Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Live from the ocean floor: new oil leak widget features 'Spillcam'

The following widget is provided by to calculate the extent of the oil spill resulting in the Gulf of Mexico due to the explosion and subsequent sinking of the Deep Horizon oil drilling rig.
The flow rate can be adjusted to take into account the various figures being bounced around by various groups.

BP's estimate that only 5,000 barrels of oil are leaking daily from a well in the Gulf of Mexico, which the Obama administration hasn't disputed, could save the company millions of dollars in damages when the financial impact of the spill is resolved in court, legal experts say.
But BP could be facing a crippling liability of up to $10bn unless its latest effort to contain the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico meets with success. (CNBC)
A preliminary internal investigation by BP has found that there were “several new warning signs of problems” in the hours before the Deepwater Horizon explosion, according to US lawmakers who were briefed by the company on Tuesday. (CNN)

Regardless of which figures are used, this is clearly an unprecedented disaster.
see : underwater video of oil slick (OceanFuturesSociety)
Experts at NOAA announce that they have extended the area where fishing is currently forbidden in the Gulf of Mexico. The closed area now represents 54,096 square miles, which is slightly more than 22 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters.

However, that didn’t stop BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward from claiming that the ongoing and largely uncontained spill is “relatively tiny” when compared to the volume of the Gulf of Mexico. (Daily Telegraph)
BP attempts to plug Gulf of Mexico oil leak with mud in 'top kill' technique : company awaits test results before trying to choke off Deepwater Horizon leak by force-feeding it mud and cement. (The Guardian)

By the way, more than 650,000 gallons of chemical dispersant have gone into the Gulf of Mexico to try to break up the oil.
But after giving BP the go-ahead to use the chemical, and to inject it undersea, the Environmental Protection Agency changed course yesterday and demanded that BP switch to a less toxic dispersant. (The Guardian)

Meanwhile, as BP’s solutions to stopping the leak and cleaning up the spill continue to struggle, a new savior has stepped up: Kevin Costner who is in real life, an avid environmentalist, fisherman, and greentech entrepreneur.
While making Waterworld in 1995, Costner was troubled by oil spills like the Exxon Valdez and started developing a system to cruise the surface of the sea and clean oily water.
“The machines are essentially like big vacuum cleaners, which sit on barges and suck up oily water and spin it around at high speed,” his business partner said in the Los Angeles Times. “On one side, it spits out pure oil, which can be recovered. The other side spits out 99% pure water”.
BP and the U.S. Coast Guard plan to test six of the massive devices this week.

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