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Old 06-18-2010, 07:44 PM   #41
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we always joked the cook is the most dangerous guy on the rig (he has access to knives, as well as putting laxative in the food).
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:23 PM   #42
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Well, they took the cap off after it got bumped by C3PO.

WARNING: I'VE FOUND THAT THIS VIDEO SOMETIMES CRASHES FIREFOX.
bp feeds
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Old 07-01-2010, 04:17 PM   #43
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in case any one is curious about how close they are, and there is excellent technical info...with some publicity bs. 4+ days ago they were 50' from the maconda well.

Relief Well Operations Overview - Kent Wells and Relief Well Team - 27 June 2010
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Old 07-06-2010, 03:48 PM   #44
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Good news?
MarketWatch.com
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:12 PM   #45
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This looks interesting.

why-is-the-gulf-cleanup-so-slow: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

I vote for incompetence. (I can't make any suggestions here that might be considered political. )
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:15 PM   #46
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Sounds like they were using the same kind of risk management assumptions as the investment banks.


You nailed it!
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:39 PM   #47
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It looks like this thread may get political as well.

I'm also puzzled that any and all help isn't welcomed, and many regulations aren't waived.

But I think the cleanup is much more unmanageable than people realize. For example statements like this:
This 10-story high [A Whale] ship can remove almost as much oil in a day as has been removed in total -- roughly 500,000 barrels [21 million gallons] of oily water per day...

is misleading. The oil is spread out over perhaps 50,000 square miles in patches and streaks. Wanna guess how many gallons of water are in one cubic mile of ocean?

1 cubic mile = 1.10111715 1012 US gallons.

IOW it would take about 13 years for the ship to treat one cubic mile of ocean.

And the ship can't zip around like Ms. Pac-man sucking up those strips. It probably requires a few miles just to turn around.

Picture the vents on that ship, and picture a square-mile sheen of oil on the surface. I don't see how it could effectively suck that up.

My point is that it's a myth that with the right management and equipment we could go out there and clean up this mess.
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Old 07-07-2010, 03:23 PM   #48
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T-Al, I'm not sure of your math (I think you or I slipped a decimal place), or your application of it, or the conclusion.

On one hand, I think it's worse than you say. My spreadsheet says 1.1 x 10^12 gallons divided by 21 x 10^6 gallons per day = 52831 days. Divide by 365 days and you get ~143 years, 10x worse than 14 years.

For gallons in a cubic mile, this was a great resource:

HowStuffWorks "How many teaspoons are there in a cubic light year?"

That's also 8.48E+14 teaspoons per cubic mile.

However, oil floats - this thing is called a 'skimmer'. So I don't see cubic mile as applicable - it's not pumping water up from 5,280 feet below the surface.

Maybe it's better to look at it versus the job at hand - the highest estimates I've seen (the top of a very large range) were at 2.5M gallons per day leaking (wiki). So this thing is capable of scooping up ~10x that per day, but of course it isn't going to be able to capture it from everywhere, and it isn't 100% effective, but that gives us some sense of scale.

Quote:
My point is that it's a myth that with the right management and equipment we could go out there and clean up this mess.
I think it's hard to say, since we didn't have the right management and equipment on hand and deployed at the right time (and I am NOT trying to make this political, that isn't blaming anyone, it is just stating a fact). And I don't think anyone would consider a single ship to be the right equipment, this calls for a multi-front attack with many different pieces of equipment. Firefighters don't go to a fire with just a truck, they've got hoses, ladders, personnel, etc.

Obviously, containment/avoidance is better than after-the-fact cleanup. But I'd say it's a myth to say we wouldn't be in far, far better shape if the right management and equipment were in place right at the start.

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Old 07-07-2010, 04:12 PM   #49
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Don't know what happened to my first post...

There is some measure of water using a foot... AHH... like acre feet... that would be the better measure as the oil looks like it is not even a foot deep... so I agree that T-Al is a bit off with cubic mile

ERD... I know you said it is not together... but I doubt that the ship could scoop up 10X the leak even if it were together... it will be ingesting a lot of water with any oil... I am not sure of the ratio... but would not be surprised if it were 10X.... or even 100X of water to oil...
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Old 07-07-2010, 04:23 PM   #50
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ERD... I know you said it is not together... but I doubt that the ship could scoop up 10X the leak even if it were together... it will be ingesting a lot of water with any oil... I am not sure of the ratio... but would not be surprised if it were 10X.... or even 100X of water to oil...
Oh, I agree. I just threw that out there to give some sense of the scale. We need more than just this one ship.

Like any big project, you have to use the right tools for the right job. The big rigs like this would go into the thickest patches of oil, with smaller more maneuverable units running after the stuff that is more spread out. In the midst of a big patch, that skimmer might actually do better than 10:1, but on average I suspect it would be much less (though I really don't have much info to base that on, just a guess).

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Old 07-07-2010, 04:26 PM   #51
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My point is that it's a myth that with the right management and equipment we could go out there and clean up this mess.
mmm...one thing is for sure, we'll never know unless we have some action.

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There is some measure of water using a foot... AHH... like acre feet... that would be the better measure as the oil looks like it is not even a foot deep... so I agree that T-Al is a bit off with cubic mile

ERD... I know you said it is not together... but I doubt that the ship could scoop up 10X the leak even if it were together... it will be ingesting a lot of water with any oil... I am not sure of the ratio... but would not be surprised if it were 10X.... or even 100X of water to oil...
i am highly skeptical that the oil is a foot deep on average. even an inch would surprise me...

i'm surprised the gov't won't let them skim...if the tools are available something is better than nothing. I'm having a hard to coming up with a downside to skimming...
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Old 07-07-2010, 05:25 PM   #52
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mmm...one thing is for sure, we'll never know unless we have some action.



i am highly skeptical that the oil is a foot deep on average. even an inch would surprise me...

i'm surprised the gov't won't let them skim...if the tools are available something is better than nothing. I'm having a hard to coming up with a downside to skimming...

I agree that it is probably not a foot thick... I was just trying to remember how they measure water volume in big chunks... and with T-Als cubic mile...

I also agree about the downside to skimming... heck, even if the process kept 50% of the oil... that is less in the GOM than before they took it out... this being based on the dumping rule that people have talked about ... 99% plus clean water etc...
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:16 PM   #53
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However, oil floats - this thing is called a 'skimmer'. So I don't see cubic mile as applicable - it's not pumping water up from 5,280 feet below the surface.
Unless these reports of plumes are correct.

The government and university researchers confirmed Tuesday that plumes of dispersed oil were spreading far below the ocean surface from the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico.
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:29 PM   #54
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sigh...this again. i personally think this is a shakedown of "researchers" to get money. a couple of quotes from this other article, which does a better job reporting it imo (and has some of the same quotes from the Nytimes).

Quote:
"These are not like rivers of oil flowing down deep," said Daniel Torres, a scientist with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. "We're detecting pretty low levels."
Quote:
The oil is "in very low concentrations" around 0.5 parts per million," and other NOAA research ships are in the Gulf to gather additional samples, she said.
Quote:
NOAA has been trying to "fingerprint" the oil to confirm that it came from the BP well. Surface samples taken 40 miles northeast of the well were "consistent with the BP oil spill," but hydrocarbons from samples taken 42 miles and 162 miles from the well "were in concentrations too low to do the actual fingerprinting," Lubchenco said.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:01 AM   #55
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I would think A Whale would be used close to the source, to capture oil coming to the surface before it spreads too far, with smaller skimmers trying to get the surface plume that has spread. If A Whale can get a large percentage of the oil before it spreads, then it would appear to help.

However, this is another subject I have opinions but no expertise, like I suspect many in the media that are trying to say how things could be done better.
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:26 AM   #56
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Unless these reports of plumes are correct.
I am really having trouble following where you are going with this T-Al. Even if a high % of the leaked oil exists in those plumes ( and ronocnikral seems skeptical of those descriptions, and he seems well informed on these matters), that does not negate the fact that there are oil slicks, and that the A-Whale might be able to capture some of that.

In other threads (like the Cash for Clunkers), you seemed to be saying that any amount of $ was OK to spend if it resulted in any amount of conservation. But here, you seem to want to set a standard for a high level of effectiveness for the clean-up. Effectiveness and efficiency are not the key drivers in this situation, results are.

If your house is burning down, and 4 firetrucks show up, you don't stop to ask questions about which truck produces the most amount of fire reduction per gallon of water applied. Those are minor concerns relative to results - get the hoses out, all of them, and put out the fire.

Any measurable amount of clean up that is a net positive is a step in the right direction. Within reason of course, we can't throw unlimited amounts of money at this, but there's no indication that the A-Whale costs are dramatically out of line relative to what it might be able to collect and relative to other methods. The only negatives I can see to letting the A-Whale do an 'on the job' evaluation is if it collected so little, or if its presence was interfering with other clean up efforts beyond what it was collecting - that could be a net negative. But those don't seem like valid concerns.

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Old 07-08-2010, 12:18 PM   #57
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I am really having trouble following where you are going with this T-Al.
Sorry I wasn't more clear. Here's where I'm going:That A-Whale ship is not going to do much at all, compared with what the press is saying, and a statement like "this ship can remove almost as much oil in a day as has been removed in total -- roughly 500,000 barrels [21 million gallons] of oily water per day..." gives a false sense of manageability to the entire mess.

That's all I'm saying. Joe Sixpack is saying "Gee, what a screw-up. If they'd put that ship out there 60 days ago, we'd have this pretty much cleaned up."

Yes, I'm now convinced: most of the water is on the surface. But the vastness of the gulf and the area of the oil spill totally dwarfs those pathetic little ports on the front of that supertanker. Just picture a surface with waves as you drive this humongous ship through the water. How often will that top inch of water be right at the level of the ports?

Picture those guys with the paper towels wiping the reeds. That's not helping, it's just making people feel good.

Again, the point: This isn't as manageable as the press may make it appear.
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:30 PM   #58
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If you were driving, how much of this:



do you think you could get into these ports?

AWhale.jpg
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:04 PM   #59
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OK - No matter what the subject, I'd probably agree that the press is giving a false (at least inaccurate/misleading) sense of the situation. I'll take that bet anytime

As far as :
Quote:
That's all I'm saying. Joe Sixpack is saying "Gee, what a screw-up. If they'd put that ship out there 60 days ago, we'd have this pretty much cleaned up."
I can't say what Joe Sixpack is thinking, but I kinda doubt that anyone following close enough to even know that the A-Whale exists is really thinking it is a near 100% solution. It seems pretty obvious to me that the oil is all spread out, it isn't a simple task (especially after so much time has passed).

I'll stand by what I said earlier. Two parts, really:

1) If this thing was out there earlier, we'd be ahead of where we are now. Even in the worst case, 'ahead' may only mean - 'ships like this don't really work very well under these conditions'. Similar to Edison saying that he was making progress with the light bulb because he learned xxxxx number of things did not work.

2) We would be in far, far better shape if the right management and equipment were in place right at the start.

Maybe the A-Whale isn't the right equipment, maybe it is 'good enough' to at least be of some benefit. Again, I don't want to get political, but as I see it, it was BP's responsibility to have reasonable clean up equipment on standby, and the regulator's responsibility to ensure that they did. I'll go so far as to say that if there is no reasonable clean-up technology, that we ought to consider eliminating these sorts of wells - but that would need to be made in light of the environmental risks of whatever replaces that energy source. We don't want to go from the frying pan to the fire.

Whether the A-Whale works well or not, I'm impressed that the CEO was able to get it modified and delivered in such short time.

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Old 07-08-2010, 02:09 PM   #60
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If you were driving, how much of this:


do you think you could get into these ports?
I have no idea. The TMT CEO does not sound like a dummy, I'm willing to guess that he has at least some idea that it could help. I assume they can control the level pretty well by taking on water, in calm water, maybe the ship would actually clean athe majority of that slick up. I really have no way of knowing.

I have an idea though - why don't we try it and see? Is there a downside to that, like taking in 500,000ppm oil/water and releasing 16ppm oil/water?

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