Home > Earth > Gulf Coast Oil Spill- Catastrophic Potential

Gulf Coast Oil Spill- Catastrophic Potential

AP/NASA satellite photo of the Gulf Coast Oil Spill taken Thursday 4/29

As the oil slick from the exploded BP offshore rig begins seeping its way into the Lousiana bayous and shoreline- the worst-case scenario is mind-boggling; four times the Exxon Valdez- per week.

This isn’t the contents of one oil tanker.  This is a well drawing oil on a continual basis.

Here’s a web site with an article that explains what could occur:

The worst-case scenario for the broken and leaking well gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico would be the loss of the wellhead currently restricting the flow to 5,000 barrels —  or 210,000 gallons  per day.

If the wellhead is lost, oil could leave the well at a much greater rate, perhaps up to 150,000 barrels — or more than 6 million gallons per day — based on government data showing daily production at another deepwater Gulf well.

By comparison, the ExxonValdez spill was 11 million gallons total. The Gulf spill could end up dumping the equivalent of four ExxonValdez spills per week.

“Typically, a very good well in the Gulf can produce 30,000 barrels a day, but that’s under control. I have no idea what an uncontrolled release could be,” said Stephen Sears, chairman of the petroleum engineering department at Louisiana State University.

In what is described as one of the worst ecological disasters in history, remnants of the Exxon Valdez spill are still being cleaned up and the accident occured on March 24,1989- more than 21 years ago.  Four times bigger, every week is a disaster of indescribably epic proportions that could affect the Gulf Coast for generations.

Again, this is the worst-case scenario.  There are wildly conflicting numbers right now on how big this spill is.  The days ahead will tell the tale.

Compared to the ecological damage already occuring, much less possible- the following point is minor.  But, really, imagine being the member of the Obama adminstration who convinced the President a couple of weeks ago to propose opening up more of the U.S. coastline for off-shore drilling?  As of this writing Friday at noon, Obama is still behind the proposal.  But it’s getting harder to sell by the minute.

UPDATE: The web site linked to above is now claiming there is a classified government document that was sent around Wednesday that mentions fears that this situation with the oil rig may well become an unchecked gusher. Here is their latest.

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