Oil FAIL: Oil flow rate not 5,000 barrels a day, but -- sweet Jeebus -- 95,000 barrels a day
As it turns out, BP/Obama weren't fuzzy on the flow rate from the Deepwater Horizon oil leak because the volume was embarassingly small. Quite the contrary. Via McClatchy, big whoops.
The latest video footage of the leaking Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico show that oil is escaping at the rate of 95,000 barrels — 4 million gallons — a day, nearly 20 times greater than the 5,000 barrel a day estimate BP and government scientists have been citing for nearly three weeks, an engineering professor told a congressional hearing Wednesday.
Well. I guess that would explain why the Coast Guard, which apparently works for BP now, is preventing filming in the Gulf.
The figure of 5,000 barrels a day or 210,000 gallons that BP and the federal government have been using for weeks is based on satellite observations of the surface. But NASA’s best satellite-based instruments can’t see deep into the waters of the Gulf, where much of the oil from the gusher 5,000 feet below the surface seems to be floating.
Yeah, that's what Obama said, but he was lying. In fact, we have the technology for this at Woods Hole; we've been using it to measure hot water vents on the ocean floor.
Steve Wereley, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, earlier this month made simple calculations from a video BP released on May 12 and came up with a flow of 70,000 barrels a day, NPR reported last week. Werely on Wednesday told a House Commerce and Energy Committee subcommittee that his calculations of two leaks that show up on videos BP released on Tuesday showed 70,000 barrels from one leak and 25,000 from the other.
Oh. Two leaks.
He said the calculation could be off by 20 percent — meaning the spill could range from between 76,000 to 104,000 barrels a day. But Wereley said he would need to see videos that were not compressed and showed the flow over a longer period so that it would be possible to get a better calculation of the mix of oil and gas from the wellhead.
Hey, I've got an idea! Maybe the videos Werely needs are on display in the White House briefing room, and somehow nobody mentioned them!
The bottom line -- and I know this will surprise you -- is that the administration is and has been totally out of its depth. The estimate of flow rate they've been pushing is off by a factor of twenty, and the suckitude is fully on display:
Federal officials testified in hearings on Tuesday that they were putting together a crack team to get to the bottom of big the spill really is. That effort comes a month after the April 20 explosion that triggered the unprecedented oil spill in deep waters of the United States. Experts say knowing that amount is crucial for efforts to cap the broken wellhead and to monitor and clean up the oil.
A month? And now they're putting together a "crack team"? To determine a flow rate we should have been able to figure out from Day One, if BP were sharing their data, instead of acting like a sovereign state?
Heck of a job, El Presidente!