Wednesday 27th of October 2021

oil slick...


The US Coast Guard is investigating reports that oil has started washing ashore on the Gulf Coast from a leaking offshore well.

Up to 5,000 barrels of oil a day are thought to be spilling into the water after last week's explosion on a BP-operated rig, which then sank.

President Barack Obama has pledged "every single available resource" to help.

The US navy has been deployed to help avert a looming environmental disaster.

The US Coast Guard said it had sent investigators to confirm whether crude oil had begun to wash up on parts of the Louisiana shoreline.


"This is a very, very big thing," said David Kennedy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

He told the Associated Press news agency that the clean-up efforts could be "mind-boggling".


the destroyers .....

more Gus .....

The US military has joined efforts to stop an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico as fears rise about its scale.

Five times as much oil as previously thought could be leaking from the well beneath where a rig exploded and sank last week, US officials said earlier.

The slick is 45 miles (72km) by 105 miles (169km) - almost the size of Jamaica - and heading for the US coast.

A third leak has been discovered, and a fire-fighting expert said the disaster may become the biggest oil spill ever.

"Probably the only thing comparable to this is the Kuwait fires [following the Gulf War in 1991]," Mike Miller, head of Canadian oil well fire-fighting company Safety Boss, told the BBC World Service.

"The Exxon Valdez [tanker disaster off Alaska in 1989] is going to pale [into insignificance] in comparison to this as it goes on."

Gulf Coast Oil Spill: 'Exxon Valdez Is Going to Pale in Comparison to This'

closer-up .....

British Petroleum had a fail-safe system for it's Deepwater Horizon floating deep-water drilling rig. You know, the one that blew up and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, leaving a tangled spaghetti pile of 22-inch steel pipe one mile long, all balled up on the sea floor a mile below the surface, and that is leaking oil at 42,000 gallons per day ... so far.

The thing is, the fail-safe system, about the size of a McMansion sitting at the wellhead on the ocean floor, um, failed. It didn't collapse and shut off the flow of oil as intended, and it could take months now to shut the well down - during which time the leak rate is likely to increase to up to 300,000 gallons per day, or over two million gallons a week.

Murphy's Law and the Stupidity of Obama's Drill, Drill, Drill Offshore Oil Policy

and don't forget BP's just announced record profit ..... 

spills and shortages of black gold...

From the Independent


Jeremy Leggett, like Dr Campbell, is a geologist-turned conservationist whose book Half Gone: Oil, Gas, Hot Air and the Global Energy Crisis brought " peak oil" theory to a wider audience. He compares industry and government reluctance to face up to the impending end of oil, to climate change denial.

"It reminds me of the way no one would listen for years to scientists warning about global warming," he says. "We were predicting things pretty much exactly as they have played out. Then as now we were wondering what it would take to get people to listen."

In 1999, Britain's oil reserves in the North Sea peaked, but for two years after this became apparent, Mr Leggett claims, it was heresy for anyone in official circles to say so. "Not meeting demand is not an option. In fact, it is an act of treason," he says.

One thing most oil analysts agree on is that depletion of oil fields follows a predictable bell curve. This has not changed since the Shell geologist M King Hubbert made a mathematical model in 1956 to predict what would happen to US petroleum production. The Hubbert Curveshows that at the beginning production from any oil field rises sharply, then reaches a plateau before falling into a terminal decline. His prediction that US production would peak in 1969 was ridiculed by those who claimed it could increase indefinitely. In the event it peaked in 1970 and has been in decline ever since.

In the 1970s Chris Skrebowski was a long-term planner for BP. Today he edits the Petroleum Review and is one of a growing number of industry insiders converting to peak theory. "I was extremely sceptical to start with," he now admits. "We have enough capacity coming online for the next two-and-a-half years. After that the situation deteriorates."




The US administration has banned oil drilling in new areas of the US coast while the cause of the oil spill off Louisiana is investigated.

White House adviser David Axelrod told ABC TV it wanted to know exactly what led to last week's explosion on the BP-operated rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

As many as 5,000 barrels of oil a day are thought to be spilling into the water, threatening US coastal areas.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency on Friday.

The order, which covers Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay and Gulf counties, says the oil slick "is generally moving in a northerly direction and threatens Florida's coast".




British energy giant BP says it will pay for legitimate claims stemming from the disaster.

A BP spokesman in London, Toby Odone, says the company will take full responsibility for the cost of the clean-up.

"We are, as the responsible party, taking responsibility for the environmental consequences of that accident," he said.

"We are fully committed to taking all possible steps to contain the spread of the oil spill."

BP spokesman Andrew Gowers says the company is ramping up its response.

"As the oil comes close to the shore, we are ramping up another major operation on shore to clean up any damage that will be taking place there," he said.

"Today we have made a pledge to the people of the affected areas that legitimate claims for damage, economic damage, we will pay, we will honour."


surprise, surprise .....

British Petroleum (BP) has knowingly broken federal laws and violated its own internal procedures by failing to maintain crucial safety and engineering documents related to one of the firms other deepwater production projects in the Gulf of Mexico, a former contractor who worked for the oil behemoth claimed in internal emails llast year and other documents obtained by Truthout.

The whistleblower, whose name has been withheld at the person's request because the whistleblower still works in the oil industry and fears retaliation, first raised concerns about safety issues related to BP Atlantis, the world's largest and deepest semi-submersible oil and natural gas platform, located about 200 miles south of New Orleans, in November 2008. Atlantis, which began production in October 2007, has the capacity to produce about 8.4 million gallons of oil and 180 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Comments for Whistleblower: BP Risks More Massive Catastrophes in Gulf

Oh, & by the way, Exxon still hasn't coughed-up the readies as a result of the Exxon Valdez disaster more than 15 years later .... a pox on all their houses.

out of the frying pan .....

The chemicals BP is now relying on to break up the steady flow of leaking oil from deep below the Gulf of Mexico could create a new set of environmental problems.

Even if the materials, called dispersants, are effective, BP has already bought up more than a third of the world's supply. If the leak from 5,000 feet beneath the surface continues for weeks, or months, that stockpile could run out.

On Thursday BP began using the chemical compounds to dissolve the crude oil, both on the surface and deep below, deploying an estimated 100,000 gallons. Dispersing the oil is considered one of the best ways to protect birds and keep the slick from making landfall. But the dispersants contain harmful toxins of their own and can concentrate leftover oil toxins in the water, where they can kill fish and migrate great distances.

The exact makeup of the dispersants is kept secret under competitive trade laws, but a worker safety sheet for one product, called Corexit, says it includes 2-butoxyethanol, a compound associated with headaches, vomiting and reproductive problems at high doses.

"There is a chemical toxicity to the dispersant compound that in many ways is worse than oil," said Richard Charter, a foremost expert on marine biology and oil spills who is a senior policy advisor for Marine Programs for Defenders of Wildlife and is chairman of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. "It's a trade off - you're damned if you do damned if you don't -- of trying to minimize the damage coming to shore, but in so doing you may be more seriously damaging the ecosystem offshore."

BP did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

Chemicals Meant To Break Up BP Oil Spill Present New Environmental Concerns - ProPublica

trans who?

Federal officials gave a sobering appraisal of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill Sunday, with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar saying "ultimate relief" was 90 days away.

Federal officials speaking about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill Sunday morning appeared to be steeling the Louisiana coast - and the nation - for consequences that could be "catastrophic."

The officials, who run the agencies charged with mitigating the impact of the spill on America's Gulf coast, used unusually stark words to describe the situation and the difficulties of the remedy.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said it was the federal government's job to "keep the boot on the neck of BP," which is running the cleanup effort.

Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen called the bid to shut down a wellhead spewing at least 210,000 gallons of oil a day from nearly a mile beneath the ocean surface "one of the most complex things we've every done."

Comments for  Current Timeline to Shut Down Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Three Months

the price of ignorance .....

The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is now about the size of Puerto Rico. It's already reached the marshes of Louisiana. Oil-covered wildlife are starting to show up along the shores. Shrimp, fish and oyster harvest areas have been closed.

Residents of Mississippi and Alabama are just waiting for the oil to hit.

As environmental calamity for the Gulf Coast appears imminent, GlobalPost looks at 10 other man-made environmental disasters - both forgotten and infamous - that could have been prevented.

The Ten Worst Man-Made Environmental Disasters

as for BP .....

British Petroleum will get the full Washington treatment over the next few weeks, with a series of congressional hearings, demands for documents and calls for punitive legislation in wake of a devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Three House committees, including Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources and Oversight have scheduled hearings. A select House committee that deals with global warming has called on executives from five major oil companies to testify. And three Democratic senators introduced legislation which would raise liability caps on oil companies from $75 million to $10 billion. Republicans, meanwhile, want to turn the focus back on the federal government, with one top House Republican calling for an investigation of the Minerals Management Service, which oversees offshore drilling.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Tuesday is chairing a members-only briefing for the energy and environment and investigations subcommittees at 2 p.m. with BP and Transocean officials. Dave Rainey, BP's vice president for Gulf of Mexico production, will be patched in from the Gulf, while both companies will have D.C. staffers on hand.

BP lobbyists in Washington will certainly be busy, as angry lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pushing for answers on an explosion that has roiled the fishing industry and raised questions about the Obama administration's new push for off-shore drilling. Top BP executives were meeting Monday afternoon with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. 

Congress Turns Up Heat on BP

but hang on, BP says it's not their responsibility .... It's all a matter for the Swiss company Transocean ..... Transocean Ltd

fishy oil...

bad oil "not so bad"?...

“The sky is not falling,” said Quenton R. Dokken, a marine biologist and the executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, a conservation group in Corpus Christi, Tex. “We’ve certainly stepped in a hole and we’re going to have to work ourselves out of it, but it isn’t the end of the Gulf of Mexico.”

Engineers said the type of oil pouring out is lighter than the heavy crude spilled by the Exxon Valdez, evaporates more quickly and is easier to burn. It also appears to respond to the use of dispersants, which break up globs of oil and help them sink. The oil is still capable of significant damage, particularly when it is churned up with water and forms a sort of mousse that floats and can travel long distances.

Jacqueline Savitz, a senior scientist at Oceana, a nonprofit environmental group, said that much of the damage was already taking place far offshore and out of sight of surveillance aircraft and research vessels.

“Some people are saying, It hasn’t gotten to shore yet so it’s all good,” she said. “But a lot of animals live in the ocean, and a spill like this becomes bad for marine life as soon as it hits the water. You have endangered sea turtles, the larvae of bluefin tuna, shrimp and crabs and oysters, grouper. A lot of these are already being affected and have been for 10 days. We’re waiting to see how bad it is at the shore, but we may never fully understand the full impacts on ocean life.”

The economic impact is as uncertain as the environmental damage. With several million gallons of medium crude in the water already, some experts are predicting wide economic harm. Experts at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies in Corpus Christi, for example, estimated that as much as $1.6 billion of annual economic activity and services — including effects on tourism, fishing and even less tangible services like the storm protection provided by wetlands — could be at risk.

“And that’s really only the tip of the iceberg,” said David Yoskowitz, who holds the endowed chair for socioeconomics at the institute. “It’s still early in the game, and there’s a lot of potential downstream impacts, a lot of multiplier impacts.”

But much of this damage could be avoided if the various tactics employed by BP and government technicians pay off in the coming days. The winds are dying down and the seas are calming, allowing for renewed skimming operations and possible new controlled burns of oil on the surface. BP technicians are trying to inject dispersants deep below the surface, which could reduce the impact on aquatic life. Winds and currents could move the globs of emulsified oil away from coastal shellfish breeding grounds.

The gulf is not a pristine environment and has survived both chronic and acute pollution problems before. Thousands of gallons of oil flow into the gulf from natural undersea well seeps every day, engineers say, and the scores of refineries and chemical plants that line the shore from Mexico to Mississippi pour untold volumes of pollutants into the water.

After the Ixtoc spill 31 years ago, the second-largest oil release in history, the gulf rebounded. Within three years, there was little visible trace of the spill off the Mexican coast, which was compounded by a tanker accident in the gulf a few months later that released 2.6 million additional gallons, experts said.

“The gulf is tremendously resilient,” said Dr. Dokken, the marine biologist. “But we’ve always got to ask ourselves how long can we keep heaping these insults on the gulf and having it bounce back. As a scientist, I have to say I just don’t know.”


meanwhile at the terminator factory:


from the BBC

California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has withdrawn his support for a plan to expand oil exploration off the state's coast.

He said the spill in the Gulf of Mexico had changed his mind about the safety of oil platforms in the Pacific Ocean.

Last year he pushed for more oil drilling off California's coastline.

But he said after seeing television pictures of the Gulf of Mexico spill he asked himself: "Why would we want to take that kind of risk?"

The state already knows the dangers of offshore drilling.

In 1969 a leak from an undersea well just six miles (9.6km) off the coast of Santa Barbara coated pristine beaches with oil and killed thousands of animals.

It led to a ban on new offshore development and helped galvanise the state's environmental lobby into the powerful voice it is today.

Governor Schwarzenegger - who has championed the green economy and environmental protection - angered many when he proposed new exploration as a way to raise $100m (£65.6m) towards the huge state budget deficit.

Now he says he would rather find another way to make up the money.

California was not part of President Barack Obama's recent proposal to increase offshore exploration.

And Governor Schwarzenegger's change of heart almost ensures no new drilling will be allowed in the state's waters.


from the NYT


The disaster’s implications for the energy plans recently announced by President Obama, including greatly expanded drilling off the Atlantic Coast, continued to mount on Tuesday. Sen. Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, predicted that those plans would be “dead on arrival” in Congress, according to wire reports. Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday morning, the senator also proposed greatly increasing the federal limit on oil companies’ financial liability for environmental disasters.

BP’s efforts to cope with the oil spill, caused by a fatal explosion and fire that destroyed a drilling rig about 50 miles offshore, have encountered criticism and problems on several fronts. Attempts to install a shutoff valve at the site of one of the leaks on Monday were thwarted by high winds and choppy seas, which also damaged miles of floating booms laid out in coastal waters to protect sections of vulnerable shoreline from Louisiana to northwestern Florida.

On Monday, lawyers representing environmental groups, workers from the oil rig and fishermen leveled fresh accusations against BP and two other companies, Transocean and Halliburton. BP leased the rig from Transocean, the owner and operator, and Halliburton provided several services on the rig, including cementing, a method of sealing a newly drilled well to control pressure from the oil and gas beneath.

At least one worker who was on the oil rig at the time of the explosion on April 20, and who handled company records for BP, said the rig had been drilling deeper than 22,000 feet into the sea bed, even though the company’s federal permit allowed it to drill only 18,000 to 20,000 feet deep, the lawyers said.


Gus: Halliburton?... wait for the next hurricane and an oil leak at the same time, plus an overflowing Mississippi... and a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon...

the usual suspect .....

Before the Exxon Valdez grounding, BP's Alyeska group claimed it had these full-time, oil spill response crews. Alyeska had hired Alaskan natives, trained them to drop from helicopters into the freezing water and set booms in case of emergency. Alyeska also certified in writing that a containment barge with equipment was within five hours sailing of any point in the Prince William Sound. Alyeska also told the state and federal government it had plenty of boom and equipment cached on Bligh Island.

But it was all a lie. On that March night in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez hit Bligh Reef in the Prince William Sound, the BP group had, in fact, not a lick of boom there.

And Alyeska had fired the natives who had manned the full-time response teams, replacing them with phantom crews, lists of untrained employees with no idea how to control a spill.

And that containment barge at the ready was, in fact, laid up in a drydock in Cordova, locked under ice, 12 hours away.

As a result, the oil from the Exxon Valdez, which could have and should have been contained around the ship, spread out in a sludge tide that wrecked 1,200 miles of shoreline.

And here we go again. Valdez goes Cajun.

Slick Operator: The BP I've Known Too Well

whoops .....

Last year the Obama administration granted oil giant BP a special exemption from a legal requirement that it produce a detailed environmental impact study on the possible effects of its Deepwater Horizon drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico, an article Wednesday in the Washington Post reveals.

Federal documents show that the Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) gave BP a "categorical exclusion" on April 6, 2009 to commence drilling with Deepwater Horizon even though it had not produced the impact study required by a law known as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The report would have included probable ecological consequences in the event of a spill.

The exemption came less than one month after BP had requested it in a March 10 "exploration plan" submitted to the MMS. The plan said that because a spill was "unlikely," no additional "mitigation measures other than those required by regulation and BP policy will be employed to avoid, diminish or eliminate potential impacts on environmental resources." BP also assured the MMS that any spill would not seriously hurt marine wildlife and that "due to the distance to shore (48 miles) and the response capabilities that would be implemented, no significant adverse impacts are expected."

Obama Sheltered BP's Deepwater Horizon Rig From Regulatory Requirement

looking for plan b .....

A first try at capping a ruptured pipe gushing oil deep in the Gulf of Mexico failed when ice crystals clogged a dome seen as the best hope of staving off a massive environmental disaster.

Officials said they have not yet given up hope of capping the leaks about 1500 metres below the surface which are hemorrhaging an estimated 210,000 barrels a day.

But they cautioned it will likely be several days before a solution is found.

"I wouldn't say it's failed yet," said Doug Suttles, chief operating officer for British energy giant BP, which is responsible for the cleanup.

"What we attempted to do last night didn't work because these hydrates plugged up the top of the dome."

Clearing out the slushy crystals is easy -- the 90-tonne chamber just has to be raised to warmer levels, Suttles told reporters on Saturday. Keeping the crystals out so that a pipe can be lowered into the dome to suck the oil to a waiting barge is another matter.

Engineers are looking at ways to heat the frigid water in the dome, among other options, and have moved the concrete and steel box to rest on the seabed about 200 metres away while they evaluate their options.

BP has already begun drilling relief wells to stem the flow, but it will take about three months for them to be operational.

Ice blocks bid to cap oil leak in Gulf of Mexico

oil spill - solution Gus.

Plan C




Gus: having built structures of more than 70 tonnes, and having invented oodles of technological solutions to urgent problems, including stuffed-up dishwaters and other clapped out white goods... may I humbly propose a solution Gus here.

It is becoming obvious that the engineers at BP were aware of crystalisation problem, due to expanding gas, so why did not they plan an extra element in their "box". Either a heating element or the geothermic solution in reverse such as sending high temperature steam down to the inside of the box via an insulated pipe inside or outside the oil collector pipe. Now it seems that placing such a pipe inside the collector pipe would be the easiest solution.

The sea pressure below is about 2250 psi... Steam pump pressure can reach more than 4000 psi on a small scale but there must be some large one available that could pump that much that far below. While the steam temperature would drop, even to liquify, it would still be hot enough to melt the hydrolised-methane crystals at 1500 metres down. Of course this would require high pressure resistant high temperature resistant hose...

That could be another engineering nightmare...

The next step would have been to make the box much heavier. But I know problem with cranes and stuff when moving 70 tonnes... I must say i was surprised that the box they built was not heavier to start with.That's why on my design I have placed ballast boxes in which weight would be added once the box is at the bottom.

here for what it's worth...


a short list of spills...

From Magnasorb

(providers of technological solutions to fix the oil spill industry)


Environmental events 1951- 2010
The events chronicled below are not comprehensive, nor conclusive. They merely indicate a steady increase towards a growing number of environmental events.

Discharges and events due to hostilities have not been included.

1951 200 tonnes of Uranium dust was discharged to atmosphere in Ohio, USA.

1956 Minamata, Japan. Mercury dumping started, the effects became obvious in 1959.

1957 Windscale (now Sellafield) accident, 35 dead.

1964 First appearance of foam in streams due to increased use of non-degradable detergents.

1966 Tanker 'Anne Mildred Brovig' spills 20,000 tonnes of oil in the North Sea.

1967 Tanker 'Torrey Canyon' broke up and released 118,000 tonnes of crude oil, 14,000 tonnes finding its way on the UK beaches.

1968 Witwater tanker spills 14,000 barrels of oil, just off the coast of Panama.

1968 First discoveries and fears about holes in the ozone layer.

1969 'Cuyahoga River' caught fire in the US, due to heavy oil pollution. Burning water caught popular imagination.

1969 Hamilton Trader spills 4000 barrels of oil off the coast of Liverpool, England

1970 Tanker ‘Arrow’ spills 77000 barrels of oil off the coast of Nova Scotia.

1971 Tanker ‘Wafra’ spills 22,000 barrels of oil off the coast of Africa.

1974 Dutch tanker Metulla spills 52,000 tonnes of crude oil off Chile.

1976 Spanish tanker 'Urquiola' runs aground releasing 95,000 tonnes of oil into the Bay of la Coruna.

1976 Seveso, Italy. Just over 2kg of (TCCD) Dioxine was released into the atmosphere causing long term poisoning.

1977 Tanker Al Rawdatain spills 7300 barrels of oil off the coast of Italy.

1977 Tanker Borug spills 214,000 barrels of oil of the coast of Taiwan.

1978 Tanker 'Amoco Cadiz' loses 230,000 tonnes of oil near Brest in France.

1979 Nuclear reactor at Harrisburg USA, suffers partial meltdown. Radioactive contaminants escape to water.

1979 Gulf of Mexico. 170,000 tonnes of crude oil escape from an oil rig bore hole ‘Ixtoc I’ to the sea. Plugged in March 1980.

1979 Cement factory at Lengerich, Germany contaminates the area with thallium. Trees defoliate and agricultural land becomes unusable.

1979 Stolzenberg chemicals factory in Hamburg releases phosphor compounds resulting in the death of a child.

1980's Conclusive scientific evidence on ozone hole, acid rain, climate change.

1984 Tanker Alvenus grounded off the coast of Louisiana, spilling 65,000 barrels of oil.

1984 Bhopal, India. Release of methyl isocyanate to atmosphere kills many thousands of people.

1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine. Nuclear accident causes massive radiation releases to atmosphere, long term death count unknown.

1988 Rhine polluted near Basel, a Ceiba-Geigy factory releases 400 litres of pesticide called Atrazin into the river.

1988 Chemicals factory Sandoz catches fire. Pesticides released into run-off water contains mercury and contaminates the Rhine near Basel yet again, less than 2 months after the incident above.

1989 Tanker 'Exxon Valdez' runs aground discharging 40,000 tonnes of crude oil in the Prince William Sound of the coast of Alaska.

1989 Tanker 'Khark-5' explodes north of the Canary Islands discharging 70,000 tonnes of light crude oil.

1989 Tanker 'Aragon' loses 25,000 tonnes of crude off Madeira.

1991 Tanker Bahia spills almost 4000 barrels of oil in Antarctica.

1992 Norwegian fishing grounds found to contain trace radioactivity, due to the break-up and sinking of dilapidated Russian nuclear submarines.

1992 Tanker 'Aegean Sea' runs aground of la Coruna, losing 80,000 tonnes of crude.

1993 Tanker 'Braer' runs aground on the Shetlands, losing 85,000 tonnes of crude oil.

1993 Tanker 'Maersk Navigator' is rammed off the coast of Sumatra, unknown quantity of crude oil lost to sea.

1996 Tanker 'Sea Empress' runs aground off the Welsh coast,  discharging 70,000 tonnes of crude oil.

1997 Vast fires caused by land clearing in Kalimantan and Sumatra in Indonesia releases emissions greater than the Gulf War fires in Kuwait during 1991.

1998 Tanker 'Nakhodka' broke up on route from Shanghai to Kamchatka carrying 17,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil.

1998 Wastewater dam in Spain ruptures, contaminating the Guadiamar River with cadmium, lead, zinc and copper.

1999 Maltese tanker Erika broke in two, spilling 19,800 tonnes of fuel oil of the coast of Brittany.

2000 Burst pipeline leaked 340,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil into Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janerio.

2000 A ruptured tailings dam in Rumania sent tonnes of heavy metal into the Somme, Tisza and Danube rivers.

2000 Tanker Winchester runs aground near Port Sulphur and loses 550,000 gallons of crude oil into the Mississippi.

2001 Tanker Jessica spills 900 tonnes of oil near the Galapagos Islands.

2002 Oil tanker ‘Prestige’ was compromised by bad weather. The vessel was not allowed into port and subsequently broke in two spilling 74,000 tonnes of fuel oil along the French and Spanish coastline.

2002 Norwegian car carrier Tricolor collides with Bahama container ship Kariba. Tricolor is abandoned but subsequently struck by cargo vessel Nicola and oil tanker Vicky.

2003 Tanker Tasman Spirit runs aground near Karatchi, leaking 28,000 tonnes of oil into the sea.

2004 MV Selendang Ayu grounded in a storm, shedding 340,000 gallons of oil near the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.

2006 Oil spill discovered at Prudhoe Bay on the trans-Alaska pipeline. An estimated one million litres of crude oil has been discharged.

2006 CITGIO Refinery releases 70,000 barrels of waste oil into the Calcasieu river, Louisiana after a rain storm.

2006 Tanker ‘M/T Solar I’ containing half a million gallons of oil sinks off the coast of the Philippines, into deep water.

2007 Vessel Hebei Spirit collides with another vessel, spilling 2.8 million gallons of crude oil off the coast of South Korea.

2007 Freighter strikes a pier leaving San Francisco leaking 50,000 gallons of oil into the bay.

2008 Retention pond at the Kingston Fossil Plants in Tennessee broke through, releasing up to 1.1 billion gallons of coal ash slurry.

2008 A tanker collides with a barge at New Orleans, during which 400,000 gallons of fuel oil was discharged into the Mississippi River.

2009 West Cork oil slick identified off the coast of Ireland, estimated to be equivalent to 500 tonnes of oil.

2009 MV Pacific Adventurer spills 260 tonnes of fuel and fuel oil off the coast of Queensland, Australia.

2009 Oil discovered to be leaking from oil rig Montara, off the coast of Australia at an estimated rate of 470,000 litres per day.

2010 Oil spill into Po iver, northern Italy estimated at 550,000 gallons had leaked into the Lambro river near Monza.


Not included in this list is the present BP spill near the coast of Mississippi... Nor are included the burning ot the Kuwaiti oil wells, nor the depleted uranium pollution from shells, nor the explosions of nuclear devices in the atmosphere, the stratosphere and space from the Americans and the Russians in the 1960s...

Note: The understanding of the relationship between "global warming"  and CO2 gas was formulated at the end of the 19th century.

try solution Gus...

In a sign of growing desperation, BP has contemplated plugging a gushing oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico with debris in a high-risk manoeuvre called a "junk shot".

The British energy giant says its clean-up costs have reached $US350 million ($390 million) since the Deepwater Horizon rig sank 80 kilometres off the Louisiana coast on April 22 following an explosion that killed 11 workers.

The pressure on BP to plug the leak from a fractured pipe on the seabed is mounting as an estimated 5000 barrels of crude spew into the sea each day, feeding fears of an environmental catastrophe.


BP has to try again with a "Gus"-adapted box (see comment two above this one) — a box linked to a pipe to collect the oil back to the surface, with a high pressure pump and pipe driving hot steam right down to the top of the box (with conical/pyramidal shape at top to funnel the oil into the main pipe).

The "junk shot" would have to plug the leak instantly. Should this not work, the plugging or collecting of the oil will become a hundred times harder... The oil reserve pocket that was taped into may contain more than several billion barrels of oil under pressure from a main methane bubble and methane absorbed by the oil under pressure, like CO2 in a fizzy drink... At 42000 barrels of oil gushing out, it's likely to let loose about 15.5 million barrels of oil in a single year...

With solution Gus (four days work to re-rig the old box, with about 200 workers —engineers working double shift to technically solve the pressure balance of the steam without blowing up the system, installation of big new pipe to the box at the bottom, possibly hard columns linked by semi-flexible "hose" to allow movement). Once the oil is funnelled to the top it can be "pumped" (directed/funnelled/shifted) into waiting tankers...

I know it's a technical challenge but IT HAS TO BE DONE.

blowout regulator...

US Congressional investigators believe the device meant to stop oil leaking from a Gulf of Mexico well after last month's rig explosion was faulty.

The blowout preventer (BOP), a set of huge valves, had a hydraulic leak and a failed battery, they said after studying BP and other documents.

Oil industry chiefs say it is too early to conclude what caused the disaster.

A climate change bill just submitted to the Senate could allow states to veto some offshore drilling plans.

Introducing the American Power Act, Senator John Kerry described it as "a bill for energy independence after a devastating oil spill" and "a bill to hold polluters accountable".

President Barack Obama hailed the legislation, which faces a difficult passage.

"The challenges we face - underscored by the immense tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico - are reason to redouble our efforts to reform our nation's energy policies," Mr Obama said.

Eleven people died when an explosion - thought to have occurred after a surge of methane gas from deep within the well - destroyed the Deepwater Horizon rig on 20 April.

At least 4m gallons (15m litres) of oil have leaked into the Gulf from the damaged well to date, the Associated Press news agency reports, and desperate efforts are being made to protect the Gulf coast's ecosystem from the slick.

drill, baby, drill...

U.S. Said to Allow Drilling Without Needed Permits


WASHINGTON — The federal Minerals Management Service gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first getting required permits from another agency that assesses threats to endangered species — and despite strong warnings from that agency about the impact the drilling was likely to have on the gulf.

Those approvals, federal records show, include one for the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and resulting in thousands of barrels of oil spilling into the gulf each day.

The Minerals Management Service, or M.M.S., also routinely overruled its staff biologists and engineers who raised concerns about the safety and the environmental impact of certain drilling proposals in the gulf and in Alaska, according to a half-dozen current and former agency scientists.

Those scientists said they were also regularly pressured by agency officials to change the findings of their internal studies if they predicted that an accident was likely to occur or if wildlife might be harmed.

Under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Minerals Management Service is required to get permits to allow drilling where it might harm endangered species or marine mammals.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is responsible for protecting endangered species and marine mammals. It has said on repeated occasions that drilling in the gulf affects these animals, but the minerals agency since January 2009 has approved at least three huge lease sales, 103 seismic blasting projects and 346 drilling plans. Agency records also show that permission for those projects and plans was granted without getting the permits required under federal law.

four or five times...

Size of Oil Spill Underestimated, Scientists Say


Two weeks ago, the government put out a round estimate of the size of the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico: 5,000 barrels a day. Repeated endlessly in news reports, it has become conventional wisdom.

But scientists and environmental groups are raising sharp questions about that estimate, declaring that the leak must be far larger. They also criticize BP for refusing to use well-known scientific techniques that would give a more precise figure.

The criticism escalated on Thursday, a day after the release of a video that showed a huge black plume of oil gushing from the broken well at a seemingly high rate. BP has repeatedly claimed that measuring the plume would be impossible.

The figure of 5,000 barrels a day was hastily produced by government scientists in Seattle. It appears to have been calculated using a method that is specifically not recommended for major oil spills.

Ian R. MacDonald, an oceanographer at Florida State University who is an expert in the analysis of oil slicks, said he had made his own rough calculations using satellite imagery. They suggested that the leak could “easily be four or five times” the government estimate, he said.

a ridiculous spectacle...

Obama Vows End to ‘Cozy’ Oversight of Oil Industry


WASHINGTON — President Obama angrily denounced the finger-pointing among the three companies involved in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as a “ridiculous spectacle,” and vowed on Friday to end what he called the “cozy relationship” between the government and the oil industry that has existed for a decade or more.

In sharp remarks during an appearance in the Rose Garden, Mr. Obama announced a review of environmental safeguards for oil and gas exploration to prevent future spills. He said that he “will not tolerate any more finger-pointing or irresponsibility” from the industry or the government over who made the mess or how to fix it.

“This is a responsibility that all of us share,” Mr. Obama said. “The oil companies share it. The manufacturers of this equipment share it. The agencies and the federal government in charge of oversight share that responsibility.”

Mr. Obama said that he, too, feels the “anger and frustration” expressed by many Americans, and particularly by residents and business people in the gulf region.

“We know there’s a level of uncertainty,” Mr. Obama said, over just how much oil is gushing into the gulf from the undersea well that was left damaged and leaking by an explosion and fire that sank a drilling rig in April. He added that his administration’s response has always been “geared toward the possibility of a catastrophic event.”


Yes it is a ridiculous spectacle, but nearly always when money, responsibility and corporate lawyers are involved, the mix is "ridiculous"... Not much compensation has been paid from the Exxon Valdez disaster so far... 


After being ordered by an Anchorage court in 1994 to pay another 5 billion dollars in damages, including to 10,000 more fishmen and people working in the fishing industry, Exxon protested up to the Supreme Court, which reduced extra damage payments to 500 million dollars.

The legal scuffle continues as the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council pursues payment of another 92 million dollars to clean up the long-term damages, which could not be foreseen 20 years ago. This case has been going up through the courts since 2006.




Although there are different factors between the spill on Alaska and the spill in the gulf, the fact that the coastline in the gulf is a "soft" coast — that is to say the sea, the shallows and the sand are in undefined shifting positions — could make the clean up far more difficult than cleaning rocks... As shown, in Alaska where the shore is sandy, the oil tends to penetrate and mix below the surface making the habitat toxic to burying creatures for years to come.

"Solution Gus" appears to me the only immediate solution. Funnel the oil back to the surface "as clean as possible" in one spot via a pipe, and collect it there till it runs out — or till a more permanent solution to the leak is found.


nesting in oil...

Gulf Oil Again Imperils Sea Turtle


PADRE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE, Tex. — It is nesting season here, and just offshore, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle No. 15 circles in the water before dragging herself onto the sand to lay another clutch of eggs.

The sea turtle, affectionately nicknamed Thelma by a National Park Service employee, has already beaten some terrible odds. Still in the egg, she was airlifted here from Mexico in after the 1979 blowout of the Ixtoc 1 rig, which spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and covered the turtles’ primary nesting place.

Now Thelma and others of her species are being monitored closely by worried scientists as another major oil disaster threatens their habitat. Federal officials said Tuesday that since April 30, 10 days after the accident on the Deepwater Horizon, they have recorded 156 sea turtle deaths; most of the turtles were Kemp’s ridleys. And though they cannot say for sure that the oil was responsible, the number is far higher than usual for this time of year, the officials said.

The Deepwater Horizon spill menaces a wide variety of marine life, from dolphins to blue crabs. On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expanded a fishing ban in the gulf because of the spreading oil. But of the endangered marine species that frequent gulf waters, only the Kemp’s ridley relies on the region as its sole breeding ground.

Since the Ixtoc 1 spill, the turtles, whose numbers fell to several hundred in the 1980s, have made a fragile comeback, and there are now at least 8,000 adults, scientists say. But the oil gushing from the well could change that.

The turtles may be more vulnerable than any other large marine animals to the oil spreading through the gulf. An ancient creature driven by instinct, it forages for food along the coast from Louisiana to Florida, in the path of the slick.

“It lives its entire life cycle in the gulf, which is why we are so critically concerned,” said Dr. Pat Burchfield, a scientist at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Tex., who has studied the turtle for 38 years.

oil in the loop...

from the BBC


Meanwhile, the US Coast Guard said tests showed that tar balls that washed up on Florida beaches in recent days had not originated from the oil spill off Louisiana.

It is unclear where the tar balls came from, Coast Guard officials said.

'Very scary'

Also on Wednesday, the US said it was having talks with Cuba over the spill.

Observers say the rare talks demonstrate a concern that the oil may be carried by currents far from the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

In Louisiana, a lawyer has asked a panel of federal judges to consolidate more than 100 cases related to the oil spill into a single action.

Daniel Becnel asked that the growing number of cases against oil companies BP, Transocean, Halliburton and Cameron be combined and heard in Louisiana, the Associated Press news agency reported.

The lawsuits have been filed by commercial fishermen, restaurants, hotels and property owners and others who say the oil spill has cost them income.

A BP executive said this week that the company had paid out $15m (£10.4m) in claims, much of it to shrimpers and commercial fishermen who have little or no income because of the spill.

Meanwhile, astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station have said they could see the oil spill while passing over the Gulf of Mexico.

"It looks very scary," Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov told reporters via a video link.


faulty assessment

Scientists Fault U.S. Response in Assessing Gulf Oil Spill


Tensions between the Obama administration and the scientific community over the gulf oil spill are escalating, with prominent oceanographers accusing the government of failing to conduct an adequate scientific analysis of the damage and of allowing BP to obscure the spill’s true scope.

The scientists assert that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other agencies have been slow to investigate the magnitude of the spill and the damage it is causing in the deep ocean. They are especially concerned about getting a better handle on problems that may be occurring from large plumes of oil droplets that appear to be spreading beneath the ocean surface.

The scientists point out that in the month since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, the government has failed to make public a single test result on water from the deep ocean. And the scientists say the administration has been too reluctant to demand an accurate analysis of how many gallons of oil are flowing into the sea from the gushing oil well.

“It seems baffling that we don’t know how much oil is being spilled,” Sylvia Earle, a famed oceanographer, said Wednesday on Capitol Hill. “It seems baffling that we don’t know where the oil is in the water column.”

The administration acknowledges that its scientific resources are stretched by the disaster, but contends that it is moving to get better information, including a more complete picture of the underwater plumes.

“We’re in the early stages of doing that, and we do not have a comprehensive understanding as of yet of where that oil is,” Jane Lubchenco, the NOAA administrator, told Congress on Wednesday. “But we are devoting all possible resources to understanding where the oil is and what its impact might be.”

The administration has mounted a huge response to the spill, deploying 1,105 vessels to try to skim oil, burn it and block it from shorelines. As part of the effort, the federal government and the Gulf Coast states have begun an extensive effort to catalog any environmental damage to the coast. The Environmental Protection Agency is releasing results from water sampling near shore. In most places, save for parts of Louisiana, the contamination appears modest so far.

The big scientific question now is what is happening in deeper water. While it is clear that water samples have been taken, the results have not been made public.

greased conspiracy theories...

Conflict of Interest Worries Raised in Spill Tests


Local environmental officials throughout the Gulf Coast are feverishly collecting water, sediment and marine animal tissue samples that will be used in the coming months to help track pollution levels resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, since those readings will be used by the federal government and courts to establish liability claims against BP. But the laboratory that officials have chosen to process virtually all of the samples is part of an oil and gas services company in Texas that counts oil firms, including BP, among its biggest clients.

Some people are questioning the independence of the Texas lab. Taylor Kirschenfeld, an environmental official for Escambia County, Fla., rebuffed instructions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to send water samples to the lab, which is based at TDI-Brooks International in College Station, Tex. He opted instead to get a waiver so he could send his county’s samples to a local laboratory that is licensed to do the same tests.

Mr. Kirschenfeld said he was also troubled by another rule. Local animal rescue workers have volunteered to help treat birds affected by the slick and to collect data that would also be used to help calculate penalties for the spill. But federal officials have told the volunteers that the work must be done by a company hired by BP.

“Everywhere you look, if you look, you start seeing these conflicts of interest in how this disaster is getting handled,” Mr. Kirschenfeld said. “I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but there is just too much overlap between these people.”

trouble on the horizon...

Panel Suggests Signs of Trouble Before Rig Explosion


In the hours before the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded last month in the Gulf of Mexico, there were strong warning signs that something was terribly wrong with the well, according to a Congressional committee that was briefed on the accident by executives from BP.

Among the red flags, the panel said, were several equipment readings suggesting that gas was bubbling into the well, a potential sign of an impending blowout. Investigators also noted “other events in the 24 hours before the explosion that require further inquiry,” including a critical decision to replace heavy mud in the pipe rising from the seabed with seawater, possibly increasing the risk of an explosion.

The new information, released Tuesday night in a memorandum addressed to members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, confirmed many of the committee’s own findings from a review of documents and from statements and testimony given at Congressional hearings over the last two weeks.

The memorandum provides the most detailed accounting of the events and decisions made aboard the Deepwater Horizon before the accident on April 20 that took 11 lives and caused a so-far unchecked torrent of oil to pour into the gulf, and comes as BP prepared an ambitious “top kill” procedure in a new effort to stop the leak.

The findings are preliminary, and most come from BP, which owns the lease on the well and has at hearings pointed fingers at other companies for the problems on the rig, including Transocean, the rig’s owner. In a statement late Monday, Tony Hayward, BP’s chief executive, said, “A number of companies are involved, including BP, and it is simply too early — and not up to us — to say who is at fault."

loss of well control...

The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of “well control.” And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer.

On June 22, for example, BP engineers expressed concerns that the metal casing the company wanted to use might collapse under high pressure.

“This would certainly be a worst-case scenario,” Mark E. Hafle, a senior drilling engineer at BP, warned in an internal report. “However, I have seen it happen so know it can occur.”

The company went ahead with the casing, but only after getting special permission from BP colleagues because it violated the company’s safety policies and design standards.

Otuegwe shell shame

Meanwhile in Nigeria

We reached the edge of the oil spill near the Nigerian village of Otuegwe after a long hike through cassava plantations. Ahead of us lay swamp. We waded into the warm tropical water and began swimming, cameras and notebooks held above our heads. We could smell the oil long before we saw it – the stench of garage forecourts and rotting vegetation hanging thickly in the air.

The farther we travelled, the more nauseous it became. Soon we were swimming in pools of light Nigerian crude, the best-quality oil in the world. One of the many hundreds of 40-year-old pipelines that crisscross the Niger delta had corroded and spewed oil for several months.

Forest and farmland were now covered in a sheen of greasy oil. Drinking wells were polluted and people were distraught. No one knew how much oil had leaked. "We lost our nets, huts and fishing pots," said Chief Promise, village leader of Otuegwe and our guide. "This is where we fished and farmed. We have lost our forest. We told Shell of the spill within days, but they did nothing for six months."


ride a bike...

death by negligence...

A court in the Indian city of Bhopal has convicted eight people over the gas plant leak that killed thousands of people more than 25 years ago.

The convictions are the first since the disaster at the Union Carbide plant, the world's worst industrial accident.

The eight convicted face up to two years in jail for causing "death by negligence". They are expected to appeal. Sentences are due shortly.

Campaigners say the court verdict is too little too late.


Forty tonnes of a toxin called methyl isocyanate leaked from the Union Carbide pesticide factory and settled over slums in Bhopal on 3 December 1984.

you say leaking, I say gushing...

2 teams say much more oil may have flowed from well; 1 dissents

By Joel Achenbach, Juliet Eilperin and David Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 10, 2010; 6:31 PM


The Deepwater Horizon well is most likely spewing at least 25,000 barrels of oil a day, and may be producing 40,000 or even 50,000 barrels a day, according to preliminary research from two teams of scientists appointed by the federal government to study the flow from the dark geyser at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

Another scientific team, however, using a different methodology, estimates a somewhat more modest flow of 12,600 to 21,500 barrels.

The numbers are all over the place, acknowledged U.S. Geological Survey director Marcia McNutt in a news conference Thursday announcing the findings. Several other teams are preparing their own figures in what has been a protracted and often frustrating effort to get a handle on exactly how much oil is surging from the Macondo reservoir three and a half miles below the surface of the gulf.

One group, the so-called "plume team," examined video of the leaking riser pipe before it was sheared on June 3. The team concluded that 20,000 to 40,000 barrels may be flowing, with 25,000 to 30,000 barrels being the most likely rate. If that estimate is correct, and the flow has been more or less consistent, approximately 1.3 million to 1.5 million barrels -- or 53.6 million to 64.3 million gallons -- of oil have emerged from the well since the April 20 blowout. That is roughly five to six times the amount spilled in Alaskan waters in 1989 by the Exxon Valdez.

A team led by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute has studied the leak with instruments normally used in research on deep-sea hydrothermal vents. They estimated the flow at 25,000 to 50,000 barrels a day, said McNutt, who cautioned that the figure is very preliminary.

Another team, called the Mass Balance Team, analyzed satellite images and tried to correct for oil that had evaporated or been skimmed, burned and dispersed. Having earlier estimated the flow at 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day, the team nudged its new estimate slightly upward, to 12,600 to 21,500 barrels a day.

oil companies have acted so recklessly...

...And while the latest estimate of 60,000 barrels a day is filling the Gulf of Mexico, another reminder about Nigeria's oil slicks taht for the last 50 years has destroyed the place, as already mentioned on this site but worth revisiting at the First Post:


Fifty years of oil spills in the Niger delta make Deepwater look like a drop in the ocean

By Rachel Helyer Donaldson
As US President Barack Obama pledges to "make BP pay" in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico spill, a little acknowledged but equally catastrophic oil disaster continues to plague Nigeria.
A series of spills, some of them the responsibility of the American multinational ExxonMobil, have been polluting the Niger delta for five decades.

One estimate says the amount spilled in the region over nearly 50 years totals 10.5 million barrels. That is more than five times the worst estimate of the spillage so far from the Deepwater Horizon leak in the Gulf.

Yes despite the pollution, illness and poverty caused by the ongoing leaks in Nigeria, they rarely make the international headlines. And there has been no high-profile effort to correct the situation.

One of the more recent spills occurred on May 1 when an ExxonMobil pipeline in the Nigerian state of Akwa Ibom spilled more than 25,000 barrels into the delta when it ruptured. While the world watched the Gulf catastrophe of April 20 unfold, the Niger spill went virtually unreported. It was at least seven days before the leak was stopped.

Residents who demonstrated against ExxonMobil claim they were attacked by security guards. They say their calls for $1bn in compensation for the illness and loss of income suffered as a result of the leak have been ignored by the multinational. Six weeks after the pipeline ruptured, thick balls of tar are still being washed up on the beach.

The Niger delta is the source of light Nigerian crude – the world’s best quality oil – and supplies 40 per cent of all crude imported by the United States. With 606 oil fields, the region is covered in hundreds of pipelines, many of which are more than 40 years old and in need of repair.

Nigerian academics and environmental groups argue that multinational oil companies have acted so recklessly in the region that much of the delta has been destroyed by leaks. Life expectancy in its rural communities has fallen to just over 40 years, while at least half the population have little or no access to clean water.

Read more:,news-comment,news-politics,nigeria-is-the-worlds-forgotten-oil-tragedy-bp-deepwater-horizon-obama-gulf-mexico#ixzz0r5dTpyDA

BP empireoleum


From the American Conservative
Via comes an essay that reminds us the Deepwater Horizon spill is not the oil company’s worst catastrophe. Far worse was the one it brought about in Iran nearly 50 years ago.
By Stephen Kinzer
To frustrated Americans who have begun boycotting BP: Welcome to the club.  It’s great not to be the only member any more!Does boycotting BP really make sense?  Perhaps not.  After all, many BP filling stations are actually owned by local people, not the corporation itself.  Besides, when you’re filling up at a Shell or ExxonMobil station, it’s hard to feel much sense of moral triumph. Nonetheless, I reserve my right to drive by BP stations. I started doing it long before this year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
My decision not to give this company my business came after I learned about its role in another kind of “spill” entirely — the destruction of Iran’s democracy more than half a century ago.
The history of the company we now call BP has, over the last 100 years, traced the arc of transnational capitalism.  Its roots lie in the early years of the twentieth century when a wealthy bon vivant named William Knox D’Arcy decided, with encouragement from the British government, to begin looking for oil in Iran.  He struck a concession agreement with the dissolute Iranian monarchy, using the proven expedient of bribing the three Iranians negotiating with him.
read more at the American Conservative and see image at top...


thick, black and lifeless

from Al Jazeera...

It was a major environmental catastrophe.

"The spill in 2000 on Guanabara Bay was one of the most serious and severe accidents in the environmental history of Brazil," Breno Herrera, the head of the federal governments environment office that oversees Guanabara Bay, told me recently during an interview.

Before I go any further, it’s important to understand the bay is huge. The perimeter is almost 150km long and there are dozens of little islands inside the bay.

Guanabara Bay is legendary in Rio de Janeiro for its pollution, unrelated to the oil spill 10 years ago.

But what interested me in the oil spill from 2000 are two things.

First, I wanted to see how the mangrove swamps that were covered in oil have recovered, because that ecosystem is not too dissimilar to the swamplands in Florida and elsewhere now under threat from the BP Gulf of Mexico spill.

And, second, in 2000 at the time of the Guanabara spill people estimated it would take 10 years for the ecosystem to recover.

That was a decade ago, and the obvious question is 'has it recovered?’

I was recently led into a large patch of mangrove that was hardest hit by the oil, and let me be clear here: What I saw was evidence that there is no recovery after all these years.

The mud is thick, black and lifeless. And it stinks. Dead stumps - what used to be thick green mangrove swamps - protrude out from the mud as far as your eyes see.

It looks like a scene captured by a camera attached to an unmanned spacecraft that has just landed on a lifeless planet in another galaxy.


I took the picture of the New Orleans aquarium at top, in the 1990s...

and wait... there's more!...

A study has revealed there are more than 27,000 abandoned oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico - 4,600 of which may have been badly plugged and are at risk of leaking.

The investigation by Associated Press suggests the BP oil spill is just the tip of the iceberg and that abandoned wells may have been leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico for decades.

Abandonment of oil wells – both permanent and temporary – is common in the oil industry. BP was in the process of temporarily abandoning its Macondo well in April when its Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew and breached the pipe.

The process of abandonment typically involves installing in the well a number of plugs of cement 30-60m long. Temporarily abandoned wells will have fewer plugs installed and are therefore not as secure.

When a well is temporarily abandoned, a plan to reuse or permanently plug it is supposed to be presented within a year. AP claims the regulation is frequently ignored with three-quarters of 'temporarily' abandoned wells being left for more than a year and more than 1,000 of them left for over 10 years.

In this time, various processes can lead to the breach of a capped well. Exposure to seawater and pressure underground can corrode pipes and cement. Oil reservoirs can repressurise thanks to "changing geological conditions", according to Andy Radford, a petroleum engineer with the American Petroleum Institute.

Read more:,news-comment,news-politics,4600-oil-wells-at-risk-of-leaking-in-gulf-of-mexico-bp-spill#ixzz0t4sWtx87

I clean my gun and dream of Galveston

from Deepwater Horizon Response External Affairs (email)

HOUSTON -- Tar balls collected from the Crystal Beach area of the Bolivar Peninsula on Saturday came from the Deepwater Horizon spill, tests have confirmed, but it is unclear how the material got to Texas.

Investigators discovered very small tar balls in the surf, but not on shore, Saturday evening. The tar balls were collected and sent to the lab to be tested where they were determined to be associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The testing found that the oil was lightly weathered, raising doubts that the oil traversed the Gulf from the spill source. Boats carry oil collected during the response to Texas for processing raising the possibility the oil could have been transported on a vessel.

The Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office (TGLO), and the City of Galveston patrolled the beaches by both helicopter and on foot over the weekend. On Sunday, teams discovered some dime-sized to nickel-sized tar balls on both Bolivar Peninsula's Crystal Beach and Galveston's East Beach.


and in Louisiana...

HOUMA, La. - Oil observers reported sheen and tar balls in the Rigolets and Lake Pontchartrain this morning to the Slidell Forward Operating Base of the Deepwater Horizon Response.

Response crews placed a combined 600-feet of hard and soft boom at a natural choke point in the Rigolets to prevent more oil from getting through to Lake Pontchartrain. Nineteen manual skimming vessels and four decontamination vessels based out of Orleans and St. Tammany were dispatched to the reported oiled areas. Cleanup operations were conducted throughout the day both up and down stream of the choke point.

As of 7:30 p.m. cleanup crews have collected 1,020 pounds of tar balls and waste. Collected oil is being tested to determine if from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead.



BP has been given 24 hours to answer questions on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the US government's incident commander said.

Adm Thad Allen sent a letter to the oil giant's managing director saying the company must hand over "detailed plans and timelines" on stopping the leak.

The information is needed before BP is allowed to change caps on the oil well.

Meanwhile, a court has rejected the government's bid to restore an offshore deepwater oil drilling moratorium.

The federal appeals court in Louisiana denied the Obama administration's request that a lower court's June order lifting the six-month moratorium be stayed pending appeal.

the Mirs, French Nautile and Japanese Shinkai

From the BBC...

"It should all be decided on the government level. Asking [Anatoly] Sagalevich [of Russia's Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, which owns the subs] to simply bring the Mirs over is nonsense. Even though we're able to go to much greater depths than where the damaged well is located, we wouldn't be able to do much on our own.

"We need a team of international specialists and we have to know all the details and probably even build a special device to attach to the subs, and all this needs time," said Mr Chernyaev.

He explained that the subs had already worked in much harsher conditions, such as the Arctic.

The submersible's pilot also said that the Russians were very surprised that BP and the US government had not asked them for help from the beginning.

"And we would not refuse to help, even though for us it would be very complicated, especially right now, when we're already working on Baikal. But it doesn't look like anyone seriously wants our help," he added.

Mr Chernyaev was one of the pilots on the first manned descent to the seabed under the geographic North Pole, carried out using the Mir mini-submarines. The expedition was widely reported as a bid to further Moscow's territorial claims in the Arctic.

oil leak — stopped....

BP says it has temporarily stopped oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from its leaking well.

It is the first time the flow has stopped since an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig on 20 April.

The well has been sealed with a cap as part of a test of its integrity that could last up to 48 hours.

BP executive Kent Wells said the oil had been stopped at 1425 local time (1925 GMT) and he was "excited" by the progress.

US Oil Spill

"It is very good to see no oil go into the Gulf of Mexico," said Mr Wells.

But BP is stressing that even if no oil escapes for 48 hours, that will not mean the flow of oil and gas has been stopped permanently.

The pressure testing is necessary to check the strength of the well. If the pressure within the cap on top is low, that could indicate oil is leaking out further down the well.

The US government's incident commander, Adm Thad Allen, said even if it was successful, the well would be reopened and oil capture by ships on the surface would restart while a seismic test was done.


More than 800,000 gallons of oil

Michigan Governor Warns of Oil Spill Threat


BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm expressed growing worry on Wednesday that an oil spill, believed to be among the largest ever in the Midwest, might reach Lake Michigan if efforts to contain the oil were not strengthened.

“It would be a tragedy of historic proportions if this reached Lake Michigan,” Ms. Granholm said.

More than 800,000 gallons of oil spilled Monday into the Kalamazoo River, a major waterway that flows into Lake Michigan, about 60 miles away. The leak came from a 30-inch pipeline that carries millions of gallons of oil each day from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario.

Response crews worked Wednesday to contain the oil spill, which had already reached at least 35 miles of the river and left fish and birds coated in oil.

On the river on Wednesday, Dan Backus arrived at his favorite fishing spot and found black water and oil-soaked plants. Looking out at the damage from the spill, he mourned the loss of fish and vegetation.

“It’s all destroyed,” said Mr. Backus, 64. “I’m just sick about it.”

Enbridge Energy Partners, the owner of the pipeline, said the cause of the leak was being investigated. Patrick Daniel, the chief executive of Enbridge, said he did not think the oil would reach the Great Lakes.

Enbridge is Canadian owned, but based in Houston.

the barrellest...

The blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico gushed 12 times faster than the government and BP estimated in the early weeks of the crisis and has spilled a whopping 4.9 million barrels, or 205.8 million gallons, according to a more detailed analysis announced late Monday.

BP's Macondo well spewed 62,000 barrels of oil a day initially, and as the reservoir gradually depleted itself, the flow eased to 53,000 barrels a day until the well was finally capped and sealed July 15, according to scientists in the Flow Rate Technical Group, supervised by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The new numbers once again have nudged upward the statistical scale of the disaster. If correct -- the government allows for a margin of error of 10 percent -- the flow rate would make this spill significantly larger than the Ixtoc I blowout of 1979, which polluted the southern Gulf of Mexico with 138 million gallons over the course of 10 months. That had been the largest unintentional oil spill in history, surpassed only by the intentional spills in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War.

The new flow rate figures came as engineers made final preparations for a "static kill" operation that might plug the well permanently even before a relief well intercepts Macondo at its base. BP announced late Monday that the procedure would be delayed, probably until Tuesday, because of a leak in the hydraulic control system on the well's new cap.


I wrote in one of the comments above: 

At 42000 barrels of oil gushing out, it's likely to let loose about 15.5 million barrels of oil in a single year... I was not far off... "Three and a half" months later at 4.9 million barrels sees about 14.3 million barrels a year... Good they managed to stop it for now...

dispersant slick...

The Obama administration is facing internal dissent from its own scientists for approving the use of huge quantities of chemical dispersants to tackle the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Guardian has learned.

The Environmental Protection Agency has come under withering attack in Congress and from independent scientists for allowing BP to spray almost 2 million gallons of the dispersant Corexit on the slick and, even more controversially, pump the chemical into the leak site 5,000ft below the sea. Now it emerges the EPA's own experts have been raising similar concerns within the agency.

Jeff Ruch, exective director of the whistleblower support group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said he had heard from five scientists and two other officials who had expressed concerns to their superiors about the use of dispersants.

"There was one toxicologist who was very concerned about the underwater application particularly," he said. "The concern was the agency appeared to be flying blind and not consulting its own specialists and even the literature that was available."

Veterans of the Exxon Valdez spill questioned the wisdom of trying to break up the oil in the deep water at the same time as trying to skim it on the surface. Other EPA experts raised alarm about the effect of dispersants on seafood.

Ruch said EPA experts were being excluded from decision-making around the spill. "Other than a few people in the united command, there is no involvement from the rest of the agency," he said. EPA scientists would not go public for fear of retaliation, he added.

Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat who introduced a ban on dispersants pending further testing in an oil spill bill passed by the House of Representatives last week, said the EPA had failed in its duty to protect the environment.

9m barrels of oil has been spilled...


Outrage at UN decision to exonerate Shell for oil pollution in Niger delta


A three-year investigation by the United Nations will almost entirely exonerate Royal Dutch Shell for 40 years of oil pollution in the Niger delta, causing outrage among communities who have long campaigned to force the multinational to clean up its spills and pay compensation.

The $10m (£6.5m) investigation by the UN environment programme (UNEP), paid for by Shell, will say that only 10% of oil pollution in Ogoniland has been caused by equipment failures and company negligence, and concludes that the rest has come from local people illegally stealing oil and sabotaging company pipelines.

The shock disclosure was made by Mike Cowing, the head of a UN team of 100 people who have been studying environmental damage in the region.

Cowing said that the 300 known oil spills in the Ogoniland region of the delta caused massive damage, but added that 90% of the spills had been caused by "bunkering" gangs trying to steal oil.

His comments, in a briefing in Geneva last week, have caused deep offence among the families of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight other Ogoni leaders who were hanged by the Nigerian government in 1995 after a peaceful uprising against Shell's pollution.

With 606 oil fields, the Niger delta supplies 40% of the crude oil imported by the US. Life expectancy in its rural communities, half of which have no access to clean water, has fallen to little more than 40 over the past two generations.

Communities accept that bunkering has become rife in some areas of Ogoniland, but say this is a recent development and most of the historical pollution has been caused by Shell operations.

Last year, Amnesty calculated that the equivalent of at least 9m barrels of oil has been spilled in the delta over the past half a century, nearly twice as much as the 5m barrels unleashed in the Gulf of Mexico by the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Tonight the investigation was accused of bias by Nigerians and environmental groups who said the study – paid for by Shell and commissioned by the Nigerian government, who both have massive oil interests in the region – was unbalanced.

sharing the good oil?

Drilling Plans Off Cuba Stir Fears of Impact on Gulf By CLIFFORD KRAUSS

HOUSTON — Five months after the BP oil spill, a federal moratorium still prohibits new deepwater drilling in the American waters of the Gulf of Mexico. And under longstanding federal law, drilling is also banned near the coast of Florida.

Yet next year, a Spanish company will begin drilling new wells 50 miles from the Florida Keys — in Cuba’s sovereign waters.

Cuba currently produces little oil. But oil experts say the country might have reserves along its north coast as plentiful as that of the international oil middleweights, Ecuador and Colombia — enough to bolster its faltering economy and cut its dependence on Venezuela for its energy needs.

The advent of drilling in Cuban waters poses risks both to the island nation and the United States.

Ocean scientists warn that a well blowout similar to the BP disaster could send oil spewing onto Cuban beaches and then the Florida Keys in as little as three days. If the oil reached the Gulf Stream, a powerful ocean current that passes through the region, oil could flow up the coast to Miami and beyond.

The nascent oil industry in Cuba is far less prepared to handle a major spill than even the American industry was at the time of the BP spill. Cuba has neither the submarine robots needed to fix deepwater rig equipment nor the platforms available to begin drilling relief wells on short notice.

And marshaling help from American oil companies to fight a Cuban spill would be greatly complicated by the trade embargo on Cuba imposed by the United States government 48 years ago, according to industry officials. Under that embargo, American companies face severe restrictions on the business they can conduct with Cuba.

The prospect of an accident is emboldening American drilling companies, backed by some critics of the embargo, to seek permission from the United States government to participate in Cuba’s nascent industry, even if only to protect against an accident.

“This isn’t about ideology. It’s about oil spills,” said Lee Hunt, president of the International Association of Drilling Contractors, a trade group that is trying to broaden bilateral contacts to promote drilling safety. “Political attitudes have to change in order to protect the gulf.”

Gus: cute... “This isn’t about ideology. It’s about oil spills,”... I would be prepared to believe that the US doesn't want Cuba to have its own supply of the good oil... It could make Cuba richer, couldn't it? But also drilling in cuban waters could also sap the good oil in US waters as well...

a record improvement with a mega spill...

The offshore drilling firm responsible for running the Deepwater Horizon rig has given its top executives bonuses for its "best year" for safety.

Transocean was blamed along with BP and Halliburton after last year's massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Eleven workers, nine of whom worked for Transocean, died when the Deepwater Horizon exploded almost a year ago.

But Transocean said there had been a drop in the rate of recorded incidents and also in their potential severity.

'Exemplary record'

The Deepwater Horizon exploded on 20 April 2010. In the days and months that followed millions of gallons of oil poured unabated into the Gulf of Mexico, prompting President Barack Obama to call the incident America's environmental 9/11.


"As measured by these standards, we recorded the best year in safety performance in our company's history, which is a reflection on our commitment to achieving an incident free environment, all the time, everywhere," it adds.

Transocean has always maintained that BP is solely responsible for the oil spill. BP contends that Transocean shares liability.

We would not like to know the non-safety records for the previous years, would we?....

Sludge + fudge = bonuses...

view from the spill-cam...

There are few people who can claim direct knowledge of the ocean floor, at least before the invention of the spill-cam, last year's strangely compulsive live feed of the oil billowing out of BP's blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico. But for Samantha Joye it was familiar terrain. The intersection of oil, gas and marine life in the Mississippi Canyon has preoccupied the University of Georgia scientist for years. So one year after an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, about 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana, killed 11 men and disgorged more than 4m barrels of crude, Joye could be forgiven for denying the official version of the BP oil disaster that life is returning to normal in the Gulf.

The view from her submarine is different, and her attachment is almost personal. On her descent to a location 10 miles from BP's well in December, Joye landed on an ocean floor coated with dark brown muck about 4cm deep. Thick ropes of slime draped across coral like cobwebs in a haunted house. The few creatures that remained alive, such as the crabs, were too listless to flee. "Most of the time when you go at them with a submarine, they just run," she says. "They weren't running, they were just sitting there, dazed and stupefied. They certainly weren't behaving as normal." Her conclusion? "I think it is not beyond the imagination that 50% of the oil is still floating around out there."

see picture at top...

cleaning up doing the clean up...

The oil spill that was once expected to bring economic ruin to the Gulf Coast appears to have delivered something entirely different: a gusher of money.

So many people cashed in that they earned nicknames: “spillionaires” or “BP rich.” Others hurt by the spill wound up getting comparatively little. Many people who got money deserved it. But in the end, BP’s attempt to make things right — spending more than $16 billion so far, mostly on damage claims and cleanup — created new divisions and even new wrongs.

Some of the inequities arose from the chaos that followed the April 20 spill. But in at least one corner of Louisiana, the dramatic differences can be traced in part to local powerbrokers.

To show how the money flowed, ProPublica interviewed people who worked on the spill and examined records for St. Bernard Parish, a coastal community about five miles southeast of downtown New Orleans.

Those documents show that companies with ties to parish insiders got lucrative contracts and then charged BP for every possible expense. The prime cleanup company submitted bills with little or no documentation. A subcontractor billed BP $15,400 per month to rent a generator that usually cost $1,500 a month. Another company charged BP more than a $1 million a month for land it had been renting for less than $1,700 a month. Assignments for individual fishermen also fell under the control of political leaders.

“This parish raped BP,” said Wayne Landry, chairman of the St. Bernard Parish Council, referring to the conduct of its political leadership. “At the end of the day, it really just frustrates me. I’m an elected official. I have guilt by association.”

The economic benefits rippled throughout the gulf. In the six months after the spill, sales tax receipts, a key measure of economic activity, rose significantly in eight of the 24 most affected communities from Louisiana to Florida. In only one community, in Mississippi, did receipts dip significantly.

rainbow slicks...

Fifteen months after BP's crippled Macondo Well in the Gulf of Mexico caused one of the worst environmental disasters in US history, oil and oil sheen covering several square kilometers of water are surfacing not far from BP's well.

Al Jazeera flew to the area on Sunday, September 11, and spotted a swath of silvery oil sheen, approximately 7 km long and 10 to 50 meters wide, at a location roughly 19 km northeast of the now-capped Macondo 252 well.

According to oil trackers with the organisation On Wings of Care, who have been monitoring the new oil since early August, rainbow-tinted slicks and thicker globs of oil have been consistently visible in the area.

"BP and NOAA [National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration] have had all these ships out there doing grid searches looking at things, so hopefully now they'll take a look at this," Bonny Schumaker, president and pilot of On Wings of Care, told Al Jazeera while flying over the oil.


Oil giant BP has accused oilfields services firm Halliburton of destroying damaging evidence relating to last year's oil well blast in the Gulf of Mexico in which 11 people were killed.

At a hearing in a New Orleans' court, BP said Halliburton had "intentionally" destroyed test results on its cement product used at the Macondo well.

Halliburton denied this, saying the claims were "without merit".

Cement was a key factor in causing America's worst offshore oil spill.

The blast that followed at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April led to the release of 780m litres (206m gallons) of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP and Halliburton are locked in a legal battle ahead of a trial on damages early next year.

Through their lawyers, the former partners in the venture are seeking maximum pre-trial advantage, the BBC's Steve Kingstone in Washington reports.

never seen anything like this...

New Orleans, LA - "The fishermen have never seen anything like this," Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. "And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I've never seen anything like this either."

Dr Cowan, with Louisiana State University's Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences started hearing about fish with sores and lesions from fishermen in November 2010.

Cowan's findings replicate those of others living along vast areas of the Gulf Coast that have been impacted by BP's oil and dispersants.

Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP's 2010 oil disaster.

Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp - and interviewees' fingers point towards BP's oil pollution disaster as being the cause.

see picture at top...

when the grass died....

BP oil spill hastened loss of Louisiana marshes, study says

By Updated: Tuesday, June 26, 5:02 AM

The 2010 BP oil spill accelerated the loss of Louisiana’s delicate marshlands, which were already rapidly disappearing before thelargest oil spill in U.S. history, a new study reports.

As the oil washed into the marshlands, it coated and smothered thick grasses at their edge. When the grass died, deep roots that held the soil together also died, leaving the shore banks of the marshlands to crumble, said Brian Silliman, the University of Florida researcher who led the new study.

“We already knew that erosion leads to permanent marsh loss, and now we know that oil can exacerbate it,” Silliman said.

In Louisiana’s Barataria Bay, oiled marshes eroded at about twice the rate of non-oiled marshes, receding nearly 10 feet per year, Silliman’s team found.

“Doubling the rate of erosion is a huge number,” said Zoe Hughes, a marsh researcher at Boston University who was not involved in the research. “It’s very significant in areas where you have erosion anyway.”

Silliman’s team arrived in Louisiana in July 2010, three months after the destruction of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

The oil “looked like a thick black belt on the shoreline — it went on and on,” Silliman said. “You could see the grasses underneath the oil were dying and decaying.”

While the oil killed the grasses at the edge of the marshes, these same thick grasses blocked oil from seeping more than about 30 to 45 feet inland, the team found, limiting damage to the shoreline of the marshes.

oil drilling and social media...

According to the Aon Australasian Risk Survey of 340 companies in the Asia Pacific, damage to brand and image have been the top risk concern for Australian companies for the past five years.

James Griffin, partner with social media monitoring firm SR7, said social media had enabled modern day activism to reach an entire new level."Large organisations often put a value on their brand, and having their brand attacked and ridiculed via such an innovative approach is something the modern corporation must come to grips with," he said.

"This is a coordinated online assassination of the Shell brand.  These activists have basically appropriated the Shell brand online and are doing a very good job of generating a conversation, not only about the issue they are trying to highlight but also the campaign itself.

Earlier this week it was reported that a Shell Oil drilling ship lost its mooring in Alaska's Dutch Harbor, but the Coast Guard reported no damage.

Read more:


Global warming from human burning of fossil fuel is going to bite us in the bum sooner than we think...

the US justice department versus BP...

DoJ lawyers launch ‘gross negligence’ case with ‘ferocious’ filing; we’ll see you in court, say BP

LAST UPDATED AT 07:19 ON Wed 5 Sep 2012

THE US Justice Department plans to throw the book at BP over the Deepwater Horizon spill, saying the company's "gross negligence and willful misconduct" caused the 2010 environmental disaster.

In what the Financial Times calls a "ferociously-worded" court filing, DoJ lawyers accused the company of a
“culture of corporate recklessness" and said "the behaviour, words and actions of BP executives would not be tolerated in a middling size company manufacturing dry goods for sale in a suburban mall.”

Reuters explains that gross negligence is central to the case, which is scheduled to be heard in New Orleans in January 2013. If found liable of gross negligence, BP face fines that could nearly quadruple the civil damages owed by BP under the Clean Water Act to $21 billion.

BP and the US government are understood to be in talks to settle BP's civil and criminal liabilities for its role in the  accident that spewed 4.9 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico over a period of three months. Neither side will comment on the progress of the negotiations.

Read more:


see toon at top...

war zone...

New Orleans, US - Most people believe only those who have experienced war can know post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But those living in the impact zone of BP's 2010 oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico know differently.

John Gooding, a fisherman and resident of the coastal city of Pass Christian, Mississippi, began having health problems shortly after the disaster began. He became sicker with each passing month, and moved inland in an effort to escape continuing exposure to the chemicals after being diagnosed with toxic encephalitis.

He experiences seizures regularly, and two of his dogs even died of seizures from what he believes was chemical exposure.

"I've been married 25 years, and my wife and I've never had problems. But recently we've started having problems, mostly because of finances and my health," Gooding told Al Jazeera.

"I can no longer work because of my physical sickness from the chemicals. My wife is struggling with depression, and is going through grief counselling due to having to deal with my ongoing health issues. Our savings is gone. Our retirement is gone. This has been a living hell and continues to be a nightmare."

Gooding's story is not uncommon among countless Gulf residents living in areas affected by the BP disaster.

"People are becoming more and more hopeless and feeling helpless," Dr Arwen Podesta, a psychiatrist at Tulane University in New Orleans, told Al Jazeera back in August 2010. "They are feeling frantic and overwhelmed. There is already more PTSD and more problems with domestic violence, threats of suicide and alcohol and drugs."

BP's attempts to minimise the amount of compensation it pays to those affected is not helping to improve what now are chronic psychological, community, and personal impacts along the Gulf coast.

read more:

gulf ecosystem in crisis after BP spill...

New Orleans, US - Hundreds of kilograms of oily debris on beaches, declining seafood catches, and other troubling signs point towards an ecosystem in crisis in the wake of BP's 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

"It's disturbing what we're seeing," Louisiana Oyster Task Force member Brad Robin told Al Jazeera. "We don't have any more baby crabs, which is a bad sign. We're seeing things we've never seen before."

Robin, a commercial oyster fisherman who is also a member of the Louisiana Government Advisory Board, said that of the sea ground where he has harvested oysters in the past, only 30 percent of it is productive now.

"We're seeing crabs with holes in their shells, other seafood deformities. The state of Louisiana oyster season opened on October 15, and we can't find any production out there yet. There is no life out there."

According to Robin, entire sectors of the Louisiana oyster harvest areas are "dead or mostly dead". "I got 10 boats in my fleet and only two of them are operating, because I don't have the production to run the rest. We're nowhere near back to whole, and I can't tell you when or if it'll come back."

State of Louisiana statistics confirm that overall seafood catch numbers since the spill have declined.

'Everything is down'

Robin is not the only member of the Gulf's seafood industry to report bleak news. Kathy Birren and her husband own Hernando Beach Seafood, a wholesale seafood business, in Florida.

trolling against critics...

New Orleans, United States - BP has been accused of hiring internet "trolls" to purposefully attack, harass, and sometimes threaten people who have been critical of how the oil giant has handled its disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil firm hired the international PR company Ogilvy & Mather to run the BP America Facebook page during the oil disaster, which released at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf in what is to date the single largest environmental disaster in US history.

The page was meant to encourage interaction with BP, but when people posted comments that were critical of how BP was handling the crisis, they were often attacked, bullied, and sometimes directly threatened.

"Marie" was deeply concerned by the oil spill, and began posting comments on the BP America Facebook page. Today, she asks that she remain anonymous out of what she described to Al Jazeera as "fear for my personal safety should the BP trolls find out that I am the whistleblower in this case".

In internet slang, a troll is someone who sows online discord by starting arguments or upsetting people, often posting inflammatory messages in an online community, or even issuing physical threats.

Marie sought assistance from the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a non-profit group in Washington DC, and has produced boxes of documents and well-researched information that may show that the people harassing BP's critics online worked for BP or Ogilvy.

"We'd been hearing of this kind of harassment by BP when we were working on our health project [in the Gulf of Mexico], so it sparked our interest," GAP investigator Shanna Devine told Al Jazeera. "We saw Marie's documentation of more serious threats made on the BP page, and decided to investigate."

According to both Marie and Devine, some of the threats began on the page, but then escalated off the page.