Gulf of Mexico oil spill flow 5 times worse than thought

According to Tampa Bay dot com
Oil spill in Gulf of Mexico now worse than feared

The Coast Guard said late Wednesday that a new leak has been found at the site where an oil rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rear Adm. Mary Landry says that 5,000 barrels a day are now estimated to be leaking, meaning 210,000 gallons are spilling into the gulf. Officials had been saying for days that it was 42,000 gallons.

At 10.8 million gallons for the Exxon Valdez spill, it would have taken 252 days for this deepwater spill at 42,000 gallons per day to match the worst human caused oil spill in history. However at 210,000 gallons, this record could well be met within 42 days.

Magnifico has been running a series of diaries on this if you want to catch up on what this spill and its implications are.
Oil spill in Gulf of Mexico grows, leaks still gushing oil
Serious oil spill from sunken drill rig off the Louisiana coast
Burning oil rig sinks in the Gulf of Mexico, 11 still missing [updated]
Exploratory oil drilling rig explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico

Once it hits those mangroves, he said, "it'll just kill all the vegetation. It's years before it will recover. The stuff's pretty toxic, and it will kill all the growth that supports the shrimp and crabs," hurting a seafood industry that's still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

The only way to get oil out of a contaminated marsh, he said, "is to burn the marsh."

Meanwhile, an air of inevitability has settled in — a sense that the question about the oil reaching marshes and beaches is no longer if, but when.

Accordingly the industry annual safety awards have had to be put back, deferred to not distract those attending this developing disaster.

As a result of the accident, the U.S. Minerals Management Service announced it was postponing its annual oil industry safety awards ceremony, scheduled for May 3 in Houston.

However according to a report published earlier in the week, these organisations have been fighting against stricter safety standards proposed by the MMS.

BP and TransOcean have also aggressively opposed new safety regulations proposed last year by a federal agency that oversees offshore drilling -- which were prompted by a study that found many accidents in the industry.....

the agency proposed taking a more proactive stance by requiring operators to have their safety program audited at least once every three years -- previously, the industry's self-managed safety program was voluntary for operators. The agency estimated that the proposed rule, which has yet to take effect, would cost operators about $4.59 million in startup costs and $8 million in annual recurring costs.

The industry has launched a coordinated campaign to attack those regulations, with over 100 letters objecting to the regulations

Seems a fairly minor price to pay for increased safety oversight, in light of the current cost of BP's day to day clean up estimated at $6 million.

BP is spending $6 million a day to contain and clean up a sprawling oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Coast Guard said Tuesday it may try to light the oil afire to halt its steady creep toward the Louisiana coast.

Finally, some people may be interested to note that Shell have put oil sand expansion plans on hold due to excessive costs.

Costs to build in the oil sands have grown so high that one of the world’s largest energy companies plans to wait at least five years – perhaps much longer – to expand its presence there.

Seems they will target their exploration and extraction at offshore areas.

Now, the oil sands are very much a next-decade resource, as Shell instead chases offshore oil in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil.

Link to NY Times article on this development h/t to Jethrock
Oil Leak in Gulf of Mexico May Be 5 Times Initial Estimate

0
No votes yet

Comments

scary it is to see the spill and how much area of the ocean it covers now. And right near a nature preserve. This is a tragic disaster. People need to give up on that whole "Drill here and drill now!" attitude because it is going to kill us all.

On Wednesday evening, cleanup crews began conducting what is called an in-situ burn, a process that consists of corralling concentrated parts of the spill in a 500-foot-long fireproof boom, moving it to another location and burning it. It has been tested effectively on other spills, but weather and ecological concerns can complicate the procedure.

Seems like this could create a whole new set of problems ...

Quote taken from the NYT link in commentary.