Has BP Summoned the Fires of Hell?


We’ve railed at traders and speculators recently for their arrogant and sometimes breathtaking stupidity in failing to discount an onslaught of world-shattering news. If the dolts, rubes, bozos and mountebanks who have kept stocks afloat even remotely understood what has been going on in this world, we wrote here recently, the Dow Industrials would plummet 6000 points in mere days.  And the news has been grave, indeed.  America’s wholly imagined economic recovery died for good on Friday with the release of shocking retail figures for May. Household incomes have been falling, consumer credit imploding, M3 plummeting, and now it turns out that corporations have allowed $1.8 trillion to sit idle in low-yielding bank accounts, hastening the economy’s deflationary collapse and the onset of a Second Great Depression. We face the impossible task of getting out from beneath $130 Trillion of debt and liabilities amassed by government at all levels. The nation is adrift under a weak president whose radical politics have sharply divided the voters. Iran and Turkey (a NATO member!) have declared war on Israel, sending warships to run the Gaza blockade. Europe’s financial house of cards is within months, or even weeks, of total collapse.  The jihadists may be turning the tide against U.S. and British forces in Afghanistan.

Vision of Hell

Unfortunately the list does not end there. For in fact, there is one crisis that greatly overshadows all of them:  the seabed irruption in the Gulf of Mexico. We won’t even pretend any longer that there is a market “angle” to this story.  In fact, the markets are a side show, and politics a droll burlesque, in comparison to the geophysical dreadnought taking shape in the Gulf.  Because it could eventually threaten all life on this planet, there may be no “investable issues” here.

Seabed Fissures

The problem is no longer a leak or a spill, you see, but a volcanic gusher – one that appears to be defeating the efforts of the most capable petroleum engineers in the world. More and more, it is looking like a sci-fi disaster film with no hero and an unhappy ending. Even our supposed best hope for containing the gusher – a second well that would intersect and plug the leak by sometime in August – may be doomed to failure, since the well casing itself may be too damaged to seal off. But the scariest story currently making the rounds is that there are fissures springing up all over the seabed, and that if the weak bedrock that holds the oil gives way, it will release a quantity of hydrocarbons greater in volume than the Gulf itself.

Whenever we’ve tried to predict the “black swan” event that might eventually send the U.S. and global economies into deepest coma, we believed in our heart that, no matter what happened, everything would turn out all right.  The real estate market might collapse, taking our standard of living with it, but Americans would somehow get through hard times together and emerge better and stronger for it.  Even the prospect of a nuclear conflagration in the Middle East implied a beginning and an end — a radioactive half-life, as it were.

Human Error

Who could have imagined that there was an even bigger disaster lurking — or that mere human error could trigger a cataclysm of seismological proportions?  Or will it be of Biblical proportions, with rivers and seas turned into wormwood?   Has BP tapped, not an oil well, but a hole into volcanic Hell?  While these questions are almost too frightening to contemplate, the answers may be staring us in the face within months or even weeks.  For the moment, though, it has become difficult to sort out fact from fiction.  Are clean-up workers getting sick from toxic hydrogen sulfide fumes? Is the Obama administration covering up the true magnitude of the crisis to avoid a panic?  Why are nearly all of the satellite photos of the spill on the Web a month old?  Can BP really handle a crisis whose costs may soon mount into the trillions?  Is the problem even solvable?

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  • Archie1954 June 25, 2010, 6:38 am

    Error? This disaster is not a result of human error, it is the result of patriotic Americanism. Greed, the end all and be all of America is responsible for the Gulf disaster but as Bush’s neocons are like to state, “we are an empire and we make our own reality”. So America’s reality is that unfettered capitalist greed is good. Hear that? Good. These little world destroying glitches are nothing to worry about, just keep drill baby drill as your American mantra. Bush and his Republican neocons are responsible for this mess as if they had drilled the hole to Hell themselves. They made sure during Bush’s incompetent and corrupt eight years in Washington that every safeguard against such catastrophes were dismantled and ineffectual. How anyone in their right mind could even contemplate voting Republican is beyond me.


    What a delight it is to think that that’s your best shot. RA

  • TellMeNoLies June 24, 2010, 4:23 am

    Okay, everyone in the water!


    Don’t forget your death certificate!

  • david morrison June 24, 2010, 3:33 am

    We want your money
    You make us so rich
    Get on your knees
    Cause you are our bitch
    We are BP….
    Oil Oil Oil Oil……
    We are BP……

    We drilled and drilled
    And nobody cared.
    Until we spilled
    Now you are all scared.
    Its not that bad
    OIl Oil Oil
    maybe a tad

    You know that we own you..
    You have no choice..
    You need my oil. Bad. Bad.

    We take your money
    Then kill all your plants
    Fish and Birds, all an oily mess
    No more spring break
    no more fishing trips
    Your plans are spoiled by our small dicks.

    Oil Oillll
    Caught in a big oilmance.
    Caught in a big oilmance.
    We tried to stop it
    We told a few lies
    There is no ending
    So don’t be surprised
    The gulf is oil…
    oil. oil. oil.
    Engulfed in oil.

    Boycott my stations
    Tweet all your friends
    Ill make a billion
    Before this song ends
    We are BP
    Sneaky Sneaky ky ky……

  • Mike King June 24, 2010, 2:49 am

    With this one line: “Iran and Turkey (a NATO member!) have declared war on Israel, sending warships to run the Gaza blockade” – the author loses all credability. “Warships” – please! Plus none of the civilian passenger vessels were flagged out of Iran.

    Though anything is possible with the Oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico I highly doubt the opinion of the dubious author.


    I was simply taking Ahmadinejad a his word. Or did you somehow miss the quote from him — that he was going to send warships to accompany the Turkish warships? Not that Turkey and Iran have anything in common except for their relatively new (in historical terms) hatred of Israel. It would be nice to see Turkish Sunnis at war with Iranian Shiites, but that won’t happen till, maybe, World War IV. RA

    • UninformedLuddite June 24, 2010, 7:19 am

      That line stood out like Dog’s whatsits on my initial read also. It’s reminiscent of those 11 warships (US and Israeli) that transited the Suez a few days ago being on a humanitarian mission to Iran.

  • Kenny June 23, 2010, 11:12 pm

    Let’s not forget the overall picture that Rick is getting at. Aside from the catastrophe in the gulf, there are some other disturbing events going on around the globe.

    The Obama administration desperately needs a distraction from the gulf disaster, the crashing economy & the failed wars in Iraq & Afghanistan.

    Rumors abound that another 9/11-scale terrorist attack is on this nation or Israel is “imminent”. A terrorist group linked to Iran will be the patsies.

    Militaries across the middle east are gearing up for what is going to be a disastrous conflagration. Israel, Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Turkey have increased their military prepareness and are positioning their forces. The largest US naval force since the beginning of the Iraq war passed through the Suez canal last weekend – accompanied by an Israeli warship – headed to the Persian Gulf. Israeli warplanes have been spotted flying over Saudi Arabia after the Saudi’s gave them the green-light for overflights if they decide to strike Iran. The US & Israel have nuclear cruise missile-equipped submarines is the waters off Iran. Israel has been rapidly preparing and testing its (US-supplied) anti-missile systems and just last week the Israeli government issued a new type of gas mask to all of its citizens.

    While the US media lulls the American public to sleep by 24/7 coverage of the Gulf of Mexico crisis, the fuse for the powderkeg in the middle east has been lit. And WHEN Israel strikes Iran and drags the US into the fray, global markets will enter free-fall and the global repercussions will be Biblical.

    This is all part of the ‘Master Plan’ and all of the pieces have been strategically placed. 2010 will be a summer to remember.

  • shamwow June 23, 2010, 8:49 pm
  • Big M June 23, 2010, 7:50 pm

    Here’s what scares the bejeezus out of me. If this methane that they’re talking about blows, every ship in the Gulf will be sunk, and low-lying areas of the Gulf will be inundated. But here’s the really scary part.

    If the tsunamis they predict happen, how many other oil rigs are there in the Gulf? What if only half of them, or even a fourth of them, become damaged as a result? How much oil could be spewing out of the sea floor at that point?

    Jesus, this is fucking unbelievable.

  • shamwow June 23, 2010, 6:52 pm

    Here is what the computer models are saying regarding track and intensity of Invest93L , which may soon become “tropical storm Alex” :


  • shamwow June 23, 2010, 6:49 pm

    There’s a tropical wave, Invest93L,which may turn into a tropical depression/tropical storm/possible hurricane that has a forecast track which includes the Gulf of Mexico.

    ETA is next week or so, assuming it doesn’t crash into the Yucatan peninsula.

    You can read my commentary and get satellite images here:

  • dennis June 19, 2010, 5:36 pm

    As relatively new ‘Ackerman’ reader I have to say you need to be aware of what I think is a legitimate concern of critics of newsletters like yours– i.e., that fear and sensationalism sells. I have no complaint with putting alternative scenarios out there for others to read and judge for themselves, but if you are going to apply “high standards” (as you say you will to Isreal-bashers” ) then I think you need to say what, if any, standards you are applying in the BP/spill case. If they are biblical, so be it; but consumer beware, in that case, in my atheistic but humble opinion. People are making decisions based on what you write. Just witness above, the guy who is in gold, cash and guns– weaponizing himself for what he may think are the ghouls coming for his goodies, but may in fact turn out to be just a girl scout selling cookies


    Your point is well taken, Dennis. I have started to gather information and opinons on the Gulf disaster from my own sources because I do not enitrely trust the shrill, solitary doomsday voice of Matt Simmons. You may have missed the very un-sensational evaluation of toxic-gas risks that I published here from a CalTech inorganic chemist (see below). Also, Monday’s commentary will feature the constructive thoughts of a petroleum engineer whose Houston-based firm evaluates energy projects and does failure analysis for drilling firms around the world.

    That said, the spill may already be the worst environmental disaster in human history. Just today, for instance, there was an AP story that said that methane leakage could create vast dead zones in the Gulf and the Atlantic. There is no question that enormous amounts of methane are being discharged, or that it will have a profound effect on marine life. There is also no disputing the fact that the spill will destroy a significant part of the U.S. economy, or that it will cause coastal real estate prices to plummet at a time when the U.S. has begun to slip, inexorably, into a Second Great Depression. RA


    From an organic chemist who teaches at CalTech:

    I linked two frightening article here yesterday, one of which was written by an organic chemist who said the Gulf gusher was producing large amounts of methane and other toxic gases. The full article can be accessed by clicking here. (The other discussed the dire implications of a fractured sea bed.) Since I am trying to confirm all such stories independently, I sought comment from a friend’s son, a PhD candidate at Caltech who teaches in the chemistry department. Here is what he had to say:

    “I took a look at the links. I should preface my statements by saying that my training does not provide me any knowledge in the area of underwater oil drilling. As someone who works in science, however, there were many aspects of the articles in those links that seemed suspicious. It seemed a bit conspiracy theoryish, alarmist, and suggestive of pseudoscience. Many statements are simply made, without any attempt at justification via scientific evidence. I can tell you that some of the chemistry-related statements in the first article were flat out wrong, and this makes me suspicious of the rest of it.

    “The second article states that there is some massive attempt to conceal the truth about the nature of the leak, but it is unclear to me that this would even be advantageous to the supposed perpetrators of such an act, or that it would even be feasible given the number of people involved and the attention the situation has been given. The note directly after the second article talks about the government’s campaign against them is about as conspiracy theory as you can get.

    “In summary, I would not trust any statements made in these articles one way or another. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone at Caltech that knows about this topic. Good luck with the research.”

    • UninformedLuddite June 24, 2010, 7:14 am

      I read that suspicious evidence consisting of four sunken boeing airliners had been discovered during initial drilling of the DWH and that a video will soon be uploaded to youtube proving that 911 was an inside job and that the gusher in the gulf is the final piece of evidence required to finally indict Obama bin Genociding as the mastermind behind the 911 mystery.

  • Steve June 19, 2010, 6:14 am

    This is from today’s Daily Pfenning and it relates to what you were saying above. Hummmm, something is going on. “…Then there was this… This is going to make you want to go yell at the walls, or go outside and yell at the trees… Are you ready? A dire report circulating in the Kremlin today that was prepared for Prime Minister Putin by Anatoly Sagalevich of Russia’s Shirshov Institute of Oceanology warns that the Gulf of Mexico sea floor has been fractured “beyond all repair” and our World should begin preparing for an ecological disaster “beyond comprehension” unless “extraordinary measures” are undertaken to stop the massive flow of oil into our Planet’s eleventh largest body of water.

    Interesting to note in this report is Sagalevich stating that he and the other Russian scientists were required by the United States to sign documents forbidding them to report their findings to either the American public or media, and which they had to do in order to legally operate in US territorial waters.
    However, Sagalevich says that he and the other scientists gave nearly hourly updates to both US government and BP officials about what they were seeing on the sea floor.

    Why did we have to hear about this from the Russians? “

    • j r June 23, 2010, 10:47 pm

      Because everything the US government says is a lie.

  • Max Power June 15, 2010, 5:58 am

    “we have fished and polluted the oceans to the point of collapse. There is an enormous island of plastic trash sitting in the middle of the pacific. the gulf could very well be the tipping point for the viabilitity of our oceans. no oceans and life for you and i stops. As a world citizen, I would rather be overconcerned than underconcerned.”

    Rich, I couldn’t agree more. Minimizing such disasters is a clear indication that someone does not have a sound mind, perhaps not even a conscience. In fact, much of the problems of this world are directly due to those with little to no conscience – such as this BP disaster. The medical community refers to them as psychopaths. And they are everywhere. The last hundred years has seen a massive bumper crop of these rejects. You can read about them everywhere everyday. Humanity has yet to figure out a system to identify and isolate them. But humanity does not have the luxury of time at this point to do so. As for the Book of Revelation being goofy (per Gary Paul’s comment), this is another sample of someone making a comment on a subject without having any clue about it. Much of it is yet to be fulfilled in the very near future. Yet that small part of it which has been fulfilled, is incredible. Certain prophecy, written hundreds of years in advance, has come true to the letter, and in an astonishing fashion. But probably the real point here, missed by most, is what affect will all these problems coming together at the same time have on the masses? Its easy to speculate on this one…

    • UninformedLuddite June 24, 2010, 7:08 am

      What has come true to the letter? Please, please give me just one decent example. Bar codes don’t count, statues feet beingmade of a specific metal and so meaning the Phoenician empire doesn’t count either. And if anyone says Nostradamus I will be putting my therapist on danger money.

  • Gary June 15, 2010, 2:03 am

    There is that Bible thingie about 1/3 of the oceans burning or dying bull****.
    Ah! Who cares

    Um!!!!!!!!!! Oil on the shore Um!!!!!!!!!! Stop thinking


    Now back into your cage, okay? RA

  • Robert June 14, 2010, 11:19 pm

    If the Deep Horizon catastrophe is indeed the last act before the final curtain call, then I submit that trading in markets is simply an irrelevant way by which to bide your time until the Grim Reaper finally taps you on the shoulder…

    I mean, Keynes predicted the final outcome of his bogus theory himself: “In the long run, we’re all dead.”

    -Apparently not so, Lord Keynes. Through the machines, our markets will seemingly live forever. A timeless testament to the specific attitudes and biases possessed by computer programmers on the particular day that person’s analytical biases happened to be translated into computer code.

    Therefore it comes as no suprise that none of today’s current events are being “priced in” to the markets… nor is the seemingly endless supply of human apathy surprising.

    I’m quite certain that none of the flash trading algorithms comprising an ever increasing share of total trading volume are sophisticated enough to read news headlines. The machines are unapologetic about their algorithmic reactions to micro level trading patterns, and it is this seeming indifference in the “markets” that might just be disguising itself as human apathy…

    “Still my guitar, gently weeps…”

    Funny to think that on the day after Armageddon that the DOW could still have a computational value above zero, but hey- if no one is around to turn off the ticker tape, then the machines will likely continue on until their power supply is interupted, right?

    Now, if you’ll all excuse me, my shovel and I have a really big cave to dig out in the backyard… and we need to get to work.

  • gary leibowitz June 14, 2010, 11:18 pm

    Rick’s flare for the theatrics. I don’t see this event as one that will stay with us for more than a couple of months, specifically after the summer beach’s close. It will get capped and the news will shift to more immediate personal issues like jobs, the economy, and the stock market. We should be seeing another crash this summer, some 4,000 Dow points lower. Seth Klarman of Baupost Group is very negative on the stock market and has placed 30 percent in cash. Who is Seth? A fund manager, just 53 years old, that controls over 23 billion. He has an average yearly return of 23 percent over the last 5 years; this includes his loss of around 18 percent in 2008. He made 50 percent return in a year he was 40 percent in cash. Seems impossible but I do believe it is true.

    In any event count on a depression to take peoples mind off the environment.


    I wish I could agree that the oil blowout will be a non-crisis before the summer ends, Gary. Fact is, I’ve held back on posting some of the scariest stories I’ve seen on the topic. Today’s fright-wig champ, for instance: http://www.infowars.com/gulf-coast-evacuation-scenario-summerfall-2010/

    Concerning a 4000-point collapse in the Dow, I have no argument at all with that prediction, but I’d be careful not to assume that it will happen “later” this summer, or that it will be “merely” 4000 points. RA

    • Benjamin June 15, 2010, 1:03 am


      Oh, lord…

      That’s not directed at anyone, just the idea of so much evacuating. I swear, this is becoming more and more like the air traffic shut-down from that volcano in Iceland…


      No rhyme, no reason. Just the warped version of the precautionary principle in over-drive.

      Only this will be worse if it happens. Now, I can understand the rationale for some relocation. But what is the rationale for relocating everything within 200 miles, let alone the entire east coast? Has there been _any_ science put forth to justify such action?

      I’m also reminded of how well the evac went for Katrina. Makes me wonder if all those new prison camps I’ve heard about are for this reason. Anyway, I’m not afraid of any of this. I’m MAD as hell is what I am. And so should everyone else. Be afraid, and they have the upper hand. I think the time draws near where we need to remind top-down governance who is really in charge…

  • Jason June 14, 2010, 9:35 pm

    What a lot of people have overlooked are the increased seismic activity that may be responsible for many of these disasters. Starting in Dec-2004 with the Sumatra 9.5 earthquake, seismic activity has been picking up: mine accidents, birds falling out of the sky dead (birds are very sensitive to hydrocarbon releases from the earth), smells of gas leaks from New England to Texas with no leaks found in pipelines, I-35 bridge in Minneapolis, I-40 bridge in Memphis, etc.

    These incidents are in proximity to the New Madrid and associated fault lines. One of these lines runs along the Mississippi river. The BP incident site is ca. 60 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi river.

  • Chris T. June 14, 2010, 9:23 pm

    here I was going to follow up my prior post with this link to Glenn Greenwald’s interesting weekend article, only to find that you decided not to publish it at all for once.
    Censorship? A first for you, IMHO as far as I know.

    My comment was not that controversial, seeing Glenn’s comments above.


    I’ve enjoyed your posts in the forum, Chris, and hope you’ll stick around, but I am wary of things spinning out of control — and quickly — if I let posters vent Israel/Arab issues here. The topic is simply too heated for this venue, which I’ve intended mainly for discussions about securities markets and the economy. That doesn’t mean there can be no discussion at all about Gaza, the blockade and such, but let me make clear up-front that I will hold participants to a high standard if they want to tee off on Israel. RA


    • Chris T. June 14, 2010, 11:22 pm

      Rick, fair enough, and you do have a point there.
      Could certainly end up a 100 comment post.
      With the Greenwald citation, and some prior references to R.Paul, count me in the non-intervenionist camp, something about which there certainly is and can be disagreement (just see withtin the Paul family!).

      On an unrelated note, the last Fekete article has him coming out once more on the deflation side…

  • mario cavolo June 14, 2010, 8:22 pm

    On the Valdez cleanup and $$ Exxon spent on the cleanup…$2.1 Billion. The Gulf spill will cause alot more economic damage that BP is going to be liable for due to prime location.

    From this link: http://www.evostc.state.ak.us/facts/qanda.cfm

    “….How was the spill cleaned up?
    Complicated question. It took more than four summers of cleanup efforts before the effort was called off. Not all beaches were cleaned and some beaches remain oiled today. At its peak the cleanup effort included 10,000 workers, about 1,000 boats and roughly 100 airplanes and helicopters, known as Exxon’s army, navy, and air force. It is widely believed, however, that wave action from winter storms did more to clean the beaches than all the human effort involved.

    How much did it cost?
    Exxon says it spent about $2.1 billion on the cleanup effort….”

  • nonplused June 14, 2010, 7:26 pm

    Lok, it’s a bad spill, but let’s not completely panic. Abiotic oil only appeals to folks who have no knowledge of how oil and gas is found and are too lazy to go on Wikipedia and find out.

    There is no pool of oil forming larger than the Gulf itself. If there were the energy crises would be permanently over.

    A damaged casing is unlikely to affect the success of the relief well. The well will intercept the original well in the formation and then attempt to fill the original wellbore up with first kill fluid and then cement. If the casing is damaged it should only require more kill and cement to fill the additional void.

    Don’t panic folks. It’s bad enough without everyone loosing thier minds and entertaining every discounted quack theory as a result. Poor decisions could be made if people start using snakeoil assumptions.

    As for the other vents, there is a certain amount of oil that seeps in the Gulf every year. It’s possible this explains the other vents better than “the world has fractured to pieces all around the well and will soon colapse like in that movie 2012” idea.

  • warren June 14, 2010, 7:25 pm

    I watch this regularly. I live in the countryside and have the time, so I can.

    A robin builds a nest. It is a beautiful piece of engineering. It does exactly what it needs to do with a minimum of materials.
    Now, a number of eggs are deposited in the nest and are watched over with an obsession. Pretty soon there are more mouths to feed; in this case four.
    The feeding begins and is non-stop. The chicks grow; some faster than others. This is okay for a while but, then something else starts to happen.
    The chicks grow too big for all to remain in the nest. The smallest and weakest gets tossed first and is fed no more. This process continues until the last chick has to leave because it is too big and the nest is too polluted.
    Whether the chicks survive, is a function of their ability to feed themselves after leaving the world they know. More than half usually don’t.

    I don’t see anywhere else for us to go. Haven’t we crapped in our nest enough? Does anyone really think that mankind will be able to fix this mess and learn to never screw up again? Will he survive?? Do you believe this scenario is accidental???

  • Rich June 14, 2010, 6:16 pm

    Sell signals’s don’t get much clearer than a CNBC call for $1300 gold in the next few days:

  • Brutlstrudl June 14, 2010, 5:30 pm

    Rick, I have bullion, cash, superior firepower, and a remarkably short bucket list. As ready s I’ll ever be. Thanks for all your columns.

    Chris from Luigi’s

  • Norman June 14, 2010, 3:21 pm

    A bit dissapointed in the oil volume comparison, simple maths & geology takes away the hysteria. The drilled play is a geometric shape, which trapped oil when it was made. It is isolated from the surroundings. Think if it this way, if not then we’d only ever have drilled one well in texas in the 1800s and be done with it.

    To say the volumetric capacity of that new play is greater than the volume of water in the gulf of mexico is ridiculous. The well was supposed to have tested at 8500bbl per day on a choke, so unrestricted is estimated at doing 20K-40K bbl/day. At that rate, that is an unmanaged by reversoir engineer depletion rate, the field life may be 10 years +/- thats 140million bbls or oil, and each bbl has 42 us gallons.

    simple google below from wikipedia, look at the magnitude of difference….

    How many gallons of water are in the Gulf of Mexico?
    In: Waste and Recycling [Edit categories]
    The concise Brittanica Encyclopedia estimates the surface of the Gulf of Mexico to be
    1,550,000 km2 that is 1,550,000,000,000 m2
    e maximum depth of the Gulf is 5203 m.
    The average depth is somwhere between 0 and that value. I guess 1/4 the maximum depth (because it gave me an almost round number) of 1300 m.
    Multiplying 1,550,000,000,000 m2 x 1300m = 2.015 x 10 E 15 m3 or
    5.3 X 10 E 17 USGallons (give or take 1223gallons)

    or about 650 Quadrillion gallons (650,000,000,000,000,000)

    • Benjamin June 14, 2010, 7:27 pm

      “The drilled play is a geometric shape, which trapped oil when it was made. It is isolated from the surroundings. Think of it this way, if not then we’d only ever have drilled one well in texas in the 1800s and be done with it.”

      Exactly. True or not, abiogenesis would only come into consideration to the extent that migration from surrounding rock into the containing pocket is out-pacing the leak itself (which it isn’t because it can’t).

      “How many gallons of water are in the Gulf of Mexico? About 650 Quadrillion gallons”

      Yep. The only problem is, diluting the oil over that amount simply isn’t going to happen. But that’s both good and bad news. The same forces at work preventing that dilution from occurring are the same forces that are and will continue to concentrate so much of this oil in some areas vs others. Won’t be pretty everywhere, but won’t be hell on earth everywhere either.

  • Mark Loeffler June 14, 2010, 3:10 pm

    I think your tale is interesting but not quite accurate. Wormwood refers to a burning lamp, torch, or a star as depicted in revelation where everything is a star or “event”. Everything was made wormwood! Rivers, lakes, etc… but revelation is series of riddles that repeat. Seven scrolls or seven trumpets represent seven events or eras in succession, it is the same story told as a longer or shorter version. The third trumpet being the interesting as to we know what it refers to. The word wormwood means nothing to most of the world but in Russian it is the same word as Chernobyl! Chernobyl = wormwood. Makes more sense when you apply it to reality. The nuclear melt down of the chernobyl plant in Russia has been attributed to many hundreds of thousands of deaths related to the contaminated drinking water and the cancers it has produced. When we broaden the scope of the meaning it translates into radioactive isotopes including plutonium, iodine, strontium and caesium that were scattered over a wide area of Europe. It is believed we are closely approaching the 6th trumpet and that is the death of one third of mankind. How this happens is still a mystery to us feeble humans but there are only a few ways to kill that many people. Biological disease, nuclear war, or a natural disaster you may choose your doom however you see fit. Just some food for thought for those who might think you have any control over this show.

  • cp June 14, 2010, 3:07 pm

    Biblical Porportions = BP

    Glad to see Rick putting it all into perspective. Financial and economic disasters are truly frightening, however they pale in comparison to huge environmental catastrophes. He didn’t take it the BP spill to the next stage of massive deaths (human and otherwise) but that is inevitable in light of how we have artificially arranged an otherwise natural order. “Nature bats last” has now become an eye rolling statement, but long term history has shown that huge populations routinely get decimated. Without a doubt, our numbers and practices will be dealt with. And this has nothing to do with “God”, it’s just the laws of nature. wfd, cp

  • DanX June 14, 2010, 1:00 pm

    It all sounds like sunshine and lollipops to me. Under these circumstances, the S&P should hit 1500 any day now.

  • Rich June 14, 2010, 6:25 am

    Methinks the pessimism way overdone.
    DYY looks good…

  • Andy June 14, 2010, 4:52 am

    This a perfect example of why self-policing doesn’t work. A company whose primary objective is to make as much money as possible will always be at odds with public and environmental concerns. It s the nature of the beast. They will always be looking at ways to cut-corners and maximize profits. Hence the need for safety and environmental regulations and proper enforcement of those laws.

    You can always tell the knuckle-dragging “free market” purists— they are the global warming deniers, the “nature always heals itself” crowd, the “market is always right”, privatize EVERYTHING proponents. This crowd never sees risk in corporate activity, every warning sign is to be disregarded if a buck is to be made. But they SCREAM to high-heaven if the “free market” is encroached—Communist! Socialist! Fascist! The sky is falling!!! To them, government regulation is evil; that government has should have no oversight in corporate maneuvers, but somehow can detain its citizens without formal charges or wire-tap their conversations without warrants.

    But an environmental catastrophe is somehow OK—if it entails some elite group of people getting wealthy or remaining wealthy despite their sociopathic and unconscionable actions. It doesn’t really seem to matter too much to them that people have died, that thousands of people have had their livelihoods destroyed, that countless animals have perished; that this very well could be a dooomsday event.

    The Rusty Limpball crowd still defends BP but simultaneously criticizes Obama for not doing “something”. This neocon group WANTS a government “bailout” of BP in the form of minimal fines and cleaning up their mess. To them this isn’t a disaster but merely an excuse to bash Obama. Not that he shouldn’t shoulder some blame, but they want to argue it both ways— “not a disaster, leave BP alone” / “Obama’s Katrina” (ie, incompetent like Bush).

    The Rusty Limpball dittoheads also conveniently leave out the Bush/Cheney part of the equation. These were the guys responsible for the minimizing regulation (smaller government) and discouraging oversight. I sure wish the Cheney Secret Oil Meeting notes will finally see the light of day. Unfortunately, I can’t count on Obama to investigate anything. He’s been acting more as Bush’s butler busy sweeping dirt under the rug than a real force of change.

    The fact is, the government has to have regulation and oversight. Government’s role is the protection of it’s people and environment. Corporate greed, is at its very core, is in opposition to that notion.

    But the grim reality is IF the undersea formation that holds this gigantic oil reserve (billions of gallons) is at risk or, or is collapsing it really could be a doomsday event. Add into the mix a BILLION gallons+ of highly toxic “dispersants”—applied mostly to conceal the true extent of the spill so far (yet another sociopathic action with blatant disregard to wildlife) and you’ve got an extinction-level event for many creatures, even if the worst cast scenario doesn’t materialize. Perhaps the bluefin tuna will be one of the victims. It’s population has already been decimated to a mere 1% of its former size (mainly through our unregulated devouring of them). The Gulf is it’s main spawning ground. This could be “it” for them. BTW, the nutcase idea of nukes would all but guarantee a collapse of the formation and release of the entire oil mass. Russia stopped a LAND oil gusher with a nuke. Still a crazy notion, but when did Russia ever show high regard for life?

    We should all hope—dare I say pray?—the worst case won’t pan out. Unfortunately, in that event where there are only a few creatures wiped off the face of the earth and the majority of us are still here after a resolution of this mess, the knuckle-dragging “free market” purists will be at it once again, vilifying government regulation and oversight if there is a buck to be made, while ridiculing clean energy alternatives.

    • Martin Snell June 14, 2010, 5:07 am

      Amen Andy (and that comes from an atheist).

    • rmsimc June 14, 2010, 3:43 pm

      …But Russia is the ultimate employer of the top-down control of which you speak so highly. I would think that theirs would be the model you would wish to emulate.

    • Larry June 14, 2010, 5:18 pm

      Statoil (or whatever nationalized oil company exists in Andy’s dreamworld) will drill the dangerous holes in future, to feed our addiction and power our Boeings and Airbuses.

      Then, we will see if this new birth of state self-policing will work and we live in a world where no accidents will ever happen again (sort of like in Venezuela with their state-of-the-art sunken rig.)

      Or, as in the old Soviet, where slapdash technology combined with central planning results in glowing holes in the Ukraine, riverine dumping of radiological waste and blowouts cured with nukes. No corporate greed profit motives there.

      When you find the Third Way, please awaken Rip van Winkle.

    • Andy June 15, 2010, 1:55 am

      rmsimc & Larry:
      Where, where did I even suggest that Russia/ Venezuela are superior models? Perhaps you didn’t read what I wrote properly. Or worse you are the type of people who have gotten us into the mess—defend every wrong-headed or even criminal acts committed by an American entity simply because it’s American (or partly American)? We can NEVER better ourselves that way. If you think for one moment that crony capitalism hasn’t rigged the money game for themselves you are gravely mistaken.

      You don’t think Russia is out to make money? Or Venezuela? Are you kidding? Perhaps you think China isn’t making money either?

      But you two are inadvertently helping me make my point. When the government’s interests become the same as corporate interests the people always lose. Doesn’t matter whether its communist or fascist. We’ve witnessed the melding of government agencies, such as the MMS and the Oil Industry and the results are disastrous. People and nature lose.

      Regulation and oversight is for the protection of people and environment. If that smells like communism to you, that’s your own hang-up. Perhaps “We the People” sounds too communist for you as well. I have news for you, the oil in the ground that BP and others are exploiting and spilling belongs to “We the People”. They are “leasing” OUR (*communist*) resources. Perhaps you think just because BP (for instance) is a corporation, that they sould just “get” the oil for essentially free, make huge profits for themselves while the US government aka (We the People) just get the cleanup tabs in the event of a disaster. Gee, that’s quite a recipe for a fiscally sound government. Aren’t you guys for fiscally responsible government?

      What I want—what we need— are protections so that corporate OR governmental actions do not harm people or planet.

      Sure, I’m a tree-hugger and damn proud of it!

    • Saul June 16, 2010, 6:44 am

      This a perfect example of why self-policing doesn’t work.

      Why do you think BP was self-policing, when MMS had been regulating and rubber stamping inadequate designs and plans?

      Government regulation fails. Didn’t work in finance. Didn’t work in extracting oil.

      “A former Justice Department inspector general will lead the Obama administration’s revamp of the Minerals Management Service, the Interior Department agency under fire for lax oversight of oil and gas drilling in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.”

    • Larry June 16, 2010, 7:42 pm

      Perhaps Andy is too literal to catch my drift, using a couple of noteworthy examples, that a government is hard pressed to regulate itself.

      What he seems to want is a moratorium on all offshore drilling. Because only under a ban will accidents never happen. California hasn’t had an drilling accident since 1969.

      Here’s to a petroleum-free future.

  • steve June 14, 2010, 4:47 am

    Thanks Rick. Keep telling it like it is! The _____s (fill in your own word) will always be what they are; they can’t help themselves, and if they leave, many of us are almost as happy about it as you!
    God bless you and may God have mercy on us all.

  • cameroni June 14, 2010, 2:52 am

    My best idea would be that BP sink multiple drill holes ASAP and take the pressure off the leaks. Capturing it instead of allowing it to continue spewing it into the ocean. But how fast can resources be deployed to drain that boil sufficiently to stop the gushing is anybody’s question. Doing nothing is not an option. Time for real action.

    On the European front, another shoe has dropped. No big surprise as France has also now announced austerity measures and deep cuts that are sure to bring riots to their streets. The tough talk is surprising even me. We are being softened up in advance of the G8 and G20 by these weekly announcements.

    First Germany, then Britain and now France too. Can Canada and the US be far behind. I stated in my article of last week that I felt certain that a serious market correction would unfold during June. I believe it will be precipitated by the summit in Toronto and announcements that evolve leading up to it. We are getting those signals in spades. Time to sit up and pay attention.

    Markets will price the news in quickly. Actually it is surprising they have not done so yet but the significance of what is taking place is perhaps too big to swallow. I also think that this suggests a reason as to why the Canadian Government has spent such an exceptional amount of money on the conference. At 1 Billion and counting for security alone it tells me that very bad news is on the horizon.

    • S David June 14, 2010, 3:40 am

      The billion dollars is a safety net so bad news doesn’t happen.

      Besides, what’s a billion dollars these days? I’m kidding of course, but with all these leaders in one location, security is an absolute necessity.

    • Benjamin June 14, 2010, 6:54 am


      First, let’s get the stupid and trivial out of the way: I used to think your id rhymed with “macaroni”.

      Okay, getting down to business…

      I thought that a stronger Euro would result (among other reasons) because the EU would realize that they couldn’t win a trade war vs China. If that doesn’t compute, it’s alright because it’s not central. What is central is that a stronger Euro would mean more importing.

      So how does a stronger currency translate into austerity, seeing as how it discourages production and encourage importing?

      I can see where it would slow or halt govt spending, but not reduce it unless the EU increasingly steps up the unemployment pain over time, with no end in sight. For that reason, I don’t see that austerity would be sustainable. In fact, I suspect austerity is just a softer word for impoverishment.

      But then again, maybe not. After all, with stronger currency a country could import less consumer goods, and more capital/productive goods. However, with the private sector on the fritz, that would leave government spending to do the buying. Who else would there be.

      So the way I see it, Europe is heading for total centralization of production and commerce. Either that, into an inescapable pit of poverty. But really, is there a difference between the two?

      Anyway, I would like your input because a certain picture is starting to not only form, but also take root in my mind. And if it’s a weed, I want to pull it ASAP!


  • mark wills June 14, 2010, 2:45 am

    Abiogenic oil, Really?
    No Peak Oil, Really?

    I realize that this is a scary situation, but there is no need to throw away all scientific common sense in the panic.

    The real lesson here is that oil is getting more expensive and dangerous to find. Maybe some of the drivers of gas guzzlers will think twice about what they have wrought. Bring on a higher gas tax to start the weaning off of this dangerous and expensive drug that is for the moment at least being wasted, just as it is being purchased on the national credit card at the cost of $30+ billion a month.

    BP also points out one of the problems with the capitalist/free enterprise model. If this gets much worse BP may not have enough left to pay for all the damage. Then what? Companies can make such a mess that in the end it is the public that is left paying for their mistakes (take 2 after the banking crisis).

    Let’s learn the right lessons from this crisis/disaster. We live in a world where efficiency has become god. Everything has become just in time or cutting edge. Maybe we have to be willing to go a little bit slower, to push limits a little less, and maybe rebuild some of those safety cushions.

    • Benjamin June 14, 2010, 5:18 am

      “Maybe some of the drivers of gas guzzlers will think twice about what they have wrought.”

      Hey, Mark? Where do you live? I’m just really curious to know because you don’t sound to me like someone who has the bigger picture in his criticims.

      I live right off Lake Michigan and let me tell you about something called lake effect snow. It can and has buried my driveway in a matter of hours. And I don’t like shovelling it away, see? I also don’t like to drive in streets that the city/county hasn’t gotten around to. Slidding or getting stuck really sucks! I’d much rather just drive over it in my Dodge Durango. I also don’t like the silly idea of my buying a stupid little hybrid to do non-winter driving just to ease my conscious about the environmental damages that some needlessly cause, which is to say…

      Even if I didn’t have practical wants and needs, I still wouldn’t change my mind based on what some green-hugging company has done in addition to feeding Green Peace, the UN IPCC (aka, Climategate deniers who solicited and received money from BP among others), the Siera Club, and god only knows what other environmental groups and propaganda they chant over and over. However deep the rabit hole goes, I’m positive that the named interests sound just like you. So before you accuse me of wrecking the earth with my SUV, I think you owe everyone an admission that you actually approve of all this purposeful destruction, what is done precisely to get us all to repent our un-Gaian ways.

    • Jason June 14, 2010, 9:42 pm

      Some people have caluclated that the total carbon footprint of a Prius (manufacturing, fuel and maintenance over 250K miles) is much higher than most vehicles.

    • Benjamin June 15, 2010, 12:46 am


      The other point that the bikers and hybriders miss is that a barrel of crude, on average, yields far more gasoline than anything else. If all cars were made to get 100 mpg+ (or even 50, I suspect), one must ask where all that gasoline goes, and what cost, both environmentally and economically. It doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to answer those questions.

      As for all the bikers that claim they’re “free of the spell”, they oil their chains as they pull mine, and ride bikes that probably weren’t made by Gilligan’s, Inc on Gillgan’s Island, let alone shipped by entirely oil-less means.

      (on a side note… They then have the audacity to ride around the city trying to passively preach the “evils” of cars by flying out in front of you and nearly getting themselves run over. Chicken Martyrs, I call them, and getting around Chicago as I do, I see it all the time!)

      So again, cars are cleaner, are the smart choice, and the less MPG they get, the more growing disaster they spare us. Sheeze… What’s not to like?!

  • Tom Paine June 14, 2010, 1:26 am

    Rick and readers,

    I hope my comment above is not taken as concurring with Gary Paul on anything other than the wrongness of abiogenesis. I certainly don’t consider Rick a nutcase. Far from it, and though I don’t always agree with his opinions, I have a great deal of respect for Rick. There are not many of us who have helped nab a domestic terrorist. There are also few who have Rick’s combination of many talents and the work ethic to produce so much of value for his subscribers and readers.

    Even if I found this particular commentary to be a bit alarmist, well… In a world where so many are apathetic to the point of near brain death, wasted on alcohol, drugs, pornography and celebrity gossip, maybe a little alarmism is what we need. And certainly if any problems are cause for alarm, this oil spill must rank right up there.


    I appreciate the kind words, Tom. RA

  • mark June 14, 2010, 12:03 am

    I have to say, I’m really not that worried about this disaster being the One That Ends It All. The Russians nuked a few similar situations without too much effort.

    Here’s one that’s in the Gulf and under the radar: In the wake of a Gulf hurricane (maybe Katrina, but I’m not sure), the USGS discovered that a lot of their survey markers weren’t where they used to be. After researching it, they concluded that a crescent of the Gulf coast continental shelf sits on something that’s basically quicksand… that this crescent, extending hundreds of miles inland, from Florida around through a lot of Texas, is slowly sinking and sliding into the Gulf on this layer of quicksand. We’ve all become familiar with static systems and fingers of instability these past few years… imagine a landslide that takes a swath of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas and dumps it into the Gulf.

  • Benjamin June 13, 2010, 11:54 pm

    Biotic or abiotic… I can’t say for certain, as reliable info is lacking, but unless all this oil is contained in a very small space, it isn’t all going to come out. At some point pressure WILL equalize with the ocean and atmosphere on top, and it will do so before all the oil is exhausted from the leak, whether that be 50 million or 14 quadrillion barrels (the capacity of the Gulf).

    No, we can’t be so lucky that nature would show the peakers what liars/idiots they are, even if that meant shooting us in the head when they shoot themselves in the foot.

    That said, if the surrounding rock collapsed, pressure would be relieved that much faster. It would be very, very messy for a few years, but within that time the oil would scatter and dilute over both land and sea. Nature will recover. It always does. The things I worry about are…

    a) the impact on people (including, people still recovering in Haiti, if the oil goes that far)

    b) what the response thus far might mean.

    If the market isn’t responding, maybe that’s because it can’t due to the possibility that all is really bankrupt. And since govt is just being all bark, but no bite…

    Maybe govt’s too broke as well. And even taking control through the iron fist would make govt responsible for a problem they can neither afford nor control. Why would it want to say that the trough can’t be filled because we must flush all resource down the drain? Right, so just keep letting it leak while waggling the finger. Our debt and tax slavery at work, folks!

  • Grass Ranger June 13, 2010, 9:57 pm

    It is obvious that people can become frantic when faced with something they haven’t seen before. But, the problem we are facing in the BP / Deep Water Horizon disaster has been seen before. The public and the media are so oblivious to history they can’t recall a well blowout twice the size of the current incident and it occurred in the same Gulf. In 1979, the Ixtoc blowout pumped twice as much oil into the Gulf as BP/DWH. Oil piled up on Mexican and Texas beaches was up to two feet thick. Eventually, after a few months, the well was plugged. Within a couple of years there was hardly any oil to be found on the beaches. A Gulf hurricane churned things up and spread what was left of the oil far and wide and promoted the quicker biological degradation of the remainder. Now 31 years later almost everyone has forgotten all about it. BP/DWH is another Ixtoc, not Chernobyl. The media can seem to tell the difference and as a result are promoting public hysteria.

    • GSerapis June 24, 2010, 9:35 am

      Do you live near the Gulf? If you do as I do and you enjoy the recreational utopia then you have read the signs at beaches and public boat ramps. The signs from the South Texas coastal border to Florida’s southern tip of te panhandle read. WARNING: Do not consume more than 8oz of bay, estuary or marsh fish or mullosks per month. If you are elderly, under 14 or pregnant do not consume any. Serious health risks due to mercury and other contaminants. Get your facts straight… there’s nothing clean in the Gulf anymore and hasn’t been for decades. I know I live here in south Texas and the oil from this event hasn’t threatened us yet, but we still live with the effects of the damages from all the other spills!

  • F. Beard June 13, 2010, 7:07 pm

    Is the Gulf oil gusher a sign of the End? Maybe or maybe not. However, if we don’t reform the money and banking system it will one day kill a lot of us, I would bet. Really, if this isn’t the End, I’ll be surprised but we can still repent and put it off, I’d bet. After all, it’s only money. Can’t we learn to implement properly?

  • JohnJay June 13, 2010, 5:53 pm

    Even if the BP Gulf spill stays at the present level, there will be serious consequences for FL,LA,AL,and MS.
    Anything is possible, and it could turn into a catastrophe for the East Coast in general.
    Since Murphy’s Law is still in effect, California is past due for a major earthquake.
    At some level of destruction, the Federal Government may just abandon and evacuate sections of the country.
    I doubt anyone could clean up the entire Gulf area if it really gets oil soaked.
    Supertankers full of oil eating bacteria might help, but they may use up the oxygen in the water in the process.
    Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into Stanley!

  • TheSparkle June 13, 2010, 5:35 pm

    Gary Paul thank you for sharing that. Of course you must be right. Oil can’t be formed abiotically, gold is a barbarous relic, and the government always tells the truth. Everything written in textbooks is true. Thanks again for clearing that up.

  • rockingham June 13, 2010, 4:33 pm

    Yes this out of a science fiction movie or an end times movie. Don’t bet heavily on those two relief wells. This is very high pressure down there which will make it difficult to impossible for their success. If I were in charge I would have directed BP to be drilling eight production wells to quickly relieve pressure on the Devil’s own oil reservoir. I would also have our Department of Energy working on a few miniaturized nukes that can fit down a well borehole. One that would be drilled thousands of feet down to within 50 feet of the gusher well. I would have geologists and nuclear scientists doing computer models on what this mini-nuke would do to the rock/sediments 7000 ft down and to collapse the gusher well.

    But Harvard lawyer Obama is too stupid to care about this. He is the phoniest environmentalist who ever lived who chases chimeras like global warming and imposes punitive cap and trade taxes. Instead of working on this clear and present danger from the Devil’s hole in the ocean. He is like this because he hasn’t a single scientific bone in his body. He has never changed the oil on a car he owned. He was brought up precious and prissy by women (and a weak male grandfather) and catered to as the perennial affirmative action student then affirmative action hire.

  • rich June 13, 2010, 3:11 pm

    i think gary paul lives in a cocoon. we have fished and polluted the oceans to the point of collapse. There is an enormous island of plastic trash sitting in the middle of the pacific. the gulf could very well be the tipping point for the viabilitity of our oceans. no oceans and life for you and i stops. As a world citizen, I would rather be overconcerned than underconcerned. I would rather question and raise hell, then scramble to pick up shares of BP in a ridiculous chase for capital gains. Rick you are very correct in your alarm. I am alarmed too. The denial of our impact on the planet and the madness borne of the “false” need for continued economic growth has to stop NOW! I am 45 and I have ripped up my drivers license and sold my car (3 weeks ago) and bought a bike. i will do whatever i can to personally free myself from the hydrocarbon doctrine. AND NO – the birth of PLASTICS has never been a real solution. Will life be less convenient – you better believe it – but i would rather be part of a sustainable solution. (Besides who exactly said life needed to be convenient anyway). THANK YOU RICK

  • justmeint June 13, 2010, 11:49 am

    There is so much being hidden from us … not only the amount of oil actually spewing…. this article tells more….

    As I understand it, for every barrel of oil spewed out – lost – poured out in a disaster, a fine will be imposed. It would seem that this knowledge has been behind the reason BP initially downplayed the estimate of oil at 5000 barrels per day. Now that a tally can be kept of what is being piped aboard the other rig and boats that will store, for processing, this oil, a better estimate of the fines accruing can be made.

    This will not of course include all the millions of barrels of oil BP has dispersed – via the use of toxic chemicals – into the waters of the gulf, and possibly worldwide!

    I mean if you can’t see it, you can’t count it – so therefore it isn’t there coz YOU can’t prove it! READ MORE:


  • mario cavolo June 13, 2010, 8:58 am

    Below, I pulled this list summary of oil spills from “Duke5343” at MarketWatch, so its not verified…but it shows a list of oil spills much worse than this and we’re still here….a key point would seem to be location, if a spill is massive but in a contained area, without currents and far from mainstream civilization, then it will avoid biblical disaster proportions as the list below shows us; but this spill is in danger of being carried away by the Gulf Stream currents and is right in the U.S.’ backyard…I’m trying to make us all feel better, doesn’t seem to be working…Cheers, Mario

    1. Kuwait – 1991 – 520 million gallons
    Iraqi forces opened the valves of several oil tankers in order to slow the invasion of American troops. The oil slick was four inches thick and covered 4000 square miles of ocean….2. Mexico – 1980 – 100 million gallons
    An accident in an oil well caused an explosion which then caused the well to collapse. The well remained open, spilling 30,000 gallons a day into the ocean for a full year. …3. Trinidad and Tobago – 1979 – 90 million
    During a tropical storm off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago, a Greek oil tanker collided with another ship, and lost nearly its entire cargo. …4. Russia – 1994 – 84 million gallons …A broken pipeline in Russia leaked for eight months before it was noticed and repaired. Uh oops? …5. Persian Gulf – 1983 – 80 million gallons
    A tanker collided with a drilling platform which, eventually, collapsed into the sea. The well continued to spill oil into the ocean for seven months before it was repaired….6. South Africa – 1983 – 79 million gallons
    A tanker cought fire and was abandoned before sinking 25 miles off the coast of Saldanha Bay….7. France – 1978 – 69 million gallons. A tanker’s rudder was broken in a severe storm, despite several ships responding to its distress call, the ship ran aground and broke in two. It’s entire payload was dumped into the English Channel.

    • John Williams June 14, 2010, 4:15 pm

      Are you talking gallons or barrels…BIG difference.

    • mario cavolo June 14, 2010, 8:18 pm

      I did some research just now and it appears, for comparison, the Valdez spill was 10 million gallons, all of the above are as gallons, not barrels, and much larger than the Valdez spill, however info I just read regarding the Valdez spill indicated that far more damage was done to the natural environment due to location of the spill. This Gulf spill seems to be well heading to 30 million gallons and more, far less than a long list of the worst ever oil spills, but again, location plays a massive part in damage, both short and long term and in that regard, this one is obviously quite bad…

    • EH June 23, 2010, 10:34 pm

      This spill is ongoing and there is nothing that is likely to stop it. Per the upper end of the conservative official estimate, over 160 million gallons have spilled so far. The official estimate of 35,000 to 60,000 42-gallon barrels per day for 64 days only includes the wellhead – there is video of oil also coming up through cracks in the seafloor as well as plumes of oil distant from the wellhead. This means that the casing is cracked and/or eroded from the sandy high-speed turbulent oil flowing through it and these casing defects intersect faults in the seabed. The flow will continue until the pressure in the reservoir drops to that of the seafloor. This can be sped up by additional wells, but there is no reason to think that those wells will be much safer than the original well. The oil can be siphoned off to some extent but the vast majority is going to go into the ocean and given the estimates of the size of the reservoir and the pressure of the gas, this could go on for years at the current flow rate. Using the change in flow over the first two months of the spill, one could try to estimate the time it would take for the flow to reduce to something near to natural seep rate in the Gulf — but there has been no reduction in the flow so far; in fact it has increased. It is not at all alarmist to estimate that billions of gallons will be spilled before this is done – more than the previous top ten worst spills combined.

  • amolpatil2k June 13, 2010, 5:05 am

    Rick you are anything but a nut case. We need to fear the worst and then some. Bankers have gone way too far this time.

    My own take is that a lot of economics is based on oil. The oil spill will have at least two effects among many (1) offshore drilling will reduce causing oil prices to rise of course keeping elasticity of demand in sight (2) Mexico’s oil will not get exploited till much later when oil prices are sky high. Mexico will then become a very rich and swanky country, just in time for a smaller Internet connected world where everything is visible to everybody so everyone would necessarily have to be “clean” and swanky.

  • Tom Paine June 13, 2010, 4:35 am

    Note: the guy who thinks the spill could continue for years is a top proponent of the numbskull abiotic oil generation theory.

    No doubt this spill is a disaster of epic proportions, but lets not get carried away with apocolyptic scenarios every bit as goofy as the Book of Revelations.

    • Jim June 14, 2010, 5:21 pm

      “numbskull abiotic oil generation theory”

      There’s nothing numbskull about it. It’s another theory, and a viable one, to explain the origin of oil. I don’t understand why people get emotionally invested in one theory and then attack or ridicule anything else that comes along. If that’s how science worked, we would still live in caves.

  • Gary Paul June 13, 2010, 4:03 am

    Wow you really sound like a nut-case here Rick. Touting a lunatic theory of the origin of oil (abiogenesis) all the way to some Biblical smiting. At least you’ve revealed your true colors so I won’t have to waste anymore time here!


    How delightful to think you’ll be gone, Gary! RA

  • FranSix June 13, 2010, 12:44 am

    Well, I think this article sums up the fears, but I am living with the impression that siphoning the oil without capping it will affect the profitability of the oil industry as a whole, so they would rather much have people believe the worst about the spill and continue to siphon until the pressure lets off.

    Ironic that it happens in the Gulf Of Mexico when so much money and war materiel has been expended at geopolitical control of limited quantities of easily available oil.

    They would much rather limit the oil available rather than dole it out freely, because they could very well do that. I just wonder what happens now that we know there is oil in deeper waters, that there should be an equally massive quantity in the geology under the waters around Saudi Arabia, and offshore Iran.

    One big danger of spilling so much pollution in the sea is that the aquatic life cycle is the world’s recycler of carbon dioxide into oxygen. Shut the sea off from life, and we stop breathing.

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