Another oil rig explosion?

Thursday witnessed the explosion of another Gulf oil rig, this one in much shallower water than the Deepwater Horizon. According to Care2.com, the rig was undergoing maintenance at the time of the explosion, and all 13 workers evacuated safely, then were rescued by the Coast Guard a few hours later. Because the well was not producing at the time, it did not result in the kind of oil spill seen earlier this year with the BP well.

However — there is one small incongruity. When the explosion first occurred, the rig operator reported seeing a mile-long oil slick. The Coast Guard stated that when it arrived 2-3 hours later, there was no sign of a spill.

Which story is correct? Why did the operator report seeing a slick? I don’t see any motivation for that. On the other hand, the CG may have had a great deal of motivation for hiding the truth, considering what a huge debacle Deepwater Horizon was for everyone concerned.

I just wish I could hop on a ‘copter and see.

Oilspill Aftermath

More about the oil spill: a recent AP article (via Yahoo! news) identifies the amount of oil left in the Gulf as approximately 53 million gallons, some of it stuck to the marshlands along the coast and some dispersed into the water — a situation likened to sugar dissolved in a cup of tea.

Of course, the problem is that the analogy doesn’t help. You can taste the sugar in the tea, meaning that it still reacts with your taste buds. If you happen to leave your cup out, the tea will evaporate, leaving the sugar. A diabetic person who drinks too much sugared tea may have a blood glucose spike.

Which leads to the inescapable conclusion that the Gulf of Mexico is poisoned, both by the oil and by the dispersants.

At this point, there is no way to clean up most of the remaining oil.

Like Superglue on your fingers, the dispersed oil will remain until natural processes remove it. In the meantime, how much havoc will it wreak on the Gulf flora and fauna, much less the humans nearby?

One of the natural processes that may “remove” the oil from the Gulf is the Loop Current, consisting of warm Caribbean water that moves north past the Yucatan peninsula to near Louisiana, then east and south to pass   Florida and merge with the Gulf Stream. The problem with the Gulf Stream, of course, is that it can move the oil up the eastern seaboard of the U.S., then out into the Atlantic ocean where, eventually, it could affect the UK and Europe.

Another issue is the fact that right now the Loop Current is mostly inactive, according to Oceanweather, Inc. and NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). During April and May, the Current looped farther north, closer to Louisiana and the oil spill. However, in June there was an increase in eddies and the northern end of the Loop Current began to break away from the rest of the Current. At present, the Gulf is dominated by local eddies along with a large circular current in its center.

That means that the remaining oil is stuck here, at least for awhile.

Interesting Blogs

I checked out two blogs today that have some of the same tags as mine. The first, Suzie-Q’s Truth and Justice Blog, has posts on the BP oil spill and a possible attack on Iran by the U.S. and Israel.

The earlier post addressed a topic I have been wondering about — why have the news channels suddenly stopped spending time on the oil spill? We had heard over and over how devastating the spill was, but once the well was capped, the extent of the oil already spilled was barely mentioned. The potential dangers inherent in the widespread use of dispersants was not being discussed either.

Perhaps a “deal” has been made by BP, the major media outlets, and the U.S. government (or other powerful groups) to dampen the negative news coverage and thereby prevent further upset to the public. By the way, less oil spill time means more time spent on issues the government (or other powerful groups) would prefer to talk about.

I want to trust the media, and I want to trust the government as well. However, I’m not going to be hopelessly naïve. No one — in particular, no group — is completely trustworthy.

The long term effects of such an enormous oil spill will probably be much greater than anyone can even imagine right now. Fifty years from now (assuming we don’t have the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it first), we will still be finding new problems.

The second blog I visited was the Green Info, Inspiration, and Action Blog. The top story discussed Obama’s “Victory Speech” concerning the containment of the spill. I agree wholeheartedly with the author who wrote

In my opinion this speech from Obama, though he mentions there is still work to be done, risks turning the largest oil spill in history into yesterdays news at the bottom of the pile, and this is clearly not the case for the millions of people and wildlife affected in and around the Gulf.

Again, the oil spill is likely to be an insidious plague that haunts the Gulf and more for a long time to come.