It was fascinating and enjoyable to read Lou Dolinar in his piece “Our Real Gulf Disaster” (8/12/10) on National Review Online as he destroyed the massive plume of apocalyptic mythology and threats of Armageddon postulated by almost every “expert” after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
However, there is one decision in the Gulf Crisis for which the Federal Government cannot be excused.
On June 16, we find out that “three days after the Gulf oil rig explosion, the Netherlands offered to send in oil skimmers to pump oil off the surface of the oceans. The Obama administration TURNED THEM DOWN because they were not 100% efficient and small amounts of oil would be pumped back into the Gulf with the excess water. EPA regulations do not allow for residue water to contain any oil. So rather than use equipment that was not 100% efficient, the Obama Administration chose to let ALL of the crude oil run into the Gulf.”[i] (emphasis added).
On July 6, the Obama Administration had a change of heart about the Dutch offer.
[t]he U.S. Government has apparently reconsidered a Dutch offer to supply 4 oil skimmers. These are larges arms that are attached to oil tankers that pump oil and water from the surface of the ocean into the tanker. Water pumped into the tanker will settle to the bottom of the tanker and is then pumped back into the ocean to make room for more oil. Each system will collect 5,000 tons of oil a day.
One ton of oil is about 7.3 barrels. 5,000 tons per day is 36,500 barrels a day. 4 skimmers have a capacity of 146,000 barrels per day. That is much greater than the high end estimate of the leak. The skimmers work best in calm water, which is the usual condition this time of year in the gulf . . . .
Using the Dutch skimmers should have prevented most of the oil from ever getting even close to shore. The Dutch skimmers work best close to the source of the spill where the oil is more concentrated. Outside of that circle, dispersants could be used. Additional smaller skimmers could be used closer to shore to pick up patches that might get through the first 2 rings. The less oil that reaches shore, the less there is to clean up. The less oil that reaches shore, the faster the environment will (be) restored by natural cleaning processes.[ii] (sic)
So let’s calculate what oil recovery has occurred, and what could have occurred if the Obama Administration had made different decisions about oil skimmers. Using this information we can now calculate what approximate amounts of oil were or were not picked up by the various “skimmers” during the recovery operations to date and pro forma to the end of August.
Spreadsheet calculating the amount of oil left in the gulf by not allowing all available skimmers to work
By the end of the June, the cumulative discharge of oil was 3,884,500 barrels of oil after the effects of the oil capture at the Blow-Out Preventer. But the reality of the fleet of smaller vessels performing skimming operations is a completely inadequate performance. For the entire period, from April 30 to today, they could only manage to capture 9,523 barrels of oily mix per day. If you assume that 20% of it is oil, the result is a net collection of just over 1,905 barrels of oil recovery per day. As we used to say in the Navy, this is just like spitting upward in a hurricane. And, so, at the end of June, the net cumulative discharge is 3,739,720 barrels of oil because all the skimmers had only skimmed 144,780 barrels of oil.
Buried in this data is a startling fact. It is the catastrophic cost of not having all the Netherlands’ skimming capacity at an earlier date.
If the Netherlands’ skimmers monthly oil recovery capacity of 4,380,000 barrels of oil had been available just two months earlier, at the beginning of June, would have resulted in a real and productive government response to the oil disaster. The cumulative skimming capacity of 59,055 barrels for the small skimmers plus the Netherlands’ skimmers capacity of 4,380,000 barrels of oil equals 4,439,055 barrels of oil recovered in a month when net discharged oil was only 1,364,400 barrels of oil.
Therefore, for the cumulative discharge at June 30th of 3,884,500 barrels, there would have been present a cumulative recovery capacity of 4,439,055 barrels. All the oil in theory would have been recovered by June 30. We would not have even needed the “A Whale”!
The federal government’s refusal in late April to accept the Netherlands’ skimmers was the worst decision made during the entire Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. The prior successful experience of using skimmers in the Exxon Valdez spill and The Netherlands’ experience of using these skimmers to service their own offshore and tanker operations, provided an excellent background for accepting them the moment they were offered. Perhaps, the Netherlands’ skimmers could have been here even earlier than June resulting in the prevention of all surface oil originated pollution.
Actually, it would have been a courtesy to our Dutch allies to have accepted their original offer in April. There was no misinformation about the Dutch Skimmers. The Obama Administration could not have been confused about these skimmers.
And they certainly weren’t confused at all about seizing and putting a $20 billion slush fund under control of one of their czars!!
If you want to explore in more detail a complete inventory of the techniques that radical liberals have been using to acquire single party government and unleash horror on people, you will enjoy reading my “Simple Guide: How Liberalism Destroys Peoples and Nations.”
[i] Hoft, Jim, “CHANGE! 53 Days Later Obama Administration Decides to Accept Dutch Offer To Help With Spill,” Web, http://gatewaypumndit.firstthings.com/2010/06/change-55-days-later-obama-administration-decides-to-accept-dutch-offer-for-help/, sourced 06/16/10.
[ii] Ryden, John, “U.S. Reconsiders Dutch Offer To Supply Oil Skimmers,” Web,http://www.examiner.com/x-325-Global-Warming-Examiner~y2010m6d12-US-reconsiders-Dutch-offer-to-supply-oil-skimmers, sourced 07/06/10.