This is the current projected spill data for Tuesday May 4, 2010 based on the NOAA models:
Projected Spill Outlook for May 5
This is a sequence map of how the spill has grown since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon. It should update daily, and although I have included it in my previous posts, I will add it to each new post so that others do not need to go searching for it.
Oil Spill Tracker
This is a photograph of the spill from the air:
There is a member of another forum I visit who has been offering information to people as someone who is "in the industry", but not working for BP or TransOcean. He is helping to explain things so as to make it easier for others to understand what happened.
Ok I will try to do my best to explain the situation, what has happened, and what options are present to kill the Macondo well without having to give everyone a crash course in drilling engineering.
Terms you are going to hear a lot
A: There are two things being done to stop the flow of oil right now. First, there are 5 ROVs working around the clock to try to get the BOP to close.
This is a plan that has been used successfully in shallower water (~500’ deep) but has never been attempted in deepwater. If it works, the amount of oil being discharged to the open sea should drop to almost zero.
It is possible that the flow of oil which is carrying an unknown quantity of sand in it will continue to wash this hole out thus decreasing the back pressure the flow restriction is holding on the reservoir. This drop in pressure would cause the flowrate to increase. It is tough to determine how much it would increase or decrease.
Q: How much oil is going to flow? I hear the block the well is located in contains up to a BILLION barrels of reserves!
A: Well hopefully it contains that much! But it is highly unlikely that a single well is capable of draining the entire block. This would take 5 to 6 wells. Without knowing the exact flowrate, bottom hole pressure and how they both change over time it is impossible to know how large of an area is actually being drained. The calculations are insanely complex and the software to run them costs tens of thousands of dollars. Reservoir engineers spend their careers trying to answer the question “how much will this well produce?” It’s just not a question that I can answer in this case.
Something Awful Forum Member "ch3cooh" Shares his Knowledge
These are some more photos of the Oil Rig on Fire & Collapsing, and the effort to put out the fire.
One cannot look at those pictures without thinking about those 11 souls who lost their lives in this explosion and the family & friends they left behind. Their names are:
GULFPORT, Miss. (May 3, 2010)--The Gulf oil spill could be drawn into the what's called the Loop Current within a day and could eventually the slick could move along the Florida coast and into the
Florida Keys, scientists say.
Nick Shay, a physical oceanographer at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, said Monday that once the oil enters the Loop Current, it likely will end up in the Keys and continue east into the Gulf Stream.
Shay says the oil could affect Florida's beaches, coral reefs, fisheries and ecosystem within a week.
He described the Loop Current as being similar to a "conveyor belt."
It sweeps around the Gulf, through the Keys and right up the East Coast.
Shay says he couldn’t think of any scenario in which the oil doesn't eventually reach the Florida Keys.
Oil Spill Could Reach Loop Current Within 24 Hours
Newer information coming to light indicates that TransOcean had some ideas of the problems that they were facing as far as safety was concerned and took actions to insure that it was a top priority for everyone from the top down.
May 04, 2010, 3:39PM
Transocean Ltd., which owned the drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, causing a massive oil spill, eliminated bonuses for top executives last year because of concerns about safety problems at the company.
The company said in a regulatory filing on April 1 that it eliminated the bonuses "to underscore the company's commitment to safety" after four workers died in accidents in 2009 "and to increase the incentive for executive officers to promote ... the avoidance of future fatal accidents."
Owner of Rig involved in Gulf Oil Spill Had Safety Concerns
It seems that this is not the first time deaths have occurred with this company on their rigs. They had 4 deaths in 2009, and 2 in 2008 as well.
CNN Spoke to Riki Ott, a marine toxicologist who says the chemical dispersant is toxic, much like the oil its intended to clean up.
(The audio is difficult at some points)
Riki Ott, PhD, is a community activist, a former commercial salmon "fisherm'am," and has a degree in marine toxicology with a specialty in oil pollution. She experienced firsthand the devastating effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill—and chose to do something about it.
She is the author of Sound Truth and Corporate Myth$: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and Not One Drop: Promises, Betrayal, and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (Chelsea Green, 2008). She is also the founder of three nonprofit organizations that deal with lingering harm from man-made environmental disaster.
Riki lives in Cordova, Alaska.
Lessons from the Exxon Valdez Spill
That nightmare is reoccurring now with BP’s deadly rig blowout off the Gulf Coast – with haunting parallels to the Exxon Valdez.
I was not at all surprised when officials reported zero spillage, then projected modest spillage, and then reported spill amounts five times higher than their earlier estimates.
As the spill continues, I imagine that even the newly reported amounts will continue to vastly underestimate the actual spillage.
Underreporting of spill volumes is common, even though lying about self-reported spill volume is illegal – and a breach of public trust.
Still, penalties are based on spill volume: Exxon likely saved itself several billion dollars by sticking with its low-end estimate of 11 million gallons and scuttling its high-end estimate of 38 million gallons, later validated by independent surveyors.
Sadly, it’s a foregone conclusion that BP’s promise to “do everything we can” to minimize the spill’s impact and stop the oil still hemorrhaging from the well nearly one mile under the sea off Louisiana’s coast will fade as its attention turns to minimizing its liability, including damaged public relations.
BP will likely leverage the billions of dollars it will spend on the cleanup to reduce its fines and lawsuit expenses, despite later recouping a large portion of the cleanup cost from insurers or writing it off as a business expense as Exxon did.
Such tactics saved Exxon billions of dollars in the civil settlement for damages to public lands and wildlife (in which damages were estimated at up to $8 billion; but for which Exxon paid just $900 million) and in the class action lawsuit filed by those whose livelihoods were curtailed by the spill (for which the original jury awarded $5 billion in punitive damages; but which Exxon fought for 20 years until the Supreme Court lessened its burden to just $507 million).
That Supreme Court decision strictly limited corporate liability and essentially removed the ability of future oil spill victims to hold corporations accountable to the people and the law.
A friend in New Orleans is concerned about the oil fumes now engulfing the southern part of town. He says it “smells pretty strong–stronger than standing in a busy mechanics shop, but not as bad as the bus station in Tijuana.”
State health officials are warning people who are sensitive to reduced air quality to stay indoors, but anyone who experiences the classic symptoms of crude oil overexposure–nausea, vomiting, headaches, or cold or flu-like symptoms–should seek medical help.
This is serious: Oil spill cleanups are regulated as hazardous waste cleanups because oil is, in fact, hazardous to health. Breathing oil fumes is extremely harmful.
After the 2002 Prestige oil spill off Galicia, Spain, and the 2007 Hebei Spirit oil spill in South Korea, medical doctors found fishermen and cleanup workers suffered from respiratory problems, central nervous system problems (headaches, nausea, dizziness, etc.), and even genetic damage (South Korea). I have attended two international conferences the past two years to share information with these doctors.
During the Exxon Valdez spill, health problems among cleanup workers became so widespread, so fast, that medical doctors, among others, sounded warnings. Dr. Robert Rigg, former Alaska medical director for Standard Alaska (BP), warned, “It is a known fact that neurologic changes (brain damage), skin disorders (including cancer), liver and kidney damage, cancer of other organ systems, and medical complications–secondary to exposure to working unprotected in (or inadequately protected)–can and will occur to workers exposed to crude oil and other petrochemical by-products. While short-term complaints, i.e., skin irritation, nausea, dizziness, pulmonary symptoms, etc., may be the initial signs of exposure and toxicity, the more serious long-term effects must be prevented.”
Unfortunately, Exxon called the short-term symptoms, “the Valdez Crud,” and dismissed 6,722 cases of respiratory claims from cleanup workers as “colds or flu” using an exemption under OSHA’s hazardous waste cleanup reporting requirements.
Sadly, sick Exxon cleanup workers were left to suffer and pay their own medical expenses. I know of many who have been disabled by their illnesses – or have died.
I have repeatedly warned Congress in letters and in person to strike that loophole because it exempts the very work-related injuries–chemical induced illnesses–that OSHA is supposedly designed to protect workers from.
Remember the “Katrina Crud” and the “911 Crud?” Standby for the “Gulf Crud” because our federal laws do not adequately protect worker safety or public health from the very real threat of breathing oil vapors, including low levels typically found in our industrial ports, our highways during rush hour traffic, and our urban cities.
Oil is not only harmful to people, it is deadly to wildlife. I am sickened to think of the short-term destruction and long-term devastation that will happen along America’s biologically rich coastal wetlands – a national treasure and a regional source of income.
In Alaska, the killing did not stop in 1989. Twenty-one years later, buried oil is still contaminating wildlife and Prince William Sound has not returned to pre-spill conditions – nor, honestly, will it. The remnant population of once-plentiful herring no longer supports commercial fisheries and barely sustains the ecosystem.
While local efforts to boom Louisiana’s fragile coasts to keep the oil out will help people feel productive and empowered (and this is important), it is an unfortunate truth that the booms have limited utility and effectiveness. In even mild sea conditions, oil will wash over and under boom. Further, underneath the visible oil slick, there is an invisible cloud of toxic oil dissolved into the water column and this dissolved oil is deadly to shrimp and fish eggs and marine life.
Still, the Gulf spill has one advantage over the Alaska spill – hot weather and the relatively warm ocean will speed the work of bacteria to degrade the Louisiana crude. Even so, the initial toxic hit is likely to harm generations of wildlife, similar to what happened in Prince William Sound.
The oil industry has had over 40 years – since the 1967 Torrey Canyon tanker spill in England – to make good on its promise to cleanup future oil spills. This latest spill highlights the harsh truth that the industry has failed to live up to its promise. It is time for Americans to demand of our leaders accountability and closure of fossil fuel industries – as we transition to new energies.
Lessons from the Exxon Valdez Spill
ProPublica has more information on the chemicals used to break up the oil spill:
Chemicals Meant To Break Up BP Oil Spill Present New Environmental Concerns
More sure to follow.............