Despite ongoing Oil Spill Disaster, BP applies to Drill Four Oil Wells

The Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico has not ended, but BP wants another permit to drill the fragile and unstable soil.

UPI
September 25, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 25 (UPI) — British oil producer BP has asked the U.S. government for a permit to drill four oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, officials said.

The application is the first for BP since the 2010 Macondo well blowout that fouled a wide swath of the Gulf Coast with more than 200 million gallons of crude and left 11 Deepwater Horizon oil platform workers dead.

BP said in the application it wants to sink four wells in nearly 6,000 feet of water about 250 miles off the Louisiana coast. Federal regulators have 30 days from Sept. 21 to evaluate the plan.

The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Sunday that oil industry analysts see the permit as a step in what has been a slow-moving process to get BP back in business in the gulf.

“They are taking it very, very slowly, so that the activity level is going to be quite low,” said Mark Gilman of Benchmark Co. Gilman told The Times-Picayune he expected BP to tread lightly well into next year.

BP has not been completely sidelined in the gulf. The newspaper said the corporation held major stakes in current exploration projects led by Chevron and Noble Energy.

It was also announced last week that a drilling company working for BP had tapped into a reservoir estimated at 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The Other Gulf Oil Spill: Ocean Saratoga Rig

al.com

The Deepwater Horizon is not the only well leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico for the last month.

A nearby drilling rig, the Ocean Saratoga, has been leaking since at least April 30, according to a federal document.

From Skytruth: Ocean Saratoga Oil Rig also leaking since April 30.

While the leak is decidedly smaller than the Deepwater Horizon spill, a 10-mile-long slick emanating from the Ocean Saratoga is visible from space in multiple images gathered by Skytruth.org, which monitors environmental problems using satellites.

Federal officials did not immediately respond when asked about the size of the leak, how long it had been flowing, or whether it was possible to plug it.

Skytruth first reported the leak on its website on May 15. Federal officials mentioned it in the May 1 trajectory map for the Deepwater Horizon spill, stating that oil from the Ocean Saratoga spill might also be washing ashore in Louisiana.

The only other mention the Press-Register was able to find of the spill in federal documents occurred in a May 17 transcript of a U.S. Coast Guard media conference. In that transcript, Admiral Mary Landry said that she was unaware there was another drilling rig leaking oil in the Gulf.

Officials with Diamond Offshore, which owns the drilling rig, said that they could not comment on the ongoing spill and referred the Press-Register to well owner Taylor Energy Co., which hired Diamond. Taylor Energy officials did not return calls seeking comment.

Saturday, the Southwings environmental group flew over the Ocean Saratoga with photographer J. Henry Fair of Industrial Scars.com and returned with photos that appear to show a large oil crew boat pumping dispersants into the water at the spill site.

“It appeared the crew boat had barrels of dispersant on board,” said Tom Hutchings of Southwings, a volunteer organization of pilots who monitor environmental problems from airplanes.

Henry Fair said that his photos show a large hose coming off the boat and disappearing into the water with several buoys tied to it. It was unclear how far the hose extended underwater.

“I see a hose going over the side. The boat was not moving, but it was making a wake, disturbing the water a lot,” Fair said. “I see a glossy slick that one would usually identify as petroleum, and it goes a long way away.”

Officials at the National Response Center said that the spill had been reported, but would not say when it began. The U.S. Coast Guard did not immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment.

“We accidentally discovered this spill looking at the Deepwater Horizon images. The question is, what would we see if we were systematically looking at the offshore industry?” said John Amos with Skytruth.org. “Is this an aberration, or are things like this going on all the time? That’s why we are calling for public, transparent monitoring everywhere offshore drilling is going on in U.S. waters.”

BP’s Top Kill Procedure fails as Coast Guard Blocks Media Access

Natural News

BP officials have announced today that the “top kill” effort to stop the Gulf oil leak has failed. Unanticipated problems doomed the project, which involved trying to pump tens of thousands of gallons of mud, shredded rubber tires and other “junk” into the hole to try to halt the outflow of oil.

At 6pm Saturday evening, BP officials announced the “top kill” effort had failed and now they were moving on to another plan (more below).

I am on site at the Gulf Coast right now, and while I haven’t reached the areas where oil is washing up on the beaches, I’m learning some interesting information nonetheless. In particular, finding a hotel room anywhere near New Orleans has become virtually impossible, as BP has rented out virtually every available hotel room from St. Charles, Louisiana all the way to Pensacola, Florida. (I am currently staying in a fleabag hotel that miraculously has internet access…)

But it raises the question: Where are all these people? I haven’t seen a single BP person anywhere, and I was out on some beaches today filming editorial segments for NaturalNews. I did see some small watercraft laying out protective barriers, but I didn’t see any BP people anywhere.

I’ll keep you posted on what we find tomorrow as we approach the beaches to the East of New Orleans.

Expect more oil for the next 10 weeks

Now that the top kill effort has failed, it means oil will keep spewing into the Gulf of Mexico until at least August. That’s when two “pressure release” wells are expected to be completed. The purpose of these two wells is to siphon off the oil from underneath the ocean bed, thereby releasing the pressure that’s currently pushing crude oil out of the existing hole under the doomed Deepwater Horizon rig.

This “plan C” effort remains extremely risky, of course. There’s no guarantee it will work at all. And if it fails, this “volcano of oil” could continue to pollute the Earth’s oceans for years. This could, in fact, be the global killer event I warned about in an earlier story about this BP oil spill. (http://www.naturalnews.com/028805_G…)

We could be looking at a global-scale environmental catastrophe that destroys virtually all marine life in the Gulf of Mexico and takes a century to fully recover. It’s really that bad. If they can’t stop this volcano of oil in the next week, we could be looking at the single most destructive environmental catastrophe ever to strike our planet since the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Get ready for more chemicals

In the mean time, now that the top kill effort has failed, BP has announced it is resuming the spraying of chemical dispersants into the massive oil plumes that remain deep under the surface of the Gulf of Mexico water. This means more chemicals that will kill more forms of marine life throughout the Gulf.

But it’s not just aquatic life that’s being threatened by these chemicals: BP workers are increasingly being sent to the hospital complaining of symptoms like vomiting, dizziness, difficult breathing and others. The obvious cause of such symptoms is the huge amount of crude oil bubbling up to the surface (some of which evaporates into the air) along with the massive injection of chemical dispersants into the waters (some of which also evaporates). CNN is reporting that BP claims it is monitoring air quality, but so far BP has not gone public with any air quality test results.

None of the cleanup workers have been outfitted with chemical masks that might protect them from the volatile chemicals now present in the Gulf waters. Yet CNN is reporting that the warning label on the chemical product made by NALCO states: “Avoid breathing vapor.”

The EPA, meanwhile, remains silent on this whole issue. Remember: It is the EPA that ordered BP to stop using its selected brand of chemical dispersant, but BP utterly ignored the EPA and continues to dump that very same chemical into the Gulf of Mexico right now.

A chemical attack on America

What we are watching here, folks, is very nearly a chemical attack on America by BP and the oil industry. It’s hard to say what’s worse: The oil or the chemical dispersants. In fact, no one knows the answer to that question, and it can’t even be studied by scientists because the disaster keeps growing by the day.

This is one environmental catastrophe that just keeps getting worse, and the cost to the marine ecosystem is incalculable. And that’s not to even mention the economic cost to the region and all the people who depend on life in the Gulf of Mexico for their own livelihoods. Their lives are now being destroyed by this oil drilling catastrophe.

If there’s one lesson that comes from all this, it is a reminder of the immense value Mother Nature provides us each and every day at no charge. The VALUE of a healthy ocean is incalculable. And the COST of killing it may be more than what human civilization can bear.

I suppose this resolves the whole question of what’s more important: The environment or the economy? As we’re rudely discovering today, the economy cannot exist without protecting the environment first.