Patterico's Pontifications


BP Oil Spill may be Twice as Big

Filed under: Environment,Obama — DRJ @ 8:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Researchers claim the BP oil spill could be twice as big as originally thought — up to 100 million barrels of oil. Remember in 2006 when candidate Obama said oil isn’t the answer to America’s energy problems?

“It would be nice if we could produce our way out of this problem, but it’s just not possible. We only have 3% of the world’s oil reserves.”

This is a glass half full, glass half empty moment. The Deepwater Horizon production estimates suggest this may be a big reservoir. Eventually someone will produce that oil, if not for America then for China, India or somewhere else. Wouldn’t it be better if we solve this problem and produce the oil for the American market, instead of imposing a moratorium and demonizing the oil industry that fuels America’s economy?

But if you really, really can’t stand the thought of offshore drilling, why not open up the bonanza of oil and gas on federal lands? (Just don’t let BP be the operator.)



Going Dutch

Filed under: Environment,Government — DRJ @ 10:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

What Obama should have done after the BP Oil Spill:

“Three days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch government offered to help.

It was willing to provide ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms, and it proposed a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands.

The response from the Obama administration and BP, which are coordinating the cleanup: “The embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’” said Geert Visser, consul general for the Netherlands in Houston.

Now, almost seven weeks later, as the oil spewing from the battered well spreads across the Gulf and soils pristine beaches and coastline, BP and our government have reconsidered.”

The Obama Administration also turned down Dutch plans and assistance to dredge sand bars to protect fragile coastlines, plans it is now trying to implement. And unlike the American government, the Dutch government actually has a plan:

“Many in the U.S., including the president, have expressed frustration with the handling of the cleanup. In the Netherlands, the response would have been different, Visser said.

There, the government owns the cleanup equipment, including the skimmers now being deployed in the Gulf.

“If there’s a spill in the Netherlands, we give the oil companies 12 hours to react,” he said.

If the response is inadequate or the companies are unprepared, the government takes over and sends the companies the bill.”

Nothing beats American manpower and ingenuity when it gets started, but it sure is hard to get started.



Capping the Spill

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 12:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The AP says the latest capping effort may be capturing a quarter or up to half of the oil but with oil staining the coast from Louisiana to Florida, the image of the leak has shifted to oil-stained beaches and oil-covered birds.

I don’t like to see those photos because they really are haunting.



BP Live Feeds, Interrupted?

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 4:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s my understanding that BP is using 6 robots with 2 live feeds each to monitor the Deepwater Horizon wellsite. BP’s website says the feeds “are live streams and may freeze or be unavailable from time to time.” I watch the feeds now and then and they’ve been available with few interruptions. I don’t recall any time when all the feeds were unavailable as they are now.

I wonder if this is a coincidence, normal maintenance, a routine interruption, or if something is happening.

UPDATE: Never mind. Some are back and a few have good resolution, too.


The Deepwater Horizon Interest Owners

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 1:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. reportedly owns a 25% non-operating interest in BP’s Deepwater Horizon well. In general, a non-operating interest is a passive interest where the owner doesn’t have authority to make decisions regarding how the Operator (in this case, BP) drills the well.

Non-operating interest owners can profit from a good well but they lose their investment if a well is dry. But wells like the Deepwater Horizon are a nightmare for non-operating interest owners: The blowout and resulting damage has already cost Anadarko and the other interest owners billions in market value and the decision to invest in BP’s well may very well impact Anadarko’s future.

So this is bad news for Houston companies like Anadarko but if these legal cases are consolidated in a Houston court, it will keep several Houston law firms busy.



Brainstorming the BP Oil Spill

Filed under: Environment,Obama — DRJ @ 6:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Obama Administration has seriously called on James Cameron to help resolve the BP Oil Spill:

“Federal officials have called on director James Cameron to help stop the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to The Associated Press. The “Titanic” and “Avatar” director spent Tuesday in Washington brainstorming about the spill, and brought some engineer and techie friends with him, one source says.”

Who should the White House call — ExxonMobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, Anadarko and Marathon, who with BP are some the largest offshore drillers in the Gulf? Or James Cameron, the director of the movie Titanic? Only a Democrat would pick Cameron.


Dying Gulf Coast Marine Life

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 11:01 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The New York Daily News reports on the dying marine life:

“Here’s what President Obama didn’t see when he visited the Gulf Coast: a dead dolphin rotting in the shore weeds.

“When we found this dolphin it was filled with oil. Oil was just pouring out of it. It was the saddest darn thing to look at,” said a BP contract worker who took the Daily News on a surreptitious tour of the wildlife disaster unfolding in Louisiana.

His motive: simple outrage.

“There is a lot of coverup for BP. They specifically informed us that they don’t want these pictures of the dead animals. They know the ocean will wipe away most of the evidence. It’s important to me that people know the truth about what’s going on here,” the contractor said.

“The things I’ve seen: They just aren’t right. All the life out here is just full of oil. I’m going to show you what BP never showed the President.”
BP’s central role in the disaster cleanup has apparently given the company a lot of latitude in keeping the press away from beaches where the oil is thickest.

On Monday, a Daily News team was escorted away from a public beach on Elmer’s Island bycops who said they were taking orders from BP.

BP spokesman Toby Odone denied the company is trying to hide the environmental damage; he noted BP has organized press visits to the spill zone and said BP cannot tell cops what to do.”

Unfortunately the leak may continue for months. Current efforts to stop the flow have hit a snag — the blade cutting the riser is stuck — while the oil is drifting toward the beaches of the Florida Panhandle.



Obama Distances Himself From BP

Filed under: Environment,Obama — DRJ @ 11:59 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama distanced himself from BP and its oil spill today, and even suggested the possibility of criminal charges:

“President Barack Obama on Tuesday used the strongest language yet to suggest that BP could face charges in connection with the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig and the resulting oil spill, saying if any laws were broken, “my solemn pledge is that we will bring those responsible to justice.”
Several Senate Democrats have urged the administration to consider criminal charges against BP. In a letter sent last month, eight members of the Environment and Public Works Committee asked Attorney General Eric Holder to probe whether BP made “false and misleading statements to the federal government regarding its ability to respond to oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico.”

“In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it does not in any way appear that there was ‘proven equipment and technology’ to respond to the spill, which could have tragic consequences for local economies and the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico,” said the letter from Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

Holder is in the Gulf Tuesday visiting the area affected by the spill and meeting with U.S. attorneys. He is expected to make a statement at 3:30 p.m.”

Obama has also named a commission to investigate the spill to be chaired by former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham (Fla.) and William Reilly, the Republican former head of the Environmental Protection Agency. My forecast is the report will throw BP, and possibly the entire offshore drilling industry, under the bus.



Greenwashing BP

Filed under: Environment,Politics — DRJ @ 1:26 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Next Right looks at BP’s Democratic bedfellows:

“One of the top media consultants for British Petroleum gave free rent to a politician who became White House Chief of Staff.

And, no, this was not Karl Rove giving a freebie to Andy Card.

No, the recipient of the favor was Rahm Emanuel and the benefactor was Stanley Greenberg.

Stanley Greenberg is an interesting guy. He is married to CT Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Grrenberg is the principal of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a large polling and public relations firm. They do both political campaign work and “corporate communications” work.

The DCCC has paid Greenberg’s firm in excess of $500,000 during the 2006 and 2008 election cycles. They are also Dick Blumenthal’s pollster.

But let’s look at the corporate side, where Mr. Greenberg promises to “help corporations increase competitiveness and profitability, improve reputation, and take advantage of global trends.”

Who are they helping? British Petroleum.”

Read the whole thing.



Top Kill Failed? (Updated: Apparently So)

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 11:51 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

BP hasn’t made an official announcement but the New York Times reports a technician confirms BP has stopped pumping mud and is trying to plug the hole with junk:

“BP engineers failed again to plug the gushing oil well on Saturday, a technician working on the project said, representing yet another setback in a series of unsuccessful procedures the company has tried a mile under the sea to stem the flow spreading into the Gulf of Mexico.

BP made a third attempt at what is termed the “junk shot” Friday night, a procedure that involves pumping odds and ends like plastic cubes, knotted rope, and golf balls into the blowout preventer, the five-story safety device atop the well. The maneuver is complementary to the heavily scrutinized effort known as a “top kill,”which began four days ago and involves pumping heavy mud into the well to counteract the push of the escaping oil. If the well is sealed, the company plans to then fill it with cement.

The technician working on the project said Saturday pumping has again been halted and a review of the data so far is under way. “Right now, I would not be optimistic,” the technician, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly about the effort. But he added, that if another attempt at the junk shot were to succeed, “that would turn things around.”

It looks like a lot of oil gushing out on the live feed. My guess is BP is pinning its hopes on the relief well.


UPDATE: The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports BP will announce today that the top kill measure failed:

“A source told The Times-Picayune that officials would announce the failure of the top kill option at a 4 p.m. Saturday briefing in Robert .

BP is expected to announce that it will move on to its next option, known as LMRP. The procedure involves cutting off the failed, leaking riser at the top of the Lower Marine Riser Package on the blowout preventer to get a clean-cut surface on the pipe.

Then the company will install a cap with a sealing grommet that would be connected to a new riser from the Discoverer Enterprise drillship, with the hopes of capturing most of the oil and gas flowing from the well.”

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