Spill Baby Spill

That’s the banner headline from HuffPost.  Be sure to read their story on how “Big Oil Fought Off New Safety Rules Before Rig Explosion.”  They link to some amazing NASA photos of the “worst oil rig disaster in decades”:

And here’s the close up:

To paraphrase the movie Airplane, looks like Obama picked the wrong time to give up the offshore drilling moratorium.

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19 Responses to Spill Baby Spill

  1. fj2 says:

    re: “. . . wrong time to give up the offshore drilling moratium.”

    And, the right time to go to war against accelerating environmental devastation.

  2. Anne says:

    I got Pete Seeger on the brain:

    Where has all that oil gone?
    Long time leaking
    Where has all that oil gone?
    Long time afloat
    Where has all that oil gone?
    Gone to poison everyone
    When will they ever learn?
    When will WE ever learn????

  3. Lore says:

    I thought this was all in our past, that managing the safe transport and drilling of oil today was an order of magnitude safer then it was during the ole Exxon Valdez disaster days? Oil companies have after all spent small fortunes complying to secure environmental standards.

    I would suggest that we all get use to these mishaps. As we scramble for ever cheaper means of extracting an increasingly rarer and more expensive resource.

  4. catman306 says:

    Joe Romm, I just missed your appearance on the Earth Day live stream. So I invited Terry Gross from NPR’s Fresh Air to interview you, with your new book and all…..

    Hope to hear you there soon.

  5. Michael Tucker says:

    So will BP be on the hook for this clean-up effort? Latest reports say it will continue to belch oil for several months before it is capped.

  6. Barry says:

    It really is a tragedy that that oil ended up in the ocean before we could burn it and dump all that burned fossil fuel back into the…ummm…well…ocean.

    Our oil system when used “safely” and exactly according to regulations is designed to spew it all back into the environment: a billion pounds an hour into the seas.

    I’m not saying the oil slick doesn’t deserve front page coverage and real concern…it does! I’m just shocked at how many people are freaked out by this and don’t give a flip about the fact of planetary wide “oil slick” acidifying our oceans daily.

  7. fj2 says:

    The current transportation is as corrupt as the current financial system.

    It depends on vehicles that are many times larger than they should be and has to depend of energy storage many times more dense than it has to be.

    In short, we are living profligate life-styles on way too much credit!

    Modular small vehicles defined as those vehicles easily powered by human power which of course can be powered by other energy sources including electrical energy — which can run on and off systems — are a much more practical, safe, have higher performance and are the completely environmentally responsible way to provide global mobility to would bring transportation emissions way below one percent those produced by transportation systems based on cars.

    And, the current huge supply of oil would not be required.

  8. fj2 says:

    re: 9. fj2,

    What part of this is difficult to understand this?

    What part of existing technology cannot provide this?

    Why is it difficult to understand that this type of simple technology is accessible to the broadest spectrum of the global population.

    And, when the special interests say this is ridiculous:

    Insurance: These safe vehicles will not require insurance

    Finance: These vehicles will cost less than typical down payments

    Oil: They will not require the high energy concentrations of oil

    Auto: Because the technology is so accessible it will be a commodity and the margins will be very low

    Why do you believe them?

  9. Whatshisname says:

    The life of a rig worker is nothing like the movies. They do their best to take care of their families and bring fuel to a demanding world with little else to turn to. At last count 11 were lost and many injured in The Gulf of Mexico. Rest in peace, bless the ones they left behind and those who were injured.

    And God save The Gulf of Mexico. The press could have but didn’t, and out of utter shame it is not going to bring up The Gulf’s environmental history now. It is almost too awful for words anyway. Barring a miracle I think it’s safe to say we are about to cross tipping points (plural) with ramifications that are indeed beyond words.

  10. fj2 says:

    11. Whathisname, “fuel to a demanding world with little else to turn to”

    Good common sense would not require the dangerous efforts to extract the coal that killed those miners and the oil that killed those rig workers in The Gulf of Mexico and the many times more dangerous accelerating devastation of the environment.

  11. Whatshisname says:

    fj2 — thankyou for clarifying my point.

  12. Wit's End says:

    video of Sigourney Weaver testifying about the oceans:

  13. Andy says:

    Winds at the spill site will be SE at 20 knots with seas up to 8′ by Thursday night.

    SE wind – draw a straight line NW from the spill. The likelihood of this spill getting into the marshes and barrier islands of the delta over the next few days is 100%. The experts are downplaying this a little too much.

    I still expect the first oiling of wildlife to air Thursday evening though the reporters are going to have to find someone with a good boat and a lot of experience to get out to the impact area in weather such as this. Look in Venice for someone who advertises as a fishing guide for trout and redfish. Not a charter boat and not a head boat – those are large boats for offshore waters and won’t be able to land in the marshes.

  14. Bill Waterhouse says:

    so Sarah – how’s that “drill, baby, drill” workin’ out for ya?

  15. prokaryote says:

    Gulf Oil Spill Rate Must Be Much Higher Than Stated – 6 Million Gallons So Far?
    Based on SkyTruth’s latest satellite observations today of the size of the oil slick and published data on the thickness of floating oil at sea that produces a visible sheen (1 micron, or 0.000001 meters) we think the official estimate of the spill rate from the damaged well has been significantly too low.

  16. Chris Dudley says:

    prokaryote (#17),

    From what I read, the spill rate was estimated by looking at the leaks at the sea floor. Perhaps part of the discrepancy comes from crude oil being more compressible than water so that the volume is lower under high pressure. If that was neglected owing to lack of experience at this depth, then the two estimates may be partly reconciled.

    Might be worth trying to burn the oil as it rises from the sea floor by pumping air into the plume?

  17. Chris Dudley says:

    Further to my #18,

    Official estimates of the rate of the spill are increasing to 5000/barrels/day in line with prokaryote’s link. My suggesting about compressibility can’t make much difference but they have found a new spot along the riser that is spilling.

    At a mile down the pressure is about 16 MPa which is close to the pressure of the critical point of water (22 MPa) where there is no great distinction between steam and liquid. The critical point temperature is about 700 F, well above the auto ignition temperature of crude oil which is around 450 F. So, if the oil were mixed with water at 600 F, below the boiling point of water at that pressure, and a higher than stoichiometric stream of air were introduce, one could expect complete spontaneous combustion of the oil leaving only NOX as a pollutant though this would disperse in the water. The heat of combustion should be adequate to maintain the water near the oil above the autoignition temperature of the crude oil.

    The electric power available on an aircraft carrier, standard fire hoses and commercial air compressors should be adequate to bubble sufficient air below and rising into the oil plumes to allow for complete combustion of the oil at depth eliminating the surface spill. A standard flare could initiate combustion which would then be self-sustaining as long as air is provided. Rising carbon dioxide bubbles may entrain hot water and produce some boiling closer to the surface. There is a potential for the steam/water mix to have low enough density that the buoyancy of ships could be affected so a stand off distance may need to be maintained.

    I called BP’s Houston office yesterday with an outline of this idea. Now that DoD is getting involved, I think I’ll try to mention it there as well.