Thursday, May 06, 2010

California lessons for the Gulf of Mexico oil leak

The web site Deepwater Horizon Response is described as "The Official Site of the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command." There's an extensive collection of videos, pictures, and current updates on the leak containment and clean-up efforts.

In 1971, I worked for the Calif. Division of Oil and Gas and one of my duties was to take unannounced fly-over inspections of offshore rigs in the wake of the infamous Unocal blowout of 1969. A complication was that the Santa Barbara Channel and other areas are rife with natural oil seeps. Some companies later built underwater canopies to collect the seeping oil at the sea floor and take it out of the marine environment. It looks to me to be the basis on which the current BP cofferdam process is predicated. [right, cycle of oil seeps offshore Calif. Credit, John E. Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution]

Last year there was a study on the Coal Oil Point seeps offshore California, that found they have released up to 80 times the amount released by the Exxon Valdez.

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