I thought one of the mantras of Obama’s Hope and Change charade was cooperation around the world – unlike the demonized George W. Bush?
The U.S. Government has apparently reconsidered a Dutch offer to supply 4 oil skimmers. These are large arms that are attached to oil tankers that pump oil and water from the surface of the ocean into the tanker. Water pumped into the tanker will settle to the bottom of the tanker and is then pumped back into the ocean to make room for more oil. Each system will collect 5,000 tons of oil each day.
One ton of oil is about 7.3 barrels. 5,000 tons per day is 36,500 barrels per day. 4 skimmers have a capacity of 146,000 barrels per day. That is much greater than the high end estimate of the leak. The skimmers work best in calm water, which is the usual condition this time of year in the gulf.
These systems were developed by the Dutch as a safety system in case of oil spills from either wells or tankers. The Dutch have off shore oil development and also import oil in tankers. Their economy, just like ours, runs on oil. They understand that the production and use of oil has dangers and they wanted to be ready to cope with problems like spills. The Dutch system has been used successfully in Europe.
The Dutch offered to fly their skimmer arm systems to the Gulf 3 days after the oil spill started. The offer was apparently turned down because EPA regulations do not allow water with oil to be pumped back into the ocean. If all the oily water was retained in the tanker, the capacity of the system would be greatly diminished because most of what is pumped into the tanker is sea water.
As of June 8th, BP reported that they have collected 64,650 barrels of oil in the Gulf. That is only a fraction of the amount of oil spilled from the well. That is less than one dayâ€™s rated capacity of the Dutch oil skimmers.
Turning down the Dutch skimmers just shows a total lack of leadership in the oil spill. To just leave the oil in the water because regulations do not allow you to pump slightly polluted oil back into the ocean is just plain stupid. The small amount of oil pumped back into the ocean with the Dutch system is tiny droplets of suspended oil that will be quickly broken down by naturally occurring bacteria.