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Posts Tagged ‘Prudhoe Bay’

New Oil Leak Compounds Gulf Disaster – Apr 29

Posted by feww on April 29, 2010


BP reported a new leak in the offshore well—min combined leak 210,000 gallons per day

The Gulf of Mexico nightmare enters a new phase—the first stage in the collapse of the Gulf states may have begun.

BP Plc, the legal owner of the leaking well, informed the US officials that it has discovered a new leak on the on the offshore well off Louisiana coat, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry said.

“BP has just briefed me of a new location of an additional breach in the riser of the deep underwater well,” Landry said.

The new estimate of 5,000bpd,  most probably an under estimate, judging by the initial amount of crude oil the ocean floor well was producing, is 5 times as much as the previous estimate.

[Note: The true estimate for the leak may be as much as 8,000 barrels of crude oil per day, or more, which is how much the well was producing before the rig blew up!]

“We have urged BP to leverage additional assets,” Landry said, adding that President B.O.  had been briefed on the new phase in the growing disaster.

The growing oil slick, now boosted by at least 5 times as much crude oil leaking from the underwater well, threatens marine life, coastal wildlife refuges, coastal fishing and sea food industries, beaches and estuaries in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, as well as the livelihood of at least 1 million people in those states DIRECTLY, and up to 20 million other people indirectly.

What People Are  Saying

“Tarballs and emulsified oil streamers could reach the Mississippi Delta region late on Friday, said Charlie Henry, an expert with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.” Reuters reported.

“By Wednesday afternoon, the edge of the spill was 23 miles off the Louisiana coast, near fragile estuaries and swamps teeming with birds and other wildlife. A shift in winds could push the spill inland to the Louisiana coast by this weekend, according to forecasters at AccuWeather.” Reuters said.

“We’re sitting here half praying and half with our fingers, toes and everything else crossed,” Byron Encalade, president of the Louisiana Oysterman Association in Pointe A La Hache, was reported as saying.

“This brings home the issue that drilling despite all the advancements in technology is still a risky business,” said Athan Manuel of the Sierra Club.

Meanwhile, BP has set fire to the massive and growing Gulf Coast oil slick

This is, of course, a nightmarish trade-off between the lesser of the two evils, burning thousands of barrels of crude oil, a smaller disaster, to prevent a much greater disaster of coastal pollution.

Imagine all of those other places out there in the universe somewhere, where they don’t have to make such decisions because their lifestyles are much less energy intensive, unlike this human wonderland, and the inhabitants have a direct say in the decision-making process.

Note: NOAA estimate was prepared before the new leak was reported, and therefore does NOT take into account the additional volume of crude that is leaking into the Gulf.

Stock photo of Newfoundland offshore Burn Experiment (NOBE)

Photo Source: The Minerals Management Service. Click image to enlarge.

Updated Overflight Map2

Source. Creative Commons license. Click image to enlarge.

Windrows of emulsified oil (bright orange) sprayed w/dispersant. Photo taken as part of an aerial observation overflight.  Photo credit NOAA. Click image to enlarge.

Clean-up crews have started “a test burn” in an area some 50km (30 miles ) east of the Mississippi River delta to gauge the viability of the technique, AP reported.

The burn-off “solution” became do-able after the BP failed to stop the massive a 1,000bpd crude leak from two holes in the oil well.

“A 500ft boom was being used to hold several thousand gallons of the thickest oil on the surface, which will then be towed to a more remote area, set on fire, and allowed to burn for about an hour.” AP reported.

Should the test burn prove successful, BP could continue with the blaze, one way or another, weather permitting.

As of now, at least 1,000bpd 5,000bpd (about 210,000 gallons, 800,000 liters per day), most probably 8,000bpd (about 336,000 gallons, or  1.3 million liters per day), of the really nasty, gooey crude oil is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.

The damaged well which was being drilled by the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, before it blew up killing 11 rig crew members (their bodies are missing, but they are legally presumed dead) is leaking from two different openings.

Although the cause of the explosion has not yet been determined, what is clear is that each and every control and safety mechanism that BP (and the gang) had or should have put in place to prevent such disasters didn’t work or weren’t there.

“Authorities also said they expected minimal impact on sea turtles and marine mammals in the burn area.” AP reported, forgetting to state whether they had interviewed any of the numerous species who live locally.

NOTE: The Exxon Valdez oil spill, which occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, is thought to be one of the worst human-caused environmental disasters ever. The tanker spilled about 10.8 million gallons (about 41 million litres) of crude oil into the water, covering an arae of about 3,400 sq km (1,300) square miles with its load of Prudhoe Bay crude.

The effects of the spill is still felt today, some 21 years later. there is a marked reduction in the population of various marine animals, including sea otters, pink salmon, ducks and many others.

The leak in the Gulf of Mexico could exceed the Exxon Valdez crude spill in less than 30 days, if not stemmed.

Related Links:

Gulf of Mexico Oil Leak – Update Apr 28

Serial No 1,639. Starting April 2010, each entry on this blog has a unique serial number. If any of the numbers are missing, it may mean that the corresponding entry has been blocked by Google/the authorities in your country. Please drop us a line if you detect any anomaly/missing number(s).

Posted in Deepwater Horizon, Gulf of Mexico oil Spill, Gulf of Mexio, Oil Rig Disaster, oil spill size | Tagged: , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Alaska tug grounds, leaks diesel at Prince William Sound

Posted by feww on December 25, 2009

Tugboat meant to help prevent oil spill disasters in Prince William Sound runs aground leaking up to 35,000 gallons of diesel

The Pathfinder, a 136-foot tug with six crew, on its way back to port in Valdez grounded on Bligh Reef and radioed for help at 6:15 pm Wednesday, the Coast Guard said.

The Pathfinder, a 136-foot tug, is surrounded by a spill containment boom Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009. The tug ran aground on Bligh Reef – the same reef as the Exxon Valdez 20 years ago. (AP Photo/Anchorage Daily News, Marc Lester). Image may be subject to copyright.

Two of the tug’s fuel tanks which were damaged contained about 127,000 liters (33,500 gallons) of diesel fuel, or a quarter of their full capacity, AP reported.

The tug is owned by Crowley Maritime Corp., and is part of a system set up supposedly to prevent oil disasters like  Exxon Valdez from occurring, hit Bligh Reef, a submerged navigation hazard. In 1989 the infamous Exxon Valdez ran aground after hitting the same reef, spilling some 42 million liters of crude oil and causing and ecological disaster.

Yet Another BP Pipeline Leak in Alaska

The above news came just a day or so after BP said it had discovered another oil leak in an oil pipeline connected to a well at the Prudhoe Bay oil field, the third leak reported by the company in less than 4 weeks.

On December 2, BP discovered another leak from a pipeline at a different well at Prudhoe Bay, which leaked about 30,000 litters of oil,  Alaska’s environmental officials said.

On November 29, 2009 a ruptured pipe at the Lisburne field leaked about 175,000 liters of oil and water.

Related Links:

Posted in Alaska Oil Spill, Bligh Reef, BP, ecological disaster, Prince William Sound | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

US Govt Sues BP America

Posted by feww on April 1, 2009

BP America, BPXA may be fined $500m for repeated violations

The U.S. government has reportedly filed a civil lawsuit against BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc (BPXA) for violating U.S. clean air and water laws, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

BPXA is accused of illegally discharging at least 260,000 gallons (~ 1 million liters) of crude oil “from its pipelines in Prudhoe Bay onto the North Slope of Alaska during two major oil spills in the spring and summer of 2006.” Reuters reporetd.

According to the suit, BPXA also failed to employ proper spill prevention measures as stipulated by the Clean Water Act.

BP America Tower shadows the Fountain of Eternal Life in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Image source: outdoor webshots. Image may be subject to copyright.

“We have taken significant steps to ensure that our operations are safe and reliable, and protect the environment,” said a spokesman at BPXA, a wholly owned subsidiary of BP America, a part of UK’s BP Plc.

The lawsuit filed by DOJ on behalf of DOT and EPA seeks

  • An injunction against future violation by BPXA, requiring the company to take appropriate action to prevent spills
  • Damages caused by the spills
  • Maximum possible punitive damages allowed by the law

“The state of Alaska also filed a lawsuit against BP on Tuesday, relating to the 2006 oil spill, but did not specify a proposed fine, ” said the report.

Since 1999, BP America has been found guilty on various negligence charges, or forced to settle for repeated violations including,

  • Pipeline spill in violation of the Clean Water Act 2007
  • Fatal fire in 2005 at BP refinery in Texas City
  • Propane-market manipulations by BP futures traders in 2004
  • Illegally dumping hazardous waste at its Endicott oil field on the North Slope in 1999

The company has been forced to pay in damages, fines and settlements a total of about $27m so far.

Related Links:

Posted in Endicott oil field, EPA Lawsuit, Exxon Valdez Disaster, oil spill, Texas City Refinery | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »