Tag Archives: Oil Pollution

International Help En Route For The Gulf

The Deepwater Horizon site. Photo source: NOAA


With no assurances it will be allowed to join the Gulf of Mexico oil spill cleanup, a Taiwanese-owned ship billed as the world’s largest skimming vessel was preparing to sail Friday evening to the scene of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The ship, the length of 3 1/2 football fields and 10 stories high, is designed to collect up to 500,000 barrels of oily water a day through 12 vents on either side of its bow. It docked in Norfolk en route to the Gulf from Portugal, where it was retrofitted to skim the seas. The ship and its crew of 32 were to leave Virginia waters Friday evening.

The owners of the “A Whale” said the ship features a new skimming approach that has never been attempted on such a large scale. They are anxious to put it to its first test in the Gulf…

Read Full Article; The Time Picayune

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

Coastal Devastation We Don’t Hear About

Oil spill at Goi Creek, Nigeria, August 2010. Photo source: ©© Friends Of The Earth


Big oil spills are no longer news in this vast, tropical land. The Niger Delta, where the wealth underground is out of all proportion with the poverty on the surface, has endured the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez spill every year for 50 years by some estimates. The oil pours out nearly every week, and some swamps are long since lifeless.

Perhaps no place on earth has been as battered by oil, experts say, leaving residents here astonished at the nonstop attention paid to the gusher half a world away in the Gulf of Mexico…

Read Full Article: “Far From The Gulf, a Spill Scourge 5 Decades Old,” By Adam Nossiter, The New York Times

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.

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