The Gulf of Mexico is Alive and Will Recover Promptly
...the Gulf Coast will almost certainly see a greater financial impact than ecological one. Oil evaporates, degenerates and sinks as it sloshes around with currents.
So far, using conservative estimates, at least 126 Olympic-sized swimming pools could have been filled with all the leaking oil, according to Ron Kiene, professor of marine sciences at the University of South Alabama and the Sea Lab. Using larger estimates, that figure jumps to 216 pools.
By comparison, the water in the Gulf would fill up 1.1 trillion Olympic-sized swimming pools. _Al.com
The news media loves to blow up a tragedy into a world-ending crisis. It sells more advertising. Politicians, trial lawyers, and political activists of the faux environmentalist variety also enjoy inflating a tragedy into the apocalypse. It helps them make money, get elected, gain political clout.
But it makes the public stupid when they pay too much attention to these bastards of duplicity. Recovery efforts at the well head recovered over 20,000 barrels of oil over the past 24 hours. A fleet of oil-recovery barges and oil skimming boats are competing for oil slick to recover and skim. Beach cleaning crews spend most of their time wishing for more tar balls, just to have something to do. And the relief wells are running ahead of schedule.
The first well has now been drilled to "just under" 16,000 feet, Vanhegan said. The second is at 9,778 feet. _NOLA
"They're starting to close in on the well," Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said. "The last thousand feet is a slower process and has to be very exact. _NOLA
On the Development Driller II, one of two rigs working on the effort, BP wellsite leader Mickey Fruge said the well has reached a depth of roughly 5,000 feet below the seafloor. There's still another 8,000 feet to go.A sober observation of the live spillcam over the past two weeks should have put to rest the breathless speculation by "academics" of "100,000 barrels a day or more spilled." The upper credible estimate for spill rate in the early days of the spill was 25,000 barrels per day. After all the efforts to stop the oil flow -- including an attempted "top kill plus junk shot" and the various shearing and sawing on the riser -- the flow was thought to have increased by roughly 20% or perhaps a bit more.
The other well is deeper, but drilling superintendent Wendell Guidry says it's anyone's guess which team will intersect the damaged well first.
"The main thing is, you know, we try to keep the guys focused," Guidry said. "We're just treating this like we treat any other well that we drill."
Once a relief well intersects with the damaged well, BP plans to shoot heavy drilling mud down the well bore, then plug it with cement. _Al.com
Visually comparing the flow at the wellhead over the past two weeks allowed one to see the flow without any recovery (when a surface fire on the Discovery Enterprise shut down the LMRP recovery temporarily) to the present where a combined recovery effort through the LMRP cap and the "top kill" manifold is said to be collecting just over 20,000 barrels per day.
There is a clear and indisputable reduction in flow -- Al Fin geological engineers estimate that between 1/2 and 2/3 s of the current flow is being recovered at the wellhead. That would leave roughly 10,000 to 15,000 barrels per day or so leaking into the Gulf, most of it evaporating or being recovered by skimmers and vacuum ships. Some of it will wash ashore as tarballs, and some will slowly emulsify and be metabolised by bacteria.
And life in the timeless waters of the Gulf will once again return to an uneasy balance with its human co-habitants.
Labels: Oil Spills