06.18.2010

Living off the coast of Florida my entire life, I am well aware of the impact of hurricane season which officially started on June 1st. Many fears run rampant along the Gulf Coast of how a hurricane or even a tropical storm could adversely affect our shorelines by bringing more oil than assumed further inland.

The Coast Guard has appeared to taken a proactive stance in the preparation for hurricane season as I prompted them about the severity of this situation backed in late April in a previous teleconference.

Coast Guard Admiral Thaad Allen stated that the current production system can siphon up to 53,000 barrels a day by the end of June, if everything goes according to plan. Once this maximum recovery has been reached, consideration for  installing a floating riser package will be placed on the table.  The floating riser package will consist of a section of riser pipe 4000 ft long which will be anchored with buoys on top that will allow flexibility to disconnect and reconnect if a hurricane is threatening the recovery process.

Additionally, the final determination on July 1st- of replacing the containment cap by unbolting the the final section of riser pipe that was sheer cut and replacing it with a multi sitting device that is permanently bolted and sealed so that the oil can be  siphoned to production tankers above water. If this effort is successful, it is estimated to capture approximately 60,000- 80,000 barrels per day of the leaked oil which is a far jump from the current 25,000 barrels of oil a day being collected.

However, if this process is completed- it will leave the well vulnerable for an indefinite amount of time and, of course, this recovery effort has not been done within a depth of 5,000 ft- so there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration because this process could actually damper our recovery efforts.

However, it is important to note that even if this process is successful- it will not capture all of the oil, leaving a percentage of oil to continue to leak into the Gulf.

The only REAL recovery effort is the drilling of the two relief wells. The current depth of the first well drilling is 10,677 ft below the sea floor and the second well drilling has drilled as far down as 4,662 ft below the sea floor. As the current operation stands, the angled relief wells which will intersect the gushing well to relieve the pressure will not be ready until mid August– which is approximately 2 months away.

Between the current recovery efforts, hurricane season upon us and oil puddles lapping onto the shores as far East as Okaloosa County, FL— the hopes of the Gulf Coast residents are diminishing exponentially to practically nonexistent. The only thing that can save the Gulf residents is strong local leadership, a loud voice and a determined humanitarian spirit.

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