I’m currently on board the Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise, in Galveston, Texas, where we’ve just come in from a week and half’s work with a bunch of scientists to find out where the 4 million barrels of unaccounted for oil has vanished to. I’ve published a blog about it on the Greenpeace USA website: Where’s all the oil gone?
Some key bits:
While the water samples taken from way down deep during the trip are off to the lab to get analyzed, the immediate, measurable data obtained by Rainer tells us this; that there’s a clear indication of an oxygen deficiency in the Gulf’s waters, in an area stretching from around the Deepwater Horizon disaster site to 300 miles (500km) to the west. The infamous plume still exists – perhaps not visibly, but the essence of it is still there.
This oxygen deficiency tells us that a certain amount of the oil and gas released during the disaster has been consumed by bacteria in the water; bacteria needs oxygen to metabolise the petrochemicals, so, very simply put, the lower the amount of oxygen, the higher the amount of oil has been consumed. However, and here’s the really interesting bit; Rainer’s observations, and the observations of other scientists, have indicated that there the levels of dissolved oxygen in the Gulf are not low enough to suggest that any major amount of the oil and gas from the Macando wellhead been consumed by bacteria. The government and BP would like us to believe that all the otherwise unaccounted for oil has magically disappeared, all three or four million barrels of it (remember that’s 55 gallons, or 200 litres). So where is it all gone?