Friday, June 11, 2010

Today in BP Oil Disaster: Day 53

Posted By on Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 4:36 PM

  • BP has no idea why its stock is slipping. Anyone care to remind them?

  • Wrong all along. Estimates for how much oil has been spewing have doubled — the latest figures suggest42 to 100 millions of gallons of oil have entered the Gulf. BBC asks why the estimates keep changing. The answer:

    Normally the flow from a well is measured on a rig, but the flow meters on the Deepwater Horizon were destroyed in the explosion on 20 April. Since then, scientists have used several methods to measure the flow. Satellite photos show the extent of the slick on the sea surface.

    Combining this data with estimates of the thickness can give an estimate, but it is very uncertain, says Geoffrey Maitland, professor of energy engineering at Imperial College, London. It depends partly on how much oil has reached the surface.

    Experts in fluid mechanics are tracking particles coming out of the broken riser and measuring their velocity. They are refining their models of the flow, based on the levels of oil, gas and solid particles coming from the well.

    Other estimates are based on the video from the downhole of the well.

    A team from the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US is also using acoustic techniques to measure flow rates.

  • Good question: "Who owns the Gulf of Mexico?" Better question: "How in the hell does one lease the Gulf of Mexico?"
  • The Environmental Protection Agency finally lowers the curtain on what's really in those dispersants — a whole lot of big, unpronounceable words.
  • After weeks of ignored requests for help from Florida officials, the Coast Guard, U.S. Department of the Interior, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and BP have set up a command center in Miami.

  • For only $1,000, you can have your own bottle of Deepwater Horizon crude. Put it on your mantle, make it a hood ornament, hang it from your Christmas tree, give it to Pop for Father's Day. There are a million uses! Get yours today! (Proceeds benefit out of work seafood industry employees.)... I can't help but feel that owning a piece of this disaster is a kind of morbid, highway-accident porn. Even the quote in there (“It's a work of art. ... There's a tragic beauty in the oil") sounds like something an out-of-touch New York art dealer would say about the bottles, not Kevin Voisin, vice president of Motivatit Seafood and a Terrebonne Parish councilman.

  • Grist says oiled birds aren't likely to survive once they've been cleaned and released. This is a tragic report.

    The birds that arrive badly injured are euthanized. With so many birds coming in and so many more expected, there simply is no time to try to save them.

  • More heartbreak. The LA Times explores Barataria Preserve, which retreats 30 feet inland every year, and the intercoastal waterways, home to more life than you could imagine. Barataria Bay is locked up — no oysters, no fishing, no nothing. Behind the bay is just one of many thriving systems — totaling a value of "between $330 billion and $1.3 trillion, according to a 2006 report by the Seattle-based group Earth Economics."

    The sickening, helpless feeling around all this is the birds have to go on making a living with patches of oil moving through the system," he said. "We just don't know how many times can these birds take even a light oiling."

    Like most wetlands scientists, Muth cannot say for sure what the impact of oil will bring to this delta.

    "Oil is a wild card," he said. "This is an extremely adaptive place. When you throw in a completely unnatural event, like this mass of oil, we just don't know."

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