Tuesday, 8 June 2010

the cost of cheap oil, deepwater horizon highlights


The real cost of cheap oil

The Gulf disaster is only unusual for being so near the US. Elsewhere, Big Oil rarely cleans up its mess

John Vidal

Big Oil is holding its breath. BP's shares are in steep decline after the debacle in the Gulf of Mexico. Barack Obama, the American people and the global environmental community are outraged, and now the company stands to lose the rights to drill for oil in the Arctic and other ecologically sensitive places.

The gulf disaster may cost it a few billion dollars, but so what? When annual profits for a company often run to tens of billions, the cost of laying 5,000 miles of booms, or spraying millions of gallons of dispersants and settling 100,000 court cases is not much more than missing a few months' production. It's awkward, but it can easily be passed on.

The oil industry's image is seriously damaged, but it can pay handsomely to greenwash itself, just as it managed after Exxon Valdez, Brent Spar and the Ken Saro-Wiwa public relations disasters. In a few years' time, this episode will probably be forgotten – just another blip in the fortunes of the industry that fuels the world. But the oil companies are nervous now because the spotlight has been turned on their cavalier attitude to pollution and on the sheer incompetence of an industry that is used to calling the shots.

Big Oil's real horror was not the spillage, which was common enough, but because it happened so close to the US. Millions of barrels of oil are spilled, jettisoned or wasted every year without much attention being paid.

If this accident had occurred in a developing country, say off the west coast of Africa or Indonesia, BP could probably have avoided all publicity and escaped starting a clean-up for many months. It would not have had to employ booms or dispersants, and it could have ignored the health effects on people and the damage done to fishing. It might have eventually been taken to court and could have been fined a few million dollars, but it would probably have appealed and delayed a court decision for a decade or more.

Big Oil is usually a poor country's most powerful industry, and is generally allowed to act like a parallel government. In many countries it simply pays off the judges, the community leaders, the lawmakers and the ministers, and it expects environmentalists and local people to be powerless. Mostly it gets away with it.

What the industry dreads more than anything else is being made fully accountable to developing countries for the mess it has made and the oil it has spilt in the forests, creeks, seas and deserts of the world.

There are more than 2,000 major spillage sites in the Niger delta that have never been cleaned up; there are vast areas of the Colombian, Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon that have been devastated by spillages, the dumping of toxic materials and blowouts. Rivers and wells in Venezuela, Angola, Chad, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda and Sudan have been badly polluted. Occidental, BP, Chevron, Shell and most other oil companies together face hundreds of outstanding lawsuits. Ecuador alone is seeking $30bn from Texaco.

The only reason oil costs $70-$100 a barrel today, and not $200, is because the industry has managed to pass on the real costs of extracting the oil. If the developing world applied the same pressure on the companies as Obama and the US senators are now doing, and if the industry were forced to really clean up the myriad messes it causes, the price would jump and the switch to clean energy would be swift.

If the billions of dollars of annual subsidies and the many tax breaks the industry gets were withdrawn, and the cost of protecting oil companies in developing countries were added, then most of the world's oil would almost certainly be left in the ground.



By courtesy of Wayne Madsen

June 7-8, 2010

EPA and media lying about air monitors on Gulf coast

WMR's colleague John Caylor, who lives on the Gulf Coast near Pensacola, Florida, has reported that the concentration of benzene fumes in the air along the Florida and Alabama coast is at dangerously high levels. The benzene fumes are coming from the massive amounts of oil in the Gulf of Mexico that came from the BP catastrophe at the Deepwater Horizon offshore rig.

Caylor also reports that BP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which have stated that several hundred air quality monitors have been deployed around the Florida and Alabama coasts and have not detected any benzene levels that would be harmful to human health, are lying.

Caylor, who suffers from a breathing impairment, is planning to evacuate his coastal home for the Washington, DC area.

In fact, Caylor was told by a senior news source at WEAR-TV, the ABC affiliate in Pensacola, that there are no air quality monitors that have been deployed along the coastal bays and inlets by either BP or the EPA. The station sent reporters out to check on the monitors and discovered they were non-existent. The news station also has said that the ABC News network out of New York and CNN are echoing the BP and Obama administration's lines that the air quality is being monitored and is perfectly safe.

The benzene levels in the air are potentially fatally harmful to those with breathing problems, particularly those suffering from asthma and emphysema.

WMR has also learned that officials of the towns of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama are livid that oil is washing ashore and neither BP or any federal agency, including the EPA, FEMA, or the Coast Guard, are responding to the oil deluge. In addition, WMR has learned that Florida Governor Charlie Crist is preparing to declare a major state of emergency in Florida with evacuation of coastal residents, especially those prone to the deadly benzene fumes, being a top priority for state emergency responders.


Wikipedia: Deepwater_Horizon_oil_spill



June 8, 2010

BP accused of judge-shopping for seeking Republican judge to handle lawsuits

Jacqui Goddard, Miami

BP has been accused of “judge shopping” after pushing for a specific judge in Houston, Texas — the centre of America’s oil and gas industry — to handle the lawsuits against it.

In a move condemned yesterday by several legal experts as indicative of corporate arrogance but defended by others as accepted tactical manoeuvring, the British energy group has filed papers requesting that all pre-trial matters in litigation relating to the Deepwater Horizon disaster be assigned to US District Judge Lynn Hughes.

Judge Hughes, 69, who was nominated in 1985 by the Republican President, Ronald Reagan, is also a lecturer for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, whose 31,000 members work mainly in the oil and gas industry and which works with oil companies including BP.

He has also earned thousands of dollars in royalties from leasing energy exploration companies the mineral rights on land that he owns — though not to BP — owned stock in Big Oil and has granted significant rulings in the industry’s favour.

“This kind of thing is not par for the course, definitely not. Is it corporate arrogance? Absolutely. It’s horrifying,” said David Guest, a lawyer for the Washington-based environmental group Earthjustice.

He added: “I have a feeling it’s not going to play out the way BP wants it. It looks such scandalous behaviour that it seems it would be hard to stick.”

Other legal sources point out, however, that plaintiffs’ lawyers are also attempting similar moves, lobbying for their cases to be heard in Louisiana, where the Deepwater Horizon spill has generated the greatest public anger and economic impact.

Judge Hughes is a respected figure with experience of handling large-scale and complicated corporate litigation. He has also ruled against the oil industry in the past and operates with integrity and impartiality.

Heading the hunt for a judge without conflict or the perception of conflict is the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL), which is expected to announce a decision next month.

Its task will not be straightforward. Of the 64 federal judges in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida that sit in districts where Deepwater Horizon lawsuits have been filed, 37 have financial links to the oil and gas industry, an investigation has found.

A number receive royalties on mineral leases while others own stocks or bonds in BP, as well as in Transocean, the company that operated the ill-fated rig, and Halliburton, which cemented the well that is spewing up to 25,000 barrels (1.05 million US gallons) of oil a day.

All three companies are at the heart of about 150 lawsuits brought by families of the 11 men who died and thousands of victims of the economic and environmental catastrophe that the oil leak has caused.

President Obama warned that the economic fallout from the oil leak would be substantial and Admiral Thad Allen, the head of the US Coast Guard, said that logistical moves were being put in place to try to prevent the oil coming ashore in greater quantities.

“The MDL panel must try to appoint a judge that is neutral and unbiased on both sides,” said Dane Ciolino, a professor of law at Loyola University, New Orleans.

“BP are doing no more than the plaintiffs’ lawyers are doing, which is to request a judge that for strategic reasons is going to provide them with what they believe to be a better forum.

“Both sides are looking to whatever tactical advantage they perceive exists . . . obviously the economic and environmental impact in Texas is significantly less than in Louisiana.”

According to the National Law Journal, seven of the 12 federal judges in the eastern district of Louisiana have recused themselves from hearing oil spill cases because of their connections to the industry.

They include US District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon in New Orleans, who owns stock in BP. District Judge Carl Barbier, also of New Orleans, who is favoured by a number of plaintiffs’ lawyers, divulged that he holds investments in Transocean and Halliburton but is selling them to avoid any conflict.

“It may seem a little sinister to outsiders that so many judges are in the thrall of the oil and gas industry, but along with fishing the industry is king in this part of the world,” said Martin Davies, an expert in maritime law at Tulane University, New Orleans.

Buddy Caldwell, the attorney-general of Louisiana, appealed last week for federal funds to help him to line up a legal case against BP and other parties involved in the spill, revealing that he was finding himself competing against the oil company to snap up industry experts to give testimony.

“You want your people on the ground now and BP is out there trying to hire the same experts,” he told the Times-Picayune newspaper in Louisiana. “You’ve got to get the best lawyers. They’re going to have lawyers that charge $1,000 (£690) an hour. I want something close to a level playing field.”


Many Gulf federal judges have oil links

Curt Anderson, Ap Legal Affairs Writer

Sun Jun 6

MIAMI – More than half of the federal judges in districts where the bulk of Gulf oil spill-related lawsuits are pending have financial connections to the oil and gas industry, complicating the task of finding judges without conflicts to hear the cases, an Associated Press analysis of judicial financial disclosure reports shows.

Thirty-seven of the 64 active or senior judges in key Gulf Coast districts in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida have links to oil, gas and related energy industries, including some who own stocks or bonds in BP PLC, Halliburton or Transocean — and others who regularly list receiving royalties from oil and gas production wells, according to the reports judges must file each year. The AP reviewed 2008 disclosure forms, the most recent available.

Those three companies are named as defendants in virtually all of the 150-plus lawsuits seeking damages, mainly for economic losses in the fishing, seafood, tourism and related industries, that have been filed over the growing oil spill since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Attorneys for the companies and those suing them are pushing for consolidation of the cases in one court, with BP recommending Texas and others advocating for Louisiana and other states.

A Washington-based federal judicial panel is scheduled to meet next month to decide whether to consolidate the cases and, if so, which judge should be assigned the monumental task. The job would include such key pretrial decisions as certifying a large class of plaintiffs to seek damages, a potential multibillion-dollar settlement, whether to dismiss the cases and what documents BP and the other companies might be forced to produce in court.

The AP review of disclosure statements shows the oil and gas industry's roots run as deep in the Gulf Coast's judiciary as they do in the region's economy. For example, one federal judge in Texas is a member of Houston's Petroleum Club, an "exclusive, handsome club of, and for, men of the oil industry."

Federal judicial rules require judges to disqualify themselves from hearing cases involving a company in which they have a direct financial interest, and some Louisiana judges have already done so. For example, U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon in New Orleans, who reported ownership of BP stock, issued an order in early May that the court clerk not allot cases involving BP or related entities to her docket.

Another New Orleans jurist, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, said in court Friday he is selling his oil and gas investments — which included Transocean and Halliburton — to avoid any perception of a conflict. Barbier is presiding over about 20 spill-related lawsuits and some attorneys are recommending that he be chosen to oversee all cases filed nationally.

Still another judge in Louisiana, U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon, recused himself because his attorney son-in-law is representing several people and businesses filing suits against BP and the other companies over the rig explosion.

In many ways, the financial conflict rules are murky. For example, a judge does not have to step aside if the investments are part of a mutual fund over which they have no management control. Mere ties to companies or entities in the same industry, no matter how extensive, also don't require disqualification, according to legal experts.

"The specific rule forbids judges from hearing a case in which they have a financial interest. The more general rule forbids them from hearing cases in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned," said Charles Geyh, an Indiana University law professor who has closely studied judicial ethics.

So a judge like U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval of New Orleans would not have to disqualify himself even though he reported royalties from "mineral interest No. 1 and No. 2" in Terrebonne Parish, La., on his 2008 forms. Likewise for Senior U.S. District Judge William Barbour Jr. of Mississippi, who listed at least 30 oil and gas interests in three states including "McGowan Working Partners" and "Petro-Hunt Bovina Field," both in Mississippi.

Some judges have close ties to the energy industry that aren't for financial gain, but could still raise questions of potential bias.

The judge BP wants to hear all of the spill-related cases, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes of Houston, for the past two years has been a "distinguished lecturer" focusing on ethical issues for the 35,000-member American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

Hughes is not paid a fee but does receive reimbursements for travel, food and lodging, said association spokesman Larry Nation. Hughes has appeared at petroleum geologist meetings in several Texas cities, in New Orleans and also in Cape Town, South Africa. He is scheduled to give a lecture later this month in Calgary, Canada, the oil and gas capital of that country.

"Under the circumstances, I can see why the questions are being raised," Nation said. "But one of the reasons Judge Hughes was chosen to be a lecturer is that he is known as a very ethical person. I would think his being an ethics lecturer for our organization would be a positive, not a negative."

Hughes said at a hearing Friday that his work for the geologists poses no conflict and that his other oil and gas investments — which include royalties from several mineral rights interests — are not connected to BP or the other companies involved in the spill lawsuits.

Florida attorney Scott Weinstein, whose firm represents charter captains and other companies suffering economic loss from the spill — including the owners of the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum in Key West — said people might think it's unfair for BP to win its wish with a Texas judge rather than one seated in Louisiana or Florida, where the spill's impacts are greater.

"I would never assume that a judge is biased because of the jurisdiction that he or she sits in," Weinstein said. Still, "if this case winds up in Houston, many of the victims will feel very distant from where that justice is being handed out. It will not make sense to them."

Another Florida plaintiffs' attorney, Stuart Smith, was more blunt about the companies' aims.

"They would get much more sympathetic judges and perhaps a more sympathetic jury," Smith said.

In court papers, BP says that Hughes has the "experience and capacity" to handle the lawsuits and that Houston is the ideal location because most of the defendants' companies have headquarters or major operations there. BP spokesman have repeatedly declined to comment on pending lawsuits.

Some attorneys have come up with an unusual assertion: import a New York federal judge with a strong background in environmental lawsuits to Louisiana to preside over the cases.

They are recommending that the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation appoint U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin. Scheindlin presided over settlement of some 200 lawsuits brought against BP and other oil companies over a toxic additive called MTBE that contaminated drinking supplies nationally — and she has no oil and gas investments, according to her financial disclosure forms.

Attorneys with the Weitz & Luxenberg firm in New York said they recommended Scheindlin rather than a Louisiana judge because "most or all of the judges in the (Louisiana) district have a conflict and cannot preside" over the consolidated cases.

Scheindlin's deputy said Friday she was out of town and unavailable to comment on whether she would accept such an appointment.

The judicial panel meets July 29 in Boise, Idaho, to hear arguments on consolidation of the oil spill cases. Recommendations also have been made for sending the cases to Alabama, Mississippi and South Florida.



Is BP trying to cap the Gulf oil well, or keep it flowing? (opinion)

May 31 2010
Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com

© b3ta corporate logos that tell the truth

Today, I spent my time interviewing people on the Gulf Coast from Mississippi to Louisiana. Several of those interviews were conducted on camera, and you'll be seeing those videos as early as tomorrow here on NaturalNews.

Interestingly, it turns out that a lot of the people living on the Gulf Coast have a history of working with oil companies -- and even on oil rigs. I spoke to several people who have a work history with BP, and two of them told me they are certain that British Petroleum is NOT trying to stop the oil coming out of the well. What they are trying to do, I was told, is SAVE the oil well so that they can capture the oil and sell it.

This claim stands in direct contradiction to what BP says. The company insists it's trying to stop the flow of oil from the well. But if you look at BP's actions, what they're really trying to do is siphon off the gushing oil where it can be pumped to a tanker ship and sold as crude. It is a simple matter, by the way, for oil companies to separate water from oil. They do it all the time in oil fields all across America. So if they can siphon off the oil from the Deepwater Horizon well -- even if it's mixed with water -- they can sell it for potentially billions of dollars.

It raises the question: Is the economic promise of captured oil causing BP to avoid using its best effort to cap the well?

Tapping, not capping

Notice that the new device they're lowering onto the well is designed not to close it off but to pump the oil to an awaiting ship. This is a plan to "capture" the oil, not to seal off the well.

The mainstream media hasn't picked up on this yet, by the way. To my knowledge, no one is yet reporting this story that BP may have never had any intention of actually capping the deep sea well.

We already know BP has been extremely dishonest with the media about this entire situation. By distorting the truth and lying to the public, BP has lost all credibility with almost everyone (Governors, Senators, journalists, etc.). So how can we trust that BP is actually trying to cap this well when there's so much money to be made from allowing it to keep spilling oil that can soon be captured?

In other words, it's in BP's financial interests to avoid capping the well and claim the well can't be capped when, in reality, what they may be trying to do is buy more time until they can lower a "capture containment device" onto the well head that can direct all the outflowing crude oil to BP's awaiting tanker ships.

In talking to the people face to face here on Gulf Coast, I learned that Gulf Coast people don't trust BP, and they don't trust the company's intentions. Today was the first I had heard of the BP agenda to "keep the well flowing" yet suddenly this theory makes sense. BP, after all, went through all the trouble and expense to drill the well. Why wouldn't they want to cash in on the crude oil coming out of it?

To collapse the well and plug it for good would destroy BP's chance to siphon off oil and sell it for profit (until at least August, when the pressure relief wells are expected to be completed). And that is perhaps the single most important reason why oil is still flowing out of that well right now.

As one person I interviewed today put it, "Why should a British petroleum company care about what happens to America's shores?" After all, the financial payoffs to the businesses hurt by the spill may pale in comparison to the billions of dollars in profit to be had from tapping -- not capping -- the well and turning crude oil into raw cash.

There will be more to this story. Let's see if the mainstream media picks up on this angle.

By the way, I don't yet have conclusive proof that BP's intentions are to avoid capping this well. It's just a working theory based on people I've talked to here on the Gulf Coast who appear to know what they're talking about. BP would obviously deny this, but then again BP has denied many things that we know to be true (like the fact that the beach cleanup crews specifically cleaned the beach on Grand Isle before Obama showed up, then left promptly as soon as he left).


Also, watch for video interviews with the people on the Gulf Coast. We'll be publishing them here on NaturalNews starting as early as tomorrow.

I'm headed to New Orleans tomorrow to check out the local scene there and see what else I can find out by talking to the locals on the front lines.



Oil Spill Clean Up is one big Proven Money making Conspiracy Gulf of Mexico Oil spill

Kevin on May 18, 2010

Imag­ine you per­son­ally knew (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that a huge earth­quake was going to hit a major city and cause mas­sive dam­age, loss of life, star­va­tion, loss of employ­ment , destruc­tion of prop­erty as well as count­less hard­ships. Imag­ine that the major­ity (say 95%) of this could be avoided, if only the eas­ily avail­able resources and tech­nol­ogy were deployed to pre­vent this before it hap­pened. Would you deploy the tech­nol­ogy? Would you deploy the resources to pre­vent 95% of the problem?

Nat­u­rally, any sane, eth­i­cal per­son would. How­ever, what if you stood to earn $100’s of mil­lions from this dis­as­ter? Your choice … do the right thing or go for the money? I under­stand that this is a hypo­thet­i­cal sit­u­a­tion and pre­dict­ing an earth­quake is pretty much impos­si­ble; how­ever, know­ing an oil spill is going to hap­pen is not. It has hap­pened in the past, it just hap­pened in the Gulf of Mex­ico and it will hap­pen in the future. Sadly, there are peo­ple who have actu­ally made the choice to take the money at everyone’s and every liv­ing things’ expense and this arti­cle is about show­ing you the proof.

Hav­ing said that, you need to know how oil spills are cur­rently being cleaned up, why they cost so much and how they should be cleaned up to min­i­mize the dam­age using the tech­nol­ogy that would have min­i­mized the harm and cost? Let me break this down into sim­ple com­mon sense steps for you start­ing with plug­ging the hole(s). What they are doing is try­ing to make a super duper cap­ping device that allows them to con­trol the spill and keep pump­ing oil. So far it’s not work­ing and there are some pretty impres­sive reasons/excuses why this is not work­ing. Let’s apply some com­mon sense to this prob­lem. Find a barge, fill it with cement, tow it over the hole, sink it and prob­lem solved. Is that too sim­ple? A cou­ple of days work and a lit­tle expense to min­i­mize a major dis­as­ter. Please tell me that this is just incompetence.

Now that the spill is mov­ing and spread­ing, con­tain­ing the spill is of major impor­tance. This is done with booms and you basi­cally cor­ral the spill. Then you use skim­mers that grab the oil and you pump it into a ship. The prob­lem that occurs is if the water is mov­ing faster then 3 to 4 knots it’s impos­si­ble to cor­ral the spill and it starts mix­ing with the water and form­ing mousse. This is like multi-size bal­loons that stick to every­thing when they pop and make all those scary pic­tures of bird and otters cov­ered in oil and dying a hor­ri­ble death. In other words, it’s the worst case situation.

Typ­i­cally the idea is to beach the spill so it can be dealt with and not spread any fur­ther. Unfor­tu­nately, with a spill of this mag­ni­tude that means the clean up is huge and it will end up just like the Exxon Valdez spill where you can still turn over rocks today and find the oil. What they are doing is spray­ing a toxic chem­i­cal called a dis­per­sant that is designed to break the oil down into smaller par­ti­cles and make the oil non sticky. The prob­lem is the chem­i­cal itself has lim­ited effec­tive­ness and is toxic. Remem­ber that the prob­lem is the oil is sticky so it sticks to liv­ing things and every­thing else. As it hap­pens, no one takes into con­sid­er­a­tion that the oil is still there, it just mixes bet­ter with the water. Sadly, with this pro­ce­dure the beaches will be coated with oil for years killing all the life and destroy­ing the local economies. Did I men­tion the chem­i­cal has huge profit mar­gins and they use tonnes of it? I won­der who sup­plies the chemical?

It gets bet­ter; when the spill is on the beach they get out these really cool look­ing rags made from a sub­stance called poly propy­lene and var­i­ous other things includ­ing human hair and chicken feath­ers and dump them into the spill. Looks great for the cam­eras and to be fair, it does have a lim­ited effec­tive­ness. The prob­lem with these mate­ri­als is that the oil is on the out­side of the mate­r­ial and is still sticky. With that done, they then pro­ceed to pick up each oily rock and wipe it with the rags and then put it back into the water. I’m not kid­ding you, they actu­ally do this. They put the oily rocks back in the water. The rea­son­ing is they want to min­i­mize the change to the nat­ural geol­ogy of the beach, etc. It’s kind of like say­ing “Doc­tor, Doc­tor don’t cut out all that skin can­cer from my chin, you might ruin my beau­ti­ful pro­file”. Now you don’t want to know were the actual recov­ered oil goes? Or maybe you do but have fun try­ing to find out. Native land is usu­ally a great choice to get around those pesky water pro­tec­tion laws and expen­sive haz­ardous waste dis­posal costs. Did I men­tion those costs are usu­ally included in the clean-up estimates?

I could go on and on for pages and pages with the com­plete utter non­sense sur­round­ing spill cleanup yet the bot­tom line is always the same. The envi­ron­ment is destroyed along with the local econ­omy, lots of oil is left behind and then the lawyers get to jump in and make lots of money to add injury to insult. Don’t believe me? Just take a trip up to Alaska and ask Dr Riki Ott her opin­ion on the sub­ject. She wrote the book on that Exxon spill fiasco.

Now that you know how not to clean up an oil spill, let’s look at apply­ing some sci­ence and com­mon sense that all the top peo­ple in the game are fully aware of and make sure does not get used.

Step 1. Cap the hole.

Step 2. Con­tain the spill with booms.

Step 3. Quickly and effec­tively stop the oil from being sticky. This is the first part that they don’t want you to know about. For decades, hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars have been lost by com­pa­nies that set up to make oil recov­ery mate­ri­als made from poly­mers that grab the oil and turn it into non-sticky rub­ber. Remem­ber sticky is bad, non sticky is good. The shoes you are wear­ing, the bub­ble gum you’re chew­ing, the com­puter plas­tic and the paint on your wall are all made from these polymers.

It’s a well known fact that spe­cific poly­mers turn oil into rub­ber and stop it from stick­ing to sur­faces and there are many of these poly­mers and dozens of for­mu­la­tions. In other words its not some big secret, it’s a well known fact in the indus­try, I’ve got thirty or forty in my lab alone. These poly­mers are made into booms or snakes and sim­ply put into the spill and then removed and recycled.

If the cur­rent spill had been capped and con­tained, we could have used heli­copter, planes and boats to turn the spill into rub­ber and have cleaned it up long before it hit the beach. Even if the spill had got­ten out of con­trol, it could have been made non sticky and mas­sively reduced the dam­age. To add insult to injury, the argu­ment used to stop the use of these mate­ri­als so they can keep mak­ing ridicu­lous prof­its is that a fish or bird may eat some poly­mer. This ignores the fact that these poly­mers smell and taste funny which seri­ously negates this pos­si­bil­ity. If you had the choice of being sud­denly coated in black goo that made you drown and put you into shock with a high prob­a­bil­ity of dying hor­ri­bly or tak­ing your chances on eat­ing a piece of rub­ber but you would sur­vive, which would you choose?

So, let’s get back to the spill response. Imag­ine the spill occurred and a bunch of heli­copters were alerted and started drop­ping booms filled with poly­mer and a GPS or trans­ducer attached into the spill. You’ve seen this in movies when they are chas­ing enemy subs. By the time the boats turned up the entire spill could be ren­dered non sticky and they would sim­ply haul in the booms. Is that too sim­ple? I’ve got to stop giv­ing away these com­pletely obvi­ous ideas that could make me bil­lions of dollars.

Now that that has not hap­pened lets move to the beach and step 4 . Again poly­mers can be sim­ply put into sand blasters that you can rent at your local hard­ware store and fired into the oil to turn it non sticky. Also, there are sev­eral types of com­pletely non-toxic bac­te­ria that can be sim­ply mixed into the sand and all the oil can either be recy­cled or eaten leav­ing a clean beach. Yes, really it’s that sim­ple. Here’s a neat idea, how about send­ing some of that bac­te­ria up to the folks in Alaska?

So, get­ting to the bot­tom line, I’m not being sar­cas­tic just for the fun of it. I’m try­ing to get you to under­stand that the whole thing is a big media event to make you believe that it’s really a lot harder to deal with the prob­lem then it really is. The prob­lem is that this is being done at your expense. All spills can be quickly ren­dered non sticky and recov­ered at less then 10% of the cost of the cur­rent fraud­u­lent and ama­teur meth­ods being used. It’s time that a seri­ous con­gres­sional inves­ti­ga­tion is done into the flow of money, the peo­ple con­trol­ling this shell game and we start tak­ing care of our envi­ron­ment and the eco­nomic health of our com­mu­ni­ties. Not to men­tion put some peo­ple behind bars.

Please send this arti­cle to every­one you know espe­cially your politi­cians and demand that this be cor­rected. If they don’t respond and take action start send­ing them all your used motor oil and this arti­cle so they have instruc­tions on how to clean it up.

Kevin Daum is the Founder of Save the Oceans Inc. He devel­oped and patented a process for remov­ing oil from sur­faces so it could be recy­cled as well as sev­eral other inven­tions. He has for­mu­lated mul­ti­ple eco-certified clean­ers for clean­ing every­thing from air­planes to ships, graf­fiti and your laun­dry. He has also authored numer­ous insight­ful arti­cles and book­lets such as “How to Kill your Clean­ing Staff” a really green guide to clean­ing.




Scientists Fault Lack of Studies Over Gulf Oil Spill

May 19, 2010

Tensions between the Obama administration and the scientific community over the gulf oil spill are escalating, with prominent oceanographers accusing the government of failing to conduct an adequate scientific analysis of the damage and of allowing BP to obscure the spill’s true scope.

The scientists assert that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other agencies have been slow to investigate the magnitude of the spill and the damage it is causing in the deep ocean. They are especially concerned about getting a better handle on problems that may be occurring from large plumes of oil droplets that appear to be spreading beneath the ocean surface.

The scientists point out that in the month since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, the government has failed to make public a single test result on water from the deep ocean. And the scientists say the administration has been too reluctant to demand an accurate analysis of how many gallons of oil are flowing into the sea from the gushing oil well.

“It seems baffling that we don’t know how much oil is being spilled,” Sylvia Earle, a famed oceanographer, said Wednesday on Capitol Hill. “It seems baffling that we don’t know where the oil is in the water column.”

The administration acknowledges that its scientific resources are stretched by the disaster, but contends that it is moving to get better information, including a more complete picture of the underwater plumes.

“We’re in the early stages of doing that, and we do not have a comprehensive understanding as of yet of where that oil is,” Jane Lubchenco, the NOAA administrator, told Congress on Wednesday. “But we are devoting all possible resources to understanding where the oil is and what its impact might be.”

The administration has mounted a huge response to the spill, deploying 1,105 vessels to try to skim oil, burn it and block it from shorelines. As part of the effort, the federal government and the Gulf Coast states have begun an extensive effort to catalog any environmental damage to the coast. The Environmental Protection Agency is releasing results from water sampling near shore. In most places, save for parts of Louisiana, the contamination appears modest so far.

The big scientific question now is what is happening in deeper water. While it is clear that water samples have been taken, the results have not been made public.

Lisa P. Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, told Congress on Wednesday that she was pressing for the release of additional test results, including some samples taken by boats under contract to BP.

While the total number of boats involved in the response is high, relatively few are involved in scientific assessment of the deep ocean.

Of the 19 research vessels owned by NOAA, 5 are in the Gulf of Mexico and available for work on the spill, Dr. Lubchenco said, counting a newly commissioned boat. The flagship of the NOAA fleet, the research vessel Ronald H. Brown, was off the coast of Africa when the spill occurred on April 20, and according to NOAA tracking logs, it was not redirected until about May 11, three weeks after the disaster began. It is sailing toward the gulf.

At least one vessel under contract to BP has collected samples from deep water, and so have a handful of university ships. NOAA is dropping instruments into the sea that should help give a better picture of conditions.

On May 6, NOAA called attention to its role in financing the work of a small research ship called the Pelican, owned by a university consortium in Louisiana. But when scientists aboard that vessel reported over the weekend that they had discovered large plumes undersea that appeared to be made of oil droplets, NOAA criticized the results as premature and requiring further analysis.

Rick Steiner, a marine biologist and a veteran of the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, assailed NOAA in an interview, declaring that it had been derelict in analyzing conditions beneath the sea.

Mr. Steiner said the likelihood of extensive undersea plumes of oil droplets should have been anticipated from the moment the spill began, given that such an effect from deepwater blowouts had been predicted in the scientific literature for more than a decade, and confirmed in a test off the coast of Norway. An extensive sampling program to map and characterize those plumes should have been put in place from the first days of the spill, he said.

“A vast ecosystem is being exposed to contaminants right now, and nobody’s watching it,” Mr. Steiner said. “That seems to me like a catastrophic failure on the part of NOAA.”

Mr. Steiner, long critical of offshore drilling, has fought past battles involving NOAA, including one in which he was stripped of a small university grant financed by the agency. He later resigned from the University of Alaska at Anchorage and now consults worldwide on oil-spill prevention and response.

Oceanographers have also criticized the Obama administration over its reluctance to force BP, the oil company responsible for the spill, to permit an accurate calculation of the flow rate from the undersea well. The company has refused to permit scientists to send equipment to the ocean floor that would establish the rate with high accuracy.

Ian MacDonald of Florida State University, an oceanographer who was among the first to question the official estimate of 210,000 gallons a day, said he had come to the conclusion that the oil company was bent on obstructing any accurate calculation. “They want to hide the body,” he said.

Andrew Gowers, a spokesman for BP, said this was not correct. Given the complex operations going on at the sea floor to try to stop the flow, “introducing more equipment into the immediate vicinity would represent an unacceptable risk,” he said.

Thad W. Allen, the Coast Guard admiral in charge of the response to the spill, said Wednesday evening that the government had decided to try to put equipment on the ocean floor to take accurate measurements. A technical team is at work devising a method, he said. “We are shoving pizzas under the door, and they are not coming out until they give us the answer,” he said.

Scientists have long theorized that a shallow spill and a spill in the deep ocean — this one is a mile down — would behave quite differently. A 2003 report by the National Research Council predicted that the oil in a deepwater blowout could break into fine droplets, forming plumes of oil mixed with water that would not quickly rise to the surface.

That prediction appeared to be confirmed Saturday when the researchers aboard the Pelican reported that they had detected immense plumes that they believed were made of oil particles. The results were not final, and came as a surprise to the government. They raise a major concern, that sea life in concentrated areas could be exposed to a heavy load of toxic materials as the plumes drift through the sea.

Under scrutiny from NOAA, the researchers have retreated to their laboratories to finish their analysis.

In an interview, Dr. Lubchenco said she was mobilizing every possible NOAA asset to get a more accurate picture of the environmental damage, and was even in the process of hiring fishing vessels to do some scientific work.

“Our intention is to deploy every single thing we’ve got,” Dr. Lubchenco said. “If it’s not in the region, we’re bringing it there.”

Robert Gebeloff, Andrew W. Lehren, Campbell Robertson and Matthew L. Wald contributed reporting.



June 02, 2010


Goldman Sachs sold $250 million of BP stock before spill.

The Pentagon takes an interest in economic warfare.

And BP may be a US target.

In March 2009, the Pentagon sponsored a war game focused on economic warfare. (Pentagon preps for economic warfare - Eamon Javers - POLITICO.com)

"This was an example of the changing nature of conflict," said Paul Bracken, a professor and expert in private equity at the Yale School of Management.


In February 2010, Wayne Madsen reported that "the Obama administration authorized the anti-Toyota campaign as a warning shot to Japan over its reformist government’s insistence that the U.S. pull its military troops out of Okinawa." (Obama waging economic warfare on several fronts, including Japan)

therearenosunglasses/ asks Is US Waging Economic Warfare Against Corporate Foreign Competitors.:

"It would seem only logical... for a puppet president to order covert attacks upon foreign competitors. GM (government motors) has now pulled ahead of Toyota...

"BP has fallen from its formerly unassailable status as world's top oil company and may be subject to "hostile takeover."

"The fact that the Deepwater Horizon explosion has been blamed on faulty sealing work on the seabed drill hole done by Halliburton (Cheney's company) should set-off alarm bells.

"It is worth recalling here that Halliburton was at the center of another international/environmental catastrophe, the Kuwaiti "cross-drilling" operation that ignited the 'Gulf War' and the resultant hundreds of oil well firings."

Was BP sabotaged and will BP be taken over?

On 2 June 2010, we see the BP share price fall yet again. (BP oil spill: Shares fall further)

BP could become a takeover target. (BP a takeover target?‎)

UK Journalist Toby Young has written that "If BP goes under as a result of Obama's tub-thumping populism the already tattered Special Relationship will never recover." (President Obama's war on BP is a war against UK PLC )

"The collapse of BP would have catastrophic consequences for the British economy." (President Obama's war on BP is a war against UK PLC )

Did the US sabotage BP?

According to a former crash investigator, "In the Deepwater Horizon, three fail safe systems failed to operate as they were designed to do.

"Another indication of tampering.

"The likelihood that all these systems failed at the same time in the sequence necessary to produce this outcome is astronomical." (BP oil rig disaster a terror attack...... or government sabotage ...)

There is some controversy over whether or not certain people knew in advance about the Gulf of Mexico rig explosion.

There was a report that certain people 'betted' on TransOcean stocks falling.

The report has been described as 'satire'.

We have read that someone did indeed short the Gulf of Mexico

Reportedly, someone placed 'shorts' on TransOcean stock days before the explosions in the Gulf of Mexico.

Reportedly, Goldman Sachs did the same with airline stocks prior to 911 and again with the housing bubble.

A. True Ott, Ph.D., wrote the following:

I have confirmed that there were indeed numerous "shorts" placed on TransOcean stock just days before the "problem".

Was it Goldman Sachs?

Reportedly, Dr. Ott has confirmed from two sources that Goldman Sachs was in on the shorts being placed on TransOcean stock. (See Email from Don Nicoloff documenting Goldman Sachs short puts on TransOcean stock.)


In April 2010 there was an explosion on Deepwater Horizon, the drilling rig being used by BP off the coast of the USA. The share price of BP has dropped dramatically.

1. Does the US government hope that a US company can grab BP?

In December 2008 we read in The Telegraph that "The most startling takeover target of the year will be BP, which will attract interest from Exxon Mobil...

"BP will be historically cheap by most measures..." - After a year of shocks, prepare for more in 2009

2. In 1982, President Reagan approved a CIA plan to sabotage the Russian economy by supplying technology that contained hidden malfunctions.

This technology included software that triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian natural gas pipeline, according to a memoir by a Reagan White House official. (WashPost: CIA slipped bugs to Soviets - Washington Post- msnbc.com)

3. Halliburton was in charge of cementing for Deepwater Horizon. (Halliburton May Be Culprit In Oil Rig Explosion )

Giant oil-services provider Halliburton may be a primary suspect in the investigation into the oil rig explosion that has devastated the Gulf Coast, the Wall Street Journal reports.



Gulf of Mexico oil spill: BP and Hayward fight for their survival

As barrel upon barrel of BP's oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, the spread of hostility towards Tony Hayward in the US has been equally insidious.

Rowena Mason, City Reporter, Energy
9:00PM BST 01 Jun 2010

It now appears that both the British energy major and its chief executive are fighting for their very survival following the company's disastrous Gulf of Mexico spill a month ago.

This weekend there were calls for the US to seize BP's assets or place the company in temporary receivership if the leak cannot be stopped soon. And on Tuesday, President Barack Obama called for a criminal investigation into the company, after a week of allegations about safety short cuts on the sunken rig.

The US Attorney General, Eric Holder, on a visit to Louisiana coast, said an investigation had been opened and that federal agencies, including the FBI, were participating. "If we find evidence of illegal behavior, we will be forceful in our response," Mr Holder said.

As BP shares plunged 13pc in London, Tony Hayward, the company's chief executive, admitted he is facing a difficult fight on the home front as well.

Investors are abandoning the oil giant as concerns grow about its ability to fund the clean-up operation, compensation claims and extra safety rules. Experts estimate the final cost, stretching over a number of years, could top $30bn (£20bn).

Mr Hayward says worries about BP's balance sheet are "completely unfounded", despite the £40bn fall in its market value since the disaster a month ago.

"There's a big buffer," he insisted in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. "The worry about the dividend is overstated."

Despite BP's continued failure to plug the leaking Macondo well, Mr Hayward and colleagues will divert their attentions from the operation to address shareholders this week.

The move underlines how seriously BP is taking the 34pc drop in its share price, which analysts believe could leave it vulnerable to short-sellers or even make a takeover target. "We need to go out to them and engage," the BP boss said. "We will listen to what they have to say."

The balance sheet is not the only concern. Many are also worried that Mr Hayward has failed to charm America, saying tactlessly on Tuesday that he would "like [his] life back" and at first insisting that the spill's impact was "very, very modest".

Meanwhile, BP's all but invisible chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, has not been on the front line supporting his chief executive as the company faces unprecedented pressure to explain its conduct and, in the words of President Obama, "plug the damn hole". At such a stressful time, Mr Hayward believes it is easy to forget that the rest of the company is functioning successfully and this is the message he will be taking to shareholders.

"It's important to remember the company is working very well operationally," Mr Hayward said. "We've had a record quarter one results; ahead of expectations, strong cash flow and operating performance. None of that has changed. Our cash flow is sufficient to invest for the future, pay the dividend and have $6bn-$8bn surplus cash flow after that."

For the first time, he gives an estimate of the worst-case scenario costs for BP in terms of paying for the clean-up and efforts to plug the well. The operation has cost $1bn so far, and another $2bn-$3bn could be added if the well is still not plugged until the end of August.

Even with extra clean-up and compensation costs, Mr Hayward believes that "relative to the company's cash flow it's manageable".

He is also likely to want to allay investor concerns about the political risk of owning shares in the company, as rhetoric against BP grows ever more aggressive.

Last week, Russia expressed doubts about BP's environmental record and its future as an energy major extracting a quarter of its oil and gas from the notoriously difficult country.

Mr Hayward admitted that BP needs to be "on its guard" about any hostility. Russia, after all, is known for seizing energy assets from foreign companies. "But we haven't seen anything untoward at the moment," he added.

Another 25pc of BP's production capacity is in the US, with its most promising prospects in the Gulf of Mexico. As for any assets seizures by President Obama's sabre-rattling administration, Mr Hayward describes that as "highly unlikely". "There are other forms of redress that are far more conventional," he said.

The price of BP's continued presence in the US is more likely to be hand-wringing, improved safety and compensation – and although Mr Hayward denies it – maybe that old City sacrifice, the boss's head.



BP's Dismal Safety Record BP

Has One of the Worst Safety Records of Any Oil Company Operating in the U.S. 18 comments By

May 27, 2010

As the nation comes to grips with the worst oil disaster in its history, there is evidence BP has one of the worst safety track records of any major oil company operating in the United States.

In two separate disasters prior to the Gulf oil rig explosion, 30 BP workers have been killed, and more than 200 seriously injured.

In the last five years, investigators found, BP has admitted to breaking U.S. environmental and safety laws and committing outright fraud. BP paid $373 million in fines to avoid prosecution.

BP's safety violations far outstrip its fellow oil companies. According to the Center for Public Integrity, in the last three years, BP refineries in Ohio and Texas have accounted for 97 percent of the "egregious, willful" violations handed out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The violations are determined when an employer demonstrated either an "intentional disregard for the requirements of the [law], or showed plain indifference to employee safety and health."

OSHA statistics show BP ran up 760 "egregious, willful" safety violations, while Sunoco and Conoco-Phillips each had eight, Citgo had two and Exxon had one comparable citation.

Failure to Act

After a 2005 BP refinery explosion in Texas City, Texas that killed 15 people and injured 180, a Justice Department investigation found that the explosion was caused by "improperly released vapor and liquid." Several procedures required by the Clean Air Act to reduce the possibility of just such an explosion either were not followed, or had not been established in the first place.

BP admitted that its written procedures to ensure its equipment's safety were inadequate, and that it had failed to inform employees of known fire and explosion risks. The company paid $50 million in criminal fines in connection with that disaster, and acknowledged violating the Clean Air Act.

Jordan Barab, the deputy assistant secretary of Labor for OSHA, said BP refineries have a "systemic safety problem," and that the tragedy in BP-Texas City "revealed serious process safety and workplace culture problems at the facility."

Paying Fines

Yet BP never fixed the problems in Texas City. Just last October, OSHA fined the company $87 million because it has failed to correct the safety problems at the rebuilt Texas City plant. That represented the largest fine in OSHA history.

In 2007, a BP pipeline spill poured 200,000 gallons of crude oil into the pristine Alaskan wilderness. In researching the environmental hazard, investigators discovered BP was aware of corrosion along the pipeline where the leak occurred but did not respond appropriately. The company was forced to pay $12 million more in criminal fines for the spill, in addition to another $4 million to the state of Alaska.

Manipulating The Market

BP's infractions were more than environmental. The Justice Department required the company to pay approximately $353 million as part of an agreement to defer prosecution on charges that the company conspired to manipulate the propane gas market.

Investigators from the Justice Department found that some BP traders were stockpiling propane, which forced the market prices to skyrocket. After their incriminating conversations about controlling the market were caught on tape, three BP traders were indicted.

The alleged price gouging affected as many as 7 million propane customers who depended on propane to heat their homes and cost the consumers $53 million. But for a company that reported profits of $14 billion in 2009, the fines represent a small fraction of the cost of doing business.

Additional reporting by Jack Cloherty and Jason Ryan.



May 6, 2010

Avant le déluge du pétrole: BP and Obama conspire to cover-up mega-disaster

By courtesy of Wayne Madsen

WMR has been informed by sources in the US Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Florida Department of Environmental Protection that the Obama White House and British Petroleum (BP), which pumped $71,000 into Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign -- more than John McCain or Hillary Clinton, 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."

Obama and his senior White House staff, as well as Interior Secretary Ken 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. However, WMR's federal and Gulf state sources are reporting the disaster has the real potential cost of at least $1 trillion. Critics of the deal being worked out between Obama and Hayward point out that $10 billion is a mere drop in the bucket for a trillion dollar disaster but also note that BP, if its assets were nationalized, could fetch almost a trillion dollars for compensation purposes. There is talk in some government circles, including FEMA, of the need to nationalize BP in order to compensate those who will ultimately be affected by the worst oil disaster in the history of the world.

Plans by BP to sink a 4-story containment dome over the oil gushing from a gaping chasm one kilometer below the surface of the Gulf, where the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and killed 11 workers on April 20, and reports that one of the leaks has been contained is 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. Sources within these agencies say the White House has been resisting releasing any "damaging information" about the oil disaster. They add 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. One Corps of Engineers official said, "We're fucked, Obama won't do anything."

Only after the magnitude of the disaster became evident did Obama order Homeland Security Secretary Janet 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 was to block media coverage of the immensity of the disaster that is unfolding for the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean and their coastlines.

From the Corps of Engineers, FEMA, the Environmental Protection Agency, Coast Guard, and Gulf state environmental protection agencies, the message is the same: "we've never dealt with anything like this before."

The Obama administration also conspired with BP to fudge the extent of the oil leak, according to our federal and state sources. After the oil rig exploded and sank, the government stated that 42,000 gallons per day was gushing from the seabed chasm. Five days later, the federal government upped the leakage to 210,000 gallons a day. However, WMR has been informed that submersibles that are monitoring the escaping oil from the Gulf seabed are viewing television pictures of what is a "volcanic-like" eruption of oil. Moreover, when the Army Corps of Engineers first attempted to obtain NASA imagery of the Gulf oil slick -- which is larger than that being reported by the media -- it was turned down. However, National Geographic managed to obtain the satellite imagery shots of the extent of the disaster and posted them on their web site.

The photo NASA was forced not to release to Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA -- now available at National Geographic, it shows massive extent, as of May 2, of oil spill -- it is much larger than that depicted on maps being shown on corporate news channels.

There is other satellite imagery being withheld by the Obama administration that shows what lies under the gaping chasm spewing oil at an ever-alarming rate is a cavern estimated to be around the size of Mount Everest. This information has been given an almost national security-level classification to keep it from the public, according to our sources.

The Corps and Engineers and FEMA are quietly critical of the lack of support for quick action after the oil disaster by the Obama White House and the US Coast Guard. Only recently, has the Coast Guard understood the magnitude of the disaster, dispatching nearly 70 vessels to the affected area. WMR has also learned that inspections of off-shore rigs' shut-off valves by the Minerals Management Service during the Bush administration were merely rubber-stamp operations, resulting from criminal collusion between Halliburton and the Interior Department's service, and that the potential for similar disasters exists with the other 30,000 off-shore rigs that use the same shut-off valves.

The impact of the disaster became known to the Corps of Engineers and FEMA even before the White House began to take the magnitude of the impending catastrophe seriously. The first casualty of the disaster is the seafood industy, with not just fishermen, oystermen, crabbers, and shrimpers losing their jobs, but all those involved in the restaurant industry, from truckers to waitresses, facing lay-offs.

The invasion of crude oil into estuaries like the oyster-rich Apalachicola Bay in Florida spell disaster for the seafood industry. However, the biggest threat is to Florida's Everglades, which federal and state experts fear will be turned into a "dead zone" if the oil continues to gush forth from the Gulf chasm. There are also expectations that the oil slick will be caught up in the Gulf stream off the eastern seaboard of the United States, fouling beaches and estuaries like the Chesapeake Bay, and ultimately target the rich fishing grounds of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland.

WMR has also learned that 36 urban areas on the Gulf of Mexico are expecting to be confronted with a major disaster from the oil volcano in the next few days. Although protective water surface boons are being laid to protect such sensitive areas as Alabama's Dauphin Island, the mouth of the Mississippi River, and Florida's Apalachicola Bay, Florida, there is only 16 miles of boons available for the protection of 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline in the state of Florida.

Emergency preparations in dealing with the expanding oil menace are now being made for cities and towns from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Houston, New Orleans, Gulfport, Mobile, Pensacola, Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater, Sarasota-Bradenton, Naples, and Key West. Some 36 FEMA-funded contracts between cities, towns, and counties and emergency workers are due to be invoked within days, if not hours, according to WMR's FEMA sources.

There are plans to evacuate people with respiratory problems, especially those among the retired senior population along the west coast of Florida, before officials begin burning surface oil as it begins to near the coastline.

There is another major threat looming for inland towns and cities. With hurricane season in effect, there is a potential for ocean oil to be picked up by hurricane-driven rains and dropped into fresh water lakes and rivers, far from the ocean, thus adding to the pollution of water supplies and eco-systems.



Gulf of Mexico oil spill 'will continue to gush until August'

Millions of gallons of oil could be gushing into the Gulf of Mexico at least until August, the White House admitted on Sunday, as BP confirmed the failure of the "top kill" attempt staunch the flow.

Toby Harnden in Washington and Richard Alleyne
0:48PM BST 30 May 2010

The setback, which President Barack Obama described as being "as enraging as it is heartbreaking", has the potential to make the Deepwater Horizon disaster the worst environmental catastrophe of modern time.

"More oil is leaking in the Gulf of Mexico than at any other time in our history. It means there is more oil than the Exxon Valdez (in Alaska in 1989)," said Carol Browner, the White House energy adviser.

Taking the highest estimates of four million gallons, or 95,000 barrels, of oil being released each day, the disaster could lead to 378 million gallons polluting the Gulf of Mexico and its beaches if the leak continues for another 90 days. That would make it the worst ever oil spill disaster during peacetime.

Some 520 million gallons of oil were released into the Gulf during the 1991 Gulf war and 140 million gallons spilled into the Gulf of Mexico from the Ixtoc oil well in 1979-80. The Deepwater Horizon disaster has already eclipsed the worst oil spill in American history, following the Exxon Valdez wreck off Alaska in 1989, when 11 million gallons were released.

An independent government-sponsored team has estimated that a flow up to 19,000 barrels of oil a day have been spewing into the Gulf. If the upper end of that rate continued until the end of August, that would represent 70 million gallons of oil, making the spill the sixth worst in history.

BP will now try to solve the problem with a containment cap, which could take up to a week to be put in place.

It will use undersea robots to slice through the damaged pipe to make a clean cut that can be connected to another pipe, capturing the leaking oil.

However, BP said the operation had never been carried out at a depth of 5,000ft and "the successful deployment of the containment system cannot be assured".

Work has also started on two relief wells, which will not be completed until August.

The extended drilling perior means its near near-$1bn of costs could triple during another two months of clean-up efforts.

The energy major has already spent more than $930m so far, causing the company's shares to drop 25pc since the leak started a month ago. Another eight weeks of attempts to stem the flow, stop the spill from spreading and pay additional compensation claims could make the bill escalate to $3bn, if the oil company's spending rises at the current rate.

Attempting to buttress Mr Obama against the political criticism he is facing, the president's adviser on energy and climate change,: "We are prepared for the worst. We have been prepared from the beginning."

Mr Obama was already under fire for failing to meet veterans' groups in Washington over the Memorial Day weekend and for having visited the Gulf of Mexico just twice since April 20, when an explosion on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers, sinking it two days later.

"While we initially received optimistic reports about the procedure, it is now clear that it has not worked," the US president said in the statement before spending the Memorial Day weekend with his family and at the gym in Chicago.

Deep divisions have emerged between White House and BP over the degrees of responsibity and accountability for the oil spill.

Bob Dudley, BP's Managing Director, and Ms Browner, clashed on CBS News over the initial estimates of the spill, which showed flow rates much below current estimates.

"The estimates from the well rates have never been BP estimates," Mr Dudley said. "They've been through the unified command centre. The best way to estimate those early rates were from satellite pictures."

But Ms Browner said that it was in BP's interests to play down the extent of the spill.

"It's important to understand that BP has a financial interest in what those flow rates are. They will ultimately pay a fine based on those rates."

When asked if BP lied in its initial estimates, Ms Browner said: "The very, very first estimates came from BP. They had the footage of the plume. The government then did satellite imagery and we realised that those figures were not accurate."

Mr Dudley bemoaned the "alarmist" estimates from some quarters. "Some of those larger estimates of 70,000-100,000 barrels a day were alarmist. We're not seeing anything like that," he said.

Last Thursday, the US government-sponsored Flow Rate Technical Team estimated that between 12,000 and 19,000 barrels of oil a day having been spewing into the Gulf, rather than the 5,000 barrels a day that BP and the US government and BP had previously come up with.

Mr Obama could pay a heavy political price for the disaster, with some commentators comparing it to the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe of 2005, which cemented the notion that President George W Bush was detached and incompetent.

He has been lambasted by Republicans but has also faced with increasingly sharp words from fellow Democrats. James Carville, a Louisiana native and top Democratic strategist, said of Mr Obama last Wednesday: "It just looks like he's not involved in this "Man, you got to get down here and take control of this, put somebody in charge of this thing and get this moving. We're about to die down here."

Two days later, Mr Obama's spokesman Robert Gibbs responded by saying: "I don't think James understands all of what we're doing. I don't think James understood the facts."



C'mon, how big is the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, really?

Official estimates for the flow of oil out of the Deepwater Horizon well may be just a drop in the bucket. Critics call for release of worst-case scenario data to describe the oil spill disaster.

By Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer
posted May 1, 2010 at 11:49 am EDT

Atlanta —

Calculating the exact flow of crude out of the bent Deepwater Horizon oil rig "riser" pipe on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico is difficult. But it's now likely that the actual amount of the oil spill dwarfs the Coast Guard's figure of 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, a day.

Independent scientists estimate that the renegade wellhead at the bottom of the Gulf could be spewing up to 25,000 barrels a day. If chokeholds on the riser pipe break down further, up to 50,000 barrels a day could be released, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration memo obtained by the Mobile, Ala., Press-Register.

As estimates of the spill increase, questions about the government's honesty in assessing the spill are emerging. At the same time, pressure is building for the US to release worst-case scenario estimates so residents of the Gulf Coast can adequately prepare.

Meanwhile, BP is working furiously to do the unprecedented: Activate a faulty blowout preventer a mile under the Gulf to stop the leak at its source. If that fails, it could take three months, or more, to drill a relief well in order to plug the renegade well.

“In the environmental arena, risk modeling is done day-in and day-out for every type of pollutant, whether going in the water, earth or air," says Stuart Smith, an environmentl attorney in New Orleans, in a statement. "Why are BP and the Environmental Protection Agency not releasing such information to the public?

After originally saying the rig wasn't leaking at all, the Coast Guard originally used estimates in part provided by BP to describe the size of the spill as 1,000 barrels a day.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 and injuring 17 of a 126-member crew. It exploded again and sank 36 hours later. The resulting leak has created a Jamaica-sized oil slick that is now whirling in a hurricane shape into sensitive marshes of the Louisiana coastline, endangering birds, fish, oysters, and many peoples’ livelihoods.

President Obama prepared to visit the affected area this weekend as the government began wresting control of the relief operation from BP, which leased the Deepwater Horizon rig, and which has so far provided leak estimates based on reconnaisance of the crumpled pipe done by remote-controlled mini-subs on the murky bottom.

Officials say measuring the outflow is extremely difficult – like trying to gauge by eye the amount of water spurting from a leaky garden hose.

The Obama administration, which only a month ago proposed opening up new coastal areas for oil exploration, has put on hold all new exploratory drilling along the US continental shelf and is now fighting to stay ahead of what sociologist Steven Picou at the University of South Alabama calls a "monster catastrophe that boggles the mind."

A government report obtained by the Mobile, Ala., Press-Register explains that "choke points" in the crumpled riser are controlling the flow from the so-called Macondo well at Lease Block 252 in the Mississippi Canyon. But scrubbing action from sand in the oil is further eroding the pipe. There are likely tens of millions of gallons in the deposit that BP tapped with the Deepwater Horizon.

"The following is not public," reads National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Emergency Response document dated April 28, according to the Press-Register. "Two additional release points were found today. If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously thought."
An order of magnitude is a factor of 10.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that John Amos, an oil industry consultant, said that NOAA revised its original estimate of 1,000 barrels after he published calculations based on satellite data that showed a larger flow.

The 5,000 barrels a day is the "extremely low end" of estimates, Mr. Amos told the Journal.

"There's a range of uncertainty, and it's very difficult to accurately gauge how much there is," BP spokesman John Curry told the Journal.

Experts: Most of Gulf of Mexico oil spill won't be cleaned up



April 21, 2010

China oil demand up on double-digit growth

HONG KONG — China's demand for oil rose 12.8 percent in March as the Chinese economy returned to rapid growth and refining capacity expanded, according to a report Tuesday.
Apparent oil demand rose to 8.12 million barrels per day over the year ago March according to an analysis of official data by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
It was the seventh month in a row of double-digit increase in demand for China. But it was short of the all-time high in February of 8.5 million barrels per day.
Platts said the increase was helped by new refining capacity at state-owned companies like Sinopec, PetroChina and China National Offshore Oil Corp.
Also driving demand was the resurgence of the Chinese economy, which posted gross domestic product growth of 11.9 percent in the first quarter. Industrial production and gasoline demand were also up during that time.

Source : http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gZ8v5kE8uqrXTz9ptw-lOAtUBFlQD9F71I1G0

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