Don't Go Near the Water — Johnny Cash

Don’t know how I missed this back when the old man was with us and singing it.  Amy Goodman played it today on her Democracy Now one-year review of the Gulf Oil disaster.

The Oil Catastrophe: One Thing to Do

Americans spent $20,461,413,000 dollars on gasoline alone in 2009.  That’s at $3 a gallon.  A 10% catastrophe tax would bring in about $2,046,141,200 in a year, or $5,605,800 a day.

I don’t know what the economic cost of the damage to the gulf coast is going to be, nor how much British Petroleum will be forced to pay, or for what. It sure seems to me that one of the most important things President Obama can do is call on all Americans to share the burden of those who are most directly affected — the men and women, the children, whose livelihoods and ways of life are taking major hits, if not being totally destroyed. After all, it’s the gasoline we all use that drives the crazy search for the oil. What could $5.5 million a day do to help alleviate the real, economic injury the gusher is causing?

And if there is a surplus, or if the region recovers in two, or ten years, what could $2 billion a year do to help kick start non fossil fuel energy technology?

Let’s not wait for a cap and trade scheme. Let’s get started. Tax our own carbon energy use; drive it down, and raise major money to help those most damaged, and to push solutions that will help those in years to come.

Oil Update: Saturday

Update: Jail time, it seems to me…

WASHINGTON — Internal documents from BP show that there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon far earlier than those the company described to Congress this week.

The problems involved the well casing and the blowout preventer, which are considered key pieces in the chain of events that led to the disaster on that rig.

The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of “well control.” And as far back as 11 months ago, the company was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer.

On June 22, 2009, for example, BP engineers expressed concerns that the metal well casing the company wanted to use might collapse under high pressure.

“This would certainly be a worst case scenario,” warned Mark E. Hafle, a senior drilling engineer at BP in an internal report. “However, I have seen it happen so know it can occur.” NY Times: Urbina

The plume shown in the PBS live cam looks black again, not muddy brown. Not good news, though interpretation of what is visible is disputed by those with experience in the field. Read more of this post

Best Oil Spill Coverage Sites

Best Sites for Coverage: EPA; NOAA; NOLA [Times Picayune]; Sky Truth; GulfLive; DeepWater Horizon Response

Oil Slick From Space

According to NASA the column is visible because it was taken when the sun was reflecting off the oil making the sheen much more prominent. HuffPo

Oil Stories: Not Just in the Gulf

Two other oil stories worth looking at along with the daily coverage of the gusher in the gulf.

An Oil Spill Grows in Brooklyn

WITH an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil spilling from the Deepwater Horizon site every day — for a total of some 3.3 million gallons, so far — the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico may eventually prove to be the largest oil spill in American history.

But New Yorkers forget, or don’t know, that a much larger oil spill sits in our own backyard: an estimated 17 million to 30 million gallons of oil, benzene, naptha and other carcinogenic chemicals pollute Newtown Creek and a swath of soil roughly 55 acres wide and up to 25 feet deep, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NY Times: Prud’Homme

Drilling critics warn of spill in Arctic Ocean

Shell Oil two years ago spent $2.1 billion for leases in the Chukchi, the arm of the Arctic Ocean that the United States shares with Russia, and the home to one of America’s two polar bear populations.

…Alaska’s indigenous people and environmentalists say a catastrophic spill in the Chukchi would leave the petroleum company without backup resources considered routine in the rest of the country.

The nearest Coast Guard base is Kodiak, more than 900 air miles away. Nearby coastal communities such as Point Hope are tiny and lack deep-water harbors and large airports. Cleanup assets are stationed at Prudhoe Bay, hundreds of miles away on Alaska’s north coast. Unlike at Prince William Sound, where more than 300 fishing boats are under contract to lay down boom if another supertanker hits a reef like the Exxon Valdez, there’s no one to call for local assistance.

If a blowout occurred late in the summer, it could be impossible for another rig to arrive and drill a relief well before the water freezes, leaving a well to flow until it plugged itself or spill response vessels reached it the following summer, according to drilling opponents. AP: Joling

Oil Gusher Reduced, Not Stopped

Mile-long tube sucking oil away from Gulf well but is no permanent solution, BP says

Oil company engineers on Sunday finally succeeded in keeping some of the oil gushing from a blown well out of the Gulf of Mexico, hooking up a mile-long tube to funnel the crude into a tanker ship after more than three weeks of failures.

Millions of gallons of crude are already in the water, however, and researchers said the black ooze may have entered a major current that could carry it through the Florida Keys and around to the East Coast.

News of the tube’s success was met with tempered enthusiasm by Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, leader of a coastal parish in Lousiana that includes environmentally sensitive marshes and islands.

“It’s definitely good news,” Nungesser said after a BP vice president called to brief him.

“It will be better news when they get it stopped,” he said, noting the underwater oil plumes. “We have a large mess out there.”


Not 5,000 Barrels a Day – Possibly 70,000!


“NPR is now reporting that the oil spill could be 70,000 barrels of oil a day, which is considerably greater than the estimate of 5,000 barrels per day currently being reported. What is the view of Oil Drum readers regarding the likelihood of the higher estimate being accurate? According to the story:

The analysis was conducted by Steve Werely, an associate professor at Purdue University, using a technique called particle image velocimetry. Harris tells Michele Norris that the method is accurate to a degree of plus or minus 20 percent. That means the flow could range between 56,000 barrels a day and 84,000 barrels a day.

Another analysis by Eugene Chiang, a professor of astrophysics at the University of California, Berkeley, calculated the rate of flow to be between 20,000 barrels a day and 100,000 barrels a day.


Oil Spill Mapped to Your Region

Map the Oil Spill over your Own Region

Best Sites for Coverage: EPA; NOAA; NOLA [Times Picayune]; Sky Truth; GulfLive

Gulf Oil Spill Tracker

Very cool oil spill tracker which takes input from locals as to what they’re seeing, smelling….

Then there’s this: