Where’s The Oil! Deepwater Horizon One Year Later

It was supposed to be USA’s Fukushima – an environmental disaster of Biblical dimensions – one that would serve as a watershed in USA’s energy policy development. The nation would now finally start to wean itself off oil and switch to renewables in earnest. When the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded, killing 11 workers, and began releasing million of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, outrage spread across the USA and soon worldwide.

Thanks to brave men (and nature) there is little trace of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy today. Thanks to the workers who risked life and limb in doing their jobs honourably. They will not be forgotten. (Photo credit: US Coast Guard)

Like Angela Merkel declaring a moratorium on nuclear energy in Germany after Fukushima, President Barack Obama also declared a moratorium on offshore oil drilling. Indeed it looked as if Deepwater Horizon was the environmental disaster that environmentalists had been waiting for. Environmental horror stories spread like wildfire. Calls to get away from oil grew shrill.

But fortunately for the environment (and unfortunately for the environmentalists) the Deepwater Horizon disaster turned out to be all hype. Today, just a year later, it is difficult to find any of the spilled oil. Within just a few months the true scale of the spill became known, read here, for example. When compared to the shear volume of the Gulf of Mexico, the 800 million liters of spilled oil turn out to be comparable to a few drops of oil in an Olympic swimming pool. Indeed concentrations of greasy, yukky sunscreen lotion in a public pool are much higher.

Now scientists have discovered that bacteria (nature) are devouring the crude. It’s almost all gone.

The German online FOCUS magazine has written the epitiaph on the gravestone of the “Deepwater Horizon Disaster”, which actually died at birth. Focus writes:

Even the optimists among the biologists were surprised at the speed at which microbes in the water gobbled up the oil in the water.

‘We  misjudged the Gulf ecology’s capability and bacterial ability to process hydrocarbons’, emphasized William Reilly, a leader of the investigation commission that analyzed the oil disaster for US President Barack Obama’s government.”

FOCUS reminds us that “oil spills” are also a natural ongoing phenomena.

160 million litres of oil leak out each year from hundreds of natural fissures in the ocean sea floor. It’s residence time according to studies is anywhere between 10 hours and 5 days. The microbes work so effectively that only a fraction of the oil reaches the sea surface. Obviously crude oil-eating bacteria got along amazingly fine with the oil from Deepwater Horizon.”

Today the stuff is gone, eaten by nature. People are bathing at the beach, and life goes on.

Let’s recall that tens of thousands of underwater volcanoes globally spew out all sorts of nasty things into the oceans. One quickly realises that Mother Nature is in fact a long way from being clean and gentle. When you get down to it, Mother Nature is a cocktail of physical, biological, and chemical weapons – she is always trying to kill us. She is not this silly paradise of a picture that Google uses for Earth Day.

Happy animals living in a tropical paradise with no disease or danger. This is what the planet would be like if we switched off all the lights.

21 responses to “Where’s The Oil! Deepwater Horizon One Year Later”

  1. Edward

    The “impending environmental oil disaster in the Gulf” did not happen.

    However, lax safety procedure and corner cutting caused 11 men to lose their lives sadly.

    Obarmy tried to use the spill to [if you’ll excuse the pun] to re-energise his failing green strategy [cap’n’trade, biofuels, halting off shore oil exploration, wind farms etc], this type of woolly headed thinking has shot him in the foot again.
    Because he and the so called experts ignored nature’s capacity to clean up herself, a well known fact in this part of the world – if only they’d have read around, did the research [all in the libraries] and actually looked!

    But no, the order was panic, shout to the heavens blame BP and then climb aboard the green enviro-bus, screaming this is the end of the world etc blah blah – egg on your face Mr. Obama………a one term president.

    Similarly with the Fukushima incident – bad though it undoubtedly is, it is not the Armageddon the media/green advocacy were hoping for, mind you it seemed to give Merkel the ‘runs’.

    To me, Fukushima demonstrated admirably just how safe Nuclear power is, remember this Japanese reactor was an old model, yet still survived a massive earthquake, then an enormous tsunami – remarkable.

    It leads me to beg the question, if not nuclear, gas, oil and coal, just what the **** do we use to power industry and homes?
    The incredible reply from the eco-loons is; renewables/sustainable resources -whatever these may mean.
    Though, have the greens considered the not inconsiderable pollution and blots on the landscape all these alternative energy resources actually make?
    Plus have the greens given consideration to the environmental costs on the Chinese landscape in the production of steel wind blades, towers [+ transport costs = more pollution] and the incredibly polluting processes in the production of mono crystalline silicates for photo-voltaic cells? – No I didn’t think so – but, we are not dealing with rational cognisant human beings here in the green lobby.

    Thus, the conclusion should be drawn, all energy generation causes pollution and environmental ‘noise’, what the human race should look to do therefore is to utilise the best and most efficient power generators….and all of these are ‘old technologies’ – we have to be pragmatic and realistic.

    Or, do they [eco-warriors EU politicians, environmentalists] want the lights to go out across the western world?
    One has to surmise that the greens answer to that last question is unequivocally in the affirmative.

    1. DirkH

      “but, we are not dealing with rational cognisant human beings here in the green lobby.”

      I disagree. When one assumes that they’re doing China’s job, all of their steps make perfect sense.

      1. Edward

        Hmm, the Chinese love the green lobby, it does make sense for them, if not for us.

      2. DirkH
        1. Edward

          I’ve read some of Farrelly’s stuff, she reminds me of Polly ‘pole dance’ Toynbee of the Grauniad, they both have something large and painful stuck-up a dark place somewhere.

          Such a superior attitude – why? They neither of ’em have aught on top.

    2. Jimbo

      Because he and the so called experts ignored nature’s capacity to clean up herself, a well known fact in this part of the world….

      The Gulf of Mexico has resident bacteria that eat up the natural oil seeps that occur there 24/7. This includes methane.

      1. Jimbo

        Twice an Exxon Valdez spill worth of oil seeps into the Gulf of Mexico every year, according to a new study………….But the oil isn’t destroying habitats or wiping out ocean life. The ooze is a natural phenomena that’s been going on for many thousands of years,………

        It’s always doom and gloom but the facts are ignored.

        1. DirkH

          Good find.

          1. Jimbo

            It’s not just the Gulf of Mexico. They occur on land as well as in the oceans. The world’s largest natural oil seepage is Coal Oil Point in the Santa Barbara Channel, California.

  2. ArndB

    Has any oil reached the North Atlantic? That was a question discussed last year, e.g. at “blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/06/15” and the impact illustrated; here: http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/mer_gulf_stream.jpg
    Has any oil left the Gulf via the the Florida Strait? The Strait width varies from 60 to 100 miles. The main channel has been sounded to a depth of 6,000 feet. The strait carries the Florida Current, becomes the Gulf Stream as soon as it has left the Strait. It seems that too little is know what has happen to the stuff.

    Quite some time ago the “Morning Liberty” wrote on Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 ; “Gulf Oil Stream – Gulf Ocean is Dead – Gulf Stream Has Stopped” The Gulf Stream isn’t reaching Ireland any more. Europe will now have an early winter. The first snowfall is already hitting many parts of Europe and people don’t know what to do about all of this. Oil in the Gulf Stream has put a stop to the velocity of the Stream. Since the Gulf Stream has nearly come to a halt, it is now causing extreme weather around the world. The Earl of Stirling, in these YouTube is speaking out about the BP Oil Spill after effects, that the Main Press is through covering. We’ll be suffereing with the consequences of BP’s actions and inaction for decades to come. AT: http://www.morningliberty.com/2010/09/08/gulf-oil-stream-gulf-ocean-is-dead-gulf-stream-has-stopped/

    1. DirkH

      Gulf stream debunked – can only contribute 10% to the observed temp difference between Europe and NE US/Canada. Atmosphere to blame.

  3. DirkH

    “Like Angela Merkel declaring a moratorium on nuclear energy in Germany after Fukushima, President Barack Obama also declared a moratorium on offshore oil drilling. ”

    Only that Obama reacted to a domestic crisis and Merkel reacted to a crisis on the other side of the globe. Come to Germany and enjoy life as the only sane individual in a herd of panic-stricken chicken. Don’t know how often i’ve heard “What if an A380 falls on Biblis” the last weeks. Didn’t even care to tell them how low the probability for hitting an AKW with an airliner by chance is.

    I still think that we will manage to progress technologically; but the energy policies of our leaders sure don’t make it easier.

  4. Carl

    Indeed Mother Nature is a very harsh woman. The picture on Google’s startpage is more like an artists’ rendition of the original paradise as being told in the old myths of Mesopotamia, you know the myths those who wrote the bible stole for the depiction of Eden. The sumerians called this place Dilmun, a place where strange animals lived together in peace and lush woods were everywhere.

    Maybe the real portrait of Mother Nature should look something like this:

    1. DirkH
      1. DirkH
    2. mindert eiting

      The bible story is really a humouristic text. Good literature. The author explains that paradise is very boring. For that reason Adam and Eve left after they became self-conscious.

  5. GregO

    It is astoundingly good news that the Gulf spill turned out to have less negative consequences than the eco-disasterporn industry predicted. Thanks for spreading the good news.

    Incidentally, perhaps somewhat OT, I went to Mardi-Gras in New Orleans last March and spent an additional week in lovely Louisiana driving all over and didn’t hear a peep about the spill from the locals. This doesn’t mean there weren’t some people and their businesses hurt by the spill; but there was plenty of wonderful Louisiana shell fish dishes and Louisiana is a beautiful place to visit. We had a blast and are going back.

    1. Edward

      Local music is pretty good too!

  6. Bruce of Newcastle

    Well all I can say is my industry has been using sulfate reducing bacteria since 1992. Nifty bugs.

    Some enviroscientists need to get out in the real world more often.

  7. Bob in Castlemaine

    I seem to recall the alarmist scenarios after Iraq Mk I (Desert Storm) when the defeated dictator torched the oil installations in Kuwait. It was hyped as a nuclear winter with plague and pestilence of epic proportion, if not the end of the world. But in, what was it, six months most signs of the environmental disaster were all but impossible to find.
    Planet Earth can take pretty much anything humans can throw at it, but it can also dish out more cataclysmic natural events than most of us could imagine – in it’s own good time. Despite the efforts of those that seek to invoke the gods of Gaia this will always be so.

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