Wednesday, June 16, 2010

U.S. reconsiders Dutch offer to supply oil skimmers

Whether or not I agreed with them, I always thought we had reasonably intelligent people running our government. This story blows my mind. Those bureaucrats in Washington who refused this offer from the Dutch, should be dipped in the oil (tarred) and feathered. Then maybe they will know how the sea life, that could have been saved by these skimmers, feel.

We have to get rid of these morons.

The U.S. Government has apparently reconsidered a Dutch offer to supply 4 oil skimmers. These are large 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 each day.

One ton of oil is about 7.3 barrels. 5,000 tons per day is 36,500 barrels per 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.

The Dutch offered to fly their skimmer arm systems to the Gulf 3 days after the oil spill started. The offer was apparently turned down because EPA regulations do not allow water with oil to be pumped back into the ocean. If all the oily water was retained in the tanker, the capacity of the system would be greatly diminished because most of what is pumped into the tanker is sea water.

As of June 8th, BP reported that they have collected 64,650 barrels of oil in the Gulf. That is only a fraction of the amount of oil spilled from the well. That is less than one day’s rated capacity of the Dutch oil skimmers.

Turning down the Dutch skimmers just shows a total lack of leadership in the oil spill. To just leave the oil in the water because regulations do not allow you to pump slightly polluted oil back into the ocean is just plain stupid. The small amount of oil pumped back into the ocean with the Dutch system is tiny droplets of suspended oil that will be quickly broken down by naturally occurring bacteria.

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 restored by natural cleaning processes.

Read Examiner article here.

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