11 Reasons the BP Gulf Oil Spill Disaster Should Scare the Sh*t Out of Everyone

Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling unit on fire 2010
Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling unit on fire 2010

Update: The following post is full of data and topics that I found when researching worst-case scenarios from the BP Oil Spill in the Summer of 2010. I wrote the post itself on June 14, 2010, and I’m pretty sure everything I found and listed below is unfounded and untrue. I should probably take it down. But I’ve decided to leave it up, as it gives us a glimpse into the hysteria that develops around disasters. Happy reading!


I’ve been doing some research on the interwebs, and here is the stuff that is really scaring me. A lot of the information I found is alarming. To be clear: I do not know if any of this information is true. Please give this a read. Please feel free to comment with other resources. Let me know if the information in this post is on target. Hopefully, this entire blog post is completely false.

This is why our entire planet should be concerned about the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico:

1. That’s really deep, dude.
BP was drilling in an area where it is about a mile from the platform to the ocean floor. That means they had to go down 5,000+ ft just to get to the ocean floor. Humans can’t even go down to that depth because of the near-freezing temperature and the pressure.

2. The Russians did it on land. Maybe we should try it in the water.
Once they reached the ocean floor, BP was trying to drill a superdeep well – maybe as deep as the Russian’s Kola SG-3 borehole which reached 40,000ft deep back in 1989. Basically, BP was drilling somewhere in the range of 25,000-30,000ft below the ocean floor. Apparently that is REALLY deep. And from what I can find, drilling to those depths has never been attempted in the Gulf of Mexico.

3. Who needs an anchor anyways?
To make things even more unsafe, the BP Deepwater Horizon platform was a floating platform that was kept in location by a sophisticated GPS system. That means the the BP platform was not even anchored to the ocean floor, and that is not a very stable/safe way to drill for oil in deep waters.

4. Under Pressure
Typical oil pressures (pounds per square inch aka psi) are in the area of 1,000 psi. BP had reached such a depth that they were seeing anywhere from 20,000-70,000 psi from this oil well. Some geologists predict that the psi at such depths would actually be in the range of 80,000-100,000 psi.

5. Epic Fail-Safe Fail
Due to the massive pressures, every one of the fail-safe measures and valves on the BP platform failed. And there is even a rumor that BP was warned beforehand about a warped fail-safe valve by one of their own employees. Regardless, they are fairly certain that nothing could have stopped that oil because the pressures were too high. We simply don’t have anything that can stop that type of pressure.

6. Oil, Volcanoes, and New Theories
Why would BP want to drill so deep? Well, there is a theory that petroleum oil does not come from dinosaur fossils. To the people who subscribe to this theory, they believe oil is actually “abiotic,” which means that it is continually being formed deep within the earth’s crust by some sort of chemical process. (This same theory appears to be a pillar to other theories that say the energy/oil shortage is entirely false. If oil is continually being formed from some chemical reaction involving magma, then all that stuff we hear about oil peaks is completely fabricated. But that is another story altogether, and like most of this post, it could be completely false. BTW, some people think that if they drilled into an area where magma is creating petroleum oil, they could have possibly drilled into a volcano. Oh good.)

7.  Don’t Hold Your Breath
Oil isn’t the only thing coming out of that well. It turns out that other stuff comes out with the oil. Specifically, we are talking about Hydrogen Sulfide, Benzene and Methylene Chloride. (link)

  • The concentration threshold for people to experience physical symptoms from hydrogen sulfide is about 5 to 10 parts per billion. But as recently as last Thursday, the EPA measured levels at 1,000 ppb. The highest levels of airborne hydrogen sulfide measured so far were on May 3, at 1,192 ppb.
  • Testing data also shows levels of volatile organic chemicals that far exceed Louisiana’s own ambient air standards. VOCs cause acute physical health symptoms including eye, skin and respiratory irritation as well as headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea and confusion.
  • Louisiana’s ambient air standard for the VOC benzene, for example, is 3.76 ppb, while its standard for methylene chloride is 61.25 ppb. Long-term exposure to airborne benzene has been linked to cancer, while the EPA considers methylene chloride a probable carcinogen.
  • The one we should really worry about is benzene. Acceptable levels of Benzene are 0-4 ppb, but some people are reporting Benzene levels near the Gulf of Mexico in the range of 3,000-4,000 ppb.

8. What “they” are not telling us
According to some people, the levels of those 3 chemicals in particular will cause a massive increase in sicknesses, cancers and deaths for people in the southeastern United States. Of course, the EPA is not reporting on the levels of these chemicals in the air right now. Why would they? It would probably create a panic.

9. Nuclear Bombs Fix Everything
If BP did get to those superdeep depths of 30,000+ ft… Because the pressure is so high down there, humans don’t really have anything that can seal that well. There is talk of using a nuclear device to “fix” the problem, but many people claim that would only make everything worse, as it is a last-ditch effort that is not a certain fix. (That kinda reminds me of the movie Independence Day when the government decides to use a nuclear weapon on the ship over Houston. It didn’t work, and it blew up the entire city.)

10. Years and Years and Years
The publicized estimates (in the media) of how much oil is leaking every day are dramatically conservative. Again, many think this is to avoid a panic. The actual amounts could be in the vicinity of 4 million gallons per day. This superdeep oil well could possess over 1 trillion gallons. If we can’t stop the leak – this oil well could be spewing oil for years and years and years. In that worst case scenario:

  • The oil would eventually kill the entire Gulf of Mexico. And then it would continue spreading to other oceans.
  • The oil would reach Europe in a few years.
  • That amount of oil floating on the surface of the Atlantic Ocean would cause all sorts of massive problems. For example: If lightning struck the ocean’s surface, it could spark an oil fire. That fire would eat up a lot of the oxygen in our atmosphere. Obviously, that scenario is problematic for several reasons.

11. Fissures don’t sound good at all
What else? There are things called “sea floor fissures” (i.e. fountains), where oil often seeps up through the ocean floor into the world’s oceans. According to some news articles, this happens naturally from time to time, and minor amounts of oil can be seen seeping on the ocean floor in certain places around the world. However, right now in the Gulf, they are starting to see fissures that are leaking alarming amounts of oil up to 5 miles away from the BP well (link). This is very problematic, and it could point to something even more devastating than the blownout BP well. If the casing was damaged below the sea floor, “basically, you‘ve got uncontrolled [oil] flow to the sea floor. And that is the doomsday scenario.” (link)

Did I miss anything? Let me know.

PS. The information I listed in this post comes from a variety of websites. A lot of this information fits into a doomsday scenario. And then some of it is textbook conspiracy theory. Regardless, there is something really bad going on down in the Gulf of Mexico. It could be something that we really have no way to stop. I hope and pray that we find a way to get ourselves out of this mess. It’s bigger than BP. It’s bigger than us. If even a few points in this post are true, we are going to need a miracle.

PS2. Here are some other articles and sites that have information about drilling:

UPDATE:

UPDATE FROM LATE 2010:

  • Well, it turns out that this entire post was full of sh*t. Apparently, the oil simply disappeared, probably to the bottom of the ocean floor. That is better than a buzzillion gallons floating over to Europe. But I guess the final question can only be: Have the drillers changed anything to ensure this doesn’t happen again? I hope so.

16 thoughts on “11 Reasons the BP Gulf Oil Spill Disaster Should Scare the Sh*t Out of Everyone”

  1. this whole BP mess is total fubar… the general public isn’t going to REALLY care until it affects them on a personal, daily level…. and then it’s probably too late…

  2. My research and my studies of peak oil lead me to the same conclusion. We are certainly looking at the end of many things. What survives depends on if we learned anything. Those who make it will be living in the world after industry and will be forced to live some new way. I hope they wake up to the consequences of living on the destruction of all else.

  3. Would be just my luck that I’ll wind up suffocating because an oil fire on the Atlantic uses up all the Oxygen n the atmosphere. Noice.

  4. I too have been trying to research this. Where did you get your psi info? I heard the figures you’re quoting on the radio, but from the calculations I have found, it looks like the intense pressure from depth is almost equal to the oil reserve pressure. The differential is only 2,000 psi or so. In fact, they appear to have to pump water or acids into the wells to increase pressure to increase yields. Thanks!!

  5. If you look at the live cam you will see bursts of brightness on the left side right now. You can also see areas that change to a deep reddish brown color from time to time. My husband said that is either gas or they hit magma. Either way you look at it, it’s BAD news because there is FIRE down below regardless of how cold it is. THAT is what is so scarey to me!

  6. How many people now weeping over their lost livelihood were cheering, celebrating, waving the flag and singing “God Bless America” when bombs were falling on defenseless Iraqis? And what for? Their oil and our lifestyle, of course. Anyone that denies this is not being honest. We may blather about democracy, liberation, and Saddam’s WMD’s but it was all about oil and we know it. Two million Iraqis are dead since 1991, four million are homeless, their livelyhoods ruined and their environment polluted with depleted uranium. Major oil companies (including BP) now control of Iraq’s vast oil reserves but they and we are getting a just recompense in the Gulf. “For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head” (Obadiah 1:15)

  7. Howz that hope ‘n’ change thang workin’ for you people? APOCALYPSE NOW! God help us!

  8. AND THERE ARE FOLKS WHO THINK THE WORLD WILL GO ON AND ON AND ON…JUST LIKE THE DURACELL BATTERY BUNNY. I THINK THE GULF WILL EXPLODE AND A MONSTROUS TSUNAMI WILL OCCUR. THERE WILL BE WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH. PERILOUS TIMES ARE UPON US WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT. WE ARE LIVING IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION. JUST LOOK AROUND FOR YOURSELF. JESUS IS COMING SOONER THAN ANYONE THINKS OR BELIEVES. LIFT UP YOUR HEADS FOR YOUR REDEMPTION IS DRAWING NIGH.

  9. Kerry –

    A lot of the basic information in this entry is incorrect. Check out information posted on the Dept of the Interior website (http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1985:energy-a-commerce-committee-investigates-deepwater-horizon-rig-oil-spill&catid=122:media-advisories&Itemid=55) for the committee hearings. They have uploaded some documents containing facts such as depth of the well, etc. (although it’s not easy to find since there is a lot of info). Also the Daily Hurricane blog (Energy entries, http://dailyhurricane.com/energy/) has a lot of technical information. The well was drilled to a depth of 18,000 ft (13,000 ft below the sea floor). Dynamic positioning systems are not an unreliable method of positioning rigs, and had nothing to do with this disaster, so I’m not sure why it’s a point here. Lawrence Porter is correct, the pressure in the formation at 18,000 ft MIGHT be as high as 20,000 psi, but at the sea floor the pressure differential is probably about 2,000 psi. You can come up with an estimation yourself knowing that they finished drilling the well with a 15 pound per barrel drilling mud density (and the well was not flowing). They are definitely NOT going to detonate a nuclear bomb down there. As far as toxins in the air and underground blowouts / casing damage, there ARE toxins and there is a danger of complications from an underground blowout. I’m sure sensationalists have exaggerated on both of those points (at least I hope). The EPA has admitted that they are measuring levels of H2S, but it looks like they are reporting levels at 0.1ppm (100ppb). (http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/air.html). They also say that it’s probably not coming from the blown out well, and I tend to agree, because if it was, the concentration at the site of the explosion should be a lot higher, which would be a huge problem for the workers there if they weren’t wearing respirators. I did notice that the website doesn’t have any reports on that site, which is kind of messed up if you ask me.

  10. Do they replace the oil that they take out or that has leaked out of that well. Or do they just leave it as an empty hole under the ocean floor?

  11. Let me reassure you: nearly everything* written is wrong and the world isn’t coming to an end of fiery

    At least you admit you know nothing

    * I’d use the word everything, but you appear to use the english language somewhat properly

  12. You people don’t have a clue what you are talking about.
    Total depth of the well was 19,000+ ft including the 5000 ft of water depth.
    There are more Dynamically Positioned drilling rigs, not platforms, working than you can probably count.
    The water depth determines if anchors or dp is used.
    Get a life, learn the induxtry before you run your mouth / brain.
    Magma is much deeper than 19000 ft.

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