Saturday, June 05, 2010

BP's Dudley Pulls a Hayward

Robert Dudley, BP's new man in charge of the Gulf oil catastrophe, isn't much different than Tony "Wayward Hayward." CNN reported Dudley's gut response to scientific discoveries of giant underwater plumes of oil:

"The science of the plumes hanging in the water doesn't feel right," BP Managing Director Bob Dudley said Tuesday. "What happens is dispersant breaks the drops down into small drops, and they move around and break down."

As BP and the EPA did three trials on dispersant use in deepwater, what did those studies reveal?

So far the government is backing BP's assertion that there are no underwater plumes:

On Thursday, Thad Allen acknowledged "some anecdotal reports from research vessels from universities that have found dense plumes or what they believe to be plumes under the water."

"We're in the process of taking samples and trying to figure out what they are," he said. "They're denser than the water, but we're not sure whether it's oil or not."

Scientists suggest their findings are not anectodal. Dispersants change the oil's chemical makeup.

The university, which recently discovered a second oil plume in the Gulf, concluded that microscopic oil droplets are forming deepwater oil plumes.

"These hydrocarbons are from depth and not associated with sinking, degraded oil, but associated with the source of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead," said David Hollander, a professor of chemical oceanography at USF.

The good news is BP pumped 6,000 barrels of oil from the leaking wellhead to a tanker in the last day. That's less than 1/3 to 1/10 of the daily flow. Bloomberg reported:

BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward has more recently put the maximum potential leak rate at 60,000 barrels a day.

It's a vacuuming operation until relief wells can plug the hole. August at best, Christmas at worst.

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