Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Update

NASA's Terra satellite flew over the Deepwater Horizon rig's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, May 1 and captured a natural-color image of the slick from space. The oil slick resulted from an accident at the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Current Operations

May 4, 2010 Operations:

Vessel: 170
Boom deployed: 367,881 feet
Boom avail: 1,092,091 feet
Recovered: 23,968
Dispersant: 156,012 gallons
Dispersant availailable: 230,138 gallons
Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV): 9
Overall Personnel Responding: 7,484
In addition to the overall personnel responding, more than 2,000 volunteers have been trained to assist in the response effort.

9 staging areas are in place and ready to protect sensitive shorelines.  These areas include:
Biloxi, Miss.
Pensacola, Fla.
Venice, La.
Pascagoula, Miss.
Port Sulphur, La.
Port Fourchon, La.
Gulfport, Miss.
Dauphin Island, Ala.
Shell Beach, La. 
Weather conditions for May 3 - Winds from the southeast at 17 - 23 knots, 5 -7 foot, rough seas with chance of afternoon showers.

As the containment boom starts to stretch across 4 states the outlook is grim to say the least. This disaster is growing by the minute. The toll on wildlife and the environment in general will be absolutely catastrophic.

BP and Transocean are preparing a "Hail Mary" attempt at capping the well this week. They are attacking the oil leak from two directions. 

1) The Deepwater Development Driller III (above) is preparing to drill a relief well in an attempt at intersecting the damaged well and pumping cement into the well casing. They are hoping to stop the flow of oil from inside the oil reservoir itself. This operation will take weeks or even months to accomplish. 

2) The Transocean drillship, Discoverer Enterprise (below) will utilize a caisson device to cover the failed BOP on the sea floor and hopefully route the leaking crude oil up to the surface to be recovered.

This cofferdam/caisson will be placed over the leaking wellhead & BOP.

Now having some experience working with BIG heavy stuff underwater,

I can tell you that when working in relatively shallow water, installing large heavy objects is tough enough. Now trying to do this in 5000 feet of water is going to be challenging to say the least. This highly technical operation is indeed possible but it will be extremely difficult. 

I'll try to put this in perspective.
Put it this way:
Stand on top of the Empire State Building in New York city.
Take a dixie cup, turn it upside down and insert a drinking straw into the bottom, now start lowering the dixie cup by attaching more straws to the first straw one at a time, keep adding straws until the dixie cup reaches all the way down to the sidewalk, now try to cover a marble with the dixie cup. 

There you have it! 
Oh, it will get done eventually, but it is going to take time and time is not on our side.....

These operations are costing tens of millions of dollars per day!
And that is just trying to stop the flow of oil not cleaning up what has already spilled!

Who is going to pay for all of this? BP? Transocean?
We will see. 

My bet is gas prices will reach $3.50 per gallon by July 4th and $4.00 by the end of August.

Stay Tuned!


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