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Offshore Drilling Disaster off Louisiana Coast

PB spill 2010

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#301 Nonny

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 01:59 PM

Animal Autopsies in Gulf Yield a Mystery

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Despite an obvious suspect, oil, the answer is far from clear. The vast majority of the dead animals that have been found — 1,866 birds, 463 turtles, 59 dolphins and one sperm whale — show no visible signs of oil contamination. Much of the evidence in the turtle cases points, in fact, to shrimping or other commercial fishing, but other suspects include oil fumes, oiled food, the dispersants used to break up the oil or even disease.

The efforts to finger a culprit — or culprits — amount to a vast investigation the likes of which “CSI” has never seen. The trail of evidence leads from marine patrols in Mississippi, where more than half the dead turtles have been found, to a toxicology lab in Lubbock, Tex., to this animal autopsy room at the University of Florida in Gainesville. And instead of the fingerprint analysis and security camera video used in human homicides, the veterinary detectives are relying on shrimp boat data recorders and chromatographic spectrum analysis that can tell if the oil residue found in an animal has the same “chemical signature” as BP crude.

The outcome will help determine how many millions BP will pay in civil and criminal penalties — which are far higher for endangered animals like sea turtles — and provide a wealth of information about the little-known effects of oil on protected species in the Gulf.

“It is terribly important to know, in the big scheme of things, why something died,” said Moby Solangi, the director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Miss., where the initial turtle necropsies and some dolphin necropsies were performed.

“We might be doing what we can to address the issues of today and manage the risk,” he said. “But for tomorrow, we need to know what actually happened.”

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#302 Palisades

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 01:25 PM

CNN: Deepwater Horizon alarm had been 'inhibited,' technician testifies

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An alarm system on the Deepwater Horizon had been "inhibited" for about a year before the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers and started the worst oil disaster in the nation's history, the platform's chief electronics technician testified to a federal panel Friday.

An inhibited mode means sensors for toxic or combustible gases or fire are active and will alert the platform's computer system, but the computer does not trigger an audible or visual alarm, technician Mike Williams told the six-member panel.

Supervisors on the Transocean rig were aware that the alarm system had been inhibited, Williams said.

"When I discovered about a year ago it was inhibited, I inquired as to why it was inhibited, and the explanation I got is that ... they did not want people woke up at 3 o'clock in the morning due to false alarms," Williams said.

No alarms sounded or could be seen the night of the fire, he testified.

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#303 Nick

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 03:33 PM

Apparently some computer system(s) on the rig was defective and would frequently blue-screen and set off false alarms.

Rather than replace it.  For a YEAR.  They disabled the alarms.  Brilliant.

These people are insane.

#304 Nonny

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 03:36 PM

^And greedy.  And careless, in the sense of not giving a crap about those of us who not only don't profit from their greed, but stand to suffer great harm from it.
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#305 Bad Wolf

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 01:24 PM

Oh lookie!  The New BP chief thinks it's time to SCALE BACK clean-up!!!!!!!  JOY!!!!

http://news.yahoo.co...f_oil_spill   :glare:
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#306 Vapor Trails

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 02:03 PM

View PostBad Wolf, on 30 July 2010 - 01:24 PM, said:

Oh lookie!  The New BP chief thinks it's time to SCALE BACK clean-up!!!!!!!  JOY!!!!

http://news.yahoo.co...f_oil_spill   :glare:

Gee, that's a shocker.  :sarcasm:

I know there's been all this talk about bacteria eating up the oil, but I seriously wonder if too much of a positive spin has been put on that. In particular, I've heard that the dispersants might actually KILL the very bacteria that is supposed to be feeding on the oil.

I'm erring on the side of pessimism. Why? Because human beings are natural f*ck-ups and are experts on denial and distractions.  :suspect: :headshake: :glare:
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#307 Nonny

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 02:59 PM

View PostBad Wolf, on 30 July 2010 - 01:24 PM, said:

Oh lookie!  The New BP chief thinks it's time to SCALE BACK clean-up!!!!!!!  JOY!!!!

http://news.yahoo.co...f_oil_spill   :glare:
:facepalm-f7e:

:headshake:
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The once and future Nonny

"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

Fatal miscarriages are forever.

Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#308 Nonny

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 07:59 PM

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The once and future Nonny

"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

Fatal miscarriages are forever.

Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#309 Nick

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 09:27 AM

What the hell?

http://www.dailyfina...ition/19580401/

"Static condition," my ass!  It's plainly visible on the feeds that oil is still leaking out of the stack.  If it were really in a "static condition" with a column of heavy mud in the top of the wellbore with sufficient weight to keep the oil and gas down in the formation, nothing should be leaking out of the stack.  You could unbolt the whole wellhead and yank it off and nothing would come out.

There's still pressure, because there's still oil coming out.  It ain't mud, it ain't seawater, it ain't pumpkin juice.  It's oil.

The well is still leaking, but BP is claiming it's not and distributing blatant propaganda to that effect.  And the news orgs are taking their words at face value?!  Can't they find a bored intern to look at one of the actual video feeds from time to time?

This is maddening!

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#310 Vapor Trails

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 11:58 AM

link

Quote

The British oil company issued a statement Thursday, saying the operation was completed as part of the so-called "static kill" procedure that has also involved pumping heavy mud into the well.  BP says it is monitoring the well to confirm the effectiveness of the procedure.

Offshore oil crews were expected to take several hours Thursday to pump cement into the top of BP's Macondo well to seal it off permanently.  Officials approved the final phase of the so-called "top kill" operation, after crews pumped heavy drilling mud into the well to counter the flow of oil and natural gas.

[sarcasm]Hoorah.[/sarcasm] :tired: :glare:

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"We will have created a significant milestone and made a major step forward when the cementing is done," he said. "I think we can all breathe a little easier regarding the potential we will have oil in the Gulf ever again."

:howling: :barf: :headshake:

"Breathe a little easier"?? Uh-huh.

Quote

Work on the damaged well is not complete, however, because crews plan to perform a similar operation at the bottom of the well.  In coming weeks, drilling teams are expected to finish a relief well that will penetrate the well pipe that extends nearly four kilometers beneath the sea floor.

Admiral Allen said the relief well will be used to pump mud and likely cement into the outer section of the well, or annulus, to prevent oil from escaping.

"This well will not be killed until we do the bottom kill and do whatever needs to be done once we understand the condition of the annulus, which will most likely be [pumping] mud and cement from the bottom," he said.

Once the well is killed, more attention will shift to efforts to clean up oil residue across Gulf waters and U.S. coastline. BP crews capped the leaking well in mid-July, but officials fear more than one million barrels of oil remain in the environment.

:tired: :tired: :tired: :tired: :tired:

(Saul shakes his head in disgust and leaves thread)
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#311 Vapor Trails

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 07:35 PM

Groups warn oil  spill may be worse than claimed

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Researchers are warning that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is a bigger mess than the government claims and that a lot of crude is lurking deep below the surface, some of it settling perhaps in a critical undersea canyon off the Florida Panhandle.

The evidence of microscopic amounts of oil mixing into the soil of the canyon was gathered by scientists at the University of South Florida, who also found poisoned plant plankton — the vital base of the ocean food web — which they blamed on a toxic brew of oil and dispersants.

Their work is preliminary, hasn't been reviewed by other scientists, requires more tests to confirm it is BP's oil they found, and is based on a 10-day research cruise that ended late Monday night. Scientists who were not involved said they were uncomfortable drawing conclusions based on such a brief look.

But those early findings follow a report on Monday from Georgia researchers that said as much as 80 percent of the oil from the spill remains in the Gulf. Both groups' findings have already been incorporated into lawsuits filed against BP.

Both groups paint a darker scenario than that of federal officials, who two weeks ago announced that most of the oil had dissolved, dispersed or been removed, leaving just a bit more than a quarter of the amount that spewed from the well that exploded in April.

At the White House on Aug. 4, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco said: "At least 50 percent of the oil that was released is now completely gone from the system, and most of the remainder is degrading rapidly or is being removed from the beaches."

That's not what the scientists from South Florida and Georgia found.

"The oil is not gone, that's for sure," University of South Florida's David Hollander said Tuesday. "There is oil and we need to deal with it."

I have to say that I'm getting annoyed with the federal officials who seem to want to move on as quickly as possible so they can give those affected by the BP disaster a sugar pill and tell them that things will get better. :glare: And of course, BP has no problem with that.  :headshake:
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#312 Raina

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 11:46 PM

Yeah I figured that they were hiding something when, after months of dire predictions of longterm environmental apocalypse, suddenly they say "it's all back to normal now!" Then again, who knows how much of it is media twist.

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#313 Vapor Trails

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 01:00 AM

View PostRaina, on 17 August 2010 - 11:46 PM, said:

Yeah I figured that they were hiding something when, after months of dire predictions of longterm environmental apocalypse, suddenly they say "it's all back to normal now!" Then again, who knows how much of it is media twist.

I vote: all of the above.

Government, BP, media twist. And don't forget distractions; many people have short attention spans and get easily bored/distracted.  :sarcasm:
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#314 Vapor Trails

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 03:42 PM

Major study proves oil plume that's not going away

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WASHINGTON – A 22-mile-long invisible mist of oil is meandering far below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, where it will probably loiter for months or more, scientists reported Thursday in the first conclusive evidence of an underwater plume from the BP spill.

The most worrisome part is the slow pace at which the oil is breaking down in the cold, 40-degree water, making it a long-lasting but unseen threat to vulnerable marine life, experts said.

Earlier this month, top federal officials declared the oil in the spill was mostly "gone," and it is gone in the sense you can't see it. But the chemical ingredients of the oil persist more than a half-mile beneath the surface, researchers found.

And the oil is degrading at one-tenth the pace at which it breaks down at the surface. That means "the plumes could stick around for quite a while," said study co-author Ben Van Mooy of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, which led the research published online in the journal Science.

Monty Graham, a scientist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama who was not involved in the study, said: "We absolutely should be concerned that this material is drifting around for who knows how long. They say months in the (research) paper, but more likely we'll be able to track this stuff for years."

Florida State University scientist Ian MacDonald, in testimony before Congress on Thursday, said the gas and oil "imprint of the BP discharge will be detectable in the marine environment for the rest of my life."

Quote

The oil is at depths of 3,000 to 4,000 feet, far below the environment of the most popular Gulf fish like red snapper, tuna and mackerel. But it is not harmless. These depths are where small fish and crustaceans live. And one of the biggest migrations on Earth involves small fish that go from deep water to more shallow areas, taking nutrients from the ocean depths up to the large fish and mammals.

Those smaller creatures could be harmed by going through the oil, said Larry McKinney, director of Texas A&M University's Gulf of Mexico research center in Corpus Christi.

Some aspects of that region are so little known that "we might lose species that we don't know now exist," said Graham of the Dauphin Island lab.

"This is a highly sensitive ecosystem," agreed Steve Murawski, chief fisheries scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "The animals down at 3,300 to 3,400 feet grow slowly." The oil not only has toxic components but could cause genetic problems even at low concentrations, he said.

:tired:  :glare:
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#315 offworlder

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 04:04 PM

Update,
scientists are beginning to get the impression that the effects upon the flora and fauna may be not as huge as feared,
http://www.nytimes.c...ill.html?ref=us

'And preliminary reports from scientists studying the effects on marshes, wildlife and the gulf itself suggest that the damage already done by the spill may also be significantly less than was feared — less, in fact, than the destruction from the much smaller Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989.

The scientists caution that much remains unknown, and that oil spills can have subtle effects that last for decades. Layers of oil are being found buried beneath the surface, both onshore and deep at sea. In blog posts from a research vessel in the gulf, Samantha Joye, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia, reports that she observed a layer several centimeters thick on the sea floor, 16 miles from the wellhead, that she says was not a result of natural seepage. '
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#316 Vapor Trails

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 11:25 PM

View Postoffworlder, on 13 September 2010 - 04:04 PM, said:

'And preliminary reports from scientists studying the effects on marshes, wildlife and the gulf itself suggest that the damage already done by the spill may also be significantly less than was feared — less, in fact, than the destruction from the much smaller Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989.

As to the bold-that's a pretty damn tall claim that I have a VERY hard time believing.  :suspect:

Quote

The scientists caution that much remains unknown, and that oil spills can have subtle effects that last for decades. Layers of oil are being found buried beneath the surface, both onshore and deep at sea. In blog posts from a research vessel in the gulf, Samantha Joye, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia, reports that she observed a layer several centimeters thick on the sea floor, 16 miles from the wellhead, that she says was not a result of natural seepage. '

That's why I find what I bolded above to be outright ridiculous.
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#317 sierraleone

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 06:29 AM

View PostAnalog Kid, on 13 September 2010 - 11:25 PM, said:

View Postoffworlder, on 13 September 2010 - 04:04 PM, said:

'And preliminary reports from scientists studying the effects on marshes, wildlife and the gulf itself suggest that the damage already done by the spill may also be significantly less than was feared — less, in fact, than the destruction from the much smaller Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989.

As to the bold-that's a pretty damn tall claim that I have a VERY hard time believing.  :suspect:

Quote

The scientists caution that much remains unknown, and that oil spills can have subtle effects that last for decades. Layers of oil are being found buried beneath the surface, both onshore and deep at sea. In blog posts from a research vessel in the gulf, Samantha Joye, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia, reports that she observed a layer several centimeters thick on the sea floor, 16 miles from the wellhead, that she says was not a result of natural seepage. '

That's why I find what I bolded above to be outright ridiculous.

From what I read, it would not be surprising for the Gulf to recover from a spill of the same size of a spill in Alaska, due to the different conditions in each of their seas/flora/fauna. Though, the Gulf spill is much larger. We'll see. Off to work!
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Rule#6: Remember the future.
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#318 Vapor Trails

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 10:21 AM

sierra,

A BIG part of my skepticism has to do with WHO these scientists are, and whether or not they are sincere or are being paid off to make the results not look so bad. :suspect: Experience has taught me that intelligent, considerate, caring people are the exception rather than the rule. :glare:
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#319 Vapor Trails

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 10:10 AM

'Bottom kill' complete, engineers test gulf well

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Engineers were conducting tests Saturday on the cement injected into the bottom of BP's blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico, and an official declaration that the well has been permanently plugged was expected sometime Sunday, officials said.

The pronouncement will be an anticlimactic end to a catastophe that began five months ago - after all, the gusher was capped in July.

This, though, is an important milestone for the still-weary residents of the Gulf Coast: an assurance that not so much as a trickle of oil will ever again seep from the well. The disaster began April 20, when an explosion killed 11 workers, sank a drilling rig and led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Though it had already been sealed from the top, engineers Friday used a relief well to pump cement into the bottom of the well, an operation known as the "bottom kill." Officials said Saturday that the cement had set. Once a pressure and weight test was finished, officials expected to confirm that the well is permanently plugged. That was expected to occur late Saturday, but an announcement may not come until Sunday.

Even aboard the Development Driller III - the ship that drilled the relief well and allowed crews to pump in the cement for the plug - celebrations were muted.

"It's kind of bittersweet because we lost 11 men out here," said Rich Robson, the offshore installation manager on the vessel. "There isn't going to be any real celebration. To a lot of people, the water out here is a cemetery."

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