Satellite Map Pictures Show Extent of BP Gulf Oil Spill

Satellite Map of BP Gulf Oil Spill

The British Petroleum (BP) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is getting larger and larger as time passes by. The photo on the left clearly shows the extent of the Oil Spill in the Gulf which started from an oil rig explosion in the Deepwater Horizon last April 20, 2010. As of last week, a third leak from the oil rig was yet again reported which made US President Barack Obama to call out for every possible action to stop the oil rig from continuous leakage.

As seen in the picture, the oil spill is spreading closer to the Louisana coastline and poses a great threat to the local marine life.  Environmental regulators reported a sighting of an oil slick near the Chandeleur Islands, three islands off the southeast coast of Louisiana last Tuesday.

However, Petty Officer David Mosley of the U.S. Coast Guard, who spoke from the Unified Command Center in Roberts, Louisiana said “We have not received any confirmed landfall of oil”  Mississippi, Alabama and Florida are also threatened by the leak.

Several experts had said that the current situation of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may soon threaten to eclipse the degree of the catastrophic BP oil spill which happened in 1989 from Exxon Valdez in Alaska. That particular oil spill is so far considered as the worst US oil spill in history which resulted to millions of environmental damages particularly in the livelihood of fishermen and in the wildlife.

US government assume greater responsibility for oil spill

The spill is now bigger than first imagined – five times more than initially estimated – and could turn into one of the biggest in US history. An estimated 5000 barrels of oil a day are flowing from the well because of leaks caused by the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform last week, and officials said it could take up to 90 days to cap it, making for volumes that could exceed the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska and a 1969 accident in Santa Barbara, California.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will announce Friday that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is beyond the capabilities of BP PLC and Transocean Ltd. to handle, meaning a larger government role to stop the leak.

The government has classified the situation as an “incident of national significance,” officially defined as an event that requires a coordinated response to minimize damage, save lives and plan for long-term economic recovery. The government’s National Response Team — composed of 16 federal agencies and departments — coordinates the federal response.

Top federal officials from Interior, Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will visit the oil spill zone along the Louisiana coast today as efforts mount to contain the damage onshore.

The government and BP Oil have deployed 1,178 people to the region to protect the Gulf Coast shoreline and wildlife, according to the White House. Officials have established five staging areas — in Biloxi, Miss., Pensacola, Fla., Venice, La., Pascagoula, Miss., and Theodore, Ala. — to protect sensitive shorelines.

Meanwhile, BP Plc will compensate all those affected by an oil spill from one of its wells in the Gulf of Mexico, its chief executive said, accepting the disaster could hit plans to open new areas off the U.S. coast to drilling.They said it is “ramping up preparations for a major protection and cleaning effort on the shorelines.

Costs could be more than $3 billion, depending on how long it takes to arrest the flow of oil into the Gulf, Jeffrey Woodruff, senior director in Fitch’s energy team in London, said in the statement.

Insurance will likely cover the majority of BP’s costs, limiting rating pressure, Fitch said. It now rates BP AA-plus, just one notch below its top rating of AAA.

“We are doing absolutely everything in our power to eliminate the source of the leak and contain the environmental impact of the spill. We are determined to fight this spill on all fronts, in the deep waters of the Gulf, in the shallow waters and, should it be necessary, on the shore,” said BP Group Chief Executive Tony Hayward. “In the past few days I have seen the full extent of BP’s global resources and capability being brought to bear on this problem and welcome the offers of further assistance we have had from government agencies, oil companies, and members of the public to defend the shoreline and fight this spill. We are determined to succeed.”

Now the ensuing spill threatens 445 species of fish, 45 species of mammals, 32 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 134 species of birds, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said. And when the massive oil slick makes landfall in Louisiana on today, it will hit 10 wildlife refuges or management areas, such as the Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Gulf Oil Spill is five times larger than previously estimated

This aerial photo shows oil in the Gulf of Mexico, eight miles off the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River at the Southern tip of Louisiana
The United States Coast Guard said that five times more oil as previously thought is spewing into the Gulf of Mexico from the blown-out well of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Coastguard Rear Admiral Mary Landry said National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) experts reported about 5,000 barrels a day were now thought to be gushing into the sea 80 kilometres off Louisiana‘s coast.The latest report is definitely far more than the previous estimate of 1,000 barrels a day. Robot submarines have so far failed to shut off the flow, 1,500m (5,000ft) below the surface, but the coastguard said a test burn on an isolated area of the spill was successful.

The report came after a third new leak has been discovered and strong winds would push the oil towards the shoreline.

Earlier, a coast guard crew set fire to part of the oil slick, in an attempt to save environmentally fragile wetlands.

The ”controlled burn” of surface oil took place in an area about 50 kilometres east of the Mississippi river delta, officials said.

Officials said that the first test burn had been successful, although neither gave any indication as to when further burns were planned.

However Doug Suttle, chief operating officer for BP, is taking much responsibility for the worsening condition of the rig “because we’re the lease holder,” but assigning blame, he said, should come after the cleanup.

“I can tell you we’re not worried about that right now,” he said. “Who’s ultimately responsible for what will come out over time through an investigations process.”

Meanwhile, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has requested emergency assistance from the federal government.

”Our top priority is to protect our citizens and the environment. These resources are critical to mitigating the impact of the oil spill on our coast,” he said in a statement.

Coast Guard tries Burning Gulf Oil Slick

In this aerial photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico, weathered oil is seen near the coast of Louisiana after a leak that resulted from last week's explosion.

BATON ROUGE, La. —Efforts had been made to stop the oil spill in Gulf of Mexico yet until now, the crew are struggling to contain the leaks.And so they consider a new solution to stop the spill by lighting some of the petroleum on fire at 11 a.m. Central time in an attempt to burn it off before it reaches shore.

Coast Guard officials said burning within boomed-off areas has worked with other offshore oil spills. If they decide to go forward with such a plan, they said, the burn likely wouldn’t be visible from shore,to determine the density of the oil, although they acknowledged the huge smoke plumes could add to air pollution.

The slick was about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of the mouth of the Mississippi River, drifted to within 23 miles of the ecologically fragile Louisiana coastline on Tuesday. Thus, pushing the officials to consider the ignition as an option to slick off the oil.

About 42,000 gallons of oil a day are leaking into the Gulf from the blown-out well where the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank last week. Eleven workers are missing and presumed dead. The cause of the explosion has not been determined.

“The big things that we have to pay attention to are the sea conditions,” Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Steven Carleton said. “Solid oil obviously has the ability to burn, but it doesn’t burn the same way that gasoline does.”

It is an inherently risky move, said engineers, but less risky than the alternatives.

“When you’ve got an oil leak like this, you use every tool in the toolbox to keep it offshore,” said Edward Overton, a professor emeritus of environmental sciences at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. “If it gets to shore, it’s going to coat everything with this sticky, gooey stuff and create a tremendous, awful mess.”

The spill put scores of wildlife species at risk, including the gulf’s valuable stocks of shrimp, crabs, oysters, and other seafood, plus shorebirds including pelicans, terns and sandpipers. Commercial fishing in Louisiana is a $2.6 billion-a-year industry that supplies up to 25 percent of the seafood to states outside Alaska and Hawaii.

In today’s burn, a portion of the oil will be moved into a fire resistant boom about 500 feet long, the Coast Guard said. The oil will then be towed to a more remote area, ignited and burned in a controlled manner.

Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico Grows Off

A growing dark slick of oil disfigures the Gulf of Mexico after an oil rig exploded off the Louisiana coast caused by the Transocean Ltd. Deepwater Horizon last Thursday.

The US coast guard discovered the leak on Saturday, two days after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig leased by BP PLC sank off the coast of Louisiana. The rig was destroyed in a ferocious blast last Tuesday, with 11 workers missing and presumed dead.

Images via satellite were released on Sunday and showed the slick had spread by 50 per cent in a day to cover an area of 1550 square kilometres, although officials said on Monday almost all the oil was just a thin veneer on the sea’s surface.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Erik Swanson said as of Tuesday morning, oil that leaked from the rig site was spread over an area about 48 miles (77 kilometers) long and 80 miles (129 kilometers) wide. The borders of the spill were uneven, making it difficult to calculate how many square miles are covered.

“Right now, the weather’s in our favor,” Swanson said, explaining that the wind was blowing the oil away from shore Tuesday.

But Swanson said the winds could shift later in the week and there was concern about oil reaching the shore.

So far, skimming vessels had collected more than 48,000 gallons (182,000 liters) of oily water, Swanson said.

“Our goal is to fight this thing as far offshore as possible,” he said.

Underwater robots have dived to the ocean floor in a new effort to staunch the 159,000 litres of oil being pumped daily into the Gulf of Mexico in America’s worst offshore oil rig spill in 40 years.

The robots will attempt to activate a ”blowout preventer”, a 450-tonne valve on the ocean floor that offers the only quick option for stemming the flow.

However, environmentalists warned of other damage.Controlling the it is partly beyond human control. The wind is currently coming from the north-west, pushing the slick towards the mouth of the gulf and away from danger. Weather forecasts suggest that this should continue. If the wind changes and pushes the slick west towards Texas’s beaches, that might be manageable. It could be removed later by scraping up the top layer of sand. The greatest fear is that the winds turn and drive the oil towards Louisiana’s ecologically rich marshlands. These are home to many species of birds and fish, some endangered that the creatures may have come to swallow it or may have been coated with it that will eventually would lead for a heavier price to pay.

Oil spill confirmed on sunken rig

NEW ORLEANS—Contrary to reports last Friday that there is no oil spill occuring in the sunken oil rig that exploded in Mexico earlier this week,the US Coast Guard confirmed that today they discovered an estimated 1,000 barrels (42,000 gallons) of oil per day.Bad weather condition has hindered authorities efforts to fix it.

“We are classifying this as a very serious spill and we are using all our resources to help contain it,” Coast Guard Petty Officer Connie Terrell said.

Transocean Ltd’s Deepwater Horizon sank on Thursday after burning for 36 hours following an explosion while finishing a well for BP Plc 42 miles off the Louisiana coast. The Coast Guard on Friday suspended a search for 11 missing workers from the rig, who are presumed dead.

The Coast Guard said there is currently no impact to the shoreline, but it has notified Gulf states to be prepared as this could be major threat on the ecosystem.

No Leaks from the Sunken Oil Rig

NEW ORLEANS-The 11 missing workers of the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico by Deepwater Horizon has not yet been found.The crew is still being sought as of the moment by rescuers after a thunderous explosion last Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile,US Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said that the no crude oil has been found leaking from the drilling rig that blasted and sank in the gulf.There are no traces of oil spill 5,000 feet of the ocean floor or any signs of oil leaking beneath the water surface.

“Should we have any kind of leakage, we will be ready to respond,” Landry said, pledging authorities were also preparing for “our worst case scenario”,he said.

Landry added that the oil being collected now was the oil was only residuals from the exploding and sinking of the platform.

“We have not had any indication that there’s oil emanating from the drill site,” Coast Guard spokesman Mike Blakney said. The Coast Guard will continue to monitor both the surface and the subsea installations at the BP PLC-operated (BP, BP.LN) Macondo prospect, where the rig caught fire late Tuesday, “to be absolutely confident that there’s no longer the threat of a spill.”

The Coast Guard has still ongoing search and resuce operations for the 11 crew memberswho were left unaacounted for after the explosion. And by any case, if they can’t be found anymore, the Coast Guard will consult the family members as well as Transocean whether to continue or stop the rescue operations.

Oil Rig Explodes on Earth Day;11 Missing

NEW ORLEANS-A roaring sound of explosion jolted a huge oil drilling platform and lit up the sky by huge flames.

Eleven workers were missing on Wednesday, after the explosion on Tuesday which occured off the Louisiana Coast near New Orleans.

Rescuers still was not able to locate the missing crew members.

The blast which occured on Tuesday night aboard the Deep Water Horizon rig 50 miles away from the Louisiana coast has been said to be one of the nation’s deadliest off-shore drilling accidents of the past half-century.

Maritime officials believe most of the 126 people on board escaped after the explosion, which occured at around 10pm.

The rig is designed to function and operate 8,000 feet deep. The explosion took place in 5,000 feet of water.It is a semi-submersible rig which has a maximum drill depth 5.5 miles and can accomodate 130 crew members aboard.

NASA Satellite Captures Gulf Oil Spill [Photos]

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has reportedly hit the US shoreline this morning. Up to 5,000 barrels of oil a day continue to spew into the water beneath the site of the Deepwater Horizon.
NASA has released a pair of striking pictures depicting the disaster.
The semisubmersible drilling platform sank two days after an explosion and fire at 10 p.m. April 20, when 126 workers were on the rig. Eleven who have not been found are presumed to have died in the incident.

Both images were captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite — the first shows a wider shot of the oil slick spreading to the Louisiana coast, while the second shows a closer view.