BP has argued that, since total flow rate was never measured we have no way of calculating the volume. To this day the company disputes the US government's estimate of 4.2 million barrels spilled into the Gulf, arguing that it was half that.
Beyond the obvious effects of this massive oil spill, and the ongoing court battle between the government, plaintiffs, and BP, the question needs to be asked: After the worst offshore blowout in US history, did we learn anything?
In a closed door deposition last month, Marcia McNutt, head of the U.S. Geological Survey, testified that BP did not disclose critical information to the government about the flow rate, and company emails clearly instructed BP employees to not disclose information outside the "circle of trust."
There is a real problem at the site. Oil is definitely there, and it is a true problem. Think about it. From April 20, 2010 to July 15, 2010, the well flowed something around 5 million barrels of oil into the ocean environment. Only a small portion of that oil was recovered or burned.
As opposed to the National Academy Engineering panel, the president's panel continues to focus on investigating what happened environmentally after the blowout as opposed to seeking out the actual causes of the blowout.
To judge from most media coverage, the beaches are open, the fishing restrictions being lifted and the Gulf resorts open for business in a safe environment. We spent the last few weeks along the Gulf coast, and the reality is distinctly different.
Hubris. Illusions of grandeur. Deepwater overseers had been so successful (lucky) that they were over-confident. Having never experienced this kind of failure, it was inconceivable to them that it could happen. It did.
By developing our own oil and gas resources, along with conservation, we can extend our decline curve to give us time to develop alternate sources of energy including wind, bio, solar, and, yes, nuclear
BP has been moving the date for the top kill on almost a daily basis, using vague explanations about staging, equipment, etc. There may be something else going on, and, based on BP's past, you can almost be sure there is.
Oil on the beach and interminable delays, in addition to dozens of "press briefings" where nothing is really said, has fed a growing frustration in the press and fear among the public that BP either doesn't know what it's doing, or is not being honest.
It's clear now that BP is not going to be forthcoming. It's time for an independent group of engineers and scientists be inserted into the BP response center to assure that outgoing information is complete and accurate