Τρίτη, 22 Ιουνίου 2010

BP Oil Leak May Last Until Christmas

Also >> http://garizo.blogspot.com/2010/06/leaking-oil-well-lacked-safeguard.html


A US federal judge in New Orleans ruled against President Obama's freeze on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf on Tuesday. US District Judge Martin Feldman sided with the 32 oil firms that challenged the White House freeze, saying the temporary suspension was 'invalid' and could not be justified. !!!
"An invalid agency decision to suspend drilling of wells in the depths over 500ft simply cannot justify the immeasurable effect on the plaintiffs, the local economy, the Gulf region and the critical present-day aspect of the availability of domestic energy in this country," judge Martin Feldman said.


BP Oil Leak May Last Until Christmas
 By Jessica Resnick-Ault and David Wethe







June 2 (Bloomberg) -- BP Plc’s failure since April to plug a Gulf of Mexico oil leak have prompted forecasts the crude may continue gushing into December in what President Barack Obama has called the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history.BP’s attempts so far to cap the well and plug the leak on the seabed a mile below the surface haven’t worked, while the start of the Atlantic hurricane season this week indicates storms in the Gulf may disrupt other efforts.“The worst-case scenario is Christmas time,” Dan Pickering, the head of research at energy investor Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. in Houston, said. “This process is teaching us to be skeptical of deadlines.”Ending the year with a still-gushing well would mean about 4 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf, based on the government’s current estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels leaking a day. That would wipe out marine life deep at sea near the leak and elsewhere in the Gulf, and along hundreds of miles of coastline, said Harry Roberts, a professor of Coastal Studies at Louisiana State University.So much crude pouring into the ocean may alter the chemistry of the sea, with unforeseeable results, said Mak Saito, an Associate Scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.
No Guarantee
BP, based in London, says it can’t guarantee the success of its attempt now underway to capture the flow of oil and divert it to a ship at the surface. Thad Allen, the U.S. government’s national commander for the incident, said operations may need to be suspended to allow for an evacuation ahead of a tropical storm or hurricane, during which oil would continue to gush into the Gulf.The so-called relief well being drilled to intercept and plug the damaged well by mid-August might miss -- as other emergency wells have done before -- requiring more time to make a second, third or fourth try, Dave Rensink, President Elect of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, said.Robert Wine, a spokesman for BP, declined to detail the company’s own worst-case scenario.In its original exploration plan for the Macondo well about 40-miles from the Louisiana coast, BP estimated the worst-case scenario for an oil spill was 162,000 barrels of crude a day,....
according to a filing with the U.S. Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service.
Hurricane Season
BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward has more recently put the maximum potential leak rate at 60,000 barrels a day.
Wine reaffirmed BP’s estimate that it will take 90 days to stop the leak with a relief well, which would be the first half of August. He said an early, vigorous hurricane season could have an impact on the schedule.The ultimate worst-case scenario is that the well is never successfully plugged, said Fred Aminzadeh, a research professor at the University of Southern California’s Center for Integrated Smart Oil Fields who previously worked for Unocal Corp. That would leave the well to flow for probably more than a decade, he said in a telephone interview.More likely, the relief wells will eventually succeed, though it might take longer than the three months predicted by BP, he said.
Pemex Spill. It took Mexico’s state-owned oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, nine months to plug its Ixtoc I well after an explosion and fire in 1979.The company’s first attempt with a relief well failed, so it had to drill a second. Eventually, more than 140 million gallons of crude spilled into the Gulf of Mexico -- the biggest offshore oil spill on record. Last year, an explosion at a well off the Australian coast owned by Thailand’s national oil company, PTT Exploration & Production Pcl, required five attempts before it could be plugged by a relief well 10 weeks after the spill began. BP has improved its odds by drilling two emergency wells at once. If a first attempt fails, it will have the second well ready to try again. The company is using techniques such as a larger well bore, raising its chances of hitting its mark, said Robert MacKenzie an analyst with FBR Capital Markets in Arlington, Virginia. Plugging the well is another challenge even after BP successfully intersects it, Robert Bea, a University of California Berkeley engineering professor, said. BP has said it believes the well bore to be damaged, which could hamper efforts to fill it with mud and set a concrete plug, Bea said.
Evacuating Ships
While these efforts are underway, BP could face delays if a hurricane enters the Gulf, forcing an evacuation. BP says it is developing a mechanism to quickly disconnect the ship collecting oil from the well so that it can evacuate ahead of a storm. That would leave the well gushing oil, Bea said. Ocean biologists are concerned the oil could linger in deep layers in the sea, generating oxygen-depleted “dead zones” that kill marine life. Plumes of oil spinning off of the spill have been detected in two directions, and researchers suspect there are more. “Clearly, oxygen levels are going to be decreased in the vicinity of the plume area, and it looks like it could be a very large plume area,” said Saito, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Birds, Oysters
The crude oil could enter a current that would draw it out of the Gulf and up along the East Coast of the U.S. all the way to Nantucket, Roberts, of Lousiana State University, said. The American Bird Conservancy has identified 10 key regions on the Gulf Coast where birds could be harmed. If the oil is spread widely by a hurricane, there could be long-term damage to bird populations, the non-profit organization has said. “What is difficult to measure is the loss of future generations of birds when birds fail to lay eggs or when eggs fail to hatch,” George Fenwick, the organization’s president, said in a statement on at-risk areas in the Gulf Coast. Marine life may take decades to recover, wiping out businesses along the coastline that depend on the fishing and seafood industry.
-----------------------------







I used to cover the energy business (oil, gas and alternative) here in Texas, and the few experts in the oil field -- including geologists, chemists, etc. -- able or willing to even speak of this BP event told me early on that it is likely the entire reserve will bleed out. Unfortunately none of them could say with any certainty just how much oil is in the reserve in question because, for one thing, the oil industry and secrecy have always been synonymous. According to BP data from about five years ago, there are four separate reservoirs containing a total of 2.5 billion barrels (barrels not gallons). One of the reservoirs has 1.5 billion barrels. I saw an earlier post here quoting an Anadarko Petroleum report which set the total amount at 2.3 billion barrels. One New York Times article put it at 2 billion barrels. If the BP data correctly or honestly identified four separate reservoirs then a bleed-out might gush less than 2 to 2.5 billion barrels unless the walls -- as it were -- fracture or partially collapse. I am hearing the same dark rumors which suggest fracturing and a complete bleed-out are already underway. Rumors also suggest a massive collapse of the Gulf floor itself is in the making. They are just rumors but it is time for geologists or related experts to end their deafening silence and speak to these possibilities. All oilmen lie about everything. The stories one hears about the extent to which they will protect themselves are all understatements. BP employees are already taking The Fifth before grand juries, and attorneys are laying a path for company executives to make a run for it.
---------------------

Aside from the occasional asteroid and volcanic outburst, human beings are responsible for the greatest messes on the planet. We've polluted the air and water, punched holes in the ozone, and pumped enough carbon into the atmosphere to overwhelm the global thermostat. Nor is this merely a modern attribute of homo sapiens. As Jared Diamond points out in his book Collapse, we've repeatedly taxed the limits of our environment, from the heart of the Mayan civilization to far-flung Easter Island. We've hunted countless species into extinction and exhausted the soil to feed burgeoning populations. And what we once did on a local basis, we are now applying on a global scale.There is certainly an element of sadism in how humans have behaved toward other species. But the messes we have created throughout our relatively brief reign on Earth have also been self-inflicted. We are consummate sado-messochists: We specialize in inflicting messes on ourselves. Has any other species been so thoroughly successful in fouling its own nest?
Which brings me to BP and the latest oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The pursuit of oil and the price paid in human suffering is well known to all those who saw the film There Will Be Blood, or read recent books by Peter Maass,Antonia Juhasz, and others. BP is no exception to this rule. It made its money on oil extracted — stolen, really — from what would later become Iran. These enormous profits sustained the British Empire in its dotage. When Iranian leader Mohammad Mossadegh threatened to nationalize Iranian oil in 1953, BP was a key reason behind the Anglo-American destabilization of his democratically elected government. Later, BP would make out like a bandit during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through its sales of bulk oil to the Pentagon.Nor is BP a stranger to environmental disasters, considering its oil spills in 2000 and 2005, and the Texas City refinery explosion that killed 15 workers in 2005. In the last three years, two BP refineries were alone responsible for 97 percent of the worst environmental and safety violations in the industry. And now BP is behind the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history. The gush in the Gulf sends the equivalent of one Exxon Valdez into the waters every four days.There are many villains in this tragedy. BP executives promised "safety first" and instead pursued profits first. The Minerals Management Service granted exemptions for the environmental impact statements that should have been required for the Deepwater Horizon rig (among others). The Obama administration, attempting to curry favor with the "drill, baby, drill" faction,opened up previously off-limits waters along the East Coast and the Gulf Coast to offshore drilling only a few weeks before the disaster. The financial crisis was a result of a go-go spirit infecting Wall Street; the BP disaster was a result of a go-go spirit infecting Big Oil.But really the biggest villain is us: our voracious desire for energy. We want energy to be like breakfast at Bob's Big Boy: lots of it at a rock-bottom price. Yes, Americans want an alternative energy future, but we also refuse to pay more at the pump to fund research into creating this future. This bottomless pit of need has pushed us into what Michael Klare calls an era of "extreme energy." We've already extracted the easy stuff. Now we're pushed to the margins — the Arctic, the bottom of the ocean — to get at what remains at the bottom of the bottle. We're pumping toxic cocktails deep into the ground to release natural gas from shale: a disaster in the making for our water supply. Our relentless pursuit of coal has already produced fly-ash spills that have done more damage to our environment than the Exxon Valdez. And of course we expend hundreds of billions of dollars to fight wars in energy-rich lands.We believe, in our naïveté, that we can operate safely and effectively on the margins. "This Gulf coast crisis is about many things — corruption, deregulation, the addiction to fossil fuels," writes Naomi Klein in The Guardian. "But underneath it all, it's about this: our culture's excruciatingly dangerous claim to have such complete understanding and command over nature that we can radically manipulate and re-engineer it with minimal risk to the natural systems that sustain us." The serial messes we've made do little to undermine this false confidence.Those who made the messes are often quick to promise to make things whole again. But that rarely happens. The environmental movement, it's true, has worked long and hard to restore devastated areas like the Adirondacks and the Hudson River. We can plant trees and dredge rivers. But we can't magically bring back old-growth forests or remove all the PCBs from the river. The Gulf, meanwhile, was already compromised before the oil spill. To give only one example, agricultural and livestock industries along the Mississippi have been dumping nitrogen into the river that produce an oxygen-poor area known as a "dead zone," which stretches as much as 7,000 square miles along the Gulf Coast.We are, in other words, piling messes on messes. Stricter regulations, a sustainable energy program, making an example of BP so that others toe the line: all of this is necessary to rid ourselves of these sado-messochistic tendencies. But we might have passed the point of no return.According to folk wisdom, if you put a frog in a pot of water and gradually (and sadistically) increase the temperature, the frog will not notice and eventually boil to death. Frogs, it turns out, are not that stupid. We homo sapiens, on the other hand, will climb into the pot and jack up the temperature all by ourselves. Then, instead of climbing out, we argue among ourselves. "The water isn't getting hotter at all," says one group. "Great hot tub!" says another. "Don't worry," opines a third, "Mr. Market will come along eventually and turn down the temperature." And now BP has added tens of thousands of gallons of oil to the simmering soup that we find ourselves in.At this point the great sage Oliver Hardy would look us in the eye and conclude, "Here's another fine mess you've gotten us into."

The Messes Continue

We're currently making another mess of our relationship with Mexico. In the last month, U.S. Border Patrol has killed two Mexican citizens. As Foreign Policy In Focus columnist Laura Carlsen explains, the deaths have elicited a strong reaction from the Mexican government, which is already upset about rising anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States."The growing criminalization and dehumanization of Mexican undocumented immigrants has fomented a legal limbo where human rights, including the right to life itself, fall prey to ill-defined national security concerns," she writes in Lethal Force on the Border. "It has fostered a political climate where security forces and vigilantes argue openly that fatal attacks on citizens from other countries in a non-war context are justified simply because they lack a visa. Such governance without respect for basic human rights is nothing but a dangerous lie."The U.S. military continues to kill numerous civilians during operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. This has prompted FPIF senior analyst Adil Shamoo to ask whether the U.S. government simply values U.S. lives over the lives of others. "[The] mechanization of war has also resulted in treating other nations' citizens as less than equal to citizens of the United States," he writes inAre Foreign Lives of Equal Worth to Ours? "U.S. military actions kill innocent civilians in a repeated and almost routine manner. However, modern communications are informing people around the world that U.S. policies value other citizens less than" U.S. citizens.Jeju Island is located just off the coast of South Korea. It's a semi-tropical location beloved of South Korean honeymooners. And it's also the location of proposed naval base that will, in part, advance U.S. security interests.As FPIF contributor Kyouneun Cha explains in Jeju and a Naval Arms Race in Asia, South Korea "has indicated its interest in becoming more integrated into the U.S. missile defense system. In this way, by becoming caught in a conflict between China and the United States, the naval base could endanger Jeju Island and the national security of South Korea. According to Lee Tae-ho, deputy secretary general of People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy in South Korea, 'The Chinese government has a response strategy that first attacks U.S. missile defense in the case of an emergency. That means that the Jeju naval base will be targeted in an armed conflict between the United States and China.' Even short of war, the base will create tension among China, Japan, and Korea, which could escalate into a naval arms race in the Asia-Pacific region."

An Intelligence Failure?

James Clapper is Obama's choice as national intelligence director. He's come under fire for his ties to the military and the Bush administration. "None of these portrayals, however, gets to the two most important aspects of Clapper's career," writes FPIF contributor Tim Shorrock in Clapper: Managing the Intelligence Enterprise, "his ties to the $50 billion intelligence contracting industry, and his role in both developing and deepening the secret intelligence wars initiated by George W. Bush and intensified by the Obama administration."Perhaps a greater intelligence failure involves Iran. "Despite a deep-seated lack of understanding between Iran and the United States, they share many common interests around which there is room for constructive bilateral engagement," writes Richard Javad Heydarian in An Iran-U.S. Grand Bargain. "Like NATO, Iran wants to see stability on its borders and reduce regional tensions, which have also hurt Iran's economy in terms of investments and trade. Tehran and Washington should move toward active and full engagement, but that will require both sides to shelve a history of conflict and obstinacy for a more cooperative and constructive future."Finally, FPIF intern Aurora Ellis reviews a new book by Nora McKeon on the relationship between the United Nations and civil society. "McKeon acknowledges the political and economic limits of the UN in its attempts to curtail the powers of transnational corporations and the few wealthy governments of the world who impose a neoliberal agenda on the world's poor majority," Ellis writes. "She also recognizes the lack of political will within the UN and its inability to address structural inequalities or promote accountability. Yet, McKeon still insists that the UN is the only international institution with the potential to move forward."
-------------------------------------
Gulf Oil Spill "Could Go on for Years and Years" ...


The Obama Administration and senior BP officials are frantically working not to stop the world’s worst oil disaster, but to hide the true extent of the actual ecological catastrophe. Senior  researchers tell us that the BP drilling hit one of the oil migration channels and that the leakage could continue for years unless decisive steps are undertaken, something that seems far from the present strategy.In a recent discussion, Vladimir Kutcherov, Professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and the Russian State University of Oil and Gas, predicted that the present oil spill flooding the Gulf Coast shores of the United States “could go on for years and years … many years.”  According to Kutcherov, a leading specialist in the theory of abiogenic deep origin of petroleum, “What BP drilled into was what we call a ‘migration channel,’ a deep fault on which hydrocarbons generated in the depth of our planet migrate to the crust and are accumulated in rocks, something like Ghawar in Saudi Arabia.”[2] Ghawar, the world’s most prolific oilfield has been producing millions of barrels daily for almost 70 years with no end in sight. According to the abiotic science, Ghawar like all elephant and giant oil and gas deposits all over the world, is located on a migration channel similar to that in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico.As I wrote at the time of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake disaster,[3] Haiti had been identified as having potentially huge hydrocasrbon reserves, as has neighboring Cuba. Kutcherov estimates that the entire Gulf of Mexico is one of the planet’s most abundant accessible locations to extract oil and gas, at least before the Deepwater Horizon event this April.“In my view the heads of BP reacted with panic at the scale of the oil spewing out of the well,” Kutcherov adds. “What is inexplicable at this point is why they are trying one thing, failing, then trying a second, failing, then a third. Given the scale of the disaster they should try every conceivable option, even if it is ten, all at once in hope one works. Otherwise, this oil source could spew oil for years given the volumes coming to the surface already.”  He stresses, “It is difficult to estimate how big this leakage is. There is no objective information available.” But taking into consideration information about the last BP ‘giant’ discovery in the Gulf of Mexico, the Tiber field, some six miles deep, Kutcherov agrees with Ira Leifer a researcher in the Marine Science Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara who says the oil may be gushing out at a rate of more than 100,000 barrels a day.What the enormoity of the oil spill does is to also further discredit clearly the oil companies’ myth of “peak oil” which claims that the world is at or near the “peak” of economical oil extraction. That myth, which has been propagated in recent years by circles close to former oilman and Bush Vice President, Dick Cheney, has been effectively used by the giant oil majors to justify far higher oil prices than would be politically possible otherwise, by claiming a non-existent petroleum scarcity crisis.
Obama & BP Try to Hide
 According to a report from Washington investigative journalist Wayne Madsen, “the Obama White House and British Petroleum are covering up the magnitude of the volcanic-level oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and working together to limit BP’s liability for damage caused by what can be called a ‘mega-disaster.’” [6] Madsen cites sources within the US Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and Florida Department of Environmental Protection for his assertion.Obama and his senior White House staff, as well as Interior Secretary Salazar, are working with BP’s chief executive officer Tony Hayward on legislation that would raise the cap on liability for damage claims from those affected by the oil disaster from $75 million to $10 billion. According to informed estimates cited by Madsen, however, the disaster has a real potential cost of at least $1,000 billion ($1 trillion). That estimate would support the pessimistic assessment of Kutcherov that the spill, if not rapidly controlled, “will destroy the entire coastline of the United States.”According to the Washington report of Madsen, BP statements that one of the leaks has been contained, are “pure public relations disinformation designed to avoid panic and demands for greater action by the Obama administration., according to FEMA and Corps of Engineers sources.”  The White House has been resisting releasing any “damaging information” about the oil disaster. Coast Guard and Corps of Engineers experts estimate that if the ocean oil geyser is not stopped within 90 days, there will be irreversible damage to the marine eco-systems of the Gulf of Mexico, north Atlantic Ocean, and beyond. At best, some Corps of Engineers experts say it could take two years to cement the chasm on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. [8]
 Only after the magnitude of the disaster became evident did Obama order Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano to declare the oil disaster a “national security issue.” Although the Coast Guard and FEMA are part of her department, Napolitano’s actual reasoning for invoking national security, according to Madsen, was merely to block media coverage of the immensity of the disaster that is unfolding for the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean and their coastlines.The Obama administration also conspired with BP to hide the extent of the oil leak, according to the cited federal and state sources. After the oil rig exploded and sank, the government stated that 42,000 gallons per day were gushing from the seabed chasm. Five days later, the federal government upped the leakage to 210,000 gallons a day. However, submersibles monitoring the escaping oil from the Gulf seabed are viewing television pictures of what they describe as a “volcanic-like” eruption of oil.When the Army Corps of Engineers first attempted to obtain NASA imagery of the Gulf oil slick, which is larger than is being reported by the media, it was reportedly denied the access. By chance, National Geographic managed to obtain satellite imagery shots of the extent of the disaster and posted them on their web site. Other satellite imagery reportedly being withheld by the Obama administration, shows that what lies under the gaping chasm spewing oil at an ever-alarming rate is a cavern estimated to be the size of Mount Everest. This information has been given an almost national security-level classification to keep it from the public, according to Madsen’s sources.
 The Corps of Engineers and FEMA are reported to be highly critical of the lack of support for quick action after the oil disaster by the Obama White House and the US Coast Guard. Only now has the Coast Guard understood the magnitude of the disaster, dispatching nearly 70 vessels to the affected area. Under the loose regulatory measures implemented by the Bush-Cheney Administration, the US Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service became a simple “rubber stamp,” approving whatever the oil companies wanted in terms of safety precautions that could have averted such a disaster. Madsen describes a state of “criminal collusion” between Cheney’s former firm, Halliburton, and the Interior Department’s MMS, and that the potential for similar disasters exists with the other 30,000 off-shore rigs that use the same shut-off valves. 
Silence from Eco groups?... Follow the money
 Without doubt at this point we are in the midst of what could be the greatest ecological catastrophe in history. The oil platform explosion took place almost within the current loop where the Gulf Stream originates. This has huge ecological and climatological consequences. A cursory look at a map of the Gulf Stream shows that the oil is not just going to cover the beaches in the Gulf, it will spread to the Atlantic coasts up through North Carolina then on to the North Sea and Iceland. And beyond the damage to the beaches, sea life and water supplies, the Gulf stream has a very distinct chemistry, composition (marine organisms), density, temperature. What happens if the oil and the dispersants and all the toxic compounds they create actually change the nature of the Gulf Stream? No one can rule out potential changes including changes in the path of the Gulf Stream, and even small changes could have huge impacts. Europe, including England, is not an icy wasteland due to the warming from the Gulf Stream.Yet there is a deafening silence from the very environmental organizations which ought to be at the barricades demanding that BP, the US Government and others act decisively.  That deafening silence of leading green or ecology organizations such as Greenpeace, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club and others may well be tied to a money trail that leads right back to the oil industry, notably to BP. Leading environmental organizations have gotten significant financial payoffs in recent years from BP in order that the oil company could remake itself with an “environment-friendly face,” as in “beyond petroleum” the company’s new branding.
 The Nature Conservancy, described as “the world’s most powerful environmental group,”[10] has awarded BP a seat on its International Leadership Council after the oil company gave the organization more than $10 million in recent years.  Until recently, the Conservancy and other environmental groups worked with BP in a coalition that lobbied Congress on climate-change issues. An employee of BP Exploration serves as an unpaid Conservancy trustee in Alaska. In addition, according to a recent report published by the Washington Post, Conservation International, another environmental group, has accepted $2 million in donations from BP and worked with the company on a number of projects, including one examining oil-extraction methods. From 2000 to 2006, John Browne, then BP's chief executive, sat on the CI board.Further, The Environmental Defense Fund, another influential ecologist organization, joined with BP, Shell and other major corporations to form a Partnership for Climate Action, to promote ‘market-based mechanisms’ (sic) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Environmental non-profit groups that have accepted donations from or joined in projects with BP include Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and Audubon. That could explain why the political outcry to date for decisive action in the Gulf has been so muted.Of course those organizations are not going to be  the ones to solve this catastrophe. The central point at this point is who is prepared to put the urgently demanded federal and international scientific resources into solving this crisis. Further actions of the likes of that from the Obama White House to date or from BP can only lead to the conclusion that some very powerful people want this debacle to continue. The next weeks will be critical to that assessment.

Δεν υπάρχουν σχόλια: