Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 23, 2010

YEARS, NOT MONTHS.... When we think about responses to disasters, we tend to consider recovery time frames in weeks and months. The BP oil spill disaster is another animal entirely. (via Atrios)

For those saddened by the scenes of thick oil washing into Louisiana's coastal wetlands a month after the BP oil disaster began, experts on oil spills and the coastal ecosystem have some advice: Get used to it.

The crews mopping up oil on beaches and marsh shorelines this week are fighting just the first of what will probably be a series of rolling skirmishes that will last for months, if not years -- even after the runaway well is finally capped. In fact, the untold millions of gallons of oil already fouling the Gulf off the Louisiana coast could stay in the area for at least a decade, and on the sea floor for more than 100 years. [emphasis added]

Robert Barham, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune, "I think we're looking at many months of intense activity, but then years of follow-up work.... I've been told by the ocean experts this stuff could hang out there on the bottom of the Gulf for more than 100 years. And as long as it's out there, it can come ashore. We might not see big black waves, but we may be seeing a smaller, but serious problem, for years and years to come."

Meanwhile, the White House announced yesterday the creation of an independent commission to investigate the causes of the disaster, and assess culpability. It will be chaired by former Florida Governor and Senator Bob Graham and former EPA Administrator Bill Reilly.

Also, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told CBS News this morning that the Justice Department is considering criminal charges against those responsible for the spill and has already begun "to gather information on this."

This comes within a week of members of the House Environment and Public Works Committee urging Attorney General Eric Holder to explore whether BP made "false and misleading statements to the federal government regarding its ability to respond to oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico."

Steve Benen 1:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (52)

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Comments

I'm glad there wll be a commission investigating this incident. We still need an independent investigation of the financial crash.

Posted by: steve on May 23, 2010 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Obama’s decision to form a commission to study the spill should be comforting to no one unless his real plan is to use those weighty prominent members to PLUG THE PIPE.

We don’t need to study the leak. We need to STOP IT. They’ll be plenty of time to prevaricate, excuse and not-blame BP later. We need to stop the leak -- not worry about saving oil, not worry about saving face, not hide the damage, but STOP THE LEAK.

Posted by: shrink in sf on May 23, 2010 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, is the Federal government still receiving royalties for the flow of oil?

In the early '50s, BP, under a different name, was nationalized by the Iranian government because they were only paying the Iranian people 16% of the profits, under the arrangement set by William D'Arcy in 1913 and ill treatment of Iranian workers. Of course, this led to our government leading a coup against their PM. Perhaps, it is time to take ownership away from BP for ventures off our coasts. Of course, we might have to worry about an AynRand Paul type coup to save "Big Oil".

Posted by: berttheclock on May 23, 2010 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Kinda puts the whole "This is just one spill after decades of drilling in the Gulf" in perspective.

Almost like, "I had a perfect driving record... until that crash that put me in a coma for 8 years."

Posted by: Grumpy on May 23, 2010 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Presumably this investigation will reach into MMS negligence, Transocean irresponsibility and evasion, and Halliburton incompetence. BP is only one of the parties responsible. Let's not forget that.

Posted by: Goldilocks on May 23, 2010 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Bout time they started criminal investigations. Until BP execs are held responsible for the deaths on the rig, oil industry practices will not change.

Next up should be the same kind of investigation re mine disasters.

Posted by: Cal Gal on May 23, 2010 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

A private business providing misleading statements?

Let's investigate that immediately.

Maybe after a second month, they'll start realizing BP has no clue what it's doing.

After the third month? Hey, those tar balls washing up are free oil! It's a feature not a bug.

I'm getting repetitive stress injuries:

Bend over take this, head up, suck on this, bend over take that, head up suck on this, bend over take that . . . . . .

Bail outs, oil spills, Social Security cuts, 10% unemployment.

Serfdom sounds like a step up.

Posted by: LosGatosCA on May 23, 2010 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

The Ixtoc blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, thirty years ago, was flowing approx. 50X faster per day (assuming estimates are within order of magnitude), and took 9 months to cap. As a kid swimming on Galveston beach (800 miles from the spill) in the summers, tar balls getting stuck to feet and bathing suits were a normal occurrance for a few years afterwards. Being 5 years old, I just thought all beaches had tar balls!

Sucks for the birds and fish and turtles. And if it's not capped within a month or so I'm sure there will be localized spots of horribleness.

IMO, it's catastrophic, but not an environmental apocalypse. I think the difference between 1980 and now is the media (including internet) and the environmental cultural movement. There are more political, media and business opportunists doing what they do, trying to get paid.

Posted by: flubber on May 23, 2010 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

I get the impression, correct me if I'm wrong, that BP is the easy and convenient target here, not least because it is not an American company. Swept under the carpet is the blatant culpability of a negligent and corrupted Mineral Management Service - a US government oversight agency, Transocean - another US company, and of course Haliburton.

They are all culpable. They must all be held accountable. Don't restrict your vengeance merely to the easiest target. It's unbecoming and inaccurate.

Posted by: Goldilocks on May 23, 2010 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

I support much much more regulation of chemicals for agriculture, business, residences. The precautionary principle, an assumption of harm unless proven safe, should be the default paradigm, IMO. And I'd be willing to pay higher prices for it if necessary.

Posted by: flubber on May 23, 2010 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, and BP is still somehow getting away with resisting calls to change dispersants (we're not even entirely sure what they use!), resisting calls from the government to release more info and change etc. They still can somehow jerk off about things like proprietary info, etc. We can't let them get away with this. Obama is hindered by left over moles and left over legal principles, but he's got to do more and have a tough - even "bullying" - attitude towards this imperious delinquent that's not even a US company.

See Experts: BP used riskier drilling

Also
"BP refuses EPA order to switch to less-toxic oil dispersant"
www dot bnd.com/2010/05/22/1266741/bp-refuses-epa-order-to-switch dot html

Who are they to "refuse" a directive over something used in the open sea, and during a disaster? Whatever discretion BP has left must be taken away. We need to demand legal charges, not "conciliatory" mush from a compromiser in chief.

Posted by: Neil B on May 23, 2010 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

The best way for the oil to be isolated from the system is to bury it with sediment.

The flow from the Mis. river is actually now sending the volcanic sea-floor to surface geyser induced oil slick towards Texas.

The underwater plumes are hard to put on Facebook, but they are there.

Drop a shower curtain around the site now.

Why wait for the top kill?

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on May 23, 2010 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Seattle times had an article on Ixtoc yesterday.

That was 3.3 million barrels over a 10 month period. That works out to 11,000 barrels per day. It's already clear that BP significantly understated the flow from the current disaster at 5,000 barrels per day. Could be 20,000 Bpd or more - in which case it won't take too long to catch up (unless the pocket runs out first).

Posted by: Butch on May 23, 2010 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Stop. The. Damn. Oil.

Posted by: Dale on May 23, 2010 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

One other thing about Ixtoc - that was shallow water - around 160 feet - and most of the oil surfaced immediately in relatively warm water. That provided ideal conditions for recovery, evaporation of volatiles, and natural breakdown.

With the oil coming out at a mile down for this one, and unpredented use of pretty toxic dispersants including deep releases at the blowout, a lot of oil is not surfacing. I don't think there's much applicable knowledge on how this might play out.

If those Louisiana marshlands suffer significant die-off, the next hurricane season after the coming one is going to be a ripper.

Posted by: Butch on May 23, 2010 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

hopey-changey want to drill (baby, drill), and H-C wants oil company campaign contributions. The media wants Oil company advertising. Not much will change.

Posted by: elbrucce on May 23, 2010 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

With all the focus on this oil leak, let's not forget that the BP oil rig "Atlantis" is still operating at twice the distance, twice the depth and lacks updated documentation for the equipment they are using. An independent commission sounds fine, except they are usually the result of "looking" like the government is doing something, while they continue to let BP honcho the show. For BP to refuse to switch to a less toxic dispersant when they have been ordered to do so by the EPA is NOT TOLERABLE. Both BP and the Obama administration are not being honest about the severity of this leak, and the Atlantis has not been shut down. We can't nationalize a foreign company like BP, but we sure as hell can kick them off the playground. There are many engineers that can help get the damn leak plugged up and stopped. Drilling relief wells, I understand, risk breaking the pipes further. And then what?

Stop all deep-sea drilling immediately. Arrest the CEO and some others at BP as material witnesses, and while you're at it, arrest people at MMS who gave BP permits to drill without adequate environmental review and against warnings. Hold them until an investigation is completed...AFTER the spill is stopped and AFTER we have some real idea how bad the environmental damage is going to be (not theoretically).

I've had it with the tip toeing around corporations that this and other administrations ceaselessly do, whether its oil, or health care insurance, or Wall Street banks.

Posted by: winddancer on May 23, 2010 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

In addition, new article on the NYT website. The "top shot" otherwise known as the "junk shot" has been delayed until next week. Why? Because, according to BP, it's NEVER BEEN TRIED before and they want to make sure everything is "just right."

Posted by: winddancer on May 23, 2010 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Meanwhile, the White House announced yesterday the creation of an independent commission to investigate the causes of the disaster, and assess culpability."

Any subpoena power in that commission?

Posted by: Forrest on May 23, 2010 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

I look forward to the sternly-worded letter Mr. Obama is going to send to the malefactors when, several years from now, the investigative commission concludes its study.

Posted by: JimmyJegg on May 23, 2010 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry about being off topic, but your advertisements are getting out of hand. The latest one was scrolling to block my view every time I scrolled. Infuriating.

Having to close the damned thing explicitly, requiring action on my part, is an insult as well. It means I have to acknowledge it.

A few weeks ago I left a comment about how I simply loved this site, and recently I enjoyed the Rand Paul chronicles; but, man, things like that nasty rolling ad make me want to leave for good.

Posted by: Hazy on May 23, 2010 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

STOP THE GUSHER!

Come on! First things first. Plug the holes to prevent new oil from gushing into the Gulf. PRIORITY ONE!

Yes, limit the damage
Yes, make BP pay for every penny

Gibbs is talking about the Obama Admin response in the past tense; this crisis is still happening and we are still watching what you are doing. PLUG IT NOW!!!

Posted by: PeninsulaMatt on May 23, 2010 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Hazy, can't you adjust browser settings?
As for Ixtoc comparison, when people say this may be "worst" they are talking about the impact on this ecosystem under these conditions, not just bbl/day or total etc. Re Atlantis: I think that's about the difference between continuing an operation that at least "works" v. getting a new one off the ground. But certainly, check Atlantis plans and operations etc.

Posted by: neil b on May 23, 2010 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Well, at least I like the sound of this, found in recent WSJ piece :
Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar said at a news conference in Houston Sunday that the U.S. will "push BP out of the way" if it does not stop the leak and adequately clean up.

Posted by: neil b on May 23, 2010 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

GOPHER HOLE THEORY:
You people want to know why the leak has not been plugged? Given any thought to the secondary leak in the pipe line? Why don't we talk about the second leak...

Capping the leak will spike the pressure in the hole. The lead pipe is COMPROMISED. Hence the second leak hole.

All these attempts by BP are not attempts to capture oil. They are stuck.... trying to reduce the leak volume without raising the pipe pressure.

That will cause more holes, perhaps even exploding an entire stretch of pipe! Think of a leak 1/3 of a mile in length. Think about it.

You put a big rock on a gopher hole > more gopher holes. They are trying to determine what length of pipe to fill with mud. Below the compromised section.

What a f*ckin mess. Horrible.

Posted by: JayinOregon on May 23, 2010 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Who are they to "refuse" a directive over something used in the open sea

From the linked article:

"On Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave the London-based company 72 hours to replace the dispersant Corexit 9500, OR to describe in detail why other dispersants fail to meet environmental standards." [my emphasis]

BP chose the latter option. It says there's only one other appropriate dispersant available in sufficient quantity, and it has its own toxicity problems (hormone disruptors).

EPA is considering BP's response and will make a decision in the next day or two.

Posted by: Swift Loris on May 23, 2010 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like the political temperature is getting too hot for the White House. Tomorrow they will tell BP to either stop the damn leak or get the fuck out of the way.

About damn time.

Posted by: Joe Friday on May 23, 2010 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, JayinOregon, somebody needed to say that. As for Atlantis, shutting it down might prove to be more dangerous than letting it run. Accidents usually happen when something is changing about the operation. The Horizon disaster happened when they were switching over from drilling to production. Shutting off production at the Atlantis facility would entail them capping a high pressure well. And that's exactly the kind of operation that leads to accidents. It's probably safer to pump the oil out first to lower the pressure before capping it. Which is precisely what BP was planning to do anyway. The key thing to understand is that normal operations are pretty safe. It's the transition phases that pose the most risk.

Posted by: fostert on May 23, 2010 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

All these attempts by BP are not attempts to capture oil. They are stuck.... trying to reduce the leak volume without raising the pipe pressure.

Exactly. There are any number of "PLUG IT NOW!" solutions that can't be used because they risk making the leak worse.

Nobody wants that leak stopped more than BP, for utterly selfish reasons: the longer the oil leaks, the higher BP's costs for cleanup and liability, not to mention the more damage to its image.

At this point Salazar is just doing Oil Spill Theater. The gummint has no choice but to let BP carry on trying to stop the leak.

Posted by: Swift Loris on May 23, 2010 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

We are all Fish in the Gulf.

Posted by: cwolf on May 23, 2010 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

I think what Obama needs to do is simply explain what the score is--

He needs to provide a forum in which experts explain to the American people what can be done, and what is being done.

Also, he needs to push BP to provide more transparency concerning the entire drilling operation which might allow outside experts to offer their perspective and possible solution.


Posted by: Henry on May 23, 2010 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Swift Loris, thanks for some grounding and Henry, that's a good modest sentiment. But really, down to brass tacks the EPA etc. should have studied such scenarious more before and exercised more authority. They should have an idea what to do, and demand - and have the power to make it so - for BP to do as ordered. They must be told what to do, and it must be possible to do that.

Posted by: Neil B on May 23, 2010 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

hopey-changey want to drill (baby, drill), and H-C wants oil company campaign contributions. The media wants Oil company advertising. Not much will change.
Posted by: elbrucce

And I'm sure you're living a petroleum-free life so your hands are clean.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on May 23, 2010 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

This thing is so out of control. Its time for the Obama administration to start contacting other countries, the ones with long experience with deep sea oil drilling and the ones with foresight to require backup safety switches and ask for their best engineers to become involved. It will be humiliating for the US to ask for help but it beats watching this scenario continue. BP is clearly floundering and looking for an answer and its painful to watch our government believe that a company that caused a mess is the best person suited to clean it up. Sad to say this but our government is totally dysfunctional. We have an oil company openly defying the EPA and the Obama administration says nothing. Our Congress in the face of an obvious environmental catastrophe is so corrupt its voting down larger liability limits on BP. But guess what we will get another worthless bipartisan commission.

Posted by: aline on May 23, 2010 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Oooooh, I am shocked. Shocked, I say, that the government has no control over BeePee. Bee is Peeing a lot of oil in the Gulf Coast. Frankly, I say use Haley Barbour as the junk shot down the well. He's certainly big enough. He's certainly stoopid enough. And then we can junk shoot all of David Vitter's diapers. Followed by a ball of all the positive newspaper columns about Booby Jinduhhl after his wonderful SOTU rebuttal speech.

Posted by: warren terrah on May 23, 2010 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

Ya know, the National Guard is pretty good at this stuff.

Oh, yeah. I guess they are busy fighting "other" terrorism.

Posted by: IntelVet on May 23, 2010 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

When damage becomes evident in the North Atlantic, then it gets interesting. Then the world has a rogue state on its hands, beyond the pale of the Convention on the Law of the Sea and poisoning the Common Heritage of Mankind.

Posted by: the norns on May 23, 2010 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Ya know, the National Guard is pretty good at this stuff.

Which units?

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on May 23, 2010 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Y'all still don't know that the National Guard is busy protecting our fifty first state of Iraq. Also too, the fifty second state of Afghanistan.

Posted by: warren terrah on May 23, 2010 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

Ya know, the National Guard is pretty good at this stuff.

Oh, yeah. I guess they are busy fighting "other" terrorism.
Posted by: IntelVet on May 23, 2010 at 10:10 PM

How long have you been a vet? Your intel seems to be a tad off :)

All the same... There was an article in NYT today (sorry, can't find it anymore; don't remember the exact title or author), which quoted the Coast Guard's Admiral Thad Allen fairly extensively. And the guy sounded like BP's mouthpiece/tool.

Posted by: exlibra on May 24, 2010 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

What I want to know is WTF Salazar had been doing since his appointment as Sec. of Interior prior to this catastrophe.

He should have had an immediate departement-wide review and already known MMS was completely FUBAR.

And don't tell me he didn't sign off on that "drilling is safe" BS that Obama used in his speech a few weeks prior to this fiasco.

Posted by: bdop4 on May 24, 2010 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

Hazy, go to Cnet.com and download Adaware2007 you have a bug in your computer, its free and it will remove it for you.

Swift Loris, are you an employee for BP? you only show up on topics about the spill and always defend BP.

When making your summer vacation plans please consider Michigan plenty of clean beaches and 800 golf courses. I know my state sure could use the business. Many native American casinos are scattered across the state also.

Posted by: Fed Up and Tired on May 24, 2010 at 5:51 AM | PERMALINK

The same people who deplore "intrusive" government, who talk loosely of secession and Guy Fawkes, now stridently demand that the Feds do something about a mess their vaunted free enterprise system created.

Posted by: bob h on May 24, 2010 at 6:22 AM | PERMALINK

I worked and voted for Obama in 2008 and will work and vote for Obama in the 2012 election.

But Obama's subservience to Corporate money and power is increasingly obscene.

His weak-kneed appeasement to every Corporate interest that might give him or his Blue Dog buddies money is occasionally indistinguishable from the Republicans.

I know, I know, he and even the Blue Dogs are "better than" the Republicans who are clearly wholly owned subsidies of Corporate money and power.

But Obama's talking out both sides of his mouth AGAIN, this time talking about a moratorium on drilling even while his executive branch has continued to hand out deep sea and ULTRA deep sea drilling permits with environmental waivers.

A quasi-Republican with a (D) behind their name may be "better" than the insane sellouts that normally constitute the Republican Party but it's time for the pathetic apologists for Obama to start paying attention to the facts.

And the facts on this issue is that Obama has been obscenely subservient to the oil and dirty-energy interests at the expense of the citizens who voted him into office.

Posted by: Annoyed on May 24, 2010 at 6:25 AM | PERMALINK

I see some parallels between the folks out there who put all their entertainment marbles in the conclusion to a series such as LOST and those screaming for Obama to DO SOMETHING about the BP oil spill. They are all delusional...LOST was a TV show and an entertaining one for those who hooked into it's premise...but NOT REAL LIFE...and Obama is the president not GOD...if he was more actively engaging in a solution it would be a GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER of business! As those agencies and policies presently in place are being used to work through this disaster most forget that Obama didn't create them...all this INSTANT GRATIFICATION belies a real awareness of how the world works...if only the oil leak were a TV SHOW then critics could rail on forever about what isn't happening according to THEIR needs and wants rather than engaging in something PRODUCTIVE to make the system work better...let's say we begin with dumping our sucky MSM and trying to get something to replace it that actually educates/informs/investigates...just for starters!!!

Posted by: Dancer on May 24, 2010 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

Pandora's box has been opened.

BP has let loose a planet changing beast.

Everyone with a brain will realize how toxic this shit is.

The brown pelican just came off of the endangered species list, now whole rookeries are doomed.

We've spent decades trying to rebuild some of the wetlands of the delta, now, right now, dozens of miles of marsh are being
destroyed by this oil.

Drop a shower curtain around the main leak, corral that oil and burn it at the surface.

Build sand berms now. We should have hundreds of bulldozers all making there way to the delta. Trap the oil at the shore, suck it up, or burn it in place.

We also should be erecting floating windmills and aerate the deep parts of the gulf to replace the oxygen, hastening the rebound of the Gulf's ecosystems.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on May 24, 2010 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

Suddenly we're all righteous about oil spills, pollution and environmental degradation. When was the last time you choose not to use your car for an unnecessary journey? Oil addicts have as much to answer for as oil producers.

Posted by: Goldilocks on May 24, 2010 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

So which happens first: the oil spill is cleaned up or we get out of Iraq?

Posted by: Tree on May 24, 2010 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Swift Loris, are you an employee for BP? you only show up on topics about the spill and always defend BP.

I don't "always defend BP." I've had a number of VERY negative things to say about BP, if you were paying attention.

Not long after the blowout, someone on Drum's blog recommended TheOilDrum.com--an environmentalist site--as the place to go for accurate information. Many of the commenters to the posts there on the blowout and its sequelae are former or current oil industry folks who are appalled at what BP has been doing. I've been hanging out there ever since, soaking up as much information as I can.

I don't have much of a head for politics, so I don't tend to contribute much along those lines here. But I've been distressed at all the misinformation that's floating around about the blowout.

It seems to me counterproductive for us to be screaming about BP (or the gummint, for that matter) for the wrong reasons (e.g., that BP is dragging its feet because it wants to save the well, which is simply false), because it makes it too easy to dismiss our concerns. It's to our advantage to have a clear picture of what's going on; there are more than enough legitimate reasons to condemn BP (and the gummint) that can't be dismissed.

If you suspect me of being a shill for BP, I suggest you spend some time on TheOilDrum and absorb what the militantly anti-BP folks are saying, because that's where I'm getting my information.

Posted by: Swift Loris on May 24, 2010 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if the Gulf of Mexico will ever be the same.

The oil is heading west, east, south, and north.

The oxygen starved waters will eventually spawn

huge blooms of toxic algae, with possibly cyanide gas resulting.

Massive.

Imagine your worst nightmare, this is worse.

The time for the world' oceanographers to join the fray is now.

I want top eco-scientists working the problem.

The technical side is the easy part, it's the biological healing that
is scary.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on May 24, 2010 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Swift Loris, what do you think of the idea of the "gopher hole theory" (search above.)? The impression is, BP isn't stalling to get the oil but because they don't know what to do. BTW, if we could use the oil and stop it from spreading, no need to oppose out of spite.

Posted by: neil b on May 24, 2010 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Swift Loris, what do you think of the idea of the "gopher hole theory" (search above.)? The impression is, BP isn't stalling to get the oil but because they don't know what to do.

I'm afraid the specifics are, er, above my pay grade. I haven't become an expert, just a more-informed-than-some layperson.

But that kind of very tricky stuff is indeed what they're dealing with. Oil drilling and blowout-fixing is all about manipulating and balancing pressures of various kinds and degrees in various places in the well and the riser and the rigs and ships and their effects on various materials. It's incredibly complex, and the deeper the well is in the ocean and below the sea floor, the more difficult it gets.

So, yes, it's a gopher-hole situation overall in that sense, from everything I've been able to gather. Whether the particulars as JayinOregon described them are accurate, I couldn't say, but they certainly sound plausible.

No, BP doesn't know what it's doing, because nobody's ever had to deal with a situation like this before. But I seriously doubt anybody knows better than BP what to do, or, more precisely, has the expertise to make better guesses than BP is making.

The notion that BP is stalling to get the oil just isn't a contender. I hope it finds something constructive to do with what it's siphoning off, but it sure isn't going to make any money off it. By the same token, what it's siphoning off is just a drop in the bucket, so to speak. Better than nothing, but just barely. It needs to stop the flow to make any significant difference to the Gulf. Whether it can do that short term, or whether we'll have to wait for the relief well, remains to be seen.

Posted by: Swift Loris on May 24, 2010 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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