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Oil Well Disaster

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#1 Bingo

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 08:30 AM

I suppose that Canadians are rethinking their policies on offshore drilling, in light of the recent disaster that is spewing thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

All the more reason to get on with the Site C dam project as a form of relatively clean energy.

#2 Bernard

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 09:50 AM

Given the thousands of oil rigs in the region of the blowout, it is a testament to how well they work that there have been very few blowouts.

The volume of oil that is coming out is in the bigger picture not that much, the blowout would have to left open for more than four years to equal the Exxon Valdez spill.

In January there was an oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico that spilled the equivilant to 50 days of the current blow out.

Globally, the oil leakage from ships has been a much bigger source of ocean oil than headline oil spills in almost every year.

It sucks that this is happening, but it is hopefully not a long term thing, though the 1979/80 Ixtoc 1 in the Gulf of Mexico blowout went on for 10 months and spilled close to a 1/2 million barrels of oil, 12-13 Exxon Valdez spills.

In general, the number and size of oil spills globally has been falling even though volumes of offshore oil and global oil transport has risen dramatically.

As to Site C, it will do more damage environmental damage than all the run of the river projects built and proposed in BC, several times more. Site C - 14,000 acres flooded - Plutonic Power Bute Inlet - less than 50 acres flooded. Plutonic's project will produce 2/3s the power of Site C.

Site C will not make it through the environmental assessment process because BC Hydro will not be able to come up with a way to mitigate the loss of the land flooded.

#3 Bingo

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 12:13 PM

Site C will not make it through the environmental assessment process because BC Hydro will not be able to come up with a way to mitigate the loss of the land flooded.

I too am concerned about the loss of farmland, however until we make better use of the farmland we have now, the the site C dam process will be flawed. There seems to be ways for developers or land owners to keep sneaking tracts of land out of the Agricultural Land Reserve. There is a recent case of 14 hectares being removed in Langford, with more land still being considered.

As to the oil spills, I don't believe there is a formula for what is acceptable. If this was happening off the west coast of Vancouver Island, I don't think any amount would be acceptable.

#4 victorian fan

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 12:14 PM

Canada wants to insure any oil wells in the Arctic include secondary relief wells.

#5 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 12:23 PM

Honestly, it's just easier for the west to keep buying oil from Arab countries, African ones, or Venezuela than actually bothering with our own reserves. Those places have no environmental concerns (they might if they had democracies), so why not just take their oil. Venezuela hates the US (or say they do at every occasion someone will listen), but they still sell them oil willingly and the US still buys it willingly (See Chinese imports of just about everything to the US for a similar situation).

As for Site C, try comparing the environmental impact to the Three Gorges, but don't try finding info on the Wikipedia site, obviously the Chinese have people updating it more often than the western environmentalists, it looks like a heck of a sweet project from the view presented there.

#6 Bernard

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 02:31 PM

In the BC Environmental Assessment process the impacts to the environment are measured and then the proponent has to come up with how they will mitigate the impact. I can not for the life me figure out what possible mitigation that they will propose.

This land also has to be removed from the ALR before it is flooded. The current govt created a set of regional panels. I can not imagine the northern panel being in favour of removing the land from the ALR.

In any case, the impact of site C is much, much higher than the run of the river projects in BC. It is also an expensive public sector cost, the IPPs are all privately funded.

As to the odds of a oil spill on the coast of BC from offshore oil is low, very low. Yes, something could happen, but it is highly unlikely. There is a much bigger impact globally from oil projects in developing countries.

#7 LJ

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 07:13 PM

Don't the run of the river projects get artificially high prices for their production, ie double what we pay otherwise?
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#8 Bingo

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 10:15 PM

A US Coast Guard official says if leaks from an oil well in the Gulf of Mexico are not stemmed soon, they could cause one of the worst spills in US history.
Rear Adm Mary Landry, who is in charge of the government clean-up effort, said work on sealing the leaks using several robotic submersibles could take months. The leak is 5000 feet below the surface, and the slick now covers about 28,000 square miles.

About 1,000 barrels (42,000 gallons) of oil a day are gushing into the sea.


1991: 520m gallons were deliberately released from Iraqi oil tankers during the first Gulf War to impede the US invasion
1979: 140m gallons were spilt over nine months after a well blow-out in the Bay of Campeche off Mexico's coast
1979: 90m gallons leaked from a Greek oil tanker after it collided with another ship off the coast of Trinidad
1983: 80m gallons leaked into the Gulf over several months after a tanker collided with a drilling platform
1989: 11m gallons were spilt into Alaska's Prince William Sound in the Exxon Valdez disaster


#9 Bernard

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 06:43 AM

Don't the run of the river projects get artificially high prices for their production, ie double what we pay otherwise?

Run of the river get about what we pay for power, or less. Keep in mind the contracts are long term and the price is guaranteed. Our rates rise, what the IPPs will not. The run of the river power in BC is the cheapest green power out there, if the companies were not forced to sell to BC Hydro, they could sell there power for about twice as much in the US. Frankly, BC Hydro is getting a screaming deal for this power, not other utility in North America is getting this sort of affordable long term access to the greenest power available.

If you look to Ontario, there they are willing to pay up to 100 times the market rate for some green power. The same is true in some parts of the states. Wind power in BC need a much higher rate than what BC Hydro will pay, this is why only one wind farm is in operation in BC. Because Alberta pays so much more for power, they can afford to buy wind power.

Meanwhile, here in BC where we are served by BC Hydro we get an artificially low price for our electrical power. If we were charged something that reflected the value of the power, we would be paying close to double what we pay now. A 50% rise would still leave us with power cheaper than all of our neighbours

BC Hydro rates will have to rise significantly if Site C is built to cover the cost of building the dam. The interest charges on the debt for the dam alone will add about $200 a year in costs per household in BC (this is based on a final borrowing of $10,000,000,000 for the dam and a 4% interest rate)

If we even just charged what the people in BC that are served by Fortis, a private for profit company serving BC from Kelowna to the Alberta border, we would have rates high enough that a lot more people would conserve power.

#10 Bingo

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 11:00 AM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Crews have set fire to an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, something that may never have been tried before off the U.S. coast.
It's a last-ditch effort to stop the spill from reaching the Louisiana coastline 20 miles away, which contains 40% of the nations wetlands and spawning grounds for countless fish and birds.


Enlarge Unified Command Center This graphic shows the location of the oil sheen produced after the drilling rig exploded and sank.

#11 victorian fan

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 01:39 PM

I was working in England at the time of the he Torrey Canyon supertanker disaster.
What a mess!

#12 Bingo

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 06:33 AM

April 29 (Bloomberg) -- A damaged BP Plc oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is leaking as many as 5,000 barrels of crude a day, five times more than previous estimates as the oil slick drifted the closest yet to shore, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

BP and federal officials have identified a third leak from the well and related piping, said Erik Swanson, a Coast Guard spokesman. The edge of the spill was 16 miles (26 kilometers) from Louisiana at 8 p.m. local time yesterday, David Mosley, a spokesman for the spill response command, said this morning.

At that rate of leakage, by the third week in June it will exceed the 260,000 barrels the Exxon Valdez spilled in Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1984. BP has been unable to shut valves at the top of the well and said a permanent seal may take three months. It plans to begin drilling another well to stop the leak as early as tomorrow.

A forecast map posted online last night showed landfall possible by 6 p.m. local time tomorrow near the mouths of the Mississippi River. Heavier oil may appear on the coasts if winds continue out of the southeast.


#13 Holden West

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 07:09 AM

What happens with the oil they skim off?


A lot of things, from powering your car, to brick ovens, to growing mushrooms.
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#14 Bingo

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 10:59 PM

CNN) -- A 120-mile oil slick advanced to within a few miles of the mouth of the Mississippi River on Thursday as authorities scrambled to keep the spill from damaging wetlands along the Gulf of Mexico.
The slick was about three miles off the Louisiana coast on Thursday night, according to Coast Guard spokesman Shawn Eggert.

"For birds, the timing could not be worse; they are breeding, nesting and especially vulnerable in many of the places where the oil could come ashore," said Melanie Driscoll, director of bird conservation for the Louisiana Coastal Initiative.

Wednesday night, the Coast Guard and NOAA raised their estimate of the amount of oil the damaged well was pouring into the Gulf to 210,000 gallons a day, or about 5,000 barrels.

An effort to burn off part of the oil slick on Wednesday destroyed about 100 barrels, said Doug Suttles, chief operating officer of BP. But the technique "clearly worked," and larger burns are planned when weather conditions make them possible.


#15 Bingo

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 06:02 AM

Worrisome new images

Most disconcerting was new evidence that the oil slick over the water's surface appeared to triple in size over the past two days, indicating a possible increase in the rate that oil is spewing from the well.

An analysis of images collected from satellites and reviewed by the University of Miami found that while it's hard to judge the volume of leaking oil by satellite because of depth, it does show an indication of change in growth, an expert said.

"The spill and the spreading is getting so much faster and expanding much quicker than they estimated," said Hans Graber, executive director of the university's Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing. "Clearly, in the last couple of days, there was a big change in the size."

Oil industry experts and officials are reluctant to describe what, exactly, a worst-case scenario would look like — but if the oil gets into the Gulf Stream and carries it to the beaches of Florida, it stands to be an environmental and economic disaster of epic proportions.

The Deepwater Horizon well is at the end of one branch of the Gulf Stream, the warm-water current that flows from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Atlantic. Several experts said that if the oil enters the stream, it would flow around the southern tip of Florida and up the eastern seaboard.

"It will be on the east coast of Florida in almost no time," Graber said. "I don't think we can prevent that. It's more of a question of when rather than if."
The oil spill is already threatening the Gulf Coast seafood industry, one of the largest in the world.
Casi Callaway, executive director of the environmental group Mobile Baykeeper, told CNN that oil is covering shrimp and oyster beds, where the shellfish are only now hatching after a cold winter.
"Sixty-nine per cent of the oysters and 70 per cent of the shrimp, domestically generated, come from Apalachicola Bay in Florida to Louisiana," she said.
With the wind blowing from the south, the mess could reach the coasts of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.


#16 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 08:00 AM

April 30 (Doomberg) -- Peel-and-Eat Shrimp futures advanced in New York and London on signs that the oil spill-related environmental crisis in the gulf region may be worsening.

The Shrimp and Crawfish Index rose as much as 9.7 percent, making dollar-denominated shrimp assets more expensive.

The American Culinary Commission is asking chefs around the country to reduce the number of specials that contain gulf shrimp, although they are confident that the cleanup operation is well underway. The Red Lobster chain of restaurants, which accounts for about 10 percent of US shrimp consumption, has announced that it will stop selling its morbidly obese customers 85 fried shrimp for $2.99.

A spokeperson from The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co declined comment, before running across the country several times to clear his head.



#17 Bingo

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 09:46 PM

...requires a plan.

Plan A

The blowout preventer is an apparatus that sits on top of the well, and when activated shuts off the supply of oil. BP claims this should have happened automatically. It didn't.

Workers tried to activate the device manually before the rig sank. They couldn't.

Crews are still trying to activate the blowout preventer 5000 feet below the surface using remote underwater vehicles. Good Luck.

Plan B

Capturing the oil from the leaks using a containment chamber is next. However these chambers were not ready to go, and needed to be designed and constructed. The chamber would be lowered to cover the leaks and the oil piped to a ship on the surface. This method has been used before in shallow water, but never at this depth. The system is estimated to be ready to go in three to four weeks. I guess none of these people were former boy scouts?

Plan C

Drill a relief well. Regardless of whether crews can get the blowout preventer to work, a permanent seal will be necessary. A relief well is drilled at an angle to intercept the first well. Once contact has been made, concrete is used to cap the first well. BP has received a permit for the relief well, but says it will take two to three months to drill. By then the Gulf Stream will likely be despersing the slick all the way to the Grand Banks.

Plan D ...

... is a plan for disaster, and it appears we are already there.

Tell that to the turtles, and your children!

#18 Bingo

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 06:40 AM

The Times Square bomber scare seems to be gathering much media attention, because it could be related to a potential terrorist attack. This story is big, even though the bomb didn't go off.


The oil rig did go off, and any evidence of sabotage, or yes "terrorism", is now laying 5000 feet down.

#19 Bingo

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 06:55 PM

Arnold terminates support for offshore drilling project in California.

LOS ANGELES – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's surprise decision to pull support for a proposal to expand oil drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara County effectively killed any short-term prospects for the project.
Now, it appears the chances of reviving the proposal may not improve even after Schwarzenegger leaves office next year.
Gubernatorial candidates most likely to replace Schwarzenegger also oppose the project by Plains Exploration & Production, also known as PXP.

In addition, public support for offshore drilling has eroded amid a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

#20 Bingo

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 10:34 PM

The Worst Major Oil Spills in History

1. Arabian Gulf/Kuwait - January 19, 1991
Location: Persian Gulf, Kuwait
Amount of Oil Spilled: 380-520 million gallons

Ironically, the worst oil spill in human history wasn't the result of an accident. During the Gulf War, Iraqi forces, attempting to thwart a potential landing of American soldiers, opened the valves at an offshore oil terminal and dumped oil from several tankers. The oil they released created a 4-inch thick oil slick that covered 4000 square miles. To put it in perspective, that's enough oil to cover the entire state of Rhode Island one foot deep in oil.

How does the Exxon Valdez oil spill rank in comparison?When the Exxon Valdez ran aground on March 24, 1989 off the coast of Alaska, it spilled 10.8 million gallons of oil along 1100 miles of Alaskan coast. The spill could have been much worse - the Valdez was carrying 53 million gallons.

In terms of sheer volume, the Exxon Valdez spill ranks as the 35th worst oil spill in history. As frightening as that spill was, it's even more frightening to consider that there are 34 oil spills even worse.

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