Category: Dispersants Debacle

I went to an oil spill Q &A last night with local officials and I was chosen to ask three questions. My questions are in bold and the answers are below.  Feel free to post a comment!

1. Has there been talks about putting oxygen down into the sea floor to help the animals and/or to break up the oil faster via the algae growth?

Answer: NO. It was apparent to me that they are not concerned with the oxygen level (poor, innocent, animals!) as they are more with the lack of nitrogen and phosphorus.

Another problem with the oxygen, is that they are not sure how they could get oxygen down at that depth and a lot of the oil would already be on the sea floor. To me, it’s an obvious answer~ set up a pipe that is suspended mid sea and anchored into the sea floor with oxygen being released from the top AND at the bottom. When I offered that solution, that is when I was told that they were not so much worried about the oxygen than the lack of nitrogen and phosphorus. 😦

2. Does the Corexit dispersant have a smell to it? If not, how are they testing the seafood – since it appears that they are only sniffing the fish and looking for oil? (Dispersant is toxic as well).

Answer: The dispersant normally does not have a scent. There have been no real ways to test for the toxicity of the seafood in relation to the dispersant. (This is VERY concerning to me).

3. With the dispersant being biodegradable, is toxic rain a concern?

Answer. (Long pause). No. (No real further clarification, from my standpoint).

***I have to be honest when I state that I believe that toxic rain IS a very real possibility and will be continuing to look into it further.

If YOU have any questions regarding the oil spill, clean up efforts, wild life rescue, hurricane influenced actions and/or anything else, please send me a comment here and Ill do my best to answer it or find an answer to it.

BP today announced a commitment of up to $500 million to an open research program studying the impact of the Deepwater Horizon incident, and its associated response, on the marine and shoreline environment of the Gulf of Mexico.

“BP has made a commitment to doing everything we can to lessen the impact of this tragic incident on the people and environment of the Gulf Coast. We must make every effort to understand that impact. This will be a key part of the process of restoration, and for improving the industry response capability for the future. There is an urgent need to ensure that the scientific community has access to the samples and the raw data it needs to begin this work,” said Tony Hayward, BP’s chief executive.

The key questions to be addressed by this 10-year research program reflect discussions with the US government and academic scientists in Washington DC last week. BP will fund research to examine topics including:

  • Where are the oil, the dispersed oil, and the dispersant going under the action of ocean currents?
  • How do oil, the dispersed oil and the dispersant behave on the seabed, in the water column, on the surface, and on the shoreline?
  • What are the impacts of the oil, the dispersed oil, and the dispersant on the biota of the seabed, the water column, the surface, and the shoreline?
  • How do accidental releases of oil compare to natural seepage from the seabed?
  • What is the impact of dispersant on the oil? Does it help or hinder biodegradation?
  • How will the oil, the dispersed oil, and the dispersant interact with tropical storms, and will this interaction impact the seabed, the water column and the shoreline?
  • What can be done to improve technology:
    • To detect oil, dispersed oil, and dispersant on the seabed, in the water column, and on the surface?
    • For remediating the impact of oil accidently released to the ocean?

BP already has ongoing marine research programs in the Gulf of Mexico. Building on these, BP will appoint an independent advisory panel to construct the long term research program. Where appropriate, the studies may be coordinated with the ongoing natural resources damages assessment. The program will engage some of the best marine biologists and oceanographers in the world. More immediately, a baseline of information for the long term research program is needed. A first grant to Louisiana State University will help kick start this work.

“LSU has a significant amount of experience in dealing with the oil and gas industry and deep knowledge pertaining to the Gulf of Mexico across numerous topical disciplines. The first part of the program is about obtaining and analyzing samples and assessing immediate impacts. Other areas of importance will emerge as researchers become engaged and the potential impacts from the spill are better understood,” said Professor Christopher D’Elia, Dean of the School of the Coast and Environment.

Subsequent awards will be controlled by the independent advisory board.

Notes to editors:

  • BP has been collaborating with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography since 2004 in a program aimed at gaining a better understanding of the environment and hazards in oceans, including marine electromagnetic research. The focus of oceanography efforts has been loop currents in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • In 2008, as part of the Deepwater Environmental Long-term Observatory System (DELOS), BP installed the world’s first system designed to monitor deep-sea marine life. DELOS is supported by Texas A&M in Galveston, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, University of Aberdeen, National Oceanography Centre in Southampton and the University of Glasgow.

Further information:

BP Press Office London +44 20 7496 4076
BP Press office, US: +1 281 366 0265
Unified Command Joint Information Center +1 985 902 5231

1. Can they clarify with any potential issues with the well board, as of today’s teleconference~ they stated that they have “not made a final decision yet. Have they made a final determination as to what pressure the casing, downhole and BOP can confront?

2. Can they elaborate more on the “shelf life” of the materials out to sea, when they start to become “weathered”- will they provide another environmental hazard that we should take into consideration?

3. Incredibly important~ what are their protection methods of the marsh and coral beds since they cannot use harsh dispersant or else it would wipe out the fragile ecosystem.

4. When are they expecting the results from NOAA on the subsea hydrocarbon count? (If found, that would mean there are oil plumes under the surface that satellite is not picking up.) How are they going to determine that it is “merely” the oil being dispersed from the wellhead or something more serious, such as the dispersant weighing the water down and causing it to sink.

5. What type of drilling fluids are they using for the choke n’ kill lines of the top kill interaction? Has there been EPA testing on these fluids so that they do not cause a new environmental concerned if leaked?

6. Other than logistics and “comfortableness”, why will BP not look into other already approved EPA dispersants that are considerably less toxic. Coretix 9500 and 9527A have a toxicity level of anywhere between 1/10 and 1/100 of that of oil.

7. Further; in a teleconference a few days ago- they spoke super briefly on another dispersant being considered “Sea Wrap 4”. Can the elaborate on this method, the toxicity level and also if this is a considerable option or should be read in the manner of C-wrap or “crap” which many people feel BP are giving us. ;) <– okay, the question may be a little harsh; I just get a kick out of the misread. lol

8. On a serious note; can they elaborate more on the HOT TAP method for this could be disastrous to our Gulf if they do not find the blockage and/or dislodge the slight block that is already there.

9. In today’s teleconference, they talked about doing something of the hot tap nature but apply another blow out preventer; not just another valve. Can they elaborate and is the risk minimized if another BOP is simply placed over instead of having to severe the pipe completely?

10. How are they going about managing “burn out” of the employees? In what manner are they rotating and what are the qualifications are the job?

11. What is the logic of BP in selecting qualified volunteers who have completed either Module 3 or Module 4 training. How many employees have hired in each state and how many more employees are they intending to hire in each state as of this point.

12. What was their conclusion from the meeting late last week which discussed the 2010 hurricane season (on June 1st) and potential impacts (hurricanes- spreading the oil further inland or sinking it) and the heat (it gets over 100 deg here in Fla) and its ability to dilute the oil which would spread it faster than anticipated? What are their proactive measures?

13. How are they tracking the movement of the loop current and is there any way to safeguard the intersection of the loop current and the gulf stream?

14. How confident are they that they 2 relief wells being built (and supposedly operational by mid August) will relieve all pressure of the current well? Do they have any back up methods; to stay on the safe side?

15. How can you drill so deep in the Gulf yet not have any equipment/technology available to contain any spill or mishap that might happen at this depth?

16. What kind of green materials and technologies (such as oil-sorbets made from recycled materials) is BP using to best insure the clean up is environmentally conscious?

NOAA stated on 05.17.10~ that the oil plumes subsea were “grossly exaggerated; some are even false.”  NOAA is currently testing the water for hydrocarbons which would be related to the oil droplets subsea.  They have yet to give an estimated time of completion for the water testing. When can we expect to have that completed?

ALSO; I would like NOAA to confirm in what manner are testing the water samples for not only hydrocarbons but residue from the dispersant; as my fear is that Corexit 9500 & 9527A are causing the oil droplets to become heavy and sink; which is why they may be seeing less oil on the surface. However, satellite imagery can only detect so deep into the water.

ADDITIONALLY; In what ways are they tracking the loop current~ that is; the loop current does not move in purely one direction based off of one factor.  Further, how they are tracking the light oil sheen that has entered the loop current as of today on the surface AND subsea?

FURTHER; In what manner are they tracking the loop current and is there is any way that the connection between the loop current and the gulf stream can be separated.

FINALLY; In what manner are you preparing for hurricane season that starts June 1st? How are you planning on forecasting the oil spread in relation to any passing through hurricanes AND how many hurricanes (% of bad ones can we expect for the 2010 hurricane season?