Es ist interessant zu beobachten, wie die US-Politik und BP derzeit in den Medien auftreten. Während die US- Regierungspolitik bemüht ist darzustellen, dass man alles im Griff hat und das Öl zu großen Teilen durch natürliche Effekte bereits verschwunden sei, versucht BP aus der Ecke des Superumweltsünders herauszukommen und wieder zurück ins geldbringende Geschäft zu kommen.

Diskussionen über „verschwundenes“ Öl

Unterdessen sorgt eine Behauptung der US-Regierung in den USA für heftige Diskussionen. Die größte Menge des ausgetreten Öls sei verschwunden, wiederholte jetzt noch einmal Obamas Energieberaterin Carol Browner. Drei Viertel des Öls seien verdunstet, haben sich dank der Meeresbiologie zersetzt oder seien von den Rettungsmannschaften aufgefangen beziehungsweise abgefackelt worden, so Browner. Vor allem Mutter Natur habe einen hervorragenden Job gemacht, so Obamas Ölexpertin.

Doch zahlreiche US-Umweltorganisationen weisen darauf hin, auch die vielgelobte Mutter Natur könne nicht verhindern, dass Plankton und Algen im Golf von Mexiko jetzt ölhaltig seien und die Nahrungskette damit verseucht. Zudem stellen Wissenschaftler die Regierungs- Berechnungen, 600 Millionen Liter Öl hätten sich buchstäblich in Nichts aufgelöst, in Frage.

„Modellrechnungen sind nicht perfekt“

„Klar, das sind Modellrechnungen“, gibt Einsatzleiter Allan zu. Und Modellrechnungen näherten sich nur der Wirklichkeit an und seien nicht perfekt. Natürlich sei die Frage, wo all das Öl geblieben ist, nicht hundertprozentig beantwortet. Nur soviel ist sicher: Mindestens 200 Millionen Liter Rohöl befinden sich noch im Golf von Mexiko. Und damit rund fünf Mal so viel, wie der Öltanker Exxon Valdez 1989 vor der Küste Alaskas verlor.

Quelle: „Operation „Static Kill“ offenbar erfolgreich“ in

Government officials defended the credibility of their report saying about 75 percent of the oil is gone. They said that description is based on direct measurements of the spill as well as estimates, and that the instruments they’ve used to capture the scope of the disaster have improved since it began April 20. They said the report was subject to peer review and involved both government and outside experts. White House energy adviser Carol Browner said the chance of any new information causing large-scale change to the conclusions is „very, very small.“

In Congress, lawmakers pressed scientists to explain what effects a chemical used to get rid of some of the oil will have on the Gulf’s ecosystem.

BP applied nearly 2 million gallons of a chemical dispersant to the oil as it spewed from the broken underwater well. The aim was to break apart the oil into tiny droplets so huge slicks wouldn’t tarnish shorelines and coat marine animals, and to make the oil degrade more rapidly.

The government report released Wednesday shows that about 10 percent of the estimated 172 million gallons of oil released into the Gulf of Mexico was dispersed by the chemicals.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., called use of the chemicals a „grand experiment.“ He said it was unclear whether it would limit damage from the spill, or cause greater harm.

Paul Anastas, the assistant administrator for the Office of Research and Development at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said that while the effects of such a large quantity of dispersants are unknown, tests so far have not found dispersants near coasts or wetlands. Laboratory tests conducted by the EPA comparing the chemicals to oil alone and to mixtures of oil and dispersants also show that they are not more toxic.

Quelle und vollständiger Artikel : „Gov’t has ‚high confidence‘ oil spill almost over“ in seattlepi am 04.08.10

Die Wissenschaft tut sich schwer mit der Situation: Man weiß sehr wenig über die potentiellen Folgen einer großvolumigen Verteilung von Öl in feinsten Fraktionen in der Wassersäule.

In the cold, dark ocean, this mixture of oil and chemical dispersants may be suspended and preserved, causing long-term problems for deep-sea animals, Texas Tech University ecotoxicologist Ron Kendall said during August 4 testimony before the U.S. Congress.

„We have very limited information on the environmental fate and transport of the mixture of dispersant and oil, particularly in the deep ocean,“ Kendall said.

Some oil fragments are so tiny they can’t be seen with the human eye, said the University of South Florida’s Hollander. Others are big enough to be gobbled up by baby fish that mistake the oil for food. (See pictures of ten animals at risk from the Gulf oil spill.)

Predicting what will happen to the deep-sea ecosystem is „uncharted territory,“ said Hollander, who’s studying what the oil is doing to deep-sea creatures during a series of research cruises this summer and fall.

„Could be a bottom-up collapse, could be nothing happens,“ he said. But he suspects a „real large chunk of food chain is being disrupted.“

„We’re getting into something different than the 2-D petroleum spill“ on the Gulf’s surface, he added. „All of the sudden you’ve taken this 2-D disaster and turned it into a 3-D catastrophe.“

Quelle und vollständiger Artikel: „Much Gulf Oil Remains, Deeply Hidden and Under Beaches “ in National Geographic am 05.08.10

BP arbeitet zwischenzeitlich massiv an der Medienfront und versucht den Eindruck zu verbreiten, dass die Masse der Berichterstattung über die Ölkatastrophe falsch seien. Das läuft nach dem Motto: Wir hatten alles im Griff, die Lösungsmittel sind kein Problem und in der Tiefe der Ozeane ist auch kein Problem. Da sich die Wissenschaft mit belastbare Aussagen sehr schwer tut, haben Aussagen von durchaus praxiserfahrenen Experten Informationswert und Bedeutung, auch wenn aufgrund der deutlichen Firmennähe auch deutliche Skepsis geboten ist

With engineers ever closer to finally stopping the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, some experts who have been hired by BP as response consultants shared with AOL News their view from the inside and discussed what they see as several misconceptions about the oil spill and the cleanup technology.

Alan A. Allen is a field supervisor with over 40 years experience in controlled burning, skimming and other types of mechanical cleanup. He has worked on numerous other oil spills, including the Ixtoc blowout off Mexico and the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

Alun Lewis is a U.K.-based consultant and is considered a leading authority on oil spill dispersants. He worked with the BP Research Centre in the U.K. and helped prepare the U.K.’s guidelines on the use of dispersants.

Edward H. Owens is a coastal geologist with 40 years of experience working at the sites of oil spills. He was the technical adviser to Exxon’s Alaska cleanup operations from 1989 to 1993 and served on the research faculty of Louisiana State University’s Coastal Studies Institute.

Here are 10 misconceptions cited by the experts:

6. The response has been chaotic.

Like firefighters, oil-spill experts practice in teams and simulate response missions during „peacetime,“ which is what they call the period between major spills. In the spring, that training formed the backbone for a huge response involving thousands of untrained workers, rented vessels and scientists from all over the world.

„We created an organization of 20,000 people in three weeks, which is stunning,“ Owens says. „In any major organization of that size, you’ll have a few bumps, but overall, it’s amazing.“

7. There is a lake of oil at the bottom of the gulf.

There is no mass of Deepwater oil where we can’t see it, and there are no traveling plumes of heavy oil miles away from the well head, the three experts say.

„That would never happen, and all the monitoring that’s been going on has been showing very low — and decreasing — concentrations of oil,“ Lewis says.

When oil is dispersed into tiny droplets, the droplets separate from each other and are diluted in the open ocean, he explains. They do not get weighed down and cannot rejoin each other under water. Bacteria break them down into carbon dioxide and water in a predictable way, and when they can’t be found, it’s because they are no longer there.

Lewis points to a huge eco-monitoring project started by the British government after the big Sea Empress spill was dispersed in 1996, Lewis says. „There were no effects the next year,“ he says. „If the oil is dispersed at sea, you can go back a year later and you can’t find it.“

8. Oil is harmful to ocean life no matter where it ends up.

In fact, the deep sea is much better at dealing with oil than the shoreline, the experts say. Miles away from shore, the wind and waves create a „high-energy environment“ that helps break up the oil, and the right bacteria are there to consume the resulting droplets, Allen says. At the shoreline, it will just sit there, harming a huge array of flora and fauna that can’t break it down as quickly.

9. People are experimenting with risky, untested technologies in the gulf.

Time is of the essence in an oil spill, experts says, and that means they move quickly with the knowledge they have. However, there have been no leaps of faith in this case, they say: All methods in the gulf response have been thoroughly tested and used for at least 10 years.

„We’re just using the tools that we’ve used forever, just on a larger scale than typically before,“ Owens says. People may have gotten the wrong impression about this spill because of the dramatic attempts to cap the well in new, weird ways.

„That was like Apollo 13 all over again,“ Owens says. „There were some of the best scientists in the world hunkering down to solve this problem. That doesn’t work? Try another, try another, try another.“

Quelle und vollständiger Artikel: „BP Experts: Everything You Know About Oil Spill Is Wrong“ in AOLNews

Das bisherige Ende der Entwicklung ist die aktuelle Äußerung des BP-Topmanagers Doug Sutteles. Im Stile von zwei Schritte vorwärts, einer zurück, wird die Öffentlichkeit darauf eingestimmt, dass BP zukünftig wieder im Golf von Mexiko nach Öl bohrt:

„Hier gibt es eine Menge Öl und Gas“, sagte zumindest BP-Topmanager Doug Suttles. Zu gegebener Zeit müsse man „darüber nachdenken, was wir damit machen“. Das lecke Bohrloch und die Entlasungsbohrungen sollen allerdings nicht für die Förderung genutzt werden.

Ein Sprecher des Konzerns dementierte wenig später: Man werde sich zunächst voll und ganz darauf konzentrieren, die Schäden der Ölpest zu beseitigen. „Wir überlegen nicht, welche künftige Produktion aus diesem Reservoir erfolgen könnte“, betonte er.

Quelle: „BP will möglicherweise weiterbohren“ in

Ungeachtet der Gemeinsamkeit, das ausgetretene Öl als Problem klein reden zu wollen, knirscht es aufgrund der versteckten Ankündigungen von BP zwischen BP und der Obama-Regierung:

A struggle between BP and the Obama administration over the future of the cemented well in the Gulf of Mexico erupted in public today when the oil company suggested it may drill in the same reservoir again.

In a briefing with reporters meant to symbolise BP’s return to business-as-usual in the Gulf, the chief operating officer, Doug Suttles, said the company may not give up all claims on the Macondo well, which leaked five million barrels of oil into the Gulf.

„There’s lots of oil and gas here,“ Suttles said. „We’re going to have to think about what to do with that at some point.

The exchange marks an escalation of a subtler struggle all week, in which BP officials appeared far less convinced than Obama administration officials of the need to pump cement into the bottom of the Macondo from a relief well.

„We want to end up with cement in the bottom of the hole,“ Kent Wells, a senior vice-president, told a briefing on Tuesday. „Whether that comes from the top or whether it comes from the relief well, those will be decisions made along the way.“

Allen, however, insisted the relief well should be cemented. „I don’t think we can see this as the end all and be all until we get the relief wells done,“ he said.

An another sign that BP feels confident one chapter of the oil spill is over, Suttles announced today he would return to his regular role in Houston.

He will be replaced by Mike Utsler, who has been running the oil company’s command post in Houma, Louisiana

Quelle und vollständiger Artikel: „BP risks Obama row by hinting it may return to stricken oil well“ auf

Parallel dazu gibt es die Meldung, dass die Todeszone im Golf von Mexiko, also die Zone mit zu wenig Sauerstoff im Wasser für sauerstoffabhängige Lebensformen, so groß wie noch nie ist. Die Wissenschaft ist noch zögerlich mit Aussagen, ob ein Zusammenhang mit den großen Mengen durch Mikroben „verarbeiteten“ Öls im Wasser besteht.

Gulf ‚dead zone‘ probably the largest on record“ bei