Category Archives: Gulf Oil Catastrophe

Minimal Advances in Oil Spill Cleanup Since Valdez Spill

Big Smith Island near Valdez Alaska. Taken during clean-up of Exxon Valdez spill. 700 miles of coast line was contaminated with crude oil. Captions and Photo source: ©© Jim Brickett


Two decades after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, cleanup technology has progressed so little that the biggest advancement in the Gulf of Mexico disaster, at least in the public’s mind, is an oil-water separator based on a 17-year-old patent and promoted by the movie star Kevin Costner…

Read Full Article; The New York Times

1 million times the normal level of methane gas near the Gulf oil spill

Photo source: ©© Eric Vondy


It is an overlooked danger in oil spill crisis: The crude gushing from the well contains vast amounts of natural gas that could pose a serious threat to the Gulf of Mexico’s fragile ecosystem.

The oil emanating from the seafloor contains about 40 percent methane, compared with about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits, said John Kessler, a Texas A&M University oceanographer who is studying the impact of methane from the spill.

As much as 1 million times the normal level of methane gas has been found in some regions near the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, enough to potentially deplete oxygen and create a dead zone, U.S. scientists said on Tuesday…

Read Full Article, Reuters

Methane adding New Concerns; BBC News
The massive floating drilling rig Deepwater Horizon was around 50 miles off the coast when it sank. Now the area where it was once positioned in the Gulf of Mexico is comparable to a floating town, with around 60 vessels involved in the efforts to capture and clean up the oil, and to drill relief wells to seal the leak…

A hole in the world

Feather on oiled boom. Captions And Photo source: ©© Lance Cheung


How long will it take for an ecosystem this ravaged to be “restored and made whole” as Obama’s interior secretary has pledged to do? It’s not at all clear that such a thing is remotely possible, at least not in a time frame we can easily wrap our heads around. The Alaskan fisheries have yet to fully recover from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill and some species of fish never returned. Government scientists now estimate that as much as a Valdez-worth of oil may be entering the Gulf coastal waters every four days. An even worse prognosis emerges from the 1991 Gulf war spill, when an estimated 11m barrels of oil were dumped into the Persian Gulf – the largest spill ever…

Read Full Article; By Naomi Klein, The Guardian, UK

Burn Boxes

The Deepwater Horizon site. Photo source: NOAA


A field of fire out in the Gulf of Mexico, where leaked BP oil burns by the barrel, is known as the “burn box.” Every barrel that burns there is one more that will never reach shore, CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports.

The “Explorer” is the command ship overseeing a fleet of smaller ships in the burn box. Two planes act as spotters to guide boats to heavy crude and calm seas.

Skimming boats dragging flame-resistant boom collect oil – like raking a pile of leaves – and push it into a target area for burning that’s 10 miles long, 10 miles wide. That’s the burn box.

“This is the first time we’ve ever used fire-resistant boom on a major spill event,” Alan Allen, an oil spill consultant, said.

Read Full Article, from CBS News

Burn Box Video, Youtube

Team says much more oil may have flowed from well

High-res Oil


Researchers studying the flow of oil from the blown-out well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico said Thursday that as much as twice the amount of oil than previously thought may have been spewing into the sea since an oil rig exploded nearly two months ago.

It is the third, and perhaps not last, time the federal government has had to increase its estimate of how much oil is gushing…

Read Full Article; By Harry R. Weber and Seth Borenstein, Associated Press

Hi-resolution Underwater Video of gushing Oil, by CNN

Heavier oil from Gulf spill washes up in Florida

A close-up of a tar ball found on the beach in Dauphin Island, Alabama (May 13, 2010). Captions and Photo source: NOAA


Heavier concentrations of oil from the gushing Gulf of Mexico leak have begun sloshing up on Florida seashores as the state ramps up its effort to keep its coastline clean.

Tar balls and crude oil “mousse” entered into Perdido Bay in northwest Florida on the border with Alabama late on Wednesday, prompting state and local officials to step up skimming operations before the gooey mess taints delicate spawning areas…

Read Full Article; By Michael Peltier, Reuters.

Oil Spill Puts Florida Straits Cold-Water Reefs in Peril

Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


Thousands of barrels of oil are leaking out of the Deepwater Horizon site each day. The oil ascends from depths of approximately 1502 m. (4928 ft.), but not all of it reaches the sea surface. The stratified seawater of the Gulf of Mexico captures or slows the ascent of the oil, and the addition of dispersants near the oil source produces tiny droplets that float for a considerable time in the water column and may never reach the surface…

Read Full Article; By, Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, in ScienceDaily

Why the Oil Spill Won’t End Gulf Drilling

Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


Suppose the United States did decrease drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, or discontinue it altogether. It’s a tempting idea, but the question arises. Then what? What would be our alternatives?

For a nation where oil consumption surged 32 percent between 1970 and 2008 and production declined 40 percent, offshore drilling in the gulf, along with Alaska, represents the new frontier. Some 30,000 to 40,000 rigs in the gulf are drilling deep and pumping oil that comprises more than a third of the nation’s domestic supply, more than any other source. The technology employed to drill so deep and at such underwater depths is so cutting-edge it rivals that of space exploration, the industry says…

Read Full Article; By Amy Green, Politics Daily

Corporations Won’t Self-Regulate

Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


It’s now well over a month since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off the Gulf of Mexico and created the largest man-made environmental catastrophe in American history. The question haunting everyone is: how was this allowed to happen? From the devastated fishermen and business owners in the Gulf Coast to environmental activists across the country we all have been watching, horrified, as millions of gallons of oil continue to pour into the ocean, destroying people’s livelihoods, poisoning marine life and destroying coastlines and eco-systems for decades to come…

Read Full Article; By Barbra Streisand Actress, Singer, Composer, Activist; in The Huffington Post