The leading relief well is now at 17,000 feet, and slowly closing in on the Macondo bore. Meanwhile, on the surface, testing continues on the giant, 21 million gallon a day tanker-skimmer, named "A Whale."
The latest hopes are riding on a massive new skimmer to clean oil from near the spewing well in the Gulf of Mexico, while a local Louisiana parish's plan to block the slick has been rejected by federal officials. A 48-hour test of the Taiwanese vessel dubbed "A Whale" began Saturday and was to continue through Sunday.
TMT Shipping created what is billed as the world's largest oil skimmer by converting an oil tanker after the April 20 explosion sent millions of gallons of crude spilling into the Gulf.
The vessel was expected to cruise a 25-square-mile test site just north of the Macondo Deepwater well site, company officials said.
The U.S. Coast Guard and BP are waiting to see if the vessel, which is 10 stories high and as long as 3½ football fields, can live up to its makers' promise of being able to process up to 21 million gallons of oil-fouled water a day. The ship works by taking in water through 12 vents, separating the oil and pumping the cleaned seawater back into the Gulf.
"In many ways, the ship collects water like an actual whale and pumps internally like a human heart," TMT spokesman Bob Grantham said in an e-mail.
A Whale is being tested close to the wellhead because officials believe it will be most effective where the oil is thickest rather than closer to shore.
The ship arrived in the Gulf on Wednesday, but officials have wanted to test its capability as well as have the federal Environmental Protection Agency sign off on the water it will pump back into the Gulf, which will contain trace amounts of crude. The wait has frustrated some local officials, who say the mammoth skimmer would be a game-changer in keeping oil from reaching vulnerable coastlines.
During a Thursday tour of the inlet to Barataria Bay, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said it was exasperating to have A Whale anchored offshore instead of being put to immediate use.
"They've used the war rhetoric," Jindal said aboard a boat floating in oil-slicked waters near Grand Isle. "If this is really a war, they need to be using every resource that makes sense to fight this oil before it comes to our coast." _al.com
The US EPA will need to relax its absurd regulations -- which require all water re-injected into the Gulf to be 99.999% pure. Such unrealistic demands in the face of foul floating oil slicks and sheens only slows down recovery and rehabilitation efforts. But what can you expect from bureaucrats and politicians who have essentially no contact with reality? Most modern, tenured, lifetime academics are in the same category, unfortunately.
Bad as the BP Gulf oil spill is, the federal government's moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling seems certain to dwarf the spill's economic pain.
...Although President Barack Obama's shut-down order is nominally for six months, the legislative and rule-writing process it will invoke means that realistically businesses should expect it will be a year or more before it is lifted -- and longer yet before deepwater rigs resume operations.
...A ruling last month by U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman overturned the moratorium, nominally a six-month halt while a commission appointed by Obama makes policy recommendations to improve the safety of deepwater drilling. The government has appealed; another hearing is scheduled for Thursday. Feldman's order did not restart drilling because oil rigs are too big and complex to start up and shut down based on the latest signal from the courthouse.
...Scott, the Baton Rouge economist, cited a Morgan Stanley study advising that if ...[Obama]... prevails, there is a 60 percent chance the moratorium will last a year to a year and a half: That's six months for a safety commission to review and make recommendations, and up to a year for Congress to legislate and move new standards to the drilling rig floor.
To date, three rigs have served notice they are leaving the Gulf to drill elsewhere. _Nola
Governments of the western world are increasingly under the thumb of enviro-apocalyptics, true believers in the religions of human-caused apocalypse. Reality takes a back seat to their religion, which has gained an unbelievable influence over most governments of Europe and the Anglosphere.
Events such as the Macondo spill and various economic crises are sending shock waves through the body politic, revealing the incompetence of governments and bureaucracies, and spurring normal people to take more of an interest in how things are being done and run.
By. Al Fin