Information Limited on Gulf Oil Spill

Only limited information is available on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
By: Lynthomas
July 21, 2010 - PRLog -- A group of independent scientists put together a crash project intended to definitively measure how much oil has spilled and where and how it is spreading throughout the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. They are frustrated and dumbfounded by the continued lack of the most basic data concerning the 77-day-old BP Gulf oil disaster.

However, the team requires permission from either BP or the government, or both, before they can proceed. This does not appear to be forthcoming.

Ira Leifer has been suggesting a variety of missions to BP since May 1, but has heard no word from the company. Leifer is a researcher at the Marine Science Institute of the University of California, Santa Barbara and team leader. He recently released the group's 88-page scientific plan.

The group represents "a significant portion of the marine hydrocarbon research community" including Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Markey successfully pressured BP to release live video of the leak. He said "Throughout this disaster, I have pushed for the involvement of independent scientists in evaluating the magnitude and consequences of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Ira Leifer and his colleagues have put together a proposal that could help answer some of the fundamental questions about this catastrophe and help us prepare should there be a next one. It is worth serious consideration by BP."

Leifer said he is in touch directly with federal agencies that could conceivably bankroll the mission and demand that BP give the scientists the necessary access.

Capturing data and imagery with remotely-operated vehicles that would produce authoritative measurements of the flow, the team would ideally commence its experiments at the well site. The team would then move its focus up through the water column and along with the current, so as to try to understand how the oil is interacting with the water.

Oil estimates to date, according to Leifer, are based on limited knowledge and assumptions. The lack of accurate information has taken its toll. “If BP had properly understood what was going on 5,000 feet below the surface, it never would have attempted to stop it with a ‘top hat’. Had they realized the pressure from the oil reserves was beyond the threshold for ‘top kill’, they wouldn't have wasted time on that, either.”

BP’s engineers hope by early August, to be able execute a “bottom kill,” blocking the rogue well with mud and sealing the leak more permanently.

Leifer states that if they had the correct information, an effective containment system could have been available long before now. "BP have not been an agent for insuring that learning occurs in the past."

Meanwhile, Tony Hayward, the beleaguered BP’s CEO, who is currently on a world tour to reassure BP’s partners, is not expected to survive once the oil leak has been finally stopped.

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