Visualising the BP oil disaster

Use this handy tool to compare the size of the BP oil spill by placing an overlay on top of where you live:

Needless to say, if a spill that spanned from the East Cape to Taranaki happened here, we would not cope well.

Maritime New Zealand has just $12 million worth of oil spill recovery equipment and dispersing chemicals scattered in 20 locations around the country, and three 8.2 metre transportable oil recovery vessels

It is reckless to start a deep water oil drilling program in New Zealand’s southern ocean, one of the most important ecological regions on the planet, when the oil companies don’t know how to plug deep water oil wells if anything goes wrong.

We should stop the proposed deep water oil drilling program in the Great South Basin until the oil industry identifies the exact cause of BP’s oil catastrophe, explains how it can be prevented from happening again, and demonstrates that it can plug oil wells in deep water.

47 thoughts on “Visualising the BP oil disaster

  1. I am interested in another visual tool Frog. Have you been able to calculate how many times Eden Park would fit into the area of the oil spill? Or perhaps how many postcards?

    I thought these might be handy given the current oil exploration operations in the Great Southern Basin and the Raukumara Basin.

  2. Good stuff.. to fight the stuff-uppers with.. ( I heard tell from the USCG how the Atlantic is likely flow-stream by Summer.. ? )

    Else, ask you folks lookover a little helpful something in Em and Me’s latest blogging and likely media venture. Initially inspired by an Independent journalist called Watkins who coined the term “chattering classes” — I’ve always loathed the term – which we intend come on back to bite the perpetrators..

    regards..

  3. It’s not the first time the suggestion has been made to plug the Mexican oil leak with the corpulent Gerry!
    Any excess bulk, a double chin or lardy dewlap, could be kept aside in case of an accident here.

  4. Fly, I think a Gerry cork would be too light it would float, but that is only my hypothesis.

    It needs to be tested out!!!

  5. We could feed him lead shot before dumping him overboard.
    There’s always a solution Drak.

  6. give him lead-boots…

    (and an oxygen mask..of course…!)

    and send him in feet-first..

    and he could plug it..a la homer s…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  7. Interesting Greenfly, is it standard Green policy to attack politicians on the way they look?

  8. i think it’s in the party constitution….

    section III para-iv…

    “every opportunity must be taken to ‘brownlee’…”

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  9. and have you seen what he wants to do to our environment..?

    ..it’s open season on environmental vandals like him…

    ..his appearance..his politics…anything..

    maybe he dosen’t know how beautiful it all is out there..

    i mean..he hasn’t walked further than to his limo/the dinner table/bellamys..

    ..since forever..

    maybe he should be helicoptered in..?

    to give him some idea of what it is he wants to destroy…?

    ..phil(whoar.co.nz)

  10. Frog – bit of a misrepresentation that we’re reckless to be starting a drilling programme. There is no licence for a drilling programme – just a five year exploration programme.

    Any drilling programme is likely to be many years away – possibly even decades (if it ever happens at all – the majority of exploration leads nowhere) .

  11. Photonz

    Exploratory drilling is still drilling… and that IS what happens when someone is seriously looking for deep oil.

    Don’t let the BS from the party of big BS beguile you. They have no intention of abandoning the effort to drill into Mother Earth before our kids get to inherit it. One should have the same respect for them as for any rapist.

    So if someone here feels inclined to take a shot at the smiling assassin or his overfed henchman, don’t be surprised if we are less than polite.

    BJ

  12. bj – You’re getting a bit hysterical. If they deserve the respect of a rapist, then you probably deserve the respect of a rapists assistant.

    The petrol companies would not exist if people like you and me didn’t buy consumer goods that come from the other side of the world (i.e. the computer screen you are looking at this very second), use vehicles, go to work, take holidays, eat food, give our children an education, and health care etc.

    Pertrobras permit is for exploration. After a lot of work – probably several years near the end of their permit – this may, or may not, culminate in ONE exploratory drill hole.

    Though there’s an average 90% chance that there will be no commercial drilling.

  13. Photon

    I was talking about the NACToids, though I could easily include some corporate entities. I was talking about a Jerry Brownlee repeating the damnfoolishness that they aren’t handing out drilling licenses but only exploration licenses… and refusing to answer a direct question, over, and over, and over.

    … and you believe him?

    I do not care for the number of holes drilled. If it is more than zero then the question Russell asked has to be answered and answered in the affirmative.

    As for the oil companies, their work is NOT as essential to us as you seem to think… it is NOW because actually doing what is necessary to wean us off that blackened teat is inconvenient. That it can be done however, is not arguable. That it must eventually be done is not arguable. That the party of Mother-Earth-F*%#rs is willing to stick our children with the whole job is undeniable.

    It isn’t hysteria speaking mate. It is recognition of who is hurting my kids… and why.

    BJ

  14. I just find it hypocritical that we don’t want to drill here, but we still want other people to drill in their back yards so we can still buy their oil.

    As I’ve said before, George Bush got this right. The answer lies in technology (probably the only thing he got right – must have been an accident).

    There will be massive advances in energy efficiency and generation in the next couple of decades. Twenty years ago few people had cellphones and the internet was unheard of.

    The current BP disaster is probably a good thing. For the first time in history it seems that all Americans are worried about their environment.

    I’ve just been to Nth America and Europe. The typical giant pickups (over 50% of vehicles in many American towns) were getting less than 15mpg. My rental in UK – an average sized car for there – got 40mpg.

    And you can get small deisels that do twice that, blowing away the likes of a Prius. Tidal power is becoming viable, we’ve finally got sensible insulation regulations for new buildings (decades late), compulsory double glazine etc, a govt sponsored insulation programme that thousands are taking up, there’s a big movement to buy local produce, new heat pumps are now 300% more efficient than conventional heaters, and they’re replacing coal fires, our clean air regulations are getting stricter, there’s big advances in aircraft efficiency, and in manufacturing processes, so lots of things are heading in the right direction.

  15. Why do we need more spill equipment when we can make two operational rigs mandatory before pumping starts..? If there had been two rigs in the Gulf most of the pressure could have have been diverted to a second pumping rig, certainly enough to cap the well…

    And we can pass strict liability laws, so if corners are cut for profit like BP did they are liable for loss of fishing revenue, tourism revenue, loss of brand revenue, clean up costs, etc…

    It’s like saying I can’t get on my bus till all the dangers of driving are eliminated…

  16. Jeremy – it’s like saying I can’t get on my bus till the owners have installed brakes.

  17. photonz, I never said simply “you can’t drill here”, I said there should be no further drilling “until the oil industry identifies the exact cause of BP’s oil catastrophe, explains how it can be prevented from happening again, and demonstrates that it can plug oil wells in deep water”. This is a far more timid position than you’re making out

  18. Frog – you said “It is reckless to start a deep water oil drilling program in New Zealand’s southern ocean, one of the most important ecological regions on the planet, when the oil companies don’t know how to plug deep water oil wells if anything goes wrong.”

    But they aren’t starting a drilling programme. It’s an exploration programme, that only after many years MAY culminate in a SINGLE exploratory test drill.

    Then there’s typically a 90% chance that nothing will happen.

    Then, many years away, and only if that small chance pays off – THEN we may start what you call a reckless oil drilling programme.

  19. @photonz1 10:21 AM

    THEN we may start what you call a reckless oil drilling programme.

    …THEN we may…

    Do you work for the oil industry photonz1? That would explain a lot.

  20. Greenfly – George Bush was right – technology will have a far greater effect than trying to get everybody to cut consumption.

    Subaru have increased fuel efficiency in new cars by a massive 20% in a single year.

    Compare that to trying to get every person in the world who buys a new Subaru to dive 20% less.

    New technology creates efficiency not only for those who WANT to cut energy use, but ALSO for everyone else who doesn’t.

    That decrease in fuel use in some cars in a single year, is the sort of decrease countries are aiming at – but over several decades.

  21. Photonz 1 your reasoning in support of ‘more of the same’ does not stand scrutiny. Fuel consumption per vehicle may be dropping but the number of vehicles is rising considerably. Especially in China.Demand is increasing.

    Have you really thought about what ‘an oil exploration programme’ means?
    How would you like to be a marine mammal in the vicinity of a southern ocean seismic survey?

  22. Kermit says “Photonz 1 your reasoning in support of ‘more of the same’ does not stand scrutiny. Fuel consumption per vehicle may be dropping but the number of vehicles is rising considerably. Especially in China.Demand is increasing.”

    Exactly – you give proof that attempts to change peoples habits are failing miserably.

    I;m not saying don’t try to get people to use less energy – just that efficiencies due to new technology are likely to have a far greater effect.

  23. “Then there’s typically a 90% chance that nothing will happen.”
    Brilliant!
    On behalf of all creatures great and small living in and around the Great South basin, I’d like to add my 10% to that figure.
    Don’t thank me, it’s what I do.

  24. rimu – your theory may be true of some markets, but falls down in a lot of areas.

    For example new energy efficiency in say fridges, are unlikely to result in people having more fridges.

    Energy efficiency in heat pumps, is so dramatically better than regular heaters, that it is unlikely to result more electricity used per house.

    Where it will result in more electricicty used is where someone changes from a coal fire.

    But then that dramatically REDUCES coal use.

    New efficiencies in wind and tidal power will mean new generation is more likely to be renewable rather than thermal.

    And the theory dosn’t seem to take much notice of ongoing increases in energy use whether there are efficiency gains or not.

  25. Kermit – have now. It seems more research is required, to get an idea of any permanent or major damage.

    Did you see that one of the findings was fish in seismic survey areas were less likely to take hooks from commercial fishing boats (i.e. more likely to survive than fish in non-seismic survey areas).

  26. Kermit – did you also see that whales avoided the area of seismic surveys, and stayed 12 miles away from any seismic boats.

    That’s fantastic – surely a great tool for Sea Shepherd?

  27. Photonz:

    Unfortunately you completely overlook the serious damage to marine mammals and fish that are in the proximity of surveys when they start.

  28. Kermit – the seismic impacts link you gave talks little of serious damage, but uses phrases and words like the surveys cause
    – disruption of critical activities
    – disturbance
    – avoidanace
    – disturbances
    – MAY lead to reduced fitness
    with lots of “can”,”might”, and “may” preceding most claims.

    And if there is any damage to a fish, it’s less than the damge caused by eating it, which is one of the main concerns of the report – that less fish are harvested from the ocean during seismic surveys.

  29. The ban call is meaningless. There is a well known process for shutting down spills and that is drilling another hole. It’s just it takes months.

    As for drilling, photonz is right about chance of it happening. It’s the last thing you do after a whole lot of other stuff. Exxon has delayed any moves in GSB, which says to me they are not confident of a score. But they could drill a number of holes not just one, because there may be a number of prospects they are chasing which tie together into a commercial field.

    There is a lot of debate on seismic impacts. I;ve read that submarines and their props and sonar pings have an effect. In Bass St the explorers have a code of practice where they have spotters for whales and stop activity if any are sighted. Not sure if there has been any sign of a drop off in whale activity over recent years.

    On electricity efficiency, did you know NZ households are using on average about the same amount of power as they did in 1970? That’s mainly down to lower temp of hot water and efficiency of other appliances.

  30. ” It’s just it takes months.”
    Oh, we can relax then! There’s a ‘well known process’.

  31. From what I understand about exploratory mining, the exploratory licence necessitates more or less guaranteeing the right to harvest what is found because of the huge cost of exploratory drilling. So right in the middle of the hugest oilspill ever, with no end in sight, dumb old National gives the wreckless vandalising oil giants the thumbs up. They could at least wait ’till they stop the goddamn oil spilling into the sea. But that would mean missing an opportunity to suck up to the all powerful oil barons.
    What gets me about this oil spill is that they can put a man on the moon, they can take over a country but they claim they can’t fix a hole in the ground. I believe the reason they haven’t stopped it is because they want to extract the oil, having dug the hole. This may be why everything they have tried involves a hose going to a ship. Surely they could have put a cap on the pipe with a tap and turned the thing off, or remove the pipe and jam a giant concrete carrot into the hole in the sea floor. The US government should have done that by week 2.
    I am actually in favour of electric cars, which were withdrawn from the market in the US a decade ago after a nationwide publicity campaign by the oil companies. Its time we changed to electric vehicles. It would save us a fortune.

  32. Drilling a second well is the answer, So why are the greens claiming one doesn’t exist.

    BP began drilling relief wells right away, they did this because their engineers told them too. All these other things they have been trying are PR moves designed to make it appear they are doing something. The fact most people, including the greens, think this stuff might work just shows the retard level of most human beings. Once again Sapient is right.

    So the only way to avert this in the southern basin is to have 2 rigs as another poster has already pointed out.

    Note this isn’t rocket science its just pressure.

  33. BP began drilling a week later and had no plans for the relief well until they actually REALLY needed it and then they whipped something up on the fly.

    There is strong expectation that there will be new law applied that requires the relief well to be in place, or largely in place, at least in the really difficult spots.

    Leave it in the ground for our Grandchildren.

    BJ

  34. @turnip28 2:59 AM

    So the only way to avert this in the southern basin is to have 2 rigs as another poster has already pointed out.

    This is another way – it’s not drilling at all there.

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