the living corals on many of the world’s reefs will be dead and the ecosystems that depend on them severely damaged. I was wondering whether we had coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and as per the US Geological survey there are at least 2 substantial reefs in the gulf Flower garden banks and the Florida reef tract (check the image below).

    Studies have shown that the dispersants and dispersed oil droplets are significantly more toxic to the coral than the crude oil itself, the scientists report. The dispersants caused “significant harm,” including rapid, widespread death and delay in growth rates, to the coral colonies. Read more about it in detail here

  2. Microbes in the water can break down oil. The number of microbes that grow in response to the more concentrated BP spill could tip that system out of balance, says LSU oceanographer Mark Benfield. Too many microbes in the sea could suck oxygen from the water, creating an uninhabitable hypoxic area, or “dead zone.”
  3. Birds and animals that live on the shore. Check out the link for the list of endangered species which calls the Gulf of Mexico and its shores their home. The plants on the shores will all be dead if oil reaches the shore and seeps into the soil. The nesting grounds of thousands of birds and amphibians. Louisiana’s state bird the Brown Pelican is threatened too as it’s nesting areas and food has been contaminated after having made a comeback in the last couple of years after the hurricanes Katrina and Rita wreaked havoc on their environment. Brown Pelican
  4. Ocean dwellers – The birds and the turtles we see, we also see the shores and the plants being affected, but 5000 feet deep under the ocean lies a world away from our eyes inhabited by sperm whales and planktons. From the planktons to fishes and mammals the variety of life in the ocean is very diverse. If one of them is affected by the oil it can affect the whole food chain. Schools of Minnows are already seen swimming just below the oil in many places, scientists are pretty sure they are doomed. Birds which prey on those fish too are susceptible to the toxins from the fishes. An e.g.: for a fish would be the Small-tooth saw fish used to have a wide habitat but are now concentrated off Florida’s southwest coast.  “Every fish and invertebrate contacting the oil is probably dying. I have no doubt about that,” said Prosanta Chakrabarty, a Louisiana State University fish biologist.

    Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

    One main story which could become the poster boy sort of for The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Environmental impact is the Giant Atlantic Blue Fin Tuna which has been over-fished for years and the spill added to its woes. The Gulf of Mexico is where the Blue Fin comes to spawn; nurseries of the beautiful fish call the gulf its home. It is in dire need of help, Imagine a fish with a reproductive strategy where it has to grow from a tiny egg to a 225 lb fish, and than once mature, it goes to spawn in the Gulf of Mexico for 4-6 weeks. If that’s your evolutionary strategy for reproduction, you’d better hope that your spawning ground is just like you left it the year before- warm and clean. The rest of the year the giant Blue fin swims the entire North Atlantic ranging from frigid seas off the Maritimes of Canada to Iceland, from the Azores to the shores of North Carolina. Read more here .The spawning grounds of many of these marine organisms are now being drenched in oil, the effects of which won’t be known for some time.

    The organizations which are working to help the Atlantic Blue Fin tuna

    Save the Blue Fin

    Recent discoveries of endangered sea turtles soaked in oil and 22 dolphins found dead in the spill zone only hint at the scope of a potential calamity that could last years and unravel the Gulf’s food web.

    To know the impact and extent of damage we will need to wait for the oil spill to be contained and the maximum amount of oil cleaned… Hoping for some good news soon from Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill…

    Below  is a list of the endangered species which call the Gulf their home.  Courtesy of the NOAA

    US exempted BP’s Gulf of Mexico Drilling from an Environmental study! Read the full article here

    Latest on the Oil Spill from NY Times

    An interesting read from the Financial Times

DeepWater Horizon Oil Spill Where is BP Headed?

DeepWater Horizon as it stood on and before 20th April 2010-Pic from Transocean

This Was Deepwater Horizon before it went up in flames and hit the ocean floor. Pic Courtesy Transocean /AP.

Pic Courtesy Deepwater Horizon Response 

It is the end of May, 42nd day of Deep Horizon Oil Spill, the Oil is still leaking and tomorrow 1st of June officially the Hurricane season starts. WSI (Weather Services International of Andover, Massachusetts) predicts 2010 hurricane season could be stronger than the 2005 season (the strongest in recorded history, remember Katrina?). The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  NOAA released its 2010 hurricane season forecast on 27th May Thursday which also reiterated the prediction made by WSI – This is going to be an “Active to Extremely Active Hurricane Season”.

If the outlook holds they predict:

  • 14 to 23 Named Storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including
  • 8 to 14 Hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which
  • 3 to 7 could be Major Hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)

A profile of the rig which caused the single largest Environmental disaster in US History –

 Manufactured by the Hyundai Heavy Industries in 2001, Deepwater Horizon a submersible oil rig under contract to BP exploration has been used in multiple drillings before including Atlantis, The Thunder Horse field and the Tiber before drilling in the current spot Mississippi Canyon which is known as the Macondo Prospect. It was close to completion when the explosion and the sinking happened. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig in September of 2009 drilled the deepest oil well in history at a vertical depth of 35,050 feet (10,683 m) and measured depth of 35,055 feet (10,685 m). Water depth is 5000 feet as we have been hearing so it is not the deepest oil well per se. Check out the list of deeper oil wells in the ocean (List Courtesy FT.com)

A look at the Other Major Oil Spills and How they compare (courtesy FT.com)

Comparing The Oil Spills world over by spillage.

After the explosion the rig sank to bottom of the sea and rests about 400 meters away from the pipe which keeps spewing oil. Right now after the failures of Top hat – the one ton metallic box now lying side by side with the sunken rig, Tubing – the tube attached to the riser which was siphoning oil managed 900,000 barrels, Top Kill  and other methods BP plans to put a lid on the pipe after cutting it right above the leak with a robotic arm. Look at the picture to see the details of the LMRP (Low Marine Riser Package) and how it is supposed to function. The drilling ship on top is supposed to siphon out the oil once the contraption is in place. Hopefully it helps to hold the oil until the 2 relief wells being drilled are a reality in about 3 months (one of which is right now on hold as they work on the LMRP)

BP's latest attempt May 31st 2010, LMRP

The issues with installing the LMRP are how much oil will spill when the pipe is cut? Right now it is a leak that has spewed out all this oil into the gulf.  Let’s hope for everyone’s sake it works, like all the other things BP tried this too is a trial for the first time at this depth. If this does not work there are some estimates that the leak could go on until August of 2010! Scary scenario having all that oil mixed with the storms which are expected…

There is also the issue that if a hurricane hits after the LMRP is in place, the tube siphoning oil will have to be removed as the ship retreats to the shore to sit out the storm, where-by the oil again will be flowing out… who knows what kind of an environmental effect it will have by then.

If left alone the Macondo well will take 7 years to empty itself out!!

Till date the spillage if filled in gallon milk jugs lined up side by side, there would be enough to reach from Chicago to New York – and back!

Latest update from

Reuters: Embattled BP readies to Plug Gushing Gulf Well

Some Useful urls/ telephone numbers for those impacted by the spill

Property damage claims: BP Claims  Claims Hot line – 1-800-440-0858

Volunteers – (If you are from out of state please do contact the organizations listed below before heading out for clear instructions and to be able to help.)

The rig on fire on 20th April 2010

Picture Courtesy the US Coastguard

Deep Horizon Oil Spill Getting Messier By The Day

 Picture source BP/AP/Columbus Dispatch

I was listening to Billy Joel singing Down Easter Alexa and it hit me the fishermen who live by the Ocean in the Gulf states pretty much have the lines written for them “Can’t make a living as a bayman anymore… There ain’t much future for a man who works the sea…” this is effecting a whole spectru… from environment to wildlife to people… there seems to be hardly anyone untouched by the oil spill in the gulf.

 It has been 5 weeks since the Rig submerged spewing out oil onto the Ocean floor and into the currents headed for the shore. BP is still to this minute trying to plug the leak! The tube which was “supposedly attached” did not work. Now they are trying to cover it off with Concrete and mud slush Top Kill (which has a 60% chance of succeeding!) On 26th May that is today Morning they did just that, they pumped the tube full of mud and concrete.  After a month of trying to cover it up by saying it was “just” 5000 barrels of oil being pumped into the Ocean (when conservative estimates suggests it is between 20,000 to 80,000 barrels a day!) and they would be able to control it and seemingly being inept to manage a catastrophe of this magnitude BP is still not sure when they can have it under control  and when.

The video on their website shows a plume of dark murky substance gushing into the Ocean, Bp officials say it will take 24 hours to know whether the cement, mud et al filling worked in plugging the flow (mainly because this is the first time it is being tried at a depth above 5000feet! Keep in mind in the midst of this Shell is planning to head out this summer to the Arctic Ocean to scout for oil with its 514 foot drilling ship Frontier Discoverer! Could one even imagine how bad a situation like this can be in the Arctic where the temperature and water is much more hostile and the environment equally fragile…

Under water Camera of Oil spill in The gulf

While all this is going on being far away from the Ocean front states, I wondered what was happening on the shore. Today mornings News Paper had a small 1″x1″ pic of Elmer’s Island beach with a “Beach Closed” sign. I wondered how the cleaning was going and searched for articles about the cleaning effort. I landed on MoJo (motherjones.com the site for fearless un-biased journalism). One of their Mac McClelland took a trip down to Louisiana to see for herself what was happening on the shores. She writes  :

Mon May. 24, 2010 12:14 AM PDT

Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge, even after all the warnings, looks worse than I imagined. Pools of oil black and deep stretch down the beach; when cleanup workers drag their rakes along an already-cleaned patch of sand, more auburn crude oozes up. Beneath the surface lie slimy washed-up globules that, one worker says, are “so big you could park a car on them.”

It sends a chill up ones spine, the thought of having oil permeate sand and water… how long will it really take? what will be the after effects? She also writes about the hoops BP made her jump through to get into the reserve. Everything  around there is closely monitored by BP and controlled by them supposedly “for safety precaution”. You can read her interesting report here

It was also today that a Government report came out which said MMS -Minerals Management Service – supposed to enforce safety and environmental rules on offshore rigs are winding and dining with the Oil Executives!

Wonder what tomorrow holds in store… This is a debacle which has its tentacles spread far and wide… June 1st is the official start of the Hurricane season in the Gulf too… May be Nature will be kind to us and our misdeeds and delay it a bit to help in cleaning up the mess we created. If not I shudder at the thought of heavy winds, water and oil… who knows how far and how wide it will spread…

Hurricane Season and the Oil Spill Video

For now lets all hope that the drilling mix being pumped into the tube holds and stops the oil flow… Keeping fingers crossed (toes too!)

By the Way if interested you can follow the rise and fall of “the plume” (see what is happening to the leak basically!)live here

Source :The Columbus Dispatch

Why BP/ Shell should be stopped form drilling in the Arctic Ocean