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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill – Same Shit, Different Day

How long will it take to stop the Deepwater Horizon leak?
within a week
within a month
within two months
within three months
within six months
within a year
within two years


The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill mirrors another gulf oil spill – from thirty years ago – that took nine months to contain. The present spill is at 25 times the depth….

Our peak oil disaster scenarios talk about the oil industry, having long ago picked all the low hanging fruit of available supplies, needing to go to greater and greater lengths, and greater expense, to locate and extract new supplies of oil – and from fields the industry wouldn’t have even considered a decade or two ago. One angle in all this that is not well discussed, however, is that along with a significantly reduced EROEI is a corresponding increase in attached risk.

The clip below compares two out-of-control gulf oil spills – the present disaster, and one thirty years ago. The spill of 1979 went on for months, and months – nine to be precise – despite the blown out well being only a couple of hundred feet below the surface. The spill today is at 5,000 feet.

We may be hearing about the ongoing drama of this spill for a very, very long time….


  1. While the world economy is held hostage to fossil fuels it will be impossible to eliminate this kind of activity. Permaculturists should consider integrating liquid fuel crops (ethanol and biodiesel) in their designs to displace destructive exploitation of natural resources. The byproducts of alcohol fermentation are valuable: carbon dioxide and heat to accelerate plant growth, and concentrated nutrient mash for animal feed and fertiliser. I have written an article on this topic and it will be published here soon.

    More info here:

  2. According to this Reuters article, current Canadian legislation makes it mandatory to drill a relief well in parallel to the primary well when drilling off the coast of Canada. (Relief wells actually do work, in contradistinction to a number of other funny ideas, but take a lot of time if they have to be drilled “after the event”.)

    Now guess what? BP lobbied against having to drill these:

    In 2008, BP paid C$1.2 billion ($1.8 billion) for rights to explore three parcels in Canada’s Beaufort Sea, north of the Arctic Circle.

    It has yet to announce plans to drill in the region but shortly before the U.S. disaster, BP and other oil companies urged Canadian regulators to drop a requirement stipulating that companies operating in the Arctic had to drill relief wells in the same season as the primary well.

    Cullen argued the companies had made this request because drilling a relief well within the required time limit would be too expensive, given the difficult Arctic conditions.

    “It’s not a question of cost,” said Drinkwater.

    “Your submission does say it’s a question of cost. … You cite money because you’re concerned about money,” retorted Cullen, reading from a BP document filed with the NEB, then listing recent disasters BP had been involved in.

    Drinkwater — who said BP was not rejecting the option of a relief well — declined to answer reporters’ questions following the hearing.

  3. Today there is a 20 pages big inlet in Aftenposten, the largest newspaper in Norway, arguing for why the oil companies must drill for oil in Lofoten and Vesterålen:

    The arguing goes like we have much more advanced technology than BP, more strict rules, that the oil industry has “saved” Norway from the financial crisis, interviews with local people dreaming about all the new jobs the oil industry can create in Lofoten and Vesterålen, and so on.

    They have no humility, aggressively arguing for drilling in Northern Europe’s most important marine hot spot in the middle of the crisis of the Gulf of Mexico.

    Next week I go to this gem of Europe, I want to see it before it’s spoiled by big money oil industry, using millions of dollars arguing for why we can’t leave this gem, this marine paradise, in peace.

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