Saturday, May 01, 2010

Spilling Oil

Al Fin has an article on natural oil spills. He links to a Science Daily piece on oil seeps in the Gulf of Mexico.

ScienceDaily (Jan. 27, 2000) — Twice an Exxon Valdez spill worth of oil seeps into the Gulf of Mexico every year, according to a new study that will be presented January 27 at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

But the oil isn't destroying habitats or wiping out ocean life. The ooze is a natural phenomena that's been going on for many thousands of years, according to Roger Mitchell, Vice President of Program Development at the Earth Satellite Corporation (EarthSat) in Rockville Md. "The wildlife have adapted and evolved and have no problem dealing with the oil," he said.

Oil that finds its way to the surface from natural seeps gets broken down by bacteria and ends up as carbon dioxide,...
So how much oil was spilled by the Exxon Valdez? About 260,000 bbls. At 5,000 bbls a day it would take about two months to equal the Exxon Valdez. And another two months to equal the natural oil seeps in the area.

So how about some math?

Say we have 5,000 bbls a day spread along 100 miles of coast. That is 50 bbls per mile. Every day. At 42 gallons per bbl that is 2,000 gallons per mile or about .4 gallon per foot. Not too bad for one day. If it goes on for a couple of months not good immediately. A lot of wild life will be killed. And then as time goes on bacteria will start eating the oil and the food chain will blossom.

If the oil spreads more – that is good. If a lot evaporates – good. If a lot can be captured before it reaches the coast – good.

Of course if more drilling and mining of oil was allowed on land the chances of an accident at sea would be reduced relatively if not absolutely (oil consumption is still rising).

The desire of the ultra greens for a risk free civilization is increasing the risk that we will wind up with no civilization. Fools.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

1 comment:

LifeTrek said...

My reply to Chuck Sweeney's post against drill baby drill at the RRStar blogs:

The National Academy of Sciences says that 60% of the oil that enters the North America marine environment comes from natural seepage with only 1% coming from oil production.

Studies show that oil production reduces that naturally occurring seepage (University of California Energy Institute and the U.S. Minerals Management Service showing a 50% reduction in hydrocarbon seepage over 22 years)

Over half of the oil that enters the worlds oceans each year is from land runoff. Production and transportation only accounts for 8% of the total.

Routine maintenance of ships accounts for 20%.

As terrible as this spill is it will not change those totals substantially. As a matter of fact with over 12.8 MILLION barrels of oil entering the worlds oceans each year this constant 5000 barrel leak would take nearly a year to equal the amount of oil that enters the oceans from air pollution annually.

This spill is terrible and hopefully it can be stopped and contained before it reaches the coast, but in the long run oil production makes for cleaner not dirtier oceans.

Prospective is needed when making long term policy, perhaps that is why Obama and Palin have reached similar conclusions.