Tag Archive: bp



07.30.2010

After Tropical Storm Bonnie passed, operations to place a plug at the bottom of the relief well to maintain integrity resumed only to find that at the last 40-65 feet, a wall of sediment collapsed into the well.

Ret. Admiral Thaad Allen stated that, “this is not a huge problem”.  Yet, the lack of reassuring talk after this statement on whether or not this collapse had weakened the well’s integrity, left me feeling otherwise.

The next step for the relief well is to lay the final casing line which was to take place this Saturday and Sunday; however, this operation cannot commence until all of the debris is removed. This removal process is expected to take 24-36 hours.

Several weeks before, question after question were dismissed by BP and the federal government about the relief well failing saying that it was highly “unlikely” so the focus was not on a “back up plan for the back up plan”.

“Drilling back-to-back relief wells is a “belt and braces” approach, and “will assure ultimate success,” Former CEO Tony Hayward told reporters back in May.

If this is the forerunner of what we can expect as we near the drilling intersect, we need to start discussing the details of Plan K.

For if the relief well fails, we run the risk of introducing an additional 240,000 barrels per day into the Gulf of Mexico.

Failing to acknowledge the risk will not make it go away.

Hasn’t BP learned that by now?

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.

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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.


Five “tar balls”, each about a half-inch in diameter, were found over a 3.5 mile stretch of shoreline off of Perdido Key in Escambia County.  The state reported these tar balls as a very minor incident and could not confirm that they were related to the oil spill.

However, according to Visit Florida as of Saturday, 05.15.2010 at 11:30 am CDT, there have been “no reported tar balls” on the beaches of Florida.

How can this be?

As a native Floridian, I have ran across naturally occurring tar balls that have washed up on our shore from time to time resulting from the minute amounts of oil/gas that being released from the sea floor which hardens over time.

Additionally, many “untrained eyes” can mistakenly see tar balls when in actuality, they are seeing something completely unrelated.

Case in point, when I went down to Okaloosa Island (in NW Fla) for a beach vigil a week ago. “Locals” were walking down the beach when suddenly somebody pointed out, “Oh no! There’s a tar ball!”. They stood over it and gawked in horror.

As they walked away, I walked over to the “tar ball” and picked it up, I flipped it over to examine it more in depth– only to find out that it was merely a broken off piece of concrete. You can see the “tar ball” for yourself in the pictures below. For redundancy’s sake, this is NOT a tar ball.

Front Back

Further, the Coast Guard, BP and MMS at 2:00pm CDT yesterday to state that all reports of tar balls east of the Mississippi River are actually clumps of *algae* (right) that has been mistaken to be tar patches.

However, it is important to note that the reports of the testing of the “tar balls” in Escambia County have not been released as of yet– so it is possible but with my analysis of the currents and wind patterns of the past few weeks, I am garnishing my bets on that tar balls in Escambia County are not “probable” at least not at this point.

Below is a picture of tar balls that have been collected from the Timor Sea spill off the coast of Australia last year.

Tar balls are fragments or lumps of oil weathered to a semi-solid or solid consistency, feel sticky, and are difficult to remove from contaminated surfaces.

If you observe any evidence of oil on Florida’s coastline, report the incident to me and Ill get to the bottom of it, one way or the other and report back.

Please keep in mind that many things can look like tar balls so PLEASE be 110% confident that what you are witnessing is in fact a tar ball before calling it such. Florida’s tourism industry is already being affected enough as it is.

For what it’s worth, my Perdido Key friends are reporting that the waters are beautiful and are cleaner than ever thanks to all the pre-landfall clean up effort! Additionally,  there are no reported oil sheen off of Florida’s coastline and no additional “tar balls” have been found.

The weather at Perdido Key, FL is reported at 84.5 degree Fahrenheit with slight cloud coverage. The only thing that looks to be harming  Florida’s coastline is a chance of showers tomorrow.   Enjoy the  beautiful weather, white sandy beaches and breathtaking emerald coastline of NW Florida. I know I am!

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.



BP to offer training in conjunction with OSHA and the Coast Guard.

Health, Safety and Environmental Training has been a key focus to properly prepare those interested in participating in shoreline clean up. The training is fit-for-purpose based on whether you are a volunteer, contractor or vessel owner. The Post-Emergency Spilled Oil Response Training Modules were prepared by Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), with review and approval provided by BP, Occupational Safety & Health Administration and US Coast Guard personnel.

The training is for those registered in the Vessel of Opportunity program or as a contractor who wants to participate in clean up. The non-contaminated beach clean up “volunteers” will receive a basic BP health, safety & environmental orientation which as been endorsed by OSHA and the the Coast Guard.

To be included as a volunteer, please contact the BP volunteer hotline at 866-448-5816. Your contact information will be gathered and you will contacted when opportunities arise in your area.

****If you are interested in assisting in shoreline oil spill clean up operations, and you live in one of the coastal states (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama or Florida), you can request placement in a spill response course by emailing Horizonresponse@pecpremier.com.

PLEASE NOTE:: This course is not a guarantee of employment but provides credentials needed to be hired for spill cleanup work by BP contractors.

For more up to date information, visit http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.


05.04.2010

Another teleconference was held, in which I participated in, with the Department of  the Interior, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),  U.S. Coastguard, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), British Petroleum (BP) and TransOcean.

Satellite imagery shows that the former 3,400 sq. miles oil slick has been reduced to  2000 sq mile. While at first this may seem reassuring, it is important to realize that the oil is pooling; that is, the oil remains under the water.

It has been claimed that the blowout rig did not have any fire boom on hand  which would have enabled a controlled burn of the oil slick. To compensate for the lack of supplies, the government fire boom from an Illinois-based manufacturer.

Ever since the 1989 Exxon Valdez  oil spill, the “In-Situ Burn” plan produced by federal agencies in 1994 calls for responding to a major oil spill in the Gulf with the immediate use of fire booms. Those fire booms were not available.

A single fire boom being towed by two boats can burn up to 1,800 barrels of oil an hour.  That translates to 75,000 gallons an hour, raising the possibility that the spill could have been contained at the accident scene 100 miles from shore.  Further, the lack of a response for 8 days allowed the oil to spread further. Even more so, when the storm front rolled through a few days ago and all controlled burning was halted.

However, these response efforts have not stopped the oil slick from presenting  a threat to our coastline.

12 shrimp and 10 response boats have been following the oil sheen as it nears the coastline of Chandler, Louisiana. As of this point, no oil has made contact with the shoreline and it is said that the weather will keep the oil at bay for 3 days.

The stalled recovery efforts resumed activity this afternoon. Oil skimming, overhead dispersant, subsurface dispersant (one of the same with the only difference being the altitude/depth in which it is applied) and controlled surface burning have received the all-clear to assume the offensive position to battle the spreading of the oil slick. Further, 100 barrels of oil were burned in the initial response effort.  Due to the calm weather, officials are confident that oil can be ignited at a rate of 500-1000 barrels a day.

Additionally, the second blowout valve will be operational by the end of the day. However, this will not stop the oil flow altogether- instead, it will only stop one of the leaks, leaving the other 2 leaks exposed until further recovery efforts.

The next line of response to stop the flow of oil, a first time recovery tactic, a 70 ton concentrate and metal structure coffer-like dome which will extend t0 5,000 under water. This response has been effective in shallow waters; however, the response is unknown when submerged in greater depths.

The first containment chamber has been fabricated and is set to leave the dock by 12p CDT.  The containment chamber is expected to be operational within 6 days. No mention was made to the fabrication of the second containment chamber.

Alabama is capitalizing on the extra days of calm weather to install Hesco containers around West End Public Beach, the far west side of Dauphin Island.

The containers, metal cages lined a green absorbent, will be filled with C.I. Agent, a biochemical substance designed to solidify any oil that comes into contact with it. The solidified oil is then easier to remove and the green absorbent can be replaced to capture additional oil.

Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier said the material is actually a wall that will protect the north shoreline.

“It presents a physical barrier as you can see. There’s some elevation to it so it can withstand a little bit of wave action. But essentially it will absorb an oil sheer that comes in there,” Collier said.

Additionally, private contractors in Alabama have been building a massive sand berm along the Gulf-facing shore on the western half of the island.   The berm will stretch for miles along the narrow island to prevent oil from flowing over the top of the island.

Meanwhile,  Gulf Cost residents are lining up in droves to volunteer and to help pre clean our beaches.  There was a massive clean up effort of approximately 1,000 volunteers rushing to clean up the shorelines. Similar efforts remain in effect; however, it was stressed to avoid picking up above the high tide line.

The Audubon Society warned that there many eggs right above the high tide line that blend in with the sand and could be accidentally crushed.  Additionally, it was asked to not remove any natural debris as that could provide a housing shelter for animals.

The oil sheen is not expected to make landfall for another 3 days. Use this time wisely to prepare a defense and a proactive stance against the looming oil slick.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.


Another teleconference was held, in which I participated in, with the Department of  Interior, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),  Coastguard, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), British Petroleum (BP) and TransOcean.

All response efforts are being considered and over 700 vessels have been brought in to respond.  All fishermen looking to be compensated for their monetary loses can cash in on a new program, instituted by BP, called “Vessel of Opportunities”.  Sign up information can be found by calling 281-366-5511.

Amongst other things, 9 remote operated vehicles were deployed to the sea floor to stop the flow of oil but to no avail. The oil continues to pour out at a rate of approximately 200,00 gallons of oil every day and extensive efforts have been put forth around the clock to close the oil leak at it’s source.

The suggestion earlier this morning that an annular ram, which clamps around the drill pipe and shuts off flow in and around the drill pipe, has caused a significant reduction in oil flow is inaccurate.  The rescue response remains time critical.

The most recent approach – cutting the riser at the wellhead, sliding a huge piece of equipment called the riser package out of the way and bolting a second blowout preventer atop the first one to stop the flow of oil-  is hoped to be completed today.

34.5 hours ago, a dispersant was released at the source of the leak in an attempt to break up the oil before it reaches the surface.  Officials are currently waiting overflight data to determine if this attempt has been effective.  The long term effect of the dispersant in deepwater ecology has not been determined. Overflight effectiveness of the oil dispersant will be evaluated today.

An impromptu coast line solution was implemented in installing chemical-filled barriers around portions of Dauphin Island to mitigate the potential damage from the Gulf oil spill as it approaches the Alabama coast. Once the oil seeps into the barrier, the chemical absorbs the oil and solidifies. The solid waste can then be disposed and refilled with more chemicals.

A relief well, the primary long term solution, has been deployed and started drilling at 18,000 feet below the surface yesterday around 3pm CDT.  This relief well will tap into the same oil reserve; thus relieving the broken well of it’s pressure and eliminating the spewing of additional oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  However, significant results of  this external drilling will take anywhere from 2-3 months.

A cofferdam-like dome structure, the primary short term solution, is a work in progress.  This method lowers a dome into the water and is placed over each of the leaks which, in return,  funnels the oil into a containment chamber on the Enterprise drill ship.

The problem remains that this collection dome has only been tested in shallow waters. The effectiveness of this dome at greater depths in an unknown but officials continue to remain hopeful. The fabricated chamber will be loaded tomorrow and operating by 03.10.2010 instead of the 2-4 weeks construction as initially suggested.

It is important to note that this projected date is only applicable for the *main* leak point as the other two chambers have yet to be constructed.

An additional threat has been brought to light in regards to the Gulf of Mexico’s loop current. This warm water current sets up in the Gulf of Mexico and flows out through the Florida Straights, past the Keys and joins the Gulf Stream on the East Coast of Florida.  It has been suggested that the oil slick could venture into the loop current within 24 hours, dependent on the wind direction.

Winds are expected to come from the SouthWest and than Northern direction. These winds are expected to hold the oil slick off in the Gulf for another day. However, SouthEast winds are expected to prevail which will then cause a potential threat the surrounding coastline.

At this point, the winds have impressioned the waves to bring forth animals upon the shoreline from Biloxi to Bay St. Louis in Mississippi.  Fish, seagulls, pelicans and, most notably, a group of 20 sea turtles including  Kemps ridley turtles, which are endangered species washed up dead on the shore. The determine cause of death is being investigated; however, it is suggested the the animals came into contact with noxious fumes or eat fish that housed oil.

The root of the problem appears to be a towering stack of heavy equipment 5,000 feet below the surface of the gulf known as a blowout preventer. It is a steel-framed stack of valves, rams, housings, tanks and hydraulic tubing that is designed to seal the well quickly in the event of a burst of pressure.

It was said that while the ram closed, they did not seal properly and; therefore, allowed natural gas to escape causing a pressure imbalance.  There has been no additional responsibility placed at this time but an investigation into the root cause of this accident is underway. (Watch for a flood of fingers pointing to Halliburton, a defense contractor in charge of cementing the rig in addition to BP).

No oil has been reported to have reached the coastline as of date and the weather is forecasted to calm down this week which will allow skimming, fly over dispersant and the talks of controlled burning  to be viable short term relief options.

Until then, people are urged to hold out hope, have faith and be on the offensive.  Additionally, HAZMAT training is being offered in several key areas for Gulf Coast volunteers who are wanting to assist the oiled wildlife.  Amongst other training centers, HAZMAT training started this weekend in Pensacola, FL and will continue into this coming week. Further, the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge is accepting donations to aid the injured animals affected.  Please visit: http://www.ecwildliferefuge.com for more information.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.


05.01.2010

Satellite images show the surface area of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has expanded to three times the size it was on Thursday.  On Thursday, the size of the slick was about 1,150 square miles, but by Friday’s end it was in the range of 3,850 square miles, said Hans Graber, executive director of the university’s Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing.  Comparatively speaking, the oil slick grew from a spill the size of Rhode Island to something closer to the size of Puerto Rico.

A sheen of oil from the edges of the slick washed up at Venice, Louisiana, and other extreme southeastern portions of  forcing Louisiana to close shrimping grounds and oyster beds. There has been no significant impact to Gulfport, Louisana;  Pascagoula, Mississippi; Biloxi or Mobile, Alabama routes at this time.

However, with the wind blowing from the south, parts of the oil slick could reach the Mississippi, Alabama and Florida coasts within 72-96 hours. Officials are coordinating relief efforts in all coastline states for oil absorption and wildlife rescue.

The spill  threatens hundreds of species of wildlife, including birds, dolphins, and the fish, shrimp, oysters and crabs that make the Gulf Coast one of the nation’s most abundant sources of seafood which prompted Florida, Alabama and Louisiana to declare a state of emergency due to economic downfall.

“With our natural resources, our businesses and our coastal communities in harm’s way, Alabama can’t afford to take anything for granted,” stated Alabama Governor Bob Riley.

There have been several attempts at a response to contain the oil spill, despite the currently tumultuous weather  and whipping winds.  Besides the two C130s that were sent to the Gulf yesterday, they also applied a test application of the dispersant at the source of the leak (submerged at 5,000 feet) in attempts to break up the oil before it reaches the surface. As of this point, 70,000 gallons of dispersant have been used in the effort to curtail the oil slick.

Additionally, 1 million feet of boom have been put into place but to little avail as the choppy waters of the Gulf are splashing over the boom. The relief well is being put into place but will not be utilized right away as the depth and distance of the leakage has to be taken into consideration.

Further, a coeffer dam is being discussed as a possible solution as well as placing a crimp approximately 2 feet above the stack to further lessen the amount of oil flow and cutting out a portion of the pipe altogether and replacing the faulty equipment.

A solution was presented in the teleconference to increase the flow through the five rivers that dump into the Mobile Bay as a counter resistance to the oil flow; however, this would only solve a portion of the problem.

The oil spill has been assessed to be more than 10 million gallons which is nearly as large as the slick created by the Exxon Valdez, when an oil tanker spilled 11 million gallons off Alaska’s shore in 1989 resulting in the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

When asked for an estimate of  the oil flow, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the newly appointed head man for the Gulf Coast oil spill replied, “any exact estimate is probably impossible at this time.” However, it is estimated that 200,000 gallons of oil are spewing out each day.

Regarding the flow rates, the Mobile Press Register reported that an internal memo from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that laid out a worst-case scenario of 50,000 barrels a day pouring from the unchecked wellhead.

Experts also cautioned that if the spill continues growing unchecked, sea currents could suck the sheen down past the Florida Keys and then up the Eastern Seaboard.

Although the cause of the explosion was under investigation, many of the more than two dozen lawsuits filed in the wake of the explosion claim it was caused when workers for oil services contractor Halliburton Inc. improperly capped the well — a process known as cementing. Halliburton denied the charges.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.