I want to refer you to a remarkable post on the Hot Air Blog titled “Did the Government cause the Gulf Spill?” to further expound on my previous blog , “Skimmers, Skimmers, Skimmers–Where are the Skimmers???”
The Coast Guard has gathered evidence it failed to follow its own firefighting policy during the Deepwater Horizon disaster and is investigating whether the chaotic spraying of tons of salt water by private boats contributed to sinking the ill fated oil rig, according to interviews and documents.
Coast Guard officials told the Center for Public Integrity that the service does not have the expertise to fight an oil rig fire and that its response to the April 20 explosion may have broken the service’s own rules by failing to ensure a firefighting expert supervised the half-dozen private boats that answered the Deepwater Horizon’s distress call to fight the blaze.[i]
This is just amazing. As stated in the above facts, this is just gross incompetence. But look how these mistakes in firefighting procedures may have resulted in the first trigger of the initiating cause of the “leak:”
An official maritime investigation led by Coast Guard Capt. Hung M. Nguyen in New Orleans is examining whether the salt water that was sprayed across the burning platform overran the ballast system that kept the rig upright, changing its weight distribution, and causing it to list.
Ocean rigs are massive, tall structures – usually several stories high – that float on the water. The rig can be lowered or raised by adjusting air and sea water contained in its ballast tanks. These tanks have seals that were likely damaged by the fire blazing on the rig, which would have allowed the massive amounts of sea water sprayed on the rig to fight the fire to enter the tanks and seriously disturb the rig’s center of gravity.
The main source of the spill was not the blowout preventer, but the riser pipe to the rig. When the rig collapsed and sank a few days after the blowout, the pipe tore open and began pouring tens of thousands of barrels of oil each day into the Gulf of Mexico. Had the rig been salvaged, it’s likely that most of the spill would never have occurred . . . .
Kevin Robb, a civilian Coast Guard search and rescue specialist who acted as the first watch commander the night of the accident, testified that there was no attempt by the Coast Guard Command Center in New Orleans to designate a fire marshal to take charge.[ii]
To men of the sea, fires on any floating vessels are extremely dangerous and demand following governing procedures to the letter. So, at this point, since there was a procedural failure, maybe dereliction of duty is evident. The terrible consequences would make you especially distrustful of the abilities of the federal government as operator of the Coast Guard. Yet this same federal government has taken over the most complicated business in the world –delivering us our health care??
Now if you are a natural cynic, you should read my blogs “Skimmers, Skimmers, Skimmers–Where are the Skimmers???” and “Radical Democratic Party Continues Its Ongoing ‘Jihad’ Against Domestic Oil Production and Eventual Energy Independence.” These will prepare you for this next fact:
An earlier report from Mehta and Solomon also raised important questions that the White House has yet to answer about what Obama knew when. That investigation revealed the White House timeline of events failed to acknowledge an oil leak until four days after the explosion, even though the Coast Guard’s timeline reported a leak one day after the explosion.[iii]
So, many needs of radical liberal Democrats have been satisfied all too conveniently by the Deepwater Horizon Disaster.
Maybe letting these same people take over delivery of our health care is not just a very wise decision???
For a more thorough discussion on this topic, please see page 335 of Chapter 15, “Health Care” Is NOT about Health Care, of my book “A Simple Guide: How Liberalism, A Euphemism For Socialism, Destroys Peoples and Nations.” After reading this, you just conclude that surrendering personal control over our Health Care to Obama Care is tantamount to giving the federal government regulators a license to ration – especially if you are over 65!
[i] Morrissey, Ed. “Did the Government cause the Gulf Spill?” Hot Air. July 30,2010. Web. Accessed August 4, 2010. <http://hotair.com/archives/2010/07/30/did-the-government-cause-the-gulf-spill/>.
What was the ABSOLUTE WORST decision made in the Gulf oil crises? And, what is a skimmer? “A skimmer is a machine that separates a liquid from particles floating on it . . . . These technologies are commonly used for oil spill remediation . . . . They were used to great effect to assist the remediation of the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989.”
Skimmers are nothing new. Over 21 years ago, they were a frontline remediation device in the then largest oil spill in our territorial waters, Prince William Sound in Alaska. But, until recently, we could hardly find them in the oily waters of the Gulf of Mexico where the Deepwater Horizon wreckage is belching forth anywhere from 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of crude oil a day over 5,000 feet below the water’s surface.
Offsetting this discharge of oil are the following recovery systems:
On July 5, about 74 days after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, British Petroleum reported that “the total volume of oil collected or flared by the containment systems is approximately 585,400 barrels” of crude oil in about 74 days.
On July 3, it was reported that a Taiwanese oil super skimmer (a 1,000 foot long ore and oil tanker dubbed “A Whale”), arrived in the Gulf of Mexico. It can collect 500,000 barrels a day of contaminated water.
For the complete prior period going back to the April 20th explosion, all other “skimmers in use” averaged approximately 9,523 barrels (28,000,000 gallons/42 gallons per barrel=666,666/70 days) on average of oily mix a day. If 20% of the mix is oil, the daily oil recovery would be 1,905 barrels.
On June 16, we find out that “three days after the Gulf oil rig explosion, the Netherlands offered to send in oil skimmers to pump oil off the surface of the oceans. The Obama administration TURNED THEM DOWN because they were not 100% efficient and small amounts of oil would be pumped back into the Gulf with the excess water. EPA regulations do not allow for residue water to contain any oil. So rather than use equipment that was not 100% efficient, the Obama Administration chose to let ALL of the crude oil run into the Gulf.” (emphasis added).
On July 6, the Obama Administration had a change of heart about the Dutch offer.
[t]he U.S. Government has apparently reconsidered a Dutch offer to supply 4 oil skimmers. These are larges arms that are attached to oil tankers that pump oil and water from the surface of the ocean into the tanker. Water pumped into the tanker will settle to the bottom of the tanker and is then pumped back into the ocean to make room for more oil. Each system will collect 5,000 tons of oil a day.
One ton of oil is about 7.3 barrels. 5,000 tons per day is 36,500 barrels a day. 4 skimmers have a capacity of 146,000 barrels per day. That is much greater than the high end estimate of the leak. The skimmers work best in calm water, which is the usual condition this time of year in the gulf . . . .
Using the Dutch skimmers should have prevented most of the oil from ever getting even close to shore. The Dutch skimmers work best close to the source of the spill where the oil is more concentrated. Outside of that circle, dispersants could be used. Additional smaller skimmers could be used closer to shore to pick up patches that might get through the first 2 rings. The less oil that reaches shore, the less there is to clean up. The less oil that reaches shore, the faster the environment will (be) restored by natural cleaning processes. (sic)
So let’s calculate what oil recovery has occurred, and what could have occurred if the Obama Administration had made different decisions about oil skimmers. Using this information we can now calculate what approximate amounts of oil were or were not picked up by the various “skimmers” during the recovery operations to date and pro forma to the end of August
By the end of the June, the cumulative discharge of oil was 3,884,500 barrels of oil after the effects of the oil capture at the Blow-Out Preventer. But the reality of the fleet of smaller vessels performing skimming operations is a completely inadequate performance. For the entire period, from April 30 to today, they could only manage to capture 9,523 barrels of oily mix per day. If you assume that 20% of it is oil, the result is a net collection of just over 1,905 barrels of oil recovery per day. As we used to say in the Navy, this is just like spitting upward in a hurricane. And, so, at the end of June, the net cumulative discharge is 3,739,720 barrels of oil because all the skimmers had only skimmed 144,780 barrels of oil.
At this point, we discover the “A Whale” skimmer. It can process 500,000 barrels of oily mix a day. Assuming a 20% recovery of oil for every 500,000 barrels of oily mix, “A Whale” would capture 100,000 barrels of oil a day. Even if the oil recovery fell below 20% per 500,000 barrels of oily mix, this total would still be much more than the 1,905 barrels of oil a day the entire smaller skimming fleet collectively.
As to the Netherlands’ skimmers, on June 16th, almost two months after the accident, we discovered that the federal government rejected the offer to use the Netherland’s skimmers on or about April 23 or 24. Assuming the Netherlands’ skimmers will show up and be on the job in 1 ½ months, August 1, these skimmers will collect about 146,000 barrels of oil per day.
My analysis presumes that all discharged oil rises to the surface, which would be the worst case scenario. And to the extent that all of the oil does not rise to the surface, the actual recovery should be better than our worst case.
From June 30 to the end of July (pro forma), the cumulative discharge of oil has increased to 5,039,150 barrels of oil. But the presence of “A Whale” for all of July produces an enormous increase in oil recovered, 2,800,000 barrels. Yes, you are reading it correctly! 2,800,000 barrels of additional oil recovery from “A Whale”. So, the net cumulative discharge of oil at July 31 has declined to 2,035,315 barrels of oil.
Then in August (pro forma), the catastrophe receives a huge blessing. The Netherlands’ skimmers show up with their collective abilities to skim and separate out 146,000 barrels of oil a day, or an incredible 4,526,000 barrels of oil a month. This is the Rescue Squad! Even though the net cumulative discharge of oil has increased to 6,193,900 barrels of oil, it is wiped out by a monthly recovery of 59,055 barrels of small boat skimmers, plus 3,100,000 barrels of “A Whale” skimming plus the unbelievable collection of 4,526,000 barrels by the Netherlands’ skimmers. This is a total monthly recovery capacity of 7,685,055 barrels of oil, exceeding the cumulative monthly discharge of oil by 1,491,155 barrels of oil. This gives great hope that all the surface recovery could be immediately successful and thereafter in the future.
Buried in this data is a startling fact. It is the catastrophic cost of not having all the Netherlands’ skimming capacity at an earlier date.
If the Netherlands’ skimmers monthly oil recovery capacity of 4,380,000 barrels of oil had been available just two months earlier, at the beginning of June, would have resulted in a real and productive government response to the oil disaster. The cumulative skimming capacity of 59,055 barrels for the small skimmers plus the Netherlands’ skimmers capacity of 4,380,000 barrels of oil equals 4,439,055 barrels of oil recovered in a month when net discharged oil was only 1,364,400 barrels of oil.
Therefore, for the cumulative discharge at June 30th of 3,884,500 barrels, there would have been present a cumulative recovery capacity of 4,439,055 barrels. All the oil in theory would have been recovered by June 30. We would not have even needed the “A Whale”!
The federal government’s refusal in late April to accept the Netherlands’ skimmers was the worst decision made during the entire Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. The prior successful experience of using skimmers in the Exxon Valdez spill and The Netherlands’ experience of using these skimmers to service their own offshore and tanker operations, provided an excellent background for accepting them the moment they were offered. Perhaps, the Netherlands’ skimmers could have been here even earlier than June resulting in the prevention of all surface oil originated pollution.
Was it incompetence? Indecision? Dithering? Or, was it a deliberate delay so the single party Democratically-controlled federal government could enhance its power? As we know from the Stimulus Bill and the Health Care Bill, there is nothing that this Democratic party will not do to enforce their will on the people.
When given a choice between protecting the environment or enhancing their political power to shake down BP and declare a deep water drilling moratorium, they had no problem in doing the latter.
The “Terrible” decision to refuse the Netherlands’ skimmers in April has resulted in an unprecedented environmental destruction of the Gulf Coast and caused untold economic harm to the surrounding region.
If Attorney General Eric Holder is looking for a case for federal prosecution, maybe he should start with this horribly failed decision-making process that first rejected The Netherlands’ skimmers with their huge daily skimming capacity of 146,000 barrels of oil. Every aspect of this decision should be unearthed and revealed and those responsible should be held accountable.
Unfortunately, such an investigation is highly unlikely for America today is held in vise of single party government by a radical Democratic party. As single party government consolidates its power, it tends to make more and more decisions that are adverse to its citizens. Who in this government would expose this executive branch to a real investigation? If not the Justice Department, how about Congress?? Good Luck! Residents of the affected areas of the Gulf region have no recourse.
If you want to explore in more detail a complete inventory of the techniques that radical liberals have been using to acquire single party government and unleash horror on people, you will enjoy reading my “Simple Guide: How Liberalism Destroys Peoples and Nations.”
- Skimmers (machine), Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skimmer_(machine), sourced July 13, 2010.
- Tasker, Fred, “New Well Cap Could Halt All Oil Flow, Says Admiral,” The St. Louis Post Dispatch, July 3, 2010, page A6.
- British Petroleum Press Release, “Update on Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill-05 July”, 07/05/10, sourced July 07/06/10.
- Bigg, Matt, “Taiwanese Oil ‘Super Skimmer’ Arrives in Gulf of Mexico,” The China Post, http://www.chinapost.com.tw/international/americas/2010/07/03/263194/Taiwanese-oil.htm, sourced 07/02/2010.
- Hoft, Jim, “CHANGE! 53 Days Later Obama Administration Decides to Accept Dutch Offer To Help With Spill,” Web, http://gatewaypumndit.firstthings.com/2010/06/change-55-days-later-obama-administration-decides-to-accept-dutch-offer-for-help/, sourced 06/16/10.
- Ryden, John, “U.S. Reconsiders Dutch Offer To Supply Oil Skimmers,” Web, http://www.examiner.com/x-325-Global-Warming-Examiner~y2010m6d12-US-reconsiders-Dutch-offer-to-supply-oil-skimmers, sourced 07/06/10.
So let’s take a look at why America needs oil.
Every morning Americans need 20 million barrels of oil to get through the day . . . Ninety four percent of all daily commerce takes place because diesel and turbine engines deliver the goods. Two hundred and fifty million cars, tens of millions of trucks, thousands of planes and ships use only oil, with perhaps a drop of biofuels. If we wish to keep those vehicles in motion this year, next year and through their normal mechanical lives, we must have more oil. And since no alternative non-oil vehicles are ready are ready for market, at least not on a scale that makes a material difference in overall demand for oil anytime soon, we’d better get over our distaste at producing more oil.[i]
To improve the safety of oil and gas development in federal waters, provide greater environmental protection and substantially reduce the risk of catastrophic events such as the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today called for aggressive new operating standards and requirements for offshore energy companies and ordered a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. He also canceled a pending lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico and a proposed lease sale off the coast of Virginia, and suspended proposed exploratory drilling in the Arctic . . . Secretary Salazar is ordering a moratorium on drilling of new deepwater wells until the Presidential Commission investigating the BP oil spill has completed its six-month review. In addition, permitted wells currently being drilled in the deepwater (not counting the emergency relief wells being drilled) in the Gulf of Mexico will be required to halt drilling at the first safe stopping point, and then take steps to secure the well.[ii]
This seems like a pretty official pronouncement, but was it necessary? Here is what some outside experts had to say about it.
When President Obama last month announced his six-month deepwater moratorium, he pointed to an Interior Department report of new ‘safety’ recommendations. That report prominently noted that the recommendations it contained –including the six-month drilling ban – had been ‘peer-reviewed’ by ‘experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering’ . . . In a scathing document, eight of the ‘experts’ the Administration listed in its report said their names had been ‘used’ to ‘justify’ a ‘political decision.’ The draft they reviewed had not included a six-month drilling moratorium. The Administration added that provision only after it had secured sign-off. In their document, the eight forcefully rejected a moratorium, which they argued could prove more economically devastating than the oil spill itself and ‘counter-productive’ to ‘safety.’[iii]
Not only was it not necessary, but the Obama Administration misrepresented its content to achieve their desire to “stop” drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Look at this.
An Interior spokesman claimed the experts clearly had been called to review the report on a ‘technical basis,’ whereas the moratorium was a ‘comprehensive’ question. Obama environment czar Carol Browner declared: ‘No one’s been deceived or misrepresented’ . . . All of this matters because it offers proof the moratorium was driven by politics, not safety. The drilling ban was not reviewed by experts, and was not necessary to satisfy most of the safety recommendations in Mr. Salazar’s report. It was authored by political actors so Mr. Obama could look tough. A cynic might argue the ban was only added after review precisely because the Administration knew experts would refuse to endorse it.[iv]
Quite simply, the Obama Administration has unnecessarily struck a vicious blow at deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the supporting economies of the Gulf Region.
Here are some more specific quantifications on the adverse impacts of the moratorium.
A six-month deep-water drilling moratorium imposed to protect the Gulf of Mexico may raise the risk of oil spills, some members of a U.S. Department of the Interior safety-advisory group warn.
The moratorium is also raising concerns that the gulf’s $124 billion offshore oil industry will suffer as 33 deep-water projects are on hold.
The delay could imperil as many as 38,000 jobs related to the projects as rigs leave for work in other parts of the world, the National Ocean Industries Association, a trade group, estimates . . .
They also say there is a risk in shutting down and re-entering deep-water wells, a risk that the moratorium will lead to the newest and most reliable drilling rigs leaving the gulf, and a risk of more tanker spills if domestic oil production declines . . .
‘We are looking at nine months before our rigs can go to work,’ Krenek said. ‘In the meantime, we will look for work outside the United States . . .’
Eight members of the group protested that they neither reviewed nor approved of the blanket six-month moratorium.[v]
The moratorium on deepwater drilling the Gulf of Mexico is destroying an entire ‘ecosystem of businesses’, lawyers from the oil industry seeking to overturn the ban told a court today . . .
Since the ban was imposed on 28 May – more than a month after the Deepwater Horizon accident – all 33 drilling rigs operating in the Gulf have been idled. The rig owners have warned they will tow them elsewhere if the ban remains in place.
‘Once these rigs move overseas and enter into long-term contracts, they not going to come back in six months and one day,’ he said. ‘That is the problems.’
The rigs directly employ around 7,000 people. But, according to Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, each offshore job supports three more onshore, meaning a further 21,000 jobs are at risk. Rosenblum added: ‘It’s an ecosystem of businesses which are being harmed even now by this moratorium. . .’
‘Never before has the government with a stroke of a pen shut down on entire industry for six months,’ he said.
Deepwater drilling is vital to the regional oil industry, making up 80% of oil and 45% of gas produced in the Gulf.
After the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, causing the worst US environmental disaster in history, the US government ordered a safety review of deepwater drilling in the Gulf. The regulator, the Mineral Management Services (MMS), inspected 29 rigs and found that 27 of them complied with regulations; there were minor infractions on the other two. It recommended 22 measures to improve safety and the interior secretary Ken Salazar ordered a moratorium on drilling until the safety improvements could be implemented and investigations into the Deepwater Horizon accident had concluded.[vi]
And the bad numbers keep piling up:
BP Plc’s oil spill may cost the U.S. Gulf Coast region 17,000 jobs and about $1.2 billion in lost economic growth by year-end even if the flow is stanched permanently next month, Moody’s Analytics said in a report. . . .
A separate, industry-funded report released today also warned of the impact of the moratorium on new deepwater drilling, saying it is ‘crippling the local economy’ and may cost the region 8,169 jobs and about $2.1 billion in economic losses in its first six months.
The study, commissioned by the American Energy Alliance, the advocacy arm of the Institute for Energy Research, a Washington-based research group, predicted that nationwide job losses will reach 12,000 in six months, costing the U.S. economy about $2.8 billion in lost activity and $219 million in tax revenue.
‘The moratorium could be more costly than the oil spill itself,’ Joseph R. Mason, author of the study and professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, said in a release accompanying the report. ‘By stifling one of the area’s primary economic engines, the administration is crippling the local economy and risking long-term consequences.’[vii]
Thirty-three percent of the nation’s domestic oil comes from the Gulf of Mexico. Eighty percent of the Gulf’s oil and 45% of its natural gas comes from operations in more than 1,000 feet of water, considered ‘deepwater.’[viii]
With this decision to enact a moratorium on deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama Administration has threatened to constrain one of the most productive sources of energy in the United States. That is even if the moratorium lasts just six months. Just doing this will discourage the industry from wanting to invest in Gulf oil production because of an especially hostile regulatory regime.
And, who is to say that the moratorium will not be extended again for a much longer time with much greater negative consequences for the production of oil from the deep water of the Gulf.
The Obama Administration has proposed legislation that will drastically increase the costs of all domestically produced energy, so why wouldn’t the same administration consider a permanent decline of oil production in the Gulf to be a “good thing.” To get a more complete picture of the Democrat Party’s permanent bad attitude to domestic energy production, I refer you to page 237 of Chapter 11 (Most People Think We Have Hardly Any of This) of the “A Simple Guide: How Liberalism, A Euphemism For Socialism, Destroys Peoples and Nations.” You will then have a clearer understanding of why a permanent moratorium might be just fine with them.
Now, I refer to another essay in this blog “Skimmers, Skimmers, Skimmers: Where are all the Skimmers.” The main point of the “Skimmers” blog is that with just a few days of the April 20, Deepwater Horizon explosion, the Dutch offered the Federal Government the use of four large oil skimmers that had a collective capacity to recover 146,000 Barrels of oil a day from the Gulf or 4,380,000 Barrels of oil a month. In spite of a long history, going all the way back to the Exxon Valdez oil spill, of being a first line and successful recovery technology, our federal government refused the Dutch offer. This is almost unbelievable in the light of the significant environmental damage much of which might have been avoided had the Dutch offer had been immediately accepted. This “crisis,” most of the damage of which was caused by floating oil, would have been substantially negated.
When you put the decision to enact an ill-considered deep water drilling moratorium against the background of the refusal to accept the Dutch skimmers, here are the relevant consequences:
• Environmental damage to the affected states;
• Economic damage to the entire Gulf Coast including tremendous job losses in the middle of a terrible recession;
• Elimination of increased deepwater oil production in our continental water resulting in a huge set back to our drive for energy independence; and
• A massive increase in the federal government’s control over the oil industry operating here. This is with an administration that seeks legislation to force artificially created increases in the costs of all energy production by legislation.
Why do you think the Obama Administration made these two self-evidently terrible decisions??
[i] Hoffmeister, John. “Get Over the Oil Spill.” The Daily Beast. June 23, 2010. Web. Accessed on July 7, 2010. <http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-06-23/john-hofmeister-on-bp-oil-spill-and-obamas-katrina/p/>.
[ii] Barkoff, Kendra. “Salazar Calls for New Safety Measures for Offshore Oil and Gas Operations: Orders Six Month Moratorium on Deepwater Drilling.” Department of Interior Press Release. May 27, 2010. Web. Accessed July 30, 2010. <http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Salazar-Calls-for-New_Safety.>
[iii] Wall Street Journal. “Crude Politics.” P. A20. June 17, 2010.
[iv] Id. at A20.
[v] Olinger, David and Jaffe, Mark. “Critics say Moratorium on Gulf Oil Drilling could Increase Risks Rather than make Process Safer.” June 21, 2010. The Denver Post. Web. Accessed June 21, 2010. <http://www.denverpost.com/fdcp?1279730841306.>
[vi] Webb, Tim. “US Gulf oil Drilling Ban is Destroying ‘Ecosystem of businesses.’” The UK Guardian. June 21, 2010. Web. Accessed July 30, 2010. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jun/21/oil-bp-oil-spill/print.>
[vii] Bloomberg Businessweek. “Gulf Oil Spill May Cost 17,000 Jobs, Moody’s Says.” Bloomberg. July 19, 2010. Web. Accessed July 23, 2010. <http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-07-19/gulf-oil-spill-may-cost-17-000-jobs-moody-s-says.html.>
[viii] Governor Bobby Jindal. “Gov. Jindal Blasts Drilling Moratorium at Rally for Economic Survival.” Office of Governor. July 21, 2010. <http://www.gov.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=newsroom&tmp=detail&catID=2&articleID=2352&navID=12.>