Thursday, June 24, 2010

Faulty US Data Basis For BP Oil Spill Risk Planning

From the June 24, 2010 article in The Wall St. Journal, "BP Relied on Faulty U.S. Data" by Neil King Jr. And Keith Johnson:
BP PLC and other big oil companies based their plans for responding to a big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on U.S. government projections that gave very low odds of oil hitting shore, even in the case of a spill much larger than the current one.

The government models, which have not been updated since 2004, assumed that most of the oil would rapidly evaporate or get broken up by waves or weather. In the weeks since the Deepwater Horizon caught fire and sank, real life has proven these models wrong.

Oil has hit 171 miles of shoreline in southern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and northern Florida. Further, government models don't address how oil released a mile below the surface would behave—despite years of concern among government scientists and oil companies about deep-water spills.

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