Nuke It Closed? (II)

Seventeen days after I posted this , Mathew Simmons is back on Bloomberg News with this update.


1. He bumped up his earlier estimate of the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf from 70k barrels per day to 120k.  (He’s been consistently ahead of the “official” estimates from Day One). And that unless the well is fused shut with a nuke or other high explosive, it could continue leaking at that rate for the next 25-30 years.

2. The two relief wells that are supposed to shut off the flow sometime in August are doomed to fail for the simple reason that the metal well casing they are supposed to tap into is gone. Whatever was left over from the initial explosion has likely been ground to dust from the continued flow of abrasive fluids rushing through it at tremendous pressure. (See e.g., this backgrounder from The Oil Drum.)

3. Based on new readings taken by the government’s premier oceanographic research vessel, The Thomas Jefferson, the size of the underwater plume is gigantic, covering some 40% of the Gulf of Mexico to date, growing larger every day.

4. Simmons ends by predicting that the US government is going to take all of BP’s cash. (BP CEO Tony Hayward and other company execs were virtually frog marched into the White House this AM for their meeting with the prez.)

Meanwhile, as I mentioned in my post from four days ago the then newly revised official estimate of 20k-40k barrels a day was doubled today to between 40k-60k. The Rolling Stone article I linked to earlier shows a whiteboard from the Seattle office of NOAA two days after the crisis began that shows their initial estimate of 64k-110k barrels per day.

Looks like they were right, which only begs the question why the Obama Administration has sided with BP’s estimates from the getgo, and not its own scientists.

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