Gulf Oil Spill: The Stats

Who: BP, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig (owned by Transocean but leased to BP), and Haliburton (responsible for plugging holes in the pipeline).

What: The largest offshore spill in U.S. history. The numbers are fuzzy but estimates are somewhere between 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil per day. Today is day 80 of the spill, which means somewhere between 2.8 million and 4.8 million barrels have gushed into the Gulf. More incredible, the U.S. uses around 20 million barrels of oil per day. The oil spill so far, massive as it might be, represents only 15-25% of one day in U.S. oil consumption. If this doesn't put our addiction in perspective, what will?

When: April 20, 2010-present.

spill from space.jpg

How: Methane gas from the well shot up from the well, expanded, exploded, and sank the rig leaving a damaged and leaking wellhead.

Why: Lack of oversight? Bribery? Sheer accident? Consumer demand? Corporate greed? Faulty equipment? One bouncer we met on Bourbon St. (who used to work on offshore oil rigs) said the blame should be shared between the government, BP, and the rig's equipment. He said that BP hit "the motherload" with this well and the equipment simply wasn't adequate to handle the pressure of this heavy an oil flow, which BP should have known and regulators (like the Minerals Management Agency, which oversees offshore oil drilling) should have caught. Another man on Bourban St. said it's all of our faults for using oil (Tom Friedman likes him). Perhaps the oddest accusation is that this spill is the fault of environmentalists who fight against drilling on land...


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The cause of the BP spill is similar to the cause of almost every engineering disaster, a series of small things each of which takes a bit of the safety margin away until things go boom. Its very similar to Challenger, the KC Hotel collapse, three mile island and the like. Or for the want of a nail the kingdom was lost an ancient tale. For the want of a working BOP, for the want of sufficient mud, for the want of a good cement bond log, for the want of proper cement, for the want of proper number of spacers, for the want of a proper casing design the spill happened.
If any one of these items had been different no spill.
Now in the case of a lot of decisions the emphasis on cheaper better within BP was an issue, given that BP does appear to be accident prone (Texas City, Thunder Horse, Alaska spill...) BP needs to put a world renowned safety expert on its board, expand the safety ombudsman system world wide and have the ombudsmans report to this safety expert who chairs a safety committe of the board. Its interesting that BP' safety director reports to the chief of staff and not to the CEO, as well. Haywood did not say that the Safety director attended the meetings on safety he had with group heads in his testimony.

The stupidest fact is that we had the means and technology twenty years ago to completely get off of oil. The Valdez spill should have thrown us into that.
But greed always wins. More money was in oil. And now we get to pay for it.
I could hope and pray that this spill will finally jump start us in getting out of it. But I doubt it.

He said that BP hit "the motherload" with this well and the equipment simply wasn't adequate to handle the pressure of this heavy an oil flow...

Baloney! That reservoir is one of smaller ones in the Gulf, and it did handle the pressure until the mud was removed.

I have to wonder why a post doc would give a voice to a bouncer that you met in a bar? Your agenda???

Hi all;
A fatal flaw was that they failed to have any representative posts ready to go up when the blog went live.

Had they done so, and had the content been surprisingly acceptable, the reception might have been better.

Instead we get this "Hi! Welcome to ShillBlog!" (crickets) and everyone, quite reasonably, expects the worst.

Classic exposition, I have also mentioned it in my blog article. But it is a pity that almost no frienddiscussed it with me. I am very happy to see your article.

I think this oil is a cunt of diaster, sorry about the fucking language too. My mum gave me gobby last night because I was a good boy.

By Michael Newbury (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

My friends really fat, just plug him in the hole.

By Wesley Fuckwit (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

The comments above are terrible by Jimmy McFarline and Michael Newbury, just immature

I would just like to add; At some stress level, every system fails.

By Starwatcher (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

Your calling me immature, i wasnt the one that my mum gave me a blowjob. Im denining that is wasnt good, it was fablous. Get Fucked Jack!

This oil spill is never going to end.

By Gary Donald (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink


By tyler beacham (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

This science blog is not a joke, the oil spill is a huge disaster and you 3 Michael Newbury, Newba and Jimmy McFarline are taking it as a joke, saying stuff like "my mum gave me a gobby, cos i was a good boy" losers, and Newba i will not be spoken to like that, hey newba, Michael Newbury and Jimmy McFarline GET OFF THIS PAGE AND ANNOY SOMEONE ELSE!

I'm sincerly sorry jack for what i have done, i realise now what i have done is wrong and it wont happen again, i hope we can be good mates in the future. Love Newba

hey Newba im sorry but we cant be mates, i have to get this off my chest. You seem like a guy who loves to have a good time..... are you picking up what im putting down? consider it newba!

You said: If this doesn't put our addiction in perspective, what will?

Nothing will.

We are unwilling to change. Of all the talk I've seen (and contributed to myself), we have not yet exhibited the desire to truly stop anything that we do.

The sad tragic truth is we cannot even handle a regional disaster.  So what happens when there is a global disaster?

Ah, but there is... it's going on all around you right now, all over the world. We are tearing this place apart.

We will eat the last damned oil-polluted jellyfish if we have to (and we will).

I'm sitting here pondering the fate of all that is beautiful, precious and breathtaking.

A verdant forest. 

A tranquil pond. 

A rushing river. 

An endless vista. 

The crashing waves on the beach.

And I am deeply saddened by it all.  What will we do when it is gone?

Why, we will die, one by one, every last one of us, after having trashed it all.

We do not deserve this place. 

We are not worthy.

I sit on a small hill, with a view of the mountains, surrounded by forest in all four directions.  Around me are the signs of human activity, including my own. 

I don't drive anymore, and I'm not sitting in a cage of glass and steel, but I destroy as much as anybody.  Try as I might, I can't let go of all those things that help me tear this world apart.  I'm not trying hard enough.

But even if I did, even if I succeeded, it would change nothing.

There is a deep sadness in my heart as I ponder all these things.  We are creating hell on Earth, by our own hand.  And we stupidly wonder "why".

This species shall always be known as those that rob, steal and kill. 

We cannot stop.

I believe that we are fated to destroy ourselves.  We will never reach the stars. 

Which is probably a good thing.

We certainly don't deserve to go.

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