Eleven dead. Hundreds out of work. Thousands of wildlife coated with oil and likely will not survive the night. The pessimists continually talk about the leak size from the Deepwater Horizon. Nature is guaranteed to hurt for months—much more so for the gulf residents dependent on wildlife for a living.
The ‘forgotten’ part is 3 separate leaks from Deepwater piping are overcoming a mile of seawater pressure (2250psi) from the Gulf without any pumping, pushing, or prodding. That’s not including the pressure it takes to overcome 18,000 ft of rock and sand before traversing the 5000 ft depth of the gulf waters.
About 40-100 million gallons have exited so far. We know the 2006 Assessment of Undiscovered OCS Oil and Gas Resources results …(from DOI) using seismic oil discovery, shows enough recoverable oil in the US outer continental shelf (OCS) to make us oil independent from Persian Gulf imports for almost 60 years.
Putting this oil disaster in perspective, and a reminder of Saddam’s wells show how this disaster can be overplayed. The worst seven spills in the last 20 years in order of magnitude are: 1) oil dump in the Persian Gulf (Hussein), 2) typical yearly releases, 3) Ixtoc-1 (Gulf of Mexico), 4) Deepwater Horizon (Gulf), 5) Amoco Cadiz (English Channel), 6) Torry Canyon (S. England), and 7) Exxon Valdez (Alaska).
GESAMP – Joint group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of …Marine environmental Protection (1993) estimated the hydrocarbons going to the marine food-chain to be approximately 676 million g/y. The food-chain can literally be described as the oil-eating bacteria, that are eaten by dinoflagellates, eaten by coepods, eaten by euphausids, eaten by shrimp The administration now uses this oil spill as perfect fodder for discontinuing the use of oil. Bottom line, the Gulf spill looks big, but looks are deceiving.
GESAMP knows hydrocarbons have been in the food-chain for years. Natural seeps [45 million g/y], offshore production discharges, pumping of bilges and ballast water, parking lot runoff—all add to the significant daily micro-dosing of the food-chain. But we scarcely notice each year when the food-chain gets hit with approximately 526 million gallons of oil.
In Lessons from the Gulf blowout, Paul Driessen discusses how since 1969 the US has drilled over 1,224,000 wells on the OCS. With 4000 active rigs today, the government still limits our drilling to less than 15% of all offshore areas.
Interestingly, the Republican leader in the senate revealed “The Obama administration approved drilling at this site [Deepwater], approved the oil spill response plan and says it was paying attention.” But after the leak Obama announced halting of offshore development, suspending exploratory drilling on the coasts of Alaska and Virginia, ordering a halt to 33 exploratory rigs in the Gulf, and suspending exploratory drilling in the Arctic.
The worry about this spill is how badly the food chain will be affected. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from the oil are worrisome, but there isn’t anything in the oil that’s known to bioaccumulate.
Floating crude looks bad, but all remaining signs will most likely disappear in a few months. No one realizes this leak has amounted to less untapped crude that escapes into the Gulf every year.
Considering only one in 4000 wells in the gulf spewed this amount of oil, demonstrates a phenomenal success rate. The actual leak solidifies current DOI estimates with its sheer pressure and obvious need to escape its highly pressurized tomb.
Leak stoppage will likely result when 2 relief wells being drilled to tap the Horizon leak, reach close to the original drilling point. At this writing they are much more than halfway there. Similar relief wells stopped the Ixtoc-1 ‘79 oil leak of 140 million gallons. It leaked for 290 days, and was the largest accidental leak in history. Considering a planned early August capping of the Deepwater leak, oil would have spewed into the gulf for almost 100 days.
Obama likely believes that manmade global warming is so threatening, that any oil use will produce enough CO2 and raise temperatures. CO2 variations throughout history seem to prove the efficiency of photosynthesis. Climate during the Carboniferous Period shows [CO2] concentrations over the last 300 million years reaching 15x current [CO2]. But there were no cars around then.
Earth is a closed system. No CO2 enters or leaves the earth. Shockingly, plants convert all CO2 to water and oxygen though the common reaction of photosynthesis. If Obama believes in runaway CO2, he is convinced man, not God, has control over earth. How insulting to God…
The highest priority of any administration should be “national security”. Instead, it seems to worry about a gulf leak that proves how much oil is in US territory.
Obama’s plan severely compromises national security. It virtually guarantees upstart dictators controlling gasoline prices and holding America by the ‘purse strings’, and sucking US monies overseas to terrorist countries. US jobs lost will be major. On national security, this administration fails miserably.
Even with the terrible consequences of the Deepwater spill, it seems one can be somewhat positive about the results. Anybody you know have a positive outlook?
Kevin Roeten can be reached at [email protected]et.