In case you were curious about how BP’s stricken Macondo well currently stacks up to other historical oil spills, here’s a useful graphic from Société Générale, putting it all in context:
So not quite the record flow rates struck by gushing oil wells in the first Gulf War, then.
Of course, with BP CEO Tony Hayward admitting to Congress on Thursday that all hopes of controlling the leak now rest with the company’s ‘bottom kill’ strategy, which involves drilling two relief wells to shut off the leak from deep inside the seabed — the risk of the spill overtaking the global record is fast becoming a genuine concern.
After all, drilling wells – relief or normal — is not some walk in the park. Real risks are especially associated with any sort of drilling in deepwater conditions.
One might say it’s tantamount to drilling on a moving asteroid, hurtling through space, about to hit the planet, with only a nuclear option left as the last resort to save the day. And Bruce Willis Kevin Costner of course:
To make matters more challenging still, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s weather department currently predicts one of the region’s most active hurricane seasons could be lurking just around the corner.
From the release on May 27:
An “active to extremely active” hurricane season is expected for the Atlantic Basin this year according to the seasonal outlook issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center – a division of the National Weather Service.
Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is projecting a 70 percent probability of the following ranges: * 14 to 23 Named Storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including: * 8 to 14 Hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which: * 3 to 7 could be Major Hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)
“If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
“The greater likelihood of storms brings an increased risk of a landfall. In short, we urge everyone to be prepared.”
Which should make you not want to close your eyes, or fall asleep — just in case you don’t wanna miss a thing.
Armageddon (1998 film) – Wikipedia
As the execs turn themselves in, BP turns itself over… – FT Alphaville
Who’s not trading with BP? – FT Alphaville
BP has nothing to fear… – FT Alphaville