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AP: Value Of Oil Skimming Is ‘Uncertain’

From a suddenly skeptical Associated Press:

Value of oil skimming Gulf flotilla is uncertain

By Tom Breen, Associated Press Writer Sat Jul 10, 2010

NEW ORLEANS – The value of one highly touted facet of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill cleanup — the small navy of vessels skimming oil from the surface — has proven all but impossible to measure, which could make it difficult to figure out how much damage BP is liable for when the gusher is finally stopped.

BP and the federal government admit they have no idea how much oil has been collected by hundreds of boats that range from retrofitted fishing vessels to state-of-the art craft designed specifically for the task. The harshest critics say the amount of oil skimmed is as low as 2.9 million gallons of the 87 million to 171 million gallons of crude that have gushed into the Gulf since April 20, but BP and independent scientists alike say there’s no real way of knowing.

BP tracks the amount of oil-tainted water skimmers collect — nearly 29 million gallons so far — but not the amount of oil found in that mixture. Part of the problem, BP says, is the variety of vessels and skimming equipment being used…

Of course, even the total spilled is murky. There is a daily federal estimate that hit as many as 171 millions gallons Friday. Put simply, that’s enough oil to fill up nearly 113 blimps the size of Goodyear’s Spirit of America…

The Sierra Club and other environmental groups doubt the skimmers — which have increased from roughly 100 in the region at the start of June to more than 550 by early July — are worth the resources being devoted to them.

"We’re poisoning the Gulf and we need to have as accurate an accounting as possible about how much oil is being released and how much is being cleaned up," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.

Environmentalists who criticize skimming say that under ideal conditions, about 20 percent of that mixture would be oil, but it’s generally probably closer to 10 percent…

Even in the absence of hard numbers about skimmers’ value, local officials are so bullish on the boats that supply struggles to meet demand. Leaders in coastal Louisiana parishes have asked BP to pay for having 300 vessels retrofitted as skimmers, and Gov. Bobby Jindal has assigned 20 members of the National Guard to make sure the Coast Guard is deploying as many of the boats as it reports are on the water.

BP is trying to recycle as much of the oil as it can for later use. Oil that can’t be processed gets brought to landfills in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, although the company says it doesn’t know how much has been skimmed out of the Gulf.

Neither BP nor the Coast Guard had an estimate on how much the skimmers are costing…

Once again, we have to ask: “why do we not have more advance technology for cleaning up spilled oil”?

You would think that with all the wealth in the Middle East and all of the supposed concern about the environment, that there would be an entire and very advanced industry dedicated to the purpose.

Why doesn’t Mr. Obama use some of the unspent ‘stimulus’ money for this kind of ‘green technology’ and ‘green jobs’? Does he think it won’t buy him any votes?

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, July 10th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “AP: Value Of Oil Skimming Is ‘Uncertain’”

  1. Melly says:

    Normally, were the current cap never placed over the well, the skimmers would be quite efficient IMO.
    When BP placed the cap on the well hole it was akin to putting a spray nosel on an open hose. Oil particles are being spread throughout the water rather than bodies of oil floating on the surface. I remember a scientist testifying before Congress saying something to that effect.

  2. proreason says:

    “The harshest critics say the amount of oil skimmed is as low as 2.9 million gallons of the 87 million to 171 million gallons of crude that have gushed into the Gulf since April 20,”

    uhhhh. I’m not a scientist or a Harvard graduate.

    But couldn’t the 80+ day deliberate blockage delay of the skimming vessels have something to do with that?

    I’m just basing my “theory” on my personal experience of peeing in the ocean, since I’m just a conservative rube. It seems to me the ocean breaks the stream up pretty quickly. And extrapolating that to oh, about 20,000 square miles leads me to believe that skimming at the point where the oil was surfacing FOR 80 DAYS might have been more efficient than trying to skim it over 20,000 square miles.

    But I’m not a journatist either, so I can understand that point wasn’t brought out in the article.

    Much better, as Big Oil told us a couple of days ago, to have thousands of Obamy voters on beaches with plastic shovels scooping a teaspoon of oil out at a time. That puts their time to more productive use than sucking their bongs and is a convenient way of redistributing money to them.

  3. bill says:

    I bet the Netherlands have some skimming ships that work. Maybe we should ask if they would loan them to us since our big government bureaucratic massive failure was too dumb to buy their own.

    Whatever happen to the last congress passed law, to prevent this from ever happening again. That was the plan after the Exxon Valdez disaster, remember all the chest thumping?

    Hey look it happened again … sigh. big government just leads to disastrous failure instead of small failures. What could possibly go wrong with health care rationing and lots of dead people.

    It’s the dispersants BP is using underwater that prevents skimmers from functioning and makes a giant underwater cloud of half sunk oil moving underwater killing all the fish and animals.. But then didn’t the EPA check all this out for us and include it in their oil spill emergency plan? You know, the plan that puts the president in charge of containing and cleaning up the spill.

    Heck of a job you’re doing there Barky.

  4. Right of the People says:

    A friend sent me this link. It’s a timeline of this whole mess and pretty interesting.


  5. Chuckk says:

    Sounds like a trypical government response to a problem. Commit huge amounts of money and resources on an uncertain solution.

    But at least they mean well.

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