Monday, June 7, 2010

Breaking Up is Easy To Do

Oil Separates Into Thousands of Patches, Could Persist for Years
UPDATE: ... Cleanup Will Take Years

Yeah, it's really easy to get the single oil plume to break up into thousands of individual patches, each able to catch slightly different currents and land at thousands of different landfall points. Very easy when you have BP dumping thousands of gallons of the poison dispersant Corexit into the ocean each day. Did you ever wonder why they were using a dispersant instead of whatever the opposite may be called -- an aggregator, perhaps?

From the first day I heard the term dispersant I thought that that was odd. Why try to spread the oil over more area instead of collect it in the smallest possible patch of ocean. You know why. Because they want the most percentage of the Gulf coastline affected as is possible. That's why they've kept the geyser gushing from the blown well, that's why they have refused to stop the leak, and that's why they are using a chemical weapon to spread the thing as widely as they can.

But oh yes, the wonderfully competent Thad Allen says that the new cap is capturing between one third and three quarters of the oil. Rather a large spread, that. The live feed from the BP robo-sub monitoring the leak at the rupture in their pipe is conveniently not available today, but I watched it last night -- the oil is flowing out of that thing just as quickly as it was when they first got the ROVs down there to film it.

So do you believe the Coast Guard and BP when they say that progress has been made and that a significant portion of the oil is being captured? Or, if the video feed becomes available again will you watch it and believe your own eyes? Oh wait -- breaking news -- the feed just now became available. Perhaps the ROV is being maneuvered, but right now, it shows only clear water with a few white particles drifting about. No pipe, no cap, certainly no oil. Strange. This is the feed I'm watching from BP's web site. Yesterday I had found a stream from a third party ROV -- judging by it's name it was from a Scandinavian country. I can't seem to find that one on Google again, but it certainly showed a massive amount of oil gushing from the broken well.

UPDATE: I found the stream from yesterday, though coming through BP's web site they are only sometimes available. I'm sure their servers are crashing from news media and curious public individuals trying to view the streams. You can view all the ROV live footage at this page from BP. The two best views currently are Skandi 1 and Skandi 2. Most of the other subs, right now, are either pointed at clear water, away from BP's equipment or are diving, climbing, or back in their motherships.

Let's see if this works, I'll try to embed a couple short videos I captured while the streams were online:

I'll admit that these don't look as bad as the video I was watching 18 hours ago, though the ROVs look to be positioned at the flange of the connector rather than further up toward the surface where it was really gushing like wild. So maybe they are starting to actually tighten the thing and capture more, who knows. Good, I'd like to be wrong about this whole thing, I'd love it if BP would actually stop the flow. But one thing is certain -- even if not one more drop of oil leaks from the well, there are already upwards of 25-50 million gallons, according to BP, free in the water. And now it's been broken up into thousands of independently-drifting patches. If you're planning on spending a weekend at the beach, better do it soon.

UPDATE: I captured another video from the Skandi-1 ROV. The flow is worse, this just 4.5 hours after the one from the same ROV above. Note how it says "Dispersant Ops" on the overlay. They're sticking it in your face -- it's an op and they're using their dispersant to make it worse.

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