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19 June 2010


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Will it hurt Alaskan salmon?
Or Washington State oysters?
Talking with a midwest friend, he did sound pessimistic. Then I mentioned all the anti-depressant ads shown during the news. Amazing coincidence!

William R. Cumming

It won't be end of days but will be largest event of environmental contamination is world history so far. Expect another year of MSM prominence.


I believe Admiral Rickover covered all the relevant concerns 53 years ago:


Think of all the accomplishments the American people have achieved with all those intervening years.

Nancy K

While I don't see an end of day scenario in this, I do see a horrible, catastrophic environmental disaster caused by greed and need for more and more oil. There are those on the religious right who see the end of days and Jesus is coming back scenerio in everything.
I don't believe the world is ending anytime soon, although that Mayan calander ending Dec 2012 is a bit ominous.
If the worst should happen and all of mankind die out, the earth would continue on without us just as it did when the dinosaurs disappeared, although that really doesn't make me feel any better.
I feel very sad for all those on the coast who are losing their way of life and all of the animals who have lost their lives.

R Whitman

The following needs to be done:

1. Stop the leak.
2.Determine what caused it
3.Change proceedures and techniques so it does not happen this way again
4.Offshore oil industry as a whole needs to define how to respond to the next deepwater blowout and put measures in place. There are already adequate responses to land and shallow water blowouts.
5.Resume deepwater drilling
6.Spend years cleaning up the mess.

Roy G

I think the Perfect Storm is a good analogy, referring to the Ship of Fools in Washington.

The most comprehensive explanation of the Gulf mess i've read is by Matt Taibbi, who makes it clear that, despite 8 years of extreme deregulation and legislative capture under the Bush admin, Obama, and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar are likewise dancing to the tune of Big Oil.


The Gulf oil volcano, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and the banking crisis all share the same taproot: corruption. That's what is sinking the Republic. The coup de gras would be if the supposed 260,000 State dept. privileged communiques that were supposedly leaked to Wikileaks were to see the light of day.


This map is useful.

A dear friend is a marine biologist and toxicologist who grew up in Baton Rouge, worked on rigs in the summer to pay his way through college, hunted and fished in the bayou his whole life (i try to go duck hunting with him every year), and has worked his entire adult life for mining and oil companies on the environmental/compliance side.

His hunting/fishing lease is in a place called turtle bayou about 40 miles SSW of Houma. He loves the land, and is well equiped to understand complex environmental systems. I called him the other day and he didn't want to talk about impact. "We can do that when the engineers get the thing capped." But he did say that a huge amount of marsh/bayou will be lost (you know, the place where the birds and the baby shrimp, crabs and fish live). He capped the conversation by saying: "Don't worry. In 500,000, 1 million years it will all recover."

He was also drunk when we spoke. He's a drinker, but i've rarely seen him drunk. Hugely depressed.

The real question is the extent of the likely damage. I haven't heard any convincing arguments about that yet. He wouldn't hazard a guess.



The end of the world is the costs. The Reagan Revolution put off Jimmy Carter’s Malaise by furiously deregulating the energy and financial industries. An old hand said when he started there were federal and state inspectors everywhere out in the oil fields. Now there are none. Wall Street sold class C securities and Triple AAA prices. There is a reason the financial collapse and the Gulf Oil spill happened together. They both were driven by the need to grab the money now and the hell to the future and the suckers who are burned.

The only resolution is the government enforcement of our laws and raising taxes on the wealthy. Get American back to Work. End the Wars.

There is one big problem. Our leaders are from Chicago and they are bought.

different clue

It won't be the End Of Days, but it will be the End of the Good Times. On the up side, it may force us all to re-think our relationship with the liquid fueled way of life. It isn't enough to say we have an "oil addiction". President Bush said we are addicted to oil and the way to cure it was to move over to biofuels. Pardon me, but that sounds like saying the way to cure a rum addiction is to switch the patient over to gin.

Actually, I think this blowout may make the End Of Days less likely. If it hadn't blown out, we would be getting all that oil and merrily burning the barrel at both ends. And in that case, my End of Days scenario would go like this...

Global Warming will melt enough ice off the Arctic Ocean that we will drill for offshore gas and oil all over the Arctic Ocean sea bed. We'll burn so much
gas and oil that Global Heating will melt all the ice off of Greenland, Elsmere Island, Baffin Island, etc. We'll dig and burn so much coal, gas, and oil from those places that Global Steaming will melt all the ice off of Antarctica. We'll dig and burn so much coal, gas, and oil from the ice-freed Antarctic that Global Autoclaving will turn the earth into a sterilized aseptic Venusian hell-planet. That's my End Of Days scenario.

Hopefully, this blowout has blown that train right off the rails.


On the other thread J posted a link to "the doomsday event" that might be possible. I had read something similar last week but discounted it as the author had tied this theory into the Bermuda Triangle, "missing ships are due to large bubbles of methane that pop up from time to time".

I think we're entitled to some answers:
Is the composition of the oil 5% methane (normal) or is it 40% methane?

What is the honest to God amount of oil coming out every 24 hour period?

Assuming this leak won't be capped, can we have a timeline of where, how, why, and who will be effected? I mentioned this to a neighbor who responded to me, "they won't do that, it will create a panic situation". Well, I'd rather have a panic situation now when it still can be controlled somewhat rather than the Katrina model or worse later. The longer the leak goes on without adequate and reliable information, the more it will be that rumors will take over.

I read the Admiral Rickover presentation and the one thing he missed, of course not his fault, was the computer and the internet. With some adjustments, a whole lot of people could be working from home and car usage could drop dramatically.


Allow me to repeat a link I put on the pressure thread:
The Oil Drum published this assessment by a knowledgeable reader and it was picked up by Axis of Logic: a sober assessment of the issues:

The first editorial comment is from Axis of Logic, the second from the editor of The Oil Drum. I suggest you read it.

Editor's Note: This is the most credible report/analyis we have read to date about what is really happening with what could turn out to be the worst environmental disaster in all of human history. The editor of The Oil Drum website provides an introduction to the report.
- Les Blough, Editor

What follows is a comment from a The Oil Drum reader. To read what The Oil Drum staff members are saying about the Deepwater Horizon Spill, please visit the front page. (Were the US government and BP more forthcoming with information and details, the situation would not be giving rise to so much speculation about what is actually going on in the Gulf. This should be run more like Mission Control at NASA than an exclusive country club function--it is a public matter--transparency, now!)
- Oil Drum Editor


Some humor for an "End of Days" thread - Energy Independent Future


I heard this AM on public radio that BP has 750-plus violations in the last two to three years; all other oil companies combined have a few dozen.


I expect some bright young thing will come up with a way to reclaim this flotsam and make a profit.
I expect he or she will not be from BP, or from NOAA, or be anyone who "needs" a leader.


Ruptured seabed? Methyl hydrates bubbling up to the surface? Apocalypse Now? To quote the ex-gov of Alaska, "You betcha!"
Best case scenario -- writing "paid" to the whole libertarian myth of minimal governance, followed by a slow, painful crawl back to a sane approach to capital & resource development. More likely -- keep the patient sedated until the end.


Doesn't the Mississippi river run along a major geological fault-line and British Petroleum's Macondo well is an extension of that same fault-line under the sea (drilling along the Mississippi canyon).


Anadarko says BP 'reckless' in Macondo well


"Offshore oil industry as a whole needs to define how to respond to the next deepwater blowout and put measures in place."

The industry already did this, that's why this happened to begin with, 'self regulation'.

VV, maybe so, but big C conservatism doesn't have clean hands either. Remember Enron and that California energy 'crisis'? It ran Grey Davis out of office and put Schwarzenegger in just in time to give California a taste of 'no new taxes', or new ideas.

N M Salamon

Vietnam Vet:

Unfortunately the opposition is also purchased by the same bunch which supports the dems. It will be even more interesting now that the SUPREMES took sides against the poor[er]citizen and elevated legal constructs to UNLIMITED Human Rights stature vis-a-vis bribery [a.k.a. election contribution]. With the help of ISRAEL FIRSTERS, declining natural resource availability at decent prices, lack of public health and public transportation the omens are very bad for USA.

David E. Solomon

Colonel Laing,

It would be nice to think that President Obama might use this mess to help convince the public that now is the time to fund alternative energy sources. As a matter of fact, I think he will do just that, but I suspect he will try to sell us on the wonders of "clean nuclear" as the way out.


what was being used to clean up the mess?
oh, my...


I remember hearing in the seventies an ironic remark attributed to a pioneer environmental scientist named Odom that the purpose of human life on earth was to release all the stored hydrocarbons under the earth's crust. We are the agents of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.



Thanks for the link. I had read that article somewhere else before but had lost it.

I have absolutely no expertise in the drilling field, but the article to this amateur's ears sounds authoritative enough to scare the bejebus out of anyone.


I doubt there's enough methane in that well to be the trigger for a Clathrate gun.

Back of the envelope calculation time. Taking worst case scenarios of a flow rate of 100,000 barrels per day, and assuming that 40% of that is liquid methane, the well is going to be pumping out about (100,000 bpd * 158.9873Lpb * .40) ~= 6.36 Million Liters of liquid methane a day. Liquid methane has a density of .454 kg/L so that's ~- 2.89 million kg or about 3000 metric tons a day.

Given that between natural and anthropogenic sources the planet produces about 300 million metric tons of methane a year, we're looking at an additional 0.4% increase to global methane, now maybe we're that close to the tipping point that knocks us into Armageddon, but if we are, well, we're fucked anyway.

This is not to try and minimize the impact upon the gulf, or downplay how serious a disaster this is, just to say the notions of this being a trigger for a planetary scale catastrophe seem far fetched to me.

Patrick Lang


But how did you know she is Brazilian? Amazing! And a happy Caipirinha Pinga to you! pl

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