Saturday, May 1, 2010
HOW SERIOUS IS THE GULF OIL SPILL?
The British Petroleum (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, now up to 11 million barrels as I write this posting just exceeded the 1989 Alaska Exxon Valdez (EV) disaster. The EV financial fallout cost about $8.5 billion (including lawsuits*). The BP cataclysm is expected to exceed this figure.
However, the much publicized $5+ billion punitive damage adjudication remains bouncing back and forth in court. Exxon did cough up about $3 billion for cleanup and assorted smaller suits. The Exxon Valdez is now owned by Hong Kong company and is now called the Dong Fang Ocean.
For the record, these two spills are picayune by world standards:
#1 Persian Gulf, sabotage by Iraq prior to leaving Kuwait 1991, up to 420 million gallons.
#2 Another Gulf of Mexico blowout, 1979, 138 million gallons.
#3 Collision of Atlantic Empress and Aegean Captain, off Trinidad/Tobago, 1979, 90 milion gallons.
Yes, impacted industries in the Gulf could be crippled, but that #1 spill above apparently did very little real environmental damage. You've got to wonder if the media, lawyers and nation of sheep are behind most of this cost in the U.S.
There are more than 4,000 oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. While only numbering 27, the coastal platform locations of any similar spill are such that the damages will be cataclysmic to the economy of California.
On March 31, President Barack Obama opened up drilling the Gulf, Atlantic and parts of Alaska. Something tells me there will now be a loud retraction. Also look for a call for removal of those platforms near those populated cities of California.
How will this spill affect global warming / energy policy? More nuclear, I suspect.
The Shanghai Expo began today with the usual fireworks. More money is being spent by China for this extravaganza than for their recent Olympics. I'll be there at the end of October. I go to all world expos.