Oil Spill Update: Thursday, May 6

Here is your oil spill update for Thursday, May 6th.

Stopping the Flow

Yesterday, crews capped one of the three leaks in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. However, like putting your finger on a hole in a garden hose, this did not reduce the total amount of oil leaking into the ocean.

Today, crews are moving to lower a giant concrete cap over the wellhead. From the NPR coverage:

Such an operation has never been tried at such extreme depth, said Doug Suttles, the British oil giant’s chief operating officer.

“You can imagine we’re landing a very, very large metal building on the sea floor to capture the flow,” he said. “This has to be done at a depth of 5,000 feet, so it’s a complex task.”

Once the cap nears the seabed, remotely operated underwater vehicles will be used to guide it into place. A steel pipe will be attached to a tanker at the surface and connected to the top of the cap to move the oil.

Potential pitfalls include the difficulty of placing the enormous cap in the right location, the danger of the cap’s pipe clogging with thickened oil, and volatile and explosive chemicals. Additional coverage can be found at the Washington Post. In the Boston Globe, Chris Reddy, a chemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, compared the oil spill to the Battle of Stalingrad.

Location and Amount of Oil

According to the NOAA 24-hour prediction, the oil may make landfall in parts of Louisiana today. These are the red locations on the map below. You can download the original map, as well as 48- and 72-hour predictions at the NOAA Deepwater Horizon Incident website.

NOAA 24-hour prediction for Gulf Oil Spill

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent visualization of the spill by an architect. Google is also mapping the spill at a dedicated website.

Ecological Impacts

There are unconfirmed reports of turtle deaths. From the AP:

Wildlife officials say at least 35 endangered sea turtles have washed up on Gulf coast beaches, but it’s not clear what’s killing them. Necropsies have shown no signs of oil.

Investigators will look into whether some shrimp boats taking part in an emergency shrimping season removed devices from their nets that are intended to allow turtles to escape, said Sheryan Epperly, sea turtle team leader for the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Also see sea turtle conservation expert Wallace J Nichols’ guest post at the Intersection.

Additional Resources

Huffington Post has a Twitter aggregator, and SeaWeb is collecting news articles.

Miriam Goldstein (230 Posts)

9 Replies to “Oil Spill Update: Thursday, May 6”

  1. A total band on all off shore oil digging and exploration should be effective immediately, followed by a complete clean up by the oil company if this is even possilbe. Then, all of our future energy must come from new technologies ranging from wind to solar power and whatever other kind of technology is required to keep our planet from being destroyed by greed for profit. It may be inconvenient for our species for a while but either we do it now or face something far more catastrohpic than this shortly, good luck to us all, Steve.

  2. Just an old grannie here, but why are they not suctioning the oil on the top of the sea water into tankers? Every cook knows how to do that with chicken fat.

  3. Our creator has a bone to pick with these greedy bone heads. Revelation 11:18 clearly states that He will bring to ruin, those ruining the earth. Jehovah God’s kingdom is our only hope. Do not put your trust in earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs!! Just watch them fumble around, and pass all this cost to us! Hold on people, you think fuel is expensive now?? Was this really an accident?? I hope so. Let’s hope for the best, for the sake of the innocent residents, fisherman, and the poor sea life! NO MORE DRILLING!!

  4. If you dropped it, you pick it up. These people/corporations are using dispersants? How can this possibly be allowed? The only answer is for them to be responsible for collecting the oil they have dumped. The oil may still be processed and used as they hqd planned before. It is not difficult to seperate oil from water as everyone knows, but once you put dispersants in the oil how do you seperate it now? If you have qn oil slick in water dish detergent will disperse the oil and clear up the slick, but that doesn`t mean it is the correct procedure for handling the situation, the oil is still there. The oil needs to be collected, ALL the oil needs to be collected!!!!! The next question is, what kind of effect will these chemical dispersants have on the ecology and environment? Dumping millions of gallons of oil into the ocean is wrong, following that with hundrends of thousands (600,000 gallons so far) of chemical dispersants that we do not know the side effects of are yet is compounding the problem. This whole situation is getting worse not better. Please do the right thing and stop dumping more unnatural substances into the ocean………….

  5. Corporations do not value life, they are willing to kill the ecology of this planet then blame the people for breeding to much and breath thats what the Copenhagen Summit was about taxing your breath and also making a profit out of send your kids of to war for oil. See people these Corporations and people that runs it atleast the higher levels they are simply genetic psychopathic people and that is the case for most mega corporations and not to mention royalties of this world. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR THEM CLEAN THE MESS THEY CREATED?

  6. Stop all offshore drilling? Your writing your reply on a computor made largely from hydrocarbons. Very possibly it’s powered by electricity made from hydrocarbons. Enjoying your air conditioning? How will people get to work without gasoline? How will food be made and distributed without fuel or electricity? Hospitals closed?
    By forcing the oil companies to drill in much more difficult circumstances (deep water in this case) we increase the risk of a catastrophe. If this well was onshore or in shallower water, it would have been sealed much more quickly.
    Solar power?Solar panels are made from toxic materials and have a limited life. What do we do with the toxic byproducts?
    Wind power? What do you thing the blades and internal components are comprised of? Materials from hydrocarbon.
    Think about your plan to “stop all drilling” and realize that this requires a very long term and thoughtful solution.

  7. Dear WRTEXAS: While you make many valid points, we are still overlooking one very true fact, OIL is being shoved down our throats as the ONLY affordable source of getting around,for electricity,manufacturing, etc. The technology for the electric vehicle & the hydrogen vehicle, have been around for years. In fact it was Government Motors that crushed many perfectly efficient “Chevy Volt” vehicles, at the urging of BIG OIL. Also Hydrogen technology has been here since the 60’s.Fill your tank with water. They say, oh you can’t run your car efficiently on hydrogen. WRONG!! How do you think they get the space shuttle up to the space station every time?? They are giving us only what THEY want US to use, DIRTY NASTY OIL!! Wake up people. Oil makes them profitable. You will NEVER see true green energy, until Jehovah calls their greedy acts to judgement. Revelation 11:18 I hope they plug the leak this year. I told you on my last thread, watch them fumble around.Yep, it is still leaking. Only the creator can fix all this damage. Lets hope for the best! TG

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