Never Measure, Never Know

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Update: Wow, what a difference a few hours makes. BP has released enough video for a variety of revised flow estimates. From the single ‘leak’ coming from the 21” riser pipe, the new conservative baseline estimate (refs HERE and HERE) is about 16,000bbl/day. Basically triple the BP and Coast Guard estimate. Obviously this is disturbing on a number of levels.
Also, it looks like BP is prepping to to the ‘junk shot’ in conjunction with the ‘top hat’ dome. It is speculated that the flow rate might be increasing as BOP & riser piping are eroded by the oil/gas/grit firehose coming up the wellhead. So, an urgency upon an urgency. Things will move quickly over the next few days. Best of engineering luck to those repair crews.

Something has been bugging me for a couple of days.  Sure, the corporate media has relegated the story to deep simmer, but why is there so little video available of the leaking Macondo well riser/wellhead? There must be lots of ROV footage of those leaks, from all kinds of angles.  Stills, even. Where are they?

And why is there such variance in the estimates of  effluent flow from the Gulf Oil blowouts holes? BP and, apparently ‘US Officials’, seem to have settled on a eyeballed 5000 bbl/day figure. On the other hand the folks at SkyTruth, using analysis of satellite visual-spectrum photos, put the figure at about 25,000 bbl/day, 5 times the ‘defacto official’ estimate. Other sources, other ranging estimates.

Is there no way at all to measure flow in a more direct and accurate fashion, perhaps by an ROV? Is it even possible that there is no way to measure (even roughly) the flow rates of those leaks? RLY?

As it happens,  a huge bulk of that oil is being kept away from the surface by the use of subsea application of (apparently toxic in their own right) chemical dispersants.  Off the surface, out of sight and out of mind.
Of humans that is. For marine life in the oil + dispersant toxed GOM  this event is a more immediate manifested disaster.  We’ll get a whiff via the Gulf seafood industry,  but by then much of the serious damages will be done.

It would seem that while the Gulf Gusher spews unabated, a PR lid has seated itself very snugly on top of some inconvenient truths.

But who knows, perhaps the Trad Media will increase their coverage when the celebrity sightings become more frequent. Certainly they can count on solid ratings for such belated engagement.  And I hope they enjoy that cheap hit off the drek-pipe, because the shoddy, vacuous and deeply un-serious Major Media coverage of the Gulf Oil Disaster is a shame no sober institution could bear.

Accidents happen and deepwater oil exploration is technically challenging and fraught with dangers. There may in fact, be no one deserving of blame for the core accident itself. But even the appearance of cover-up and general disinformatsia in the face of possible ecological disaster are simply unforgivable.

Measured and objective flow/spill data must be obtained, if only to rank this disaster appropriately and provide the shiny-seeking mass media with the simple numerical metric they require.  Because without a barrage of media coverage there will be, sadly, little public outcry, no forced transparency and no significant political pressure to assure this sort of thing never happens again.

But that’s the then and this is the now, and the Gulf Gusher is still dumping out firehoses of oil, even if you can’t see it all from space.


Written by nullsequence

May 12, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Posted in travesty

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