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  1. #1
    Veteran DarrinS's Avatar
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    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100621/..._spill_how_big


    By the numbers: Oil leak wouldn't fill Superdome



    WASHINGTON – Overwhelmed and saddened by the gargantuan size of the Gulf oil spill?

    A little mathematical context to the spill size can put the environmental catastrophe in perspective. Viewing it through some lenses, it isn't that huge. The Mississippi River pours as much water into the Gulf of Mexico in 38 seconds as the BP oil leak has done in two months.

    On a more human scale, the spill seems more daunting. Take the average-sized living room. The amount of oil spilled would fill 9,200 of them.

    Since the BP oil rig exploded on April 20, about 126.3 million gallons of oil has gushed into the Gulf. That calculation is based on the higher end of the government's range of barrels leaked per day and the oil company BP's calculations for the amount of oil siphoned off as of Monday morning. Using the more optimistic end of calculations, the total spill figure is just shy of 68 million gallons.

    For this by-the-numbers exercise, The Associated Press is using the higher figure.

    For every gallon of oil that BP's well has gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, there is more than 5 billion gallons of water already in it. And the mighty Mississippi adds another billion gallons every five minutes or so, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    So BP chief executive officer Tony Hayward was factually correct last month when he said the spill was "relatively tiny" compared to what he mischaracterized as a "very big ocean."

    But another big number that Hayward provided on Thursday also offers some troubling news. He said the reservoir of oil under the sea that is the source for the leak is believed to hold about 2.1 billion gallons of oil. That leaves about 2 billion gallons left to spew. So there are about 16 gallons of oil underneath the sea floor yet to gush for every gallon that has already fouled the Gulf. If the problem were never fixed, that would mean another two years of oil spilling based on the current flow rate.

    More not-so-dreadful context: The amount of oil spilled so far could only fill the cavernous New Orleans Superdome about one-seventh of the way up. On the other hand, it could fill 15 Washington Monuments and two-thirds of the way up a 16th. If the oil were poured on a football field — complete with endzones — it would measure nearly 100 yards high.

    If you put the oil in gallon milk jugs and lined them up, they would stretch about 11,000 miles. That's a roundtrip from the Gulf to London, BP's headquarters, and a side trip from New Orleans to Washington for Hayward to testify.

    BP has spent more than $54.8 million lobbying federal officials in Washington since 2000; that's about 43 cents for every gallon of oil it has spilled. Since 2000, the oil and gas industry — along with their employees — has contributed $154.2 million to candidates for federal office. That's $1.22 for each gallon of oil spilled. Of that money, 78 percent went to Republicans and the rest to Democrats.

    Take the 126.3 million gallons of oil spilled in the Gulf and convert it to gasoline, which is what Americans mostly use it for. That produces 58.6 million gallons of gas — the amount American drivers burn every three hours and 43 minutes. It's enough to fill up the gas tanks in nearly 3.7 million cars — more than those in Louisiana and Mississippi combined.

    At $2.75 a gallon for gas — the national average — that's more than $161 million worth spilled into the Gulf.

    Want your own piece of this spill? If all the oil spilled were divided up and equal amounts given to every American, we would all get about four soda cans full of crude oil that no one really wants.

  2. #2
    A VERY BAD man
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    While I agree with the overall point that yeah, it's a big ocean, it's still a lot of oil. Oddly, it's a curse and a blessing. ANWR was thought to hold 3 billion barrels and they just found 2/3rds of an ANWR ?

    I want to get it plugged so we can start celebrating. That's a of a find and there's more where that came from. The GoM has a load of oil. Deep water drilling, if done right, is safe. The Brazillians are drilling in deeper water than that and producing oil. This was a human error and apparently, an error in method used specifically by BP to contain costs. Fix that, and move on. Our trade imbalance is waaay to high to just sit on this.

  3. #3
    Veteran InRareForm's Avatar
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    I should've used this reasoning whenever my room was dirty when I was younger!

  4. #4
    I am that guy RandomGuy's Avatar
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    Why, compared to the mass of the sun this is just miniscule.

    That must mean the pollution won't cause any property damage, and you will be first in line to eat fish out of the area's waters every day for a year right, Darrin?


  5. #5
    A VERY BAD man
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    I was in New Orleans just last week. Plenty of oysters and shrimp to eat. Hotels are cheap. Good time to go. I got back and people are asking about 'the oil spill'. No, I tell them, I was in New Orleans. There is no oil spill in New Orleans. I just want to add, Harrahs.

  6. #6
    Veteran DarrinS's Avatar
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    While I agree with the overall point that yeah, it's a big ocean, it's still a lot of oil. Oddly, it's a curse and a blessing. ANWR was thought to hold 3 billion barrels and they just found 2/3rds of an ANWR ?

    I want to get it plugged so we can start celebrating. That's a of a find and there's more where that came from. The GoM has a load of oil. Deep water drilling, if done right, is safe. The Brazillians are drilling in deeper water than that and producing oil. This was a human error and apparently, an error in method used specifically by BP to contain costs. Fix that, and move on. Our trade imbalance is waaay to high to just sit on this.

  7. #7
    Alleged Michigander ChumpDumper's Avatar
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    So it's not a big deal this thread but it will be a big deal in another thread if it is politically expedient.


  8. #8
    dangerous floater Winehole23's Avatar
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    By the numbers: Oil leak wouldn't fill Superdome
    So what? How do you gloss the significance of this factoid, Darrin?

  9. #9
    Cogito Ergo Sum LnGrrrR's Avatar
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    I was in New Orleans just last week. Plenty of oysters and shrimp to eat. Hotels are cheap. Good time to go. I got back and people are asking about 'the oil spill'. No, I tell them, I was in New Orleans. There is no oil spill in New Orleans. I just want to add, Harrahs.
    Why were you in Harrahs? What'd you visit? Bourbon, Canal, Magazin St?

  10. #10
    The D.R.A. Drachen's Avatar
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    dang? they are already using stadiums to bring perspective. That is a damn big place. This spill is HUGE.

    I just wish we could concentrate it in one enormous place like the superdome. I mean if god is so intent on killing New Orleans, why do the bordering states have to suffer?

  11. #11
    Veteran DarrinS's Avatar
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    It's still less than half of the Ixtoc spill, which took place in only 161 feet of water. Pemex, the NATIONAL oil company of Mexico claimed sovereign immunity and only spent $100 million for the cleanup.


    Still far less than the Kuwaiti oil fied fires that lost 6 million barrels per day and burned for months -- until AMERICAN contractors (many from Texas) went and capped those suckas.

  12. #12
    The D.R.A. Drachen's Avatar
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    So you are saying it ranks up there with the absolute worst in history, right?

    Also, how many gallons of dispersant have been dropped into the ocean?

  13. #13
    I am that guy RandomGuy's Avatar
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    It's still less than half of the Ixtoc spill, which took place in only 161 feet of water. Pemex, the NATIONAL oil company of Mexico claimed sovereign immunity and only spent $100 million for the cleanup.


    Still far less than the Kuwaiti oil fied fires that lost 6 million barrels per day and burned for months -- until AMERICAN contractors (many from Texas) went and capped those suckas.
    Ixtoc spill 3,000,000 barrels estimated.

    Pemex claimed that half of the released oil burned when it reached the surface, a third of it evaporated, and the rest was contained or dispersed.
    3,000,000/2= 1,500,000 (burned portion)
    3,000,000/3= 1,000,000 (evaporated portion)

    1,500,000 + 1,000,000 = 2,500,000 (total burned and evaporated)

    3,000,000 - 2,500,000 = 500,000 barrels released into the environment, some portion of which was cleaned up.

    Assume: use of dispersants underwater limits evaporation by a factor of 1/2, given massive observed plumes of oil underwater.

    126,000,000 gallons / 42 gallons per barrel = 3,000,000 barrels

    By the way, 3,000,000 is a *bit* more than half, Darrin, but continuing on...

    3,000,000/3/2 = 500,000 (total evaporated)

    3,000,000 - 500,000 = 2,500,000 barrels released into the environment, some portion of which is cleaned up at the surface, likely a smaller portion than ixtoc due to aforementioned underwater plumes.

    Which is the bigger number, Darrin:
    500,000 or 2,500,000 ?
    Last edited by RandomGuy; 06-22-2010 at 10:47 AM. Reason: corrected gallons per barrel from 44 to 42 and removed sarcasm

  14. #14
    $200 cash 4>0rings's Avatar
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    Those numbers must be super accurate to end in 0's.

  15. #15
    Veteran DarrinS's Avatar
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    Where do you get 2,900,000?


    Also "Pemex claimed..."? Ok.

  16. #16
    U Have Bad Understanding Sportcamper's Avatar
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    Those numbers are false…I can’t understand the reasoning of defending gross negligence?

  17. #17
    I am that guy RandomGuy's Avatar
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    Where do you get 2,900,000?


    Also "Pemex claimed..."? Ok.
    Since the BP oil rig exploded on April 20, about 126.3 million gallons of oil has gushed into the Gulf. That calculation is based on the higher end of the government's range of barrels leaked per day and the oil company BP's calculations for the amount of oil siphoned off as of Monday morning. Using the more optimistic end of calculations, the total spill figure is just shy of 68 million gallons.
    As for the number of barrels that makes, just to be solid on my facts and figures, I googled it.
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&r...oil+in+gallons

    Seems my memory was faulty. One barrel is NOT 44 gallons, as given in my post. It is 42 gallons.

    126,300,000 / 42 = 3,000,000

    My apologies for the mistake. I will go and edit my post with the correct figures.

  18. #18
    I am that guy RandomGuy's Avatar
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    Where do you get 2,900,000?


    Also "Pemex claimed..."? Ok.
    Some amount of oil was burned for the entire length of the spill. That is not disputed.

    So let's re-run our calculation.

    IXTOC calculation:
    Assume that only 1/6, not one half the oil was burned, i.e. only 1/3 of what they claimed to have burned was burned (they exaggerated by 300%)

    Total oil leaked, Wiki figure, generally accepted:
    3,000,000 barrels

    Minus reported mitigating factors, burning and evaporation

    3,000,000/2 *1/3= 500,000 (burned portion)
    3,000,000/3= 1,000,000 (evaporated portion)

    1,500,000 + 500,000= 1,500,000 (total burned and evaporated)

    Equals:

    3,000,000 - 1,500,000 = 1,500,000 barrels released into the environment, some portion of which was cleaned up.

    Deepwater Horizon Calculation.

    Assume: use of dispersants underwater limits evaporation by a factor of 1/2, given massive observed plumes of oil underwater.

    Total oil leaked:
    126,000,000 gallons (given in the OP) / 42 gallons per barrel = 3,000,000 barrels (total spill volume, as given in the OP)

    By the way, 3,000,000 is a *bit* more than half, Darrin, but continuing on...

    Minus total oil evaporated:
    3,000,000/3/2 = 500,000 (total evaporated)

    Equals:
    3,000,000 - 500,000 = 2,500,000 barrels released into the environment, some portion of which is cleaned up at the surface, likely a smaller portion than ixtoc due to aforementioned underwater plumes.

    Which is the bigger number, Darrin:
    1,500,000 or 2,500,000 ?
    Last edited by RandomGuy; 06-22-2010 at 10:47 AM. Reason: clarity and removed unnecessary snark.

  19. #19
    Booyakasha fraga's Avatar
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    Yeah...it's not THAT much...

  20. #20
    Veteran DarrinS's Avatar
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    Those numbers are false…

    Based on what information?


    I can’t understand the reasoning of defending gross negligence?

    The article is just trying to put the magnitude of the spill in perspective. The average person can't relate to the volume figures that have been presented.
    Actually, I thought 4 soda cans of oil for every American seemed like quite a lot.

  21. #21
    U Have Bad Understanding Sportcamper's Avatar
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    Figures lie & liars figure…

    I say again “this mess will not be completely eradicated in your lifetime”…

  22. #22
    Veteran DarrinS's Avatar
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    Which is the bigger number, Darrin:
    1,500,000 or 2,500,000 ?


    I'm confused. Please clear this up for me with your startlingly sharp insight and analysis.

    If the BP spill is at 3 mill barrels (based on high end of leak est.), then it is about the same as Ixtoc.

    Why didn't you do all your burn and evap. calcs for the BP numbers?

  23. #23
    Veteran DarrinS's Avatar
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    Figures lie & liars figure…

    I say again this mess will not be completely eradicated in your lifetime”…

    I've lived a pretty hard life, so this statement might have some validity.

    It may take about 20 years, the same amount of time between this and the last major spill in the Gulf.

  24. #24
    The D.R.A. Drachen's Avatar
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    If the BP spill is at 3 mill barrels (based on high end of leak est.), then it is about the same as Ixtoc.

    Why didn't you do all your burn and evap. calcs for the BP numbers?
    He did. The burn portion didn't apply since there was no oil burning as it hit the surface. Then he did the 2.9 million/3/2 to do the evaporation portion minus half to compensate for the fact that much of the oil isn't rising to the surface and is staying under water in plume form. Trust me, it's all there, but he was far less meticulous in describing the BP part and I had to read it a couple of times to get there. Also, I wouldn't have necessarily taken such liberty with knocking half off of the evaporation rate especially since he didn't need to in order to make his point. I would have basically said "evaporation is 2.9 mil/3 ~ 1 mil. 2.9 mil - 1 mil = 1.9 mil. 1.9 mil>500k and that doesn't even take into account the fact that much of the oil can't evaporate since it is in plume form under water." To each his own though.

  25. #25
    I am that guy RandomGuy's Avatar
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    If the BP spill is at 3 mill barrels (based on high end of leak est.), then it is about the same as Ixtoc.

    Why didn't you do all your burn and evap. calcs for the BP numbers?
    Oooohkaaay. My bad for not making it a bit clearer.

    Assume: use of dispersants underwater limits evaporation by a factor of 1/2, given massive observed plumes of oil underwater.

    126,000,000 gallons / 42 gallons per barrel = 3,000,000 barrels

    By the way, 3,000,000 is a *bit* more than half, Darrin, but continuing on...

    3,000,000/3/2 = 500,000 (total evaporated)
    and
    Assume: use of dispersants underwater limits evaporation by a factor of 1/2, given massive observed plumes of oil underwater.

    126,000,000 gallons / 42 gallons per barrel = 3,000,000 barrels

    By the way, 3,000,000 is a *bit* more than half, Darrin, but continuing on...

    3,000,000/3/2 = 500,000 (total evaporated)
    As for the "burn" factor, how much of the spill was burned at the surface Darrin? Give me a %.

    I didn't see any pictures of oil burning at the suface at the spill site, so I assumed it was neglible, and lumped it in with the unkown amount being cleaned up.

    Maybe you aren't too lazy to find the most recent picture of the spill site showing the oil being burned off?
    Last edited by RandomGuy; 06-22-2010 at 10:19 AM. Reason: removed a good deal of snarkiness

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