While driving across the hill country this morning, I caught up on some national news via National Public Radio (and KUT). On the docket – a story discussing the fact that Halliburton and BP knew that the cement used to seal the bottom of the well that would later spew oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 3 months, was flawed and did not meet industry standard. Failing 3 of the 4 tests it was subjected to, the concrete slurry was labeled “unstable” by Halliburton as early as February 2010.
According to an article published by the NY Times:
In the first official finding of responsibility for the blowout, which killed 11 workers and led to the biggest offshore oil spill in American history, the commission staff determined that Halliburton had conducted three laboratory tests that indicated that the cement mixture did not meet industry standards.
Today, oil is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels per day.
As I wrote yesterday, the U.S. Coast Guard has announced plans to place a cap over the leak well that could capture the entire stream of oil.
According to a CNN report published this evening, the cap could capture up to 80,000 barrels per day of oil, sending it to ships connected at the surface.
Crews are already working to position a vessel capable of containing 53,000 barrels of oil per day.
Lets do the math…
Rate of oil leak: 35,000 – 60,000 barrels per day
Potential rate of oil capture by cap: 80,000 barrels per day
(Rate of leak) – (Rate of capture) = - 45,000 to -20,000 barrels per day
(a.k.a. we’d have an excess of capture capacity)
Potential rate of oil capture at surface: 53,000 barrels per day (assuming no creative storage techniques such as siphoning oil to nearby ships)
(Rate of leak) – (Rate of capture) = -18,000 to +7,000
(a.k.a. we might capture it all, we might not)
Either way, this new set-up has the potential to vastly improve the situation in the Gulf of Mexico as BP works stopping the flow of oil using relief wells.
The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed today that tar balls from some Galveston beaches originated at the Deepwater Horizon oil leak. However, they are unsure if these balls arrived in Texas via currents or if they were transported by boasts travelling in the area that might have picked them up accidentally. The tacky nature of the balls make it possible for them to stick to the sides and bottoms of boats over long distances.
This latest announcement means that all of the Gulf Coast states have now seen oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill wash up on their shores.
The Miami Herald reported on Friday that a new cap is being readied for placement over at least one of the Gulf oil leaks that resulted from the Deepwater Horizon explosion. According to the article, the cap could contain all of the oil leaking from the well.
The article also reported that the drilling of the ultimate solution – a relief well – is running a week ahead fo the original schedule.