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Posts Tagged ‘Methane in Gulf of Mexico’

Methane in Gulf Million Times Above Normal

Posted by feww on June 23, 2010

Methane gas is up to 1 million times higher than the normal level near the Gulf of Mexico oil spill:  U.S. Researchers

Such incredibly high levels of methane could deplete oxygen and create a larger than usual dead zone in Gulf of Mexico.

An oceanography professor at Texas A&M University, who spent ten days researching the water quality near the BP Plc oil spill in the gulf, says methane gas levels in some areas close to the spill source are “astonishingly high,” a report said.

“There is an incredible amount of methane in there,” Kessler said, noting that his team of 12 researchers has found concentrations of methane that were 100,000 times higher than normal within an 8 km (5-mile) radius of BP’s ruptured wellhead.

“We saw them approach a million times above background concentrations” in some areas, Kessler said.

“At some locations, we saw depletions of up to 30 percent of oxygen based on its natural concentration in the waters. At other places, we saw no depletion of oxygen in the waters. We need to determine why that is,” he added.

The oxygen depletion are still above a critical level, he said, but the oil still leaking into the Gulf, at about 60,000 barrels per day.

“What is it going to look like two months down the road, six months down the road, two years down the road?”

The researchers believe measuring the methane level could provide a more accurate estimate of the rate of oil spill, and are hoping to have their own estimate soon.

“Give us about a week and we should have some preliminary numbers on that,” he said.

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