Category: Florida Update



07.16.10~

Top Hat #8

After 7 attempts at an oil cap to contain the crippling gush of oil;  the 8th containment cap may be the prodigal son. Watch a visual confirmation here:     http://www.ustream.tv/pbsnewshour

Currently, the pressure reads at 6745 psi  and has been climbing approx 2 psi/hour.  A disheartening number for the residents of the Gulf Coast who were hoping that the psi’s were in the 9000 range.

Normally, this low pressure would denote that the well board is compromised and oil will need to be released onto the 4 production vessels which was said by Coast Guard Admiral Thaad Allen to “have the capacity to hold 60-80k bpd”.

However, the general consensus seems to be leaning towards the belief the well has low levels of oil because it has been gushing for so long as opposed to stating that there is another, unfounded, leak.

It was felt that the continuation of testing should continue because the majority of the other factors were positive.

During the integrity testing , all the valves are closed which allows the oil to be fully captured.

The Gulf Coast residents can sleep easier tonight knowing that the testing will continue for at least another 24 hours

At this point in the game, any break from the oil is happily received.

Relief Well Progression

After a little over 24 hours of the subsiding of the drilling of the relief wells for the well integrity test, DD3 and DD2 have been put back into production.

As of this morning, the Relief Wells are nearing the end of the precision phase of the relief effort, using magnetic ranging to give direction to assist steering the drill bit towards the blowout well bore and have drilled within 14.8 feet laterally from the well with an angle of 1.9 degrees.

So close, yet so far away for us Gulf Coast residents who are waiting for the intersection with bated breath.

Once the ranging is completed, the next step for the Relief Well will involve the drilling of 24 ft to the casing point which is hoping to be completed, by the middle to end of next week (July 21-July 25, 2010).

The final drilling intercept to kill the well will be the last week of July, a positive jump from the initial completion date of mid-August.

A friendly note to my local friends~ Enjoy your rest tonight. You’ll need your strength for the next coming days.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.


07.06.2010

Today, I attended an oiled bird rehabilitation.  Never in my life, did I think I could experience such polar opposite emotions for what I witnessed.  On one hand, I was heartbroken for the oiled wildlife and the troubles that they have endured because of this man-made spill. On the other hand, I was deeply grateful that these birds made it long enough to be rehabilitated.

The Pensacola Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation (POWH), which opened in May 2010, has currently 52 birds in their captivity that consists primarily of northern gannets, high bill greens, seagulls, ferns and a few herons.  While the POWH can easily accommodate a few hundred birds, dependent on size and severity of oil coverings, the maximum that POWH has contained has been 102 birds,  bringing the total to 949 birds rescued within the four Gulf rehabilitation centers.

When a bird first enters the rehabilitation center-the oil is not cleaned right away. Many birds are in shock or frightened and they need to be stabilized and possibly re-hydrated before any further stress is placed upon the bird. It has been found that by giving the birds a couple days to recuperate has increased the survivability tenfold.

Initially, veterinarians take  blood and feather samples to test for anemia and infection and give the oiled birds a temporary tag. Then the bird is taken to an oiled bird trailer where it can rest, if needed, in a temperature controlled trailer and receive IV fluids, food and Pepto Bismo to protect its stomach lining.

Just before they are washed, the birds are sprayed with a warm canola oil to loosen oil residue on their feathers. Then they are taken to a washing tub which requires normally 3-4 people to wash one oiled bird.

Once the head and pouch is cleaned using clothes, toothbrushes and small sponges are used for delicate areas with water flushed on an almost continuous basis to keep the soap from running into the birds eyes. A bath normally lasts up to 45 minutes, and for a large bird, like a brown pelican, as much as 300 gallons of water is used.

After a scrubbing down of the bird, a thorough rinse is necessary considering that soap can interfere in the same manner as oil via hypothermia.

Newly cleaned, the birds are whisked off to a drying room to rest in a padded pen while floor-mounted pet grooming dryers blew warm air. Smaller birds and wading birds are not blow dried but instead sit in pens under warming lights.

Once their total strength is gained, birds are then permanently tagged for tracking purposes and transported to outside containment facilities to get them re-accustomed to outside surroundings before releasing them into the wild.  The birds are allowed to recover for five to seven days, regaining buoyancy and water resistance by preening, putting on weight, and readjusting to outdoor temperatures.

Once returned to good health, they are ready to be released to the wild.  However, the wild may not be ready for them. In an environmental disaster like the Deepwater Horizon spill, wildlife cannot return to their contaminated homes. Instead birds have to be released into an area where they do not run the chance of being re-oiled. The majority of the birds are released off the east coast of Florida.

I asked Heidi Stout from the Tri-State Bird Rescue  & Research Organization, on ways that everyday citizens can get involved with the clean up of oiled wildlife. At this time, the only people who can physically help the oiled wildlife is trained paraprofessionals (licensed veterinarians, license wildlife handlers etc) since dealing with stressed birds could be harmful.

However, she urged for concerned citizens who are willing to volunteer via answering phones and inputting data information to contact the U.S. Fish & Wildlife to offer assistance. It was also suggested that the donation of goods used to help clean the animals and monetary donations to further recovery efforts would be greatly appreciated.

Additionally, you can visit http://www.volunteerflorida.org/ to sign up for more volunteer training as well as visit a facebook group called, NWFL Panhandle Volunteer Beach Rescue Group at, http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=113452012028768&ref=ts for panhandle county specific volunteer efforts.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.


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.


Oil Plume’s Movement as of 06.29.2010

According to the NOAA oil plume model, winds and currents will prevent further eastward movement of the oil plume along the northwestern Florida coastline. However, areas of Choctawhatchee Bay, FL will continue to receive impact as the oil plume moves slightly northwest and closer the shoreline.

At this point, the wave conditions and current have changed the oil direction and has turned it back towards the areas of the Mississippi Sound and areas around Chandeleur Island, LA and Breton Sound, LA.  The CoastGuard has stated their concern with this change of movement since these areas have been severely impacted and stated that they would send additional reserves to that area.

Tropical Storm Alex and its impact on the Gulf’s oil spill

Another hot topic is that of Tropical Storm Alex. According to NOAA.gov,  Tropical Storm Alex presently has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, but is predicted to strengthen to a hurricane today. The track is on a NW quadrant; however, a gradual turn towards the West-NorthWest is expected.

Tropical Storm Alex is NOT interfering and is NOT expected to interfere with the current capturing/production of the oil spill in the Gulf.  The only impact that the Tropical Storm will have on the operations will be a potential delay of the any preparations  of the Helix Producer which will be the third production vessel in which was planned and coordinated as such to help reach the capacity of 53,000 barrels of oil collected by the end of the month of June.

As of now…

Approximately 188 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 34 miles in Louisiana, 45 miles in Mississippi, 48 miles in Alabama, and 61 miles in Florida. These numbers do not include cumulative impacts to date, or shoreline that has already been cleared.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.


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.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.


As the tar bars wash upon the shores of Santa Rosa County, FL and oil sheen looms in the distance- the realization of the effects of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill are apparently obvious. Florida is now under attack from the greed of big oil.

Deep Water Horizon, an exploratory well, exploded on April 20, 2010 when the drilling rig encountered a methane gas bubble and combined with fresh cementing and a lack of mud as a natural barrier- gas barreled up the pipe and exploded leaving 11 people missing.

Without fire boom on board or any safety measures indiciated at a well depth of 5000 ft; this left little to no options on how to stop the oil flow at its source, allowing anywhere from 12,000-25,000 (with higher numbers almost certain to be announced in the future) barrels of oil per day leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.

After several unsuccessful or weak attempts from BP with the top hat, the riser insertion tool, the top kill- BP has put forth another option: yet another cap in attempt to divert the oil flow onto a ship for collection.

As of date, 462,000 gallons of oil has been collected with the ability for the amount to increase as the additional vents are closed.

In a concerning fashion, BP is warning that the amount of oil could *increase* another 20% until all of the valves are closed. At that point, BP is estimating that this tool could capture up to 80% of the flow rate.

The main concern is keeping the pressure down so that it doesnt blow the imperfect seal and keeping the water out so that the gas hydrates do not form as it did with the large containment chamber.

However, even if the containment chamber is effective- it still will leave approximately 20% of the oil to leak into the Gulf of Mexico until the two relief wells are operational which would take until mid to late August as the current deadline stands.

If this attempt fails, BP says its previously failed techniques might still come in handy. A revamped version of its “top kill” procedure, which previously failed to inject mud into the leaking pipe and stop it up.

BP says within a couple weeks, it hopes it can actually use that failed hardware, which is still attached, to try to suck oil out instead. There are also more giant steel “top-hat” domes standing by.  However, the relief wells are the best bet to divert the flow of oil and those will not be completed until August.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.


I apologize for the break in updates on the oil spill as we have been preparing for the oil to hit our shorelines.

As of yesterday, June 4th- I am sad to announce that tar bars and some tar mats have came on shore in Escambia County and have traveled as far East to Navarre Beach, FL.

In the upcoming days, I will be collaborating all of my accumulated data and working on putting forth an overview of the last few days. Please stay tuned to this blog for more information.

Thank you for caring during this time of tragedy.


05.19.2010

CENTRIFUGE SEPARATOR

Kevin Costner has gone on the record to present a centrifuge for separating oil and water which BP will be testing by the end of next week.

To see a video of Costner’s centrifuge machine and explanation of idea, please click below:

GALLONS COLLECTED

600,000 gallons of oil have collected as of date.  4 controlled burns of surface oil have been completed- 1 lasted over an hour. Today, a burn lasted over two hours. Mother nature has been kind and favorable in this effort.

GOVT ASSISTANCE TO GULF STATES

$700 million has been granted to the Gulf States to emphasize the recreational value and help boost the fishing and tourism industry. Florida has been granted $25 million of the financial aid to Florida’s website, http://www.visitflorida.com/ and local tourist development councils will work in conjunction on how best to emphasize their natural resources.

HOT TAP RECOVERY EFFORT

Working on option to place another blow out preventer on top of the faulty blow out preventer as well as an option of a valve on top of the BOP where the riser exits. Two more pressure tests need to be completed before determining whether or not these two options are a viable recovery effort.

LOOP CURRENT

Overflight showed that there is light sheen in the loop current with heavier impact estimated very within 10 days.  Keep in mind that the loop current runs slow, is subject to change and is relatively far from South Florida.  These factors will allow the light sheen to dissipate, degrade or weather before it makes impact with Florida.

“I would have no reason to suspect any subsea oil within the loop current”, states NOAA’s Charlie Henry. “Im pretty confident in our observations.”

The bulk of oil is AWAY from the loop current. That oil is not in the immediate threat of entering the loop current. There are a lot of eddys, areas of warm water, that move the oil.  There are also chances that other eddies will form and move the oil away from the Gulf Stream.  NOAA will model and monitor the loop current daily.

MARSHAL IMPACT

There is more oil impact in a harsher condition than previously anticipated present on the Mississippi Delta region.  People are working towards protecting the marshes and mitigate the impact.  Unfortunately, nothing further was elaborated on the protection strategies.

RELIEF WELLS

Continuation of the first relief well will start today. Likewise, the drilling of the 2nd well will start today as well.  The wells are not expected to become operational until mid August 2010.

RISER INSERTION TOOL

“Performing well. We are very encouraged. We think this is a a sustainable operation now”, states BP chief executive, Doug Suttles.  The current flow rate is estimated at 3000 barrels of oil per day and about $14 million cubic feet of gas per day. Monitoring the plume subsea, about half of the volume that is coming out of the riser is estimated to be gas.

SUBSEA OIL PLUMES

NOAA still stands by the statement that people have “elaborated” on the subsea oil plumes. Charlie Henry from the NOAA states that the oil plumes that people are thinking of and whats been detected on the Pelican vessel on Sunday are two totally different things and it is important not for people to confuse the two.

Basically, they had detected hydrocarbons in different straits of water.  They are under the impression that these hydrocarbons are from the small droplets of oil that did not rise from the well and “other sources”. There is not oil appearance, the water is clear.   NOAA is still waiting on data to confirm information.

TAR BALLS IN CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS

Tar balls have washed ashore in Corpus Christi, Texas and are in the process of being analyzed. The Coastguard feels that these tar balls will not be associated with the oil slick; however, they are taking precautionary measures and have been staying in close contact with the state of Texas throughout the oil slick ordeal.

TAR BALLS IN KEY WEST, FLORIDA

The Coastguard lab in Connecticut confirmed that the tar balls are NOT in relation to the oil spill.

TOP KILL  RECOVERY EFFORT

This procedure is the next line of action to stop the gushing of oil at wellhead.  The reason for the delay in the top kill procedure, the hydraulic control of the choke and kill lines had to be reestablished and access to that choke and kill line needed to be reinstated to allow high pressure fluid. In addition, the yellow control pot that manages the choke and kill lines had to be retrieved and recalibrate from the wreckage.

Fluids that are used in this process are environmentally sensitive with drilling muds that can be discharged. Unfortunately, nothing was further stated regarding the specifics of the drilling muds.

All steps are moving forward and officials are optimistic to have the top kill effort be operational Sunday, possibly Monday.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has apologized after posting a Twitter update Wednesday morning that tar balls had washed ashore on Destin beaches.

At about 10:30, the federal agency reported that a cleanup crew had been dispatched to the unspecified scene. The Log immediately checked with city, county and wildlife officials to verify the report. But all said they had not recieved any word on the find.

An hour later, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tweeted that “Sources have verified that news about tarballs on Destin Beach was mistake in our daily report. Apologies for the inconvenience!!”

This report on the tar scare comes from the Northwest FLorida Daily News’ Tom McLaughlin.

There are not, repeat not, tar balls washing up on beaches in Destin.

That much has been confirmed by Okaloosa County Emergency Manager Randy McDaniel.

A tweet stating “Tarballs have hit Destin Beach in FL. A cleanup crew has been deployed” appeared this morning on a twitter account belonging to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast.

The post came “via Hootsuite.”

McDaniel said he had been informed about the tweet and said he had called the Florida Emergency Operations Center and requested assistance in getting the “erroneous information” removed.

Jim Burkhart at the Fish and Wildlife Service disaster operations desk in Atlanta was originally at a loss for where the tweet had originated, but by noon had determined its origin.

“It came out of a report out of one of our mobile command areas,” Burkhart said. He identified the command post as being in Mobile.

Burkhart was later able to determine that the report had been made by a group of Fish and Wildlife officers who were called to “somewhere near Destin” in response to a report of a bird covered in oil. The officers did not find the bird, but did find what they believed to be “oil balls on the beach” and collected the material to take back for testing, Burkhart said.

It is doubtful the material was tar balls, Burkhart said.

“What they actually picked up I don’t know,” he said. “I think we’re making a lot of something out of nothing.”

He apologized on behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for any inconvenience the erroneous report might have caused.

No reports of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill entering Florida waters have been confirmed. Winds from the southeast have been pushing the massive spill westward from its Louisiana source, weather officials say.

Continue reading for the city’s latest emergency update.

(Information from the City of Destin)

The City of Destin is open for business!  East Pass is open to marine traffic!  Our sugar-white sandy beaches have NOT been affected by the oil spill.

Here are today’s updates:

The City of Destin’s Public Services crews will be attending Hazardous Materials Awareness and Wildlife Response Training Classes this week.  Courses have also been scheduled for Okaloosa County residents and will be held Wednesday, May 12- Saturday, May 15th.  If you are interested in assisting in shoreline oil spill cleanup operations, you can request placement in a spill response course by emailing Horizonresponse@pecpremier.com.  As you know by now, shoreline cleanup volunteers must have training, including hazardous materials training.  Only volunteers who have been trained and provide appropriate certification are allowed to assist.

Oil containment booms have been deployed in the East Pass.  The booming will not be extended into place until oil actually threatens the coastline.

(From Okaloosa County Emergency Management)

No potential landfall of oil in the Okaloosa area is expected through Thursday.  A Local State of Emergency has been declared for Okaloosa County and will run consecutively with the Governor’s declaration for the next 60 days. A citizen information line has been set up to ensure the most current information is available to all residents. To listen to the current recording please dial 311 option 8, to report any oil spill you notice in your area or affected wildlife call 311 option 0, this will connect you to a live operator.

Source:  http://www.thedestinlog.com


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?