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Double the Oil, Double the Problems

Posted on Jun 11, 2010
Gulf shot
White House / Chuck Kennedy

It just keeps on coming: An aerial view of the southern Louisiana coast taken from a helicopter carrying President Barack Obama in late May.

It’s a doubly bad day for news regarding the oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico: Scientists have doubled their estimate of the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf every day, and BP announced it will not have the leak sealed before August.

New estimates put the daily flow at 40,000 barrels, meaning that as much as 84 million barrels of oil have leaked into the Gulf since a blast destroyed the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20. —JCL

Los Angeles Times:

Government scientists said Thursday that as many as 40,000 barrels of oil have been flowing daily from the blown-out BP well, doubling earlier estimates and greatly expanding the scope of what is already the largest spill in U.S. history.

The new figures could mean 42 million to 84 million gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on the night of April 20 — with the lowest estimate nearly four times the size of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.

The flow estimates were released by Marcia McNutt, director of the U.S. Geological Survey, and do not count any increases that may have occurred since the cutting of the well’s riser pipe, a step that was expected to boost the flow.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, June 12, 2010 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

The Jones Act.

Several foreign countries have offered to help with the clean-up, but that union-sponsored act prevents the use of ships not built in the US from helping.

Who gives a damn about the environment when union jobs are at stake and when making BP look bad is a top priority?

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By ebook leser, June 11, 2010 at 10:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A natural disaster indescribable proportions: In the Gulf of Mexico flows apparently more oil per hour from the borehole to be accepted initially for one whole day was. Thus, all five days is expelled as much as a whole after the wreck of the Exxon Valdez. ” I wonder why the policy has not yet acted, and closing down the existing conveyor systems for now. Learning the politicians, because nothing of it.

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My3Cats's avatar

By My3Cats, June 11, 2010 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment

I can’t help but visualize some of the movie scenes from Dune and also Herbert’s axion: The worm is the spice; the spice is the worm.

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natera's avatar

By natera, June 11, 2010 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

The power of the oil industry isa power for which checking is virtually impossible.

I grew up in an oil company family; my mother, her husband, my sister and other relatives worked for an oil company. One of my uncles even became the president of that company. 

The metrics of the oil industry are astounding.  An exploratory well for example can easily run a budget of $1 million per month. That is the budget of a small city. The company my family worked for operated 150 to 200 of those wells at any given time, and handled an operational budget in the order of hundreds of billions of dollars per year.  And this is not just something I’m estimating here: my sister actually spent years analyzing and negotiating the type of mega-loans required to keep all this going seemlessly.

When my uncle was president of this company, he went to Japan to complete the purchase of two supertankers and got to hang out with the Mitsubishi’s president and other top-level business and government officials over a number of days.  One of my uncle’s favorite post-retirement stories (which he would confide to some of us in great detail) was the one about billionaire wheeler-and-dealer Adnan Khashoggi trying to get him to accept a penny on each barrel of oil that was supposed to be included in a multi-million barrel deal he wanted my uncle to “handle” for him.

When my uncle and I discussed politics and oil, which we would invariably do during family gatherings, he would always tell me:  “The oil industry’s dimensions are beyond the comprehension of most politicians, including powerful presidents, kings and prime ministers”.  At the time, while excited about the implications of such an extraordinary claim, I thought he was speaking figuratively. Now, as I watch our President, state governors, and other top-level officials paralyzed in pathetic inaction at the Gulf, I realize he wasn’t.

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My3Cats's avatar

By My3Cats, June 11, 2010 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

Sadly, I think that BP executives will never be arrested, BP will get off the hook by filing bankruptcy, and the cost of the clean-up will revert to U.S. citizens. The corporatist nation-state formerly known as the United States will do the will of BP and any/all other corporations that finance the election of candidates to government office. As Kurt Vonnegut used to say, “And so it goes.”

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By Tobysgirl, June 11, 2010 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment

Thank you, natera, for stating the obvious so articulately!

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By natera, June 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

Take it from someone who used to work for the oil industry and has worked for EPA for more than twenty years:

BP may not be able to plug the hole right now but it has the power and the money to effectively contain the spill and substantially reduce its impact and it has not.

Court orders under emergency declarations can carry contempt-of-court enforcement provisions that include arrests and:


It’s THE ONLY WAY he will get them to respond proportionately to this catastrophe.

The Gulf Disaster is an economic, cultural and environmental holocaust:  The direct result of an avalanche of crimes: criminal negligence, lying to public officials, misleading and endangering emergency response teams, destroying life support systems, private and public property, threatening through deadly force the public and the environment.

The President and government officials not only can, they MUST:


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