This spill looks as if it will become the most catastrophic event in human history. We could all, everyone worldwide, look back on this event as the BIG ONE that change the course of human (the species as a whole) forever.
I have lifted the following commentary from a very well know site that many engineers go to and talk about engineering stuff and lately most of that conversation has centered around this oil catastrophe. What follows is a very disturbing play by play overview of this catastrophe and what BP, Government and We the People could be facing in the near future…a scenario that I for one would rather not look at.
It does however lend substance to the ‘chatter’ that the Government might be preparing for a mass evacuation of the magnitude no one has every seen before. Please read this carefully, it deserves your attention.
OK let’s get real about the GOM oil flow. There doesn’t really seem to be much info on TOD that furthers more complete understanding of what’s really happening in the GOM.
As you have probably seen and maybe feel yourselves, there are several things that do not appear to make sense regarding the actions of attack against the well. Don’t feel bad, there is much that doesn’t make sense even to professionals unless you take into account some important variables that we are not being told about. There seems to me to be a reluctance to face what cannot be termed anything less than grim circumstances in my opinion. There certainly is a reluctance to inform us regular people and all we have really gotten is a few dots here and there…
First of all…set aside all your thoughts of plugging the well and stopping it from blowing out oil using any method from the top down. Plugs, big valves to just shut it off, pinching the pipe closed, installing a new bop or lmrp, shooting any epoxy in it, top kills with mud etc etc etc….forget that, it won’t be happening..it’s done and over. In fact actually opening up the well at the subsea source and allowing it to gush more is not only exactly what has happened, it was probably necessary, or so they think anyway.
So you have to ask WHY? Why make it worse?…there really can only be one answer and that answer does not bode well for all of us. It’s really an inescapable conclusion at this point, unless you want to believe that every Oil and Gas professional involved suddenly just forgot everything they know or woke up one morning and drank a few big cups of stupid and got assigned to directing the response to this catastrophe. Nothing makes sense unless you take this into account, but after you do…you will see the “sense” behind what has happened and what is happening. That conclusion is this:
The well bore structure is compromised “Down hole”.
That is something which is a “Worst nightmare” conclusion to reach. While many have been saying this for some time as with any complex disaster of this proportion many have “said” a lot of things with no real sound reasons or evidence for jumping to such conclusions, well this time it appears that they may have jumped into the right place…
TOP KILL – FAILS:
This was probably our best and only chance to kill this well from the top down. This “kill mud” is a tried and true method of killing wells and usually has a very good chance of success. The depth of this well presented some logistical challenges, but it really should not of presented any functional obstructions. The pumping capacity was there and it would have worked, should have worked, but it didn’t.
It didn’t work, but it did create evidence of what is really happening. First of all the method used in this particular top kill made no sense, did not follow the standard operating procedure used to kill many other wells and in fact for the most part was completely contrary to the procedure which would have given it any real chance of working.
When a well is “Killed” using this method heavy drill fluid “Mud” is pumped at high volume and pressure into a leaking well. The leaks are “behind” the point of access where the mud is fired in, in this case the “choke and Kill lines” which are at the very bottom of the BOP (Blow Out Preventer) The heavy fluid gathers in the “behind” portion of the leaking well assembly, while some will leak out, it very quickly overtakes the flow of oil and only the heavier mud will leak out. Once that “solid” flow of mud is established at the leak “behind” the well, the mud pumps increase pressure and begin to overtake the pressure of the oil deposit. The mud is established in a solid column that is driven downward by the now stronger pumps. The heavy mud will create a solid column that is so heavy that the oil deposit can no longer push it up, shut off the pumps…the well is killed…it can no longer flow.
Usually this will happen fairly quickly, in fact for it to work at all…it must happen quickly. There is no “trickle some mud in” because that is not how a top kill works. The flowing oil will just flush out the trickle and a solid column will never be established. Yet what we were told was “It will take days to know whether it
worked”….”Top kill might take 48 hours to complete”…the only way it could take days is if BP intended to do some “test fires” to test integrity of the entire system. The actual “kill” can only take hours by nature because it must happen fairly rapidly. It also increases strain on the “behind” portion and in this instance we all know that what remained was fragile at best.
Early that afternoon we saw a massive flow burst out of the riser “plume” area. This was the first test fire of high pressure mud injection. Later on same day we saw a greatly increased flow out of the kink leaks, this was mostly mud at that time as the kill mud is tanish color due to the high amount of Barite which is added to it to weight it and Barite is a white powder.
We later learned the pumping was shut down at midnight, we weren’t told about that until almost 16 hours later, but by then…I’m sure BP had learned the worst. The mud they were pumping in was not only leaking out the “behind” leaks…it was leaking out of someplace forward…and since they were not even near being able to pump mud into the deposit itself, because the well would be dead long before…and the oil was still coming up, there could only be one conclusion…the wells casings were ruptured and it was leaking “down hole”
They tried the “Junk shot”…the “bridging materials” which also failed and likely made things worse in regards to the ruptured well casings.
“Despite successfully pumping a total of over 30,000 barrels of heavy mud, in three attempts at rates of up to
80 barrels a minute, and deploying a wide range of different bridging materials, the operation did not overcome the flow from the well.”
80 Barrels per minute is over 200,000 gallons per hour, over 115,000 barrels per day…did we seen an increase over and above what was already leaking out of 115k bpd?….we did not…it would have been a massive increase in order of multiples and this did not happen.
“The whole purpose is to get the kill mud down,” said Wells. “We’ll have 50,000 barrels of mud on hand to kill this well. It’s far more than necessary, but we always like to have backup.”
Try finding THAT quote around…it’s been scrubbed…here’s a cached copy of a quote…
“The “top kill” effort, launched Wednesday afternoon by industry and government engineers, had pumped enough drilling fluid to block oil and gas spewing from the well, Allen said. The pressure from the well was very low, he said, but persisting.”
“Allen said one ship that was pumping fluid into the well had run out of the fluid, or “mud,” and that a second ship was on the way. He said he was encouraged by the progress.”
Later we found out that Allen had no idea what was really going on and had been “Unavailable all day”
So what we had was BP running out of 50,000 barrels of mud in a very short period of time. An amount far and above what they deemed necessary to kill the well. Shutting down pumping 16 hours before telling anyone, including the president. We were never really given a clear reason why “Top Kill” failed, just that it couldn’t overcome the well.
There is only one article anywhere that says anything else about it at this time of writing…and it’s a relatively obscure article from the wall street journal “online” citing an unnamed source.
“WASHINGTON—BP PLC has concluded that its “top-kill” attempt last week to seal its broken well in the Gulf of
Mexico may have failed due to a malfunctioning disk inside the well about 1,000 feet below the ocean floor.
The disk, part of the subsea safety infrastructure, may have ruptured during the surge of oil and gas up the well on April 20 that led to the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig, BP officials said. The rig sank two days later, triggering a leak that has since become the worst in U.S. history.
The broken disk may have prevented the heavy drilling mud injected into the well last week from getting far enough down the well to overcome the pressure from the escaping oil and gas, people familiar with BP’s findings said. They said much of the drilling mud may also have escaped from the well into the rock formation outside the wellbore.
As a result, BP wasn’t able to get sufficient pressure to keep the oil and gas at bay. If they had been able to build up sufficient pressure, the company had hoped to pump in cement and seal off the well. The effort was deemed a failure on Saturday.
BP started the top-kill effort Wednesday afternoon, shooting heavy drilling fluids into the broken valve known as a blowout preventer. The mud was driven by a 30,000 horsepower pump installed on a ship at the surface. But it was clear from the start that a lot of the “kill mud” was leaking out instead of going down into the well.”
There are some inconsistencies with this article.
There are no “Disks” or “Subsea safety structure” 1,000 feet below the sea floor, all that is there is well bore. There is nothing that can allow the mud or oil to “escape” into the rock formation outside the well bore except the well, because it is the only thing there.
All the actions and few tid bits of information all lead to one inescapable conclusion. The well pipes below the sea floor are broken and leaking. Now you have some real data of how BP’s actions are evidence of that, as well as some murky statement from “BP officials” confirming the same.
I took some time to go into a bit of detail concerning the failure of Top Kill because this was a significant event. To those of us outside the real inside loop, yet still fairly knowledgeable, it was a major confirmation of what many feared. That the system below the sea floor has serious failures of varying magnitude in the complicated chain, and it is breaking down and it will continue to.
What does this mean?
It means they will never cap the gusher after the wellhead. They cannot…the more they try and restrict the oil gushing out the bop?…the more it will transfer to the leaks below. Just like a leaky garden hose with a nozzle on it. When you open up the nozzle?…it doesn’t leak so bad, you close the nozzle?…it leaks real bad,
same dynamics. It is why they sawed the riser off…or tried to anyway…but they clipped it off, to relieve pressure on the leaks “down hole”. I’m sure there was a bit of panic time after they crimp/pinched off the large riser pipe and the Diamond wire saw got stuck and failed…because that crimp diverted pressure and flow to the rupture down below.
Contrary to what most of us would think as logical to stop the oil mess, actually opening up the gushing well and making it gush more became direction BP took after confirming that there was a leak. In fact if you note their actions, that should become clear. They have shifted from stopping or restricting the gusher to opening it up and catching it. This only makes sense if they want to relieve pressure at the leak hidden down below the seabed…..and that sort of leak is one of the most dangerous and potentially damaging kind of leak there could be. It is also inaccessible which compounds our problems. There is no way to stop that leak from above, all they can do is relieve the pressure on it and the only way to do that right now is to open up the nozzle above and gush more oil into the gulf and hopefully catch it, which they have done, they just neglected to tell us why, gee thanks.
A down hole leak is dangerous and damaging for several reasons.
There will be erosion throughout the entire beat up, beat on and beat down remainder of the “system” including that inaccessible leak. The same erosion I spoke about in the first post is still present and has never stopped, cannot be stopped, is impossible to stop and will always be present in and acting on anything that is left which has crude oil “Product” rushing through it. There are abrasives still present, swirling flow will create hot spots of wear and this erosion is relentless and will always be present until eventually it wears away enough material to break it’s way out. It will slowly eat the bop away especially at the now pinched off riser head and it will flow more and more. Perhaps BP can outrun or keep up with that out flow with various suckage methods for a period of time, but eventually the well will win that race, just how long that race will be?…no one really knows….However now?…there are other problems that a down hole leak will and must produce that will compound this already bad situation.
This down hole leak will undermine the foundation of the seabed in and around the well area. It also weakens the only thing holding up the massive Blow Out Preventer’s immense bulk of 450 tons. In fact?…we are beginning to the results of the well’s total integrity beginning to fail due to the undermining being caused by the leaking well bore.
The first layer of the sea floor in the gulf is mostly lose material of sand and silt. It doesn’t hold up anything and isn’t meant to, what holds the entire subsea system of the Bop in place is the well itself. The very large steel connectors of the initial well head “spud” stabbed in to the sea floor. The Bop literally sits on top of the pipe and never touches the sea bed, it wouldn’t do anything in way of support if it did. After several tens of feet the seabed does begin to support the well connection laterally (side to side) you couldn’t put a 450 ton piece of machinery on top of a 100′ tall pipe “in the air” and subject it to the side loads caused by the ocean currents and expect it not to bend over…unless that pipe was very much larger than the machine itself, which you all can see it is not. The well’s piping in comparison is actually very much smaller than the Blow Out Preventer and strong as it may be, it relies on some support from the seabed to function and not literally fall over…and it is now showing signs of doing just that….falling over.
If you have been watching the live feed cams you may have noticed that some of the ROVs are using an inclinometer…and inclinometer is an instrument that measures “Incline” or tilt. The BOP is not supposed to be tilting…and after the riser clip off operation it has begun to…
This is not the only problem that occurs due to erosion of the outer area of the well casings. The way a well casing assembly functions it that it is an assembly of different sized “tubes” that decrease in size as they go down. These tubes have a connection to each other that is not unlike a click or snap together locking action. After a certain length is assembled they are cemented around the ouside to the earth that the more rough drill hole is bored through in the well making process. A very well put together and simply explained process of “How to drill a deep water oil well” is available here:
The well bore casings rely on the support that is created by the cementing phase of well construction. Just like if you have many hands holding a pipe up you could put some weight on the top and the many hands could hold the pipe and the weight on top easily…but if there were no hands gripping and holding the pipe?…all the weight must be held up by the pipe alone. The series of connections between the sections of casings are not designed to hold up the immense weight of the BOP without all the “hands” that the cementing provides and they will eventually buckle and fail when stressed beyond their design limits.
These are clear and present dangers to the battered subsea safety structure (bop and lmrp) which is the only loose cork on this well we have left. The immediate (first 1,000 feet) of well structure that remains is now also undoubtedly compromised. However…..as bad as that is?…it is far from the only possible problems with this very problematic well. There were ongoing troubles with the entire process during the drilling of this well. There were also many comprises made by BP IMO which may have resulted in an overall weakened structure of the entire well system all the way to the bottom plug which is over 12,000 feet deep. Problems with the cementing procedure which was done by Haliburton and was deemed as “was against our best practices.” by a Haliburton employee on April 1st weeks before the well blew out. There is much more and I won’t go into detail right now concerning the lower end of the well and the troubles encountered during the whole creation of this well and earlier “Well control” situations that were revieled in various internal BP e-mails. I will add several links to those documents and quotes from them below and for now, address the issues concerning the upper portion of the well and the region of the sea floor.
What is likely to happen now?
Well…none of what is likely to happen is good, in fact…it’s about as bad as it gets. I am convinced the erosion and compromising of the entire system is accelerating and attacking more key structural areas of the well, the blow out preventer and surrounding strata holding it all up and together. This is evidenced by the tilt of the blow out preventer and the erosion which has exposed the well head connection. What eventually will happen is that the blow out preventer will literally tip over if they do not run supports to it as the currents push on it. I suspect they will run those supports as cables tied to anchors very soon, if they don’t, they are inviting disaster that much sooner.
Eventually even that will be futile as the well casings cannot support the weight of the massive system above with out the cement bond to the earth and that bond is being eroded away. When enough is eroded away the casings will buckle and the BOP will collapse the well. If and when you begin to see oil and gas coming up around the well area from under the BOP? or the area around the well head connection and casing sinking more and more rapidly? …it won’t be too long after that the entire system fails. BP must be aware of this, they are mapping the sea floor sonically and that is not a mere exercise. Our Gov’t must be well aware too, they just are not telling us.
All of these things lead to only one place, a fully wide open well bore directly to the oil deposit…after that, it goes into the realm of “the worst things you can think of” The well may come completely apart as the inner liners fail. There is still a very long drill string in the well, that could literally come flying out…as I said…all the worst things you can think of are a possibility, but the very least damaging outcome as bad as it is, is that we are stuck with a wide open gusher blowing out 150,000 barrels a day of raw oil or more. There isn’t any “cap dome” or any other suck fixer device on earth that exists or could be built that will stop it from gushing out and doing more and more damage to the gulf. While at the same time also doing more damage to the well, making the chance of halting it with a kill from the bottom up less and less likely to work, which as it stands now?….is the only real chance we have left to stop it all.
It’s a race now…a race to drill the relief wells and take our last chance at killing this monster before the whole weakened, wore out, blown out, leaking and failing system gives up it’s last gasp in a horrific crescendo.
We are not even 2 months into it, barely half way by even optimistic estimates. The damage done by the leaked oil now is virtually immeasurable already and it will not get better, it can only get worse. No matter how much they can collect, there will still be thousands and thousands of gallons leaking out every minute, every hour of every day. We have 2 months left before the relief wells are even near in position and set up to take a kill shot and that is being optimistic as I said.
Over the next 2 months the mechanical situation also cannot improve, it can only get worse, getting better is an impossibility. While they may make some gains on collecting the leaked oil, the structural situation cannot heal itself. It will continue to erode and flow out more oil and eventually the inevitable collapse which cannot be stopped will happen. It is only a simple matter of who can “get there first”…us or the well.
We can only hope the race against that eventuality is one we can win, but my assessment I am sad to say is that we will not.
The system will collapse or fail substantially before we reach the finish line ahead of the well and the worst is yet to come.
Sorry to bring you that news, I know it is grim, but that is the way I see it….I sincerely hope I am wrong.
We need to prepare for the possibility of this blow out sending more oil into the gulf per week then what we already have now, because that is what a collapse of the system will cause. All the collection efforts that have captured oil will be erased in short order. The magnitude of this disaster will increase exponentially by the time we can do anything to halt it and our odds of actually even being able to halt it will go down.
The magnitude and impact of this disaster will eclipse anything we have known in our life times if the worst or even near worst happens…
We are seeing the puny forces of man vs the awesome forces of nature.
We are going to need some luck and a lot of effort to win…
and if nature decides we ought to lose, we will….
On April 1, a job log written by a Halliburton employee, Marvin Volek, warns that BP’s use of cement “was
against our best practices.”
An April 18 internal Halliburton memorandum indicates that Halliburton again warned BP about its practices,
this time saying that a “severe” gas flow problem would occur if the casings were not centered more carefully.
Around that same time, a BP document shows, company officials chose a type of casing with a greater risk of
Mark Hafle, the BP drilling engineer who wrote plans for well casings and cement seals on the Deepwater
Horizon’s well, testified that the well had lost thousands of barrels of mud at the bottom. But he said models
run onshore showed alterations to the cement program would resolve the issues, and when asked if a cement
failure allowed the well to “flow” gas and oil, he wouldn’t capitulate.
Hafle said he made several changes to casing designs in the last few days before the well blew, including the
addition of the two casing liners that weren’t part of the original well design because of problems where the
earthen sides of the well were “ballooning.” He also worked with Halliburton engineers to design a plan for
sealing the well casings with cement.
graphic of fail
Kill may take until Christmas
BP Used Riskier Method to Seal Well Before Blast
BP memo test results
The information from BP identifies several new warning signs of problems. According to BP there were three flow
indicators from the well before the explosion.
What could have happened
1. Before or during the cement job, an influx of hydrocarbon enters the wellbore.
2. Influx is circulated during cement job to wellhead and BOP.
3. 9-7/8” casing hanger packoff set and positively tested to 6500 psi.
4. After 16.5 hours waiting on cement, a negative test performed on wellbore below BOP.
(~ 1400 psi differential pressure on 9-7/8” casing hanger packoff and ~ 2350 psi on
double valve float collar)
5. Packoff leaks allowing hydrocarbon to enter wellbore below BOP. 1400 psi shut in
pressure observed on drill pipe (no flow or pressure observed on kill line)
6. Hydrocarbon below BOP is unknowingly circulated to surface while finishing displacing
7. As hydrocarbon rises to surface, gas break out of solution further reduces hydrostatic
pressure in well. Well begin to flow, BOPs and Emergency Disconnect System (EDS)
activated but failed.
8. Packoff continues to leak allowing further influx from bottom.
T/A daily log 4-20
Cement plug 12,150 ft SCMT logging tool
SCMT (Slim Cement Mapping Tool)
Schlumberger Partial CBL done.
Major concerns, well control, bop test.
Energy & commerce links to docs.
well head on sea floor
Well head on deck of ship
BP’s youtube propoganda page, a lot of rarely seen vids here….FWIW
If this is indeed true it is certainly following the script that BP wrote the day this disaster struck! Delay, lie, broken promises, just anything to limit their liability and temper the ‘media’ bombshell that this disaster is.
I can’t tell you how these actions are not only an attack on the freedom of the press and our Constitutional rights…but yet another example of how the real power in this world isn’t governments or even the people…it is Corporations!
However, WE THE PEOPLE do have power…we just need to stand up and use it!
BP Hires Mercs to Block Oily Beaches (Updated)
Last week, we all voted here on who should buy Blackwater now that it’s up for sale. In addition to Steve Jobs and the Salvation Army, one of the top finalists was British Petroleum. “Somebody is gonna have to keep all those sunbathers away from the beach,” one commenter noted.
Well, today we can tell you: Danger Room gets results. Kinda.
BP, in a move destined to go down as one of the bestest public relations moves ever, has apparently hired a private security company to help to keep pesky reporters from covering the unfolding catastrophe on the beaches of the Gulf Coast. The report comes via New Orleans’ 6WDSU reporter Scott Walker, who last week ran into representatives of a “Talon Security” trying to block him from interviewing cleanup workers on a local beach. Just which of the various companies named “Talon Security” is storming the (public) beaches for BP, however, remains unclear.
Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time a private security firm made an appearance in a Gulf disaster. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Department of Homeland Security and a number of private firms, fearful of reported widespread violence and chaos, turned to private security contractors like Blackwater and ArmorGroup International to protect their property.
So take heart, Blackwater. BP may have opted rent the services of a rival instead of purchasing you wholesale, but disasters are fairly regular occurrences and there seems to be no shortage of companies willing to make ill-considered PR moves in their midst.
Spotter: Paul McLeary; photo: Wikimedia
UPDATE: Merc-chronicler Jeremy Scahill reminds us that this isn’t the first time BP has enlisted the aid of a private security company. The company hired Wackenhut Services to guard the joint US government-BP Unified Incident Command for the Deepwater Horizon spill response, Scahill reported in May. If Wackenhut Services doesn’t ring a bell, you may remember the scandal surrounding their subsidiary, the 101st Tequila Brigade (a.k.a Armor Group), and its drunken bacchanalia at the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan. You stay classy, British Petroleum.
This probably deserves some emails to your representatives. Who knows they might..maybe..oh well probably won’t do a thing!
I have been saying this for several weeks now. The Feds have no offensive plan to aggressively deal with the consequences of the Deepwater Horizon Oil disaster. It will be up to each community along the coastline to defend their beaches.
If they wait, playing the bureaucratic game, they will loose this fight and the catastrophe will last much longer that anyone is willing or able to admit.
Heartening news from the ‘hinterlands’ of freedom!
Okaloosa defies Unified Command over East Pass plans
June 15, 2010 4:40 PM
DESTIN — Okaloosa County isn’t taking oil spill orders any more.
County commissioners voted unanimously to give their emergency management team the power to take whatever action it deems necessary to prevent oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill from entering Choctawhatchee Bay through the East Pass.
That means the team, led by Public Safety Director Dino Villani, can take whatever action it sees fit to protect the pass without having its plans approved by state or federal authorities.
Commission chairman Wayne Harris said he and his fellow commissioners made their unanimous decision knowing full well they could be prosecuted for it.
“We made the decision legislatively to break the laws if necessary. We will do whatever it takes to protect our county’s waterways and we’re prepared to go to jail to do it,” he said.
That freed Villani to take several actions deemed important to further armor the Destin pass without waiting for authorization from the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee and the unified spill command in Mobile.
Commissioners gave him the go-ahead to spend $200,000 to pay for an underwater “air curtain” designed to push oil up where it can be collected and $16,500 a day to operate and maintain it.
He has authority to, without a nod from the U.S. Coast Guard, deploy barges, weighted so that they’ll sit low in the water across the entrance to the pass.
He is also authorized to look into a slip curtain, another underwater oil-catching device.
Though they now have the authority, both Villani and Okaloosa County Administrator Jim Curry said they will continue to work with the state and federal authorities to get their plans approved.
Curry said what the commissioners did Monday was “send a loud and clear message” to the Coast Guard, the state Department of Environmental Protection and others that Okaloosa County’s permit requests should be acted on immediately.
The commission met in an emergency meeting alongside the Destin City Council. The two governing bodies confronted a full room of obviously frustrated people, many of whom advocated filling in the entrance of the pass to close it down completely.
It was agreed that filling in the pass was a bad idea that could have serious environmental impacts.
Jay Prothro, BP’s representative for Okaloosa County, and two representatives of the Coast Guard were also present.
While Martha LaGuardia, a commander with the Coast Guard, argued that moving ideas and plans through the chain of command was the proper way to do things, Harris made it known the County Commission was tired of the often tedious and sometimes unproductive bureaucracy.
“We’ve played the game. We’re done playing the game,” he said.
We all need to think about what our actions can be in this crisis!
As we have said before and will continue to say…the press is not being allowed to freely cover this oil spill. Once again, Big Corporate interests are in line with Big Governments interests, namely not to get to much news on this deadly catastrophe out to the people. You see, once We the People rally around something as basic as our right to survive, the emotional energy would be far to great for the Government to control! so the game is to give us a few tid bits and no more!
The Conversation: Press Hassled on Gulf Coast?
Reporting is often about access, but journalists along the Gulf Coast covering the BP oil spill have had some trouble getting it.
As BP faces more pressure from the government and from its own shareholders unhappy with the company’s falling stock price, it seems to be clamping down on who can talk to reporters.
Despite company statements that anyone on cleanup crews can share their views, ABC’s Matt Gutman reports that’s not necessarily the case. Today during a “World News” Conversation, he saw firsthand how a BP manager took pains to keep workers away from the press.
While preparing for a video chat on his laptop from a public beach in Alabama, Gutman was hassled by the manager of a nearby crew, asking Gutman why he was on the beach.
“You mind if I ask why you’ve set up a camera right here while my guys are working?” the man asked. After Gutman explained that he was a reporter for ABC News, the manager responded, “I find it interesting.”
For Gutman and other journalists along the Gulf, it’s tough to report when so many are barred from talking.
“It’s incredibly frustrating working here because of those conditions,” Gutman told ABC’s Dan Harris. “Everywhere you go, you find police barricades, people telling you, you can’t do this, you can’t do that, or you can’t talk to these people. We’re not exactly sure why that is.”
“Here we see dozens of workers on this beach” picking up minute pieces of oil, Gutman said. “They seem to be doing their job and I think they should be commended for it and maybe receive a little bit of press for it.”
Watch the incident in today’s Conversation from the Gulf Coast.
This is a tragedy that we will be suffering from for decades, at least in my opinion. The question remains will people that live close to the coast have to be moved because of the toxicity of the air and water. What happens if a hurricane hits? Will we have contaminated rain inland? What are the health effects of this? How will this affect crops and food prices?
This just in from Mike Adams at Natural News, a well written article about the chemicals being used in the Gulf and foisted on us everyday!
(NaturalNews) After weeks of silence on the issue, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally decided to go public with the list of ingredients used to manufacture Corexit, the chemical dispersant used by BP in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. There are two things about this announcement that deserve our attention: First, the ingredients that have been disclosed are extremely toxic, and second, why did the EPA protect the oil industry’s “trade secrets” for so long by refusing to disclose these ingredients until now?
As reported in the New York Times, Brian Turnbaugh, a policy analyst at OMB Watch said, “EPA had the authority to act all along; its decision to now disclose the ingredients demonstrates this. Yet it took a public outcry and weeks of complaints for the agency to act and place the public’s interest ahead of corporate interests.”
On the toxicity question, you could hardly find a more dangerous combination of poisons to dump into the Gulf of Mexico than what has been revealed in Corexit. The Corexit 9527 product has been designated a “chronic and acute health hazard” by the EPA. It is made with 2-butoxyethanol, a highly toxic chemical that has long been linked to the health problems of cleanup crews who worked on the Exxon Valdez spill.
A newer Corexit recipe dubbed the “9500 formula” contains dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate, a detergent chemical that’s also found in laxatives. What do you suppose happens to the marine ecosystem when fish and sea turtles ingest this chemical through their gills and skin? And just as importantly, what do you think happens to the human beings who are working around this chemical, breathing in its fumes and touching it with their skin?
The answers are currently unknown, which is exactly why it is so inexcusable that Nalco and the oil industry giants would for so long refuse to disclose the chemical ingredients they’re dumping into the Gulf of Mexico in huge quantities (over a million gallons dumped into the ocean to date).
But it gets even more interesting when you look at just how widespread this “chemical secrecy” is across Big Business in the USA… and how the U.S. government more often than not conspires with industry to keep these chemicals a secret.
It’s time to end chemical trade secrets
Armed with the accomplices in the FDA, EPA, FTC and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, powerful corporations have been keeping secrets from us all. It’s not just the toxic chemicals in Corexit, either: Large manufacturers of consumers products — such as Unilever, Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson — routinely use toxic chemical ingredients in their products — ingredients which are usually kept secret from the public.
Similarly, virtually every perfume, cologne and fragrance product on the market is made with cancer-causing chemicals that their manufacturers refuse to disclose, claiming their formulas are “trade secrets.”
Throughout Big Business in America, the toxic chemicals used in everyday products such as household cleaners, cosmetics and yard care remain a dangerous secret, and the U.S. government actually colludes with industry to keep these chemical ingredients a secret by, for example, refusing to require full disclosure of ingredients for personal care products. The FDA offers us virtually no enforcement in this area, depending almost entirely on companies to declare their own chemicals are safe rather than requiring actual safety testing to be conducted.
This is why the following statement is frightening yet true: What BP is doing to the Gulf of Mexico, companies like Proctor & Gamble are doing to the entire population. We are all being mass poisoned by the toxic chemicals in personal care products, foods, medicines, fragrance products and other concoctions created by powerful corporations that use toxic chemicals throughout their product lines… but who refuse to disclose those ingredients in the public.
Thanks to the widespread use of secret chemicals in foods, medicines and personal care products, we are awash in synthetic toxic chemicals that have already reached the shores of public health. The rates of cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and infertility that we’re seeing right now are a reflection of the devastating health cost associated with ongoing the ongoing chemical contamination of our population. Even public water fluoridation policies are a kind of “water contamination disaster” where chemicals from an undisclosed source are dumped into the water supply (on purpose, no less!).
What’s doubly disturbing about all this is that many of the chemicals used in foods, medicines, household cleaners and personal care products end up in the Gulf of Mexico as well because they get flushed down stream. So now the Gulf isn’t just polluted with crude oil and dispersant chemicals; it’s also heavily contaminated with all the chemical runoff from the products made by large corporations that refuse to disclose the actual chemical ingredients, claiming they’re trade secrets.
It’s time to end the chemical secrecy
As this Gulf of Mexico oil disaster clearly demonstrates, it’s time to end the chemical secrecy maintained by Big Business. We must demand that all ingredients be fully disclosed for all products so that the curtain of chemical secrecy is lifted once a for all.
Neither oil companies nor consumer product companies should be able to hide behind the excuse of “trade secrets” to avoid disclosing the actual chemicals contained in the products they sell. As consumers, we must demand chemical transparency from these companies or refuse to buy their products.
Legislatively, we must demand new laws that require full disclosure on all consumer products so that ordinary people can see what’s contained in the products they buy.
In a world where one person’s chemical runoff impacts every other person, there is no justification for chemical secrecy. We all have the right to know what we’re putting on (or in) our bodies, and if companies refuse to be honest with us, we should boycott their products and publicly shame them for engaging in deceptive, secretive behavior.
Because the truth is that consumer product companies don’t dare want you to know what’s actually found in their products. And that’s because most of their products are made with poison. If the average perfume product listed its chemical ingredients on the label, for example, product sales would plummet as consumers realized just how many of those ingredients are linked to cancer and liver disorders.
Big Business wants us all to remain ignorant… blinded to the truth of what poisons they’re slathering on our skin or dripping down our throats. But it’s time to halt this dark era of chemical secrets in our modern world. It’s time to demand transparency, clean up our waterways and stop poisoning ourselves and our planet.
Please pay attention now, we are under assault here.
As the oil spill continues to grow there is not a lot of information on the ‘plumes’ that are growing larger under the surface. Many speculate that the cause of these plumes has been the use of the chemical dispersents that are highly toxic. They break up the oil into smaller particles that are suspended below the surface and move with ocean currents.
There are many ideas out there on how to deal with the oil already out of the well and on the surface of the ocean. Why are these technologies, most of which are non toxic and effective, not being used? I suspect that between the government bureaucrats and the BP bureaucrats that most of these are never seeing the light of day.
I hope that more people and communities will act on their own if able. This is the only way anything will ever get done.
Killer Undersea Oil Plumes From BP Spill Lurk in Gulf of Mexico
By Jessica Resnick-Ault – Jun 8, 2010
Undersea Oil Plumes from Spill Lurk in Gulf of Mexico
Tests confirm the existence of oil plumes in the Gulf which BP CEO Tony Hayward has disputed. Photographer: Derick E. Hingle/Bloomberg
Undersea clouds of oil that kill marine life have spread for miles in the Gulf of Mexico from BP Plc’s leaking Macondo well, according to data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today.
Water samples collected by the R/V Weatherbird II vessel have confirmed biodegraded crude oil in two undersea layers as far as 40 nautical miles northeast of BP’s seabed leak, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said at a press briefing. The vessel’s samples show oil as deep as 3,300 feet in the water, Lubchenco said.
“The bottom line is that yes, there is oil in the water column, it’s at very low concentrations, and we will continue to release those data as soon as they are available,” Lubchenco said at a press conference held jointly with Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen. “That doesn’t mean that it does not have significant impact.”
Researchers have said the oil slick washing ashore is a small portion of what has leaked and the undersea crude can wipe out marine life while remaining invisible from the surface. Lubchenco said not enough data is available to determine the quantity of oil below the surface. However, she said oil was found at volumes of 0.5 parts per million in the cloud to the northeast of the leak.
The tests are the second confirmation of the existence of oil plumes in the Gulf, which BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward has disputed. Research by Samantha Joye at the University of Georgia, and analyzed at Texas A&M University, also confirmed the presence of undersea oil.
Hayward said June 6 that there was “no evidence” of the plumes in the Gulf of Mexico. The company is waiting for confirmation from NOAA and the Environmental Protection Agency, Robert Wine, a BP spokesman in Houston, said in a telephone interview yesterday.
NOAA and the University of South Florida held a joint press conference this afternoon with more information on the undersea oil. NOAA Chief Science Advisor Steve Murawski said the oil is not in continuous plumes, but is broken up in cloud-like patterns.
Ernst Peebles, a University of South Florida professor who was aboard the Weatherbird, said oil was found in the water across 22 nautical miles of sampling area. While the oil was ‘invisible’ to the naked eye, it was detectible with analysis, he said.
The university’s scientists found oil in two layers of the ocean at 400 meters and 1,000 meters. They tracked the plumes for tens of kilometers, starting 35 kilometers north-northeast of the well, said Vickie Chachere, a university spokeswoman.
BP didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment on NOAA’s confirmation of the new data.
The concentrations at more shallow depths were identified as having come from BP’s leaking well, Lubchenco said. The scientists were not able to find conclusive evidence that the deeper concentrations came from the well, she said. Water samples taken 142 nautical miles to the southeast of the well were not consistent with the spill, she said.
“These are huge volumes of oil, many kilometers of oil, and to have oil in many cubic kilometers of water suggests a very significant total amount,” said Ian MacDonald, an oceanographer at Florida State University in Tallahassee, who is doing separate research on the spill.
MacDonald estimates the well is leaking 26,500 barrels to 30,000 barrels a day, six times more than the figure that BP and the government used from April 28 to May 27. The company has captured 14,842 barrels in the last 24 hours, Allen said today.
Additional data will allow researchers to produce images of slices of the ocean similar to those produced by magnetic resonance imaging machines used by doctors. The data will allow the scientists to determine crude concentrations in the different slices, Lubchenco said. The NOAA vessel Gordon Gunter has returned to shore and is analyzing its findings. A second research ship, the Thomas Jefferson, is collecting additional samples, she said.
Hayward said June 6 oil naturally floats in water, and that crude seen deep in the water was in the process of making its way to the surface, according to reports in the Associated Press.
Scientists maintain that oil could have become trapped in the water due to the company’s unprecedented application of chemical dispersants, natural phenomenon, or a combination of the two.
BP has applied more than a million gallons of dispersant to the spill, and has almost another half-million gallons on hand to apply if needed, according to a statement from the Unified Command made up of BP and U.S. Coast Guard officials. The dispersants have been applied to oil at the surface, as well as to crude gushing out of the well on the sea floor.
The dispersants may have caused the crude oil to sink more than it normally would have.
“There would be a threshold where putting dispersant in the oil would modify the viscosity,” said Nicholas Wienders, a professor in the oceanography department at Florida State University. If the viscosity of the oil was changed, it could react differently to the ocean’s circulation, and behave in ways not normally expected, he said.
Natural density differences in water layers could also have trapped the oil, said Nancy Rabalais, executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.
The pressure being applied to crude surging out of the well may also change its dispersion, said MacDonald of Florida State University.
As the oil is forced out of the broken pipe at hundreds of miles an hour, it hits the relatively lower-pressure area near the sea floor that breaks the oil into particles about the thickness of a human hair, MacDonald said. Their small size, exposure to significant pressure, and cold temperatures near the sea floor may all contribute to oil sinking, he said.
‘Derelict’ in Duty
“There is no scientific doubt about the processes that would form mid-water plumes,” he said. BP and the Coast Guard haven’t gauged the pressure of the leaking oil, making it more difficult for scientists to predict and track plumes, said MacDonald. “It’s another example of both BP and the government being derelict in their duty,” he said.
Captain Brent “Hollywood” Shaver, 59, who operates a charter fishing boat in Florida and Alabama waters, laughed when asked about BP’s comment that there aren’t underwater oil plumes.
“They’re crazy,” he said in a June 7 interview. “You know, when you spill diesel fuel in the water they always tell you not to put dish soap on it because it just makes it sink. That’s what is happening here. It’s sinking.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Jessica Resnick-Ault in New York at email@example.com
The efforts to contain and clean up this mess must get into high gear. There are tons of willing people buy no coordination.
This article would have us believe that exposure to oil on the beach is not enough to cause health problems alone but Stress also adds to it (this is the bit of truth that would make us believe that somehow this catastrophe won’t cause health issues)…now how on earth would ‘they’ know? No one has ever experienced long term exposure to the amounts of crude oil that will surely, almost certainly, wash up on the shores of our beautiful beaches.
Not only is there oil mixed in with sand but there is bound to be traces of the chemical dispersants that have been used, millions of gallons. That the workers that are in direct contact and exposed all day for many consecutive days become ill is not surprising to me at all. I mean come on now folks, lets use some common sense here, do you really think that this oil spill catastrophe does not pose some serious health issues both long and short term?
Anxiety adds to cleanup workers’ health concerns
By Madison Park, CNN
May 27, 2010 4:13 p.m. EDT
(CNN) — Stress combined with heat and exposure to chemicals could be among the factors that sent seven Gulf fishermen who were helping with oil cleanup to the hospital Wednesday, experts say.
“The work is likely not your traditional eight hours’ work,” said Matthew Nonnenmann, an assistant professor in occupational and environmental health science at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler. “They’re out there trying to contain the oil and protect homes and livelihood. It’s not a typical scenario.”
The cleanup workers’ complaints of dizziness, nausea and headaches prompted authorities to pull all vessels off the water Wednesday.
Seven people were admitted into a Louisiana hospital after complaining of severe headaches. All remained hospitalized Thursday afternoon.
“It’s difficult with things like that to know what exactly is the cause,” said Dr. LuAnn White, professor and director of the Tulane Center for Applied Environmental Public Health in New Orleans, Louisiana.
It’s possible to become sickened if volatile compounds still remain in the oil, she said. If a worker has direct contact with concentrated dispersants — chemicals intended to break up the oil — before they’re mixed into the water, that could affect their health.
Several scientists and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have raised concerns about BP’s use of dispersants.
The agency instructed BP to scale back its use of dispersants and to seek an alternative to the hundreds of thousands of gallons of Corexit 9500 that have been sprayed since April. The product has been rated less effective and more toxic than many others on the list of 18 EPA-approved dispersants, according to testimony in a congressional hearing last week.
Prolonged contact to dispersants can cause skin, eye and respiratory irritation and vomiting (if ingested), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The EPA has also been monitoring the air and water for dangerous levels.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Louisiana, has requested that the federal government set up temporary health care centers along the Gulf Coast to serve volunteers and workers.
For most people, brief contact with small amounts of light crude oil and oil spill dispersants will do no harm, according to the Department of Human and Health Services.
People who are not working in the cleanup efforts and are not in direct contact with chemicals probably will not have health effects, said Dr. Debra Cherry, an assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center who specializes in environmental health.
“The exposure to people living near the beach will be minimal unless there is oil burning on the beach,” she said. “If there’s oil visible on the beach and you live 100 yards away, that’s not really adequate exposure to cause any expected health effects.”
The odor from the chemicals is below the level that can make people sick, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
For those who have had direct contact with the chemicals, the long-term health effects are difficult to gauge.
“The compounds may be carcinogenic, and you might see an increase in cancer incidence,” Cherry said. “It’ll be difficult to evaluate or attribute to any particular exposure.”
Years after the Alaska’s 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, clean-up workers reported illnesses such as liver problems, asthma, pancreatic cancer, emphysema and oil on the lungs, according to claims filed with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The most immediate effects might be the stress from the loss of jobs and income in the Gulf fishing industry.
“Anxiety, concern, loss of everything, that’s what those fishermen are going through — the loss of their everyday life,” White said of a community that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “If we are looking at long-term health effects, it’s going to be anxiety and stress that effects the people at the mouth of the river: the fear of the oil, the economic impact.”
This loss of an industry and jobs could fuel depression, alcohol abuse, domestic and family problems, said Dr. Howard Osofsky, chairman of the department of psychiatry at Louisiana State University Health Science Centers.
Fishing families are worried, because many of them recently took second mortgages to buy refrigeration equipment to meet new fishing requirements.
Unlike Hurricane Katrina, where people were able to rebuild their homes, the oil spill is a different situation for some multigenerational fishing families, Osofsky said.
“This is different type of disaster, where people may not be able to rebuild,” he said. “You can’t rebuild the ecology or environment. People whose lives centered on fishing may not be able to rebuild that. Hopefully, they can.”
While there is some hint of truth to some of the ideas put forth in the above article, mostly it is BS…