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By The Numbers: Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

July 13, 2010… gulf-of-mexico-oil-cleanup-by-the-numbers/
Building off some of the numbers from the post above:
553:  Miles of Gulf shoreline contaminated by oil. That would be 313 miles in Louisiana, 99 miles in Mississippi, 66 miles in Alabama, and 75 miles in Florida.

Or, 32.9% of the entire US portion of the Gulf coast shoreline. So one third of the coastline has some sort of contamination.

31 million:  Gallons of oil-water mix that have been recovered.

10.34 million:  Gallons of oil that have been burned off.

Or, 738,100 barrels oil-water mix recovered and 246,200 barrels of oil burned off.  In total, this is approximately 5% of daily US petroleum consumption.

Yup, daily. And we don’t have a use for the water portion of the oil-water mix, so it’s even less than 5%. That’s the strange thing about this spill; it’s massive, it’s a disaster, it’s taking a huge toll on the environment… and yet, if it’s gushing at the high estimate of 20,000 barrels per day, that’s still just 0.1% of daily US oil consumption.

3.12 million:  Feet of containment boom deployed to contain the spill. An additional 816,000 feet of containment boom is ready for use.

6.16 million:  Feet of sorbent boom deployed to contain the spill. An additional 2.32 million feet of sorbent boom is ready for use.

Or, 591 miles of containment boom and 1,167 miles of sorbent boom, 1758 miles in total.  If you include the additional boom lengths available for use, this is long enough to stretch across the entire United States (and you’d even have excess if you went across the shortest width).

6,850:  Total number of vessels assisting in containment and cleanup efforts, including skimmers, tugs, barges, and recovery vessels.

Or, (now stick with me here) assuming the average vessel is using a 500 HP marine engine running at 50% throttle for two 8 hour shifts each day (working weekends), then over the past 84 days, these vessels have used somewhere in the range of 15,000,000 barrels of fuel.  This is a pretty rough estimate, but it doesn’t include any fuel used on land or due to other externalities of the clean up process so it could easily be low.  If the oil well is gushing at 20,000 barrels per day (current high estimates), then 1,680,000 barrels have been released.  So for every barrel of oil spilled, we’ve used 9+ barrels to clean it up.

This is why I’m trying to bike more this summer (among other things).


From → MATH

One Comment
  1. 1: The number of former movie stars that have claimed to have invented (or invested in) a technology that could fix this whole thing.

    15: Politicians who have blamed Obama for this spill even while espousing a desire for the government to leave industry alone.

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