• New long-term threat from oil spill recognized: increasing ocean's arsenic levels

    Oil spills can increase levels of toxic arsenic in the ocean, creating an additional long-term threat to the marine ecosystem; sediments on the sea floor filter naturally occurring arsenic out of seawater, keeping the levels of arsenic low; oil spills clog up sediments on the ocean floor with oil, which prevents the sediments from bonding with arsenic and burying it safely underground with subsequent layers of sediment

  • Can microbes break down oil washed onto Gulf beaches?

    Nature provides its own methods for keeping sandy beaches clean: microbial communities which are native to the sands; researchers are studying whether native oil-eating bacteria that wash ashore with the crude are helping or hindering these native microbial communities

  • Second pipe may have crippled BP well's defenses

    The discovery of a second drill pipe joins a list of clues that is helping scientists understand the complexities of the Deepwater Horizon accident, and learn lessons which will inform changes in how deep-water drilling is conducted; evidence emerges that BP cut safety corners because the drilling fell behind schedule; one expert says: the accident “absolutely was preventable—[the rig lacked] “a regulatory presence onboard that said, “I don’t care how late it is, you do it right or you go home.”

  • UGI proposes innovative clean-up plan for Gulf

    BP’s oils spill now covers an area the size of Luxembourg; a U.K. clean-tech company joins with an Ohio-based partner to offer boat towing technology platforms specifically designed to remove the oil threatening the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and the waters around the Deepwater Horizon well; a towed membrane acts like blotting paper in attracting oil that can then be released only by mechanical pressure

  • Cap temporarily removed from gushing well

    The lower marine riser package (LMRP) containment cap was taken off the failed Deepwater Horizon blowout preventer (BOP) earlier today after a vent on the cap accidentally got closed; it appears that a remotely operated vehicle accidentally bumped into the LMRP cap and closed a vent; the cap was taken off the well because with the vent closed, dangerous pressure was beginning to build up inside the well, raising the specter of another explosion, similar to the one on 20 April which destroyed the well

  • Bacteria will help keep CO2 safely sequestered

    With the world still heavily reliant on fossil fuels to meet its energy needs, carbon sequestration technologies could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions; one of the big challenges to making this a reality is ensuring that the CO2 stays locked away underground; the humble Bacillus subtilis bacteria will help

  • BP's first relief well has now reached 4,200 meters, with 1,300 meters to go

    BP has been drilling two relief wells in the Gulf of Mexico in an effort to stem the flow of oil from the stricken Deepwater Horizon; a relief well aims to bisect the original well casing, enabling engineers to pump in mud and concrete to seal up the well; drilling into an 18-centimeter-wide cylinder 5,500 meters below the sea floor is not easy

  • Balls of steel: A scientists proposes dropping steel balls into well to stop leak

    Willard Wattenburg made a name for himself by directing the capping of the more than 500 hundred burning oil wells in Kuwait after the Gulf War in 1991; he now proposes dropping steel balls of different sizes into the gushing well; if the steel balls are big enough in diameter, their weight will pull them downward even through the upward-rushing torrent of oil and gas; they will settle into the well at some deep level and begin to clog it

  • Panel urges extradition, compensation in Bhopal disaster case

    The 1984 Bhopal chemical plant disaster caused the death of 15,000; hundreds of thousands were permanently disabled; and thousands of children were born with birth defects; an Indian government panel has decided to seek the extradition of former Union Carbide Corp. chief Warren Anderson to sand trial in India for; the panel also recommended that the Indian government demand that Dow Chemical Co. — which acquired Union Carbide in 1999 — pay $325 million in compensation for the families of the dead and disabled

  • How safe are the Gulf oil dispersants?

    As of 14 June, more than 3.34 million liters of dispersant had been sprayed onto oil on the sea surface; at least a further 1.52 million liters had been pumped into the oil gushing from the stricken well some 1,500 meters below sea level; the use of such large volumes at depth is unprecedented, and marine biologists are concerned about possible toxicity to organisms, including shrimp and fish larvae

  • Panel sharply raises estimate of oil spilling into the Gulf to 60,000 barrels a day

    A government expert panel raised yet again the estimate of the amount of oil spilling into the Gulf: the new estimate is 60,000 barrels a day, up from 30,000 last week; BP had only been able to collect about 15,000 barrels a day at its peak with the containment cap, and this new calculation, if it holds up, suggests that BP’s latest plans for capturing oil may not be adequate

  • BP capturing "less than half" of oil from spill

    BP claims the cap placed on the broken well is capturing between 15,000 and 16,000 barrels a day, but this is less than half the 40,000 barrels of crude which keep gushing into the Gulf’s water; one Gulf drilling expert has warned that, in a worst-case scenario, it may take until Christmas to contain the leak fully

  • 23-mile long oil plume approaches Florida's Treasure Coast

    Scientists say that the most likely pathway for oil to reach the Florida Keys was for it to be pulled into a counterclockwise rotating frontal eddy in the northeast corner of the Loop Current, and then south along the eastern frontal zone of the Loop Current to the Dry Tortugas; a scientific research vessel finds an extensive oil slick that stretched about twenty miles along the southward flowing jet which merged with the northern front of the Loop Current

  • Fibertect absorbent can clean Gulf oil spill's crude, holds toxic oil and mustard vapors

    New material — raw cotton-carbon Fibertect — can absorb oil up to fifteen times its weight; the material can clean up crude oil and adsorb toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon vapors which sicken oil spill clean-up crew members; also, the material has been tested to successfully remediate mustard vapors such as those found from dumped munitions

  • Coast Guard solicits private sector ideas on how to stem spill, deal with consequences

    We’re adapting to an enemy that changes,” Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander for the oil spill, said; accordingly, in somewhat of an about-face, the Coast Guard last Friday began to solicit ideas from vendors, scientists, government laboratories, and nonprofits on how to stop, contain, and clean up the largest off-shore oil spill in U.S. history