BP still channels Goldman Sachs: CEO says, “The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.”
NPR’s Richard Harris has learned that much more oil, 70,000 barrels a day or more than ten times the official estimate, is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon pipe, based on scientific analysis of the video released Wednesday.
That’s the equivalent of one Exxon Valdez tanker full every four days.
Some people weren’t sure about my earlier metaphor, “Time to stop calling the BP-Halliburton oil disaster a ‘leak’ or a ‘spill’ “” Try ‘an undersea volcano of oil’.” But now it seems clear that even my May 1 post questioning the official “leak” rate — Oilpocalypse Now: WSJ reports BP oil disaster may be leaking at rate of 1 million gallons a day — was an understimate.
And it’s now as clear as unpolluted water exactly why BP suppressed for weeks the release of their video of the gusher:
BP knew that experts could roughly calculate the flow rate just from that image — although they can’t easily distinguish oil from gas and other things in the volcano. That said, it appears most of this is oil, as reported in the story from NPR science correspondent Richard Harris.
Brad Johnson at TP summarizes the story and has followup:
Based on “sophisticated scientific analysis of seafloor video made available Wednesday,” Steve Wereley, an associate professor at Purdue University, told NPR the actual spill rate of the BP oil disaster is about 3 million gallons a day “” 15 times the official guess of BP and the federal government. Another scientific expert, Eugene Chiang, a professor of astrophysics at the University of California, Berkeley, calculated the rate of flow to be between 840,000 and four million gallons a day. These estimates mean that the Deepwater Horizon wreckage could have spilled about five times as much oil as the 12-million-gallon Exxon Valdez disaster….
In an email to ThinkProgress, Dr. Wereley clarifies: “My analysis is based strictly on what is seen in the video, so only one pipe and only for that brief period of time. I’m making no claims about what happened earlier or what may happen in the future.”
BP’s hubris and arrogance remain unchanged (see Is BP the Goldman Sachs of Big Oil? CEO Hayward says to fellow executives: “What the hell did we do to deserve this?”). TP notes:
On Tuesday, BP America president Lamar McKay testified under oath before the Senate that “you can’t measure what’s coming out at the seabed.”
But it is CEO Tony Hayward’s comments that boggle the mind. The Guardian reports today:
In an bullish interview with the Guardian at BP’s crisis centre in Houston, Hayward insisted that the leaked oil and the estimated 400,000 gallons of dispersant that BP has pumped into the sea to try to tackle the slick should be put in context.
“The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume,” he said.
Yes, apparently even if it spewed all of the oil in the world into the ocean it still wouldn’t be a big deal to BP because the entire ocean is so vast. Seriously.
For the record, BP’s dispersants are toxic “” but not as toxic as dispersed oil.
The interview ends with yet more hubris:
Hayward said it was “unwise” to speculate about the direct causes of the accident before investigations had been completed. “There is a lot of speculation, red herrings and hearsay.” He also admitted that BP had made mistakes in its early response to the crisis. It initially refused to compensate fishermen who were unable to produce written proof of their normal earnings. Most keep no such records.
He also said BP had made a mistake when fishermen signing up to help with the relief effort were required to sign agreements limiting their receipt of any future damages from BP.
“It was a bit bumpy to get it going. We made a few little mistakes early on.”
Yeah, BP made a few little mistakes:
- The three causes of BP’s Titanic oil disaster: Recklessness, Arrogance, and Hubris: Salazar says drilling companies made “some very major mistakes”; Expert reviewer finds well’s cement seal “was probably faulty” and inadequately tested (to save money); Explosion occured while BP executives were on board “celebrating the rig’s safety record”!
- How about a spotty safety record, insistence on voluntary ‘trust me’ self-regulation, a drilling plan that ignored key risks, and failure to use best shut-off technology to save a few bucks?
- Stupak stunner: Oil well’s blowout preventer had leaks, dead battery, design flaws, “How can a device that has 260 failure modes be considered fail-safe?”
- Shocking allegations against BP