Oil slicks and hurricanes

The disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico caused by BP’s massive oil leak runs the risk of an additional threat if left too long before it is finally plugged – hurricanes.

A news item just published on Australia’s ABC news service says a hurricane could generate massive oil-slick coated waves and blast beaches and cities with oil-soaked gusts of wind.

There’s only 3 weeks before the Atlantic hurricane season begins and the report says odds are more than 40 per cent a storm could cross the path of the giant slick.

However, rough conditions could also mix and weather the oil to help accelerate the biodegradation process.

Let’s hope it’s something we don’t have to find out.

In other news related to the BP oil slick, it seems it could move well west of the Mississippi River delta as fresh onshore winds prevail.

BP, Transocean and Halliburton executives received a roasting yesterday when criticized by Senators for their safety records. Why is it Halliburton seems to keep popping up in association with large-scale environmental destruction and human misery?

After their dressing down, the executives in turn blamed each other for the oil leak.

The US Government is now considering splitting up the Minerals Management Service, which is the agency that polices the oil industry – but as I understand it, also acts as its partner. I’ve seen the current arrangements described as the “fox watching the henhouse”.

Meanwhile, the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico grows, fed by what is conservatively estimated at 5,000 barrels of oil (200,000 gallons) being pumped into the ocean each day. More than 4 million gallons of oil have is believe to have spewed from the well since it ruptured on April 22.


Effects of oil spills