Tag Archive: spill



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.


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.


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.


05.27.2010

The “top kill” effort, launched Wednesday afternoon by industry and government engineers, had pumped enough drilling fluid to block oil and gas spewing from the well, said Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen, who is heading the federal response to the spill said, said on Thursday morning.  “The pressure from the well was very low, he said, but persisting.”

Once engineers had reduced the well pressure to zero, they will begin pumping cement into the hole to plug  the leak of the blow out preventer.

As of this point; however,  neither government nor BP officials had declared the effort a success yet, pending the completion of the cementing and sealing of the well.

The first ship containing 50,000 barrels of the mud mixture reportedly ran out early Thursday, although a second boat was on the way. Coast Guard officials and BP engineers on the scene said they were hopeful the process could be labeled a full success once cement was pumped in to fully block the pipe within the next few hours.

Allen said one ship that was pumping fluid into the well had run out of the fluid, or “mud,” and that a second ship was on the way. He said he was encouraged by the progress.

“We’ll get this under control,” he said.

Meanwhile, United State Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt, chair the Flow Rate Technical Group, declared this morning that the flow rate was that of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day (approx 18 million to 28 million gallons of oil)- a far jump from the latest revised estimate of 5,000 barrels per day.

That would make the 36-day leak by far the worst in U.S. history, surpassing the Exxon Valdez disaster, which spilled 11 million gallons into Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal took another boat tour of the oil spill area Wednesday and later repeated his call to get federal permission to dredge sand and create barrier islands to protect inland estuaries.

Louisiana officials say they can’t wait any longer, as more oil seeps into delicate marshlands in Pass a l’Outre.  “We don’t need to see a repeat of some of the situation we’ve seen recently,” Jindal said at Cypress Cove after surveying the damage for about four hours.

He said if BP and the Coast Guard don’t come up with a solution to removing marsh oil by Saturday, officials will move forward with their own action plan. “Our way of life in coastal Louisiana depends on it,” Jindal said.

Plaquemines Parish President Bobby Nungesser said that if nothing is done by Saturday at 8 a.m., officials will bring out a suction machine to gather excess oil. He said the spill will have the impact of the past four hurricanes in the area. “Once again we were dealt an untruth,” Nungesser said. “How much more are we going to put up with?”

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.


05.24.2010

BP Chief Operation Officer, Doug Suttles, stated that there have been 30 miles of marshes that were affected with 15 miles of the the affected marshes having “significant” amounts of oil in which required “several” clean up teams.

EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson confirmed this statement by indicating that, ” The oil is really piling up” and is “more convinced now than ever that BP/TransOcean/Halliburton has a BIG job in front of them.”

Officials stand by, helpless, while oil rolls into the shoreline wetlands and coats the stalks and leaves of plants such as roseau cane – the fabric that holds together an ecosystem that is essential to the region’s fishing industry and a much-needed buffer against gulf hurricanes. Soon, oil will smother those plants and choke off their supply of air and nutrients.

In some eddies and protected inlets, the ochre-colored crude has pooled beneath the water’s surface, forming clumps several inches deep.

Pelican eggs were glazed with rust-colored gunk in the bird colony, and thick globs floated on top of the water. Nests sat precariously close to the mess in mangrove trees. Workers had surrounded the island in Barataria Bay with the booms, but oil seeped through the barrier.

Meanwhile, in Barataria Bay, in southeastern Louisiana in Jefferson Parish and Plaquemines Parish,  orange oil had made its way a good 6 inches onto the shore, coating grasses and the nests of brown pelicans in mangrove trees. Just six months ago, the birds had been removed from the federal endangered species list.

Over time, experts say weather and natural microbes will break down most of the oil. However, the crude will surely poison plants and wildlife in the months – even years – it will take for the oil to dissipate.

Since the existing oil is hard to clean up, it appears that efforts have shifted to preventable measures.

Talks are now being held to utilize several chain of sandbag berms, reinforced with containment booms, that would skirt the state’s coastline. In addition, the Army Corps of Engineers also is considering a broader plan that would use dredging to build sand berms across more of the barrier islands.

Louisiana Governor Jindal has utilized the sandbag berm concept that protect the marshes behind Elmers Island, LA.
“You can see this is heavy oil. We tried to stir this up, This isn’t light oil. If this land bridge wasn’t here, this oil would go right through, and there’s nothing to stop it from getting into those wetlands,” said Jindal.

Despite the urgency of the matter, the request- which has been put in over 2 weeks ago- is still awaiting approval.  Governor Jindel has concluded that matters needed to be put in his State’s hands and wisely authorized this action to take place. In addition to this action, Governor Jindel also urged the federal government to approve their request to dredge sand off the sea floor to build more berms to protect the wetlands.

Extreme measures have been discussed; such as setting the marsh on fire or flooding the marsh in an attempt to push the oil back. However, these measures could do more harm than good.

If the marshes are drier than average, setting the marsh on fire could burn the vegetation to its roots, essentially wiping out the entire marsh.

Likewise,  flooding  could wash away the natural barriers that provide protection against  flooding from hurricanes and other disasters — much like hurricanes Katrina and Rita washed away marshlands in 2005. State and federal officials spent millions rebuilding the much-needed buffer against tropical storms.

The future for the Louisiana marshes look bleak with the majority of the response concentrated on preventing the oil from entering with very little focus on absorbing the method.

“Just the compaction of humanity bringing equipment in, walking on them, will kill them,” said David White, a wetlands ecologist from Loyola University in New Orleans.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.


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
www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com
www.bp.com/gulfofmexico

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?