Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Oil Spill Update

I'll get to Obama, not in this post.

It's getting hard to keep up with all the incoming news from different sources, different angles, people with different motivations...It's getting confusing. People are using the spill to push their own agendas and precious data is getting lost in the process. Let's try to figure some of it out.

So, estimates on oil volume spilled/spilling have increased...again. Does anyone see a pattern here? The "new" spill rates are between 40,000 - 50,000 barrels per day, which is what scientists have been suggesting for weeks (hence “new”). Some estimates are even higher. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, widely considered to be a top authority on marine research and education, estimates the flow at 1 - 2.1 million gallons per day.

"But even using other numbers that federal officials and scientists call a more reasonable range would have about 63 million gallons spilling since the rig explosion...By comparison, the Exxon Valdez, the previous worst U.S. oil spill, was just about 11 million gallons. The new figures mean Deepwater Horizon is producing an Exxon Valdez size spill every five to 13 days."

Just in case the cleanup effort didn't have enough setbacks already, the Discoverer Enterprise - the ship currently assigned to capture oil leaking from the well - was struck by lightning yesterday. The ship caught fire and containment efforts were halted, allowing the flow into the Gulf to increase. Discoverer Enterprise has since been able to resume its containment efforts. Worth mentioning, satirical Twitterer BPGlobalPR tweeted: "Lightning struck one of our ships! Come on Planet Earth, what did we ever do to you?!? #bpcares"

Well, I can think of a few things. 1,075 oiled birds have been found, 633 of which were dead. Scientists estimate only 10% of oiled birds are ever found.

""Others sink or they're scavenged," said Rebecca Dunne, of Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research."

As difficult as it is to count frightened oiled birds trying desperately to escape, counting other animals such as turtles and dolphins is nearly impossible. These animals live much farther away from responders and will rarely wash up on shore. Because of this, we will never truly know the full impact of the spill. Other unseen victims are the sedentary life forms at the bottom of the gulf, such as corals and oysters, which cannot move out of the contaminated area and will most likely be smothered by sinking oil or poisoned by dispersants. A website has been set up here keeping tally of the avian, reptilian and mammalian victims of the spill. You can follow these numbers on Twitter at bpdeadbirds.

photo credit France24

What I'm kind of loving is that BP isn't getting any support from fellow oil whores. Sure, it's easy enough to push the bad publicity towards someone else when it makes you look better (I'm looking at you, ExxonMobil), but the fact is that the traditionally strong bonds of support amongst oil companies is beginning to weaken...and that's a good thing. Maybe they're all realizing it could have just as easily been one of them and they're freaking out a little...?

To put it into an insanely immature spoiled brat's perspective:

"“In one sense we feel like kids who have had their recess taken away because of what somebody else did,” Larry Dickerson, CEO of Diamond Offshore Drilling, told CNBC. “This blanket punishment doesn't seem right.”"

Wahh. Cry me a fucking river.

Full articles here:
New Oil Numbers may mean More Environmental Damage (Las Vegas Sun)
Gulf Oil Spill: Lightning-Ignited Fire Halts Oil Collection System (LA Times)
Most Oil-Struck Birds, Marine Life Die Uncounted (France24)
BP Faces Backlash from Big Oil Rivals (MSNBC)

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