Giant Plumes of Oil Forming Under the Gulf
So read the headline in the NYTimes, as BP’s latest solution to the oil-hemorrhage failed, and the counting of how many barrels of oil have been leaked into the Gulf leaped exponentially, and the US government went hat in hand to British Petroleum to ask if they really really really would pay for all the damages done or would try to duck under the legally mandated 75 million cap written by an oil bought Congress, now hastily moving to bump the number up to 10 billion. As the scale of this disaster becomes ever more difficult to cover up, whether by BP, the oil industry in general, or the American government, the matter seeps back to the front pages just as it drifts into the tidelands and beaches of Dixie, with a harvest of dead fish, turtles, and a refinery smell wafting over New Orleans and Biloxi. Each few days British Petroleum spokespersons trot forth with the latest heroic measure – a “dome” to place over the major leak, which duly failed owing to deep-sea physics; a smaller, cutely named, “top hat” intended to work similarly and failing similarly; and the current endeavor, a 4 inch pipe inserted into the 21 inch one, to siphon away some of the flow, which failed twice and now alleged is working (and for which a little math suggests at optimum this would stanch the flow by perhaps 7%, but BP buries this in the numbers and claims a success. The follow-up solutions include a “junk-shot” in which they’d fill the top of the pipe with clogging garbage, or then a “top kill” in which mud and then concrete would be pumped by another drill into the well so that it rose to the top and permanently capped it. Throughout this event we’ve been treated to corporate double-speak, lying figures, while the BP chairman openly worries about salvaging the BP image. Recent statements seem to suggest the villain is the hero of the piece with BP belatedly scrambling for solutions that should have been at hand before they went drilling.
Where this will end remains obscured by some of former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s “unknown unknowns,” some clearly deliberately put in place by the self-interest of BP and its companions in this, Halliburton and Transocean, each parties to the processes that caused this all to happen. They were last sighted finger-pointing each other i Congress as they maintained a posture of innocence – a residue of the Bush days of maximum non-accountability? Meantime the rupture a mile below sea-level of a drilling probe sent another 12,000 feet underground bleeds eons old hydrocarbon deposits, ancient marshes, forests, turned under the earth in a profoundly deep geological process. In an equally profoundly shallow manner many of those most stridently in support of the Palin-GOP mantra of “drill, baby, drill” (gone silent of late), claim not to believe the world older than 6,000 years, and think god cleverly placed these little bon bons of hydrocarbon balloons under the earth just for our benefit, disguising it all in a massive display of trickery so that logically it would appear to be the end result of an on-going 7 billion year old process.
The headline at the start of this was about a deep-sea pod of oil, 10 miles long, 8 miles wide, and 300 feet in thickness discovered by scientists not in the employ of BP, suggesting the spillage is far greater than BP has indicated, and that perhaps most the oil is not rising to the surface. This may be because of dispersants injected by BP into the flow at the mouth of the leak. BP has not yet acknowledged the data. Click the below for a BP to worst-case scenario on how much oil has been spilled so far:
Last note, telling of the times: Transocean, the owners of the actual drilling rig which was leased by BP, and for which, as a hired expert in the process, Halliburton was working for, says it is a Swiss company, and indeed its headquarters are in Zurich. However this is purely a tax-dodge matter as only a handful of Transocean employees work there, and some hundreds are based in oi-town Houston. Ah, the loyalties of our corporate masters.